Flopping Aces http://floppingaces.net Sun, 23 Nov 2014 00:21:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 Hey Brian Williams! This is what an honest newsman looks like http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/22/hey-brian-williams-this-is-what-an-honest-newsman-looks-like/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/22/hey-brian-williams-this-is-what-an-honest-newsman-looks-like/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 12:43:23 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=104370 Continue reading ]]> brian williams flack

The major networks have for the most part steadfastly hidden Grubergate from the masses, acting as useful idiots. Here’s what one of the biggest name useful idiots, Brian Williams, reports on instead:

The folks at NewsBusters pointed out that NBC Nightly News has failed to air a single story on Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber and his parade of outrageous remarks about the advantage of a lack of transparency in the health care law and the “stupidity of the American voter,” among others.

What have they found more newsworthy since the first Gruber video came to light Nov. 7? Topics include cold weather, Ferguson unrest, Tom Brokaw getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a barber, Black Friday, the Ford F-150, Penicillin allergies, more cold weather, aspirin, Giancarlo Stanton, and how cold it is outside.

This, Brian Williams, is what an honest newsman does:

“Obama Promised ObamaCare Wouldn’t Do Exactly What Gruber Says it Will Do”

Click here to view the embedded video.

From that piece:

At a town hall meeting where he campaigned for health care legislation in 2009, President Barack Obama pledged to voters that he did not want any tax on health insurance plans he perceived as wastefully generous to ever impact average Americans. But in recent comments by one of the men who helped draft the legislation, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, that is not only precisely what will happen — but that was the intention of the tax. White House officials had no comment, despite repeated requests by CNN…Gruber said the only way those pushing for Obamacare could get rid of the tax subsidy for employer provider health insurance was to tax the more generous, or Cadillac, plans — “mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people when we all know it’s a tax on people who hold those insurance plans.” The second way was have the tax kick in “late, starting in 2018″ and have its rate of growth tied to the consumer price index instead of to the much higher rate of medical inflation. Eventually, the 40% tax on the more expensive plans would impact every employer-provided insurance plan…”This was the only political way we were ever going to take on one of the worst public policies in America.” By 2018, Gruber said, those who object to the tax will be obligated to figure out how to come up with the trillion dollars that repealing the tax will take from the U.S. Treasury, or risk significantly adding to the national debt. This is obviously exactly what Obama told voters in 2009 he had “taken off the table.”

An honest newsman tells the story and explains what it means, especially as it tells the tale of how Obamacare is built on a foundation of lies.

There’s a lesson there for you, Brian. Being an Obama flack doesn’t do your viewers a service.

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Boehner: ‘The House Will, In Fact, Act’ http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/21/boehner-the-house-will-in-fact-act/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/21/boehner-the-house-will-in-fact-act/#comments Sat, 22 Nov 2014 01:01:18 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=104415 Continue reading ]]> boehner immigration

“We will not stand idly by as the president undermines the rule of law and places lives at risk.”

With his actions, Boehner said, Obama “deliberately sabotaged” any chance of comprehensive immigration legislation, and by acting “like a king” he is also “damaging the presidency.”

Once again it’s too little too late for Boehner. Is he just talking tough like usual or will he finally…FINALLY…take some action?

Click here to view the embedded video.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) vowed Friday to confront President Obama’s unilateral executive actions to protect millions of illegal immigrants from deportation, saying the moves were “damaging the presidency” and warning that Congress will not let them stand without a fight.

“The House will, in fact, act,” he said.

…”He created an environment where the members could not trust him, and trying to find a way to work together was virtually impossible, and I had warned the president over and over that his actions were making it impossible for me to do what he wanted me to do,” the speaker said, explaining his inability to even consider smaller pieces of the 2013 Senate-approved legislation that revamped border and immigration laws.

“We have a broken immigration system, and the American people expect us to work together to fix it, and we ought to do it through the democratic process,” he said.

He broke it all down in one sentence:

“you can’t ask the elected representatives of the people to trust you to enforce the law if you’re constantly demonstrated that you can’t be trusted to enforce the law.”

Obama has purposely made it impossible for either side to trust each other for at least a generation. That will be his legacy.

“What did the president do? He pulled the pin on the grenade two weeks after the election,” said Rep. Pat Tiberi, R-Ohio, a Boehner ally. “I don’t think anybody knows or can predict what happens and the carnage that this creates quite frankly for the legislative process.”

Many people are saying there is nothing that the Republicans can do about this action by the President. That may very well be but I like Ed Morrissey’s ideas:

They can sit on Obama’s appointments for a long while, for one thing, which Democrats will be helpless to stop. More to the issue, they can pass a tough border-security bill as I suggested earlier and force Obama to veto it, and vulnerable Democrats to sustain a veto on a popular component of immigration reform. As the border gets rushed by people looking to take advantage of the situation, Republicans can lay the entire blame on Obama and his half-baked amnesty plan. None of these are perfect, but with control of Congress, the GOP has better options in January than they do right now.

Will Boehner actually act this time? I have my doubts but if there was ever going to be a chance of the man showing some balls this is it.

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The People, Polls & A State of Denial (Guest Post) http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/20/the-people-polls-a-state-of-denial-guest-post/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/20/the-people-polls-a-state-of-denial-guest-post/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 01:12:21 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=104367 Continue reading ]]> obama middle finger

Current polls destroy Obama’s ridiculous claim that he is representing those people who didn’t vote.

Midterm Exit Polls: 75% Reject Exec Amnesty, 80% Don’t Want Foreign Workers Taking Jobs from Americans

An exit poll conducting by Kellyanne Conway’s The Polling Company found that three-quarters (74%) of voters believed that “President Obama should work with Congress rather than around Congress on immigration and separately.”

Overall, strong “majorities of men (75%), women (74%), whites (79%), blacks (59%), and Hispanics (54%),” in addition to tri-partisan majorities of “self-identified Republicans (92%), Independents (80%), and Democrats (51%)” did not want Obama to enact an executive amnesty on his own. Only 20% of voters wanted Obama to move forward with his executive amnesty.

“The President may be the last person in town to realize how resistant Americans are to him playing the Lone Ranger on amnesty,” the polling memo stated. “In fact, based on his press conference yesterday, he has either suspended disbelief or has no awareness of how the immigration issue and his threats to act alone contributed to his party suffering massive losses on Tuesday.”

Considering he get’s most of his information from the news, perhaps Obama is unaware of the situation?

One of the most notable shifts in the Democratic Party away from helping Americans over illegal immigrants has been with Obama himself, who in his 2006 autobiography actually wrote that Americans are hurt by waves of illegal immigration.

“[T]here’s no denying that many blacks share the same anxieties as many whites about the wave of illegal immigration flooding our Southern border—a sense that what’s happening now is fundamentally different from what has gone on before,” then Sen. Barack Obama, an Illinois Democrat, wrote in The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream.

”Not all these fears are irrational,” Obama wrote in the passages which were highlighted by The Daily Caller’s Neil Munro on Monday.

“The number of immigrants added to the labor force every year is of a magnitude not seen in this country for over a century,” Obama wrote. “If this huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy as a whole—especially by keeping our workforce young, in contrast to an increasingly geriatric Europe and Japan—it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net.”

Oops! Well, OK but what about all those “jobs that Americans wont do?”

But 80% of voters surveyed wanted “new jobs created by the economy to go to American workers and legal immigrants already in the country.” The view was shared across all regions—74% in the Northeast, 80% in the Midwest, 85% in the South, and 80% in the West–and among men and women (no gender gap).

As the Polling Company noted, these numbers turn “on its head the elitist idea that illegal immigrants ‘do the jobs that Americans don’t want to do.’”

“Voters overwhelmingly prefer an immigration system that protects American workers,” the polling memo states. “Therefore members of Congress should feel confident that voters will support actions using the power of the purse to protect American workers from Obama’s executive amnesty threat.”

Even the leaders of the Green Party?

Ralph Nader, 2008: Securing the Border Protects Americans from Wage Loss

Nader continued by saying the way to raise the minimum wage is by controlling immigration policy so that large numbers of foreign workers can’t drive wages down for American workers. He also argued that “a lot of liberals” have abandoned pro-American sovereignty immigration policies, in favor of open borders ideas, to the detriment of Americans – especially minorities.

“The second is, we need to crack down on employers who are blocking a $10 minimum wage and therefore can say, ‘Oh, Americans don’t want to do this work,’” Nader said. “Who wants to do this work for under $5.15 under terrible workplace conditions? So it’s a low wage policy that’s the root of this approach. A lot of liberals have bought into it because they confuse the strategic policy by the Wall Street Journal types with civil rights.”

Nader also argued that there is not much need for more imported foreign high-tech workers via H-1B visas, since not only does that hurt Americans seeking such jobs, it also hurts other countries worldwide.

Alright but What about Obama’s approval numbers? Greg keeps telling us that Obama still has a higher approval rating than Republicans in Congress, Right?

Gallup: GOP Congress More Popular Than Obama

That lie was not only laid bare in last week’s midterm elections, where Republicans at every level of government crushed Democrats (and their media cheerleaders) in a tidal wave that hit blue and purple states, but also in new polling numbers from Gallup that shows GOP lawmakers currently enjoy a higher approval rating from the American people than President Obama.

As things stand today, Republicans in Congress enjoy a 42% approval rating. Obama, on the other hand, sits at a 39% approval rating. His disapproval rating sits at a whopping 56%.

When asked by Gallup who should have more influence over the direction of the country, a majority of Americans chose Republicans in Congress over Obama by a whopping 56-36% margin.

Wait, what about Congressional Democrats? What about all those Democrats and independents who stayed home and whom Obama says he represents? Their approval ratings for Democrats reflect support for Obama and the Democrats, right?

Gallup: Dem Approval Plunges to Record Low

Where Democrats lost support was among their own and Independents. Last month 88% of Democrats supported their own party; that number is now down to 81%. Among Independent voters support for Democrats plummeted from an already low of 35% to just 25%.

OUCH! That’s gotta hurt! What possibly else could have led to this rejection of the Democrats?

Under Obama, U.S. personal freedom ranking slips below France

The index is notable for the way it measures how free people feel, unlike other freedom indices that measure freedom by comparing government policies.

“This is not a good report for Obama,” Legatum Institute spokeswoman Cristina Odone told the Washington Examiner.

In the 2010 report (which relied on data gathered in 2009), the U.S. was ranked ninth in personal freedom, but that ranking has since fallen to 21st, with several countries, including France, Germany and the United Kingdom passing the U.S.

The nation’s overall personal freedom score has declined by 17 percent since 2009, with a 22 percent drop in combined civil liberty and free choice contributing to that decline.

Oh. What else could be upsetting “the People”?

NYC Mayor de Blasio ‘Willing to Continue the Conversation’ on Granting Non-Citizens Voting Rights

A recent study by two Old Dominion professors found that enough non-citizens already vote in state elections across the country to “change the outcome of close races.” They found that “more than 14 percent of non-citizens in both the 2008 and 2010 samples indicated that they were registered to vote” and, their “best guess, based upon extrapolations from the portion of the sample with a verified vote, is that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010.”

But, let’s get back to Obama. Whatever could upset voters so much about the President to give Congress to the Republicans?

25 Violations of Law By President Obama and His Administration

1. Obama Administration uses IRS to target conservative, Christian and pro-Israel organizations, donors, and citizens.

2. In an unprecedented attack on the First Amendment, the Obama Justice Department ordered criminal investigations of FOX News reporters for doing their jobs during the 2012 election year.

3. President Obama, throughout his Presidency, has refused to enforce long-established U.S. immigration laws. For example . . .

4. Obama has refused to build a double-barrier security fence along the U.S.-Mexican border in direct violation of the 2006 Secure Fence Act. This law requires that “at least two layers of reinforced fencing” be built along America’s 650-mile border with Mexico. So far, just 40 miles of this fence have been built – most of it during the Bush Administration.

5. Obama’s unconstitutional assault on your Second Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms. (President Obama issued, in one day, 21 separate Executive Orders that attack and undermine your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.)

6. Obama’s assault on Christians and religious freedom.

7. Obama forced ObamaCare on an unwilling public through bribery and lying about its cost.

8. Operation Fast & Furious.

9. “Federal Communications Commission (FCC): Regulated the Internet despite a court order from the Circuit Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C. stating that the FCC does not have the power to regulate the Internet.” (SOURCE: Report from Nine State Attorneys General)

10 “Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Imposed Cross-State Air Pollution Rules on the state of Texas at the last minute and without an opportunity for Texas to respond to the proposed regulation. EPA overreach was based on a dubious claim that air pollution from Texas affected a single air-quality monitor in Granite City, Illinois more than 500 miles and three states away from Texas.” (SOURCE: Report from Nine State Attorneys General)

11. “Department of Justice (DOJ): Rejected state voter ID statutes that are similar to those already approved by the Supreme Court of the United States. DOJ ignored section 8 of the Voting Rights Act which calls for protections against voter fraud, and used section 5 to administratively block measures to protect the integrity of elections passed by state legislatures.” (SOURCE: Report from Nine State Attorneys General)

12. “DOJ: In violation of 10th Amendment, sued to prevent Arizona from using reasonable measures to discourage illegal immigration within its borders. Arizona has a large number of illegal immigrants, compared to other states, and needs to be able to act to reduce the number.” (SOURCE: Report from Nine State Attorneys General)

13. “DOJ: Went to court to stop enforcement of Alabama’s immigration reform laws, which require collection of the immigration status of public school students, require businesses to use E-Verify, and prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving public benefits.” (SOURCE: Report from Nine State Attorneys General)

14. “White House: Made “recess appointments” to the National Labor Relations Board and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when Congress was NOT in recess. The Obama Administration has ignored the ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that the appointments are unconstitutional.” (SOURCE: Report from Nine State Attorneys General)

15. “Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): Interfered with a Michigan church’s selection of its own ministers by trying to force the church to reinstate a minister who was discharged for her disagreement with the religious doctrine of the church.” (SOURCE: Report from Nine State Attorneys General)

16. “Department of Energy (DOE): In 2009, the Obama Administration arbitrarily broke federal law, violated various contracts, and derailed the most studied energy project in American history at Yucca Mountain by denying it a license, thus costing the American people more than $31 billion.” (SOURCE: Report from Nine State Attorneys General)

17. Department of the Interior (DOI): Forced Glendale, a family-oriented town in Arizona, to become another Las Vegas against its will by granting “reservation status” to a 54-acre plot in the town, where the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation plans to build a resort and casino.” (SOURCE: Report from Nine State Attorneys General)

18. Without Congressional approval, Obama gutted the work requirement for welfare recipients passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

19. In the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, Obama illegally shortchanged bond holders in favor of Labor Unions, despite U.S. bankruptcy laws that specify that bond holders be first in line to be paid back.

20. Eager to use the killing of Osama bin Laden for political gain, Obama exposed the identity and method of operation of the Navy SEALs team that conducted the operation in Pakistan, thus exposing its members to a lifetime of risk because they have been targeted for assassination by Islamists. A short time after Obama exposed the Navy SEALs’ method of operation, 22 SEALs were shot down and killed in Afghanistan. It is a violation of law for the President or any American to reveal classified military secrets.

21. President Obama established an extra-constitutional top secret “kill list” of people (including Americans) who can be summarily killed on sight – presumably by drones — without due process. Once on Obama’s kill list, an American citizen can be targeted and executed on the opinion of a single government bureaucrat. That’s not how our legal system is supposed to work.

22. Obama Administration officials twisted the arms of defense contractors to not issue layoff notices in October of 2012 so as to avoid causing bad news for Obama right before the election — even though federal law (the “WARN Act”) requires such notices. ; Not only is this a violation of the WARN Act, it’s also an unlawful use of federal officials for campaign purposes.

23. President Obama intervened militarily in Libya in 2011 without the Congressional approval required by the War Powers Act.

24. Obama knowingly lied to Congress and the American people about the killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya. The President and his representatives repeatedly said an anti-Islamic video sparked a spontaneous uprising in Libya that resulted in the killings even though Obama knew that the attack was a well-planned military-style assault by al Qaeda on the anniversary of September 11.

25. Michelle Obama’s family trip to Africa in June of 2011, including a private safari at a South African game reserve, cost American taxpayers $424,000 for air travel alone. Mrs. Obama brought along both her makeup artist and hairstylist, as well as her mother, a niece and nephew, and her daughters, who were listed as “senior staff members.”

Surely Obama must recognize that 2014 elections indicate that the public no longer supports his far-left agenda, and that perhaps he should move to the middle and moderate his policies with compromise? Quips Charles Hurt:

The Nuclear Option: Elections Don’t Matter to the ‘Towering Arrogance’ of Barack Obama

After last week’s drubbing by voters, you pretended humility at your White House press conference and acknowledged, “Republicans had a good night.”

And then you went on a despotic tirade that was about as terrifying as any words uttered by a sitting American president.

“So, to everyone who voted,” you said, “I want you to know that I hear you.” Then came the most chilling words: “To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you too.”

Let’s set aside the stingy, small, belittling arrogance you displayed here toward all the American voters who actually voted in this election. You mock and dismiss them.

Where you really came unhinged, Mr. President, is when you went on to say that you also heard all of the voters who did not vote.

Really? Are you hearing voices? Is this serious? Do you need to see a doctor?

I mean, what does it mean that you hear “voters” who did not vote? Do those nonvoting “voters” — a population twice the size of actual voters, according to you — carry equal weight to those who actually voted?

How do we know what these voters want? Or who they want in power? Or do we just have to trust you and your magical “hearing” powers to tell us?

So elections don’t matter. Only “voters” you hear matter.

The President who called “wolf” seems unaware that everyone is on to his mischief and are no longer amused. Even the “stupid people” are not buying the White House BS anymore

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What Lena Dunham Taught Us About… Minimum Wage Chickenhawks (Guest Post) http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/20/what-lena-dunham-taught-us-about-minimum-wage-chickenhawks-guest-post/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/20/what-lena-dunham-taught-us-about-minimum-wage-chickenhawks-guest-post/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:00:18 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=104316 Continue reading ]]> First off, this post is not here to join the “What Lena Dunham did to her little sister” pile on. There’s nothing I can possibly add that hasn’t already been written, and if you’re new to this story you can read Kevin Williamson’s piece that opened the floodgates. Equally entertaining is how she reacted to Truth Revolt having the audacity to… quote her. OK, maybe I do have one point to make1 on this element. But that’s not why I’m writing this post. The idea  came to me the other week when I found an interesting article in The Nation, What Lena Dunham Taught Us About Unpaid Labor—and What We Taught Ourselves

Yesterday, Lena Dunham—whose character on the HBO show Girls is one of the most recognizable millennial narratives in pop culture—was called out by Gawker for “hiring” unpaid opening acts on her book tour. Only a few hours later, under pressure from fans and other media outlets, Dunham has come forward via Twitter and agreed to adequately pay all of her acts for their talent and labor out of the $304,000 in revenue from her tour. (Right on, Lena. We hope you learned something.)

We want to take this opportunity to reframe the conversation from Dunham as an individual to the realities of precarious, unpaid work and what would happen if every unpaid worker got the attention that those opening for Dunham received on Monday.

Actually, let’s reframe the conversation a different way. Lena Dunham is a wealthy child of privilege. And to be honest, I don’t begrudge her any of her money. What bothers me is that for somebody who has campaigned in favor of raising the minimum wage, it never even seemed to cross her mind to pay her opening acts accompanying her to help promote her book. At least, not until she was publicly exposed for her selfishness. This type of behavior from the left is hardly a revelation. As Caroline Lee Smith reported in The Free Beacon,

Seattle-based group The Freedom Socialist Party, which owns socialism.com and regularly campaigns for a $15/hour minimum wage, advertised a job on Wednesday that offers just $13 an hour…They also accused big businesses of showing ‘phony concern’ for small businesses.

I’ve written before about leftist minimum wage Chickenhawks who love to blast businesses that don’t behave as they like but never consider starting a business themselves. Nobody is railing Michael Bloomberg to open a string of “McBloomberg’s” fast food shops that declare themselves to be gun free zones while only selling small portions of healthy food that the mayor won’t eat himself while paying fry cooks $15 per hour. The George Soros funded Center for Economic Policy is calling for a $21 minimum wage, but we don’t see any Soros-Marts paying their employees this wage to show that they are the better alternative to Wal-Mart, or Tom Steyer using his billions to launch a restaurant chain that pays its waiters, waitresses, and bartenders whatever dollar amount has been determined to be a living wage this week. For that matter, if you’re a leftist who supports higher wages but are not a billionaire you don’t have to launch a multi-store corporation. You can tip the Wal-Mart greeter $10 the next time you shop there. Hand the cashier at McDonald’s an extra $20 for your family’s value meals, and maybe throw in an extra $10 for the cook who did a great job with those fries.

I’ve been unsuccessful in my efforts to explain to leftists that things cost money, and businesses factor all of their costs into their pricing, whether it be for higher salary or health insurance plans that include birth control pills. We’ve seen this happen in Seattle with their raising the minimum wage. Unfortunately, explaining the reality of how businesses function turns you into the subject of the latest Two Minute Hate, as the CEO of Papa Johns discovered. Of all places, Huffington Posts’s Matt Walsh, in blasting people who tip poorly or don’t at all, raises interesting points on the philosophy of tipping and how eateries set their pricing:

I often hear that the owners of the restaurants should pay a decent wage and then nobody would have to tip. Why should YOU have to pay the server’s wage, you insist.

Good point. Let’s require all restaurant owners to pay their wait staff, what, like 12-15 dollars an hour? Yes, now we don’t have to tip and everyone is ha-

Oh. Wait. What’s this? All of prices on the menu just doubled? No more 2 for 20 deals? No more free refills? No more 9 dollar burgers and 12 dollar steaks? No more obscenely humungous portion sizes?

What’s going on here? You’re telling me that the financial resources of the restaurant’s owners are finite, and a massive increase in operating costs must be logically offset by a hike in prices and a reduction in services?

Oh no! Now my favorite joints are closing earlier! Hold on — no more happy hour?!

This has gone too far.

Image appears via Comically Incorrect

Now there is a major hole in one of the points I made earlier if anyone caught it. I suggested that leftist billionaires like Bloomberg, Soros, and Steyer should be investing their own money in businesses that pay living wages in this blog post which accuses leftists of being minimum wage Chickehawks. The problems is that unlike Lena Dunham, none of those three have been openly advocating for raising the minimum wage, and Bloomberg is actually strongly opposed to it. But that doesn’t matter. The only argument leftists will give on any kind of company’s compensation is “They can afford it”. So why should these guys get off the hook for not spreading their wealth to working Americans? And what leftist wouldn’t willingly buy a $15 McBloomberg burger, or an extra 20% for everyday goods that they buy at Soros-Mart, or better still, buy stock and invest in these companies that will be less profitable than their competitors? Why are none of them buying their own food truck or Subway franchise that pays its cashiers $15 per hour. They can afford it.
But they don’t. And that’s always been my problem with the left – their ideas are always great as long as somebody else is picking up the tab.

Follow Brother Bob on Twitter and on Facebook.

Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog

1 What kind of lazy, selfish parenting allowed this kind of behavior to go on? Did they not pay any attention to the unhealthy way that their daughter was interacting with her younger sister? And more disturbing, since abusers are generally initially abused themselves, what happened to Lena and didn’t her parents notice that something was wrong?

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A CIA Interrogator Finally Breaks Silence http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/19/a-cia-interrogator-finally-breaks-silence/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/19/a-cia-interrogator-finally-breaks-silence/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 21:47:15 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=103888 Continue reading ]]> Dianne Feinstein’s so-called 6,300 page “torture report” (executive summary is 500 pages “only”)- after 5 years and $40 million in taxpayer money- is slated to be released very soon. Perhaps this weekend; maybe next week, after Thanksgiving. But what will be missing from the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s majority (re: Democrat) report? Participation by Republicans in the investigative process and input (when the report is released, Republicans plan to release the minority view, at the same time). And even more critically, the interviews and opinions of those directly involved in the CIA Detention and Interrogation program itself- you know, those who were actually there- the CIA interrogators, the debriefers, the officials in charge:

Current and former intelligence officials told The Washington Times they are furious that the Senate panel, headed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, did not interview the senior managers of the interrogation program launched after the Sept. 11 attacks or the CIA directors who oversaw it.

“The truth is they had their foregone conclusions with what they wanted to say in this report, and they did not want the facts to get into the way,” said Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., one of the CIA’s most respected retired officers and who, as head of the Agency’s clandestine service, oversaw the enhanced interrogation program that used sleep deprivation, waterboarding, uncomfortable positioning and other tactics to extract information from high-value al Qaeda operatives.

“The process has been political. It has been ideological. And it is just wrong,” said Mr. Rodriguez, who retired in fall 2007 and later wrote a best-selling book entitled “Hard Measures” that argued that the tactics, which critics have denounced as torture, saved American lives.

U.S. intelligence officials and Senate aides confirm that the Senate Intelligence Committee did not interview former CIA directors George Tenet, Porter Goss and Mike Hayden, nor did the committee staff interview the program’s direct day-to-day managers, like Mr. Rodriguez.

Some of those officials told The Times they were told by Senate aides they weren’t interviewed because they once had been under possible criminal investigation.

But that investigation by a special Justice Department prosecutor was closed out more than two years ago, with no charges filed against any supervisor of the program.

“It is astonishing nobody ever reached out to us to interview us,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “Especially those people who were directors and program managers during that period of time.”

It is hard to believe that this Report isn’t politically, ideologically-driven. Leaks of the report have gone to journalists, already shaping the battle space, as they have always done since the beginning when leaks about the CIA program surfaced over a decade ago:

Mr. Hayden, who ran the CIA from 2006 to 2009, wrote in his regular column Tuesday in The Times that he is disappointed that journalists, op-ed writers and human rights groups got leaks from the report and appeared to have “more access than all but a very few former CIA senior officers whose actions are cataloged there but who have been denied access.”

Mr. Hayden said he, Mr. Tenet, and Mr. Goss, though never interviewed, were offered belated access to the report in late July, but only if they signed a nondisclosure agreement with the Senate committee.

For over a decade, journalists and human rights groups, anti-American enemies of the U.S., partisan political opponents, and so-called “experts” who operated on assumptions and half-experiences and not actual first-hand knowledge of the secretive CIA program, were able to shape the “torture” narrative, shaping public perception (or rather, distorting it). CIA interrogators have been unable to fight back the tide of opinion and defend themselves. They have not been at liberty to do so. It wasn’t until President Obama released the OLC “How not to torture” memos in April 2009, effectively neutering the EITs listed within the memo (their power was smoke-and-mirrors; once revealed, the techniques can be trained against. The reason why “enhanced interrogations” were even created was because some of the HVTs had received interrogation resistance training against standard techniques, like the “rapport-building” ones that the FBI favor in obtaining confessions and achieving criminal prosecutions).

On the flip side, Ms. Feinstein is upset that the Obama administration blacked out about 15 percent of the passages in the report for security reasons, redactions that she declared earlier this month undercut the report’s findings.

This comes as the UN expressed skepticism on the current administration’s “seriousness” and commitment on the torture issue:

A U.S. delegation, in a first appearance before the U.N. Committee Against Torture since 2006, told the panel in Geneva this week that it rejects Bush administration interpretations of torture statutes and affirms U.S. commitment to closing the dark chapter of the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation program.

Those assertions, though, didn’t convince the U.N. panel, which hadn’t seen the U.S. crew since abuses of the Bush-era program were publicly revealed.

Despite its seeming reversal on Bush-era policies, the U.S. delegation was slammed for touting its 2009 Justice Department Investigation into the CIA’s torture program — which resulted in no charges — as proof of its commitment.

“We are not fully satisfied with that answer,” said torture committee Chairman George Tugushi. “In our view, any investigation into possible ill treatment by public officials must comply with the criteria of thoroughness. And actually to be considered credible, it must be capable of leading to a determination of whether force or other methods used were or were not justified under the circumstances, and to the identification of the appropriate punishment of those concerned.”

The Justice Department probe was supervised by John Durham, an assistant U.S. attorney in Connecticut. After the U.N. panel pressured the U.S. delegation for details, the Americans disclosed that the inquiry questioned more than 90 witnesses. Despite repeated questions, delegation members declined, however, to say whether those witnesses included any prisoners subjected to the CIA methods.

One member of the U.N. committee suggested the investigation was a whitewash.

The Durham investigation “found that there was not sufficient evidence,” said Jens Modvig. “Well … you won’t find what you’re not looking for.”

CIA detainees who have said they were not interviewed in the Justice Department investigation have described being waterboarded, locked in small boxes and otherwise tortured.

The Justice Department inquiry, which lasted from 2009 to 2012, found insufficient evidence to open a criminal probe into abuses. Obama himself said in 2008 before he took office that he wanted to move on from the era and “look forward as opposed to looking backwards.”

“By failing to hold the perpetrators of torture accountable, the Obama administration undermined the prohibition on torture and abuse, and it certainly falls short of what’s required by the treaty,” said Jamil Dakwar, director of the Human Rights Program at the American Civil Liberties Union, following Thursday’s meeting of the U.N. panel. “We have no assurance that there has ever been a top-to-bottom criminal investigation that has included an investigation of any possible criminal conduct by government officials who authorized or ordered the use of torture and abuse.”

The Obama administration has reportedly used the Durham investigation in pressuring international courts to drop investigations into the Bush-era program, which employed the help of several foreign governments.

The focus by the U.N. panel on the Durham investigation underscores a lingering question that remains eight years after America’s torture chapter concluded: Why was no one held accountable?

That lack of closure has inspired new questions as the public awaits the release of the executive summary of a Senate Intelligence Committee review of the CIA’s operation. The five-year, $40 million Senate study has been touted as an authoritative accounting of the torture program. But it doesn’t examine the culpability of high-level Bush administration officials, McClatchy Newspapers revealed last month. Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has stressed that the 6,300-page document is meant to be a comprehensive record, not an indictment.

The public may never know, at least officially, who in the Bush administration was responsible for a program that, as Feinstein said, was “un-American, brutal” and “never, never, never should have existed.”

That reality, the U.N. panel suggested, dents U.S. credibility on torture, and draws into question the Obama administration’s dedication to closing the Bush chapter.

The Obama administration’s delegation also was asked by the U.N. group on Wednesday if it agreed with a Bush-era interpretation of the panel’s international torture convention, which outlaws harsh treatment of prisoners. Secret Bush legal memos argued that the anti-torture treaty did not apply outside U.S. borders, creating the basis for a covert CIA program that shipped suspected terrorists to secret overseas prisons for harsh interrogation.

The Obama delegation had reportedly considered affirming that legal interpretation, which sent the international community into an uproar this month.

The U.S. delegation this week appeared to reject the Bush legal reasoning. But its careful parsing of words leaves room for interpretation.

The ideologically-partisan Senator Obama and 1st-day-in-office President is sympathetic to the UN and Feinstein-view in regards to the issue of “torture” and the CIA program. But like on Gitmo, on the NSA, on droning, on the GWoT or “Overseas Contingency Operations”, President Obama has found it more difficult to responsibly manage those ideological and political hot potatoes than he was in criticizing them from the outside as a JV senator.

The delay in the Report’s release is due to on-going disputes between Feinstein’s committee, the CIA, and the White House over the redactions (apparently they are negotiating on one last redacted item).

The key issue has been the pseudonyms used in the report to identify CIA personnel involved in the controversial interrogation program. The panel insists that identities are adequately shielded, but the Oval Office and the spy agency have fought tooth and nail against releasing the report with the pseudonyms intact.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Intelligence Committee, said Tuesday that the CIA’s arguments are “ludicrous.”

Wyden has been joined by several of his fellow committee Democrats, who have said the White House’s proposed blackouts would completely dilute the narrative that the report constructs.

“Redactions are supposed to remove names or anything that could compromise sources and methods, not to undermine the source material so that it is impossible to understand,” Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) said after the White House originally suggested redactions in August. “Try reading a novel with 15 percent of the words blacked out — it can’t be done properly.”

The White House originally suggested that 15 percent of the document had to be blacked out. Negotiations reportedly progressed so that roughly 5 percent was blacked out as of last month.

On Tuesday, Feinstein also sought to stifle concerns over what the Republicans’ imminent Senate takeover could mean for the future of her report. When asked what might happen if the declassification review isn’t done by January, Feinstein smiled.

“It is gonna get done, so don’t worry about it,” she said.

Back to the Washington Times read:

current and former senior intelligence personnel are working on their own rebuttals to dispute many of the report’s findings on factual grounds. The CIA produced its own official rebuttal to the report back in June 2013 that is in the process of being declassified.

The brewing storm between the CIA and its Democratic intelligence overseers in the Senate comes at an awkward time.

The Obama administration is pressing the intelligence community to step up its efforts to uncover possible new threats associated with terrorist groups like the Islamic State, which last week beheaded an American reporter who had been captured in Syria, and Boko Haram, which garnered worldwide attention by kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria this spring.

“We want our operations people focused on thwarting the next terror attack from very real and imminent threats like IS, and instead they’re looking over their shoulders worried about blind criticism about tactics from a decade ago that were authorized by the president and cleared by the Justice Department and briefed to Congress,” said one senior intelligence official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity because the official wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

“It’s not the optimum circumstance for the intelligence community. They’re professionals and will do their job. But you never want them distracted at a critical time like this with leaks from a partisan report,” the official said.

Mr. Rodriguez, likewise, said he has heard from his former colleagues about the weight the impending report is having on them as they do their jobs each day. He declined to discuss the actual findings of the report, citing the nondisclosure agreement he signed.

“These people have mothers, fathers, neighbors and friends, and they have been slandered, been called torturers by the president. And I don’t think the government thinks stuff like this through for the consequences. They are throwing the Agency under the bus right at a time when they need it [the Agency] most,” he said.

Current CIA Director John Brennan has held calls and meetings with current staff and former high-level officials likely to be affected by the report.

Concerns inside the Agency include that some current or former officers will have their safety placed in jeopardy if outed, that methods and sources will be improperly revealed, that information in the report will be used by foreign governments to try to prosecute CIA officers and that the tenor of the report could create a backlash in the Muslim world, resulting in retaliatory protests and attacks against U.S. agencies and personnel.

Mr. Brennan’s message, according to those who have personally heard it, is that he agrees the government early on could have handled the enhanced interrogation program better in some circumstances. But he also has promised to aggressively rebut any disputed information in the report and to defend any individuals from unfair personal attacks.

The CIA’s official rebuttal, completed more than a year ago, contains many of the sentiments that Mr. Brennan has expressed privately to concerned Agency employees. Specifically, while acknowledging shortcomings, it challenges strongly the argument in Ms. Feinstein’s committee report that no valuable intelligence was derived from the enhanced interrogation program, according to sources directly familiar with it.

As I had written previously:

So much of what we’ve learned about al Qaeda, so many of the operations that have since been carried out in killing and capturing operatives, subsequently leading to more info and more kills and captures, can all be traced back to what we began learning about the al Qaeda network from CIA interrogations of HVTs. Waterboarding Zubaydah and KSM had a cascading effect, unlocking intell information that did not require more wateboardings, but which can trace their intell lineage back to the CIA program. By 2006, over half of what we knew about al Qaeda had come out of the CIA program.

I believe I had gotten that last information from Thiessen’s book.

Also in the Washington Times article:

One of its primary conclusions — reported in a recent New York Times article — is that CIA torture was more common in the period right after Sept. 11, 2001, than previously acknowledged and that the CIA misled Bush administration officials about how widely enhanced interrogations were used and why they were necessary.

In the early days on the heels of 9/11, in the chaotic aftermath to create new programs and prevent the next attack, mistakes were undoubtedly made. Stephen Hayes:

There are certainly parts of the program that deserve criticism. There were major problems with the way it was conceived, approved, and carried out. There were troubling abuses in the early years, and later some misleading briefings about the enhanced interrogation techniques used. There were conflicts of interest and questionable accounting practices. Some of the public claims about the intelligence derived from enhanced techniques were clearly exaggerated, and at least one of those claims was patently false.

Such matters should be subject to tough, dispassionate, fact-based investigation. Actual failings should be condemned by both Republicans and Democrats, by supporters of the program as well as opponents.

That’s not what happened here.

Instead, the report was produced by the Democratic staff of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, chaired by Dianne Feinstein. Republicans declined to participate.

Anyone who decides to read the Feinstein “torture” Report and who is more interested in the truth than in partisan-blame and bias confirmation, should also balance it out with the Minority view, Republican rebuttal, as well as the CIA rebuttal. That also works the other way, as well. It is why I’ve read the works of so many of the critics. I still consider Ali Soufan’s Black Banner a good read; and the former FBI agent a great patriot. But his book, and that of Matthew Alexander (pseudonym for Anthony Camerino), should be balanced out with Jose Redriguez’ Hard Measures and Marc Thiessen’s Courting Disaster.

Even though “Beale” doesn’t name them, Ali Soufan and- I believe- Steven Kleinman- are the two interrogators “Beale” is calling out.

President Obama had made it clear we should move forward and not look backward. Senator Feinstein claims this isn’t about criminally prosecuting anyone. Then what’s the point? How did abu Ghraib’s revelations help our war efforts? It didn’t. It exacerbated and inflamed. It was a recruitment bonanza for the insurgents and jihad fighters joining up with Zarqawi and al Qaeda in Iraq. It didn’t make us any safer, or Iraqis any safer, because we Americans ‘fessed and owned up to our sins in the middle of a war.

Former CIA Director Hayden also warns how, in a time like this where we are still fighting a global jihad movement, along with Islamists in Iraq and Syria, the timing of this release will only help America’s enemies. Jihadis have become well-versed in the promotion of jihadi propaganda over social media and the internet. The Feinstein Report is guaranteed to provide them with more fodder to feed their potential recruitment:

WASHINGTON — As the nation’s intelligence communities brace for the Senate’s explosive report on the CIA’s now-defunct torture program to be made public, officials are warning that its release in the midst of the Islamic State fight could put American lives at risk, according to former CIA Director Michael Hayden.

“American embassies and other installations around the world have been warned to take defensive action in anticipation of this report being released,” Hayden cautioned Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “That is somewhat troubling.”

Hayden’s concerns follow public reports of other officials pointing to risks for overseas U.S. personnel since the Senate Intelligence Committee first voted in April to publicly release parts of its behemoth study on the post-9/11 program. The committee voted 11-3 to make public the 500-page executive summary of its five-year, $40 million study.

Any chance of the Report not seeing the light of day in the middle of an ideological war? Nada:

On Tuesday, Feinstein also sought to stifle concerns over what the Republicans’ imminent Senate takeover could mean for the future of her report. When asked what might happen if the declassification review isn’t done by January, Feinstein smiled.

“It is gonna get done, so don’t worry about it,” she said.

I have a hard time believing that Feinstein isn’t ideologically and politically driven on this. I believe the accusations of the CIA “snooping” was also politically-charged, distorting what had actually happened.

This past week, a very important piece was made available at the Weekly Standard. As Stephen Hayes reports:

Now, for the first time, one of the lead interrogators is attempting to tell the other side of the story. Writing under the pseudonym Jason Beale, he has produced a provocative 39-page document in an effort to counter the narrative pushed by Democrats and amplified by journalists eager to discredit the program. The document—which Beale says was reviewed, redacted, and cleared by a U.S. government agency—does not reveal Beale’s precise role in the program. A spokesman for the Central Intelligence Agency would not confirm that the CIA was the agency that reviewed Beale’s document. And in an email interview, Beale refused even to acknowledge that he conducted interrogations in the CIA program. “The opinions I expressed on interrogations in the document I sent you,” he wrote, “are representative of the insight I’ve gained during my career as an interrogator. While I am aware that you and others may draw some inference from the approved portion of the text as to the basis of my arguments regarding enhanced techniques, I am not presently in a position to elaborate on how I formed those opinions.”

Sources familiar with the program independently confirm that Beale served as a senior interrogator beginning in 2004.

Beale’s document covers many aspects of the debate over enhanced interrogation—the morality of enhanced interrogation techniques, the use of EITs on U.S. servicemen and women during their survival training, the hypocrisy of public officials who approved the program and later pretended that they opposed it, the unearned authority of several top critics of the program, and, most important, the effectiveness of the techniques.

“Beale” challenges the Feinstein claim that EITs didn’t work.

Marc Thiessen’s book made it known that CIA interrogators underwent waterboarding themselves, so that they knew intimately, firsthand, the seriousness and severity of what they may be doing to HVTs, should the need arise. That neutralizes the critic challenge, “If waterboarding isn’t torture, then try it yourself”. The interrogators themselves had. “Beale” himself underwent waterboarding:

Beale participated in the course first as a student, then as an interrogator.

As a student, I learned that I could resist, and occasionally manipulate, a talented interrogator during my numerous “soft-sell” interrogations—the rapport-building, we-know-all, pride-and-ego up/down, do-the-right-thing approaches. I had my story relatively straight, and I simply stuck to it, regardless of how ridiculous or implausible the interrogator made it sound. He wasn’t doing anything to me—there was no consequence to my lies, no matter how transparent.

I then learned the difference between “soft-sell” and “hard-sell” by way of a large interrogator who applied enhanced techniques promptly upon the uttering of my first lie. I learned that it was infinitely more difficult for me to remember my lies and keep my story straight under pressure. I learned that it became difficult to repeat a lie if I received immediate and uncomfortable consequences for each iteration. It made me have to make snap decisions under intense pressure in real time—and fumble and stumble through rapid-fire follow-up questions designed to poke massive holes in my story.

I learned that I needed to practically live my lie if I were to be questioned under duress, as the unrehearsed details are the wild-cards that bite you in the ass. I learned that I would rather sit across from the most talented interrogator on earth doing a soft-sell than any interrogator on earth doing a hard-sell—the information I had would be safer because the only consequences to my lies come in the form of words. I could handle words. Anyone could.

Ask any SERE Level C graduate which method was more effective on him or her—their answer should tell you something about the effectiveness of enhanced techniques, whether you agree with them or not. In my case, I learned that enhanced techniques made me want to tell the truth to make it stop—not to compound my situation with more lies. The only thing that kept me from telling the truth was the knowledge that at some point it had to end—that there were more students to interrogate and only so many hours in a day. Absent that knowledge, I would have caved.

As a TDY [temporary duty] interrogator in the SERE course, I learned that the toughest, meanest, most professional special operations soldiers on earth had a breaking point. Every one of them. And of all the soldiers I interrogated, all of the “breaks” came during hard-sell interrogations—using as many enhanced techniques as necessary to convince the soldier that continuing to lie would result in immediate consequences. It worked—time and again, it worked.

The techniques were effective, Beale claims, not only with U.S. soldiers being prepared for what they might encounter if captured by an enemy, but also with senior al Qaeda prisoners. Defenders of EITs point to the extraction of important information on al Qaeda’s couriers to make their case. The information on one courier in particular—Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti—led to the location of Osama bin Laden’s safe house in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

In a heavily redacted section of his document, Beale writes that the EITs were essential to obtaining that information. Others have reported that two high-value detainees subject to enhanced interrogation—Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Faraj al-Libi—went to great lengths to conceal information about the courier. That they did so after providing a steady stream of accurate and valuable information suggested to interrogators and analysts that the information about al-Kuwaiti was important. Beale writes:

That high-level detainee would no more have voluntarily sat down across from a debriefer and provided his list of Al Qaeda couriers without having been conditioned to do so than he would have walked ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ and asked to speak to the CIA debriefer. It simply would not have happened without incentive, and his incentive was to not go back to enhanced techniques. Period. Love it or hate it, that’s the way it worked.


I know that we couldn’t have collected the same information using standard techniques because I was an expert in using standard techniques — I used them thousands of times over two decades — and the notion that I could have convinced the detainees. . .to provide closely-held information (or any information at all) without the use of enhanced interrogation techniques is laughable. There is zero chance. Zero.

Hayes also points out how Beale makes mention of the change in President Obama’s language when speaking publicly about the efficacy of CIA “torture”. Essentially, it appears that President Obama, in being privy to the classified information, realizes that EITs had worked; but still disagrees with the methods and considers them to be “torture”.

One more item which is in Hayes’ article but not in Beale’s document:

In an interview, I pointed out that much of the coming debate will be about the effectiveness of the techniques and asked Beale directly: Were they effective? He made a simple point that he hadn’t made in his document. He noted that those subject to enhanced interrogation haven’t boasted about their ability to withstand the techniques and to withhold valuable information.

That is probably a question best asked of the former detainees—did Abu Zubaydah, Abu Faraj al-Libi, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramsi bin al-Shib, Hambali, Nashiri, or any of their brethren give up protected information during their time in the custody of CIA? If they didn’t they should be proud of their ability to withstand such torturous tactics—I would think they would mock the feeble and misguided efforts of the CIA interrogators to get them to talk, or to make a mistake, rather than claim that such treatment made them say things they later regret. That’s the point of enhanced interrogation—at least from my perspective as a former TDY SERE interrogator—you hope that they say things they will later regret.

Beale wrote his document “to remind the American public that there are two sides to every story” and to make clear “that the upcoming [Senate] report should be read with an understanding that the outcome was predetermined by the political and ideological leanings of the majority, which produced the report.”

He is concerned that the documentation included in the summary report was selected to make the argument that Senate Democrats wanted to make and that information complicating that narrative was deliberately excluded.

Read the entire 40-page document. It is well worth the time.

A blogpost I am proud of from 2011, “Torture doesn’t work…, ok, so where’s the disagreement?” has a link that no longer seems to work. In light of that, here is a reprint-copy of the post. I may try and restore the 40+ comments later on by embedding them into the copy.

Further recent articles of interest:









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The Coz http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/19/how-do-you-separate-the-personal-and-the-professional/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/19/how-do-you-separate-the-personal-and-the-professional/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 17:02:56 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=104354 Continue reading ]]> _79120382_cosbydickinson1_624apgettyLike probably most of you, this is the Bill Cosby I grew up knowing:

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

So it’s difficult to stomach or ignore this:

Janice Dickinson Joins Cosby Accusers

The self-proclaimed “world’s first supermodel” has joined two others in claiming that comedian and actor Bill Cosby once sexually assaulted them. During a 1982 meeting near Lake Tahoe, Dickenson claims that Cosby gave her “wine and a pill” after dinner. “The next morning I woke up and I wasn’t wearing my pajamas,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “And I remember before I passed out that I had been sexually assaulted by this man.” The last thing she remembered was Cosby “in a patchwork robe, dropping his robe and getting on top of me.” Dickinson’s account matches closely with the other two accusers, Jan Tarshis—who went public over the weekend—and Barbara Bowman who both published first hand accounts that included being drugged.

As they say, “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire”. When you have multiple accusers coming forth, it becomes a lot more difficult to believe that there is simply nothing to the accusations.

So what do you when you’re a fan of a person’s body of work; yet that person turns out to have personal failings that are morally repugnant? I suppose it depends upon the severity of the “failing”, and the weight it carries on your conscience.

Cosby, after all, is not alone. No one is perfect- least of all, Hollywood celebrities. Their politics alone are sometimes too much baggage for me to ignore.

I absolutely love Bruce Springsteen’s music, even though I cannot stand his political bloviating. Of course, this holds true for most popular musical artists. Liberals simply make great music. I simply hold my nose and listen. Recently, though, instead of “Shut up and sing”, I’d say, “Shut up…and shut up”. Does my supporting Springsteen’s music by purchasing his CDs also support his political donations? Going that route would be just a futile and misguided as proponents of gay marriage banning Chic-fil-A over same-sex marriage; unless you’re really that passionate about the issue.

Should any of us feel guilt over enjoying Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyrie” or “Siegfried’s Funeral March”? Does this mean I should also ban Excalibur from my video library?

Is it okay for me to still laugh at this scene from Naked Gun:

Click here to view the embedded video.

As much as I want to enjoy the clip, I have trouble separating the character of Nordberg from the man who plays him. I still enjoy it. But not like I used to.

I’m not a fan of Woody Allen’s movies (I’ve actually never seen one). But many are. How do they go on supporting the man’s body of work?

I was a fan of Chris Benoit, the WWE wrestler who killed his wife and kid; then hung himself. Does the severity of his crime mean I should erase from memory the legacy of his professional career? The brilliant matches and storylines he participated in?

Is Bill Cosby’s message to blacks any less important, even if the allegations leveled at him are true? Does it resonate with any less truth?

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Certainly not.

This was kind of a random find:

Click here to view the embedded video.

I know none of the allegations have proven to be true. They remain allegations, at the moment. But the allegations alone are already damaging him.

And if it turns out that he had raped these women, possibly others…rapists rank extremely low on my totem pole of human character.

Bill Cosby’s professional career, his personal political beliefs, his moral character…they are all intertwined. Can one be a role model in one area; and a despicable villain in another? Or does something like this taint the entire man from being regarded as anything but being defined by his worst aspect?

We are all mixed bags, imperfect in our humanness. Cosby can still have positive messages and hold views that resonate; but he will have become less effective at being a messenger.

And when it comes to his comedy, I already am having trouble laughing like I used to.

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Darren Wilson is a dead man http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/19/darren-wilson-is-a-dead-man/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/19/darren-wilson-is-a-dead-man/#comments Wed, 19 Nov 2014 16:00:21 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=104359 Continue reading ]]> wanted-wilson-

It’s been reported that Darren Wilson plans to return to work if he is not indicted by a grand jury. God help him if he does. Given the preparations by the city, state and Feds, one is led to believe that an indictment, considering the forensic evidence, is unlikely. Riots are anticipated no matter what the verdict is.

If Darren Wilson is not indicted and he returns to work, he is a dead man. There is already a bounty on Wilson’s head:

A group describing itself as a ‘Militant Resistance’ to a ‘corrupt police state’ has offered $5000 for details of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson’s whereabouts, MailOnline can reveal.

Officer Wilson, 28, has been in hiding on paid leave ever since he gunned down unarmed teenager Michael Brown, 18, on 9 August.

Now, in one of a series of incendiary tweets the RbG Black Rebels have stated, ‘We are paying $5k cash for location of Ofc. Darren Wilson. Real $, no joke, no crime we just wana get his photo an ask him a few questions.’

The group is stockpiling ammunition for the friendly interview:

And though the RbG Black Rebels insist this is not a bounty on the officer’s head, the chilling offer is set in the context of a stream of violent online posts boasting of ‘combat experience’, ‘stockpiling’ ammunition, cleaning out gun stores and being #WarReady.

Typical of the reponse elicited by the offer is one follower’s demand, ‘@BlackRebels_Stl@OpFerguson Yank that bastard off the street. He is a murderer running free still.’

Jay Nixon, the feckless idiot Governor of Missouri who demanded a “vigorous prosecution” of Wilson but then said he wasn’t really calling for a vigorous prosecution of Wilson has declared a state of emergency in Ferguson in anticipation of the grand jury decision.

Then we hit this sentence in the article:

It is three months since Wilson pumped six bullets into the teenager as he walked down the middle of the road with a friend.

How might describe this? A little incendiary, perhaps?

It is utterly idiotic and unnecessary.

The author of the article, Laura Collins, adds

This Wilsons’) account is in stark contrast with that of several eye witnesses and Brown’s companion who have claimed that the unarmed teen had his hands up, or by his side, and begged the officer ‘Stop shooting.’

failing to mention the fact that they also claimed Brown was shot in the back and one notable witness has a suffers from impaired veracity. She also fails to note that the forensic data support Wilson’s account.

This is not going to end well. The agitators have absolutely no interest in the facts of the case. There is a Facebook page “Justice for Mike Brown” which asserts:

18 year old “Mike” was gunned down by police shot 10 times and he was unarmed. He was heading home with his friend. Justice for Mike!

And that’s it. No mention of the strong arm robbery, no mention of the assault on Wilson, nothing. They do, however, proudly brag of the streets they are able to close and the traffic they are able to disrupt, as though impairing the commerce of Ferguson is going to boost their cause.

They do not seek justice. Justice would mean “the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness..”

It would mean weighing all the facts and not simply playing on emotions while avoiding the facts. It would mean being fair. But that’s not the goal here. Not at all. The goal is a pound of flesh and I fear that should Wilson return to duty they will get it. If Wilson comes to harm the responsibility will lie in large part with the Laura Collins’s of the media who post incomplete stories and Eric Holder and Barack Obama, who have nothing but fan the flames. Have you heard Obama or Holder tell the Ferguson community not to touch Wilson?

Me neither.

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If you’re of the right, er, persuasion, you can skip paying taxes and still be the President’s “go-to guy” http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/18/if-youre-of-the-right-er-persuasion-you-can-skip-paying-taxes-and-still-be-the-presidents-go-to-guy/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/18/if-youre-of-the-right-er-persuasion-you-can-skip-paying-taxes-and-still-be-the-presidents-go-to-guy/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 21:41:08 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=104350 Continue reading ]]> sharpton taxes

The “Reverend” Al Shapton enjoys nearly unfettered access to President Barack Obama:

Yeah. I supported President Obama when he was running, and to be honest, he felt that it was something he didn’t expect because I lived and led a[n] organization in the home state of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. So, I had more to lose.

All I ever said that I wanted from him was access. I’ve not asked for a patronage job for a friend of mine. I don’t get government money. Just access: “We want to talk to you about education. We want to deal with you about jobs. We want to be in the room when you’re dealing with agendas. I’m not going to always agree with you.”

I don’t agree with drones. I don’t agree with Guantanamo Bay, but I agree with a lot of what he’s doing ’cause that’s why I supported him. Anybody that supports a candidate is probably going to agree with them when they get in ’cause – duh – that’s why they supported ’em.

In fact, The Reverend Al has become Barack Obama’s “go to guy” on issues of race:

It was a heady consultation for Sharpton, who spent years on the outside dreaming of a place in the pantheon of the civil rights leaders he revered as a teenage street preacher in Brooklyn, and it’s an irony lost on no one that his rise to White House adviser has come thanks to Barack Obama, whose restrained personal style couldn’t be any more different from Sharpton’s. If anything, the Ferguson crisis has underscored Sharpton’s role as the national black leader Obama leans on most, a remarkable personal and political transformation for a man once regarded with suspicion and disdain by many in his own party. It’s a status made all the more surprising given that Obama, America’s first black president, ran on a platform of moving beyond the country’s painful racial divisions while Sharpton is the man who once defined those divisions for many Americans.

What brought them together, according to numerous sources I’ve spoken with about this over the years, is a shared commitment to racial justice, and a hardheaded pragmatism that has fueled their success. “He realized I wasn’t as irrational or as crazy as people thought,” Sharpton told me in an interview this week, and indeed Sharpton not only visits the White House frequently, he often texts or emails with senior Obama officials such as Jarrett and Attorney General Eric Holder, the first African American to hold that job and who, like Sharpton, views the Ferguson crisis as a pivotal one in Obama’s presidency.

Sharpton has quite a nefarious past:

Three decades ago, the overweight, track-suited, medallion-bedecked Sharpton led a rally against a white-owned clothing store in Harlem that was subsequently burned to the ground by a deranged black protester, killing eight people. Around that time, he was convicted of defaming a white upstate New York prosecutor he falsely accused of raping black teenager Tawana Brawley in the 1980s, an infamous case that made him famous as the caricature of an inflammatory inner-city preacher immortalized by Tom Wolfe in Bonfire of the Vanities. Sharpton often, regrettably, played to type: During the 1991 Crown Heights riots in Brooklyn, Sharpton stoked black rage after a Hasidic Jewish driver killed a young boy with his car. At the child’s funeral, Sharpton railed against Jewish “diamond merchants” who bought their wares from apartheid South Africa, then ran down black kids in Brooklyn. There was his much-mocked stint as an FBI informer in the 1980s.

Being an Obama confidante has some pretty darned big advantages. You don’t have to pay taxes:

Mr. Sharpton has regularly sidestepped the sorts of obligations most people see as inevitable, like taxes, rent and other bills. Records reviewed by The New York Times show more than $4.5 million in current state and federal tax liens against him and his for-profit businesses. And though he said in recent interviews that he was paying both down, his balance with the state, at least, has actually grown in recent years. His National Action Network appears to have been sustained for years by not paying federal payroll taxes on its employees.

With the tax liability outstanding, Mr. Sharpton traveled first class and collected a sizable salary, the kind of practice by nonprofit groups that the United States Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration recently characterized as “abusive,” or “potentially criminal” if the failure to turn over or collect taxes is willful.

Mr. Sharpton and the National Action Network have repeatedly failed to pay travel agencies, hotels and landlords. He has leaned on the generosity of friends and sometimes even the organization, intermingling its finances with his own to cover his daughters’ private school tuition.

Not even payroll taxes:

In financial statements for 2007 and 2008, the group’s accountant noted that the organization’s “existence has been dependent upon” loans from Mr. Sharpton and “the nonpayment of payroll tax obligations.”

“These circumstances create substantial doubt about the organization’s ability to continue as a going concern,” the accountant wrote.

In 2009, when the group still owed $1.1 million in overdue payroll taxes, Mr. Sharpton began collecting a salary of $250,000 from National Action Network. The recent Treasury report that called that sort of practice abusive also said only 1,200 organizations in the nation owed more than $100,000 in unpaid payroll taxes, which would put Mr. Sharpton’s group among the most delinquent nonprofit organizations in the nation.

And he still owes:

Today, Mr. Sharpton still faces personal federal tax liens of more than $3 million, and state tax liens of $777,657, according to records. Raw Talent and Revals Communications owe another $717,329 on state and federal tax liens.

Mr. Sharpton said the federal liens resulted from a demand by the I.R.S. that he pay taxes on earnings from speaking engagements that he had turned over to National Action Network. He said he was up to date on payment plans for both the federal and state liens, so, he said, the outstanding balance was much lower than records showed.

But according to state officials, his balance on the state liens is actually $220,000 greater now than when they were first filed during the years 2008 through 2010. A spokesman for the State Department of Taxation and Finance said state law did not allow him to provide any further details.

It’s great to be king. Apparently it’s pretty darned good even to be king’s jester. You can skip out on the millions you owe and still the IRS won’t touch you. You get your own show on MSDNC.

You can resist paying taxes. Much.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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Yes, Rush, Obama is a sociopath. Welcome to the club. http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/18/yes-rush-obama-is-a-sociopath-welcome-to-the-club/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/18/yes-rush-obama-is-a-sociopath-welcome-to-the-club/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 18:17:05 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=104344 Continue reading ]]> SOCIOPATH

Rush Limbaugh made an interesting observation yesterday:

President Barack Obama was scorched Monday as a “sociopathic” liar and “lying con man” by radio host Rush for denying he misled the American public to get his signature health-care plan known as Obamacare passed.

During a news conference in Brisbane, Australia, Obama was asked by reporter Ed Henry of Fox News: “At your Burma townhall a couple of days ago, you tried to inspire young leaders by saying, ‘governments need to be held accountable, need to be responsive to the people.’ I wonder how you square that with your former adviser, Jonathan Gruber claiming you were not transparent about the health law because in his words the American people, the voters are stupid. Did you mislead Americans about the taxes, about keeping your plan in order to get the bill passed?”

“No, I did not,” Obama responded. “I just heard about this. I get well-briefed before I come out here. The fact that some adviser who never worked on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters, is no reflection on the actual process that was run.”

Limbaugh, sounding incredulous, took direct aim at Obama’s answer, stating: “This is unbelievable. This little sound bite of 23 seconds may be more jam-packed with lies than any 23-second presidential sound bite I’ve ever played for you.”

Regarding Jonathan Gruber, Limbaugh said, “He was in meetings with Obama. Gruber has been bragging about them. Obama has talked about Gruber being in meetings. … He was not just a member of the staff, he was paid $400,000 alone just for this. … Gruber has made almost $6 million in government contracts, advising them on various things. … Gruber has his hands in advising the regime on amnesty, illegal immigration, how to do it, when to do it, what to do it and all that. The guy’s deep, he’s a rock star with these people.”

Welcome to the club, Rush. I’ve been saying this for years. Back in early 2011, I had this to say:

It’s mind boggling. Obama is not just detached. It’s far worse than that. He doesn’t give a freaking damn and I don’t think he is even capable of caring.

Barack Obama is a sociopath.

I believed it to the be true then, and I absolutely believe it now. The difference now is the degree of audacity. Obama has grown breathtakingly bold with his lies. Grandiose.

Again, let’s list some of the characteristics of a sociopath:

* Glibness/Superficial Charm
* Manipulative and Conning
* Grandiose Sense of Self
* Pathological Lying
* Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
* Shallow Emotions
* Incapacity for Love
* Need for Stimulation
* Callousness/Lack of Empathy
* Poor Behavioral Controls/Impulsive Nature
* Early Behavior Problems/Juvenile Delinquency
* Irresponsibility/Unreliability

It’s almost as if the author studied Obama personally. This was bad enough:

“The fact that some adviser who never worked on our staff expressed an opinion that I completely disagree with in terms of the voters, is no reflection on the actual process that was run.”

I don’t even know the guy!

We know that Gruber convinced Obama to include the personal mandate, we know that Gruber was an important person in the White House in 2009. We know that Obama “stole” ideas from Gruber as far back as 2006:

Click here to view the embedded video.

We know Gruber visited the White House more than a dozen times, admitting conspiring personally with Obama on the Cadillac tax deception and more.

Gruber was repeatedly referred to as an independent analyst when in fact Gruber was under contract to HHS all the while. We know that Gruber concluded that at least 5 million people would lose their plans.

Lie after lie after lie.

But here’s the single most significant statement:

When the president was asked whether he had intentionally misled the public in order to get the law passed, he replied: “No. I did not.”

It is the single biggest lie Obama has ever told. And that’s saying a lot. It’s bigger even than this one on June 15, 2009

“That means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

Click here to view the embedded video.

Listen to this interview

Click here to view the embedded video.

Obama lied endlessly about Obamacare and then he flat out lied to entire press corps about being misleading. He looked them in the eyes and lied.

And, other than Ed Henry, they just sit there. They just freaking sit there and swallow.

Ron Fournier remarked that Obama has ‘Destroyed the Credibility of His Administration and Government Itself.’ Yes he has, but he’s not alone. The press has destroyed its credibility as well. It continues to largely ignore this issue, which everyone sane agrees would be a gigantic issue were this a Republican President and would receive non-stop coverage by the same networks that ignore it now. Barack Obama is an inveterate liar.

Click here to view the embedded video.

This is a scary time. Yes, the President is a sociopath and the press is unwilling to face it.

Click here to view the embedded video.

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Barack Obama’s Amnesty won’t be legal, but it will likely be permanent… http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/18/barack-obamas-amnesty-wont-be-legal-but-it-will-likely-be-permanent/ http://floppingaces.net/2014/11/18/barack-obamas-amnesty-wont-be-legal-but-it-will-likely-be-permanent/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 13:21:55 +0000 http://floppingaces.net/?p=104318 Continue reading ]]> Sometime over the course of the next week Barack Obama is likely going grant amnesty to millions of people who are in the United States illegally.

He’s doing this very much against the will of an overwhelming majority of American people. Not only do polls show that Americans are 3 to 1 against his giving amnesty to illegals, but his party, which very much supports his position, just got shellacked in voting booths across the country, at every level. Nonetheless, Barack Obama plans to do it anyway, because he feels he’s right… and because he can.

Technically he can’t really grant permanent amnesty because that would require the law to be changed. He’ll probably use his prosecutorial discretion to simply tell them that – at least while he’s president – they need not fear deportation. He’ll likely accomplish that by telling the DHS to basically look the other way and not deport those who are here illegally, depending on who they are, when they arrived, whether or not they have kids, etc. While as the chief executive of the government, he does indeed have the Constitutional power to tell agencies how they should act within the law, he does not have the power (legally) to tell them to close their eyes and arbitrarily ignore the law. Which is likely exactly what he’s going to do.

This action presents a variety of dilemmas. The first is the fact that Congress, not the President, writes the laws. (Although as demonstrated dozens of times with Obamacare, Barack Obama either doesn’t understand this or doesn’t care about it.) For Congress, there is only one Constitutional remedy available to them: Impeachment. When Obama grants Amnesty to 5 million people next week, he will almost certainly have committed an impeachable offense. This however is likely to be a bridge too far for most in Congress. The result will be that for the next two years millions of illegals will come out from the shadows, will buy houses, get jobs, get married and begin living their lives as if they were in the United States legally. Which brings up the second dilemma.

In 2017, when a GOP president takes office he won’t be able to simply reverse Barack Obama’s Executive Order, as presidents regularly do when they disagree with the policies of their predecessors. While he’ll have the legal authority to do so, the Democrats and their media lapdogs will ensure that every newscast in America is filled with stories of downtrodden immigrants who have spent the last two years building a life founded on the American dream and how any politician who seeks to send him back home to Mexico or Guatemala is simply a racist. I would doubt there are many in the GOP who have the stones to stand up to such withering attacks and defend the Constitution… although I think Ted Cruz probably does.  Such is the spineless GOP… Even now, on the heels of one of the GOP’s biggest victories in decades and at a time when Americans 75% against amnesty, soon to be Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already capitulated on the option of a government shutdown to address the president’s overreach. 

Theoretically Congress does have one other avenue available through which it can pursue a remedy: the courts. This however is a very iffy proposition. The federal court system is extraordinarily slow, and given that Congress has impeachment as an option, the likelihood of the Supreme Court getting involved is rather thin. In addition, a split decision on the case (unlike US v. Nixon) declaring the Executive Order illegal would simply cause Obama to reword it and issue another.

Most despairingly for those who value the Constitution and the nation, Obama’s amnesty will likely have the impact of opening the floodgates of immigrants from Latin America. Already the presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras are reported to believe that Joe Biden has laid out the welcome mat for their citizens seeking to emigrate to the United States. In 1986 Ronald Reagan gave amnesty to 2.5 million illegal aliens and the result was 20 million more crossing the border over the next three decades. In 2014, when Latin America is the home of 40 of the 50 most dangerous cities in the world – including the 18 top spots, how many millions will follow after Barack Obama’s amnesty next week?

Finally, the dilemmas are not reserved for the GOP. If Barack Obama is allowed to blatantly ignore the law and simply choose not to enforce it, what will the next president be free to do? What if a GOP president directs the IRS to not collect capital gains taxes or estate taxes? What if a GOP president directs HHS to stop direct deposit of welfare checks, forcing those on welfare to stand in line at a government office to pick up their checks? What if a GOP president decides to stop enforcing civil rights legislation that he thinks is outdated? If Democrats have no problem with Barack Obama rewriting Obamacare or immigration law to suit his own needs, they will be hard pressed to not be seen as hypocrites when a GOP president chooses to do the same when he targets their golden calves. At that point we cease to be a nation of laws and become a nation of men, the exact thing our Constitution was established to prevent.

The United States has survived as a representative democracy for 225 years because presidents understood that they were not kings. Even presidents who might have thought they were, such as Teddy Roosevelt and FDR, in the end demurred to the Constitution when the chips were down. Barack Obama on the other hand has decided that even in the face of a blistering defeat he is going to implement his policies, Constitution be dammed. Let’s hope the next part of the Constitution he decides to ignore isn’t the 22nd Amendment.

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