Consistency…Just Not Valued Anymore

Ben Smith has some fun with the McCain cries of sexism:

During the primary Sarah Palin chided Hillary Clinton for complaining about sexism.

“She does herself a disservice to even mention it, really,” Palin said. “When I hear a statement like that coming from a woman candidate with any kind of perceived whine about that excess criticism, or maybe a sharper microscope put on her, I think, ‘Man, that doesn’t do us any good, women in politics, or women in general, trying to progress this country,'” Palin said. “I don’t think it bodes well for her.”

She, or at least her advisers in McCain-land, seem to have discarded this principle today, along with years of Republican complaints about identity politics and political correctness.

Go read the rest, but I think the point is pretty clear.

Zorn on the Abortion Votes

He gives the complete time line and talks (has talked) to many of those involved over time.

A fairly big chunk of text, but not much compared to the whole thing which you should go read.

You’d think the March, 2003 Senate committee action by Obama and five other Democrats to deep-six the most recent versions of the “born-alive” bills even after the federal language was added would have played a big role in the debates on this issue during the 2004 campaign.

And you would be wrong.

Stanek didn’t bring it up during an extensive online debate with me on this issue in 2004 (some of which survives here) and my search for contemporary news articles or blog entries on  the SB 1083 amendment issue has so far come up empty.

Indeed, when he left a comment on my blog last Thursday, Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee in Washington D.C. referred to the March, 2003 committee records as “new documents that came to light this week” and “newly released Obama documents.”

Not quite. The committee meeting and the votes were held in public, and the records were there all along for anyone who cared to ask for them. The Associated Press even reported the story briefly the following day and the Illinois Senate staff documented the vote.

But to get get back to the narrative:  In 2005, after Obama was in the U.S. Senate, yet another “born-alive” bill was introduced in the Illinois House–  HB 984, sponsored by Harrisburg Democrat Brandon Phelps.

It was assigned to the House Civil Judiciary Civil Law Committee, chaired by Chicago Democrat John Fritchey.

“I told the proponents that the bill simply wasn’t ever going to get through as long as there was suspicion that it was a back-door way to get at Roe v. Wade or criminalize abortion in Illinois,” Fritchey told me today.

Why wasn’t the Federal “neutrality language” good enough?

Because the Federal bill was widely seen as window dressing; a proclamation more than a law with almost no potential impact on abortion law in the states. At the state level, particularly with the companion bills for punishing doctors, the proposal looked significantly more fraught.

“I told the proponents, `Just give us some extra  language that will establish a comfort level for the pro-choice community,'” said Fritchey.

Here were two provisions Fritchey added:

(d) Nothing in this Section shall be construed to affect existing federal or State law regarding abortion.
(e) Nothing in this Section shall be construed to alter generally accepted medical standards.

“They fought me on that language,” Fritchey said. “They said it wasn’t acceptable. They said the feds didn’t need those kinds of words, why did we need it?”

The question, of  course, is why would the language be a problem if the point of the legislation wasn’t to intimidate doctors from performing abortions?  Look–over there!

The Problem With Stanek’s Entire Argument

Stanek’s claim is that Obama was stopping a bill to outlaw infanticide and that such a law was required in Illinois because of what she claims occurred at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn.  However, the response from the Illinois Attorney General to the claims points out that if such events occurred, those events would already be illegal.

Media Matters makes the point:

The July 2000 letter was a response from Ryan’s office to Concerned Women for America regarding a complaint by nurse Jill Stanek, who claimed that fetuses that were born alive at Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn, Illinois, were abandoned without treatment, including in a soiled utility room. In a letter on Ryan’s letterhead, chief deputy attorney general Carole R. Doris wrote in part:

On December 6, IDPH provided this office with its investigative report and advised us that IDPH’s internal review did not indicate [emphasis added] a violation of the Hospital Licensing Act or the Vital Records Act.

No other allegations or medical evidence to support any statutory violation (including the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act about which you inquired) were referred to our office by the Department for prosecution.


While we are deeply respectful of your serious concerns about the practices and methods of abortions at this hospital, we have concluded that there is no basis for legal action by this office against the Hospital or its employees, agents or staff at this time.

From that letter, Freddoso concludes that the state found that “[i]n leaving born babies to die without treatment, Christ Hospital was doing nothing illegal under the laws of Illinois.” But the state’s conclusions regarding the law were reportedly the opposite of what Freddoso claims — IDPH reportedly concluded that if the hospital had done what Stanek alleged, its actions would have been illegal under existing law. (The word “indicate” is in italics above because in his quotation of the letter, Freddoso substitutes the word “include” for the word “indicate.”)

In an August 2004 email discussion with Stanek, Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn quoted IDPH spokesman Tom Shafer stating, apparently in reference to Stanek and another nurse, Allison Baker: “[W]hat they were alleging were violations of existing law. … We took (the allegations) very seriously.” Zorn wrote further: “Shafer told me that the 1999 investigation reviewed logs, personnel files and medical records. It concluded, ‘The allegation that infants were allowed to expire in a utility room could not be substantiated (and) all staff interviewed denied that any infant was ever left alone.’ “

From Zorn’s 2004 blog post:

As you well know, Jill, the Illinois Atty. General’s office, then under abortion foe Jim Ryan, was quite concerned about your allegations and directed the Illinois Dept. of Public Health to conduct a thorough investigation of the claims made by you and Allison Baker.


“Because what they were alleging were violations of existing law,” IDPH spokesman Tom Shafer told me yesterday. “We took (the allegations) very seriously.”

Shafer told me that the 1999 investigation reviewed logs, personnel files and medical records. It concluded, “The allegation that infants were allowed to expire in a utility room could not be substantiated (and) all staff interviewed denied that any infant was ever left alone.”

Shafer was quick to add that neither he nor the IDPH report concluded that your testimony was untruthful or exaggerated to help advance your anti-abortion views — simply that their investigation did not substantiate the allegations.

In other words, contrary to Freddoso’s claim, the IDPH’s reported position supported Obama’s explanation: Current law already “mandated lifesaving measures for premature babies.” Freddoso writes of Obama’s assertion: “This is not true. Such measures were not already the law in Illinois. Not according to the Department of Public Health. Not according to Attorney General Ryan” [emphasis in original].But the letter does not, as Freddoso claims, assert that “[s]uch measures were not already the law in Illinois.” Nor does the IDPH; indeed, Zorn quoted the IDPH spokesman saying that the actions alleged by Stanek would have violated the law at the time.

The entire argument is bogus.  Infants were protected in Illinois prior to 1999 and after 1999.  No law had to be passed–it was a rather obvious effort to overturn Roe v. Wade.

And people who worked for Jim Ryan should know that.

Fun Neocon Plays–Push Two Countries Into War by Implying to One the US Has Their Back

While many have pointed out the disaster that is our response to Georgia, it’s important to note that Scheunemann is following the same strategy for Georgia that Rumsefeld attempted with Taiwan and China.

Fortunately, Rumsfeld had adult supervision with Powell sending his guys behind to clean up the mess.  This time, there’s no one to clean up and the Georgian President seems to think the US will save his ass for a poor game of brinksmanship–and many of the neocons are trying to do just that.

Another 4 years of this kind of foreign policy insanity cannot happen–it has a significant chance of blowing up into something much more than just a small regional war and further provocation by these twits will end in a disaster on a far greater scale.

Wondering What the McCain Ad is Supposed to Be Doing


So, I see a bunch of warm and fuzzy images and Obama intermixed with only one negative graphic before 22 seconds.  Errr…most people have tuned out by then and will remember the warm and fuzziness with Obama.

This is the second McCain ad I’ve watched and wondered if they aren’t great ads FOR Obama.

Why Going to Denver is an Empty Threat


While many are panicking over Clinton taking the fight for the delegates to Denver, it’s a non-credible threat.  More frustrating is that Ickes and others presenting the outcome of the May 31st meeting as somehow determinative truly misrepresents what has occurred.

If you take the Democratic Convention Watch numbers for if Michigan and Florida had been seated fully with Obama receiving 22 of the 55 uncommitted candidates (leaving 33 still uncommitted) we see that Obama would need 124 delegates of those remaining and Clinton would need 234.  Let’s split the remaining uncommitted in Michigan as a likely scenario and you get 108 and 218. Now split Montana and South Dakota to make it easy.  93 for Obama, 203 for Clinton.  Take todays vote in Puerto Rico and you go to about 170 for Clinton 72 for Obama.  Barring a few remaining uncommitted that leaves about 220 Superdelegates to fight over.

She’d have to win 77 % of the Superdelegates leftover then.  He’d have to win 33 percent of the remaining to win even with Florida and Michigan full reinstated, and Obama taking 38 of Michigans 55 uncommitted delegates and splitting Montana and South Dakota. 

A challenge at Denver is pointless and the problem with Ickes little show yesterday is it continued to play into the notion that somehow the decision made determined the outcome of the nomination. That’s bullshit and when anyone talks about how Obama has to get Hillary supporters on board, he cannot do that until that campaign declares to its supporters that it is over. Now, if that happens on Wednesday or Thursday, that’s fine. But if we continue with this notion that there is someway to overcome Obama by taking it to the convention, that is nonsense and needs to stop.  It cannot happen and it will not happen. Playing it out until this week is fine.  After that, the Clinton campaign needs to explain the reality to its supporters. 

In reality, this was over when Obama kept Texas close.  There were at least scenarios where Michigan and Florida could have changed that, but they were unlikely given both broke the rules.  But one could see the argument for the Clinton campaign to continue.  That has not been true since North Carolina and Indiana when the election was truly over regardless of what happened with Michigan and Florida.


The Stupid Discourse Goes Stupider


Ultimately, the latest right wing blog attempt at fact checking rests upon the notion that there is no possible way that genealogy records could be wrong. 

I’ll let those who have ever done such research stop laughing.  The proof that Obama must be wrong was that the genealogy records were for Charles W.  Payne, not Charles T. Payne. 


Although we were not able to reach Payne directly, Payne’s son, Richard Payne, said his father "definitely served in the 89th Infantry Division" and confirmed that Obama’s account was substantially accurate, except for identifying the wrong concentration camp. Richard Payne declined to say anything further.

Mark Kitchell, who maintains a Web site dedicated to the 89th Infantry Division, said he was able to locate a list of servicemen that includes a Pfc. C. T. Payne who served in the K Company of the 355th Infantry Regiment of the 89th Infantry Division. The list included only the initials for first names.

The 355th Infantry Regimen was the one that liberated Ohrdruf, Kitchell said. Kitchell, the son of 89th veteran Raymond E. Kitchell, obtained the list from the official Division History book, written shortly after the war.

Finally, the National Personnel Records Center, an operation of the federal government’s National Archives and Records Administration, put this question to rest.

Researchers confirmed to PolitiFact that Army personnel records for Payne would have been destroyed in a 1973 fire that consumed many such archives, but they dug up a "Morning Report" dated April 11, 1945, showing Pfc. Charles T. Payne was assigned to the 355th Regiment Infantry, Company K. The Records Center provided a copy of the report. A faxed copy provided to PolitiFact was legible enough for us to make out Payne’s information, but the faxed photocopy of the record is too grainy to be of use if posted here.

There’s no question Obama misspoke when he said his uncle helped to liberate the concentration camp in Auschwitz.

But even with this error in locations, Obama’s statement was substantially correct in that he had an uncle — albeit a great uncle — who served with troops who helped to liberate the Ohrdruf concentration/work camp and saw, firsthand, the horrors of the Holocaust. We rate the statement Mostly True.

Charles Payne is 83, lives in Chicago and apparently never talks about the liberation of the camp.  It’s too bad it had to be brought up again because of a bunch of slobbering children who think they’ve found a conspiracy afoot because a wrong initial in records. 

New Liberal Plot

Using Republicans words against them.

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Hysterical ranting from the RNC:

“As a legal matter,” RNC chairman Mike Duncan said today, this is a “maliciously false” campaign ad. “The advertisement in question falsely and maliciously” quotes Sen. McCain as saying that extending the war in Iraq for 100 years would be fine with him, and places it in a context of images of combat. “Clearly this ad is just another attempt by the DNC to mischaracterize Sen. McCain’s statements.”

Sean Cairncross, general counsel for the RNC, said that McCain had responded to a question about how long the U.S..might be in Iraq. He noted that McCain’s comment about 100 years included a caveat that “as long as Americans are not being injured… harmed or killed…. It’s fine with me.”

The RNC, calling on cable news networks and television stations to refrain from airing the ad, maintains that a party does not have the independent right to air an ad that a candidate has, and that it becomes the obligation of networks and stations to monitor the truthfulness of ads The party stopped short of threatening legal action, however.

The RNC also accuses the DNC of making an illegal coordinated contribution to the the Democratic candidates with this ad, but maintains that the main legal problem with the ad involves its willful misrepresentation of McCain. “This is a complaint about the facts that are being misrepresented in this ad,” Cairncross said in a conference call with reporters. “Based on this being a deliberate falsehood. We are saying to the stations, ‘You have an obligation.”’

The RNC was for it before they were against it….

I believe the Waaaaaaambulance is on its way to the RNC.

Steve Chapman on the Presidential Race


It came as a revelation to hear that Obama, who I thought was plotting to become president, has been shrewedly maneuvering to lead the pom squad at McCain’s inauguration. But there was something else that struck me as strange about Clinton’s reaction: Obama was not the first of the two Democrats to say something nice about the Arizona senator. He was the second.

A few weeks ago, campaigning in Texas, Clinton sounded downright glowing about McCain. Referring to those 3 a.m. phone calls at the White House, she said, “I think you’ll be able to imagine many things Sen. McCain will be able to say. He’s never been the president, but he will put forth his lifetime of experience. I will put forth my lifetime of experience. Sen. Obama will put forth a speech he made in 2002.”

Let’s review. Clinton criticized Obama for ranking McCain No. 3 in a four-person assessment, ahead of Bush. But Clinton herself put McCain No. 2—or maybe even in a tie for No. 1—in her evaluation of the three candidates.

She thinks McCain is better than Obama and McCain is no better than Bush. Which can mean only one thing: Bush is better than Obama!

Of course that’s probably not what she actually believes.

But it’s a tribute to her talent for bold deceit and bizarre logic that she can attack Obama for doing something that she herself had done so recently, and more fervently.

Ms. Strangelove

Hillary wants some sort of common defense umbrella in the Middle East:

Clinton said it was vital that the United States create a new “security umbrella” to reassure Israel and its other allies in the region that they would not be threatened by Iran. She said she would tell them that “if you were the subject of an unprovoked nuclear attack by Iran, the United States, and hopefully our NATO allies, would respond to that.”

If Obama said this, we’d be hearing how dangerous he was and, well, it would be true.

1)  Israel has the ability to deter anyone in the region with estimates of 200 – 400 nukes.   They even have them deployed on submarines.   If a nuclear attack were to be made upon Israel, Israel could largely wipe out any attacker or group of attackers in practical terms.

What’s bizarre is the infantilization of Israel by many who seem to forget that Israel is the strongest country in the region by an incredibly wide margin.  Israel has far better defense technology and some of the best trained troops in the world.   And a whole lot of nukes with multiple ways of delivering those nukes.

2) While the US has lost some of its ability to act as an honest broker in the Middle East, such a commitment would lead to the US having virtually no ability to facilitate peace negotiations.

3)  US intelligence suggests Iran is not actively seeking a bomb.  Apparently she continues to not read the intelligence reports.

4) It is far from clear that Iran is the most likely nation to attack Israel in the region.  Syria and Israel are facing increasing tension and competition for water that especially affects Syria.

It further diminishes the role of the Non-Proliferation Treaty which the US is essentially in violation of with both Israel and the new deal with India. The way to effectively deal with non-proliferation issues is to stress the international framework created to deal with that issue.  After the Bush administration has played cowboy and weakened NPT with the India nuclear tech transfers and other moves, a united world on the issue of NPT is vital to long term US security interests–not more saber-rattling.

Oversampling Just Isn’t that Hard to Understand People

Some of the dimmer lights in the blogosphere aren’t quite understanding the concept of oversampling for subgroups as NBC/WSJ did for the African-American sample in their latest poll.

It’s fairly simple. There is a general sample of 700 respondents with 11% African-American and 75% White respondents. Looking at their subsamples, there are 520 white respondents which is approximately 75% of the whole sample. If you read what the WSJ and Chuck Todd say is that they added 100 African-American respondents to the crosstabs–or the breakdowns by race. This means that in the general sample there are 77 African-Americans and in the smaller African-American sample there are 177 African Americans.

Before trying to discredit the poll or acting all outraged, do the math. All one needs is a basic understanding of percentages.

Furthermore, Taylor Marsh is very upset that the poll includes Republicans.  I kid you not. She might read the poll results with questions from the article she linked to and notice that it only includes Democrats and likely Democratic primary voters if they identify themselves that way. But shiiiiiiiiittttt, we’d hate to read the damn thing and know something about what we are talking about.

The Thing About Going Negative

It hurts you too:

As expected, one of the two major Democratic candidates saw a downturn in the latest NBC/WSJ poll, but it’s not the candidate that you think. Hillary Clinton is sporting the lowest personal ratings of the campaign. Moreover, her 37 percent positive rating is the lowest the NBC/WSJ poll has recorded since March 2001, two months after she was elected to the U.S. Senate from New York.

Here’s one of the most basic rules of campaigning.  Negative campaigning hurts your opponent, but it also hurts you.  Your hope is that it hurts your opponent more, but there is one big problem for some candidates. If your unfavorability is already higher, your unfavorability might drop enough so the other candidate still stays on top.  I e-mailed this to a friend probably a month ago in saying how she couldn’t go too negative. Of course, she can go that negative, it’s just not going to help her win.

Congratulations Clinton camp–you screwed yourselves and the party.

For those ranting about new polling showing Obama falling in some states, both are falling and will continue to fall as long as this crap continues.

Feeling Kind of Used

What’s stunning to me is that as many of us have spent time trying to point out that a big portion of the right wing noise machine is not credible and shouldn’t set the agenda after watching the Clinton’s get cut up by it for 8 years, Clinton is now embracing those sources as reasonable sources to work though:

Phil Singer cites the American Spectator 

Hillary dumps on Wright in front of….Richard Mellon Scaiffe 

Next she’ll go watermelon hunting with Dan Burton.