Monday, March 5, 2007

Mitt, W., Abortion and Me

The oppo research guys and gals at Mitt Romney's presidential campaign ought to read what I write more closely. Last week, a story I broke in 2000--disclosing that then-candidate George W. Bush had years earlier flip-flopped on abortion, dumping a pro-choice position for a pro-life stance--was at the center of a spat between the Bush White House and the Romneyites. My scoop became part of this tussle courtesy of Kate O'Beirne of The National Review, who had written a piece referencing my article. Her column became the basis for Romney's assertion that Bush had done a 180 on abortion--a statement Romney made in defense of his own switch from favoring abortion rights to opposing abortion.

Since I was napping when this all went down--that is, waiting for a verdict in the Libby trial (which I'm doing today, as well)--I'll let O'Beirne tell the tale:

On Monday [February 26] it was reported that Governor Mitt Romney had said something inaccurate. Responding to charges about his change of positions on abortion, he had said in a recent interview that George W. Bush, too, "was pro-choice before he came prolife." His campaign based that claim on a National Review article (which I wrote) about political converts to the pro-life cause.

The White House denied that Bush was ever pro-choice, and Romney backed down.

But Romney was right.

In 1978, a newspaper in Lubbock, Texas, interviewed Bush during his first congressional campaign. The article reported that Bush, then in a primary fight with a more conservative candidate, opposed both the Human Life Amendment and federal funding of abortion. He was described as in favor of leaving the abortion question up to a woman and her doctor. "'That does not mean I'm for abortion,' he said."

Flash forward to 2000. The Bush campaign accused Gore of flip-flopping on abortion, and David Corn came back in The Nation with an account of his [sic--she meant, this] 1978 interview. Dan Bartlett, speaking for Bush's 2000 campaign, gave this less-than-categorical denial to the Washington Post: "The best we can tell is, this is a misinterpretation of the governor's position. The governor was pro-life before he ran for Congress, during his run for Congress and after he ran for Congress."

The Post explained that Bartlett, who hadn't been with Bush 22 years before, didn't know whether the 1978 campaign requested a correction. The Texas reporter told The Nation that is, David Corn] that she didn't recall any complaint about being misquoted. Bush's abortion views as reported by the local paper would have been wholly unsurprising for a Texas Republican in 1978. Gerald Ford and his father were pro-choice, as was GOP Senator John Tower, who was running for his third term that year. It is also not surprising that in 2000 the Bush campaign wouldn't want to acknowledge it, having labeled Gore a flip-flopper on abortion. Understandably, the Romney campaign has little interest in taking on the White House over Bush's changed views on abortion. But that they have changed shouldn't really be in doubt.

In the latest volley in the GOP primary's war over abortion positions, past and present, Senator Sam Brownback's campaign pounced on the controversy to accuse Mitt Romney of "untruthfully characterizing the record of President Bush on life issues." But any untruthful characterization of George Bush's abortion position hasn't been Romney's.

The "untruthful characterization" had been Bush's, O'Beirne was correctly suggesting. And kudos to her for not letting the Bush brigade and Brownback rewrite history. Romney caved much too quickly. He should have read my article and the original 1978 interview with Bush that I had unearthed. My piece began:

Which current candidate for President reversed the abortion stand he espoused as a Congressional candidate in the seventies and adopted a position more acceptable to the mainstream of his party? If you said Al Gore, you may be only half right. George W. Bush appears to have done the same.

In 1978, Bush, a 31-year-old oilman, was seeking the Republican nomination in Texas' 19th Congressional District, which included Midland, Odessa and Lubbock. He was locked in a fierce battle with Jim Reese, a veteran campaigner and Reagan Republican. Days before the June 3 primary runoff, Bush was interviewed by a reporter for the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Reese had attacked Bush for being cozy with liberal Rockefeller Republicans. In response, Bush listed conservative positions he held. "I'm not for the extension of the time to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment," he told the paper. "I feel the ERA is unnecessary. I'm not for the federal funding of abortions. I've done nothing to promote homosexuality in our society." But he went on to explain his view on abortion. The Avalanche-Journal reported: "Bush said he opposes the pro-life amendment favored by Reese and favors leaving up to a woman and her doctor the abortion question. 'That does not mean I'm for abortion,' he said."

Bush's position back then was unequivocal. Yet sometime between his failed congressional bid of 1978 and his run for governor in 1994, he went from believing abortion was a decision best left to a woman to expressing full support for criminalizing abortion. He has never acknowledged this switch--whenever it happened. It was natural for Romney to seek political coverage for his own abortion flip-flop by citing Bush's change of heart. He just didn't figure that Bush and his aides would continue to be dishonest about such a significant matter. What a foolish miscalculation.

Posted by David Corn at March 5, 2007 02:08 PM


David B. Benson said...

As I said more fully in the 9`1st post on the previous thread,

no fun in the 21st century.

kathleen said...

Saladin and others. Peggy Gish who is with the CPT team was kidnapped in Iraq in Feb. Not a good idea to post this until she was back in the U.s.

She is in California resting and I have asked her (just today) about the possibility of a visit to your community. Can you send me your phone number...I do not have your e mail.

Here is her letter just after the kidnapping. February 16, 2007

Beloved Family and Friends,

Today, on a rainy Friday, our team has put aside the
work and decision making that has been consuming a lot of our time
and energy and gave ourselves a day of rest and renewal. For me,
healing activities have included have time for Art and I to talk,
taking a walk to a hill with trees, doing more writing, and looking
at pictures of close family and friends and re-reading loving
messages many had sent or given me in the last few years.
I have spent some of this day working on writing about
the events of and my personal experience of the kidnapping. I will
give you a very brief summary of it here.
William Van Wagenen and I and our translator went to an
area in northern Iraq, outside the official KRG area, but an area
that other internationals said was possible for internationals to
visit with minimal risk. We went at the invitation of a newspaper
editor and leader of an educational center in that area, who wanted
us to see the hardships and problems of the people there and report
about it. He also told us there were many organizations and people
there who might be interested in nonviolence training or
collaborating to build a nonviolence movement in Iraq.
On Jan. 27th, after a three day visit, on our way home,
the four of us (the man who had invited us to the area, our
translator, Will and I) were stopped on the road by three armed men
and told to follow another car into the desert. The men took us to a
small village, where we were kept in a large sitting room, where we
slept, were fed, and could talk together when the guard was out. We
also talked some with our main guard to build a human connection. We
were captive, but treated well. At first they said they would release
just our translator. Then later that day, Will told our guard about
CPT’s work in the West Bank with Palestinians, and about Art standing
in front of a tank in Hebron. I had the picture with me, so showed
him that and pictures of my family. He went and talked to the other
kidnappers, and came back saying that I would also be released the
following day with our translator, that I was like his mother. I
struggled a lot, with leaving without Will, but he was very insistent
that I do that and try to help him.
So, on Mon. Jan. 29th, after being there two days and
nights, our translator and I were released. A brother of the man who
had invited us to the area, arranged for another family member to
drive us back to Suleimaniya.
That week, I was questioned for hours by the Security
police for their investigation. We worked with other organizations
which had contact with leaders in the area where we were abducted,
who tried to work toward Will and our friend’s release. During this
time a crisis team formed in CPT to assist and support us, so we were
daily consulting with them. Art arrived two days after my release, on
the day previously scheduled.
Six days after my release, Feb. 4th, Will and our friend
were released, and a co-worker and I went to another city in the KRG
area to pick him up and bring him home
Three days later, he and our other co-worker, who was here when we
had been kidnapped, flew home to the U.S. for a needed break. Two
other CPTers came to help and support us in the aftermath.
I have stayed on here for many reasons. It has been
helpful for me in my healing after the kidnapping. I have felt it
important to connect with authorities and do necessary work. We have
not yet decided when to return to the U.S.
Again, I thank you for your love and support that has
helped to strengthen me for the difficulties our team has been through.
With love, Peggy

Robert S said...


It is sobering to recall the implicit dangers faced by your friends, and I'm pleased beyond what these words describe that Peggy and all were safely released.


kathleen said...

So when will we get the news about Cheney's need to resign? Please Please Please

kathleen said...

Things are heating up at the Libby trial. Go on over to Firedoglake.

Cheney may resign any this just a coincidence? I don't think so...

Saladin said...

Kathleen, that would be fantastic. I'm so glad they are OK. Phone number on the way.

David B. Benson said...

Kathleen --- Re: Fire Dog Lake

My, my!

capt said...

Cheney treated at hospital for blood clot

WASHINGTON - Doctors discovered a blood clot in Vice President Dick Cheney's left leg Monday, a condition that could be fatal if left untreated.

The 66-year-old Cheney, who has a history of heart problems, will be treated with blood-thinning medication for several months, said spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride.

She said Cheney visited his doctor's office in Washington after feeling minor discomfort in his calf. An ultrasound showed the blood clot -- called a deep venous thrombosis -- in his left lower leg.


capt said...

Bush's Director for U.S. Attorneys Mysteriously Resigns

The "unprecedented" U.S. Attorney firing scandal keeps getting weirder. It was revealed today that Michael Battle, the director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, will resign on March 16.

Battle personally informed the fired attorneys of their removal, but the Department of Justice insists he was not involved in the actual decision making process (he allegedly told them the order had come from 'on high'"). A spokesperson also said the timing is merely a coincidence and "is not connected to the U.S. attorney controversy whatsoever."

In fact, the DoJ now claims he had informed them of his resignation as long ago as last summer, which would have been just a year since he began working in June 2005.Congressional Democrats are understandably skeptical. Sen. Charles Schumer wondered whether Battle's resignation was merely "another casualty of the U.S. attorney's imbroglio."

"The Administration's explanation of Mr. Battle's apparent resignation is as murky as everything else they have told us about this case," said Rep. Linda Sanchez. "I look forward to hearing the testimony of the fired federal prosecutors so we can get closer to the truth of what happened."

Sanchez chairs the Judiciary Subcommittee hearing testimony tomorrow from fired attorneys. Four have already been subpoenaed, and Sanchez announced Monday morning that two additional attorneys might also receive subpoenas.

News of Battle's resignation comes just days after the resignations of two top military officials following the Walter Reed Hospital scandal. Battle has long been a loyal member of the Bush Administration, having been appointed a U.S. Attorney in 2002 before his current position. In an online Q&A for in 2005, Battle parroted Bush rhetoric, going so far as to claim that "Far from compromising our civil liberties, the PATRIOT Act expressly protects them."


Robert S said...

US has no case for redefining torture: study
Published: Monday March 5, 2007

Psychological torture, including some of the techniques reportedly used on Guantanamo Bay detainees, appears to inflict the same kind of long-term mental damage as physical abuse, a study released Monday said.

Researchers who evaluated the mental health of soldiers and civilians tortured during the 1990s Balkan wars found that victims of psychological abuse were just as likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression as victims of classic physical torture methods.

The researchers also reported that the torture victims rated some techniques such as stress positions, isolation, sleep deprivation and blindfolding as distressing as most physical torture methods.

"Ill treatment during captivity, such as psychological manipulations, humiliating treatment, and forced stress positions, does not seem to be substantially different from physical torture in terms of the severity of mental suffering they cause," the study's authors wrote.

"Thus, these procedures do amount to torture, thereby lending support to their prohibition by international law," they wrote in the journal of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

The investigators said their findings undermine moves by the US government to narrow its definition of torture in order to free interrogators to use certain psychological methods aimed at breaking a prisoner's resistance.

In 2003, lawyers for the US Justice Department and a Pentagon working group report on detainee interrogations made the case for a narrow definition of torture that excludes procedures such as blindfolding and hooding, forced nudity, isolation and other psychological manipulations.

The Justice Department memorandum argued that the scope of the term torture should be limited to those acts which could be shown to result in "prolonged mental harm," according to the study.

The development followed allegations of human rights abuses at US detention facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

However, the authors of this paper said that based on their analysis of the experiences of torture victims from the modern Balkans conflict, the US appears to be drawing a distinction without a difference.

They said their analysis of 279 Bosnian, Croatian and Serb torture survivors showed that the individuals who suffered psychological abuse had the same rates of depression, PTSD, and social and work-related problems as others who had endured beatings, burnings, sexual abuse and other forms of physical punishment at the hands of their captors.

They suggested that the trauma is the same, because regardless of the form of aggression, the effect is to create fear or anxiety in the detainee while at the same time removing any form of control from the person in order to create a state of total helplessness.

"The distinction between torture and degrading treatment is not only useless, but also dangerous," said Steven Miles, professor of bioethics at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in an accompanying editorial in the journal of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

The study was written by Metin Basoglu, head of trauma studies at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, with help from colleagues at the department of psychiatry at the Clinical Hospital Zvezdara in Belgrade.


Paging Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, Bybee, et al., your cell is ready...

David B. Benson said...

Yup. Resign 'em all. All.

David B. Benson said...

Robert S. --- They get a fair trial first. Judge Roy Bean fair.

Saladin said...

Then, OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!! (As proclaimed in a loud Queen of Hearts bellow.)

David B. Benson said...

"Why, they're nothing but a pack of cards!", said Alice...

Saladin said...

It Doesn't Matter If Hillary Apologizes for Her Iraq War Vote

By Scott Ritter, AlterNet. Posted March 3, 2007.

Senator Hillary Clinton wants to become President Hillary Clinton. "I'm in, and I'm in to win," she said, announcing her plans to run for the Democratic nomination for the 2008 Presidential election.

Let there be no doubt that Hillary Clinton is about as slippery a species of politician that exists, one who has demonstrated an ability to morph facts into a nebulous blob which blurs the record and distorts the truth. While she has demonstrated this less than flattering ability on a number of issues, nowhere is it so blatant as when dealing with the issue of the ongoing war in Iraq and Hillary Clinton's vote in favor of this war.

This issue won't be resolved even if Hillary Clinton apologizes for her Iraq vote, as other politicians have done, blaming their decision on faulty intelligence on Iraq's WMD capabilities. This is because, like many other Washington politicians at the time, including those now running for president, she had been witness to lies about Iraq's weapons programs to justify attacks on that country by her husband President Bill Clinton and his administration.

"While there is no perfect approach to this thorny dilemma, and while people of good faith and high intelligence can reach diametrically opposed conclusions, I believe the best course is to go to the UN for a strong resolution that scraps the 1998 restrictions on inspections and calls for complete, unlimited inspections with cooperation expected and demanded from Iraq," Senator Clinton said at the time of her vote, in a carefully crafted speech designed to demonstrate her range of knowledge and ability to consider all options. "I know that the Administration wants more, including an explicit authorization to use force, but we may not be able to secure that now, perhaps even later. But if we get a clear requirement for unfettered inspections, I believe the authority to use force to enforce that mandate is inherent in the original 1991 UN resolution, as President Clinton recognized when he launched Operation Desert Fox in 1998."

Hillary would have done well to leave out that last part, the one where her husband, the former President of the United States, used military force as part of a 72-hour bombing campaign ostensibly deemed as a punitive strike in defense of disarmament, but in actuality proved to be a blatant attempt at regime change which used the hyped-up threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as an excuse for action. Sound familiar? While many Americans today condemn the Bush administration for misleading them with false claims of unsubstantiated threats which resulted in the ongoing debacle we face today in Iraq (count Hillary among this crowd), few have reflected back on the day when the man from Hope, Arkansas sat in the Oval Office and initiated the policies of economic sanctions-based containment and regime change which President Bush later brought to fruition when he ordered the invasion of Iraq in March 2003...
The rest can be read at alternet. This is what I have been saying for two years. They knew, they're just a bunch of big, fat liars forced to back pedal because this whole fiasco is blowing up in their faces, I just wish they could be forced to go over there and experience the explosions up close and personal like. Scumbags. Vote for another clinton? Not if they were the last candidates on planet earth!

Saladin said...

9/11 Truth Has Already Won the Debate

Why "criminal negligence" is enough.

Crimes of the State

This is a very simple concept, elegant and straightforward:

We never had to prove what truly happened on September 11th 2001. No. All we had to do was prove that the US federal government had covered it up.

On that point, I would like to thank George Monbiot of the UK Guardian for his hysterical meltdown of late. George Monbiot has conceded the argument when he said:

"I believe that they [the Bush administration] were criminally negligent in failing to respond to intelligence about a potential attack by al-Qaida..." --George Monbiot, "9/11 fantasists pose a mortal danger to popular oppositional campaigns", UK Guardian

Well then, Mr. Monbiot has just validated our main point: We need a truly independent investigation of September 11th, because crimes were committed by the administration and they were allowed to cover them up.

How ironic that a scatterbrained hit piece about Loose Change would lead to an admission of the glaring criminal negligence that -- at the least -- allowed the attacks of September 11th 2001 to occur.

"Criminal negligence becomes 'gross' when the failure to foresee involves a 'wanton disregard for human life'... The accused is a social danger because he or she has endangered the safety of others in circumstances where the reasonable person would have foreseen the injury and taken preventive measures. ...Usually the punishment for criminal negligence, criminal recklessness, criminal endangerment, wilful blindness and other related crimes is imprisonment." --Wikipedia, Criminal Negligence

Well then, the grossly "criminally negligent" Bush regime should certainly have been in no position to influence the outcome of the investigation into September 11th 2001. Is that an unreasonable statement? Is it common to allow the suspect to initiate his own investigation? (outside of Washington D.C?)

President William Jefferson Clinton was impeached for Obstruction of Justice, raising that particular offense to the level of an impeachable high crime. Has the Bush regime obstructed justice in regard to September 11th 2001?

Yes, George Monbiot, they surely have. Bob Graham's admissions about those 28 redacted pages from the Congressional Joint Inquiry give us a prima facie case for the prosecution. The regime's classification of numerous matters related to their inaction to prevent the 9/11 attacks is further evidence of Obstruction of Justice. The decision of Bush and Cheney to testify to the 9/11 Commission behind closed doors with no oath or affirmation, and no record of their testimony is further evidence that they are obstructing justice and preventing a full and accurate accounting of the attacks.

The fact of Obstruction of Justice by the Bushites is undeniable. It is only the political will to impeach them over it that lacks.
Excellent point. We KNOW they're lying, that's what they DO! The details aren't important for a new investigation to begin, all we need to know we already know, they lied and covered it up. A 5 year old could easily figure that out. The rest will follow.

capt said...

Surely your gladness need not be the less for the thought that you will one day see a brighter dawn than this - when lovelier sights will meet your eyes than any waving trees or rippling waters - when angel-hands shall undraw your curtains, and sweeter tones than ever loving Mother breathed shall wake you to a new and glorious day - and when all the sadness, and the sin, that darkened life on this little earth, shall be forgotten like the dreams of a night that is past!

~ Lewis Carroll (1832 - 1898)

capt said...

A Horse of a Different Color

Obama, the Lobby, and the next war


The Democratic candidates have all prostrated themselves before the Lobby and pledged their undying fealty to a foreign policy distorted by its pro-Israel bias. This distortion was given full voice by Obama, who declared that our interest in the region "begins with a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel." Yes, begins – and ends. That has been the story for far too long, and a major cause of our troubles with the Muslim world. Obama has just signaled that this will not change under his leadership. How his antiwar supporters will take this – especially Obama's stated willingness to go to war with Iran – is an open question, but my guess is that many are bound to be sorely disappointed.

Far be it from me to disparage anybody who touts a presidential candidate rather more than is deserved just because they're hopeful that someone will rescue us from the consequences of a reckless and increasingly dangerous foreign policy. My preferred objects of undue affection are nearly always Republicans or third-party candidates: I admit to being harder on Democrats, if only because they promise so much more and deliver so much less.

But Obama is a horse of an entirely different color, and, no, I'm not talking about his skin color. He is not an alternative to the still hawkish Democratic Party establishment – hawkish, that is, compared to the average American voter – but only the appearance of one. He's all form and no content – a perfect replica of rebellion for the new millennium: slick, bromidic, and phony as all get-out. He's the Democrats' Wendell Willkie, the man who came out of nowhere, a public relations creation. Obama will disarm the Left on account of his color and overwhelm the Right on the sheer strength of his star power. Or so his strategists dream. In the end, however, our foreign policy will remain pretty much the same: aggressive, arrogant, and the cause of our ultimate undoing.


capt said...

Afghan media: U.S. troops deleted images

KABUL, Afghanistan -- Afghan journalists covering the aftermath of a suicide bomb attack and shooting in eastern Afghanistan Sunday said U.S. troops deleted their photos and video and warned them not to publish or air any images of U.S. troops or a car where three Afghans were shot to death.

Afghan witnesses and gunshot victims said U.S. forces fired on civilians in cars and on foot along at least a six-mile stretch of road in Nangarhar province following a suicide attack against the Marine convoy. The U.S. military said militants also fired on American forces during the attack.

The U.S. military and Afghan officials said eight Afghans died and 34 were wounded in the violence. One Marine was also injured.

A freelance photographer working for The Associated Press and a cameraman working for AP Television News said a U.S. soldier deleted their photos and video showing a four-wheel drive vehicle in which three people were shot to death about 100 yards from the suicide bombing. The AP plans to lodge a protest with the American military.


capt said...

Sea Squirt Regrows Entire Body from One Blood Vessel

Our closest invertebrate relative, the humble sea squirt, can regenerate its entire body from just tiny blood vessel fragments, scientists now report.

The entire regeneration process, which in part resembles the early stages of embryonic development, can produce an adult sea squirt in as little as a week.


*****end of clip*****

Sea squirts are celebrating all over on the good news.


Saladin said...

What in the world does that little pipsqueak country Israel have on these politicians to force them to sacrifice our troops on their behalf? I just don't get it. They like to brag about how they have the most "moral" army in the world, so why don't they fight their own battles and leave us out of it?

capt said...

"Pro Israel" Christian Right Leader Blames Jews For Holocaust

Holocaust as God's retribution for Israelite idol worship?

In "Jerusalem Countdown: A Prelude To war" Hagee has stated that Jews brought the Holocaust upon themselves by rebelling against God and that the Holocaust was God's way of forcing Jews to move to Israel where, Hagee predicts according to his interpretation of Biblical scripture, they will be mostly killed in the apocalyptic Mideast conflict Hagee's new lobbying group seems to be working to provoke and which John Hagee believes to be a necessary precondition for the "Rapture" that will lift Christians, but not Jews, bodily into Heaven to enjoy physical immortality amidst paradise.

Over the past year, frequent and generally favorable media coverage of a new US national political lobbying group, "Christians United For Israel", and its outspoken founder Texas megachurch pastor John Hagee's has helped cement pastor Hagee's brand recognition, as a steadfast friend to Israel and has cast a favorable light on the new CUFI lobby that is designed to flex the political muscles of tens of millions of American evangelicals, ostensibly on Israel's behalf.

In a January 2007 a group conference call with Jewish bloggers, John Hagee explained that he and his fellow CUFI members were working to "organize every congressional district where every church in that district that is an evangelical church can be known to us so that if at a point in time someone in Congress or the US Senate proves to be hostile to Israel that we can lend our strength to retire them from public office."

Since CUFI's founding in early 2006, John Hagee has been barnstorming the American Jewish community through feel-good events entitled "A Night To Honor Israel" which have helped win the confidence of American Jews and swelled the roles of volunteers pledged to travel to Washington DC for CUFI organized lobbying events. In apparent recognition of the new lobbying group's growing electoral power, The White House has granted CUFI considerable access and and top GOP leaders such as John McCain and House GOP Minority Whip Roy Blunt have met personally with Pastor John Hagee in recent weeks.


*****end of clip*****

Well I think that means no more tax exempt status - the actions are political not religious.