Go negative now!

From Frank Rich, for anyone who hasn’t read much about the history of presidential campaigns, a group that seems to include all the talking heads and editorial writers who tut-tut about negative ads:

The serious questions raised by the early Obama ads are not whether they were too much but too little: Was waiting until May behind the curve? Are the ads vicious enough to inflict lasting damage? Is there a nuclear option in Obama’s advertising arsenal that can blow Romney out of the water as LBJ’s immortal mushroom-cloud “Daisy” ad did Barry Goldwater on Labor Day in 1964? Given the anemic employment numbers and the pack of billionaire GOP sugar daddies smelling blood after their Wisconsin victory, a reboot of hope and change would truly be the reelection campaign’s most self-destructive option

Asylum or U.S. ‘justice’? Easy call

Glenn Greenwald on Julian Assange:

For several reasons, Assange has long feared that the US would be able to coerce Sweden into handing him over far more easily than if he were in Britain. For one, smaller countries such as Sweden are generally more susceptible to American pressure and bullying.

For another, that country has a disturbing history of lawlessly handing over suspects to the US. A 2006 UN ruling found Sweden in violation of the global ban on torture for helping the CIA render two suspected terrorists to Egypt, where they were brutally tortured (both individuals, asylum-seekers in Sweden, were ultimately found to be innocent of any connection to terrorism and received a monetary settlement from the Swedish government).

Perhaps most disturbingly of all, Swedish law permits extreme levels of secrecy in judicial proceedings and oppressive pre-trial conditions, enabling any Swedish-US transactions concerning Assange to be conducted beyond public scrutiny. Ironically, even the US State Department condemned Sweden’s “restrictive conditions for prisoners held in pretrial custody”, including severe restrictions on their communications with the outside world…

Grayson: ‘Fast and furious’ will fizzle

Here’s that rare Democratic politician who has a knack for getting to the heart of the matter — whatever the matter — in a hurry:

Former Florida Rep. Alan Grayson (D) on Wednesday blasted Republicans in Congress for continuing to grill U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder over the “fast and furious” gun-running scandal.

“Why won’t they launch an investigation of why 50 million Americans don’t have health care?” he asked on Current TV. “When are we going to see those investigations?”
Republicans on the House Oversight Committee chose to hold Holder in contempt of Congress over the Department of Justice’s refusal to release certain documents pertaining to the failed operation.

Regarding the environment, this is the worst Congress ever

This piece from Common Dreams is news of a sort, but few environmentally conscious citizens will be surprised by it:

… Everyone knows that we are facing an unprecedented environmental crisis– right?

Wrong. This news seems never to have gotten to America’s Republican legislators. In the face of these huge and escalating threats, the GOP majority over the last year has voted no fewer than 247 times (nearly once a day for every day the House was in session) to weaken environmental protections that have been in place for decades and to defeat needed legislation.

This according to a report released on Monday by Representatives Henry Waxman, a member the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and Edward Markey a member of the Committee on Natural Resources. They have called the 112th Congress the most anti-environment ever…

Common Dreams is a fine organization, but the blandly satirical tone of the piece is annoying. It’s not as if the current crop of wing-nut Republicans hasn’t heard the “news” regarding climate change, threats to fresh water and food supplies, and so on. For a variety of reasons, they simply don’t care.

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