Better Ads

I picked these up at Steve M’s place. They are more conventional, and I suspect more effective, than the “fireman” ad. Although they didn’t make me laugh.

The Republicans are arguing that they aren’t ending Medicare, because there would still be a program called “Medicare.” To me, that’s like taking all the electrical parts out of a toaster, filling it with dirt, and planting flowers in it, and arguing that it’s still a toaster.

I’d still like to see the ad that hammers home the financial devastation that will be visited upon working families if they are suddenly on the hook for most of their elders’ medical care.

Legal News

A big-shot law firm that had been hired by House Republicans to defend the Defense of Marriage Act has backed out, saying the firm’s vetting process for choosing to take the case was “inadquate.” However, Paul Clement, former solicitor general under President George W. Bush and a partner in the big-shot firm, resigned as partner and went to another law firm, and still plans to defend DOMA.

The Supreme Court rejected a plea to “fast track” constitutional challenges to the Affordable Care Act.

A Real Bold Serious Courageous Budget Plan

Paul Krugman writes that there really is a bold serious courageous budget plan that (unike Paul Ryan’s plan) actually could balance the budget by 2021. It is a plan put forward by the Congressional Progressive Caucus, According to Krugman, among other things this plan would substantially raise taxes on the wealthy, modestly raise taxes on the middle class, raise the Social Security cap, and cut spending mostly out of the defense budget.

I don’t think a modest tax increase on the middle class is politically tenable right now — it probably will have to happen eventually — but the rest is likely to be acceptable to most voters, seems to me.

The difference between the Progressive Caucus budget and the Repubican Ryan budget is that the Progressive Caucus budget is primarily about decreasing the deficit. The Ryan budget, on the other hand, is a proposal to dismantle what’s left of the New Deal and Great Society and otherwise shred the social contract that sustains middle class life in America — disguised as a budget proposal.

Elsewhere — Steve Benen writes there are plans afoot by Democrats to bring up the Ryan Budget for a vote on the floor of the Senate to force Republican senators to go on record for or against it.

Gitmo Files Leaked

Wikileaks has released information on Guantanamo detainees. And as a lot of us have been saying, many of the people held there were completely innocent.

An assessment of 780 people detained at Gitmo at one time or another shows that 220 really were/are dangerous terrorists. Another 380 were “foot soldiers,” low-level people with ties to various extremist or insurgent groups but who had no access to intelligence.

And at least 150 were completely innocent Aghanis and Pakistanis, some of whom were sold to security forces for a bounty. Juan Cole says, “Wearing a Casio watch could be a cause for arrest, apparently, because al-Qaeda types used them as timers.” And in many cases their documents contain no accusations against them. Yet they were held for months and years and “interrogated” just the same.

For example,

In May 2003, for example, Afghan forces captured Prisoner 1051, an Afghan named Sharbat, near the scene of a roadside bomb explosion, the documents show. He denied any involvement, saying he was a shepherd. Guantánamo debriefers and analysts agreed, citing his consistent story, his knowledge of herding animals and his ignorance of “simple military and political concepts,” according to his assessment. Yet a military tribunal declared him an “enemy combatant” anyway, and he was not sent home until 2006.

See, righties, this is why some of us have issues with military tribunals. Several other similar stories have come out of the leaks.

The 172 men remaining at Gitmo have been rated ‘high risk,” but then so were a lot of other detainees who were eventually transferred and even released.

At least some of the remaining crew really are hard-core terrorists with ties to the 9/11 perps. But the issue is that, since evidence against them was obtained through torture, they can’t be properly tried. But they really are dangerous, so neither can they be released. No one has any idea what to do with them, except keep them at Gitmo.