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Bolo Boffin

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 23,796

About Me

I am done resisting conspiratorial thinking and the political pessimism it engenders here. I am going to be part of the solution somewhere else. You can find me on Twitter as @BoloBoffin. Some of my debunking of 9/11 Truth nonsense can be found at ae911truth.info. Vote progressive. Vote Democratic Party.

Journal Archives

The Ballad of Mitt Romney (to the tune of The Ballad of John Henry)

When Mitt Romney was a little baby,
Just a sittn' on his daddy's knee,
Said, "The Keystone XL on that oil shale flow
Gonna be the death of me, Lord God
Going to be the death of me."

Well Mitt Romney said to the Captain,
I'm gonna take a little trip downtown
Get me a thirty pound hammer with that nine foot handle
I'll beat your communism down, Lord God
I'll beat your communism down.

Well Mitt Romney hammered on that pipeline
Till his hammer was striking fire
And the very last words that I heard that fella say was
No 7-Eleven cookie 'for I die, Lord God
No 7-Eleven cookie 'for I die.

Well they carried him down to the graveyard
And they buried him in the sand
And every gallon of shale a bubblin' on by
It cried out, "There lies a steel drivin' man, Lord God
There lies a steel drivin' man."

Well there's some say he came from Mexico
There's some say Michigan
Well I don't give a damn where that poor fella was from
You know that, he was a steel drivin' man, Lord God
Mitt Romney was a steel drivin' man.

Well when Mitt Romney was a little baby,
Just a sittn' on his daddy's knee,
Said, "The Keystone XL on that oil shale flow
Gonna be the death of me, Lord God
Going to be the death of me."

Obama and ENDA: How about helping him get it passed?

Lots of disappointed people these days with the President over his not signing an executive order than would bar discrimination against gay and lesbian workers in federal contractors, and I'm one of them. True, this one executive order doesn't fix everything the actual ENDA law would, but it would at least be something, right?

However, the administration has said again and again that an EO would not be effective enough for the President's goals, and from what I'm seeing, it might even be counter productive. From the 4/12 press briefing:

Again, I think that the DADT repeal is instructive here in terms of the approach that we’re taking at this time. And while it is not our usual practice to discuss executive orders that may or may not be under consideration, we do not expect that an EO on LGBT non-discrimination for federal contractors will be issued at this time. We support, as I just said, legislation that has been introduced -- the Employment Non-Discrimination Act -- and we will continue to work with congressional supporters to build -- sponsors, rather, to build support for it.


What that paragraph says when you read between the lines is that the opposition to the President signing an EO on LGBT non-discrimination for federal contractors is coming from Congress. Jay Carney is being as politic as possible in saying it, but it's right there. There's an approach that's similar to the DADT repeal (another situation where an EO was held back at the request of Congress so they could get the votes together for the repeal). Here, it's the same thing.

So if you want an EO, call your Congress critters and find out who's the holdup. If you can't change their mind, you can at least get them on the record as to why they oppose an EO for federal contractors. Is ENDA broadly popular among the American populace? Is the limited EO? Great! Tell them that. Have your facts and your polls in line and cite them in your letters and your calls.

Or alternately, you could be working to implement the plan of ENDA's sponsors as described by Carney:

We’re deeply committed to working hand-in-hand with partners in the LGBT community on a number of fronts to build the case for employment non-discrimination policies including by complementing the existing body of compelling research with government-backed data and analysis, building a coalition of key stakeholders and decision-makers, directly engaging with and educating all sectors of the business community -- from major corporations to contractors to small business -- and raising public awareness about the human and financial costs of discrimination in the work force.


Tell your stories of discrimination in the work force. Tell the ones you've experienced and the ones you've observed. Talk about the human and financial costs to everyone who will listen -- most especially in letters or phone calls to your Congress critters. But do it here as well, in this thread, in other threads, on Facebook, in family meetings, wherever you can find an audience willing to listen, and maybe a few not that willing as well!

Get into a local gay rights group and find out what you can do to advance the legislation. If you can help complement the existing body of compelling research, do that! Talk to business leaders about who they hire and who they fire.

Every minute spent resenting President Obama for not signing a band-aid EO is a minute wasted. Do you want to end all the discrimination for good? Or do you want to hate on Obama, the only 2012 major party candidate who would sign ENDA the minute it hits his desk? Which is going to get us down the road to ENDA faster?

On the Scottish Review Board's referral of Megrahi's appeal (Pan Am 103)

I had an interesting conversation on Pan Am 103 and Libya's culpability with a few good DU members out in General Discussion. Lots of supposed evidence was bandied about, all with its damning MSM source, all convicting the CIA of framing Libya of the Lockerbie bombing. There was a retired police sergeant who swore a timer fragment was planted. There was another witness, Eric Bollier, an official of the company who built the timer, who had lots of claims, indeed, one that the CIA had offered him money to lie, and another that the timer fragment couldn't be the ones that he brought to Libya as a sample, etc.

Well, after reading "the Scottish review board" a few too many times used as permission to speculate hither and yon on the topic, I decided to look for the actual reasons Megrahi was given an appeal. And I found the Scottish review board's summary of those reasons, a nice PDF file:

http://www.sccrc.org.uk/ViewFile.aspx?id=293

The Scottish review board, or the SCCRC for short, said there were six grounds of referral, and they summarized them in four paragraphs. The first two talked about evidence that Megrahi did or did not buy some of the materials in Malta. The board found that the evidence pointed toward the materials being purchased on December 6, and no evidence was given that Megrahi was in Malta on the 6th. The last two focused on the key witness Tony Gauci. Number one, Gauci's lineup identification of Megrahi appears to have been tainted by seeing Megrahi in a magazine article a few days before. Number two is not spelled out, but it was further information that seemed to undermine Gauci as a witness. I speculated that this might be the reports that Gauci and his brother were offered $2 million for his testimony by the CIA, but there's no confirmation of that.

I say that because of the things being used to propel the "Libya-didn't-do-it" conspiracy theory, the CIA offer to the Gaucis was the only item not specifically disavowed by the SCCRC. They went as far as to state this categorically at the end of the news release.

As recently as within the last week there has been a great deal of media speculation about what is contained within the Commission’s statement of reasons, and the reasons for a referral. The Commission is satisfied that the confidentiality of both its enquiries, and the content of its statement of reasons have remained entirely secure during the whole of the review period, and that there has been no leakage of information from within the organisation. Many of the press reports published during the review have simply involved a repetition of certain of the original defence submissions received by the Commission at the beginning of its review, and which have formed the basis of a large part of the Commission’s investigation. As indicated in this release, the Commission has concluded after full and proper investigation that these submissions are unsubstantiated and without merit. In particular the Commission has found no basis for concluding that evidence in the case was fabricated by the police, the Crown, forensic scientists or any other representatives of official bodies or government agencies.


The retired police officer, called The Golfer in the release? Discredited because of multiple contradictions within his testimony. The timer fragment questions? Settled and dispensed with. Even some things you may not have heard about were considered and left be by the SCCRC.

So the questions that recommended an appeal for Megrahi are not in the realm of "Did Libya actually do this?", but rather, "Did Megrahi have the opportunity to fulfill a certain part of the plot he has been convicted of?" and questions about the veracity of Tony Gauci, the key witness against him. If Megrahi was made to fit into the plot past the ability of the prosecution to prove, then he definitely had an appeal coming. But there is no question about the culpability of Libya in the Pan Am 103 bombing in the mind of the SCCRC. Using its grant of appeal as evidence to the contrary is a misapplication of what it has done.

ETA: As On The Other Hand points out, it's more accurate to say the prosecution needed to provide evidence that Megrahi was in Malta before December 6, since that's the point when the Christmas lights were turned on. Alternately, someone could have purchased the items and then passed them on to Megrahi when he got to Malta. Evidence would need to be presented to support that hypothesis as well. At any rate, this was the arena deemed worthy enough to grant Megrahi an appeal, not a possible exoneration of Libya in the plot.

And it's also worth nothing that Megrahi himself dropped this hard-won appeal (possibly as long as a 12-month process) in hopes it would accelerate his claims to be exchanged to a Libyan prison or released on compassionate grounds.
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