Filled Under: liberal
Emails sent by senior Obama adviser Ben Rhodes to other top regime officials reveal an effort to insulate Obama from the attacks on Benghazi that killed four Americans, and to blame the Youtube video as an excuse. Ben Rhodes also just happens to be the brother of CBS News president David Rhodes. Sharyl Attkisson was recently forced out of CBS for having the audacity for doing investigations into things like Benghazi, Fast and Furious, etc.
Newly released emails on the Benghazi terror attack suggest a senior White House aide played a central role in preparing former U.N. ambassador Susan Rice for her controversial Sunday show appearances — where she wrongly blamed protests over an Internet video.
More than 100 pages of documents were released to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Among them was a Sept. 14, 2012, email from Ben Rhodes, an assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.
The Rhodes email, with the subject line: “RE: PREP Call with Susan: Saturday at 4:00 pm ET,” was sent to a dozen members of the administration’s inner circle, including key members of the White House communications team such as Press Secretary Jay Carney.
In the email, Rhodes specifically draws attention to the anti-Islam Internet video, without distinguishing whether the Benghazi attack was different from protests elsewhere.
The email lists the following two goals, among others:
“To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”
“To reinforce the President and Administration’s strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.”
The email goes on to state that the U.S. government rejected the message of the Internet video. “We find it disgusting and reprehensible. But there is absolutely no justification at all for responding to this movie with violence,” the email stated.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the documents read like a PR strategy, not an effort to provide the best available intelligence to the American people.
“The goal of the White House was to do one thing primarily, which was to make the president look good. Blame it on the video and not [the] president’s policies,” he said.
The Rhodes email was not part of the 100 pages of emails released by the administration last May — after Republicans refused to move forward with the confirmation of John Brennan as CIA director until the so-called “talking points” emails were made public.
The email is also significant because in congressional testimony in early April, former deputy CIA director Michael Morell told lawmakers it was Rice, in her Sunday show appearances, who linked the video to the Benghazi attack. Morell said the video was not part of the CIA analysis.
“My reaction was two-fold,” Morell told members of the House Intelligence Committee, regarding her appearances. “One was that what she said about the attacks evolving spontaneously from a protest was exactly what the talking points said, and it was exactly what the intelligence community analysts believed. When she talked about the video, my reaction was, that’s not something that the analysts have attributed this attack to.”
Incidentally, three leading Republicans on Monday night sent letters to the House and Senate foreign affairs committees asking them to compel the administration to explain who briefed Rice in advance of the Sunday talk shows and whether State Department or White House personnel were involved.
“How could former Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, during the five Sunday talk shows on September 16, 2012, claim that the attacks on our compounds were caused by a hateful video when Mr. Morell testified that the CIA never mentioned the video as a causal factor,” said the letter, from Sens. Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina; Kelly Ayotte, of New Hampshire; and John McCain, of Arizona.
The Sept. 14 Rhodes email does not indicate whether there was a “prep call” for Rice, as it suggests. If the call went ahead, it does not indicate who briefed her.
National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan played down the Rhodes email, telling Fox News in a statement: “There were protests taking place across the region in reaction to an offensive internet video, so that’s what these points addressed. There were known protests in Cairo, Sanaa, Khartoum, and Tunis as well as early reports of similar protests in Benghazi, which contributed to questions of how the attack began…. These documents only serve to reinforce what we have long been saying: that in the days after September 11, 2012, we were concerned by unrest occurring across the region and that we provided our best assessment of what was happening at the time.”
The statement did not address Fox News’ specific questions asking whether White House personnel, particularly Rhodes, briefed Rice before the Sunday shows, and what intelligence Rhodes relied on when he referred to the video.
The newly released emails also show that on Sept. 27, 2012 a Fox News report — titled “US officials knew Libya attack was terrorism within 24 hours, sources confirm” — was circulated at the most senior levels of the administration. This included going to then-deputy national security adviser Denis McDonough; then-White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan; Morell; and Rhodes, among others, but the comments were redacted, citing “personal privacy information.”
Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.
The Surprising Brain Differences Between Democrats and Republicans
Two new studies further support the theory that our political decision making could have a neurological basis.
By Chris Mooney | Fri Feb. 15, 2013 4:01 AM PST
It is still considered highly uncool to ascribe a person’s political beliefs, even in part, to that person’s biology: hormones, physiological responses, even brain structures and genes. And no wonder: Doing so raises all kinds of thorny, non-PC issues involving free will, determinism, toleration, and much else.
There’s just one problem: Published scientific research keeps going there, with ever increasing audacity (not to mention growing stacks of data).
The past two weeks have seen not one but two studies published in scientific journals on the biological underpinnings of political ideology. And these studies go straight at the role of genes and the brain in shaping our views, and even our votes.
First, in the American Journal of Political Science , a team of researchers including Peter Hatemi of Penn State University and Rose McDermott of Brown University studied the relationship between our deep-seated tendencies to experience fear—tendencies that vary from person to person, partly for reasons that seem rooted in our genes—and our political beliefs. What they found is that people who have more fearful disposition also tend to be more politically conservative, and less tolerant of immigrants and people of races different from their own. As McDermott carefully emphasizes, that does not mean that every conservative has a high fear disposition. “It’s not that conservative people are more fearful, it’s that fearful people are more conservative,” as she puts it .
I interviewed the paper’s lead author, Peter Hatemi, about his research for my 2012 book The Republican Brain. Hatemi is both a political scientist and also a microbiologist, and as he stressed to me, “nothing is all genes, or all environment.” These forces combine to make us who we are, in incredibly intricate ways.
And if Hatemi’s and McDermott’s research blows your mind, get this : Darren Schreiber, a political neuroscientist at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, first performed brain scans on 82 people participating in a risky gambling task, one in which holding out for more money increases your possible rewards, but also your possible losses. Later, cross-referencing the findings with the participants’ publicly available political party registration information, Schreiber noticed something astonishing: Republicans, when they took the same gambling risk, were activating a different part of the brain than Democrats.
Republicans were using the right amygdala, the center of the brain’s threat response system. Democrats, in contrast, were using the insula, involved in internal monitoring of one’s feelings. Amazingly, Schreiber and his colleagues write that this test predicted 82.9 percent of the study subjects’ political party choices—considerably better, they note, than a simple model that predicts your political party affiliation based on the affiliation of your parents.
I also interviewed Schreiber for The Republican Brain. He’s a scientist who was once quite cautious about the relevance of brain studies to people’s politics. As he put it to me: “If you had called me four years ago and said, ‘What is your view on whether Republicans and Democrats have different brains?’ I would have said no.” Now, his own published research suggests otherwise.
The current research suggests not only that having a particular brain influences your political views, but also that having a particular political view influences your brain.
One again, though, there’s a critical nuance here. Schreiber thinks the current research suggests not only that having a particular brain influences your political views, but also that having a particular political view influences and changes your brain. The causal arrow seems likely to run in both directions—which would make sense in light of what we know about the plasticity of the brain. Simply by living our lives, we change our brains. Our political affiliations, and the lifestyles that go along with them, probably condition many such changes.
The two new studies described here are likely connected: It is hard not to infer that fear of outsiders or those different from you—along with greater fear dispositions in general—may be related to the role of amygdala, a brain structure that has been dubbed the “heart and soul of the fear system .” The amygdala has been repeatedly implicated in politics. Indeed, Schreiber’s research builds on prior brain studies: In a group of University College of London students, for instance, conservatives showed more gray matter  in the right amygdala.
So what’s the upshot? How about this: We need a much broader and more thoughtful discussion about what it means if political ideology turns out to be nothing like what we actually thought it was. Scientists working in this new field tend towards the conclusion that the new research should make us more tolerant, not less, of political difference—not to mention a whole lot more humble about our own deeply held beliefs.
Source URL: http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/02/brain-difference-democrats-republicans
Back in September, I wrote about Mosaic, a forward thinking company based in Oakland, CA that puts people together with solar projects. The idea is to fund projects via crowd sourcing and pay investors interest on the loans they make. For as little as $25, you can invest in any number of projects that are posted on the company’s site.
When I first ran across the idea, it appealed to me on several levels. I am a firm believer in solar energy and had solar panels installed on my condo. Doing so has lowered my utility bills by about $1,000 annually. I was familiar with crowd sourcing, having participated in KIVA loans for several years, but earning income was a new twist that intrigued me. I investigated Mosaic and decided to stick my toe in the water to see what would happen. I am fortunate to have a nest egg to usher me through my golden years and I sold some stock in Exxon—something I have been doing slowly over time to avoid paying huge capital gains taxes—and invested $2,500 divided evenly between two projects. One of the projects, U.S. Foods in Albuquerque, NM, pays 5.75% over 120 months. The other is a bee farm in Red Bluff, CA and that one pays 5.5% over a period of 144 months.
On October 22, I was notified that U.S. Foods was fully funded and had signed the note. My payback was soon to begin! I have not yet received notification that the bee farm has signed their note, but upon checking the Mosaic site, it should be soon because the loan is now fully funded.
Today I am reporting that I have received my first payment from U.S. Foods in the amount of $13.57. That represents my interest earned as well as repayment of part of the principal on the loan.
If U.S. Foods is any indication of how this thing works, I should be getting a payment from the bee farm next month. I have no doubt that I will. The bee farm is round 2 of a project that was fully funded and has been up and running since before I invested in the second phase.
I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you consider the interest rate I’m earning, it’s a great deal more than I made in dividends from Exxon, which pays under 3% annually. Not to mention that I believe—no, I am certain—that not only are fossil fuels harming our environment, they are part of the past. I wish to go forward into a sustainable future and I think it’s great that I can put my money where my mouth is and make money while doing so. As I said in my first article, it gives a whole new meaning to going green. I feel good about investing in green energy and making a bit of green by doing so. You can be sure that I will be looking into more projects and investing more of my money with a company that is on the cutting edge of a new direction for small investors.
Ann Werner is a blogger and the author of CRAZY and Dreams and Nightmares. You can view her work at ARK Stories.
Visit her on Twitter @MsWerner and Facebook
Fuzzy math from administration over ObamaCare?
By Jim Angle
Published April 04, 2014
Although the president and his aides trumpeted the ObamaCare enrollment figures as a success, the administration did not always see those numbers as something to brag about.
In his Rose Garden appearance this week, Obama seemed elated to proclaim “7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private insurance plans through these marketplaces.”
But it remains unclear how many of those sign ups have paid premiums in order to be officially enrolled, or how many were previously uninsured.
In addition, even though officials are celebrating the 7 million mark,the White House once minimized numbers twice that large– the 14 million people in the individual insurance market who were facing cancellations because their policies did not have all the required benefits of ObamaCare.
That created a huge political backlash, in part because the president had promised everyone could keep their plans and doctors “no matter what” — so the president and his aides played the numbers down as just a small group.
In a news conference last November, Obama portrayed the individual market as a small portion of the insurance market, saying “Keep in mind that the individual market accounts for five percent of the population.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney made the same statement repeatedly, including the next day, saying “Five percent of the country (is) in the individual insurance market, a portion of that five percent is affected by the cancellation notices.”
Because of the public uproar, Obama asked state officials to allow those policies to be extended.
Twenty-one states, however, including California and New York, flatly refused. California alone had 900,000 individual policies cancelled, adding to a national total of several million.
Doug Holtz-Eakin, former head of the Congressional Budget Office, says “if you look at the 7 million and you shave off the 20 percent who probably haven’t paid, you’ve got about 5 and a half million people and that’s roughly the number of people that were in the individual market and started having their policies cancelled.”
That 20 percent number who don’t pay has often been cited by insurance sources. Blue Cross/Blue Shield this week confirmed that up to 20 percent of those enrolled by February 1 still have not paid a premium.
As far as the potential cancellations, Carney referred to the 14 million as a “sliver” of the population, even though it’s double the number of current signups.
“You need to look at the 7 million in the context of the U.S. population, and that’s about 330 million people,” says Dan Mendelson of Avalere Health, a non-partisan consulting and analysis firm. “So, this, this program is going to insure about two percent of the total folks who live in the United States.”
So while the administration portrayed that two percent as victory, the five percent facing cancellations was minimized, leading Holtz-Eakin to observe that ” it can’t be the case that, you know, five percent is no big deal and signing up two percent is a triumph, those two can’t stand simultaneously.”
Some of those who were cancelled were forced into ObamCare, which added to the enrollment numbers, even though they only needed insurance because their policies had been cancelled, not because they were uninsured.
Jim Angle currently serves as chief national correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined FNC in 1996 as a senior White House correspondent.
heavy music video … some animations suggested ….