AG Defends Suppressing Petraeus Scandal
Attorney General Eric Holder defended withholding information on the scandal surrounding CIA Director David Patraeus until after the November 6 election.
“I know there are those who think that they have a right to know everything about what's going on in their government,” Holder acknowledged. “But those of us on the inside must place the broader national interest ahead of any presumed duty to keep the general public informed.”
“As is becoming apparent in the post-election revelations, there are serious issues of national security that could affect the people's confidence in their government,” Holder continued. “If these issues had become publicly known prior to November 6 they could've had an irreversible impact on the election outcome. It was our considered judgment to not let voters be stampeded by a knee-jerk reaction to a volatile and transitory chain of events that we felt detracted from the more significant elements of the campaign.”
Holder argued that “the post-election separation of the offending party from his government post exacts the appropriate measure of justice without disrupting the ability of the Administration to continue its governance for another term. We are confident that history will validate the wisdom of our decision on this matter.”
Administration Blocks Oil Development on 1.6 Million Acres
The Interior Department issued a final plan to close 1.6 million acres of federally owned land that had originally been slated for oil shale development by the Bush Administration.
Interior Department spokesman, Blake Androff explained that “injecting more fossil-based fuels into the mix would be both unbalanced and disruptive. The President is trying to wean the country off of energy sources dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. Bringing more sources of such fuels on-stream would work to thwart this objective.”
Androff also cited “the potentially damaging international impacts of lower prices for fossil-based fuels. Many of this country's allies in the Middle East would be hard hit if fuel prices declined. The President's efforts to build better relations with these countries would be negatively affected if we were to bring an excessive quantity of competing oil onto the market.”
Senator Mark Udall (D-Colo) praised the plan. “Increasing supplies of oil depresses the price,” Udall observed. “This only further delays the country's transition toward a more environmentally-friendly way of life. Keeping supplies tight will encourage more people to avoid unnecessary travel and to choose public transportation for the trips they feel they have to make.”
Hostess Brands to Be Liquidated
The financially troubled manufacturer of dessert cakes announced it will be forced to liquidate its assets. The move was in response to a strike by 5,000 employees represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union and will result in the layoff of 18,000 employees.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka denounced the company, calling its decision “a direct contradiction and insult to American voters. Just a week ago voters reelected President Obama. Rather than accept this vindication of the President's policies, the management of Hostess is putting profit ahead of social justice.”
Hostess has been in precarious financial shape for years. It first filed for bankruptcy in 2004. It emerged reorganized in 2009, but has still experienced net losses. The company again filed for bankruptcy in early 2012. The liquidation plan calls for the company's iconic brands—Twinkies, Ho-Hos, Ding-Dongs, etc.--to be sold to the highest bidders and the cash used to repay outstanding debts.
Trumka said Hostess management's decision “putting the repayment of debt ahead of the benefit of employees is emblematic of the anti-social nature of capitalism. Here we have owners saying they're going to sacrifice the livelihoods of thousands of workers just because they can't afford to pay them decent wages.”
To avert the loss of jobs at Hostess, Trumka urged President Obama to intervene. “There's no question that these workers need these jobs,” Trumka asserted. “Likewise, there's no question that consumers want their Twinkies. The government should provide the funding necessary to assure the continuation of both.”
Congresswomen Rally to Defense of Susan Rice
U.N. ambassador Susan Rice has come under criticism from Senators John McCain (R-Az) and Linsey Graham (R-SC) for lying about the September 11th attack on the Behghazi Consulate. A dozen female members of the House of Representatives have rallied to her defense.
“Ambassador Rice was just following orders,” Representative Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) declared. “Laying the blame on her is racist and sexist.” Fudge compared the Senators' attack on Rice to “blaming a prostitute for sticking up for her pimp. What's she supposed to do when her boss gives the marching orders? You know he's got her in a vise. You know she could lose her job or worse if she crosses him.”
Representative Gwen Moore (D-Wisc) characterized Rice as “a virtual battered woman. Their real beef is with the President. They can't get him to answer their questions so they take out their frustration on the person he's designated as his spokesperson.” Moore suggested that “President Obama should consider dismissing them as Senators for behavior unworthy of that office.”
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) argued that “these Senators' threat to block Ambassador Rice's elevation to Secretary of State is futile and misguided. Suppose she did lie about Benghazi. Well, lying for one's country is what the nation's top diplomat is expected to do. So, even if what they charge is true it is hardly disqualifying. Besides, they can't stop her from becoming Secretary of State if the President wants her.”
Testimony from former CIA Director David Patraeus would seem to bolster the case for Rice merely being a dutiful messenger. Patraeus told a congressional hearing this week that “we knew from the outset that what was happening at the Consulate was a terrorist attack. This assessment was subsequently altered by the Obama Administration. Ambassador Rice was merely carrying forward a message that the President had determined best suited the needs of the country as he saw it.”
Senator Denies Possibility that Regulations Could Cost Jobs
Encouraged by the recent election results, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) boasted that “the Republicans' contention that excessive government regulation causes increased unemployment has been convincingly refuted by voters.”
“Of course, the GOP's arguments were ludicrous from the beginning,” Reid maintained. “If we pass new regulations the government has to hire more people to enforce them. That means more jobs. Companies have to hire more people to ensure they comply with the regulations. That means more jobs. The regulations are kind of like a scissors cutting into unemployment from both sides.”
The possibility that more regulations could boost the cost of doing business and, thereby, lead to cuts in the number of persons employed was derided by Reid. “The cost of the regulations are just passed on to the customers,” Reid explained. “They don't come out of the employers' pockets. So how could it hurt?”
That passed on higher costs might deter customers from purchasing products was similarly disposed of by the Majority Leader. “If consumers really need a product they will buy it no matter what the cost,” Reid said. “If a slightly higher price dissuades them from buying it means that they don't really need it. To the extent that we are eliminating the purchase of unneeded products we are improving the true efficiency of our economy.”
As Reid sees it, “money that isn't spent on unneeded products could be better used on infrastructure projects like roads and bridges, or to invest in education or green energy. There's no shortage of ways in which the government could more effectively deploy our nation's resources.”
Teacher Suspended for Criticizing Obama Policies
A Rock Hill, South Carolina, a middle school teacher was placed on administrative leave after her school received a complaint about remarks she posted on her personal Facebook page. The remarks criticized the Food Stamp program.
Rawlinson Road Middle School spokesperson Elaine Baker said the suspension was initiated after the school heard from a local Democratic Party official. “In our view, the teacher used poor judgment,” Baker said. “It is inappropriate for a person employed by a public school to be observed criticizing any duly authorized public policy, especially right now. The country has been through a contentious election campaign. Now that it is over, everyone should be pulling together behind the President.”
The fact that the teacher's criticism occurred outside the classroom made no difference, Baked insisted. “Even though the remarks were not directed at her students, per se, there is no guarantee that they couldn't be found by them,” Baked said. “For a teacher to give the appearance of disloyalty even if outside of her role in the classroom is still unacceptable.”