Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Maybe Conservatives and Fox Want More Violence

Boehlert: What if Fox News actually wants mob violence?

Conservative commentators were atwitter last week following news that Ann Coulter's speech at the University of Ottawa was canceled in the face of protests. Of course, Coulter has the right to speak her mind on campuses. But in announcing the cancellation, her conservative Canadian sponsor, pundit Ezra Levant, put the blame on out-of-control liberals who had allegedly made it unsafe for Coulter to speak, breathlessly telling reporters that "the police and the security have advised that it would be physically dangerous for Ann Coulter to proceed with this event and for others to come in" and stressing the presence of an "unruly mob" outside.

Naturally, right-wing bloggers south of the Canadian border then went ballistic. Gateway Pundit claimed a menacing mob of 2,000, armed with "rocks and sticks," had surrounded the Ottawa campus building where Coulter was to speak. And yes, a fire alarm was even pulled.

Oh, my!

But it turns none of those hysterical claims were true (except for the part about someone pulling a fire alarm without cause). The 1,000 protesters were peaceful, according to university officials (good luck finding those rocks and sticks). And no, the police did not cancel the event out of our concern for Coulter's safety. They simply thought the event should have been held in a bigger venue to facilitate the large crowd. (Who invites Ann Coulter to campus and then books a lecture hall that, according to one estimate, holds just 400 people?)

Fact: Coulter and her promoters canceled the show on their own. There were no imminent signs of mob violence or threats of personal harm, just good old-fashioned, raucous, campus-style debate. But faced with a boisterous crowd, Coulter took her marbles and went home, while her conservative allies concocted tales of looming left-wing violence and feasted on the publicity.

Later, whining about her traumatic no-show in Ottawa, Coulter told a reporter, "I would like to know when this sort of violence, this sort of protest, has been inflicted upon a Muslim?" [Emphasis added.]

Oh, so now pulling a fire alarm qualifies as "violence"?

The hysterical hand-wringing was predictable. But the real stunner last week was watching the same conservatives who fretted over Coulter's safety then turn around and excuse and rationalize actual right-wing violence and intimidation stateside in the wake of the historic health care vote. Speaking out of both sides of their mouths with astonishing ease, conservatives denounced liberals who protested Coulter's appearance in Canada, and then played defense on behalf of marauding right-wing radicals who unleashed death threats, threw bricks through office windows, and hurled epithets at politicians. All in the name of saving America from President Obama's brand of evil socialism.

That form of intimidation and harassment the GOP Noise Machine had no problem with. Indeed, Democrats themselves were to blame for the rash of political violence.

Or so said the Tea Party team at Fox News, where there was little sense of remorse or shame -- or even apparent concern -- about the unprecedented bouts of violence and intimidation last week. (See list below.)

Instead, like Sarah Palin, Fox News simply reloaded and kept spraying the poisonous rhetoric all around. Worse, the "news" channel spent parts of last week either denying or rationalizing the uncorked madness. For instance, Glenn Beck suggested the incidents had been concocted. "It's almost as if the left is trumping all of this up just for the politics," said Beck.

Fox News friend Rush Limbaugh agreed:

Our side doesn't do this kind of stuff. It's all made up -- 95 percent of it's made up and it's being done to divert everybody's attention."

And from Andrew Breitbart's Big Government: "We doubt these threats are actually real."

Those who weren't denying the acts of violence were busy whitewashing them. On Fox News, S.E. Cupp made fun of Democrats who she claimed sought sympathy after being on the receiving end of a "couple of angry voices mails." Cheered Cupp, "I'm glad people are angry."

Hmm, "angry" voice mails? Here's an example of one of the actual hate messages left on a Democrat's voice mail:

"Congressman Stupak, you baby-killing mother f***er... I hope you bleed out your a**, got cancer and die, you mother f***er," one man says in a message to Stupak.
America's conservative corporate media make money for getting viewers - what better way to do that than to inflame violence. Explaining the facts of health care reform or any other legislation by Democrats are what the media - our supposedly objective watchdogs are supposed to do.

What Tea baggers Believe About Health Care Reform Versus Reality

Dems Caught In Populist Crossfire
Most white Americans think health reform benefits the poor and uninsured, not people like them.

On the long climb to health care reform that ended with this week's momentous signing ceremony, President Obama aimed many of his arguments at a different audience from the one targeted by predecessors who faltered on the same steep hill.

Compared with earlier presidents, Obama focused his case less on helping the uninsured and more on providing those with coverage greater leverage against their insurers. That shift was especially evident in his final drive toward passage.

And yet, polling just before the bill's approval showed that most white Americans believed that the legislation would primarily benefit the uninsured and the poor, not people like them. In a mid-March Gallup survey, 57 percent of white respondents said that the bill would make things better for the uninsured, and 52 percent said that it would improve conditions for low-income families. But only one-third of whites said that it would benefit the country overall -- and just one-fifth said that it would help their own family.

"The goal is to make this a middle-class health care bill." --Rahm Emanuel

In both that Gallup Poll and the latest monthly survey by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, nonwhite respondents were much more likely than whites to say that the bill would help the country and their own families. Those responses reflect not only experience (African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely than whites to lack insurance) but also minorities' greater receptivity to government activism. By meeting a tangible need in these communities, health reform is likely to solidify the Democratic hold on the one-quarter (and growing) minority share of the electorate, especially if Republicans define themselves around demanding repeal.

But whites still cast about three-quarters of votes. And if most remain convinced that health reform primarily benefits the poor and uninsured, Democrats could find themselves caught in an unusual populist crossfire during this fall's elections.

Obama has already been hurt by the perception, fanned by Republicans, that the principal beneficiaries of his efforts to repair the economy are the same interests that broke it: Wall Street, big banks, and the wealthy. The belief that Washington has transferred benefits up the income ladder is pervasive across society but especially pronounced among white voters with less than a college education, the group that most resisted Obama in 2008. Now health care could threaten Democrats from the opposite direction by stoking old fears, particularly among the white working class, that liberals are transferring income down the income ladder to the "less deserving."

In the Kaiser poll, even fewer noncollege than college-educated whites said that the plan would benefit the country. In one sense, that's ironic: Census figures show that noncollege whites are more than twice as likely to lack health insurance as whites with a degree. But these working-class whites have grown more skeptical than better-educated whites that government cares about their needs. And the searing recession has only hardened those doubts. In a recent memo, Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg warned that these anxious and alienated voters are approaching a "tipping point" that would send them hurtling toward Republicans in November. House Democrats seem aware of that risk: Of the 34 Democrats who opposed the final health care bill, 28 represent districts with an above-average share of whites without college educations.

These trends frame perhaps the Democrats' greatest political challenge today: convincing economically squeezed white voters that Washington understands their distress. On health care, that means emphasizing the bill's provisions that will most quickly benefit those with coverage, led by insurance reform (such as allowing adult children to remain longer on their parents' policies) and more prescription drug help for seniors. "The goal is to make this a middle-class health care bill," White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel says.

Simultaneously, Democrats hope that the approaching Senate debate on financial reform will portray them as advocates for average families -- and Republicans as defenders of banking and investment interests that are resisting tougher regulation. Greenberg says his recent polling shows that Obama's collision with insurers on health reform has already softened the belief that Democrats favor Wall Street over Main Street. He predicts the financial fight "will shift it further."

That could be. But despite a Gallup Poll showing a post-passage bump in support for the health care bill, skepticism that government will ever deliver for them is bred in the bone for many white voters, especially those in the working class. Health care reform won't win sustained acceptance -- or politically benefit the Democrats who finally shouldered it into law -- unless it begins to excise those deeply embedded doubts.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Some News on the Weird World of Conservatism

Shadow Elite: March to War -- The Neocon Playbook, Straight from the Soviet Bloc

As a social anthropologist, my focus is not on whether the U.S. should have invaded Iraq, but rather how that decision was made, who made it, and what mechanisms of power and influence were used to make it. Paul R. Pillar, a veteran CIA officer in charge of coordinating the intelligence community's assessments regarding Iraq, described the march to war to me this way:

There was no process. . . . No one has identified a single meeting, memorandum, showdown in the situation room when the question was on the agenda as to whether this war should be launched. It was never discussed. . . . That is the respect in which this case is markedly different from anything I've seen in the past. . . . There's well established machinery for this . . . For the decision to go to war in Vietnam there was meeting after meeting, policy briefing after briefing. The Iraq war was qualitatively different in that there was no such process. . . . In Iraq such machinery never got used.

From my vantage point, the actions of the Neocon core should disturb Americans of any political stripe. By acting more like the cowboys of the so-called Wild East of the post-Communist era, these power brokers perfected this new system of influence, subverting the standards of accountability and transparency that a healthy democracy demands. Americans were left almost wholly in the dark about the most important foreign policy decision a nation can make: to go to war. And when I asked Secretary of State Colin Powell's Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson how that fateful decision was reached, he echoed Paul Pillar: without hesitation, he said, "I don't know."
Poll: ‘Anti-socialist’ Tea Party activists want government to create jobs

Signature Teapot Poll: Anti socialist Tea Party activists want government to create jobsTea Party sympathizers are against government "socialism" except when it comes to their own jobs, a new poll has found.

Seventy percent of those who identify as Tea Partiers -- a platform that strongly decries government intervention in public life -- want an interventionist government to create jobs, and only about one in three believe Medicaid and Medicare are "socialist" programs, according to a new Bloomberg poll.

"Tea Party activists, who are becoming a force in U.S. politics, want the federal government out of their lives except when it comes to creating jobs," the wire notes wryly.

"More than 90 percent of Tea Party backers interviewed in a new Bloomberg National Poll say the U.S. is verging more toward socialism than capitalism, the federal government is trying to control too many aspects of private life and more decisions should be made at the state level," it adds. "At the same time, 70 percent of those who sympathize with the Tea Party, which organized protests this week against President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul, want a federal government that fosters job creation."

The ideas that find nearly universal agreement among Tea Party supporters are rather vague, J. Ann Selzer, the pollster who created the survey, is quoted as saying. You would think any idea that involves more government action would be anathema, and that is just not the case..

And it turns out when it comes to putting money in Americans' pockets -- Tea Partiers aren't so opposed to government intervention, or tend to look the other way.

"Fewer than 10 percent say the Veterans Administration is definitely socialist, 12 percent identify management of national parks and museums, and 36 percent say expanding Medicare for the elderly, Medicaid for the poor and Social Security amount to socialism," Bloomberg notes.

Even 35 percent don't see Social Security as socialist: 65 percent said Social Security was "either definitely or sort of socialism." But 47 percent still wanted to keep it under government control (and just 53 percent supported Social Security privatization).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Searching for the Truth? Avoid Republicans.

A curious history of the C.I.A.’s secret interrogation program.
On September 11, 2006, the fifth anniversary of Al Qaeda’s attacks on America, another devastating terrorist plot was meant to unfold. Radical Islamists had set in motion a conspiracy to hijack seven passenger planes departing from Heathrow Airport, in London, and blow them up in midair. “Courting Disaster” (Regnery; $29.95), by Marc A. Thiessen, a former speechwriter in the Bush Administration, begins by imagining the horror that would have resulted had the plot succeeded. He conjures fifteen hundred dead airline passengers, televised “images of debris floating in the ocean,” and gleeful jihadis issuing fresh threats: “We will rain upon you such terror and destruction that you will never know peace.”

The plot, of course, was thwarted—an outcome that has been credited to smart detective work. But Thiessen writes that there is a more important reason that his dreadful scenario never came to pass: the Central Intelligence Agency provided the United Kingdom with pivotal intelligence, using “enhanced interrogation techniques” approved by the Bush Administration. According to Thiessen, British authorities were given crucial assistance by a detainee at Guantánamo Bay who spoke of “plans for the use of liquid explosive,” which can easily be made with products bought at beauty shops. Thiessen also claims that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the primary architect of the 9/11 attacks, divulged key intelligence after being waterboarded by the C.I.A. a hundred and eighty-three times. Mohammed spoke about a 1995 plot, based in the Philippines, to blow up planes with liquid explosives. Thiessen writes that, in early 2006, “an observant C.I.A. officer” informed “skeptical” British authorities that radicals under surveillance in England appeared to be pursuing a similar scheme.

Thiessen’s book, whose subtitle is “How the C.I.A. Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack,” offers a relentless defense of the Bush Administration’s interrogation policies, which, according to many critics, sanctioned torture and yielded no appreciable intelligence benefit. In addition, Thiessen attacks the Obama Administration for having banned techniques such as waterboarding. “Americans could die as a result,” he writes.

Yet Thiessen is better at conveying fear than at relaying the facts. His account of the foiled Heathrow plot, for example, is “completely and utterly wrong,” according to Peter Clarke, who was the head of Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorism branch in 2006. “The deduction that what was being planned was an attack against airliners was entirely based upon intelligence gathered in the U.K.,” Clarke said, adding that Thiessen’s “version of events is simply not recognized by those who were intimately involved in the airlines investigation in 2006.” Nor did Scotland Yard need to be told about the perils of terrorists using liquid explosives. The bombers who attacked London’s public-transportation system in 2005, Clarke pointed out, “used exactly the same materials.”

Thiessen’s claim about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed looks equally shaky. The Bush interrogation program hardly discovered the Philippine airlines plot: in 1995, police in Manila stopped it from proceeding and, later, confiscated a computer filled with incriminating details. By 2003, when Mohammed was detained, hundreds of news reports about the plot had been published. If Mohammed provided the C.I.A. with critical new clues—details unknown to the Philippine police, or anyone else—Thiessen doesn’t supply the evidence.

Peter Bergen, a terrorism expert who is writing a history of the Bush Administration’s “war on terror,” told me that the Heathrow plot “was disrupted by a combination of British intelligence, Pakistani intelligence, and Scotland Yard.” He noted that authorities in London had “literally wired the suspects’ bomb factory for sound and video.” It was “a classic law-enforcement and intelligence success,” Bergen said, and “had nothing to do with waterboarding or with Guantánamo detainees.”
Real Americans live in the real world where there are real facts. Than there is the bizarro world Republicans live in.

Health Care Reform FAQ

The bill costs nearly $1 trillion in the first 10 years. How exactly does it reduce the deficit?
First, it slows spending on Medicare and Medicaid by reducing the rates those programs pay for services such as hospital visits. (It also reduces the amounts paid out through the Medicare Advantage program.) Second, it introduces new taxes, including a 0.9 percent Medicare payroll tax hike for workers who make more than $200,000 a year (and couples who make more than $250,000 a year) and a 3.8 percent tax on unearned income for the same tax brackets. Both taxes will take effect in 2013. Lastly, the so-called "Cadillac" tax on relatively high-end employer-sponsored insurance plans will target individual plans that cost more than $10,200 every year and family plans that cost more than $27,500. (The "Cadillac" tax won't roll out until 2018.) The Congressional Budget Office estimates that, together, these measures will decrease spending and increase revenue enough to reduce the deficit by $143 billion over the first 10 years and more than $1 trillion in the second decade.
Its been nine years since America's middle-class got a break. The reason that such progress is so rare is because of a shallow dog eat dog philosophy of governing called conservatism.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Conservative Republicans: Today's Party of Hate and 'Fake'

Conservative wing-nuts and their new brand name the tea baggers are a lot like Republicans from the late 60s, Tea Partiers menace Congressional Dems with name-calling: ‘Ni**er, Fag**t

Tea Partiers menace Congressional Dems with name calling: Ni**er, Fag**tA swarm of health care protesters, many holding Tea Party signs, heckled members of Congress with racial epithets and abusive language as the House votes on health care reform.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was called a "faggot," causing the surrounding crowd to erupt in laughter. A staffer for Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said a protester spat on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.). Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a leader of the civil rights movement, was called a "ni**er."

Although Frank shrugged off the incident, Clyburn was shocked and told reporters that he hadn't experienced such treatment since leading protests in South Carolina in the 1960s.

"It was absolutely shocking to me," Clyburn told the Huffington Post. "Last Monday, this past Monday, I stayed home to meet on the campus of Claflin University where fifty years ago as of last Monday... I led the first demonstrations in South Carolina, the sit ins... And quite frankly I heard some things today I have not heard since that day. I heard people saying things that I have not heard since March 15, 1960 when I was marching to try and get off the back of the bus."
We had a whole year of Republicans lying, distorting and throwing temper tantrums to stop Democrats from helping working Americans, so why not throw in a fake memo. Since modern conservative live in the ideological gutter one more dirty trick is no big deal, right? GOP accused of circulating ‘hoax’ health care memo

GOP accused of circulating hoax health care memoUPDATE AT BOTTOM: GOP pushed 'hoax' memo on to reporters before it was verified: report

Second update: Rep. Anthony Weiner rips GOP on House floor for 'producing fake memos'

The Democratic leadership in Washington, DC, has accused Republicans of circulating a "hoax" Democrat memo promising to revisit the health care issue after the reform measure has passed, in order to tack another $371 billion in costs to it.

On Friday, news site Politico published an article -- no longer available online -- which stated that a Democratic strategy document showed the party was planning to reintroduce the "doc fix" it had abandoned during health reform debate last year. The "doc fix" aims to prevent further cuts to Medicare payments, and would cost an estimated $371 billion.

Politico reported that the Democrats had kept the plan secret in order not to scare off support for the current health care reform proposal. The news site also noted that Democrats had removed the doc fix from health reform in order to make the reforms deficit-neutral, which they would not have been if the doc fix had been included.
Story continues below...

The memo, which can be viewed here, suggested some surprising tactics for Democrats to follow.

"We have increasingly noticed how right-wing fringe media are trying to pick apart the CBO score," a passage in the memo stated. "We cannot emphasize enough: Do not allow yourself ... to get into a discussion on CBO scores and textual narrative. Instead, focus only on the deficit reduction and the number of Americans covered."

"If this were a Democratic communications person who wrote this, they should be fired, because this looks like Republican talking points," an unnamed Democratic aide told TalkingPointsMemo's Christina Bellantoni.

The Politico report was quickly linked to by conservative news aggregator Matt Drudge, and appeared well on its way to being a major talking point in Washington ahead of this weekend's vote on health care, when TPM's Bellantoni reported that Democratic party leaders were disputing the authenticity of the memo and accusing Republicans of trying to foist a "hoax" on the public.

A senior Democratic leadership aide told TPMDC in an interview the memo, printed by Politico and leading the Drudge Report this afternoon a few days ahead of the health care vote Sunday, is "a hoax."

"We have checked with every Democratic office, no one has ever seen it. It did not come out of a Democratic office," the aide said, adding that media outlets printing the memo have not checked with leadership offices if the memo is authentic. A second Democratic leadership aide confirmed the memo was not sent by the Democrats. A third Democratic aide also said the memo is fake, citing the "draft" stamp and saying no one uses such things.

"This is an unethical underhanded dirty trick by Republicans to try and distract from important debate on health care reform," a "senior Democratic leadership aide" told TPM.

As of Friday afternoon, Politico had removed its report from the Web, replacing it with a note stating, "An earlier post in this spot detailed what was purported by Republicans to be an internal Democratic memo regarding the upcoming health reform vote Sunday. Democratic leadership has challenged the authenticity of the memo. POLITICO has removed the memo and the details about it until we can absolutely verify the document’s origin."

Conservatives have modeled their misinformation campaign on that of Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.

Another Day More Perverse "Values" From Conservatives

Secret Service probing conservative blogger’s call for Obama assassination
Secret Service probing conservative bloggers call for Obama assassinationThe Secret Service is investigating a conservative critic of President Barack Obama who called for his assassination Sunday on Twitter.

Self-described conservative blogger and writer Solomon Forell called for Obama's assassination on the eve of House Democrats' passage of health care reform. "We'll surely get over a bullet 2 Barack Obama's head!" Forell Tweeted.

He added: "The Next American with a Clear Shot should drop Obama like a bad habit. 4get Blacks or his claim to be Black. Turn on Barack Obama."
Conservatism might not be a sociopathic mental illness, but it has many of the same qualities.

Promoter of the new soft-fascism Fox's Sean Hannity Chummy With Another Bigotry Supporter
Sean Hannity seems to have an amazing affinity for anti-black bigots. In addition to the long list of bigots or bigotry supporters he has previously palled around with, we can now include Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA). On the same day that Nunes excused the racist, homophobic slurs thrown at Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and other House Democrats, Nunes was the lead off guest on Hannity to attack discuss the impending health care vote in the House. Not surprisingly, Hannity mentioned neither the tea party epithets nor Nunes indefensibly shrugging off the incident by blaming the left.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fascist-Lite Fox Throws Kitchen sink: Fox's last-ditch effort to rally opposition to health care reform

Fascist-Lite Fox Throws Kitchen sink: Fox's last-ditch effort to rally opposition to health care reform

With a possibile vote to finalize passage of health care reform approaching, Fox News has thrown everything but the kitchen sink to rally opposition, with guest host Laura Ingraham proclaiming, "Let's kill the bill." For example, Fox News personalities have portrayed the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office as unreliable, falsely claimed that a 2006 earthquake did not occur and attacked an 11-year-old and his family that support reform.
Fox News sets up oppo shop for the weekend

Ingraham on hosting for Fox News: "Let's kill the bill!" Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham posted the following message on her Twitter account: "I'll be hosting the O'Reilly Factor on Friday, 8pm eastern. Let's kill the bill!"

From Ingraham's March 19 post on her Twitter account:

Beck encourages viewers to hold candlelight vigil against health care reform. Glenn Beck asserted: "It is time that you have a candlelight vigil. You peacefully assemble in front of your Congressman's local doors. You go to his office locally, not to Washington. You gather your friends and you stand there, you sleep there. You make sure the press covers a peaceful assembly of people saying, 'We will remember your name 'til the end of time, sir.'" [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 3/15/10]

The Fox Nation highlights "call to arms" in opposition to health care reform. On March 18, The Fox Nation published a headline, "Alert: Jon Voight's Call to Arms - Come to D.C. Sat. to Oppose Obamacare."

Fox & Friends channels GOP on "facts that people need to know" about health care reform. Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy announced: "So the Republicans have put out some facts that people need to know about this." Fox News then displayed images under the heading, "GOP: What you need to know. Facts on the Dem health bill." Doocy continued: "For instance, they say, what they're not talking about is the fact that there's going to be a new Medicare tax on capital gains." [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 3/19/10]

Cavuto promotes weekend coverage tilted toward conservatives. Your World host Neil Cavuto has promoted his upcoming "Health Care Showdown: What's really up Doc?" coverage, which will air on Saturday, March 20. Cavuto will host conservative radio host Mark Levin, Rep. Jason Altimire (D-PA), Dom Imus, and Mike Huckabee. Cavuto also promoted Friday's Your World guests, including Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), conservative radio host and columnist Jeri Thompson, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), and Republican candidate for California governor Carly Fiorina.

Fox hosts Gene Simmons to bash health care and promote his insurance company. During Fox News' America Live, host Megyn Kelly hosted K.I.S.S. front man Gene Simmons to discuss health care. During his appearance, Simmons called health care reform "horrific" and promoted his life insurance company.

Fox News' weeklong assault: Distortions and falsehoods abound

Fox falsely attributes doctor survey to New England Journal of Medicine. Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Brian Kilmeade, Sean Hannity and Marc Siegel all pushed the false claim that a New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) survey found that 46 percent of primary care physicians would consider leaving their profession if health care reform legislation passes. In fact, NEJM says they didn't publish or conduct the 3-month-old email "survey," which was actually conducted by The Medicus Firm and published in an employment newsletter.

Fox News erases 2006 Hawaii earthquake to attack Obama. Responding to President Obama's statement during a Fox News interview that Hawaii "went through an earthquake" and could benefit from a health care reform provision that would help Louisiana cope with Medicaid shortfalls resulting from Hurricane Katrina, Doocy asked, "What Hawaiian earthquake?" In fact, as Fox News itself reported at the time, President Bush declared a "major disaster" after Hawaii was hit by a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in October 2006. [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 3/18/10]

Beck attacks family of 11-year-old who spoke about his mother's death at health care event. Following 11-year-old Marcelas Owens' appearance at a health care reform event to speak about his mother, who reportedly died after losing her health insurance, Beck asked, "Where was grandma" when Marcelas' mother was sick and attacked her work with the organization Washington Community Action Network, saying the group was "all about economic, racial, gender, and social justice for all," which he called, "pesky phrases." [Fox News' Glenn Beck, 3/15/10]

Fox calls CBO score untrustworthy. After the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the health care reform reconciliation package would reduce the deficit by $130 billion over 10 years, Fox News -- led by Beck, Hannity, Doocy, Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer and The Fox Nation -- attempted to portray the nonpartisan CBO as untrustworthy and unreliable. By contrast, after the CBO gave a "favorable" score to the GOP health care plan, Fox praised the office as "nonpartisan" and advanced false GOP claims about the CBO's findings.

Fox News suggests Dems were bought off to support health care reform. Dick Morris suggested that Obama "illegal[ly]" nominated Rep. Jim Matheson's (D-UT) brother Scott "to a judgeship with an implicit quid pro quo." Rep. Matheson's office and the White House have called the smear "ridiculous" and "absurd," former Bush-appointed judge Michael McConnell definitely debunked the smear and conservatives have stated that Scott Matheson is "plenty qualified for the job." Likewise, following Rep. Dennis Kucinich's (D-OH) appearance on Fox & Friends to discuss his decision to support the bill, Fox News displayed a graphic stating: "What was Kucinich promised? Congressman changed vote from no to yes."
The truth is this is what Fox and the conservative fascist-lite crowd is against, The Top Ten Immediate Benefits You’ll Get When Health Care Reform Passes

* Prohibit pre-existing condition exclusions for children in all new plans;

* Provide immediate access to insurance for uninsured Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition through a temporary high-risk pool;

* Prohibit dropping people from coverage when they get sick in all individual plans;

* Lower seniors prescription drug prices by beginning to close the donut hole;

* Offer tax credits to small businesses to purchase coverage;

* Eliminate lifetime limits and restrictive annual limits on benefits in all plans;

* Require plans to cover an enrollee’s dependent children until age 26;

* Require new plans to cover preventive services and immunizations without cost-sharing;

* Ensure consumers have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal new insurance plan decisions;

* Require premium rebates to enrollees from insurers with high administrative expenditures and require public disclosure of the percent of premiums applied to overhead costs.

By enacting these provisions right away, and others over time, we will be able to lower costs for everyone and give all Americans and small businesses more control over their health care choices.

Anti-American Conservative Christians Ratchet Up The Health Care Reform Hate

GOP Lawmakers Use Christian Hate Radio To Concoct Conspiracies, Build Opposition To Health Reform

AFA Radio host Janet Porter The American Family Association (AFA) is a Christian hate group that mobilizes activists around the country to protest gays, Muslims, and other groups it views as either abhorrent or in violation of its narrow view of the Bible. Recently, AFA called for the military to purge all Muslims from the military. The group is perhaps best known for its annual Winter crusade, when AFA leads boycotts against retailers that greet customers with something other than “Merry Christmas.”

Many GOP lawmakers, including Sen. Sam Brownback (KS) and Sen. Mike Johanns (NE), are frequent guests on AFA radio. In the last week, however, AFA has worked closely with right-wing members of the House to build massive opposition to health reform. AFA talk show personality Janet Porter has hosted GOP Reps. Trenk Franks (AZ), Todd Akin (MO), Michele Bachmann (MN), Steve King (IA), Tom Price (GA), Jim Jordan (OH), and others to concoct outlandish conspiracy theories against health reform, while urging listeners to make calls to Congress.

ThinkProgress has compiled clips of Porter and various Republican members of Congress discussing violent revolution against supporters of health care, impeaching Obama, whether health reform violates the Bible, how Democrats will use health care to ration care for Republicans, and the possibility that health reform will give the government power to kill “perhaps each of us”:

CALLER: Well I’m just wondering how much money they’re going to put in the bill here for extra security for all the Congressmen and Senators and Presidents if they get this passed because don’t you think there’s going to be an American revolt against them?

PRICE: Well I’m hopeful the revolt that we see if we get this passed is at the ballot box and that it comes swiftly this year. [...]

KING: The reality of it is, we can’t move anything in this Congress. Nancy Pelosi has a 40 vote advantage, Harry Reid has a 19 vote advantage. We can’t move impeachment of anything if the President of the United States commited some act, and this is hypothetical, completely, that’s so heinous that the American people would reject. Unless the, let me just say, if the committee chairs decided to move on impeachment, it would not happen in this Congress. [...]

BACHMANN: They want to have this [the vote] on the Sabbath, so this to me would be profaning the Sabbath. [...]

PORTER: And I gotta wonder if it’s the bureaucratic committees deciding whether you get health care or not, what if they treat healthcare like the auto industry? What if its just the Republican dealerships that get closed? What if it’s people who don’t support the administration who are told ‘no you can’t get that operation, you can’t get that medication that you need.’ These are frightening times, are they not?

FRANKS: Well they are frightening times and I’ll tell you what we’re moving toward here is a politically driven healthcare system. [...]

AKIN: We pray that you defend us against a great threat, an unbiblical threat, a threat that it is the job of government to steal from other people and redistribute wealth that is clearly against the teaching of your word and against your commandment not to steal. Certainly you have not given governments the authority not to redistribute wealth. [...]

PORTER: Well you hear things like the Slaughter solution which sounds pretty appropriate considering it’s the unborn, it’s the elderly, it’s the disabled and perhaps each of us who might get slaughtered by denying us treatment or paying outright for the killing as with abortion. Self executing rules, I mean this are things, well might be aimed at us. You think they’re going to use this trick to get this thing through.

KING: That seems more and more likely as the hours unfold.

At an AFA-sponsored conference last year, speakers told attendees to get their guns ready for a “bloody battle” with Obama, who was compared to Hitler. At another panel at the same conference, several speakers agreed that Obama is the “first Muslim American President.”

In the mainstream of the Christian religion and across America’s diverse faiths, leaders have come together to support providing health insurance to all Americans, and to end insurance industry abuses. Unfortunately, far right lawmakers, desperate to kill the bill, are leaning on hate radio and conspiracy theories to generate calls to Congress.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

John Boehner (R-OH) Bought and Paid for by America's Bankers

John Boehner (R-OH) Tells Bankers To Fight Financial Reform: ‘Don’t Let Those Little Punk Staffers Take Advantage Of You’

In February, Boehner met “over drinks” with JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, where he “made a pitch” for Wall Street support by explaining that “Republicans had stood up to Mr. Obama’s efforts to curb pay and impose new regulations.” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, “said he visited New York about twice a month to try to tap into Wall Street’s ‘buyers remorse’” with Democrats. These pitches had some effect too; last year, “major Wall Street players began sending an increasing share of their donations to Republicans.”

Prior to Boehner’s speech, American Bankers Association President Edward Yingling urged delay in the financial reform effort, because “every day that passes gives more leverage to [Banking Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL)].” In his career, Boehner has received $3.4 million from the financial services industry, which is $1.2 million more than he’s received from any other industry.

Conservatives Taunt Elderly Man with Parkinson’s disease at Anti -Healthcare Protest

Anti-Health bill protesters jeer at man with Parkinson’s disease

Health bill protesters jeer at man with Parkinsons disease.The passion against health care reform has elevated to such a level that protesters on Tuesday mocked an apparent Parkinson's Disease victim, scorning him as a "communist" who is looking for "handouts."

Protesters on both ends of the health care debate squared off in competing rallies outside the Columbus, Ohio office of district Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH), who says she is undecided on her vote for the bill.

A wrinkled, kneeling man holding a stick crawled up to a group opposing the effort with a sign saying he has "got Parkinson's" and needs help.

"If you're looking for a handout you're in the wrong end of town," one man yelled at him. "Nothing for free over here, you have to work for everything you get."
The protesters were standing on a side walk paid for by hand outs. By a highway paid for with handouts. By utility poles regulated by the government to make sure they have power, telephone service and can watch the pathological liars on Fox.

Revealed: Ashcroft, Tenet, Rumsfeld warned 9/11 Commission about ‘line’ it ’should not cross’
FireDogLake's Marcy Wheeler speculates that this was an attempt by the Bush administration to ensure that its torture of certain detainees, which has since been widely documented, remained secret.

"[W]hoever made these annotations appears to have been most worried that Commission staff members could make independent judgments about the detainees and the interrogations," Wheeler wrote on her blog. The official "didn't want anyone to independently evaluate the interrogations conducted in the torture program."

Eventually, the commission's co-chairs harshly criticized the administration for having purportedly "destroyed" tapes of its interrogations with terror suspects, as Raw Story reported last year.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Has Anyone Seen Sarah Palin's Integrity. It Has Gone Missing.

Palin resurrects bogus ‘death panels’ and ‘rationing’ claims

Palin resurrects bogus death panels and rationing claimsSarah Palin infected the health care debate with damaging misinformation last year when she claimed the package includes "death panels." And as Democrats make their final push to enact the bill, she has reiterated it again.

Palin coined the term in a Facebook entry last August, leading to heated controversies about the reform effort. Republican lawmaker Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) echoed the former Alaskan governor, telling constituents that they "have every right to fear" such a bill.

But the notion that the concept exists in any form in the legislation has been debunked by The Associated Press and FactCheck.org, among other organizations. The nonpartisan PolitiFact awarded it "Lie of the Year" in 2009, a testament to its inaccuracy and far-reaching impact.

On Sunday, Palin took to Facebook to revive the claim as it purportedly pertains to the "rationing" of health care.

"Government health care will not reduce the cost of medical care; it will simply refuse to pay it," the former vice presidential candidate wrote. "And who will get left behind when they have to ration care to save money?"
Story continues below...

"Please ask yourself: who will be left behind?" she continued. "And who will decide -- what kind of panel will decide -- who receives the health care that government will obviously have to ration?"

Palin argues that the Democratic package would lead to rationing of care by a federal government "panel," which she suggested would have the power to strip treatment for needy patients. But the legislation does not allow this to occur as it contains no expansion of government-controlled insurance.

In fact, the objective of the bill is to minimize the rationing of care presently carried out by the private sector. Insurance companies are legally able to deny coverage to patients on the basis of pre-existing conditions and drop sick people from plans, even if they've paid their premiums in full. The Democrats' reform effort would put an end to these practices.

Along with stiffer insurance regulations, the bill contains subsidies for low-income individuals and an individual mandate that they purchase coverage. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says it would cover an additional 31 million legal American residents and reduce the deficit by $118 billion over ten years.

In other words, the legislation allows the federal government to help fund health care coverage for those who lack it, but not assume control of any private-sector insurance programs. As a result, it precludes the government from being in a position to ration health care treatments.

The prospect of expanding government-based insurance has been debated in the form of a public insurance option and a Medicare buy-in program, but neither made the cut for the Senate bill, and neither is in the final reconciliation package.

In Sunday's Facebook note, Palin blasts the Democratic health reform bill as damaging to the United States and a betrayal of the public's will. "[W]e have to kill this bill before November," she writes.

President Obama's senior adviser David Axelrod and spokesman Robert Gibbs expressed confidence Sunday that it would pass within a week.
Such bizarre opinions formed more out of Palin's imagination than anything else. Not to mention they make her a member of the Conservative Culture of Death - New study finds 45,000 deaths annually linked to lack of health coverage. Palin would like to continue the status quo and have 45,000 people die every year based solely upon what she believes to be the truth. As someone once said we're all entitled to our own truths, but not at the expense of facts. Why does Palin and the conservative culture of death hate America.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Republican Pravda - Michelle Malkin and Fox

Double standard: After defending Hastert over Foley scandal, Fox now attacks Pelosi over Massa

Fox News has trumpeted stories that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's staff -- but not Pelosi herself -- may have been made aware of some concerns regarding Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY) last year. However, following the revelation that then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert had likely been personally informed of email then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL) sent to a congressional page, Fox News personalities defended Hastert.

Ethics committee found that Rep. Boehner and then-Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY) failed to show "any curiosity regarding" Foley emails and failed to ask Hastert to take any action. From page 85 of the ethics committee report:

Rep. Alexander did not ask either the Majority Leader or Rep. Reynolds to do anything -- each decided to mention the matter to the Speaker on his own initiative. Like too many others, neither the Majority Leader nor Rep. Reynolds showed any curiosity regarding why a young former page would have been made uncomfortable by e-mails from Rep. Foley. Neither the Majority Leader nor Rep. Reynolds asked the Speaker to take any action in response to the information each provided to him, and there is no evidence that the Speaker took any action.
Rep. Foley's sexual advances were directed at teenage pages in Congress. Massa's conduct - ethical or not, the investigation is not complete - directed his advances toward adults. Leave to to corrupt ideologues such as Michelle Malkin and the rabid Fox smear brigade not to make that distinction. Malkin and Fox model their journalistic behavior on the old Soviet Pravda model - attack, attack and attack the facts be damned - Renewed Massa probe cannot vindicate Boehner
Now that Eric Massa has outlived his very brief moment as a star on right-wing media, the deranged ex-congressman is again merely a foil for attacks on the Democrats. Yesterday, the House passed a resolution directing the busy, busy ethics committee to investigate the handling of the Massa matter by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and their staff members.

Instigated by Minority Leader John Boehner, the renewed probe is meant to restore, in his words, the “broken bonds of trust” between Congress and the American people. So far, of course, there is no evidence that anyone in the congressional leadership violated that trust regarding Massa’s misconduct. But the ethics committee will have ample opportunity to uncover and examine any such evidence between now and the deadline for its report on June 30.

In the meantime, Boehner’s indignant-sounding resolution provides a reason to recall his own behavior during the Mark Foley scandal. On the day that Foley resigned in September 2006 after media exposure of his suggestive communications with House pages, Pelosi — then the Minority Leader — brought a resolution to the floor demanding that the ethics committee begin an immediate investigation, with a preliminary report due 10 days later. Her resolution directed the committee to find out "when the Republican leadership was notified [of Foley’s misconduct with a former House page] and what corrective action was taken."

But Boehner, then the Majority Leader, blocked that resolution, and the House referred the matter instead to the ethics committee, which met in October to decide what to do. The committee — then overseen by the Republican leadership’s pliant handpicked chairman Doc Hastings — did not complete its report until early December (after the blowout midterm election that returned the Democrats to the majority).
Malkin and Fox's point of view is crystal clear - when a Republican is a pervert, make excuses. When a Democrat crosses an ethical line - he and all Democrats are to be demonized even if the truth has to be sacrificed to do so. Too bad we do not have a national committee that investigates violations of journalistic ethics - Malkin and Fox "reporters" would have to get real jobs.

Day after day patriotic Americans are asking why conservatives like Malkin and Fox News hate America. They've made millions pretending to be reporters. One would think they'd would be thankful and more respectful of American ideals and opportunities.

Church Uses Marquee To Speak Out Against Beck: ‘Sorry Mr Beck, Jesus Preached Social Justice’

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why Do Conservative Scum Like Karl Rove Hate America

Rove's Anti-America Anti-Health Care Reform Editorial Is Full of Deranged Lies
In a March 11 Wall Street Journal editorial, Fox News Contributor Karl Rove falsely claimed that the Senate health care bill has "abortion-funding language," adds to the deficit and contains no immediate benefits. In fact, the Senate bill prohibits federal funding of abortion, contains numerous immediate benefits, and, according to the Congressional Budget Office, reduces the deficit.
Rove: Senate bill funds abortion, adds to the deficit, and doesn't provide immediate benefits

Rove: Senate bill contains "abortion funding language." In a March 11 Wall Street Journal editorial, Rove falsely suggested the Senate bill allowed for federal funding of abortion. Rove wrote, "Pro-life House Democrats are deeply disturbed by the Senate abortion-funding language."

* The Senate health care reform bill as passed states that if a "qualified health plan" offered under the health insurance exchange provides coverage of abortion services for which public funding is banned, "the issuer of the plan shall not use any amount attributable" to the subsidies created under the bill "for purposes of paying for such services."

Senate bill establishes a separate premium to segregate funds used to pay for abortions from federal funds. The Senate bill as passed further requires issuers to "collect from each enrollee" in plans that cover abortions a "separate payment" for "an amount equal to the actuarial value of the coverage of" abortion services. This value must be at least $1 per enrollee, per month. All such funds are deposited into a separate account used by the issuer to pay for abortion services; federal funds and the remaining premium payments are used to pay for all other services.

Current law allows for Medicaid to provide coverage for abortions restricted by Hyde by using similar fund segregation. According to a November 1, 2009, study by the Guttmacher Institute, 17 states provide coverage under Medicaid for "all or most medically necessary abortions," not just abortions in cases of life endangerment, rape, and incest. Those states "us[e] their own funds" -- not federal funds -- "to pay" for the procedures. Therefore, in 17 states, Medicaid, a federally subsidized health care program, covers abortions in circumstances in which federal money is prohibited from being spent on abortion.
CBO: Senate health care bill will lower the deficit

CBO: Senate bill yields "a net reduction in federal deficits of $132 billion" over 10 years. On December 19, 2009, CBO reported of the Senate bill incorporating the manager's amendment:

CBO and JCT estimate that the direct spending and revenue effects of enacting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act incorporating the manager's amendment would yield a net reduction in federal deficits of $132 billion over the 2010-2019 period.

CBO: Over second 10 years, Senate bill would save "between one-quarter percent and one-half percent of GDP." In a December 20, 2009, letter amending the December 19 report, CBO director Douglas Elmendorf wrote:

All told, CBO expects that the legislation, if enacted, would reduce federal budget deficits over the decade after 2019 relative to those projected under current law -- with a total effect during that decade that is in a broad range between one-quarter percent and one-half percent of GDP.

Numerous benefits from Senate health care bill would "be available in the first year after enactment" of the bill

Senate Democrats note "Immediate Benefits" of health care bill. Despite Rove's suggestion, according to a document put forth by Senate Democrats summarizing the "Immediate Benefits" of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the bill includes numerous benefits that would "be available in the first year after enactment" of the bill. The benefits include "access to affordable coverage for the uninsured with pre-existing conditions," "access to quality care for vulnerable populations," "no pre-existing coverage exclusions for children," "re-insurance for retiree health benefit plans," "closing the coverage gap in the Medicare (Part D) Drug Benefit," "small business tax credits," "ensuring value for premium payments," protection of "patients' choice of doctors," "prohibiting insurers from requiring prior authorization before" a "woman sees an ob-gyn," "ensuring access to emergency care," "extension of dependent coverage for young adults," "coverage of prevention and wellness benefits"; "free, annual wellness visit" for Medicare beneficiaries," a prohibition on "insurers from imposing lifetime limits on benefits," "restricted annual limits on coverage," and prohibiting "insurers from rescinding insurance when claims are filed," among other immediate benefits.
Patriotic Americans might want to contact the Wall Street Journal and ask them why they constantly publish false and anti-American diatribes from unhinged conservative loons like Karl Rove.

Glenn Beck's War on America's Progressive Values

Glenn Beck and the war on progressives

Wake up, America, there's a new, dangerous threat on the horizon: progressives. You may have heard about them if you've been paying attention to the right sources. They come from the 1920s, they're basically socialists -- or maybe fascists -- and they're here to steal your country.

A generation after Ronald Reagan and his allies turned "liberal" into an epithet, conservatives are going after the term many Democrats adopted in its place. Glenn Beck and his paranoid Fox News Channel ranting is just at the forefront of what appears to be a movement to demonize the word "progressive," in hopes of scaring voters away from the left. "Progressivism is the cancer in America, and it is eating our Constitution," Beck told thousands of adoring fans at the conservative CPAC conference last month. "And it was designed to eat the Constitution. To 'progress' past the Constitution." The National Review ran a whole special issue on progressives in December; staff writer Jonah Goldberg even published a book on the subject, "Liberal Fascism," two years ago. The latest ad for Liz Cheney's new group, Keep America Safe, prominently features Attorney General Eric Holder declaring that progressives are about to run the nation -- before seguing, sharply, into asking whether Holder's pals share the values of al-Qaida.

Of course, "progressive" also happens to be the way nearly every Democratic lawmaker, activist and politician describes him- or herself these days. There is, for example, the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the House and Senate; and the Center for American Progress, a think tank; and the Progressive Democrats of America, a liberal group. Which means all the scary rhetoric on the right -- if it goes unanswered -- could do exactly what it's intended to do: make Democrats seem like the enemy.

The bad-mouthing of the word "progressive" hasn't quite reached the fever pitch that the Reaganite bashing of liberals did. After the culture wars of the 1960s and the backlash of the 1970s, "liberalism" had developed such a bad rap that throwing the word around was like political Kryptonite for Democrats. By the end of the Reagan era, Republican adman Arthur Finklestein was helping his clients win elections simply by calling their opponents liberals. (Former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo was unseated in 1994 by then-state Sen. George Pataki, using the slogan: "Too liberal for too long.") At the time, Bill Clinton and his ideological friends at the Democratic Leadership Council got a lot of attention for finding a way to move past the old definition, which got bogged down in cultural politics and Reaganite slurs about "welfare queens," and claiming to represent a new type of Democrat.

"On the left, cold-war liberals and neoliberals were not what anyone wanted to be, and the right had done a job on 'the liberal elite,' the 'tax-and-spend liberals,' etc.," says George Lakoff, a Berkeley linguistics professor who has consulted with Democratic leaders on how different words can affect political battles. "So many of us went to 'progressive.'"

That seems to have worked. A few years ago, a Rasmussen poll found 39 percent of voters reacted negatively to calling a politician "liberal," compared to only 18 percent for "progressive." Just a couple of months ago, the Des Moines Register's Iowa Poll found 42 percent of Iowans -- including 15 percent of Iowa Republicans -- considered themselves progressive.

There's a solid history behind the term that appealed to many Democrats, as well. The Progressive Era brought America, among other innovations, direct election of senators; the right for women to vote; antitrust regulations and the first limits on corporate power; child labor laws; the eight-hour workday; and national parks. "Folks at [the Center for American Progress] clearly identify with the animating values and spirit of the original Progressive Era," says John Halpin, co-director of CAP's Progressive Studies Program. "This is not a dodge, it's a proud association."

But listen to Beck, or read the sources of his paranoia, and there's a far more sinister history involved. Progressives, in Beck's telling, were the prototypical European authoritarians, tied just as closely to fascists and Communists; the progressive notion that government could help change things for the better (instead of just staying out of the way of the free market) becomes the ideological glue that unites those two disparate movements. "Where did the progressives go, where did they come from?" Beck asked at CPAC. "All of a sudden, I'm not a liberal, I'm a progressive. It was the opposite a hundred years ago. I'm not a progressive, I'm a liberal. I mean they keep -- they keep changing their names. Every time they wake America up to their policies, they have to change their names. What are they going to be next, the Royal Order of the Orange? It doesn't matter. They're running out of names." Not long after that, he went on a long tangent praising Calvin Coolidge. At times, Beck really does seem to want to go back to a time before the Progressive Era. On Wednesday's show, he scoffed at the notion of national parks and monuments, asking -- dead seriously -- why the country doesn't just drill for oil in all of them to wipe out the national debt.

The net effect of most of his rhetoric, though, just adds up to a spooky conspiracy theory that's hard to follow because it jumps around so much. "It mixes up these abstract ideas of the original Progressives with notions of European fascists and socialists and Communists -- it lumps them all up and they all sound bad," Halpin says. "They never actually repudiate any of the key advances of the Progressives that most people take for granted today." In Beck's version of history, the Founding Fathers come out as the heroes for fighting against the Progressives -- never mind that they predated them by over a century. "They just have this, 'We're going to vaguely associate with fuzzy good things, and we're going to bad-mouth things that sound like they're evil,'" Halpin says.

But instead of sitting back and letting "progressive" become the next American political boogieman -- like what happened to "liberal" -- some Democrats want to fight back. "This is the big fight about the role of government and markets," says Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America's Future (who also says he's proud to call himself a progressive, because of the original economic populism of the Progressive Era). "People need a clear narrative about how we drove off a cliff, and what we need to do to get off of it, and it has to relate to a set of ideas about how we got off the cliff." That's where laying out a progressive agenda -- and explicitly identifying the conservative agenda as opposed to it -- would help.

After all, it's one thing to spin conspiracy theories and imply that your opponents are goose-stepping Nazi Communists hell-bent on seizing all private property. It's another thing altogether to have a debate over whether to abolish the weekend, or go back to the pre-"Jungle" days of no meat inspection. Last time conservatives went after the term Democrats used to define themselves, the damage lasted a generation. Progressives may laugh at Glenn Beck now, but if his assertions keep going unchallenged, they might not be smiling for long.
Reprinted for educational purposes. For more information on the history of right-wing extremists rhetoric - similar to what Beck, Limbaugh, Cheney, Coulter, O'Reilly, Palin, James Dobson and Rev. Pat Robertson use today - may find this site helpful - see the special series of articles on the left side.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

March 2010 The State of Conservatism - Serial Liars and Unhinged Idiots

Bush former Chief of Staff and life long hater of Democracy and American values Karl Rove has written a book. In case anyone did not memorize the lies, distortions and opinions based on little voices inside Karl's head - Going Rove: Courage and Consequence is full of falsehoods
1. Rove distorts Senate report to claim Bush didn't "lie us into the war"

2. Rove falsehood: Obama claims "Obamacare would not add to the deficit ... evidence shows just the opposite"

3. Rove revives tired smear that Gore wrongly said "that he had created the Internet"

4. Rove revives Gore-Love Story smear

5. Rove falsehood: Gore said he had "discovered the Love Canal chemical disaster"

6. Rove pals around with falsehood that Ayers was "Obama's great friend"

7. Rove wrong on number of presidents who left office by "assassination or resignation"
Conservatives take another page out of the communist Joesph Stalin's playbook. Make accusations that have no merit. Yell them loud and often, Conservative media cast Democrats as "suicide bombers" in push for health care reform

Reacting to progress on health care reform legislation, conservative media figures have repeatedly referred to President Obama and Democratic officials as "health care suicide bombers" and characterized their efforts to pass a bill as "a kamizake mission" and "political suicide missions."
Darn I guess we'll all have to head up to the greeting card store and buy a goodbye card for the Republican draft dodger drug addict, Limbaugh vows to flee the country if health care passes. Limbaugh has become a multi-millionaire from blowing hot air into a microphone. Most Americans think being honorable and truthful is a virtue, Limbaugh has a record of complete contempt for honorable behavior.

Study: 45,000 Americans die each year for lack of insurance

Obama Gets High Ratings on National Security

Poll: Obama Better Than Bush — On National Security And Terrorism
Striking findings buried in the new Democracy Corps poll:

When it comes to national security, do you think President Obama is doing better, worse, or about the same as President George W. Bush?

Total better: 39
Total worse: 31


When it comes to combating terrorism and handling terrorism suspects, do you think President Obama is doing better, worse, or about the same as President George W. Bush?

Total better: 38
Total worse: 31

So Obama is rated better than Bush on national security and terrorism and the handling of terror suspects — despite the fact that the Cheneyites have been arguing for months that by undoing Bush policies, Obama has made us less safe.

The poll also finds that Obama retains a high 58% approval rating on national security and 55% on terrorism.
Liz Cheney, Bill Kristol and "Keep America Safe"? are losing the support of even far far Right conservatives, Cheneyites Lose Stimson, Rivkin, Casey in al-Qaeda Shark-Jump

David Rivkin and Lee Casey are an op-ed-writing team of former GOP legal officials who defend practically every terrorism-related policy pushed by the Bush administration. Here they are saying that warrantless surveillance “has always been on firm legal ground.” Here they are saying that the Justice Department and CIA torture memos somehow prove “the actual techniques used… did not cause severe pain or degradation.” Here they are saying that Congress can do practically nothing to stop a war aside from ceasing to appropriate money for it. Clearly they know something about implausible spin. And even they think the Cheneyites crossed a line by calling Justice Department lawyers who defended Guantanamo detainees the “al-Qaeda Seven.“

Ben Smith has a letter signed by a coalition of Republican legal mainstays, including Rivkin and Casey, denouncing Keep America Safe’s most recent ad, terming it “a shameful series of attacks” on people who upheld the “American tradition of zealous representation of unpopular clients [which] is at least as old as John Adams’s representation of the British soldiers charged in the Boston massacre.”

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Colbert Explains The O'Keefe and Big Government ACORN Video Deception

From Newshounds --Colbert Explains The ACORN Video Deception
Fox and their love for hating ACORN all got the Colbert treatment recently. All our faves except Beck got skewered: Doocy, Malkin, Coulter and Hannity. Best part: Colbert explains why James O’Keefe wasn’t really dressed like the pimp he pretended to be dressed as. “It was perfectly easy to explain. It was casual pimp Friday.”

Video at the link.

Conservatives Are an Embarrassment to America and Modern Civilization

Tenn. CEO compares Michelle Obama to chimpanzee
Many of Tennessee's leaders are angry that their state is once again front and center of a negative media spotlight.

"Who wants to come to a state where people think like that? This is far reaching and it's damaging," said District 3 Metro Council Member Walter Hunt.

This isn't the first e-mail sent by a Tennessee official since President Obama took office that smacks of racism.

RNC Fallout: 'Ashamed' donor closes checkbook

A prominent Evangelical figure and Republican donor says he will end his contributions to the organized Republican Party in reaction to the leaked fundraising presentation that advised using "fear" to solicit contributions and displayed an image of President Obama as the Joker from Batman.

Maddow uses Liz Cheney’s logic: Bush admin hired terrorist sympathizers
MSNBC talk show host Rachel Maddow commented for the second time this week on Liz Cheney's already infamous television ad attacking the so-called "Al-Qaeda 7."

The ad, produced by Cheney's conservative group Keep America Safe, suggests that lawyers who defend detainees accused of terrorism are lacking American values and specifically accuses seven lawyers hired by the Obama administration to serve in the justice department of sympathizing with terrorists.

In her show Friday night, Maddow followed that reasoning to its logical conclusion. Maddow gives three examples of lawyers who advocated for the rights of detainees before being hired by the Bush administration, including Pratik Shah, who argued in the defense of a Guantanamo prison detainee.

"So, did Bush and Cheney hire Pratik Shah to bring a terrorist sympathizer into the department of jihad — I mean justice?" she said.

The other two examples are Varda Hussain, who defended three Guantanamo detainees, and Trisha Anderson, who defended 13 Yemeni prisoners. Both were ultimately hired by the Bush administration.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Corporate Crime is Stealing More Than Street Criminals

Bill Black’s Top Ten Ways to Crack Down on Corporate Financial Crime

Ninety-five percent of criminologists study blue collar crime.

Five percent study white collar crime.

Of the tiny minority who study white collar crime, ninety five percent focus on the individuals who rip off the corporation.

We are left with a small handful of criminologists – think Edwin Sutherland, John Braithwaite, Gil Geis – who have studied or are studying – corporate crime.

That would be crime by the corporation.

Bill Black is one of the most prominent of those living corporate criminologists.

His specialty – control fraud.

Control fraud is when the CEO of a company uses the corporation as a weapon to commit fraud.

Bill Black is a lawyer and former federal bank regulator.

He’s the author of the corporate crime classic – The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One: How Corporate Executives and Politicians Looted the S&L Industry (University of Texas Press, 2005.)

Black says there are steps we can take as a society to control corporate crime – in particular financial crime.

In an interview with Corporate Crime Reporter last week, Black laid out his top ten.

Number ten: Hire 1,000 FBI agents.

Pass legislation (HR 3995) introduced by Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur that would fund the hiring of 1,000 FBI agents to investigate white collar crime.

Number nine: Appoint a chief criminologist at each of the financial regulatory agencies.

“Each agency needs someone who understands white collar crime,” Black said. “If you don’t understand fraud schemes, if you don’t understand how accounting is used to run these scams, you will always have a disaster in the making.”

Number eight: Fix executive compensation.

Black would tie executive bonuses to long term corporate performance.

Number seven: Target the top 100 corporate criminals.

“We need to do a top 100 priority list – the way it was done in the savings and loan crisis,” Black said. “The FBI, the Justice Department and the regulatory agencies got together and put together a list of top 100 companies to target. There was a recognition that these were control frauds. The top executives were using seemingly legitimate savings and loans as their weapons of fraud. And that is why any serious look will tell you the same thing about this most recent crisis as well. The criminal justice referral process has collapsed at the agencies.”

Number six: Regulate first.

“When you desupervise or deregulate an industry, in fact you are decriminalizing control fraud. The regulators are the ones who make the bulk of these cases. I’m not saying they can do it alone. In the current crisis, the FBI had no meaningful support from the regulators. You have regulators denying they were regulators and saying that there could be no fraud because the rating agencies were handing out high ratings. That kind of naivete is ideologically driven. You will not have effective prosecution with that kind of regulatory regime.”

Number five: Bust up the FBI partnership with the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Now we have the FBI standing with what it calls its partners – the Mortgage Bankers Association,” Black said. “But the Mortgage Bankers Association – that’s the trade association of the perps. So, the FBI is partnering with the perps.”

“The result is – we have seen zero prosecutions of the specialty non-prime lenders that caused the crisis,” Black said. “The mortgage bankers are going to position themselves as the victims. This has been so successful that the FBI now has a mantra. They are saying there are two kinds of mortgage fraud. Fraud for profit and fraud for housing. And neither of them is control fraud. They have effectively said – control fraud is impossible. Even though it was the entire story behind the savings and loan crisis, the Enron wave, and the creation of the most recent housing bubble.”

Number four: Get rid of Ben Bernanke as chair of the Fed. Replace him with Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz.

“Ben Bernanke should not have been reappointed as head of the Fed,” Black said. “He was the most senior regulator. And he was an utter failure. Under President Bush, he was President of the Council of Economic Advisors. So, he was a failure as a regulator. And he was a failure as an economist.”

Number three: Get rid of too big to fail.

There are about 20 banks that have assets of $100 billion or more. They are considered too big to fail. “You do three things,” Black says. “First, you stop them from growing. Second, you shrink them (to below $20 billion in assets.) You create the tax and regulatory incentives where they have to shrink below the level where they pose a systemic risk. And third, you regulate them much more intensively while they are in the process of moving from a systemically dangerous institution to a more leaner, smaller, more efficient, less dangerous institution.”

Number two: Create a consumer financial protection agency headed by Harvard Law School professor Elizabeth Warren.

“The sine qua non for success as a regulator is independence,” Black says. “So, it’s a very bad sign that Congress is moving away from an independent regulator.”

“As we speak, news is breaking that they are moving away from housing the regulator at the Treasury Department. Now they are talking about putting it at the Federal Reserve. The Fed is an independent regulator. Unfortunately, it’s an independent anti-regulator. I called putting it at the Treasury a sick joke. Putting it at the Fed is also a sick joke. They are both recipes for failure.”

Number one: Fire Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, Office of Thrift Supervision chief John Bowman, Fed chief regulator Patrick Parkinson, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency Chief John Dugan.

“Tim Geithner was testifying before Congress a couple of years ago,” Black said. “And in response to a question from Ron Paul (R-Texas), Geithner said – ‘I have to stop you right there – I’ve never been a regulator.’ Well, that’s true. But you are not supposed to admit it.”

“Can you imagine. This is the President of the New York Fed, testifying about the greatest failure in banking in the history of the nation. And he is so completely out of it – the mindset of capture is so complete, that he says – I’ve never been a regulator. This is the ultimate capture. You don’t even think of yourself as a regulator.”
“Ben Bernanke in October 2009 appointed Patrick Parkinson as the top supervisor at the Fed,” Black said. “He’s the guy who, under Alan Greenspan, led the Fed charge against Brooksley Born when she wanted to regulate credit default swaps.”

“Patrick Parkinson, on behalf of the Fed, testified that credit default swaps should be left completely deregulated.”

“The reasons? If we regulate them, they will flee to the city of London. We should be so lucky, of course.”

“And two, fraud can’t happen in credit default swaps, because the participants are so sophisticated. This is the most astonishingly naive model of white collar crime by people who know nothing about white collar crime and don’t study it at all.”

“John Dugan’s sole priority and all of his passion as OCC director has been pre-empting state efforts to protect us from predatory lenders,” Black said.
“And John Bowman should be fired,” Black said. “The OTS got in bed with the industry most openly.”

Yes There is an American Taliban. Run By Conservative Christians.

Christian Hate Group ‘Repent Amarillo’ Terrorizes Texas Town, Harassing Gays, Liberals, And Other ‘Sinners’

An evangelical Christian hate group called “Repent Amarillo” is reportedly terrorizing the town of Amarillo, Texas. Repent fashions itself as a sort of militia and targets a wide range of community members they deem offensive to their theology: gays, liberal Christians, Muslims, environmentalists, breast cancer events that do not highlight abortion, Halloween, “spring break events,” and pornography shops. On its website, Repent has posted a “Warfare Map” of its enemies in town.

Calling Repent an “American Taliban,” blogger Charles Johnson notes that the group’s moniker “Army of God” is a rough translation of “Hezbollah.” Led by a man named David Grisham, a security guard at a nuclear-bomb facility called Pantex, Repent first gained media attention in Texas following a campaign to boycott Houston for electing a gay mayor. The group, which is associated with Raven Ministries, collaborates with other Christian groups as well as forced pregnancy advocacy associations like “Bound 4 Life.”
I wouldn't call these conservative Republican Christians Nazis, only they seem to believe in a kind of eliminationism that was a hallmark of fascists ideology.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Conservatives Do have Values. They Are Just Abhorrent Values

Leslie Marshall Pushes Back Against the Elitist Attitudes of O'Reilly and Dana Loesch . . . Why Fund Education, Can't Save the Kids Anyway

Arrogant Scumbag Jim Bunning (R-KY) Accepts Deal On Jobless Benefits

Kentucky Republican Jim Bunning relented on Tuesday evening, freeing the Senate to approve stopgap legislation extending for another month a host of programs, including highway funding, health insurance subsidies for the unemployed and benefits for the long-term jobless. That gives Congress time to consider the far larger measure covering most of the same programs.

But the daunting price tag on the longer-term measure guarantees more complications and an even rougher path through the Senate than experienced by the bill passed Tuesday.

Bunning held up action for days, causing the government to furlough highway workers and allowing some unemployment benefits to expire.
Quick Fact: Former Bush White House Chief of Sleaze Karl Rove falsely claims Dems are "changing the rules midstream" by using reconciliation

Asking if the Democrats using the "changing, shifting term" reconciliation will "help," Sean Hannity prompted former Bush aide Karl Rove to falsely claim that Democrats are "changing the rules midstream" by using reconciliation to pass health care reform legislation. In fact, reconciliation is a process that has repeatedly been used to pass legislation, including several major tax cuts under Bush.