What's the difference between James O'Keefe, who made national headlines with his ACORN undercover video, and ACORN? O'Keefe is a criminal and ACORN is not. Yesterday O'Keefe pleaded guilty to charges of entering federal property under false pretenses when he attempted to embarrass Senator Mary Landrieu because of her support for the health care legislation. O'Keefe, along with three co-defendants, said their goal was to show that the Senator's office phones were working, yet people opposed to health care reform could not get through to register their opinions. He was sentenced to three years probation, 100 hours of community service, and a $1,500 fine.Andrew Breitbart's Big Government put up the doctored tales as fact. One would think his genuflecting flowers would pause and ask themsleves how much of the "news stories" Breitbart runs are fact based, rather than manufactured lies. Such critical thinking is not to be found at Breitbart'ss sites. Readers seem like well trained little authoritarians.
Despite numerous official investigations and innuendos by the extremists, like Republicans Rep. Darrell Issa (CA), the Ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, ACORN has never been convicted of a crime. Issa released a report in 2009 falsely accusing ACORN of hiding "behind a paper wall of nonprofit corporate protections to conceal a criminal conspiracy ... to manipulate the American electorate."
A related story has emerged concerning O'Keefe and New Yorker magazine. I love the New Yorker, read it every week, and once believed its well-earned reputation for fact checking. But then I read Rebecca Mead's story in the May 24 issue about Andrew Breitbart, the right wing media provocateur. Breitbart had advised conservative activists O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, a young journalism student and the daughter of a conservative Christian minister, on how and when to release their provocative gotcha video tapes many of you have seen. They purport to show ACORN staffers across the country giving illegal advice to O'Keefe and Giles who disguised themselves as a pimp and prostitute.
Mead reported the incident this way:
"Breitbart's biggest scoop thus far has been a series of videos made by ... James O'Keefe, which was posted on Big Government last September. O'Keefe, along with Hannah Giles...travelled across the nation and entered several offices of Acorn, the community-organizing association, with a hidden camera; they posed as a pimp and a prostitute who were seeking housing and business help."
Mead then vividly describes what occurred in one ACORN office:
"In a visit to an Acorn office in Baltimore, O'Keefe and Giles politely introduced themselves as having 'kind of a unique life situation.' As Acorn employees solicitously offered them routine small-business advice (file a 1099 tax form, look for deductions), O'Keefe and Giles slowly revealed what their unique life situation entailed, then presented an unorthodox business plan: to smuggle a number of underage Salvadoran girls into the country, with the goal of sexually enslaving them. The Acorn employees were, alarmingly, unalarmed by the proposal. 'My job is not to judge people,' one of them told O'Keefe and Giles."
What is wrong with this picture?
O'Keefe's tapes were misleading, doctored, and edited, yet reported as fact by the right wing press as well as CNN, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, and now the New Yorker.
O'Keefe never posed as a pimp when he talked to ACORN staffers. He presented himself as a friend, or boyfriend, or a colleague of Giles, who was posing as the prostitute. O'Keefe wore a dress shirt and Khakis when he entered ACORN offices, and later spliced in shots of himself wearing the pimp outfit in the final videos to make it appear that he had worn them in the meetings with ACORN. To sensationalize the tape, O'Keefe dressed up in cartoonish pimp garb for the bumpers shown on television. The outlandish costume aimed to make ACORN's African-American intake staff look like buffoons. Despite O'Keefe's refusal to release the original, unedited footage, the media would be duped into erroneously reporting or suggesting that O'Keefe pretended to be her pimp.
ACORN's Baltimore office was just one of ten O'Keefe and Giles entered. In most of the offices ACORN's staff turned the pair away, reported the couple to the police, refused to provide them any aid, and in one case tried to convince the phony prostitute to get counseling. In no ACORN office did employees file any paperwork on the duo's behalf.
Independent investigations of the incident by the former Attorney General of Massachusetts, the Brooklyn District Attorney, California's Attorney General, a federal district court, the Congressional Research Office concluded that ACORN had done nothing illegal, the tapes were doctored, and O'Keefe never posed as a pimp inside ACORN's offices. In an interview with the Washington Independent, Giles admitted that the images of O'Keefe in an outlandish pimp outfit were edited in later. While Mead conceded that the tapes did not expose endemic corruption at ACORN or any evidence of any actual wrongdoing by Baltimore employees, her piece left the overall impression there was something very wrong at ACORN.
Further, like so many other media stories about ACORN, you don't learn anything about the group, besides the scandal. Meade supplies just one fact; ACORN is a "community-organizing association." Was it an effective one? Is the group large, small, new, old? What else did ACORN do besides provide advice? Was it similar to other groups? Why did Breitbart go after ACORN? What is a community organizing association? What is the context for the controversy besides involving Breitbart?
Mead does not report that several scholars say ACORN, a predominately African-American group, is one of the most effective anti-poverty groups in the country and that it had office in more than 700 neighborhoods of 70 cities across the country. Its 400,000 dues paying low and moderated income members successfully fought banks that engaged in predatory lending, employers that paid poverty wages, and developers that gentrified low-income neighborhoods.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Andrew Breitbart's Fake ACORN Pimp Pleads Guilty; the New Yorker Adds its Voice to the Anti-ACORN Story
Andrew Breitbart's Fake ACORN Pimp Pleads Guilty; the New Yorker Adds its Voice to the Anti-ACORN Story
Fox News’s Mad, Apocalyptic, Tearful Rising Star
“You are not alone,” Glenn Beck likes to say. For the disaffected and aggrieved Americans of the Obama era, he could not have picked a better rallying cry.More here, Glenn Beck Declares War
Mr. Beck, an early-evening host on the Fox News Channel, is suddenly one of the most powerful media voices for the nation’s conservative populist anger. Barely two months into his job at Fox, his program is a phenomenon: it typically draws about 2.3 million viewers, more than any other cable news host except Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity, despite being on at 5 p.m., a slow shift for cable news.
With a mix of moral lessons, outrage and an apocalyptic view of the future, Mr. Beck, a longtime radio host who jumped to Fox from CNN’s Headline News channel this year, is capturing the feelings of an alienated class of Americans.
In an interview, Mr. Beck, who recently rewatched the 1976 film “Network,” said he identified with the character of Howard Beale, the unhinged TV news anchorman who declares on the air that he is “mad as hell.”
“I think that’s the way people feel,” Mr. Beck said. “That’s the way I feel.” In part because of Mr. Beck, Fox News — long identified as the favored channel for conservatives and Republican leaders — is enjoying a resurgence just two months into Mr. Obama’s term. While always top-rated among cable news channels, Fox’s ratings slipped during the long Democratic primary season last year. Now it is back on firm footing as the presumptive network of the opposition, with more than 1.2 million viewers watching at any given time, about twice as many as CNN or MSNBC.
While Mr. O’Reilly, the 8 p.m. host, paints himself as the outsider and Mr. Hannity, at 9, is more consistently ideological, Mr. Beck presents himself as a revivalist in a troubled land.
He preaches against politicians, hosts regular segments titled “Constitution Under Attack” and “Economic Apocalypse,” and occasionally breaks into tears.
Michael Smerconish, a fellow syndicated talk show host, said that Mr. Beck “has a gift for touching the passion nerve.”
Tapping into fear about the future, Mr. Beck also lingers over doomsday situations; in a series called “The War Room” last month he talked to experts about the possibility of global financial panic and widespread outbreaks of violence. He challenged viewers to “think the unthinkable” so that they would be prepared in case of emergency.
“The truth is — that you are the defender of liberty,” he said. “It’s not the government. It’s not an army or anybody else. It’s you. This is your country.”
And always, Mr. Beck’s emotions are never far from the surface. “That’s good dramatic television,” said Phil Griffin, the president of a Fox rival, MSNBC. “That’s who Glenn Beck is.”
Mr. Beck says he believes every word he says on his TV show, and the radio show that he still hosts from 9 a.m. to noon each weekday.
He says that America is “on the road to socialism” and that “God and religion are under attack in the U.S.” He recently wondered aloud whether FEMA was setting up concentration camps, calling it a rumor that he was unable to debunk.
At the same time, though, he says he is an entertainer. “I’m a rodeo clown,” he said in an interview, adding with a coy smile, “It takes great skill.”
And like a rodeo clown, Mr. Beck incites critics to attack by dancing in front of them.
“There are absolutely historical precedents for what is happening with Beck,” said Tom Rosenstiel, the director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism. “There was a lot of radio evangelism during the Depression. People were frustrated and frightened. There are a lot of scary parallels now.”
John Avlon reports from Glenn Beck's rambling CPAC keynote, in which the ultra-conservative talk sensation declared progressivism a "cancer" to be defeated, and compared America to a recovering alcoholic—like himself.
Glenn Beck’s closing keynote to CPAC was a rambling culmination of the conference's themes—a unified field theory of political philosophy that could be boiled down to this bumper sticker: Everything Bad in America is the Progressives’ Fault.
Glenn Beck declared war on “the cancer of progressivism” last night—and traced its persistent rot back to any 20th-century U.S. president not named Coolidge or Reagan.
In Bad Beck’s worldview, there’s not much room for civic debate between conservatives and progressives. It sounds like it’s time for a pogrom.
Like surprise straw-poll winner Ron Paul, Beck placed special blame on both Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, re-opening a musty century-old grudge match that allowed him to criticize both Democrats and Republicans for being too liberal. In this selective narrative, the only path to truth is doctrinaire conservatism.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Glenn Beck Has The Values of a True Christian Patriot
In a Washington Post op-ed last month, Simon Greer — the president and CEO of Jewish Funds for Justice, an organization that helps people achieve social and economic security by investing in healthy neighborhoods — bluntly rebuked Glenn Beck for his war against social justice.Beck seems to have made some kind of Faustian deal with the Devil. He says or does anything that will keep bringing in the tens of millions of dollars his half wit followers spend on his advertisers, books, tapes, videos and speaking engagements. Beck seems to think selling his soul ,or honor if you prefer the secular version, is worth it as long as he has a McMansion and elite lifestyle.
“Mr. Beck, you are a con man and America is not buying it,” Greer wrote. “When churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship across this country advocate for social justice, advocate for the common good, advocate for America, they, and we, walk in God’s path.”
Yesterday on his radio station, Beck responded the only way he knows how — with hyperbolic, extreme rhetoric referencing Nazi imagery. Beck said that Greer’s advocacy for the common good and social justice “leads to death camps.” “A Jew, of all people, should know that,” Beck added. “This is exactly the kind of talk that led to the death camps in Germany.” (Media Matters has the audio.)
After hearing Beck’s radical rant, Greer responded with this statement yesterday afternoon:
Glenn Beck has a history of recklessly invoking Nazi Germany and the Holocaust in order to advance his political agenda. But never before has Beck accused Jews – including survivors of the Holocaust and their children and grandchildren – of paving the way for fascism. Through his comments, Beck has demonstrated that he has no idea what leads to fascism. Jews and others, who were victims of the Holocaust, do not have the luxury of his ignorance.
Beck’s reflexive hatred for government is rejected by Americans of all backgrounds, who have seen the powerful role government can play in providing us with greater freedom, security, and opportunity. I am proud of the work we do at Jewish Funds for Justice, where our belief that we are all made in the image of the divine compels us to petition private enterprise, charities, and yes, the government, to do their part to ensure our shared divinity.
Just last month, Beck was deploring the use of Nazi comparisons when invoked to describe the anti-immigrant Arizona law. “You’re out of your mind!” Beck said of those drawing such parallels. But as many have noted, throwing out Nazi comparisons is specialty of Beck’s. Mocking Beck’s Nazi obsession, Comedy Central’s Lewis Black commented, “Glenn Beck has Nazi Tourette’s.”
Sadly for Republicans, the Stimulus Stimulated
"You can fool some of the people some of the time, and that's our target market." Judging from the rhetoric of House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), that's the Republican mantra when it comes to the Obama recovery package. Nine months after Boehner wrongly decried a "stimulus bill that didn't create any jobs," his web site crowed about a Pew Research Survey showing "Nearly two-thirds of Americans do not believe the $787 billion stimulus package the president passed last year has helped create jobs." Unfortunately for John Boehner and the myth-makers of the GOP, the numbers show not only that the stimulus stimulated, but, as the Wall Street Journal acknowledged, the "economic effect of the stimulus [was] bigger than projected."Republicans can always try running on the immigrants are hiding under your bed platform. Or they could promise to repeal the stimulus and take away those jobs because they didn't like Obama repairing the damage they worked so hard to cause for eight years. Or they could just run as the bed wetting fear mongers that conjured up those imaginary WMDs in Iraq. The possibilities are endless. Well, except Republicans in 2010 and 2012 will not run on ideas and solutions because as usual they don't have any.
That's the word from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The inescapable conclusion of the program's success is detailed in the CBO's assessment of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for the first quarter of 2010. As the Journal summed it up:
The $800 billion U.S. stimulus package has had a slightly bigger effect on the U.S. economy than was projected when it was passed more than a year ago, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Tuesday.
Through the first quarter of 2010, the stimulus boosted employment by an estimated 1.3 million to 2.8 million jobs, about a quarter or half million more than projected. Gross domestic product was 1.7 to 4.1 percentage points higher than it would have been without the stimulus, the nonpartisan budget office said.
Harkening back to President Obama's promise that ARRA would save or create 3.5 million jobs, the CBO projects that as many as "3.7 million American jobs could be attributed to the Recovery Act by the end of the September." As the Washington Monthly's Steve Benen put it, "There's a word to describe a recovery effort like this: success."
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Sestak "bribe"-gate: Judd Gregg did it first
Joe Sestak claims the White House offered him a job if he declined to run against Arlen Specter. The White House denies it. Darrell Issa, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee, has declared this a bribe and is demanding investigations. Yesterday, he even used the "I"-word.And darn the luck. Whenever Conservatives invent yet another fake scandal they must forget this little thing called the internet. Morris fabricates "impeachable offense" out of alleged Sestak job offer
Leaving aside the fact that the White House denies this ever happened, there's no way on Earth a vague "job offer" in exchange for leaving a Senate race constitutes a "bribe," let alone a violation of the law. If that's the case, we should probably appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether Sen. Judd Gregg committed extortion when he demanded that the White House force a Democratic governor to appoint a Republican to his seat if they wanted him to be their commerce secretary.
The White House gave in to his outrageous demands. And then Gregg backed out of the job after accepting it! Perhaps he should also be investigated for "breach of oral contract" or something, as long as we're in a special prosecutor-appointing mood.
Reagan adviser reportedly offered CA senator a job with the administration "if he decided not to seek re-election." A November 25, 1981, Associated Press article (from the Nexis database) reported that President Reagan's political adviser Ed Rollins planned to offer former California Sen. S.I. Hayakawa a job in the administration in exchange for not seeking re-election.Ronnie did it. Oh no, another myth shattered.
From the AP article:
Sen. S.I. Hayakawa on Wednesday spurned a Reagan administration suggestion that if he drops out of the crowded Republican Senate primary race in California, President Reagan would find him a job.
"I'm not interested," said the 75-year-old Hayakawa.
"I do not want to be an ambassador, and I do not want an administration post."
In an interview earlier this week, Ed Rollins, who will become the president's chief political adviser in January, said Hayakawa would be offered an administration post if he decided not to seek re-election. No offer has been made directly to Hayakawa, Rollins said.
Similarly, Hayakawa said in a statement, "I have not contacted the White House in regard to any administration or ambassadorial post, and they have not been in contact with me."
AP: "Ethics attorneys in Washington said such offers are common." A February 19 Associated Press article reported: "Ethics attorneys in Washington said such offers are common. Melanie Sloan, director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, described it as 'politics as usual.' "
Wash. Post: "This would hardly be the first administration" to offer a job to "clear the field." A May 25 Washington Post editorial critical of the Obama administration's response stated: "At the same time, of course, political considerations play a role in political appointments. This would hardly be the first administration to use appointments to try to clear the field for a favored candidate."
Legal experts dispute claims that a crime was committed.
Texas Governor Perry is such a cool conservative. On the one hand or with one face if you will, he has damned the Recovery Act. With his other face he has used it to balance the Texas budget, Stimulus-Critic Rick Perry Only Able To Balance His State’s Budget Because Of Stimulus
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Fox, Neil Cavuto and other right-wing extremists are telling the truth, but only if lies are the new truth, Fox's "$165 billion" "union bailout" is neither
Cavuto, Tatge falsely claim PBGC would take over obligations of existing employers. On his Fox Business program, Cavuto said that the bill "calls for the Pension Guaranty Benefit Corporation to take over the pension obligations of employers who have either underfunded their plans or who simply withdrawn too much money from those plans." On the same show, Forbes magazine's Mark Tatge said, "So the companies were supposed to pay premiums into this -- there's no tax dollars in this fund -- and the companies for many years have not paid in, or they have paid in at such a low rate that it does not cover the liabilities that are out there. ... You should send businesses a bill for this. Businesses should be billed."Fox, Cavuto and the usual crowd of right-wing members of the smiley-faced fascism movement seem to hate American workers and assume everyone that works for a living - factory assemblers, nurses, firemen, auto-workers, electricians and carpenters are lazy morons that don't deserve pensions, but they do believe corporate executives should make millions while contributing very little value to the economy.
[ ]...Purpose of PBGC is to take over insured pension plans when employers go bankrupt. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) is a federal corporation that insures private pension plans and takes over insured plans that go into default, such as when a company goes bankrupt. PBGC is not funded by general tax revenues; instead, it collects insurance premiums from employers that sponsor insured pension plans, earns money from investments and receives funds from pension plans it takes over. For instance, when appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. closed a plant, PBGC took over the pension plan for workers at the plant and negotiated an $11.7 million payment from Whirlpool to help fund the plan.
[ ]...Bill does not "bail out" unions -- it separates out employees of defunct firms and guarantees part of their benefits. Casey's bill would allow pension funds to "partition" former employees of defunct firms from those of active employers within the fund, helping to preserve solvency for the fund and preventing employers paying into the fund from having to pay for the benefits of workers they never employed. PGBC would then separately guarantee benefits for those former employees of bankrupt companies.
Palin suggests Obama oil ties impede spill cleanup - The White House responds by questioning her information about oil politics and policy.
Gibbs said, "My suggestion to Sarah Palin would be to get slightly more informed as to what's going on in and around oil drilling in this country."Palin has no incentive to stop lying or distorting facts. Palin has decided to live her life without honor and reportedly it is paying millions a year.
The oil and gas industry donated $2.4 million to Palin's running mate, Republican John McCain, in the 2008 election cycle, and nearly $900,000 to Obama, according to the Center for Responsive Politics' opensecrets.org website.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Anti-Government Man Jerry Kane Jr., Teenage Son Reportedly Killed Police In Deadly Shootout
An Ohio man's resentment of authority and run-ins with the law was enough for a local sheriff to warn that he could be dangerous if confronted by law enforcement. Years later, the sheriff appears right: The man and his teenage son are suspected of fatally shooting two Arkansas police officers during a traffic stop before they died in a shootout.Kane is another in a increasingly long line of deranged violent Republican zealots that includes Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, Eric Rudolph and Scott Roeder.
Jerry Kane Jr., 45, of Forest, Ohio, and his son Joseph Kane, believed to be 16, were killed during an exchange of gunfire with officers in a Walmart parking lot, Arkansas State Police said Friday.
The shootings came about 90 minutes after West Memphis police Sgt. Brandon Paudert, 39, and Officer Bill Evans, 38, were attacked with AK-47 assault rifles after they stopped a minivan on Interstate 40 in West Memphis on Thursday, authorities said.
Jerry Kane, who had a long history with police, used the Internet to question federal and local governments' authority over him and held debt-elimination seminars around the country. He recently complained about being busted at a "Nazi checkpoint" near Carrizozo, N.M., where court records show he spent three days in jail before posting a $1,500 bond on charges of driving without a license and concealing his identity.
Sheriff Gene Kelly in Clark County, Ohio, said he issued a warning to law enforcement about Kane in July 2004, after Kane said a judge tried to "enslave" him when he was sentenced to six days of community service for driving with an expired license plate and no seat belt. Kane claimed he was a "free man" and asked for $100,000 per day in gold or silver, Kelly said.
"After listening to this man for almost 30 minutes, I feel that he is expecting and prepared for confrontations with any law enforcement officer that may come in contact with him," Kelly wrote in his warning to officers.
Kelly told The Associated Press on Friday that he had been "very concerned about a potential confrontation and about his resentment of authority."
On an Internet radio show, hosted on a website that lets amateurs create their own shows and live discussions, Kane expressed outrage about his New Mexico arrest.
"I ran into a Nazi checkpoint in the middle of New Mexico where they were demanding papers or jail," he said. "That was the option. Either produce your papers or go to jail. So I entered into commerce with them under threat, duress and coercion, and spent 47 hours in there."
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Kane said he planned to file a counterclaim alleging kidnapping and extortion against those involved in his arrest and detention. Kane also said he had an officer sign a document that said the officer must pay for using Kane's name.
"I am now putting together an invoice for him for approximately $80,000 in gold for the eight times he used my name," Kane said on the radio show. "I already have done a background check on him. I found out where he lives, his address, his wife's name."
Mark Potok, who directs hate-group research at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said Kane had not been in the group's database before Thursday. But he said that was not surprising, given the "explosive growth" in the anti-government movement in recent years. With 363 new groups in 2009, there are now 512, Potok said.
Members of so-called patriot groups don't recognize the authority of the U.S. government and consider themselves sovereign citizens.
JJ MacNab, a Maryland-based insurance analyst who has testified before Congress on tax and financial scams, said she had been tracking Kane for about two years and that his business centered on debt-avoidance scams.
Potok said such scams are common in the sovereign citizen movement.
"He basically promised them they would never have to repay their mortgage or credit card debt," MacNab said.
Is Sarah Palin capable of a reasonable informed thought? Why does she portray herself as some kind of super patriot when all her thoughts are contrary to American values and ideals.
Libertarianism and Conservatism Sharpens Liberal Swords
Unka Karl Rove claims Bush ‘never’ let aides question Dems’ patriotism or motives
Former Bush political adviser Karl Rove has a unique talent for escaping the consequences of making transparently false statements."
Out and about on his book tour, the Bush administration's architect appears to have been in typical form at a Borders Books in Oklahoma City this week, telling a crowd that President Bush "never" allowed aides to name-call opponents or question their patriotism and motives.
However, Rove personally engaged in all of these on a regular basis during the Bush administration.
"President Bush, for example, never allowed a White House staffer or administration spokesman to go out and do what this administration and our predecessor routinely did — that is to engage in calling the leaders of the opposition party disparaging labels and question their motives," Rove said, according to reporter Bryan Dean with The Oklahoman.
"In fact, Rove and other members of the Bush administration were routinely critical of opponents to the Iraq war and questioned their patriotism, and Rove questioned the patriotism of first lady Michelle Obama in 2008 while her husband was seeking the Democratic nomination for president," Dean wrote.
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"Rove and other commentators criticized Michelle Obama in February 2008 when she said, 'For the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.' On Monday, Rove incorrectly attributed that quote to Barack Obama."
Another example of the Bush administration's actions contradicting Rove's recent claim is the Valerie Plame scandal, in which the administration sought to directly retaliate against prominent war critic Joe Wilson by outing his wife's status as a covert CIA agent working on nuclear non-proliferation efforts. RAW STORY later revealed that Plame was working in Iran, with intelligence sources claiming her outing caused "severe" damage to her undercover teams and hampered the CIA's efforts to keep tabs on Iran's nuclear program.
Rove's book, Courage and Consequence, has been lashed in the press as "a cherry-picking of history". According to reports, Rove's self-portrayal as an innocent victim hounded by Plame-case special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald overlooks the fact that it was he himself who let the "persecution" play out by not acknowledging at the time that he was the person who confirmed Plame's identity as a CIA agent to columnist Robert Novak.
Instead, he allowed press secretary Scott McClellan to lie on his behalf when the scandal broke and continued to let that lie stand over the next two years.
McClellan has since broken from his former colleagues and accuses Rove of "living in his own world."
"He's the only one that thinks that he was not involved in any effort to expose Valerie Plame's CIA employment," the former Bush press secretary told MSNBC. "He continues this cover story that 'I didn't know her name' and for that reason, he couldn't have leaked her name."
Rove was never indicted.
An even more flagrant example of Rove contradicting his statements in Oklahoma, Think Progress noted, came amid the 2008 campaigns, when "Rove cast doubt on now-President Obama’s patriotism by attacking him for not wearing a flag pin — even though Rove wasn’t wearing one at the time — and criticized Michelle Obama for not showing 'adequate enough' patriotism after she had given a lengthy speech professing her love of country.
Poor Karl is just playing by the smiley-faced fascism playbook of conservatism. To lie your country into a disastrous war is the worse kind of betrayal so Karl projects his complicity in treason on others.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Senate Passes Wall Street Reform Bill
By a vote of 59-39 tonight, the Senate passed sweeping legislation to tighten the rules governing the U.S. financial system.Conservatives love the nightly news segment that shows someone being foreclosed on or someone looking for work a year after losing their job to a recession largely caused by Conservative economic policy. It's their idea of comedy.
Four Republicans -- Sens. Scott Brown (R-MA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) -- joined with all but two Democrats, Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Russ Feingold (D-WI), who opposed the bill for not being more aggressive in reforming Wall Street. Sens. Robert Byrd (D-WV) and Arlen Specter (D-PA) didn't vote.
In the weeks ahead, House and Senate negotiators will meet in a formal conference committee to iron out the differences between this package, and the broadly similar bill the House adopted late last year. The Senate is expected to name their negotiators on Monday.
The outcome of the vote was in little doubt, after the Senate agreed by a similar margin to end debate on the legislation earlier this afternoon.
But the policy-making process each evolved in unexpected ways over the last several weeks, and in ways that largely redounded to the benefit of supporters of reform. In a sign of just how important politics can be to the legislative process, the bill has, over the course of the month-long floor fight, become stronger overall. So toxic are the optics of siding with Wall Street, that a number of progressive and popular amendments were adopted, many with bipartisan support. To many observers and experts the Senate's package is actually superior to the House-passed Wall Street reform legislation--a rare occurrence on Capitol Hill, where, in the era of regular filibusters, legislative strategy is often driven by the need to appease 60 senators.
Another surprise: Weeks ago, conventional wisdom held that the very same politics that helped strengthen the bill would also lead to broad bipartisan support. Though GOP leaders were not so resolutely opposed to this legislation that they forced their caucus to oppose the bill unanimously, in the end very few Republicans actually chose to vote with the Democrats. In a floor speech before final passage, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)--the GOP's top financial reform negotiator--called the bill "a liberal activist's dream come true."
The bill itself calls for new regulations aimed at making the failures that led to the 2008 financial crisis less likely. Though it's not the final bill President Obama will sign, the reforms would create much greater transparency in the derivatives-trading market, capital requirements for systemically significant financial firms, and a resolution and liquidation mechanism, to wind down those firms when they fail. It would also mandate a broad audit of the Federal Reserve and create a new government agency, tasked with protecting consumers from predatory financial practices and products.
John Stossel is the smartest libertarian in the world
John Stossel's argument that the Public Accommodation section in the Civil Rights Act should be repealed and that the "free market" likely would have resolved the issue of racial discrimination by businesses is "ahistorical" and "unempirical," a civil rights expert said.Stossel might also want to read the 14th Amendment. If he can read and has at least the reading comprehension skills of the average 10th grader.
The Public Accommodation section of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination "on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin" by businesses open to the general public, such as restaurants, hotels, and theaters.
In an interview with Media Matters, Andrew Grant-Thomas, deputy director of the Ohio State's Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, characterized Stossel's comments as "a silly statement," adding, "Market forces hadn't exactly made anti-black discrimination disappear during the several centuries before the Civil Rights Act."
On Fox News' America Live, Stossel earlier today discussed the 1964 Civil Rights Act with host Megyn Kelly. Kelly asked, "How do you know that these private business owners, who owned restaurants and so on, would have said, 'You know what? We will take blacks. We'll take gays. We'll take lesbians,' if they hadn't been forced to do it?"
Stossel replied, "Because eventually they would have lost business. The free market competition would have cleaned the clocks of the people who didn't serve most customers."
Stossel went on to say, "[I]t's time now to repeal" the Public Accommodation section, "because private businesses ought to get to discriminate. And I won't won't ever go to a place that's racist and I will tell everybody else not to and I'll speak against them. But it should be their right to be racist."
When asked about Stossel's remarks, Grant-Thomas noted that even with the progress made since the Civil Rights Act's passage, racial discrimination is still a problem. "If you look at any market for which we've done extensive studies, significant discrimination remains," Grant-Thomas said. "It's clearly better than it was. But there's still discrimination."
Grant-Thomas pointed to the housing and employment markets as domains where the free market has not entirely dealt with the problem of racial discrimination.
"There are plenty of private organizations that currently -- and legally -- discriminate on the basis of race, or other grounds, in their membership. That hasn't caused them to go under," he said. "Indeed ... in some key arenas -- like housing and schools, some people pay more for segregated settings."
Ultimately, Grant-Thomas took issue with Stossel's suggestion that a market would be the source of solution to the moral problem of discrimination. "The Civil Rights Act wasn't passed on economic grounds, but on moral and ethical grounds," he said. "Suggesting that market logic would have sufficed to weed out discriminators is pretty much besides the point in that respect."
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Rep. Souder And Mistress Recorded Video Praising Abstinence (WATCH)
Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) had an affair with a part-time staffer named Tracy Jackson, Fox is reporting. Jackson played the role of interviewer for a Souder Web video show on the issues of the day -- including one on the value of abstinence.Another conservative that sex scandal. Kind of a yawn. Republicans have a lot of unhealthy suppressed thoughts about other people's privates lives when they should be tending to their own seemingly uncontrollable urges.
Dubbed "Congressional Update with Congressman Mark Souder," the show hit on issues like intelligent design and fencing the border.
In the November 2009 abstinence video, Jackson introduces Souder this way: "You've been a longtime advocate for abstinence education and in 2006 you had your staff conduct a report entitled 'Abstinence and its Critics' which discredits many claims purveyed by those who oppose abstinence education."
Grassley Signs On To Estate Tax Bill That Could Exempt His Entire Fortune While Affecting Few Others
Today, the National Journal reported that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) signed on to the plan, which could represent an enormous tax break for his family. Grassley is worth between $2.1 and $5.2 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, so his entire estate could be exempted under a $5 million exemption.Its probably just a coincidence that Chuck would personally benefit from the exemption. The senator must not be very bright - between tax shelters and living trusts he wouldn't have to pay an estate tax, as most millionaires already know.
Glenn Beck thinks his viewers are all idiots and claims he is all about grassroots. Those roots are made of plastic - Beck Officially Partners With Corporate Lobbyist Front Group To Help Elect Far-Right Republicans
Monday, May 17, 2010
Saudi-funded Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich attacks Harvard for Saudi funding.
On Fox News this morning, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said President Obama “should withdraw” Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination. While calling her an “anti-military” nominee for upholding Harvard’s policy of prohibiting employers who discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, Gingrich got side-tracked for a moment and engaged in a Harvard-bashing critique:
On the one hand, Harvard accepts money from Saudis. Saudi Arabia, by the way, executes homosexuals. Saudi Arabia represses women. Saudi Arabia does not allow Christians or Jews to practice their religion, but Saudi money is fine.
As ThinkProgress has repeatedly documented, Fox is funded by a wealth of Saudi money. Saudi oil tycoon Prince Alwaleed bin Talal owns a 7 percent stake in Fox News’ parent company News Corp, making him the largest shareholder outside the family of CEO Rupert Murdoch. Alwaleed has boasted in the past about forcing Fox News to change its content. Gingrich, of course, has been a paid Fox News contributor for over a decade.
Update Laura Bush endorsed Kagan's nomination on Fox News. "I think it's great," she said. "I'm really glad that there will be three [women] if she's confirmed. I like to have women on the Supreme Court."
Super rightwing Justice Antinin Scalia also went to Harvard, as did the hard right fascist-lite Justice John Roberts. Yet Gingrich found no problem with either of those justices or the fact they went to Harvard. Gingrich is often referred to by the media as a Republican intellectual leader. The media said it, Gingrich and his genuflecting followers agree so it must be true.
Glenn Beck's war on the FCC and democratic net neutrality. Beck comes from the Joseph Goebbels's school of extremist right-wing propaganda.
Republicans complain that the Times Square bomb fizzle was pure luck. But why are so many terror plots botched?
Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, likewise mocked the administration as charmed rather than competent. “Being lucky can't be our national security strategy," he told CNN. "We were lucky on Christmas Day. We were lucky last week." Faisal Shahzad's plot "wasn't foiled by our law enforcement or by our intelligence community. It was foiled because it appears that whatever training [the car bomber] got in Waziristan wasn't very good. Again, we were lucky."Old Pete has absolutely zero national security credentials. He was in Congress when we had the 9-11 attacks and helped sell the lies about a connection between Iraq and al-Qeada. Why Hoekstra hates America is anyone's guess - mental problems perhaps?
But Sebastian Rotella, an experienced newspaper correspondent who now writes for ProPublica, the independent nonprofit investigative website, strongly suggests that Obama's luck is actually the residue of aggressive design.
As he notes, the likelihood is that Shahzad was trained by the Pakistani Taliban and may also have established connections with al-Qaida or other terrorist organizations. He adds that while the Taliban’s alliance with al-Qaida threatens intensified warfare against the West, it is reassuring that the effectiveness of their operations abroad has declined. And he says that their weak tradecraft and botched jobs stem from increasing pressure from intensified drone strikes, captured operatives who have provided intelligence data, and ground assaults by Pakistani forces:
During the past decade, militants connected to al-Qaida have repeatedly botched bombings, disregarded their own security guidelines and blundered into the hands of spies. Al-Qaida has not carried out a successful attack in the West since the London transport bombings that killed 52 people in 2005.
In recent years, toughened global enforcement and the missile strikes in Pakistan have depleted the fugitive leadership, targeted training compounds and diminished the flow of aspiring holy warriors from abroad.
As a result, clumsy terror operations in the West are by no means an exception. In fact, mistakes have become almost a signature.
Every time such mistakes ruin a terror plot, it is undoubtedly lucky for the administration as well as the potential victims. But whatever the merits and flaws of Obama's counterterror policy, there is also little doubt that his government is prosecuting a concerted effort against jihadist movements -- with effects that may well include worse training, more blunders and fewer successes.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
NRA Members Disagree With NRA Leadership: Those On Terrorist Watch List Should Not Be Able To Buy Firearms
A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that individuals on the federal terrorist watch list were able to purchase firearms and explosives from licensed U.S. dealers 1,119 times. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) told the Senate Homeland Security Committee this month that Congress should close this “terror gap” in the nation’s gun laws. “If society decides that these people are too dangerous to get on an airplane with other people, then it’s probably appropriate to look very hard before you let them buy a gun,” he said.Republicans and NRA leadership are standing up for the wishes of our Founding Fathers that terrorist on the terror watch list be able to buy high powered weapons so they can protect themselves at the mall, playgrounds and on planes. I cannot find the exact quote but my copy of the Bill of Rights says somewhere in there that terrorists need guns and we should vote Republican to see they are able to keep buying guns just like ol' Tom Jefferson intended dammit.
During the hearing, Bloomberg actually encountered some GOP opposition to this seemingly noncontroversial suggestion. Moreover, the NRA strongly objects to closing the “terror gap,” calling legislation dealing with the issue “21st Century McCarthyism.” Bloomberg is “abusing the word ‘terrorist’ to resurrect and pursue a gun-control agenda,” an NRA spokesperson said.
But it appears that rank-and-file NRA members disagree with their leadership. Today at the NRA’s annual conference in Charlotte, NC, ThinkProgress asked dozens of NRA members if those on the terrorist watch list should be able to purchase firearms and an overwhelming majority agreed with Bloomberg on the need to close the “terror gap.”
BACK TO WORK....
Ron Brownstein published a paragraph this week that actually seemed hard to believe: "If the economy produces jobs over the next eight months at the same pace as it did over the past four months, the nation will have created more jobs in 2010 alone than it did over the entire eight years of George W. Bush's presidency."
This job growth thing is starting to look a lot less bleak. We have to vote Republican/tea party/grizzley mama/ in 2010 and 2012 or Democrats will just keep helping the economy which makes conservatives look real real bad. Go Sarah Palin Go. Bring back the no growth policies of the Bush years fast.
Their Dirty Little Secret: GOP Republican Senators Say Bailouts Worked -- Just Please Don't Tell Anyone!
Perhaps the most fascinating political conundrum of the 2010 election is one faced by GOP senators, almost all of whom voted for TARP and supported some of the other bailouts in the thick of the financial crisis. The good news is that, for all their shortcomings, the bailouts did the trick, preventing a deeper economic crisis. The bad news is those bailouts are now considered political poison by the tea partying conservative base.John McCain still suffering from the same cloudy perceptions of reality he had during his presidential campaign when he could not decide what to call the TARP he voted for - it was either a bail-out or financial rescue depending on what day it was. America needs the befuddled and confused thinking that we all remember fondly from 2000 to 2008. Please return Republicans to the White House and Congress so we can have more fun with more financial meltdowns and wars to rebuild other countries while America goes down the tank.
That puts Republicans in a strange position: unable to say the legislation failed, but at pains to distance themselves from their vote nonetheless. Over the past couple days, I've asked a number of GOP senators whether, nearly two years later, they think the bailout bill was effective. Their answers were revealing.
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), who's retiring at the end of the year and is therefore unencumbered by the need to defend himself from the GOP base, has nothing to run away from.
"It was extremely effective," Gregg told me. "Not only was it effective and stabilized the financial industry, it also returned to the taxpayers almost $20 billion in interest and dividends that they would have otherwise not have."
America just loves and admires Sean Hannity. H e is not bothered by ethics, honor or Biblical prescriptions that forbid bearing false witness. Hell no. Sean tells the lies and spreads the propaganda that will demonize Democrats and get Republicans elected and that IS ALL THAT MATTERS -Hannity's double whammy: falsely claims Obama is cutting troops' pay and military spending. The fact is President Obama has increased spending for Defense by 3.4- more than the rate of inflation, but do not tell anyone.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW: Ex-CIA Official Reveals New Details About Torture
In a wide-ranging video interview with Truthout, former CIA counterterrorism official John Kiriakou reveals new information about the capture and torture of "high-value" detainee Abu Zubaydah and discloses, for the first time, his role in the events that led to the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame.Dick Cheney, like a rat that emerges from his hole in a dark basement at regular intervals, along with his pals at the far Right-wing national Review, still use the discredited Abu Zubaydah story to justify torture. The same torture the U.S. prosecuted the Japanese for after WW II.
On March 28, 2002, at exactly 2 AM, CIA, FBI and Pakistani intelligence agents raided 14 houses in Faisalabad, Pakistan and captured 52 alleged terrorists, including one who the Bush administration had wrongly claimed was the No. 3 person in al-Qaeda and one of the planners of the 9/11 attacks: Abu Zubaydah.
The CIA official who led the team that resulted in Zubaydah's capture was, at the time, a 12-year agency veteran named John Kiriakou, who was sent to Pakistan just two months earlier to take charge of counterterrorism operations there.
Kiriakou made headlines in December 2007, when, during an interview with Brian Ross of ABC News, he became the first CIA official to publicly confirm that agency interrogators had waterboarded Zubaydah and that Zubaydah broke after 30 to 35 seconds, revealing actionable intelligence about a terrorist attack that "probably" saved American lives. Kiriakou said he believes waterboarding is torture.
Kiriakou was interviewed just a few days after The New York Times broke the story that the CIA had destroyed videotapes made between April and August 2002 that showed Zubaydah and another "high-value" detainee, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing, being interrogated and tortured.
The details Kiriakou disclosed during his interview with Ross, which he said he obtained from a classified CIA cable he read, was picked up by dozens of other news organizations around the world and reignited the debate over the efficacy of torture, leading many right-wing pundits, Republican lawmakers and Bush administration officials to declare that "enhanced interrogation" methods worked.
But Kiriakou, who at one point was being pursued by federal prosecutors for revealing classified information to ABC News, was wrong.
Government documents declassified in the years since Kiriakou was interviewed by ABC News showed that Zubaydah, in addition to being subjected to other brutal torture techniques, was waterboarded at least 83 times in a single month. And, as Truthout first reported, newly declassified Justice Department documents stated that the government does not contend, as the basis for his continued detention, that Zubaydah "had any direct role" in or "advance knowledge" of 9/11 or was aware of any impending terrorist attacks as numerous Bush administration officials had maintained.
Last week, during a wide-ranging interview with Truthout, Kiriakou, who recently published a book, "The Reluctant Spy: My Secret Life in the CIA's War on Terror," was confronted with these facts and he acknowledged that the intelligence that asserted Zubaydah was Osama bin Laden's top lieutenant, that he had played a role in the planning of 9/11 and that he was a major figure in al-Qaeda was "obviously flawed."
The Invasion of Iraq
In addition to new details he disclosed about Zubaydah and torture in general, Kiriakou said after he returned to Langley in late spring 2002 following his capture of Zubaydah and dozens of other alleged terrorists, he was "absolutely convinced" he would receive a promotion. But he was passed over by Jose Rodriguez, head of the CIA's Counterterrorist Center. Rodriguez is now the subject of a federal criminal investigation over the destruction of torture tapes, which he ordered purged.
Kiriakou said he was instead given a "field promotion" and by August 1, 2002 - the month in which the CIA maintains Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times - he was working on top-secret issues related to the administration's Iraq invasion plans. So secret was his new job, Kiriakou wrote in his book, that he had to sign six separate "secrecy agreements."
After he and his boss, Robert Grenier, the CIA's associate deputy director of operations for policy support who was later promoted to Iraq mission manager, signed the secrecy agreements they were briefed on their new assignment.
"Okay, here's the deal," the CIA's unnamed director of Iraq operations told Kiriakou and Grenier. "We're going to invade Iraq next spring. We're going to overthrow Saddam Hussein. We're going to establish the largest Air Force base in the world and we're going to transfer everybody from Saudi Arabia to Iraq. That way, al-Qaeda won't have that hanging over us, that we're polluting the land of the two holy cities."
Kiriakou wrote that he and Grenier were stunned.
"We're going to invade Iraq?" Grenier asked the unnamed director of Iraq operations, Kiriakou wrote. Kiriakou added that Grenier had later told him that one of his bosses had briefed him "on the executive branch's thinking a couple of months earlier," meaning the war had been in the planning stages for some time, which supports similar claims made by other former Bush administration officials.
"It's a done deal, Bob," the director said. "The decision's already been made ... . the planning's completed, everything's in place."
Kiriakou wrote that the Iraq director explained to him and Grenier that the ruse the Bush administration cooked up was "ratchet up the pressure on weapons of mass destruction ... go to the United Nations toward the end of the year to make it look as if we wanted to ask the UN Secretary Council to authorize force. We expected Russian, Chinese and French opposition ... and we were prepared to go it alone."
Kiriakou said he was told the public and Congressional debates surrounding the invasion of Iraq had no bearing on the administration's plans.
"We were going to war regardless of what the legislative branch or what the federal government chose to do," he wrote. The CIA's role would be one of "support ... not a rerun of Afghanistan where [the agency] was running the show."
Did Obamacare's Cost Savings Just Evaporate? No. They merely took a moderate and unsurprising dip.
This revision derives from a May 11 analysis by the Congressional Budget Office that has congressional Republicans up in arms. "It was clearly irresponsible for Washington Democrats to force this legislation through Congress without being truthful about its full impact on the nation's finances," said House Minority Leader John Boehner. That isn't fair, because the new data wasn't available when the bill passed in March. My lowering of Obamacare's likely budget savings by $30 billion takes into account costs that, even when judged much smaller by the CBO in March, were never formally incorporated into the bill's price tag (and still haven't been). The reason for this has nothing to do with the Democrats, and everything to do with the arcana of budgetary accounting on Capitol Hill—as practiced by Democrat and Republican alike.
Michelle Malkin among other dumb as rocks right-wing Republicans linked to Boneheads comments without doing the math. Conservatives have never been ones to hurt their little brains and over-sized egos with homework.
During the month of March, CBO's 10-year savings estimates for the health care bill rose from $118 billion to $138 billion to $143 billion. Yet Boehner uttered not a peep of complaint about Democrats not "being truthful about its full impact on the nation's finances." That's because the bill's estimated cost was going down, not up. The fact is we can't know the precise extent to which the health reform law's tax increases, Medicare spending cuts, and new spending will balance out, because there are too many variables. But given the roughly $113 billion in government spending it currently looks like the bill will save, it seems a safe bet that Obamacare will be able to finance itself over the next decade. That's no minor accomplishment.Please!!! Pay attention to Bonehead and Malkin and vote for more conservative boneheads for Congress in 2010. Government needs more incompetent representatives.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
What's with conservatives' fetish for the Founding Fathers?
But this fantasy for the 18th century is probably at its most unadorned among Tea Partiers. After all, their very name is borrowed from the prelude to the Revolutionary War, and it's not uncommon to see them in mock-up Revolutionary-era garb. And how often have we heard people from the Tea Party insist that healthcare reform is unconstitutional because, after all, healthcare is mentioned nowhere in the Constitution?The very first thing the Founding Fathers - all white and male - did after writing the Constitution was to start adding amendments - called The Bill of Rights. Even than it was obviously a little flawed since it would take a couple more amendments to free slaves and give women the right to vote. Conservatives yarn for the days of original intent? So conservatives are just another name for that treasonous bunch of scum known as the Confederacy.
This is not so much a school of legal thought as it is a wish to escape the modern world. The Constitution in its original form stands in for all that was once good, but has been lost under the attacks of whomever the convenient enemy is: "progressives," if Beck is talking, "activist judges," if it's a Supreme Court fight.
There is something upsetting about how eager folks on the right have been to say it's all been downhill since the 1780s. Sure, if called on it, as in the Marshall-Kagan business, they’ll backtrack and say that they obviously think emancipation and women's suffrage were good things. But they appear mainly unperturbed about the fact that in 1792, the percentage of the population with full citizenship was probably less than one-fourth. It's an afterthought.
I can come up with two different ways of understanding this. One's more charitable, one’s less, but neither is that great.
Here's number one: Maybe the right wing loves the 1700s because government was smaller. The point isn't that there was no civil rights law -- that’s an unfortunate side issue. The point is that there was no income tax, and America was a paradise of free enterprise. This is, unfortunately, an ass-backward misreading of history. In the early days, the big government debate worked much differently. Back then, if you wanted free market capitalism, you were for big government. Lots of people were just living off their land and not doing much buying or selling, and to drag them into the market required using state power. This was the stance of the northern, Federalist "Founders," mainly -- John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, etc. Small government was the populist stance, and was in particular a Thomas Jefferson specialty.
But here's Beck: "Do you believe that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Madison, Adams, do you believe those men were enlightened men? I do. Well, their crazy idea was to allow men to be free and free in their own business to allow them to be able to engage in capitalism."
So that's option one: an uninformed nostalgia for the 1790s as a mythical time when we were a nation of Ayn Rand characters, all six-foot-five, straight-backed, square-jawed, and buying and selling free of encumbrance.
This brings us to option two, however. Even if the past had been a free market paradise, it still only would've applied to the small fraction who were seen as full human beings and allowed rights as such. It's hardly a free market if you're forced to work in the fields for no pay, or forbidden from owning property. Casually dismissing these things because they get in the way of worship of the original Constitution seems revealing of something worse than being uninformed. It's almost as if the crucial rights enshrined in the Constitution only matter for white guys.
The original purpose for removing IAEA inspectors from Iraq and invading ASAP was the threat of nuclear weapons. That was just a ruse - 60 Minutes: CIA Official Reveals Bush, Cheney, Rice Were Personally Told Iraq Had No WMD in Fall 2002
Tonight on 60 Minutes, Tyler Drumheller, the former chief of the CIA’s Europe division, revealed that in the fall of 2002, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and others were told by CIA Director George Tenet that Iraq’s foreign minister — who agreed to act as a spy for the United States — had reported that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction program. Watch video at link.
The same conservatives that decided spending a trillion dollars on Iraq are now running as tea party conservatives. Maybe once back in power maybe they'll treat us to some more trillion dollars lies since we all enjoyed the Iraq/WMD one so much.
It's Not Populism. It is Not About Thinking. It is About Feelings. It is About Returning Modern Society Back to the Days Before The Age of Reason - The Voice of the Uninformed Mob
Many Americans, a vocal and varied segment of the public at large, have now convinced themselves that educated elites—politicians, bureaucrats, reporters, but also doctors, scientists, even schoolteachers—are controlling our lives. And they want them to stop. They say they are tired of being told what counts as news or what they should think about global warming; tired of being told what their children should be taught, how much of their paychecks they get to keep, whether to insure themselves, which medicines they can have, where they can build their homes, which guns they can buy, when they have to wear seatbelts and helmets, whether they can talk on the phone while driving, which foods they can eat, how much soda they can drink…the list is long. But it is not a list of political grievances in the conventional sense.Conservatives - whether they are old school or the rebranded conservatism called tea baggers have the same delusions and hypocrisy in common. In business many of them -like Halliburton and Blackwater rely on government contracts and spend millions on special legislation that gives them some advantage in the marketplace. As individual most of them either collect from government programs such as Social Security and Medicare or rely on those programs indirectly to help support mom and pop. And of course conservatism is as corrupt as ever - RNC Finance Officials Fired Over Boozy 'Office Supply' Expenses and Lavish Spending
Historically, populist movements use the rhetoric of class solidarity to seize political power so that “the people” can exercise it for their common benefit. American populist rhetoric does something altogether different today. It fires up emotions by appealing to individual opinion, individual autonomy, and individual choice, all in the service of neutralizing, not using, political power. It gives voice to those who feel they are being bullied, but this voice has only one, Garbo-like thing to say: I want to be left alone.
A new strain of populism is metastasizing before our eyes, nourished by the same libertarian impulses that have unsettled American society for half a century now. Anarchistic like the Sixties, selfish like the Eighties, contradicting neither, it is estranged, aimless, and as juvenile as our new century. It appeals to petulant individuals convinced that they can do everything themselves if they are only left alone, and that others are conspiring to keep them from doing just that. This is the one threat that will bring Americans into the streets.
Welcome to the politics of the libertarian mob.
[ ]...If either Beck or Blumenthal is right about the new populism, then it’s not worth taking seriously. My own view is that we need to take it even more seriously than they do; we need to see it as a manifestation of deeper social and even psychological changes that the country has undergone in the past half-century. Quite apart from the movement’s effect on the balance of party power, which should be short-lived, it has given us a new political type: the antipolitical Jacobin. The new Jacobins have two classic American traits that have grown much more pronounced in recent decades: blanket distrust of institutions and an astonishing—and unwarranted—confidence in the self. They are apocalyptic pessimists about public life and childlike optimists swaddled in self-esteem when it comes to their own powers.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
The unofficial ringmaster of the Republican Party Rush Limbaugh is also a part-time scientist -
In the midst of a panel discussion on the massive BP oil spill that's contaminated the Gulf of Mexico in recent weeks, Maher took aim at Republican radio personality Rush Limbaugh, who only days prior whipped up a firestorm of rhetorical controversy by claiming that such pollution is "natural" and will simply go away.Limbaugh plans to have a oil tanker dumb a thousand gallons of crude oil into his Palm Beach mansion to prove that yes, it is all perfectly natural. As to why Governor Perry thinks God hates America? Well that is probably something else that the sages of conservatism also consider natural. Thank goodness the conservative movement has the kind of brain power displayed by Limbaugh and Perry.
"That's right, a petrochemical stew is very natural to wetlands," Maher scowled. "You know what, you dipshit? Mercury's natural too, but you don't put it in your Cheerios."
Another of Limbaugh's recent and patently untrue statements on the BP oil spill -- that "environmentalist wackos" were to blame for the Deepwater Horizon rig's destruction -- was also met with similar disdain by Maher, who scoffed: "Every asshole who ever chanted 'Drill baby drill' should have to report to the Gulf coast today for cleanup duty."
During his Friday broadcast, the liberal host also took aim at Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry, who suggested in a recent speech to the global warming denying Chamber of Commerce that the disaster was "just an act of God that happened."
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Progress versus Regression
Despite the clear success of progressive policies in the 1990s, President Bush returned the country to the failed economic strategy of focusing on the very wealthy under the theory that their success would “trickle down” to everyone else. It didn’t work out that way. President Bush cut taxes repeatedly for high-income earners and on capital gains, with the promise that those cuts would result in impressive growth for everyone. The rich were doing very well after eight years of supply-side policies, but everyone else was falling back. Median incomes and wages were down, poverty was up, job growth was anemic, and unemployment was beginning to soar.Conservatives/ tea baggers would like to lay the blame for America's problems on the poor and powerless, convoluted conspiracy theories in which liberals and immigrants are at the center. In other words they want to deflect blame for the policies they enabled and voted for. So they can once again put America on the road to rewarding wealth for its own sake and punishing American wrokers that make wealth possible - known in the 1980s as voodoo economics.
[ ]...The median household income increased by 14 percent during President Clinton’s two terms in office, the highest increase for any two-term president. Under President Bush’s economic policies, median household income decreased for the first time since the mid-1960s.
Sunday, May 2, 2010
Politicians like Judd Gregg(R-NH) and Ben Nelson(D-NE) are fighting to keep the crooked $600 trillion derivatives market unreformed.
If there is creeping socialism in the U.S. it is the kind of crony corporate socialism that Bush/Cheney practiced and Republicans Like Gregg, John Boehner(R-OH) and Senator Mitch McConnel(R-KY) want to make sure stays the ways its been for far too long. If you think this Great Recession is bad just wait for the next one that will happen because Conservatives do believe in class warfare. They have declared war on the middle-class.
Politicians like Judd Gregg and Ben Nelson are fighting to keep the crooked $600 trillion derivatives market unreformed. The dirty not-so-little secret about derivatives? In their current form, they are basically government insurance where the bailed-out mega-banks get to keep the premiums but the taxpayer pays the claims.
Senator Gregg points out that good, honest American companies like Harley-Davidson and Caterpillar use these derivatives to hedge against things like currency changes and costs of materials. Hedging against price fluctuations is something that any smart business would want to do and should be encouraged.
What Senator Gregg doesn't point out is that companies can already do this WITHOUT secret derivatives. They just have to buy them on a market exchange or, if it's something unusual or exotic, go to an actual regulated insurer like Lloyd's of London. If Mariah Carey can get her legs insured, I am pretty sure that Caterpillar can find a regulated insurer to cover a seasonal drop in steel prices.
The reason no one wants to cut this scam off is because it works out great for everyone except the taxpayer/sucker who actually pays the claims. The buyers get cheap insurance backed by the US government, the banksters (the big four: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America , Citigroup and Goldman Sachs) get to keep the premiums and WE THE TAXPAYER pay the claims -- and trust me, AIG is just the tip of the iceberg (note: Fannie + Freddie) in this ongoing derivative bailout!
Just because a few good, American companies like Berkshire Hathaway (major stockholder: Ben Nelson) like getting a sweet deal from the taxpayer doesn't mean that we should keep giving them one. This is especially true when CEOs like Warren Buffet already knew they were a deal too good to be true when they bought them. It is time for us to cut off their welfare checks.
Too many politicians in this country have decided that socialism buys votes, especially when their generation doesn't have to pay for it. But thankfully, there are politicians willing to keep our great country from falling further into this abyss and are willing to put an end to this ridiculous taxpayer giveaway.
Call or write your Senator and tell them to support real derivative reform or that they will pay the consequences come election time.
“I Challenge Marc Thiessen”–Six Questions for Malcolm Nance
5. You previously served as a master instructor in the SERE program, in which pilots were prepared, among other things, to endure waterboarding. The SERE training program, we later learned, was reverse engineered to produce “enhanced interrogation techniques” for the CIA. Recently a White House speechwriter named Marc Thiessen has played a vocal role in the campaign that the Cheneys have launched to justify the use of waterboarding. He insists that it absolutely is not torture, and he insists that it’s different from the technique used by the Khmer Rouge. Does Thiessen know what he’s talking about?It is time for all those torture fetishists to man up and be tortured. Torture is good for the soul they say so what have they to lose but make their opponents look foolish and naive. What we will continue to find is that torture makes people angry and vengeful thus promoting even more terrorism. It might not be the case, but it does seem like that is what Conservatives want - to create more violence and fear. So far it has been very profitable for them and al-Qaeda.
I spent twenty years in intelligence and four years in the SERE program waterboarding people before I ever opened my mouth on the subject. Marc Thiessen is a fool of the highest magnitude if he thinks he knows anything about waterboarding. His claims are based not on first-hand experience but on a classified briefing from people with an agenda of justifying what was done. That makes Thiessen into a court stenographer for war criminals rather than a person with any real claim of expertise. As for his claim about the relationship between Pol Pot–era waterboarding and what we have done derived from the SERE program, he’s wrong. Before I arrived at SERE, I went to S21 prison in Cambodia. Right next to the Wall of Skulls sits the exact waterboard platform that the SERE program copied for our own use in the training program. Remember, our goal was to prepare pilots for the techniques they might face if they fell into the hands of our enemies. I was waterboarded on arrival at SERE, and then as a senior staffer, I performed the technique or supervised it through hundreds of evolutions.
Thiessen’s central purpose is apparently to glorify the most extreme practices used by the CIA in the Bush era and to argue that each of these practices, including waterboarding, is vitally necessary to our national security–even though no president used them before, and it seems that President Bush himself halted many of these practices over Cheney’s objection. We have prosecuted and convicted men for using these techniques in the past, and we were right to do so.
This suggests to me that, while he may cite Thomas Aquinas, Thiessen has no sense of honor and no moral compass. I give him credit for his loyalty to the Cheneys, but he’s blind to their errors in judgment. The use of waterboarding and other torture techniques was a powerful recruitment tool for Al Qaeda; it spawned thousands of would-be suicide bombers. Thiessen claims that we gained “intelligence” by using these torture techniques. But this shows that he knows nothing about the intelligence process or how our enemy grows and sustains itself.