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Indecent Exposure

Sunday, May 03, 2009

By Mr. Fish
LA Weekly



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Jay Severin's Insanely Racist Rant

By Cenk Uyger
The Smirking Chimp


I am not quick to call something racist. In fact, I wrote an editorial pleading with everyone not to call the NY Post chimp cartoon racist. I went on MSNBC and defended that position. I'm afraid calling someone racist often times shuts off dialogue and should be reserved for only the clearest and worst cases. I also defended Don Imus and insisted he should not be fired for his comments.

So, I have some credibility here when I say conservative talk show host Jay Severin should absolutely be fired for his racist comments against Mexicans on the radio. I hesitate in writing about this because Severin is a pathetic nobody who might be looking for national attention by making these kinds of incredibly ignorant comments. But, on the other hand, there have to be consequences for this kind of deeply hateful speech. And if people don't argue forcefully enough against it, there won't be enough pressure on the station to get rid of this hateful racist.

So, what did he say that's got me so worked up? Check it out, and you be the judge:

As you heard in the video above, Severin has been suspended by WTKK-FM in Boston. But that is not nearly enough. If you don't get fired for this, what do you get fired for?

Here are just some of his prize quotes from the show:
"So now, in addition to venereal disease and the other leading exports of Mexico - women with mustaches and VD - now we have swine flu."
He described Mexicans as "the world's lowest of primitives."...(Click for remainder.)

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Bachmann Uses Fake George Washington Prayer to Bash Obama

By Chris Rodda
The Huffington Post


Just a week before her now infamous inaccurate dating of the last swine flu outbreak, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann spit out a few more bits of historical hogwash, including a fake George Washington prayer, to bash the president.

On April 21, the very same day that she enlightened us all with her scientific analysis of CO2, Bachmann also took to the House floor to rant about Obama's statement in Turkey that the United States is not a Christian nation, and the covering up of the gold "IHS" inscription, a monogram that symbolizes Jesus' name, behind where he was standing for his speech at Georgetown University.

Before getting to the fake Washington prayer, Bachmann, referring to Obama's statement in Turkey, shared her thoughts about Abraham Lincoln:
"I wonder, Mr. Speaker, if President Abraham Lincoln, one of President Obama's heroes, would have said overseas that he believed America was a nation of secularists..."
Well, Obama, of course, didn't say America is a nation of secularists either, so I don't know what the hell Bachmann was talking about there.

Bachmann then proceeded to spew out a fake Washington prayer found on numerous Christian nationalist websites, compounding the lie by attributing this prayer to Washington's inaugural address, something that even the Christian nationalist history revisionists aren't stupid enough to try to get away with....(Click for remainder.)

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Progress on Equality Didn't Just Happened. Choices Count.

Affirmative action gave minorities chances they never had. It still matters that Obama picks a female supreme court justice.

By Michael Tomasky
The Guardian


My father and mother both came from large families, as was common among ­immigrants in their day, so as I was growing up, I had a grand total of nine aunts. Toss in my mother and my two grandmothers, and I grew up around a lot of women.

What distinguished these women is that every one of them worked for a ­living. There were schoolteachers, flight attendants, a nurse, an anaesthetist, a telephone company executive, one who worked in the office of a bleach factory. As I went through life I learned that this was statistically unusual in the America of that time, but it seemed normal to me. When the social ­revolution arrived in the 1970s, which brought millions of women into the workplace, I wondered what the big deal was.

This week, President Obama begins studying the records of possible replacements for the retiring supreme court ­justice David Souter. The consensus is that he should name a woman, since only one of the current justices is female. The consensus is correct, but it's also a marker of the progress we've made and a good opportunity to reflect on the fact that this didn't just "happen" because of mysterious social forces. People – no, let's be more precise, liberal advocates brave enough to change the status quo – made it happen, against often intense opposition from the other side.

It was 1965 when President Johnson ordered that companies should take "affirmative action" to ensure that black people were given opportunities theretofore denied to them. He extended that commitment to women in 1967. But nothing much happened, and it wasn't until 1972 that such laws, as they applied to women, began to be enforced....(Click for remainder.)

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Lifting the Bush-Era Veil of Secrecy

By Sen. Patrick Leahy
The Boston Globe


THE OBAMA administration's decision to release more Bush-era memoranda, which sought to rationalize torture, shows that President Obama is following through on his promise to ban torture and to provide transparency to our government. The Bush-Cheney administration not only broke the law, it shattered the public trust and undermined America's reputation around the world.

After withdrawing the so-called Bybee "torture memo," the Bush-Cheney administration secretly reinstated the torture policy. While repeatedly claiming that the United States did not torture, the Bush-Cheney administration secretly authorized techniques that included waterboarding - up to 183 times in one case. This was not an "abstract legal theory," or "hypothetical," as Alberto Gonzales dismissively described in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. These were specific techniques, authorized by high-ranking US government officials and used on real people. We have prosecuted people for these kinds of acts against Americans, and condemned other nations for sanctioning these methods.

The techniques are wrong and their supposed legal rationale is just as bad. The idea that the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel would be used to contort our laws on subjects as serious as torture is appalling. The rationalization of these memos showed a willingness to ignore legal requirements as long as there is no clear mechanism of enforcement. These memoranda seem calculated to provide legal cover - a legal free pass - for these unlawful policies. The Justice Department was apparently being used to immunize government officials to conduct torture by defining it down and building in legal loopholes....(Click for remainder.)

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Bill Maher New Rule: Evolution & Swine Flu

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The Daily Show: Obama 101

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M - Th 11p / 10c
Obama 101
thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Economic Crisis First 100 Days

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Stephen Colbert and Jonathan Alter: Obama's First 14 Mondays

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Obama's First 14 Mondays - Jonathan Alter
colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor First 100 Days

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Stormy Daniels, Porn Star And Potential Sen. Vitter Opponent, To Launch Listening Tour

By Sam Stein
The Huffington Post


The porn-star flirting with a run against Sen. David Vitter in the Louisiana 2010 Republican primary is launching the next stage of her prospective campaign.

Stormy Daniels is not formally a candidate for office, though her name has been floated as a possible candidate to take on the ethically troubled Vitter. On Friday, however, the DraftStormy Campaign announced that she would be kicking off a listening tour of the state, ostensibly, to decide whether the climate is right for a Senate run.

The DraftStormy press release describes the tour in some colorful terms that seem somewhat out of place for a state still coping with the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. But the likelihood is that the authors were just playing off Stormy's first name.

Here's the release:
What seemed like temporary clouds only months ago has transformed into a tropical storm approaching category one hurricane status. When DraftStormy launched its efforts to draft Baton Rouge native Stormy Daniels to run for United States Senate late last January, we were labeled a "cheap political stunt." The old Louisiana status quo that has been in power for decades could not comprehend the tsunami of grassroots support Stormy Daniels generated among the working men and women of Louisiana.
(Click for remainder.)

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He Used...Sarcasm

By Hilzoy
Washington Monthly


Erick Erickson informs us that "The Obama Thugocracy Has Arrived", and that Obama is "turning to the bully pulpit and the press to beat the hell out of dissenters."

"Beating the hell out of dissenters"? With the White House Press Corps? It all sounded very peculiar, so I clicked the link Erick provided, expecting an account of Obama sending Helen Thomas to a tea party with a truncheon. To my surprise, I found a story about a lawyer for the hedge funds who sent Chrysler into bankruptcy, claiming that Obama had threatened his clients with "the full force of the White House Press Corps". The White House denies the story. But suppose it's true: how does this amount to a "thugocracy", or to "beating the hell out of dissenters"? Luckily, Erick explains:
"Yes, yes, the White House denies the story. But while denying it, the White House was also proving the story true. Barack Obama took to the bully pulpit to heap scorn and derision on the the bankruptcy attorney's hedge funds and money managers."
Ah. I see. He used scorn. He's a veritable Doug Piranha, that President of ours:
"Vercotti: Doug (takes a drink) Well, I was terrified. Everyone was terrified of Doug. I've seen grown men pull their own heads off rather than see Doug. Even Dinsdale was frightened of Doug.

2nd Interviewer: What did he do?

Vercotti: He used... sarcasm."
Though Obama added a twist that even Doug Piranha never thought of: not just scorn, but derision. Next time, he might go even further and add ambition, distraction, and uglification, or even -- I shudder to think of it -- fainting in coils....(Click for remainder.)

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Fresh Questions About the CIA's Interrogation Tapes

Paul J. Richards / AFP-Getty Images
By Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball
Newsweek


When president Obama decided to release the Bush-era Justice Department's interrogation memos last month, he tried to calm an anxious CIA by publicly declaring that operatives who "reasonably" relied on them would not face criminal prosecution. But agency officials still have plenty to worry about. Despite Obama's assurances, a Justice Department special counsel is quietly ratcheting up his probe into a closely related subject: the CIA's destruction of hundreds of hours of videotape showing the waterboarding of two high-value Qaeda suspects. At the same time, a Senate panel is planning the first public hearing dealing with CIA interrogations, including testimony from a star witness: Ali Soufan, the former FBI agent who vigorously protested the questioning of one of the detainees, terror suspect Abu Zubaydah.

In recent weeks, prosecutor John Durham has summoned CIA operatives back from overseas to testify before a federal grand jury, according to three legal sources familiar with the case who asked not to be identified discussing sensitive matters. The sources said Durham is also seeking testimony from agency lawyers who gave advice relating to the November 2005 decision by Jose Rodriguez, then chief of the CIA's operations directorate, to destroy the tapes. The flurry of activity has surprised some lawyers on the case who had assumed Durham was planning to wind down his probe without bringing charges. Now they're not so sure. Durham, who declined to comment, might simply be tying up loose ends in a closely watched case. But one continuing point of inquiry could spell trouble for the agency: allegations that CIA officials may have made false statements or obstructed justice in the case of convicted Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui.

Durham was appointed by former attorney general Michael Mukasey shortly after the December 2007 revelation about Rodriguez's decision. At the time, then-CIA director Michael Hayden insisted the tapes were destroyed only after "it was determined they were no longer of intelligence value and not relevant to any internal, legislative or judicial inquiries—including the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui." But since then, declassified filings in the Moussaoui case show that around the time the tapes were destroyed, Moussaoui's lawyers were seeking CIA records about the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah—who, according to recent disclosures, was waterboarded 83 times. On Nov. 3, 2005, Judge Leonie Brinkema even ordered government lawyers "to confirm or deny that it has video- or audiotapes" of interro-gations of potential witnesses. But CIA officials supplied only "intelligence summaries" of Abu Zubaydah's interrogation. (The CIA declined to comment. Rodri-guez was unaware of any judicial orders for the tapes and "did absolutely nothing wrong," said his lawyer, Robert Bennett.)...(Click for remainder.)

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Notre Dame's Obama Invite Riles Catholic Bishops

And I should care what Catholic bishops think, why?  I'm going to go with I don't give a rat's ass what these people think.

By Eric Gorski
Associated Press via The Huffington Post


This coming week, Bishop Thomas Wenski of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orlando, Fla., will take the unusual step of celebrating a Mass of Reparation, to make amends for sins against God. The motivation: to provide an outlet for Catholics upset with what Wenski calls the University of Notre Dame's "clueless" decision to invite President Barack Obama to speak at its commencement and receive an honorary doctorate May 17.

The nation's flagship Catholic university's honoring of a politician whose abortion rights record clashes with a fundamental church teaching has triggered a reaction among the nation's Catholic bishops that is remarkable in scope and tone, church observers say.

At least 55 bishops have publicly denounced or questioned Notre Dame in recent weeks, employing an arsenal of terms ranging from "travesty" and "debacle" to "extreme embarrassment."

The bishops' response is part of a decades-long march to make abortion the paramount issue for their activism, a marker of the kind of bishops Rome has sent to the U.S. and the latest front in a struggle over Catholic identity that has exposed rifts between hierarchy and flock.

Bishops who have spoken out so far account for 20 percent of the roughly 265 active U.S. bishops _ a minority, but more than double the number who suggested five years ago that then-Democratic presidential hopeful and Catholic John Kerry should either be refused Communion or refrain from it because of his abortion stance....(Click for remainder.)

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Give Time to Obama as He Is Bringing Change

By Muhammad Khurshid
OpEd News


The Americans have brought the real change by electing a black as their president. The success of Barack Obama in the recently-held election was really a miracle as he is the first black person in the history of the world, who becomes the president of the sole super power. The imperialist forces will certainly be not happy with this big change as they have for the first time lost really. Now they will be busy round-the-clock to create problems for the new president. Now they have been creating problems for the Americans and whole world. We must be aware of their ulterior motives. Obama cannot clear the mess in the world in a single day. He must be given the time to fulfil his promises on the restoration of peace. There will be no denying the fact elimination of terrorism and restoration of peace will solve the problems being faced by the world.

The bold statements of Barack Obama about Pakistan have largely been welcomed by the people as they want solution to their problems. The rulers of Pakistan are incapable to solve the some chronic problems. Most of the rulers of Pakistan are feudals--therefore, they are unaware of the problems of the people.

Hundreds of people are daily falling prey to the endless violence in various parts of Pakistan, but the rulers have been telling the world that everything is okay. The situation in Pakistan is really bad. Terrorism is a real threat to Pakistan. Various parts of the country have been captured by the terrorists, but still the rulers have been claiming that they can solve the problem. The main problem of Pakistan is the corrupt rulers. The rulers have been getting dollars from the US, but still they have been raising objections over the positive role of the United States. But now the media of Pakistan has accepted the positive role of Obama and his team....(Click for remainder.)

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WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Outlines Government Actions to Address the 2009 H1N1 Flu


THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary
__________________________________________________________________________________
EMBARGOED UNTIL 6:00 AM ET,                                    SATURDAY, May 2, 2009

WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Outlines Government Actions to Address the 2009 H1N1 Flu


WASHINGTON – In this week’s address, President Barack Obama outlined the quick and aggressive steps the federal government is taking to confront the challenge of the H1N1 flu virus.  While the strain in the United States has not been as potent as the one in Mexico, it is impossible to say that this virus will not mutate into something more deadly.  The steps include urging people with symptoms to stay home from work or school, distributing antiviral treatments from the Strategic National Stockpile, requesting $1.5 billion from Congress to invest in additional antivirals, emergency equipment and the development of a vaccine, and launching MySpace, Facebook and Twitter pages to update the public as quickly and effectively as possible.

The audio and video will be available at 6:00am Saturday, May 2, 2009 at www.whitehouse.gov.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Saturday, May 2, 2009

 
Over the last week, my administration has taken several precautions to address the challenge posed by the 2009 H1N1 flu virus.  Today, I’d like to take a few minutes to explain why. 

This is a new strain of the flu virus, and because we haven’t developed an immunity to it, it has more potential to cause us harm.  Unlike the various strains of animal flu that have emerged in the past, it’s a flu that is spreading from human to human.  This creates the potential for a pandemic, which is why we are acting quickly and aggressively. 

This H1N1 flu has had its biggest impact in Mexico, where it has claimed a number of lives and infected hundreds more.  Thus far, the strain in this country that has infected people in at least nineteen states has not been as potent or as deadly.  We cannot know for certain why that is, which is why we are taking all necessary precautions in the event that the virus does turn into something worse. 

This is also why the Centers for Disease Control has recommended that schools and child care facilities with confirmed cases of the virus close for up to fourteen days.  It is why we urge employers to allow infected employees to take as many sick days as necessary.  If more schools are forced to close, we’ve also recommended that both parents and businesses think about contingency plans if children do have to stay home.  We have asked every American to take the same steps you would take to prevent any other flu:  keep your hands washed; cover your mouth when you cough; stay home from work if you’re sick; and keep your children home from school if they’re sick.  And the White House has launched pages in Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to support the ongoing efforts by the CDC to update the public as quickly and effectively as possible.

As our scientists and researchers learn more information about this virus every day, the guidance we offer will likely change.  What will not change is the fact that we’ll be making every recommendation based on the best science possible.  

We will also continue investing in every resource necessary to treat this virus and prevent a wider outbreak.  The good news is that the current strain of H1N1 can be defeated by a course of antiviral treatment that we already have on hand.  We began this week with 50 million courses of this treatment in the Strategic National Stockpile.  Over the course of the last few days, we have delivered one-quarter of that stockpile to states so that they are prepared to treat anyone who is infected with this virus.  We then purchased an additional thirteen million treatments to refill our strategic stockpile. 

Out of an abundance of caution, I have also asked Congress for $1.5 billion if it is needed to purchase additional antivirals, emergency equipment, and the development of a vaccine that can prevent this virus as we prepare for the next flu season in the fall. 

The Recovery Act that Congress enacted in February also included expansions of community health centers, a dramatic increase in the training of health care workers and nurses, and $300 million for the development and deployment of vaccines – all of which will help us meet this threat. 

Finally, thanks to the work that the last administration and Congress did to prepare for a possible avian flu pandemic in 2005, states and the federal government have fully operable influenza readiness plans and are better prepared to deal with such a challenge than ever before.

It is my greatest hope and prayer that all of these precautions and preparations prove unnecessary.  But because we have it within our power to limit the potential damage of this virus, we have a solemn and urgent responsibility to take the necessary steps.  I would sooner take action now than hesitate and face graver consequences later.  I have no higher priority as President of the United States than the safety and security of the American people, and I will do whatever is necessary to protect this country. So I want to thank every American for their patience and understanding during this developing challenge, and I promise that this government will continue speaking clearly and honestly about the steps we’re taking to meet it. 

Thank you. 

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Colorado Likely to Play Critical Role in Shaping Clean Energy Bill

By David O. Williams
The Colorado Independent


Colorado’s New Energy Economy will serve as a model and its congressional delegation as a catalyst for a comprehensive energy bill currently being hashed out in a key U.S. House committee, according to one Denver-based environmental advocate closely tracking the legislation.
Keith Hay, energy advocate for Environment Colorado, said Coloradans will play key roles in passing the American Clean Energy and Security Act, introduced March 31 by Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Ed Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on energy and the environment.

The draft version of the bill was the subject of Energy and Commerce Committee hearings last week and will likely be marked up by Markey’s subcommittee this coming week. It currently contains a renewable energy standard of 25 percent by 2025, as well as a carbon cap that seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2020.

Colorado has “a key role for a couple of reasons,” Hay said, referring to the state’s renewable energy standard passed by voters in 2004 as part of Amendment 37. “One, we’ve shown that it can be successful as a jobs generator, and the messaging on the renewable energy standard in the global warming bill is really going to be about green jobs and the New Energy Economy. President Obama sort of picked up that term from Governor Ritter.”

The second factor, according to Hay, is Colorado’s growing influence on Capitol Hill where members of the congressional delegation hold plum spots on key committees, including Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, on the Energy and Commerce Committee itself and freshman Rep. Jared Polis, D-Boulder, on the Rules Committee. DeGette is also a chief deputy whip and is responsible for mobilizing the party vote on key legislation....(Click for remainder.)

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Torture Caught on Camera in UAE

US officials react to a 2004 videotape showing a man being tortured by the son of a former UAE president, as the countries discuss a key nuclear deal.

By Caryle Murphy
GlobalPost


RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — The Abu Dhabi government, a staunch U.S. ally, has reversed course and announced that it will launch a “comprehensive review” of the videotaped torture of an Afghan businessman — purportedly inflicted by a member of its ruling family.

The videotape, aired by ABC Television April 22, shows the Afghan, Mohammed Shah Poor, being beaten with a nail-studded wood plank, having his genitals set on fire, his anus pierced by a cattle prod and then repeatedly run over by an SUV.



ABC identified the alleged perpetrator, assisted by someone wearing what appears to be a policeman’s uniform, as Sheikh Issa bin Zayed al Nahyan.

Sheikh Issa is the son of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, late president of the United Arab Emirates, a Gulf Arab nation comprised of seven semi-autonomous emirates, including Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Issa’s brothers include current UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who also rules Abu Dhabi, and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy commander of UAE’s armed forces.

Sheikh Issa, a businessman, holds no government position.

According to press reports, he was angered that Poor had allegedly short-changed him in a $5,000 grain deal. During the 2004 assault, he also tormented Poor by stuffing sand in his mouth and pouring salt into his wounds, the video shows.

In its initial response to ABC’s broadcast of the video, UAE’s Interior Ministry acknowledged that Sheikh Issa is the man seen assaulting Poor. But it said the assault was investigated and that the two sides settled the matter “privately,” with the police following “all rules, policies and procedures.”...(Click for remainder.)

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Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) Write an Open Letter to President Obama

By Chip
After Downing Street


April 29, 2009

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

SUBJECT: Torture

This memorandum is VIPS’ first attempt to inform you on a major intelligence issue, as we did your predecessor; thus, some background might be helpful. Five former CIA officers established Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) in January 2003, when we saw our profession being corrupted to justify an attack on Iraq. Since then, our numbers have grown to 70 intelligence professionals, mostly retired, who have served in virtually all U.S. civilian and military intelligence agencies.

In our first Memorandum for the President (George W. Bush), dated February 5, 2002, we provided a same-day commentary on Colin Powell’s U.N. speech. We warned the president that “an invasion of Iraq would ensure overflowing recruitment centers for terrorists into the indefinite future [and that] far from eliminating the [terrorist] threat, it would enhance it exponentially.”

We strongly urged the former president to widen the discussion on Iraq “beyond the circle of those advisers clearly bent on a war for which we see no compelling reason and from which we believe the unintended consequences are likely to be catastrophic.” VIPS’ second pre-war Memorandum for the President was titled, “Forgery, Hyperbole, Half-Truth: A Problem” — a reference to the bogus intelligence we saw being ginned up to “justify” war.

President Bush ignored our warning and the warnings of other informed individuals and groups. The corporate media uncritically echoed the Bush administration’s misuse and misrepresentation of the intelligence, despite the questions raised — including those raised by our unique movement. (It was the first time an alumni group of intelligence officials had formed expressly to chronicle and to halt the corruption of intelligence.)

The cheerleading for war had begun—a war that would fit the post-WWII Nuremberg Tribunal’s description of a “war of aggression.” Nuremberg defined such a war as “the supreme international crime, differing from other war crimes only in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”

Torture: An Accumulated Evil

Torture is one of those accumulated evils. Violating domestic laws like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 is another. You were right to unceremoniously jettison former CIA director Michael Hayden, who betrayed the thousands of NSA professionals who, until he directed that domestic law could be ignored, had adhered scrupulously to the 1978 FISA law as NSA’s “First Commandment”—Thou Shalt Not Eavesdrop on Americans Without a Court Warrant....(Click for remainder.)

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O'Reilly Factor: Class Act Feminist Feldt Meets Frothing at the Mouth Ingram

By Julie
News Hounds


I thought nothing could make me long for Bill O'Reilly – except that I do, every time Foxette Laura Ingraham guest hosts on The O'Reilly Factor. Bill, please come back. With video.

In Friday night's (5/1/09) Culture War segment of The O'Reilly Factor, Ingraham blasted off with, “By now everybody in the world knows the story of Miss California.” Yes, we sure do, because bikini-clad Carrie Prejean was paraded all over Fox News: Courtney Friel covered it on April 20th; Fox News legal analyst Mercedes Colwin picked it up on April 21st; Neil Cavuto (the . . . business guy?) provided a Fair and Balanced account on April 21st; and, of course, the liberal-who-loves-far-right-wing-conservative-women (Sarah Palin, anyone?), Greta van Susteren, threw out her usual softball questions to Ms. Prejean on April 30th . . . and, well, there's more, but do we really need it?

“Carrie Prejean lost her crown, probably because she voiced her opposition to gay marriage,” Ingraham charged. “But now – to add insult to injury – she's becoming a target of some of the most reprehensible far left attacks you've ever seen.” Is that my cue to talk about reprehensible attacks? Well, Hannity & Colmes hosted Melanie Morgan, who said, “Nancy Pelosi and the liberals in Congress are planning on spending more money on pork barrel projects and cut and run policies that will leave us all with a wide-eyed stare that's permanently fixed to Nancy Pelosi's face.” Oh, I get it – a Botox joke, right? O'Reilly's personal attacks are legendary. And, frankly, I could have stopped with this video from BraveNew Films, featuring clips of repeated personal attacks by Fox News on First Lady Michelle Obama.

Ingraham introduced feminist Gloria Feldt.

“Gloria,” Ingraham began, “ . . . this woman, Carrie Prejean, was savaged last night on MSNBC by Michael Musto - who's a gay writer, apparently, for the Village Voice - and the MSNBC host, savaged in the most personal, vicious way, about her physique and . . . sexual organs, the references were made to that. And I'm thinking to myself, where are the feminists? Are feminists not gonna step up and say, wait a second, you don't go there with a young woman.” In the interest of Fair and Balanced, you can watch the Olbermann/Musto exchange here....(Click for remainder.)

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Study Reveals Conservatives Don't Know Colbert is Laughing at Them

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Has Admiral Blair Double-Crossed a Second President?

By Kirk James Murphy, M.D.
Firedoglake


In January, Amy Goodman's guest Allan Nairn described to Democracy Now's audience how, in 1999, Admiral Dennis Blair, Obama's Intel Czar pick, had repeatedly supported Indonesian generals commanding Indonesian death squads in Timor, thus defying his Commander-In-Chief's lawful orders to tell our client generals in the Indonesian military to shut down the death squads. Last week, at the Washington Independent, our own Spencer Ackerman broke the story that as Obama's Intel Chief, Admiral Blair hired "Jonathan Fredman a former lawyer for the CIA's Counterterrorist Center that the Senate Armed Services Committee report identified as a key player in the establishment of the Bush administration's torture apparatus." The New York Times reports that last month, as Obama released the torture memos and his Administration told us the war crime known as torture failed to produce useful results, Admiral Blair told the intel community the exact opposite.

Two days after Indonesia's military death squads massacred Timorese civilians sheltering in a church by hacking them to death with machetes (and then nailing their victims' entrails to the church walls) back in 1999, Admiral Dennis Blair defied White House orders to stop Indonesia's crimes against humanity in Timor. As Blair — already fully briefed on the Liquicia massacres — first sat down with Wiranto, the Liquicia church walls still dripped with gore. US officials cabled there were no surgeons to treat the "scores of horrible slash wounds at Liquica." Instead of obeying orders from his civilian commanders to tell General Wiranto, commander of Indonesia's military, to stop the massacres, Admiral Blair offered General Wiranto goodies. The US military attaché in Jakarta, Col. Joseph Blair, cabled that Dennis Blair reassured Wiranto, invited Wiranto to Hawaii, and promised military aid to the paramilitary unit that had just committed the atrocities.

When Washington learned of Blair's defiance, Washington again ordered Blair to tell Wiranto to stop the massacres; Blair again defied civilian authority and supported Wiranto. A few months later, journalist Allan Nairn reported in The Nation:
When word got back to the State Department that Blair had said these things in a meeting, an "eyes only" cable was dispatched from the State Department to Ambassador Stapleton Roy at the embassy in Jakarta. The thrust of this cable was that what Blair had done was unacceptable and that it must be reversed. As a result of that cable from Washington to Roy, a corrective phone call was arranged between General Wiranto and Admiral Blair. That call took place on April 18.
(Click for remainder.)

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Condi's Really Bad Day

By Scott Horton
Harper's Magazine


For eight years, Condoleezza Rice dealt with the Beltway punditry and the access-craving White House press corps. The reception she got, with a handful of exceptions, was fawning. Which leaves her totally unprepared for a return to an academy populated with the Daily Show generation: bright young minds with a very critical attitude towards the last eight years. In a meeting with Stanford students at a dormitory reception on April 27, the school’s former provost got off to a shaky start and ended in a train wreck. She may in fact have her last words in the exchange quoted back to her some day in a law court.




Let’s fact-check Rice’s claims:

(1) She perpetuates the Abu Ghraib myth (“Abu Ghraib was not policy”), even as the Senate Armed Services Committee report demolishes it. The words she uses are essentially identical to those she uttered to me at a group meeting in the White House in May 2004. But the efforts to delink the abuses in Iraq from the formation of policy in Washington—a process in which Rice played a focal role—have gone flat. The Senate report makes clear that the abuses at Abu Ghraib flowed directly from policy choices made in the National Security Council that Condi ran.

(2) In Condiworld, the threat of Al Qaeda was greater than the threat faced by the United States in World War II, as demonstrated by the 9/11 attacks. This suggestion demonstrates an astonishing failure of reasoned judgment. U.S. fatalities in World War II totaled 405,400. The student’s point was that in the face of what might legitimately be termed an existential threat (World War II), the American government did not turn to torture. That’s correct, and Rice doesn’t seem able to come to grips with it....(Click for remainder.)

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The Rise of Anti-Democratic Democrats

By Gene Messick
OpEd News


The Democratic Party is influenced by many factors and factions, but at it's core, it's structure is organized as a representative democracy which grows from the grassroots of America.  It begins at local Precincts where you go vote. Then it grows upward through County Parties, State Parties, to a National Democratic Party.

Officers at each level are elected. To participate, all you have to do is register to vote as a Democrat with your local Board of Elections. You don't sign up with the Party. You don't pay dues. You don't ever have to renew your Membership for the rest of your life, unless you move out of your Precinct. You just walk into a meeting.

That's how the Party works. But what about the external Factions which also call themselves "Democrats"?

During the 8-year Bush Administration, left-leaning Democrats who were once called Liberals (until Republicans turned that word into a slur), began calling themselves "Progressives."  Origin of the term goes back much further than that, and for half a century I've been part of this fringe progressive group all my adult life. But for purposes of this Article, I'm looking at the current Progressive "movement" as seen as an organization which calls itself Progressive Democrats of America (PDA).

PDA is an astroturf organization. It claims to represent Democrats, and pretends to have a grassroots organization which does not exist.  If you go to the PDA website, you discover they represent only themselves, and that their numbers total -- at most -- a few hundred people, even including their Board Members.

So far as I can tell, no Officer in PDA is elected to any position. PDA claims to have "Chapters" in all States, but 10 States have only one person listed, and 15 have none. To become a State Rep, you just volunteer. No one in your State elects you....(Click for remainder.)

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No, Obama, Conservatives Are NOT Just Liberals With A Different Set Of Ideas

By Paul Rosenberg
Open Left


I don't know when I first thought it, but as soon as I did, it became deeply etched in mind: "Obama thinks that conservatives are just liberals with a different set of ideas."  For me, this captured one of his fundamental misapprehensions-though one that is surely broadly shared among establishment liberals, neo-liberals and the like.  This is such a typically narrowminded thing for a liberal to think-all the while thinking he's being broadminded--quite unlike the DFHs such as you and me.

But as a whole liberals and conservatives don't just differ in their ideas-as Obama himself well knows in a different compartment of his brain.  They differ in attitudes, in sensibilities, in ways of thinking about ideas, as well as in larger life purposes.  The origins of modern conservatism lie in the European landed aristocracy, descended from a predatory warrior class.  Although tens of millions of self-identified conservatives today are culturally, historically, and/or genetically far removed from those origins, there is nonetheless a continuity in the kinds of life activities that such a culture breeds.

Similarly, the origins of modern liberalism lie in the European urban middle class-the burghers, or bourgeoisie, who inhabited a very different life-world, with some very different kinds of activity, much of which centers around the finding of facts, and all manner of intellectual pursuits that flow from or depend on factual knowledge. This includes all manner of occupations dating back centuries, even millennia-from artisans to shopkeepers, traders, lawyers, bankers, doctors and teachers-as well as occupations that scarcely existed as such more than two to five generations ago, such as scientists, technicians, engineers, etc....(Click for remainder.)

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Pro-Guns, Anti-Obama [and as Ignorant as the day is long!]

Not everyone is celebrating Obama's 100 days. Max Blumenthal takes his cameras into America's gun shows, where paranoia, conspiracy theories-and Nazi flags-abound. Watch his report.

By Max Blumenthal
The Daily Beast


On April 18 and 19, I attended gun shows in Antioch, California, and Reno, Nevada, to probe the culture of gun enthusiasts at the onset of the Obama era. I came away from these events with a portrait of a heavily armed, tightly organized movement incited by right-wing radio to a fever-pitched resentment of President Obama and his allies in Congress. Even as the economy suffers, gun dealers and their Washington lobbyists are leveraging renewed anti-government sentiment into unprecedented sales figures and fattened membership rolls. “We’ve been swamped today,” an NRA representative from Antioch boasted. “We’ve practically ran out of our materials that we give away at sign-up.”




Fueled by the screeds of radio hosts Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, and the lesser-known but increasingly influential online conspiracist Alex Jones, many gun-show attendees I spoke to were convinced Obama planned to usher in a Marxist dictatorship. They warned that the president’s power grab would only begin with mass gun seizures. “If Obama takes away our guns,” a young, .45 pistol-toting man from Reno told me, “it’s just a step into trying to take away everything else.”

Indeed, in their minds, average Americans opposed to the Obama agenda would be herded into FEMA-run concentration camps by a volunteer army of glassy-eyed liberal college graduates. “When they start imprisoning Americans, and people start seeing that we’re the enemy, then that’ll make it hot,” predicted one Antioch-based young man sporting a button for former Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul. “People talk about a revolution,” the young man continued, “an armed revolution. I think police crackdowns on individuals will tip the scales.”

More than a few gun dealers and attendees echoed the young man’s seeming enthusiasm for armed revolt. One Contra Costa, California-based gun dealer named Rich predicted during an otherwise casual off-camera conversation that “some nut” would assassinate Obama within one year of any Democratic attempt at gun-control legislation. While the prospect of organized right-wing violence against the federal government seems far-fetched at this point, the paranoid rhetoric I documented suggests the militia movement that organized against President Bill Clinton’s policies during the 1990s could experience a dramatic resurgence by mobilizing resentment against Obama....(Click for remainder.)

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Steve Benen: Ben Nelson (D-Health Care Industry) is Just Being Ben Nelson

By Steve Benen
Washington Monthly


It's a good thing health care is likely to pass through the reconciliation process. Nelson will have less of a chance to make the reform effort worse.
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) said Friday that he will oppose legislation that would give people the option of a public health insurance plan. The move puts him on the opposite side of two-thirds of Americans.

A poll released this week by Consumer Reports National Research Center showed that 66 percent of Americans back the creation of a public health plan that would compete with private plans. Nelson, in comments made to CQ, joins the 16 percent of poll respondents who said they oppose the plan.

Nelson's problem, he told CQ, is that the public plan would be too attractive and would hurt the private insurance plans. "At the end of the day, the public plan wins the game," Nelson said. Including a public option in a health plan, he said, was a "deal breaker."
Instead, Nelson, the Senate's most conservative Democrat, intends to put together "coalition of like-minded centrists opposed to the creation of a public plan," in order to undermine the proposal supported by President Obama and a whole lot of Senate Democrats.

What I find interesting about this, though, is that Nelson worries that the public option would be too popular. The goal, according to Nelson's approach, has less to do with improving the system, and more to do with making sure insurance companies -- the ones whose services Americans may not like -- are protected....(Click for remainder.)

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How Obama's Supreme Court Nominee Can and Can't Be Filibustered

By Sam Stein
The Huffington Post

The prospect of Senate Republicans filibustering an Obama Supreme Court nominee seemed remote, especially considering the defection of Sen. Arlen Specter to the Democratic Party.

But in the hours after it was reported that David Souter would be retiring from the Court, Cornell Law School professor Michael Dorf made an interesting observation on how Specter's defection might affect getting a Supreme Court nominee through the Judiciary Committee: The prospect of a filibuster isn't so remote after all.

"Does Arlen Specter's defection from R to D strengthen the President's hand in Congress? Perhaps overall but not on judicial appointments because breaking (the equivalent of) a filibuster in the Senate Judiciary Committee requires the consent of at least one member of the minority. Before today, Specter was likely to be that one Republican. Now what?"

I checked with some Senate sources and historians to get a sense of just how solid Dorf's point was. Their answer: He's correct but ultimately could be proven wrong.

Here's how. As a copy (PDF) of the Judiciary Committee's rules for the 111th Congress clearly shows, a member of the minority party does have to cast a vote in favor of a nominee in order to end committee debate over that nominee.

"The Chairman shall entertain a non-debatable motion to bring a matter before the Committee to a vote. If there is objection to bring the matter to a vote without further debate, a roll call vote of the Committee shall be taken, and debate shall be terminated if the motion to bring the matter to a vote without further debate passes with ten votes in the affirmative, one of which must be case by the minority."

Perhaps more nefariously, Republicans in the Judiciary Committee could hold up a hypothetical nominee simply by not showing up at all. "Six Members of the Committee, actually present, shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of discussing business," read the rules. "Eight Members of the Committee, including at least two Members of the minority, shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of transacting business."...(Click for remainder.)

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The Oxy-Moron Suggest That by Obama's Logic, "We Gotta Get an Illegal Alien on the Supreme Court"

By Media Matters



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Ronald Reagan: Vengeful, Score-Settling, Hard Left ideologue

By Glenn Greenwald
Salon.com


This is a perfect illustration of how severely our political spectrum has shifted in the last two decades and how depraved and extremist our political and media classes have become:

Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post, today:  "When to Torture":
Torture is an impermissible evil. Except under two circumstances. The first is the ticking time bomb. . . . The second exception to the no-torture rule is the extraction of information from a high-value enemy in possession of high-value information likely to save lives.

. . .

Some people, however, believe you never torture. Ever. They are akin to conscientious objectors who will never fight in any war under any circumstances, and for whom we correctly show respect by exempting them from war duty. But we would never make one of them Centcom commander. Private principles are fine, but you don't entrust such a person with the military decisions upon which hinges the safety of the nation. It is similarly imprudent to have a person who would abjure torture in all circumstances making national security decisions upon which depends the protection of 300 million countrymen.

Ronald Reagan, May 20, 1988, transmitting the Convention Against Torture to the Senate for ratification:
The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention.  It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.

The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called "universal jurisdiction." Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution.

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Rep. Steve King Calls Black and Hispanic Congressional Caucuses ‘Separatist Groups.’

By Lee Fang
Think Progress


Yesterday, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) took to the House floor for an hour-long speech consisting of tired denunciations of Obama shaking hands with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and more hysterical complaints about how new hate crime legislation protects gays. During his tirade, King decided to direct part of his vitriol at the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, calling both organizations "separatist groups." Watch it:




(Click for remainder.)

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The 5-foot-9 Bag of Snot Compares Waterboarding to Hazing Small Children

By Media Matters



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On O'Reilly, Bo Dietl Spins 24-West Wing Fantasy Plot

By Media Matters



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Does CNN's Tucker Realize UAW's "Straight Payback" Includes Loss of COLA, Bonuses, Dental?

By Media Matters

On the April 30 edition of Lou Dobbs Tonight, CNN correspondent Bill Tucker reported that "some economists" claim a proposed Chrysler restructuring deal -- under which the United Auto Workers (UAW) are "expected" to become "Chrysler's single biggest shareholder, owning 55 percent of the company" -- is a "straight payback" to the union from the Obama administration. But Tucker did not note that as part of a related deal between Chrysler, Fiat, and the U.S. Treasury Department that was intended to avoid Chrysler's bankruptcy, the UAW reportedly agreed to a suspension of cost-of-living pay raises and performance and Christmas bonuses, and the elimination of dental and vision coverage, among other concessions. According to an April 30 UAW press release, the union "will join with the U.S. government, Chrysler and Fiat in urging the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to give immediate approval" to those agreements.

During the segment, Tucker reported that when Chrysler emerges from bankruptcy, the UAW "is expected to be Chrysler's single biggest shareholder, owning 55 percent of the company," adding: "Some economists are blunt in their observation, saying the deal is a straight payback" to the union. Tucker then aired University of Maryland professor Peter Morici's claim: "Obama's deal gives the lion's share of the benefits to the union over the creditors. This is clearly a payoff to the UAW for their support during the recent presidential campaign." Tucker further reported, "Other financial analysts don't see it as a straight union play, however. They argue the situation is the result of a bad combination of industry lobbying and union power."...(Click for remainder.)

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Byron York Keeps Digging

By David Weigel
The Washington Independent


Byron York has responded to the criticism of his column on the “white-black divide” of presidential support by (yawn) crying that he’s been accused of racism.

I wrote that citing Obama’s “sky-high ratings among African-Americans make some of his positions appear a bit more popular overall than they actually are” … Maybe “across-the-board” would have been better than “overall,” but I doubt that would have kept a left-wing activist like Matthew Yglesias, or Andrew Sullivan, who has himself been accused of racism and, quite recently, anti-Semitism, from branding me a racist.
York doesn’t seem to realize that “actually are” was just as problematic, but let’s ignore his drive-by accusations of two people who haven’t written themselves into a mini-controversy this week.

My question was why York was engaging in the occasional conservative habit of asking what a Democratic politician’s support would be like if there were no blacks in the equation, something that is usually done after an election to talk down the Democrat’s electoral mandate. You heard a lot of this after November 2008, with conservatives arguing that black voters’ racial solidarity pushed President Obama over the finish line, and that they were “the real racists,” unlike white voters who had been accused for months of possibly lying to pollsters about whether they’d support Obama. York’s answer:
What if a president were wildly popular with one group, and only middlingly popular with another group and yet was often portrayed as being hugely popular with the whole group?  It seems worthwhile to point that out that there are differences within the group — something that is done all the time with political polls.
It’s done all the time because politicians are always trying to expand their margins with various members of their base. It’s rarely done to argue that one group’s extreme support shouldn’t count, because that’s moronic.

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Time's Mark Halperin is a Full On Racist Jerkoff

Via TPM


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The Supreme Court Pick of Obama's Dreams

Sonia Sotomayor, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals judge who comes from working-class Puerto Rican roots, is everything the president could desire.

By Joe Conason
Salon.com


May 1, 2009 | Every Supreme Court nomination is not only a strategic presidential opportunity but a clear measure of the nation's current political dispensation. For Barack Obama, the anticipated chance to replace Justice David Souter has arrived at a time of massive political and ideological shifting that this decision can underscore. Glancing over the latest list of potential nominees, there is at least one highly qualified jurist whose selection would emphasize change -- and might well lure the Republicans into yet another of the foolish mistakes that have done them so much damage.

The name of that particular nominee would be Sonia Sotomayor, daughter of a working-class Bronx family from Puerto Rico, who now serves on the Second Circuit of the United States Court of Appeals.

Leaving aside for a moment the question of her precise place on the judicial spectrum between liberal and conservative, Sotomayor represents everything that a president choosing his first justice in his first term could desire. As a female her elevation would begin to bring gender equity to a forum where historically men have exercised far too much unchallenged power over the lives of the women. As a Latina, her rise would symbolize the next stage in the full enfranchisement of immigrants whose language, status and poverty have too often turned them into scapegoats for the cultural and economic costs of globalization.

Obama could safely ignore the predictable complaint that he had somehow excluded white males (which is already being voiced in some quarters) because, thanks to his predecessor, members of that group were awarded the last two seats on the court. Presumably he will consider other female, Hispanic and African-American candidates as the process begins, but the presumption in favor of Sotomayor is strong unless a significant problem surfaces while vetting her....(Click for remainder.)

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Rep. Israel Blasts Right-Wing Radio Hosts Over Scapegoating and Lies About the Current Flu Outbreak

By Rep. Steve Israel

Michael Savage, Jay Severin, Neal Boortz spread dangerous lies about the flu outbreak, fueling discrimination and hate 

Washington, DC – On Thursday, Rep. Steve Israel (D – New York) released the following statement blasting conservative radio hosts for spreading lies about the H1N1 flu virus outbreak. Michael Savage, Jay Severin and Neal Boortz, among others, have blamed immigrants for the spread of the virus in the United States.

Rep. Israel’s statement:

The last thing our country needs is radio hosts spreading dangerous misinformation about the flu outbreak. But that’s exactly what we’re getting thanks to people like Michael Savage, Jay Severin and Neal Boortz. These right-wing demagogues are targeting America’s immigrant community and trying to turn a possible pandemic into politics.

This is simply deplorable and seriously dangerous.

A few days ago on his show, Michael Savage said, “Make no mistake about it: Illegal aliens are the carriers of the new strain of human-swine avian flu from Mexico.” That is nothing more than fear-mongering and race-baiting in search of ratings. This is exactly the type of rhetoric that fuels discrimination and violence, and those violent acts are why last night the House voted to pass the Hate Crimes Bill. Apparently that wasn’t enough of a signal to these guys that they’ve lost and tolerance and unity have won, but we’ll keep fighting.

We can’t afford to make this serious health emergency into a conservative radio circus. Americans need to stay calm and informed by listening to their doctors and our public health officials. And I’m asking Michael Savage, Jay Severin, Neal Boortz, and anyone who would repeat their arguments to stop now. Stop spreading these lies and work with us to keep Americans healthy and safe.

(Original)

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Ignorant Bastard and Alcoholic, Glenn Beck, Defends Wanting To Pull Out Fingernails And Peel Skin Off With A Cheese Grater

By Ellen
News Hounds


Never mind the "waterboarding isn't torture" meme. Fox News host Glenn Beck wants to torture, period. Beck trotted out his Jack Bauer fantasy again yesterday (5/1/09) in order to defend his support for what can only be described as torture. Putting forth a hypothetical scenario in which New York City was about to be “vaporized,” Beck said about his hypothetical suspect, “We can pull his fingernails out, we can peel his skin off with a cheese grater. Desperate times call for desperate measures.” Arguing that his position was merely an interpretation of the Constitution that reasonable people can disagree about, he said, "The key is, I'm not a bloodthirsty killer for wanting to do it.” With video.

The discussion was part of another of Beck's special 9/12 shows. This one had a studio audience. Beck's 9 principles and 12 values were self-importantly written on the wall but the show was mostly about talking up the tax day tea parties and talking down the media coverage of it. On FOXNews.com, there's a “web exclusive” of about 20 minutes of discussion that did not make it into the show. A little more than halfway through, Beck maneuvered the talk away from taxes, the stimulus plan, etc. into a defense of his views on torture.

At about the 8:50 mark in the video below (which counts down from the end), a young man said he thinks “desperate times call for desperate measures.” He was referring to the stimulus plan or the auto bailout or maybe TARP. They seemed to be interchangeable to the audience.

“No, no, no.” Beck said. Then he asked for a show of hands, “How many people believe you (can) sell out your principles when you are in real deep trouble?” His voice was full of disapproval. Nobody raised their hand.

Then Beck asked what he called a “trick question.” “There's a bomb in New York City. It's about to go off. We have somebody right over here. We can pull his fingernails out, we can peel his skin off with a cheese grater. Desperate times call for desperate measures.” As different people in the audience cried out “Do it!” and some thought not (but most were all for it), Beck continued, “He is somebody we believe has information – we're talking Jack Bauer.”

A man wearing an American-flag tie looked very proud of himself for saying that doing so would not violate “my principles.”...(Click for remainder.)

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You Little Bastard!

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Dems: Opportunity As Gay Marriage Acceptance Grows

This April 28, 2009 file photo shows gay rights advocate Matthew Arnold-Lloyd of Albany, N.Y., right, meeting nose to nose with an unidentified man opposed to gay marriage during a rally outside the Capitol in Albany, N.Y. Gay marriage legalization in several states and the public's growing acceptance of same-sex unions have Democrats sensing political opportunity and some Republicans re-evaluating their party's hard-line opposition to an issue that long has rallied its base. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)
By Liz Sidoti
Associated Press via The Huffington Post


WASHINGTON — Gay marriage legalization in several states and the public's growing acceptance of same-sex unions have Democrats sensing political opportunity and some Republicans re-evaluating their party's hard-line opposition to an issue that long has rallied its base.

In recent weeks, Vermont and Iowa have legalized same-sex marriage, while New York, Maine and New Hampshire have taken steps in that direction. Polls show younger Americans are far are more tolerant on the issue than are older generations. For now at least, the public is much more focused on the troubled economy and two wars than on social issues.

In addition, over the past decade, public acceptance of gay marriage has changed dramatically.

A Quinnipiac University poll released last week found that a majority of people questioned, by a 55-38 percent margin, oppose gay marriage. But it also found that people, by a 57-38 percent margin, support civil unions that would provide marriage-like rights for same-sex couples, indicating a shift toward more acceptance.

With congressional elections next year, Republicans, Democrats and nonpartisan analysts say the changes benefit Democrats, whose bedrock liberals favor gay unions, and disadvantage Republicans, whose conservative base insists that marriage be solely between a man and a woman....(Click for remainder.)

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The Daily Left: Fox Snubs Obama Speech, Obama Snubs Back

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The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World Economy

"The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World Economy" by Minqi Li 240 pages, Monthly Review Press, (January 2009)

In Beijing, a paramilitary policeman raises the Chinese flag in front of the portrait of Mao Zedong. Minqi Li's new book details China's rise. (Photo: Reuters)
By Seth Sandronsky
Truthout Book Review


A bit like Malcom X, author Minqi Li used prison time to read widely. The latter studied radical political economy for two years when Chinese leaders locked him up for a critical public speech after the Tiananmen upsurge in 1989. That was then. He is an author and assistant professor of economics at the University of Utah now. Li's "The Rise of China and the Demise of the Capitalist World Economy" is a must-read for all concerned with the future of the earth and its people.

Throughout the book, Li employs a term from world-system theorist Immanuel Wallerstein, the "endless accumulation of capital." That process has spread outward from Western Europe over the past four-plus centuries. Formed by distinct historical conditions, this social system encompasses the entire globe now with the entry of China and India, the two most populous nations on earth. Together, they function as "strategic reserves" of land, labor and resources, Li argues. Crucially, this phase of growth places potentially fatal strains on "the requirements of ecological sustainability." That is the case due to the links between industrial production and environmental degradation. To drill down on these points, Li devotes no small effort to an accounting of the "hard facts" around modern industry and ecology.

To improve our understanding of the present conjuncture, Li details China's rise in the modern era. For US readers especially, the sections on the Chinese revolution are quite useful. To this end, he lays out how and why that revolution under Mao and the Chinese Communist Party paved the path for the transition to capitalist industrialization. His is not the conventional wisdom. In this way, the book in part helps to deconstruct the anti-Chinese ideology that has shaped the US's political culture from the post-Civil War era through the cold war and to the present....(Click for remainder.)

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Ecuador's Election Shows Why Left Continues Winning in Hard Times


(Photo: Reuters)

Washington's foreign policy establishment has been proven wrong. Latin America is more stable and democratic than ever.


By Mark Weisbrot
The Guardian via Truthout


A few months ago I ran into an economist who was formerly head of the Bolivian Central Bank in the La Paz airport. He had been reading Roubini, the New York University economist whom the media has nicknamed "Dr. Doom", and was predicting a very gloomy economic future for the hemisphere, the region, and especially his own country.

I didn't agree about Bolivia, which has more international reserves relative to its economy than China. But it was striking to see the same thing in all the countries that I visited: opposition economists and political leaders everywhere reminded me of communists in the 1930s, praying for the collapse of the capitalist system - in this case, somewhat ironically, so that they could rid themselves of the left governments that the voters had chosen in Bolivia, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador and elsewhere.

In all of these countries the vast majority of the mass media, to varying degrees, shares the opposition's agenda and in many cases appears willing to present an overly pessimistic or even catastrophic scenario in order to help advance the cause.

But despite the worsening of the world and regional economy, the left keeps winning in Latin America. The latest left victory was that of President Rafael Correa of Ecuador, an economist who was first elected at the end of 2006 and was re-elected last Sunday under a new constitution. This gives the charismatic 46 year-old four more years, and he can be re-elected once more for another term....(Click for remainder.)

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The Pig-Man Says That Obama "Needs a teenage single mother, who's gay, is a lesbian, who's dirt poor, African-American, and disabled"

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Don't Take New Hampshire for Granite!

By Lexi Adams
Blog of Rights @ ACLU.org


This Portsmouth, New Hampshire native is gleeful about the news that the New Hampshire Senate passed a state marriage equality bill Wednesday afternoon by 13 to 11. Since a similar marriage bill passed the House last month, the bill can move forward to the desk of Governor Lynch as soon as the House approves the Senate’s amended bill. Although Gov. Lynch says he does not support same-sex marriage, the law can go into effect without his signature…as long as he doesn’t veto it. Personally, I’m hopeful that Lynch will take some time to think it through (maybe a lot of time…) and decide not to veto progress.

To the folks who might not have predicted that New Hampshire would be next up in the current wave of LGBT equality, we conveniently have a slogan already prepared for you: Don’t Take New Hampshire for Granite!

Especially gratifying is the news that NOM, the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (who created the ridiculous Gathering Storm ads that spawned a thousand Gay Storm parodies) has been investing heavily behind the scenes to lobby against the New Hampshire marriage equality bills. With the financial backing of NOM-NOM, an anti-gay New Hampshire organization called Cornerstone Policy Research says it called 150,000 households over the past two months to fight the gathering storm of equal rights. That’s 30% of the households in the entire state! And you know what? It just goes to show that, with or without slick lightning-bolt effects and made-up stories of how straight people are wounded by LGBT equality, fair-minded people know fear-mongering when they see it. And ultimately, they will reject fear–and embrace what’s right....(Click for remainder.)

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