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Dumb As a Stump Hannity Attacks Obama Over Mustard, The Wheels Are Really Coming Off His Wagon Now

Thursday, May 07, 2009

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No Exit

By Andy Singer


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Is Sean Hannity Urging Americans to Armed Revolt?



By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars


We've been wondering for awhile about the unhinged rhetoric that's been coming steadily from the mainstream right since Obama's election, and the kinds of effects it will have on its audiences, especially over time.

Glenn Beck has become the most notable purveyor of this rhetoric in recent months, but its past master, Sean Hannity, is clearly intent on keeping his spot as the lead foam-flecked dog -- which was what last night's Fox News show was all about. It left Ellen at Newshounds wondering if Hannity was calling for armed revolt:
Hannity suspended his usual “Hannity Headline” to bring a “special first segment of the show” that was straight out of Glenn Beck's playbook. Is Hannity getting nervous as Beck gains on him in the ratings?

As patriotic music played in the background, Hannity, who just a few weeks ago vehemently supported Governor Rick Perry's threat of secession, quickly suggested that an uprising against the government might be in order. “In 1765, Parliament passed The Stamp Act, provoking outrage among the American colonists,” Hannity began. “Now, the leaders of the tax uprising were the sons of liberty.”

Citing the names of Paul Revere, Patrick Henry, John Hancock and John Adams, Hannity explained that they met under a tree to “air their grievances against the tyrannical King George. The sons of liberty would become an early voice for the rights of an oppressed citizenry.”
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Joe the Pluber is Queer

By Charles Karel Bouley
The Huffington Post


Joe the Plumber is queer by his own definition. In the evangelical magazine Christianity Today he stated that "People don't understand the dictionary, it's called queer. Queer means strange and unusual, it's not like a slur, like calling a White guy a honky or anything..." He went on to say that he had friends that were "actually gay" (which sent me laughing for hours, I mean, how gay do you have to be to be 'actually' gay, are there special display cases for those who are 'actually' gay?) but that they knew he wouldn't let them near his children. His opinion flies in the face of American values and any truly Godly ideology and is in a small but vocal minority. He's strange and unusual. He's queer.

The thinking is obtuse. It echoes what Evangelicals have been trying to codify for years, and what the Republican Party has become through it's use of these wedge issues. Evangelical Republicans or even good "Christian" Republican conservatives that claim to have the soul of the party are proving they are to American Christians and Republicans what the Wahhabi form of Islam is to the rest of the world. Right Wing Radicals like Joe and Rush and the rest have been waging the equivalent of a social jihad on any American not like them, that doesn't think like them, a patriarchal movement that is meant to keep women oppressed and second class citizens with no control over their own bodies and medical decisions and designed to keep any American that does not conform to their rigid and radical ideology away from the equality promised all by the Constitution.

Instead of roadside bombs they use surgical incursions in to policy carrying the force of millions of U.S. dollars raised to discriminate against other Americans, breaching the divide of Church and state and destroying national morale by dividing a nation's families making them choose between ideology or blood ties. They practice the politics of thinly veiled theocracy, perverting a Christian ideology, mixing it with a capitalist bend, a white somewhat fascist view that has all but destroyed our nation. The Republican Party is currently the party of War Criminals, like its former leader George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, co-conspirators Condoleezza Rice, Karl Rove, Alberto Gonzales...on and on. This cabal of criminals bankrupted a nation, literally, through blatant disregard for the average American while protecting and rewarding the wealthy and ruined our standing in the world through unjust and illegal occupations. Republican senators and Congressional leaders for six years sat by and were duplicitous in these acts (as were many Democrats). This is a party of racists, war criminals, homophobes, xenophobes, and if you don't like that classification, too bad. The facts back me up. It's time for this party and people like Rush, Joe the Plumber, all of their mouthpieces to go, to fade away like the Whigs, to be seen as radicals and given no real political or social footing....(Click for remainder.)

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Filibusted

By R.J. Matson
The New York Observer



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Megyn Kelly Validates Rep. Steven King’s Accusation That Democrats Are Protecting Pedophiles

By Priscilla
News Hounds


That Fox News provides a forum for what's hot in the right wing blogosphere is underscored by their treatment of the newest right wing "outrage" about how the hate crimes legislation, passed by the US House of Representatives, is protecting pedophiles (among many other "sins" as defined by the radical right). The video of Bill O'Reilly's take on the issue is titled "House Dems Defend Pedophiles Over Vets" – no "Cavuto Mark" but a statement of fact that Democrats protect pedophiles. And today, we have Megyn Kelly's interview with Iowa Representative Steven King, who is making the same claim. Fox claims to be "fair and balanced." Their reporting on the hate crime legislation is – well – not so much! But the title of the video, "Protecting Pedophiles," does have a question mark!

Today's piece from Megyn Kelly provided a forum for US Representative Steven King to spout a bunch of junk about the hate crimes bill passed by the House – a bill that is opposed by many conservatives. So it's not surprising that Fox is throwing more red meat to the pitchfork crowd who are so well represented with Steven King. Let's stroll down memory lane for a few King classics. He recently called the Black and Hispanic Congressional Caucuses "separatist groups." He compared the Abu Gharib abuse to "hazing." He supports anti gay discrimination in claiming that the Employment Non Discrimination Act will force business to hire gays. He said that homosexuality is just a behavior and that marriage is not a civil right. But my personal favorite is his statement that if Obama won the presidency (he did) the terrorists would would "party." (they didn't) So enter, stage very right, Steve King into an interview with Fox's Megyn Kelly about how the Democrats are protecting pedophiles.

King is unhappy that the Democrats voted down a GOP amendment to the Hate Crimes Bill requiring language that the term sexual orientation not include pedophilia. This was done because sexual orientation is already defined by statutes and that definition doesn't include pedophiles. Kelly introduced the segment by referencing "conservative bloggers" accusations that the Hate Crimes Bill protects pedophiles and as such, the debate has "taken a stunning turn." She said, inaccurately, that the Republicans tried to strip language from the bill that protected pedophiles. (Wrong). Looking quite grim, Kelly said "all of the Democrats voted against it, on the same day that the same committee slapped down the same protections from veterans." So the stage was set for Peter King, "the man who tried to block the protection of pedophiles" to further push the propaganda. She said, "So the members of this committee voted…to protect pedophiles, but not veterans. Is that true?" Kelly then framed the "leading" question as to make King look like a right wing hero: "You thought it would be a good idea to make sure, since they were adding sexual orientation, to make sure that pedophilia doesn't get swept up into "special protections…and every Democrat voted it down." The chyron read "House Dems to Protect Pedophiles, Not Veterans." (Wrong)....(Click for remainder.)

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Fox Hosts Sides With Guest Calling Colin Power a "Traitor" to GOP

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Mormon Douche Chaffetz: Gay Marriage Rights In DC Are ‘Not Something I Can Let Go Softly Into The Night’

By Ali Frick
Think Progress


Yesterday, the DC Council overwhelmingly approved a bill recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states, by a vote of 12 to 1. It is the latest victory for LGBT rights, coming just days after the state legislatures in New Hampshire and Maine approved gay marriage, after Vermont became the fourth state to make gay marriage legal last month.

Marriage equality in the nation's capitol, however, is too much for freshman Rep. John Chaffetz (R-UT), who is refusing to let the issue "go softly into the night":
"Some things are worth fighting for, and this is one of them," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (Utah), the ranking Republican on a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee that oversees the District. "It's not something I can let go softly into the night. … I recognize the Democrats are in the majority, but I represent the majority of Americans on this issue."
The City Desk noted Chaffetz's Twitter explanation for why he would use Congress to intervene: "Why am I involved? Congress is set up to oversee the affairs of D.C. I am one of the Members of the relevant committee."....(Click for remainder.)

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Hannity Lies About Hate-Crimes Bill, Claims Dems Protect Pedophiles but Not Veterans


By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars


The progression of the nation's first federal hate-crimes law -- the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act -- out of the House and into the Senate, where it will almost certainly pass (barring a GOP filibuster), has the right-wing punditocracy in an uproar.

Especially Sean Hannity -- who's now just flatly lying on the air about the bill, and about hate-crimes laws in general. The distortion and demagoguery is making quite a spectacle.

The right-wing smear-and-lie machine has been getting cranked up to fight this bill from the outset, with notable contributions from the likes of Virginia Foxx. But the champion liar/demagogue is Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who has been throwing up garbage amendments -- including a nonsensical attempt to include veterans under hate-crime provisions. Of course, Hannity reported this attempt as something serious instead of the cheap grandstanding it was.

And the grandstanding continues with subsequent attempts to exclude pedophiles from bias-crime protection. On Fox News last night, both Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity devoted segments to exploring King's proposals to exclude pedophilia as a "protected class."

There's a big problem with this claim: There's nothing in either the federal legislation, or in any state law, that could credibly be construed as offering protection to pedophiles. In fact, the entire construct -- that these laws create "protected classes" -- is false to begin with....(Click for remainder.)

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Hannity And Steyn Attack Colin Powell Over Criticisms Of Limbaugh And Coulter

By Ellen
News Hounds


Who couldn't see this one coming? Colin Powell had the nerve to speak out publicly against the hate mongering of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, calling it bad for Republicans. So rather than debate the actual effect of Limbaugh and Coulter on the party, Sean Hannity called on Limbaugh-sub Mark Steyn to discredit Powell. And on the other side? Nobody. With video.

Hannity harped on Powell's comments several times during last night's (5/6/09) Hannity. Earlier in the show, Hannity made the unintentionally hilarious comment that he doesn't ever hear “nastiness” from Limbaugh. But Powell was fair game, as Hannity introduced the segment by saying, "endorsing Barack Obama was not enough" for Powell. "Now he is on the offensive against Republicans."

Predictably, Steyn claimed, “I don't recognize this characterization of (Limbaugh) as some angry, bitter man who's driving people away.”

Maybe those two don't but much of the rest of the country does. Before he backtracked to kiss Limbaugh's you know what, RNC chair Michael Steele knew it. And the pollsters know it. Limbaugh's favorability ratings are lower than George W. Bush's. And not even uber-loyalist Hannity has been arguing that Bush is good for Republicans these days.

Other than ensuring a defense of Limbaugh, Steyn doesn't exactly seem like the go-to guy for discussing the future of the Republican Party. This is the same Mark Steyn who predicted that George W. Bush would win the 2000 election in a landslide, that the insurgency in Iraq would peter out in about six weeks (from December, 2003) and then, three months later, said, "I don't think it's possible for anyone who looks at Iraq honestly to see it as anything other than a success story."...(Click for remainder.)

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John Thune is a Bigot

By Lucas O'Connor
MyDD


There's really no two ways about it (via Political Animal):
[C]onservative leaders have warned the nomination of a gay or lesbian justice could complicate Obama's effort to confirm a replacement for Souter, and another Republican senator on Wednesday warned a gay nominee would be too polarizing.

"I know the administration is being pushed, but I think it would be a bridge too far right now," said GOP Chief Deputy Whip John Thune. "It seems to me this first pick is going to be a kind of important one, and my hope is that he'll play it a little more down the middle. A lot of people would react very negatively."
He's trying to cloak this as political pragmatism- that it would just be too controversial. But that's not really what Thune is saying. He's saying that certain sexuality disqualifies a legal mind. More specifically, that sexuality determines whether one is capable of judging and enforcing the Constitution. In Thune's mind, only straight people are qualified to interpret the law and Constitution of this country.

Which cuts right to the heart of everything that's ridiculous and offensive about this outlook. Given the recent record of the GOP in defending and enforcing the Constitution, Senator Thune may want to avoid throwing stones about now.   (Click for original.)

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Republicans and Southerners, Most Unpatriotic of All Americans

By John Aravosis
AMERICAblog


From DailyKos/Research 2000:





I guess patriotism really is about more than just wearing a pin and trying to oppress your fellow man. (Click for original.)

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America's Shame

By Paul Craig Roberts
Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
Op-Ed News


Why does Israel have a right to exist, but Palestine doesn't?
 
This is the question of our time.
 
For sixty years Israelis have been stealing Palestine from Palestinians. There are maps available on the Internet and in Israeli publications showing the shrinkage over time of what was once Palestine into what Palestine is today--a small number of unconnected ghettos or bantustans.
 
Palestine became "the occupied territory" from which Palestinians were ejected and Israeli settlements built for "settlers." Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are full of refugee camps in which Palestinians driven off their lands by Israeli force have been living for decades.
 
Driving people off their land is strictly illegal under international law, but Israel has been getting away with it for decades.
 
Gaza is a concentration camp of 1.5 million Palestinians who were driven from their homes and villages and collected in the Gaza Ghetto.
 
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency was created 60 years ago in 1949 to administer refugee camps for Palestinians driven from their lands by Israel. As of 2002, the registered Palestinian refugee population was 3.9 million.
 
Caterpillar Tractor makes a special bulldozer for Israel that is designed to knock down Palestinian homes and to uproot their orchards. In 2003 an American protester, Rachel Corrie, stood in front of one of these Caterpillars and was run over and crushed.
 
Nothing happened. The Israelis can kill whomever they want whenever they want.
 
They have been doing so for 60 years, and they show no sign of stopping....(Click for remainder.)

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The Pentagon Denies the Aweful Truth, Gets BUSTED!

By Mark Crispin Miller
OpEd News


It has long been standard counter-propaganda practice--especially by those in power--to claim that some very damning video exposé was "taken out of context." That line was used throughout the war in Vietnam, then Desert Storm, and then Bush/Cheney's new war on Iraq. Remember Rumsfeld jeering that the lethal post-invasion anarchy throughout Baghdad had been exaggerated by the press? He noted that the news included countless shots of vases in distress: "Is it possible that there were that many vases in the whole country?" he asked rhetorically (and, it must be said, moronically).

That defensive line has been deployed not just in wartime but in other controversial cases here at home. The footage of the LAPD stomping Rodney King, for instance, met with fierce howls of denial from the likes of Rush Limbaugh, who claimed, predictably, that that sensational footage was a mere misleading fragment of the whole encounter. See it all, they said, and you will see that King had really asked for it, and that the cops had acted with heroic restraint, etc. But what the entire video showed was quite the opposite, as all it showed was members of the LAPD stomping Rodney King.

And so it is with Al Jazeera's video of the military's top chaplain in Afghanistan instructing US troops to "hunt people for Jesus" in that Muslim land. The Pentagon's spokesman quickly charged that that explosive moment "grossly misrepresent[ed] the truth," as it was mostly "taken out of context."

To which denial Al Jazeera, and American filmmaker Brian Hughes, who shot that film, have come out with a devastating answer, as Jeremy Scahill reports below. Specifically, they released the raw footage shot by Hughes, who also offers a detailed account of his experience shooting it....(Click for remainder.)

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The GOP's Logic is Very Shallow

By Steve Benson
The Arizona Republic



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Dumb-as-a-Stump Tancredo: Humans Did Not Evolve From Other Species

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The Republican Tent is Not So Big

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Bill O'Reilly Hates the Media (Ergo Bill-O Hates Himself)

By Errington Thompson
Liberal Oasis


Classic Bill O'Reilly was on display Monday night for his Talking Points segment: Don't Trust the Media! O'Reilly then proceeded to tell us several reasons why we should not trust the media. Now let's think about this. A media personality looks square in the camera and, without noting a hint of irony, tells us not to trust the media. Doesn't this sound like a Saturday Night Live skit?




Many of our founding fathers despised the press, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson among them says O'Reilly. As David McCullough notes in his best-selling book, John Adams, Mr. Adams was probably overly sensitive to criticism, of which he received a lot while president. The Alien and Sedition Acts were a group of four separate laws passed to quell opposition to John Adams specifically (while he was president) and the Federalists in general. I'm unable to find any evidence that Thomas Jefferson despised the press. (If you're able to find any of this evidence, please let me know.) As a matter of fact, I would say that Thomas Jefferson wrote extensively on freedom of press. "No government ought to be without censors, and where the press is free, no one ever will." Alexander Hamilton wrote about the necessity of a free press in Federalist paper number 84. Finally, I would add that John Adams loved to read and had an extensive library. I think, as usual, Bill O'Reilly is blowing smoke.

He does go on to say that the press is largely corrupt, but gives no evidence to support this.

Newspapers are dying. I must congratulate Bill O'Reilly, frankly, for getting a fact correct. The reasons that newspapers are dying are complex. I think the Internet does have a large part in this, but newspapers were dying long before the explosion of the Internet in the late 1990s. I think that the invention of 24-hour news also has had a lot to do with it. The morning paper is giving you information that you are ready know.

Now Bill O'Reilly is going to give us two excellent examples of why we should not trust the press....(Click for remainder.)

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Sarah Palin's Approval Rating in Alaska is Crashing. When Will the Burning Start?

By AKMuckraker
The Huffington Post


After the last six weeks of watching the Palin train cars derail one by one, in what can only be described as agonizing political slow motion, we've been waiting with curiosity to see what would happen when the latest Hays Research poll came out. The last poll numbers we had showed Palin's approval rating at 59.8% (sum of very favorable and favorable ratings) and her approval index (very favorable minus very unfavorable) at +14.

Bear in mind that at one point, before people started paying attention, her approval rating hovered a hair under 80% and her approval index was an unheard of +40. Let's take a look at what those numbers looked like last July before the nomination.



(whistles) No wonder the GOP was impressed. Little did they know about that "Alaskans not paying attention" part.

I'll cut Alaskans a little slack, though. We were coming off a bad relationship. Former governor Frank Murkowski was such a disaster, Palin cleaned up on the "anyone but Frank" vote. He was an incumbent who got slayed in the primaries with only 19% of the vote. We wanted anyone but Frank, and that's what we got. Be careful what you wish for, as the saying goes....(Click for remainder.)

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Porn Star vs. Vitter: "What I do is legal, what he did is not"

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Something Smells at Whole Foods

The grocery store chain cultivates an image of social responsibility, but its workers tell a different story.

By Sharon Smith
SocialistWorker.org


WHOLE FOODS Market is a highly profitable corporation that far outperforms its competitors, while maintaining an aura of commitment to social justice and environmental responsibility. Its clientèle is attracted not only to its brightly lit array of pristine fruits and vegetables, organically farmed meats and delectable (yet healthy) recipes, but also to the notion that the mere act of shopping at Whole Foods is helping to change the world.

In 2007, Whole Foods launched its "Whole Trade Guarantee," stating its aim as advancing the Fair Trade movement--encouraging higher wages and prices paid to farmers in poor countries while promoting environmentally safe practices. In addition, Whole Foods announced that 1 percent of proceeds will be turned over to its own Whole Planet Foundation, which supports micro-loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries.

Meanwhile, the company's Animal Compassion Foundation seeks to improve living conditions for farm animals, while stores periodically hold "5 Percent Days," when they donate 5 percent of sales for that day to an area non-profit or educational organization.

Whole Foods also has a distinctive reputation for rejecting traditional corporate management models in favor of decentralized decision-making, described as an experiment in workplace democracy.

There are no departments at Whole Foods stores, only "Teams" of employees. And Whole Foods has no managerial job titles, just Team Leaders and Assistant Team Leaders. Nor does the company admit to having any workers, only Team Members who meet regularly to decide everything from local suppliers to who should get hired onto the Team.

Generally, the company strives to achieve consensus at Team meetings, where workers brainstorm about new ways to raise productivity. And new hires need to win the votes of at least two-thirds of Team Members in order to make the cut....(Click for remainder.)

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Keith Olbermann: Savage Threatening To Sue UK

By Media Matters


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Michael Weiner "Savage" Says He's Going to Call for a Boycott of Britain by His Knuckle-Dragging Mouth-Breathing Listeners

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News Corp Says Earnings Have 'Hit a Floor'

Boo-hoo.

By Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson
The Financial Times


Rupert Murdoch declared an end to “the days of precipitous decline” last night, saying that the worst was over for News Corp as his media empire reported a 47 per cent drop in operating income to $755m for the three months to March 31.

“At the very least, we’ve hit a floor and we seem to be getting some bounce off it,” he said, holding to a forecast made in February that adjusted operating profits would end the year 30 per cent down from the $5.13bn recorded the previous year.

Severe declines at its televison stations and newspapers left cable programming such as Fox News responsible for more than half of group profits in the quarter. Operating income from the TV arm, which includes the Fox stations in the US, plunged from $419m to $4m, as local markets suffered from weak automotive, financial and movie advertising, and Star absorbed the cost of launching new channels in India.

Profits from its newspaper portfolio dropped from $216m to $7m, with a 33 per cent decline in advertising revenues at the Wall Street Journal, 21 per cent less advertising in UK titles such as The Times and a 16 per cent advertising decrease in Australia.

Cable network programming, which a year ago contributed just 22 per cent of profits, increased operating income from $330m to $429m, or 57 per cent of the total.

The Fox News Channel almost doubled operating income to record levels as it charged higher rates to affiliates and saw a 23 per cent year-on-year gain in primetime ratings. Growth in Latin America and Europe boosted international channels’ earnings by 25 per cent....(Click for remainder.)

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Oprah Gives Out Free KFC in Most Hypocritical Move Yet

By Paula Crossfield
The Huffington Post


Perhaps it was all just too much, too kind and too ahead of the curve, all that work she had done recently to expose what truly goes on for chickens and other animals in the factory farm setting. Because now Oprah has decided to bolster one of America's worst offenders when it comes to support for factory farming, KFC, by giving away two pieces of chicken to every human in America.

It may seem harmless: a mass market "they want it, so I'm giving it to them" kind of campaign. But because Oprah has marketed herself as one who cares about animals, even getting a "Person of the Year" award last year from PETA, this KFC campaign is a serious disappointment to say the least.

This is because KFC buys their meat from Tyson, which is the largest chicken processor in the United States and is known for supporting a conglomeration of chicken CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations). Inside these daylight-free hellholes, chickens are crammed so tightly together they can barely move. Worse, if we were to grow as fast as these broilers are bred to grow, we'd be 350 pounds by the time we were 2 years old. This is largely because these chickens are bred to have more breast meat (because that's what the consumer wants), so many of them can't even stand up. On top of that they produce so much shit that many farm workers get asthma just doing their job -- and that is just the workers on the farm. Most of the Tyson factory workers spend their entire day on one part of the production line, slitting throats, de-feathering or removing intestines for hours on end. Yum. (video made by one worker, be warned, it is quite grotesque)

Just a recap: in order to have what we want to eat, we have created little monstrosities, which then get essentially tortured before routine killings performed by ill and disgruntled workers. And Oprah is encouraging this practice to continue!...(Click for remainder.)

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Bill Orally Smears Hate Crimes Bill With False Claim The Pedophiles Could Be Protected

By Media Matters

On the May 5 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed that pedophiles could be protected under the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act -- which defines as a crime acts of attempted violence "motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim." Specifically, O'Reilly said: "[Y]ou could make an argument that a pedophile has a disease, and because the disease is there, he's a target or she's a target." O'Reilly later added that pedophiles could be protected by the bill because "[d]isability is included. They have a mental disability." However, pedophilia is not considered a "disability" under current federal law. Indeed, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), specifically excludes pedophilia, thereby precluding protection for pedophiles from the hate crimes bill. Additionally, on May 6, America's Newsroom co-host Megyn Kelly joined other Fox hosts in advancing the false claim that Democrats "vote[d] to protect" pedophiles by voting against an amendment to the hate crimes bill by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) stating that "the term 'sexual orientation' shall not include pedophilia."

While discussing the Democrats' opposition to King's amendment, O'Reilly suggested that by defining as crimes acts of attempted violence "motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived ... disability of the victim," the underlying bill could protect pedophiles because "a psychiatrist would make an argument ... they have a disease. They can't control themselves." O'Reilly also stated that "you could make an argument that a pedophile has a disease, and because the disease is there, he's a target or she's a target." After Fox News contributor Marc Lamont Hill later stated, "when we talk about sexual orientation, you're not talking about ... pedophilia," O'Reilly replied, "Disability is included. They have a mental disability."

The only group defined by the hate crimes bill is "gender identity," which is defined as "actual or perceived gender-related characteristics." During an April 23 House Judiciary Committee hearing about the bill, Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) said that the reason "gender identity" is defined in the bill is because "that definition exists nowhere else in federal law. This is the first time it's occurring in federal law." Referring to the other groups protected by the bill but not defined within it, Baldwin said: "But in every other case, gender, disability, sexual orientation, race, national origin, color, and -- I'm missing one. The architecture of the hate crime statutes in the United States is those definitions do not lay within that architecture. They exist elsewhere in federal law, and we rely on them."...(Click for remainder.)

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If Boehner is Worried About the Cost of Cap-and-Trade, He Should Support 100% Auctions

By Richard L. Revesz and Michael A. Livermore
The Huffington Post


Last month, MIT economics professor John Reilly was surprised to learn that his April 2007 report was in the news two years after its release.

His research on the costs of cap-and-trade systems found only a modest cost for American families under the plan. But, some members of Congress read Professor Reilly's results differently, confusing the amount of money raised through auctions with the cost imposed on consumers. Based on that false information, they stepped up to the megaphone to warn citizens of thousands of dollars in annual price increases.

Reilly promptly sent a cease-and-desist letter to House Republican Leader John Boehner, hoping the Congressman would rescind his comments and set the record straight.

Unfortunately, despite Professor Reilly's complaints, some members in the House continued to manipulate the research to say costs could be 10 to 11 times higher than what the report found. Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) even scoffed at Professor Reilly's attempts to correct the misperceptions by saying: "he may go to M-I-T but he is an N-U-T."

The question of the cost of climate change legislation has rightly emerged as a major theme of the debate on the Hill. Most recently, Charlie Rangel, Chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee announced last week that he would insist on using auction revenues to reimburse American families for increases in energy prices.

Since middle and lower classes pay a higher percentage of their income on energy, they are hit hardest by increases. So while a cap-and-trade would not cost nearly as much as Congressman Boehner says it would, it would still mean a few hundred dollars a year out of the pockets of those who could afford it least. But with a cap-and-dividend type plan like Rangel's, Obama's or Congressman Van Hollen's, we could avoid this unfair burden without compromising our green goals....(Click for remainder.)

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Colbert Report: The Word - Captain Kangaroo Court

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Captain Kangaroo Court
colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Gay Marriage

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How We Tested the Big Banks

By Sec. Timothy Geithner
The New York Times Op-Ed


THIS afternoon, Treasury, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve will announce the results of an unprecedented review of the capital position of the nation’s largest banks. This will be an important step forward in President Obama’s program to help repair the financial system, restore the flow of credit and put our nation on the path to economic recovery.

The president came into office facing a deep recession and a damaged financial system. Credit had dried up, forcing businesses to lay off workers and defer investment. Families were finding it difficult to borrow to finance a new house, buy a car or pay college tuition. Without action to restore lending, we faced the prospect of a much deeper and longer recession.

President Obama confronted these problems with dramatic action to address the housing crisis and to restart credit markets that are responsible for roughly half of all business and consumer lending. The administration also initiated a program to provide a market for legacy loans and securities to help cleanse bank balance sheets. These programs are helping to repair lending channels that do not rely on banks, and will contribute to fixing the banking system itself.

However, the banking system has also needed a more direct and forceful response. Actions by Congress and the Bush administration last fall helped bring tentative stability. But when President Obama was sworn into office in January, confidence in America’s banking system remained low....(Click for remainder.)

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New Religious Coalition Seek Climate 'Redemption' Via Carbon Plan

By Jonathan Hiskes
Grist.com


Dr. Joel Hunter, reputedly one of President Obama’s five favorit-est pastors, might have just gotten even more favorit-er.

The Florida megachurch pastor stars in a blitz of new ads on Christian radio stations intended to raise support for a climate bill like the one under consideration in the U.S. House. Hunter, a registered Republican, draws squarely on religious language in the 60-second spots (listen here):
As our seas rise, crops wither, and rivers run dry, God’s creation cries out for relief.

The failure to answer the calling to be good stewards has consequences. The destabilizing effect of climate change will hit the poor the hardest, and it also threatens our national security, our economic prosperity, and our children’s future.

Yet no matter how bleak things appear, redemption is always possible.
The ads are part of a larger campaign by faith and military groups (an odd combination?) to support climate legislation and ensure that the government “prioritizes the most vulnerable at home and abroad,” according to a news release. The campaign wants a climate bill to include direct rebates to help offset increased energy costs for the American poor and international aid to help developing countries adapt to the effects of climate change.

The ads began airing yesterday in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Virginia, and Ohio – states with lots of religious voters. The ads are funded by the American Values Network (AVN), a faith-based advocacy group recently launched by Burns Strider, the faith outreach director for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign....(Click for remainder.)

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Rachel Maddow Reports on Barstow's Military Analyst Article, Rescinded Pentagon IG Report

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Czechs Clear Way for Lisbon Treaty

By Tony Barber
The Financial Times


The upper house of the Czech parliament on Wednesday approved the European Union’s Lisbon treaty by a convincing majority, increasing the chances that long-awaited institutional reforms in the 27-nation bloc will come into effect on January 1, 2010.

The Czech senate’s 54-20 vote was comfortably above the margin required for approval and came as a relief to EU leaders, who have invested the best part of 10 years in trying to redesign the EU’s decision-making procedures in a way that satisfies everyone.

“This is very good news,” said José Manuel Barroso, European Commission president. “The vote reflects the Czech Republic’s commitment to a more democratic, accountable, effective and coherent European Union.”

The treaty still needs the signature of Vaclav Klaus, the Czech head of state, who is a fierce critic of Lisbon, but Czech politicians said the president’s limited powers under the nation’s constitution meant that he would have to sign the document sooner rather than later.

The Czech vote will put similar pressure on Lech Kaczynski, Poland’s president, who has delayed signing the treaty even though the Polish parliament has passed it.

The chief obstacle to the treaty now lies five months ahead in the form of an Irish referendum, expected in October, that must be held if Lisbon is to secure the necessary approval from all EU member-states. Irish voters rejected the treaty in a referendum in June 2008....(Click for remainder.)

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Keith Olbermann: Paper Trail (Tortured Policies)

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Cantor Caves: Republicans Will Be ‘Listening’ To Rush Limbaugh, Not The American Public

By Amanda Terkel
Think Progress


Last week, Republicans kicked off their National Council for a New America, an attempt to revive the image of the GOP. One of the leading participants, former governor Jeb Bush, said that it was time for Republicans to "listen first, to learn a little bit, to upgrade our message a little bit." Similarly, on Sunday, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) told CNN that Republicans should be "listening to the people":
CANTOR: Listen, John, I think there is a lot of blame to go around. And what we're trying to do here today is kick off a series of town hall forums so that we can get back to listening to the people. [...]

So we've got to go out and, again, reconnect and make sure that our policy prescriptions are relevant to the challenges that people in the Northeast are facing, to the challenges that educated, affluent families are facing, as well as those much more challenged in the inner cities and rural areas of our country.

There is a common theme in this country and that is opportunity. That's what these forums are going to be about, about listening to how we tap into the real challenges and how we allow opportunity to flourish again.
Listening to all this talk about listening, Rush Limbaugh became incensed. He said that instead of taking cues from the American public, Republicans should fan out and spread their dogma through a "teaching tour." This morning on MSNBC, Cantor backtracked and said that he agreed with Limbaugh:
SCARBOROUGH: So, let's start with Rush Limbaugh, who seems to be mocking the idea of a listening tour. What do you say to Rush?

CANTOR: You know, Joe, really, this — this is not a listening tour. You know, think about what we saw a couple weeks ago on the TEA parties.
Cantor added that the National Council was actually an opportunity "to go out across this country to talk about our conservative principles and to appeal to as many elements in our society as we can." Watch it:




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Why Does the Vaccine/Autism Controversy Live On?

Research has soundly disproved the alleged connection, yet fears about vaccines continue to be a major risk to public health.

By Chris Mooney
Discover


(Image: iStockphoto)
Vaccines do not cause autism. That was the ruling in each of three critical test cases handed down on February 12 by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C. After a decade of speculation, argument, and analysis—often filled with vitriol on both sides—the court specifically denied any link between the combination of the MMR vaccine and vaccines with thimerosal (a mercury-based preservative) and the spectrum of disorders associated with autism. But these rulings, though seemingly definitive, have done little to quell the angry debate, which has severe implications for American public health.

The idea that there is something wrong with our vaccines—that they have poisoned a generation of kids, driving an “epidemic” of autism—continues to be everywhere: on cable news, in celebrity magazines, on blogs, and in health news stories. It has had a particularly strong life on the Internet, including the heavily trafficked Huffington Post, and in pop culture, where it is supported by actors including Charlie Sheen and Jim Carrey, former Playboy playmate Jenny McCarthy, and numerous others. Despite repeated rejection by the scientific community, it has spawned a movement, led to thousands of legal claims, and even triggered occasional harassment and threats against scientists whose research appears to discredit it.

You can see where the emotion and sentiment come from. Autism can be a terrible condition, devastating to families. It can leave parents not only aggrieved but desperate to find any cure, any salvation. Medical services and behavioral therapy for severely autistic children can cost more than $100,000 a year, and these children often exhibit extremely difficult behavior. Moreover, the incidence of autism is apparently rising rapidly. Today one in every 150 children has been diagnosed on the autism spectrum; 20 years ago that statistic was one in 10,000. “Put yourself in the shoes of these parents,” says journalist David Kirby, whose best-selling 2005 book, Evidence of Harm, dramatized the vaccine-autism movement. “They have perfectly normal kids who are walking and happy and everything—and then they regress.” The irony is that vaccine skepticism—not the vaccines themselves—is now looking like the true public-health threat....(Click for remainder.)

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Ellen's Baffling Hypocrisy

By Jaclyn Simon
The Huffington Post


For the November elections, Ellen and Portia DeRossi hosted a gala to endorse prop 2, (for which they will soon be honored by the Humane Society). In an Access Hollywood video clip covering the event, Ellen gives a speech on the horrors of factory farming, telling her celebrity-laden audience, "I am just appalled that we are kept ignorant...If we were actually aware of the process, we would be heartbroken and we would stand up and do something about it and this is what we are doing now in out tiny, tiny way...." She goes on to confess, "It took me a long time to open my eyes and see what was really happening...you hear it all the time 'I don't want to know about it.' It's like well 'You have to know about it because it is not fair, because you are contributing to it. If you want to look at it and educate yourself and then decide to still do it, then ok. I don't think anybody wants to hurt animals. I don't think anybody goes out of their way to torture animals."

This statement is laden with irony in light of her recent campaign as the new face of Cover Girl, the cosmetics line owned by Procter and Gamble, one of the largest companies to continue animal testing.

Ellen's hypocrisy is baffling. I can only speculate on the reasons for her contradictory behavior that A. she is in it for the money, B. she is ignorant of the damage she is doing by promoting this ecologically and ethically ambiguous brand, or C. she believes the gains the LBGT community will gain through her exposure outweighs the exploitative business practices and lax ethics of the company she has chosen to promote....(Click for remainder.)

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Beck Echoes Tired Falsehood that ACORN Received Stimulus Funds

By Media Matters

During the May 6 broadcast of his Fox News program, Glenn Beck echoed a false Republican talking point by stating, "By including ACORN, or groups like them, in the stimulus package, we have guaranteed them billions of dollars to buy more votes for the party that helps them the most." Beck then likened this to "seed money for the Democratic votes." However, as Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding; ACORN itself has said that it is ineligible for the funds and has no plans to apply for them.

In falsely claiming that the act steered money to ACORN, Republicans have pointed to a provision in the act that would appropriate $2 billion for "emergency assistance for the redevelopment of abandoned and foreclosed homes, as authorized under division B, title III of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 [...] That additional award criteria for such competitions shall include demonstrated grantee capacity to execute projects, leveraging potential, concentration of investment to achieve neighborhood stabilization." The bill does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding.

Moreover, ACORN has denied that it is eligible for "neighborhood stabilization" funds -- the term used for the redevelopment funds in earlier versions of the act -- and has stated that it does not intend to apply for them. After House Minority Leader John Boehner's (R-OH) office issued press releases claiming that the recovery bill "makes groups like ACORN eligible for a $4.19 billion pot of money for 'neighborhood stabilization activities,' " in a January 28 press release, ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis called the claim an "obfuscation" that "was picked up across the right-wing echo chamber and has been used as a fig leaf by conservatives in their attempts to justify their opposition to progressive economic policies." Lewis further stated: "We have not received neighborhood stabilization funds, have no plans to apply for such funds, and didn't weigh in on the pending rule changes." On January 29, Lewis wrote at the Huffington Post: "[L]et's be clear. ACORN isn't getting any of this money. Since it is set aside for non-profit housing developers to help purchase, rehab, and resell foreclosed properties, we aren't eligible for it in the first place."...(Click for remainder.)

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Government Still Blocking Information on Secret IP Enforcement Treaty

Broken Promises from the Obama Administration Keep Americans in the Dark About ACTA

By Electronic Frontier Foundation

Washington, D.C. - Two public interest groups today called on the government to stop blocking the release of information about a secret intellectual property trade agreement with broad implications for privacy and innovation around the world.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Public Knowledge said that the April 30th release of 36 pages of material by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) was the second time the government had the opportunity to provide some public insight into the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), but declined to do so. More than a thousand pages of material about ACTA are still being withheld, despite the Obama administration's promises to run a more open government.

"We are very disappointed with the USTR's decision to continue to withhold these documents," said EFF Senior Counsel David Sobel. "The president promised an open and transparent administration. But in this case and others we are litigating at EFF, we've found that the new guidelines liberalizing implementation of the Freedom of Information Act haven't changed a thing."

EFF and Public Knowledge filed suit in September of 2008, demanding that background documents on ACTA be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Initially, USTR released 159 pages of information about ACTA and withheld more than 1300 additional pages, claiming they implicate national security or reveal the USTR's "deliberative process." After reconsidering the release under the Obama administration's new transparency policies, the USTR disclosed the additional pages last week, most of which contain no substantive information.

However, one of the documents implies that treaty negotiators are zeroing in on Internet regulation. A discussion of the challenges for the pact includes "the speed and ease of digital reproductions" and "the growing importance of the Internet as a means of distribution."...(Click for remainder.)

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