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Michael Steele on 'empathy': 'I'll give you empathy. Empathize right on your behind.'

Saturday, May 09, 2009

They really need to not allow this guy to speak. What a tool.

Via Think Progress


O'Reilly Doesn't Know the Difference Between Hate Speech and Hateful Speech

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

There's an ambiguity in the rhetoric used by people who fight bigotry that people like Bill O'Reilly -- people who couldn't care less about fighting bigotry, and indeed do their best to undermine such efforts -- love to exploit. It involves the word "hate."

We use "hate" generically as a stand-in for "bigotry", in part because the word better conveys the sewer of hatefulness that is part and parcel of bigoted attitudes and behavior, and it wraps up the concepts of racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism and ethnic bigotry all into a neat bundle.

So what properly should be called "bias-motivated crimes" we call, more handily, "hate crimes". Deeply racist and/or bigoted organizations like the skinheads and neo-Nazis, we call "hate groups." What is more precisely labeled "violently bigoted speech" we call "hate speech."

However, "hate" is a much broader term that encompasses a great deal more than just violent bigotry. So what happens then is that people like Bill O'Reilly -- right-wingers who do their best to undermine the work of fighting such bigotry -- exploit the resulting ambiguity.

We've seen this regularly over the years as part of the debate over hate crimes. (One of right-wingers' favorite dumbass retorts: "I never heard of a love crime.") Andrew Sullivan once even devoted an entire, maundering 7,500-word piece in the New York Times Magazine devoted to the argument that we cannot hope to regulate hate....(Click for remainder.)


Lawrence O'Donnell Castrates Torture Apologist and All-Around Douche, David Rivkin

By Heather

Crooks and Liars

Lawrence O'Donnell filling in for Ed Schultz rips into torture apologist David Rivkin. Rivkin has to be one of the most infuriating pundits out there and O'Donnell does a good job of taking on his talking points. That said I think O'Donnell would have better luck getting through to the wall behind him than he's ever going to have with the likes of Rivkin. The Republicans trot this guy out every time they need someone to defend the indefensible at Congressional hearings such as this one: Sheldon Whitehouse Destroys David Rivkin’s “Gallery of Horribles” Marcy wrote about from back in March.

John Amato:

Rivkin actually has the nerve to use the SERE program as a defense. The one that the odious Liz Cheney tried to use on Norah O'Donnell and which failed miserably.

This idiot uses the fact that since we tortured our own people using this program it's OK to torture detainees.
Rivkin: Deliberate infliction of severe physical and mental pain and suffering.

O'Donnell: Did you not here that description severe physical and mental pain and suffering?

Rivkin: That is a subjective view.

O'Donnell: Pain is subjective

Rivkin: Look, under your logic everything is torture.

O'Donnell: Everything is not torture, not at all. Your the defender of torture.
(Click for remainder.)


Republicans Play a New Fear Card

Editor’s Note: Still thinking that Americans are the easily frightened people that George W. Bush manipulated, the Republicans have pulled out a new “war on terror” fear card, spreading alarm about the possible transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to U.S. prisons.

This latest “be-very-afraid” message suggests that U.S. high-security prisons are no match for a handful of alleged terrorists whose principal protest at Guantanamo was to starve themselves to death in hunger strikes. As Sherwood Ross notes in this guest essay, Americans were made of sterner stuff back during World War II:

The mean-spirited attitude of Republican politicians over repatriating Guantanamo’s remaining 241 inmates in the U.S. reflects both their irrational fears and loss of moral compass.

By Sherwood Ross
Consortium News

House GOP leaders have introduced a “Keep Terrorists Out of America Act” that would give governors’ veto power to stop the transfer or release of detainees in their state.

The same governors that never question the building of atomic bombs, napalm, biological, and other banned U.S. terror weapons in their jurisdictions can be expected to make hypocritical political hay out of this issue.

“Our constituents don’t want these terrorists in their neighborhoods,” House Minority Leader John Boehner told reporters, according to the Miami Herald.

This echoes author Christopher Orlet who wrote in The American Spectator “the roughly 650 prisoners that have gone through Guantanamo Bay…are terrorists and terrorist allies.” How Orlet knows this when they did not get a true American jury trial, and when men have been tortured into signing confessions, is an intriguing question.

This debate is not helped by a wide disagreement over the facts. Areany of the Guantanamo captives, in fact, terrorists?

Lawrence Wilkerson, a Republican who served as chief of staff to then Secretary of State Colin Powell, told the Associated Press, “There are still innocent people there. Some have been there six or seven years.”

Apparently, some are and some are not. Attorney General Eric Holder says some captives will be released and others will be held.

By continuing to hold any prisoners year after year without trial, Holder only perpetuates the Bush regime’s injustice. In case after case evidence has emerged that many innocent men condemned to Guantanamo were turned in by bounty hunters to collect $5,000 from Uncle Sam....(Click for remainder.)


Michael Tomasky Talk: Republicans attack America's 'Muslim' president


Darth Cheney Admits to War Crimes and Felonies on the Radio...AGAIN


President Obama Weekly Address: Credit Card Reform


Office of the Press Secretary


EMBARGOED UNTIL 6:00 AM ET,                                    SATURDAY, MAY 10, 2009

WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Calls on Congress to Pass Credit Card Reform Bill

WASHINGTON – In his weekly address, President Barack Obama called on Congress to pass a credit card reform bill, so that he can sign it into law by Memorial Day.  The American people know that they must act responsibly and fairly, and credit institutions must do the same.  Sudden rate hikes, unfair penalties, and hidden fees are too common and are hurting too many people.  The set of principles the President has advocated will bring strong and reliable protections to consumers and strengthen monitoring, enforcement, and penalties for credit card companies that attempt to take advantage of ordinary Americans.

The full audio of the address is HERE. The video can be viewed online at

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Washington, D.C.

Good morning. I want to briefly share some news about our economy, and talk about the work that we’re doing both to protect American consumers, and to put our economy back on a path to growth and prosperity.

This week, we saw some signs that the gears of America’s economic engine are slowly beginning to turn. Consumer spending and home sales are stabilizing. Unemployment claims are dropping and job losses are beginning to slow. But these trends are far from satisfactory. The unemployment rate is at its highest point in twenty-five years. We are still in the midst of a deep recession that was years in the making, and it will take time to fully turn this economy around.

We cannot rest until our work is done. Not when Americans continue to lose their jobs and struggle to pay their bills. Not when we are wrestling with record deficits and an over-burdened middle class. That is why every action that my Administration is taking is focused on clearing away the wreckage of this recession, and building a new foundation for job-creation and long-term growth.

This past week, we acted on several fronts. To restart the flow of credit that businesses and individuals depend upon, we completed an unprecedented review of the condition of our nation’s largest banks to determine what additional steps are necessary to get our economy moving. To restore fiscal discipline, we identified 121 programs to eliminate from our budget. And to restore a sense of fairness to our tax code and common sense to our economy, I have asked Congress to work with me in closing the loopholes that let companies ship jobs and stash profits overseas – reforms will help save $210 billion over the next ten years.

These important steps are just one part of a broad effort to get government, businesses and banks to act more responsibly, so that we are creating good jobs and making sound investments instead of spending recklessly and padding false profits. Because American institutions must act with the same sense of responsibility and fairness that the American people aspire to in their own lives.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in our credit card industry. Americans know that they have a responsibility to live within their means and pay what they owe. But they also have a right to not get ripped off by the sudden rate hikes, unfair penalties, and hidden fees that have become all-too common in our credit card industry. You shouldn’t have to fear that any new credit card is going to come with strings attached, nor should you need a magnifying glass and a reference book to read a credit card application.  And the abuses in our credit card industry have only multiplied in the midst of this recession, when Americans can least afford to bear an extra burden.

It is past time for rules that are fair and transparent. That is why I have called for a set of new principles to reform our credit card industry. Instead of an "anything goes" approach, we need strong and reliable protections for consumers. Instead of fine print that hides the truth, we need credit card forms and statements that have plain language in plain sight, and we need to give people the tools they need to find a credit card that meets their needs. And instead of abuse that goes unpunished, we need to strengthen monitoring, enforcement, and penalties for credit card companies that take advantage of ordinary Americans.

The House has taken important steps toward putting these principles into law, and the Senate is poised to do the same next week. Now, I’m calling on Congress to take final action to pass a credit card reform bill that protects American consumers so that I can sign it into law by Memorial Day. There is no time for delay. We need a durable and successful flow of credit in our economy, but we can’t tolerate profits that depend upon misleading working families. Those days are over.

This economic crisis has reminded us that we are all in this together. We can’t prosper by putting off hard choices, or by protecting the profits of the few at the expense of the middle class. We are making steady progress toward recovery, but we must ensure that the legacy of this recession is an American economy that rewards work and innovation; that is guided by fairness and responsibility; and that grows steadily into the future.



Rights Group Uncovers Other Cases Of Military Proselytizing Christianity to Muslims

By Chris Rodda
The Public Record

As expected, the U.S. military quickly denied that the video released on Sunday by Al Jazeera is evidence that our troops proselytizing Muslims in Afghanistan, claiming that what was shown in the video was an isolated incident, and that the chaplains' statements were taken out of context.

Here's the official response from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) to the U.S. military: BULLSHIT!

If you haven't seen the video yet, here it is:

The video released by Al Jazeera is just one of countless pieces of evidence proving that our military is actively proselytizing Muslims in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and has been since the so-called war on terror began.

I've already written about a number of other instances of these incredible and blatant violations of CENTCOM's General Order 1-A, so let's see the military try to explain all this away.

Read in "The 'Great Commission' and Iraq" about the chaplain in Ad Dawr, who said:
"I am able to give them tracts on how to be saved, printed in Arabic. I wish I had enough Arabic Bibles to give them as well."
...and the 101st Airborne warrant officer who, referring to a daily Christian devotional book sporting the official U.S. military branch logos, said:
"the soldiers who are patrolling and walking the streets are taking along this copy, and they're using it to minister to the local residents," and that his "division is also getting ready to head toward Afghanistan, so there will be copies heading out with the soldiers."
(Click for remainder.)


Pat Robertson: Gay Marriage is 'The Beginning in a Long Downward Slide' to Legalized Child Molestation

By Matt Corley
Think Progress

Yesterday, when Gov. John Baldacci (D) signed a marriage equality law, Maine became the fifth state to allow legal same-sex marriage. On the Christian Broadcasting Network today, Pat Robertson responded by claiming that the “ultimate conclusion” of legalizing same-sex marriage would be the legalization of polygamy, bestiality, child molestation and pedophilia. “You mark my words, this is just the beginning in a long downward slide in relation to all the things that we consider to be abhorrent,” said Robertson. Watch it:

(Click for remainder.)


The Daily Show: Sec. Ken Salazar

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Stephen Colbert: Sean Hannity's Liberty Tree

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On Gays, Obama's Turn

By Eugene Robinson

Believe it or not, often I can see the other side of an argument. I know that tough gun control laws save lives and make our communities safer, for example, but I also see clarity in the Second Amendment. I support affirmative action, but I realize that providing opportunity to some worthy individuals can mean denying opportunity to others. Thinking about some issues involves discerning among subtly graded shades of gray.

On some issues, though, I really don’t see anything but black and white. Among them is the “question” of granting full equal rights to gay and lesbian Americans, which really isn’t a question at all. It’s a long-overdue imperative, one that the nation is finally beginning to acknowledge.

Before his inauguration, President Obama called himself a “fierce advocate of equality for gay and lesbian Americans.” Now, with the gay marriage issue percolating in state after state and with the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy ripe for repeal, it’s time for Obama to put some of his political capital where his rhetoric is.

On Wednesday, Maine became the fifth state to legalize gay marriage; similar legislation in New Hampshire has been sent to the governor. Politicians in Washington who want to avoid what they see as a dangerous controversy have a convenient escape: They can say that the marriage issue should be left to the states, and that the question of whether a legal gay marriage in one state should be recognized everywhere has already been addressed by Congress and ultimately will be settled by the courts.

But that’s a dodge, not a stance. It certainly can’t be confused with leadership.

Favoring “civil unions” that accord all the rights and benefits of marriage—but that withhold the word marriage, and with it, I guess, society’s approval—amounts to another dodge. I’m concerned here with the way the law sees the relationship, not the way any particular church or religious leader sees it; that’s for worshipers, clergy and the Almighty to work out. Marriage is not just a sacrament but also a contract, and the contractual aspect is a matter of statute, not scripture....(Click for remainder.)


Shock Jocks: Voice of America or Voice of Hate?

Savage calls Jacqui Smith a witch, but Obama is the big target of talkshow hosts

By Chris McGreal
The Guardian

At last Michael Savage has someone to be really angry at. Not the faceless targets of many of his shows: hordes of disease-ridden Mexican illegal immigrants spreading cholera and swine flu, or black people taking jobs from better deserving whites because of affirmative action, or gays subverting the very foundation of America's existence. Not to mention Barack Obama's secret socialist agenda.

To the strains of Rule, Britannia! morphing into the old Soviet national anthem, one of America's most popular talk radio show hosts launched into what has become a daily diatribe against Britain's home secretary, Jacqui Smith, for banning him from the UK this week for hate speech.

Smith is a "witch lunatic" appeasing radical Muslims by picking on a Jew. Savage reminds his listeners who saved Britain from Hitler, digs up an old speech of Churchill's, wonders "will the Muslims in England evolve with the rest of humanity?" and then claims: "I am the beacon of liberty that they [the British] have been dreaming about."

"I have a very large following in America and they are not all these bumpkin Nazis that your home secretary says they are. They, in fact, are the mainstream of America."

He continued: "I, Michael Savage, actually represent what the majority of America believes. I represent what the American people believe. I talk about borders, language and culture. I am a traditionalist. I talk about family values. That's what America believes in, not these marginalized individuals who have hijacked a nation and have elected an extremist government in America."...(Click for remainder.)


U.S. Threatens 'Military Force' Against Hackers

By Associated Press
Via The Independent

Cyber espionage and attacks from well-funded nations or terror groups are the biggest threats to the military's computer networks, a top US officer said.

Air Force General Kevin Chilton, who heads US Strategic Command, said he worries that foes will learn to disable or distort battlefield communications.

Chilton told reporters that even as the Pentagon improves its network defences against hackers, he needs more people, training and resources to hone offensive cyber war capacity.

At the same time, however, he asserted that the US would consider using military force against an enemy who attacks and disrupts the nation's critical networks.

"Our job would be to present options. I don't think you take anything off the table when you provide options" to the defence secretary or president, in the wake of an attack, whether the weapon is a missile or a computer program, he said.

Chilton's comments shed the most light to date on the Pentagon's ongoing debate over how to beef up its abilities to wage and defend against cyber warfare.

And they came as the military is planning to set up a new cyber command at Fort Meade not far from Washington that would report to Strategic Command.

In a wide-ranging discussion of the military's cyber issues, Chilton said the Pentagon's unclassified networks are probed thousands of times a day, as hackers try to steal information on military programs or planning.

"I worry when I see that important information is taken from our networks," he said. To date, he said there have been no major attacks against the military's networks, only intrusions or efforts to steal data.

Asked directly whether probes have been traced to China, al-Qaeda or other groups, Chilton declined to answer....(Click for remainder.)


Gaywatch: Marion Barry

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