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Beck, O'Reilly see no difference between soldier's murder and Tiller assassination

Friday, June 05, 2009

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Darth Cheney Says There Was No Connection Between Saddam and 9/11

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Bill O'Reilly uses Private Long's murder to try and justify his demonization of Dr. Tiller

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Keeping Them Honest

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times


“I appreciate your efforts, and look forward to working with you so that the Congress can complete health care reform by October.” So declared President Obama in a letter this week to Senators Max Baucus and Edward Kennedy. The big health care push is officially on.

But the devil is in the details. Health reform will fail unless we get serious cost control — and we won’t get that kind of control unless we fundamentally change the way the insurance industry, in particular, behaves. So let me offer Congress two pieces of advice:
1) Don’t trust the insurance industry.

2) Don’t trust the insurance industry.
The Democratic strategy for health reform is based on a political judgment: the belief that the public will be more willing to accept reform, less easily Harry-and-Louised, if those who already have health coverage from private insurers are allowed to keep it.

But how can we have fundamental reform of what Mr. Obama calls a “broken system” if the current players stay in place? The answer is supposed to lie in a combination of regulation and competition.

It’s a sign of the way the political winds are blowing that insurers aren’t opposing new regulations. Indeed, the president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry lobby known as AHIP, has explicitly accepted the need for “much more aggressive regulation of insurance.”...(Click for remainder.)

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Econocide: Body Count



By Nick Turse
TomDispatch.com via T r u t h o u t


After David B. Kellermann, the chief financial officer of beleaguered mortgage giant Freddie Mac, tied a noose and hanged himself in the basement of his Vienna, Virginia, home, The New York Times made it a front-page story. The stresses of the job in economic tough times, its reporters implied, had driven him to this extreme act.

"Binghamton Shooter" Jiverly Wong also garnered front-page headlines nationwide and set off a cable news frenzy when, "bitter over job loss," he massacred 13 people at an immigration center in upstate New York. Similarly, coverage was brisk after Pittsburgh resident Richard Poplawski, "upset about recently losing a job," shot four local police officers, killing three of them.

But where was the front-page treatment when, in January, Betty Lipply, a 72-year-old resident of East Palestine, Ohio, "who feared she'd lose her home to foreclosure hanged herself to death" shortly after "receiving her second summons and foreclosure complaint from her mortgage lender"? And where was the up-to-the-minute cable news reporting on the two California dairy farmers who "killed themselves ... out of despair over finances, according to associates"?

Mass Murder, Mass Media, and Missing Stories

Last summer, in the pages of the Nation magazine, Barbara Ehrenreich called attention to people turning to "the suicide solution" in response to the burgeoning financial crisis. Months later, major news outlets started to examine the same phenomenon. Last fall, a TomDispatch report on suicides and a range of other extreme acts - including self-inflicted injury, murder, arson, and armed self-defense - in response to foreclosures, evictions, bankruptcies, and layoffs, was followed, months later, by mainstream media attention to the notion of "econo-cide" - prompted, in large part, by a spate of familicides (murder/suicides in which both parents and their children die)....(Click for remainder.)

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FBI 9/11 Whistleblower: Bureau Dropped the Ball on Tiller Case

By Zachary Roth
Talking Points Memo


We told you earlier about questions over whether the FBI responded aggressively enough to detailed information it got about Scott Roeder, who's charged with killing Kansas doctor George Tiller.

And one prominent former bureau veteran says the answer is no.

Colleen Rowley -- who made the cover of Time magazine in 2002 after blowing the whistle on the FBI's failure before 9/11 to follow up on information about the so-called "20th hijacker" -- told TPMmuckraker that the Roeder case "should have been jumped on much more aggressively," given Roeder's prior record, and the information the FBI appears to have received about him in the days before Tiller's murder.

A worker at an abortion clinic, Jeffrey Pederson (a pseudonym to protect his identity), has said that Roeder was seen twice in the week before the Tiller shooting trying to glue shut the clinic's doors. Pederson reported both incidents to the FBI. And Roeder served jail time after being convicted in 1997 of having bomb-making parts in his car.

Rowley -- who in 2004 retired from the bureau after a 24-year career, and in 2006 ran unsuccessfully for Congress from Minnesota as a Democrat -- said that the vandalizing alone probably wasn't enough for the bureau to prioritize the case. But she said the first thing that should have been done after the FBI received Pederson's reports was to run a background check. This would have led them to the 1996 conviction. "The bombing in the background, even if it was years before, kind of ratchets it up," in terms of the action the FBI could have taken at point. The conviction, she said, "adds quite a bit to probable cause, and adds to the specificity of the threat."...(Click for remainder.)

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The Anti-Politician in Cairo



By Al Giordano
The Field


Politicians, in general, are a reactive caste. They look at things as they are, and opportunistically seek out and study the cracks and weaknesses in society in order to put themselves at its helm. Most believe (and those that don’t believe, pretend) they are doing this in service of a higher ideal: right or left, liberal or conservative, progressive or religious, whatever, but because the great majority of them are essentially reacting to the same set of seemingly inexorable current events, the sum of their actions is that of constructing individual fiefdoms that look much the same no matter what ideology or flag flies over them.

And then there are the rare historical figures that appear now and then in human events to disregard those base reactive impulses with enough discipline to first develop their own idea of how things ought to be. And only after developing a detailed yet clear vision for society do they then enter the political fray. Probably the best example in the last century of such an anti-politician was Mohandas K. Gandhi, who returned home to India at the age of 46, after winning civil rights for immigrants in South Africa. He found a homeland thirsting for independence from the British Empire and its impositions. A media hero and cause celébre upon his return to Indian shores, the pro-independence advocates and parties sought Gandhi out to lead a revolution against the Crown.

Gandhi – conscious that after being away for 27 years in London and South Africa he did not know his native country well enough to lead it – instead imposed upon himself a moratorium against speaking to the press, and embarked upon a listening tour through the forgotten and impoverished regions of India in order to first understand what the real yearnings and realities of its people were. Only after he felt he had a comprehensive enough vision for what kind of better society was possible there did he enter the fray that, as history knows, won independence for the region, while showing the world a new way to fight for freedom....(Click for remainder.)

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The Truth Killer O'Reilly Now Out-and-Out Lying About His 'Tiller the Killer' Coverage, Inflammatory Rhetoric

Writes in his syndicated column that anti-choice groups, not him, used nickname to describe assassinated Kansas physician...

By Brad Friedman
The Brad Blog


Now, he's just lying. On his TV show, and in his newspaper column. We understand why Fox "News" is willing to let him say any irresponsible thing he wants, but what of the newspapers who run his syndicated garbage? Do they have no responsibility to do any fact checking? How about his column's syndicator, Creators Syndicate? Do they have any responsibility to fact check their authors' work before they send it out to be published in hundreds of papers around the country?

O'Reilly is now claiming he only "reported" that far-right anti-choice groups referred to Dr. George Tiller, the assassinated KS physician, as "Tiller the Baby Killer", not that he did so himself. That's what he reported, as we noted on Monday, in subtly back-pedaling his previous inflammatory rhetoric on his first show back after the murder.

In fact, O'Reilly himself used that term, over and over again, to describe Tiller. Media Matters offers the documented, video-taped facts which, as usual, aren't even close to O'Reilly's blatant Spin, which is now also being perpetuated by this nation's newspapers. Here are the facts...
In his June 3 column about the murder of Kansas abortion provider George Tiller, Bill O'Reilly again falsely claimed that he had only "reported" anti-abortion groups referring to Tiller as "Tiller the baby killer." In fact, O'Reilly himself has repeatedly referred to Tiller that way.

O'Reilly wrote that "far-left loons ... immediately blamed me and Fox News for inciting Tiller's killer. Even though I reported on the doctor honestly, the loons asserted that my analysis of him was 'hateful.' " O'Reilly continued: "Chief of among the complaints was the doctor's nickname, 'Tiller the baby killer.' Some pro-lifers branded him with that, and I reported it. So did hundreds of other news sources." However, O'Reilly has not only "reported" on the term's usage by "pro-lifers," but he has adopted it himself, repeatedly referring to Tiller as "the baby killer" on his Fox News show...

(Click for remainder.)

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Crackpots Calling the Kettle Black

Race-baiting lowlights from Rush Limbaugh and Pat Buchanan, two of the pundits who say Sonia Sotomayor is racist.

By Joe Conason
Salon.com


June 5, 2009 | Whores and politicians become respectable if they stick around long enough, as someone once observed, and the same is plainly true of media personalities – especially in a culture that never pauses long enough to remember anything. Where amnesia is the rule, there can be no accountability for the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Patrick Buchanan and the rest of the broadcast mob denouncing the "racism" of Sonia Sotomayor. If anyone remembers who they are and what they have said over the years, their complaints about the Latina Supreme Court nominee will only elicit raucous laughter.

Who are these guys – with their long and sordid histories of encouraging white paranoia and ethnic division – to call her a racist?

In Washington media circles, Pat Buchanan is a well-liked and avuncular figure, presumably owing to his personal qualities rather than his crank politics, but for him to be encouraged to pontificate endlessly on the subject of race on television is worse than ludicrous. The late William F. Buckley Jr. expelled Buchanan from the pages of the National Review many years ago for his crudely anti-Semitic rants, which included a very unattractive tinge of admiration for Hitler. (Prejudice against Jews, unlike some other forms of bigotry, is anathema to most conservatives.) So obnoxious was Pat's blustering bully-boy attitude that he became intolerable even to the intolerant.

As for racism, where to begin with him? Discussing Sotomayor on MSNBC, Buchanan accused her of adopting the same attitudes that had kept blacks down in old Dixie. "Her entire career is based on advancing people of color, which is done at the expense of white people," he cried in that familiar high-pitched whine. "That was what was done in the South. They're doing it now to white males now…"...(Click for remainder.)

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The Party of Eternal War Unites Against Obama (and America)

By Frank Schaeffer
The Huffington Post


It strikes me that President Obama's speech delivered at Cairo University provides a watershed divide. I'd like to point out that the reactions of right-wing, self-proclaimed "patriotic Americans" to Obama are almost word-for-word the same as the reactions from leading clerics of Iran. And the anti-Obama reaction of the more right-wing Zionist Israeli settlers and their Christian Zionist American supporters is just about word-for-word the same as the reaction of the leaders of Hamas.

Disclosure: I was a lifelong well-connected Republican who enthusiastically worked for Obama's election after I got sick of the right wing negativity that I helped create through my former leadership role in the religious right. (A process of change I explain in my memoir Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back)

According to AP here are some reactions that make my point. According to a joint statement by eight Damascus, Syria-based radical Palestinian factions, including Hamas; "Obama's speech is an attempt to mislead people and create more illusions to improve America's aggressive image in the Arab and Islamic world."

"[Obama's] vision is so out of touch with reality" says Aliza Herbst, a spokeswoman for Yesha, the West Bank settlers' council.

According to the Daily News Bin Laden said in an audio clip (broadcast on Al Jazeera) "Obama and his administration have planted new seeds to increase hatred for and revenge against America. So, let the American people prepare to continue reaping what the chiefs of the White House sow during the coming years and decades."

During President Obama's trip overseas in April, Fox News took Obama's remarks out of context to support the claim that he was on an "apology tour." Fox News made same smear of Obama's current trip. And in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh repeated his desire for President Obama to fail. Limbaugh claimed that Obama was doing such a good job of destroying the country that: "If al-Qaeda wants to demolish the America we know and love, they better hurry, because Obama is beating them to it."...(Click for remainder.)

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Cheney, Selling Cheney

By Rick Horowitz
The Huffington Post


There's another way to look at it.

Dick Cheney's "I'm Not Going Anywhere" tour, that is. You can't turn on your TV these days without seeing the former veep filling the screen with his latest account of what they did back when they were in charge, and why they did it, and how wonderfully it all worked, and how if it didn't work it was somebody else's fault. (Think George Tenet. Think Richard Clarke.) And most of all, how the new guys are messing everything up.

Cheney's former boss -- and we use the word loosely -- may have slunk back to his beloved Texas when his time was through. But not the veep.

And the question is, "Why not?"

There's a cottage industry devoted to plumbing Dick Cheney's motives. After all, it's traditional -- not to say polite -- to cede the spotlight to the new arrivals once your lease runs out. But Cheney won't go. He certainly won't shut up.

And the question is, "What's up with that?"

He's jealous, some people say. He just can't stand it that the Dems are back on top.

He's angry, other people say. As the years went on, he was more and more on the losing side in Bush administration strategy battles, and he's still trying to refight those fights.

Or he's vain. He's intent on polishing up his tattered reputation before the historians get a crack at him.

Or he's nervous. He's scared that some international police force is going to swoop down on him someday and hold him to account for the waterboarding and the other horrors of the dark side, so he's trying to put his version on the record first.

Or he's a conniver. He's saying Obama is letting our guard down so that, if ever and whenever another attack occurs, Cheney can duck his own responsibility for Osama bin Laden still being on the loose, and he can say, "See? I told you so!"...(Click for remainder.)

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Glenn Beck's Incest Fantasy: The Movie

By Ellen and Julie
News Hounds


Andy Cobb (you can read more about him here) found inspiration in our post about Glenn Beck's incest fantasy, which he delved into at great length in his book, The Real America. Now Cobb has brought Beck's words to life! Must see video after the jump....(Click for original.)



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“W.W.J.P.” — What Would Jesus Pack?

By watertiger
Firedoglake


I'm sure some day, someone will look back on this and say, "Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time":
A Valley Station Road church is sponsoring an "Open Carry Church Service" in late June, encouraging people to wear unloaded guns in their holsters, enter a raffle to win a free handgun, hear patriotic music and listen to talks by operators of gun stores and firing ranges.
In an effort "to promote responsible gun ownership and 2nd Amendment rights," the organizer, Pastor Ken Pagano, who also had been trying to get more people into the pews of his New Bethel Church, hit upon the marketing idea of an "Open Carry Church Service".
"It's just a celebration we're doing to coincide with Fourth of July," he said. "There are people who own firearms and do so responsibly and enjoy them as a sport, maybe like golfing or bowling."
I haven't done any extensive research on it, but I'm fairly certain that the number of deaths by bowling balls or golf clubs is pretty small. Guns, not so much.

Not everyone in Kentucky is thrilled with the prospect of mixing Psalms with Smith & Wesson, however.
"The Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper of Lexington, who has lobbied against laws such as one allowing citizens with permits to carry concealed weapons, said the event "would nauseate Jesus."
(Click for remainder.)

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The Baby Jesus Goes Batshit Crazy Whilst Attacking Pres. Obama

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Fox Falsely Claims Obama Didn't Discuss Terror in Cairo Speech

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Judge Tosses Telecom Spy Suits



By David Kravets

Threat Level @ Wired.com


SAN FRANCISCO — A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed lawsuits targeting the nation’s telecommunication companies for their participation in President George W. Bush’s once-secret electronic eavesdropping program.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker upheld summer legislation protecting the companies from the lawsuits. The legislation, which then-Sen. Barack Obama voted for, also granted the government the authority to monitor American’s telecommunications without warrants if the subject was communicating with somebody overseas suspected of terrorism.

Bush acknowledged the so-called Terror Surveillance Program in December 2005, and claimed as chief executive, his war powers gave him the authority to spy without court authorization.

Walker’s decision (.pdf), if it survives, ends more than three years of litigation accusing the nation’s carriers of funneling Americans’ electronic communications to the Bush administration without warrants in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The ruling also means that the public may never know how the Bush White House coaxed the telecoms to participate in the program without court warrants, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation alleged in a lawsuit lodged in federal court here three years ago.

“Congress has manifested its unequivocal intention to create an immunity that will shield the telecommunications company defendants from liability in these actions,” Walker wrote....(Click for remainder.)

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Truth-Killer Bill O'Reilly Reason For Use of “Baby Killer” is Bold, Fresh Bullpucky

By Priscilla
News Hounds


You just can't make this stuff up; but Bill O'Reilly certainly does. On a recent Factor, he responded to an e-mailer who asked him whether his constant invoking of the descriptor "baby killer," after Dr. Tiller's name, could have inflamed the shooter. America's all knowing and all wise Daddy claimed that the "doctor was involved in a criminal case. I reported what groups were calling him. I reported accurately." Memo to Bill: Oh, no you didn't! To assert that what he said was in the context of "reporting" indicates a certain denial of reality. But this is nothing new for Bill O'Reilly who still thinks of himself as a working class kid from Levittown, NY who is "looking out" for us – Not! Bill, as a good Roman Catholic, should be hot trotting his skinny toukis over to the nearest confessional because he told yet another lie, which if I recall from my Catholic background, is considered a sin – along with bearing false witness which O'Reilly did, on many occasions, in calling Tiller a killer. But that's not a problem for Bill O'Reilly who subscribes to the philosophy of George Costanza who said "it's not a lie if you believe it."

Is Bill trying to "walk back" his incendiary rhetoric about Dr. Tiller – rhetoric which has resulted in an abundance of commentary regarding how Bill, like Lady Macbeth, might have some "spots" on his hands? That's the question asked in a video, done by Media Matters, which contrasts Bill's recent comments with past practice. Bill's recent comments, at the beginning of the video, show that he is engaging in the same kind of incendiary, anti abortion code talk (a shout out to his fans?) with the next comment about how Dr. Tiller "destroyed" 60,000 fetuses. Bill could have used something a little less flaming and fact based such as "performed 60,000 abortions;" but hey, O'Reilly has sick minds to feed. In case his fellow "lifers" didn't get it, he repeated the number. He went on to cite the number of late term abortions performed in 2003 alone. (Nice work Bill, instead of focusing on your incendiary language, you change the focus to Tiller's practice. Is that to make your case that Tiller was the real "killer.") He then spoke of Tiller's estimated income as if that has anything to do with the case. (Memo to Bill: You make millions for spewing hatred and lies. At least Tiller was performing a vital medical service.) Bill, playing doctor (a fantasy, I'm sure, if you know what I'm saying!) claimed that late term abortions are rarely necessary and that few doctor's perform the surgery. (Yeah, Bill, they don't want to get shot by anti abortions zealots). Once again, I questioned what relevance all this had. Bill editorialized, "none of that seemed to matter to Tiller, nicknamed the "baby killer" by pro-life groups" who, according to Bill, were reacting to Tiller's belief that he was helping women. The chyron above the graphic of Bill's comments read "abortion anarchy." The rest of the video consists of clips of Bill just casually throwing out the phrase and not appending it with a comment that this is a "nickname" (isn't it cute, it rhymes!) given to the Doctor by Bill's anti abortions soul mates....(Click for remainder.)



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"We Don't Condone Violence"

By John Sherffius
Boulder Daily Camera



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Hate, Hate, Hate

By Tim Eagan
Deep Cover



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Out, Out Damned Spot

By J.D. Crowe
The Mobile Register



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Caught on Tape: Liz and Dick Cheney Lie About Iraq & 9/11

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DHS Nominee Philip Mudd Linked to Torture

By Pamela Hess and Eileen Sullivan
After Downing Street


WASHINGTON – The Obama administration's pick for a top intelligence post at the Homeland Security Department is expected to face questions from senators about his ties to the CIA's harsh interrogations of terror suspects.

At issue is the extent of Philip Mudd's involvement in the CIA's interrogation program while he was a senior official at the agency during the Bush administration. Mudd was nominated to be under secretary of intelligence and analysis at Homeland Security. His confirmation hearing is expected next week.

Mudd, who was deputy director of the Office of Terrorism Analysis at the CIA, had direct knowledge of the agency's interrogations, which included a method of simulated drowning called "waterboarding," according to a congressional aide, who was not authorized to disclose the information and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Neither Mudd nor the White House responded to requests for comment.

The interrogation methods have come under harsh criticism by Democratic lawmakers and President Barack Obama, who has said waterboarding is torture.

Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Thursday Mudd's ties to the program will be probed.

"Even though members of this committee did not object to the program until it became politically risky, I expect the nominee will be questioned on his involvement," Bond told The Associated Press.

Another Republican senator wants more information about Obama's top pick for the post as well. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said her staff is looking into the extent of Mudd's involvement in these interrogation programs.

Charlie Allen, the former top intelligence official at the Homeland Security Department and longtime senior official at the CIA, said Mudd is the right person for the job.

"He is a highly respected professional intelligence officer who is honest and is an individual of high integrity. Period," Allen said....(Click for remainder.)

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Censorship on Tiananmen Anniversary Cripples Chinese Net



By Ryan Singel
Threat Level @ Wired.com


WASHINGTON — June 4 isn’t just the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in China, it’s also known as Chinese Internet Maintenance day.

That’s because many Chinese services are facing so much pressure from the government to keep their users from talking about that bloody day, they are just shutting down comment boards, or claiming their services are closed for unspecified upgrades.

For instance, FanFou.com, a popular Twitter-like service, shut its doors for the week, and says it will re-open on June 6.

Meanwhile, the so-called Great Firewall of China is blocking Twitter, human rights groups’ websites and blogging services hosted outside of China.

At a well-timed panel at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy conference in Washington, D.C., Thursday, Hu Yong, a popular Chinese blogger and an associate professor at Peking University, quoted EFF co-founder John Gilmore’s famous saying that the “internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.”

“If he lived in China, he could not say this,” Hu said.

The self-censorship by Chinese companies and even citizens means that techie solutions for getting around the Chinese Firewall won’t work, even for those Chinese net users sophisticated enough to use a proxy or Tor, according to fellow panelist Rebecca MacKinnon, the co-founder of Global Voices.

MacKinnon showed a photo from Ai Wei Wei, a now-famous architect who designed China’s Olympic stadium, who has become a prominent government critic. The photo showed Ai giving the finger to the famous square in Beijing. The post was quickly taken down by the hosting service, but MacKinnon’s Google Reader feed saved a copy from the memory hole.

Despite that censorship, the country is still very interested in the events of 20 years ago, when the government crushed an unprecedented pro-democracy protest in Beijing by unleashing the army on unarmed students....(Click for remainder.)

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Calling out DICK

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M - Th 11p / 10c
Dick (Uncut)
thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Economic Crisis

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Rachel Maddow Exposes Scott Roeder's Connections

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Conservative "Radio" Host, and Sean Hannity Butt-Boy, Charged With Inciting Violence

By John Byrne
The Raw Story


Reactionary radio host and white supremacist Hal Turner was taken into custody Wednesday after remarks urging Catholics to "take up arms" against two Connecticut lawmakers and a state ethics official over legislation being considered in the state legislature regarding the church.

Connecticut Capitol police got a warrant for Turner's arrest. The Hartford Courant fills in the details:
Turner, who has been identified as a white supremacist and anti-Semite by several anti-racism groups, hosts an Internet radio program with an associated blog. On Tuesday, the blog included a post that promised to release the home addresses of state Rep. Michael Lawlor, state Sen. Andrew McDonald and Thomas Jones of the State Ethics Office.

"Mr. Turner's comments are above and beyond the threshold of free speech," Capitol Police Chief Michael J. Fallon said in an e-mail announcing the warrant. "He is inciting others through his website to commit acts of violence and has created fear and alarm. He should be held accountable for his conduct."

The remarks on the blog were a reaction to the recent controversy over a bill that would have changed the way the Roman Catholic Church is governed, taking power away from church officials and turning it over to lay members. It was pulled in mid-March following an outcry from Catholics across the state and questions about its constitutionality.

Turner used to be a regular on Sean Hannity's radio show (the Fox news pundit). When Hannity said he didn't have an association with Turner earlier this year, Turner wrote:
I was quite disappointed when Sean Hannity at first tried to say he didn't know me and then went on to say that I ran some senate campaign in New Jersey. In fact, Sean Hannity does know me and we were quite friendly a number of years ago.

When Hannity took over Bob Grant's spot on 77 WABC in New York City, I was a well-known, regular and welcome caller to his show. Through those calls, Sean and I got to know each other a bit and at some point, I can't remember exactly when, Sean gave me the secret "Guest call-in number" at WABC so that my calls could always get on the air.

(Click for remainder.)

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Dumb-as-a-Sack-of-Hammers Jeff Sessions Makes Children Cry

By James Kirchick
The New Republic


Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committe held the first-ever hearing on the Uniting American Families Act, which would equalize the status of foreign-born same-sex partners of American citizens. Heterosexual Americans can earn citizenship for their foreign partners by marrying them. Gays, obviously, cannot do that, effectively making a gay American and his or her foreign spouse legal strangers.

Testifying was Shirley Tan, a Fillipino woman who has been with her American partner for 23 years. Together, they are raising twelve-year-old twin boys. She originally left the Phillipines after suffering a violent attack from a man who murdered her mother and sister (one of the reasons why Tan does not want to return to her native country, aside from the fact that her partner and children live in the U.S., is that the man who brutalized her has since been released from prison.) Tan was originally scheduled to be deported on April 3rd, but won a reprieve after Senator Diane Feinstein introduced a private bill allowing her to stay in the country temporarily.

As you can see in the video below, one of Tan's children started crying within seconds of the start of her testimony. At the sight of this, Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy stopped the hearing and asked Tan if her son might want to sit in another room, where presumably a Senate staffer would console him for the duration of what was clearly an emotionally fraught experience. For most people, the sight of a 12-year-old boy in tears at the prospect of his mother being deported halfway around the world would invoke some sympathy. Unmoved, however, was Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions, ranking minority member of the Committee and the only Republican to bother to attend the hearing. At the sight of the weeping boy, according to a Senate staffer who was at the hearing, Sessions leaned towards one of his aides and sighed, "Enough with the histrionics." Sessions's press secretary did not return a call seeking comment.




(Click for remainder.)

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Right-Wing Rep & Douch-Nozzle Coffman Slams Ritter as 'Terrorist Sympathizer' Over Piñon Canyon Law

By Wendy Norris
The Colorado Independent


U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman minced no words in a bizarre, Cheney-esque attack on Gov. Bill Ritter as a “terrorist sympathizer” for signing a new state law that stymies future expansion of the Army’s contentious Piñon Canyon training site proposal.

The accusation of Ritter’s treason can be found in full at Coffman’s congressional Web site:
“The Governor clearly has no concept about the training and readiness needs of our combat forces. By signing H.B. 1317, a bill that blocks the Army’s ability to expand training areas, the Governor has sent a very clear message that the men and women who serve our nation in uniform are not welcome here.

I think he would be more sympathetic if the U.S. Army were to declare itself a terrorist organization — since he is going out of his way to block the Army while at the same time laying out a welcome mat to house terrorists from Guantanamo Bay.”
Equally curious to Coffman’s over-the-top rant is the selective editing by the Denver Post and Associated Press who excised the Aurora Republican’s acrimonious charges from their stories.

Neither outlet printed the full statement nor apparently asked the congressman to expand on his invective over the new law that bars the state from selling or leasing land to the Army to expand the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site near La Junta. The plan is largely opposed by local ranchers and residents who filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop what they characterize as a land grab by the Army....(Click for remainder.)

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The Power and the Story

The Obamas may have the smartest, most finely calibrated press operation in White House history, parceling out scoops (The New York Times), partisan talking points (the Huffington Post), and First Family tidbits (the celebrity mags) to a desperate media. Just don’t ask them to admit it.

By Michael Wolff
Vanity Fair


Bill Burton is the baby-faced political op with a little too much junk food under his belt—and, at 31, with one of the political world’s longest résumés in media relations—who runs the pressroom at the White House. He’s got possibly the littlest office in the West Wing, but it’s where you want your West Wing office to be, guarding somebody more important than you. Burton is guarding his boss, the president’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs—who guards the president—from me. The Obama presidency is striving to be the most open and available in modern history, hence—and I am here on the 98th day—its first 100 days of remarkable staging, including dogs, wife, children, mother-in-law, bailouts, and handshakes and bows with dubious world leaders. But what it doesn’t want to be open about is the staging itself. One of its least favorite subjects is media. As much as the Obama-ites don’t want to be as defensive and recalcitrant as the Bushes were when it came to the press, having methodically reviewed all lessons from recent administrations, they also don’t want to seem as clever, pleased with themselves, and publicity-crazed as the Clintons, who talked endlessly of media strategies—precisely because they are much more clever and publicity-crazed.

Even though I’ve been invited to the White House for a talk with Gibbs, there’s an abrupt cancellation when, after some chitchat with Burton, it becomes clear that my interest is in process rather than, per se, message. And then a kind of sudden vaporization—no Gibbs, according to Marissa Hopkins, his assistant, “for the foreseeable future.”

“The process aspect of media, the insider stuff, is not—it’s not our thing,” says Burton, whose entire career in the press offices of Dick Gephardt, Tom Harkin, John Kerry, and Obama during his Senate term has been about nothing but media process. “We won’t miss it if you don’t do the story.” Big cheesy smile.

There it is: the keynote affect of this most brilliant and successful and certainly calculated White House press operation is, We’re artless, really. Pay no attention to what we’re doing here—it ain’t nothin’ much....(Click for remainder.)

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Scarborough Country: Where Anti-Choice Exremism is Swept Under the Rug

By Sarah Seltzer
The Woman's Media Center


The murder of Dr. George Tiller has been the top news story of the week. But as some have noted, the tragedy has gotten scant notice from one MSNBC personality. The author sees the omission as part of a broader sexist pattern.

June 4, 2009

The folks over at Fox News have taken to demonizing their MSNBC counterparts, accusing them of being radical tools of the far-left. But MSNBC's morning program is dominated by one of their own ideological brethren, Joe Scarborough. While the Scarborough of "Morning Joe" has painted a moderate sheen over his (admittedly affable at times) personality, his previous attachment to the more extreme wing of the anti-choice movement combined with a pattern of sexist behavior on television should be the cause of concern for women viewers.

Several times at the beginning of the week of the murder of Dr. George Tiller, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow went into some detail about the long and storied history of the violent anti-choice fringe, beginning with the murder of Dr. David Gunn in Pensacola. What she did not mention was that her colleague Scarborough was initially the pro-bono lawyer for Gunn's accused and later convicted killer, Michael Griffin. Scarborough, who at the time was about to run for Congress, where he served just under four terms, left the case after three months, leaving only after a final meeting with Griffin and Bob Kerrigan, who became the acting defense attorney on the case.

Village Voice investigative reporter Wayne Barrett wrote a blog post this week reminding readers of this connection, which he teased out in a 2008 cover story focusing on Scarborough's image makeover. According to Barrett's story, Scarborough brushes the episode aside as a "favor" because his then father-in-law and Griffin's father were friends. Griffin, however, has a different story. Says Barrett:
Griffin handwrote the Voice two long letters last year after we contacted him in prison, describing in depth his relationship with Scarborough. While Scarborough tried to minimize his ties in an interview, claiming he was merely doing "a favor for a friend" and briefly searching for a lawyer who'd take the case to trial, Griffin detailed Scarborough's efforts to stay on the case and work with the trail attorney. The court record itself shows that Scarborough told the judge he was prepared to try the case, and that he represented Griffin for nearly three months. Scarborough claimed that his then father-in-law was a friend of Griffin's father and that's why he did it, but neither would get on the phone and confirm that (not that it's much of an explanation.) Griffin's father contributed twice to Scarborough's campaign—$200 apiece.
(Click for remainder.)

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Senator From Exxon Inhofe's Plan: Stall Climate Action Until the Next President

By Kate Sheppard
Grist.org

The Heartland Institute, an outpost for climate change skeptics [not to mention a wholly owned subsidiary of the oil/coal industry], is holding its Third International Conference on Climate Change [aka Let's Spread the Bullshit] here in Washington, D.C., this week (just three months after its second one). Yesterday the meeting played host to the Senate’s top climate-change denier, Oklahoma Republican James Inhofe.

Inhofe, best known for calling global warming “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” regaled the crowd with his plans to obstruct climate and energy legislation in Congress this year. His pledge? That Republican deniers will “stall that until we get a new president.”

An excerpt, followed by video:
Don’t be distressed when you see the House passes some kind of a cap-and-trade bill. It could be worse and [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi] could still pass it, so it’ll pass there. The EPA has threatened to regulate this through the Clean Air Act. That isn’t going to work in my opinion because we can stall that until we get a new president—that shouldn’t be a problem. ... But while the House will pass a bill ... in the Senate, they’re not going to be able to pass it.
(Click for original.)



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BBC News Obama Mideast Word Cloud

This is pretty interesting.

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CBS to Birthers: Get Bent!

Via Joe @ Joe.My.God

World Net Daily is outraged because CBS is refusing to allow their billboard company (the nation's largest) to sell them space for their "Where Is The Birth Certificate?" campaign. The WND site presently has nine separate posts on its main page alleging that Barack Obama is not a "natural born" American citizen and is therefore ineligible to be president.
"Here we have one of the largest media companies in the U.S. now not only refusing to allow news coverage of a vitally important national question being asked by millions of Americans, but one that won't even permit the purchase of space to raise the question," said [WND founder Joseph] Farah. "What is the value of a First Amendment in a country when this kind of self-censorship is at work – self-censorship specifically geared to stifle inquiry and debate about the most powerful person in the country." "CBS is a company that is not squeamish about feeding America's children a steady diet of offensive movies, obscene rap music and even TV commercials that push the cultural and moral envelope," said Farah. "But CBS is afraid to put up a sign containing four innocent words of constitutionally protected, non-inflammatory speech. You explain that to me. This is a giant media conglomerate unworthy of operating under the protection of the First Amendment."
WND continues to beg for donations for the billboard campaign, which they say is going up in cities across the nation. They also claim to have deluged the White House with hundreds of thousands of letters on the issue, and are complaining that their posts on the topic are being deleted from the White House's "open dialogue" website....(Click for original.)

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