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Violence Erupts in Iran

Monday, June 15, 2009

When a people, yearning for freedom and liberty, have their voice taken from them, they tend to violently breakout. This is how democracy is supposed to be. All lazy, apathetic Americans could well learn a lesson from the Iranians on how to be a patriot.

"Every generation needs a new revolution"
Thomas Jefferson

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable"
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“Revolution is not a dinner party, not an essay, nor a painting, nor a piece of embroidery; it cannot be advanced softly, gradually, carefully, considerately, respectfully, politely, plainly and modestly.”
Mao Tse-Tung

"The seed of revolution is repression"
Woodrow T. Wilson

By Talking Points Memo


Supporters of reformist candidate Mousavi protested the results of Friday's presidential election in Iran, claiming fraud on a massive scale. Newscom/AFP


Thousands of Mousavi's supporters took to the streets of Tehran on Saturday, June 13, in mass protests that soon turned violent. cc: mousavi1388


A Mousavi supporter tries to resuscitate an injured fellow protester. Newscom/AFP


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Protesters clashed with the riot police in Tehran. Newscom/AFP


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U.S./Israeli Neocons Celebrate Ahmadinejad Victory as Iran Burns



By Mark C. Eades

OpEd News


Sickened at the prospect that a victory for reformist Mir-Hossein Mousavi in the Iranian presidential election might have led to better relations with the United States, neoconservatives here and their fellow war hawks in Israel are celebrating the dubious victory of hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Yes, this is true: Right-wingers in America and Israel don't want peace with Iran, nor do they want anyone to get the impression that President Obama's efforts at engagement with Iran might actually work, nor do they give a damn about the Iranian people. Mad Mahmoud is the man neocons love to hate, and they're as happy as clams that their guy found a way to steal the election.

Had Mousavi won the Iranian election as many in Iran and around the world hoped, it would likely have signalled a new and more positive direction for U.S.-Iranian relations as well as providing support for the "Obama Doctrine" of engagement with Iran and others in the Muslim world with which America's relations have been troubled. Such a development would at the same time have undercut the neocon attitude of hostility and suspicion toward Iran, as well as undercutting the right-wing Israeli government's aggressive stance toward Iran. As we know, neocons can tolerate peace only when it is imposed with an iron fist or the heel of a jackboot, and the prospect of peace through diplomacy in the Greater Middle East must surely have given them nightmares the rest of us could scarcely imagine.

In the run-up to the Iranian election last week, Daniel Pipes of the right-wing Middle East Forum came right out and admitted in a speech at the right-wing Heritage Foundation that he would actually vote for Ahmadinejad if he were allowed to vote in Iran (video). This speech was followed by a June 12 blog post by Pipes in which he reiterated that he was "rooting for Ahmadinejad" based on the twisted logic that the fundamentalist clerics who really rule Iran will always be our enemies and it's better to have an Iranian president we can really hate than "a sweet-talking Mousavi" who lulls us into thinking we can be friends. Never mind the aspirations or even basic human rights of the Iranian people; never mind anyone's desire for peace in the Greater Middle East. I've long had a pretty strong distaste for Daniel Pipes, but following this admission I'm more convinced of his utter vileness than ever. This is, after all, a man who has publicly advocated for the profiling and internment of Muslims in America and who considers Israeli and Palestinian existence mutually exclusive (see Sourcewatch). As we leave the age of the neocons behind, I look forward to watching Pipes and others like him slide into the bitter, drooling irrelevance and oblivion they deserve....(Remainder.)

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James von Brunn and Right-Wing Hate Radio

By Bill Day
The Commercial Appeal



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Health Care is a Right, Not a Privilege

By Sen. Bernie Sanders
The Huffington Post


Let's be clear. Our health care system is disintegrating. Today, 46 million people have no health insurance and even more are underinsured with high deductibles and co-payments. At a time when 60 million people, including many with insurance, do not have access to a medical home, more than 18,000 Americans die every year from preventable illnesses because they do not get to the doctor when they should. This is six times the number who died at the tragedy of 9/11 - but this occurs every year.

In the midst of this horrendous lack of coverage, the U.S. spends far more per capita on health care than any other nation - and health care costs continue to soar. At $2.4 trillion dollars, and 18 percent of our GDP, the skyrocketing cost of health care in this country is unsustainable both from a personal and macro-economic perspective.

At the individual level, the average American spends about $7,900 per year on health care. Despite that huge outlay, a recent study found that medical problems contributed to 62 percent of all bankruptcies in 2007. From a business perspective, General Motors spends more on health care per automobile than on steel while small business owners are forced to divert hard-earned profits into health coverage for their employees - rather than new business investments. And, because of rising costs, many businesses are cutting back drastically on their level of health care coverage or are doing away with it entirely.

Further, despite the fact that we spend almost twice as much per person on health care as any other country, our health care outcomes lag behind many other nations. We get poor value for what we spend. According to the World Health Organization the United States ranks 37th in terms of health system performance and we are far behind many other countries in terms of such important indices as infant mortality, life expectancy and preventable deaths....(Remainder.)

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The Obama Effect

By Hendrik Hertzberg
The New Yorker


Three days after President Obama’s address to the Arab and Muslim world, voters in Lebanon went to the polls to elect a new parliament. According to the Times, “most analysts” had confidently predicted victory for the electoral coalition led by Hezbollah—the Party of God, which is aligned with Syria and Iran, and has been responsible for most of the violence on Israel’s northern border. Most analysts, it turns out, were wrong. The moderate coalition, routinely described as pro-American and pro-Western, took seventy-one seats to just fifty-seven for Hezbollah and its allies.

The politics of Lebanon, a scalding soup of ethnic groupings, some of them armed and dangerous, make Chicago’s look like Montpelier’s. The words of an American President, even one from Chicago, were not necessarily foremost in the minds of the Shiites, Sunnis, Druze, and Christians of many theological varieties and political persuasions who lined up to cast their ballots and dip their thumbs in ink. But most analysts (they’re indefatigable) agreed that Obama’s speech, and the carefully constructed edifice of public diplomacy of which it was the keystone, was a factor in the outcome.

Meanwhile, as this was being written, a joyfully energized electorate was awaiting the results of a vigorously contested election for President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. No matter who wins—the jingoist-populist-obscurantist incumbent, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or his comparatively moderate main opponent, Mir-Hossein Mousavi—ultimate power will continue to rest with the “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and his council of unaccountable theocrats, who kept liberal challengers off the ballot. But Iran is not a completely closed society. Change is in the Tehran air, and the American President’s openness is part of it....(Remainder.)

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Iranian "Elections"

By John Sherffius
Boulder Daily Camera



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Glenn Beck with a Turban Would be Just Another Terrorist in Gitmo as He Daily Commits Treason

By Mark Karlin
Buzz Flash


The other day we ran a photo of Glenn Beck on the front page of BuzzFlash.com with this caption:

The Face of Treason. If Glenn Beck wore a turban and incited violence the way he does, he would be in Gitmo as a terrorist and enemy of the state. Click here to financially support passionate progressive news."

A lot of Americans would consider this a radical, over-the-top statement, but it's not.

Think if anyone who was Arab and vaguely associated with the Taliban or Al-Qaeda were to foment on American television insurrection, rebellion, and treason against the United States government, as Glenn Beck -- and many of his cohorts are doing. Such an Arab would go straight to Gitmo, even as they prepare to close up the torture shop down there.

Beck has engaged in such an unrelenting pernicious fanciful creation of the Obama Administration as the enemy -- just as Al Qaeda does -- that he is guilty of treason. Beck doesn't contest (unless you include the "illegitimate Obama birth" movement) the election of a Democratic administration, he -- in essence -- calls for its overthrow. That's what treason is all about.

But because he's a white guy on the airwaves who has helped bully through the notion that white guys who believe that America belongs to them -- and they've got the guns to make it that way -- he continues to air his anti-American "wink and nod" call for blood in the streets over a phantom enemy (meaning the U.S. government) without repercussions. In fact, he has become a multi-millionaire from spooning out what is essentially terrorist rhetoric.

Beck spawns people like a dangerous nut-job, Bob Basso, who will appear at an Arkansas Tea-bagger event on June 15th, according to Examiner writer, Ron Moore:

Basso says ... that just like the American Revolution thousands will be dead in the streets if Obama is not stopped. He further asserts that America is a “uni-cultural” society and that multi-culturalism will lead to the country’s destruction. He postulates that if Islamic women are allowed to wear “neck scarves” over their face for driver’s license pictures then Klan members can wear their hoods. He apparently believes that by posing as an historical revolutionary figure that his hate speech is more palatable. From the recent murder of a health care provider in Kansas to this week’s killing at the U.S. Holocaust Museum the cries of revolution continue to be treated as marching orders by some leaving us all in peril....(Remainder.)

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Dickipedia: Newt Gingrich

Via The Huffington Post

Dickipedia:

Newton "Newt" Leroy Gingrich (born June 17, 1943) is an American politician, author, former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, 1994 Time magazine Person of the Year, college history professor, professional hypocrite, loudmouth, panderer, adulterer, and a dick.

Gingrich's first name comes from an abbreviation of Newton and not from his parents naming him after a lizard. It is extremely unlikely that a man with such jowls could've ever been likened to a long, slender animal surviving on a healthy, high protein diet.

Through such landmarks as the Contract with America and the subsequent Republican Revolution, Gingrich would follow the time-honored--if paradoxical--Republican Party tradition of somehow cementing a favorable legacy while almost never achieving an approval rating above 50%.

Though Gingrich's career has been mostly comprised of attacks on other officials and a spotty ethical and moral record, he has maintained a prominent position in a faltering party searching for a clear leader who's not a complete embarrassment.

A champion of Christian morality, Gingrich had three different wives over 35 years, though during that period, was only unmarried for a total of less than a year. Simple arithmetic suggests that either Gingrich is incredibly impulsive or his position on family values might include a bit more extramarital fucking than one might have originally thought.

Read the whole story: Dickipedia

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The Choice to Defend DOMA and Its Consequences

By Richard Socarides
AMERICAblog


Like many other gay people who support the president, and as someone who had hoped he would be a presidential-sized champion of gay civil rights from the start, I was disturbed by his administration’s brief defending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), filed late last week, in opposition to our full equality.

It had such a buckshot approach to it, a veritable kitchen sink of anti-gay legal theories, that it seemed expressly designed to inflict maximal damage to our rights. Instead of making nuanced arguments which took into account the president’s oft-stated support for repealing DOMA – a law he has called “abhorrent” – the brief seemed to embrace DOMA and all its horrific consequences.

I was equally troubled by the administration’s explanation that they had no choice but to defend the law. As an attorney and as someone who was directly involved in giving advice on such matters to another president (as a Special Assistant for civil rights to President Bill Clinton), I know that this is untrue.

No matter what the president’s personal opinion, administration officials now tell us that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) must defend the laws on the books, and must advance all plausible arguments in doing so. Thus, the theory goes, the DOJ was just following the normal rules in vigorously defending the anti-gay law.

I know and accept the fact that one of the Department of Justice's roles is to (generally) defend the law against constitutional attack. But not in all cases, certainly not in this case – and not in this way. To defend this brief is to defend the indefensible....(Remainder.)

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RepubliCONS Laughingly Blame Stolen Iranian Election on Obama

By Metavirus
Library Grape


What a surprise, Republican leaders are taking the opportunity to blame Iran's blatantly stolen election on Obama:
Richard Perle, a neoconservative and former Pentagon adviser, said Obama must share the blame for Ahmadinejad’s power grab. “Normally, when you unclench your fist it benefits the hardliners, because Obama appeared to be saying we can do business with you even with your present policies.” [...]

“It underscores the folly of the president’s basic premise that the problem we have with bad actors around the world is that they don’t understand us,” said Frank Gaffney, of the Center for Security Policy, a conservative think tank. “These people are thugs and they have been emboldened by our weakness.
And here was Mitt Romney:
ROMNEY: The comments by the president last week, that there was a robust debate going on in iran, was obviously entirely wrong-headed. What has occurred is the election is a fraud, the results are inaccurate, and you’re seeing a brutal repression of the people as they protest. … It’s very clear that the president’s policies of going around the world and apologizing for America aren’t working. … Look, just sweet talk and criticizing America is not going to enhance freedom in the world.
Is there anything these guys won't exploit for political gain?...(Original.)

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Our Clear and Present Danger is Caribou Barbie, Fox Noise and Mr. Bouncy-Bouncy

By Mary MacElveen
OpEd News


In reading Frank Rich’s column: The Obama Haters’ Silent Enablers published in today’s New York Times, a tip of the hat goes to Mr. Rich as he blasts Fox News as well as Rush Limbaugh and Frank Gaffney. Yes, I am all for free speech, but not speech which can ignite someone to assassinate anyone, as Limbaugh stated: “any U.S. soldier” who found himself with only two bullets in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Osama bin Laden would use both shots to assassinate Pelosi and then strangle Reid and bin Laden.”

Last I knew threatening speech is not covered by the First Amendment. Anyone can follow Limbaugh’s directives and actually take out the Speaker and Senate Majority Leader, Reid. Yet, there he sits and bloviates to millions. Then again, Ann Coulter has done so in the past where she stated someone should put rat-poison in Justice Steven’s crème Brule or that Timothy McVeigh should have bombed the New York Times building. Yet, both make millions coming from a froth-filled America.

While I cannot top what Mr. Rich opined of Fox News since he did a suburb job, I was struck when he mentioned the McCain/Palin ticket, since I feel it set the stage of this hate towards our President by lunatics. In fact I did write of it during the presidential campaign.

Before I get into what I wrote of the campaign, I wish to address Palin’s beef with David Letterman who joked of Palin’s daughter and Palin herself. He has somewhat apologized, but has Palin apologized to the nation for what she did during the presidential campaign? As we all know, she played tinder-box politics which could have done more harm to this country than any joke made by Letterman....(Remainder.)

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Health Care Reform & GOP

By Adam Zyglis
The Buffalo News



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Death to...Well, "Death to..." Chants & Democracy in Despotic Domains

By Brian Ross
The Huffington Post


They were in the streets of Tehran shouting "Death to the coup d'état! Death to the dictator!"

It was the angry backlash of the young, the optimistic, the moderate religious and secular political believers in something better for Iran.

The government clearly and publicly humiliated them last week, with the sham election that offered the false laurel of change to millions of its citizens. The faux election, whose "results" were delivered in less than three hours in a country where it can take days to bring in election results from the outlying towns and villages.

The government was wrong to toy with its citizens aspirations for more that way. Yet, for all their anger at the state, the Moussavi loyalists chanting in the streets of Tehran were equally wrong in their response.

The mob cried coup!

You cannot have a coup d'état in an election run by the state to benefit the status quo.

There is not really a proper political term for what the ruling mullahs of Iran did to the people. It was more of a publicus simultas, a public humiliation, than a coup d'etat.

The mob chanted "Death to the Dictator!"

Whom, exactly, is that dictator? Surely no one was being brave enough to call out the rulers of Iran: The Ayatollah Khamenei and his council of clerics who are the real power of the state....(Remainder.)

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Anti-Choice Movement Gets Punked in a Blogger Baby Hoax

By John Amato
Crooks and Liars


(Beccah Beushausen photographed near her home, Wednesday, June 10, 2009. (David Pierini / Chicago Tribune / June 10, 2009)
Wow, this is pretty despicable. Woman captivates thousands in anti-abortion movement with false story of difficult pregnancy:
The unmarried mother's story about giving birth to a child diagnosed as terminally ill in the womb hit a major nerve on the Internet.

Every night for the last two months, thousands of abortion opponents across the nation logged on to a blog run by the suburban Chicago woman who identified herself only as "B" or "April's Mom."

People said they prayed that God would save her pregnancy. They e-mailed her photos of their children dressed in pink, bought campaign T-shirts, shared tales of personal heartache and redemption, and sent letters and gifts to an Oak Lawn P.O. box in support.

As more and more people were drawn to her compelling tale, eager advertisers were lining up. And established parenting Web sites that oppose abortion were promoting her blog -- which included biblical quotes, anti-abortion messages and a soundtrack of inspirational Christian pop songs.

By Sunday night, when "April's Mom" claimed to have given birth to her "miracle baby" -- blogging that April Rose had survived a home birth only to die hours later -- her Web site had nearly a million hits.

There was only one problem with the unfolding tragedy: None of it was true.

Not the pregnancy, and not the photos posted on the blog of the supposed mother and Baby April Rose, swaddled in white blankets. The baby was actually a lifelike doll, which immediately raised the suspicion of loyal blog-followers.

"I have that exact doll in my house," said Elizabeth Russell, a dollmaker from Buffalo who had been following the blog. "As soon as I saw that picture, I knew it was a scam."
    --
She had expected only a handful of friends to read it, but when her first post got 50 comments, she was hooked.

"I've always liked writing. It was addictive to find out I had a voice that people wanted to hear," Beushausen said.

"Soon I was getting 100,000 hits a week, and it just got out of hand," she said. "I didn't know how to stop. ... One lie led to another."

So the lie isn't the problem, but the fact that she got addicted to blogging made her continue on. What a sad and disgusting tale. Using a phony story to whip up the anti-choice movement is pretty vile. A woman has the right to choose in this country, but the religious right will do anything it can to try and take that right away. You never hear them talk about the mother in any of their debates. It's like the woman is only a "vessel" to carry a child and doesn't exist in any other manner. "Bring the vessel here." "How dare the vessel speak out."

Hullabaloo calls them moral midgets....(Original.)

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Biden Has Laughing Fit When Asked to Assess GOP

By Sam Stein
The Huffington Post


Two interesting moments came towards the end of Joe Biden's big interview on Sunday, in which the vice president first declined to deny his ambitions to be president, and later fell into a brief laughing fit when asked to assess the state of the Republican Party.

Sitting down with "Meet the Press," Biden was pressed by host David Gregory to play political prognosticator with the GOP. After a hearty chuckle and a Cheshire cat grin, the vice president noted that history has a way of bringing even the most fractious minority party back into relevancy.

"I just know there's a ferocious debate -- there appears to be ferocious debate within the Republican Party and what they're going to look like in the future," said Biden. "I was elected in 1972 as a 29-year-old kid. My party went through the exact same thing. I ran with George McGovern. He got clobbered nationally. I barely won here. For the next two and a half to four years we were in a very intense debate of the future of the party. I think it's predictable. I think the Republican Party will come out of this, I think they'll come back. They'll be strong again. The pendulum swings."

Earlier in the interview, Gregory asked Biden to assess his own political future. Recounting the arrangement that the Delaware Democrat agreed to when becoming vice president -- a roving portfolio and final or near-final consultation on all important matters -- the host asked whether proximity to the president made Biden eager to one day hold that office himself.

"We have the order of this operation correct," said Biden, who has run twice for the White House.

"But you don't want to become president?" Gregory responded.

"I didn't say that," said Biden "What I said is I think he's going to be a great president and I think he's off to a great start and I'm glad to be a part of it."...(Remainder.)


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The Healthcare War is Now Official

By Robert Reich
Robert Reich Blog


Yesterday the American Medical Association came out against a public option for health care. And yesterday the President reaffirmed his support for it. The next weeks will show what Obama is made of -- whether he's willing and able to take on the most formidable lobbying coalition he has faced so far on an issue that will define his presidency.

And make no mistake: A public option large enough to have bargaining leverage to drive down drug prices and private-insurance premiums is the defining issue of universal health care. It's the only way to make health care affordable. It's the only way to prevent Medicare and Medicaid from eating up future federal budgets. An ersatz public option -- whether Kent Conrad's non-profit cooperatives, Olympia Snowe's "trigger," or regulated state-run plans -- won't do squat.

The last president to successfully take on the giant health care lobbies was LBJ. He got Medicare and Medicaid enacted because he weighed into the details, twisted congressional arms, threatened and cajoled, drew lines in the sand, and went to war against the AMA and the other giant lobbyists standing in the way. The question now is how much LBJ is in Barack Obama.

The big guns are out and they're firing. All major lobbying firms in Washington -- many of them brimming with ex-members of Congress -- are now crawling all over the Hill. Lots of money is on the table. AMA's political action committee has contributed $9.8 million to congressional candidates since 2000, and its lobbying arm is one of the most formidable on the Hill. Meanwhile, Big Insurance and Big Pharma are increasing their firepower. The five largest private insurers and their trade group America's Health Insurance Plans spent a total of $6.4 million on lobbying in the first quarter of this year, up more than $1 million from the first quarter last year, and are spending even more now. United Health Group spent $1.5 million in the first quarter, up 34 percent from the $1.1 million it spent in the first quarter last year. Aetna spent $809,793 between January and the end of March, up 41 percent from last year. Pfizer, the world's biggest drugmaker, spent more than $6.1 million on lobbying between January and March, more than double what it spent last year. It also spent nearly $3.3 million lobbying in the fourth quarter of 2008. Every one of them is upping their spending....(Remainder.)

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For Republicans, the Forces Aren't With Them

GOP Comeback Limited by Demographics, Political Forces

By Dan Balz

The Washington Post


There has been much chatter about who now speaks for the Republican Party, and whether the GOP has a message or an agenda to combat President Obama's popularity. Those questions are important to the party's future, but the most serious problem remains the deeper demographic and political forces at work in the country.

For the past few months, political analysts and demographers have been poring over the results of the 2008 election and comparing them with presidential results from the past two decades. From whatever angle of their approach -- age, race, economic status, geography -- they have come to a remarkably similar conclusion. Almost all indicators are pressing the Republicans into minority status.

Republicans are still capable of winning individual elections, but until they find a way to reverse, or at least minimize, these broader changes in the country, their chances of returning to majority status will be severely reduced.

The American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution convened a stellar cast on Friday to review what has been learned since November. The panel included Robert Lang of Virginia Tech; Ruy Teixeira of the Center for American Progress; William Frey of the Brookings Institution; Bill Bishop, a Texas writer and author of "The Big Sort"; Scott Keeter of the Pew Research Center; and Ronald Brownstein of Atlantic Media. They presented a wealth of data about what happened in 2008 and offered conclusions that would alarm any Republican hopeful of a quick turnaround in the party's fortunes....(Remainder.)

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Pat Buchanan Prefers the Old Bigotry

By Jamison Foser
Media Matters


But is that really a surprise?

Here's Buchanan, on the possibility that affirmative action helped Sonia Sotomayor get into Princeton:
This is bigotry pure and simple. To salve their consciences for past societal sins, the Ivy League is deep into discrimination again, this time with white males as victims rather than as beneficiaries.

One prefers the old bigotry. At least it was honest, and not, as Abraham Lincoln observed, adulterated "with the base alloy of hypocrisy."

Keep in mind, Buchanan is writing about the early 1970s.  The "old bigotry" he prefers is segregation, if not slavery.

It almost seems silly to take issue with anything else Buchanan writes after he has expressed his preference for "the old bigotry," but he churns out some other nonsense that requires response.

Buchanan:
Thus, Sotomayor got into Princeton, got her No. 1 ranking, was whisked into Yale Law School and made editor of the Yale Law Review -- all because she was a Hispanic woman. And those two Ivy League institutions cheated more deserving students of what they had worked a lifetime to achieve, for reasons of race, gender or ethnicity.
(Remainder.)

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Agent Orange Continues to Poison Vietnam

By Marjorie Cohn
MarjorieCohn.com


From 1961 to 1971, the U.S. military sprayed Vietnam with Agent Orange, which contained large quantities of Dioxin, in order to defoliate the trees for military objectives. Dioxin is one of the most dangerous chemicals known to man. It has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a carcinogen (causes cancer) and by the American Academy of Medicine as a teratogen (causes birth defects).

Between 2.5 and 4.8 million people were exposed to Agent Orange. 1.4 billion hectares of land and forest - approximately 12 percent of the land area of Vietnam - were sprayed.

The Vietnamese who were exposed to the chemical have suffered from cancer, liver damage, pulmonary and heart diseases, defects to reproductive capacity, and skin and nervous disorders. Children and grandchildren of those exposed have severe physical deformities, mental and physical disabilities, diseases, and shortened life spans. The forests and jungles in large parts of southern Vietnam have been devastated and denuded. They may never grow back and if they do, it will take 50 to 200 years to regenerate. Animals that inhabited the forests and jungles have become extinct, disrupting the communities that depended on them. The rivers and underground water in some areas have also been contaminated. Erosion and desertification will change the environment, contributing to the warming of the planet and dislocation of crop and animal life.

The U.S. government and the chemical companies knew that Agent Orange, when produced rapidly at high temperatures, would contain large quantities of Dioxin. Nevertheless, the chemical companies continued to produce it in this manner. The U.S. government and the chemical companies also knew that the Bionetics Study, commissioned by the government in 1963, showed that even low levels of Dioxin produced significant deformities in unborn offspring of laboratory animals. But they suppressed that study and continued to spray Vietnam with Agent Orange. It wasn’t until the study was leaked in 1969 that the spraying of Agent Orange was discontinued....(Remainder.)

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Cali. Mayors Criticize Justice Department Support for Unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act

By Michael Finnegan
The Los Angeles Times


With the Obama administration facing growing discontent among gay supporters, the mayors of Los Angeles and San Francisco joined in voicing concern today about a new U.S. Justice Department brief supporting the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

"I think it's a big mistake," San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said shortly before he and his Los Angeles counterpart, Antonio Villaraigosa, kicked off the annual L.A. Pride parade in West Hollywood.

The 1996 law bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and enables states to refuse to recognize such marriages from other states. The Justice Department enraged leaders of gay rights groups Thursday by filing a lengthy defense of the law in a federal lawsuit in which its constitutional validity is challenged.

Newsom and Villaraigosa, potential rivals in next year's Democratic primary for governor, were both careful to avoid direct criticism of President Obama, who pledged during his campaign for the White House to repeal the marriage law.

"I'm concerned about some of the arguments being made by the Justice Department," Villaraigosa said.

Gay rights groups were more blunt. Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, called the administration's defense of the law unacceptable.

"Unfortunately, the malicious and outrageous arguments and language used in the Justice Department's brief [are] only serving to inflame and malign the humanity of same-sex couples and our families," Carey said....(Remainder.)

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Right-Wing Hate Radio

By John Sherffius
Boulder Daily Camera



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Top Gay in the Admin Says ENDA, DADT and DOMA Have No Chance at This Point (and Then He Lies, to Boot)

By John Aravosis
AMERICAblog


UPDATE: Pam Spaulding is no more than impressed than I with Berry's interview.

John Berry, the openly gay head of the Office of Personnel Management, did an interview today with Kerry Eleveld of the Advocate. It's horrifying. I have to parse it for you. I'm simply astounded that they let him speak publicly, and that he let himself be used like this.

1. Berry suggests that Obama may wait until his second term to do anything on gay rights.
BERRY: Now, I’m not going to pledge -- and nor is the president -- that this is going to be done by some certain date. The pledge and the promise is that, this will be done before the sun sets on this administration – our goal is to have this entire agenda accomplished and enacted into law so that it is secure.

THE ADVOCATE: Does that include a second term? A lot of people have talked about DOMA being pushed back until a second term.

BERRY: I say this in a broad sense -- our goal is to get this done on this administration’s watch.
2. The president does not have the option to oppose existing law, at all, no exceptions, zero, nothing -- Berry claims. That's a flat out lie, as we showed earlier with the essay by former Clinton White House special assistant Richard Socarides. (We also listed four cases where Reagan, Bush Sr, Clinton and Bush Jr. all refused to defend existing statutes.)
BERRY: This president took a solemn oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and he does not get to decide and choose which laws he enforces. He has to enforce the laws that have been enacted appropriately and that he has inherited. It would be wrong for me or any of our community to advise him to lie or to shirk his responsibility. He’s doing his job....
(Remainder.)

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The Case of the Wise Old Latina

By R.J. Matson
Roll Call



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Gonzales Memo Advised Bush How to Avoid War Crimes Charges

By Jason Leopold
The Public Record


On Jan. 25, 2002, then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales advised George W. Bush in a memo to deny al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners protections under the Geneva Conventions because doing so would “substantially reduces the threat of domestic criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act” and “provide a solid defense to any future prosecution."

Two weeks later, Bush signed an action memorandum dated Feb. 7, 2002, addressed to Vice President Dick Cheney, which denied baseline protections to al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners under the Third Geneva Convention. That memo, according to a recently released bipartisan report issued by the Senate Armed Services Committee, opened the door to “considering aggressive techniques,” which were then developed with the complicity of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Bush’s National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and other senior Bush officials.

“The President’s order closed off application of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which would have afforded minimum standards for humane treatment, to al-Qaeda or Taliban detainees,” says the committee’s Dec. 11 report. 
 
“While the President’s order stated that, as ‘a matter of policy, the United States Armed Forces shall continue to treat detainees humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of the Geneva Conventions,’ the decision to replace well established military doctrine, i.e., legal compliance with the Geneva Conventions, with a policy subject to interpretation, impacted the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody.”

The Supreme Court held in 2006, in Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld, that the prisoners were entitled to protections under the Geneva Conventions....(Remainder.)

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On Iran, the Power of Obama's Silence

By Patrick Disney
The Huffington Post


"Help us."  That was a comment, translated from Farsi, that was posted on the blog that I manage for the National Iranian American Council yesterday.  It came from a reader in Tehran, imploring that someone in the West do something to stop what he or she calls "a military government" being set up in Iran.

For those watching intently for any bit of information they can grasp, it is a painful waiting game.  Even for those of us who are relatively well connected to Iranians--either through friends or family--it is difficult to find out any really conclusive news.  The mainstream media has largely taken the weekend off from this story--due in part to the government's suppression and intimidation of journalists--leaving the heavy lifting to new media and the blogosphere (which has performed amazingly well over the past 48 hours).  And it is most likely that our government doesn't have much more information that the rest of us, as illustrated by the relative silence coming from the White House and the State Department on the events of the weekend.

Though Obama, Biden, Clinton and Gibbs have all gone on record with brief statements about the election, they have been extremely prudent, preferring to "monitor the situation" and "wait and see"--a stark contrast to some of their predecessors, who jumped on every opportunity to call for uprisings in the Middle East.  In a remarkable display of message restraint, public pronouncements coming out of the White House have made no mention of anything that could even remotely be seen as trying to influence the outcome of the weekend's events.

Given Iran's well-known allergy to foreign meddling--and the hardliners' adept ability to justify their harsh repression by blaming alleged foreign plots--the Obama administration is doing exactly the right thing.  Just as the absolute worst thing the US government could have done in the days leading up to the elections was impose new sanctions to "cripple" Iran's economy,  the worst thing the administration could do now is take sides in the political infighting before knowing that its help would actually be welcome....(Remainder.)

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CIA Chief Believes Cheney Almost Wants U.S. Attacked

By David Morgan
Reuters


Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta delivers remarks at a National Italian American Foundation policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 11, 2009. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - CIA director Leon Panetta says it's almost as if former vice president Dick Cheney would like to see another attack on the United States to prove he is right in criticizing President Barack Obama for abandoning the "harsh interrogation" of terrorism suspects.

"I think he smells some blood in the water on the national security issue," Panetta said in an interview published in The New Yorker magazine's June 22 issue.

"It's almost, a little bit, gallows politics. When you read behind it, it's almost as if he's wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point."

Cheney, who was a key advocate in the Bush administration of controversial interrogation methods such as waterboarding, has become as a leading Republican critic of Obama's ban on harsh interrogations and his plan to shut the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In a blistering May 21 speech, Cheney said Obama's reversal of Bush-era policies were "unwise in the extreme" that would make the American people less safe.

Panetta called Cheney's actions "dangerous politics."...(Remainder.)

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