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Stonewall Democrats Pull Support for DNC

Saturday, June 20, 2009

By Prerana Swami
CBS News


The Obama administration's decision to file a controversial brief on behalf of the Defense Of Marriage Act appears to have been the last straw for many gay and lesbians who were once enthusiastic supporters of the administration as well as the Democratic party.

Politico reports that the National Stonewall Democrats is the latest group to pull out of a June 25 Democratic National Committee fundraiser because of the Obama administration’s defense of DOMA and lack of action on gay issues.

The group said is "incredibly disappointed" in the party for a variety of reasons, including a perceived lack of support.

"The DNC has traditionally provided materials for the many Pride parades and festivals around the country to help educate the LGBT community about why the Democratic Party is the Party for full LGBT equality," National Stonewall wrote in an e-mail, according to Politico. "This year, we were informed that we would not be receiving any materials or support for producing materials for the various nationwide Pride activities. These decisions were very disappointing."

The e-mail also cited the DOMA brief as a reason to pull out of the fundraiser.

"The members of the Board and our membership put our hopes, our dollars and our time into ensuring the election of Barack Obama because we believed that he supported us. To now have his Administration refer to our relationships in the same terms used by our long time enemies such as Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and James Dobson hurts on so many levels," National Stonewall wrote.

The government's pro-DOMA stance has already prompted many other high profile gay rights supporters to boycott the fundraiser....(Remainder.)

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An Obama "Scandal" as Phony as Whitewater

The right finds a fake martyr in Gerald Walpin, a Bush holdover and right-wing ideologue fired by President Obama

By Joe Conason
Salon.com


June 19, 2009 | To Barack Obama's most excitable adversaries, the firing of the Americorps inspector general that the president ordered last week is an incipient scandal, as loud and thrilling as Whitewater once was. Their fond memories of that ancient controversy (and its many sequels) were revived by the sudden dismissal of Gerald Walpin, a Bush administration appointee who has depicted himself as the victim of a political conspiracy. Insinuations and smears abound already -- including an attempt by the usual suspects to drag the first lady into the mud, Hillary-style, on the basis of anonymous allegations.

The latest accusations of White House impropriety are indeed reminiscent of the Clinton wars. But before conservatives spin themselves into a grand mal frenzy, they ought to understand that the strongest parallels between "Walpingate" and Whitewater are the palpable flimsiness of the charges and the questionable motives of the chief accuser. Unless there is much more to this story than what responsible journalists have found so far, the buzzing chatter on the right will soon subside into a disappointed murmur.

According to the wingnut version, Walpin is a heroic investigator who was ousted simply because he exposed misspending of hundreds of thousands of federal dollars by an Obama ally, namely former NBA star Kevin Johnson, who ran a nonprofit organization in Sacramento that received Americorps funding before he was elected mayor of the California state capital last fall. Walpin had to be removed on June 11, after he refused the president's request that he resign, because the White House was trying to cover up Johnson's wrongdoing and permit his city to receive federal stimulus money.

That simple and sinister scenario, like so many of the media descriptions of Whitewater, omits crucial facts.

It is true that Walpin found evidence of misuse and waste of Americorps funds by St. Hope Academy, a nonprofit community group started by Johnson after he retired from the NBA. It is true that Johnson and St. Hope have acknowledged that they must refund roughly half of the money that the group received from Washington. But it is also true that Walpin, a Republican activist attorney and trustee of the Federalist Society before Bush appointed him as inspector general, went well beyond his official mandate last year by publicizing supposed "criminal" wrongdoing by Johnson in the days before the Sacramento mayoral election....(Remainder.)

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House Democrats "Anxious To Take On" Health Care Reform Opponents

By Ryan Grim
The Huffington Post


The Democratic Party showed on Friday what it's capable of when led by the majority of its members rather than its conservative wing. In stark contrast to Senate Democrats, who spent the week backpedaling on reform, unified House Democrats unveiled a draft health care overhaul bill jointly endorsed by three powerful committee chairmen.

Henry Waxman, Charlie Rangel and George Miller, chairs of the Energy & Commerce, Ways & Means and Education & Labor Committees, announced the result of six months of negotiations. The sight of three united committee chairmen in the turf-conscious House is a historically rare one.

Where the Senate Finance Committee's outline of a bill didn't include a public health insurance option for people to buy into, the House version includes a robust public plan that would operate nationally and compete with private insurers on a level playing field to keep them honest.

The public plan would be self-sustaining and not subsidized by the federal government, although an upfront infusion of capital would be needed. It would initially be tied to Medicare reimbursement rates, to capitalize on the existing infrastructure, but would evolve into a separate plan that paid higher rates. Participation by doctors would be voluntary.

Rangel described the public plan as "the best of Medicaid, best of Medicare, then kick it up a notch." The chairmen estimated the plan would cover 95 percent of Americans.

While the Senate has cowered from the debate over a public option in the face of Republican and conservative Democratic opposition, Rangel said he relishes the battle.

"I'm anxious to take on those people who oppose a public option," he said. He'll have public opinion on his side. A recent poll showed 3 out of 4 people want a public plan as part of health care reform. "We've got the momentum."...(Remainder.)

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Khamenei Crosses the Rubicon, Becomes the 'Great Satan'

By Paul Abrams
The Huffington Post


By reaffirming the legitimacy of President Ahmadinejad's election victory yesterday, the so-called Ayatollah Khamenei placed his theocracy on the same (im)moral plane as the 'Great Satan' that had deprived the Iranian people of its duly elected Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadegh, in 1953.

In order to understand the significance of Khamanei's decision, it helps to recall what the United States did in 1953 to earn the moniker of the 'Great Satan'.

For decades Iran had supplied Britain's and much of Europe's oil under an agreement very favorable to British oil companies. Mossadegh's campaign to become Iran's Prime Minister included a stated intent to nationalize its oil industry. Mossadegh's admittedly populist appeal was to stop the pillage of Iran's precious resource by Western powers.

To thwart nationalization after Mossadegh's victory, the British planned a coup d'état to restore the Shah to power. It was to be hatched in their Teheran embassy by intelligence operatives. Mossadegh learned of the plot, and shut down the embassy.

The British then turned to the US. To his everlasting credit, Truman rebuffed them.

Upon the election of Eisenhower, and most importantly the appointment of John Foster Dulles as Secretary of State, the US government changed character.

Dulles's brother, Allen, was the Director of the CIA. Under the Dulles boys the US overthrew Mossadegh in 1953 [and then, for good measure, Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954]....(Remainder.)

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Senator From Crazytown and Racist Ass-Monkey, Jim Inhofe, Says He Won't Meet Sotomayor

By CNN

(CNN) — As Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor continues to make the rounds on Capitol Hill, at least one senator is refusing to meet with her.

Sen. James Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who previously voted against Sotomayor's current post as a federal appeals court judge, told the Tulsa World Thursday it is a "foregone conclusion" that he would not support Obama's pick for the high court.

"If you voted against anyone on the circuit [court], I have never been able to see how you turn around when the bar is actually higher and support it at a higher level," Inhofe also said.

So when it came time for Sotomayor to meet with Inhofe to discuss her judicial philosophy, the Oklahoman declined.

"The reason is he already knows how he is going to vote and it's probably best not to take up her time, she's very busy," Inhofe communications director Jared Young told CNN.

Meanwhile, fellow Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, also a Republican, met with Sotomayor Thursday, having what he described as a "philosophical discussion" with the high court nominee.

"It was more a philosophical discussion [about] life, problems in our country, difficulties we face," Coburn said....(Remainder.)

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John Hodgman at Radio & TV Correspondents' Dinner

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Wichita Anti-Abortion Hate Merchants Report Death Threats

By Tim Potter
The Boston Herald


WICHITA, Kan. — Three Wichita-based anti-abortion groups say they have received death threats in response to last month’s killing of abortion provider George Tiller.

For years, Operation Rescue has received threats, but the number increased dramatically after Tiller’s killing, the group’s president, Troy Newman, said Thursday.

Some of the threats have been aimed at anti-abortion activities planned in Wichita this weekend, Newman said.

Soon after Tiller’s shooting, police contacted four to five local anti-abortion groups, asking them to contact authorities if they received threats, said Wichita police Capt. Brent Allred.

Allred said police would investigate threats on either side of the controversial abortion issue.

"That’s our job ... to take a fair and impartial role on this," he said.

For this weekend’s events, off-duty officers have been hired to help provide security, Newman said. It wasn’t clear Thursday whether on-duty officers will be deployed. The activities will include a prayer vigil near Tiller’s clinic, which is now closed.

One e-mail referring to this weekend’s activities said there would be "vengeance," Newman said....(Remainder.)

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Texas Supreme Court Affirms "Special Rights" for Jesus Freaks

By Murial Kane
The Raw Story


The Texas state supreme court ruled unanimously on Friday that a town which had altered its zoning to ban two church-sponsored halfway houses in a residential neighborhood was in violation of the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

That act, which was passed in 1999 and endorsed by then-Governor George W. Bush, affords greater legal protection to religious operations than to equivalent secular operations.

Under its provisions, cities have to prove that zoning regulations — like the one passed by the town of Sinton to ban jails and rehabs within 1000 feet of a home, school, or church — further a “compelling” interest, such as protecting public safety, and do not place a “substantial burden” on the free exercise of religion.

Town officials asserted that the zoning regulations placed no restrictions on worship or the practice of religion and were merely intended to protect the safety of residents. This position was upheld at the local and appeals court levels.

However, the all-Republican and generally conservative state supreme court agreed with Pastor Richard Barr’s claim that because the town of Sinton is so small, the regulation had the effect of excluding him from operating his “ministry” for parolees anywhere.

Barr’s case was argued by the conservative Liberty Legal Institute (LLI) and was also supported by the American Center for Law and Justice — founded by Pat Robertson — and by the ACLU....(Remainder.)

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Proper Apology for Slavery Might Have Finished Fox News

By John Tomasic
The Colorado Independent


The U.S. Senate’s resolution apologizing for slavery yesterday was “nonbinding,” unlike slavery itself, which was all about binding. The nonbinding part of the resolution means it doesn’t have to go to the president for a signature. In other words, the Senate in considering slavery has decided not to bind our first black president, which is a semantic victory if nothing else.

The resolution also includes a clause securing the government against any financial responsibilities for the thing it’s apologizing for, which of course was one of the most oppressive systems of financial gain in world history.

Too bad, because it would be worth the tax money to see the Fox Network talking heads explode at the announcement that our first black president would be awarding each black American family $200,000 in damages for slavery and that he believed the amount was fearfully small compensation for the pain suffered and the damages done!

Iowa’s Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin sponsored yesterday’s resolution, which “acknowledges the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery, and Jim Crow laws” and “apologizes to African-Americans on behalf of the people of the United States for the wrongs committed against them and their ancestors who suffered under slavery and Jim Crow laws.”

The Denver Post reports that members of the Congressional Black Caucus weren’t thrilled with the resolution and its lawyerly disclaimer....(Remainder.)

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Obama Admin Set to Hold Powwow with Big Gay Groups

By Greg Sargent
The Plum Line


The Obama Justice Department has reached out to major gay rights organizations and scheduled a private meeting for next week with the groups, in an apparent effort to smooth over tensions in the wake of the controversy over the administration’s defense in court of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Tracy Russo, a spokesperson for Justice, confirmed the meeting to me, after I posted below that top gay rights lawyers were miffed that administration lawyers had rebuffed their requests to meet and discuss ongoing litigation involving DOMA.

At the meeting — which hasn’t been announced and is expected to include leading gay rights groups like GLAD and Lambda Legal — both sides are expected to hash out how to proceed with pending DOMA cases.

It remains to be seen, however, whether the meeting will achieve in a long term sense what gay rights lawyers told me they were and are looking for — an ongoing, less-confrontational interaction with the administration in the context of specific cases. It’s also an open question whether the meeting will resolve broader tensions in what has been an unexpectedly rocky relationship.

Nonetheless, this is likely to be greeted as a step forward by gay activists who have been raising questions about the administration’s commitment to their cause....(Original.)

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He's Barack Obama!

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Sen. Grassley Thinks Corporate Greed is Perfectly Okay & Doesn't Require Regulation



By Heather

Crooks and Liars


Charles Grassley is starting to sound as incoherent during his television interviews as he does in his Tweets. Grassley doesn't think we need more regulation. We just need more transparency. Yeah, that's going to make the finace companies behave. And when asked if the banks are in any position to protest if they're not going to make as much money, Grassley comes back with this:
Greed is human nature. We shouldn't blame greed any more than you'd blame gravity when a plane has an accident and goes down.
I'm sorry Senator, but I think we can blame greed for the mess we're in. Greed and the unwillingness of the government to put a check on it....(Original.)

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Senator From Freeperville, Chambliss, Doesn't Think Iranians Remember 1953



By Heather

Crooks and Liars


Besides the fact that it is down right infuriating to listen to the likes of Saxby Chambliss now feigning concern about fair and free elections anywhere, the Senator also thinks that the Iranian people, if asked, would not remember what the CIA and the United States government did to their democracy back in 1953.

Reza Aslan pointed out that the opposite is true during his recent appearance on Hardball:
ASLAN: You know, he mentioned the CIA coup of 1953, which most Americans don't know anything about, but which, I got to tell you, is like the core event, the ur-event of the 20th century as far as Iranians are concerned. It's their revolutionary war, civil war all wrapped up into a single thing. And to hear a president even mention it, let alone acknowledge it in that way, had a huge effect in the cafes in Iran.
The Republicans continue to use the events in Iran as a game of political football, with little care as to how our actions here, if we're looked at as meddling again in their politics, could make things worse....(Remainder.)

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Whiney Little Bitch Boy, Hannity, Doesn't Like Hearing that the Economy is Bush's Fault

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Gutter Snipe and Anti-American, Tammy Bruce, Slanders Obama's Dead Mother

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*BREAKING* Right-Wing Closet Case, Jim Quinn, Wants to Take it Up the Ass!

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Oxy-Moron Fill-In, Mark Davis, Is a Perverted Zoophile!

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Another Beck Conspiracy Theory: Treasury is "Selling Black Market Bonds"

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Man Coulter Thinks the US Gov't Is Just Like NAZI Germany

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Hannity Uses Breast Cancer as an Arguement is His Gov't Health Care Rationing Lie

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Since When is a 63% Approval Rating a Bad Thing?

By Jamison Foser
Media Matters


It's generally accepted that the news media obsess over horse-race political coverage at the expense of serious examinations of important issues. Media critics on the left, right, and in the middle tend to agree that there is too much focus on polling and not enough on policy, while many reporters seem proud of their focus on the game rather than the stakes. (Politico is, after all, called "Politico," not "Policy-o," and features blogs "on Politics," "on Hill intrigue," "on Gossip," and "on Campaigns" -- but not "on Policy." ABC News' senior White House correspondent calls his blog "Political Punch." And so on.)

The media's obsessive focus on politics does not, however, mean their political assessments are of a high quality. Remember David Broder's prediction that Hurricane Katrina would spark a recovery in George W. Bush's political standing? Or Matt Lauer's suggestion that Bush's poor approval ratings were a political blessing for the GOP? Chuck Todd's statement that if Democrats won control of Congress in November of 2006, Bush's approval rating would be above 50 by the following July? Katie Couric's suggestion that the Bush White House was "breathing a sigh of relief" in response to a poll in which Bush had an all-time low approval rating? Howard Fineman's late-2005 argument that Democrats, not Republicans, had reason to be gloomy about their electoral prospects? Calling the media's coverage of politics and policy "horse-race journalism" is an insult to horse-race journalism -- the Daily Racing Form isn't in the habit of advising readers to bet on the filly with the broken leg.

Not only does the media's keen interest in politics frequently fail to result in politically astute observations, there is also considerable evidence that they tend to overrate the Republicans' political skills -- and the public's predisposition to prefer the GOP.

And that explains the media's reaction to this week's polling data....(Remainder.)

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Rabidly Anti-Gay Westboro Baptist "Church" Now Targeting Jews

By Casey Sanchez
Hatewatch


Since the mid-1990s, Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) has spelled out its core message in neon-rainbow picket signs that read, “God Hate Fags.” In a series of outrageous stunts, members of WBC have disrupted the funerals of servicemen killed in Iraq for supporting a “Fag-loving” country, protested a memorial for victims of the 2006 Sago mine disaster claiming it was God’s punishment on the US for tolerating homosexuality, and picketed the University of Wisconsin, where three students had recently died in a house fire, claiming the parents were to blame for “teaching them to be whores and bastards.”

Now WBC has turned its ire on the Jewish community, targeting synagogues and Jewish community centers with a new hate-filled taunt, “God Hates Jews.”

The Topeka, Kan., based church began picketing Jewish religious and cultural institutions in April of this year when they issued a press release that read, “Yes, the Jews killed the Lord Jesus…Now they’re carrying water for the fags; that’s what they do best: sin in God’s face every day, with unprecedented and disproportionate amounts of sodomy, fornication, adultery, abortion and idolatry!”

After years of bizarre, publicity-craving pickets of funerals aimed at gays and lesbians, why has the WBC begun to target Jews? Phelps’ daughter Margie told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the Jewish community, and particularly its religious leaders, are “one of the loudest voices” in favor of homosexuality and abortion....(Remainder.)

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Assigning Blame for the Economic Crisis

A government investigation into the financial crisis could promote economic reform and give Democrats a big political boost.

By Mark Weisbrot

Plans are already being made for the 2010 elections for the US Congress, and the Democrats would appear to have some advantages. They have a popular president, a six-percentage-point lead in party identification and nine points for a generic congressional ballot. Majorities of the electorate see both Barack Obama and the Democratic party as pushing for a change from the failed policies of the past. The Republicans seem divided and confused over a recovery strategy, plagued by high-level defections (such as senator Arlen Specter) and spokespeople (such as Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney) who seem too extreme to win over the necessary swing voters.

But the president's party almost always loses congressional seats in non-presidential-year elections. And if next year's elections reduce the Democrats' margin, it would be even more difficult to make progress on important reform legislation, such as healthcare. At the end of the day, the ability to deliver reforms that actually improve the lives of the majority of Americans will most likely determine their long-term success as a political party.

The 2010 elections will very likely be about who gets blamed for the current economic disaster. Even if the economy is recovering in the latter half of next year – and that is a big "if" – it will not feel much like an economic recovery for most Americans. The labour market will still be very weak, with unemployment projected to pass 10% and rising in the second half of next year....(Remainder.)

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