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The Health Care Bill is Shaping Up as Historic as Medicare

Thursday, July 16, 2009

By P.M. Carpenter
The Fifth Columnist at Buzz Flash

"It's clear he has to have this," Sen. Jay Rockefeller said a couple days ago of President Obama and health-care reform. And if that was arguably clear, then, it's incontestably blinding, now.

A fierce urgency? Kid's stuff. This, Obama knows, is either do, or die.

In just the last week or two we've witnessed the president's shifting stances: from a reserved, legislative distance to European shoutouts and chief-of-staff slapdowns; from New York Times reports of Democratic lawmakers "[coming] under fire" from a mountingly impatient White House to Washington Post stories about "Lyndon B. Johnson-style lobbying" in which Obama assures those lawmakers that he's willing to "stake his political capital on this year's top agenda item."

For the Post's health-care correspondent, Ceci Connolly, the Johnson comparison has morphed into a durable narrative, a reassuring frame, a tale of presidential management that's recognizable to students of political history:

"Just as Johnson gave legendary lawmaker Wilbur Mills latitude to craft the Medicare bill," Connolly has written, "Obama has asked Congress to write the health-care revamp legislation. And just as Johnson was known for his powers of personal persuasion, Obama ... has assiduously cultivated and cajoled lawmakers."

The White House, knowing that in the minds of many LBJ is synonymous with (eventual) action, has been far from diffident in pushing the historical equivalence. "There are two qualities these presidents have in common," said Obama adviser David Axelrod. Johnson "had a big vision and drove the country toward it, and second, he had a great appreciation for the legislative process."

Translation: While not losing sight of higher and ultimate objectives, Obama knows he must suffer these foot-dragging fools with paternal understanding -- and he can do it with the best of them.

But if Lyndon Johnson's successes act as a guiding inspiration to Obama, there's the transcendent example of Bill Clinton's failures to act as a monstrous warning: "In sessions with Democrats," wrote the Post, "Obama and his advisers remind lawmakers that the defeat of President Bill Clinton's health-care overhaul spelled electoral disaster for the party in 1994, costing Democrats control of both the House and Senate."...(Remainder.)


Sotomayor Hearings for the Hearing Impared

By Paul Rosenberg
Open Left



GOPers Try to Hit Sotomayor on Foreign Law

Republicans Suspicious of Sotomayor's Comments on Relevance of International Law to U.S.

By Daphne Eviatar
The Washington Independent

It took four months to confirm Harold Hongju Koh as the State Department’s legal adviser, largely because he believed in the relevance of foreign and international law.

By the end of the second full day of questioning Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor on Wednesday, it was clear that similar issues are troubling Republicans about her confirmation as well. And in her case, it’s a lifetime appointment that’s at stake. In sharp questioning, critics accused her of flip-flopping on the issue, stating in earlier speeches that foreign law should influence judges’ reading of the U.S. Constitution, and then testifying at the hearing that only U.S. law controls cases in U.S. courts.

The fear among Republicans, as Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) put it, is that on the Supreme Court, Sotomayor will be untethered from the constraints that have, until now, controlled her opinions on the court of appeals. “You will be free as a U.S. Supreme Court justice with no court reviewing those decisions,” said Cornyn.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Ok) was among those who pressed Sotomayor hardest about her views on foreign law at the hearing yesterday. He quoted passages from a speech she gave to the ACLU in Puerto Rico in April in which she said: “to suggest to anyone that you can outlaw the use of foreign or international law is a sentiment that’s based on a fundamental misunderstanding. What you would be asking American judges to do is to close their minds to some good ideas.”

Coburn was very concerned, he said. “Can you cite for me the authority either given in your oath or in the Constitution that allows you to utilize laws outside of the country?”

“My view is that there is none,” said Sotomayor.

“So today do you stand by this statement that there is no authority to utilize foreign law in making decisions under the constitution?” he asked.

“Foreign law cannot be used as a holding or a precedent or to bind an outcome of a legal decision interpreting the constitution,” Sotomayor repeated....(Remainder.)


The Lying Sack of Dog Mess: Why Goldman Sachs Is The Evil Empire!


Cheney Sweating Bullets

By Ray McGovern
Counter Punch

So far the summer has been mild in the Washington, D.C., area. But for former Vice President Dick Cheney the temperature is well over 100 degrees. He is sweating profusely, and it is becoming increasingly clear why.

Cheney has broken openly with former President George W. Bush on one issue of transcendent importance — to Cheney. For whatever reason, Bush decided not to hand out blanket pardons before they both rode off into the sunset.

Cheney has complained bitterly that his former chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, should have been pardoned, rather than simply having his jail sentence “commuted.” The former Vice President told the press that Bush left Libby "sort of hanging in the wind" by refusing to issue Libby a pardon before Bush left office. Libby had been convicted of perjury, obstruction of justice, and lying to federal agents investigating the leak of a former CIA operations officer's identity.

"I believe firmly that Scooter was unjustly accused and prosecuted and deserved a pardon, and the President disagreed with that," Cheney said. He would disclose no details of his efforts to lobby Bush on Libby's behalf, saying they would be "best left to history."

It is getting close to history time. You do not need to be a cracker-jack analyst to understand that Cheney is feeling betrayed — that he is thinking not of Libby, but of himself, and fearing that, if our system of justice works, he could be in for some serious, uncommuted jail time.

His situation has grown pathetic. Aside from the man himself, it has fallen almost solely to faithful daughter Liz to defend her dad and to start a political backfire to keep him out of prison. She is to be admired for her faithfulness. In the process, though, she has unwittingly given much away....(Remainder.)


Liz Cheney is No Innocent Bystander. She Was Dick's Mole in the State Department on the Middle East

By Mark Karlin
Buzz Flash

It's all supposed to be very touching, a loving daughter defending her father against slanderous, defaming partisan accusations.

Now that Dick Cheney has once again retreated to an "undisclosed location," his only ubiquitous vocal defender appears to be one of his daughters, Liz, who has herself indicated that she is interested in a political future.

But Liz Cheney may have more than paternalistic protectiveness in her heart, because Liz was part of her father's foreign policy operation when he was vice-president.

Indeed, Liz Cheney served two stints in the State Department while Dick was up to his illegal and largely still unknown secretive actions. And she wasn't stationed at the Iceland desk. She had responsibilities directly related to "diplomacy" in the Middle East.

In 2002, Liz was appointed to the "vacant" position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern [Middle-Eastern] Affairs. In 2005, after taking time off from the State Department to work on her father's re-election, she was named Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State For Near Eastern Affairs. In 2006, Liz became the head of the State Department Iran Syria Policy and Operations Group.

On a personal note for Liz, what makes all of this even more incestuous in terms of who knew and did what and when, Liz is married to one Philip Perry, who served in the Bush/Cheney administration as the General Counsel of the United States Department of Homeland Security.

So it strains the credibility of Liz's media "defense of Dad" tour when you know that she was a player in Middle Eastern policy, and likely spoke frequently with her father about issues relating to that region and what he was up to -- and that the issue of what she also knew and when she knew it is relevant in judging her believability, although not necessarily criminal on her part.

But it sure does taint her "daughter dearest" defense of her father to remember that she may have been an advisor, confidante, and implementer of some of his more unsavory policies -- not that she assassinated anyone....(Remainder.)


Obama Calls Kyl's Bluff on Stimulus, McCain Freaks Out

By Jed Lewison
Daily Kos

On Sunday, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) called on the Obama Administration to cancel the rest of the stimulus plan, saying it was a complete failure.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) blew Kyl's arguments out of the water, reminding Kyl that only $56 billion of the $787 billion had yet been spent and that under Kyl's plan, tax cuts for middle-class Americans would be rescinded and jobs from much-needed infrastructure improvements would be lost.

Durbin's response was good, but what happened next was a thing of beauty.
WASHINGTON - Top Obama administration officials asked Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday whether the state wants to forfeit ongoing federal economic stimulus money after Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., suggested that the program should be nixed.

Agency heads ranging from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood to housing Secretary Shaun Donovan sent letters to Brewer, pressing her to declare whether she supports the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act or sides with Kyl and is willing to give up some of the money.
Brewer, a Republican, made it clear she wanted the stimulus funds -- but seemed to confuse whose idea it was to cancel the program:
"The governor is hopeful that these federal Cabinet officials are not threatening to deny Arizona citizens the portion of federal stimulus funds to which they are entitled," Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman said. "She believes that would be a tremendous mistake by the administration."
Earth to Governor Brewer: the Obama Administration supports the stimulus. They don't want to cut off funds. It's your Republican U.S. Senator Jon Kyl who proposed cutting off your funds....(Remainder.)


David Shuster Guts Cheney's Refusal to Comment on CIA Secrecy Scandal


What's the Republican Plan Again?

By Jason Rosenbaum

House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and other obstructionists just held a press conference on the "Democratic Takeover of Health Care." (Policy note: 99% of households [pdf] and 96% of businesses [pdf] would not be affected by the proposed surcharge on the rich in the House bill.)

It's hardly worth mentioning to these folks that the House health plan introduced yesterday preserves your choice, so if you don't want to be on the public health insurance option, you don't have to. Still, they're intent on pushing the strawman. And so, they released this chart, purportedly showing the great complexity of the Democratic health care system:

Clearly, this is supposed to demonstrate vast complexity, but really, it just doesn't make sense, seeing as this is a chart of the system we have now. Not much different, right? If that's the best attack they've got, I think we'll be fine....(Remainder.)


Marriage Has Evolved Beyond Offspring

By Fiona McCann
The Irish Times

‘MARRIAGE, BY definition . . .” Lately, there’s no shortage of sentences that begin thus, though its how they end that has ignited so much debate over the recently published Civil Partnership Bill.

Perhaps the problem is in defining something as semantically shifty as marriage. It is, after all, an institution that has always evolved with social change. Do those who argue against its continued evolution to include same sex couples then subscribe to the notion that the woman in every union should still honour and obey, having been transferred to her husband as chattel, her wedding ring a down-payment for services to be rendered?

The truth is that marriage has its roots in so many different cultures over so many centuries that the changes made to the word are innumerable in definition and in connotation. What was once a purely business transaction between two families was only later defined as a religious sacrament, a definition disputed by Protestant reformers. In some cultures, marriages are still arranged, while others allow for a polygamous definition of the word. Here in Ireland, monogamy and marriage may have gone hand in hand for some time now, but other changes, such as the lifting of the ban on divorce fourteen years ago, have been permitted.

The rules about who is allowed in it are also constantly changing: Consanguinity has long been considered an impediment to marriage, though you can currently marry your first cousin in Ireland, something still off limits in many states in America. Affinity, however, which once prevented the brother of the groom from marrying, say, the cousin of the bride, has been more or less scratched from the list of obstacles to wedlock.

So what’s left in this ever-changing concept of marriage by definition? As things stand now, the gender issue. Marriage, under the current Irish definition, must be between a man and a woman. Yet in several other countries, including Spain, the Netherlands, Canada and South Africa, this caveat is no longer in place. So what’s stopping us? We’ve had the predictable scrabble for the Constitution in the search for a stumbling block. But are we seriously going to allow our own Constitution, the one that also claims all citizens shall be held equal before the law, stand in the way of equality when it comes to marriage?...(Remainder.)


Losing Favor, RepubliCON Style

By dreaminonempty
Open Left

Karl Rove's plans for a Permanent Republican Majority were based in part on this realization: if the Republican Party wants to regularly win national elections in the future, it must appeal to Latino voters. McCain only attracted around 30%, but maybe things have improved since then:

This shows the percent of Latino respondents in the Daily Kos poll who have a favorable view of the Republican party. Prior to Sotomayor's nomination, that was around 12% - lousy by any measure. Somehow, since Sotomayor's nomination, Republicans have managed to lose half of what little support they had - they're now down to 7%.

And guess what? Latino voters aren't the only ones paying attention.

Clearly, when the strategy of the Republican party is to call Sotomayor a racist, this doesn't endear Republicans to Latino voters. Whaddaya know.

Let's pull back for a bigger perspective, for both parties, for all racial categories. Democrats on the left, Republicans on the right:



Why Right Wingers Can’t Afford to Let Universal Health Care Succeed

By Time for Change
Democratic Underground

If private insurance fails because it is unable to compete with government health care, then so be it. The US government does not exist for the purpose of helping private insurance companies. It's our government, and we have the right to demand that.

In their aggressive opposition to universal health care, whether through government single payer or even a public option of any sort, the Republican Party and their corporate backers in the health care and health insurance industries are in the process of laying bare their utter hypocrisy for all the world to see. Their only weapons for combating meaningful health care reform are lies and hypocrisy. And they are using those weapons to the fullest extent.

So why expose the utter hollowness, corruption, and callousness of their Party just to fight universal health care? The fact of the matter is that they may not have a choice. They are desperate. A successful national health care program could mean not only the end of the Republican Party, but the end also of a great deal of the philosophical underpinning for the RW agenda. Let's consider some of that philosophical underpinning:


The ridiculous idea that private corporations inherently do things better than government can

Ronald Reagan, perhaps more than anyone else, helped to establish the myth that the private sector is inherently better than government at just about everything. He summarized the right wing philosophy in a sound bite when he joked "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"...(Remainder.)


Keith Olbermann: New Details On Cheney's Assassination Program


More Than Fifty House Progressives Privately Commit To Oppose Weak Health Care Bill

By Ryan Grim
The Huffington Post

Progressive Democrats are taking a hard stand on health care reform, with a majority committing to oppose any health care reform package that doesn't include a robust public option. On Wednesday, they got an inadvertent assist by an anonymous leak of their "whip list."

A whip list, which is generally tightly guarded, is used by congressional leaders to keep track of the private pledges made by members before a vote. The list is kept private to encourage frank answers from members so that leadership can gather accurate intelligence.

The whip list was obtained by Joan McCarter, a DailyKos contributing editor. It names fifty members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) who have firmly pledged to oppose any bill that doesn't meet the group's standards. Without those fifty votes, Democrats would be unable to pass the reform effort without Republican support. (Once Judy Chu is sworn in, there will be 256 Democrats, and one "closet Democrat"; 218 are needed for passage, leaving Democrats 12 votes short.)

Rep. Diane Watson (D-Calif.) is in charge of keeping the whip count for the CPC. Watson spokeswoman Dorinda White confirmed that the list is accurate but slightly out of date and that more members have since confirmed that they'll oppose the bill if it isn't firm enough.

The CPC laid out its requirements in a June statement, demanding a strong public health care option that is available immediately. See the statement here.

Progressives can now argue that the fate of reform depends upon including a strong public option. Or, alternatively, moving far enough in the GOP's direction to pick up support from the other side.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said previously that a bill without a public option "wouldn't have the votes" in the House -- a diagnosis that appears accurate in light of the CPC whip list.

Earlier Wednesday, Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), a health care leader in the Senate, said he'd rather have a good bill than a bipartisan one. "A good bill that is bipartisan obviously has a chance of not only succeeding but also being sustained, so there's a value in achieving that bipartisanship," he said, adding, "I will not sacrifice a good bill for that. That's not the goal here."...(Remainder.)


Fox Continues Promoting Birther Lawsuit While Ignoring Red Flags Indicating It’s A Hoax

By Ellen
News Hounds

On Tuesday (7/14/09), I posted about several instances in which Fox News had added legitimacy to the irrational and baseless conspiracy-theorist "birthers" who continue to insist, despite evidence to the contrary, that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and thus an illegitimate president. One such effort came from Sean Hannity, reporting on a soldier challenging his deployment to Afghanistan on the grounds that Obama is not eligible to be president. Hannity had failed to note in his report the availability of Obama's birth certificate and how the birther claims have been completely investigated and debunked. Hannity gave an update to the Afghanistan story last night (7/15/09) and took it a step further by suggesting, along with the plaintiff, that the subsequent revocation of the soldiers deployment orders indicated that his allegations were proved true. But Hannity omitted key details that point to a scam by the soldier. With video.

At about 40 seconds into the video below, Hannity says, "We told you yesterday about an Army Reserve soldier who challenged his deployment orders on the grounds that President Obama HAS NOT PROVEN (Hannity's emphasis) that he is a U.S. citizen. Now that soldier, Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook, who was supposed to deploy to Afghanistan in coming days, has now had his order revoked. According to his lawyer, 'They just said, 'Order revoked.' No explanation, no reasons – just revoked.' Now Major Cook and his lawyer expressed joy at this outcome and they took it as an admission on the part of the military that the president is not, in fact, a legitimate citizen by birth."

A Fox News producer similarly suggested that the Obama administration was trying to sweep the matter under the rug by posting the banner: After claiming Obama not U.S. Born soldier has his order revoked.

Once again Hannity failed to point out that Obama's birth certificate has been produced, that, (hardly a liberal or Democratic organization) has concluded that Obama was "Born in the U.S.A."

Had Hannity bothered to do the simplest of Google searches, he would have also uncovered this key piece of information from that day's Georgia Ledger-Enquirer newspaper:
Earlier today, (Lt. Col. Maria Quon, U.S. Army Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Army Human Resources Command-St. Louis) said Cook submitted a formal written request to Human Resources Command-St. Louis on May 8, 2009 volunteering to serve one year in Afghanistan with Special Operations Command, U.S. Army Central Command, beginning July 15, 2009. The soldier's orders were issued on June 9, Quon said.

"A reserve soldier who volunteers for an active duty tour may ask for a revocation of orders up until the day he is scheduled to report for active duty," Quon said.

She added that there is an administrative process to request revocation of orders. As of this afternoon, Cook had not asked for his orders to be revoked, Quon said. She could not say why the soldier's orders were pulled today by 3 p.m. CDT.



President Obama: Nurses Join the Call for Health Care Reform


President Obama Talks to Legend Willie Mays on Air Force One


HMO Donations to the U.S. Senate

By Michael Newhouse


Obama Claims Immunity, as New Spy Case Takes Center Stage

By David Kravets
Threat Level @

SAN FRANCISCO – The latest legal volley attacking President George W. Bush’s once-secret electronic eavesdropping dragnet gets its first court hearing here Wednesday, nearly four years after the warrantless surveillance program was revealed.

The Jewel v. NSA lawsuit was filed in September by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It responded to 2008 federal legislation that immunized the nation’s telecommunications companies from suits challenging their complicity in the President’s Surveillance Program. The EFF redrafted its earlier case against the telcos to target the government for funneling Americans’ communications to the National Security Agency without warrants.

U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker will hear arguments from both sides on the Obama administration’s motion for the case to be thrown out.

In court filings, the administration says the suit (.pdf) “would require or risk the disclosure of information that is properly subject to the state secrets privilege and related statutory privileges.” The administration claims it’s shielded by sovereign immunity, in addition to citing the controversial state secrets privilege.

All the while, the EFF maintains the dragnet surveillance (.pdf) continues unabated under Obama.

“Using this shadow network of surveillance devices, defendants have acquired and continue to acquire the content of a significant portion of the phone calls, e-mails, instant messages, text messages, web communications and other communications, both international and domestic, of practically every American who uses the phone system or the internet,” the EFF wrote in its lawsuit....(Remainder.)


CIA Assassin Program Was Nearing New Phase

Panetta Pulled Plug After Training Was Proposed

By Joby Warrick
The Washington Post

CIA officials were proposing to activate a plan to train anti-terrorist assassination teams overseas when agency managers brought the secret program to the attention of CIA Director Leon Panetta last month, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The plan to kill top al-Qaeda leaders, which had been on the agency's back burner for much of the past eight years, was suddenly thrust into the spotlight because of proposals to initiate what one intelligence official called a "somewhat more operational phase." Shortly after learning of the plan, Panetta terminated the program and then went to Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers, who had been kept in the dark since 2001.

The Obama administration's top intelligence official, Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair, yesterday defended Panetta's decision to cancel the program, which he said had raised serious questions among intelligence officials about its "effectiveness, maturity and the level of control."

But Blair broke with some Democrats in Congress by asserting that the CIA did not violate the law when it failed to inform lawmakers about the secret program until last month. Blair said agency officials may not have been required to notify Congress about the program, though he believes they should have done so....(Remainder.)


Glenn Beck is Overwhelmed by Barack Obama

By Mark
News Corpse

Poor Glenn Beck. He’s having such a hard time keeping up. The burden on him must be horrendous. Day after day he has to maintain a level of maniacal terror that would lead an ordinary man to suicide (which Beck has attempted twice). Every show has to reveal a conspiracy of Satan worshiping liberal traitors that are right outside of your window, preparing to molest your children.

How does he do it? How does he survive the pressure? Of course, it would be a strain for Beck to intellectually keep up with a jellyfish - that’s had a lobotomy - and has been dead for two hours. But somehow he manages to deliver the steadiest stream of stupid in modern media.

Today Beck editorialized that the hearing to confirm Sonia Sotomayor as a Supreme Court Justice is actually just a ruse to draw attention from other more important issues. Barack Obama’s agenda to restore the economy, reform healthcare, clean the environment, and manage two wars and an ongoing terrorist threat, has Beck thinking that a conspiracy has evolved between the administration and the media:
“President Obama is simultaneously dumping so many huge agenda items on the system, even if the media wanted to cover each of the big stories they wouldn’t be able to devote enough time to do it. So instead, we get stuck watching yet another pathetic confirmation hearing.”
And what is it that the “pathetic confirmation hearing” is distracting us from? Beck tells us that it is things like a second stimulus package (which Obama has said is unnecessary at this time), and a photo of Russian President Medvedev holding a coin that Beck says is the future world currency. Then there’s something about Al Gore and General Electric that Beck throws in....(Remainder.)


Fox Nation Cites Radical, Right Wing Source To Paint Obama Science Advisor As Radical!

By Priscilla
News Hounds

Can we say irony?! Fox Nation, the place for “fair and balanced coverage of the news,” is doing a lede (“Czar Watch, Could Obama’s Science Czar Really Be This Radical?) on a topic that’s hot on right wing blogs and that is the smearing of President Obama’s Science Advisor, John Holdren. Perhaps disappointed that Obama wouldn’t select a rapture ready, global warming denying, 6,000 year old earther, the right wing is running with accusations that Holdren is a “globalist” who has “endorsed “surrender of sovereignty” to those evil, one world UN types who are lurking under your bed and just waiting to hand over the USA to the Prince of Darkness (no, not Bob Novak!). He’s also accused of other nasty, bad things including supporting eugenics. But what’s really worth a chuckle is the source of Fox Nation’s fear and loathing and that is the publication of red diaper baby and former left wing radical turned right wing shouter at clouds – David Horowitz. Yep, the source for this revelation is none other than Front Page Mag which, as was said in that classic Ed Wood flick, “Plan 9 from Outer Space,” – “that proves it.”

It is ironic that Front Page Mag would start off by citing Holdren’s supposedly radical lefty activities given the kind of stuff Horowitz was involved with. Holdren is now a distinguished professor of environmental policy (uh oh, that’s definitely commie/pinko heretical stuff) at the Kennedy School of Government. But that doesn’t stop Horowitz et al. from smearing Holdren as a (wait with baited breath) a neo Malthusian whose radical views of overpopulation would force women to have abortions. Holdren, who was past president for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (now that is definitely seditious!), believes in man made global warming, so one isn’t surprised that the right wing community is targeting him. There is some irony in that the crowd who love to see Muslims and libruls disappear, charge Holdren with supporting eugenics. But if Alex Jones “Prison Planet” and “Zombie Times” says it, it must be true! Holdren’s biggest sin was co-authoring a book (in the 70’s), with the Ehrlich’s, about a worst case scenario if countries didn’t take steps towards population control. Holdren’s CV is impressive; but that doesn’t stop Fox Nation and the black helicopter crowd from doing their usual frothing at the mouth. But if you want a view into the bizarro world of the Obama haters (and that’s “straight up” what it’s all about) check out, if you dare, the Front Page screed. And be so scared.

Fox Nation – blinded by science....(Original.)


Birthers Set Back, as if it Matters to Them

By David Weigel
The Colorado Independent

Lt. Comm. William Speaks, a spokesman for Centcom, spoke with TWI today about Maj. Stefan F. Cook’s controversial request for conscientious objector status.

“Maj. Cook volunteered for the one year assignment to Afghanistan, in May of this year,” said Speaks. “After he brought this stuff to the fore, the unit that owned his billet canceled his orders.”

Speaks dismissed comments that Cook’s attorney Orly Taitz, made to WorldNetDaily, specifically her claim that “the military has directly responded by saying Obama is illegitimate.”

“This in no way validates any of the outlandish claims made by Maj. Cook or his attorney,” said Speaks. “The idea that this validates those charges about the president’s fitness for office is simply false.”...(Original.)


GOP Putz, Chuck Grassley, Asks Sotomayor About Same-Sex Marriage


Fox Nation – The Place Where “Birthers” Can Get Their Obama Hate On!!!

By Priscilla
News Hounds

That Fox Nation is the place for the most rabid of Obama haters is underscored by yet another "birther" thread. This one is not conspicuous; but it is the first item under "Justice." The title is "Update, Army Revokes Deployment Orders for Soldier Who Says Obama Isn't President." There is a link to an article in the Ledger Examiner which reports that "U.S. Army Maj. Stefan Frederick Cook, the reserve soldier who says he shouldn't have to go to Afghanistan because he believes Barack Obama was never eligible to be president, has had his deployment orders revoked." He filed for "conscientious objector status" through his lawyer, Orly Taitz. Hmm, "CO" status – hmmm – aren't conservatives still outraged about those young men who filed for "CO" status during the Vietnam War? Can you imagine the outcry from the hate media crowd if a soldier had tried to get out of duty in Iraq because they felt that Bush was not a legitimate president because of that little thingie with the Supreme Court? Think the word "treason" might be invoked? How will Hannity and O'Reilly deal with this – or will they?

As the article noted, a reserve soldier can "ask for a revocation of orders up until the day he is scheduled to report for active duty;" but that doesn't stop the Fox Nation gang from clapping their hands over what they perceive as a victory in their crusade to remove Obama from office. Cook's attorney, Orly Taitz, is also the attorney in the court case, brought by notorious nut case Alan Keyes, involving the issue of the Obama birth certificate. But it does beg the question of whether patriotic Fox Nation thinks that this is acceptable and "patriotic," because if a large number of soldiers decided to do this, it could affect the quality of our fighting forces – which certainly isn't very patriotic. But Orly Taitz has a different take: "Can you imagine what are the consequences? This is disastrous" for the administration, she said. "We'll have no military. Because anytime any Soldier, any Sailor, any Airman does not want to follow any orders, all he has to do is call an attorney and say 'I don't want to follow this order because I question the legitimacy of the commander in chief.' " If Cindy Sheehan had said something like this, can you imagine the outcry! But if a "birther" says it, it's all good!...(Remainder.)


Beyond the Palin

Why the GOP is falling out of love with gun-toting, churchgoing, working-class whites.

By Rick Perlstein

The conservative opinion elite is divided—irreconcilably so—about Sarah Palin's decision to quit the Alaska governorship. One faction says good riddance: The Washington Post's Charles Krauthammer had already judged her unfit for national office 24 hours before her announcement, and The New York Times's Ross Douthat now refers to her "brief sojourn on the national stage" in the past tense. On the other side, the Post's William Kristol called Palin's quitting a "high-risk move" designed to catapult her to greater public prominence. Taking the longer view, though, the clash is symptomatic of the deepest strategic debate in Republican circles since the disciples of the Reagan revolution captured Congress in 1994.

For decades it has remained a Republican article of faith: white, lower-middle-class, "heartland" masses, fundamentally socially conservative, were an inexhaustible electoral resource. So much so that Bill Clinton made re-earning their trust—he called them the Americans who "worked hard and played by the rules"—the central challenge in rebuilding Democratic fortunes in the 1990s. And in 2008 the somewhat aristocratic John McCain seemed to regard bringing these folks back into the Republican fold so imperative that he was moved to make the election's most exciting strategic move: drafting churchgoing, gun-toting unknown Sarah Palin onto the GOP ticket.

But beneath the surface, some Republicans have been chafing at the ideological wages of right-wing populism. In intel-lectual circles, writers like David Brooks and Richard Brookhiser have argued for a conservatism inspired by Alexander Hamilton, the least democratic of the Founding Fathers, over one spiritually rooted in Thomas Jefferson, the most democratic. After Barack Obama's victory, you heard thinkers like author and federal judge Richard Posner lamenting on his blog that "the face of the Republican Party had become Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. Conservative intellectuals had no party."...(Remainder.)


Bill Maher on Hardball with Chris Matthews Talking About GOP Sex Scandals


Fucktard O'Reilly Attacks 'Far-Left Zealot' Rick Perlstein for Newsweek Piece on the Rabid Right

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

We knew that Bill O'Reilly had done a nasty segment on Rick Perlstein -- including running his picture -- tonight on Fox News because Perlstein called me shortly afterward and asked:

"Hey, did Bill O'Reilly or someone on Fox do something with me in it tonight?"

"I dunno. I'm recording but not watching. Why?"

"My inbox just started getting deluged with hate mail a little bit ago."

"What time did it start?"

"About 7:30 [Chicago time]."

"Yep, that would be O'Reilly."

"I think they ran my picture. A lot of the mail is about how ugly I am."

I pulled my recording and yep, sure enough, there was a segment attacking Perlstein for his Newsweek op-ed column this week. He invited on his frequent guest, Bernard Goldberg, to talk about it.

As you can see, what set O'Reilly off was Perlstein's characterization of O'Reilly's audience as working-class whites whose more unstable elements sometimes act out violently:
O'Reilly: The most recent Newsweek contains a nasty piece on Sarah Palin that implies she is an intellectual moron supported by poorly educated conservative idiots.


Conservative Outlets Provide Forum for RepubliCONs' "Baffling" Health Care "Flow Chart"

By Media Matters

On July 15, the Drudge Report, Fox News, and CNBC's The Kudlow Report provided a forum for a chart released by congressional Republicans that day -- a day after House Democrats introduced their health care reform bill -- that purported to show "the complex health care reform proposal by Democratic congressional leaders." The release from Rep. Kevin Brady (TX) about the chart, titled "BAFFLING FLOW CHART; Public Gets Peek at Complicated Bureaucracy in Democratic Health Care Plan," stated that the chart "depicts how the health care system would be organized at the national level if the Democrats' plan became law. These new levels of bureaucracy, agencies, organization and programs will all be put directly between the patient and their health care."

The conservative media's promotion of the House Republican chart recalls the media attention devoted in 1994 to a misleading chart -- distributed by the office of Sen. Arlen Specter -- that then-Senate Republican leader Bob Dole claimed illustrated "what the health care bureaucracy would look like under" President Clinton's health care reform plan.

By 8:08 a.m. ET, the Drudge Report featured the GOP's 2009 graphic with the headline: "House Republicans unveil chart depicting bureaucratic nightmare of Dem government-run health care... Developing..." As of 8:25 p.m. ET, Drudge still featured the graphic and the headline "Republicans unveil chart depicting bureaucratic nightmare of Dem government-run health care... Developing..." From the Drudge Report at 8:08 a.m. ET:



MSM Says GOP is Being "Respectful" & "Cordial" Despite the Snide & Disgusting Remarks of the GOP

By Media Matters

In their coverage of the second day of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings, media characterized Republican senators' questioning as "cordial," "largely civil," and "respectful but tough." For instance, during the July 14 edition of Fox News' Special Report, correspondent Carl Cameron asserted that the Judiciary Committee's questioning of Sotomayor that day "has been largely cordial and civil, though pointed on a number of occasions." Similarly, on the CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric said, "[Sotomayor's] Republican critics were respectful but tough as they zeroed in on her most controversial comment." But Sen. Lindsey Graham asked Sotomayor to respond to anonymous criticisms of her temperament published in the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary, some of which he read, including, "She's a terror on the bench," "she abuses lawyers," "she behaves in an out of control manner," and "She's nasty to lawyers" -- criticisms that a prominent colleague, among others, have reportedly dismissed as "sexist, plain and simple." Near the conclusion of this line of questioning, Graham said: "[M]aybe these hearings are time for self-reflection" -- hardly an expression of "respect."

Their assessment of the Republican senators' conduct differed from media reactions during the confirmation hearings for then-Judge Samuel Alito. Following an incident in which Alito's wife became emotional, several media figures, including then-NBC Today show host Couric, suggested that Senate Democrats "went too far."

From Graham's questioning of Sotomayor on July 14:
GRAHAM: OK. Now, let's talk about you. I like you, by the way, for whatever that matters. Since I may vote for you that ought to matter to you. One thing that stood out about your record is that when you look at the almanac of the federal judiciary, lawyers anonymously rate judges in terms of temperament. And here's what they said about you. She's a terror on the bench. She's temperamental, excitable, she seems angry. She's overall aggressive, not very judicial. She does not have a very good temperament. She abuses lawyers. She really lacks judicial temperament. She believes in an out -- she behaves in an out-of-control manner. She makes inappropriate outbursts. She's nasty to lawyers. She will attack lawyers for making an argument she does not like. She can be a bit of a bully. When you look at the evaluation of the judges on the Second Circuit, you stand out like a sore thumb in terms of your temperament. What is your answer to these criticisms?


GRAHAM: And in fairness to you, there are plenty of statements in the record in support of you as a person, that do not go down this line. But I will just suggest to you, for what it's worth, judge, as you go forward here, that these statements about you are striking. They're not about your colleagues. The ten-minute rule [for oral argument time in the Second Circuit] applies to everybody and that obviously you've accomplished a lot in your life, but maybe these hearings are time for self-reflection. This is pretty tough stuff that you don't see from -- about other judges on the Second Circuit.


Rachel Maddow Eviscerates "Uncle Pat" for Push Racist Memes Regarding Sotomayor


Karl Rove Advocates Breaking the Law When it Comes to the CIA & Congress

By John Amato
Crooks and Liars

Why do the media fawn over the likes of Karl Rove? He's the heir to Lee Atwater, and his scumbag tactics are legendary.

Remember the Willie Horton ad?
Atwater's single most notorious bit of work came during the 1988 campaign, in the form of the Willie Horton ad used against Dukakis. The ad attacked a prison furlough program that Dukakis had supported while governor of Massachusetts. Horton, a convicted killer who is black, escaped while in the program and raped a woman. The ad said Dukakis was soft on crime, and made prominent use of Horton's glowering mug shot. Atwater said he was going to make Horton Dukakis's "running mate."

The ad pretty much became the touchstone for demonizing black men in political campaigning. In archival footage, we see Atwater denying that he or the Bush campaign had anything to do with the ad, insisting he'd never even seen it.

Then Forbes cuts to one of Atwater's friends describing how, before the ad was ever aired, Atwater called him into his office, showed him the ad, said he was going to set it up as the work of an independent committee (and thus, with no fingerprints) and asked what he thought. The friend says that he told Atwater it was appalling, racist and that it was going to "follow you to your grave."
What is clear, from watching this talented man and his view of politics and America, is that his corrosive vision has seeped into the nation's political groundwater.

That's the man Rove learned from, and he is his prize pupil. With Rove's help, Atwater turned politics into a smear contest. Eventually, they all helped lead this country down the drain with their boy Bush....(Remainder.)


Sen. Bernie Sanders Calls Out John McCain on Socialized VA Health Care System

By Heather
Crooks and Liars

Bernie Sanders gives John McCain an uncomfortable moment asking him if the VA is socialized health care, and if he or anyone else in the Senate is advocating doing away with it. Sanders is exactly right. It is not the job of the Senate to protect the private health insurance industry. It's a shame the best we may get out of the Senate is a public option and that we don't have a few more Bernie Sanders out there fighting for real health care reform....(Original.)


Right-Wing Fascists Launch Ad Claiming Sotormayor is a Terrorist

By Ian Millhiser
Think Progress

A TV ad by the right-wing Committee for Justice claims that Judge Sonia Sotomayor “led a group supporting violent Puerto Rican terrorists.” The ad also links Sotomayor to “Obama’s buddy Bill Ayres, the unrepentant terrorist who bombed American buildings in the seventies.” Watch:

The claim that Sotomayor led a terrorist organization apparently refers to her service on the board of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, a mainstream civil rights organization. It seems that, in the right-wing mind, a group that protects Latinos from race discrimination is exactly the same as al Qaeda....(Original.)


Homophobic Ass-Face Marion Barry, Says Gay Councilman Out to Get Him

By David Catania
Gay Politics

Washington, D.C. City Councilman Marion Barry is accusing his openly gay colleague, David Catania, of targeting him on unrelated ethics questions because Barry refused to support a measure that resulted in the District government recognizing legally-married same-sex couples, according to report by a local FOX News affiliate.

Barry, a longtime supporter of LGBT rights in D.C., has cited discord between the LGBT community and African-American religious leaders for his current stance on marriage equality. New ethics questions have surfaced about Barry’s role in administering grant money authorized by the city council.

Catania, who spearheaded the measure to recognize married same-sex couples under D.C. law, has said he will now work to bring full marriage equality to the District.

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffertz (R-UT) has introduced legislation in Congress to block D.C.’s efforts to recognize legally married same-sex couples, but the bill is not expected to be considered in the House....(Original.)


Ed Schultz Responds to the Oxy-Moron Calling Him Mr. Ed: The Pig-Man is a "Coward"


Completely Idiotic Beck Says the Gov't Wants Health Care Reform to Have "Power & Control Over You"


Once Again, the Oxy-Moronic Pig-Man Claims that Obama Was Raised by Communists


Pathetic Hack & Fox News Anchor, Stu Varney, Says Obama & Congress are "Essentially Socialists"


Nobody Will Ever Confuse RedState's Erick Erickson With an Actual Reporter

By Eric Boehlert
Media Matters

I can't get enough of this South Carolina media story about how journalists were flooding the office of Mark Sanford with emails promising friendly coverage if they could land an interview. This was before he admitted to cheating on his wife and using taxpayer money to do it. Back when he appeared to be lost on the Appalachian Trail.

I've already highlighted the questionable efforts by the WSJ's editorial page, as well as ABC News's Jake Tapper. Saving the 'best' for last, let's look at right-wing blogger Erick Erickson.

From The State:
“If he wants something more personal for the blog to push back, I’m happy to help,” wrote Erick Erickson, a writer for On June 23, Erickson ripped “media speculation” about Sanford’s whereabouts.
And boy, did Erickson push back at RedState. Here's what he wrote on June 23:
First, we need to be clear on the facts - not the media speculation:
  • Sanford did tell his staff and family where he was going.

  • Because he was traveling without a security detail, it was in his best interests that no one knew he was gone.

  • His political enemies - Republicans at that - ginned up the media story.

  • When confronted by a pestering media, things went downhill.

  • Again though, at all times there was no doubt that Sanford's staff and family knew where he was.
As Blue Texan quickly noted at FDL, pretty much everything Erickson wrote about Sanford's escapade turned out to be false....(Remainder.)


The Lying Sack of Dog Mess Finally Looses It and Screams at a Caller "Get Off My Phone!"


The Baby Jesus and His Flying Monkey Fawn Over the Insane GOP Health Care Chart



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