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The Right-Wing Op-Ed Insurgency

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Liberal bias? A Daily Beast investigation crunches the numbers and shows how conservative think tanks have quietly achieved domination over the opinion pages of America’s biggest papers.

By Samuel P. Jacobs
The Daily Beast

For all the noise about liberal bias in newsrooms, you’d think the country’s big three papers had contracted George Soros, Ralph Nader, and Gloria Steinem as their exclusive opinionators.

But a Daily Beast review of the archives of The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post tells a much different story: Conservative think tanks are pummeling their liberal peers in the race for the most prominent placement on op-ed pages. During the past year, 77 percent of pieces authored by think-tank affiliates came from conservative outfits, 18 percent came from centrist groups, and a tiny 5 percent came from the left wing.

With The Wall Street Journal carrying a heavier load of think-tank contributions than the Times and Post combined, conservative wonks are given a significant leg-up, according Alex Jones, former Times media reporter and current head of Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy.

“There are more conservative think tanks, first of all,” Jones said, “and they are very aggressive and very effective. The Wall Street Journal op-ed page has been extremely accommodating. That’s the character and nature of the page.”

Which think tank takes up the most opinion-page real estate?...(Remainder.)

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Racist Raging Cunt, Ann Coulter, Says that Racial Profiling Claims are Just Hoaxes

By Heather
Crooks and Liars


Ann Coulter does her best job of cherry picking what she says were racial profiling hoaxes to basically insinuate that racial profiling never happens in the United States. She claims that "liberals" can never find a case that wasn't a hoax. I hate to tell you this Ann, but just because something isn't Al Sharpton's latest photo-op du jour or the media hasn't talked about it, it doesn't mean that it's not happening. Your argument is completely ridiculous. And Henry Gates never should have been arrested for disorderly conduct in his own home.

Ann I just don't know how all the bigots would get by without the likes of you and your other right wing hate mongers doing your best to make them feel better about themselves.
INGRAHAM: And now for the top story. What exactly is that teachable moment in all the recent racial banter? Joining us from us Florida with her provocative take as always is Ann Coulter, author of the huge bestseller "Guilty: Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America."

And Ann, I have to say I watched a competing cable channel. I had it DVR'd somewhere. I watched you last night with Sharpton. Okay? And just the look on his face when you came out and said well, what racial profiling? And I'm sure African-Americans across the country were saying what is this woman talking about? Explain.

ANN COULTER, CONSERVATIVE [TRANS-SEXUAL] COLUMNIST: It's not that it's never happened. I've just been watching, you know, the gusher of cliches on television about this. I mean, this -- clearly there was no racial profiling in this case in Boston unless you're talking about Professor Gates racially profiling an Irish cop and assuming he must be a racist. There was some racial profiling that way.

But you know, I write about this in "Guilty". And I only give an abbreviated list in "Guilty" although it goes on for pages and pages of all of the alleged acts of racism or racial profiling that turn out to be hoaxes....
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Real Time New Rules: We've Let This 'Birther' Garbage Gather for Too Long

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Ben Nelson, Grow the ‘F’ Up

By David Waldman

Congress Matters

Ben Nelson needs to grow the F up:
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) has hit back hard at a television ad campaign that accuses him of acting on behalf of insurance companies, warning liberal critics that healthcare reform may die if they keep up their aggressive tactics.

"If this is an indication of the politics going into August, then healthcare reform may be dead by the end of August," Nelson's spokesman added in conclusion.
Ben, get your head on straight, buddy.

Everyone and their mother knew going into this that if health care wasn't done -- i.e., you didn't do your jobs -- before the recess, then August was going to be an ad war like you've never seen.

Everyone knew. Everyone.

Nobody's interested in your crocodile tears now. Grow up. You want to kill health care reform because somebody said something mean about you, go the F ahead. Just please spare us the theatrics....(Remainder.)

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Beck's Insane Conspiracy Theory: "Cash for Clunkers" Site Lets Feds Control Your PC

By Jed Lewison
Daily KOS


Before you play the video of Glenn Beck's latest loony-tunes conspiracy theory, keep in mind that it's totally nuts. Here's the key information debunking it:
  1. If you are a consumer visiting cars.gov (the "cash for clunkers" website) the Federal government cannot take control over your computer, nor will it ask permission to do so.

  2. The "Terms of Use" statement to which Beck refers in this clip is not from cars.gov. Rather it is a login page for dealer transactions located at esc.gov.

  3. The only people who can get login credentials for the esc.gov site are dealers who have been screened and registered for the "cash for clunkers" program.

  4. To summarize: the page in question isn't on cars.gov and can only be used by dealers who have already registered. Consumers won't be impacted by any of this.
With that out of the way, enjoy the crazy:




Perhaps the best part of this lunacy is that Glenn Beck brought Jonah Goldberg along for the tin-foil ride....(Remainder.)

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Roy Blunt Hates Health Reform AND Medicare

By Jed Lewison
Daily Kos


Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO), GOP candidate for U.S. Senate (via Fired Up! Missouri):




Transcript:
BLUNT, July 9: You could certainly argue that government should have never have gotten in the health care business, and that might have been the best argument of all, to figure out how people could have had more access to a competitive marketplace.

Government did get into the health care business in a big way in 1965 with Medicare.

BLUNT, Last weekend: We've had Medicare since 1965, and Medicare has never done anything to make people more healthy. If there's any opportunity for more healthy activity, it's going to be, again, a private, competitive...
Medicare has never done anything to make people more healthy?

Uh, if that's true, why is Medicare the most popular health insurance program in America? And how does Blunt explain the wide range of preventative health services offered by Medicare, ranging from flu shots to helping people quit smoking and everything in between?

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Daily Kos Goes A-Polling & Finds that 58% of Repiglickins Buy Into ‘Bither’ Bullshit

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars


Markos commissioned a national poll to ascertain just how many people out there are suckering for the right's "Birther" conspiracy theories.

For the country as a whole, it looks good:
Do you believe that Barack Obama was born in the United States of America or not?

Yes 77
No 11
Not sure 12
But when we look at Republicans alone, it looks pretty grim:
Yes No Not sure
Dem 93 4 3
Rep 42 28 30
Ind 83 8 9
In other words, nearly a third of them believe the Birthers outright, and another third of them think "they may have a point there, Vern."

And where are the bulk of these gullible saps from?
Yes No Not sure
Northeast 93 4 3
South 47 23 30
Midwest 90 6 4
West 87 7 6
These numbers reveal that there's a strong regional component to the abject willingness of some Americans to buy any kind of cockamamie BS available if it bashes liberals....(Original.)

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House Votes to Clamp Limits on Wall Street Bonuses

By Anne Flaherty
Associated Press
Photo: Richard Drew (AP)

WASHINGTON — Bowing to populist anger, the House voted Friday to prohibit pay and bonus packages that encourage bankers and traders to take risks so big they could bring down the entire economy.

Passage of the bill on a 237-185 vote followed the disclosure a day earlier that nine of the nation's biggest banks, which are receiving billions of dollars in federal bailout aid, paid individual bonuses of $1 million or more to nearly 5,000 employees.

"This is not the government taking over the corporate sector," Rep. Melvin Watt, D-N.C, said of the House action. "It is a statement by the American people that it is time for us to straighten up the ship."

Aware of voter outrage about the bonuses, Republicans were reluctant in Friday's debate to push back, even though they voted overwhelmingly against the bill. They said severe restrictions should apply only to banks that accept government aid.

The legislation's ban on risky compensation would apply to any firm with more than $1 billion in assets, including bank holding companies, broker-dealers, credit unions, investment advisers and mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The White House and Senate Democrats haven't fully embraced the measure, leaving its prospects uncertain. The Senate Banking Committee planned to take up the proposal in the fall as part of a broader bill overhauling financial regulations....(Remainder.)

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W.W.J.D.?

By Bill Day
The Commercial Appeal



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The GOP's Birthers Con Game

By Earl Ofari Hutchinson
The Huffington Post


Republicans have a nice little con game going with the birthers. Here's GOP Chairman Michael Steele speaking recently. "The birthers are an unnecessary distraction." Steele blasted the birthers for giving the Democrats a brush to paint the GOP as a bunch of conspiracy driven wackos. Steele admonished the birthers to get over it and hit Obama hard on health care, the economy, the deficit; in other words to pound him on the issues that count. The problem with this is that it took Steele months to finally purse his lips to gingerly rap the birthers, and even then he delivered his criticism in a statement.

This was especially odd since the loquacious Steele has never had a problem spouting his cracks, digs, and half baked opinions in front of the cameras and the radio mics. It's hardly accidental that Steele would low key his much delayed criticism of the birthers.

The birthers have been signed, sealed and delivered by the GOP, and with good reason, they serve a purpose. The instant it became apparent that candidate Obama was a bona fide presidential candidate and that he would make health care, economic recovery, and a shift toward diplomacy away from the bombs, guns and bullying of the Bush administration in foreign policy, the first alarm bells and whistles sounded among many Republicans.

The whispers and gossip that Obama had been born somewhere other than on American soil had long been floating around but they were fanned almost exclusively by far out fringe bloggers. When Obama swept Democratic Party primary after primary and it looked like he would be the party's presidential nominee, the bells and whistles among Republicans sounded louder. When the economy collapsed and Republican GOP rival John McCain fumbled and bumbled through the general election, and Obama looked like the sure winner, the alarm bells and whistles went off the decibel chart. The birthers suddenly looked like a useful tool to create media and public havoc and provide the perfect distraction to peck and nag at Obama....(Remainder.)

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Obama: Illegal President?

By Lloyd Garver
The Huffington Post


Generally, the main reason that a conspiracy theory exists is that it's difficult to disprove. So you may think it strange that this year's big one has been able to survive. I'm talking about the notion that Barack Obama was not really born in the United States and that there has been a conspiracy to cover that up. Obviously, if he wasn't born in this country, then he couldn't legally be president. Even though this has been disproved over and over again, that hasn't stopped a small but vocal minority from passionately buying into it. This week, Congress took time out from avoiding the health care issue, and declared that Obama was, indeed, born in the United States. I'm sure this won't be enough to satisfy the birth doubters. These people are out there. They probably don't just believe that there was a conspiracy to kill Michael Jackson so that his music would sell more CDs; they believe there was a conspiracy to kill Walter Cronkite so his music would sell more CDs.

The president has provided a copy of his birth certificate indicating that he was born in Hawaii. The conspiracy folks responded, "Yeah, but it's just a copy." Well, who has the original of their birth certificate? Almost a year ago, Hawaii's state health director, Dr.Chiyome Fukino, and the registrar of vital statistics, Alvin Onaka, personally verified that Hawaii's health department has Obama's original birth certificate as it should.

Remember the acrimonious Democratic primary? If the Clintons thought this story had been even the least bit credible, don't you think they would have brought it up? And then there was the general election. Are we to believe that John McCain and Sarah Palin were also part of the grand conspiracy to conceal where Obama was really born?...(Remainder.)

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"Beer Summit" Won't Stop Racists Like Limbaugh



By Joan Walsh
Salon.com
Photo: Jim Young (Reuters)


Never before have so many cared about three guys having a beer. When the three are President Obama, his friend Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge Sgt. James Crowley, who jumped into the headlines when he arrested Gates at his home two weeks ago, well, the hype was unavoidable; in fact, the attention was the point. We were all invited to watch these guys try to drink 400 years of conflict away with a Bud Light, a Sam Adams Light and a Blue Moon (Joe Biden, a late addition to the guest list, had a Buckler, a non-alcoholic beer).

Did the "beer summit" provide us with one of those coveted "teachable moments"? Probably not, because many people seemed to be watching from behind their own racial barricades. Crowley defenders were angry their guy agreed to have a beer with two black men who accused him of at best acting stupidly, and at worst, being a racist. Gates defenders couldn't believe Crowley's being rewarded for what they considered racial profiling: When was the last time you screwed up on the job and got invited to have a beer at the White House?

Me, I didn't change the way I thought about the Gates-Crowley-Obama mess, because I always thought it was incredibly complicated, and a happy-face beer summit couldn't make the situation any less so. But I'm glad they did it. As I said last week, I wish Obama had refrained from directly commenting on the case, especially before he knew all the facts. I understood why Gates was angry, and assuming I now know the facts -- still a big if -- I don't understand why he'd be arrested in his own home, even if he did give Crowley a hard time. Yet I wasn't sure Crowley was being treated fairly, either; cops are on the front lines of all of our intractable race and class conflicts, and without knowing everything, I couldn't say for sure he wrongly arrested Gates. (I also thought, and think, class played an under-examined role in the story of the working-class cop vs. the Harvard professor.)...(Remainder.)

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I Hate to Say This...

By Sam Greenfield
The Huffington Post


But if you think the "liberal" media make up everything they write about Sarah Palin, you're not reading, you just have a fetish for middle aged women who look like cheerleaders.

But if you think Barack Obama was born in Kenya, you are willfully ignorant.

But if you think that the majority of illegal immigrants are gangsters,you secretly wish they were Swedish,so you could welcome them with open arms.

But if you decide to go to a public forum and scream your views out like some redneck moron, you deserve to be arrested for creating a public disturbance,and serve time in Angola State Penintentiary loading sacks of mud to fortify levees near New Orleans.

But if you think that the answer to the health care crisis is to send poor people to emergency rooms, you are virtually lost in the Sea of Duh.

But if you are anti-choice and pro-death penalty,it is not about life and death,it is about not getting enough oxygen to your brain.

But if you think insurance companies are on the right side in the health care issue, I hope you lose your coverage so I can ask you how you like it now.

But if you think the NRA is on the right side of the Constitution, don't move to the inner city where illegal guns take the lives of children, even yours. It guarantees "life" first,right Rush?...(Remainder.)

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The Arrogance & Prejudice of the Majority: Prejudice Against Science Hurts Students

Arrogance and prejudice are connected with a good deal of public policy in Oklahoma, and elected officials routinely pander to such arrogance and prejudice. And, disturbingly, such arrogance and prejudice indicate a major failure of public education.

By William Dusenberry
Tulsa World


Arrogance: "Making claims or pretensions to superior importance or rights; overbearingly assuming; insolently proud."

Prejudice: "A negative opinion formed beforehand without knowledge or an examination of the facts."

Examples of such arrogance and prejudice:

Posting the Ten Commandments on public property. This suggests to Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and the non-religious that "the majority rules, and, if you don't like it — too bad."

No alcohol sales on Sunday. "Our God doesn't want us to buy alcohol on Sundays, so neither can you. Go to Missouri if you are so inclined."

Christmas, Good Friday, and Thanksgiving closings of public institutions. Even the most ardent separation of church and state advocates have given up challenging these examples of the arrogance of the majority but these holidays are constant reminders of the on-going arrogance of the majority nevertheless.

State-mandated prayer in public schools. The arrogant majority still would like their prayer recited, robotically, by public school students. Not only is such religious rote learning child abuse, but it has continuously been declared to be unconstitutional.

The de facto elimination of evolutionary science from public schools. When the scientifically naïve majority is permitted to determine the public school science curriculum, science education becomes anachronistic. Prejudice against science harms every Oklahoma public school student, fundamentalist and the science-minded student alike. The prejudice harms our children, community, state and nation. And such arrogance threatens our economy.

Prayers at public meetings. "We're Christians and we're in the majority, so we alone should determine if we want prayers at public events. If you don't like praying, don't participate." This is an example of pandering arrogance....(Remainder.)

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Family Research Council To Reward O'Reilly's Hate Mongering WIth "Media Courage Award"

By Ellen
News Hounds


For his rabid hate mongering which preceded the murder of abortion physician, Dr. George Tiller, the Family Research Council is going to award Bill O'Reilly with its first ever "Media Courage Award."

As we've reported many times, O'Reilly spent years attacking and demonizing Dr. George Tiller for the "crime" of performing late-term abortions that were perfectly legal. In the wake of Dr. Tiller's assassination, many eyes turned to O'Reilly and the role his smear campaign may have played in the killing.

But those good Christians at the Family Research Council think O'Reilly's crusade of hate - which ended with a brutal death - helped to "promote life." Think Progress notes that FRC President Tony Perkins explained its award by specifically saluting O'Reilly's attacks coverage:
Bill O’Reilly has never shied away from denouncing late-term abortions and the handful of doctors who perform them. In the aftermath of George Tiller’s murder, O’Reilly became an easy target for the liberal media who tried to pin some of the blame on Bill, saying he incited the violence by decrying these unnecessary procedures on his show. Despite the unfair allegations, O’Reilly spoke the truth, bringing new light to a gruesome procedure. On behalf of our co-sponsors and millions of values voters, we want to express our gratitude to a culture warrior who uses his national platform to promote life–no matter what the personal or professional costs.
"No matter what the personal or professional costs?" Is FRC saying that murder is OK so long as you're fighting abortions? Or that demonization of someone is OK, even in the wake of a murder? Or is "culture of life" promoting FRC only concerned about the "personal" costs of O'Reilly? There are some things that leave us speechless....(Original.)

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Birther Certificate

By John Sherffius
Boulder Daily Camera



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Al Franken Relishes Policy Role in New Senate Job

By Henry C. Jackson
Associated Press via Philly.com


WASHINGTON - Al Franken has immersed himself in the health care debate. He's had a chance to question Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. He's signed on as a co-sponsor of a half dozen bills.

Weeks into his late-starting Senate career, the former comedian and self-professed lover of policy is focusing on a few issues and the daily details of his new profession. Forget the old celebrity stuff.

There was nothing flashy about the Minnesota Democrat's first victory. The Service Dog Veterans Act, which Franken introduced with Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., will set up a pilot program with Department of Veterans Affairs to pair service dogs with wounded veterans.

"He sought me out and I was happy to work with him," Isakson said. "He'd done his homework. He was very informed. It was obvious he was trying to hit the ground running."

Isakson said he came away impressed.

"All of us know in the Senate your reputation is the sum of all the days you serve, not just one event, but he appears to be trying very hard."

Franken's swearing-in July 7 marked the end of an eight-month political and legal struggle since the November race against GOP incumbent Norm Coleman. After a protracted recount, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in favor of the former "Saturday Night Live" performer, giving Senate Democrats enough votes to thwart possible Republican filibusters....(Remainder.)

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Shooting Themselves in the Foot

By Jeff Parker
Florida Today



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"Faux Science" Dinosaur Adventure Land Goes the Way of the Dodo: Creationist Don't Pay Their Taxes

By Kris Wernowsky
Pensacola News Journal


A federal judge has cleared the way for the government’s seizure of a creationism theme park in Pensacola.

A ruling this week says the nine properties that make up Dinosaur Adventure Land, and two bank accounts associated with the park will be used to satisfy $430,400 in restitution owed to the federal government.

Kent Hovind, who founded the park and his ministry, Creation Science Evangelism, is serving 10 years in federal prison as a result of a tax-fraud conviction for failing to pay more than $470,000 in employee taxes in a long-running dispute with the Internal Revenue Service.

Kent Hovind was found guilty in November 2006 on 58 counts, including failure to pay employee taxes and making threats against investigators.

The East Peoria, Ill. native sparred with the IRS for 17 years before his conviction. He claimed no income or property since he was employed by God and said that his ministers were not subject to payroll taxes.

Hovind is incarcerated at the Edgefield Federal Correction Institution in South Carolina.

His wife, Jo, also was sentenced to a year in federal prison for her role in the tax fraud. She’s currently jailed at the Federal Correctional Institution in Marianna.

U.S. District Judge Casey Rodgers’ 16-page order released late Thursday gives the government the green light to divide up the nine properties in and around the 5800 block of North Palafox Street and begin to sell them until the $430,400 forfeiture amount is satisfied.

The properties have a combined value of more than what the Hovinds owe, according to Rodgers’ order, and any excess property available after the sales will be returned to the Hovinds....(Remainder.)

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No Protest From Ingraham on The Factor While Coulter Asks for “Fairness” For Racist Boston Cop

By Julie
News Hounds


Every time I watch Laura Ingraham hosting The O'Reilly Factor, I think of the Stephen King movie, "Misery" – I can so totally see her with a sledgehammer raised high, getting ready to hobble some liberal. With video.

But, O'Reilly has placed his faith and confidence in her journalistic skills, so she of the glassy smile and crucifix-adorned neckline hosted the Factor last night (7/31/09), to put her head together with two-time voter fraud suspect Ann Coulter's (and, frankly, I wouldn't have been surprised to see those heads adorned with white hoods) and, in synch with the rest of Fox News using the Gates incident to fan the flames of racial divisiveness, discuss how racial profiling is, you know, just a hoax, and even if it's not, blacks commit more crimes anyway - so I guess stopping all the blacks just saves time, huh? Oh, and Coulter defended – with Ingraham's tacit approval, judging by the lack of protest – a Boston cop who wrote a vile, racist e-mail regarding Professor Gates. With video.

I'm gonna start at the back of the segment and move forward, because Coulter and Ingraham are so dull, boring and predictable in this segment that you might fall asleep before the part where the two of them make you throw up on your own shoes. So let's get the vomiting over with first.

Toward the end of the segment, Ingraham sneeringly talked about "Gates-gate" and the "beer summit" at the White House Thursday between President Obama, Professor Gates and Officer Crowley.

Ingraham crowed, "He didn't get an apology from . . . Gates, apparently Gates wanted an apology from Officer Crowley -- Crowley didn't give it, Gates didn't give it, and Obama didn't give it, so what was the teachable moment?"

Lily-white Coulter, with lily-white Ingraham looking on approvingly, then gave her white supremacist oral presentation: "I think the teachable moment should be applied to the cop who did send an e-mail in an intemperate moment exploding at a journalist. I mean, he turned out to be the Emmanuel Goldstein of the week, liberals are bitterly disappointed that Sergeant Crowley, they couldn't find anything on him suggesting he's a racist, so they got this one cop who sends a stupid, immature, intemperate e-mail and now he's apologizing all over the place. If Gates doesn't . . . apologize, how about a little fairness for this guy, doing something immature and irrational too?"...(Remainder.)


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Karl Rove of the Jungle

By Jeff Danziger
The Huffington Post



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Fox Should Fire Glenn Beck

By Brent Budowsky
The Hill


Fox News should fire Glenn Beck for saying that the president of the United States is a racist and for saying that the president of the United States hates white people. This is rhetoric that should be associated with the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi Party, not with a major television network using the public airwaves for private profit.

Beck has a right to say this and Fox has a right to put him on air. The First Amendment protects sick and demented speech as well as wise and noble speech. The degeneration of political discourse in America has sunk to such levels that pure hatred of the president and pure race-baiting in our media and politics have become increasingly commonplace.

Fox should make the minimal decision to not profit from this hate speech, especially in a time slot that is associated with news and likely to be viewed by children. To say the president hates white people is sick, vile, demented and more worthy of the rhetoric of a Nazi bund meeting than the public airwaves, which should not be used to profit from hate....(Original.)

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Panetta’s Pathetic Attempt to Get Lawmakers to Ignore CIA Crimes

By Melvin A. Goodman
The Public Record


The ideological partnership between the Washington Post and the Central Intelligence Agency is becoming despicable. For the past several weeks, the Post has carried a series of editorial and op-eds that were designed to prevent the release of the Justice Department memoranda that permitted the use of CIA torture and abuse and to prevent any rigorous examination of these practices that went beyond the permitted guidelines.

Today's Washington Post carries an op-ed by CIA Director Leon Panetta that accuses the congress of seeking "retribution" from CIA officials who were simply implementing "presidential decisions."

Panetta's views are similar to those of former director Richard Helms who, in defending the CIA's role in overthrowing the elected government in Chile, said that "we are all honorable men." The following year, Helms was fined $2,000 and given a two-year suspended prison sentence for lying to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The Post and Panetta strongly believe that Washington is too "consumed with what the CIA did in the past" and that it is pointless to pursue "disputes over policies that no longer exist." However, these policies and the cover-up of these policies have compromised the objectivity and independence of the CIA.

Objective intelligence is needed to enable policymakers to challenge the polemicists and alarmists who exaggerate the threats to our national security. One of the most damaging exaggerations was the Bush administration's drum-beat of fear concerning Iraq's fictional arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the Iraq War....(Remainder.)

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Col. Limbaugh of the Chickenhawk Corps

By RS Jane
Bart Blog



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NRA Threats on Sotomayor Met With Shrugs

By Julie Hirschfeld Davis
The Washington Post
Photo: J. Scott Applewhite (AP)

WASHINGTON -- The National Rifle Association's threat to punish senators who vote for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor has been met with a shrug by Democrats from conservative-leaning states and some Republicans who are breaking with their party to support her.

The gun rights group is used to getting its way by spooking lawmakers about the political consequences of defying its wishes. But it never before has weighed in on a Supreme Court confirmation battle. It was cautious about breaking that pattern, and it looks like a losing a fight to defeat President Barack Obama's first pick for the court.

Sotomayor is expected to easily win confirmation in a vote this coming week that could deflate the long-accepted truism in Washington that you don't cross the NRA.

Voting "yes" will include A-plus-rated and NRA-endorsed Democratic  Sen. Max Baucus and his fellow Montanan, A-rated  Sen. Jon Tester, as well as A-rated and NRA-endorsed Tennessee  Sen. Lamar Alexander, the only GOP leader to break with the rest of this party to back Sotomayor.

That's not to say that the NRA's late decision to wade in hasn't had an impact....(Remainder.)

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Why Haven't Christians Shown Jesus' Birth Certificate?

Keep in mind that this article is from Examiner.com.  Examiner.com is owned by Clarity Media, which is, in turn, owned by Right-Wing tool Philip Anschutz.  Just a FYI.

By Staks Rosch
Examiner.com


Before the Presidential election was even over, right wing nuts have been claiming that Barack Obama was not actually born as a United States citizen. Interestingly enough this same rumor was made in the 2000 Presidential election with John McCain as the target. That rumor was rumored to have been started by people in the Bush campaign. Oddly enough McCain had many of the same campaign staff people and so I think perhaps that is where the questions about Obama’s citizenship came from.

Now of course those rightwing nuts are still claiming that Obama is not a US Citizen and they have demanded to see his birth certificate. After awhile of this silliness, the Obama Administration decided to release a copy of his birth certificate to shut these wackos up. But you can’t respond to irrational people with evidence, they just won’t believe it. So despite ever piece of evidence put forth proving that Obama was indeed born in the US, these “Birthers for Truth” are still at it.

It got me thinking that Christians are always telling me that there is more evidence for Jesus than there is for (insert your favorite historic figure). But where is Jesus’ birth certificate? Surely the Son of God should be able to produce a birth certificate, right? If all of humanities salvation depends on whether or not this guy lived, died, and then was born again, I think we need to see some evidence. Besides, if he really was born again, there should be two birth certificates, right?...(Remainder.)

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Pelosi to Allow Floor Vote on Single-Payer Health Care Plan

By Jason Leopold
The Public Record


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said she would allow a floor vote later this year on a single-payer option for healthcare reform after Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-NY, agreed to remove an amendment he proposed for inclusion in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s version of a healthcare reform bill, which the panel passed by a vote of 31 to 28 late Friday.

That legislation–H.R. 3200–aims to overhaul the insurance, pharmaceutical and medical industries. It requires all Americans to purchase health insurance.

Prior to the committee’s vote, Weiner spoke passionately about an alternative solution–the single-payer option–and why he believed it was a superior plan than the one passed out of Waxman’s committee.

Single-payer is a term used to describe how a universal health care system would be financed. [Please see David Swanson's special reports for The Public Record on the single-payer solution here and here.]

“It refers to one entity acting as administrator, or ‘payer,’” according to Physicians for a National Health Program. “In the case of healthcare, a single-payer system would be setup such that one entity—a government run organization—would collect all health care fees, and pay out all healthcare costs.

“In the current US system, there are literally tens of thousands of different health care organizations—HMOs, billing agencies, etc. By having so many different payers of healthcare fees, there is an enormous amount of administrative waste generated in the system.

“In a single-payer system, all hospitals, doctors, and other health care providers would bill one entity for their services. This alone reduces administrative waste greatly, and saves money, which can be used to provide care and insurance to those who currently don’t have it.”...(Remainder.)

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President Obama Says Many Months Before U.S. Exits Recession



By Jeff Mason

Reuters
Photo: Larry Downing (Reuters)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama warned on Saturday it would take "many more months" for the United States to get out of recession even after GDP figures showed the economy shrank only modestly in the second quarter.

Obama, who has defended his young administration's economic policies in recent weeks in the face of worsening unemployment numbers, said jobless figures next week would still show that too many Americans were losing work.

"It will take many more months to fully dig ourselves out of a recession - a recession that we've now learned was even deeper than anyone thought," the president said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

"And when we receive our monthly job report next week, it is likely to show that we are continuing to lose far too many jobs in this country. As far as I'm concerned, we will not have a recovery as long as we keep losing jobs," he said....(Original.)

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U.S. Attorney Fired by Bush Rehired by Obama

By Raw Story

One of the nine U.S. attorneys fired by the Bush administration for political reasons was reappointed by President Obama on Friday to his old job.

Daniel Bogden, a former U.S. attorney for Nevada, until his firing by President Bush in fall of 2006, was offered his old job back by President Obama, and on Friday was formally nominated by the President for the position.

Bogden’s reappointment was supported by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nv.), the Senate Majority Leader, as well as by Nevada’s Republican Senator, John Ensign.

The New York Times reports:   “Mr. Reid said in a statement that he supported Mr. Bogden because he was a` highly qualified and skilled lawyer who served Nevada well before being wrongly removed from office.’  Mr. Reid’s spokesman, Jon Summers, said the senator was `trying to right that wrong.’”

At the Huffington PostSam Stein writes:  “That [Bogden] would be reinstated by a Democratic administration to the position he lost is undoubtedly meant to be a message from the Obama White House that they are elevating law above politics, or at least removing partisanship from the Department of Justice.”

Several other U.S. attorneys fired along with Bogden by the Bush administration have supported Bogden’s rehiring....(Remainder.)

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Are the Feds Cracking Down on Right-Wing Terrorists?

Government agents arrest a white separatist accused of a bombing. What took them so long?

By James Ridgeway
Mother Jones


When the Department of Homeland Security warned in April that the financial crisis and Barack Obama's election were inflaming right-wing extremists, many conservatives were outraged. But a spate of high-profile murders this year has prompted questions about whether the government should have been more proactive. In April, Richard Poplawski, a 22-year-old frequenter of white supremacist websites, was charged with fatally shooting three Pittsburgh cops. In May, former militiaman Scott Roeder was accused of gunning down abortion doctor George Tiller (he pleaded not guilty this week). In June, 88-year-old neo-Nazi James von Brunn allegedly killed an African American security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. Only then did the government spring into action. Later that month, federal agents in three states moved against a prominent far-right leader and his associates, with almost no attention from the national press.

At 6:45 a.m. on June 25, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) arrested Dennis Mahon on domestic terrorism charges stemming back to a crime committed more than five years ago. An indictment from a federal grand jury in Phoenix, unsealed in late June, charges Mahon with constructing a pipe bomb that exploded in Scottsdale city office that promotes racial and cultural diversity. The blast severely injured the office's director and hurt two other staffers. Mahon and his twin brother, Daniel, were also accused of conspiring to build and send the bomb, and with disseminating training materials on domestic terrorism....(Remainder.)

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Right-Wing Harassment Strategy Against Dems Detailed In Memo: ‘Yell,’ ‘Stand Up And Shout Out,’ ‘Rattle Him’

By Lee Fang
Think Progress


This morning, Politico reported that Democratic members of Congress are increasingly being harassed by "angry, sign-carrying mobs and disruptive behavior" at local town halls. For example, in one incident, right-wing protesters surrounded Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY) and forced police officers to have to escort him to his car for safety.

This growing phenomenon is often marked by violence and absurdity. Recently, right-wing demonstrators hung Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-MD) in effigy outside of his office. Missing from the reporting of these stories is the fact that much of these protests are coordinated by public relations firms and lobbyists who have a stake in opposing President Obama's reforms.

The lobbyist-run groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, which orchestrated the anti-Obama tea parties earlier this year, are now pursuing an aggressive strategy to create an image of mass public opposition to health care and clean energy reform. A leaked memo from Bob MacGuffie, a volunteer with the FreedomWorks website Tea Party Patriots, details how members should be infiltrating town halls and harassing Democratic members of Congress:



(Remainder.)

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Recovery Act Credited with Making the Disastrous Merely Bad

By Meteor Blades
Daily Kos


The Commerce Department reported Friday that the economy posted a 1% drop in Gross Domestic Product for the second quarter (April-June) of 2009. The "consensus expectation" of economic observers had been 1.5%.

That number is only an "advance estimate" based on incomplete data and is likely to be revised in October. Nonetheless, it marks a vast improvement over the first quarter, which saw a fall of 6.4%, revised from the advance estimate of 6.1% issued in late April. Many analysts – both expert and amateur – viewed the news, together with other economic statistics, as more evidence that the economy has bottomed out and is on the verge of posting actual growth in the third or fourth quarter. 

While this may be true, and welcome, to be sure, what undeniably is true is that, by numerous measurements, the economy is still getting bad, just at a slower rate. Small comfort for Americans who have lost their jobs, exhausted their unemployment benefits or seen no uptick in consumer spending at their retail shop. The latter situation got worse in the second quarter:
Real personal consumption expenditures decreased 1.2 percent in the second quarter, in contrast to an increase of 0.6 percent in the first. Durable goods decreased 7.1 percent, in contrast to an increase of 3.9 percent. Nondurable goods decreased 2.5 percent, in contrast to an increase of 1.9 percent.
Had it not been for the administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act rejected by most Republicans when it was passed last February, the results would have been grim indeed. Josh Bivens at the Economic Policy Institute wrote in More than 500 days of recession that, without the stimulus legislation, the decrease in GDP for the second quarter would have been as high as 4%. So, whatever its putative limitations, the ARRA is accomplishing at least part of its mission: cushioning the pain. Those 3 percentage points work out to about 720,000 saved jobs. In other words, without the stimulus, the second-quarter loss of 1.3 million jobs would have been half again as bad....(Remainder.)

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Truce Between Olbermann & O'Reilly: Nobody Wins, Especially the Viewers

By Steve Karkauer
Mediaite


In a sign of the cable news apocalypse, Fox News and MSNBC may no longer be at each others throats.

A report by Brian Stelter in the New York Times, and another by Joe Flint in the Los Angeles Times, reveals a deal that began at the top of each organization, and has led both networks to tamper down the criticism. It sounds like a historic truce between two longtime enemies – and a truce that both organizations clearly did not want public. Now it opens the door to more questions than before.

The only person quoted on the record in the Times story was a G.E. spokesperson who gave a general comment. The reason for this is clear – revealing the deal helps no one, either at Fox or at NBCU.

Here’s how Stelter described the deal, which he writes started between Jeffrey Immelt of G.E. and Rupert Murdoch of News Corp.
Both moguls expressed regret over the venomous culture between the networks and the increasingly personal nature of the barbs. Days later, even though the feud had increased the audience of both programs, their lieutenants arranged a cease-fire, according to four people who work at the companies and have direct knowledge of the deal.

In early June, the combat stopped, and MSNBC and Fox, for the most part, found other targets for their verbal missiles (Hello, CNN).

“It was time to grow up,” a senior employee of one of the companies said.
“It was time to grow up”? For whom? Cable news viewers on both sides don’t want to be talked down to like they’re children, even if their angry host of choice sometimes acts like one....(Remainder.)

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Screeching Howler Monkey Malkin: "Obama's Cronies of Color"

By Media Matters

From Pages 12-13 of conservative columnist Michelle Malkin's new book, Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies (Regnery Publishing, July 2009):
Fortunately, not everyone on the Left remains paralyzed in an irreversible state of Obama inebriation. This book would not have been possible without the contributions of some brave and lonely liberals -- whistleblowers at the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), independent journalists and government watchdogs -- who rejected the excuse-making and white-washing of Obama's culture of corruption. While Obama sycophants in the mainstream media celebrated his "hipness"23 and his "swagga,"24 a few principled progressives finally began to question the cult.

But they are still in the minority. And there will be more predictable excuses. As I document in this book, Obama's cronies of color (beginning with his own wife) reach for the race card when their dubious judgment is questioned. And when all else fails, there's always the "I inherited the problem" alibi.

To which I reply: Read the book. Barack Obama owns this cabinet of tax cheats, crooks, and cronies. It is his and his alone. In the era of "new politics," judge him as you would judge other mere mortals. Judge him not by the company that preceded him.

Judge him by the company he keeps.
(Original.)

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Small Beer, Big Hangover

By Frank Rich
The New York Times


THE comforting thing about each “national conversation on race” is that the “teachable moment” passes before any serious conversation can get going.

This one ended with a burp. The debate about which brew would best give President Obama Joe Six-Pack cred in his White House beer op with Harvard’s town-and-gown antagonists hit the front page of The Wall Street Journal. Had Obama picked a brand evoking an elitist whiff of John Kerry — Stella Artois, perhaps? — we’d have another week of coverage dissecting his biggest political gaffe since rolling a gutter ball at a Pennsylvania bowling alley.

You can’t blame Obama if he’s perplexed about the recent events. He answers a single, legitimate race-based question at the end of a news conference and is roundly condemned for “stepping on his own message” about health care. It was the noisiest sector of the news media that did much of the stepping. “Health care is bad for ratings,” explained one cable anchor, Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC, with refreshing public candor. What a relief, then, to drop dreary debates about the public option and declare a national conversation about black-white fisticuffs. Especially when this particular incident is truly small beer next to the far more traumatic national sea change on race that will keep sowing conflict and anger long after Henry Louis Gates Jr. finishes his proposed documentary on racial profiling....(Remainder.)

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