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‘Birthers’ Latch Onto Forged Kenyan Birth Certificate

Monday, August 03, 2009

By David Weigel
The Washington Independent

On Sunday night, the online community of "birthers" erupted after Orly Taitz released a photo of a "Kenyan birth certificate" for Barack Obama. The "birther" movement quickly divided between the credulous — people who believed that the new certificate was genuine — and skeptics who believed that their movement was being taken for a ride.

This story needs a little bit of prelude. Last year, as the bloggers at ObamaConspiracy remember, Philip Berg included an obviously forged birth certificate with his lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee. (The certificate was Canadian and signed by "Dudley Do-Right.") Foreign birth certificates, unlike, say, American passports, are prime targets for forgery — few people stateside know what the real ones look like, and the penalties for forging them are basically non-existent.

So here it is: the "certified copy of registration of birth" that Orly Taitz obtained and is submitting as evidence in her lawsuit on behalf of Alan Keyes. The most obvious problems:

- It records Barack Obama Sr's age as "26." Obama Sr was born in 1936; his son was born in 1961.

- Its publication date is February 17, 1964, but it purports be a document of the "Republic of Kenya." Kenya did not become a Republic until December 12, 1964, a year after it won independence from Great Britain.

- It's signed by "registrar E.F. Lavender." Earth Friendly Lavender is a kind of detergent, and government officials who use vanity initials on official documents are, to put it mildly, rare.

- The kicker? The image is part of the extremely ill-informed conspiracy theory that Obama was born in Mombasa—conveniently, one of the more Muslim parts of the country.

This has always been a red flag for conspiracy theorists, so it deserves some explanation. Barack Obama Sr. was born and educated in Nyanza Province, in southwestern Kenya, on Lake Victoria. This is the area where Obama's family lived and continues to live; Sarah Obama, the step-grandmother of the president, lives in Nyang'oma Kogelo, a small town in the province. But Mombasa is a city on the Indian Ocean, a thousand miles to the east. It didn't even have an international airport until 1979. And the city wasn't even part of Kenya when the future president was born. Mombasa was a part of Zanzibar until December 12, 1963, when it became part of the newly independent Kenya....(Remainder.)


Destroying Obama as Quickly as Possible, Part 2b: Congressional Democrats Are Cowards

By Rude One
The Rude Pundit

God, it must suck to be a Democrat in Congress right now. Elected as a triumphant mega-super-duper majority in 2008, now you have been coerced into rethinking the very positions that got you that majority by an unsilent minority of easily-duped yahoos, driven to madness by a steady diet of shitty food, unemployment, and hard right media figures. It's like the end result of a long-term contingency plan by Karl Rove: if everything else goes to shit, send forth our zombie armies. Set upon in this way, you go into retreat mode, putting aside truly revolutionary goals for merely mildly reasonable ones. And you more or less hand power to the most frightened, the Democrats who actually believe the Republicans will act as honest partners in any compromise action. Yet, dear sucking Democrat, what you are merely doing is enabling the destruction of the Obama presidency because of a misguided notion that the nation is comprised of the mewling children who pollute our airwaves and whose minions have the time to go to your townhall meetings.

One of Barack Obama's greatest unspoken goals has the potential to be his undoing. While he is certainly working to get health care reform passed (and you can bet that Rahm Emanuel is threatening to gut the children of Democrats who don't go along), Obama wants to right one of the great wrongs of the Bush administration: he wants Congress to act like Congress. While the Republican Congress was, at best, the Bush administration's deformed conjoined twin, Obama consistently insists that the Congress has to work out the details of shit, that Congress has to decide if it wants to investigate shit.

Let's say he's sincere about it and not just putting up a front to support the "balance of powers." Let us say, and why not, that Barack Obama has given parameters for health care legislation of shit-what-he-won't-veto. Look at who he's dealing with: the governing equivalent of Hollywood chimps sent back to the jungle. Fred J. Muggs would be starving to death and repeatedly raped by hardcore monkeys within a day in the wilds of Tanzania....(Remainder.)


The Scope -- and Dangers -- of GE's Control of NBC and MSNBC

By Glenn Greenwald

I want to return to the subject of GE's silencing of Keith Olbermann both because there are new facts I've obtained that shed light on what happened here and because this is one of the most blatant examples yet of pernicious corporate control over America's journalism.  The most striking aspect of this episode is that GE isn't even bothering any longer to deny the fact that they exert control over MSNBC's journalism.  They've brazenly dispensed with the long-held fiction of the sanctity of journalistic independence from interference by the corporate parents that own America's largest news organizations. 

Instead, GE is now openly and proudly boasting of their editorial control over the news organizations they own, and publicly rubbing it in the faces of NBC News journalists that they're subservient to GE's corporate agenda.  Look at this smug, creepy quote from GE executive spokesman Gary Sheffer explaining in The New York Times why GE issued its gag order preventing Olbermann from criticizing Fox and O'Reilly, all but mocking NBC and MSNBC journalists as nothing more than GE's office of corporate spokespeople:
"We all recognize that a certain level of civility needed to be introduced into the public discussion," Gary Sheffer, a spokesman for G.E., said this week. "We’re happy that has happened."


Barton Says Thomas Jefferson Would Make the Religious Right Look Moderate

By Kyle
Right Wing Watch

Last week we noticed that David Barton was scheduled for a segment on Mike Huckabee's weekend program on Fox News.  We assumed that Barton would use the opportunity to spread his bogus, one-sided views that America was founded as a distinctly Christian nation and that is exactly what he did, giving his standard presentation about how essentially every one of the Founding Fathers was a dyed-in-the-wool Christian believer, including Thomas Jefferson who, Barton claims, was, even as "the least religious founder [was] way out there even further than most Religious Right today would be."



Putting an End to Glenn Beck's Racist Antics & Apocalyptic Rhetoric

The Fox host's attacks on Obama are beyond the pale. How much longer will his advertisers, like GEICO and Proctor & Gamble, accept this?

By Tana Ganeva

Shock jock and Fox host Glenn Beck, who has built a career out of stoking the paranoid delusions of the right-wing fringe, managed to outdo himself last week when he accused President Obama of hating white people.

"The President has exposed himself as a guy … over and over and over again … who has a deep-seated hatred for white people … or the white culture…. I don't know what it is" Beck said on Fox and Friends.

Beck's wildly offensive charge, spurred by the recent controversy over the arrest of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., was the latest low in a longstanding conservative narrative that ludicrously paints white men as the victims of "reverse racism" and oppression by minorities.  Beck's egregious attack has prompted Color of Change to launch a campaign urging Beck's advertisers -- which include GEICO, Proctor & Gamble, and even United Postal Service -- to stop sponsoring the shock jock's divisive hate-mongering.

It's about time. Beck's attack on Obama shocked even fellow conservatives. One of the hosts of Fox and Friends Brian Kilmeade – who recently made headlines by essentially arguing for eugenics – pointed to a pretty major flaw in Beck's reasoning: for an alleged racist, Obama sure spends a lot of time around white people, who make up the bulk of his administration....(Remainder.)


The GOP's Extremist Dilemma

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.
The Washington Post

Things are looking up for the Republicans, relatively speaking. President Obama's poll numbers have dipped, GOP recruitment for the 2010 elections is going better than expected, and the health-care battle has been rough on the Democrats.

On top of that, the surveys show Republicans now leading in this year's two major governor's races, in Virginia and New Jersey.

There's just one problem: The country still doesn't like Republicans.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll last week captured the public's mixed verdict. The headlines focused on growing doubts about Obama's health-care plan and the drop in his approval rating, from 60 percent in February to 53 percent now.

But the same poll found that while Democrats as a party had a net positive rating of five points (42 percent positive to 37 percent negative), the GOP faced a 13-point deficit. Only 28 percent rated the Republicans positively; 41 percent rated them negatively....(Remainder.)


Media Matters Will Run Ad Campign on CNN Condemning Dobbs' Birther Sympathies

By Zaid Jilani
Think Progress

Recently, CNN host Lou Dobbs joined the ranks of the birther movement, demanding that President Obama release his birth certificate to prove that he was born in the United States. Although CNN President Jon Klein originally told Dobbs to stop pursuing a “dead” story, he later backed off, telling the Washington Post that Dobbs’ critics are “people with a partisan point of view from one extreme or another.” Now, Media Matters has put together a new 30-second ad — which will air starting Tuesday on Fox News, MSNBC, and even during Dobbs’ show on CNN — calling attention to Dobbs’ affinity for the birthers’ demands. Watch it:

Dobbs has responded to the ad campaign by labeling Media Matters a “rabid left-wing operation.”...(Original.)


Kenyans Place "Poison Pill" Meta Tag in Antichrist's Birth Certificate Photo

By Gen. JC Christian
Jesus' General

Kudos to patriotic investigative dentist Orly Taitz for cracking the case. I don't care if its creator calls it a hoax in the document's encoded metadata, it's just the kind of thing swarthysocialistofascists in the Kenyan government would do to to protect the Antichrist.
In fact the IPTC markup data of the document reveals it to be a fake
NOTICE: This image is a work of parody and political commentary. It is not a genuine government document. Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. A certified copy of his birth record is freely available online. If you thought this was Obama’s real birth certificate, a “smoking gun” proving he’s not a natural-born citizen, then congratulations. You are an idiot. I made this from scratch. It is completely fake, and no document from Kenya or the United Kingdom resembles it.Obama’s president, and will be for the next 3 1/2 to 7 1/2 years. Get used to it.


Jonah Goldberg, "Stupid Rather Than Evil"?

By Eric Boehlert
Media Matters

First of all, note the complete coincidence that Goldberg was invited to be on Glenn Beck's program just days after Goldberg went to bat for Beck and announced the demented Fox News host had nothing to apologize for for calling out President Barack Obama as a "racist" and claiming Obama had a "deep-seated hatred of white people."

Jonah was totally okay with that, and voilà! he quickly got tapped to be on Glenn Beck. What are the odds, right?

But honestly, I"m glad Jonah was on Beck's show because the segment he appeared in may have been one of the funniest of the year; one of the looniest and just plain idiotic. And that was Jonah, the pride of NRO, signing off on yet another Beck caper.

Basically, Beck made the mistake of taking seriously a tip from one of his tin foil hat radio listeners who claimed to have uncovered a sweeping, Big Brother government conspiracy--buried in the "cash for clunkers" program--by which the Obama administration will take control of your computer!!!! For life!!!!

Not quite. Daily Kos' Jed Lewison details the nonsense here. And Ryan Witt at notes:
Beck is showing a website that['s] not the website but instead another government website which can only be accessed by car dealers who are screened and registered for the CARS program.  So it is only dealers who are using the government program that have access to the website.  Furthermore, it makes sense that the government have access to the dealer's computer since it is a government program handing out billions of dollars that has the potential for fraud.


Pro-Gay Marriage Republican, Charles D. Baker, Running for Gov of Massachusetts

By Matt Viser
The Boston Globe
Photo: David L. Ryan (Boston Globe)

Republican Charles D. Baker officially entered the governor’s race this morning, filing his paperwork and then swiftly launching into an attack of Governor Deval Patrick’s handling of the state’s budget and economy.

Baker immediately pledged not to raise taxes as governor, and even said he would try to lower the state’s increased sales tax – which will go from 5 percent to 6.25 percent on Saturday – if he is elected.

“I’m a no new taxes candidate,” he said, adding later for the TV cameras, “Read my lips, no new taxes.”

He said he was prochoice and was in favor of gay marriage – “My brother’s gay, and he’s married, and he lives in Massachusetts, so I’m for it. Is that straight enough?”

He also said he was in favor of the death penalty, which puts him at odds with Patrick.

Baker’s candidacy, which he informally announced earlier this month, jump starts a campaign as Patrick is grappling with low poll numbers. Baker will be running for the Republican nomination against Christy Mihos, a former member of the Turnpike Authority board who ran against Patrick three years ago as an independent. State Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill, who left the Democratic Party this month, is weighing a run as an independent.

Baker, who resigned this month as chief executive of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, has been seen by many of the party faithful as the leading Republican challenger but he is relatively unknown outside of political and business circles....(Remainder.)


How Republican Attack Dogs Plan to Thwart Health Care Reform

By Howard Dean

Editor’s note: In his new book, Howard Dean’s Prescription for Real Health Reform, the physician and former presidential candidate devotes a chapter to the forces arrayed against substantive health reform -- the insurance industry, big business, some pharmaceutical companies and political conservatives. The following is an excerpt in which he discusses the long fight against progress mounted by conservatives.

During the early 1990s, under the leadership of Representative Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and Senator Bob Dole (R-KS) and bolstered by the ideological support of the Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, and Manhattan Institute, Republicans successfully defeated President Clinton’s health reform effort. Conservatives of all stripes argued that healthcare reform was “creeping socialism” or “big government,” denied the existence of a healthcare crisis, or co-opted the term reform to push their own agendas and dilute support for a comprehensive solution to the nation’s healthcare crisis.

Unfortunately, today’s Republicans are no less inflammatory. Relying on a very similar playbook, conservatives are distorting progressive proposals in an effort to obstruct reform. In May 2009, GOP wordsmith Frank Luntz authored a new messaging memo defining the Republican rhetoric on healthcare reform. The memo, titled “The Language of Healthcare 2009,” “is based on polling results and . . . captures not just what Americans want to see but exactly what they want to hear.” The memo suggests “The Words That Work” and instructs that “from today forward, they should be used by everyone.”...(Remainder.)


Pence Slams Stimulus But Wants More For His State

By David
Crooks and Liars

Rep. Mike Pence disagrees with the stimulus and voted against it but wants more of it for his state. "The Democrats in Congress and the administration said we were going to have to borrow nearly a trillion dollars from future generations and spend it on this -- this long laundry list of liberal spending priorities we called stimulus and that unless we did that, unemployment would reach 8% nationally. It's 9.5% nationally today," Pence told Fox News' Chris Wallace.

But Pence charges that Indiana isn't getting enough money from the very program that he doesn't support. "You check the Indiana Star, you'll see stories about the stimulus. One is that four out of ten major projects in the stimulus for Indiana had been allotted to companies outside the state of Indiana," complained Pence.
WALLACE: Let's start with the economy and some recent signs of progress. Let's put them up on the screen.

The economy was down only 1 percent last quarter, after a 6.4 percent drop the prior three months. New home sales soared 11 percent in June. And the stock market had its best month in seven years.

Congressman, isn't the recession leveling off? And doesn't President Obama deserve some credit?

PENCE: Well, let me say I hope the recession is leveling off. Slowing the rate of descent is encouraging, I'm sure, to millions of Americans. But I really believe that it's in spite of the prescriptions of Washington, D.C., Chris.

I mean, this so-called stimulus bill that -- you know, that was passed last February -- we've lost 2 million jobs since the stimulus bill was passed....


Screeching Howler Monkey Malkin Gets a Proper Bitch Slapping for Unemployment Claims

By John Amato
Crooks and Liars

There's no shortage of wingnuts out there, so why would George Stephanopoulos invite on someone too crazy for even Bill O'Reilly? Only people with a Malkin brain would believe and push across the notion that Americans would rather collect three hundred dollars a week on unemployment insurance rather than get a job that supplies benefits and pays a salary.

Yea, because there are so many jobs available, people will just wait until the insurance ends and then immediately get hired. I'm sorry, where are all these jobs again? On ABC's THIS WEEK Malkin made this bogus claim. A quick Google search uncovers that when Michelle claims Larry Katz once said that the benefits could discourage people from seeking employment, Katz actually said just the opposite during our current financial mess:
Traditionally, many economists have been leery of prolonged unemployment benefits because they can reduce the incentive to seek work. But that should not be a concern now because jobs remain so scarce, said Lawrence Katz, a labor economist at Harvard.

For every job that becomes available, about six people are looking, Dr. Katz said. “Unemployment insurance gives income to families who are really suffering and can’t find work even if they are hustling to look,” he said. With the economy still listing, he added, a temporary extension can provide a quick fiscal stimulus. And, Dr. Katz said, when people exhaust unemployment and health insurance, many end up applying for disability benefits, which become a large, unending drain on the Treasury.


It's Always a Hoot! Ralph Peters (Talking About the Deaths of US Troops)

By CSPANJunkie
Crooks and Liars
(h/t Nicole)

Leave it to Fox News to try to spin the sad news that more coalition soldiers have died this month than in any other month since June 2008 into another "It's all Obama's fault" story.

Not that Obama doesn't need to accept some responsibility for the coalition's continued presence, don't get me wrong. But who put them there in the first place? Who never had a strategy there? I'm against our continued presence in Afghanistan, but I understand the Colin Powell/Pottery Barn mentality of "you broke it, you own it," most recently voiced by Tom "Friedman Unit" Friedman.

But is there anyone more disgusting to bring on than Col. Ralph Peters to discuss our troops' safety? The same man who suggested that the Taliban killing a captured American soldier would be the most expedient solution dares to advocate on behalf of the troops from President Obama? Reprehensible....(Original.)


Judas Stephanopoulos Trots Out Right-Wing Lies About TARP Costing $23 Trillion

By Media Matters

On This Week, purporting to ask Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner "about the TARP," host George Stephanopoulos claimed that TARP inspector general Neil Barofsky "said that the taxpayers could be on the hook for $23 trillion in liabilities." In fact, as Barofsky has repeatedly stated, that figure does not represent the potential cost of the Troubled Asset Relief Program to the taxpayer, but rather the "maximum amount of support" the government "could provide" under several programs initiated to bolster the financial system -- including programs that have been discontinued or have not been utilized....(Remainder.)


CNN's Kurtz Decimates Batshit Crazy Beck for "Racist" Remark: "Stupid" "Crazy Sells" "Out of Bounds"


Chris Matthews' Panel Discusses Batshit Beck & the Oxy-Moron's Fomenting Hatred Against Obama


Howard Kurtz Uses Batcrap Crazy Beck & Racist Dobbs as Examples of Caustic Cable News


Ex-GOP Rep. Tom Davis Says GOP Becoming Rurual and Southern Party

By Nicholas Graham
The Huffington Post
Video: MSNBC

Tom Davis, a former GOP Congressman from Virginia, had some tough, but seemingly sensible, advice for his party during an appearance on "Hardball" on Wednesday night. Asked by Chris Matthews if the flood of white ex-Democrats into the Republican party who joined "because of civil rights back in the '60s" is "killing" Davis' party, the former Congressman honed in on how the politics of culture has wounded the GOP's mass appeal:
Politics has been defined by culture over the last few cycles, and we've become a rural party and a Southern party. We've been losing inner suburbs and the like. A lot of this was the policies of the Bush administration.
Another important point Davis made is that cultural politics, as perfected by Karl Rove and his disciples in the last administration, has caused a widening education gap in the makeup of the the parties:
The high education areas Obama carried - 78 of the 100 counties with the highest education. McCain carried 88 of the 100 counties with the lowest education. As we move to cultural politics, that's been the shift.


From the People who Brought You the Birthers: Obama is Probably the Anti-Christ

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

The fine folks at WorldNetDaily -- the wingnut outfit that was the original source of most of the Birther conspiracy theories, and remains their most ardent defender -- has a new theory it wants to trot out for mainstream consumption:

Barack Obama is actually the anti-Christ. Jesus said so!
An American Christian has produced a brief film for YouTube that connects one statement by Jesus in the Gospel of Luke to President Barack Obama.

His 4-minute video focuses on the direct quote: "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." (Luke 10:18)

"When I started doing a little research, I found the Greek word for 'lightning' is 'astrape', and the Hebrew equivalent is 'Baraq,'" said YouTube contributor "ppsimmons," a self-described Christian with a theological education and many years in the ministry, who spoke to WND under condition of anonymity out of concern for members of his local church. "I thought that was fascinating."

As he continued looking into the rest of the words in the phrase, he focused on "heaven," and found that it can refer not just to God's dwelling place, but also "the heights" or "high places."

He then recalled Isaiah 14:14, where Lucifer, another name for Satan, is quoted as saying, "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High."

"I wondered what the word 'heights' is," said ppsimmons, "and I looked it up in the dictionary, and it's 'Bamah.'"

Thus, on the video, the announcer notes, "If spoken by a Jewish rabbi today, influenced by the poetry of Isaiah, He (Jesus) would say these words in Hebrew ... 'I saw Satan as Baraq Ubamah.'"


Bill Maher Mocks Screeching Right-Wing Howler Monkey Malkin's Book

By Heather
Crooks and Liars

Bill Maher goes after Michelle Malkin for already writing a book trashing Obama's Presidency only six months in, and has a bit of fun with Jonah Goldberg, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck in the process.

BTW, Malkin is going to be a guest on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Bravo George. At least the Maher's of the world are making a fool of you for giving the likes of Malkin another format to spew her venom....(Original.)


Unemployment Continues to Soar in Europe

By Renata Goldirova
EU Observer

Jobs in the European Union continued to disappear in June, with unemployment reaching a four-year high and putting extra pressure of the bloc's coffers to help laid-off workers back into employment.

According to fresh data released by the EU's statistics office, Eurostat, on Friday (31 July), some 21.5 million people - or 8.9 percent - were out of work in the 27-nation EU in June. The figure was 9.4 percent in the 16-member euro area - the highest in 10 years.

Spain, hit hard by the collapse of its construction sector, recorded the highest jobless rates at 18.1 percent, followed by Baltic States, Latvia (17.2 percent) and Estonia (17 percent).

On the other hand, labour markets in the Netherlands and Austria seem to be in the best shape. The two countries have just 3.3 percent and 4.4 percent unemployed respectively.

The European Commission has tried to put a positive spin on the new unemployment numbers, saying that the pace of job losses in the EU as a whole is slowing down.

Compared with May, the number of people unemployed increased by 246,000. "This is much less than monthly increases that we recorded in previous months," commission spokesperson Amelia Torres told journalists (31 July).

She added that "the peak appeared to had been reached in March" when unemployment went up by 646,000....(Remainder.)


Tipping Point? Glenn Beck Fan Arrested With Guns & Ammo

By Steve Krakauer

The New York Post reports a Long Island single mother of three was arrested Thursday for “scouting out and taking pictures” of an Air National Guard base, with an assault rifle, a shotgun and 500 rounds of ammunition in her car.

And wouldn’t you know, The Daily Kos finds today that this woman was a big Glenn Beck fan. Luckily this woman was stopped before she could hurt anyone, but it was only a matter of time before a Fox News host like Beck was going to inspire a crazy person to act on their already simmering feelings of government antipathy.

The Kos story cites the woman’s, Nancy Genovese, Myspace page (she’s also on Twitter), which has an embedded clip from Beck’s June 17 program and a post calling for others to re-post it (video is below). “I just saw Glenn Beck tell it like it is!” Genovese writes. Here’s some of what Beck said in that segment, speaking to President Barack Obama and Congress as a whole:
We are coming. We will be heard. We will be represented. You think that we are so busy with our lives that we will never come for you. And we were. But now you’ve gone and done it. We are the formally silent majority, all of us. Quietly work, pay our taxes, obey the laws, vote, save money, keep our noses to the grindstone – now looking up at you. You have awakened us, and a patriotic spirit so strong and so powerful. It had been sleeping too long. You have pushed us too far.
(One note on that ominous quote: this isn’t a “right” attacking “left” thing. Beck says a few sentences later, “Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Libertarians, understand this – we don’t care. Political parties are meaningless to us.”)...(Remainder.)


Rewarding Back Actors

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

Americans are angry at Wall Street, and rightly so. First the financial industry plunged us into economic crisis, then it was bailed out at taxpayer expense. And now, with the economy still deeply depressed, the industry is paying itself gigantic bonuses. If you aren’t outraged, you haven’t been paying attention.

But crashing the economy and fleecing the taxpayer aren’t Wall Street’s only sins. Even before the crisis and the bailouts, many financial-industry high-fliers made fortunes through activities that were worthless if not destructive from a social point of view.

And they’re still at it. Consider two recent news stories.

One involves the rise of high-speed trading: some institutions, including Goldman Sachs, have been using superfast computers to get the jump on other investors, buying or selling stocks a tiny fraction of a second before anyone else can react. Profits from high-frequency trading are one reason Goldman is earning record profits and likely to pay record bonuses.

On a seemingly different front, Sunday’s Times reported on the case of Andrew J. Hall, who leads an arm of Citigroup that speculates on oil and other commodities. His operation has made a lot of money recently, and according to his contract Mr. Hall is owed $100 million....(Remainder.)


Orrin Hatch Spills the Beans: Grassley & Enzi Won't Sign Onto Reform Bill

By Joe Sudbay

So, this won't come as a big surprise to most of us. But, it will probably shock Max Baucus:
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who has a long history of teaming up with Democrats on healthcare legislation, says Democratic healthcare reform plans now under consideration are “out of this world.”

Hatch also told The Hill in a Friday interview he would be “shocked” if Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) sign onto a healthcare deal with Democrats given the current trajectory of the legislation.
Max Baucus has been working with Grassley and Enzi to find a deal -- but, Grassley and Enzi are never, ever going to agree to a deal.

Baucus is a sap. He's been played by the GOP. Can someone in the Democratic caucus please get control of this situation?...(Remainder.)


The Creeping Signs of GE Intervention in MSNBC's Progressive Programming: The Party May be Over

By Mark Karlin
Buzz Flash

As BuzzFlash noted yesterday, we have been pointing out -- among others -- for nearly 10 years the role of the few corporations who own our mass media, particularly television, in shaping public perceptions.  At this moment, for instance, the television networks, in particular, have so aligned themselves with the for-profit healthcare sector that Americans think healthcare reform will hurt them, while agreeing with its specific details!

Yesterday, I wrote about how MSNBC put a partial muzzle on Keith Olbermann pointing out what a Jackass Bill O'Reilly is in order to ensure that FOX and Roger Ailes wouldn't attack GE's overall business, including its role in the defense industry and nuclear power plants.

The Political Carnival website wrote how Glenn Greewald had exposed one of the guest hosts for Olbermann (who has been off a bit lately) as a paid member of a corporate public relations firm, Richard Wolffe. As Greenwald observes:
Having Richard Wolffe host an MSNBC program -- or serving as an almost daily "political analyst" --  is exactly tantamount to MSNBC's just turning over an hour every night to a corporate lobbyist.  Wolffe's role in life is to advance the P.R. interests of the corporations that pay him, including corporations with substantial interests in virtually every political issue that MSNBC and Countdown cover.  Yet MSNBC is putting him on as a guest-host and "political analyst" on one of its prime-time political shows.  What makes that even more appalling is that, as Ana Marie Cox first noted, neither MSNBC nor Wolffe even disclose any of this. 

This is a conflict so severe that it's incurable by disclosure:  who wouldn't realize that you can't present paid corporate hacks as objective political commentators?  But the fact that they don't even bother to disclose that just serves to illustrate how non-existent is the line between corporate interests and "news reporting" in the United States.



Sarah Palin, Meet Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

You two right-wing populists have a surprising amount in common

By Juan Cole
Photos: AP

Is Sarah Palin America's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? The two differ in many key respects, of course, but it is remarkable how similar they are. There are uncanny parallels in their biographies, their domestic politics and the way they present themselves -- even in their rocky relationships with party elders.

Both are former governors of a northwest frontier state with great natural beauty (in Ahmadinejad's case, Ardabil). Both are known for saying things that produce a classic Scooby-Doo double take in their audiences. Both appeal to a sort of wounded nationalism, speaking of the sacrifice of dedicated troops for an often feckless public, and identifying themselves with the common soldier. They are vigilant against foreign designs on their countries and insist on energy and other independence.

But above all, both are populists who claim to represent the little people against wily and unscrupulous elites, and against pampered upper-middle-class yuppies pretending to be the voice of democracy. Together, they tell us something about dangerous competing populisms in an age of globalization....(Remainder.)


Stephen Colbert Skewers Tucker "Stupid Prick" Carlson

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Tip/Wag - Man-Words & Movits!
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Tasers


FACT CHECK: Distortions Rife in Health Care Debate

By Charles Babington
Associated Press via Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — Confusing claims and outright distortions have animated the national debate over changes in the health care system. Opponents of proposals by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats falsely claim that government agents will force elderly people to discuss end-of-life wishes. Obama has played down the possibility that a health care overhaul would cause large numbers of people to change doctors and insurers.

To complicate matters, there is no clear-cut "Obama plan" or "Democratic plan." Obama has listed several goals, but he has drawn few lines in the sand.

The Senate is considering two bills that differ significantly. The House is waiting for yet another bill approved in committee.

A look at some claims being made about health care proposals:

CLAIM: The House bill "may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia," House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio said July 23.

Former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey said in a July 17 article: "One troubling provision of the House bill compels seniors to submit to a counseling session every five years ... about alternatives for end-of-life care."

THE FACTS: The bill would require Medicare to pay for advance directive consultations with health care professionals. But it would not require anyone to use the benefit.

Advance directives lay out a patient's wishes for life-extending measures under various scenarios involving terminal illness, severe brain damage and situations. Patients and their families would consult with health professionals, not government agents, if they used the proposed benefit....(Remainder.)


What's Not to Like? Our Health Care System is Just Fine As Is!

Sarcasm and mockery rock!

Reform? Why do we need health-care reform? Everything is just fine the way it is.

By Jonathan Alter

Go ahead, shoot me. I like the status quo on health care in the United States. I've got health insurance and I don't give a damn about the 47 million suckers who don't. Obama and Congress must be stopped. No bill! I'm better off the way things are.

I'm with that woman who wrote the president complaining about "socialized medicine" and added: "Now keep your hands off my Medicare." That's the spirit!

Why should I be entitled to the same insurance that members of Congress get? Blue Dogs need a lot of medical attention to treat their blueness. I'm just a regular guy and definitely deserve less.

I had cancer a few years ago. I like the fact that if I lose my job, I won't be able to get any insurance because of my illness. It reminds me of my homeowners' insurance, which gets canceled after a break-in. I like the choice I'd face if, God forbid, the cancer recurs—sell my house to pay for the hundreds of thousands of dollars in treatment, or die. That's what you call a "post-existing condition."

I like the absence of catastrophic insurance today. It meant that my health-insurance plan (one of the better ones, by the way) only covered about 75 percent of the cost of my cutting-edge treatment. That's as it should be—face cancer and shell out huge amounts of money at the same time. Nice.

I like the "lifetime limits" that many policies have today. Missed the fine print on that one, did you? It means that after you exceed a certain amount of reimbursement, you don't get anything more from the insurance company. That's fair....(Remainder.)


Grampy McCain: Without Hispanic Voters, GOP in "Very, Very Deep Hole"

By Sam Stein
The Huffington Post

Having attempted to put together a voting coalition broad enough to get elected president, Sen. John McCain (R-A.Z.) knows better than any other lawmaker the shortcomings and vulnerabilities of the Republican Party.

So his declaration on Sunday morning that the GOP faced a dire situation unless it did more to bring Hispanic voters into its ranks is likely to be treated as a blaring warning siren, not mere political analysis.

"On the issue of the Hispanic voter, we have to do a lot more. We Republicans have to recruit and elect Hispanics to office," McCain told CNN's State of Union. "And I don't mean just because they're Hispanics, but they represent a big part of the growing population in America. And we have a lot of work to do there. And I am of the belief that unless we reverse the trend of Hispanic voter registration, we have a very, very deep hole that we've got to come out of."

While he was one of only a handful of Republicans willing to tackle immigration reform in 2007, McCain faced a massive deficit with Hispanic voters in the 2008 election. His aides have said that, were he not the home state senator, he would have lost Arizona to Barack Obama, in large part because Hispanics had left the Republican Party in droves....(Remainder.)


Lou Dobbs Become a Real Problem for CNN

By David Zurawik
The Baltimore Sun

Just when you thought 24/7 cable news TV couldn't get stranger, starting Tuesday night, viewers are likely to see advertisements on CNN "attacking" Lou Dobbs during his prime-time show on the same cable channel.

And if that simply seems to be one more instance of the polarizing rhetoric and toxic nastiness of cable news TV, it's not. Dobbs has become a real problem for CNN, and a liberal media watchdog organization has found a way to highlight what it sees as reckless behavior by Dobbs.

Dobbs has consistently been lending credence to the "birthers" movement, which claims President Barack Obama is not a U. S. citizen, and thus, not eligible to be president because he was not allegedly born in the United States. The view has been widely and thoroughly discounted -- most notably by Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate. But despite such facts, Dobbs has persisted.

The Media Matters ads on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News will take Dobbs to task for his on-air actions in relation to that issue. It is a clever and sound strategy in the world of corporate TV.

CNN can't really afford to ditch any ads that don't violate standards and practices. And if they refuse this one, which can still be seen on their competitors, they have a credibility problem.

Credibility is the real issue here, and loss of it is the great danger for CNN....(Remainder.)


Birthers Crack the Case!

By David Waldman

Daily KOS

Loopy wack-a-doodle Birther Queen Orly Taitz has the smoking gun! (Minus the smoke and the gun.)

Well, they're smoking something, anyway:
California attorney Orly Taitz, who has filed a number of lawsuits demanding proof of Barack Obama's eligibility to serve as president, has released a copy of what purports to be a Kenyan certification of birth and has filed a new motion in U.S. District Court for its authentication.

The document lists Obama's parents as Barack Hussein Obama and Stanley Ann Obama, formerly Stanley Ann Dunham, the birth date as Aug. 4, 1961, and the hospital of birth as Coast General Hospital in Mombasa, Kenya.
Included in the WorldNut Daily morongasm is a "photo" of the document, which purports to have been issued by the "Office of the Principal Registrar, Coast Province, Republic of Kenya" on February 17, 1964

Question: Was there a Republic of Kenya on February 17, 1964?

Wikipedia says no. Kenya became independent on December 12, 1963, and declared itself a Republic exactly one year later.

She'd better be a fucking great dentist, or the Taitzes aren't gonna eat this year....(Original.)


Ben Nelson Threatens to Destroy Health Care if He's Held Accountable for His Actions

By John Amato
Crooks and Liars

The netroots has made a huge stand for health care reform and we're not sitting around doing nothing. Blue America hit Blanche Lincoln hard which forced her to write an op-ed in Arkansas to try and redefine her position and now the PCCC and DFA just hit Ben Nelson in an action called: Health care Can't Wait. Lincoln, who is up for re election took an approach in which she informed her constituents that she's considering the public option now which is a good start, but Ben's response was to cry, stomp his feet and declare that health care reform will be killed if Americans stand up and demand that he be part of the solution.
Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) lashed out Friday at the ads being run against his position on health care reform in his home state, saying they would backfire -- and might even derail the entire reform process.

In a statement issued late in the afternoon by Nelson's office, spokesman Jake Thompson warned that if the new series of ads calling out the Senator's "stalling" on reform were "an indication of the politics going into August, then health care reform may be dead by the end of August."

"Nebraskans don't need outside special interest groups telling them what to think. Senator Nelson has nothing but praise for Nebraska groups working toward health care reform. Unfortunately, he says, these outside groups undermine the sincere and dedicated efforts of people in our state," Thompson wrote. "Recently, similar ads have run in Nebraska. Those ads by other special interests prompted hundreds of Nebraskans to call our offices, with 9 to 1 urging Senator Nelson to do exactly the opposite of what the special interest group wanted. In short, the ads backfired."



Fla. Lawmakers Introduce Amendment to Ban Federal Health Care in the State

By John Tomasic
The Colorado Independent

It’s true. This is happening in Florida, the national repository for people on Medicare. The proposal comes from men who enjoy government health care and whose families enjoy the benefits of the same plan. It’s unclear whether their philosophy extends as far as eliminating health care provided by the government for themselves, for the seniors who live in their districts and for the members of the military and the vets who reside there. The amendment would however amount to an effective ban on health care for the more than 4 million Floridians presently uninsured.

The men behind Fla. House Joint Resolution 37 are Republican State Senator Carey Baker and Republican State Representative Scott Plakon. Their resolution has so far garnered 14 cosponsors:
JOINT RESOLUTION by Plakon and Workman (CO-SPONSORS) Adams; Carroll; Dorworth; Drake; Ford; Hays; Horner; Hudson; O’Toole; Precourt; Proctor; Renuart; Snyder; Stargel

Health Care Services: Proposes creation of s. 28, Art. X of State Constitution to prohibit laws or rules from compelling any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system; permit person or employer to purchase lawful health care services directly from health care provider; permit health care provider to accept direct payment from person or employer for lawful health care services; exempt persons, employers, & health care providers from penalties & fines for paying or accepting direct payment for lawful health care services; permit purchase or sale of health insurance in private health care systems; & specifies what amendment does not affect or prohibit.
No report yet on the extent to which the lawmakers were assisted by insurance industry executives and health care lobbyists in crafting the language of the amendment....(Remainder.)


Israelis Mourn Gay Murder Victims

By Al Jazeera English
Photo: Agence France-Presse

Hundreds of members and supporters of Israel's homosexual community have rallied in Tel Aviv a day after a masked gunman killed two people at a gay youth centre.

Protesters with rainbow-coloured flags mourned the 17-year-old girl and 26-year-old man who died in the shootings and bouquets of flowers were laid outside the centre on Sunday.

Police are continuing to search for the gunman who was dressed in black and opened fire indiscriminately at the "Cafe Noir" headquarters of the local lesbian and gay rights association on the city's Nachmani street.

'Incitement to hate'

Mike Hamel, a gay rights activist whose organisation runs the youth club, said the centre was meant to be a safe place where gay teenagers, many of whom were still concealing their sexual identity from their families and friends, could meet with counsellors and other teenagers.

He blamed religious incitement against homosexuals for the attack.

"Beyond the pain, the frustration and the anger, we are facing a situation in which the incitement to hate creates an environment that allows this to happen," Hamel said.

Tel Aviv's mayor, Cabinet ministers, the country's chief rabbis and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned the attack.

"We'll bring him to justice and exercise the full extent of the law against him," Netanyahu said at the Israeli cabinet's weekly meeting....(Remainder.)


Never Let Facts Interfere With a Good Smear

By Paul Rolly
The Salt Lake Tribune

Right-wing pundits in Utah who still are passing around the debunked theory that President Barack Obama doesn't have a legitimate birth certificate have a dilemma. Many of them claim allegiance to the LDS Church and try to tie their political agendas to church doctrine. They also are prone to declare that church leaders endorse their positions, even when they don't.

So let's see how far they keep pushing this "birther" theory -- and according to e-mails and blog links I get every day, they are not letting up -- now that the LDS Church has researched Obama's lineage and presented him with the gift of his family's genealogy.

I am told by church officials and genealogy experts that examining a person's birth certificate is a basic part of any research into ancestral roots. Since one can assume that was the case in the church's compilation of Obama's genealogy, the Utah birthers have a choice: They can drop the whole thing or, in continuing to push it, imply that their church's work on the Obama family geneology was shoddy and that the results therefore lack legitimacy.

It wouldn't be the first time the right-wingers have gotten sideways with the church. A few years ago, some anti-immigration voices in the Utah Legislature contended that undocumented immigrants who were active Mormons should lose their temple recommends and be barred from positions of responsibility because they were breaking the law simply by being here. That, they claimed, violated the church's 12th Article of Faith, which requires fidelity to the laws of the land. The church issued a blunt statement disavowing those advocates and their statements on temple recommends.

Another time, LDS leaders indicated that they did not oppose legislation that included sexual orientation as a protected class against hate crimes. Opponents of the bill surmised that because church leaders had said they did not oppose the bill, but did not say they supported it, that meant they actually opposed it. A church spokesman said the opponents didn't speak for the church....(Remainder.)


Same-Sex Marriage: Obama Said 'I Don't.' He May Just Mean It.

By James Kirchick
The Washington Post

Last month, former president Bill Clinton joined the increasing number of Democratic politicians who publicly back same-sex marriage. Granted, Clinton's endorsement -- offered in response to a questioner at a Washington conference for liberal college activists -- was heavily qualified: Clinton said he is "basically in support" of providing legal recognition to gay couples. This latter-day epiphany from the man who signed the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions, earned warm praise from gay activists. "I personally support people doing what they want to do," Clinton said, and people seemed to believe his apparent change of heart.

Others, however, claimed to know that he has been for gay marriage all along. Kerry Eleveld, Washington correspondent for the Advocate, wrote that "no one ever really believed [Clinton] opposed marriage equality. Call it craven politics, but everyone knows Clinton signed DOMA into law before the '96 election to avoid a potential GOP family-values offensive at the ballot box." Eleveld and others contend that support for same-sex marriage among liberal elected officials is a given. It's just that pesky political exigencies prevent them from publicly expressing their "real" beliefs.

There's no doubt that part of Clinton's motivation for signing DOMA was to prevent the Republican Party from using it as a wedge issue. But whether or not that law went against his actual convictions, it is part of Clinton's legacy to the gay community, along with "don't ask, don't tell." Repealing both is the most important task of the gay rights movement today....(Remainder.)


Episcopalian Leaders Nominate 2 Openly Gay, Lesbian Priests as Bishops

This ought to do a pretty good job exploding the head of the anti-gay, homophobic, bigots in the Anglican church. YAY! Who doesn't like it when the bigots get a nice sharp stick in the eye?

By Duke Helfand
Los Angeles Times

Episcopal Church leaders in Los Angeles today nominated an openly gay priest and an openly lesbian priest as bishops, becoming one of the first dioceses in the national church to test a controversial new policy that lifted a de facto ban on gays and lesbians in the ordained hierarchy.

The nominations of the Rev. John L. Kirkley of San Francisco and the Rev. Canon Mary Douglas Glasspool of a Baltimore-based diocese are likely to further inflame theological conservatives in the U.S. church and their global partners in the Anglican Communion, who have repeatedly warned about the repercussions of such action.

The two are among six nominees who will face election for two assistant bishop posts at the diocese’s annual December convention in Riverside.

The Diocese of Los Angeles, which represents 70,000 Episcopalians in six counties, is widely regarded as one of the most liberal in the U.S. church of 2.1 million members. Its bishop, the Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, is an outspoken advocate of gays rights in the church.

"I affirm each and every one of these candidates and am pleased at the wide diversity they offer this diocese," Bruno said in a statement.

Dozens of traditionalist churches and four dioceses, including one in Central California, broke away last year over their opposition to the 2003 consecration of partnered gay bishop in New Hampshire....(Remainder.)



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