On his program today, Glenn Beck told the life story of scientist Stephen Hawking (a recent recepient of the Presidential Medal Of Freedom) from an interesting perspective. In Beck's version of history, Hawking dealt with his illness (ALS) without any handouts, pulling himself up via his own bootstraps and apparently without the sort of health care system Beck claimed was a form of goose-stepping.
The British physisist spoke out after Republican politicians lambasted the NHS as "evil" in their effort to stop President Barack Obama's reforms of US health care which will widen availability of treatment but at a cost to higher earners who will pay higher insurance premiums.(Remainder.)
"I wouldn't be here today if it were not for the NHS," he said. "I have received a large amount of high-quality treatment without which I would not have survived."
Crooks and Liars
ABC News had a noteworthy story today on the increasing fears for President Obama's safety because of the plethora of nutcases -- many of them in fact mentally ill -- who are crawling out of the woodwork and threatening Obama and anyone associated with him:
Experts who track hate groups across the U.S. are growing increasingly concerned over violent rhetoric targeted at President Obama, especially as the debate over health care intensifies and a pattern of threats emerges.(Remainder.)
The Secret Service is investigating a Maryland man who held a sign reading "Death to Obama" and "Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids" outside a town hall meeting this week. And in New Hampshire, another man stood across the street from a Presidential town hall with his gun on full display.
Los Angeles police officers apprehended a man Thursday after a standoff with him inside a red Volkswagen Bug car in Westwood, CA – the latest disturbing case even though officials said the man had mental problems.
"I don't think these are simply people who are mentally ill or off their rocker," Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center, told ABC News of those behind the threats. "In a very real sense they represent a genuine reaction, a genuine backlash against Obama."
Experts say a sharp growth in so-called militia groups that helped spawn a wave of domestic terrorism in the 1990s – and are now using YouTube, rock music and the Internet to recruit members and spread hate and fear - shouldn't be ignored.
"It's certainly a scary time," said former FBI agent Brad Garrett, now an ABC News consultant. Garrett said the Secret Service "cannot afford to pass on anyone," and he believes "they really do fear that something could happen to [Obama]."
Garrett said statements like one recently made by controversial radio host Rush Limbaugh comparing a logo for the White House plan to a Nazi symbol "legitimizes people who are on the edge to go do something or say something."
Crooks and Liars
Rachel Maddow addresses the use of the threat of assassination as a political tactic, and those who could care less about ginning up the anger which is driving the angry protesters to these town halls. Rachel stated this better than I ever could so I'll let her take it from here:
Maddow: What is not politics as usual is that opponents of health care reform have chosen to fight at this time with force and with threats of force. Not just fringe talk show hosts, but members of Congress telling their constituents that Barack Obama is like Hitler; members of the United States senate telling their constituents that they are right to be afraid, that health care reform really is a plot to kill the elderly. Corporate funded conservative P.R. operations promoting those lines of attack and then telling their activists to go put the fear of God into members of Congress.(Remainder.)
Are we now operating in a political environment which is not just politics as usual, which is not just a rowdy debate? Has enough kerosene been poured on the flames that the possibility of violence-even assassination-is being posited as a real political tactic in the United States?
It's not a rhetorical question. It's not even a question about rhetoric. Because there are people in this country-people in the health care field, in fact-who have faced the actual threat of assassination as a political tactic....
By Sonja Pace
Britons are outraged and speaking out in response to comments among Conservatives in the United States attacking Britain's national health care system as socialist, evil and Orwellian.
Average Britons are usually quite vocal about what they see as the shortcomings of their national health care system, the NHS. But the vehement critique by some conservatives in the United States of the NHS has sparked an outpouring of support here in Britain.
A campaign is underway on the social networking site, Twitter, that even the prime minister and his wife have joined in.
Breaking his usual diplomatic silence about political events in America, Prime Minister Gordon Brown tweeted, "the NHS often makes a difference between pain and comfort, despair and hope, life and death. Thanks for always being there."
Leader of the opposition Conservative Party, David Cameron entered the fray on Friday, also in support of the NHS.
"The fact that in this country you can go to a hospital, you can go to a family doctor and they don't ask you how much money is in your bank account or who you are or whether you're a man or a woman, or live in the town or the countryside - I think it's one of our great national institutions," he said....(Remainder.)
Ok, you know that things are getting bad when the rest of the world has taken to bashing the Repiglickins. These freaks are turning the US into nothing more than a global joke.
There are few tribes more loathsome than the American right, and their vicious use of the shortcomings in the NHS to attack Barack Obama's attempts at health reform are a useful reminder.
I was thinking of this during a visit to my 91-year-old dad who is still in an NHS hospital after three weeks, recovering from a broken hip. He has had fantastic care, including a new metal hip, blood transfusions, different antibiotics to match every aspect of his condition; all administered by nurses who remain cheerful even when asked to perform tasks on men – the lethal combination of pain and old age makes some in the ward exceedingly grumpy – that I would not want to do for £1,000 a time. If he was in an American hospital he'd be using up half his life savings to get that standard of care, and few ordinary Americans could afford the insurance that would provide it. (This is because health insurers spend a large part of their income on PR against the "socialised medicine" and on sending pro forma letters explaining why your policy doesn't cover actual illness.) All over the US there are people whose lives are being destroyed for lack of proper health care provision, and there is no sight more odious than the rich, powerful and arrogant trying to keep it that way.
There are some things in the media I long ago decided not to believe. Anything about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann (except the obvious fact that the parents had nothing to do with it); the separation of nude model Jordan and her husband Peter Andre (you probably don't read about that anyway, and nor should you); and any predictions about what is going on in the economy. As I understand it, things are either improving much faster than we expected, or else we are on the brink of a recession that will make the last few months look like a golden era of prosperity. And nor should you believe anything at all about what Lord Mandelson really thinks. After a long and often angry interview with Evan Davis on the Today show this week, he responded to Davis's formal "thank you" with a silky "it's been a great pleasure"....(Remainder.)
By Fred Karger
Letter Sent to Maine Election Officials
Warning of Money Laundering by
National Organization for Marriage (NOM) & Others
LOS ANGELES, CA / AUGUSTA, ME – Californians Against Hate founder Fred Karger sent a letter today warning top Maine election officials of possible money laundering by opponents of same-sex marriage.
The organization trying to overturn Maine’s same-sex marriage law, Stand for Marriage PAC recently turned in 100,000 signatures to place the question on the November ballot. These gay marriage foes hope to repeal LD 1020 -- the law passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor allowing same-sex marriage in Maine.
Of the $343,689.50 raised to pay the Brighton, Michigan based National Petition Management, Inc. to collect the signatures, only $400, or a mere .001 of that total came from individuals. The remaining $343,289.50 was given by various religious organizations and James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) gave nearly half of that total, $160,000. The remainder came from Catholic organizations ($150,000) and James Dobson’s Focus on the Family ($31,000).“It sure looks like they are trying to hide the donors in their latest effort to strip away marriage equality,” said Fred Karger. “ There is no way these organizations like NOM and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland had all this money sitting in their treasuries (except for possibly Focus on the Family). They went out and raised it expressly for this campaign. It’s very expensive to hire these signature gathering firms to collect 100,000 signatures in a short period of time.”...(Remainder.)
Can someone PLEASE tell me why the hell we're still in this insane backwater? These morons clearly are not ready to join the community of nations. I say let's leave this worthless place, and let these freaks religion themselves to death.
Rehashed legislation allows husbands to deny wives food if they fail to obey sexual demands
By Jon Boone
Photo: Tim Wimborne (Reuters)
Afghanistan has quietly passed a law permitting Shia men to deny their wives food and sustenance if they refuse to obey their husbands' sexual demands, despite international outrage over an earlier version of the legislation which President Hamid Karzai had promised to review.
The new final draft of the legislation also grants guardianship of children exclusively to their fathers and grandfathers, and requires women to get permission from their husbands to work.
"It also effectively allows a rapist to avoid prosecution by paying 'blood money' to a girl who was injured when he raped her," the US charity Human Rights Watch said.
In early April, Barack Obama and Gordon Brown joined an international chorus of condemnation when the Guardian revealed that the earlier version of the law legalised rape within marriage, according to the UN....(Remainder.)
The Huffington Post
New Rule: President Obama must give up that awful habit that sets such a bad example for young people. I'm talking, of course ... about golf.
Golf, if you're not familiar, is a pastime where you basically walk outdoors with a bag, muttering and cursing. It's like being homeless in loud pants. Anyway, Time magazine is reporting that since he became president, Barack Obama has taken up golf with a passion, playing almost every weekend for the past few months -- and I feel betrayed. He campaigned as a basketball player. It said to us, "I'm urban and athletic and hip and a team player." Golf says, "I like Lipitor and white collar crime." And it's not just golf -- he's been purposefully eating a lot of hamburgers in public lately, to prove he loves meat. And he said that, unlike before he became president, he prays all the time now and that his Faith and Neighbor Initiatives Director sends him scripture on his Blackberry to start every day. Jesus, is there something about that house that turns people into assholes?
I kid the Commander in Chief, he's very far from an asshole, he's a cool dude, and I want to keep him that way! I don't want a regular guy running the country. We tried that for eight years and New Orleans still smells like mildew. Obama was different. He wasn't Joe Six-Pack. He had a six-pack. And when he gave a speech it didn't make English teachers cry. He wasn't some regular schmuck who spent five hours a weekend on the golf course. Why? Because he actually likes his family!
But Democrats have this bad habit of letting the Republicans scare them into acting more "regular guy" than they really are, and then they look inauthentic. Like Hillary drinking shooters. Like Dukakis in the tank. So I'm putting you on notice, Barack Obama: you're from Chicago, the day I see you in a duck blind, I'm taking my hope elsewhere....(Remainder.)
The Rude Pundit
One of the major miscalculations of the Obama administration so far has been a misread of just how fucked-up a good chunk of the nation was after his election. Of course, of course, fear of a black president takes care of some of it. But let's not limit our discussion to that. Because at the end of the Bush era, there was this sense in the nation that something, unnameable but intensely present, was wrong with the country. For many of us, the answer was simple: the Bush administration had fundamentally changed the governance of this country and it had exponentially compounded the nexus between corporations and the government. In other words, the Bush era was focused on disempowering the population in order to consolidate its own power. To put it another way, it's like getting an invitation to watch an orgy through a screen window.
Let's be honest (and, yes, this is one of those overgeneralized, "look at the yokels," elitist statments, so, sure, exceptions exist): there's large swaths of the United States that are filled with lost people, people who have been broken down by wondering whether they're gonna lose or have lost their jobs (and health insurance) as jobs go overseas and employment ranks shrink, people who feel an anger out there that is, yes, yes, soothed by guns and religion, the former that promises them instant power, the latter that promises them happiness everlasting if they do what they're told God wants. They are deluded by those who soothe their anger, the people on talk radio or Fox "news" who say in an endless loop, "It's not your fault, it's not your fault, it's this person or that person, immigrants, gays, liberal activists, attack them." Toss into this mix the natural progression of personal problems like divorce or illness, toss in the shitty education most of them have, and shake, motherfuckers, shake. It's fucking scary to live now, and not even for the reasons they've been told by Sean Hannity.
You ever walked in a room and it just felt like you had to get the fuck out of there, now, for no reason you could explain, but it just felt that way? Now imagine the door was locked behind you. You could panic and try to break the door down. Or you could figure out what's bugging you out. One is easy. One takes work. The rage being expressed at the town hall meetings is the inarticulate belching forth of this irrational fear. It is the attempt to beat down the door and escape when escape isn't possible....(Remainder.)
The Public Record
In the Obama administration’s campaign to persuade other countries to rehouse prisoners from Guantánamo who have been cleared for release, but who cannot be repatriated because of fears that they will be tortured if returned to their home countries, progress has been slow.
Why European nations are reluctant to accept cleared Guantánamo prisoners
Despite an apparent accord being reached on June 15, when the European Union and the United States made a joint statement in Luxembourg on the closure of Guantánamo, which, as the Guardian described it, “cleared the last hurdles for up to 50 Guantánamo detainees to be accommodated in EU countries,” no one has been released in Europe in the last two months, and the number of prisoners welcomed into any European countries since Obama came to office is just two: Binyam Mohamed, the British resident, notoriously subjected to “extraordinary rendition” and torture, whose release in February appears to have been designed (not entirely successfully) to fend off further legal challenges and embarrassing revelations regarding his treatment; and Lakhdar Boumediene, an Algerian cleared by a US judge in his habeas corpus hearing last November, who was resettled in France in May....(Remainder.)
The Colorado Independent
Former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean is currently conducting a health-care town hall meeting here at Netroots Nation in Pittsburgh, where he predicted that health-reform legislation will pass through reconciliation in the Senate, without a single Republican vote. And he just took a minute to address the other kind of health care town halls, the ones that have dominated the news cycle this past week.
Responding to a throwaway question from Progressive Strategies co-founder Mike Lux (”I’m Bobby Birther … are you going to serve on these death panels?”), Dean said he’d “actually respond to the question seriously” and told the audience of progressive bloggers and activists, “The truth is, those meetings aren’t about health care.”
He continued: “Look carefully at the people who are shouting their congresspeople down. They don’t look anything like the generation that elected Barack Obama.”
But Dean said those meetings are a sign that the right-wingers recognize the strong prospects for health-care reform. “They’re desperate,” he said. “They’re just making things up.”...(Remainder.)
The New Republic
Reader JP just alerted me to an email blast from a group called "The Pray In Jesus Name Project." It suggests that ObamaCare will not only pull the plug on grandma, but also result in a gay and transgendered takeover of the entire health care system. Among the bogus claims in the group's petition:
Your tax-dollars will pay for preferential hiring of homosexual hospital administrators, who distribute $50,000 grants to gender-confused activists for unneeded elective surgery to mutilate their own genitals, (and force Christian doctors to perform it.)The group attempts to back this up by citing drafts of the House and Senate bills that make fleeting references to gender and sexual orientation, but which have nothing to do with mandated free sex-change operations. (PolitiFact, The St. Petersberg Times fact-checking service, does a great job debunking these allegations, many of which were put forth by Liberty Counsel--a group affiliated with Jerry Falwell's Liberty University.)
As for the gay takeover of hospitals? The section of the Senate bill that's cited--requiring the "participation in the institutions' programs of individuals and groups from ...different genders and sexual orientations"--actually refers to government grants awarded to students doing research in mental and behavioral health. I suppose that such a dangerously diverse group of students could decide that they, the gay mafia, should run the nation's hospitals,whose names will be "changed from ‘St. Luke's Memorial' to the ‘Obama Government' hospital" when atheists strip all Christian icons from the buildings, as the email predicts. But, then again, that's absolutely crazy....(Original.)
Good As You
When fairness advocates found out that the Tim Hortons coffee chain was lending its name to an anti-gay National Organization For
But when NOM is the target of our pushback, they are of course shocked -- SHOCKED! -- that we could ever see a need to defend our lives and loves against their well-financed pushes for civil disicrimination [sic]:
More news: This Sunday NOM president Maggie Gallagher will be speaking at the first annual Celebrate Marriage and Family Day sponsored by our Rhode Island chapter. This day is not intended to be a political event; it's an opportunity for husbands and wives and their families to come together for an ice-cream social, listen to a nationally-recognized Christian band, renew their vows with pastors standing by, and celebrate the vision of marriage as the union of husband and wife.(Remainder.)
But when gay-marriage advocates found out, what did they do? They organized a boycott against a company that donated a few hundred cups of coffee to the event. All Canadian media was agog! Give coffee to bigots!?! (Translation: by "bigot" they mean people like you and me and the majority of Americans, who support and promote marriage as a union of husband and wife.) On the one hand this kind of thing is small potatoes, more bemusing than outraging. I mean, just Google "Chris Plante"--our capable NOM Rhode Island executive director--and see all the news headlines from Vancouver to London. It's a little silly really.
Then again, here's what I keep wondering: What kind of movement would threaten to hurt people's jobs for a few cups of coffee donated to an event to celebrate traditional marriage?
A 51 year-old white male has been detained and is being investigated by the Secret Service after attending a Right Wing demonstration aimed at disrupting a town hall meeting on health-care reform in western Maryland.
Why was the right wing nut detained? According to Washington County Sheriff’s Capt. Peter Lazich, the sign read, “Death to Obama” and “Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids.” After sheriff’s deputies took the man into custody, he was turned over to the Secret Service.
President Obama did not attend the meeting held by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD).
So here we have it. Death threats, wished, or whatever you want to call it. What it boils down to is these older white “Christian” racist bigots can’t stand the fact there is someone smarter than them, with a different color of skin in office, who has appointed a Latina Supreme Court Justice and is working to provide health care for those who can’t otherwise afford it, a challenge in life I feel certain the man carrying the sign has never experienced.
This isn’t an uprising over government spending. This isn’t concern for our nation’s future. These disruptions of town halls are hate based demonstrations of racism and bigotry. The older, white, conservative, Bible beating, American males, that have never felt the oppression of discrimination can’t stand the thought of change. This is a mass resistance to change, and after the mess the Bush regime left this nation in, we need change!...(Remainder.)
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|The Colbert Report||Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c|
At yesterday’s White House press briefing, Major Garrett of Fox News embarrassed himself by demonstrating his utter lack of understanding of the Internet and email. Today he is escalating his campaign to make a total ass of himself, and he is doing a magnificent job of it.
Garrett appeared on Fox News today to announce that he is pursuing White House press secretary Robert Gibbs to find out how emails, allegedly sent from the White House, were received by people who never requested them. He has even filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get to the bottom of this raging controversy. There are some rather simple and entirely innocent answers to this mystery, but Garrett can’t be bothered to investigate them. On his blog today he admitted to journalistic negligence that would make a cub reporter cringe.
“…in every instance so far, e-mailers insist the e-mail(s) they received from the White House was/were not forwarded. They are positive the e-mails arrived directly from the White House.”So Garret is relying on the accounts of the people who contacted him who said they were “positive” the emails came directly from the White House, but he can’t verify a single one. He is satisfied that these people whom he has never met, never questioned, never vetted, are so reliable that he is under no obligation to confirm their assertions. He produces two examples of aggrieved email recipients, one of whom complains, not of an email, but a pop-up ad containing an email from the White House. Of course, a pop-up ad cannot contain an email. It can contain ad, but Garrett didn’t verify this either and, frankly, I’m skeptical....(Remainder.)
“Fox cannot independently verify all of these accounts. Fox can only represent what hundreds of e-mailers have represented to me or to the network.”
Crooks and Liars
We have been documenting the increasingly violent and threatening protests at Democratic town hall events around the country, and now it seems things are reaching the boiling point. The Secret Service has finally gotten involved:
There were signs comparing President Barack Obama to a Nazi and showing him with an Adolf Hitler-style mustache, but federal officials believe another sign referencing the president and his family went too far.As many have said on blogs and the tee vee, these protests have nothing to do with health care reform, and they never did. They are temper tantrums being thrown by small minded, uneducated, racist white people who are angry about having a black Democrat in the White House. I'm encouraged to finally see the Secret Service getting involved in a public way....(Original.)
A man who was holding a sign reading "Death to Obama" Wednesday outside a town hall meeting on health care reform in Hagerstown, Md., has been turned over to the Secret Service.
Washington County Sheriff's Capt. Peter Lazich said the sign also read, "Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids." Read on...
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Glenn Beck's Operation|
The role of rationality in our republic was again called into question this week, as the newest conservative lines of attack against health care reform embraced an equally new level of madness.
As you surely know by now, Sarah Palin loves Facebook, and last Friday, she wanted to make sure her friends knew the terrible secret hiding in H.R. 3200.
"The America I know and love," she wrote, "is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of [President] Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."
The idea that government bureaucrats will soon create "death panels" that will encourage the killing of Americans with disabilities as well as the elderly has now officially entered the conservative media's playbook. The notion is apparently rooted in an extremely selective reading of past writings by Ezekiel Emanuel, coupled with a total misreading of Section 1233 of the House health care legislation, which aims only to reimburse doctors who provide voluntary end-of-life counseling for those on Medicare.
As usual, media conservatives didn't let the facts get in the way of fear. Glenn Beck defended Palin's "death panel" statement on Monday, as did Fox News' Andrew Napolitano. That same day, Rush Limbaugh cited an op-ed that, while raising concerns about the end-of-life consultations, called euthanasia talk "rubbish." Then he ignored that statement and proceeded to talk about euthanasia....(Remainder.)
This is the fourth time that the Fox Nation has declared a “victory” on their web site that is not attributable to Fox Nation nor even a victory:
Quoting me: Fox Nation has decided to make a habit of these “Mission Accomplished” moments. That stance in and of itself is evidence of Fox’s bias. They have ceased to even pretend to be a neutral news enterprise. They are now openly admitting that they have a stake in the outcomes of political affairs. And when they think their side has won, they won’t hesitate to declare victory and commence a celebration.
However, on this occasion there was an even worse display of the repugnant character of Fox Nation. Accompanying a link to a Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll, Fox Nation selected an image that illustrates perfectly the Fox doctrine of division and hatred: