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Newsweek: C.I.A. Report on Torture to be Released Next Week

Sunday, August 23, 2009

By CSPANJunkie
Crooks and Liars

From Newsweek: Report Reveals CIA Conducted Mock Executions:
A long-suppressed report by the Central Intelligence Agency's inspector general to be released next week reveals that CIA interrogators staged mock executions as part of the agency's post-9/11 program to detain and question terror suspects, NEWSWEEK has learned.

According to two sources—one who has read a draft of the paper and one who was briefed on it—the report describes how one detainee, suspected USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was threatened with a gun and a power drill during the course of CIA interrogation. According to the sources, who like others quoted in this article asked not to be named while discussing sensitive information, Nashiri's interrogators brandished the gun in an effort to convince him that he was going to be shot. Interrogators also turned on a power drill and held it near him. "The purpose was to scare him into giving [information] up," said one of the sources. A federal law banning the use of torture expressly forbids threatening a detainee with "imminent death."

The report also says, according to the sources, that a mock execution was staged in a room next to a detainee, during which a gunshot was fired in an effort to make the suspect believe that another prisoner had been killed. The inspector general's report alludes to more than one mock execution.

Continue Reading.....
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‘Cash for Clunkers’ Deal Boosts US Car Sales by 450,000 in Three Weeks

Barack Obama has to end scheme early as result of massive take-up

By Ewen MacAskill
The Guardian


Car dealers across the US were braced for a rush of customers this weekend before a "cash-for-clunkers" trade-in scheme comes to an abrupt end.

The $3bn programme offered motorists $3,500-$4,500 to trade in old, petrol-guzzling cars for new, more fuel-efficient ones.

The scheme has proved so popular that it has become a victim of its own success. When it begun on 27 July, administration officials predicted it would run until November.

But there has been such a high take-up that the $3bn fund is close to being exhausted after only three weeks.

The scheme is part of Obama's $787bn package to stimulate the US economy and, in an interview on Thursday, he said it had been "successful beyond anybody's imagination".

Under the scheme, the government ensures car owners receive rebates of $3,500-$4,500 off the price of a new car. An estimated 450,000 extra cars have been sold.

Although dealers have done well over the past three weeks, some are complaining about the bureaucracy involved and have already pulled out of the scheme, expressing fears as to whether they can clear the paperwork in time. They have also complained about long delays in getting money back from the federal government. The department of transport is to treble the number of staff processing the applications to try to clear the backlog....(Remainder.)

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Fox's Talking Point Whore, Colby, Continues to Lie About Dems "Changing the Rules" for Health Care

By Media Matters

Fox News anchor Jamie Colby falsely characterized Senate Democrats passing health care reform legislation with a simple majority through a process known as reconciliation as "potentially changing the rules with the nuclear option." In fact, Democrats are not considering "changing the rules" -- reconciliation is already part of Senate procedure and Republicans have used it repeatedly in the past, while the term "nuclear option" was coined by then-Republican Sen. Trent Lott in 2005 to refer to a possible Republican attempt to change Senate filibuster rules....(Remainder.)



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Ron Reagan: Isn't It Funny How "Left Wing Lunacy" Turns into Reality After a Few Years?

By Heather
Crooks and Liars


Ron Reagan Jr. and Joan Walsh on Hardball reminding Chris Matthews that reality seems to have a liberal bias. As they both point out, once again, the Villagers were wrong, and the "loony left," as the media likes to dismiss any of us as, were right.

I disagree with both of them on one point, though. There is nothing "honorable" about what Tom Ridge is doing. He didn't quit and speak up when he was first asked to do this. And now that he's got a book to sell, suddenly he's feeding the public some half truths about what went on to gin up some interest in it.

Glenn Greenwald and Marcy Wheeler have had a bit of an interesting exchange with The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder over his reaction to Ridge's latest revelation that are well worth the read on the topic of how the Villagers treat the left.

Greenwald: Fringe leftist losers: wrong even when they're right:
Just as is still commonly said about opponents of the Iraq War (even though they were right, they were still wrong and unSerious because their motives were bad), Ambinder acknowledges that Bush critics were right that the terror alerts were being manipulated for political ends (he has no choice but to acknowledge that now that Ridge admits it), but still says journalists like himself were right to scorn such critics "because these folks based their assumption on gut hatred for President Bush, and not on any evaluation of the raw intelligence." As always: even when the dirty leftist hippies are proven right, they're still Shrill, unSerious Losers who every decent person and "journalist" scorns.
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Alex Witt Falsely Calls Reconciliation "Nuclear Option" on MSNBC

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After Criticizing Obama For Saying Fox News Attacks Him, Santorum Compares Him To Hugo Chavez

By Ellen
News Hounds


Those Fox News loud mouths are great at dishing out the attacks but at the first sign of pushback, their widdle feewings turn vewy, vewy sensitive and they start howling about how unfair and mean their opponents are. Latest example: Fox News regular Rick Santorum on On The Record last night (8/21/09). After Greta Van Susteren played a few comments of President Obama making mild criticisms of “cable news chatter” and commenting that Fox News is “entirely devoted to attacking my administration,” Santorum immediately construed that as “an attack” on Fox and said Obama reminded him of Hugo Chavez, “trying to shut down the voice of opposition in the media.” Van Susteren did not challenge that over-the-top remark. With video.

The segment began with Van Susteren playing a montage of Obama’s comments about cable news. Each clip was from a different setting:

- Referring to media coverage after Sarah Palin’s nomination for vice president in 2008, Obama said, “Cable was 24 hours a day (saying) Obama’s lost his mojo.”

- Speaking to his supporters, Obama said, “Instead of being preoccupied with the polls and with the pundits and with the cable chatter, what you guys consistently did was you just kept on working.”

- “They don’t want to be constructive, they just want to get in the usual political fights back and forth. And sometimes that’s fed by all the cable chatter on the media.”

- “I’ve got one television station that is entirely devoted to attacking my administration… That’s a pretty big megaphone.”

- “I don’t find most of the cable chatter very persuasive… It feels like WWF wrestling. Everybody’s got their role to play.”

Santorum reacted by saying, “This is an attack on Fox. This reminds me of what Hugo Chavez is doing down in Venezuela, trying to shut down the voice of opposition in the media. This is not good.”...(Remainder.)



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Time to Repeal Bob Barr's Defense of Marriage

By Cynthia Tucker
Atlanta Journal-Constitution


While President Obama campaigned on a pledge to repeal a noxious and divisive law called the Defense of Marriage Act,  his Justice Department submitted a pro forma defense of  the law earlier this summer. That upset many gay-rights activists, since DOMA, as it’s called, is nothing but a bit of homophobic nonsense.

Just last week, though, the Obama administration made clear that it’s still committed to getting rid of DOMA. (By longstanding tradition, Justice is obligated to defend laws when they draw legal challenge, a spokesman said.) Repealing it probably won’t be as controversial as some Democrats may fear.

The culture has changed considerably since 1996, when a few state legislatures were beginning to seriously debate the concept of extending full marriage equality to gays and lesbians. That’s when the GOP rushed to stoke its base of religious conservatives with a law that blocked that full equality. Where tradition (and law) had dictated that a marriage in New York or Hawaii must be recognized in Alabama or Wyoming, the Defense of Marriage Act allowed any state to deny the legitimacy of a same-sex marriage that had taken place elsewhere.

The bill’s sweeping prohibitions also deny to same-sex couples who work for the federal government shared insurance and other work-related benefits, all so that Congress could pose as the moral defender of traditional marriage. It was a strange pose, given that some of DOMA’s staunchest supporters were divorcees and adulterers....(Remainder.)

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Public Option Battle is Really About Corporate Greed

By Bob Fertik
Democrats.com


Why are progressive activists drawing a line in the sand over a real public option?

Certainly the Corporate Media doesn't get it. President Obama doesn't get it (although maybe he does). Most of the Progressive Caucus doesn't get it. Most progressive bloggers don't get it. Even Ed Schultz - probably the most passionate supporter of a real public option - doesn't get it.

On Thursday, Ed Schultz had a great debate about the public option with Newsweek's Jonathan Alter. Alter, a cancer survivor who is focused on insurance abuses like denial of care, adamantly opposes a "line in the sand" for a public option because he believes it will drive Democrats "over the cliff, whatever that means. In response, Schultz was even more adamant in his support of a public option because he sees it as the only way to control healthcare costs so middle-class families can afford it.

But out-of-control costs are just a symptom. The reason costs are out of control is because the medical-industrial complex is driven by greed. And private insurance is just a cost-plus contractor that is profiteering on top of that greed.

Greed in the Medical-Industrial Complex takes many forms. While primary-care providers are poorly paid, the greediest surgeons get rich performing operations like heart bypasses and c-sections even when they will not produce a better outcome for a patient. Most drug research is funded by the government, but greedy drug companies insist on 14-year monopoly prices for the drugs produced with taxpayer dollars. Manufacturers of expensive medical equipment like MRI's (including MSNBC parent GE) want to sell the latest models as widely as possible, even if uncontrolled sales drive overall costs through the roof....(Remainder.)

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Without Reform, Health Insurance Rates to Nearly Double in 11 Years

By Daniel Tencer
The Raw Story

Insurance rates will rise 94 percent by 2020 if cost-saving reforms to the US health care system aren’t enacted, a new study from the Commonwealth Institute finds.

The 90-year-old non-profit health care charity released an analysis of health care costs and forecasts that says employer-sponsored family plans will rise from an average cost of $12,298 in 2008 to $23,842 in 2020.

By contrast, the same coverage would have cost around $9,200 in 2003.

“Across the United States, middle-income individuals and families have been los­ing ground as the cost of health insurance continues to rise at a faster rate than incomes,” the report states. “Rising employer insurance premiums have forced many working fami­lies to trade off increases in their wages just to hold onto their health benefits. The expanding share of health insurance premiums paid by workers themselves has also taken a greater cut out of paychecks.”

The Commonwealth Fund’s report continues:
Between 1999 and 2008, employer-sponsored fam­ily health insurance premiums rose by 119 percent nationally, while median family income rose by 29 percent.2 Such a rapid increase in the cost of employer-sponsored health benefits has forced difficult choices at workplaces across the country. Studies indicate that slower growth in wages and lower savings for retirement (worker and employer contributions) have been part of the trade-off to preserve health benefits.3 Despite such trade-offs, the monthly cost of premiums paid by workers and their families is up—consuming an ever-greater share of any wage increases they might receive.

At the state level, premiums have risen rapidly, and far faster than average incomes. In the five years from 2003 to 2008, total premiums for family cover­age under employer-sponsored plans rose a cumulative average of 33 percent. The five-year increase in family premiums ranged from about 25 percent in the three lowest-growth states (Michigan, Texas, and Ohio) to 45 percent in the two highest-growth states (Indiana and North Carolina). Twelve states saw increases of 40 per­cent or more and 36 states saw increases of 30 percent or more—well above the rate of income growth.
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Brent "Right-Wing Bitch-Boy" Bozell Obsessed with Teen Sex, Smutty Tunes

By Thers
Firedoglake


Gorilla-haired scold Brent Bozell likes to think about teenagers having hot hot sex, gyrating sensuously, insistently to the pounding rhythms of popular music. He really gets into it! Heck, the kids today, he says, they even fuck better than hippies.
The baby boomers are trotting out the celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the "Summer of Love," complete with all that soggy and groggy Woodstock nostalgia. Perhaps the singular statement of that summer was the music and the open celebration of "free love."

All of which, believe it or not, is preferable to what is on the air this summer.
And what's on the air this summer? Fucking! Whoo-hoo!
Start with the big hit "Birthday Sex," which brought quick fame (which is to say, infamy) to a singer named Jeremih. (Why must these people always celebrate illiteracy?)
Honestly? I think "these people," i.e., black people, spell their names like that just to piss you off, Brent. Because, you know, that's his actual name.
His basic lyric is "Don't need candles and cake / Just need your body to make / Birthday sex." But Jeremih also elaborates about how he wants sex in the kitchen, on a waterbed and so on.
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Those Town Hall Protestors, Drunk on Childish Antics

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


Adam Brandon, a spokesman for the dirty-monied FreedomWorks, has a grand old time of historical interpretation when rationalizing his organization's human puppetry of contemporary town hall protests:

"You go back to the original Boston Tea Party, and I find it highly unlikely that you had 50 guys dress up like Indians, show up at a boat, bring the right tools, and then leave in an orderly fashion without any kind of organization," he said.

He's right. The original tea party was indeed an organized, though not very "orderly," affair. But what he omitted is that the Boston Tea Party was fomented by elite smugglers involved in the black market, who not surprisingly objected to a competitive cut in British taxes on imported tea -- not, as most American schoolchildren are taught to believe, an increase -- and executed by impressionable rabble-rousers so intoxicated on sponsored rum that more than a few were lights-out before they could finish their happy vandalism.

In short, the Boston Tea Party was this budding nation's first "corporate" con job of the dupe-able masses, which the well-funded and manipulative likes of FreedomWorks carries on.

One wonders where it's all headed -- this mindless agitation and antidemocratic brutishness displayed almost daily at town hall venues. Very few envision any kind of armed, right-wing revolution; first, plainly, because of the physical impossibility of such an objective against a modern, better-armed state, but second because of the fomenters' actual goal, which is, simply, to impede the opposition's progress until the right can democratically regain power through even more propagandistic manipulation.

The extent to which the opposition permits those impediments is the open question, as well as the debate-dominating topic, of the day. To use an overworked sports analogy, the in-power hometeam does indeed control its own destiny, though its head coaches seem to possess only a sickly awareness of this epic political fact: their rattled lack of poise and strategic togetherness is showing. Then again, they are Democrats, who generally score only when their opposition fumbles....(Remainder.)

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Joe Scarborough is Shocked, Yet Awed by Single-Payer Logic

By Leslie Savan
The Nation

Something rather remarkable happened on Tuesday's Morning Joe. Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York pointed out that the health insurance industry has no clothes, and Joe Scarborough, after first trying to spin it some gossamer threads, broke down and said, By God, you're right, this emperor is a naked money-making machine!

Well, he didn't use those exact words, but Joe did seem to finally get that America has granted insurance companies the right to create bottlenecks in the financing of healthcare in order to extract profits out of the suffering of ordinary people--without providing any actual healthcare whatsoever.

"Why are we paying profits for insurance companies?" Weiner asked Scarborough. "Why are we paying overhead for insurance companies? Why," he asked, bringing it all home, "are we paying for their TV commercials?"

Weiner, who recently warned that President Obama could lose as many as 100 votes on a health bill if a public option is not included, really wants single payer--Medicare for all Americans is his goal. What a crazy, way-out, reckless notion, Joe went into their encounter believing. But Weiner asked some simple, direct questions that no politician, much less Obama or HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, has managed to pose:
What is an insurance company? They don't do a single check-up. They don't do a single exam, they don't perform an operation. Medicare has a 4 percent overhead rate. The real question is why do we have a private plan?
"It sounds like you're saying you think there is no need for us to have private insurance in healthcare," Joe asked at one point.

Weiner replied: "I've asked you three times. What is their value? What are they bringing to the deal?"...(Remainder.)

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How Do You Hide a Friendly Bush GOP Hippopotamus Named Neofascism

By Shirley Smith
Buzz Flash

The hippopotamus is one of the most aggressive creatures in the world and is often regarded as the most ferocious animal in Africa.
 
Hippopotamus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
With all of this talk against healthcare for American citizens by the neoconservatives in Congress . . . I've noticed something very obvious in MSM's reporting lately. We all have seen the numbers. Seventy-five percent of us Americans want good healthcare. Personally, after seeing Sicko by Michael Moore, I want what Canada has or the French have or the kind of caring healthcare that Great Britain has for its citizens and/or copies of the healthcare that many other countries around the world provide for their people. And, what do people do when they want to copy successful programs? They talk to those people. But, we haven't seen any of that, have we?
 
With the type of coverage by this country's MSM, all of the reports that we Americans see in the media are all about the Bush GOP support group of 25%, all of the time. A group, who, through whatever rose colored glasses they see with when viewing this Bush GOP today, are against their own good health care, their families' good healthcare, their neighbors' good health care . . . who is going to take care of them when this nation, a nation that has over 50 million people without healthcare at all, comes down with some national tragedy. No one should die because they cannot go to a clinic or a doctor.
 
We saw this with the constant news clips of the minority again when reporting on the Bush GOP teabaggers. What we don't see in U.S. news are the views of the majority of the people of this nation. That's how it's been for the last half of this century. This type of reporting by TV, radio, and printed news, represents only 25% of the people of this nation, yet, they try to make it look as it they are reporting on the majority.
 
Today, that kind of selling is not going to work. Those 75% of American citizens are beginning to understand that in order to have a government (of, by, and for the people) that represents all of us, those most responsible citizens who care about the nation as a living, breathing democracy for all . . . they are going to have to stay organized out in the mother land. We Americans are going to have to bring our government back ourselves....(Remainder.)

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Hannity, Guilfoyle and Cupp Engage In Rank Speculation To Suggest David Axelrod Guilty Of Ethics Violations

By Ellen
News Hounds


Last night (8/20/09), for the second night in a row, Sean Hannity crowed about a “brewing White House scandal” that the health care debate “is making some Democrats very rich.” He was referring to health care reform ads by the former firms of Obama advisor David Axelrod. Hannity was joined in the attacks by the panel of twin thinkers, columnist S.E. Cupp and Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle. None of the three had any real evidence of wrongdoing and, in fact, Axelrod has already gotten a pass from the Office of Government Ethics, which is headed by a Bush appointee. But each of the three repeatedly suggested, without putting forth any validating information, that Axelrod had committed some kind of transgression. There was no guest to balance the unfounded accusations. With video.

As Politico has reported, Axelrod’s buyout agreements (which grant him funds that, presumably, could come from the health care reform ads) with his former firms were “cleared by the independent Office of Government Ethics, which is headed by a director appointed in 2006 to a five-year term by former President George W. Bush.”

Yet Guilfoyle, in the first video below, never bothered to explain what information she had that the Office of Government Ethics did not. She could hardly wait until Hannity finished asking his first question, “Is this beyond the appearance of impropriety?” before she grabbed the spotlight, waved her arms in the air and asked melodramatically, “What happened to change you can believe in?” Wagging her finger at the camera, she added, “Wake up, America! This does not pass the smell test.” Yet the only thing she seemed to smell was her own rank speculation. “This guy is still owed $2 million. Well, if they don’t have new business coming in, and they’re not generating capital, how are they gonna pay him the money that they owe him?”

Guilfoyle never offered any hard facts about whether or not the company needs the health care ads in order to pay Axelrod. Perhaps that’s because they appear not to. Politico reported:
AKPD is now owned by a group of consultants who helped steer Obama’s campaign, mostly while working at the firm, and ASK is owned Axelrod’s former partners there. Both firms will pay his buyouts in preset annual installments starting at the end of this year, terms that were settled on prior to Axelrod’s White House service.

AKPD officials declined to speak publicly about the arrangement, but a source familiar with the firm’s operations and finances said it is not reliant on the revenue from the Healthy Economy Now and Americans for Stable Quality Care campaigns to fulfill Axelrod’s annual payments, which the source described as “a fraction” of AKPD’s operating costs.
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Making Sense of Health Care Reform

By Dr. Ralph Snyderman
The Huffington Post


The debate about health care reform has emerged as the nation's most contentious issue, as the current proposals to change the system have been met with confusion and fear. Fear of loss of choice, fear of rationing, fear of governmental control, fear of increasing taxes, fear of burgeoning government debt and fear of nothing getting done. Although there is general agreement that we need to broaden health insurance coverage and rein in skyrocketing costs, what's strangely missing is a reasoned discussion of what we really want from a reformed health care system. We've heard that our current system is the best in the world as well as deeply flawed, but which is it? Why does our current system cost so much, yet is unable to cover 47 million Americans or to prevent chronic diseases? Getting health care reform right requires a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of how health care is delivered today and how to make it better. This understanding starts with a real story about James.

James is 49-years old and self-employed. He makes a modest living working from home, and he can't afford health insurance. James enjoyed what he considered to be good health until a year ago when, after lunch, he developed severe discomfort above the pit of his stomach. He thought it was indigestion, but the discomfort persisted and he began to sweat profusely. His wife saw James crumple to the floor, and she called 911. Within 15 minutes, an EMT arrived and found that James had a barely detectable pulse and low blood pressure and concluded that he was having a heart attack. He was rushed to the local hospital on life support.

When James arrived in the emergency room of the community hospital, he was semi-conscious. The diagnosis of a heart attack was made and James was given Activase, a bioengineered thrombolytic agent which is used to dissolve clots in coronary arteries. James's clinical condition remained unstable, however, and signs indicated that he might die without more advanced treatment. The decision was made to transfer him to a major regional academic medical center where the latest technologies were available....(Remainder.)

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Hillary Clinton Pledges to 'Banish Sexual Violence'

By Hillary Rodham Clinton
People.com
Photo:  Roberto Schmidt (Reuters)

n 11 days of travel across Africa, I saw humanity at its worst – and at its best. In Goma last week, I saw both.

The Mugunga Internally Displaced Persons Camp sits in a land of volcanoes and great lakes on the edge of Goma, a provincial capital in the eastern Congo. The camp is now home to 18,000 people seeking refuge from a cycle of violent conflict that has left 5.4 million dead since 1998. Chased from their homes and villages by armed rebels and informal militias, these men, women and children walked for miles with little food or water until they reached this relatively safe haven.

Now they live in tents, one next to the other, row after row, some clinging to life, others hanging on to whatever glimmer of hope remains in a region plagued by years of brutality. Many of these people have been robbed of their homes, possessions, families and, worst of all, their dignity.

Women and girls in particular have been victimized on an unimaginable scale, as sexual and gender-based violence has become a tactic of war and has reached epidemic proportions. Some 1,100 rapes are reported each month, with an average of 36 women and girls raped every day.

I visited a hospital run by the organization Heal Africa and met a woman who told me that she was eight months' pregnant when she was attacked. She was at home when a group of men broke in. They took her husband and two of their children and shot them in the front yard, before returning into the house to shoot her other two children. Then they beat and gang-raped her and left her for dead. But she wasn't dead. She fought for life and her neighbors managed to get her to the hospital – 85 kilometers away....(Remainder.)

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The Retarded Baby Jesus "Bears False Witness" While Smearing Obama

By Media Matters

On August 20, Sean Hannity misrepresented a statement that President Obama made during a conference call with religious leaders, claiming that Obama "talked about those of us that oppose ObamaCare as, quote, 'bearing false witness.' " In fact, Obama was not calling out opponents of health insurance reform, but rather those who have misinformed about it, stating: "I know there's been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness, but I want everyone to know what health insurance reform is all about."...(Remainder.)



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Fox & Fiend's, Steve Douchey, Gets All Christianist & Attacks Obama for Not Choosing a Church

By Media Matters

For two days, the hosts of Fox & Friends have misrepresented President Obama's reference during a conference call with religious leaders about health care reform to those "bearing false witness," suggesting that Obama -- who, in the words of Gretchen Carlson, "has not chosen a church yet" -- was saying, in Steve Doocy's words, "anybody who disagrees with him is breaking a commandment -- is a sinner and a liar." In fact, Obama was not calling out opponents of health insurance reform, but rather those who have misinformed about it, stating: "I know there's been a lot of misinformation in this debate, and there are some folks out there who are, frankly, bearing false witness, but I want everyone to know what health insurance reform is all about."...(Remainder.)



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Dr. Nancy Snyderman Debunks Repiglickin Health Lies, Then Gets All Crazy "Fringe on Both Sides"

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Michael "Savage" Weiner Thinks He's Somehow Like Jesus...Um...NO!

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The Pot Calling the Kettle Whacked

By Steve Benson
Arizona Republic



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Wingnuts

By Steve Benson
Arizona Republic



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WaPo/ABC Poll: Growing Wariness on the Left

By Jed Lewison
Daily Kos


Greg Sargent takes a look at the internals of the new ABC News/Washington Post poll and finds the same thing this week's Daily Kos poll showed: dropping approval for the White House from the Democratic Party base.
A major factor in  President Obama’s slide in today’s  big Washington Post/ABC News poll, which is preoccupying the political classes today, is his surprisingly sharp drops among Democrats and even liberals, according to crosstabs that were sent my way.

Much talk today has focused on Obama’s difficulties with independents. But the drop among Dems and liberals is also a key driving factor in the President’s skid, according to WaPo polling analyst Jennifer Agiesta, who graciously provided the additional data.
On the question of whether Pres. Obama will "make the right decisions," confidence dropped 12 points among liberals and 8 points among Democrats from the last poll taken at the 100-day point in his presidency. (The overall drop was 11 points.)

Since April, Pres. Obama has also dropped 11 points overall on his handling of health care, including 11 points among liberals and 6 points among Democrats....(Remainder.)

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Competition Lacking Among Private Health Insurers

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar
Associated Press via Google News


WASHINGTON — One of the most widely accepted arguments against a government medical plan for the middle class is that it would quash competition — just what private insurers seem to be doing themselves in many parts of the U.S.

Several studies show that in lots of places, one or two companies dominate the market. Critics say monopolistic conditions drive up premiums paid by employers and individuals.

For Democrats, the answer is a public plan that would compete with private insurers. Republicans see that as a government power grab. President Barack Obama looks to be trapped in the middle of an argument that could sink his effort to overhaul the health care system.

Even lawmakers opposed to a government plan have problems with the growing clout of the big private companies.

"There is a serious problem with the lack of competition among insurers," said Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of the highest-cost states. "The impact on the consumer is significant."

Wellpoint Inc. accounted for 71 percent of the Maine market, while runner-up Aetna had a 12 percent share, according to a 2008 report by the American Medical Association.

Proponents of a government plan say it could restore a competitive balance and lead to lower costs. For one thing, it wouldn't have to turn a profit.

A study by the Urban Institute public policy center estimated that a public plan could save taxpayers from $224 billion to $400 billion over 10 years by lowering the cost of proposed subsidies for the uninsured, while preserving private coverage for most people....(Remainder.)

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Unbelievably Dimwitted Congressman Herger Calls Obama Plan 'Threat to Democracy'

By Paul Boerger
Mount Shasta Area Newspapers


Redding, Calif. - Republican Congressman Wally Herger held a health care town hall meeting Aug. 18 at Simpson University in Redding, where a partisan crowd of over 2,000 people loudly cheered Herger’s position that a public option was “unacceptable.”

Although Herger called several times for the audience to “respect each other’s opinions,” those opposed to president Obama’s health care were greeted with cheers while the few in favor were interrupted with catcalls.

Herger did not hold back on his opinion of the health care plan and the administration’s appointment of “czars” to head various departments and task forces.

“Our democracy has never been threatened as much as it is today,” Herger said to a loud standing ovation.

Although there were not the kind of disruptions that have been reported at Democratic representative’s town hall meetings, an altercation in the back of the auditorium resulted in Redding police having to intervene and hustle two people out of the room. Police reported that a woman is alleged to have clawed a man’s face in repose to his having pushed her while arguing over the health care plan. The investigation continues.

After denouncing the Obama plan to wild cheering, Herger offered a few solutions of his own including opening up competition among private health care companies by forcing companies to sell policies nationwide rather than just within individual states, tort reform to bring down malpractice costs and “risk pools like automobile companies” for those with preexisting conditions who Herger conceded are unable to get coverage. He also suggested “bargaining groups and associations” could help bring down costs....(Remainder.)

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Right-Wingers Are Always Eager to Dismiss the Existence — and the Threat — of Far-Right Extremists

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

Conservatives have been working like mad to whitewash out of public view the existence of violent right-wing extremists, only to run into one problem: They keep popping back up again, time after time. Darned reality intrudes again.

So when the Southern Poverty Law Center recently confirmed what we've been reporting at C&L for awhile now -- that the far-right "militia" movement of the 1990s was roaring back to life -- it really wasn't a big surprise when Fox ran a story quoting a bunch of various right-wing officials dismissing it:
"I think it's utter nonsense to say it's racial," said Carter Clews, spokesman at Americans for Limited Government. Clews said Obama's "doctrinaire socialistic approach to government" has triggered a populist backlash, but "it's inappropriate to use the word militia."

The SPLC report came just four months after the Department of Homeland Security issued a controversial report on "right-wing extremists." That assessment carried many of the same themes and warnings as the new "militia" report, also warning that the election of the first black president could be exploited as a recruiting tool.

According to data ALG obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, the DHS relied in large part on news articles, questionable Web sites and several already-public SPLC reports -- not official government sources -- in writing its "right-wing extremists" report.

William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, said the latest SPLC report suggests that DHS and the law center are relying largely on the same pool of information to make their claims about the rise in right-wing extremism.

"They are attempting to brand all right-of-center protesters as potential domestic terrorists or extremists," he said. "They are painting whole swaths of people as hate groups and extremists."
(Remainder.)

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Considering the Pig-Man's Predilection for Young Dominican Boys, He Should Stop Attacking Latinos

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Olbermann Names The Retarded Baby Jesus "Best Continuing Fraud" For Bachus & Baucus Confusion

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Shimkus: Repiglickin Mantra to Everything Should Be 'Just Say No!'

By Faiz Shakir
Think Progress


Progress Illinois’ Josh Kalven reports that at an Illinois state fair this past week, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) fully embraced the GOP’s “party of no” obstructionist strategy. Shimkus stated that the Republican “chant for now until Election Day” should be “Just Say No!” “We’ve been saying no for a long time,” he noted. “When President Obama was on the ballot, the Republican response was, ‘Just say no!‘” Watch it:




(Original.)

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Dying for Affordable Health Care - the Uninsured Speak



In a week of claim and counter-claim about the merits of healthcare provision in the US and UK, Ed Pilkington travelled to Quindaro, Kansas, to see how the poorest survive.


By Ed Pilkington
t r u t h o u t
Photo: Getty


In the furious debate gripping America over the future of its health system, one voice has been lost amid the shouting. It is that of a distinguished gynaecologist, aged 67, called Dr Joseph Manley.

For 35 years Manley had a thriving health clinic in Kansas. He lived in the most affluent neighbourhood of Kansas City and treated himself to a new Porsche every year. But this is not a story about doctors' remuneration and their lavish lifestyles.

In the late 1980s he began to have trouble with his own health. He had involuntary muscle movements and difficulty swallowing. Fellow doctors failed to diagnose him, some guessing wrongly that he had post-traumatic stress from having served in the airforce in Vietnam.

Eventually his lack of motor control interfered with his work to the degree that he was forced to give up his practice. He fell instantly into a catch 22 that he had earlier seen entrap many of his own patients: no work, no health insurance, no treatment.

He remained uninsured and largely untreated for his progressively severe condition for the following 11 years. Blood tests that could have diagnosed him correctly were not done because he couldn't afford the $200. Having lost his practice, he lost his mansion on the hill and now lives in a one-bedroom apartment in the suburbs. His Porsches have made way for bangers. Many times this erstwhile pillar of the medical establishment had to go without food in order to pay for basic medicines. In 2000 Manley finally found the help he needed, at a clinic in Kansas City that acts as a rare safety net for uninsured people. He was swiftly diagnosed with Huntington's disease, a degenerative genetic illness, and now receives regular medical attention through the clinic....(Remainder.)

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The Retarded Baby Jesus Again Lies to Claim Democrats Accused Protesters as Un-American

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Is God Protecting Fla. at Gov. Crist's Request?

By Brendan Farrington
The Miami Herald


 ORLANDO, Fla. --  Could it be divine intervention that's kept Florida safe from hurricanes since Gov. Charlie Crist took office?

Crist said he isn't trying to take credit, but he told a group of real estate agents Friday that he's had prayer notes placed in the Western Wall in Jerusalem each year and no major storms have hit Florida.

Crist noted that just before his election in 2006, Florida had been affected by a total of eight hurricanes in 2004 and 2005.

"Do you know the last time it was we had a hurricane in Florida? It's been awhile. In 2007, I took my first trade mission. Do you know where I went?" said Crist, a Methodist, referring to a trip to Israel.

He then told of going to the Western Wall and inserting a note with a prayer. He said it read, "Dear God, please protect our Florida from storms and other difficulties. Charlie."

"Time goes on - May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December - no hurricanes," Crist said. "Thank God."

Last year, Sen. Nan Rich was traveling to Israel and Crist asked her to put a note in the Western Wall, a holy site in Judaism and a place where written prayers are traditionally placed.

"It was the same note, by the way, the same prayer," Crist said.

This year a friend was going to Israel and he gave him a prayer to put in the Western Wall....(Remainder.)

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"The God Who Wasn't There" by Brian Flemming

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Americans: Serfs Ruled by Oligarchs

By Paul Craig Roberts
OpEd News
"In a little time [there will be] no middling sort. We shall have a few, and but a very few Lords, and all the rest beggars." R.L. Bushman
"Rapidly you are dividing into two classes--extreme rich and extreme poor." "Brutus"
Americans think that they have "freedom and democracy" and that politicians are held accountable by elections. The fact of the matter is that the US is ruled by powerful interest groups who control politicians with campaign contributions. Our real rulers are an oligarchy of financial and military/security interests and AIPAC, which influences US foreign policy for the benefit of Israel.
Have a look at economic policy. It is being run for the benefit of large financial concerns, such as Goldman Sachs.
It was the banks, not the millions of Americans who have lost homes, jobs, health insurance, and pensions, that received $700 billion in TARP funds. The banks used this gift of capital to make more profits. In the middle of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, Goldman Sachs announced record second quarter profits and large six-figure bonuses for every employee.
The Federal Reserve's low interest rate policy is another gift to the banks. It lowers their cost of funds and increases their profits. With the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999, banks became high-risk investment houses that trade financial instruments such as interest rate derivatives and mortgage backed securities. With abundant funds supplied virtually free by the Federal Reserve, banks are paying depositors virtually nothing on their savings....(Remainder.)

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Sam Harris on Real Time with Bill Maher

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How Conservatives Got the Facts Wrong on Their Latest Obsession: The “Death Book” for Veterans

By Marcus Baram
The Huffington Post

The latest conservative obsession - dutifully spread via Sarah Palin's Facebook page - is marked by the same alarmism and factual inaccuracy as the hysteria over "death panels."

According to this tale, America's veterans are being steered into ending their lives via a "death book" distributed by the government.

It all started with Jim Towey, the former president of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives under George W. Bush, who penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal describing how the Department of Veterans Affairs was using an end-of-life planning document that was aimed at steering veterans toward choosing death.

Towey stated that the message of the veterans' health-care system to its patients was "hurry-up-and-die" and he contrasted the "death book" with "Five Wishes," his own advance care planning document.

In dramatic language, he wrote:
"One can only imagine a soldier surviving the war in Iraq and returning without all of his limbs only to encounter a veteran's health-care system that seems intent on his surrender."
Soon enough, Palin linked to the piece, stating that "the Veterans Administration encourages veterans to forego care as they make end-of-life decisions." And Fox News' Sean Hannity and RNC chair Michael Steele were calling it the equivalent of "death panels" for military veterans.

They failed to mention that the so-called "death book" contains the same advance-care planning required of all health care organizations under federal law, has been in use since 1997 and was developed with the input of interfaith ministers....(Remainder.)

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At Last, Liberals Get Angry

By Bob Burnett
The Smirking Chimp


The 1976 movie classic Network is best known for the scene where deranged newsman Howard Beale (Peter Finch) persuades his viewers to join his rant, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" 33 years later, faced with the news that the Obama Administration was considering dropping the public option for health care, Liberals finally invoked their inner Howard Beale and got angry.

Liberals have been patient for a long time. We slogged through eight years of the Bush Administration, beginning with a stolen election. Then there were tax cuts for the rich that plunged the US deeper into debt. And who can forget 9/11, where Bush failed to protect us. Next his Administration let Bin Laden escape and bullied Congress into passing the "Patriot" Act. As if this wasn't outrageous enough, Bush quit looking for Bin Laden, invaded Iraq, and burdened America with six horrific years of war. We shouldn't forget Bush's failed response to Hurricane Katrina. And more recently, his Administration's lack of common sense that plunged the nation into the worst recession in seventy years.

Through eight nightmarish years, Liberals were remarkably well behaved: none of us carried assault weapons to Bush appearances, accused him of being a traitor, or shouted "kill him" at rallies.

All the while, Liberals yearned for change. Along came Barack Obama, who promised to put the White House in order and right the wrongs of the Bush Administration. Obama talked about changing the tone in Washington, reaching across the isle to Republicans. He said he was a pragmatist, that he believed "the perfect should not be the enemy of the good." Liberals believed in these sentiments, and so they cut the new President a lot slack. They had hope....(Remainder.)

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The Retarded Baby Jesus Reportedly Considering Run for President

By Ellen
News Hounds


OK, it's according to World Net Daily but that doesn't mean it isn't true. Noel Sheppard, at NewsBusters, says, "Go get 'em, Sean. Just the idea of this would make liberals in the media apoplectic." I don't know about liberals in the media but having Hannity on the presidential ticket would make this liberal overjoyed. I can't think of a surer way for President Obama to win re-election. But let's pretend we'll go apoplectic, just to give ol' Bullyboy some extra incentive. Hey, I'll even email him and beg him not (wink, wink) to put Sarah Palin on the ticket....(Original.)

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Right-Wing Spooge Buckets DeMint and Bachmann Call on States to Collectively Fight Health Care Reform

By Eric Kleefeld
Talking Points Memo


Here's another fun detail from last night's Americans For Prosperity teletown hall, which featured Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN). Both politicians said that if a health care bill passes, it should be actively fought and resisted through a collective effort of conservative governors.

A caller asked DeMint what the states could do in order to stop unconstitutional action by the federal government on health care. DeMint replied, "I think the key to pushing back against the federal government is some governors and state legislators who champion individual freedom."

DeMint said he would love to see states go to court to invoke the Tenth Amendment: "If we had some states come together and say the only way to save this country is to push back." He also added: "I think you'll see some states say no more, we're not going down with the federal government."

A few minutes later, Bachmann commented on this possibility as well, noting that the efforts of some Republican governors to reject stimulus money failed in large part because they were too isolated from one another. A collective action, on the other hand, would stand a much greater chance of success....(Remainder.)

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Purge Them Thar Libruls Outta Out Textbooks

By Meteor Blades
Daily Kos


The Texas Republican Party platform has always been a good read if you like chills up your spine. But the latest effort by the Gee Oh Pee in Texas takes this another step. The Houston Chronicle reports:
Texas high school students would learn about such significant individuals and milestones of conservative politics as Newt Gingrich and the rise of the Moral Majority — but nothing about liberals — under the first draft of new standards for public school history textbooks.
The first draft for proposed standards in United States History Studies Since Reconstruction declares that students should be expected "to identify significant conservative advocacy organizations and individuals, such as Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Schlafly and the Moral Majority," according to the Dallas Morning News.

A six-member panel was set up by the Republican-dominated Texas Board of Education to advise teams of teachers, academics and community representatives to rewrite the standards for social studies textbooks and curricula. One advisor, Peter Marshall, head of Peter Marshall Ministries in Massachusetts, said in early July:
"To have César Chávez listed next to Ben Franklin" – as in the current standards – "is ludicrous," wrote evangelical minister Peter Marshall, one of six experts advising the state as it develops new curriculum standards for social studies classes and textbooks. [...]

Marshall also questioned whether Thurgood Marshall, who argued the landmark case that resulted in school desegregation and was the first black U.S. Supreme Court justice, should be presented to Texas students as an important historical figure. He wrote that the late justice is "not a strong enough example" of such a figure.
(Remainder.)

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Liberals Have Guns Too, Ya Know...

By Stephen Pizzo
The Smirking Chimp


So, the latest way the wing-nut right has found to get everyone's attention is to show up heavy at healthcare town hall meetings. I don't know what loaded guns have to do with healthcare reform, but there they are, AR15's hanging on the shoulders of men in baseball caps, 9mm semi-automatic pistolas strapped, Bruce Willis-style, on their upper thighs. All loaded for ... what? Bear? Deer? Muskrats? Dingos?

Dunno. But there they are, loaded for something - prancing around with their hardware fully exposed with a, "mine is bigger than yours," swagger. And "I got a honkin' bad, uncircumsized assault rifle." (With flash supressor.)

Right wingers are always fretting about how liberals are on the verge of taking their guns away. Which makes me wonder if they realized how many liberals out here are just as well armed as they are? Because we are. And, take it from me as a life-long liberal, I know liberals far better than right wingers do and taking your guns away is not on the mainstream progessive agenda.

So, we liberal gun owners don't lay awake nights, stroking our guns, waiting for black helicopters to sweep in with storm troopers there to wrench our guns from our "cold dead fingers." We know that's not about to happen, at least as long as we don't abuse our constitutional right to keep and bear arms. (Civics Lesson: Every right in the constitution can only exist as long as those granted those rights don't abuse them... like yelling "fire" in a crowded theater --- or shooting up town hall meetings... just saying.)...(Remainder.)

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The Guns of August

By Frank Rich
The New York Times


“IT is time to water the tree of liberty” said the sign carried by a gun-toting protester milling outside President Obama’s town-hall meeting in New Hampshire two weeks ago. The Thomas Jefferson quote that inspired this message, of course, said nothing about water: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” That’s the beauty of a gun — you don’t have to spell out the “blood.”

The protester was a nut. America has never had a shortage of them. But what’s Tom Coburn’s excuse? Coburn is a Republican senator from Oklahoma, where 168 people were murdered by right-wing psychopaths who bombed a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Their leader, Timothy McVeigh, had the Jefferson quote on his T-shirt when he committed this act of mass murder. Yet last Sunday, when asked by David Gregory on “Meet the Press” if he was troubled by current threats of “violence against the government,” Coburn blamed not the nuts but the government.

“Well, I’m troubled any time when we stop having confidence in our government,” the senator said, “but we’ve earned it.”

Coburn is nothing if not consistent. In the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, he was part of a House contingent that helped delay and soften an antiterrorism bill. This cohort even tried to strip out a provision blocking domestic fund-raising by foreign terrorist organizations like Hamas. Why? The far right, in league with the National Rifle Association, was angry at the federal government for aggressively policing America’s self-appointed militias. In a 1996 floor speech, Coburn conceded that “terrorism obviously poses a serious threat,” but then went on to explain that the nation had worse threats to worry about: “There is a far greater fear that is present in this country, and that is fear of our own government.” As his remarks on “Meet the Press” last week demonstrated, the subsequent intervention of 9/11 has not changed his worldview....(Remainder.)

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GOP Congressman Supports ‘Proud Right-Wing Terrorist’

By Daniel Tencer
The Raw Story


House Rep from northern California says public health option a 'threat to democracy'

US House Representative Wally Herger, of California's 2nd congressional district, expressed "enthusiastic approval" of a town-hall attendee who described himself as a "proud right-wing terrorist," newspapers in northern California report.

According to the Redding Record Searchlight, an incident broke out at a town hall at Simpson University in Redding on Tuesday when Herger signaled encouragement to a 67-year-old town hall attendee, Bert Stead, who called himself a "proud right-wing terrorist."

"Amen, God bless you," Herger reportedly replied to the comment. "There is a great American."

That was enough for 50-year-old Marisa Hewitt, who called the largely anti-health reform crowd "a bunch of racist haters" and started "using the f-bomb" after the controversial comments.

That did not sit well with crowd. One individual grabbed Hewitt by the arm and ejected her from the hall with the words "you're outta here."...(Remainder.)

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Jeremy Scahill Calls Out Chuck Todd for Calling Torture Investigation "Political Catnip"

By Heather
Crooks and Liars


Chuck Todd got called out on Real Time by Jeremy Scahill for calling investigations into torture "political catnip". Apparently Todd has taken no lessons from his back and forth with Glenn Greenwald on the issue since he was still as defensive as ever when someone with well more than an ounce of journalistic integrity calls him out for his lack of it.

Todd went on Morning Joe defending Cheney, and Glenn Greenwald ripped him for the same thing Scahill took him to task for on Real Time:
NBC's Chuck Todd -- who, remember, is billed as a reporter covering the White House, not a pundit expressing opinions -- was on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Tuesday discussing reports that Eric Holder is likely to appoint a prosecutor to investigate Bush torture crimes. Needless to say, everyone agreed without question that investigations were a ridiculous distraction from what really matters and would be terribly unfair. This, along with Mika Brzezinski and Pat Buchanan, is what Todd argued after he was asked about the Holder story and the Cheney/CIA story (video is below):
Todd: Look, let's take all of these stories in one big thing: really, the only important thing -- the most important thing -- the President has to focus on is getting the public's trust on the economy, and pushing health care. Cheney, the CIA, and in some respects Sotomayor are cable catnip --

Brzezinski: Yep.

Todd: It's news catnip - but they're sort of clouding the two most important issues the President's got to get his arms around this week: winning back trust of the middle on the economy and pushing health care through.

(Remainder.)

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CNN: Gay Iraqis Being Tortured & Killed

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Lou Dobbs Tours Single-Payer Systems Abroad and Realizes, Holy Crap They're Good!

By Leslie Savan
The Nation via AlterNet


Lou Dobbs is a strange man. One day he's railing against "Obamacare," stoking the birther and deather paranoia that an illegitimate president's health care plan will mandate euthanasia. Next day he's practically singing the praises of single-payer healthcare systems 'round the world.

It's kind of French of him, but last week, CNN's government-out-of-my-face bloviator began a monthlong, nation-a-night series to "learn from other countries' health care plans." He's already toured the single-payer systems of Denmark, Canada, and England, and the heavily regulated, public/private plans of Germany, France, Holland, and Switzerland. And, as if he were channeling Michael Moore or something, he's been rattling off stats showing that most of these universally covered foreigners are spending less on healthcare but living longer than we do.

Oh, sure, he'll occasionally exaggerate any weakness he can find--Lou's particularly eager to tsk-tsk over England's long lines. But overall, the series (reported mostly by CNN's Kitty Pilgrim), has been straightforward, like this look at Denmark, which could almost inspire a townhall mob to chant "Mandate, baby, mandate!"...(Remainder.)



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NIH's New Chief Pledges to Lead Research Agency 'as a Scientist'

By Dan Vergano
USA Today
Photo:  GQ

BETHESDA, Md. — Newly sworn-in National Institutes of Health chief Francis Collins, who founded an institute in May aimed at nurturing the coexistence of science and religion, announced Monday he had resigned from his foundation to focus on his research chief duties.

"I want to reassure everyone I am here to lead the NIH as best I can, as a scientist," Collins said, noting Internet and editorial page concerns about Collins, as an evangelical Christian, leading a science organization.

Collins, 59, may have stepped back from religion, but he then stepped into the health care debate: He called for more research comparing the effectiveness of medical treatments.

"I think NIH should be right in the middle of that," Collins says. "Not by providing political advice, because that's not what we do, but by providing evidence that is going to be useful in assisting decision-makers."

Collins is best known for heading the publicly funded side of the race to sequence the human genome, which ended in 2000.

"I think we're in good hands with him," says Alan Leshner, head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. "I, along with everyone else, was worried someone so associated with genetics would not be interested the kinds of broad research the NIH performs."...(Remainder.)

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America the Violent - 1969

By Gordonskene
Crooks and Liars

With all the talk, all the hate and all the posturing going on - not only about the current Health Care debate, but our current state of life and society in general, I was wondering if this was anything new, some new direction our society had suddenly and dangerously taken.

Regrettably, no. As is evidenced in this documentary, part of the Second Sunday series produced for NBC Radio on March 3, 1969 - we've been a country fed on fear, hate and paranoia for a very long time. It appears to have cropped up in our DNA.
Frank McGee (Narrator): “Have we had time to become, or do we care to become something other than a collection of irresponsible individuals, having in common little more than a toleration, if not an endorsement of violence?”

Arthur Schlesinger Jr. “We are today the most frightening people on this planet. The ghastly things we do to our own people, the ghastly things we do to other people, these must at least compel us to look searchingly at ourselves and our society before hatred and violence rushes on to more evil, and finally tear our nation apart. . . . we cannot blame the epidemic of murder at home on deranged and solitary individuals, separate from the rest of us. For these individuals are plainly weak and suggestible men stamped by our society with a birth rite of hatred and a compulsion toward violence. We must recognize, I believe that the evil is in us, that it springs from some dark intolerable tension in our history and our institutions. It is almost as though some primal curse had been fixed on our nation. We are a violent people with a violent history, and the instinct for violence has seeped into the bloodstream of our national life.”
And considering 1969 was a comparatively good year in retrospect.

Forty years on it's only gotten stranger - or maybe the microscope is looking more closely.

In any event . . ....(Original.)

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Right-Wing Hack Juan Williams Brings His Fox Bullshit to NPR, Calls Reconciliation "Nuclear Option"

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