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♬ Anybody Here, Seen My Old Friend Ted?... ♬

Thursday, August 27, 2009

By Joe Heller
The Green Bay Press-Gazette



By R.J. Matson
The New York Observer


Senator Ted Kennedy 1932-2009


Health Care and the Democratic Soul

It's time for Obama to channel Harry Truman.

By Thomas Frank
Wall Street Journal
Photo:  AP

What is at stake in the debate over health care is more than the mere crafting of policy. The issue is now the identity of the Democratic Party.

By now we know that Democrats can bail out traditional Republican constituencies like Wall Street, but it remains to be seen whether they can enact a convincing version of their own signature issue, health-care reform.

At this point, it's fair to ask whether Democrats remember why health care is their issue in the first place. As health-care debates always have done, this one has pushed to the fore all the big questions about the rightful role of government, and too many Democrats have sought to avoid them with mushy appeals to consensus and bipartisanship. The war is on and if Democrats want to win they need to start fighting.

In the early years of the campaign for national health insurance, the battle lines were more clearly drawn. Back in the '40s, the issue was part of an "economic bill of rights," a grand Rooseveltian idea pushed by President Harry S. Truman.

Truman had a knack for populist phrasing. "In 1932 we were attacking the citadel of special privilege and greed," he declared in accepting the Democratic presidential nomination in 1948. "We were fighting to drive the money changers from the temple. Today, in 1948, we are now the defenders of the stronghold of democracy and of equal opportunity, the haven of the ordinary people of this land and not of the favored classes or the powerful few."...(Remainder.)


Cheney Accuses Obama Of Politicizing Justice Department

By Sam Stein
The Huffington Post

In a statement Monday evening, former Vice President Dick Cheney accused the Obama White House of politicizing the Justice Department and insisted that a new report on interrogation policies by the CIA proved the efficacy of torture.

Neither statement was correct.

Sending his remarks to the conservative Weekly Standard, Cheney insisted that President Obama had "allow[ed] the Justice Department to investigate and possibly prosecute CIA personnel."

Coming from members of an administration that put well-documented pressure on U.S. Attorneys to launch electorally-motivated investigations into Democrats, charges of politicizing the DOJ are slightly rich. But, more importantly, Cheney's remark ignores a consistent (and for progressives, irritating) theme of the Obama presidency. The White House has repeatedly stressed its preference not to launch an investigation into the use of torture. It would rather look forward, not back.

When evidence of illegality arises, however, the Justice Department is required to look into the matter. Far from succumbing to pressure from the president, Attorney General Eric Holder did just the opposite -- going against Obama's wishes by sanctioning a special prosecutor to conduct a narrow investigation into the use of torture. His hands were tied. Enough evidence was there to demand a probe....(Remainder.)


Progressive Caucus Finds Itself In A Strange Place: Power

By Ryan Grim
The Huffington Post

The White House expressed surprise last week that the "left of the left" had clung so forcefully to the public insurance option as a must-have element of health care reform. Some old hands in the administration were more likely surprised by the simple fact that, at this late stage, they still have to deal with progressives in Congress.

And who can blame them?

"We're the group that speaks to the righteousness of an issue, [but] inevitably the decisions about how that issue's going to be addressed are conducted somewhere else," said Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), describing the traditional fecklessness of progressives in Congress. "The fact that we have stuck to our guns about the public option has surprised people."

A majority of the 81 Congressional Progressive Caucus members of the House have vowed to oppose any health care bill that does not include a "robust public option." That threat has kept it alive. With 256 seats in the House and 218 needed to pass a bill, Democrats simply can't move health care reform on their own without progressive caucus support.

The question facing the White House and congressional leadership: Just how serious are they? Interviews with CPC leaders and a look at the group's behavior suggest that leadership would be well advised to consider the threat real.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has repeatedly acknowledged the reality that the progressives can block the bill. In June, she was asked by HuffPost if she would allow health care reform without a public option to pass the House....(Remainder.)


Vietnam Veterans of America: ‘Death Book’ Scare Tactics Inexcusable

By Vietnam Veterans of America

(Washington, D.C.) – "Health care reform is a legitimate topic for discussion and debate," said John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), "but it is outrageous for some partisans to politicize the debate by targeting veterans with blatant scare tactics.

"The issue du jour is the so-called Death Book for veterans," Rowan said. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, the person who headed the office of faith-based initiatives for the Bush White House attacked 'Your Life, Your Choices,' a 52-page booklet of end-of-life options to be considered by veterans and their families that has been given out by the VA as per federal law.  This booklet, developed in 1997 when Bill Clinton was President, was given to veterans and their families, if requested, under a directive in 2007 from President Bush.  It was updated last month, under President Obama.

"This booklet was developed with guidance from clerics," Rowan said, "and it addresses options most of us and our loved ones will have to sort through as we live our final years.  To play politics with veterans' end-of-life choices is not only irresponsible politically, but it is cruel.  We agree with Congressman Joe Sestak, a retired Navy Admiral, who is outraged at the 'Death Book' charges and has called them 'inexcusable.'

"It is our hope that sane minds reject fear-mongering, and that veterans recognize these scare tactics for what they are," Rowan said....(Original.)


Christo-Fascist and Whack-Job, Bachmann, Says Prayer and Fasting Will Help Defeat Health Care Reform

By Paul Demko
The Minnesota Independent

On Wednesday Rep. Michele Bachmann was part of a star-studded “teletownhall” meeting to discuss health-care reform. The event, billed “Keeping Faith with the Unborn,” was sponsored by the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion advocacy group. The organization’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, claimed that there were some 350,000 listeners on the line.

Bachmann was joined by North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx, most famous for calling Matthew Shepard’s murder a “hoax,” and former Colorado Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, who made national headlines by refusing to concede after losing her re-election contest November. But even with such veteran political pugilists sharing the phone line, Bachmann managed to distinguish herself during the 90-minute phone call.

The 6th district Republican quoted the late British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, attacked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for receiving political contributions from a medical doctor who was murdered in May, and called on everyone to get down on their knees and pray that health care reform fails. Bachmann didn’t always make sense, but she undoubtedly scared the living daylights out of anyone on the line.

Bachmann repeated the myth, adopted early by Sarah Palin, that the health-care plans being debated in Congress would set up “death panels” to determine which old folks are entitled to health care. “Thank God that Sarah Palin said that,” she told the callers. “These are true.”...(Remainder.)


Pathetic Piece of Shit at Premier Radio Networks Calls Sen. Kennedy a "Piece of Garbage"

By Media Matters

According to his profile, Eric Stanger currently works as:
Director of Affiliate Marketing, Premiere Radio Networks
Director of Talk Programming, ABC Radio/Citadel Broadcasting
Director of Affiliate Relations, The Sean Hannity Show
I wonder how Mr. Hannity, Premiere Radio Networks and ABC Radio/Citadel Broadcasting feel about his Facebook comment concerning Ted Kennedy's passing (emphasis added):
The irony is that the media is already positioning Ted as a champion for the little man against wealth and privilege. This piece of garbage was the poster child for wealth and privilege. Hopefully, this event will mark the end of this repugnant family and all the endless crap, entitlement, personal indulgences and collateral damage (Kopechne, Bessette, Bowman, Moxely, etc.).


Obnoxious Right-Wing C*nt Tammy Bruce Keeps it Classy


Randall Terry Ejected from Rep. Moran/Howard Dean Event


Joe Biden: “He Made Them More Graceful By the Way in Which he Conducted Himself”


Ed Schultz & Aaron Carroll Debunk Right-Wing Health Care Talking Points

By Heather
Crooks and Liars

Ed Schultz goes through the poll numbers that show just how badly so many Americans are buying into the outright lies on health care/insurance reform that are being put out there. There needs to be a real debate about just what's actually potentially going into these bills where the public is going to end up on the short end of the stick and put at the mercy of the health insurance companies without the distraction of having to debunk this other nonsense as well.

Ed talks to Aaron Carroll, author of Don't Swallow Your Gum!: Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health to talk about the hurdles with overcoming that misinformation....(Original.)


ABC's John Stossel at it Again: Critics of Obama Are All Labeled Racists by His Supporters

By Logan Murphy
Crooks and Liars

Here we go again. ABC's resident Glenn Beck wannabe, John Stossel, whines in a recent blog entry that all critics of President Obama are labeled racists by his supporters. To prove his point, he cites an article by a right wing pundit who has been consistently wrong about issues of race -- Jonah Goldberg.
During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama’s supporters promised that his election would allow America to “transcend race."

But of course that hasn’t happened. Jonah Goldberg writes:

It was Obama’s supporters who hinted, teased, promised, and prophesied that Obama would help America “transcend race.” But now, it is they who shrink from their own promised land…

From Day 1, Obama’s supporters have tirelessly cultivated the idea that anything inconvenient for the first black president just might be terribly, terribly racist.
Without one shred of evidence to back up his assertions, Stossel ends his screed with this:
Come on. Every president eventually is criticized by the media – even one as “transcendent” as Obama. The President’s supporters should engage his critics with facts, not charges of racism. Read on...


The Pig-Man Defends Torture: I Think They're Pretty Clever Techniques


The Oxy-Moron's Drug Fueled Fascist Rant: "Obama Does Not Like This Country"


Pathetic Right-Wing Pussy Boy, Jonah Goldberg Compares VA Pamphlet to Nazi Eugenics

By CSPANJunkie
Crooks and Liars

From TPM:
Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large of National Review Online, went on Fox News today to fan the flames of the latest fabricated "death panel" controversy.

Goldberg equated a Veterans Affairs pamphlet -- one that's reportedly no longer being used -- with Nazi eugenics, saying "death panels may not be too far off the horizon."

The pamphlet in question is one that, Fox reported this weekend, encourages disabled veterans to decide whether their lives are worth living. Tammy Duckworth, an assistant secretary of the VA, told Fox on Sunday that the department instructed VA doctors to stop using the pamphlet in 2007.

But Fox has ignored that insistence, saying soldiers returning from Iraq are given the pamphlet.

Dave N.: This really points out just how profoundly dishonest Jonah Goldberg is, just as he was with trying to deny that James Von Brunn was a right-wing extremist. These remarks are an outgrowth of his specious "Liberal Fascism" thesis, which since President Obama's election he has framed as the apotheosis of Obama's own fascist tendencies.

But as noted above, Tammy Duckworth has pointed out that the pamphlet in question was commissioned by the Bush administration, and discontinued in 2007. The Obama administration has had nothing to do with this....(Original.)


President Obama's Statement on the Nomination of Ben Bernanke

By The White House

This morning the President announced the nomination of Ben Bernanke for a second term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.  In his announcement in Martha’s Vineyard, the President put Bernanke’s service in context:

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. I apologize for interrupting the relaxing that I told all of you to do, but I have an important announcement to make concerning the Federal Reserve.

The man next to me, Ben Bernanke, has led the Fed through one of the worst financial crises that this nation and the world has ever faced. As an expert on the causes of the Great Depression, I'm sure Ben never imagined that he would be part of a team responsible for preventing another. But because of his background, his temperament, his courage, and his creativity, that's exactly what he has helped to achieve. And that is why I am re-appointing him to another term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Ben approached a financial system on the verge of collapse with calm and wisdom; with bold action and out-of-the-box thinking that has helped put the brakes on our economic freefall. Almost none of the decisions that he or any of us made have been easy. The actions we've taken to stabilize our financial system, to repair our credit markets, restructure our auto industry, and pass a recovery package have all been steps of necessity, not choice. They've faced plenty of critics, some of whom argued that we should stay the course or do nothing at all. But taken together, this "bold, persistent experimentation" has brought our economy back from the brink. They're steps that are working. Our recovery plan has put tax cuts in people's pockets, extended health care and unemployment insurance to those who have borne the brunt of this recession, and is continuing to save and create jobs that otherwise would have been lost. Our auto industry is showing signs of life. Business investment is showing signs of stabilizing. Our housing market and credit markets have been saved from collapse.

Of course, as I've said before, we are a long way away from completely healthy financial systems and a full economic recovery. And I will not let up until those Americans who are looking for jobs can find them; until qualified businesses, large and small, who need capital to grow can find loans at a rate they can afford; and until all responsible mortgage-holders can stay in their homes. That's why we need Ben Bernanke to continue the work he's doing, and that's why I've said that we cannot go back to an economy based on overleveraged banks, inflated profits, and maxed-out credit cards.

For even as we've taken steps to rescue our financial system and our economy, we must now work to rebuild a new foundation for growth and prosperity. We have to build an economy that works for every American, and one that leads the world in innovation, in investments, and in experts -- exports.

Part of that foundation has to be a financial regulatory system that ensures we never face a crisis like this again. We've already seen how lax enforcement and weak regulation can lead to enormous wealth for a few and enormous pain for everybody else. And that's why even though there is some resistance on Wall Street from those who would prefer to keep things the way they are, we will pass the reforms necessary to protect consumers, investors, and the entire financial system. And we will continue to maintain a strong and independent Federal Reserve.

We will also keep working towards the reform of a health insurance system whose costs and discriminatory practices are bankrupting our families, our businesses, and our government. We will continue to build a clean energy economy that creates the jobs and industries of the future within our borders. And we will give our children and our workers the skills and training they need to compete for these jobs in the 21st century.

Much like the decisions we've made so far, the steps we take to build this new foundation will not be easy. Change never is. As Ben and I both know, it comes with debate and disagreement and resistance from those who prefer the status quo. And that's all right, because that's how democracy is supposed to work. But no matter how difficult change is, we will pursue it relentlessly because it is absolutely necessary to lift this country up and create an economy that leads to good jobs, broad growth, and a future our children can count on. That's what we're here to do, and that's what we will continue to do in the months ahead. So I want to congratulate Ben on the work that he's done so far, wish him continued success in the hard work that he has before him. Thank you so much, Ben.


Fucktard O'Reilly and Faux Reporter Garrett Blatantly Lie About Obama's Fox Criticism


Fucktard, and Now Traitor, O'Reilly Thinks the Constitution is "Total Bullshit!"


KO and Jane Mayer Discuss The Horrors Of Torture And Dick Cheney's Lies

By dday
Crooks and Liars

Keith Olbermann talks with Jane Mayer in this clip about the release of the CIA IG report and the preliminary investigation into some of the worst practices of the torture regime. She talks about how the IG report reads like "a crime scene," foregrounding the idea that the architects of the policy at CIA were warned in this 2004 report and repeatedly thereafter that their agency would be in deep legal trouble for continuing these actions, and yet they kept justifying them and/or actually engaging in them for years afterward. Nobody took the warnings seriously, knowing both the makeup of the Justice Department and the Presidency at that time, and perhaps banking on how Washington would view these efforts, as part of the past and best kept their, given the Establishment culpability for torture.

Here's just a few of the facts of what CIA interrogators did in our name, just the ones that come from this IG report, as masterfully summarized by Glenn Greenwald:

• Threats of execution, using semi-automatic handguns and power drills
• Threats to kill detainee and his children
• Threats to rape detainee's wife and children in front of him
• Restricting the detainee's carotid artery
• Hitting detainee with the butt end of a rifle
• Blowing smoke in detainee's face for five minutes
• Multiple instances of waterboarding detainees, of the type we prosecuted Japanese war criminals for using:
• Hanging detainee by their arms until interrogators thought their shoulders might be dislocated
• stepping on detainee's ankle shackles to cause severe bruising and pain
• choking detainee until they pass out
• dousing detainee with water on cold concrete floors in cold temperatures to induce hypothermia
• killing detainees through torture techniques, whether accidental or not
• putting detainee in a diaper for days at a time to live in their own filth



Gun-Totting Right-Wing Freak Listens to Hate Mongering Arizona Preacher's Diatribes

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

So it turns out that Contessa Brewer had good reason to see a connection between the rabidly hateful rhetoric spewed by the likes of Pastor Steven Anderson and the angry, gun-toting protesters turning out for presidential events: One of the most prominent of these, an African-American man named "Chris", is in fact a member of Pastor Anderson's congregation.

"Chris" was on Alex Jones' "Prison Planet" radio show late last week and discussed how "my pastor was beaten up" at a Border Patrol checkpoint.

Yes, that pastor is indeed Steven Anderson, who was arrested in April by the Border Patrol for being uncooperative at a patrol checkpoint. Anderson attempted to make himself something of a national martyr to the conspiracists out there by posting a video to YouTube about it that quickly went viral.

Jones took note of the Anderson connection:
Jones: Now I'm starting to get a clearer picture. You go to Pastor Anderson's church, I see.

Chris: Yeah, yes I do. Proudly. I think it's the best church in the world.


Lying Sack of Insane Dog Shit Scrawls One of His Whack-Job Conspiracy Theories on Chalk Board


Shepard Smith Tells Fox News Viewers Not to Trust Fox News, Better to Use Google to Find Info


MSNBC's Contessa Brewer Explores Extremist Rhetoric & Right-Wing Violence

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars
[H/t Heather]

Yesterday MSNBC's Contessa Brewer tackled the rantings of Pastor Steven Anderson down at his strip-mall church in Tempe, Arizona, and examined the common-sense connection between this kind of hate-filled rhetoric and the people bringing guns to events featuring President Obama, as well as the various acts of domestic terrorism and right-wing violence that have accompanied the rise in this kind of talk.

The segment featured Evan Kohlmann, an NBC terrorism analyst, who remarked:
Kohlmann: Yeah, it's amazing that this kind of rhetoric is allowed if you're a certain kind of person, if you're a patriotic American you can say whatever you want, no matter how far along the line it comes to inciting people to violence towards other innocent people. It's completely unjustified.
But but but but ... doesn't Kohlmann know there is no connection whatsoever between the people who fill crazy people's heads with crazy, provably false ideas and the violent and insane actions that follow? That's what you always hear from the right-wing pundits at Fox, at least.

Which is why you'll never see this subject discussed at Fox -- except, perhaps, in dismissive tones designed to make excuses whenever the violence does inevitably erupt.


Southern Poverty's Mark Potok Discusses Beck's "Nasty Role" in Hate Mongering With Chris Matthew


Chicken-Shit Motherfucker, Karl Rove, Claims Obama Trying to Kill Vets

By Media Matters

Continuing Fox News' pattern of falsely suggesting that the Obama administration is pressuring veterans to end their lives prematurely, Karl Rove claimed that the Veterans Health Administration is directing veterans to an end-of-life educational booklet, "Your Life, Your Choices," that includes contact information for "a group that believes in assisted suicide," and thus "the kind of guidance we're giving returning veterans" is "you ought to go to an assisted suicide group." In fact, that group is not referenced in the current version of the document, a fact that Jim Towey -- who originated the smear of the booklet as a "death book" -- acknowledged in interview on Fox News Sunday....(Remainder.)


Shep Smith Gets Right-Wing Tool, Carl Cameron, to Say There are no "Death Panels"


David Shuster Debunks the Right's Lies About "Death Book" and Health Care For Undocumented Aliens


Passed Over for Administration Job, Howard Dean Lobbies From The Left

By Susie Madrak
Crooks and Liars

I, for one, am thrilled that Dr. Dean is outside the White House, agitating for real healthcare reform. He's much more effective out here than on the inside, being back-stabbed by Rahm:
Howard Dean has emerged as President Barack Obama’s chief antagonist from the left on healthcare reform, raising questions over whether Obama made a mistake by snubbing Dean for a position in his administration.

Dean’s strong advocacy for creating a broad government-run health insurance program, known as the public option, has become a headache for Obama while at the same time giving liberals a powerful spokesman with national credibility.

Dean, who once declared himself a representative of the “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party,” has been traveling the nation this summer offering his own views on Obama’s healthcare proposal. His uncompromising stance is reminiscent of his 2004 presidential campaign that took many Democrats by surprise, and has begun to symbolize a rift between the president and those activists who played a major role in electing him.


Edward M. Kennedy

By Ed Stein
Ed Stein Ink



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