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Sunday, September 13, 2009

http://www.squarestate.net/diary/8667/how-starbucks-sticks-it-to-thier-workers-a-personal-story


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Rikugun Chūsa Jim "Donkey Smegma Lover" Quinn Wants to "Kill" Islam

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Camicia Nera Scelta "Savage" Weiner Wants to Give Joe "KKK" Wilson Medal

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President Obama Weekly Address: Losing Insurance Can Happen to Anybody

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Joe Scarborough Calls Out Tim Pawlenty on His Death Panel Lies & UK Health Care Canard

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GOP ‘Cranks’ Dominating Debate

By Andie Coller

Politico

Joe Wilson's outburst Wednesday night earned more than a personal rebuke from the president and a dagger-eyed gasp from the speaker of the House; it drew winces from Republicans worried that their party is becoming known less for the power of its ideals and more for the pettiness of its vitriol.

"Neither party has an exclusive on wack jobs," says Republican media consultant Mark McKinnon. "Unfortunately, right now the Democrats generally get defined by President Obama, and Republicans, who have no clear leadership, get defined by crackpots — and then they begin to define the Republican Party in the mind of the general public."

Turn on the TV, and you see what he means.

Here's Orly Taitz, insisting that the commander in chief was born in Kenya. There's a flock of angry protesters chanting "Just say no!" and carrying signs depicting a Democratic congressman with devil's horns. Former GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin warns darkly that Obama is planning "death panels" for senior citizens. Georgia Rep. Paul Broun equates the president's plans with "Nazi" policies. Ohio Rep. Jean Schmidt — last heard calling John Murtha a "coward" — tells a birther: "I agree with you, but the courts don't."

And then, in the midst of all the catcalls, hand-held signs and "I'm not listening" BlackBerrying, Wilson interrupts Obama's address to a joint session of Congress by shouting, "You lie!"...(Remainder.)

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President Obama at the Pentagon 9/11 Rememberance

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The Unedited Truth: Why MSNBC Re-Airs 9/11 Coverage

By Dan Abrams
Mediaite


Isn’t it ghastly? Will we be accused of capitalizing on the nation’s grief? Is it still too soon?

Those were just some of the questions we faced when deciding whether to replay NBC’s 9/11 coverage when I was General Manager of MSNBC back in 2006. As I watched MSNBC air that coverage for a fourth year today, many of those same questions remain.

It wasn’t an easy call. After retrieving the tapes and watching the first four hours from that morning, beginning with the “reports” of a plane crash, it was clear the coverage from the morning was beyond mesmerizing. Seeing the events unfold in real time on television forces us to relive those emotions and feelings moment by moment. In the initial minutes we retain a glimmer of hope that maybe – just maybe – it isn’t quite as bad as it seems. As time passes, however, those shooting pains re-emerge as each terrifying detail of the morning unfolds, ultimately leading to the conclusion that it is that bad, and worse. The NBC anchor and reporting team handled it as well as anyone could have hoped. They were careful, methodical, at times overtly saddened but always calm.

I knew people would watch the replay, but when dealing with 9/11 we all knew the decision could not and would not be one based on ratings. The question had to be, is it the right thing to do?

Some have called it gruesome or ghoulish, even referring to it as “death porn“. Maybe so, but it also really happened. New York City is spending well over a half billion dollars to create a memorial to ensure we never forget that day. What better way to assure that happens, than by watching the event, as it happened for most, on television?  It’s powerful and disturbing because it’s so real. Simply put, there is no way to sanitize that day, and to do so would be a disservice....(Remainder.)

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Glenn Beck & the 9/12 Marchers: Subversives from Within

By Frank Schaeffer
The Huffington Post


Who are these people?! Where do they come from?! Ordinary Americans might wonder why anyone would stoop so low as to follow Glenn Beck, Fox News and Dick Armey (and their corporate sponsors masquerading as "FreedomWorks") as they organize their "9/12 March On Washington" to cynically exploit the 9/11 attack.

Patriotic Americans might question the organizer's aim to provide a media forum for dimwitted right wingers to scream "Liar!" "Socialist!" "Antichrist!" "Muslim!" "Death Panels!" "He's not an American!" and so on and on and on about the commander in chief charged with defending us from further attacks. And some people might even cry "shame on you!" to the more mainstream Republicans participating that include Dick Armey of FreedomWorks, as well as GOP Reps. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Mike Pence of Indiana, Tom Price of Georgia, and South Carolina GOP Sen. Jim DeMint.

Ordinary folks from Planet Earth may ask why the Republican Party, right-wing activists and members of the Religious Right seem so unreachable with mere facts let alone decency and decorum. (As the proud father of a US Marine who fought in Afghanistan, I'm particularly outraged that these people would exploit the 9/11 attacks after my son and others were prepared to give their lives in response to our enemies.)

As a former Religious Right leader, who was raised (and home-schooled by my Evangelical-leader parents, Francis and Edith Schaeffer) in the movement, let me explain just why the ordinary rules of decency don't apply to the right these days.

Let me also answer this question: Who are these people?...(Remainder.)

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Too Many Morons

By Prophet 451
Democratic Underground


Geezus, it's getting difficult to read for all the idiots screaming their collective asses off about bullshit. The most fucking annoying part is that they won't listen to facts. You can show them all the studies and bills you want and they'll still believe what they want to believe. Here, morons, try and get these through your thick fucking heads:

There are no death panels. That was never in the fucking bill. There was a provision to pay doctors for having the discussion about end of life care that all of us will one day need to have but there is not and never will be some panel deciding on your productivity. That story you keep spouting about being sentanced to die on the NHS is bullshit. It's talking about a fucking dispute between doctors over when someone should be diagnosed as terminally ill. It's not a fucking Sword of Damocles hanging over your head, it's a discussion about the best way of caring for people. No, illegal immigrants will not be covered under the healthcare bill. I don't give a shit what Rush told you or what Glenn Beck is beaming into your fucking head today. Standing law prohibits illegal immigrants from being part of any federal healthcare plan and the only section of the bill that could be wilfully misinterpreted to apply to illegal immigrants has a proviso specifically saying that they won't be covered (pg 143). No, it will not fund abortions. Whether it should is a different matter but it won't.

Come on, just fucking think about this for a damn second. The people voting on this bill have to get re-elected, some of them soon. Do you really think that if they voted for a fucking bill which "pulled the plug on granma", they'd get re-elected? Of course they fucking wouldn't. And knowing that, why the blue fuck would they vote for it? Why are you willing to believe any shit about Democrats when you would have a shit fit if this had been said about your guys? I didn't like McCain but there's no fucking way I would have said he supported a "death panel" or killing off your elderly relatives. McCain has his faults but that isn't one of them. And yet, you scumbags will swallow any fucking thing if it's said about Obama. You're the morons who actually believe that pro-choicers just know that the foetus inside them is an innocent baby and want to murder it anyway. You don't want a "government beauracrat" to get between you and your doctor, which isn't in the fucking bill anyway, but you'll happily support one getting between a pregnant woman and her doctor. Where's your fucking concern for patient autonomy then? Where was it during the Terri Schiavo fiasco?...(Remainder.)

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Send Joe Wilson Home

Former Bush and McCain strategist Mark McKinnon wants the congressman who shouted at Obama out of office and out of his party—and he's donating $1,000 to his opponent.

By Mark McKinnon

The Daily Beast


Make Joe Wilson pay.

And by pay, I mean beat his sorry ass at the polls and send him to the private sector. That is the only way to change the political discourse in America today. Because as long as louts like Joe Wilson can spout off and call the president a liar and get rewarded with reelection, then louts will continue to spout off. And we will continue to claw our way to the very bottom of the political swamp.

It’s unclear yet what the reaction is in South Carolina. There is a newspaper poll that suggests broadly South Carolinians think the incident could have a negative impact on the state.

On the other hand, anecdotally there appears to be plenty of evidence that many of Wilson’s constituents in the 2nd Congressional District actually support his odious behavior.

Wilson’s aides say his office is receiving thousands of calls running three-to-one in favor of his outburst—and he's running an ad on the Drudge Report using his victimhood....(Remainder.)

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Glenn Beck's Crazy 9/12 Tea Party Had Nothing to do With 9/11

By Rachel Sklar
Mediaite


Today I watched one of the most bizarro TV shows that I have ever seen: Glenn Beck’s 9/12 special on Fox News.

Even now, I am not sure what it had to do with 9/11 — other than completely co-opting it for Tea Partiers, Fox News, dissent and — oh yes — Glenn Beck.

The thesis: Beck wants this country to return to the values it held on 9/12/2001, the day after the terrorists attacks devastated and horrified the nation and the world. As someone who was in New York on 9/11 (and 9/12, and was evacuated from midtown office buildings in a panic along with thousands after a scare on 9/13), I remember those values being terror, bewilderment, shock, horror, and a profound grief. Over the days that followed, as people walked around in a daze and hugged and clasped hands more than usual, I recognized it as a city-wide sense of bereavement.

But Beck is right — there was also something else. There were people all over the city galvanized to try to help. People with medical training rushing to Ground Zero to see if they could offer assistance. Collections and donations for food and supplies. My roommate and I ran around our high-rise in an impromptu clothing drive, and took bags down to Chelsea Piers where volunteers were being organized. Rumbling past us along the West Side Highway were trucks, laden with white ash-covered debris. After seeing that, my roommate put his head down on his knees and just sobbed....(Remainder.)

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The September 12 March Against Sanity

By Jim David
The Huffington Post


I didn't go to the conservative March on Washington this weekend, but I have an idea of the hyperbolic, hysterical atmosphere, since I attended a huge anti-abortion march in Washington in the mid-90s. I will never forget the feeling of being surrounded by people who would beat the crap out of me if they could get away with it. Approximately 300,000 anti-abortion protesters were assembled, most of them mad. They carried pictures of aborted fetuses. A huge clear balloon enclosing a pink fetus balloon floated over the crowd. An effigy of Bill Clinton was hung from a wooden pole and beaten, like a pinata.

A man in priest garb who resembled Patty Duke's father held a sign reading, "Chastity, Not Promiscuity." A clown passed out "Stop Abortion Now" buttons, while making animal balloons for kids and accepting donations in a hat. A fat, middle-aged woman wearing a pink tracksuit and a fanny pack, looking like she hailed from a middle school lunchroom kitchen, said, "Way-yul, ah oughta go home and put on muh clown suit, make me some money! Heh, heh, heh."

The whole crowd looked incredibly like the residents of Waynesville, North Carolina, a low-income and extremely right-wing hamlet near my hometown of Asheville. None of the Christians I was raised with would be caught dead at this gathering. These people were what my mom called "That holy-roller bunch from out in the country."

Then a young man passing out "Keep Abortion Legal" buttons passed by me. I said, "Excuse me, aren't you taking your life into your hands here?" He said, "It's OK, I know Tae Kwon Do if it gets dicey. Want a button?"...(Remainder.)

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What Obama Says, and What the Doggie Hears

By Daryl Cagle
MSNBC.com



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ABC News Was Misquotes on Crowd Size

ABC News Reported D.C. Rally Size in Tens of Thousands, Not 1M to 1.5M as Activist Said.

By ABC News

Conservative activists, who organized a march on the U.S. Capitol today in protest of the Obama administration's health care agenda and government spending, erroneously attributed reports on the size of the crowds to ABC News.

Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, the group that organized the event, said on stage at the rally that ABC News was reporting that 1 million to 1.5 million people were in attendance.

At no time did ABC News, or its affiliates, report a number anywhere near as large. ABCNews.com reported an approximate figure of 60,000 to 70,000 protesters, attributed to the Washington, D.C., fire department. In its reports, ABC News Radio described the crowd as "tens of thousands."

Brendan Steinhauser, spokesman for FreedomWorks, said he did not know why Kibbe cited ABC News as a source.

As a result of Kibbe's erroneous attribution, several bloggers and commenters repeated the misinformation....(Original.)

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The Confederacy Has Risen...Welcome to the Cold Civil War

By Larisa Alexandrovna
at-Largely


If you think I am perhaps overreacting, then consider the number and more importantly, the kind of people who attended this boot-marching, corporate sponsored, hate-festival:

1. Racists

2. Birthers

3. Commie-fearing idiots

4. Religious Extremists

5. Confederates

6. White

Complete with confederate flags, Nazi images, and so forth, this was truly an inspiration for propagandists everywhere of how to scare the stupid into a stampede against their own best interests. Via Think Progress:
"Members of ThinkProgress attended today’s march and the signs carried by these protesters were hardly nonpartisan — and were often racist, radical portrayals of Obama, despite DeMint’s claim. Some examples of what we saw" (see Think Progress)
It seems to me that corporations are the new plantations. The health industry plantations got together and sponsored massive fear propaganda in order to get the above groups to join hands and march together in demonstration against themselves and their nation. What is clear, however, is despite whatever genre of hate drove the glue-sniffers out of their bed-sheets, this to me is a serious alert that the Confederacy has awakened.

Call it what you want. I think the most obvious name for this is a Cold Civil War. We, the North (not all North, but a good chunk of it), are against torture, illegal and unnecessary wars, big government, and religion in our politics. Or if you want to shorten that, we are for the Constitution....(Remainder.)

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Glenn Beck Leads 9/12 Million Moron March from Comfort of His NYC Studio

By Steve Krakauer
Mediaite


“I launched a project back in March and it comes together Saturday, 9/12,” says Glenn Beck in a Foxnews.com promo video. “Thousands of people are going to gather in Washington, D.C., and around the nation, to stand up for the principles and values that have made America great.”

Where was Beck today? In his New York City Studio – but he wasn’t happy about it.

After all the promotion of this Beck-driven event, on Fox News, on Beck’s personal website and on the 9/12 project website, it was jarring to see the Fox News host conducting his program like any other usual 5pmET weekday show. Here’s how Beck explained it:
Well hello America, I have to tell you I’m not in a very good mood today because I would much rather be, can you show the pictures of Washington, I would much rather be in Washington DC today…I’m not in a good mood because I would rather be there quite honestly, and standing in the crowd with people.
Well if he would rather be standing in the crowd, with the people, why wasn’t he? This project is something he admits to launching himself, and now we’ve reached the much-talked about date. The two-hour special featured a look at various tea party protests around the country, but the focus was D.C. Instead of Beck on the ground, it was FNC reporter and ambusher Griff Jenkins, making sure to ask at every possible opportunity for members of the crowd to talk to Beck. Wouldn’t it have been more effective if Beck were actually there? And further, despite saying he’d “rather” be in D.C. he gives no reason for why he didn’t actually go. FNC tells Mediaite the plan was always for Beck to anchor from the studio....(Remainder.)

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Obama's Squandered Summer

By Frank Rich
The New York Times


THE day before he gave his latest brilliant speech, Barack Obama repeated a well-worn mantra to a television interviewer: “My job is not to be distracted by the 24-hour news cycle.” The time has come for him to expand that job description. His White House has a duty to push back against the 24-hour news cycle, every 24 hours if necessary, when it threatens to derail his agenda, the nation’s business, or both. This was a silly summer, as wasteful in its way as the summer of 2001, when Washington dithered over the now-forgotten Gary Condit scandal while Al Qaeda plotted. The president deserves his share of the blame.

After a good couple of years of living with the guy, we know the drill that defines his leadership, for better and worse. When trouble lurks, No Drama Obama stays calm as everyone around him goes ballistic. Then he waits — and waits — for that superdramatic moment when he can ride to his own rescue with what the press reliably hypes as The Do-or-Die Speech of His Career. Cable networks slap a countdown clock on the corner of the screen and pump up the suspense. Finally, Mighty Obama steps up to the plate and, lo and behold, confounds all the doubting bloviators yet again by (as they are wont to say) hitting it out of the park.

So it’s a little disingenuous for Obama to claim that he is not distracted by the 24-hour news cycle. What he’s actually doing is gaming it for all it’s worth.

As a mode of campaigning, this tactic was worth a great deal. Obama not only produced eloquent speeches — especially the classic disquisition on race that silenced the Jeremiah Wright pogrom — but also executed a remarkably disciplined tortoise-vs.-hare battle plan that outwitted and ultimately vanquished the hypercaffeinated political strategies of Hillary Clinton and John McCain. As a style of governing, however, this repeated cycle of extended above-the-fray passivity followed by last-minute oratorical heroics has now been stretched to the very limit....(Remainder.)

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The Sick & Twisted Minds Behind the 9/12 Project

By James Hipps
Gay Agenda


OK, I hate to even bring attention to this groups of right wing hacks, but this, for lack of any better word, is purely and simply…CRAZY!

The right has come up with some form of protest called the 9/12 project, and one of it’s biggest endorsers is one of the “right’s” biggest losers, Glenn Beck.

The 9/12 project is an organized cluster f*ck of right wing racist, bigots, and cry babies who will be holding “tea parties” across the county…and the day after 9/11…ooooh, someone really put a lot of thought into that one.

I suppose it’s another attempt at blaming the Obama administration for their own downfalls as well as an attempt to somehow blame the Obama administration for the events of 9/11.

Sick, twisted, and out of control.  I just hope none of them get struck by lightning…we don’t need our President accused of brainwashing God.

Find out more about the complete and utter non-sense by clicking here…but keep a bucket next to you…it just may make you sick....(Original.)

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Real Time News Rules: Grow a Set & Stand up for the 70% of Americans Who Aren't Crazy

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You Lie!

By John Sherffius
Boulder Daily Camera



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False Apologies

By Strom Bear
Town Called Dobson



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There's a “Disturbing Lack” of Truth in Email From Maine's Bishop's Spokesman About Maine Marriage Law

By Joe Sudbay
AMERICAblog

This weekend, Maine's Catholic Bishop, Richard Malone, has ordered a second collection in parishes around the state (the ones that haven't been closed down yet) to fund the anti-marriage referendum. The Bishop's p.r. guy, Marc Mutty, is running the campaign. So, what is the Bishop funding?: Lies. That's the strategy the Bishop's consultant, Schubert-Flint, utilized to pass Prop. 8 in California as Karen Ocamb documents in a post at DirigoBlue.

Today, Bill Nemitz at the Portland Press Herald, in a column titled, "Gay marriage critic's e-mail fails the test," deconstructs Mutty's recent fundraising letter for the anti-gay campaign. (Louise posted the text of Mutty's letter over at Pam's House Blend.) Nemitz walked through of all Mutty's claims and found they could not be substantiated -- by anyone. Nemitz concludes:
Which brings us back to the truth – or disturbing lack thereof – in Mutty's misguided fundraising appeal.

In a statement issued via e-mail Thursday, Jesse Connolly, campaign manager of No on 1/Protect Maine Equality, predicted that Maine voters will "see through these cynical campaign tactics" by Mutty & Co. as the debate heats up in the coming weeks.

"This is an attempt to divert attention and raise unfounded issues," said Connolly. "Question 1 has nothing to do with schools and no one is voting on curriculum in November."

Connolly is right – and anyone who's taken the time to carefully read Maine's same-sex marriage law knows it.

Including, of all people, Marc Mutty.
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Two Marine Generals Take Cheney to the Woodshed

By Scott Horton
Harper's Magazine


Former Marine Corps Commandant Charles Krulak and former CENTCOM Commander-in-Chief Joseph Hoar have a word for former Vice President Dick Cheney and his advocacy of torture. It’s “irresponsible.” Here’s what they have to say in a joint op-ed published today in the Miami Herald:
[W]e never imagined that we would feel duty-bound to publicly denounce a vice president of the United States, a man who has served our country for many years. In light of the irresponsible statements recently made by former Vice President Dick Cheney, however, we feel we must repudiate his dangerous ideas — and his scare tactics. . .

In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Cheney applauded the “enhanced interrogation techniques”–what we used to call “war crimes” because they violated the Geneva Conventions, which the United States instigated and has followed for 60 years. Cheney insisted the abusive techniques were “absolutely essential in saving thousands of American lives and preventing further attacks against the United States.” He claimed they were “directly responsible for the fact that for eight years, we had no further mass casualty attacks against the United States. It was good policy . . . It worked very, very well.”...
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Belgian Man Denies US Charges He Smuggled Arms to Iran

A suspected Belgian arms dealer pleaded not guilty in a federal courtroom here Thursday to charges he sought to smuggle fighter jet engines and parts to Iran.

By AFP

Expatica.com


MOBILE - Clad in a prison uniform, Jacques Monsieur, 56, spoke only once to confirm that his name had been pronounced correctly.

His lawyer Arthur Madden entered not guilty pleas to all the charges against him, including six counts of smuggling, conspiracy, money laundering, and violating weapons trafficking laws and export controls in relation to a US trade embargo on Iran.

Monsieur was indicted by a federal grand jury last month after being arrested in a New York airport. An alleged co-conspirator in the case, Dara Fotouhi, 54, is still at large, according to the Justice Department.

Both Monsieur and Fotouhi are French residents, and Fotouhi, an Iranian national, is suspected of working for the Iranian government.

The indictment against Monsieur says he contacted an undercover agent in February seeking to buy engines for the F-5 fighter or C-130 military transport aircraft to export to Iran.

The J85-21 model jet engines can be used to replace the motors in the F-5 fighter that was sold to Iran by the United States before the two countries cut ties after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

Today, they are on a US list barring their export from the United States without a special permit. It is also illegal to export them to Iran without an additional license from the US Treasury Department....(Remainder.)

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Beck's Democracy

By Sandy Huffake
Cagle Cartoons



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White Approval of Obama

By Tom Schaller
FiveThirtyEight


Earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times pubbed a major piece by Peter Wallsten on the subject of Obama's growing "problem" with white voters. The article cites a series of developments since the president's 100-day mark in office--from the Van Jones episode to some comments by Congressman Charlie Rangel to a Ramadan dinner at the White House--as possible contributors to declining white support for the president and his agenda. Nate blogged about this article recently here.



Because Obama's support among blacks has held constant, white voter support levels more or less account for the president's declining overall numbers.

Wallsten writes:
New surveys show steep declines in Obama's approval ratings among whites -- including Democrats and independents -- who were crucial elements of the diverse coalition that helped elect the country's first black president.

Among white Democrats, Obama’s job approval rating has dropped 11 points since his 100-days mark in April, according to surveys by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. It has dropped by 9 points among white independents and whites over 50, and by 12 points among white women -- all groups that will be targeted by both parties in next year's midterm elections.
(Remainder.)

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Fox's Carl Cameron Flat-Out Lies About Obama Speech

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Ronald Reagan's Torture

Lost amid the attention given George W. Bush’s “war on terror” torture policies was the CIA’s cryptic admission that it also engaged in interrogation abuses during Ronald Reagan’s anti-leftist wars in Central America, another era of torture and extra-judicial killings.

By Robert Parry
Consortium News


 The 2004 CIA Inspector General’s report, released last month, referenced as “background” to the Bush-era abuses the spy agency’s “intermittent involvement in the interrogation of individuals whose interests are opposed to those of the United States.” The report noted “a resurgence in interest” in teaching those techniques in the early 1980s “to foster foreign liaison relationships.”

The report said, “because of political sensitivities,” the CIA’s top brass in the 1980s “forbade Agency officers from using the word ‘interrogation” and substituted the phrase “human resources exploitation” [HRE] in training programs for allied intelligence agencies.

The euphemism aside,  the reality of these interrogation techniques remained brutal, with the CIA Inspector General conducting a 1984 investigation of alleged “misconduct on the part of two Agency officers who were involved in interrogations and the death of one individual,” the report said (although the details were redacted in the version released last month).

In 1984, the CIA also was hit with a scandal over what became known as an “assassination manual” prepared by agency personnel for the Nicaraguan contras, a rebel group sponsored by the Reagan administration with the goal of ousting Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government....(Remainder.)

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Venomous Visitors: Religious Right Leaders Had Run Of Bush White House

By Americans United

It is hardly a secret that the Religious Right helped elect President George W. Bush and exercised extraordinary influence with his administration. But if we need more evidence, it’s just been put on the table.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government (CREW) has just released a report tallying visits to the Bush White House by major Religious Right players. CREW filed a request for visitor records that coughed up the information.

According to a Sept. 4 CREW press release, the count looks something like this:

* For the period April 2001 through June 2006, Focus on the Family Founder and Chairman Emeritus James Dobson visited the White House 24 times; 10 of those visits were to President Bush.

* Andrea Sheldon Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, made an astonishing 50 visits to the White House starting on Feb. 1, 2001, and continuing through March 16, 2008. Six of those visits were to President Bush....

(Remainder.)

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Texas School district Apologizes for Snubbing Obama Speech

By Eva-Marie Ayala
Fort Worth Star-Telegram


 ARLINGTON, Texas — Arlington Superintendent Jerry McCullough issued a statement Friday apologizing for how the district handled President Obama's live speech on Tuesday.

The decision not to show the speech live to school children became particularly controversial after it became known that the district had previous plans to bus about 500 fifth-graders to attend an event with former President George W. Bush. The event, which is scheduled later this month at the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, will be an announcement about a volunteer initiative for the 2011 Super Bowl.

"In retrospect, I can see how the district's decisions concerning these two events could be seen as favoring one event over another," McCullough said in his written statement. He later said, "I apologize that my decisions on behalf of the district have disappointed or hurt people."

The district allowed students to miss half a day of school on Tuesday if they wanted to watch the event live elsewhere and recorded the speech for later use. McCullough noted that he is encouraging teachers to use Obama's speech in their classrooms when and how they deem appropriate....(Remainder.)

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Conservative Derangement Syndrome: What Are They Thinking?

By Sara Robinson
A World of Progress


Over on the right wing, the conservatives are all a-Twitter because someone dug up a YouTube video from last February in which White House environmental staffer Van Jones calls Republicans “assholes.” And then yesterday, Glenn Beck breathlessly revealed that back in 2004, Jones signed a petition calling for further inquiry into 9/11.

Let’s not let ourselves get distracted by this, people. First off: the conservatives lost their right to get upset about public profanity the day Dick Cheney threw the F-bomb at Pat Leahy on the floor of the Senate. Even George W. Bush got caught on tape calling a New York Times reporter “a major league asshole.” Thanks to their own legendary potty-mouths, there’s not a shred of moral high ground left for the GOP to stand on here. Jones’ apology is a hell of a lot more than Leahy got from Cheney — so it should be more than enough here.

Same deal with the video. Any party that’s got its top leaders running around selling the idea of non-existent health care “death panels” and telling us that Obama is the next Jim Jones (that’s the new meme next week, by the way — look for it) long ago forfeited its right to call anybody out on conspiracy theories. Their credibility on the subject is even flimisier than their forgery of Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate. So, y’no, STFU....(Remainder.)

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It Was High Time for Obama to Win His Authority Back



By Josh Ward
Spiegel
Photo:  Reuters


Barack Obama's impassioned defense of his plan for reforming health care showed that he is done 'wasting time' and ready to duke it out to meet his goals. German commentators are thrilled to see the president in fighting form, but they're worried that reform failure could portend bad things for America.

You could almost imagine the "Rocky" theme song blaring in the background Wednesday night when President Barack Obama -- after months of taking punches on the ropes -- stood before a rare joint session of Congress to defend his plan for massive health care reform and declared with steely eyes and a firm tone that "now is the season for action."

For months, Obama had ceded the spotlight to lawmakers and angry town-hall-meeting participants who claimed America couldn't afford his proposed reforms, how they would create "death panels" and how they would lower the quality of care and people's ability to choose their providers.

Obama used the speech to win back flagging public support for his signature domestic policy campaign. He mentioned the 46.3 million Americans without health coverage, how health care costs drove thousands to bankruptcy each year and how the United States could not afford to continue spending 20 percent of its GDP on health care.

In the speech, he tried to reassure his audience that his plan was about security and choices, and he offered to work together with Republicans willing to negotiate in a civil manner and present him with good ideas, while also pledging that his $900 billion (€617 billion) plan would not increase the federal deficit....(Remainder.)

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Lithuania Condemned by Amnesty International

By Jason Shaw
Gay Agenda


Amnesty International, one of the World’s leading human rights organizations has condemned plans by Lithuania to criminalize the “promotion” of homosexuality.

Earlier this year, the European Union member state banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools. These new laws would encroach much further than this on gay life in the eastern European country, possibly criminalizing any mention of homosexuality in public places at all.

According to Amnesty, punishable offenses would include campaigning on human rights issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity, providing sexual health information to lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans people. The new proposed laws could also halt the organization of gay film festivals and gay Pride events or exhibitions.

Those who had been considered to have broken these laws would either receive a fine, community service or face a prison sentence.

Amnesty has warned that if the laws are passed, they will prevent LGBT people from being able to access vital services, it will also will increase discrimination, violence and human rights abuses.
“These proposals are a new low in Lithuania’s slide to state-sponsored homophobia”
(Remainder.)

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By Media Matters

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