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Vice-President Biden Talks Medicare with Seniors

Thursday, September 24, 2009

By White House

At a town hall meeting today with seniors in Silver Spring, MD, Vice President Joe Biden and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius discussed the release of a new report, "Health Insurance Reform and Medicare: Making Medicare Stronger for America's Seniors."  The Vice President was perfectly clear: "Nobody is going to mess with your benefits. All we do is make it better for people on Medicare." 
He joked about having to disabuse his own mother of myths being spread around about "death panels" and reduced Medicare benefits, getting laughs at the line: "I said, 'Mom, I'm trying to kill you," before explaining to her that it was a "bunch of malarkey."...(Remainder.)


Your Turn

By Ed Stein
Ed Stein Ink


Does Glenn Beck Support the Slave Trade or Is He Just an "Idiot"?

By Media Matters

In a chapter in his new book purporting to explain to "idiots" what "our Founding Fathers really intended," Glenn Beck praises an obsolete provision of the U.S. Constitution that prohibited Congress from outlawing the slave trade before 1808 and capped taxes on the slave trade at $10 per slave. In his explanation of the provision, Beck does not mention slavery, saying instead that the provision means that the Founders apparently "felt like there was a value to being able to live here" and lamenting: "Not anymore. These days we can't ask anything of immigrants -- including that they abide by our laws."

Beck claims to provide authoritative explanation of Constitution's meaning

Beck explains to "idiots" what "our Founding Fathers really intended" in the Constitution. In the introduction to a chapter titled, "The U.S. Constitution: Lost in Translation," Beck mocks "idiots" who don't share his interpretation of the Constitution:

How many times have you argued with your idiot friends about what's constitutional and what isn't? You may even show them the Constitution, but the disagreement continues. That made me think that maybe the problem is that the entire Constitution is written in English -- a language that is very difficult for the average idiot to comprehend. In addition, there are several words in the document longer than three letters, making it a tougher read than the "Dick and Jane" books they normally struggle through.

What follows is a translation (from English to Idiot) of several important parts of the U.S. Constitution, leaving no doubt as to what our Founding Fathers really intended. [Beck, et. al, Arguing With Idiots, Page 267]


Good! Pelosi Nixes Agreement with Blue Dogs, Pegs Public Option with Medicare

By Susie Madrak
Crooks and Liars

This is encouraging, because untying the public option to Medicare virtually guaranteed no significant cost savings:

Speaker Pelosi is nixing a deal she cut with centrists to advance health reform, said a source familiar with negotiations.

Pelosi’s decision to abandon the agreement that was made with a group of Blue Dogs to get the bill out of committee would steer the healthcare legislation back to the left as she prepares for a floor vote.

Pelosi is planning to include a government-run public option in the House version of the healthcare bill. She wants to model it on Medicare, with providers getting reimbursed on a scale pegged to Medicare rates.

"The speaker is full-steam-ahead," said a senior Democratic aide.

Blue Dog Democrats, many of whom represent rural districts where Medicare reimbursement rates are low, vehemently oppose tying the public option to Medicare.

Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) and a group of fellow Blue Dogs had negotiated a deal with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in July that would remove the link to Medicare. Under that plan, officials with the government-run plan would negotiate individually with providers....


Reichsführer Beck & Propagandaministerium Lead Conservatard Media Decrying "McCarthyism"

By Media Matters

After the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) instructed Humana and other Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations to cease sending health care reform mailings to Medicare beneficiaries, numerous conservative media figures -- including several Fox News hosts -- have advanced the talking point that the Obama administration is "threatening" or "suppress[ing] free speech" rights of reform opponents, in a manner Glenn Beck said "sounds like Joe McCarthy," often failing to note CMS' rationale. In fact, CMS expressed concern that the mailings -- which directed beneficiaries to contact Congress in opposition to Medicare Advantage payment cuts -- is "misleading and confusing to beneficiaries, represents information to beneficiaries as official communications about the Medicare Advantage program, and is potentially contrary to federal regulations and guidance."


Right-Wing Spooge Bucket, Dick Morris, LIES to Connect ACORN and Obama Campaign


Jack Cafferty: When DeLay Goes to Prison They Can Show His Dancing Video to the Inmates


Referendum 71 Opponents Use Divorcees as Poster Children & Insist They're Not About Hate

By Lurleen
Pam's House Blend

Floating on a lurid sea of male symbols pornographically piercing female symbols is a picture of the Nelson family of Ozzie and Harriet fame.  This is a new leaflet from the opponents of domestic partnerships in Washington state.  The page title reads "There is something very good in this picture", with arrows drawn to "Dad" and "Mom".  The following is written on the bottom of the last page of the leaflet
On the cover is a photo of the most traditional American Families [sic] from the 1950's television series, Ozzie & Harriet. David and Ricky Nelson really had it pretty good.  They had a normal mother and father and grandparents.  We simply want this for tomorrow's children and families.
Indeed they made a beautiful family, and for all I know were blissful together.  But that didn't result in sons David and Ricky Nelson growing up to be good fathers or husbands.

Ricky's wife Kristin gave birth 6 months after their wedding.  After making 3 more children, they divorced.

David had two kids with his first wife, divorced and then remarried.

The leaflet authors would label such people fornicators, adulterers and home-wreckers.  Much like several of the leaflet authors themselves.  Rep. Matt Shea is divorced, campaign manager Larry Stickney has divorced twice and married three times, and I have it on good authority that campaign attorney and strategist Stephen Pidgeon is on his fourth marriage, leaving children dotted across several states.  Did the many children these men produced have the benefit of their biological father at home?...(Remainder.)


Defending GOP Mini-Mobs, Michael Barone Makes Stuff Up. (We'll Wait for the Correction...)

By Eric Beehlert
Media Matters

Barone's recent Washington Examiner column is awash in casual misinformation, as the conservative writer claims liberals just can't handle criticism. That all the mini-mobs were doing this summer were raising substantive differences with Obama's policies. And c'mon, why are Democrats so thin-skinned. Are they afraid of democracy? Of dissent?

Yadda, yadda, yadda. Just the usual nonsense.

But then Barone (surprise!) started making stuff up:
But it's interesting that the two most violent incidents at this summer's town hall meetings came when a union thug beat up a 65-year-old black conservative in Missouri and when a liberal protester bit off part of a man's finger in California. These incidents don't justify a conclusion that all liberals are violent. But they are more evidence that American liberals, unused to hearing dissent, have an impulse to shut it down.
Oh my, suddenly conservative martyr Kenneth Gladney is 65-years old? I have to say that this story of the supposed "union thug" beat-down  keeps getting better and better over time. It's just another classic round of right-wing telephone tag masquerading as journalism. And in this game of tag, Barone is definitely it....(Remainder.)


Self-Identified "Completely Independent" Anti-ACORN Filmmaker Received Thousands from Conservative Investor for Prior Video

By Media Matters

From a September 22 post on the Village Voice blog Runnin' Scared:
James O'Keefe, the activist filmmaker who achieved sudden fame for a series of undercover videos recording ACORN workers, has repeatedly said that he is "absolutely independent" and received no outside funding to make his films.

But the Voice has learned that O'Keefe, in fact, has had heavyweight conservative backers who funded the young filmmaker as recently as a few months before his ACORN films were made.

The ACORN videos are actually just the latest of several films O'Keefe has produced and uploaded to YouTube. An earlier film posted in February, "Taxpayers Clearing House" featured nonwhite, working class people being duped by O'Keefe, who led them to believe they had won money in a sweepstakes.

That video was produced with the help of a grant -- said to be about $30,000 [Thiel's spokesman says closer to $10,000 -- see update] -- from Peter Thiel, one of the founders of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook -- an investment which made him a billionaire.


Max Blumenthal Discusses the Wingnuttery of the Right on Morning Joe

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

Max Blumenthal went on Morning Joe today to debate the nature of the unhinged rhetoric and behavior that's becoming part and parcel of the right-wing response to Obama's presidency.

Joe Scarborough often talks a good game about realizing what a huge mistake it is for Republicans to allow themselves to be dragged over the cliff like this, but like David Brooks, he has yet to come to grips with the dimension of the beast he's up against. Max tried to set him straight, but as you can see, this is a very slow process for recovering movement conservatives.

Both Joe and Mike disputed some of Max's facts, and as promised he's posted the substantiation for those facts at his blog. Yes, it's true that Jim DeMint believes that neither single pregnant women nor gays and lesbians -- moral reprobates all, apparently -- should be allowed to teach in public schools.

Incidentally, you can find these details and many more in Max's new book, Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement That Destroyed the Party. On bookshelves everywhere!...(Original.)


Joe Scarborough Agrees: Glenn Beck is Bad News for the Conservative Movement

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

Wow. Maybe he was inspired by his earlier session with Max Blumenthal. Or maybe it was the way Glenn Beck dissed Mika by telling her to "shut the hell up." Or maybe he's just as sick of Glenn Beck as the rest of us are.

Whatever it was, Joe Scarborough was relentless and on-point this morning in attacking not just Glenn Beck, but the conservatives who condone and empower him.

He took his cue from Peter Wehner's piece in Commentary, "Glenn Beck: Harmful to the Conservative Movement":
I understand that a political movement is a mansion with many rooms; the people who occupy them are involved in intellectual and policy work, in politics, and in polemics. Different people take on different roles. And certainly some of the things Beck has done on his program are fine and appropriate. But the role Glenn Beck is playing is harmful in its totality. My hunch is that he is a comet blazing across the media sky right now—and will soon flame out. Whether he does or not, he isn’t the face or disposition that should represent modern-day conservatism. At a time when we should aim for intellectual depth, for tough-minded and reasoned arguments, for good cheer and calm purpose, rather than erratic behavior, he is not the kind of figure conservatives should embrace or cheer on.


Joe Scarborough Calls Out Beck's Fomenting Hatred & Violence


Blue America's New Afghanistan Action on War Funding: 'No Means No!'

By John Amato
Crooks and Liars

Rachel Maddow highlights portions of the ridiculous McChrystal memos that were leaked to try and strong-arm Obama into sending more troops to Afghanistan.

Maddow: Over and over and over again this leaked report raises the specter of failure, of defeat in Afghanistan. Even as it defines what's going on in Afghanistan right now as I quote, "not a war in the conventional sense." If it's not a war but a thing that's not a war that we could lose....

Of course no one quite understands what it would be to win this not war either, but losing is perhaps politically stronger than the existentially dread of doing something indefinitely that just can't be won.

Blue America is taking a stand against an escalation in the Afghanistan war as the military is putting on their propaganda full court press on President Obama to send more troops in. We want to empower the 32 progressives in Congress that voted no to funding the war supplemental last time out and also expand the list so we can block further funding of the war. The American people do not like this war and Congress should represent that fact. C&L honors our troops and makes sure to list the members of the military that have fallen in Iraq Afghanistan every Sunday and although the media for the most part ignores our fallen heroes, we do not. I was happy to see that the President wasn't immediately bowing to the mighty general and remained cautious in his approach to the Afghanistan situation.
“Until I'm satisfied that we've got the right strategy I'm not gonna be sending some young man or woman over there — beyond what we already have,” Obama said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I'm not interested in just being in Afghanistan for the sake of being in Afghanistan or saving face or, in some way – you know, sending a message that America is here for the duration.”


Rachel Maddow Discusses the Sad State of Politics in S. Carolina

By Heather
Crooks and Liars

Rachel talks to native South Carolinian Eugene Robinson about the sorry state of South Caronlina's education and health care systems in contrast to the attitudes of their politicians who are all opposed to health care reform.
MADDOW: We‘ve had that lot of reaction to our report last night about the appalling new data out of South Carolina that read like a statewide cry for health care reform.

Last night, we reported that South Carolina has among the country‘s worst women‘s reproductive health care. Rates of teen pregnancy, low birth weight infants, and infant mortality that are among the highest in the country. The rate at which young women in South Carolina received the important and effective HPV vaccine is also among the lowest in the country.

But wait, there‘s more—and it‘s all bad. The state has the fifth highest rate of obesity. It has the highest stroke death rate of all states in the country, and has maintained that distinction for five decades. It has the second highest death rate for oral cancer. The life expectancy in South Carolina is the third worst in the union.

If Governor Mark Sanford, for example, decided to move to Argentina permanently, he would be among people expected to live at least a year and a half longer than South Carolinians are—in Argentina.

Yes, South Carolina needs better health care. And to get it, it may need some civil servants who are slightly more interested in getting that for the state.

Governor Sanford, considered just a year ago a possible presidential contender in 2012, led the fight to turn down stimulus funding from the federal government, shunning federal unemployment benefits when South Carolina had the second highest rate of joblessness in the country. We should‘ve seen that as a symbol.

And that was all before he offered this fine moment in leadership....



Mormon Cult Leader & Bigot Says Homosexuality 'Not in Your DNA'

By Rosemary Winters
The Salt Lake Tribune

People who are attracted to members of their own sex can change, an LDS general authority said Saturday, so they shouldn't let Satan persuade them they can't.

Elder Bruce C. Hafen, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy, spoke at the 19th annual conference of Evergreen International, a nonprofit group that helps Mormons "overcome homosexual behavior" and "diminish same-sex attraction." The event was held at the LDS Church's Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake City.

Hafen promised attendees, "If you are faithful, on resurrection morning -- and maybe even before then -- you will rise with normal attractions for the opposite sex."

Whenever the devil -- whom Hafen referred to as "the adversary" -- tries to "convince you that you are hopelessly 'that way,' so that acting out your feelings is inevitable, he is lying," Hafen said. "He is the father of lies."

Last month, the American Psychological Association passed a resolution advising mental health professionals against telling their clients they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.

No solid evidence exists that such efforts work, the APA concluded, and some studies suggest the potential for harm, including depression and suicidal tendencies. A task force reviewed 83 studies on sexual-orientation change conducted since 1960.

The "long-standing consensus" of the behavioral and social sciences, the APA noted, is that homosexuality is a "normal and positive variation of human sexual orientation."...(Remainder.)


Christian Right Looks to Debt, Economic Worries in 2010 Election

Values Voters embrace libertarian ideals

By David Weigel
The Colorado Independent
Photo:  David Weigel

WASHINGTON — As the fourth annual Values Voter Summit wound down, Benjamin Paulding found a seat near the lobby to relax and reflect. An 18-year-old student who was studying accounting at an online university, he had arrived under a cloud. He was leaving in a much better mood.

“I had been thinking that unless God turns something around, the nation was doomed,” said Paulding. “I think our doom is delayed now, because America is awakening. We woke up late, but we’re going to able to make a difference now.”

Paulding’s new optimism wasn’t limited to the way Americans might turn against abortion or against gay marriage, even though multiple speakers at the two-day conference (a third day was limited to a morning worship session) had deployed deceptively positive poll numbers to argue that most voters now agreed that “abortion is immoral” or that same-sex marriage should remain illegal. He was increasingly convinced that his country was ready to turn away from the economic policies of President Barack Obama and the congressional Democrats.

“Taxes are going to end up going up, especially if the health care bill passes,” said Paulding. “And all the debt–if you do the math it would cost $438,000 for each household to pay off the debt right now,” he said, quoting a number he’d researched on his own.

Paulding’s worries were reflected throughout the summit, in the halls and in the speeches from the main stage. While the second day of the conference was given over to more overtly social conservative causes than the first, from activists who demanded the “defunding” of Planned Parenthood, campaigning to ban gay marriage, and working in general to “save” the hearts and minds of fellow Americans, it also cemented a move toward economic and constitutional worries. Attendee after attendee told TWI that the size of the national debt and what they perceived as an abandonment of the Constitution’s original intent were worrying them as much as the assault on their values....(Remainder.)


Right-Wing MR Party Against All Religious Symbols in Belgian Schools Until 16

By Le Soir
Via Expatica

The MR is proposing a ban on wearing any visible religious symbols to school until the age of 16.

The debate is hardening, according to Didier Reynders, leader of the right-wing Mouvement Réformateur (MR) party.
The controversial argument has run for a long time in the French community, and it is time that someone made a decision, the MR president, Didier Reynders, announced on Sunday to the television network RTL-TVi.

Many Belgian political parties want this issue solved, particularly in reference to the Muslim headscarf, but it is important to negotiate first, they have stated.

Representatives of the PS, Ecolo and CdH parties also took part in the televised debate but none showed a favourable attitude towards a total ban....(Original.)


Belgium Minister Says Social Security Must Tighten it's Belt

By Expatica

Budget Minister Guy Vanhengel (Flemish liberal) says that the government will not continue to fill the budget deficit in the social security system.

The social security system should also make an effort to fill the gap, said the federal budget minister in an interview with the financial daily De Tijd.

Until now the deficit in the social security system has always been covered for by other tax money. The Budget Minister Guy Vanhengel said that it is now time for this practice to stop.

According to Minister Vanhengel, the Stability Pact, which the government agreed to earlier in the week, will put an end to the automatic replenishment of social security.

It is not yet certain exactly how much the social security system will have to save.

The discussion with the federal government promises to be contentious. The Flemish liberals have always disliked the fact that the social security system swallows up an increasingly large chunk of tax income.

The Francophone socialists do not want to touch health care, unemployment benefits or pensions in the tightening of the budget belt....(Original.)


Michelle Obama Claims that Domestic Violence Counts as a Pre-Existing Condition in Some States

By Catharine Richert

In his effort to pass a health care overhaul, President Barack Obama has enlisted help from a close ally -- his wife Michelle Obama.
On Sept. 18, 2009, the first lady gave a speech about the importance of health care reform to women, and cited several reasons she thinks the current system is gender-biased.
This line caught our attention:
"Women are affected because, as we heard, in many states, insurance companies can still discriminate because of gender," she said. "And this is still shocking to me. These are the kind of facts that still wake me up at night... In some states, it is still legal to deny a woman coverage because she's been the victim of domestic violence."
Health reform bills under consideration by Congress would prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-exisiting conditions, an issue we've already explored; we've also examined how pregnancy can sometimes be a basis to deny coverage, and how pre-exisiting conditions already lead to health care rationing by private health insurers.

But we'd never heard domestic abuse could count as a pre-existing condition, so we decided to look into the claim.

The issue first came to light in 1994, when a Pennsylvania woman was denied health, life and mortgage disability insurance because of domestic violence, according to the Women's Law Project. That group, along with Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence, began advocating for legislation to expressly prohibit the practice. Since then, most states, including Pennsylvania, have adopted laws prohibiting the practice....(Remainder.)


National Right to Life Committee Claims Under Baucus Bill, Federal Funds Would Subsidize Abortions

By Robert Farley

In his plan for health care reform, Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., hoped to eliminate abortion as a wedge issue.

Good luck with that, Senator.

With an issue as contentious and complex as abortion, appeasing both sides is almost impossible.

"This is a health care bill, not an abortion bill," Baucus said. "The attempt here is to find language that just maintains the status quo."

The National Right to Life Committee is having none of it.

In a sharply worded press release on Sept. 16, NLRC legislative director Douglas Johnson said the Baucus bill "contains an array of pro-abortion mandates and federal subsidies for elective abortion."

Legislators on both sides of the abortion issue are choosing their words very carefully as it relates to health care reform plans. We decided to look at two claims by Johnson that we think get to the heart of the rhetoric on both sides.

In a separate item, we examine a claim from Johnson that the Baucus bill "contains provisions that would send massive federal subsidies directly to both private insurance plans and government-chartered cooperatives that pay for elective abortion."  The Baucus plan would, in fact, allow private companies participating in the exchange, as well as the co-op, to offer abortion services. And people in both those plans could see federal subsidies. We looked at this issue in some detail here, and we ruled the claim True.

But in this item we delve into a second claim in Johnson's statement....(Remainder.)


The Rights of Corporations

By Editorial
The New York Times

The question at the heart of one of the biggest Supreme Court cases this year is simple: What constitutional rights should corporations have? To us, as well as many legal scholars, former justices and, indeed, drafters of the Constitution, the answer is that their rights should be quite limited — far less than those of people.

This Supreme Court, the John Roberts court, seems to be having trouble with that. It has been on a campaign to increase corporations’ legal rights — based on the conviction of some conservative justices that businesses are, at least legally, not much different than people.

Now the court is considering what should be a fairly narrow campaign finance case, involving whether Citizens United, a nonprofit corporation, had the right to air a slashing movie about Hillary Rodham Clinton during the Democratic primary season. There is a real danger that the case will expand corporations’ rights in ways that would undermine the election system.

The legal doctrine underlying this debate is known as “corporate personhood.”

The courts have long treated corporations as persons in limited ways for some legal purposes. They may own property and have limited rights to free speech. They can sue and be sued. They have the right to enter into contracts and advertise their products. But corporations cannot and should not be allowed to vote, run for office or bear arms. Since 1907, Congress has banned them from contributing to federal political campaigns — a ban the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld....(Remainder.)


Did the White House Randomly Credential a Right-Wing Blogger?

By Tommy Christopher

Steve Gutowski, reporter for Newsbusters and proprietor of the website, got some good news in his email yesterday: (via email)
You have been granted credentials to cover President Obama’s arrival at Albany International Airport tomorrow, September 21st.
The strange part is, Gutowski says he not only never requested credentials to the event, he’s never even emailed the White House before. In order to be credentialed for a Presidential event, a Secret Service background check must be performed, which would seem to mean they either didn’t perform one in this case (a frightening prospect), or they did perform one without Gutowski’s knowledge (also frightening).

Gutowski is also the subject of legal hassles by Politico, who think Gutowski’s site may confuse their readers. Did it also confuse the White House?

A White House source told me that Gutowski’s name didn’t appear anywhere on the email, or on the Secret Service roster, so there was no way an unchecked journalist would have had access to the event. On the issue of Gutowski’s privacy, a further check revealed that another Newsbusters reporter, George “Rusty” Weiss, did request credentials, and put down a Newsbusters general email address as his secondary contact....(Remainder.)


Latino Leaders Riled by Role of Immigration in Health Care Debate

Recent Proposals Could Bar Undocumented Immigrants From Purchasing Full-Price Insurance

By Daphne Eviatar
The Washington Independent
Photo: WDCpix

Latino lawmakers had long ago given up on the idea that illegal immigrants would receive any sort of subsidized health insurance under a health care reform bill, even if there are strong economic, public health and moral arguments to support the idea. But what they hadn’t expected – at least not before Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst earlier this month – was that immigrants would be so scapegoated in the health care debate that undocumented immigrants would be denied the opportunity even to purchase market-based private health insurance with their own money. That development, and other possible provisions of the Senate Finance Committee health care bill introduced by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) that may exclude even some legal immigrants from the benefits of a new health care system, threatens to undermine Latino support for Democratic lawmakers in the 2010 elections.

The Senate’s markup of the bill begins on Tuesday.

“We understood that undocumented immigrants would get no taxpayer subsidy, and that there would be a verification system,” said Rep. Luis Gutierrez, (D-Ill.) in a conference call last week organized by the immigrant advocacy group America’s Voice. “We said ‘okay.’ Bitter pills were swallowed,” said Gutierrez, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. But soon after Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) publicly called President Obama a liar, said Gutierrez, “the White House started saying that illegal immigrants cannot even purchase health care on the free market health care exchange.”

After Obama in his September 9 speech said that under his health care plan, everyone “will be required to carry basic health insurance”, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that President Obama had never meant to allow illegal immigrants to participate in the health care exchange included as part of the proposal....(Remainder.)


Former Bush Speechwriter, Peter Wehner, Says “the Role Glenn Beck is Playing is Harmful in its Totality”

By Media Matters

From a September 21 blog post by Peter Wehner on the Commentary magazine blog Contentions:
Only recently have I watched portions of [Glenn Beck's] television program, as well as interviews with him, and heard parts of his radio program. And what I've seen should worry the conservative movement.

I say that because he seems to be more of a populist and libertarian than a conservative, more of a Perotista than a Reaganite. His interest in conspiracy theories is disquieting, as is his admiration for Ron Paul and his charges of American "imperialism." (He is now talking about pulling troops out of Afghanistan, South Korea, Germany, and elsewhere.) Some of Beck's statements -- for example, that President Obama has a "deep-seated hatred for white people" -- are quite unfair and not good for the country. His argument that there is very little difference between the two parties is silly, and his contempt for parties in general is anti-Burkean (Burke himself was a great champion of political parties). And then there is his sometimes bizarre behavior, from tearing up to screaming at his callers. Beck seems to be a roiling mix of fear, resentment, and anger -- the antithesis of Ronald Reagan.


Jonah Goldberg Continues to Embarrass Himself Over Glenn Beck's “Racist” Claim

By Eric Boehlert
Media Matters

Pretty pathetic to watch.

Goldberg writes that it's crazy for anyone to suggest race is part of the right-wing's unhinged--and usually fact-free--opposition to Obama. Nobody on the right has even touched the topic of race. Conservatives are not " hung up on race." They just don't like Obama's policies. Liberals are just making up the race stuff, and it's "ugly" and "egregious."

Of course, the gaping hole in that hollow argument is that Glenn Beck (Goldberg ever heard of him?) went on Fox News this summer and claimed Obama, whose mother was white and who was raised by his white grandparents, hates white people, hates white culture and is a "racist." Worse, Goldberg at the time defended Beck's outrageous and hateful claim.

Now, weeks later Goldberg pretends he can't figure out where these race-based allegations are coming from?...(Remainder.)


Obama Finally Slams Banks

By Chris in Paris

It's certainly not related to the central problems caused by the banks nor is it related to the outrageous bonuses that they have reinstated but it's a start. After months of dawdling Obama is going after the banks who are using bailout money to lobby against a new program to fund student loans. The GOP, naturally, is outraged at this "government takeover" but somehow forgot about the fleecing of American families during the credit boom. Lenders often worked in conjunction with universities by providing money back for steering loans their way. (Gosh, isn't paying extra for a loan a type of tax on American families and students? Even worse, it was a tax to pay for fat bonuses at banks who ruined the economy.)

It's a very good target for Obama though I wouldn't mind seeing him expand this and get aggressive about the much more serious and costly problems. Yes, the banks who the American public bailed out have used millions to lobby against change. And no, this is not a new story except for a few people in Washington. There better be a lot more coming soon in this department....(Remainder.)



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