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US Facing Massive Economic ‘Power Shift’ With Dollar's Downward Spiral

Monday, October 12, 2009

By Agence France-Presse
The Raw Story


The dollar's position as the world's leading reserve currency faces increased pressure as the financial crisis allows emerging economies greater influence on the world stage, analysts said.

A report last week in The Independent claiming that China, Russia and Gulf States are among nations prepared to ditch the dollar for oil trades has heightened the uncertainty surrounding the US currency's future.

The dollar slumped against rivals last week in the wake of the British daily's controversial report.

"The US dollar is being hurt by the continued talk of a shift away from a dollar-centric world," said Kit Juckes, an analyst at currency traders ECU Group.

"Three conclusions stand out very clearly. Firstly, the shift in economic power away from the G7 economies is continuing. "Secondly, there is a growing acceptance amongst those winners that one consequence of this power shift will be to strengthen their currencies.

"And finally, as long as the US economy is not strong enough for any rise in interest rates to be conceivable for a long time, the dollar's underlying downtrend will remain in place," added Juckes.

The Independent, under the front-page headline "The Demise of the Dollar", reported last Tuesday that Gulf states, together with China, Russia, Japan and France, were considering replacing the dollar as the currency for oil deals....(Remainder.)

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Republican Senate Sex Scandals Point Back to Secretive Conservative Christian "Family"

It was a hot summer full of sex scandals for GOP members of "The Family," the exclusive conservative Christian group with designs on DC power.

By Bill Berkowitz
Religion Dispatches


Before the Tea Party Express brought tens of thousands to protest in the nation’s capital, and before town hall meetings about health care devolved into shout downs, there was the story of the boys of C Street.

What at first seemed like a series of public sex scandals turned out to have a connective thread. The main protagonists (Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina, Senator John Ensign of Nevada, and former Arkansas Congressman Chip Pickering) were all one-time residents of C Street and members of the Family, otherwise known as the Fellowship. As the summer unfurled, the “three amigos” gave mainstream media outlets plenty to talk about, and this highly secretive and powerful right-wing group got a lot of exposure. And then, as is the wont of the media, the story of C Street disappeared from the headlines.

In this exclusive Religion Dispatches interview, Jeff Sharlet, author of 2008’s The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, talks about The Family and its summer of scandal, the organization’s tarnished present and future possibilities, and why the mainstream media had such a difficult time dealing with the group’s unusual political/religious beliefs....(Remainder.)

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Health Insurers Threaten Rate Hikes

Though looking forward to millions of new customers who would be compelled by the U.S. government to buy health insurance, the insurance industry is threatening to raise premiums across the board if more of its demands are not met.

By Robert Parry
Consortium News


 Industry representatives put Congress and the Obama administration on notice that if health-reform legislation doesn’t send even more new customers the industry’s way or if a windfall profits tax is included, the industry would hit businesses, individuals and the government with higher premiums, effectively defeating one of the initiative’s top goals, reining in ever-rising costs.

The industry’s chief complaint, which was raised in connection with an already-industry-friendly bill cobbled together by Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus, is that the legislation would push 29 million more Americans into the insurance market, but that they might be the sickest and thus costliest people.

The industry wants more of the estimated 25 million still uninsured – especially healthy, young people – to be compelled to buy policies, too. Without more healthy customers added to the mix, the industry says it will have no choice but to raise rates.

"The consequences of this would be an upward spiral; rate shock to everyone who stays in," Karen Ignagni, president of the industry group America's Health Insurance Plans, told the Washington Post. "This legislation will fail the test of affordability for individuals." [Washington Post, Oct. 9, 2009]

The industry’s warning comes after its lobbyists won an important victory in the Senate Finance Committee, defeating amendments that would have added a public option, a government-run program that would compete with private insurers to hold down costs....(Remainder.)

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Why President Obama Deserved the Nobel Peace Prize

By Melvin A. Goodman
The Public Record


President Barack Obama’s willingness to confront the lawlessness and the calumnies of the Bush administration makes him a worthy and obvious recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Prize has been given in the past to those who fight oppression and restore hope.

President Obama has repaired much of the scarred reputation of the United States and restored the hope of Americans and people everywhere who opposed the antidemocratic and authoritarian acts of the Bush administration. In less than a year, he has personally revived the indispensible role of the United States to renew multilateral diplomacy, arms control and disarmament, and human and civil rights.

The Bush administration created a strategic nightmare for U.S. interests at home and abroad over the past eight years. The Iraq War remains the center of this nightmare, and President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney worked assiduously to create and employ a strategic disinformation campaign to convince Congress and the American people of the need for war. Their manipulation of the American people (and the international community) is still not fully understood, but their lies and disinformation became conventional wisdom to the mainstream media, falsely linking Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 attacks and Iraqis to al-Qaeda.

How many Americans gave their lives in Iraq actually believing the propaganda about these links as well as the outright lies and fabrications about Iraq’s enriched uranium, aluminum tubes for nuclear testing, and mobile biological laboratories. The CIA  incorporated these lies into a speech for Secretary of State Colin Powell, which was delivered to the United Nations just several weeks before the start of the Iraq War....(Remainder.)

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Angry White Men

Why Obama's Nobel Prize will only further inflame the right.

E.J. Dionne Jr.
The New Republic


It is a sign of our weird political moment that the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama will probably hurt him among some of his fellow citizens.

His opponents are describing the award as premature. The deeper problem is that the Nobel will underscore the extent to which Obama is a cosmopolitan figure, much loved in European capitals because he is the change they have been looking for.

Most Americans will probably be happy to have a leader who wins acclaim around the globe. But, paradoxically, a decision made in Oslo to honor Obama's peaceable intentions may make it more difficult for him to reconcile a body politic roiled by years of cultural warfare, partisan animosity and ideological extremism.

The effort to understand where Obama hatred comes from has been one of the few growth areas in the American economy.

There is no doubt that some of the anger is fueled by racial feeling, which is not the same as saying that all opposition to Obama is explained by racism. Most Obama opponents are simply conservative Republicans who disagree with him. But there are too many racist signs at rallies and too many overtly racial pronouncements in the fever swamps of the right-wing media to deny that racism is part of the anti-Obama mix.

Obama can't do much about those against him because of his race. Even a 1 percent unemployment rate wouldn't change the minds most scarred by prejudice. But there is a second level of angry opposition to which Obama needs to pay more attention. It involves the genuine rage of those who felt displaced in our economy even before the great recession, and are now hurting even more....(Remainder.)

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Glenn Beck, Republican Strategist

When the Fox News host pushes a crackpot theory, it doesn't take long for the GOP to run with it. A timeline

By Gabriel Winant and Tim Bella
Salon.com


Oct. 12, 2009 | Something strange has happened to rank-and-file Republicans since President Obama took office. These past few months, standard-issue gray lawmakers have sounded like fire-and-brimstone demagogues. Conspiracy theories and over-the-top legislation to fix imaginary wrongs are flying wildly around formerly mainstream GOP circles.

It turns out that like so much of what ails the world today, this can be traced back to Glenn Beck. Some fifth-term Iowa senator might be railing against death panels, but it's really Beck's voice you're hearing. With his show on Fox News, Beck has successfully positioned himself as the weirdo right's ambassador-at-large to the rest of the world. When the patron saint of the Tea Parties lets his freak flag fly, seemingly normal right-wing functionaries have been known to line up and salute. Republicans parrot Beck's crackpot notions and pet issues routinely -- sometimes running with his manias the morning after he first airs them.

Take Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. In the middle of the Senate Finance Committee's debate over healthcare reform legislation last month, he broke out with an analogy about frogs failing to jump out of boiling water, one that seemed to have little to do with what he was discussing. "Sounds to me like it's the old story about the frog in the pot of water on the stove that pretty soon the heat's turned up so slowly that the frog doesn't know it's cooked," Cornyn said. Where might he have gotten the idea? Perhaps from Beck -- who the night before had pretended to boil a frog on TV. "You know the old saying, if you put a frog into boiling water, he's going to jump right out, because he's scalding hot, but if you place the frog in lukewarm water and gradually raise the temperature, it won't realize what's happening and die?" he asked viewers (who, apparently, included the junior senator from Texas). "We have been tossed quickly into boiling water!"...(Remainder.)

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SNL Slams Limbaugh: Rush a ‘Terrible Name for a Slow, Fat Man’

By David Edwards and Daniel Tencer
The Raw Story

Fresh from a round of taking the fight to President Barack Obama, Saturday Night Live mocked conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh on Saturday's broadcast.

Comedian Bill Hader, reprising his role as Democratic Party strategist James Carville, told the SNL audience that Limbaugh is "mean and fat."

Responding to "Weekend Update" host Seth Myers' question about Limbaugh's declaration that Obama "sold out" America to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Hader as Carville said: "How does a fella like that have fans? Hey, you want to listen to this drug addict? Don't worry, he mean and fat."

Hader continued: "How you gonna call him Rush? I mean, that's a terrible name for a slow fat man, Seth. The only place he's rushing to is Quizno's, asking about free double meat and waving some coupon he made on a home computer. He should win the Nobel pizza pie!"

Hader's Carville congratulated the president for his Nobel win -- "Seems like everyone else forgot to say that. The man won a Nobel prize. That ain't his fault. I mean, when I play Monopoly and I win a beauty contest, people don't yell, 'Hey, you can't win that, crypt-keeper! You ugly!"...(Remainder.)


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Calling 'Em Out: The White House Take on the Press

By Michael Scherer
Time


There was never a single moment when White House staff decided the major media outlets were falling down on the job. There were instead several such moments.

For press secretary Robert Gibbs, the realization came in early September, when the New York Times ran a front-page story about the bubbling parental outrage over President Obama's plan to address schoolchildren — even though the benign contents of the speech were not yet public. "You had to be like, 'Wait a minute,'" says Gibbs. "This thing has become a three-ring circus."

For deputy communications director Dan Pfeiffer, the more hyperbolic attacks on health-care reform this summer, which were often covered as a "controversy," flipped an internal switch. "When you are having a debate about whether or not you want to kill people's grandmother," he explains, "the normal rules of engagement don't apply."

And for his boss, Anita Dunn, the aha moment came when the Washington Post ran a second op-ed from a Republican politician decrying the "32" alleged czars appointed by the Obama Administration. Nine of those so-called czars, it turned out, were subject to Senate confirmation, making them decidedly unlike the Russian monarchs. "The idea — that the Washington Post didn't even question it," Dunn says, still marveling at the decision....(Remainder.)

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Nancy Pelosi to GOP: “I'm in My Place. I'm the Speaker of the House.” Oh, SNAP!

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Rachel Maddow: It's Obama Derangement Syndrome

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Obama Slams US Chamber of Commerce for Anti-Reform Ad

By Agence France-Presse
Via The Raw Story


WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama on Friday accused big business and its lobbyists of trying to kill his bid to pass a new law shielding US consumers from ruinous predatory lending practices.

The president spoke out in favor of his proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency, part of a wider regulatory reform effort designed to rein in Wall Street abuses, which is currently being considered in Congress.

"Predictably, a lot of the banks and big financial firms don't like the idea of a consumer agency very much," Obama said at the White House, hours after he was named as this year's surprise recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

"In fact, the US Chamber of Commerce is spending millions on an ad campaign to kill it," Obama told an audience of members of Congress, local state officials, finance industry workers and community leaders.

Obama denied claims by critics that the proposed agency would restrict consumer choice and innovation, saying it would set ground rules so that credit card, mortgage and finance firms could not confuse customers with outrageous terms and conditions....(Remainder.)

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Rachel Maddow Discusses Obama Nobel Prize With Barbara Boxer

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Sen. Barbara Boxer: Limbaugh's Nobel Response “Wimpy”

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Two Wrongs Make Another Fiasco

By Frank Rich
The New York Times


THOSE of us who love F. Scott Fitzgerald must acknowledge that he did get one big thing wrong. There are second acts in American lives. (Just ask Marion Barry, or William Shatner.) The real question is whether everyone deserves a second act. Perhaps the most surreal aspect of our great Afghanistan debate is the Beltway credence given to the ravings of the unrepentant blunderers who dug us into this hole in the first place.

Let’s be clear: Those who demanded that America divert its troops and treasure from Afghanistan to Iraq in 2002 and 2003 — when there was no Qaeda presence in Iraq — bear responsibility for the chaos in Afghanistan that ensued. Now they have the nerve to imperiously and tardily demand that America increase its 68,000-strong presence in Afghanistan to clean up their mess — even though the number of Qaeda insurgents there has dwindled to fewer than 100, according to the president’s national security adviser, Gen. James Jones.

But why let facts get in the way? Just as these hawks insisted that Iraq was “the central front in the war on terror” when the central front was Afghanistan, so they insist that Afghanistan is the central front now that it has migrated to Pakistan. When the day comes for them to anoint Pakistan as the central front, it will be proof positive that Al Qaeda has consolidated its hold on Somalia and Yemen.

To appreciate this crowd’s spotless record of failure, consider its noisiest standard-bearer, John McCain. He made every wrong judgment call that could be made after 9/11. It’s not just that he echoed the Bush administration’s constant innuendos that Iraq collaborated with Al Qaeda’s attack on America. Or that he hyped the faulty W.M.D. evidence to the hysterical extreme of fingering Iraq for the anthrax attacks in Washington. Or that he promised we would win the Iraq war “easily.” Or that he predicted that the Sunnis and the Shiites would “probably get along” in post-Saddam Iraq because there was “not a history of clashes” between them....(Remainder.)

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Right-Wingers Believe Ayn Rand's Every Word, but They Forget She Wrote Fiction

The cult of Rand is resurgent -- two new biographies and maybe even a new film, are in the works. But her economic ideas were pure fairy tales.

By Colin Greer
New World Foundation


Ayn Rand is popular again. Her most popular novels Atlas Shrugged from 1957 and The Fountainhead from 1943 are still being bought in large numbers. While it's plainly fashionable for right wing activists and pundits to bandy about her ideas to discredit the Obama administration, it's worth remembering one thing...

The American right sees Atlas Shrugged as an almost prophetic masterpiece that describes "the economic lunacy" of the bailout and economic stimulus plan. As Stephen Moore (formerly of the CATO institute) explains in the Wall Street Journal, the warning of Atlas Shrugged is clear - the more government tries to fix things, the more they break. "When profits and wealth and creativity are denigrated in society, they start to disappear -- leaving everyone the poorer," he says, concluding that the abolition of income tax would be a much better policy idea.

Two new biographies of Rand and maybe even a new film, are in the works. The cult of Ayn Rand has inspired think tanks like the Ayn Rand Institute, and The Atlas Society, and she has numerous followers in high places, notably including Alan Greenspan (former chairman of the Federal Reserve and soloist for the out-of-tune hymn to the inexorable free market). A copy of Atlas Shrugged may have been one of the more popular accessories at recent TEA parties.

Ayn Rand was an immigrant from Russia who worked in Hollywood as a screenwriter. Ironically, her followers nowadays tend to hate both immigrants and Hollywood. If I could run a mandatory e-harmony, I’d have Lou Dobbs meet Ayn Rand. I’d have Glenn Beck meet Ayn Rand. She's the lady off the boat who invented a powerful free market imagery for them.

But remember: She wrote fiction!...(Remainder.)

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GOPers Stage ‘Mock Shooting’ of Debbie Wasserman Schultz

By Jed Lewison
Daily Kos

On Tuesday, a group of Florida Republicans went to the shooting range -- and used pictures of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz as target practice. Among the attendees, her 2010 Republican opponent, Robert Lowry.

Yesterday, Wasserman Schultz released a statement reacting to those who pretended to shoot her:
There is nothing light or funny about pretending to shoot someone. At a time in our country when people are bringing guns to Town Hall Meetings and a preacher is calling for the death of our President, I find this type of action serious and disturbing. Tonight I am going to have to talk to my young children about why someone is pretending to shoot their mother. Trivializing violent behavior is the kind of extreme view that has no place in American politics.
Indeed. It's simply unbelievable....(Original.)

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Conservatwat Group Aims to Delete ‘Liberal Bias’ from Bible

By Daniel Tencer
The Raw Story


"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

That famous line, attributed to Jesus in Luke 23:34, could well apply to the folks at Conservapedia -- the "conservative version" of Wikipedia -- who have embarked on a project to rewrite the Bible.

In an effort to rid the Good Book of "liberal bias," the group has set up the Conservative Bible Project, which aims to rewrite the Bible from a modern, conservative perspective.

"Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations," the project's Web site asserts.

And the line quoted above is one of the group's targets for deletion in a truly "conservative" Bible. The "forgive them father" quote "is a favorite of liberals but should not appear in a conservative Bible," Conservapedia states.

And evidently many of Jesus' other teachings -- from the "turn the other cheek" lesson, to his disdain for profiteering -- will also no longer be acceptable in the conservative Bible.

"Socialistic terminology permeates English translations of the Bible, without justification," the Web site states -- a strange assertion, given that English versions of the Bible date back at least to the 16th century, while socialism as a concept was formed in the 18th century.

To combat the Bible's "socialism," the Conservative Bible Project wants to see Biblical use of the words "comrade," "labor" and "fellow" (as in "fellow worker") reduced.

Not surprisingly, the project has come under ridicule and derision from some corners....(Remainder.)

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PlantsNeedCO2.org Claims That Carbon Dioxide is Not a Pollutant and is Good for Environment

By Catharine Richert
PolitiFact


With Congress deep in a debate over legislation to slow climate change, the Washington Post has become a popular place for climate change claims, including this one from an organization called PlantsNeedCO2.org:
 
"Not only is there no scientific evidence that CO2 is a pollutant, higher CO2 concentrations actually help ecosystems support more plant and animal life," according to an ad the group published Oct. 5, 2009, in the Post.
 
To check this claim, we'll first need to travel back in time to high school biology, when we learned about a little life-sustaining process called photosynthesis. Plants pull carbon dioxide through tiny openings in their leaves where it combines with water and sunlight to create sugar and oxygen. Aside from maintaining normal oxygen levels in the atmosphere, life depends on photosynthesis as a source of energy.
 
Carbon dioxide also plays an important role in climate change. This is naturally occuring — we release it into the atmosphere every time we exhale — but is also emitted when we burn fossil fuels. Along with other greenhouse gases, such as methane and sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide traps energy from the sun in the atmosphere, which causes the Earth's surface temperatures to rise. Most scientists agree that greenhouse gases are primarily responsible for climate change.
 
PlantsNeedCO2.org is skeptical. The organization, which is still awaiting its nonprofit status, is the brainchild of Leighton Steward, a self-described geologist, environmentalist, author and retired energy industry executive. He authored a diet book called Sugar Busters! and is the chairman of the board of the Institute for the Study of Earth and Man at Southern Methodist University. We sent an e-mail to the organization but our inquiry was not returned....(Remainder.)

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Karl Rove is Always Lurking in the Background

By Rude One
The Rude Pundit


Karl Rove has had it. "These microdicked dogfuckers don't know what the fuck they're doing," he says as he clicks through news stories on his computer in his basement, staring at the glowing screen. The very fact that there's still a chance that the Democratic president will get a decent health care bill out of Congress is proof enough for Rove that the Republicans are so very lost without him. The dead male hooker handcuffed to the radiator in the corner doesn't really care, but, as far as Rove's concerned, Ahmad or whatever the fuck he called himself, is a fine sounding board. "They let the lunatics and evangelicals take over," he says, practically spitting at images of Glenn Beck and Betsy McCaughey. "You never let them take over. You tell 'em you'll take care of it and just shut the fuck up."

Rove knows: if the truly, clinically insane right-wing nutzoids take over a movement from the mere sociopaths like himself, then, like a ball gag tied too tightly on an Iranian manwhore, it'll just choke the whole thing, ruin a perfectly good evening, and be a waste of money. "Oh, wait," Rove says to the corpse behind him, "that's just you...Akbar, was it?" He shrugs and continues, "Soon, the whole movement becomes identified with the crazies and that just fuckin' turns off everyone else - the independents, the media, a fuckin' lot of our own. Stupid fuckers."

He's seen the signs, shit that never would have gone down if he were still on the Hill with the power he once wielded like a rhino with a chainsaw horn. He'd've had Lindsey Graham's kneecaps shattered. He'd've made sure that Beck was caught balls deep in a mule's ass. Unity, motherfuckers, that's what's important. He destroyed John McCain. Olympia Snowe would have received black roses in the mail by now. This ain't rocket science.

"But now the pigs have all gotten out of the sty," Rove barks, licking his chops. They're still pigs, but they're running crazy, looking for cooler mud and better slops. "They need me, Rahim, they need me more than they know."...(Remainder.)

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"Giant Red Flag": Anti-Gay Side Creates New PAC to Rake in "a Large Sum of Money" in Washington to Reject R-71

By Joe Sudbay
AMERICAblog

Troubling, but not completely unexpected development in Washington State in the battle of Referendum 71, the battle to accept or reject the state's new "everything, but marriage" law. The anti-gay side is starting a new PAC that can accept large donations over the next couple days, before the October 12th deadline for large contributions (over $5,000). Of course, we wonder if this means Mormon money. Via The SLOG:
Dave Mortenson, a conservative campaign consultant who filed the PAC, says, "A bunch of individuals contacted me to see if we could raise some money really quick." He says, "I am not going to share who I’ve been talking to, but if we do get the money, we will report it." Are these religious groups, corporations, wealthy donors? "We are working them all," says Mortenson.

October 12 is the deadline for donations over $5000, according to state campaign rules.

Can the group raise a large sum of money before Tuesday? "I’m pretty optimistic, let me put it that way," says Mortensen, who has worked on Republican legislative campaigns since the 1980s.

The group running the primary campaign to reject R-71, Protect Marriage Washington, has raised $60,114. The campaign working to approve R-71, Washington Families Standing Together (WAFST), has raised $779,104. And another group in favor of approving the measure, Human Rights Campaign Approve Referendum 71, has raised $72,805.

Filing a new PAC is a "giant red flag" that anti-gay forces are about to dump loads of cash into the anti-gay Reject R-71 campaign, says WAFST campaign manager Josh Friedes. Much of the money for California's anti-gay Prop 8 came in the final weeks before the election.
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Glenn Beck Thinks Non-Citizens Shouldn't Be Counted in the Census

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars


Glenn Beck devoted a long rant last night to his contention that the U.S. Census Bureau shouldn't be counting what he blithely calls "illegal aliens" -- i.e., undocumented immigrants.

But his argument -- that we shouldn't be counting people who can't vote -- doesn't merely cut against the undocumented. It cuts against all immigrants -- who, by definition, are also already non-citizens.

Moreover, the Census Bureau isn't charged with accurately counting the number of citizens living within the United States -- it's charged with counting the entire population.

What Beck wants Census to do -- that is, to exclude non-citizens from its count -- is in direct violation of its charter, which is to count the population whole:
The Census Bureau does not ask about legal (migrant) status of respondents in any of its survey and census programs. As examples, in the decennial census, the American Community Survey, and Current Population Survey as there is no legislative mandate to collect this information. Given the success of Census 2000 in counting nearly every person residing in the United States, we expect that unauthorized migrants were included among people who indicated that the United States was their usual place of residence on the survey date. The foreign-born population includes naturalized U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, temporary migrants (e.g., foreign students), humanitarian migrants (e.g., refugees), and unauthorized migrants (people illegally present in the United States).
Beck would have the Census omit not just unauthorized migrants, but also lawful permanent residents, humanitarian migrants, and foreign-born residents here legally....(Remainder.)

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Misguided Monetary Mentalities

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times


One lesson from the Great Depression is that you should never underestimate the destructive power of bad ideas. And some of the bad ideas that helped cause the Depression have, alas, proved all too durable: in modified form, they continue to influence economic debate today.

What ideas am I talking about? The economic historian Peter Temin has argued that a key cause of the Depression was what he calls the “gold-standard mentality.” By this he means not just belief in the sacred importance of maintaining the gold value of one’s currency, but a set of associated attitudes: obsessive fear of inflation even in the face of deflation; opposition to easy credit, even when the economy desperately needs it, on the grounds that it would be somehow corrupting; assertions that even if the government can create jobs it shouldn’t, because this would only be an “artificial” recovery.

In the early 1930s this mentality led governments to raise interest rates and slash spending, despite mass unemployment, in an attempt to defend their gold reserves. And even when countries went off gold, the prevailing mentality made them reluctant to cut rates and create jobs.

But we’re past all that now. Or are we?

America isn’t about to go back on the gold standard. But a modern version of the gold standard mentality is nonetheless exerting a growing influence on our economic discourse. And this new version of a bad old idea could undermine our chances for full recovery.

Consider first the current uproar over the declining international value of the dollar....(Remainder.)

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BREAKING FROM NBC: White House Official Calls Gays Part of "Internet Left Fringe"

By John Aravosis
AMERICAblog


Update from Pam:
It doesn't matter why this behavior is occurring, really. What one has to take away from this message, naturally not attributed to anyone at the WH -- cowards -- is that bloggers are messing up their playbooks. And the answer is to diminish what influence we have -- it's limited at best. You have to ask why is this paranoid, juvenile message getting tossed out there. All those big brains in the White House and the best they can do is to bring up the hoary pajama game?
    .....
So which Barack Obama is it -- the one who said to challenge him, or a fragile flower that panders to LGBTs then has a coward source backstab? To me the WH has just declared war on us after a wine and dine with the right kind of LGBTs that don't make trouble for them. Someone has to answer to this.

Or do I just need to fold my hands in my pajama-clad, Cheetos-stained lap like a good homo?
And let me just add that if we're all insignificant children who don't understand politics, and who the White House doesn't worry about, then why did a White House official feel the need to lash out at us via the NBC Nightly news? I'm not feeling very insignificant at the moment, are you?
--------

NBC just did a piece about today's gay rights march in Washington. For the political context of the gay community's ire, NBC went to Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood. Harwood was asked if the White House was worried about "the left as a whole," and concerns they have that the White House isn't doing things that "the left" expected them to do. Harwood said the following:
Barack Obama is doing well with 90% or more of Democrats so the White House views this opposition as really part of the Internet left fringe.


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Obama's Gay Outreach: All Talk, No Action



By John Cloud
Time
Photo: Alex Wong (Getty)


Saturday night President Obama charmingly delivered a rather bleak message to the gay community on the eve of its latest march on Washington. In a speech to the world's largest gay political group, the Human Rights Campaign, Obama essentially said two things: I'm with you. But I can't do much for you.

He said the first part with remarkable comfort for a straight man, the kind of effortless understanding that gay people don't always get at home, school or work, and certainly not from most politicians. "Tonight, somewhere in America, a young person — let's say a young man — will struggle to fall to sleep, wrestling alone with a secret he has held as long as he can remember," the President said. I'm sure he didn't write those words, but in that one sentence, he accurately and movingly defined the painful confusion that begins most gay lives. He went on: "Soon, perhaps, he will decide it's time to let that secret out. What happens next depends on him, his family, as well as his friends, his teachers and his community. But it also depends on us — on the kind of society we engender." The audience of some 2,000 — mostly major gay donors and activists, many of whom have been disappointed with Obama's slow movement on gay issues — stood and cheered.

As usual with this President, all the cadences were right. "It is a privilege to be here tonight to open for Lady Gaga," he ad-libbed, again a deft and knowing line for an audience probably as eager to hear her performance as his. During one clamorous ovation, Obama said, simply, "I love you back."...(Remainder.)

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Sec of State Clinton: World Will Not Wait for Iran

By Tom Rivers
VOA News


On the second day of her swing through Europe, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed a wide range of pressing international issues at her stop in London.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton began the British leg of her trip with a meeting with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

Afterwards, the two held a joint news conference.
 
On Iran, Miliband said the time was right for the country to move in a new direction.

"Iran will never have a better opportunity to establish normal relations with the international community and it will never have a better opportunity than to show that the peaceful intent that marks its words about its nuclear program is matched by its deeds," Miliband said.

Later this month, U.N. inspectors expect to see the recently disclosed uranium enrichment facility near the city of Qom and more talks are planned for Geneva.

Secretary of State Clinton said the United States and others are willing to listen to Iran, but she warned that patience will not last forever and she urged the Iranians to make constructive inroads soon.

"We are speaking with a single voice and delivering a clear message to Iran," Clinton said. "The international community will not wait indefinitely for evidence that Iran is prepared to live up to its international obligations."...(Remainder.)

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Liz Cheney: Peace Prize Should be Dedicated to US Military

By David Edwards
The Raw Story

Liz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, told Fox News' Chris Wallace that President Barack Obama should not travel to Oslo in December to accept the Nobel Prize. Cheney called the prize a "farce" that could only be legitimized if the family of a US military member accepted it.

"I think the president himself understands he didn't earn this prize and therefore the notion that this White House has said he would go to Oslo to accept the prize would add to the farce," said Cheney.

She offered the following proposal: "I think what he ought to do, frankly, is send the mother of a fallen American soldier to accept the prize on behalf of the US military. Frankly, to send the message to remind the Nobel committee that each one of them sleeps soundly at night because the US armed forces, because the US military is the greatest peacekeeping force in the world today."

It should come as no surprise that neoconservative columnist Bill Kristol disagrees with the Nobel committee. He responded to the award with sarcasm....(Remainder.)


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SNL Spoofs Obama: I Won Nobel for Not Being Bush

By David Edwards and Daniel Tencer
The Raw Story


NBC's Saturday Night Live spoofed President Barack Obama for the second week in a row on Saturday, declaring in a sketch that the president won the Nobel Peace Prize for not being George W. Bush.

"Jimmy carter won it for decades of trying to find solutions to international conflicts," said actor Fred Armisen, playing Obama. "Al Gore won it for his years of educating the US about climate change. And us? Well, I won it for not being George Bush."

He added: "This award was as a complete surprise, as I have only not been George W. Bush for nine months."

The Obama character said he didn't receive a call from the Nobel committee before the annnouncement, but wished he had, so he could say to Hillary Clinton, "Hey, remember that 3 a.m. call you were so worried about? It happened. Nobel Peace Prize."

Armisen's Obama went on to announce that he had also just won $70 million in the Powerball lottery, and "it was the first lottery ticket I ever bought."

He said he would decide what to do with the money by conferring with his economic adviser Larry Summers, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, "because those guys do not make mistakes."...(Remainder.)


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White House: Fox News is ‘Arm of the Republican Party’

By David Edwards and Daniel Tencer
The Raw Story


The White House's communications director says that Fox News is little more than a wing of the Republican Party.

"The reality of it is that Fox News often operates as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party," Anita Dunn told CNN's Howard Kurtz on Sunday. "And it's not ideological. I mean, obviously there are many commentators who are conservative, liberal, centrist, and everybody understands that. What I think is fair to say about Fox is — and certainly the way we view it — is that it really is more of a wing of the Republican Party."

Dunn was responding to Kurtz's question about her appearance in a Time magazine article, published Thursday, in which she described Fox News as "opinion journalism masquerading as news."

"They are boosting their audience," Time quoted her as saying. "But that doesn't mean we are going to sit back."

Time described Dunn as "the general" in the White House's war against Fox News:
The take-no-prisoners turn has come as a surprise to some in the press, considering the largely favorable coverage that candidate Obama received last fall and given the President's vows to lower the rhetorical temperature in Washington and not pay attention to cable hyperbole. Instead, the White House blog now issues regular denunciations of the Administration's critics, including a recent post that announced "Fox lies" and suggested that the cable network was unpatriotic for criticizing Obama's 2016 Olympics effort.
(Remainder.)


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Rep. Alan Grayson: Republicans Probably Wish There Were a Nobel Prize for Fear

By Heather
Crooks and Liars

More of Rep. Alan Grayson speaking some truth to power. From The Ed Schultz Show Oct. 9, 2009. When asked what he thinks of the Republicans being so negative about the President winning the Nobel Peace Prize, he responds:
Grayson: I think I understand their disappointment. They're not going to be winning the Nobel Peace Prize themselves anytime soon. They probably wish there a Nobel Prize for fear, a Nobel Prize for hatred, a Nobel prize for racism. You know, then they'd be in the running, but I don't think they're going to be winning a Nobel Peace Prize soon.
(Original.)

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Michael Moore Makes Mincemeat Out of Hannity's Fake 'Hospital' Video Footage from Cuba

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars


Someone really should have thought twice before letting Sean Hannity embarrass himself with the failed stunt he tried in his interview with Michael Moore, the second half of which aired last night on Fox.

Hannity wanted to make a point about how health care in Cuba is so much worse than it is in the YooEssAy -- in contradistinction to Moore's own reportage -- so he offered what he called special video footage he had been provided of a "hospital" in Cuba.

What we then see is a rattletrap mess with old beds and rotting toilets, etc. But Moore notices what should be obvious: There are no patients, either.

Ah, but wait! We shortly see footage of patients in a hospital. But they're in an obviously different building (or at least wing), because this room is clean and the beds and equipment sanitary and well-tended. But we only get to see them for a few seconds before -- swoop! -- off we go back to the rat's nest.

Which is obviously an abandoned hospital or wing, which is certainly not unheard of, even in the YooEssAy.

Moore, of course, laughs at all of this with glee. Hannity quickly changes the subject, since his oh-so-convincing video evidence just makes him look as bad as he has recently in his Jennings Jihad....(Remainder.)

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The Retarded Baby Jesus' False Equivilency Between UK Rationing and Public Option

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High School Drop-Out Hannity, LIES to Claim Health Bill Would Add $1 Trillion to Deficit

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The Retarded Baby Jesus Moronically Says CNN Using Kids to Push for Health Care "Indoctrination"

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Homophobic Hate Monger Hannity Ratchets Up Bullshit Against Jennings with Moronic Bigot Steve King

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Two Tons of Whale Shit Limbaugh, Whines and Cries About Media Matters Calling Him on His Constant Stream of Shit

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