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President Obama Holds Town Hall with Chinese Youth

Monday, November 16, 2009

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Judge Directs US Attorney To Collect $20K From Oily Taint After Failure To Pay Fine

By Justin Elliott
TPMMuckraker

A federal judge in Georgia has ordered the US Attorney to collect a $20,000 judgment against Orly Taitz after the Birther attorney failed to pay the fine -- which she appealed -- within 30 days.

Here's the full order from Judge Clay Land, of the US District Court in the Middle District Of Georgia:


"Orly Taitz has failed to pay the $20,000.00 sanction ordered by the Court on October 13, 2009. Accordingly, the Clerk is ordered to enter final judgment in favor of the United States of America and against Orly Taitz in the principal amount of $20,000.00. The United States Attorney is authorized and directed to collect the judgment as provided by law.

IT IS SO ORDERED, this 13th day of November, 2009. "

Land imposed the fine a month ago, citing repeated frivolous filings by Taitz in the suit, which was originally about a claim by Taitz's Army captain client that she should not have to follow deployment orders because Barack Obama is not legitimately president. In an interview with TPMmuckraker that same day, a defiant Taitz declared she would not pay the fine.

Taitz then appealed the fine, but it's not clear whether the appeal has been dismissed. Also not clear is how the US Attorney will collect the fine -- but we're trying to find out, and will let you know when we do.

Late Update: Pam Lightsey, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Macon, Georgia, sends along this statement:
We cannot comment on an ongoing case other than to say that we will follow the statutory provisions that dictate how debts owed to the government are collected.
(Original.)

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Rudy Giuliani and Republicans Are Goddamned Cowards

By Rude One
The Rude Pundit

One of the things we often cringe to admit is that the worst stereotypes exist. The loca chica, the gangsta, the asshole Wall Street exec, they all are real. Gay male stereotypes, too. In New York City, you will find every kind of limp-wristed, mincing, lisping queer guy that would give Fred Phelps nightmares (or, more likely, dreams come true). Skinny jeans-wearing twinks, chorus boys who shriek for episodes of Glee, fashion diva queens, and more, all gay in that cartoon way gay haters portray gay men. And nearly every single one of those proudly cocksucking twinks, boys, and queens is more macho than Rudy Giuliani or just about any Republican.

Because you can put money on the fact that the Republicans are bigger pussies about the trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others in New York City than just about any of the good gay guys listed up there. What the fuck happened to the right? The party of Ike and Teddy Roosevelt? What a bunch of Marys they've become in the wake of Eric Holder's announcement that Mohammed would be tried in a federal court in Manhattan. Not only that, but if our justice system sucks so hard, then we should probably do something about that.

Snarled Giuliani on This Week with George Stephanopoulos's Hair regarding the previous successful prosecutions of terrorists in New York, which Giuliani had himself praised, "[W]e also demonstrated that our federal system has an enormously protracted process that's going to go on forever. That it grants more benefits than a military tribunal will grant. There's always the possibility of acquittal, change of venue. And the reality is, George, it also creates an extra risk that isn't necessary. It creates an extra risk for New York."

Mohammed ain't Magneto, nemesis of the X-men. He's not going to use his mutant Islamic powers to melt the chains and blow up the heads of the dozens of snipers around him, all while ululating some sinister shout that'll bring back the dead of the Crusades to liberate him. In other words, this ain't a movie. He's beaten man who'll be spouting crazy blather in hand and ankle cuffs while shitting his diaper who wouldn't even be coming to trial if his case wasn't a done deal, who will be sentenced to death. And if anything happens that could lead to acquittal, he will be taken right back into indefinite detention. In other words, we're not doing this for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. He'd over. We're doing it for us....(Remainder.)

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Liberty...and Justice

By Mark Streeter
The Savannah Morning News



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The Embittered Asshole Lobby Exposed

By Amanda Marcotte
Pandagon.net

So the news came out today that the FBI got a warning a month prior that Scott Roeder was a danger to Dr. George Tiller.  The FBI disregarded the letter as not credible, for a number of reasons, including the fact that the guy who wrote it had no specifics. But it’s also likely that the FBI was annoyed because the letter came from a personal enemy of Roeder’s, a Mark Archer.  Archer’s wife had a baby by Roeder after she married Archer, and Roeder had managed to secure visitation rights.  For somewhat understandable reasons, Archer didn’t want Roeder visiting the little girl---the story implies that Archer is raising the little girl as his own, and the Archers want to get Roeder out of their life completely.  Of course, the strategy of trying to run someone out of your life by getting him on a “no fly” list is unethical, but it seems that Archer was also freaked out by Roeder, who bragged to Archer’s wife that he wanted to blow up abortion clinics. 

Now, I know the FBI probably gets a ton of people trying to use them in order to attack personal enemies, and as such, they probably just write most of this stuff right away. But since this letter was inspired by a custody dispute, I think perhaps they should have had more follow-up.  Custody disputes should be a red flag for violence, in no small part because of the right wing’s growing interest in using child custody issues as a way to oppress and control women.  The anti-choice movement attracts a lot of angry, bitter men with major masculinity issues and bitterness over divorce and the loss of control over the lives of specific women they feel they have a claim to, and that sort of thing needs to be taken into consideration when warnings like this are issued.

Of course, angry, violent, bitter men don’t need to go into anti-choice activism to work out their violent hatred of women, because now they have the “men’s rights” movement.  And while individual MRAs (men’s rights activists) might be seriously anti-choice, the movement on the whole tends to be neutral on abortion, because they aren’t particularly anti-sex.  Indeed, MRAs tend to be more concerned about the fact that men don’t have a right to force women to have abortions than the fact that legal abortion exists....(Remainder.)

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Abortion Politics

By Kevin Drum
Mother Jones

Roughly speaking, the Stupak amendment is simple: it says that anyone receiving a federal subsidy can't buy healthcare insurance that includes abortion coverage.  There's a bit more, but that's the piece that's causing most of the backlash from pro-choice forces.

But as bad as that is, there's a fear that it might be even worse than it sounds.  Anyone who gets a federal subsidy to buy private healthcare insurance is required to buy a policy through the "exchange," but not everyone who buys through the exchange gets a federal subsidy.  So what if insurance companies decide it's too much trouble to offer multiple options, and simply remove abortion coverage from every policy offered through the exchange, regardless of how it's paid for?  Ezra Klein:
If health-care reform began with huge exchanges, in which only a small portion of the participants were on subsidies and the Stupak amendment only applied to a fraction of the market, insurers would probably offer mostly policies that included abortion coverage. In reality, almost 90 percent of the population on the exchanges will be subsidized, so there is no real market for insurers to present a policy that covers abortion. That presents a much bigger problem.


The exchanges are not likely to stay small. They will gradually add larger and larger employers....Over time, that could mean that the norm becomes an insurance market that doesn't cover abortion as opposed to an insurance market that does....If it sets the standards for the exchanges and the exchanges eventually become the standard for the whole insurance market, then the Stupak amendment could transform coverage for not just poor women, but all women.

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Nomoretroopsistan

By John Sherffius
Boulder Daily Camera


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Not Covered: Abortion and the Health Care Battle

By Jeffrey Toobin
The New Yorker


Abortion is almost as old as childbirth. There has always been a need for some women to end their pregnancies. In modern times, the law’s attitude toward that need has varied. In the United States, at the time the Constitution was adopted, abortions before “quickening” were both legal and commonplace, often performed by midwives. In the nineteenth century, under the influence of the ascendant medical profession, which opposed abortion (and wanted to control health care), states began to outlaw the procedure, and by the turn of the twentieth century it was all but uniformly illegal. The rise of the feminist movement led to widespread efforts to decriminalize abortion, and in 1973 the Supreme Court found, in Roe v. Wade, that the Constitution prohibited the states from outlawing it.

Throughout this long legal history, the one constant has been that women have continued to have abortions. The rate has declined slightly in recent years, but, according to the Guttmacher Institute, thirty-five per cent of all women of reproductive age in America today will have had an abortion by the time they are forty-five. It might be assumed that such a common procedure would be included in a nation’s plan to protect the health of its citizens. In fact, the story of abortion during the past decade has been its separation from other medical services available to women. Abortion, as the academics like to say, is being marginalized.

The latest evidence comes from the House of Representatives, which two weekends ago narrowly passed its health-care bill, by a vote of 220 to 215. One reason that the Democrats won back control of Congress is that the Party adopted a “big tent” philosophy on abortion. The implications of that approach became clear when, during the health-care vote, the House considered a last-minute amendment by Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat, which proposed scrubbing the bill of government subsidies for abortion procedures. It passed 240 to 194, with sixty-four Democrats voting in favor.

A clear understanding of the structure of the health-care proposals currently under consideration shows why the Stupak amendment is such a threat to abortion rights. At the heart of the proposals is the idea of an exchange, where consumers will be able to select among competing insurance plans. Theoretically, the exchange will increase consumer choice, promote competition, and (somewhat more theoretically) lower costs for everyone. If there is a public option, it will be offered through the exchange. At first, many of the people using the exchange will be those who are unable to pay for health insurance on their own. For them, the government will offer a sliding scale of subsidies. It is largely these subsidies which will increase the availability of insurance; estimates of how many people will gain coverage vary, but it may be close to forty million....(Remainder.)

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Will America Ever 'Go Rogue' -- Again?

By P.M. Carpenter
Buzz Flash


The good news is that 7 out of 10 Americans don't believe that Sarah Palin is qualified to be president of the United States; the bad news is that 3 out of 10 do, which only confirms my long-held theory that we can always expect about one-third of the American electorate to believe absolutely anything, support absolutely any cause, agitate for absolutely any lunatic.

Among Republicans, says the recent CNN poll from which the above figures are extracted, the imbalance in favor of lucidity is less pronounced, of course: a slight majority says yes, Ms. Palin is indeed qualified to hover over the nuclear button. After all, she's a mom, and as she argues in this week's newly released blockbuster of personal memoir and political philosophy, Going Rogue, "there’s no better training ground for politics than motherhood."

As the NY Times pointed out in a sneak preview this weekend, Going Rogue also contains tortured sentences like this one, in the very "first paragraph of the book": "I breathed in an autumn bouquet that combined everything small-town America with rugged splashes of the Last Frontier."

William Shatner is that passage's only hope; perhaps he can also make sense of motherhood as an Oval Office training ground.

But on to aspects of Ms. Palin's career more broadly worrisome than her syntax and maternal presumptuousness.

The Times, citing its eponymous magazine from the year before, noted that neither John McCain's top strategist or campaign manager saw Palin's "lack of familiarity with major national or international issues as a serious liability" to their ticket. And that "underscore[s]," continued the Times rather nervously, "just how alarmingly expertise is discounted -- or equated with elitism -- in our increasingly democratized era" (my emphasis).

It seems counterintuitive, but as you may recall from your high school history class, what the Founding Fathers feared most about a representative democracy was, well, representative democracy. The latter, with ballots in Everyman's hand, wasn't much better than an ignorant mob, and when confronted by demagogues and dunces who asked to represent them, "the people" could be a spectacularly gullible bunch....(Remainder.)

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Scarborough Advances Right-Wing Talking Point that Trial of Terror Suspect "Unprecedented"

By Media Matters

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough falsely claimed that it is "unprecedented" to try foreign terror suspects through the United States' judicial system, stating, "It's unprecedented to afford constitutional rights to, basically, prisoners of war." In fact, during the Bush and Clinton administrations numerous foreign terrorists have been tried and imprisoned by our federal system, including 9-11 conspirator Zacarious Moussaoui and 1993 World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Ahmed Yousef....(Remainder.)


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Clusterfox & Frauds Blather on About "Bow-Gate" Because Idiots Can't Discuss Anything of Substance

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On Imus, Bo Dietl Apologizes to Katie Couric for Outburst

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On Clusterfox & Friends Festering Bucket of Greasy Anal Discharge, Rove, Says Bow was "Inappropriate"...STFU!

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Sarah Palin: If You Fact-Check My Book, then the Terrorists Have Already Won

By Solange Uwimana
Media Matters

In a note she posted to her Facebook page today, Sarah Palin mocked the AP's use of 11 fact-checkers of her not-yet-released book, Going Rogue, writing: "We've heard 11 writers are engaged in this opposition research, er, "fact checking" research!" Hmm, do I hear echoes of Mark Steyn here? Palin -- who stated that she "dedicated" the book to "Patriots" who "love the U.S.A. as much as I do" -- continued:
Imagine that -- 11 AP reporters dedicating time and resources to tearing up the book, instead of using the time and resources to "fact check" what's going on with Sheik Mohammed's trial, Pelosi's health care takeover costs, Hasan's associations, etc. Amazing.
So Palin is suggesting that the AP's effort to fact-check her book -- something a news organization has a journalistic duty to do if it's going to report on it -- means that it is somehow ignoring the stories of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's trial and Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan's associations? Sorry, but... where's the link?

In her post, Palin proclaims that she'll "keep setting the record straight." Let's do that: The AP has in fact used its "time and resources" to report on KSM's trial (here, here, and here) and on Hasan's alleged associations to terrorism (here, here, here).

But if the news media dare criticize any of her statements, will they be lumped in as "palling around with terrorists?"...(Original.)


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Realistic War Game to Feature Waiting


The new Call of Duty game took in a cool $310 million on the day it launched, partly thanks to “heart-racing action,” as the developer put it. According to the Onion, the next version is so realistic, it’s boring.



Ultra-Realistic Modern Warfare Game Features Awaiting Orders, Repairing Trucks

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Hate Obama? You May Not be Racist. But You Will be White

The president's critics are not all prejudiced but the crowd is mutating to the extremes. And we have a bad history on this topic

By Michael Tomasky
The Guardian

I was just recalling how, about a year ago, my country was swept up in a spasm of self-congratulation. Not only had Barack Obama broken a seemingly insuperable historical barrier in winning the presidency, the media told us, but "we" had as well. We had overcome centuries of gruesome history and proved to the world that America could live up to its promise.

The US press in those days duly reported but tended to downplay events that told the opposite story. The footnote, for instance, that the white supremacist website stormfront.org temporarily went dead on 5 November, the day after the election, because it was so inundated with requests for membership. And the tale about the Maine convenience store that started an "Osama Obama Shotgun Pool" inviting customers to bet on the date Obama would be shot, and saying: "Let's hope we have a winner".

These were treated as isolated events, and maybe they were. The important thing was the people had spoken, and they'd given proof that America wasn't that kind of country any more.

A year later, we've seen an epidemic of hatred against the president that I think is safe to call unprecedented. Bill Clinton and George W Bush were hated – but not quite like this. When we have a pastor, a real-live Baptist minister in Arizona, devoting a sermon to explaining why the president should "melt like a snail" (and he was explicit – he meant Obama should be killed), we've reached a new point. Obama, it was reported over the summer, receives 30 death threats a day, three or four times the number issued against Bush. And I think it can't be just a coincidence that you will almost never see him give a speech out of doors, the middle of a heavily guarded military base (Fort Hood) providing a recent and rare exception....(Remainder.)

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Rogue Facts: Media Matters' Ongoing List of Falsehoods in Palin's Memoir

By Media Matters

Media Matters for America has documented numerous falsehoods in Sarah Palin's memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life. Below is a list of what we've found so far.

1. Palin falsely suggests poor will be "hit hardest" by cap and trade

Palin: Obama "admitted" cap and trade will cause "electricity bills to 'skyrocket' " and "those hit hardest will be those who are already struggling to make ends meet." Palin falsely suggests that "those hit hardest [by cap and trade] will be those who are already struggling to make ends meet" and that Obama "has already admitted that the policy he seeks will cause our electricity bills to 'skyrocket.' " She added: "So much for the campaign promise not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year. This is a tax on everyone." [Going Rogue, Pages 390-391]

CBO says poorest quintile will benefit from Waxman-Markey. The Congressional Budget Office found that in 2020, the version of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill that passed the House in June with the support of the Obama administration would result in a $125 average annual benefit to the quintile of households with the lowest income and a $160 average annual cost to all American households.

Obama was talking about a different plan causing energy costs to "skyrocket." As the Associated Press noted in fact-checking Palin's book, Obama was not talking about the cap-and-trade legislation that has since passed in the House when he referred to energy costs "necessarily skyrocket[ting]." When Obama made that statement to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board in January 2008, he was describing a cap-and-trade proposal that would auction off 100 percent of available carbon allowances, and he made no mention at the time of a plan to compensate consumers for potential cost increases. But as PolitiFact.com noted, the Waxman-Markey bill initially would distribute most of the carbon allocations for free and contains substantial provisions to offset costs to consumers, and thus "should reduce costs to consumers."

2. Palin still falsely claiming stimulus money for energy efficiency she vetoed required tougher building codes

Palin: "One-size-fits-all codes" required to get funds "simply wouldn't work." Palin claims that she vetoed a $25 million "earmark for energy conservation" available through the stimulus because Alaska would have needed to adopt "universal energy building codes" to be eligible for the funds. She comments: "Universal building codes -- in Alaska! A practical, libertarian haven full of independent Americans who did not desire 'help' from government busybodies. A state full of hardy pioneers who did not like taking orders from the feds telling us to change our laws. A state so geographically diverse that one-size-fits-all codes simply wouldn't work." [Going Rogue, Pages 361-362]...(Remainder.)

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SNL Uses Biden to Mock Obama for Caving on Health Care

By Gavin Dahl
The Raw Story


Vice President Joe Biden, played by Jason Sudeikis, told the Saturday Night Live audience he was going to solve one of three major problems while his boss is gone. President Barack Obama embarked on an nine-day trip to Asia Thursday, "so for the next week, Joe's running things."

He said he is not worried about the economy or unemployment. "The stimulus is working. Right now there are thousands of new jobs being created every day across America," he said.

"Foreclosure lawyers and repo men, temps and bankruptcy specialists, don't tell me no one is hiring. The quality of the work force is improving too," he added. "If you drive behind a Home Depot right now to find a bunch of guys back there ready to help you put up a new deck, you'll find fellows with masters degrees, former professors and accountants. It's amazing."

He would love to fix what's going on in Afghanistan, he said, "but there's one problem. Afghanistan is a mess, it can't be fixed. Trust me, I've been there."

After saying they are better at growing drugs than democracy, he deadpanned, "I'm just giving it to you straight Biden style."

Instead, SNL suggested Biden could help Obama pass a health care bill, by any means necessary. "You can water it down however you like," he said. "He will literally sign anything."

"I want to make an offer to the first Republican senator to come across the aisle and sign onto this bill," Biden said. "You can write one provision of your own in the bill and seal it in this envelope right here. I promise I won't show it to the president until after he signs onto this bill."

This video is from NBC's Saturday Night Live, broadcast Nov. 14, 2009....(Original.)


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Navy Lawyer: Defending 9/11 Suspects a Patriotic Duty

By Agence France-Presse
The Raw Story


"It's perfectly patriotic," said US Navy Commander Suzanne Lachelier, a military attorney appointed to represent one of the accused September 11 plotters.

She is one of only a handful of Americans who work to defend those who committed the horrific attacks in 2001 that killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States.

"Defending the US Constitution, that's what we do as prosecutors, but also as lawyers for the defense," this young dynamic woman told AFP.

"It's about presenting the rights of the accused -- it's not at all about the facts."

Lachelier was appointed to represent Ramzi Binalshibh, a Yemeni citizen -- and one-time roommate of suspected 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta -- whom she says suffers from severe mental problems.

President Barack Obama's administration announced Friday that Binalshibh and four other alleged co-plotters of the worst ever attacks on US soil, including self-proclaimed mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, would be tried in US federal court in New York city, just steps away from the scene of their crime.

"It's historic. There are a lot of things that you don't normally deal with in a regular criminal case," said Michael Acuff, who helps Sheikh Mohammed -- known as KSM -- represent himself....(Remainder.)

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World Out of Balance

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

International travel by world leaders is mainly about making symbolic gestures. Nobody expects President Obama to come back from China with major new agreements, on economic policy or anything else.

But let’s hope that when the cameras aren’t rolling Mr. Obama and his hosts engage in some frank talk about currency policy. For the problem of international trade imbalances is about to get substantially worse. And there’s a potentially ugly confrontation looming unless China mends its ways.

Some background: Most of the world’s major currencies “float” against one another. That is, their relative values move up or down depending on market forces. That doesn’t necessarily mean that governments pursue pure hands-off policies: countries sometimes limit capital outflows when there’s a run on their currency (as Iceland did last year) or take steps to discourage hot-money inflows when they fear that speculators love their economies not wisely but too well (which is what Brazil is doing right now). But these days most nations try to keep the value of their currency in line with long-term economic fundamentals.

China is the great exception. Despite huge trade surpluses and the desire of many investors to buy into this fast-growing economy — forces that should have strengthened the renminbi, China’s currency — Chinese authorities have kept that currency persistently weak. They’ve done this mainly by trading renminbi for dollars, which they have accumulated in vast quantities.

And in recent months China has carried out what amounts to a beggar-thy-neighbor devaluation, keeping the yuan-dollar exchange rate fixed even as the dollar has fallen sharply against other major currencies. This has given Chinese exporters a growing competitive advantage over their rivals, especially producers in other developing countries.

What makes China’s currency policy especially problematic is the depressed state of the world economy. Cheap money and fiscal stimulus seem to have averted a second Great Depression. But policy makers haven’t been able to generate enough spending, public or private, to make progress against mass unemployment. And China’s weak-currency policy exacerbates the problem, in effect siphoning much-needed demand away from the rest of the world into the pockets of artificially competitive Chinese exporters.

But why do I say that this problem is about to get much worse? Because for the past year the true scale of the China problem has been masked by temporary factors. Looking forward, we can expect to see both China’s trade surplus and America’s trade deficit surge....(Remainder.)

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Going Rogue: How Sarah Palin Hurts the GOP and the Country

By Evan Thomas
Newsweek

Moderate Republicans—yes, they are not yet extinct, though most are in hiding—scoff at Sarah Palin and wish she would go away. But she's not going away. This week she's going on-air with Barbara Walters and Oprah Winfrey to flog her new book, Going Rogue: An American Life, and to promote her brand of in-your-face, power-to-the-people conservatism. President Obama is no doubt happy to have her out there on full display. He cannot help but relish the prospect, no longer farfetched, that the Republicans will nominate Palin to oppose his reelection in 2012. A student of history, Obama could be thinking of his predecessor in presidential coolness, John F. Kennedy. In 1963 Kennedy's advisers counseled against giving Sen. Barry Goldwater national stature by posing with the GOP's conservative insurgent at a White House photo op. "What are you giving that SOB all that publicity for?" demanded White House aide Kenny O'Donnell. "Leave him alone," JFK replied. "He's mine."

Obama knows the long odds against a right-wing populist winning the presidency, no matter how good she looks in a skirt (or running clothes), brandishing a gun. He shouldn't be too cocky, however, because the death of the center is ultimately a problem for him and the whole country. If the Palinistas seize the GOP, they probably cannot take the White House. But their brand of no-prisoners partisanship sure can tie up Congress.

In modern memory, Capitol Hill has never been so polarized. With conservatives refusing to reach across the aisle, it will be hard to get even the most modest health-insurance reform through the U.S. Senate, where a 41-vote minority can block legislation. Without bipartisanship, forget about reducing the deficit or doing anything meaningful on the environment, immigration, or tax reform....(Remainder.)

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China's Fear of a Black President

Barack Obama is viewed with suspicion by Chinese leaders because he's a political rock star – and because he is black

By Russell Leigh Moses
The Guardian

Race is an insensitive issue in China. The sighting of someone who is not of the majority Han race does not stop conversation here, but sparks comments of all sorts – of surprise, wonder, bewilderment and defensiveness. Being cautious about what one says about colour or heritage in China is seen as silly and blinded.

That is not to say that talking about race in China is a dialogue suffused with respect. For example, during the late summer, Luo Jing, a resident of Shanghai of mixed-race descent (her father an African-American, her mother is Chinese) appeared on a television talent show that was seen across China. The farther Lou advanced in the contest, the louder the voices and vitriol became, especially against her mother for having slept with a black man and producing what many Chinese saw as an impure prodigy.

Only a precious few saw Lou as a contestant, instead of some sort of a specimen of an ill-fated union. Her singing voice and presence in front of the cameras were fine (although she ended up eventually losing the contest). It was her colour and ancestry that dominated the conversation online and in the streets here.

And now, Barack Obama is walking into this conversation.

Obama arrives to see a society that is increasingly self-confident about its identity and national power, and more open to debating issues. But while the rest of the world agonises over race and identity, the vast majority of Chinese know precisely who they are: they are Han, and the rest of the world is not. That world may be the source of some envy where hardware is concerned, but it is also populated with peoples who have a barbarian quality and an uncultured approach to life, according to many here....(Remainder.)

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Rasmussen Delivers More The-Sky-is-Falling-on-Obama Spin in the WSJ

By Eric Boehlert
Media Matters

Continuing his obsession with documenting how supposedly weak Obama's polling numbers are, the GOP's favorite 'independent' pollster Scott Rasmussen teams up with colleague Douglas Schoen in the WSJ today to (surprise!) try to detail how weak Obama's polling numbers are. And yes, this is the same duo that teamed up in the winter in the pages of the WSJ to...try to detail how weak Obama's polling numbers were. (See a pattern? And did these two ever weigh in as Bush's polling numbers cratered?)

The angle today is that Obama's losing independent voters!! And yes, to prove that point Rasmussen uses the rather lame trick of comparing Obama's current numbers with the ones he enjoyed eight months ago at the time of Inauguration. (See here, for why that is such a transparently lame argument to make. Hint: Obama's numbers in January were artificially high and everybody knew that.)

Meanwhile, the big problem with the column is that much of it is built around Rasmussen's own polling data; data which few people besides GOP partisans take seriously. (Here's a prime example why.) Secondly, Rasmussen, so busy pointing to a blizzard of numbers that supposed illustrate how Obama's presidency is crashing, barely has time to acknowledge that, oh yeah, the president's job approval ratings remains steady and strong, which of course, undercuts the at-times doomsday rhetoric used in the column.

Here's how Rasmussen addresses that issue:
Mr. Obama's approval among likely voters has dropped to the low-50s in most polls, and the most recent Rasmussen Reports poll of likely voters shows him slightly below the 50% mark. This is a relatively low rating for new presidents. Mr. Obama's approval rating began to slide in a serious way in early July, triggered by a bad unemployment report.

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Free Aung San Suu Kyi, Obama tells Burma PM



US president calls for release of Burmese opposition leader in landmark meeting with Thein Sein

By Justin McCurry
The Guardian
Photo: Stephen Shaver (AFP)

Barack Obama today urged Burma to release the democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a landmark meeting with the country's prime minister.

He made the demand during a summit in Singapore with Thein Sein and nine other leaders of the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean).

The meeting made Obama the first US president to be present in the same room as a Burmese leader since Lyndon Johnson met Prime Minister Ne Win in 1966.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters that Obama had raised the subject of Aung San Suu Kyi "directly with that government", indicating that he had spoken directly to Thein Sein. There were conflicting reports whether the US president had shaken hands with the Burmese premier.

After the meeting, Obama told reporters that he had "reaffirmed" an offer made earlier of better relations with Washington if Burma pursued democratic reforms and freed political prisoners.

Speaking in Tokyo yesterday, Obama made a point of mentioning Aung San Suu Kyi by name, adding that Burma would only find "true security and prosperity" by releasing her and more than 2,000 other political prisoners.

He acknowledged that years of US sanctions against Burma, coupled with engagement by its Asian neighbours, had failed to bring about change....(Remainder.)

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Conservative Media Critics Remain Clueless as to how Journalism Actually Works

By Eric Boehlert
Media Matters

The latest example is the fact that right-wing bloggers are mocking an AP story which fact-checked Sarah Palin's new book. Why the mockery? Because the AP item was compiled by 11 staffers.

Mark Steyn at NRO claims the AP's use of resources is a perfect example why "American newspapers are dying."

Writes Steyn:
Wow. That's ten "AP writers" plus Calvin Woodward, the AP writer whose twinkling pen honed the above contributions into the turgid sludge of the actual report. That's 11 writers for a 695-word report. What on? Obamacare? The Iranian nuke program? The upcoming trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?


No, the Associated Press assigned 11 writers to "fact-check" Sarah Palin's new book, and in return the 11 fact-checkers triumphantly unearthed six errors. That's 1.8333333 writers for each error. What earth-shattering misstatements did they uncover for this impressive investment? Stand well back:
Steyn either doesn't understand how newsrooms work or he's playing dumb. (I'm going with the former.)

Why did the AP uses so many writers to fact-check Palin's book? Simple, Going Rogue hasn't been officially released yet and advance copies of the book were not sent out to journalists, which means reporters weren't able to fact-check it ahead of time. And now that the book has (sadly) become a big news item, the AP wanted, as quickly as possible, try to fact-check the book. What's the best way to do that? You basically assign one chapter to each reporter and have them go to work. Then, in a very short amount of time, you're able to fact-check the entire book, rather than asking one person to take on that large task....(Remainder.)

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Right-Wing Gutter Slut, Peggy Noonan, Thinks She Knows What's Good for Dems


By Heather
Crooks and Liars

Peggy Noonan thinks she knows what's good for Democrats and that this Stupak-Pitts abortion amendment is somehow good for the party—but only in a “funny, little political way”. How quaint of you Peggy to be so completely dismissive of what the real life impact of that amendment passing would actually mean to the lives of women, especially those with low incomes that are the least capable of doing anything to fight back against what’s happening but most likely to be impacted by it.

Noonan had this bit of condescending wisdom to share with all of us on this weekend’s edition of The Chris Matthews Show.
Matthews: Peggy every four years the Democrats meet and write a platform and it says pro-choice, abortion rights, but you know a third of the Democratic people in this country, who vote Democrat are pro-life. Did they ever, ever have a plan here to bring them all together?—because that’s what they have to do.


Noonan: I don’t know if they had a plan but I’ll tell you in a purely political sense, for the Democratic Party to shake off for the first time in like 35 years the general understanding that they are the pro-choice and you cannot be pro-life and be in this party—it hurts the Democratic Party—everybody always said it hurt the Republicans to be pro-life. It hurt the Democrats to be rigidly pro-choice—to not let pro-life people speak at their conventions etc. In a funny, little political way this is a benefit to the Democratic Party that, that pro-life people have a serious place at the table at this moment. It’s good for them.

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Right-Wing Apology Troll, Chris "Dumber-Than-A" Plante Defends Poo Blobs' Advancing of "Birther" BS

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On Reliable Sources, Critics Say Poo Blobs Was a "Crusader" and a "Disaster for CNN's Brand"

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Lets Go Into Space! It'll Be More Fun Than Idiotic Wars & Banking Schemes!

Via Crooks and Liars & MoxNews.com


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On ABC David Brooks Calls Caribou Barbie "a Joke"

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Bush Admin Butt-Boy & Pathetic Right-Wing Coward, Kit Bond, Whines About NY Terror Trial


By Heather
Crooks and Liars

These tough guys sure do have a lot of fear about trusting the United States court system, don't they? During an interview with Andrea Mitchell today Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond joined the long list of Republicans carping about the Obama administration moving the trial of 9/11 suspects to New York.
Bond: Well I think it’s an insult to the memory of those who were brutally murdered on Sept. 11th to have the leaders behind these cowardly acts of terrorism sit in a courtroom blocks away from ground zero and reap the full benefits and protections of the U.S. Constitution.
I'd love to know how giving these men a fair trial so that the victims of 9/11 can finally have their day in court is insulting them. I would think the opposite is true and that they would be happy to finally have some closure to the whole ordeal. Bond throws this stink bomb out there a bit later in the interview.
Bond: And there is no reason whatsoever to try this person in an open courtroom in the United States with all of the powers that defendants, that American defendants have to get information and expose all of the things that they want to talk about and try to recruit more people like Maj. Hasan who just shown us that Americans can be propagandized and turned into deadly terrorists if they get the word from the leaders who wish to bring death and terror to the United States. I think it’s a disaster.

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Lawrence O'Donnell & Prof. Jonathan Turley Discuss Terror Trials on Countdown


By Heather
Crooks and Liars

Lawrence O'Donnell reports on the expected right wing freak-out over Eric Holder’s announcement that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed among others will be tried in New York rather than military tribunals. Jonathan Turley weighs in and notes that this is a return to the rule of law after the disgrace that was the Bush administration.

Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered actual trials for five 9/11 suspects rather than military tribunals. The decision places the United States squarely back on the road of the rule of law in giving due process even to our most hated defendants. The five defendants include 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The other four are Waleed bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi and Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali. However, this courageous act was diminished by an inexplicable decision of Holder to order five other defendants — including USS Cole suspect Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri — be tried in a military tribunal. I will be discussing this decision tonight on MSNBC Countdown.


Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn condemned the move as putting “political ideology ahead of the safety of the American people just to fulfill an ill-conceived campaign promise.” I am not sure what ideology means but I assume it is a reference to the Constitution. What makes us safer is to offer the world an alternative to these men; to show that we are not the hypocrites that we appeared during the Bush Administration.


The decision to send some detainees to military tribunals, however, is a baffling contradiction. Holder has denied the Administration the high ground in the debate by trying to appease both sides and deny due process to some of these accused individuals. It is a case of snatching hypocrisy out of the jaws of principle.
The right is going crazy over this of course since they don't want the Bush administration exposed for the treatment of these terrorism suspects. Limbaugh admits as much in the rant they play in the beginning of the segment whether he meant to or not....(Original.)

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Sec. of State Clinton Says NYC Terror Trial is "Appropriate"


By David
Crooks and Liars

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told NBC's David Gregory that a trial for the alleged 9/11 mastermind in New York City was "appropriate."

Clinton said New York City residents shouldn't fear the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. "All believe that New York City not only can handle this, but that it is appropriate to go forward in the very area where these people launched this horrific attack against us," Clinton said Sunday.

Not everyone is convinced that a trial so near the 9/11 attack is the best decision. Appearing on CNN Sunday, former mayor Rudy Giuliani said that the trial would put residents at risk....(Original.)

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CBS Sports Hosts Frank Luntz to Discuss Communications by Players & Coaches? Seriously!?

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Blitzer Rolls Out the Right Wing Talking Points on Terrorist Trial Decision


By Heather
Crooks and Liars

From the "fair and balanced" CNN, Wolf Blitzer filling in for Larry King plays concern troll for every right wing talking point out there on the trials of the suspected 9/11 terrorists being moved to New York.
BLITZER: Welcome back. We're continuing our conversation on the major decision made today by the Justice Department, the Attorney General Eric Holder, supported by the president of the United States, to try these 9/11 detainees in New York at a civilian trial. Joining us now, Peter Bergen, CNN's national security analyst. He's the best selling author of "Holy War Inc." and "The Osama bin Laden I know." Also joining us from New York, Paul Cruickshank. He's a terrorism expert, and an investigative journalist. He's a fellow at NYU Center on Law and Security, collaborated with Peter on the book, "The Osama bin Laden I Know." And Ron Suskind, a good friend, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and best-selling author. Books included "The One Percent Doctrine, Deep Inside America's Pursuit of Its Enemies Since 9/11."


Ron, you have spent a lot of time thinking about what's happening right now. Tell us about the decision that the president and the attorney general made today.


RON SUSKIND, AUTHOR, "THE ONE PERCENT DOCTRINE": The president is, I think, finally trying to bring rubber to hit this road. You know, this has been a long delay. There's been great passion and anger and shouting inside of the White House, what do we do here? And I think what you see here is essentially the unveiling of a plan. We're going to have a public trial for the low hanging fruit, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other 9/11 hijackers, for which there is a great deal of evidence. This should not be a difficult prosecution, at its heart, jurisprudentially.


And then there are others who are other categories that we'll get to. In a way what this is, I think, is a kind of demonstration model as to what America stands for, in terms of rule of law. And the fact is, you know, Mike Mukasey, the former attorney general, said something interesting. He said this is exactly the sort of pre-9/11 mentality. I think that these folks are not at war with us. And I think the president will say exactly, they're criminals. They should be treated as such.


BLITZER: Paul Cruickshank, one of the arguments against this decision is that it will give these five detainees, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and these four others, a platform, if you will. They will express their Jihadist views. In the process, they will be able to recruit more followers. Do you buy that?
(Remainder.)

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David Axelrod Responds to Moronic Attack of Mitt Romney


By Heather
Crooks and Liars

From CNN's State of the Union, David Axelrod responds to Mitt Romney's carping that the President is taking too long to make a decision on troop levels in Afghanistan. Axelrod should have told King to ask Mittens when those 'brave sons' of his were going to sign up to go over there the next time he interviews him since he's so terribly concerned about sending more troops.
KING: As you know, conservatives have been critical of the president's policy review, saying, ‘why is it taking so long?’. The former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney gave a speech this week in which he said, not only why is it taking so long for the president to decide, but he also said why is David Axelrod, his top political advisor involved in these deliberations? Let's listen.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)


ROMNEY: I find it incomprehensible and inexcusable that this president invites David Axelrod into national security meetings. Polls and politics have no place at that table. [...] He is the commander-in-chief. What has he been doing? Do you realize he carried out more than 30 campaign visits in this last season, for various Democrats? While he can't make up his mind on Afghanistan, or have enough time to meet with generals. He is out there campaigning.


(END VIDEO CLIP)


KING: Let's take them in order. Why is David Axelrod deserve a seat at that table? And why is it taking so long?


AXELROD: Well, first of all, let's be clear. David Axelrod does not have a seat at that table. I have observed these discussions because, as I am today, I have to help communicate the message of the administration. And so it is helpful for me to hear. I have not said a word in any of those meetings.


Now let's take the second part. Governor Romney has to choose one argument or another. Either he has to say he is not paying attention or he has to say he is taking too long because he has been involved in a rigorous review. The president has had hours and hours and hours of meetings with his military commanders, with his national security team, to run through every aspect of this, in order to get it right.


And we've seen in the past what happens when we don't do that; when we don't do the necessary preparations. And he is determined to get Afghanistan right. It is something that Secretary Gates supports. It is something that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff supports; General McChrystal has been supportive of this process.


You know, I know that Governor Romney has never had responsibility for any decision akin to this, so he just may not be familiar with all that it entails. But I think the American people are being well served by a process that is assiduous and in which every aspect of this is considered. Because, after all, lives of American servicemen are involved here. An enormous investment on the part of the American people, we ought to get it right.
(Original.)

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President Obama and Thai Prime Minister Vejjajiva Speak After ASEAN-10 Meeting

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Right-Wing Asshat Mitt Romney Slams President Obama on Afghanistan

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Wanda Sykes Takes On OBAMA CARE Hate Trolls!

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Cheney's Evil Demon Spawn & Right-Wing Cum Dump Brings Up a Cheney/Palin Ticket for 2012

By David Edwards
The Raw Story

During a discussion about replacing President Barack Obama, former Vice President Dick Cheney's daughter Liz suggested that her dad might be a good Presidential candidate in 2012.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Liz Cheney mentioned her father's name as the panel discussed replacing Obama following his decision to respect the Japanese Emperor by bowing during a formal greeting.

Fox News personalities felt compelled to cover Obama's bow to Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko after conservative blogs attacked the president.

Bill Kristol brought up ex-Alaska governor and former VP candidate Sarah Palin. "Sarah Palin would not have bowed to the Emperor of Japan," he said. "She wouldn't have even curtsied to him."

But Palin wasn't the only presidential replacement Liz Cheney had in mind. "You can look at the comparison and think Cheney 2012," she teased....(Remainder.)


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Rudy Giuliani Praised 2006 Terror Trial , but Now Says KSM Trial is Bad; Jack Reed Refutes His Fear-Mongering


By John Amato
Crooks and Liars
(h/t Heather)

Conservatives like Rudy Giuliani can change their views in a blink of an eye and act like WATB in the process. Anytime there's some Obama bashing to be done, conservatives happily join in even when they look like fools. Rudy, who was called as a witness in the trial of Moussaoui and applauded the America legal system now says that putting KSM on trial in New York is a really, really bad idea? Why? Well, because Rudy says so.

"At the same time, I was in awe of our system," the former mayor continued. "It does demonstrate that we can give people a fair trial, that we are exactly what we say we are. We are a nation of law. . . . I think he's going to be a symbol of American justice."
I guess America doesn't need anymore shining examples of our justice system, right Rudy?

Wallace:  I want to take you back to what you said after the prosecution of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers. You said this, “I think it shows you put terrorism on one side, you put our legal system on the other, and our legal system comes out ahead.”


And after the 2006 trial of the so-called 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, you said, “It shows that we can give people a fair trial, that we are exactly what we say we are. We are a nation of war (sic).” Respectfully, Mayor, you supported civilian trials for terrorists then.


GIULIANI: And if there’s no other alternative, I support civilian trials for terrorists. The reality is there is another alternative here. And this administration has created tribunals. At least five, possibly more, terrorists are going to be tried in those tribunals.


If there was no other choice, again, Chris, I support this. If there was no other choice and they had to be tried in New York, of course they should be tried in New York. But the reality is there is another choice. It is a better choice for the government. This choice of New York is a better choice for the terrorists. Why would you seek to give the terrorists a better choice than you’re giving the -- than you’re giving the public?

His decision to be against the KSM trial is because there were other alternatives? That is idiotic at best. Jack Reed came on the show right after Rudy and denounced Rudy's talking points in their entirety....(Remainder.)

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Right-Wing Jerkoff Kristol Says "Not Appropriate" for Obama to Bow; Demon Spawn Cheney says "Think Cheney 2012"

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