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The Dangers Of Psalm 109:8 (AUDIO)

Monday, November 23, 2009


Glenn Becks White Nationalist Fans

After an ADL report says Beck may foment violence, I visit racist Web sites to see if their denizens are listening

By Alexander Zaitchik

It's been a busy week for Glenn Beck watchers. On Monday, the Anti-Defamation League released a report warning of the paranoia and stridency that increasingly define the conservative grass roots. It echoed an April report issued by the Department of Homeland Security, but unlike the DHS report, the ADL named names, and fingered Beck as the figure most responsible for the unhinging of the right.

"Beck has acted as a 'fearmonger-in-chief,' raising anxiety about and distrust towards the government [which] if it continues to grow in intensity and scope, may result in an increase in anti-government extremists and the potential for a rise of violent anti-government acts," the ADL wrote.

Amazingly, just after the ADL report's release, Sarah Palin responded to a question about a possible Palin-Beck ticket by refusing to rule out Beck as a running mate. She praised him effusively, describing him as "bold, clever, and very, very, very effective."

Effective at what, exactly?

Earlier this week, Sam Stein of the Huffington Post detailed several instances in which Beck has welcomed onto his shows guests with ties to groups that traffic in white supremacy, neo-Confederate secession, and anti-Semitism. Stein's reporting was a good start, but it would take a chalkboard the size of Idaho to fully map out Beck's racially paranoid guest list....(Remainder.)


Obama Says Greater US Trade with Asia Will Strengthen US Jobs

By Raw Story
The Raw Story

US President Barack Obama, back from a tour of Asia, called Saturday for the United States to produce more goods to sell across the Pacific, touting trade as a way to revive the troubled US economy.

Facing rising unemployment and slipping poll numbers, Obama assured the public that creating new jobs back home was his top priority on the week-long tour that took him to Japan, Singapore, China and South Korea.

"I traveled to Asia to open a new era of American engagement," Obama said in his weekly radio address, recorded while he was in Seoul.

"Above all, I spoke with leaders in every nation I visited about what we can do to sustain this economic recovery and bring back jobs and prosperity for our people -- a task I will continue to focus on relentlessly in the weeks and months ahead," he said.

Obama, who was elected in the midst of the worst economic crisis in decades, said the lesson of the turmoil was that the world's largest economy should not fuel its growth on going into debt.

"In order to keep growing, we need to spend less, save more and get our federal deficit under control," Obama said....(Remainder.)


Colorado Car Dealership Asks: ‘President, or Jihad?’

By Stephen Webster

The Raw Story

If you were looking for a new vehicle, wouldn't you consider buying from the gentlemen who own this sign?

That billboard was recently raised by the owners of Wolf Automotive in Wheatridge, Colorado, according to a local progressive talk radio host.

The sign was photographed and posted to the Web on Friday afternoon by Jay Marvin, a host with Colorado's AM 760.

"Remember these folks also had the Where is the Birth Certificate Billboard as well," he noted.
Progressive blogging community DailyKos picked up the image later that day and encouraged readers to leave their thoughts about the dealership on a Google business review page.

"Sirota had the owner on the radio this morning and lets just say he wasn't the brighest [sic] gent ever," Kos blogger acsguitar opined. "Actually claiming that the words 'We are a christian nation' appear in the constitution and that he can point it out."

"It's one thing to criticize the president on health care, or Wall Street reform, or immigration," Sirota reportedly said. "But this is outrageous. And I think it's a fair question to ask why these questions about religion and ancestry are being directed so viciously at the first African-American President of the United States."

"Since Fort Hood, I've had it," Phil West, the sign's owner, told FOX 31 News, the network reported. "You can't suggest things. You can't profile. You gotta call a spade a spade."

"Everything I have read about Mr. Obama points right to the fact that he is a Muslim," the man continued. "And that is the agenda of what Muslim is all about. It's about anti-American, it's about anti-Christianity."...(Remainder.)


The Pit Bull in the China Shop

By Frank Rich
The New York Times

AT last the American right and left have one issue they unequivocally agree on: You don’t actually have to read Sarah Palin’s book to have an opinion about it. Last Sunday Liz Cheney praised “Going Rogue” as “well-written” on Fox News even though, by her own account, she had sampled only “parts” of it. On Tuesday, Ana Marie Cox, a correspondent for Air America, belittled the book in The Washington Post while confessing that she couldn’t claim to have “completely” read it.

“Going Rogue” will hardly be the first best seller embraced by millions for talismanic rather than literary ends. And I am not recommending that others follow my example and slog through its 400-plus pages, especially since its supposed revelations have been picked through 24/7 for a week. But sometimes I wonder if anyone has read all of what Palin would call the “dang” thing. Some of the book’s most illuminating tics have been mentioned barely — if at all — by either its fans or foes. Palin is far and away the most important brand in American politics after Barack Obama, and attention must be paid. Those who wishfully think her 15 minutes are up are deluding themselves.

The book’s biggest surprise is Palin’s wide-eyed infatuation with show-business celebrities. You get nearly as much face time with Tina Fey and the cast of “Saturday Night Live” in “Going Rogue” as you do with John McCain. We learn how happy Palin was to receive calls from Bono and Warren Beatty “to share ideas and insights.” We wade through star-struck lists of campaign cameos by Robert Duvall, Jon Voight (who “blew us away”), Naomi Judd, Gary Sinise and Kelsey Grammer, among many others. Then there are the acknowledgments at the book’s end, where Palin reveals that her intimacy with media stars is such that she can air-kiss them on a first-name basis, from Greta to Laura to Rush.

Equally revealing is the one boldfaced name conspicuously left unmentioned in the book: Levi Johnston, the father of Palin’s grandchild. Though Palin and McCain milked him for photo ops at the Republican convention, he is persona non grata now that he’s taking off his campaign wardrobe. Is Johnston’s fledgling porn career the problem, or is it his public threats to strip bare Palin family secrets as well? “She knows what I got on her” is how he put it. In Palin’s interview with Oprah last week, it was questioning about Johnston, not Katie Couric, that made her nervous....(Remainder.)


The Phantom Menace

By Paul Krugman

The New York Times

A funny thing happened on the way to a new New Deal. A year ago, the only thing we had to fear was fear itself; today, the reigning doctrine in Washington appears to be “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

What happened? To be sure, “centrists” in the Senate have hobbled efforts to rescue the economy. But the evidence suggests that in addition to facing political opposition, President Obama and his inner circle have been intimidated by scare stories from Wall Street.

Consider the contrast between what Mr. Obama’s advisers were saying on the eve of his inauguration, and what he himself is saying now.

In December 2008 Lawrence Summers, soon to become the administration’s highest-ranking economist, called for decisive action. “Many experts,” he warned, “believe that unemployment could reach 10 percent by the end of next year.” In the face of that prospect, he continued, “doing too little poses a greater threat than doing too much.”

Ten months later unemployment reached 10.2 percent, suggesting that despite his warning the administration hadn’t done enough to create jobs. You might have expected, then, a determination to do more.

But in a recent interview with Fox News, the president sounded diffident and nervous about his economic policy. He spoke vaguely about possible tax incentives for job creation. But “it is important though to recognize,” he went on, “that if we keep on adding to the debt, even in the midst of this recovery, that at some point, people could lose confidence in the U.S. economy in a way that could actually lead to a double-dip recession.”

What? Huh?...(Remainder.)


Night Walk

Fictional photograph* by Alison Jackson. Grooming by Patrycja Korzeniak for Halley Resources; Shot on location at Brooklyn Botanic Garden
*Real photograph, fake Obama

With Afghanistan on his mind, the president leaves the White House grounds and encounters a stranger.

By Adam Haslett

New York Magazine

He opened the door from the West Wing hallway out onto the colonnade, letting Jones pass through it ahead of him. He could already feel the loosening of the skin at the back of his head and the slackening in his jaw. The anticipation alone triggered the letting go.

They walked a few steps along the passageway, the darkened South Lawn drawing their eyes across it to the spot-lit obelisk down on the Mall. The city was quiet.

“This is a difficult one,” Jones said, his hands held together behind his back.

The president nodded. In his jacket pocket, he rolled the filter of the cigarette between his thumb and forefinger. Reggie being out today, he’d had a hard time procuring it. A few hours ago, around midnight, he’d tried his secretary’s desk but found it locked. On the way to Communications, where an aide who worked late usually came through in a pinch, he’d been waylaid by Summers clutching new figures on wholesale inventories in the Southeast, and who would have no more noticed that he was in a hurry if he’d been jogging in a tracksuit. By the time Larry had explained the import of the numbers, he could see Jones over his shoulder signaling that they needed him downstairs.

“The guys in the village—how long have they been informing for us?” he asked, fingering the lighter in his other pocket, wondering how long it had taken his predecessors, the ones who hadn’t been head of the CIA, to get used to uttering lines fit for a Bond film. The number of roles the job required was practically infinite. And each of them had to be played to near perfection. To convince and to mean it and to know every audience better than they knew themselves—that was the talent. It was the power of knowing his own appetites, giving him the time to step back and let others show themselves first, as he calibrated just how much of himself to use for comfort or control. Thoughts he could not share just now, Jim Jones being no ironist. A man who’d mastered Washington as well as the Marines. A player deep in the system. And at six-four, one of the few aides whose eyes he didn’t look down to meet....(Remainder.)


Militant Group's Recruiting of Soldiers Worries Watchdogs

By Daniel Tencer

The Raw Story

Obama 'inherited' civil liberties problems from Bush

A quickly-growing right-wing group that recruits serving soldiers and police officers and encourages members not to obey presidential orders has some watchdogs worried.

The Oath Keepers, founded earlier this year by a former staffer for congressman Ron Paul, say they aren't a militia group like the many others sprouting up around the country, because they don't need to be -- their recruits are already members of the armed forces or law enforcement agencies, says a report from CNN.

CNN's Jim Acosta reports that inductees to the group swear an oath of allegiance to the US Constitution that is modeled after the oath given to military recruits, but omits one key phrase: "I will obey the orders of the president of the United States."

"Our role is not to be obedient to whoever happens to be the leader, our role is to defend the Constitution and the republic," Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, a former army paratrooper and staffer for famed libertarian Ron Paul, told CNN....(Remainder.)


Catholic & Evangelical Hate Merchants Pledge to Ignore Gay Rights & Abortion Laws

And these are organizations that are allowed to have a tax-free status provided they don't engage in any political actions?  Well this seems pretty political to me.  I am of the opinion that we need to bombard the IRS with complaints about these religious organizations.  If you want to file a complaint, which I'm about to do, get all your back-up information together, which is NOT that difficult to find with a simple Google News search, and submit IRS form f13909 (pdf).  Furthermore, time to contact your representative, and it must be your representative because tax bills have to start in the House, and tell them to revoke these organizations tax exempt status.  If they want to participate in this kind of activity, they can damned well pay their taxes like everyone else.


By John Tomasic
The Colorado Independent

Religious leaders signed a pledge Friday announcing that they won’t abide by laws that support gay marriage or abortion. Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput and Focus on the Family’s Founder James Dobson and President Jim Daly joined 125 other conservative religious leaders from Colorado in signing the so-called Manhattan Declaration. The declaration comes amid the contentious national health care debate that has featured Catholic Bishops prominently and in the wake of hate crimes legislation passed earlier this fall that drew staunch opposition from evangelical leaders, who argued it might prevent them from preaching against gays. The signatories of the Declaration (pdf) vow to ignore any laws that contradict their worldview.
[L]et it be known that we will not comply with any edict that compels us or the institutions we lead to participate in or facilitate abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide, euthanasia, or any other act that violates the principle of the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every member of the human family.

Further, let it be known that we will not bend to any rule forcing us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality, marriage, and the family.

Further, let it be known that we will not be intimidated into silence or acquiescence or the violation of our consciences by any power on earth, be it cultural or political, regardless of the consequences to ourselves.
The list of Colorado signatories also included Fr. Joseph D Fessio, founder and editor of Ignatius Press; Rev. Michael J Sheridan, Bishop of the Archdiocese of Colorado Springs; and John Stonestreet, executive director of Summit Ministries at Manitou Springs....(Remainder.)


Geithner Rejects Calls to Resign, Gets Into Heated Exchange With GOP Congressman

By The Public Record
The Public Record

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sharply rejected a call to resign from his job Thursday and told Congressman Kevin Brady, the ranking Republican on the House Joint Economic Committee, during heated testimony, “You gave this President an economy falling off the cliff.”

“Again, it’s just a basic fact: A year ago, this economy was falling at the rate of 6 percent a year,” Geithner told Brady after the GOP lawmaker ticked off a list of economic failures he said Geithner is responsible for. “We were losing between half a million and three-quarters of a million jobs a month.”

Brady, who asked Geithner if he would step down, then responded:

“Mr. Secretary, the public has lost all confidence in your ability to do your job. Conservatives agree.. liberals agree… it is time for a fresh start.” The failures, Brady told Geithner, is starting”to reflect on your president.”

Geithner fired back:

“If you look at any measure of consumer and investor confidence today, if you look at any measure of the stability and health of the economy … it is substantially stronger today than when the president of the United States took office,” he said. “And that did not happen on its own.”

“Tell all of that to the millions of American who no longer have jobs because of your decisions,” Brady said. “At some point you have to take some responsibility for your decisions.”...(Remainder.)


The Most Frightening Body

The Senate has changed, and not at all for the better.

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.
The New Republic

WASHINGTON--Normal human beings--let's call them real Americans--cannot understand why, 10 months after President Obama's inauguration, Congress is still tied down in a procedural torture chamber trying to pass the health care bill Obama promised in his campaign.

Last year, the voters gave him the largest popular vote margin won by a presidential candidate in 20 years. They gave Democrats their largest Senate majority since 1976 and their largest House majority since 1992.

Obama didn't just offer bromides about hope and change. He made quite specific pledges. You'd think that the newly empowered Democrats would want to deliver quickly.

But what do real Americans see? On health care, they read about this or that Democratic senator prepared to bring action to a screeching halt out of displeasure with some aspect of the proposal. They first hear that a bill will pass by Thanksgiving, and then learn it might not get a final vote until after the New Year.

Is it any wonder that Congress has miserable approval ratings? Is it surprising that independents, who want their government to solve a few problems, are becoming impatient with the current majority?

Democrats in the Senate--the House is not the problem--need to have a long chat with themselves and decide whether they want to engage in an act of collective suicide....(Remainder.)


GOP Senators Block Efforts to Freeze Credit Card Interest Rates

By Daniel Tencer
The Raw Story

Republican senators on Wednesday blocked an effort to debate a bill that would prevent credit card companies from raising interest rates ahead of new regulations coming into force next year.

The move angered congressional Democrats who were pushing for an emergency freeze on credit card rates.

"I’m extremely disappointed that the financial health of millions of American taxpayers has been completely brushed aside by a handful of Wall Street banking interests in the US Senate," Rep. Betsy Markey (D-CO) said, as quoted in the Coloradoan.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), who heads the Senate Banking Committee, had authored a bill that would have prevented credit card issuers from hiking interest rates ahead of a new law coming into effect in February that restricts how and when rates can be raised.

Earlier this year, Dodd wrote and passed through the Senate the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act, which requires credit card issuers to give customers advance notice before hiking rates and fees....(Remainder.)


Don’t You Think It’s Time to Reinstate the Laws That Would Have Prevented the Financial Crash?

By Nomi Prins
The Indypendent

This week marks the tenth year anniversary of the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley or Financial Services Modernization Act, marking the moment when we were royally screwed by the banking system. Thank you to all those involved.

It’s amazing how downright ebullient, President Bill Clinton was at that signing ceremony on November 12, 1999. an event introduced by then Treasury Secretary (now Obama advisor) Larry Summers, successor to Robert Rubin. Those restricting, anti-competitive Depression era, laws were finally behind us. Awesome.

Fast-forward to now and must of us know how devastatingly expensive that signature was for the American public. Yet, despite our government having deployed or made available over $14.1 trillion worth of federal subsidies to fix Wall Street, the banking landscape is less stable than it was before last year’s crisis. And, despite national unemployment approaching double digits, and another record quarter of foreclosures, we stand farther away from the intent of Glass Steagall than ever.

Banks weren’t handled with kid gloves then. They were treated like the spoiled, reckless, destructive beings they were. After the stock market crash in 1929, the country sunk into the throes of the Great Depression, characterized by 25% unemployment, bread lines, rampant foreclosures, and general despair. In 1932, the Pecora commission examined the shady banking practices that contributed to the devastation, all of which hinged on one thing - banks had used depositor capital and loans to speculate with. Exactly like the practices going on before and since last fall’s financial calamity. The result of that speculation gone wrong tanked the economy. Glass-Steagall logically sought to ensure this wouldn’t happen again. It divided up the banking landscape into two parts, commercial banks and investment banks. The federal government would back commercial banks and consumer deposits through establishing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). But, it wouldn’t be Wall Street’s investment bank bookie and bitch.

Over the decades, the financial sector, armed with cunning lobbyists and overpaid lawyers, took many swipes at Glass-Steagall, but none as devastating as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. Since then, the banking sector’s powerful ate its weak, amidst a wave of massive consolidation. Nearly half of the nation’s biggest bank mergers took place just before or since that Act was passed. All these mega banks can thus churn deposits and loans into debt or capital to fund speculation, risk, and create a roller coaster of an economy that is defined simply on whether those bets, or asset creations, work or not, at any given moment. Heads they win, tails we lose....(Remainder.)


Caribou Barbie Claims Reagan Faced a Worse Recession than Obama

By Louis Jacobson

It's no secret that Republicans love Ronald Reagan. So it's no surprise to see Sarah Palin, in her new book Going Rogue: An American Life, burnishing the reputation of the Gipper -- and taking a shot at the current president while she's at it.

"Our nation is facing great challenges, but I'm optimistic -- and I know there is a way forward," she writes. "Ronald Reagan faced an even worse recession. He showed us how to get out of one."

Was the Reagan recession really worse than the current one? We consulted economists and historians and examined statistics to determine if she's right.

Here are how some of the key factors stack up.

-- Length of the recession. Dating the Reagan recession is somewhat tricky. The National Bureau of Economic Research -- the official arbiter of recession-dating -- classifies one recession as lasting from January 1980 to July 1980 and a second as running from July 1981 to November 1982. The first occurred wholly on President Jimmy Carter's watch, while the second was entirely under Reagan. However, some economists contend that the two recessions actually amount to one "double-dip" recession.

The maximum length of the early-1980s recession is nearly three years, but counting the double-dip recessions together while excluding the months of expansion between them leaves 23 months of recession. That's exactly the same length as the Obama recession, which began in December 2007 and continues through today. The whole early 1980s period was longer, but the Obama recession looks likely to continue for at least a little while longer.

VERDICT: Call it a wash -- for now.

-- Economic growth or contraction. During the double-dip recession, inflation-adjusted GDP declined by 0.6 percent over the full three-year period -- far less than the 2.8 percent decrease seen in the current, two-year recession. But GDP loss in Obama's recession is pretty similar to losses in the second of the two early-1980s dips, when the economy shrank by 2.6 percent.

Viewed another way, in the worst full year of the 1980s recession, GDP shrank by 1.9 percent. Unless the economy supercharges during the final quarter of this year, there's a good chance that the contraction in 2009 will be bigger.

VERDICT: They're close, but the current recession will likely end up somewhat worse.


The Big Squander

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

Earlier this week, the inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, a k a, the bank bailout fund, released his report on the 2008 rescue of the American International Group, the insurer. The gist of the report is that government officials made no serious attempt to extract concessions from bankers, even though these bankers received huge benefits from the rescue. And more than money was lost. By making what was in effect a multibillion-dollar gift to Wall Street, policy makers undermined their own credibility — and put the broader economy at risk.

For the A.I.G. rescue was part of a pattern: Throughout the financial crisis key officials — most notably Timothy Geithner, who was president of the New York Fed in 2008 and is now Treasury secretary — have shied away from doing anything that might rattle Wall Street. And the bitter paradox is that this play-it-safe approach has ended up undermining prospects for economic recovery. For the job of fixing the broken economy is far from done — yet finishing the job has become nearly impossible now that the public has lost faith in the government’s efforts, viewing them as little more than handouts to the people who got us into this mess.

About the A.I.G. affair: During the bubble years, many financial companies created the illusion of financial soundness by buying credit-default swaps from A.I.G. — basically, insurance policies in which A.I.G. promised to make up the difference if borrowers defaulted on their debts. It was an illusion because the insurer didn’t have remotely enough money to make good on its promises if things went bad. And sure enough, things went bad.

So why protect bankers from the consequences of their errors? Well, by the time A.I.G.’s hollowness became apparent, the world financial system was on the edge of collapse and officials judged — probably correctly — that letting A.I.G. go bankrupt would push the financial system over that edge. So A.I.G. was effectively nationalized; its promises became taxpayer liabilities.

But was there any way to limit those liabilities? After all, banks would have suffered huge losses if A.I.G. had been allowed to fail. So it seemed only fair for them to bear part of the cost of the bailout, which they could have done by accepting a “haircut” on the amounts A.I.G. owed them. Indeed, the government asked them to do just that. But they said no — and that was the end of the story. Taxpayers not only ended up honoring foolish promises made by other people, they ended up doing so at 100 cents on the dollar....(Remainder.)


Watchdog Demands Probe of Rep. Bachmann's Anti-Health Care Bill Rally

By Ron Brynaert
The Raw Story

Poor Michelle Bachmann can't seem to catch a break lately.

Less than a week after Comedy Central's Jon Stewart, of all people, poked holes in a Fox report on her November 5th tea party healthcare protest which utilized falsified footage to inflate the attendance, a Washington D.C. based watchdog is calling for a House probe of the Republican congresswoman from Minnesota.

"CREW contends that Rep. Bachmann misused her official congressional website by urging people to come to the Capitol to protest the legislation despite House rules restricting members from using their websites to engage in 'grassroots lobbying or solicit support for a Member’s position," states a press release on the website for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "Rep. Bachmann’s website urged people to come to the Capitol rally 'and tell their Representatives to vote no' on the health care reform bill."

CREW excutive director Melanie Sloan adds, "Taxpayers fund members’ websites and because of that those sites may not be used to organize a public rally for or against any particular legislation."
CREW also asked OCE to determine if Rep. Bachmann and other members violated House rules by failing to acquire a permit for the Nov. 5 rally and by falsely calling the event a “press conference,” though no questions were asked by the media. Politico quoted from a Republican Study Committee email directing staff members to “please make sure your boss does not term this event a rally.” A Capitol Police spokeswoman confirmed the lawmakers had no permit for a demonstration. In a TV interview, however, Rep. Bachmann urged opponents of the bill “to come to Washington, D.C. by the car load.”


Sarah Palin Claims Weatherization Money in Stimulus Required Universal Building Codes

By Robert Farley

Sarah Palin has been a vocal opponent of the economic stimulus package ever since it was proposed by President Barack Obama, and she makes that point again in her new book, Going Rogue.

Back in March 2009, then-Gov. Palin called the stimulus plan a "bribe" intended to "grow government" and she vowed to turn down as much as a third of the money available to Alaska.

But the Republican-controlled Alaska Legislature fought her on it, and she ultimately accepted all but 3 percent of the more than $900 million available to Alaska. The 3 percent that she vetoed was $28.6 million in federal stimulus money for weatherization and other projects to make new and existing homes and buildings more energy efficient. She claimed then, as she does again in her book, that the money had not just string but "ropes" attached to it that would require the state to adopt universal building codes.

Here's how she described it in the book:

"The documents clearly stated that acceptance of the funds required the adoption and enforcement of energy building codes," she wrote. "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."

At PolitiFact, we looked at that claim in some detail back in early June after she said the money would require "universal energy building codes for Alaska, kind of a one-size-fits-all building code that isn't going to work up there in Alaska."...(Remainder.)


Will Catholic Bishops Start Denying Communion to Gay Marriage Supporters?

By Michael A. Jones

U.S. Catholic Bishops have made a giant leap toward using Communion as their next political weapon, with Rhode Island's bishop telling Rep. Patrick Kennedy that he is no longer welcome to receive Communion during Mass at any church in the entire state. The move by Bishop Thomas Tobin follows through on previous threats by many U.S. Catholic bishops that they would ban pro-choice and pro-gay politicians from partaking in one of the Church's most important sacraments.

Rep.  Kennedy told the Providence Journal that Bishop Tobin has been targeting him for years by threatening to withhold Communion, mostly for his support for reproductive rights. Bishop Tobin finally followed through with those threats, in a move that's being seen by many as the politicization of a Church practice that's supposed to be seen as the epitome of peace.

"The bishop instructed me not to take communion and said that he has instructed the diocesan priests not to give me communion," Kennedy said.

Today happens to be the 46th anniversary of the assassination of his uncle, President John F. Kennedy, the nation's only Catholic head of state. What a difference four decades make in reshaping Catholic identity. Back then Catholics celebrated President Kennedy's leadership. Today, Kennedy and his family would be told by many bishops that they're not welcome to the table.

The announcement by Bishop Tobin to control Communion like a mafia leader stems from debate during the 2004 election, when Sen. John Kerry (himself a Catholic) was running for President. During that year, conservative U.S. Catholic leaders put together what they considered a list of "non-negotiable" issues that they said Catholics could not waver on....(Remainder.)


Is Harry Reid Selling Out the Public Option for Trigger Bullshit to Get Votes of ConservaDems?


Dems Call Out Mitch McChinless for His Obstructionism


For Some Insane Reason Clusterfox Insane Trollup, Liz Trotta, Has a Problem With Stephanopoulos Move to GMA


The Most Boring Person on Earth, Britney Hume, Moronically Says Obama is "Bowing & Scraping" Overseas


Right-Wing Jerkoff Unleashes a Series of Bullshit Claims About Health Reform on Clusterfox


Chris "Daddy Doesn't Want Me" Wallace Idiotically Claims Health Bill Has Task Force to Decide What's Not Covered

By Media Matters

On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace falsely claimed that it's a "fact" that the House and Senate health care bills direct the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force to "determine what services, what tests, screening, are covered and aren't covered," and asked whether that amounts to "government rationing." In fact, the bills require insurers to implement task force recommendations in favor of specific preventive care, but they are not required to adopt those that recommend against preventive screening....(Remainder.)


GOP Rep Insists New Breast Screening Guidelines Will Be Government Mandate

By Susie Madrak

Crooks and Liars

From This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz get into one of those discussions over this week's breast screening recommendations in which the Republican simply constructs an alternate reality:
BLACKBURN: ... Debbie is right when she says they forgot about people. Indeed, they did. But we have to realize, this group that made this recommendation, this isn't some outside group.

This is a part of HHS. And when you look at the...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: It's an independent group. That is not accurate.

BLACKBURN: ... 118 -- when you look at the...

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: It is not a part of HHS.

BLACKBURN: No, it is a part of HHS.


BLACKBURN: And when you look at what is going to happen with these 118 new bureaucracies with 62 directives that are given by the health choices commissioner on what insurance can be offered in this country after 2013 and what is going to be paid, you know that this is the bureaucrat in the exam room. This is how it's going to happen.


BLACKBURN: And this is the first step.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Marsha, there's an insurance company bureaucrat in the -- in between the patient and her doctor right now.

BLACKBURN: This is breast cancer. Well, and people don't like that, and we need to get rid of...


WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: And your bill -- your -- your alternative...


BLACKBURN: We need to get rid of all of those insurance bureaucrats.

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: ... does nothing to...


STEPHANOPOULOS: I'm going to have to -- I'm going to have to stop this right now.
Yes, George. Because your job is to provide a showcase. You're not supposed to confront the guests when they make things up....(Original.)


Tweety Bird Allows Haley Barbour to Tout Mississippi's Deplorable Health System as a Model for Reform

By Heather
Crooks and Liars

I caught this on Hardball as well and was focused on Matthews touting tort reform as a solution to health care costs, which is nothing but a distraction and right wing talking point as Daphne Eviatar does a nice job of summing up here. Digby took note of why allowing the likes of Haley Barbour to tout Mississippi as a model for health care reform is absolutely ridiculous.

The state is a disaster when it comes to health care on every front. But they have reduced their premiums and now nobody can expect restitution if a drunk doctor cuts off the wrong limb, so everything's just ducky in Haley's world. In fact the whole country should "experiment" with Mississippi's great successes.

In case you were wondering, number one is Vermont, followed by Hawaii and Iowa. If Barbour and his buddies were willing to take the lead of the states that actually deliver pretty good health care his words wouldn't ring so hollow. But all he cares about is destroying trial lawyers on behalf of his rich friends and throwing poor people off Medicaid. I don't think that's a serious solution to the problem so there's no reason to listen to anything he or any other Republican says on this subject.

Lots of stats and more over at Digby's place. So much for that "librul" media huh?...(Remainder.)


Caribou Barbie Attracts 'Whites Versus Other People' Crowd

By David Edwards and Muriel Kane
The Raw Story

Sarah Palin's most fervent supporters have been characterized in a lot of different ways, some of them far more unflattering than "monochromatic." That was the word MSNBC's Chris Matthews chose to use, however, in describing the crowd at Palin book signing Wednesday in Michigan -- though he hastened to add, "not that there's anything wrong with it."

"Can you find out what their belief is in Governor Palin?" Matthews asked Norah O'Donnell, who was reporting for MSNBC from the scene.

"I think it's an emotional connection," O'Donnell replied. "A lot of the people I spoke with today were unable to articulate exactly why they supported Sarah Palin. ... This is a largely white -- almost no minorities in this crowd -- and they're here because they love Sarah Palin."
"They look like a white crowd to me," Matthews agreed heartily. "Not that there's anything wrong with it, but it is pretty monochromatic up there. ... Nothing wrong with that, but it is a fact."

Matthews then turned to Salon's Joan Walsh to ask about the "nastiness" of Palin's attacks on McCain campaign staffers, exclaiming, "Here's somebody who was governor of a state ... trashing little people!"...(Remainder.)


Prof. Jonathan Turley Tells Lawrence O'Donnell that Obama Crossed the Line by Predicting KSM Death Penalty

By David Edwards and Muriel Kane
The Raw Story

The Obama's administration's decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other alleged 9/11 plotters in New York City has sparked a great number of heated expressions of offense from Republicans -- and may now have landed President Obama in legal hot water.

Obama defended his decision on Wednesday by telling MSNBC's Chuck Todd, "I don't think it will be offensive at all when he's convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him." When Todd expressed surprise at the remark, Obama hastily corrected himself, insisting, "What I said was people will not be offended if that's the outcome. I'm not pre-judging it."

Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley chuckled over Obama's predicament on MSNBC's Countdown, telling substitute host Lawrence O'Donnell, "He certainly came across as the Queen of Hearts, calling for a sentence first and a verdict later."

"He knows that's a problem," Turley went on, more seriously. "The great irony is that in defending this noble decision of his to give a fair trial to these men, he then crossed the line and is likely to be cited by the feds that it's not quite so fair."

The Obama administration has been fairly cavalier so far in brushing off the possibility that any of the defendants might be found innocent. According to Attorney General Eric Holder, ""I would not have authorized the bringing of these prosecutions unless I thought that the outcome -- in the outcome we would ultimately be successful."...(Remainder.)


Stephanopoulos Points Out that American Cancer Society Says GOP Health "Plan" Would Do More Harm Than Good


Raving Ameirca Hating Cunt, Liz Cheney, This Obama is Taking Too Long to Decide on Afghanistan

By Heather
Crooks and Liars

George Stephanopoulos just had to give Liz Cheney some more air time on his bobblehead show in another of his "fair and balanced" panels. Sorry Liz but what's "inexcusable" is your daddy helping to get us into this quagmire in the first place. I still want to know when she's signing up for the military if she wants to keep beating those war drums.
WILL: The danger is that the president is going to be seen as escalating this war. He’ll do it half-heartedly with his heart not in it, he will lose his party, and he’ll be supported by Republicans of the stripe of Liz Cheney, and that’s not a sustainable path.

CHENEY: Well, let me just say that what I will support is the strategy that actually will win in Afghanistan, a strategy that’s the one that was laid out by General McChrystal, and I think it’s just completely inexcusable that we’ve now had month after month after month of photo-op out of the White House and no decision.

The president is very fond of saying, “Before I commit troops, I’m going to think very carefully about it.” Somebody in the White House needs to remind him: He’s already committed troops. We’ve got American men and women in Afghanistan today, because we’ve got to prevent Afghanistan from again becoming a safe haven for Al Qaida. The cost of walking away, the cost of defeat, the cost of retreat is huge. They’re fighting there today, and they’re fighting without the kind of resources and reinforcements that he needs -- that they need.


Stephen Colbert Says Sarah Palin's Book a 'Steaming Pile of Shit'

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Grand Old Pity Party
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor U.S. Speedskating


Rachel Maddow Explores Anti-Islam 'McCarthyism' & How It's Making Us Less Safe

By David Edwards
The Raw Story

A wave of anti-Muslim "McCarthyism" among Republican politicians in the wake of the Fort Hood shooting is not only not helping make America safer, it may actually be frustrating anti-terrorism efforts, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow says.

In a segment on The Rachel Maddow Show Thursday night, Maddow aired numerous clips of Republican and conservative figures advocating for racial profiling, or even suggesting infiltration of the US government by "Al Qaeda sympathizers."

Maddow equated the recent political trend to the McCarthyism of the 1950s, when Sen. Joe McCarthy used fear of communist infiltration to gain political power and influence.

But Maddow's most salient point came in pointing out that the anti-Muslim sentiment being aired on the nation's newscasts could frustrate a recent effort by the CIA to recruit more Arab-Americans, in an effort to better prosecute the war on terrorism.

Those potential recruits' "language skills alone are considered a vital tool for America fighting terrorism," Maddow said....(Remainder.)


Clusterfox: "Sen. Joe Lieberman (R-CT)"

Via Media Matters


Should the FCC Look Into Whether Fox News is Really News?

By Eric Boehlert
Media Matters

John Amato at Crooks and Liars thinks so. His angle? With Fox News now routinely getting caught doctoring video and airing the misleading clips in its news reports, Amato thinks Rupert Murdoch's 'news' channel might be running afoul of FCC regulations.

Specifically, Amato points to this FCC language:
“Hoaxes.  The Commission's prohibition against the broadcast of hoaxes is set forth at Section 73.1217 of the Commission's rules, 47 C.F.R. § 73.1217.

This rule prohibits broadcast licensees or permittees from broadcasting false information concerning a crime or a catastrophe if: (1) the licensee knows this information is false; (2) it is foreseeable that broadcast of the information will cause substantial public harm; and (3) broadcast of the information does in fact directly cause substantial public harm.
UPDATED: Rupert Murdoch can likely rest easy. The FCC regulates broadcast television and radio, outlets that use the public airwaves. But the FCC does not regulate cable television....(Original.)


The Palin Chronicles

By Simon Malloy
Media Matters

From the moment Sarah Palin was airlifted out of the Alaska hinterlands by John McCain and plopped onto the national stage, she's been telling anyone who will listen how poorly she's been treated by the media, the Democrats, the blogosphere, etc. After she did her part in scuttling McCain's already foundering campaign, she added to her list of personal persecutors the same McCain staffers who made her a household name in the first place. The conservative media have cheered on her personal pity party every step of the way, adamantly refusing to acknowledge that Sarah Palin -- perfect Sarah Palin, conservatism's hockey-mom messiah -- has done anything wrong.

So it was inevitable that when Palin and her ghostwriter teamed up to produce her newly release memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life, it would be anything but a tedious exercise in self-martyrdom. The second half of the book, which recounts her time with McCain and the aftermath of the presidential campaign, is a litany of complaints peppered with absolutions of any errors on her part. Palin's account of her disastrous interviews with CBS anchor Katie Couric consists mainly of attacks on Couric for "badgering" her, "edit[ing] out substantive answers," and trying to "frame a 'gotcha' moment." She chastises McCain campaign staffers for having "no script to begin with," for not following her advice and talking about Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and for nurturing the "wardrobe fairy tale" so they could throw her "under the media bus" after the campaign ended.

When not complaining about how ill-treated she was, Palin wildly revised her own history, showcasing her penchant for falsehoods both big and small. She claims that the media were reporting "lies" about the Bridge to Nowhere, when it was she who, from the very start, lied about her own position on the bridge. She claims that she immediately liked the idea of going on Saturday Night Live, even though internal campaign emails show that she was initially reluctant because of the show's "gross" treatment of her family, going so far as to call the SNL crew "whack." She claims that there is no aerial hunting in Alaska, even though she proposed legislation supporting that very practice. The list goes on and on....(Remainder.)


Boehner Claims Senate Health Bill Includes an “Abortion Fee”

By Catharine Richert

Republicans have found another flaw in the health care bill: They say Democrats are trying to impose a monthly abortion fee on anyone enrolled in the public health care option.

"Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's (D-NV) massive, 2,074-page bill would levy a new 'abortion premium' fee on Americans in the government-run plan," wrote House Republican Leader John Boehner on the GOP's Web site.

The House version of the health care bill included an amendment promoted by Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., to prevent abortion from being offered through the public plan, as well as additional restrictions for insurers who sell on the exchange.

But the Senate version of health care reform represents a clean slate and includes a provision similar to one added by Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., to the original version of the House legislation that would prevent the government from spending federal dollars on abortion procedures.

Here's how the Senate bill would treat the issue:

Health insurance companies participating in the insurance exchange, a virtual marketplace where consumers could compare and shop for insurance plans, could decide whether to offer abortion coverage. In each state, there would have to be at least one plan that offers the insurance and one that does not. People who get federal subsidies to help pay for coverage through the exchange could buy plans that offer abortion insurance. But the bill includes accounting rules to ensure that no tax dollars are used to pay for the procedure. The government can only pay for abortions in instances of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother, but the Health and Human Services secretary could decide to include abortion coverage beyond that. In any case, the public plan would be subject to the same rules....(Remainder.)


Breitbart Doesn't Even Know What “Blackmail” Means

By Eric Boehlert
Media Matters

More unintentional comedy, courtesy of Breitbart and Big Government.

As CF noted, Breitbart's defending himself against the claim by Columbia Journalism Review that he's "blackmailing" Attorney General Eric Holder. This, after Breitbart went on Fox News last week and demanded that the DOJ launch an ACORN investigation or that Breitbart would reveal more undercover videos during next year's election season.

Here's Breitbart defending his look-at-me, investigate-or-else charade [emphasis added]:
And now to address the fever-swamp's notion that what I said on "Hannity" last night was "blackmail."  Blackmail occurs when one party threatens to reveal an unsavory piece of information about another party, and demands money in exchange for silence
There's no way Breitbart is trying to blackmail Holder, because Breitbart isn't demanding money, right? Laugh along at Breitbart's ignorance as you read the definition of "blackmail":
1. (Law) to exact or attempt to exact (money or anything of value) from (a person) by threats or intimidation; extort

2. to attempt to influence the actions of (a person), esp by unfair pressure or threats
Blackmail has been defined in the broad sense to mean "compelling someone to act against their will or gaining or attempting to gain something of value." Courts vary on interpreting what "something of value" includes, but it is not necessarily a money payment in all cases.


Beck Throws a (Political) Party

By Zachary Pleat

Media Matters

Always one to prefer drama over substance, it was little surprise that Glenn Beck was nearly an hour late to his own rally in The Villages (a retirement community in Florida) on November 21. During the wait, Beck's patient and very non-diverse crowd was treated to supposedly live footage on giant video screens of him getting lost driving a golf cart to the rally. He admitted to have gone in a circle at least once, complaining that it took 50 minutes to drive just three miles. Soon afterward, his big tour bus pulled up alongside the crowd, and Glenn Beck took to the stage among loud cheers and applause.

Beck wasted little time before displaying his narcissism, declaring himself and all those present as the nation's "Constitution czar" just a few minutes into his appearance. He then tried to stir up the crowd with what appeared to be a reference to climate change, declaring: "The science is not settled. We will not sit down. We will not shut up. We will stand!"

Next, Beck decided to try to scare the crowd with the size of the national debt, throwing out big, impressive-sounding numbers like $12 trillion, the current level. Naturally, he did not mention that such numbers are far less scary with the proper context. When Beck brought up the projected debt 10 years from now, he seemed to acknowledge his own and Fox News' lack of credibility on this issue, saying that "Now, that's not from Glenn Beck and Fox News ... [that's] from" Beck then issued a call for all present to live within their means, declaring that "we must change our lifestyle, because our lifestyle is unsustainable." Beck continued to display his ignorance of how deficit-neutral legislation works, complaining that it's only "debt-neutral" because "somebody has got to pay for it."

Next, Beck continued on his crusade to expose the corruption in this country, though of course only corruption relating to anything and anyone connected to the Democratic Party, declaring that the $100 million in the Senate health care bill for Louisiana is a "$100 million bribe for one person's vote." Demanding that "The corruption must stop," Glenn invoked the case of former Congressman William Jefferson, and just like any good little political hack, he did not mention any Republican corruption problems. Beck then revealed that he was really concerned about this issue not because they are stealing from us, but our children....(Remainder.)



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