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Saturday, June 13, 2009

How The Spooks Took Over the News

By Nick Davies
Shadowy intelligence agencies are pumping out black propaganda to manipulate public opinion – and that the media simply swallow it wholesale. LinkHere

Mullahs ‘rigged poll’ in fear of Barack Obama effect

Sarah Baxter, Washington
PRESIDENT Barack Obama’s hopes of halting Iran’s nuclear programme have been dealt a blow by the election result but the policy of the “outstretched hand” will continue.
“The Iran election seriously complicates Obama’s game plan in the region,” said Steven Clemons, of the New America Foundation, a left-of-centre Washington think tank. “But if Ahmadinejad is sworn in and the situation gets relatively stable, nothing at all has changed in the equation that Obama set out during the campaign: we have to deal with our enemies – we must engage.”
The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said last night America hoped the outcome of the election reflected “the genuine will and desire of Iranian citizens”.
There had been high hopes of an “Obama effect” in Iran, similar to the victory for a pro-western coalition in Lebanese elections this month in which Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed “party of God”, was defeated. Obama had said that what had been true in Lebanon could be true in Iran as well – “you’re looking at people seeing new possibilities”.
Tehran drew a different lesson from Hezbollah’s defeat, according to Lawrence Korb, of the Center for American Progress, who was a foreign policy adviser to Obama during his election campaign. “The mullahs were afraid that if they went 2-0 down, the United States and Europe would have taken a tougher line with them on the nuclear issue,” he said.
Korb argued that the regime had rigged the vote in response to Obama’s success in reaching out to Muslims on a visit to the Middle East this month. “It shows how concerned the regime is about his popularity in the Muslim world. They didn’t have to fake the results of the previous election.”
In a speech in Cairo, Obama signalled that while he supported human rights, he was willing to deal with autocrats. Iran’s foreign policy remains under the control of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader. LinkHere
Analyst: Iran election 'not credible'
Washington – American officials are casting doubt over the results of Iran's election, in which the government declared President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the winner Saturday, FOX News reported.
Fox News quoted a senior US official as saying that analysts find it "not credible" that challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi would have lost the balloting in his hometown or that a third candidate, Mehdi Karoubi, would have received less than 1 percent of the total vote. LinkHere

Judge Rules Terrorist Can Sue Bush Admin Lawyer Over Torture Memos

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A convicted terrorist can sue a former Bush administration lawyer for drafting the legal theories that led to his alleged torture, ruled a federal judge has ruled who said he was trying to balance a clash between war and the defense of personal freedoms.
The order by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White of San Francisco is the first time a government lawyer has been held potentially liable for the abuse of detainees.
White refused to dismiss Jose Padilla's lawsuit against former senior Justice Department official John Yoo on Friday. Yoo wrote memos on interrogation, detention and presidential powers for the department's Office of Legal Counsel from 2001 to 2003.
Padilla, 38, is serving a 17-year sentence on terror charges. He claims he was tortured while being held nearly four years as a suspected terrorist.
White ruled Padilla may be able to prove that Yoo's memos "set in motion a series of events that resulted in the deprivation of Padilla's constitutional rights."
"Like any other government official, government lawyers are responsible for the foreseeable consequences of their conduct," wrote White, a Bush appointee.
Yoo did not return telephone and e-mail messages Saturday.
White ruled that Yoo, now a University of California at Berkeley law professor, went beyond the normal role of an attorney when he helped write the Bush administration's detention and torture policies, then drafted legal opinions to justify those policies. LinkHere

O'Reilly Rages Against Joan Walsh Over Tiller Murder

"It was a kaleidoscopic nightmare, a TV acid trip, and I don't do acid. It almost seems like O'Reilly does, but I don't think so LinkHere
This ranting and Hate from a Perverted Sexual Harrasser!!!!!!!!

Almost All Indicators Show GOP Fading Into Minority Status

The South now accounts for a greater share of Republican strength than at virtually any time since its founding. That base is too narrow, as even Republicans know. LinkHere

The Ice Age Cometh
"Build an ark."
Despairing Republican friends have been asking me what I think we should do to rebuild the GOP and begin our certain and inevitable comeback. My answer disappoints them: "Build an ark."
I say this because I've made a career out of counting votes, and the numbers tell a clear story; the demographics of America are changing in a way that is deadly for the Republican Party as it exists today. A GOP ice age is on the way.
Demographic change is irritating to politicos, since it works on elections much as rigged dice do on a Las Vegas craps table: it is a game changer. For years, Republicans won elections because the country was chock-full of white middle-class voters who mostly pulled the GOP lever on Election Day. Today, however, that formula is no longer enough.
(See pictures of Republican memorabilia.)
It was a huge shock to the GOP when Barack Obama won Republican Indiana last year. The bigger news was how he did it. Latino voters delivered the state. Exit polls showed that they provided Obama with a margin of more than 58,000 votes in a state he carried by a slim 26,000 votes. That's right, GOP, you've entered a brave new world ruled by Latino Hoosiers, and you're losing.
In 1980, Latino voters cast about 2% of all votes. Last year it was 9%, and Obama won that Hispanic vote with a crushing 35-point margin. By 2030, the Latino share of the vote is likely to double. In Texas, the crucial buckle for the GOP's Electoral College belt, the No. 1 name for new male babies — many of whom will vote one day — is Jose. Young voters are another huge GOP problem. Obama won voters under 30 by a record 33 points. LinkHere

"All hell is breaking loose."

French authorities investigating the accident that claimed the lives of 216 passengers and 12 crew members are still at the early stages of determining the cause. But preliminary evidence has already made it clear that the flight crew was battling a multitude of problems during the final four minutes.
The jetliner sent out 24 automated messages about abnormalities to Air France's maintenance department in the minutes before the crash. The airline has not released that data, but some information has been leaked to outside aviation experts, and ultimately to the news media.
The initial event, based on what is known so far, was the simultaneous failure of three sensors that determine airspeed. The sensors are called pitot tubes, a decades-old technology that pilots still depend upon. LinkHere


VIDEO: Violence Rages In Iran... Police Beat Protesters, Journalists... Reports Of Some Dead
LATEST UPDATES: U.S. Officials: Results "Not Credible"... Mousavi Reportedly Under House Arrest... Cell Phone Service Down... Ahmadinejad Attacks Foreign Media

I'm liveblogging the latest Iran election fallout. Email me if you see anything notable.
6:24 PM ET -- More house arrest reports. The National Iranian American Council notes reports that Ahmadinejad's main challenger, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, has been placed under house arrest, as well as another of the four presidential candidates, Mehdi Karroubi, and Karroubi's campaign manager (and former Tehran mayor) Gholamhossein Karbaschi.
6:12 PM ET -- "Deafening." From a reader: "My next door neighbor is an Iranian immigrant who came here in 1977. He just received a SAT phone call from his brother in Tehran who reports that the rooftops of nighttime Tehran are filled with people shouting 'Allah O Akbar' in protest of the government and election results. The last time he remembers this happening is in 1979 during the Revolution. Says the sound of tens of thousands on the rooftops is deafening right now." It's almost four in the morning in Iran.
6:00 PM ET -- Not just Tehran. Video of protestors at the university in Shiraz, Iran.
5:53 PM ET -- Report: Khatami's brother arrested. The excellent National Iranian American Council, which I've cited several times today, offers some new translations of Twitter messages coming out of Iran.
One says the brother of former Iranian President Khatami (who was defeated by Ahmadinejad) has been arrested. Earlier today, as we noted, Khatami's clerical group called for the election to be redone.
"Seyed Mohamad Khatami has not been arrested, but his brother Mohammad Reza Khatami and (his wife) Zahra Esraghi have been"
"[Tehran Univ. political scientist] Ahmad Ziadabadi and [prominent political blogger] Saeed Shariati have been arrested"
"There has been no news published about the house arrest of Mir Hossein Mousavi" LinkHere

Iranian Protesters Take To The Streets: "Death To The Dictator"
Iran Declares Ahmadinejad The Winner, Rival Vows To Contest It
Clinton: We Hope Iran Vote Shows "Genuine Will And Desire" Of The People

Some Victory Against Ben Nelson -- Who is Next?

I'm with my family for some time away, but I wanted to write and share some exciting news.
This week, Change Congress scored a major victory against U.S. Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) after he fell victim to what I call "Good Souls Corruption" -- good people trapped in a broken campaign-finance system they refuse to fix.
Ben Nelson probably hates us right now -- or at least me. But that's OK, it was worth it. Here's what happened.
Nelson has received over $2 million from health and insurance interests who oppose President Obama's public health insurance option. Those companies fear competition. 71% of rural voters support it.
Who did Nelson side with? You guessed it -- in May, he sided with the insurance interests against the citizens of Nebraska, calling the public option a "deal breaker."
So Change Congress launched $10,000 of online ads, letting Nebraska voters know about Nelson's special-interest money. We also sent 3,000 direct-mail pieces to Democratic donors throughout the state. This generated state and national news stories for over a week (and apparently freaked Nelson out).
After an intense 11-day battle with Nelson, he's now publicly "open" to the public option -- and this week, he made more news by saying he won't join a filibuster of Obama's plan. One of our local supporters even got a personal phone call from the Senator this week, during which Nelson tried to explain away his special-interest contributions! LinkHere

"Not Right"

George H.W. Bush: GOP Sotomayor Attacks "Not Right"

Former President George H.W. Bush stood up for his former judicial nominee Sonia Sotomayor Friday.

(CNN)–Former President George H.W. Bush stood up for his former judicial nominee Sonia Sotomayor Friday, telling HLN Anchor Robin Meade that GOP critics who called President Obama's Supreme Court pick a racist were off-base, and unfair.
"I don't know her that well but I think she's had a distinguished record on the bench and she should be entitled to fair hearings. Not – [it's] like the senator John Cornyn said it," he told CNN. "He may vote for it, he may not. But he's been backing away from these…backing off from those radical statements to describe her, to attribute things to her that may or may not be true.
"And she was called by somebody a racist once. That's not right. I mean that's not fair. It doesn't help the process. You're out there name-calling. So let them decide who they want to vote for and get on with it."
High-profile Republican voices like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh had both accused the judge of racism for her past comment that a "wise Latina" might make more informed judicial decisions than a white male. Gingrich later backed away from that assessment.
Cornyn had urged Republicans to avoid labeling Sotomayor a racist, calling that brand of criticism unhelpful to the process. LinkHere

Sotomayor Attacks Could Do Long-Term Damage To GOP

WASHINGTON — Republicans may have a window of opportunity to turn public opinion against President Barack Obama's first Supreme Court nominee, but a new poll finds that such a campaign could hurt their party's already weak standing with Americans, especially Hispanics, the nation's fastest-growing voter group.
Fully 55 percent of Americans said they hadn't yet heard enough about Sonia Sotomayor to have an opinion of her, according to a new McClatchy-Ipsos poll. That could be the opportunity that Republicans can exploit by attacking her. Even so, 54 percent said the Senate should confirm her, while only 21 percent said it should not, and one in four Americans isn't yet sure. LinkHere

Former Bush Lawyer Yoo Ordered To Testify About Torture Memos

A federal judge has ruled that John Yoo, a former Bush administration lawyer who wrote crucial memorandums justifying harsh interrogation techniques, will have to answer in court to accusations that his work led to a prisoner’s being tortured and deprived of his constitutional rights. The government had asked Judge Jeffrey S. White of Federal District Court in San Francisco to dismiss the case filed by Jose Padilla, an American citizen who spent more than three years in a military brig as an enemy combatant. Judge White denied most elements of Mr. Yoo’s motion and quoted a passage from the Federalist Papers that in times of war, nations, to be more safe, “at length become willing to run the risk of being less free.” LinkHere

Leaked: Netanyahu's Conditions For Supporting A Palestinian State

Bibi's conditions
On the day of the 9-11 attacks, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was asked what the attacks would mean for US-Israeli relations. His quick reply was: "It's very good…….Well, it's not good, but it will generate immediate sympathy (for Israel)" LinkHere
Kangaroo says: Go Wank yourself BiBi
The Washington Times's Eli Lake reports that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will say in his speech this weekend that he is prepared to accept Palestinian statehood under the following conditions:
• Any Palestinian state must be demilitarized, without an air force, full-fledged army or heavy weapons.
• Palestinians may not sign treaties with powers hostile to Israel.
• A Palestinian state must allow Israeli civilian and military aircraft unfettered access to Palestinian airspace, allow Israel to retain control of the airwaves and to station Israeli troops on a future state's eastern and southern borders.
• Palestinians must accept Israel as a Jewish state, a nod to the hawkish side of Mr. Netanyahu's governing coalition that has raised concerns that the Palestinian Authority, which nominally governs the West Bank, does not recognize Israel as a Jewish state. LinkHere
U.S.: Netanyahu policy speech not adequate
The proposals to be outlined in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech on Sunday will not be enough to satisfy the Obama administration, a senior U.S. official was quoted as saying on Friday.
The official said Netanyahu told U.S. envoy George Mitchell this week what he planned to say in the speech and that it was "not adequate" to satisfy Washington, who is pushing for an immediate resumption of talks on Palestinian statehood.
The official was quoted on Friday by participants at a meeting this week of the so-called Quartet of Middle East mediators.
Netanyahu's refusal to declare a building freeze in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and to endorse the goal of establishing a Palestinian state -- both set out in a 2003 peace "road map" -- has opened a rare rift in U.S.-Israeli relations.
Anxious to preserve the alliance but also beholden to his fractious and right-leaning governing coalition, Netanyahu has spoken of stop-gap proposals such as Palestinian self-government shorn of sovereign powers like the right to set up an army.
The Palestinians, having won limited autonomy under 1993 interim accords, insist on full statehood. Yet theirs is now a divided polity, with Hamas Islamists who reject coexistence with Israel in control of the Gaza Strip since 2007.
U.S. President Barack Obama says containing Iran's nuclear aspirations -- which Israel considers a major threat -- would be helped by progress toward a Palestine deal.
An Israeli official said Netanyahu was still putting final touches to the speech which would "present a vision of moving forward in the peace process with the Palestinians". LinkHere
What about the Arabs' natural growth?
It seems that never before has so much been written and said about the "natural growth" of so few. The issue of construction in the West Bank settlements for the sake of the future generation is threatening to sabotage Israel's relations with the U.S., or undermine Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's relations with the settlers and their representatives in the Likud and Israel's right wing.
Maybe it is no coincidence that the government spokespeople insist on describing the homes for "sons returning from the army" rather than homes for young couples, or students. Someone might dare to check the housing situation in Arab villages or East Jerusalem, whose residents actually on Israeli soil ? as opposed to the settlers.
Figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics during the years 2006-2007 (the 2008 statistics are not yet available) reveal that natural growth is a matter of geography, and especially of religion and nationality. In terms of housing, the settlers are not the most deprived sector in greater Israel. Their rate of natural growth stands at 3.2 percent per year, which accounts for only a part of the population growth in the settlements, which stood at 4.3 percent. The remaining growth can be attributed to "immigration" from within Israel and from abroad.
According to the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), the construction of 2,200 apartments was completed in 2006 in the settlements, which boasted 271,000 residents at the time. This number, 2,200, is similar to the number of apartments that were built within the same time frame in the districts of Jerusalem (882,000 residents), and Haifa (869,000 residents). During the same year, the Housing Ministry offered 390 housing units to the entire Arab sector in Israel, whose rate of natural growth is only slightly lower than that of the settlers (2.6 percent to the settlers' 3.2 percent). The rate of natural growth among Israeli Jews in general stands at 1.6 percent.
In August of last year, the Housing Ministry promised in a letter to Arab rights group Musawa that 1,800 housing units would be built in 15 Arab villages and towns. In 2000 the government adopted a plan to build 50,000 apartments for Arab Israelis within five years. The plan was never carried out and the housing crisis in the Arab sector is getting worse and worse.
Research conducted by Musawa revealed that in 80 percent of the Arab towns there were absolutely no approved housing plans. In 2007, only 21 percent of the budget allocated to housing for minorities was actually used. The result is unauthorized construction by Arab residents, which prompt the government to issue demolition orders, and contribute to crowding. (The density of the Jewish population is 0.84 people per room, while in the Arab sector it is 1.43 people per room).
"Israel, which takes such good care of the settlers' natural growth, is trying to fight against our natural growth because we are a 'demographic threat'," said Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra'am-Ta'al) LinkHere


Iran Election Results: Ahmadinejad, Rival Both Claim Election Win
TEHRAN, Iran — Hard-line incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was heading for a surprise landslide with nearly 80 percent of votes counted in Iran's stormy presidential elections, the Interior Ministry said Saturday. But his pro-reform rival countered that he was the clear victor and accused authorities of fraud.
The dispute sharply boosted tensions, raising the possibility of a standoff after an intense monthlong race between the combative president and his main challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, who is backed by a growing youth-oriented movement. A large turnout at the polls had boosted victory hopes for Mousavi supporters.
At a press conference around midnight, Mousavi declared himself "definitely the winner" based on "all indications from all over Iran." He accused the Islamic ruling establishment of "manipulating the people's vote" to keep Ahmadinejad in power and suggested the reformist camp would stand up to challenge the results.
"It is our duty to defend people's votes. There is no turning back," Mousavi said, alleging widespread irregularities.
Before dawn Saturday, Tehran's streets were deserted, but there were worries of protests by Mousavi supporters if he is declared the loser. Bringing any showdown into the streets would certainly face a swift backlash from security forces. The political chief of the powerful Revolutionary Guard cautioned Wednesday it would crush any "revolution" against the Islamic regime by Mousavi's "green movement." LinkHere

Friday, June 12, 2009

Obama Says Change Is Possible In Iran

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama said Iran's "robust debate" leading up to Friday's presidential elections is evidence that change is possible, and expressed optimism that U.S. diplomatic efforts could get a boost no matter who wins.
"We are excited to see what appears to be a robust debate taking place in Iran," Obama said at the White House, as Iranians packed polling stations to choose between keeping hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or electing a reformist who favors greater freedoms. Ahmadinejad's main rival is reformist Mir Hossein Mousavi, who served as prime minister in the 1980s and has become the surprise hero of a powerful youth-driven movement in the fiery, monthlong campaign.
"We think there's the possibility of change," Obama told reporters, answering an impromptu question about the significance of the elections.
"Ultimately the election is for the Iranians to decide," he said. "But ... you're seeing people looking at new possibilities. And whoever ends up winning the election in Iran, the fact that there's been a robust debate hopefully will help advance our ability to engage them in new ways."
The State Department was also speaking optimistically about Iran's election. LinkHere

American Enterprise Institute's Michael Rubin told National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez it might be better for Ahmadinejad to win, because a loss might give Obama the impression that diplomacy was working.
Right-Wing Neocons ROOTING For Ahmadinejad Win In Iran Election
American neoconservatives have often used the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to bolster their case for aggressive action against Iran. So the assumption might be that they would be rooting for Iranians to take care of the problem themselves by electing reformer Mir Hossein Mousavi in today's vote..
Instead, they're rooting for the anti-American bogeyman to stay in power.
Middle East Forum Director Daniel Pipes said in a speech at the Heritage Foundation that he would vote for Ahmadinejad if he could:

Alleged Museum Shooter's Son Slams Dad's 'Cowardice'

"For a long time, I believed this was our family's cross to bear," he added. "Now, it is not only my families lives that are in shambles, but those who were directly affected by his actions; especially the family of Mr. Johns, who bravely sacrificed his life to stop my father.
"I cannot express enough how deeply sorry I am it was Mr. Johns, and not my father who lost their life [Wednesday]," Erik von Brunn said. "It was unjustified and unfair that he died, and while my condolences could never begin to offer appeasement, they, along with my remorse is all I have to give."

A son of the 88-year-old white supremacist who allegedly started a shootout at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum is slamming his father's "cowardice" and apologizing to the family of the security guard his dad is accused of killing.
"My father's actions are unforgivable," Erik von Brunn, 32, of Florida, wrote in a statement to ABC News. "I do not expect, nor will I accept forgiveness for what he has done. I realize there is nothing positive to be taken from this incident."
Click here to read Erik von Brunn's full statement to ABC News. LinkHere

Terror Link to Air France Crash?

By Alexandra Marks
Two passengers' names match those of Al Qaeda suspects, reports say. But experts caution that it's too early to tell if the link is legitimate. LinkHere

Obama Writes Note For Fourth Grader Playing Hooky To Attend Town Hall

I'd say, she would treasure that always, nice gesture."He's really nice,"
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Ten-year-old Kennedy Corpus has a rock-solid excuse for missing the last day of school: a personal note to her teacher from President Barack Obama.
Her father, John Corpus of Green Bay, stood to ask Obama about health care during the president's town hall-style meeting at Southwest High School on Thursday. He told Obama that his daughter was missing school to attend the event and that he hoped she didn't get in trouble.
"Do you need me to write a note?" Obama asked. The crowd laughed, but the president was serious.
On a piece of paper, he wrote: "To Kennedy's teacher: Please excuse Kennedy's absence. She's with me. Barack Obama." He stepped off the stage to hand-deliver the note _ to Kennedy's surprise.
"I thought he was joking until he started walking down," Kennedy said after the event, showing off the note in front of a bank of television cameras. "It was like the best thing ever." LinkHere

Jon Stewart Responds To Joe Scarborough With Napoleon Costume, Horse

Conservative Media Freaked Out Over DHS Report On Right Wing Extremists

When a Department of Homeland Security report on right-wing extremism was released earlier this year, the conservative media responded with outrage and mockery. In light of Wednesday's attack at the Washington D.C. Holocaust Museum, Fox News' anchor Shep Smith pointed out that "they warned us for a reason." Media Matters has looked back at how those warnings were ignored.
"There are no Timothy McVeighs out there right now," declared James Dobson on Fox News in April. "They're making a big deal out of something that hasn't happened and may not happen."
Fox News contributor Andrea Tantaros dismissed the report's findings as a "made up threat."
Joe Scarborough reacted with both anger and indignation, expressing shock that the report was "targeting veterans returning from war" while also laughing hysterically when it was brought up: "This is a funny story this is a laughably -- they're nuts, Janet Napolitano has gone nuts -- this is funny." LinkHere

DHS Urged To Expedite Updated Report On Right Wing Extremism
Recent incidents of extremist violence claiming the lives of abortion provider George Tiller and a security guard at the Holocaust Museum have prompted calls for the Department of Homeland Security to accelerate the release of an updated report on right-wing extremism.
Amid howls that it had politicized national security, DHS stepped back from a mid-April report it had issued on domestic threats from fringe right-wing groups. "The report is no longer out there," Secretary Janet Napolitano told lawmakers, promising to have the report "replaced or redone in a much more useful and much more precise fashion."
Several weeks later, the findings of the original study have been proven prescient, specifically in its warnings about violent acts from anti-abortion zealots and anti-Semites. Now, demands for that follow-up have grown more urgent.
On Thursday, the judicial advocacy organization, People for the American Way, faxed a letter to Napolitano calling on the Department of Homeland Security Chief to "expedite the approval of the 'Rightwing Extremism' report and release a final version as soon as possible."
"Although the [original] report was withdrawn with the intent of being rewritten, the events of the last two weeks show that its core findings are fundamentally correct: 'The economic downturn and the election of the first African-American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.' The Department of Homeland Security is charged with protecting the security of all Americans, and it is essential for the American public to have the unvarnished truth about the rise of dangerous extremism in this country," read the letter from PFAW President Michael Keegan. LinkHere

Zahra Rahnavard: Iranians Anoint Their 'Michelle Obama'

Hell yes, way to go girl, you and Michelle will deal famously together, both extremely accomplished women, in you own rights.
Now you just got to win.
If Zahra becomes the Iranian equivalent of First Lady, the country that President George. W. Bush denounced as a member of the Axis of Evil may never be the same.
As I said, never underestimate the power of a woman or the influence or the media. Nor the soft power of the Obama phenomenon, which the media have propagated throughout the Middle East. Politicians in other countries (such as Lebanon, where a pro-American coalition has just won a parliamentary election) may find that being anti-American is no longer an automatic vote winner.

Never underestimate the power of a woman or the influence of the media. In Tehran, the local press has already dubbed Zahra Rahnavard "the Iranian Michelle Obama." Rahnavard, a 64-year-old political scientist and sculptress who heads a university, has made an impact on Iranian politics. If Iran finally opens up to the world and buries the axe with America, she may even deserve some of the credit.
Rahnavard is not running for office in Iran's presidential election. The clerics who screen potential candidates have eliminated all women. But she is nevertheless one of the most powerful campaigners in this important election and the most valuable asset of the leading opposition candidate, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who is her husband.
In a country where the wives of politicians are traditionally invisible, she is seen everywhere at her husband's side, often addressing campaign rallies herself. At a recent meeting in Tehran she told the crowd, "We must change the laws that do not give women equal treatment." The audience, many of them young women, chanted "Rahnavard, Rahnavard! Equality between men and women!"
Women were at the forefront of the Islamic Revolution that toppled the Shah of Iran in 1979. They voluntarily put on the head scarves and all-enveloping black chadors as a symbol of opposition to the old regime. Now, three decades later, young women pull back their scarves and, like Rahnavard, use cosmetics and bright colored materials. She has won over women and young people by denouncing the police campaigns against "immodestly" dressed women and the arrests of feminist campaigners under the current administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is better known in the West as a serial holocaust denier.
Her husband, who is also an accomplished artist as well as an architect, was an early revolutionary who became prime minister during the 1980-88 war between Iran and Iraq and has now mellowed into pragmatism. Like his wife, Mousavi seeks to reconcile the values of the Islamic Revolution with openness to the modern world. He favors dialogue with the Obama administration and negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. LinkHere

Weekly Standard May Have Been Museum Shooter Target

Weekly Standard may have been shooter target
FBI agents visited the offices of the conservative Weekly Standard magazine yesterday after a shooting at the Holocaust Memorial Museum and told employees they'd found the magazine's address
A senior Standard staffer confirmed the visit but declined to discuss it in detail. An FBI spokeswoman, Katherine Schweit , also declined to comment on the investigation.
Two other sources said two FBI agents arrived shortly after 5:00 p.m. Thursday at the 17th Street offices of the magazine. They told staffers that they had found the address of the magazine on a piece of paper associated with the shooter, James von Brunn, and asked whether the Standard had received any threats.
The magazine is about a mile north of the Holocaust Museum, and there's no other indication that von Brunn had targeted it. Von Brunn's published rants included attacks on "neocons," and the Standard has been at the heart of the neoconservative movement. LinkHere

It Pays To Fail: Departing Execs At Bailout Banks Got Golden Parachutes

Bailout Bank Execs Get Payouts
Yesterday, the Treasury Department released new rules on how much banks that received TARP money can pay their executives. Among the rules is one that prohibits golden parachutes – defined as any payment to a departing exec simply because the exec is leaving. But an examination of public filings shows that a number of executives at banks that received TARP funds have received large payments just for resigning. It’s unclear if the new rules will apply retroactively.
Tune in this afternoon to catch a segment we did with public radio’s Marketplace that focuses on a few of these. Below is a rundown of these execs and the payouts they received. LinkHere

EARLIER: Senate Passes Historic Bill Allowing FDA To Regulate Cigarettes

Senators Who Opposed Anti-Smoking Bill Got Top Dollar From Tobacco Industry
By Halimah Abdullah McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON — Among the 17 senators who voted against allowing the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco are some of the top recipients of campaign contributions from the tobacco industry, which has donated millions of dollars to lawmakers in the past several campaign cycles. LinkHere

Krugman Blames Fox News: Right-Wing Extremism "Fed By The Conservative Media"

The Big Hate

Published: June 11, 2009
Back in April, there was a huge fuss over an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security warning that current conditions resemble those in the early 1990s — a time marked by an upsurge of right-wing extremism that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing.
Conservatives were outraged. The chairman of the Republican National Committee denounced the report as an attempt to “segment out conservatives in this country who have a different philosophy or view from this administration” and label them as terrorists.
But with the murder of Dr. George Tiller by an anti-abortion fanatic, closely followed by a shooting by a white supremacist at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the analysis looks prescient.
There is, however, one important thing that the D.H.S. report didn’t say: Today, as in the early years of the Clinton administration but to an even greater extent, right-wing extremism is being systematically fed by the conservative media and political establishment.
Now, for the most part, the likes of Fox News and the R.N.C. haven’t directly incited violence, despite Bill O’Reilly’s declarations that “some” called Dr. Tiller “Tiller the Baby Killer,” that he had “blood on his hands,” and that he was a “guy operating a death mill.” But they have gone out of their way to provide a platform for conspiracy theories and apocalyptic rhetoric, just as they did the last time a Democrat held the White House.
And at this point, whatever dividing line there was between mainstream conservatism and the black-helicopter crowd seems to have been virtually erased.
Exhibit A for the mainstreaming of right-wing extremism is Fox News’s new star, Glenn Beck. Here we have a network where, like it or not, millions of Americans get their news — and it gives daily airtime to a commentator who, among other things, warned viewers that the Federal Emergency Management Agency might be building concentration camps as part of the Obama administration’s “totalitarian” agenda (although he eventually conceded that nothing of the kind was happening).
But let’s not neglect the print news media. In the Bush years, The Washington Times became an important media player because it was widely regarded as the Bush administration’s house organ. Earlier this week, the newspaper saw fit to run an opinion piece declaring that President Obama “not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself,” and that in any case he has “aligned himself” with the radical Muslim Brotherhood. LinkHere

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Obama health care status quo "unsustainable"

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

Friking Wankers, You Decide?

GOP senators to delay Sotomayor confirmation.

Are extremists emboldened by recent acts of terror?

Growing threat against women's centres

Fear of Iran, Obama's words swayed Lebanon vote

BEIRUT – Fears of a hard-line Iran helped swing Christian voters from the militant Shiite group Hezbollah and deliver election victory to a pro-Western coalition in Lebanon. President Barack Obama's outreach to Muslims lingered in voters' minds, too.
Now the question is whether similar factors will sway Iran's own elections Friday for the presidency, considered too close to call between incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and a self-styled reformist challenger.
Lebanon and Iran are different in key ways, with voters in Lebanon, an Arab country, tending to vote along Shiite and Sunni Muslim and Christian sectarian lines and out of family loyalties.
Iran, in contrast, which is mainly Persian and mostly Shiite Muslim, is divided by a sharp struggle between the Islamic establishment and desires for greater personal freedom and more liberal foreign and economic policies.
Neither country has any accurate, independent or publicly available political polling, and no poll has attempted to substantively gauge the effect of Obama's presidency or his recent Cairo outreach speech to Muslims on either country LinkHere

GOP Leader Rep. Eric Cantor Predicts Republican Landslide in 2010

New York Dems Try To Counteract Coup; White House Reportedly Involved

Democrats in New York clambered Tuesday to regain their majority after Monday's Republican coup. Local party officials are pursuing legal and political options to counteract the defections of former Democratic State Seantors Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens, and the White House has reportedly gotten involved.
The New York Times reported that former Majority Leader Leader Malcolm Smith has asked state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to investigate whether the deal between Republicans and two defecting Democrats was illegal:
Among the aspects of the deal that Mr. Smith has asked the attorney general to look into are whether there was any improper quid pro quo between Republicans and the two Democrats, Senators Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid further inflaming tensions among Senate Democrats.
Separately, Cuomo has announced he is investigating managers at the Soundview Health Center, founded by Espada. Cuomo is looking into allegations that state funds earmarked for programs designed to serve impoverished women, children and people with HIV and AIDS were instead diverted to finance political campaigns. LinkHere

AMA has fought almost every major effort at health care reform of the past 70 years.

The group's reputation on this matter is so notorious that historians pinpoint it with creating the ominous sounding phrase "socialized medicine" in the early decades of the 1900s.

Group That Coined "Socialized Medicine" Term 80 Years Ago Has A New Enemy

Just days before President Barack Obama is set to address the American Medical Association to pitch its members on his vision for health care reform, the 250,000-member physician group announced it would oppose a major component of that effort.
On Wednesday night, the New York Times reported that AMA was "letting Congress know" that it would resist a public plan for health insurance coverage.
Politically, the revelation could be a potentially significant blow to progressive health care reform advocates, who contend that a public option is the best way to reduce costs and increase insurance coverage. AMA has the institutional resources and the prestige to impact debates in the halls of Congress.
Historically and philosophically, however, AMA's opposition is hardly newsworthy. Despite a lofty reputation and purported commitment to universal coverage, AMA has fought almost every major effort at health care reform of the past 70 years. The group's reputation on this matter is so notorious that historians pinpoint it with creating the ominous sounding phrase "socialized medicine" in the early decades of the 1900s.
"The AMA used it to mean any kind of proposal that involved an increased role for the government in the health care system," Jonathan Oberlander, a professor of health policy at the University of North Carolina, told NPR in a 2007 interview. "They also used it to mean things in the private system that they didn't like. So, at one point, HMOs were a form of socialized medicine."
Indeed, the role played by AMA throughout health care reform battles past has often been primarily as the defender of the status quo. In 1935, fears of an AMA backlash helped persuade Franklin Roosevelt's advisers to drop a health care article from the Social Security package -- fearful that the opposition would sink the legislation altogether.
Concerned about government restriction on and oversight over surgical activities -- not to mention the loss of physician income -- the group deployed the "socialized medicine" argument to undermine Harry Truman's effort at a national health care system years later. LinkHere

Health Insurance, Republicans, and Insurance Companies

The Health Insurance Mafia Deserves a Good Screwing
voluntary financial rape

Not so long ago, I lost my health insurance.
The coverage was provided through my small business, that is until the carrier (rhymes with Screw Costs) decided to triple the monthly premium completely at random, leaving me with a common ultimatum: either cancel the plan or spend myself out of business. So I canceled the plan.
Good timing, considering that while riding my bike last year I was hit by a car and, upon being hurled to the street, I fractured my T10 vertebra. (My auto insurance covered my medical expenses free and clear, and I'm gratefully back to riding 80 or so miles a week.)
Coupled with my wife's back surgery from the middle 1990s, though, there are currently two fairly serious preexisting conditions on our family medical records, and so now whenever I shop for health insurance, I'm either turned down or quoted a premium that amounts to a request for voluntary financial rape. There are an array of other craptastical tricks and awfulness dished out by the insurers, but those are the most common walls I run into.
My only other option is to abandon my career and take a job that provides health insurance. As happy as that might make some comment trolls, I'm not in a position to do that either. But even if I did, there aren't any guarantees that the insurer wouldn't deny coverage that I paid for, along with a mélange of various other screwings the health insurance industry routinely gets away with. LinkHere

The Woman Ahmadinejad Should Fear

The Iranian and international press were interested in other issues. She was asked if she saw herself as an Iranian version of Michelle Obama. "I am not Iran's Michelle Obama...I am a follower of Zahra (the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad)," she replied self-confidently in English. But, she added, "I respect all women who are active." She said she would not stop working at the university if her husband was elected and that she would perhaps accompany him on trips abroad, to the applause of the Iranian journalists. Even the local press seemed pleased to hear her message of soft emancipation.

Zahra Rahnavard could turn the tide in Friday's elections in Iran. The former university chancellor is the wife of presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi and her popularity with Iranian women could be his secret weapon against President Ahmadinejad.
Even before Zahra Rahnavard had arrived, it was clear that this woman was an important figure in the Iranian election campaign. The team working for the election of presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi had only expected a few journalists to turn up to his wife's press conference. In the end 150 gathered to hear her speak.
Since the revolution in 1979 no other political spouse has been so much in the public eye. Rahnavard is even featured in her husband's election posters: she stands next to him, holding his hand. In Iran's strict Muslim society this alone is nothing short of spectacular. She wears her black chador loosely and instead of a plain scarf, hers is printed with a colorful floral pattern. Thousands of copies of the poster can be seen across Tehran in the run up to Friday's presidential election.
Mousavi's strategy of bringing his wife into the campaign could ultimately tip the vote in his favor. People see the image of Rahnaward standing next to her husband as an equal as a kind of election promise. Many, and not just Iran's women, hope that if this reformist candidate wins, it could mark a new era of personal freedoms.
Absent independent opinion polls, it is impossible to forecast how the vote might turn out. It does, however, appear that Mousavi is President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's most serious challenger. And the deployment of his wife on the campaign trail could play a major role.
For weeks Rahnavard has been travelling around Iran -- with and without her husband -- trying to drum up support for the conservative reformer. She talks about providing women with more rights before family courts, better education opportunities and more jobs. That is not only appealing to the female half of the estimated 46 million eligible voters -- many of their fathers, brothers and husbands also think this the right way forward.
Rahnavard has turned into Mousavi's secret weapon -- a fact made abundantly clear last week when Ahmadinejad himself attacked her. The 64-year-old wife of his rival might well be the former chancellor of the Al-Zahra women's university in Tehran, Ahmadinejad said, but her academic title is not genuine. Petty to be sure. But it shows that the president sees her as a genuine threat.
When Rahnavard arrived before Sunday's press conference, she was wearing a colorful headscarf and heavy make-up, a violation of rules in Iran. A denim shirt could be seen at the sleeves of her chador.
Reforms -- Within Limits
She had called the press conference to defend herself against Ahamdinejad's reproaches. LinkHere

Iran Election: Ahmadinejad Chances Threatened By Leading Clerics
Senior Cleric Enters Fray, Decries 'Fabrications'

Iran's hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seeking a return to power for a second term in landmark elections this week, came under attack from one of the country's most senior clerics last night in an outburst that reflected explosive tensions ahead of Friday's polling.
In a highly unusual public attack backed by other leading clerics, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani called on Iran's supreme spiritual leader to take action against Mr Ahmadinejad for "mis- statements and fabrications" during a televised debate last week. During the debate, Mr Ahmadinejad, who is facing an unusually strong challenge from reformists, accused Mr Rafsanjani, himself a former president, of corruption and of manoeuvring politically to unseat him.
Mr Rafsanjani fired off a letter to the supreme leader in which he warned that "tens of millions" of Iranians had witnessed the President's statements during the heated TV showdown. He urged Ayatollah Khamenei to take action, hinting that if he did not, furious supporters of the rival candidates might take the law into their own hands. "I am expecting you to resolve this position in order to extinguish the fire, whose smoke can be seen in the atmosphere, and to foil dangerous plots to take action... there is no doubt that some people, parties and factions will not tolerate this situation". Fourteen other clerics from the holy city of Qom, the centre of Iran's powerful religious establishment, issued a separate statement in which they voiced "deep concern and regret" that Iran's image had been harmed by the public debates.
After four years in which Iran's economy has tanked, oil revenues collapsed and relations with the West have festered, Friday's election is seen by many Iranians as the best chance in years for a meaningful swerve in direction. Many more in the West are hoping it will deliver a shift away from the intensely confrontational approach - particularly over Iran's nuclear programme - favoured by Mr Ahmadinejad. LinkHere

Not a moment too soon.

AIPAC Wall Beginning to Crack
For years, AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs Committee) has helped to stonewall the Middle East peace process by building a solid wall around the Israeli government, protecting it from criticism in the US. Senators and representatives have feared the wrath of AIPAC come Election Day, even in states and districts where the Jewish vote is negligible. Whatever they may have thought privately about Israel's policies toward the Palestinians, they've remained silent.
I got a first-hand glimpse of the process shortly after last year's election, when I talked to an aide of a newly elected House member. The new member, who represents a district with hardly any organized Jewish community, knew very little about the Middle East when the campaign began. The representative had been "educated" on the issue, the aide told me, by a handful of wealthy Democrats - none from the member's district, all generous contributors to the campaign, and all staunch supporters of the AIPAC line. That's how it works, all over the country.
Or at least that's how it used to work. Now, for the first time, there are signs of a crack in AIPAC's vaunted political edifice. The wedge issue is the Obama administration's public demand that Israel stop all new construction in its West Bank settlements, including what the Israelis call expansion to accommodate "natural growth."
Though Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads the right-wing Likud party, settlement expansion is hardly a partisan matter in Israel. It has continued at a more or less unbroken pace for years, regardless of which party headed the government. And Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, leader of the opposition Labor Party, is equally staunch in demanding the right of "natural growth."
What's new is the serious objection being voiced in the US government, not merely by the president and his administration, but by members of Congress, including John Kerry, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and several prominent Jewish lawmakers, such as Carl Levin, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee; Howard Berman, chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee; and influential representatives Henry Waxman and Robert Wexler.
When they met recently with Netanyahu, they made him "very, very aware of the concerns of the administration and Congress," according to one Congressional aide. They pressed Netanyahu on the need to stop building in settlements and rejected his call for Palestinian reciprocity on terrorism as a precondition.
(Another sign of the change: A Congressional delegation visiting Israel actually discussed, in private, the possibility of prohibiting Israel from using American weapons in the West Bank.)
After so many years of AIPAC dominance, it would be too much to expect all Democrats to back Obama on the settlements question. There are still plenty in Congress who toe the AIPAC line.

“We have to kill them over there before they come over here.”

Fear Rules
By Paul Craig Roberts
The power of irrational fear in the US is extraordinary. It ranks up there with the Israel Lobby, the military/security complex, and the financial gangsters. Indeed, fear might be the most powerful force in America.
Americans are at ease with their country’s aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, which has resulted in a million dead Muslim civilians and several million refugees, because the US government has filled Americans with fear of terrorists. “We have to kill them over there before they come over here.” LinkHere

Jim Rogers:“The Worst is Not Over”

U.S. War Privatization Results in Billions Lost in Fraud, Waste and Abuse--Report

By Jeremy Scahill
Half of the personnel the US has working on its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are private contractors. A new report reveals how much of a rip-off this system has been to US taxpayers.
June 10, 2009 "RebelReports" -- At a hearing in Washington today, the federal Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan is releasing a 111-page report that represents its “initial investigations of the nation’s heavy reliance on contractors.” According to a release on the hearing:
More than 240,000 contractor employees, about 80 percent of them foreign nationals, are working in Iraq and Afghanistan to support operations and projects of the U.S. military, the Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Contractor employees outnumber U.S. troops in the region. While contractors provide vital services, the Commission believes their use has also entailed billions of dollars lost to waste, fraud, and abuse due to inadequate planning, poor contract drafting, limited competition, understaffed oversight functions, and other problems.
These statistics support a recent DoD report on the extent of the US reliance on contractors. That report also found that there has been a 23% increase in the number of “Private Security Contractors” working for the Department of Defense in Iraq in the second quarter of 2009 and a 29% increase in Afghanistan, which “correlates to the build up of forces” in the country. In Iraq, the Pentagon attributes the increase to better accounting. There are currently more private contractors (counting both armed and unarmed) in Afghanistan (68,197) than US troops (40,000). In Iraq, the number of contractors (132,610) is basically equal to the number of US troops.
(NOTE: I recently discussed this issue on Bill Moyers Journal)
The single greatest beneficiary of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is KBR, the former Halliburton subsidiary. KBR has been paid nearly $32 billion since 2001. In May, April Stephenson, director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, testified that KBR was linked to “the vast majority” of war-zone fraud cases and a majority of the $13 billion in “questioned” or “unsupported” costs. According to Agency, it sent the inspector general “a total of 32 cases of suspected overbilling, bribery and other violations since 2004.”
According to the Associated Press, which obtained an early copy of the commission’s report, “billions of dollars” of the total paid to KBR “ended up wasted due to poorly defined work orders, inadequate oversight and contractor inefficiencies.” LinkHere

Peled Proposes Israeli Sanctions On US

June 10, 2009 "JPost" -- In a sign of growing concern in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government over US President Barack Obama's Middle East policies, Minister-without-Portfolio Yossi Peled proposed Israeli sanctions on the US in a letter to cabinet ministers on Sunday.
In the 11-page letter, obtained by The Jerusalem Post from a minister on Monday, Peled recommends steps Israel can take to compensate for the shift in American policy, which he believes has become hostile to Israel.
"Obama's ascendance represents a turning point in America's approach to the region, especially to Israel," he wrote in the letter. "The new administration believes that in order to fight terror, guarantee stability and withdraw from Iraq, a new diplomatic slant is needed involving drastic steps to pacify the Muslim world and the adoption of a more balanced approach to Israel, including intensive pressure to stop building in settlements, remove outposts and advance the formation of a Palestinian state."
Peled added that faced with an American government with an activist agenda that does not mesh with Israel's, traditional reactions are no longer relevant. He said he expected that Obama would eventually realize that appeasement and dialogue with countries that support terror would not have positive results.
But in the interim, the minister suggests reconsidering military and civilian purchases from the US, selling sensitive equipment that the Washington opposes distributing internationally, and allowing other countries that compete with the US to get involved with the peace process and be given a foothold for their military forces and intelligence agencies.
Peled said that shifting military acquisition to America's competition would make Israel less dependent on the US. For instance, he suggested buying planes from the France-based Airbus firm instead of the American Boeing.
In what may be his most controversial suggestion, Peled recommends intervening in American congressional races to weaken Obama and asking American Jewish donors not to contribute to Democratic congressional candidates. He predicted that this would result in Democratic candidates pressuring Obama to become more pro-Israel.
Peled called for the formation of a new body intended to influence American public opinion. The groups he suggests courting include Hispanic Americans and Labor unions in industries that benefit from Israeli military acquisitions.
A former OC Northern Command, Peled is considered part of the left flank of the Likud that includes ministers Dan Meridor and Michael Eitan. Unlike Environment Minister Gilad Erdan, he does not have a history of openly criticizing American policies and unlike Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, he does not have personal ties to the Republican Party.
Peled told the Post on Monday that he still hoped common ground could be found with the Obama administration, but just in case that did not happen, Israel must be ready.
"We must make every effort to maintain our relationship with the US and I respect Obama, but Israel has its own interests and we have to know what our alternatives are," Peled said. "I don't think what I suggest is vengeful. I just think that even a superpower must behave like a partner."
Peled personally gave the letter to Netanyahu at Sunday's cabinet meeting and urged him to take it seriously. But a source close to the prime minister reacted to it with scorn and stressed that none of Peled's suggestions would be implemented. LinkHere

There go a few more Hispanic Votes for the GOP.

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's brother Juan sticks up for his big sis

He said his sister is at ease with a diverse range of people and circumstances.
"She can mix with any crowd," he said. "This comes from my mom. If you're poor, no matter what person you are, no matter what faith you are, what kind of economics, you treat everybody fairly and equally and treat them humanely."
He said he's "just really proud of her. No other word to say it. No other words to describe how you feel. It's just a great feeling."
"I've always said that the Hispanic population in the United States needs role models, educational role models," he said. "And I think she is the perfect role model ... She's a strong person. She's determined." LinkHere

Anyone surprised?

Holocaust Museum shooter James Von Brunn's ex-wife says his racism 'ate him alive' (abusive drunk)
Source: NY Daily News
The ex-wife of the racist who stormed the U.S. Holocaust Museum described him as an abusive alcoholic whose hatred against Jews and blacks "ate him alive like a cancer."
"It's all he would talk about," the ex-wife said of James von Brunn, 89, who was wounded in a firefight with museum guards.
"When I questioned him, he would get very angry and abusive."
She married von Brunn in the mid-1960s and they divorced 10 years later. She said he sipped red wine all day and frequently lashed out with verbal assaults.
"He would talk about what the world would become in 20 or 30 years - that most of the country would be governed by black governors and that the Jewish people owned the media," the ex-wife said. LinkHere

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Republicans Have No Idea Who Speaks For Party

Limbaugh, Gingrich, Cheney Top Picks
Republicans aren't sure who speaks for their party, a new Gallup poll found -- but opinion is split between three fairly old white men who hold no political office.
Asked to name the "main person who speaks for the Republican Party today," Republicans across the country were most likely to name three men: Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and Dick Cheney. (Both Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly say Barack Obama is the main person who speaks for the Democratic Party.) Forty-seven percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents could not even come up with a single name in response to the question.
USA Today noted that "the dominant faces of the Republican Party are all men, all white, all conservative and all old enough to join AARP."
"We cannot be a party of balding white guys," former Republican Party national chairman Ed Gillespie told the paper. "We have to have a broader appeal, but there's time for us to make that change."

The Six Top Republicans Obama Listens To

Regardless of whether the President's bipartisan outreach is producing legislative results, there is a handful of conservatives and Republicans that the president and his White House team respect. By respect, I mean, quite simply, the degree to which the White House responds to their worries and needs and believes that the time spent responding is useful and necessary. It is unclear whether the quality of this outreach differs from the respect accorded to Sen. Ben Nelson by the Bush White House. LinkHere

Iraq War General Under Bush Names His Horses "Shock" And "Awe"

I [am not] making up the fact that two of the prize stallions on the Franks stud farm are named "Shock" and "Awe." LinkHere

The only consequences are, The GOP the party of NO will fail again!!!!!!

McConnell Warns Dem "Rush" To Confirm Sotomayor Will Have "Consequences"

WASHINGTON — Republicans accused Democrats Wednesday of moving too hastily on Sonia Sotomayor's Supreme Court nomination, warning that the decision could imperil her confirmation as they pressed the judge for more documents from her past. The top Senate Republican blasted Democrats' decision to schedule mid-July hearings for Sotomayor's confirmation, while another senior GOP senator floated the possibility of a filibuster by angry Republicans against President Barack Obama's first high court nominee.
"They want the shortest timeline in recent memory for someone with the longest judicial record in recent memory," said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the minority leader. "This violates basic standards of fairness and it prevents senators from carrying out one of their most solemn duties."
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said many Republicans may end up voting against Sotomayor because they feel they haven't had time to learn enough about her. Others, he said, might decide to protest what they see as unfair treatment with stalling tactics in the Judiciary Committee or on the Senate floor to block her from being confirmed. LinkHere

Now maybe, he will stop playing the GOP's games, let's see if they will pay these court costs

Coleman Ordered To Pay Franken $95K By Minnesota Court
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Republican Norm Coleman must pay Democrat Al Franken $94,783 to cover court costs for his appeal of Minnesota Senate election results.
A Ramsey County court administrator entered the judgment Wednesday. It results from the two-month trial that ended with Coleman 312 votes short of Franken.
Minnesota law required Coleman to cover some of Franken's court costs because the race's outcome didn't change. The judgment excludes Franken's attorney fees.
The men have spent $50 million so far on their campaigns and legal fight over the November election. That's more than double the cost of the 2002 race when Coleman captured what had been a Democratic seat.
The Minnesota Supreme Court hasn't said when it will rule on Coleman's appeal. LinkHere

Fox News Reporter: Scandalized DHS Report Needs Second Look

A heavily criticized Department of Homeland Security Report on right-wing extremism that was released in April warned precisely of the type of violent anti-Semitic activity that occurred at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.
Early this afternoon, a man in his late-80s with ties to white supremacist organizations opened fire inside the museum, reportedly hitting two people, including a security guard, in the process.
DHS report reads
Nine days ago, I joined Greg Sargent in wondering if the murder of George Tiller should prompt a "second look" at the DHS report on homegrown right-wing extremists that was so scandalized by pundits who insisted it was some sort of high concept government crackdown on mainstream conservatives, despite the fact that it was a report initiated by the Bush administration in which the word "conservative" never appeared. In the wake of today's recent tragic events at Washington DC's Holocaust museum, that second look seems even more appropriate. Catherine Herridge, reporting for Fox News, agrees:
GALLAGHER: It's a fair admonishment to us Catherine, to be careful of the facts here. But as you look at these, these types of groups that the FBI may or may not be investigating in the hours and days to come, we often forget about homegrown groups, and as you were saying in a report just a few days ago, one of the big concerns now about terrorism is from within. LinkHere
Fox News hit job fails again!!!!!!!!

Charles Krauthammer Gushes: Fox News "Created An Alternate Reality"
That's for sure, the dumbing down of the American Population, way to go Faux New, You decide?
Charles Krauthammer was honored Tuesday with the Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism, given annually by News Corp in honor of former New York Post editorial writer Eric Breindel.
In his acceptance speech, Krauthammer praised Fox News for creating an "alternate reality" on TV:

Shepard Smith Says His Email Is Becoming

"More And More Frightening"

Fox News' Shepard Smith's pretty well known -- and oft praised -- for the way he can size up a news event and expose his own authentic concern without seeming mawkish or phony. And in the wake of today's shooting at the Holocaust Museum, Smith went on the air today to talk about the emails he's been receiving for "the past few months," and how they've been getting "more and more frightening."
SMITH: There are people now, who are way out there on a limb. And I think they're just out there on a limb with the email they send us. Because I read it, and they are out there. I mean, out there in a scary place...I could read a hundred of them like this...I mean from today. People who are so amped up and so angry for reasons that are absolutely wrong, ridiculous, preposterous."
He went on to read an email, filled with the usual paranoid "birther" nonsense, which included an admonishment to Smith. "This is, I promise, a representative sample of the kind of things that we get here," Smith said.
Time will tell if Smith's colleagues at Fox stop taking these sorts of emails casually. Smith clearly could do that no longer. I think that's appropriate! LinkHere

Right-Wing Violence Is Very Real and Very Dangerous

Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity on accused shooter's reading list
4-page letter outlines frustration, hatred of 'liberal movement'

In light of the shootings at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in D.C. this afternoon, allegedly committed by white supremacist James Von Brunn, Matt Yglesias noted, "I hope that everyone who mau-maued the Department of Homeland Security for expressing concern about this kind of thing feel appropriately ashamed of themselves."
It's hardly an unreasonable point. Two months ago, Richard Poplawski, a right-wing extremist, allegedly gunned down three police officers in Pittsburgh, in part because he feared the non-existent "Obama gun ban." A few weeks ago, Scott Roeder, another right-wing extremist, allegedly assassinated Dr. George Tiller in Kansas. A few hours ago, Von Brunn, another right-wing extremist, allegedly opened fire at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
There are other recent examples that bear similar characteristics. This story out of Tennessee from last year continues to haunt: LinkHere

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