Gary Miller (R-CA): extremist AND corrupt
Last night before turning in I did a short post about political hypocrisy. The GOP has been hysterically demanding that New York Democrats whose campaigns had had funds donated by Governor Spitzer return the money. I decided to check on what happened with the hundreds of thousands of dollars some of the Republican crooks had donated to each other. It was an eye-opener.
And then I got an e-mail from Blue America congressional candidate Ron Shepston (D-CA). Ron told me about something far more serious than penny-ante hypocrisy going on. And it got me thinking and wondering if John McCain, who claims to be the scourge of earmarks would join Ron in demanding Rep. Gary Miller, California's most far right member of Congress, return a $1.28 million earmark that is not only unethical but probably illegal. Here's what Ron had to say:
"Gary Miller should reimburse the taxpayers for earmarks that help his personal business. Like almost everyone else in this country, I work hard, pay my taxes and worry about my financial future. I don't think my tax dollars should be used to personally enrich Gary Miller and his biggest campaign contributor... Rep. Miller has abused the public trust. Earmarking federal funds to pay for road improvements by developments you and your biggest campaign contributor own is not acceptable. There is a clear line between right and wrong and Rep. Miller has crossed it."
I had a very disturbing talk with my dad about Barack Obama.
I was on the phone with my parents telling them about the video I was working on, FOX ATTACKS! Obama part 2: Spreading the Virus, and brought up how FOX (Sean Hannity, in particular) has been desperately trying to create a connection between Louis Farrakhan and Barack Obama because a magazine founded by Obama’s pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and run by Wright’s daughters recently gave Louis Farrakhan an award. I told my parents how Hannity went from saying the magazine gave Farrakhan the award to claiming Wright gave him the award (which he didn’t) to saying that Obama “associated” with Farrakhan (which he hasn’t). Hannity would mostly use these “stories” so he could rattle off some of Farrakhan’s most offensive comments and mention Obama in the same breath, effectively linking the two in the minds of FOX viewers. He just wants to say, “Obama — Farrakhan — racist — anti-Semite” over and over again until they are linked, just as FOX did with “Iraq — Al Qaeda — 9/11 — terrorism” in the run-up to the Iraq war.
Of course, Hannity almost never mentions that Obama has repeatedly denounced Farrakhan’s racist, anti-semitic, and inflammatory remarks, has called for more cooperation between the black and Jewish communities, has spoken before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and has been defended by the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and other prominent Jewish organizations. But Hannity doesn’t want his viewers to know this. He just wants them to have a vague impression that Obama is an anti-semite and a black separatist.
When I mentioned this example to my parents, my dad said, “Wait, didn’t Louis Farrakhan give Obama an award and Obama accepted it?” When I told him that this was completely off, he said, “Oh, I guess I must have heard it wrong.”
First, let me tell you a bit about my dad. He’s a very smart man, and when it comes to chemistry, he’s a certified genius. He’s not a current events junkie like I am, but he’s reasonably well informed. I got him a subscription to the Economist several years ago and I know he’s kept it up and still reads it, and he watches the nightly news. He is definitely not a conservative or a FOX viewer.
So how could he have been so wrong? That’s one of the problems we’re trying to address in FA Obama 2.
The Farrakhan/Obama story is a dead story. Obama and his campaign have repeatedly addressed it and denounced Farrakhan’s statements, there is no relationship and has had numerous Jewish organizations confirm that Obama is not an anti-semite. So why on earth did Tim Russert, during the Feb. 26 Democratic debate on MSNBC, decide to channel Sean Hannity and insist on repeatedly questioning Obama about his ties to Farrakhan, even after Obama had reiterated his condemnation of Farrakhan’s remarks during the debate? Why breathe life into a dead story that only existed so far-right smear operations could whip up their racist base? And what is the effect?
The effect is confusion where there should be none. The effect is lingering questions where there are already definitive answers and links where none exist. And in the case of Obama, this confusion is designed to keep voters away from him.
And it’s also important to remember how people get the news. Unfortunately, not everyone has the time or inclination to read everything about candidates. I’m sure many people get their news more from glancing at headlines than reading whole articles, or from overhearing a conversation from someone who may not have their facts straight. My dad had probably just heard bits of, “Farrakhan…Obama…received award…” and loosely filled in the blanks on his own. He wasn’t declaring that Obama had definitely received award from Farrakhan. That was just his impression. And this false “impression” could easily spread. Like a virus.
That’s why we can’t allow the traditional media to further this confusion. That’s why we can’t let rumors and lies be legitimated and spread. That’s why we need to put an end to this now and demand responsible reporting as this country makes one of the most important decisions in a generation.
Truth and vigilance are the vaccine. Give it to your friends before they become carriers of a dangerous virus without even knowing it. Sign the petition asking media outlets to report responsibly.
The Hillary camp are now stepping up the pressure to have the Florida delegates seated and have even resorted to asking for financial donations made to the party to be returned in order to force the DNC to resolve this issue.
This is blatantly part of an orchestrated campaign by the Clinton team to put pressure on the DNC to seat the delegates that Hillary herself used to say should not be seated.
Pushing to seat the Florida delegates, at least one top Clinton fund-raiser, Paul Cejas, a Miami businessman who has given the Democratic National Committee $63,500 since 2003, has demanded Democratic officials return his 2007 contribution of $28,500, which they have agreed to do.
?If you?re not going to count my vote, I?m not going to give you my money,? said Mr. Cejas, who was the United States ambassador to Belgium from 1998 to 2001.
Christopher Korge, a Florida real estate developer who is another top fund-raiser for Mrs. Clinton, held an event last year in his home that brought in about $140,000 for the national party, which was set aside in a special account for the general election battle in Florida. But he told committee officials this week that if Florida?s delegate conundrum was not settled satisfactorily he would be asking for the money back.
?If we do not resolve this issue,? Mr. Korge said, ?I think it?s safe to say there will be a request for a return of $140,000.?
About 250 top fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton met Wednesday in Washington. Terry McAuliffe, the Clinton campaign?s chairman and a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, encouraged the donors to pick up the phone and call party leaders, as did Mrs. Clinton.
But Mr. McAuliffe said in an interview Friday that he did not approve of donors? holding back their contributions to the D.N.C.
McAuliffe wants us all to know that he does not approve of donor's holding back their contributions? Does anyone believe that? What were these top 250 fund-raisers meeting about if not to discuss ways to help Hillary win the nomination and put pressure on the DNC?
The Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, has agreed to reconsider a gay Iranian's claim for refugee status in the UK after a Dutch court ruled that he could not stay in Holland where he fled fearing that the UK were about to deport him back to Iran.
Mehdi Kazemi, 19, came to the UK claiming that his former boyfriend had already been executed in Iran and says that any attempt to deport him back there will be a death sentence.
However, even Smith's temporary reprieve appears to have done little to persuade Kazemi that the UK government have had a change of heart.
The case has, rightly, caused outrage across the world, especially when the UK government came out with the ludicrous statement that, if Kazemi remained discreet about his sexuality, he was not in danger in Iran.
But speaking from a detention centre in Rotterdam, where he is being held after fleeing to the Netherlands, Mr Kazemi said he fears for his future. "I know what Jacqui Smith has said about my case and that of course is a good thing," he said. "But I know what this government can do to me. They tried to take me at Christmas time two years ago when everyone was away, even my lawyer."
It was only the intervention of his MP, the Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes, which prevented his deportation. In an 11th hour appeal, Mr Hughes persuaded the Home Office to halt the deportation so that he could look into the case.
"I can not be confident they won't try this again, perhaps in the Easter holiday," Mr Kazemi said yesterday. "These things have happened to me before. What they haven't done is promise me I won't go back to Iran."
Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: "It is the strong view of my Liberal Democrat colleagues and I that, in the current political climate, there should be an immediate moratorium on deporting gay people to Iran. To do otherwise is tantamount to the government endorsing state-sanctioned murder."This is the dichotomy that the UK government finds itself in; desperate to condemn the Iranians for their lack of democracy and human rights, but so keen not to seen as soft on immigration that we actually propose sending this young man back to Iran to what would probably be his certain death.
Announcing the decision to rehear Mr Kazemi's case, Ms Smith said on Thursday: "Following representations made on behalf of Mehdi Kazemi, and in the light of new circumstances since the original decision was made, I have decided that Mr Kazemi's case should be reconsidered on his return to the UK."All Smith is actually saying here is that this particular case has made too many headlines around the planet for her now to be able to deport this young man. The scandal is that she ever proposed doing so in the first place.
No assessment on damages or injuries (lots of both, I'm afraid). People were taken to local hospitals - mostly walking wounded. No deaths reported as of yet (thank god). Local forecasters say tomorrow could be worse. The atmosphere is very volatile. Atlanta's mayor is considering canceling St. Patrick's Day festivities.
I hope everyone who lives in the Atlanta Metro area is all right. If anyone has any more info - please post it here.
Now that the Fed has chopped interest rates (and will chop again, not that it's going to translate into lower rates for consumers) and they pumped $200 billion into Wall Street, I'd like to know where exactly the so-called free market/industry self-regulate people are. Where are they? They're all at the front of the bloody line calling for more handouts. When Democrats ask for money for SCHIP or food money for the poor or unemployment extensions, all we hear is about cost. What is the matter with Democrats? Is it so hard to scream and yell like the GOP? Why are they so silent on this bailout? Even the homeowner bailout is a pittance compared to the Wall Street bailout.
To show you what frauds the Republicans are, look at how we raised a $200 billion "loan" that uses the garbage subprime papers that nobody in their right mind wants anyway. Debate? Hell no. Just "poof" out of the blue sky, here's a bailout and a healthy loan to Wall Street, which won't be enough anyway. How is it that the "free market" crowd is suddenly nowhere to be found during this crisis? It's the McCain economic team that put all of this into place, so where is he now? Where's the outrage? And for the conspiracy theorists take note that the Spitzer story just happened to take the spotlight away from a very important event this week.
The banking system that is tumbling was designed and built together with the GOP. They can sit silent but they own this. McCain and his friends own this. This is what they wanted and there is no reason why US taxpayers ought to keep funding their mistakes. Shouldn't we treat Wall Street the way Wall Street and the GOP treat America's poor? Let them pick themselves up with their own bootstraps. Let them dig themselves out of the hole they dug form themselves. We can't afford a war plus a tanking economy plus a bailout for Wall Street. If that means the market will decided (as they always prefer) then so be it. Don't come crying and asking for cash now that the system they wanted is failing. Tough luck.
Jonathan Powell, who served as Blair's chief of staff from 1995 to 2007 and is widely regarded as having been instrumental in negotiating a settlement in Northern Ireland, said his experience in the province convinced him that it was essential to keep a line of communication open even with one's most bitter enemies. Powell said: "There's nothing to say to al-Qaida and they've got nothing to say to us at the moment, but at some stage you're going to have to come to a political solution as well as a security solution. And that means you need the ability to talk."I can hear the outrage of the "war of civilisations" crowd already. The people who have convinced themselves that al Qaeda want to establish Sharia law over the entire planet. They see this as nothing other than a fight to the death for our very survival.
I fully understand the position of HMG, however, unless this is a fight to the absolute death; and - as they recruit faster than we appear able to kill them - we have to accept that such a fight would, by it's very nature, be never ending; one would have to concede that perhaps Powell has a point.
"It's very difficult for democratic governments to do - talk to a terrorist movement that's killing your people," he said. "[But] if I was in government now I would want to have been talking to Hamas, I would be wanting to communicate with the Taliban; and I would want to find a channel to al-Qaida."
Powell's remarks will be highly controversial, as all western governments have insisted any contact with al-Qaida would be immoral and pointless. A spokesman for the Foreign Office said last night: "It is inconceivable that HMG would ever seek to reach a mutually acceptable accommodation with a terrorist organisation like al-Qaida."
Powell, whose book, Great Hatred, Little Room, will be serialised exclusively in the Guardian from Monday, conceded that the idea of talking to al-Qaida and the Taliban was fraught with practical problems: "Who do you talk to? And what do you actually have to talk about?"But he's a brave man to even acknowledge that there is room for talks.
Sooner rather than later (see below), Barack Obama has had to confront his twin albatrosses, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the decidedly secular Tony Rezko. In his rounds of the cable news shows last night, Obama was articulate, as always, but for the first time, glib bordering on shifty.
On Countdown with a deferential Keith Olbermann, he distanced himself from Wright's racist rants but asked voters to believe that, in 17 years of churchgoing, he did not hear any of the venom or he would have condemned it.
Even more tenuous was Obama's attempt to paint Wright as a spiritual leader caught up in the anger of his generation at racial injustice, a pissed-off Martin Luther King, if you will. That won't wash with those who remember how King stressed rejection of such attitudes at a time when Black Power advocates were promoting them. Senator, Wright is no Martin Luther King. Not even close.
In his attempt to "disgorge" Rezko, along with his campaign contributions, Obama stressed that he has not been accused of any wrongdoing or connected to any of the issues involved in the current federal corruption trial, but his opponents won't be deterred from harping on their long, close association, including the buying of the Obamas' Chicago home.
Obama's most fervent admirers will be tempted to pass off these iffy relationships as part of a misguided search for substitute fathers by a man who lost his own at an early age, and there may be truth in that. But Obama is now attempting to become the national father figure, and just asking him to show better judgment than George W. Bush would be setting the bar very low.
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Zachary Roth writes at the Columbia Journalism Review:
Rod Parsley’s Free Pass
Jeremiah Wright gets torched, while McCain’s "spiritual adviser" offends with impunity
The LA Times, the Baltimore Sun, CBS News.com, and, unsurprisingly, Fox News, also got into the act, drawing attention to [the Rev. Jeremiah] Wright’s controversial remarks, and in some cases to his history of similarly inflammatory rhetoric.
Meanwhile, John McCain has a Christian ally of his own. At a rally in late February, McCain appeared with Rod Parsley, the pastor of an Ohio mega-church, and called him a "spiritual guide."
Parsley has his own history of controversial statements. As David Corn reported this week for Mother Jones, Parsley has called for Christians to wage war against the "false religion" of Islam, in order to destroy it. He does not distinguish between Islamic extremists and ordinary Muslims. "What some call ‘extremists’ are instead mainstream believers who are drawing from the well at the very heart of Islam," he has written.
And it’s not just Muslims he’s got it in for. Last year, Parsley’s organization called for people who commit adultery to be prosecuted, and in January he compared Planned Parenthood to the Nazis.
But the press has largely shrugged off the Parsley story. I couldn’t find one mainstream American news outlet that has so much as mentioned Parsley’s extremist views since McCain appeared publicly with him in late February.
Days since Mission Accomplished: 1781
Average number of Americans in uniform who have lost their lives each day in Iraq since Mission Accomplished: 2.
The Overnight News Digest has been posted.
The presidential bid of Senator Barack Obama is coming under intense media scrutiny after you tube videos of his long time spiritual leader and senior campaign advisor The Rev. Jeremiah Wright damming the United States filtered up to the networks.The Illinois Senator who was quick to point fingers at the Clinton campaign over Geraldine Ferraro’s remarks was [...]
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