At tonight's nationally televised press conference, a reporter asked President Obama a question about the July 16 arrest of famed Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates. Obama set off a firestorm by defending Gates; but despite the righteous words, Obama[...]
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Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said Republicans won?t offer a health care bill of their own, breaking a previous promise. Greg Sargent notes that on the House GOP Health Care Solutions Group?s Web site, ?you?ll find prominent video of Blunt vowing the GOP is ?drafting our own legislation.??
While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declared yesterday that she had the votes to pass health care legislation, a leading ?Blue Dog? Democrat disagreed. “No, I don?t think they have the votes,” said Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR), “arguing if that were the case he and the other six Blue Dogs on the House Energy and Commerce Committee who have been holding up the bill in committee would be under far less pressure.”
White House Counsel Greg Craig released a letter yesterday revealing that 15 health care industry executives participated in a combined 27 meetings at the White House since February. Though the letter was a response to inquires by CREW, the watchdog group called the releases “insufficient,” noting that “the FOIA requires the administration to release the records themselves.”
U.N. officials said the Obama administration is refusing to allow U.N. human rights investigators to interview inmates at Gitmo and to have access to information on secret prisons. Secretary of State Clinton also recently turned down a meeting request from the U.N.’s top anti-torture official. ?They said, ‘We are trying to close down the institution. For the time being, we don’t see it as a priority,’” a U.N. official said.
A Bloomberg Global Poll of financial investors and analysts finds attitudes about the new president in Asia and Europe are overwhelmingly positive, with 87 percent approving. In the U.S., by contrast, they are slightly negative. Only 49 percent approve.
A new State Department report says that the U.S. Embassy in Iraq is “significantly overstaffed and needs to be downsized to reflect the reduced American role in the country.” “There is a clear consensus from the top to the bottom of the embassy: The time has come for a significant rightsizing,” says the report from the department’s inspector general.
“Entering a debate that has stirred political tumult in Britain,” Vice President Biden told the BBC to expect more coalition troops to die in Afghanistan but also that the war is “worth the effort.” He said the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region is ?a place that, if it doesn’t get straightened out, will continue to wreak havoc on Europe and the United States.?
Glen Peters, a researcher at the Center for International Climate and Environment Research in Oslo, said the U.S. is by far the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases ?if consumers in rich nations are given responsibility for energy used to make imported goods.?
President Obama said last night that Cambridge, MA police ?acted stupidly? when they arrested Harvard African-American studies professor Henry Louis Gates ?even after he showed proof that he lived in the house.? Obama added that it is ?just a fact? that blacks and Latinos are disproportionately stopped by police.
And finally: In a lighter moment at last night?s press conference, Obama joked that he would likely get shot if he lost his keys and tried to break into the White House. While discussing the arrest of Professor Gates, Obama tried to put himself in the same position. ?I mean, if I was trying to jigger into — well, I guess this is my house now, so it probably wouldn’t happen,? Obama said. ?But let’s say my old house in Chicago. Here [in the White House], I’d get shot.? Watch it.
Now Obama's done it.
He actually expressed empathy for a fellow black guy who had a run-in with a racist cop.
Here we go. This summer's shark story will be the shark that always lurks in American waters: racism.
Of course, other than virulent racists of the Pat Buchanan stripe, every media commmentator knows that there was nothing controversial about what Obama said. I'm sure the cop's own mother told him he acted stupidly.
But no matter. The MSM hates the boring health care issue. They think it's way too complicated for us dummies out here. It's time to switch the subject and what better subject is there than that our President is black and stupidly admitted it during prime time.
What a boon for the MSM.
It's hard for the respectable media when Buchanan, Limbaugh, and Dobbs own the race issue. Now everyone can play.
Note: Fox is far from the worst offender. MSNBC employs Pat Buchanan who is not only a racist but a virulent anti-semite and Holocaust denier(he recently likened Nazi mass murderer John Demjanjuk to Jesus Christ).
I don't know if anyone will respond to this post but, if past is prologue, the racists will be out in force. Liberal racism is not just a construct invented by the right. We've got them too.
(original segment from July 20th)
Scumbag Ralph Peters, a retired Lt. Colonel turned Fox News "analyst" made some nasty statements about captured U.S. soldier Bowe Berdahl earlier this week, calling him a deserter and basically saying the Taliban should execute him:
Now look, Julie, I want to be clear. If, when the facts are in, we find out that through some convoluted chain of events, he really was captured by the Taliban, I'm with him. But, if he walked away from his post and his buddies at wartime... I don't care how hard it sounds, as far as I'm concerned, the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills.
Now a bipartisan group of House veterans led by Ohio Democrat, John Boccieri has sent a letter to Fox News' Roger Ailes, demanding an apology.
As members of Congress and veterans of the United States Armed Forces, it was with incredulity and disgust that we watched Fox News Strategic Analyst Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters (Ret.) suggest on your airwaves that Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, "abandoned his buddies, abandoned his post, and just walked off," and stated that, if this is true, "the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills."
Mr. Peters' comments are so far beyond the pale that they don't even approach the decorum and respect deserved by a member of the United States Armed Forces. Mr. Peters' indefensible comments call into question, without any supporting evidence whatsoever, PFC Bergdahl's patriotism and commitment to his country, and suggest in a non-subtle way that he deserved to be captured. The events surrounding the capture of PFC Bergdahl are irrelevant at this point. The only priority should be his safe and immediate release to U.S. forces. Read on...
Peters attempted to backtrack, but according to Think Progress, he's still using Fox News to attack the captured U.S. soldier. Will Ailes do the right thing by firing Peters and publicly apologizing to Bergdahl's family? I wouldn't count on it.
Every Thursday, I am going to try to feature a new candidate worth catching the attention of the Netroots. To start off, I would like to introduce Greg Werkheiser, a state delegate candidate in Virginia. To say that he has a compelling life story and[...]
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The Washington Post has a front page story telling readers that the good old days are back on Wall Street, with bonuses projected to be larger than ever. Why would the Wall Street boys pay themselves huge bonuses so soon after getting bailed out by the taxpayers, at a time when tens of millions of people are unemployed or underemployed?
The answer is the same as the reason that dogs are known to lick a certain part of their anatomy: because they can. With one hand in the taxpayers' pockets and one foot firmly braking any congressional action to rein them in, we can expect to see many more big paydays on Wall Street.
If James von Brunn weren't in a locked security ward at Southeast General Hospital in Washington, D.C., and awaiting trial for the murder of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the 88-year-old racist and neo-Nazi might have taken comfort from listening to Lou Dobbs' syndicated radio show or watching Dobbs on CNN in recent days. Von Brunn would have likely felt some sense of affirmation from Dobbs, as the host began belatedly championing the cause of so-called "birthers," the angry band of right-wing conspiracy theorists who claim President Obama has not released a valid birth certificate and, in some cases, flat-out assert that he was not born in America and therefore is ineligible to be president of the United States. (Here's a good birther primer; here's the official right-wing defense of birthers.)
Had von Brunn been listening, Dobbs would likely have "spoken" to him. Just a few months before opening fire at the museum, von Brunn, apparently a proud birther himself, had done his best to spread the word online about Obama's illegitimate rule: "What is going on??? WHERE ARE THE GOOD PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY - ARE YOU OUT THERE???"
Ranting online, von Brunn also denounced the "dishonest & conspiratorial Media" for ignoring the blockbuster birther story.
Then suddenly up popped Dobbs, who, again and again in recent days, has propped up the birthers and taken on all comers who dared dismiss claims that Obama has failed to prove his U.S. citizenship. Suddenly, for dedicated birthers like von Brunn, the rudderless movement had a willing mainstream spokesman, somebody who reached beyond the paranoid confines of WorldNetDaily and Newsmax or the Michael Savage show and branched out into the masses.
Suddenly, the birthers had media big shot Lou Dobbs onboard as he, at times, turned his radio and television programs into a birther paradise, floating the same loaded, fact-free assertions that conspiracy theorists had been making for nearly a year:
Dobbs has certainly taken some heat for his recent birther turn. (He's "effectively destroying his career with this stuff," birther expert David Weigel wrote at The Washington Independent.) But there's more to this story than Dobbs. And the phenomenon in play isn't just about a birth certificate. And it's also not isolated or accidental.
Because, yes, viewed in a vacuum, the movement seems like the nutty fringe. But viewed in a larger historical context, birthers share obvious ties to traditional right-wing assaults on previous Democrats, and birthers have all the marks of a GOP Noise Machine creation. The movement is about a larger, more sinister attempt to paint Obama as illegitimate, foreign, and suspect (i.e. not like you and me). To portray him as "a gratuitous interloper," as radio host G. Gordon Liddy put it. As someone who isn't who he says he is. As -- let's face it -- the Manchurian Candidate, with all the evil connotations that come with it. ("WHO SENT YOU???" von Brunn demanded to know of Obama.)
And it's about the disturbing role media figures like Dobbs play when they act as the bridge -- as the transmitter -- between the radical and the mainstream. When they legitimize the craziness, if only in the eyes of the crazies themselves. As MSNBC's Rachel Maddow noted this week, "The home run for conspiracists of any stripe is when their ideas can leave the lunatic fringe and enter the mainstream."
Fox News has been doing that practically since Inauguration Day, as its hosts have mainstreamed a violent brand of militia rhetoric, beseeching viewers to take to the streets against the new president, who is committed to (purposefully!) destroying the country while robbing Americans of their cherished rights. Fox News has served as a clearinghouse and given radicals a way to interact with everyday viewers.
The birther attack is simply a parallel attempt to delegitimize Obama. Because once a public figure has been delegitimized, if only in the eyes of his critics, then all bets are off and the normal rules of conduct are discarded. We saw that play out during the Clinton years, with the immediate right-wing push to paint his presidency as being illegitimate (He won only 43 percent of the vote!), which then morphed into darker conspiracies (see: Vince Foster). And soon, it wasn't Clinton's politics or policies that attracted the venom, it was the man himself. He was untrustworthy. He wasn't morally grounded. He was a monster who had to be removed from office.
The same assault is being waged in the conservative media with deeply personal attacks against Obama. (He's a Marxist!) Fox News has been willingly dumping that toxic stew into the mainstream for months. And now on CNN, Dobbs is busy mainstreaming a distinct brand of hate and contempt by embracing the birther nonsense.
And make no mistake, Dobbs' performance in recent days has been nothing short of shocking. His birther cheerleading would be the equivalent of a CNN host, one year after the fact, going on the air and suggesting the Bush administration needed to prove, once and for all, that it was not behind the terrorist attacks of September 11 ("There are real questions here that need to be answered"). Of course, that kind of reckless rhetoric would be inconceivable on a mainstream television outlet. But Dobbs was not similarly constrained by reason, taking to the CNN airwaves in order to prop up one of the most thoroughly debunked campaign conspiracy theories in history. ("It's crazy," Janice Okubo, director of communications for the Hawaii Department of Health, recently told Weigel for a birther story. "I don't think anything is ever going to satisfy them.")
Indeed, here's how transparently loony the whole thing is. There's not only the Hawaii birth certificate that marks Obama's birth (although birthers claim it's a forgery). There are also the real-time, 1961 birth announcements printed up in The Honolulu Advertiser and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. As Gawker's Cajun Boy recently noted:
I can sort of maybe understand the argument that official documents like birth certificates can be forged to cover something up, but what explanation do the "birthers" have for this piece of historical newsprint, something that's been preserved on microfiche for years now? I mean, in order to discount this you'd have to make the argument that Obama's family planted this item in the paper almost 50 years ago just in case he was to someday run for president. It's just all so ridiculously nonsensical.
Let's just agree that the word "debunked" was invented for situations just like this. Yet Dobbs has decided to hold out hope for the Obama crazies in their endless quest to delegitimize another Democratic president.