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Archive for June 24th, 2009

Obama ‘Strongly Condemns’ Iran Crackdown

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2009 4:45 am by HL

Obama ‘Strongly Condemns’ Iran Crackdown

The president opened his Tuesday press conference by saying, “The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, the beatings, and imprisonments of the last few days. I strongly condemn these unjust actions… .”

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Sanford Twitter Account Active Even As He’s Disappeared

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Sanford Twitter Account Active Even As He’s Disappeared
Governor Mark Sanford may be missing in action. His wife may not know exactly where he is. And there could be some dispute as to…

Internal Memo: Nuclear Power Company Could Make A Billion A Year From Climate Change Law
Exelon, the nation’s largest nuclear power company, stands to rake in roughly an extra $1 billion to $1.5 billion a year if the House climate…

GOP Congressman Says Obama’s Hesitance On Iran Responsible For Violence (VIDEO)
It was bound to happen. Representative Dana Rohrabacher, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, accused Barack Obama on Tuesday of allowing violence…


Karl Frisch: Media could use a Stonewall uprising of their own

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Karl Frisch: Media could use a Stonewall uprising of their own

In early May, National Public Radio, a supposed bastion of liberal media bias, found itself in the crosshairs of the lesbian and gay community over an online review of Outrage, a documentary chronicling the hypocrisy of prominent, purportedly closeted politicians with staunchly anti-gay voting records.

What sparked the controversy was not the documentary itself, but the fact that NPR’s review failed to name names. In fact, while Nathan Lee, the review’s initial author, had included the identities of those fingered in the film, NPR editors took it upon themselves to censor the review prior to publication.

Would a review of a film exposing the hypocrisy of politicians on any other subject fail to identify the politicians in question? Not likely.

Alas, NPR’s skittishness seems to be reserved only for those who may be gay and enjoy positions of power to legislate on matters directly affecting the gay community. NPR has shown no such hesitation speculating about the sexuality of celebrities like American Idol‘s recently out-and-proud Adam Lambert.

Such is the sad state of affairs that is the modern media landscape when it comes to issues of real substance and importance to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

Forty years ago this week, LGBT patrons of New York City’s Stonewall Inn, long tired of police harassment, took to the streets in protest following yet another raid of the Inn. The uprising is widely credited with sparking the modern gay civil rights movement.

And yet, 40 years later, despite increased public acceptance and the passage of some basic legal protections, not only is sexual orientation still a taboo for many in the media, all too often it serves as a focal point for hate, ridicule, and misinformation.

Tens of thousands of same-sex couples are now legally married in the United States. To many, this represents real progress toward increased equality; to Fox News’ top-rated host Bill O’Reilly, the simple act of two people in love making it official could open the door to people marrying “a turtle,” “a goat,” “a duck,” or “a dolphin.” This coming from a guy who once famously said, “I think everybody’s got to relax on all this gay stuff.”

Relax, indeed.

O’Reilly and several of his Fox News colleagues — folks like Glenn Beck, who used dolls to make the point — have even inexplicably argued that marriage equality could lead to “triad” marriages.

Perhaps riffing on Fox News’ tune, the Christian Broadcasting Network’s Pat Robertson recently suggested the “ultimate conclusion” of legal same-sex marriage is legal polygamy, bestiality, child molestation, and pedophilia.

As Congress took up debate this year over legislation to enhance the federal hate-crimes statute by including gay, lesbian, and transgender people among its protected classes — race, color, religion, and national origin have been protected for years — media conservatives became absolutely unhinged.

O’Reilly said of the hate-crimes bill, which included new protections for the disabled as well, “[Y]ou could make an argument that a pedophile has a disease, and because the disease is there, he’s a target or she’s a target,” later adding that pedophiles could be included because “[d]isability is included. They have a mental disability.” He’s dead wrong. Pedophilia is not considered a “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; in fact, the ADA specifically excludes pedophilia.

Once again, O’Reilly wasn’t alone attacking the hate crimes legislation with easily debunked misinformation. Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, radio host Rush Limbaugh, and Robertson marched in lockstep, all essentially reading from the same set of patently false talking points.

In addition to being relentlessly maligned during policy discussions, LGBT Americans remain the butt of jokes in conservative media circles. Take for example, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough applauding a viewer’s “wit,” saying to political analyst Mike Barnicle, “They’ve started calling you ‘Brokeback Barnicle’ because of how close you and [co-host] Willie [Geist] sit.”

Then there’s the in-your-face bigotry of people like Michael Savage, the third-most-listened-to radio voice in America, who once likened gay parenting to “child abuse”; called a member of the transgender community a “sick degenerate”; and warned his listeners that “[w]hen you hear ‘human rights,’ think gays. … [T]hink only one thing: someone who wants to rape your son.”

Filling the ranks of every media outlet, including those with a conservative slant, to be sure, one would certainly find at least a few gay, lesbian, and transgender employees — some in positions of real power. It’s long past time for these employees to stand up, take a page from the Stonewall uprising, and unflinchingly say, “Enough is enough.” To remain publicly silent would be an outrage.

Karl Frisch is a Senior Fellow at Media Matters for America, a progressive media watchdog and research and information center based in Washington, D.C. Frisch also contributes to County Fair, a media blog featuring links to progressive media criticism from around the web as well as original commentary. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook or sign up to receive his columns by email.


Why Did Sanford Staffer Mislead Lieutenant Guv?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Why Did Sanford Staffer Mislead Lieutenant Guv?
Here’s one angle to the Great Missing Governor story that hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves: Why did Mark Sanford’s staff essentially lie to the office of Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer about whether it had been in contact with the…

Reagan Fired Slew Of IGs Upon Taking Office — And Senate GOP Last Year Blocked Measure To Make Firing IGs Harder
On Friday we reported that, according to two board members, the impetus for firing the AmeriCorps inspector general, Gerald Walpin, came from the board, not the White House. Still, just to put a nail in the coffin of any notion…






The Anti-Republican Reality Belt

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

The Anti-Republican Reality Belt


Castle Still Weighing Senate Bid

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

Castle Still Weighing Senate Bid
Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE) — who may run for U.S. Senate, re-election or simply retire — made a curious comment picked up by Philadelphia Business Today.

Said Castle: “They’ve asked me to run for the Senate as a Republican. I don’t know if I’m going to do that.”

Is Castle, a lifelong Republican, also considering a possible party switch?


Lila Rose: The New Darling of Anti-Choice Right-Wingers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Lila Rose: The New Darling of Anti-Choice Right-Wingers
Anti-choice crusader Lila Rose has devoted her considerable media savvy to depriving other women of their reproductive rights.

Americans Want a Public Option on Health Care — Here’s How We Can Make it Happen
The only thing standing between us and real health care for all Americans are some senators and their industry friends. Time for battle.

Americans Want a Public Option on Health Care — Here’s How We Can Make it Happen
The only thing standing between us and real health care for all Americans are some senators and their industry friends. Time for battle.


Liars Figure

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Liars Figure
On Friday, Ayatollah Khamenei as the NYT says, “mocked the idea that the huge margin attributed to Mr. Ahmadinejad could have been won through fraud.” Yesterday, the spokesman for the Guardian Council admitted to discrepancies in the vote count that…

Jerusalem Post: Americans Cool With Pressuring Israel PLUS Shalit Release Today?
Check this out. Shmuel Rosner reports on a new poll that shows strong backing here for the President’s tough stand on Israel-Palestine. He infers from the poll that Americans favor pressuring Israel. Of course, they do. The key thing is…


Bolton Slams Obama For Being ?Timid? On Iran, Then Admits U.S. Options Limited Because Of Bush?s Failures

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Bolton Slams Obama For Being ?Timid? On Iran, Then Admits U.S. Options Limited Because Of Bush?s Failures
Yesterday on Fox News, Sean Hannity and former U.N. ambassador John Bolton joined the right-wing chorus hitting President Obama’s response to the Iranian election crisis. Bolton repeatedly said Obama should act more forcefully and offer the “possibility of concrete assistance” to the Iranian protestors: BOLTON: Well, it’s not at all what they want, and you know […]

Yesterday on Fox News, Sean Hannity and former U.N. ambassador John Bolton joined the rightwing chorus hitting President Obama’s response to the Iranian election crisis. Bolton repeatedly said Obama should act more forcefully and offer the “possibility of concrete assistance” to the Iranian protestors:

BOLTON: Well, it’s not at all what they want, and you know what’s worst of all about this, looking at President Obama, is not only that he’s being timid, he’s being disingenuous. The real reason that he won’t speak out has nothing to do with this argument that we don’t want to meddle. […]

[Obama] is abandoning the people in the streets and not providing any possibility of concrete assistance to them.

Hannity then asked Bolton whether he agreed with Lt. Col. Ralph Peters’s recent New York Post op-ed, in which he wrote that Obama’s “silence” is “a blank check for the current regime.” Bolton surprisingly backtracked and seemed to contradict his statements from a few moments earlier, claiming it’s better to be “prudent” right now because the United States isn’t in a position to “provide concrete assistance”:

BOLTON: Well, I think it’s mostly right except I would say this. Because including during the Bush administration we did not prepare adequately for this potential revolutionary moment, we’re not really in a position now to offer much concrete assistance.

And I don’t want America to be in a position where we urge people in the streets and then watch them die. I’d rather be a little bit prudent and prepare for the long-term where we really can provide concrete assistance.

Watch it:

So basically, Bolton wants Obama to stand with the Iranian protestors and provide the “possibility of concrete assistance,” even though he also thinks the United States is in no position “where we really can provide concrete assistance”? Of course, this call to be “prudent” comes from a man who wanted Obama to launch “meaningful efforts at regime change” just a few months ago. Bolton’s claim to want to assist Iran’s “people in the streets” also rings hollow, given that he has wanted to bomb them for years.

Transcript:

HANNITY: Barack Obama saying we’re meddling? This has nothing to do with us? It doesn’t matter which side wins? I’m thinking this — is that Reagan? Is that really what the people of Iran want from America?

BOLTON: Well, it’s not at all what they want, and you know what’s worst of all about this, looking at President Obama, is not only that he’s being timid, he’s being disingenuous. The real reason that he won’t speak out has nothing to do with this argument that we don’t want to meddle. The Iranian regime is already accusing us of that.

The real reason is the president is determined to find a way to try and negotiate with the regime, with Khamenei, with Ahmadinejad about their nuclear weapons program. This is a policy doomed to failure. But it explains why he won’t speak out in defense of representative government and individual liberty in Iran.

HANNITY: Well, is that why he’s basically a signal that he will work with them regardless of who wins out here?

BOLTON: He did indeed, and he has done that since his inaugural address where he said to regimes that stay in power by silencing the opposition and deceit and corruption, I will extend a hand.

Well, check, check, check, that certainly describes the regime in Iran, and he is abandoning the people in the streets and not providing any possibility of concrete assistance to them. […]

HANNITY: What do you think of Ralph Peters? He says our silence is complicity and that by Obama and the administration being silent that it represented a green light to the mullahs for a crackdown?

BOLTON: Well, I think it’s mostly right except I would say this. Because including during the Bush administration we did not prepare adequately for this potential revolutionary moment, we’re not really in a position now to offer much concrete assistance.

And I don’t want America to be in a position where we urge people in the streets and then watch them die. I’d rather be a little bit prudent and prepare for the long-term where we really can provide concrete assistance.

Gingrich-Run Coal Company Front Group Airing Anti-Climate Legislation TV Ads
Newt Gingrich’s 527 organization, American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF), took to the airwaves yesterday in opposition to the Waxman-Markey clean energy reform bill. The 30-second attack ad falls highlights the Gingrich-inspired Republican strategy of calling the bill a “national energy tax”: Now Congress is about to make things dramatically worse by passing a new […]

Newt Gingrich’s 527 organization, American Solutions for Winning the Future (ASWF), took to the airwaves yesterday in opposition to the Waxman-Markey clean energy reform bill. The 30-second attack ad falls highlights the Gingrich-inspired Republican strategy of calling the bill a “national energy tax”:

Now Congress is about to make things dramatically worse by passing a new national energy tax. We’ll lose more jobs, pay more for gas and electricity, pushing our economy to its breaking point. Stop the national energy tax, call your member of Congress before it’s too late.

Contradicting ASWF’s “energy tax” attack, a Congressional Budget Office analysis of Waxman-Markey found that the legislation only costs the equivalent of a postage stamp a day, while sharply cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Watch the ASWF ad:

An investigative piece by the Wonk Room’s Brad Johnson exposed Gingrich’s American Solutions as a front group for Peabody Energy, the world’s largest coal company. ASWF raked in over a quarter-million dollars in contributions in 2008 from the coal juggernaut, while receiving much of its remaining funding from a host of right-wing billionaires including casino kingpin Sheldon Adelson.

As climate change reform comes closer to a reality, expect to see more fear-mongering from these fossil-fueled front groups. Yesterday the GOP sent candles to lawmakers to “thank” Obama for “taxing our lights out.” Republicans called for the construction of 100 new nuclear power plants that same day. The fossil-fuel-dependent future promoted by Gingrich’s front group is catastrophic, as it “ignores the nightmarish damages that would be caused to our air, water and climate.”


President Obama Holds Media Availability Following Meeting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 24th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

President Obama Holds Media Availability Following Meeting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I want to welcome Prime Minister Tsvangirai to the Oval Office. He and his delegation have been meeting with my team throughout the day. I obviously have extraordinary admiration for the courage and the tenacity that the Prime Minister has shown in navigating through some v…

Administration Kills Bush Program to Give Police Access to Spy Satellite Data
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced yesterday that she will kill a controversial Bush administration program to expand the use of spy satellites by domestic law enforcement and other agencies.

President Obama Delivers Remarks at the Esperanza National Prayer Breakfast
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. Buenos dias. AUDIENCE: Buenos dias. OBAMA: It is good to see everybody here. Just a few quick acknowledgments. Our outstanding Secretary of Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, is here. Please give her a big round of applause. (Applause.) The great gover…