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Archive for August 5th, 2009

Georgia-Russia Clash Still Under Investigation

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 5th, 2009 4:44 am by HL

Georgia-Russia Clash Still Under Investigation
It’s been a year since last summer’s military showdown between Russia and neighboring Georgia, but even though the Georgian president (and many Western media outlets) pointed to “Russian aggression” as the cause of the conflict, an international investigation team looking to get to the bottom of the matter is still working away at finding the answers. The Wall Street Journal: The commission has peppered both sides with questions about the immediate period before Mr. Saakashvili ordered his forces to attack at 11:35 p.m. last Aug. 7, and also about the months before, when Russia already appeared to begin integrating the two territories, and afterward, when Georgian villages were terrorized and people were forced to flee. In many cases, their houses were then burned and bulldozed. Russian officials continue to claim that Georgian forces were guilty of genocide, forcing Russian intervention. A special investigative committee of the Russian Prosecutor’s Office set up to tally civilian deaths has found that 162 South Ossetians died in the conflict. That’s less than the 1,500 to 2,000 that Russia claimed in the first days of the war, but Moscow now says it has documents proving that the Georgian intent was genocide, even if it was unable to carry out the plan. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Russian Tanks in South Ossetia

It’s been a year since last summer’s military showdown between Russia and neighboring Georgia, but even though the Georgian president (and many Western media outlets) pointed to “Russian aggression” as the cause of the conflict, an international investigation team looking to get to the bottom of the matter is still working away at finding the answers.

The Wall Street Journal:

The commission has peppered both sides with questions about the immediate period before Mr. Saakashvili ordered his forces to attack at 11:35 p.m. last Aug. 7, and also about the months before, when Russia already appeared to begin integrating the two territories, and afterward, when Georgian villages were terrorized and people were forced to flee. In many cases, their houses were then burned and bulldozed.

Russian officials continue to claim that Georgian forces were guilty of genocide, forcing Russian intervention. A special investigative committee of the Russian Prosecutor’s Office set up to tally civilian deaths has found that 162 South Ossetians died in the conflict. That’s less than the 1,500 to 2,000 that Russia claimed in the first days of the war, but Moscow now says it has documents proving that the Georgian intent was genocide, even if it was unable to carry out the plan.

Read more

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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DNC Goes All In: Takes On Birthers, Conservative “Mob” In New Web Ad

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 5th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

DNC Goes All In: Takes On Birthers, Conservative “Mob” In New Web Ad
The Democratic National Committee released a notably aggressive web ad on Tuesday evening, accusing the Republican Party of being taken over by an angry mob…

Rob Kall: Specter Uses Teabaggered Health Care Town Hall to Court Progressives, Finesse Sestak
Town halls are supposed to be about dialogue and conversation. These people were not in attendance for that reason. They booed when Specter and Sebelius walked out on the stage.

Cenk Uygur: Republican Party Has Become “Cash for Clunkers”
The Republican Party is disintegrating in front of our eyes. The latest Gallup Poll has them leading in party identification in six states. Six! They’re…

Jacob Heilbrunn: The Answer Man: Bill Clinton’s Comeback
Now that Bill has successfully completed his North Korea mission, will Obama use him as the magic bullet to solve crises? Or Bill become a freelancer, exceeding his mandate?


Right-wing birthers now pushing town hall disruptions

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 5th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Right-wing birthers now pushing town hall disruptions

Conservative media figures who have promoted conspiracy theories about President Obama’s birth certificate have recently used their platforms to promote the anti-health care reform disruptions of congressional town hall events. Indeed, the disruptions resemble similar efforts by birthers to disrupt town halls.

Media figures promoting town hall disruptions also have promoted birther theories

Lou Dobbs on town hall disruptions: “I asked you to make certain to make your voices were heard when our representatives got home … and that has begun.” On August 3, Dobbs said: “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love it when the audience of this broadcast is engaged and making their voices heard. And you’re getting louder by the day. It’s an amazing thing to watch. What started at the April 15 and July 4 tea parties continuing this weekend as congressmen left town for the August recess, at least.” He added, discussing the town hall disruptions: “Every time I ask each and every one of you to call into your congressman, to your senators, to this broadcast, I beg you to make your voice heard. And you’re not only making it heard on this broadcast, you’re making it heard by the people you elected to represent you. And that is a new concept. Our so-called leaders are beginning to listen to the people who put them in office. Friday, I asked you to make certain to make your voices were heard when our representatives got home from their just overwhelming duties on Capitol Hill, and that has begun. What happened over the weekend — when Congressman Lloyd Doggett faced an angry but respectful audience at a town hall meeting in Austin — in fact, at a Randalls grocery store — he got an earful. Listen to what happens when Congressman Doggett starts talking about health care legislation.” [United Stations Radio Networks’ Lou Dobbs Show, 8/3/09]

Dobbs has repeatedly promoted birth certificate conspiracy theories.

  • DOBBS: “What’s really crazy about this is all the president of the United States has to do is produce a birth certificate. That’s all that has to be done, and it would be over.” [The Lou Dobbs Show, 7/15/09]
  • DOBBS: “Is President Obama — should he produce his birth certificate — the long form, the real deal? Should he be a little more forthcoming?” [The Lou Dobbs Show, 7/15/09]

Sean Hannity: Recess “creates the best opportunity for people to go like they did to Claire McCaskill’s town hall meeting.” On July 29, Hannity said: “There’s going to be no floor vote immediately” on health care reform “so members have time to go home and read the bill, which, by the way, creates the best opportunity for people to go like they did to Claire McCaskill’s town hall meeting or go to [Rep. Russ] Carnahan’s town hall meeting or go show up wherever there’s any representative. That — this is your moment, your opportunity to stop this thing.” [ABC Radio Networks and Premiere Radio Networks’ The Sean Hannity Show, 7/29/09]

Hannity: “Now, so far at these town hall meetings, you’re doing terrific.” Following reports of several town hall disruptions occurring nationwide, Hannity declared on August 3: “This is what’s going to stop this. You are. You’re gonna make it happen.” He went on to say: “Now, so far at these town hall meetings, you’re doing terrific. You’re standing up to these bureaucrats. You’re standing up to their phony platitudes, talking points, and bumper stickers. The polls are now turning against Obama, [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi, and [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid, so now they’re bringing out their own pollster to lie to you and find out a way how they can win the PR battle, and they’re telling them that they’ve got to attack the insurance companies.” [The Sean Hannity Show, 8/3/09]

Hannity has questioned Obama’s birth certificate.

  • HANNITY: “Let me ask you a question: Have you ever seen the birth certificate?” [The Sean Hannity Show, 7/22/09]

Rush Limbaugh: If town hall disruptions are “an orchestrated event,” it’s “about damn time.” On August 3, Limbaugh offered his “reaction” to a caller who noted that media outlets have reported the town hall protests are coordinated: “About damn time. We have had groups like ACORN and Democrat rent-a-mobs making up excuses and lying about things they oppose to affect public policy for years, while people like me haven’t had time because we work. We do not protest for a living. We do not rent ourselves out to be part of mobs. So, if this is actually an orchestrated event, then I’m glad somebody on our side’s getting in gear.” Limbaugh later added: “It doesn’t matter to me one way or the other [if the protests are coordinated]. The people who are showing up are genuinely angry. And if their transportation is being facilitated — about damn time. You’ve got to take these people on the way they play the game. The aggressor sets the rules in a conflict.” [Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show, 8/3/09]

Limbaugh: Town hall protests “not ginned up; it’s genuine. It’s real.” Limbaugh defended the town hall protesters as being “orderly people,” not the “unruly mobs” he claims Democrats are describing them as. Limbaugh continued: “These are genuine voting American citizens. It is — what these Democrats are accusing you of doing, who go to these town hall meetings, is exactly what Obama taught people to do. He’s the community agitator. He’s the community organizer. Obama is the guy who taught people how to show up at events like this over and over again and rip ’em apart and tear ’em down, disrupt ’em, and make sure they don’t happen. And now the tables have been turned. It’s happening to him, only this time, it’s not ginned up; it’s genuine. It’s real.” [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 8/4/09]

Limbaugh has suggested Obama hasn’t produced a valid birth certificate.

  • LIMBAUGH: “God does not have a birth certificate. Neither does Obama. Not that we’ve seen.” [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/10/09]

Quinn & Rose on town halls: “You still have time to scare them to death.” On August 3, co-hosts Jim Quinn and Rose Tennent repeatedly aired audio of a female protester at a town hall event. After airing audio, Tennent cheered the woman on, saying, “Woohoo! Go girl! Yeah! Owwooo!” She continued: “Listen, we feel very, very strongly about this. This is visceral. This is — this comes from inside, and we’re speaking it out. And all of you, be encouraged by this woman. We need to get out there and do the same thing. This is their recess, OK? You cannot have a recess. There is no rest for us. You must get out there, find out where they’re meeting, and show up. And be prepared to ask questions. Be prepared to show you are rejecting yet another government program. And I’ll tell you what: Talking points? Yeah, there’s nothing wrong with them. In fact, if you go to WarRoom.com and click on marching orders, there is a mock email that you can take and you can look over and read and digest and put it into your own words when you want to go out and speak to those people like [Sen. Arlen] Specter and [Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen] Sebelius. … [W]e still have time to do this.” Quinn added: “You still have time to scare them to death.” [Clear Channel’s The War Room with Quinn & Rose, 8/3/09]

Quinn & Rose has promoted birth certificate conspiracy theories.

  • QUINN: “Well, where’s his birth certificate? We could have two illegitimate leaders.” [The War Room with Quinn & Rose, 6/15/09]

The Fox Nation: “Malkin Points You to Where the Town Halls Are”: From Fox News’ website The Fox Nation on August 4:

The Fox Nation has asked readers: “Should Obama Release Birth Certificate?” A May 28 headline on TheFoxNation.com asked: “Should Obama Release Birth Certificate? Or Is This Old News?” The Fox Nation’s birth certificate headline linked to a video of WorldNetDaily correspondent Les Kinsolving asking White House press secretary Robert Gibbs to “releas[e] a certified copy of his long-form birth certificate.”

Anti-health care reform protesters using same disruption tactics as birthers

Birthers disrupted a congressional town hall. “At a town hall meeting in Georgetown [Delaware], a woman demanded to know why [Rep. Mike] Castle and his colleagues were ‘ignoring’ questions about Obama’s birth certificate — questions that have been put to rest repeatedly by state officials in Hawaii, where the birth certificate and all other credible evidence show that Obama was born in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961. When Castle countered that Obama is, in fact, ‘a citizen of the United States,’ the crowd erupted in boos, the woman seized control of the gathering and led a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.” [Politico, 7/27/09]

Birther “ringleader” Orly Taitz called on people to “demand action” on birth certificate at town halls. “Moments after speaking with POLITICO Saturday, Taitz posted a call to arms on her blog: ‘I believe it is a serious concern and I hope that each and every decent American comes to town hall meetings with a video camera and demands action,’ she wrote.” [Politico, 7/27/09]


Bonner’s Forged Letters Were Sent On Behalf Of Coal Industry

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 5th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Bonner’s Forged Letters Were Sent On Behalf Of Coal Industry
Bonner and Associates was working on behalf of the coal industry when it sent forged letters — purporting to come from local Hispanic and black groups — to a member of Congress, urging him to oppose the recent climate change…





Emails Show Santorum Was Tipped To Affair The Day Before Ensign Went Public
The John Ensign story just won’t go away — and that’s not good news for the Silver State philanderer. Jon Ralston of the Las Vegas Sun has obtained emails sent by Doug Hampton which show two interesting things:…

MSNBC: We’ll Disclose Wolffe’s P.R. Ties
MSNBC says it will now tell viewers that Richard Wolffe — who is a regular commentator on the network, and last week guest-hosted Countdown — works for a corporate P.R. firm. Network spokesman Jeremy Gaines told TPMmuckraker in an email:…






The Notion of a Birther (or Happy Birthday, President Obama)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 5th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

The Notion of a Birther (or Happy Birthday, President Obama)
Snopes Verifies Obama’s Hawaiian Birth Certificate & Condemns Kenyan B.C. as Forgery. Is This The Source of the Forged Kenyan Birth Certficate? By David Weigel, The Washington Independent, Aug. 3, 2009. (Similarities to Australian forms easily available online.) Also read: ‘Birthers’ Latch Onto Forged Kenyan Birth Certificate By the same author


Most Oppose Health Reform if it Adds to Deficit

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 5th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

Most Oppose Health Reform if it Adds to Deficit
A new Quinnipiac poll finds that American voters, by a 55% to 35% margin, are more worried that Congress will spend too much money and add to the deficit than it will not act to overhaul the health care system.

By a similar 57% to 37% margin, voters say health care reform should be dropped if it adds “significantly” to the deficit.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “President Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress appear to be losing the public relations war over their plan to revamp the nation’s health care system. Americans are more willing to scrap a health care overhaul than they are to increase the deficit in order to produce such legislation. That’s a bad omen for the White House and Congressional leadership as they try to sell their plan to the country this month before the vote counting gets serious on Capitol Hill in September.”

Ventura to Host New TV Show
Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura (I) will host a new television show, Conspiracy Theories With Jesse Ventura, beginning this fall, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

“Talking about dark conspiracies is not exactly virgin territory for Ventura. In his books and repeated TV interviews, he has repeatedly maintained that the assassination of John Kennedy and the 9/11 terrorist attacks were hatched by conspirators unknown to the general public.”

“His most high-profile dabbling in the Kennedy conspiracy occurred in 2002, when he led a trade mission to Cuba and directly asked Fidel Castro if he had anything to do with the assassination.”


Why Are People So Afraid of Bisexuals?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 5th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Why Are People So Afraid of Bisexuals?

As society's shape-shifters, bisexuals mess with everybody's idea of sexual orientation.

How We Became a Society of Gluttonous Junk Food Addicts

Junk food is killing us slowly with diabetes, heart disease and cancer. But we can't stop because we're hooked, and the food industry is the pusher.

How Much Water Do You Use? Here’s Some Quick Numbers

How much water does it take to shower, brush your teeth, do a load of laundry?


AIPAC Goes To War With Obama Over Award To Former Irish President

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 5th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

AIPAC Goes To War With Obama Over Award To Former Irish President
It reminds me of when your spouse stops talking to you for leaving your shoes in the living room when she’s really mad because you forgot your anniversary. AIPAC is blasting President Obama for presenting a White House freedom medal…


Sponsored Topics: Barack ObamaAmerican Israel Public Affairs CommitteeMiddle EastWarfare and ConflictIsrael-Palestine

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More ?Town Halls Gone Wild?: Angry Far Right Protesters Disrupt Events With ?Incomprehensible? Yelling

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 5th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

More ?Town Halls Gone Wild?: Angry Far Right Protesters Disrupt Events With ?Incomprehensible? Yelling
Since members of Congress have been returning home to their districts for the August recess, a consortium of industry-backed right-wing groups have been planning ambushes to harass Democrats for supporting health care reform. ThinkProgress obtained a leaked memo from a volunteer with Tea Party Patriots, a website sponsored by lobbyist-run groups Americans for Prosperity and […]

Since members of Congress have been returning home to their districts for the August recess, a consortium of industry-backed right-wing groups have been planning ambushes to harass Democrats for supporting health care reform. ThinkProgress obtained a leaked memo from a volunteer with Tea Party Patriots, a website sponsored by lobbyist-run groups Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, that details how members should be disrupting town halls and “rattling” Democratic members of Congress.

Last night, Rep. Steve Kagen (D-WI) and Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH) were apparently the latest victims of this strategy. Kagen, whose town hall was targeted by the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity, was “repeatedly disrupted” by “incomprehensible” shrieks and shouts from angry conservatives. Watch it:

Driehaus politely allowed an already angry crowd of tea party people into his town hall, and greeted them by saying, “I know that there are those with the tea party group and I welcome you and I welcome them to my office.” Despite his offer for constructive dialogue, within minutes, members of the right-wing crowd began booing and hissing with repeated howls of “move to Europe!” Watch it:

Greg Sargent reports that Rick Scott, the disgraced hospital executive bankrolling the anti-health reform group Conservatives for Patients’ Rights, is now joining the effort to disrupt health care town halls. The for-profit health industry is contributing a great deal of resources to pressure lawmakers against reform. Last weekend, the health insurance lobby announced that they will be sending staff to “confront” lawmakers at town halls and will be transitioning to negative ads.


Obama’s Domestic Policies Are Having Immediate Effects on Race for Va. Governor

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 5th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

Obama’s Domestic Policies Are Having Immediate Effects on Race for Va. Governor
The coffee was still brewing when Chris Ann Cleland got her first reminder of the day that voting for Barack Obama might have been a mistake.


During Visit by Bill Clinton, North Korea Releases American Journalists
North Korea pardoned and released two detained American journalists after former president Bill Clinton met in Pyongyang on Tuesday with the country’s ailing dictator, a transaction that gives Kim Jong Il a thin slice of the international legitimacy that has long eluded him.

Leadership Vacancy Raises Fears About USAID’s Future
NAIROBI, Aug. 4 — As Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton begins a seven-country African trip with a visit to Kenya, the main U.S. foreign aid agency is in limbo, entering its seventh month without a permanent director despite pledges by the Obama administration to expand development…