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Archive for August 13th, 2009

Contractor Waste of Tax Dollars Continues

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2009 4:46 am by HL

Contractor Waste of Tax Dollars Continues
DynCorp International got caught charging the government $50 million over contract for providing living facilities in Kuwait. The company’s CEO told a congressional commission, “If we’re not competitive [in costs], it’s possible for the government to replace us.” But the opposite seems to be true when it comes to contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, where fraud, waste and abuse have been all too common for years. Washington Post: April G. Stephenson, director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, described a variety of problems in DynCorp contracts associated with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. She appeared before the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, which Congress established to investigate overspending by military contractors and issue recommendations for improvement. Stephenson said the Falls Church-based company exceeded the costs outlined in its contract with the government for the Kuwait project by 51 percent. She said the government was overbilled $13.3 million—all of which was repaid—for generators, rifle scopes, body armor and other equipment that was not delivered. And she noted that, in a recent audit, the government rejected 15 of 29 billings, or $8.7 million out of $20.6 million in expenses. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

DynCorp International got caught charging the government $50 million over contract for providing living facilities in Kuwait. The company’s CEO told a congressional commission, “If we’re not competitive [in costs], it’s possible for the government to replace us.” But the opposite seems to be true when it comes to contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, where fraud, waste and abuse have been all too common for years.

Washington Post:

April G. Stephenson, director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, described a variety of problems in DynCorp contracts associated with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. She appeared before the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, which Congress established to investigate overspending by military contractors and issue recommendations for improvement.

Stephenson said the Falls Church-based company exceeded the costs outlined in its contract with the government for the Kuwait project by 51 percent. She said the government was overbilled $13.3 million—all of which was repaid—for generators, rifle scopes, body armor and other equipment that was not delivered. And she noted that, in a recent audit, the government rejected 15 of 29 billings, or $8.7 million out of $20.6 million in expenses.

Read more

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Bob Cesca: Malkin and Fox News Are Stalking Children Again

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2009 4:45 am by HL

Bob Cesca: Malkin and Fox News Are Stalking Children Again
The right-wing satellite of crazy has evolved from being a silly assembly of sore losers to a dangerous posse — a rabble of misinformed cranks who have no problem targeting children.

Christopher Brauchli: Crime Without Punishment
On January 2, 2008, Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth was electrocuted when he attempted to take a shower in a barracks that had been wired by KBR. At first his death was described by the military as an accident.

Mark Joseph: Chris Matthews’ Race Problem
Night after night Chris Matthews keeps raising race as the reason President Obama is encountering so much opposition to his proposals to reform health insurance…

John David Lewis: Health Care, Why Call it a ‘Right’?
To reform our health care industry we should challenge the premises that invited government intervention in the first place. The moral premise is that medical care is a right. It is not.


Hannity offers plethora of town hall falsehoods to claim Dems are the ones “calling names”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2009 4:44 am by HL

Hannity offers plethora of town hall falsehoods to claim Dems are the ones “calling names”

Asserting that “the Democrats” are the ones “yelling here and calling names,” Sean Hannity claimed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called health care town hall protesters “Nazis”; that Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer wrote “that they are un-American”; and that President Obama is “telling the American people to shut up.” In fact, none of these claims is true.

Hannity repeatedly advanced false claim that Pelosi called protesters “Nazis”

Hannity: “[W]e’ve had hardworking Americans called Nazis and brownshirts and un-American by Nancy Pelosi.” On August 11, as an example of “the host of insults the Democratic leaders have been hurling” at town hall protestors, Hannity stated: “Now, we’ve had hardworking Americans called Nazis and brownshirts and un-American by Nancy Pelosi.” [Fox News’ Hannity; 8/11/09]

Hannity: “[I]t’s Nancy Pelosi attacking the American people, it’s the Democrats comparing them to Nazis — the Democrats are doing that.” Hannity further said on August 11:

HANNITY: The only people, John, that are yelling here and calling names — it’s Obama telling the American people to shut up, it’s Nancy Pelosi attacking the American people, it’s the Democrats comparing them to Nazis — the Democrats are doing that.

JOHN McWHORTER (Manhattan Institute senior fellow): Oh, yeah. I mean, I’ll tell you honestly that I think a lot of the people who are yelling in these town hall meetings do have some problems with misinformation. But, nevertheless, it seems to me that back in my day, when I used to teach at UC Berkeley and the big debate was affirmative action, I saw people on the left acting in the same way with the same lack of manners, the same volume, the same misinformation. Now, it wasn’t in the formal setting of a town meeting about a national policy — same thing.

HANNITY: Wait a minute. What misinformation? What yelling? You know what I see? I see fathers with their kids in wheelchairs. I see veterans that are speaking. Is there passion? Yeah, there’s passion. You know, maybe they don’t have the —

McWHORTER: Yes.

HANNITY: So that — but that’s real passion.

McWHORTER: They do feel what they feel. Yeah.

HANNITY: Because they see their country’s going bankrupt. They see that every promise that has been made has been broken, and they’re being attacked and called Nazis by people that are supposed to be public servants. [Hannity; 8/11/09]

Pelosi actually said protesters were “carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on health care.” Speaking to reporters, Pelosi was asked if she thought there was “legitimate grassroots opposition” at recent town hall events. She responded: “I think they’re Astroturf; you be the judge. They’re carrying swastikas and symbols like that to a town meeting on health care.”

Pelosi was right: Swastikas have appeared at town hall meetings. As Media Matters for America senior fellow Eric Boehlert and Fox News contributor Alan Colmes have noted, multiple protesters at health care reform protests have held signs featuring swastikas.

Media falsely assert Pelosi called or suggested that opponents of health reform are “Nazis.” As Media Matters noted, conservative media figures including Joe Scarborough, Gregg Jarrett, Peggy Noonan, James Taranto, and Rush Limbaugh have similarly claimed Pelosi compared protesters to Nazis.

Hannity repeatedly falsely claimed Pelosi said protesters were “un-American”

From the August 11 edition of Hannity;

HANNITY: Nancy Pelosi said they had swastikas.

PENNY LEE (Democratic strategist): Again, America is great when we have —

HANNITY: Nancy Pelosi said they are un-American.

LEE: America is great — America is great when we do have that public discourse and we have freedom of speech, and that is a wonderful thing.

HANNITY: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Nancy Pelosi —

LEE: But shouting at each other —

HANNITY: Nancy Pelosi —

LEE: But shouting at each other similar to what you and I are doing right now, but is not —

HANNITY: Wait a minute. Nancy Pelosi is the speaker of the House, and she wrote with Steny Hoyer that they are un-American. I can’t think of anything more quintessentially American. [Hannity, 8/11/09]

Pelosi, Hoyer actually wrote: “Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American”

From Pelosi and Hoyer’s August 10 USA Today op-ed

[A]s members of Congress spend time at home during August, they are talking with their constituents about reform. The dialogue between elected representatives and constituents is at the heart of our democracy and plays an integral role in assuring that the legislation we write reflects the genuine needs and concerns of the people we represent.

However, it is now evident that an ugly campaign is underway not merely to misrepresent the health insurance reform legislation, but to disrupt public meetings and prevent members of Congress and constituents from conducting a civil dialogue. These tactics have included hanging in effigy one Democratic member of Congress in Maryland and protesters holding a sign displaying a tombstone with the name of another congressman in Texas, where protesters also shouted “Just say no!” drowning out those who wanted to hold a substantive discussion.

Let the facts be heard

These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views — but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American. Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades.

Health care is complex. It touches every American life. It drives our economy. People must be allowed to learn the facts. [USA Today, 8/10/09]

Media have repeatedly claimed Pelosi and Hoyer called opponents “un-American.” As Media Matters noted, numerous media figures including Chuck Todd, Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson, Greta Van Susteren, Lou Dobbs, Carl Cameron, and Glenn Beck have previously advanced this mischaracterization of the op-ed.

CNN contributor Louis debunks claim. After Dobbs claimed that “we also have now the leadership of the House saying you’re un-American to oppose” health care reform, CNN contributor Errol Louis corrected him, stating that “the un-American part was, you know, to shout people down. To stop the conversation is un-American, which I would agree with.” Louis continued: “[T]he words in the article were to shut down debate; to use those kind of disruptive tactics to try and stop the debate from going forward is wrong. It is just wrong. You call it un-American; you call it whatever you want. I mean, it needs to be denounced. You can’t have people tarred and feathered in effigy outside of their congressional office or hung in effigy outside of their office. That’s not the way to conduct this debate.” [Lou Dobbs Tonight, 8/10/09]

Echoing Beck, Hannity falsely claimed Obama told health care protesters “to shut up”

From the August 11 edition of Hannity:

HANNITY: The only people, John, that are yelling here and calling names — it’s Obama telling the American people to shut up, it’s Nancy Pelosi attacking the American people, it’s the Democrats comparing them to Nazis — the Democrats are doing that.

[…]

LEE: There needs to be — back to be a level of civility, and that is what is lacking in this debate. To scream and to shout at each other just to —

HANNITY: Maybe Obama should stop telling them to shut up.

LEE: Well, and he didn’t — the president didn’t say that.

HANNITY: He did. He said it last week —

LEE: He did not say — he did not —

HANNITY: — I don’t want to hear from them anymore.

LEE: He did not say that. [Hannity, 8/11/09]

Hannity echoed Beck’s false claim that Obama said he doesn’t want health reform protesters to “do a lot of talking.” On the August 10 edition of his Fox News program, Glenn Beck aired a cropped version of Obama’s August 6 remarks at a rally for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, falsely claiming that Obama’s statement, “I don’t want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking,” was his “reaction to the health care protests.”

Obama was actually discussing “folks on the other side of the aisle” who increased the deficit, not health care reform protesters. From Obama’s remarks:

OBAMA: So, now, you got folks on the other side of the aisle pointing at the federal budget and somehow trying to put that at our feet. Well, let’s look at the history. When I walked in, we had a $1.3 trillion deficit. That was gift-wrapped and waiting for me when I walked in the Oval Office. Without my policies, we’d have an even higher deficit going forward. The one exception is the recovery package that we had to do in order to get this economy moving again.

So you can’t go out there and charge up the credit card, go on a — all kinds of things — shopping sprees on things that didn’t grow the economy, hand over the bill to us, and say — then say, “Why haven’t you paid it off yet?” I got that bill from you.

So, we’ve got some work to do. I don’t mind, by the way, being responsible; I expect to be held responsible for these issues because I’m the president. But I don’t want the folks who created the mess — I don’t want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them just to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don’t mind cleaning up after them, but don’t do a lot of talking. [Obama remarks in Tysons Corner, Virginia, 8/6/09]

Obama spokesman: President welcomes “spirited debate about health care” but doesn’t think “scream[ing]” is “productive”

BILL BURTON (White House deputy press secretary): The President thinks that if people want to come and have a spirited debate about health care, a real vigorous conversation about it, that’s a part of the American tradition and he encourages that. … And so if people want to come and have their concerns and their questions answered, the President thinks that’s important. Now, if you just want to come to a town hall so that you can disrupt and so that you can scream over another person, he doesn’t think that that’s productive. And as a country, we’ve been able to make progress when people actually talk out what our problems are, not try to shout each other down. [White House press gaggle, 8/10/09]

Transcripts

From the August 11 edition of Fox News’ Hannity:

ROBERT GIBBS (White House press secretary) : I think what is unproductive, though, is if somebody tries to come to a town hall meeting and you can’t ask your question or your mother can’t ask her question because somebody else is yelling. That’s what cable TV and the food fight brings to this.

HANNITY: The only people, John, that are yelling here and calling names — it’s Obama telling the American people to shut up, it’s Nancy Pelosi attacking the American people, it’s the Democrats comparing them to Nazis — the Democrats are doing that.

JOHN McWHORTER (Manhattan Institute senior fellow): Oh, yeah. I mean, I’ll tell you honestly that I think a lot of the people who are yelling in these town hall meetings do have some problems with misinformation. But, nevertheless, it seems to me that back in my day, when I used to teach at UC Berkeley and the big debate was affirmative action, I saw people on the left acting in the same way with the same lack of manners, the same volume, the same misinformation. Now, it wasn’t in the formal setting of a town meeting about a national policy — same thing.

HANNITY: Wait a minute. What misinformation? What yelling? You know what I see? I see fathers with their kids in wheelchairs. I see veterans that are speaking. Is there passion? Yeah, there’s passion. You know, maybe they don’t have the —

McWHORTER: Yes.

HANNITY: So that — but that’s real passion.

McWHORTER: They do feel what they feel. Yeah.

HANNITY: Because they see their country’s going bankrupt. They see that every promise that has been made has been broken, and they’re being attacked and called Nazis by people that are supposed to be public servants.

[…]

PENNY LEE (Democratic strategist): There needs to be — back to be a level of civility, and that is what is lacking in this debate. To scream and to shout at each other just to —

HANNITY: Maybe Obama should stop telling them to shut up.

LEE: Well, and he didn’t — the president didn’t say that.

HANNITY: He did. He said it last week —

LEE: He did not say — he did not —

HANNITY: — I don’t want to hear from them anymore.

LEE: He did not say that.

HANNITY: Nancy Pelosi said they had swastikas.

LEE: Again, America is great when we have —

HANNITY: Nancy Pelosi said they are un-American.

LEE: America is great — America is great when we do have that public discourse and we have freedom of speech, and that is a wonderful thing.

HANNITY: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Nancy Pelosi —

LEE: But shouting at each other —

HANNITY: Nancy Pelosi —

LEE: But shouting at each other similar to what you and I are doing right now, but is not —

HANNITY: Wait a minute. Nancy Pelosi is the speaker of the House, and she wrote with Steny Hoyer that they are un-American. I can’t think of anything more quintessentially American.


John Solomon’s Sycophantic Email To Justice On Attorney Firings

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

John Solomon’s Sycophantic Email To Justice On Attorney Firings
It’s fair to say the U.S. attorney firings scandal turned out to be a pretty big deal. It contributed to Alberto Gonzales’ resignation as Attorney General, and triggered an ongoing criminal investigation. But based on those newly released documents, John…

Griffin to Rove: We’re Thinking Of Calling Our Baby “Karl”
How big of a suckup is Tim Griffin, the Rove protege who the White House was trying to muscle into a U.S. attorney post after firing the previous occupant? In a January 2007 email, Griffin wrote to Rove:…


BAIT

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

BAIT


Obama Nominee Advised Fast Food Giant

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Obama Nominee Advised Fast Food Giant
President Obama’s nominee for surgeon general, whose job it is to help encourage Americans to get thinner and healthier, has been working part time as a scientific adviser to Burger King, according to the Washington Times.

Does Being First on Ballot Matter?
Larry Sabato: “Every year, about this time, I hear from people who have watched their state set the order of candidate appearance on the fall ballot. Some states put candidates in chronological order of their official filing with the elections board, while others choose candidates or parties by lot. In fact, the smorgasbord of ways each state arranges candidates is staggering, both in its variety and, often, its complexity… Regardless of the method, inquiring political minds want to know, does it make any difference?”

White House Hopes Email Goes Viral
“Feeling victimized by misinformation spread virally through the Internet, the White House Thursday is launching its own ‘viral e-mail’ for supporters to spread,” ABC News reports.

The e-mail from White House adviser David Axelrod outlines 24 points — eight ways the Democrats’ health care reform measures will “provide security and stability to those with or without coverage,” eight “common myths” about reform, and eight reasons why reform is an urgent matter.


7 Ways We Can Fight Back Against the Rising Fascist Threat

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

7 Ways We Can Fight Back Against the Rising Fascist Threat

Why the right-wing extremism must be stopped in its tracks or else we face the threat of outright violence and goon rule.

Eating Meat Isn’t Bad for the Planet, It’s Our System of Raising the Animals That’s Wrong

Sadly too many have been fooled — the culprit is not meat eating but rather the excesses of corporate/industrial agriculture.

If Right-Wingers Get Their Way, 22,000 Americans Will Continue to Be Killed by Lack of Health Care Each Year

This is a battle against people who want to protect a system that has killed more Americans than WW II — not a debate tournament.

With a Billion People Living on Less Than $1 a Day, Is Buying Luxury Shoes Ethical?

Ethicist Peter Singer argues that it's pretty black and white when it comes to making choices about where you spend your money.

With a Billion People Living on Less Than $1 a Day, Is Buying Luxury Shoes Ethical?

Ethicist Peter Singer argues that it's pretty black and white when it comes to making choices about where you spend your money.


The Internet Is The Beach Boys In 1963

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

The Internet Is The Beach Boys In 1963
If I may shift gears a little, I’d like to address another section of And Then There’s This—the part about indie rock. I promise that there’s a political point to be made here, if you’ll bear with me. But…


Sponsored Topics: Indie rockMP3MusicReviewsAustin

At A Crossroads on Afghanistan
It is becoming increasingly clear that President Obama is facing perhaps the most important foreign policy decision of his young presidency: what to do about Afghanistan. According to recent press reports, General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan, is…






Sponsored Topics: AfghanistanStanley McChrystalUSUnited StatesBarack Obama


Murkowski ?offended? by Palin?s ?death panel? fearmongering.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Murkowski ?offended? by Palin?s ?death panel? fearmongering.
Sarah Palin’s claim last week that President Obama plans to institute bureaucratic “death panels” has been called “crazy” and “nuts” by pundits and lawmakers looking to distance themselves from the untrue and ugly rhetoric. But perhaps the harshest rebuke came last night from a fellow Alaskan, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), who said while speaking to […]

murkowskiwebSarah Palin’s claim last week that President Obama plans to institute bureaucratic “death panels” has been called “crazy” and “nuts” by pundits and lawmakers looking to distance themselves from the untrue and ugly rhetoric. But perhaps the harshest rebuke came last night from a fellow Alaskan, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), who said while speaking to a crowd in Anchorage that she was “offended” by Palin’s baseless attack:

“It does us no good to incite fear in people by saying that there’s these end-of-life provisions, these death panels,” Murkowski, a Republican, said. “Quite honestly, I’m so offended at that terminology because it absolutely isn’t (in the bill). There is no reason to gin up fear in the American public by saying things that are not included in the bill.

Second lawmaker receives threatening ?Death to All Marxists? fax with Obama?s picture on it.
Last week, The Hill reported that Rep. Brian Baird’s (D-WA) office had received a fax that depicted President Barack Obama as the Joker and warned of “Death to All Marxists! Foreign and Domestic!” The Secret Service has said that the fax was “potentially an investigative intelligence matter.” Now, a second member of Congress is reporting […]

Last week, The Hill reported that Rep. Brian Baird’s (D-WA) office had received a fax that depicted President Barack Obama as the Joker and warned of “Death to All Marxists! Foreign and Domestic!” The Secret Service has said that the fax was “potentially an investigative intelligence matter.” Now, a second member of Congress is reporting that he received the same fax. On CNN this morning, Rep. David Scott (D-GA) — whose office was recently vandalized with a swastika — held up a printout of the fax, adding that the picture of Obama he received had “the swastika on his forehead.” Watch it:

Scott said that the fax also included racial slurs aimed at him and the statement “the Ethiopian cannot make himself white.”


Presidential Vacations Carry Heavy Baggage

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 13th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Presidential Vacations Carry Heavy Baggage
Summer vacations say a lot about a president. Ronald Reagan spent up to a month each season at his beloved Rancho del Cielo near Santa Barbara, Calif., much of the time on horseback. George H.W. Bush retreated to the family’s compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, while his son, George W. Bush, preferred…

Raucous Crowd Greets Cardin at Health-Care Town Hall in Hagerstown
President Obama’s call for civility in the health-care debate fell flat Wednesday in Maryland’s first congressional town hall meeting after his plea.


Garrett Graff Gets Top Job at Washingtonian
Huge shakeup at the Washingtonian: After 40 years at the monthly magazine, top editor Jack Limpert is stepping down, replaced by Garrett Graff, the hotshot executive editor who joined the staff four years ago.

Will Town Hall Mark a Turning Point for Specter’s Reelection Bid?
The back-and-forth between Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter and several attendees of a town hall meeting in Lebanon, Pa., this week may become the lasting political symbol of the summer of 2009: a politician and his constituents standing inches away from one another, angrily debating the merits (or …