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Archive for August 16th, 2009

Taliban Issues Threat Before Afghan Election

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 16th, 2009 4:41 am by HL

Taliban Issues Threat Before Afghan Election
With just a few days remaining before the presidential election in Afghanistan, local Taliban operatives have made a move to thwart potential voters by threatening physical harm to those who are planning to participate in the polls, according to Al Jazeera English. Al Jazeera English: Fingers stained with ink, the sign of having cast a vote, – will also be hacked off, the warning said. The AFP news agency reported another leaflet, distributed in Kandahar city, as saying: “This is to inform respected residents that you must not participate in the elections so as not to become a victim of our operations, because we will use new tactics.” The text began with a verse from the Koran urging Muslims not to seek friendship and co-operation with enemies of Islam. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Afghan candidate poster

With just a few days remaining before the presidential election in Afghanistan, local Taliban operatives have made a move to thwart potential voters by threatening physical harm to those who are planning to participate in the polls, according to Al Jazeera English.

Al Jazeera English:

Fingers stained with ink, the sign of having cast a vote, – will also be hacked off, the warning said.

The AFP news agency reported another leaflet, distributed in Kandahar city, as saying: “This is to inform respected residents that you must not participate in the elections so as not to become a victim of our operations, because we will use new tactics.”

The text began with a verse from the Koran urging Muslims not to seek friendship and co-operation with enemies of Islam.

Read more

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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College Student Challenges Obama To An “Oxford Style” Debate On Health Care At Colorado Town Hall (VIDEO)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 16th, 2009 4:40 am by HL

College Student Challenges Obama To An “Oxford Style” Debate On Health Care At Colorado Town Hall (VIDEO)
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Fox uses falsehood, cropped video to hype unsolicited email claims

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 16th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

Fox uses falsehood, cropped video to hype unsolicited email claims

Even while asserting that he wasn’t suggesting anything “nefarious” on the part of the White House, Fox News’ Major Garrett did just that while recounting an exchange he had with White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, in which Garrett relayed complaints from people who, according to Garrett, said they received an unsolicited email from the White House. Garrett based his report in part on the false claim that it was Gibbs who first used the word “list” in reference to people receiving the email, when in fact it was Garrett himself who introduced the notion of a targeted “list” of recipients — as well as the actual word — into the exchange.

Garrett falsely claims, “I never said ‘list’ until Robert Gibbs said ‘list.’ He said it first”

From the August 14 edition of Fox News’ Happening Now:

GARRETT: I have three times now told Robert Gibbs I have emails to present to him or anyone else he assigns at the White House to look into this, provided I receive substantive answers back as to how these people’s names ended up on a White House list. And remember, I never said “list” until Robert Gibbs said “list.” He said it first, then I repeated the word “list,” so apparently there is one. I don’t say that; he said it.

Fox airs deceptively edited video to support Garrett’s false claim

Leading in to Garrett’s August 14 appearance, Happening Now showed an edited version of Garrett’s August 13 exchange with Gibbs that falsely suggested that Gibbs was the first to reference “the list.” Here’s what Fox aired:

GIBBS: — assume that somebody is violating the law and mixing up political —

GARRETT: — I receive e-mails from people who have never, ever signed up for anything related to this White House, Senator Obama as a candidate, Senator Obama as anything, and have received e-mails from David Axelrod. How could that be?

[Fox’s video cut]

GIBBS: I’d be interested to see who you got that e-mail from and whether or not they’re on the list. I don’t —

[Fox’s video cut]

GIBBS: Again, I just want to be — but I just want to be very —

GARRETT: So what you’re telling me is I need to give you these people’s e-mails so you can check them on a list? I’m just asking.

GIBBS: Well, you’re asking me if they’re on a list.

GARRETT: No, they’re telling me —

GIBBS: If you can figure out a different way of checking without asking me to double-check the name, I’m happy to —

GARRETT: Perhaps I’m not phrasing this correctly. They’re telling me they’re not — they can’t be on a list because they never asked for an e-mail from the White House.

Fact: Garrett referenced “the list” first

Garrett initiated discussion of purportedly unsolicited emails by asking about “the list.” During his August 13 exchange with Gibbs about a mass email sent by White House adviser David Axelrod, Garrett was the first to refer to “the list” of people it was sent to, asking Gibbs: “Speaking of the e-mail, how was the list for who would receive it determined?” The video shown on Happening Now omitted Garrett’s question that referenced “the list” but did show Gibbs’ first mention of “the list.”

Here’s the transcript of what actually happened at the August 13 briefing (video available here), with references to the “list” in bold and the reference Happening Now omitted in bold italics:

GARRETT: Robert, a couple things on public option. It wasn’t listed in the email that David Axelrod sent out today where he was defining principal goals for health care reform. By my reading of it, I didn’t see any mention of a public option as a mechanism of achieving what you just outlined. Was that an oversight or is this — are there other —

GIBBS: I’d have to go back and reread the email.

GARRETT: Are there other priorities that take a higher precedent —

GIBBS: Well, again —

GARRETT: — for the president than a public option?

GIBBS: Let me be clear — I thought I was a minute ago, but I’ll take another whack at it — this is an option that provides choice and competition in an otherwise narrow or closed insurance market. That’s the president’s goal, is to ensure that if you didn’t get your health insurance through your employer, you didn’t have those type of options, that you would have something that might compete with the only game in town. That’s — I think that’s in David’s email, choice and competition.

GARRETT: Speaking of the email, how was the list for who would receive it determined?

GIBBS: I believe it’s for people that have signed up to receive email updates from the White House.

GARRETT: The reason I ask is I have received emails from people who did not, in any way, shape, or form, seek any communication from the White House, who have never registered on OFA, who have never registered on a campaign website —

GIBBS: Well, hold on, let’s —

GARRETT: Let me finish my question, let me finish my question.

GIBBS: No, no, no, but let’s be clear, because —

GARRETT: Let me finish my question.

GIBBS: No, no, no, but let’s be clear before you — I’m going to give you a chance to finish your question. You’ve done this a couple of times, Major, and I just want to be very clear, OK? OFA — no, no, no, no, don’t look funny. OFA, whether Obama for America or Organizing for America, has nothing to do with, never has had anything to do with what — if you sign up for, through whitehouse.gov, to receive emails, so let’s just — the reason I interrupted you is because I want you to rephrase your question that doesn’t continue to assume that —

GARRETT: Well, all I’m trying to get at is —

GIBBS: — somebody is violating the law and mixing up political —

GARRETT: — I receive e-mails from people who have never, ever signed up for anything related to this White House, Senator Obama as a candidate, Senator Obama as anything, and have received e-mails from David Axelrod. How could that be?

GIBBS: I’d have to look at who you said got the email.

GARRETT: I mean, do you seek other pieces of information identifying who might be curious about health care outside of people who have asked for emails?

GIBBS: I’m sorry, say that again.

GARRETT: Do you in any way seek databases or information about people who might be interested in health care?

GIBBS: I will certainly check. I will certainly check. I am not under that impression. But again —

GARRETT: I mean, folks have emailed me — I just want to know — would like to know how they get an e-mail from the White House when they have never asked for one.

GIBBS: I’d be interested to see who you got that e-mail from and whether or not they’re on the list. I don’t —

OTHER REPORTER: May I follow up politely on one of Major Garrett’s —

GIBBS: Well, let me — let me finish needling Major.

OTHER REPORTER: — this row, please.

GIBBS: Again, I just want to be — but I just want to be very —

GARRETT: So what you’re telling me is I need to give you these people’s emails so you can check them on a list? I’m just asking.

GIBBS: Well, you’re asking me if they’re on a list, and —

GARRETT: No, they’re telling me —

GIBBS:  — if you can figure out a different way of checking without asking me to double-check the name, I’m happy to —

GARRETT: Perhaps I’m not phrasing this correctly. They’re telling me they’re not — they can’t be on a list because they never asked for an e-mail from the White House.

Fox Nation also hypes “The List”

Fox Nation asks: “What Is ‘The List’ & Who’s on It?” Like Garrett’s false report on Happening Now, an August 13 post on the Fox Nation suggested that Gibbs’ reference to “the list” somehow indicated shady actions on the part of the White House. Fox Nation asked, “Why Is Axelrod Sending Them E-mails? What Is ‘The List’ & Who’s on It?” The post, which includes the full video of Gibbs’ exchange with Garrett, also invites readers to “send Major Garrett e-mails you’ve received from the White House!” 

thelist

Transcript

From the August 14 edition of Fox News’ Happening Now:

[begin video clip]

GIBBS: — assume that somebody is violating the law and mixing up political —

GARRETT: — I receive emails from people who have never, ever signed up for anything related to this White House, Senator Obama as a candidate, Senator Obama as anything, and have received emails from David Axelrod. How could that be?

GIBBS: I’d be interested to see who you got that email from and whether or not they’re on the list. I don’t —

GIBBS: Again, I just want to be — but I just want to be very —

GARRETT: So what you’re telling me is I need to give you these people’s e-mails so you can check them on a list? I’m just asking.

GIBBS: Well, you’re asking me if they’re on a list, and —

GARRETT: No, they’re telling me —

GIBBS: — if you can figure out a different way of checking without asking me to double-check the name, I’m happy to —

GARRETT: Perhaps I’m not phrasing this correctly. They’re telling me they’re not — they can’t be on a list because they never asked for an email from the White House.

[end video clip]

GREGG JARRETT (anchor): Well, you may have caught that exchange live on Fox News yesterday. Our own Major Garrett grilling press secretary Robert Gibbs on health care emails sent by the White House. Now, Fox has learned from folks who claim they have received the emails without ever asking to be on any kind of a list. If that’s true, how did the White House get their names? Major Garrett is live at the White House with more on this developing story. Great job trying to get some answers. Have you gotten some answers? What’s been the fallout to all of this?

GARRETT: No answers; that’s the simple fallout. I’m working on it. I engaged Robert Gibbs after the briefing, after we had what I would diplomatically describe as a spirited conversation in his office. As you saw, and as our viewers saw, and as the White House transcript lays out perfectly clearly, Robert Gibbs established a standard for follow-ups on this question: provide the emails. The reason I hesitated at the briefing is that I did not obtain — had not obtained any permission from anyone who had asked me about this to submit their emails to the White House.

I have since obtained permission from many, many emailers to do that. I have three times now told Robert Gibbs I have emails to present to him or anyone else he assigns at the White House to look into this, provided I receive substantive answers back as to how these people’s names ended up on a White House list. And remember, I never said “list” until Robert Gibbs said “list.” He said it first, then I repeated the word “list,” so apparently there is one. I don’t say that; he said it.

Three times I have given him the opportunity to take these emails and the names of the people who gave them to Fox and to me. I’ve heard nothing back from the White House. We’ll continue to pursue it.

JARRETT: Major, I want to put this in perspective. Some people may be scratching their heads, saying, wait a minute, did these White House emails go out to people who disagree with the president — that is to say, dissenters? And, you know, if so, that conjures up a dissenters list that could be used arguably for nefarious purposes, though it may be completely innocuous. Are these dissenters who’ve received emails?

GARRETT: I have received a lot of emails. There have been a tremendous number of comments sent to our White House blog, which is “Row 2, Seat 4.” I’ve also received quite a few communications at Twitter on MajoratWH.

And they range a broad spectrum, Gregg, and I want to be very specific about this. Some people say they’ve never even access the White House website at all, to be pro or con or neutral. Many people have said that they have sent emails or letters to their congressman or to their senator but never to the White House, and they wonder if that could possibly be a chain of access. Other people have said to me that they have gone to the White House website — sent a comment to the White House on a separate issue not related to health care and yet received these emails.

And some people say, “I have commented on the White House website specifically about health care, but I never asked to hear anything back from the White House as to why I should believe or listen to the White House on health care necessarily. I asked for them to respond to my specific criticism.” I would say most of the people who have sent emails to me — I’m not suggesting it’s a representative sample — were either neutral or may be, in some regards with their congressman or senator or with the White House website, critical.

I’m not suggesting that that’s any kind of list that is nefarious. I’m just saying that might be a possible explanation. All I’m doing is asking questions, and I await some answers.

JARRETT: Well, we’d love to have the answers, so let us know if you get them. Major Garrett, live at the White House. Great job, Major, thanks.


E-Mails: On Election Eve, Miers Tried To Intervene With DOJ About Sensitive Renzi Case

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 16th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

E-Mails: On Election Eve, Miers Tried To Intervene With DOJ About Sensitive Renzi Case
It’s just days before the mid-term elections, and you’re sitting in the White House watching a close Congressional race when it bubbles up that the the Republican incumbent, long dogged by corruption rumors, is under federal investigation. That’s the situation…





Griffin to Rove: We’re Thinking Of Calling Our Baby “Karl”
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CLINIC

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 16th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

CLINIC


Cuomo Much Stronger Than Paterson

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 16th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Cuomo Much Stronger Than Paterson
A new Quinnipiac poll in New York finds Andrew Cuomo (D) still absolutely crushing Gov. David Paterson (D) in a possible gubernatorial primary, 61% to 15%.

In general election match ups, Rudy Giuliani (R) leads Paterson, 53% to 33%, while Cuomo beats Giuliani, 48% to 39%.

Said pollster Maurice Carroll: “Pols and pollsters never say never. But it’s sure getting hard to stay even-handed about Gov. David Paterson vs. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. The question is: How one-sided can it get?”


Botanist of the Trees of Crazy

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 16th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

Botanist of the Trees of Crazy
Don’t miss Rick Perlstein’s WP Outlook piece, “In America, Crazy Is a Preexisting Condition / Birthers, Town Hall Hecklers and the Return of Right-Wing Rage.” It’s a fine supplement to Richard Hofstadter’s The Paranoid Style in American Politics, published in…


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Mr Big Wells and the new faster SEC
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Right-Wing Health Care Group Tricked British Women Into Appearing In Anti-Reform Ad

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 16th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

Right-Wing Health Care Group Tricked British Women Into Appearing In Anti-Reform Ad
Earlier this year, Conservatives for Patients Rights (CPR), an anti-health care reform group led by the disgraced former CEO of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Rick Scott, began running a commercial attacking the British health care system. The TV ad runs through “tragic stories” of British citizens who it portrays as being against government-run health care such as […]

Earlier this year, Conservatives for Patients Rights (CPR), an anti-health care reform group led by the disgraced former CEO of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Rick Scott, began running a commercial attacking the British health care system. The TV ad runs through “tragic stories” of British citizens who it portrays as being against government-run health care such as the National Health Service (NHS). Watch it:

Now, the Daily Mail is reporting that two of the women featured in the commercial say they were “duped” into appearing in CPR’s ad campaign:

Furious Kate Spall and Katie Brickell claim that their views on the NHS have been misrepresented by a free market campaign group opposed to Mr Obama’s reforms in a bid to discredit the UK system. […]

Ms Spall and Ms Brickell both agreed to appear in a documentary on healthcare reform. But neither knew that the footage would be used as part of a TV advertising campaign carried on US networks.

The Daily Mail article goes on to note that both Spall and Brickell actually support government-run health care and were advocating for reforms within the NHS, not for its abolition.

CPR’s ad campaign is one of many misleading attacks being used by American conservatives against the United Kingdom’s single-payer health care system, which is so popular that even Conservative Party politicians unambiguously endorse it.

The right-wing Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) ran an editorial recently claiming that physicist Stephen Hawking “wouldn’t have a chance” in the UK because the NHS does not offer proper care to the elderly, prompting Hawking to remind IBD that he both lives in Britain and that without the NHS’s “high quality of treatment,” he “wouldn’t be alive today.”

Fed up with the deceptive attacks against their health care system from the American right, British citizens have started the “We love the NHS campaign” on Twitter, which has become one of the top trending topics on the service, with even British Prime Minister Gordon Brown taking part.

Lawmakers Tell ThinkProgress That Angry Town Hall Protesters Deserve No ?Glorification?
At Netroots Nation, ThinkProgress spoke with Reps. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) and Alan Grayson (D-FL) about the contentious health care town hall protests that lawmakers around the country are facing in their districts. These representatives and senators are facing angry crowds, death threats, and disturbing bigoted harassment. Both Murphy and Grayson disagreed with members of the […]

At Netroots Nation, ThinkProgress spoke with Reps. Patrick Murphy (D-PA) and Alan Grayson (D-FL) about the contentious health care town hall protests that lawmakers around the country are facing in their districts. These representatives and senators are facing angry crowds, death threats, and disturbing bigoted harassment. Both Murphy and Grayson disagreed with members of the Republican leadership who have condoned these protests.

Grayson was especially critical of the recent chaos at Rep. Kathy Castor’s (D-FL) town hall, where crowds — inspired by Fox News’ Glenn Beck — were banging on windows and getting into fist fights. Grayson said that such “disrespect” doesn’t reflect badly on Castor, but “on the people who show the disrespect for the democratic process.” He said that the positions and actions of such people deserve no legitimacy:

And I think in any society, you’re always going to have a certain percentage of people who are nuts. But these are not people who deserve any special recognition, much less glorification. You don’t treat people the way those people treated Kathy Castor. It’s wrong. […]

I look for intelligent, well-founded criticism of any bill because that’s how you make the bill better. But if you have people running around saying this bill is going to kill every old person in the country, how could you possibly show any respect for that silly point of view? It makes no sense to me.

Watch it:

When ThinkProgress asked Murphy whether he has received any death threats, Murphy said that he hasn’t received any “to [his] face.” As a veteran, Murphy also took issue with conservatives claiming that he and other Democratic members of Congress are trying to take away Americans’ freedoms:

I had a guy yesterday try to say to me, “You know, I’m worried about my freedoms.” I say, “Sir, I fought for your freedoms. I’m going to protect those freedoms. I took an oath to support and defend those freedoms. And I take that responsibility very seriously. But, you know, we need to understand that the current path for small business, for everday families, for seniors, is unsustainable.

Watch it:


Mims: Technology Secretary Can’t Be VITA Chief

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 16th, 2009 4:33 am by HL

Mims: Technology Secretary Can’t Be VITA Chief
RICHMOND, Va. — A state attorney general’s opinion says Virginia’s technology secretary, Leonard Pomata, can’t double as the chief of the state’s troubled information technology superagency.

Fact Checker: Attack on McDonnell Over Hard-Hit Martinsville
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Blogger’s Case May Test Limits of Political Speech
CHICAGO — Internet radio host Hal Turner disliked how three federal judges rejected the National Rifle Association’s attempt to overturn a pair of handgun bans.

AP source: Wis. Gov. Doyle won’t seek re-election
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle will not seek re-election in 2010, a person who was informed of the decision told The Associated Press on Saturday.

The Sunday Talk Shows
Guests to be interviewed Sunday on major television talk shows:


War on Drugs Needs a Timeout

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 16th, 2009 4:29 am by HL

War on Drugs Needs a Timeout
Rafael Pardo & Juan Tokatlian, CS Monitor

Transparency Candidate Governs More Like Bush

President Obama’s Latin Challenge
Tim Padgett, Time

GOP’s Problem with Hispanics
Ruben Navarrette, CNN

How FDR Took Control of the Debate
Nancy Altman, Los Angeles Times