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Archive for September 4th, 2009

Progressives Pay the Price for Confusing a Party With a Movement

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

Progressives Pay the Price for Confusing a Party With a Movement
Washington’s labor, environmental, anti-war and anti-poverty groups spent millions electing a Democratic president and Congress and were promptly stabbed in the back. So why are they still loyal? READ THE WHOLE ITEM By David Sirota

Washington’s labor, environmental, anti-war and anti-poverty groups spent millions electing a Democratic president and Congress and were promptly stabbed in the back. So why are they still loyal?

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Kabul Contractor Parties Aren’t the Half of It
Much of the furor over the conduct of private embassy guards in Kabul appears preoccupied with what one whistle-blower describes as the “gay shit” rather than the exploitation of young Afghan women or the deteriorating security situation at the embassy. The latter, after all, was the major focus of the complaint that blew this story open. As one of the whistle-blowing guards so eloquently put it in an e-mail, “no, they are not jamming guys in the ass per say [sic], but they are showing poor judgenment [sic].” And so is the State Department, for continuing to rely on contractors when, in the words of the Project on Government Oversight’s letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “the management of the contract to protect the U.S. Embassy Kabul is grossly deficient, posing a significant threat to the security of the Embassy and its personnel—and thereby to the diplomatic mission in Afghanistan.” That document, at nearly 4,000 words, is a comprehensive indictment of the government’s use of private security contractors, of which the hazing of naked men is just one of many enumerated scandals. While “peeing on people, eating potato chips out of ass cracks, vodka shots out of ass cracks … broken doors after drnken [sic] brawls, threats and intimidation from those leaders participating in this activity” may be reprehensible, it doesn’t come close to the worst thing these soldiers of fortune have done while on the government payroll. The real crime is that Uncle Sam still uses private contractors at all.  —PS Read POGO’s letter to Secretary Clinton. READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Much of the furor over the conduct of private embassy guards in Kabul appears preoccupied with what one whistle-blower describes as the “gay shit” rather than the exploitation of young Afghan women or the deteriorating security situation at the embassy. The latter, after all, was the major focus of the complaint that blew this story open.

As one of the whistle-blowing guards so eloquently put it in an e-mail, “no, they are not jamming guys in the ass per say [sic], but they are showing poor judgenment [sic].”

And so is the State Department, for continuing to rely on contractors when, in the words of the Project on Government Oversight’s letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, “the management of the contract to protect the U.S. Embassy Kabul is grossly deficient, posing a significant threat to the security of the Embassy and its personnel—and thereby to the diplomatic mission in Afghanistan.”

That document, at nearly 4,000 words, is a comprehensive indictment of the government’s use of private security contractors, of which the hazing of naked men is just one of many enumerated scandals.

While “peeing on people, eating potato chips out of ass cracks, vodka shots out of ass cracks … broken doors after drnken [sic] brawls, threats and intimidation from those leaders participating in this activity” may be reprehensible, it doesn’t come close to the worst thing these soldiers of fortune have done while on the government payroll.

The real crime is that Uncle Sam still uses private contractors at all.? —PS

Read POGO’s letter to Secretary Clinton.

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Dave Lindorff: “My Fellow Americans”: The Speech Obama Should Give to Congress

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

Dave Lindorff: “My Fellow Americans”: The Speech Obama Should Give to Congress
“I stand before you a chastened president. I made a mistake. Two mistakes really. I thought that Congress could do its job and through the deliberative process, produce a health care reform plan that would win broad support.”

Matt Osborne: Glenn Beck’s Two Week Video Mystery Solved (UPDATE)
Now that a black man holds the office, tinfoil-hat lunatics say children should not learn to respect presidents, nor should presidents encourage them to succeed. It’s an incredible hypocrisy.

Michael Likosky: No Blacklisters Please: Decency in P3 Contracting
The United Kingdom Information Commissioner recently named Balfour Beatty and LAZ Parking Company’s parent, Vinci, as having funded a secret 15-year long blacklisting operation.

Peter Diamandis: Launching Commercial Space Flight: Part One – Dr. Peter H. Diamandis Finds The New Spirit of St. Louis
Since the age of 6, I’ve always wanted to go to space. So, I studied medicine — thinking that was my path to orbit, but alas, NASA didn’t agree, so I had to find another plan — a plan that led to the founding of the first X PRIZE.

Sandy Goodman: An Open Letter On The Public Option To David Axelrod
As a lifelong FDR Democrat, I won’t support any health care bill that doesn’t have a robust public option. I’d much rather see a bill without one go down to defeat, than have a bill pass without one.


Jamison Foser: Conservative media take a strong stand against … learning?!?

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

Jamison Foser: Conservative media take a strong stand against … learning?!?

If there is anybody out there who still doesn’t believe that the conservative media will attack President Obama no matter what he does, consider this: Right-wingers are telling children to skip school as a protest against Obama’s encouragement of students to stay in school.

I know, I know. You think I’m kidding. Or exaggerating. That I’m caricaturing the conservatives’ position in order to make them look ridiculous.

Wrong. They defy caricature. There’s nothing you can imagine that is too crazy for these people to say. They’ll claim Barack Obama was secretly born in Kenya (his birth announcements in Hawaiian newspapers were just one part of an elaborate, decades-long conspiracy involving Kenyans, the media, Hawaii’s Republican governor, and the Stonecutters). They’ll say he has a diabolical plan to create government “death panels” to kill off the old and the young. They’ll claim he is building a secret private army (consisting of — I swear I am not making this up — AmeriCorps and Peace Corps volunteers) that is “just as strong” as the U.S. military so that he can “seize power” and create a “thugocracy.”

And when President Obama delivers the least-controversial message you could possibly imagine — “Stay in school” — they call it “indoctrination” and an attempt to “get ’em while they’re young,” warning, “They are capturing your kids” and “your republic is under attack.”

That’s right: “Your republic is under attack,” and Barack Obama is “capturing your kids.” By urging them to stay in school and … learn. As Education Secretary Arne Duncan explained in a letter to schools:

In a recent interview with student reporter, Damon Weaver, President Obama announced that on September 8 — the first day of school for many children across America — he will deliver a national address directly to students on the importance of education. The President will challenge students to work hard, set educational goals, and take responsibility for their learning. He will also call for a shared responsibility and commitment on the part of students, parents and educators to ensure that every child in every school receives the best education possible so they can compete in the global economy for good jobs and live rewarding and productive lives as American citizens.

Well, clearly, no red-blooded American would stand idly by as the president of the United States urges children to work hard in school. That’s something Adolf Hitler would do! (Oops — I keep forgetting: Conservatives can’t seem to come to a consensus about whether Hitler was bad.)

So Glenn Beck and his fellow tinfoil hat-wearers sprang into action. Beck went off on his “indoctrination” rant, warning of secret private armies (no, he isn’t worried about Blackwater — it’s the thought of English majors signing up to help teach people how to read that keeps him up at night).

WorldNetDaily said Obama’s planned speech “raises the specter of the Civilian National Security Force” and promoted comparisons to Hitler’s youth brigade. Mark Steyn said the speech is part of a “cult of personality,” though he did admit it isn’t on the scale of Saddam Hussein’s.

NewsBusters’ Mark Finkelstein alerted his followers to the striking similarity between President Obama’s plan to encourage students to work hard and Chairman Mao’s leadership of China. Because, you know, one day you’re urging kids to get good grades, and the next you’re ordering mass executions. Duh.

(Incidentally, while I know of no evidence Chairman Mao spoke to China’s schoolchildren via television, we know then-President George H. W. Bush did so in 1991. Somehow, Poppy Bush’s pep talk didn’t result in the rise of a Hitler Youth-style paramilitary organization.)

Some conservative media didn’t simply complain about Obama’s dastardly efforts to promote hard work and learning among America’s schoolchildren. No, they came up with a solution: Children should stay home from school.

Radio host Tammy Bruce asked “TownHall Patriots” to help organize “PASS Day Picnics” — that’s “Parentally Approved Skip School Day,” for the uninitiated. In a blog post under a close-up photo her hand holding a gun, Bruce added that “Urkel” — that’s her pet name for Obama; get it? — is going to “make[] a grab for your kids” and that he is “setting us on fire.”

Newsmax writer Pam Geller agreed that the last place kids should be next Tuesday is school, urging parents to keep their kids home lest they be “brainwash[ed]” by the “fascist in chief.”

What’s the lesson in all of this? That we shouldn’t ever take anything the conservative media say seriously? Well, sure. That’s a start. But — and maybe it’s just me — I think there’s a real opportunity here. If the conservative media show such knee-jerk opposition to anything Barack Obama says that they’ll urge schoolchildren to skip class so they don’t have to hear the president poison their minds with a bunch of nonsense about studying and working hard, Obama should use it to his advantage. Just think how vigorously Fox News will promote health care reform — if President Obama comes out against it.

Jamison Foser is a Senior Fellow at Media Matters for America, a progressive media watchdog and research and information center based in Washington, D.C. Foser 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.


Buchanan: Hitler Didn’t Want War — MSNBC Mum On Employing Hitler Sympathizer

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

Buchanan: Hitler Didn’t Want War — MSNBC Mum On Employing Hitler Sympathizer
Usually, historical revisionist arguments of the “Hitler Was Actually A Man Of Peace” variety are confined to the kind of poorly designed and little-read white supremacist and neo-Nazi websites that Holocaust Museum shooting suspect James Von Brunn patronized. But that…





Madoff: “I Thought It Was The End Game. Over” — But SEC Never Followed Up!
It’s not really news that the SEC screwed up big-time on Bernard Madoff. But the just released executive summary (pdf) of the agency’s inspector general report really brings home just how far that failure went. The summary, produced by SEC…






Upgrade

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

Upgrade


Don’t Laugh at Crazy Cheney — He Represents the Dangerous Thinking of Many Powerful Conservatives

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

Don’t Laugh at Crazy Cheney — He Represents the Dangerous Thinking of Many Powerful Conservatives

It's tempting to think of Dick Cheney as a cranky old men stirring up controversy to sell books. But Cheney must not be underestimated.

How Do We Pass Rational Sex-Offender Laws With Psychos Like Phillip Garrido on the Loose?

With apparent psychos like Garrido wreaking havoc, it's hard for society to be reasonable about the thousands of people have been wrongly swept up by excessive sex offender laws.

Rachel Maddow’s Devastating Showdown with Tom Ridge: Comeuppance for Failures on Katrina, Terror Threats and Iraq

Tom Ridge went on Maddow's show trying to promote his book, and came away bruised by Maddow's hard questions on the failures and lies of the Bush years.


Leaving Israel Policy Forum for Media Matters Action Network

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

Leaving Israel Policy Forum for Media Matters Action Network
After 11 years at Israel Policy Forum, I am moving over to the Media Matters Actions Network to serve as Senior Fellow on Foreign Policy — with special emphasis on Israel, Iran, etc. My move is part of a general…






Sponsored Topics: IranForeign PolicyMiddle EastIsrael Policy ForumMedia Matters Action Network

Enough Lamentation
I went to MoveOn’s candlelight vigil at the corner of Central Park across from Columbus Circle in New York City last evening. Possibly there were 400 people at the peak, some holding candles. Most, as you’d expect, were middle-aged or…


Sponsored Topics: New York CityCentral ParkColumbus CircleNewYorkUnited States


Senator Believes Republicans and Democrats Can Meet Halfway on Health-Care Debate

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

Senator Believes Republicans and Democrats Can Meet Halfway on Health-Care Debate
LOUDON, Tenn. — Republican Sen. Bob Corker stood before a packed high school auditorium this week for his 24th and final town hall meeting of the summer, sketching out his vision for the bipartisan health-care plan he says he is convinced Congress can pass.

Debate Over End-of-Life Care Began in Small Midwestern Town
LA CROSSE, Wis. — This city often shows up on “best places to live” lists, but residents say it is also a good place to die — which is how it landed in the center of a controversy that almost derailed health-care reform this summer.

Obama Will Lay Out Specifics in Health-Care Speech, Aides Say
With President Obama poised to give a health-care address Wednesday before a joint session of Congress, administration officials promised that he will deliver a detailed prescription for reform despite the risks of spelling out exactly where he stands.


In Colorado, a Sizeable Schism on Health-Care Reform
WINDSOR, Colo. — The town hall meeting began with angry protests over an absent congresswoman and a near-confrontation between two men sharply divided over the state of the nation’s health-care system. It ended nearly two hours later, with nothing close to a consensus and the challenges for Pres…


U.S. Threatens Not to Recognize Winner of Honduras Presidential Election
The U.S. government on Thursday toughened its stance against Honduras’s coup leaders and supporters, threatening to put them “in a box” by not recognizing the winner of a presidential election set for November.


Why Dems Are Losing Independent Voters

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on September 4th, 2009 4:30 am by HL

Why Dems Are Losing Independent Voters
Gary Andres, Weekly Standard

Dem Plans Will Raise Costs, Lower Quality
Paul Peterson, New York Post

Government Can Run Healthcare Better
Nicholas Kristof, New York Times

Dems Shouldn’t Push Through a Partisan Bill
Mort Kondracke, Roll Call

The Second World War – 70 Years Later
Victor Davis Hanson, RCP