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Archive for October 9th, 2009

U.N. Calls for Reinforcements in Afghanistan

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 9th, 2009 4:45 am by HL

U.N. Calls for Reinforcements in Afghanistan
While the Obama administration continues to mull over its options regarding America’s commitment to the war in Afghanistan, the United Nations Security Council has voted to urge “member states to contribute personnel, equipment and other resources” to the ongoing conflict.  —KA BBC: The UN mandate renewal was fully expected but the resolution also stressed the need for reinforcement. Britain’s ambassador to the UN John Sawers denied this meant a specific call to increase troop levels. He said: “We should have the forces there necessary to deliver on the tasks.” The Isaf force in Afghanistan has about 67,000 troops from 42 countries, about two-thirds from the US. Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

NATO soldier

While the Obama administration continues to mull over its options regarding America’s commitment to the war in Afghanistan, the United Nations Security Council has voted to urge “member states to contribute personnel, equipment and other resources” to the ongoing conflict.? —KA

BBC:

The UN mandate renewal was fully expected but the resolution also stressed the need for reinforcement.

Britain’s ambassador to the UN John Sawers denied this meant a specific call to increase troop levels.

He said: “We should have the forces there necessary to deliver on the tasks.”

The Isaf force in Afghanistan has about 67,000 troops from 42 countries, about two-thirds from the US.

Read more

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Bill Mundell: In Support of a California Enterprise Commission

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 9th, 2009 4:44 am by HL

Bill Mundell: In Support of a California Enterprise Commission
Incredibly, the state of California, the 8th largest economy in the world, doesn’t have a complete balance sheet. It’s not a question of bankruptcy, taxes, or services, but of redeploying the state’s significant assets.

Jeb Bush On Obama: “The Guy Is On The Right Track”
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Limbaugh runs with smears to falsely claim Jennings endorsed sexual assault against student

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 9th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Limbaugh runs with smears to falsely claim Jennings endorsed sexual assault against student

Rush Limbaugh advanced the thoroughly debunked smear that Department of Education official Kevin Jennings encouraged an illegal sexual relationship between a male high school student and an older man, taking the attack even further to baselessly assert that the student — who Limbaugh falsely claimed was 15 years old at the time — told Jennings that “an older man is forcing his way on me, sex and so forth,” and that in response, Jennings “urged the 15-year-old to further the relationship.” In fact, the student was of legal age at the time, and the accounts of the conversation Limbaugh used to advance the smear provide no evidence that the student said he was assaulted or that Jennings encouraged the student “to further the relationship.”

Limbaugh baselessly asserted student told of sexual assault and Jennings urged student “to further the relationship”

 From the October 7 Constance M. Boland of the law firm Nixon Peabody — which represented the organization that Jennings ran, wrote of Jennings’ 1994 account of his conversation with the student, “Nowhere in the book does Mr. Jennings state that he understood the student was being abused of victimized, or that he suffered injury from any abuse.” Boland added, “Based on the plain meaning of the words in the book, it is clear that Mr. Jennings had no ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that the student was being abused in any way. Because there was no abuse and no ‘sexual victimization,’ the statute [8/3/04]

Student: “I had no sexual contact with anybody at the time.” In an October 2 statement obtained by Media Matters for America, Brewster said that “[i]n 1988, I had taken a bus home for the weekend, and on the return trip met someone who was also gay. The next day, I had a conversation with Mr. Jennings about it. I had no sexual contact with anybody at the time, though I was entirely legally free to do so. I was a sixteen year-old going through something most of us have experienced: adolescence. I find it regrettable that the people who have the compassion and integrity to protect our nation’s students are themselves in need of protection from homophobic smear attacks. Were it not for Mr. Jennings’ courage and concern for my well-being at that time in my life, I doubt I’d be the proud gay man that I am today.”

Limbaugh previously accused Jennings of of having “encouraged” and “facilitated” a sexual relationship between a male high school student and an older man. Limbaugh previously stated on his radio show that “Obama’s safe school czar is a guy promoting homosexuality in the schools and encouraged a 15-year-old kid to have a homosexual relationship with an older man, and even facilitated it.” [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 9/28/09]

Limbaugh’s claim that student was a “15-year-old kid” has been thoroughly debunked

Former student’s driver’s license shows he was at least 16 when he approached Jennings. Media Matters exclusively obtained the Massachusetts driver’s license of the student confirming that at the time of the incident he was 16 years of age.

Former student: “I was a sixteen-year-old” and “was of legal consent at the time.” The former student provided Media Matters with the following statement, which Media Matters published on October 2:

Since I was of legal consent at the time, the fifteen-minute conversation I had with Mr. Jennings twenty-one years ago is of nobody’s concern but his and mine. However, since the Republican noise machine is so concerned about my “well-being” and that of America’s students, they’ll be relieved to know that I was not “inducted” into homosexuality, assaulted, raped, or sold into sexual slavery.

In 1988, I had taken a bus home for the weekend, and on the return trip met someone who was also gay. The next day, I had a conversation with Mr. Jennings about it. I had no sexual contact with anybody at the time, though I was entirely legally free to do so. I was a sixteen year-old going through something most of us have experienced: adolescence. I find it regrettable that the people who have the compassion and integrity to protect our nation’s students are themselves in need of protection from homophobic smear attacks. Were it not for Mr. Jennings’ courage and concern for my well-being at that time in my life, I doubt I’d be the proud gay man that I am today.

-Brewster  

Jennings’ attorney stated in 2004 letter that student was 16, which is — and was — MA age of consent. In the August 3, 2004, letter, Boland wrote that the “conversation” Jennings had was with “a sixteen-year-old student” and that there “is no factual basis whatsoever for” the “claim that Mr. Jennings engaged in unethical practices, or that he was aware of any sexual victimization of any student, or that he declined to report any sexual victimization at any time.” [Boland letter, 8/3/04]

CNN, FoxNews.com reports confirm “Brewster” was 16 at the time. Fox News, which repeatedly advanced the falsehood that Jennings, in the words of Bill Hemmer, knew of a “statutory rape” and “never reported it,” has attached an editor’s note to at least two FoxNews.com articles stating, “Since this story was originally published, the former student referred to as ‘Brewster’ has stepped forward to reveal that he was 16 years old, not 15, at the time of the incident described in this report.” CNN’s Jessica Yellin, after reporting that CNN had spoken to the student, aired an image of the student’s driver’s license, stating that it “verifies he was actually 16 at the time, not 15, which means that if there had been sex, he was actually the legal age of consent in Massachusetts.”


Lawyers Group Urged Perry To Keep Ousted Chair Of Panel Probing Death Penalty Case

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 9th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Lawyers Group Urged Perry To Keep Ousted Chair Of Panel Probing Death Penalty Case
Just weeks before Texas governor Rick Perry fired Sam Bassett, the chair of a panel looking into a flawed arson investigation that may have led to the execution of an innocent man, a lawyers group, and other panel members, had urged Perry to retain Bassett.


Hardin To Create Own Police Force — But Pledges Not To Hire APPF
Hardin, Montana will create its own police force, something it has hoped to do for years. But despite a recent contract letting American Private Police Force provide law enforcement services, the town says it won’t be hiring the shady contractor for the job.

The Tragedy Of Becky Shay: Beleaguered APPF Spox Presses On
Amid it all — the tearful press conference, the confrontations with a conspiracist shock jock who parachuted in from Texas, the media scrutiny of her abrupt career shift from Billings Gazette reporter covering APPF to the public face of APPF, and, above all, the persistent charges that her new company is a fraud — Becky Shay has kept her eye on the ball.


Hijacking Health Care Reform

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 9th, 2009 4:39 am by HL

Hijacking Health Care Reform
Art by Dick Giordano and Vince Alascia


Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 9th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize
“In a stunning surprise, the Nobel Committee announced Friday that it had awarded its annual peace prize to President Obama ‘for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples’ less than nine months after he took office,” the New York Times reports.

Said the committee: “He has created a new international climate.”

Washington Post: “The committee’s decision to choose Obama from among 205 nominees appears in part to be a rebuke to the Bush administration’s unilateral approach to world bodies and alliances, most notably in its decision to go to war in Iraq without U.N. approval.”

The last sitting American president to win the prize was Woodrow Wilson in 1919. Theodore Roosevelt also won the prize in 1906.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs emails a one word reaction: “Wow.”


Change We Can Believe in: NY’s Rockefeller Drug Law Reform Takes Effect

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 9th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

Change We Can Believe in: NY’s Rockefeller Drug Law Reform Takes Effect

Jail for drug offenses is no longer mandatory in New York: judges can send people suffering from addiction into a range of programs, such as treatment and mental health services.

Michael Moore Was Right: Progressives Don’t Watch Enough TV

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48 Year-Old Blogger Has Gone 9 Years Without Spending Money

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On the Eve of Big D.C. March, Leaders Argue California Should Be Patient About Same-Sex Marriage

The founder of the nation's largest LGBT church and a noted activist say when it comes to restoring same-sex marriage to California, patience is a virtue.


So Much Happening in Washington and So Little to Show For It

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 9th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

So Much Happening in Washington and So Little to Show For It
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In the Long Run We Are All Dead, In the Short Run We Are All Screwed
Hate to say it, but it’s all your fault. America is ungovernable because we are a nation of pinheads. It’s not just the Loons of the Right. It’s the Obamaniacs and the NutRoots too. The sad reality is that to…


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REPORT: ?We Will Overthrow The Government? ? Calls For Violence Repeatedly Stoked By Conservative Voices

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 9th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

REPORT: ?We Will Overthrow The Government? ? Calls For Violence Repeatedly Stoked By Conservative Voices
Last week, the right-wing media outlet Newsmax — which receives 4 million unique monthly visitors and 130,000 print subscribers — published a column by conservative author John Perry arguing that a military coup could “resolve” the “radical left…Obama problem.” After being widely criticized, Newsmax retracted the column. However, the column appears to have encouraged an […]

Last week, the right-wing media outlet Newsmax — which receives 4 million unique monthly visitors and 130,000 print subscribers — published a column by conservative author John Perry arguing that a military coup could “resolve” the “radical left…Obama problem.” After being widely criticized, Newsmax retracted the column. However, the column appears to have encouraged an already angry group of anti-Obama radicals who have been plotting violence against the government.

While discussing the Newsmax column on his XM Sirius radio show last week, Michelangelo Signorile heard from a caller, “Jim from Oklahoma,” who explained that the idea of a coup is already being planned by a group of at least 200 people:

Pulling our government down, pulling our President out, and putting him back where he should be […] [using] the right to bear arms, it’s in the Constitution. […] We need a coup, there needs to be a coup and if the United States military won’t do it, we’ll do it.

Jim confirmed that he was “dead serious.” Although he was coy about specific details, Jim said that he was motivated by homophobia and an interest in bringing back slavery. A second caller confessed that her own mother has been scheming against the government because she has been captivated by racist thoughts and a belief that “Jesus is coming to overthrow Barack Obama.” She pleaded for people to recognize the extremist threat against Obama. Watch it:

While the intentions of these anonymous calls are difficult to confirm, they are indicative of a pattern of violent rhetoric being voiced by unrepentant conservative figures:

– One of the paying sponsors of the 9/12 anti-Obama rally in September was the National Association for Rural Landowners, a group that references the incidents at Waco and Ruby Ridge to call for attacks on “government entities” and liberals. In a YouTube video posted in July, the group makes the case for a secession, followed by a violent civil war.

– Calling the government “destructive of our rights,” the founder of the popular conservative website FreeRepublic called for “removing from office the President of the United States, the Vice President of the United States and all U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives effective immediately” in July. Republican lawmakers, like Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC), regularly use the website as a portal for talking points.

Tea parties have been a constant venue for right-wing rage and calls for violence against the government. In April, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) told a crowd, “Thomas Jefferson once said that the tree of liberty will be fed with the blood of tyrants and patriots. You are the patriots.” ThinkProgress documented similar rhetoric from Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) and from rallies attended by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). Americans for Prosperity, a group funded Koch Industries’ David Koch that works to plan tea parties, has sponsored speakers comparing health reform to the Holocaust.

Prominent Republican politicians have framed top Obama agenda items as deserving violent resistance. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has said, “I want people…armed and dangerous” against clean energy reform. Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) has floated the idea of secession in response to policies like the economic stimulus.

Leading right-wing media outlets have called for “revolution.” Glenn Beck has hosted segments predicting “violent tax revolts,” Michael Savage often says, “We’re going to have a revolution in this country,” radio show host Jim Quinn has called for “riots” because “our country was built on revolution, and it’s about time we took it back.”

There have already been incidents of violence motivated by right-wing hate-speech. Richard Poplawski, who killed three police officers in April, posted videos of Glenn Beck on neo-Nazi websites and had said he was scared of the government. The Southern Policy Law Center has documented a steady rise in militia activity, and today reported on a new ominous YouTube video warning President Obama: “If you stay…‘We, The People’ will systematically dismantle you, destroy you and reclaim what is rightfully ours.”

Speaker Pelosi responds to Republicans: ?I?m in my place. I?m the Speaker of the House.?
Earlier this week, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) put out a press release criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) comments on Afghanistan, saying that Gen. Stanley McChrystal should “put her in her place.” Today, Pelosi responded during her weekly briefing: It’s really sad that they really don’t understand how inappropriate that is. I’m in […]

Earlier this week, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) put out a press release criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) comments on Afghanistan, saying that Gen. Stanley McChrystal should “put her in her place.” Today, Pelosi responded during her weekly briefing:

It’s really sad that they really don’t understand how inappropriate that is. I’m in my place. I’m the speaker of the House — the first woman speaker of the House. And I’m in my place because the House of Representatives voted me there.

Pelosi added that she hadn’t heard sexist language like what was in the NRCC press release in “decades.” Watch it:

Ryan Watkins


House Votes to Add Sexual Orientation to Law on Hate Crimes

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 9th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

House Votes to Add Sexual Orientation to Law on Hate Crimes
The House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill that would broaden the definition of federal hate crimes to include attacks based on sexual orientation, legislation that would bring major changes to a law enacted in the days after the 1968 assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Health Industry Concerned About Reform Measures
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Wall Street Has Geithner’s Ear
As the federal government propped up the housing market and braced for the collapse of General Motors, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner capped a busy week this spring with phone conversations with three men.