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Archive for October 24th, 2009

Bush Says He Regrets Standing in Front of ‘Mission Impossible’ Banner

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 24th, 2009 4:45 am by HL

Bush Says He Regrets Standing in Front of ‘Mission Impossible’ Banner
Whoops! Some six years after performing his infamous “Top Gun”-inflected “Mission Accomplished” press stunt aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, former President George W. Bush let fly with quite a telling gaffe during a talk he gave Thursday to the Montreal Board of Trade.  —KA The Vancouver Sun: Bush defended his decisions to invade Afghanistan and Iraq and to bail out Wall Street with taxpayers’ money. Asked whether he would reconsider any of his decisions, Bush brought up his failure to complete immigration and social security reform and his handling of the Hurricane Katrina crisis in 2005. “I spend a lot of time thinking about Katrina, and whether I could have sent in the federal troops right away, even though it was against the law,” he said. While Bush’s speech was mostly eloquent and free of the language gaffes he admits he is famous for, he said he regretted appearing in front of a “Mission Impossible” sign during a televised address in 2003. The controversial banner referring to the U.S. mission in Iraq, actually said “Mission Accomplished.” Read more READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Bush

Whoops! Some six years after performing his infamous “Top Gun”-inflected “Mission Accomplished” press stunt aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, former President George W. Bush let fly with quite a telling gaffe during a talk he gave Thursday to the Montreal Board of Trade.? —KA

The Vancouver Sun:

Bush defended his decisions to invade Afghanistan and Iraq and to bail out Wall Street with taxpayers’ money.

Asked whether he would reconsider any of his decisions, Bush brought up his failure to complete immigration and social security reform and his handling of the Hurricane Katrina crisis in 2005.

“I spend a lot of time thinking about Katrina, and whether I could have sent in the federal troops right away, even though it was against the law,” he said.

While Bush’s speech was mostly eloquent and free of the language gaffes he admits he is famous for, he said he regretted appearing in front of a “Mission Impossible” sign during a televised address in 2003. The controversial banner referring to the U.S. mission in Iraq, actually said “Mission Accomplished.”

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End of an Era for Lebanon’s Free Press
For decades, Lebanese journalism has been applauded as the freest, most outspoken and most literate in the heavily censored Arab world. Alas, no more. The Lebanese media are being hit – like the rest of the world – by the Internet and falling advertising revenues. But this is Lebanon, where politics is always involved. Is something rotten in the state of the Lebanese press? READ THE WHOLE ITEM

Future TV

By Robert Fisk

For decades, Lebanese journalism has been applauded as the freest, most outspoken and most literate in the heavily censored Arab world. Alas, no more. The Lebanese media are being hit – like the rest of the world – by the Internet and falling advertising revenues. But this is Lebanon, where politics is always involved. Is something rotten in the state of the Lebanese press?

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Chamber Of Commerce Strong-Arms Service Provider Into Shutting Down Spoof Site

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 24th, 2009 4:44 am by HL

Chamber Of Commerce Strong-Arms Service Provider Into Shutting Down Spoof Site
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce demanded that the company providing Internet service for the Yes Men shut down their site on Tuesday, claiming the spoof…

William Fisher: A Simpleton Tries to Understand the Health Care Debate
Now, the first thing I want you to know is that I’m no health care policy expert. Far from it. But, like the rest of…

Huff Radio: Left, Right & Center: CEO Pay, Public Option, Obama VS Fox, Saving Journalism
Does government have the right to limit the pay of executives when taxpayers hold a majority interest in the company? The public option for health…

Clarence Thomas To Other Supreme Court Justices: Be Quiet
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Clarence Thomas, the justice long known as the silent member of the Supreme Court, criticized his colleagues Friday for badgering attorneys rather…


Greg Lewis: The Friday Rush: His dream deferred, Limbaugh takes a takes a backseat to Glenn Beck

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 24th, 2009 4:43 am by HL

Greg Lewis: The Friday Rush: His dream deferred, Limbaugh takes a takes a backseat to Glenn Beck

Maybe Rush Limbaugh is still torn up over the whole St. Louis Rams debacle. Imagine: A man’s boyhood dream of acquiring a small nation’s worth of wealth by bloviating for 15 hours a week on the radio, and then using this fortune to be a co-owner of the worst team in the NFL, was utterly crushed. Rush learned the hard way (though it’s admittedly a stretch to assume he “learned” anything from this experience at all) that 20-plus years of nationally syndicated half-truths, no-truths, and obscene smears drenched in race-baiting are sometimes frowned upon when you try to cross over to the mainstream.

Much has already been said about potential consequences of a Limbaugh co-owned franchise, the fallout that resulted as the nation witnessed a man’s aspirations crash and burn, and the pity party that ensued on the radio for days afterward.

But in the days since, the letters N,F, and L have mostly faded from the airwaves (minus a pity party rehash on today’s show), and Rush’s status as the most prominent and reliably conspiratorial conservative voice in the media has begun to wane, replaced by none other than the even-more conspiracy-obsessed Glenn Beck.

On last Friday’s program, Limbaugh — who usually pulls content for his shows from the likes of Drudge and lesser-read conservative blogs — trumpeted the latest Glenn Beck “czar” witch hunt target by echoing Beck’s ridiculous smear of White House communications director Anita Dunn. After Beck falsely claimed that Dunn “worships” “her hero” Mao Zedong, Limbaugh ran with it, charging that Mao was Dunn’s “favorite murderer.”

Rush never let up with the Dunn-Mao smears as the week progressed. On Tuesday, Rush said that the Obama administration “idolizes” Stalin, Lenin, Castro, and Mao. He was still at it on Wednesday and Thursday, and even found time to repeat the smear again on Friday.

The problem with the Dunn smears as forwarded by Beck and Limbaugh was that they were neither true nor persuasive. Dunn didn’t actually “endorse” or “worship” Mao. As Media Matters noted:

Dunn offered no endorsement of Mao’s ideology or atrocities — rather, she commented that Mao and Mother Teresa were two of her “favorite political philosophers,” and based on short quotes from them, she offered the advice that “you don’t have to follow other people’s choices and paths” or “let external definition define how good you are internally.”

Moreover, it wasn’t very damning of Dunn when you take into account that many conservatives have previously cited, praised, or reflected on the philosophies espoused by Mao in some manner.

Maybe it’s not the case that Rush Limbaugh is just parroting Glenn Beck. Some might argue that “great” minds have a tendency to think alike. That’s certainly the case with both Limbaugh and Beck’s tinfoil hattery regarding the H1N1 virus, which is a study in “it’s the same, but different.”

On one hand, Beck’s conspiracy theories on the virus range from sowing doubts on the vaccine to the political ramifications if one were to refuse the vaccine. On the other hand, Limbaugh has shown outright defiance over the vaccine and has since mocked media reports on children who have died from the virus. Rush has also claimed that the concerns over the virus are a tool to encourage public support for health care reform. Rush even found it “hard to disagree” (jokingly? It’s hard to even tell anymore) with Louis Farrakhan, who said the purpose of the H1N1 vaccine was to kill people.

Speaking of the government’s efforts to kill people, Rush was still hung up on the notion of “death panels” this week. On Monday, he read an article reporting that Florida hospitals might be told to bar some patients in the case of a “severe” flu pandemic. Brace yourself for the crazy:

LIMBAUGH: By the way, South Florida hospitals have decided to beat President Obama to the punch where the swine flu, the H1N1 virus, is concerned. South Florida hospitals have said if you’re in the advanced stages of cancer, multiple sclerosis, you won’t be given a hospital bed, they must save room for victims of the H1N1 virus. Yeah, yeah, I got it here. Death panels in South Florida have been empaneled, regardless.

That’s right — Barack Obama is getting “beat … to the punch” on death panels by the Republican-controlled state of Florida. (Ignore Rush’s emphasis on “South Florida” — the article describes that the proposed guidelines would be statewide.)

But it wasn’t long before Limbaugh went from his usual fearmongering on death panels to actually becoming his own death panel. On Tuesday, Rush advanced a false claim that New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin “proposed” instituting carbon credits for having fewer children. Fed up with “militant environmentalists,” Rush advised Revkin to “just go kill” himself:

LIMBAUGH: This guy from The New York Times, if he really thinks that humanity is destroying the planet, humanity is destroying the climate, that human beings in their natural existence are going to cause the extinction of life on Earth — Andrew Revkin. Mr. Revkin, why don’t you just go kill yourself and help the planet by dying?

In a blog post responding to Limbaugh’s suggestion, Revkin explained the context of his “thought experiment” on “the population part of the climate and energy challenge.”

For someone who has been so worked up about death panels in recent months, Rush sure was eager to participate in a death panel of his own making.

There’s one more escapade deserving of mockery from this week in Limbaugh. On Friday, Rush eagerly ran with a blog post by Michael Ledeen claiming to have an excerpt from Obama’s undergrad thesis, which went like this:

The so-called Founders did not allow for economic freedom. While political freedom is supposedly a cornerstone of the document, the distribution of wealth is not even mentioned. While many believed that the new Constitution gave them liberty, it instead fitted them with the shackles of hypocrisy.

Ledeen sourced the excerpt to an obscure conservative blogger, who claimed it had come out in Time‘s Joe Klein research for “an upcoming special edition about the President.” To make a long story short, the excerpt was revealed to be completely fabricated.

So after running with the fake quote, Rush was soon alerted to his mistake and owned up to it — sort of:

LIMBAUGH: So we have to hold out the possibility that this is not accurate. However, I have had this happen to me recently. I’ve had quotes attributed to me that were made up. And when it was pointed out to the media that the quotes were made up, they said, “It doesn’t matter. We know Limbaugh thinks it anyway.”

[…]

LIMBAUGH: I’m also told that the blog containing the passage on Obama’s thesis is a satire blog. … But we know he thinks it. Good comedy, to be comedy, must contain an element of truth, and we know how he feels about distribution of wealth; he’s mad at the courts for not going far enough on it. So we stand by the fabricated quote because we know Obama thinks it anyway. That’s how it works in the media today.

It might not seem like much, but that’s as close to a correction as one gets on The Rush Limbaugh Show.


Ex-Commissioner Kerik’s Mug Shot Released; NYC Tabloids Revel

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 24th, 2009 4:42 am by HL

Ex-Commissioner Kerik’s Mug Shot Released; NYC Tabloids Revel
Former New York Police commissioner, Homeland Security secretary nominee, and beefsteak dinner honoree Bernie Kerik is now inmate 210717 at the Westchester County jail, after a judge revoked Kerik’s bail yesterday. The New York Post declares, “Bernie Kerik in the…

Lautenberg To DOJ: Christie-Brown Ties Raise “Serious Concerns”
In a letter to the Justice Department, Sen. Frank Lautenberg says that ties between Chris Christie and his former top aide raise “serious concerns” and calls for an investigation.

Fore! Was Iffy Foundation A Vehicle To Support GOP Rep’s Golf Habit?
It looks like the financial dealings of a questionable foundation affiliated with Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN) were even more golf-driven than previously known.



Darth Cheney punked out by Gen. Eaton

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 24th, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Darth Cheney punked out by Gen. Eaton
Excerpt: Obama has a new ally in the war of words that Dick Cheney started after leaving his coffin and running his mouth once again in a speech to the Center for Security Policy. His name is Gen. Paul Eaton (Ret.), who served more than 30 years in the United States Army from 2003-2004 and oversaw the […]


After the Billionaires Plundered Alabama Town, Troops Were Called in … Illegally

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 24th, 2009 4:37 am by HL

After the Billionaires Plundered Alabama Town, Troops Were Called in … Illegally
"We have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all," says one Goldman Sachs adviser. But tell that to the people of Samson, Ala.

President Obama And Gov. Paterson Get Love For Recent Drug Policy Reforms
We are obviously a long way from elected officials being honest and principled when it comes to dismantling the disastrous drug war. But the tides seem to be turning.

McKibben Versus Hedges’ Clash of Worldviews: How Do We Solve the Environmental Crisis?
Bill McKibben believes we must reduce our carbon emissions immediately, or else face disaster. Chris Hedges says that until we defeat corporate power, we can’t address anything.

8 Reasons Fox Is Not a News Organization
PR for the GOP? Yes. Platform for right-wing hatemongers? Definitely. But a news organization? Definitely not.

Obama Is Keeping Bush’s Worst "War on Terror" Policies Firmly In Place
Thanks to behind-the-scenes maneuvering by the Obama administration, a bipartisan majority has approved legislation that seems to abandon hope of reining in the Patriot Act.


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Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 24th, 2009 4:36 am by HL

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ThinkFast: October 23, 2009

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 24th, 2009 4:35 am by HL

ThinkFast: October 23, 2009
In a meeting with President Obama yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) reportedly pushed for a public option that would allow states to opt-out of the program. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reportedly doesn’t have the votes for a robust public option. Meanwhile, one Democratic source said Obama appeared to prefer a “trigger” option. In an […]

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In a meeting with President Obama yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) reportedly pushed for a public option that would allow states to opt-out of the program. Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reportedly doesn’t have the votes for a robust public option. Meanwhile, one Democratic source said Obama appeared to prefer a “trigger” option.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) rejected the public option. “A public option at the forefront really does put the government in a disproportionate position with respect to the industry,” she said. Snowe also indicated that health reform may not be completed by the end of this year.

Defense contractors are lobbying Sen. Dan Inouye (D-HI) to strip Sen. Al Franken’s (D-MN) anti-rape amendment from the defense appropriations bill. The amendment would withhold defense funding from companies barring their employees from taking sexual abuse cases to court. “The defense contractors have been storming [Inouye’s] office,” said one source.

The Senate voted 68 to 29 yesterday to “extend new federal protections to people who are victims of violent crime because of their sex or sexual orientation.” The hate crimes measure, “attached to an essential military-spending bill,” now needs the signature of President Obama, who has said he will sign it.

The Federal Reserve announced “that it would crack down on pay packages that encouraged bankers to take excessive risks, but officials acknowledged that the plan might not reduce the biggest paychecks on Wall Street.” The announcement coincides with the Obama administration’s decision “to cut the pay of many high earners at the seven companies that received the most taxpayer help.”

A House committee yesterday approved the creation of the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency. The agency “would have the power to write new consumer protection rules for a host of activities involving loans or credit and would have the ability to ban products and business practices that it determined were ‘unfair, deceptive or abusive.’”

Fifty-seven percent of Americans believe in global warming, a number that has decreased 20 points in three years. Matt Yglesias attributes the decline to successful campaigns by right-wing leaders to bring Republican voters in line with their own warped beliefs.

WellPoint, one of the nation’s largest health insurers, lashed out at congressional health care legislation Thursday with a new report claiming that health care legislation will increase premiums across the country. “This is akin to the tobacco companies commissioning another study claiming nicotine isn’t addictive and cigarettes don’t cause cancer,” said one adviser to the Senate Finance Committee.

Iranian and Israeli negotiators attended a conference on nuclear disarmament last month in Egypt, “but Iranian officials Thursday denied news reports that the two archenemies engaged in direct dialogue at the meeting amid conflicting accounts of heated exchanges.”

And finally: Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) had a “very serious interview on health care reform” on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal program yesterday. But toward the end, he tried to “lighten things up a bit” and said to host Paul Orgel, “I love Washington Journal. I always wonder, as you host, if you’re wearing any pants under there.” Weiner then “leaned forward a bit to check, noting, ‘and I want to make it very clear, Paul is wearing pants.’ “Definitely. We all do,” said Orgel.

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National Park Service reassigns Gettysburg superintendent

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 24th, 2009 4:34 am by HL

National Park Service reassigns Gettysburg superintendent
The National Park Service announced Friday that it has removed its superintendent at Gettysburg National Military Park and reassigned him to work in a cultural resources office as an assistant to the associate director. His job duties have not yet been determined.

Bernanke puts heat on Congress to reform financial regulation
CHATHAM, MASS. — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stepped up pressure on Congress on Friday to overhaul financial regulation, using his bully pulpit to try to provide a boost to plans that have moved slowly on Capitol Hill.

Oversight panel to subpoena Countrywide mortgage documents
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee majority and minority are negotiating the details of a subpoena for documents related to Countrywide Financial Corp.’s “VIP” mortgage program, a step forward in a probe that has been stalled by partisan squabbling.


Florida’s Red-Meat Primary

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 24th, 2009 4:30 am by HL

Florida’s Red-Meat Primary
Joe Klein, Time
On a recent Saturday night in Daytona Beach — with a thousand or so bikers exercising their unalienable right to be extremely noisy in the streets — Marco Rubio, the new ultraconservative poster boy running for the U.S. Senate in Florida, offered the Volusia County Republican Party a carefully calibrated, and rather compelling, celebration of freedom. He spoke about his Cuban heritage. His parents had escaped Castro. “It is possible to lose your freedom. You can have your family business taken over by 'the people.' You can lose your country. My parents…

Behind the White House’s Press Fight
Jim Rutenberg, New York Times
Late last month, the senior White House adviser David Axelrod and Roger Ailes, chairman and chief executive of Fox News, met in an empty Palm steakhouse before it opened for the day, neutral ground secured for a secret tête-à-tête.Roger Ailes reached out to David Axelrod to address rising tensions between Fox News and the White House.The latest on President Obama, the new administration and other news from Washington and around the nation. Join the discussion.Mr. Axelrod, senior adviser to President Obama.Mr. Ailes, who had reached out to Mr. Axelrod to address…

Afghanistan Tests Democrats, Too
Will Marshall and Jim Arkedis, RCP
President Obama faces tough decisions on Afghanistan, but his party is on the hot seat too. Afghanistan is the first test since Vietnam of Democrats' collective ability to manage a major armed conflict. Just how to do that is the subject of an intense internal debate. However it is resolved, the party must avoid a convulsive split that would cast doubt on its ability to defend the country.Having declared Afghanistan a “war of necessity,” Obama last March said his policy is to prevent al Qaeda from attacking the United States and to keep the Taliban from returning to power….

The Chinese Disconnect
Paul Krugman, New York Times
Senior monetary officials usually talk in code. So when Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, spoke recently about Asia, international imbalances and the financial crisis, he didn’t specifically criticize China’s outrageous currency policy. Paul Krugman But he didn’t have to: everyone got the subtext. China’s bad behavior is posing a growing threat to the rest of the world economy. The only question now is what the world — and, in particular, the United States — will do about it.Some background: The value of…

U.S. Maxes Out on Credit
Sen. Judd Gregg, Washington Times
NationalVERSACE: Recovery may be W-shapedNationalPRUDEN: Obama's Third World press rantSportsAngels beat Yankees, stave off eliminationNationalU.S. arrests 303 in Mexican drug bustBusinessUproar compels firm to restore pricey insurancePoliticsLow black-voter turnout threatens Dems in Va., N.J. racesWorldGeorgian wine sells widely after Russian snubFriday, October 23, 2009Rate this storyAverage 0.00after 0 votes Login or register to rate this storyBy Sen. Judd Gregg Are we there yet? Yes (sigh), we're there. The U.S. government has borrowed itself into an abyss of debt totaling…