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Archive for November 6th, 2009

Sen. George McGovern on the Presidency From Lincoln to Obama

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2009 5:47 am by HL

Sen. George McGovern on the Presidency From Lincoln to Obama
George McGovern has been a witness to history, as both a scholar and the first senator to oppose the Vietnam War. At a recent Truthdig event, he shared his insight into past and current events, from Lincoln’s greatest accomplishment to the war in Afghanistan. READ THE WHOLE ITEM

George McGovern has been a witness to history, as both a scholar and the first senator to oppose the Vietnam War. At a recent Truthdig event, he shared his insight into past and current events, from Lincoln’s greatest accomplishment to the war in Afghanistan.

READ THE WHOLE ITEM

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Deepak Bhargava: The GOP Health Care Plan: A Cruel Joke

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2009 5:46 am by HL

Deepak Bhargava: The GOP Health Care Plan: A Cruel Joke
Some had the audacity to hope that the Republicans would work with the President to solve health care. Now, it’s clear they are putting insurance industry profits above the health of America’s families.

Youth Radio — Youth Media International: Rape at Homecoming: High Schoolers React
Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe. By: Denise Tejada On October 24th a 15-year-old student from Richmond…

Malik Hasan Cousin, Nader Hasan, Interviewed By Fox News: “He Was A Good American” (VIDEO)
Nader Hasan, cousin to Nidal Malik Hasan, one of the gunmen in the Fort Hood massacre, spoke to Fox News’ Shepard Smith on the phone…

Youth Radio — Youth Media International: U.S. Shouldn’t Jail Youth For Life
How the Supreme Court rules in two cases concerning juvenile incarceration could determine whether sentencing juveniles to life without parole is cruel and unusual punishment.

The Tea Party’s Takeover Of The GOP
You have to hand it to Michele Bachmann: She has succeeded in turning the GOP into one big Tea Party. This past weekend, the Minnesota…


Beck, Breitbart witch hunt targets White House official Buffy Wicks

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2009 5:45 am by HL

Beck, Breitbart witch hunt targets White House official Buffy Wicks

Fox News’ Glenn Beck, Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, and other right-wing media figures have targeted White House official Buffy Wicks in their ongoing witch hunt against President Obama’s administration officials. Beck and BigGovernment.com have repeatedly attacked Wicks, and he and BigGovernment.com’s Mike Flynn have made the baseless charge that Wicks was engaged in preventing prosecutions of those involved in the alleged beating of a tea party protester.

Beck, BigGovernment’s Flynn baselessly suggested Wicks prevented prosecutions

Holding up picture of Wicks, Beck said Obama administration “gets its point across” through “propaganda” or attacks by SEIU “thugs.” From the November 3 edition of Fox News’ Glenn Beck:

BECK: [Y]ou know what? There are two ways this administration gets its point across, and I’m going to show both of them to you through this individual, Buffy Wicks. They either trick you through propaganda or they do it this way.

BECK: SEIU. SEIU. The thugs attacking a man at a Missouri town hall meeting. How are these two stories connected, and how is Buffy Wicks coming into play on this? We go to Mike Flynn. He is the editor-in-chief of BigGovernment.com. [11/03/09]

Beck and Flynn repeatedly attempted to tie Wicks to the lack of prosecutions for the alleged attack on tea party protestor in St. Louis. Discussing Wicks, Beck said to Flynn: “She’s also, coincidentally — in Missouri, she was also the campaign manager there, right? Campaign manager for Barack Obama.” Flynn responded, in part: “Now, part of that effort, what they did — there was a very famous, it got some national attention — is they created an Obama truth squad. And what they did is that Buffy Wicks organized at the Obama campaign headquarters a press conference of law enforcement officials, prosecuting attorneys, district attorneys, at the campaign headquarters who issued a warning that they would prosecute rival campaigns for any — what they saw as misleading statements from their campaigns.”

Later, Beck and Flynn each suggested that Wicks has or may have some connection to the lack of prosecution of those involved in the Missouri incident:

FLYNN: I mean, the incident happened August 6th. Charges were filed. [Protester Kenneth] Gladney went to the hospital. Immediately, the Democrats brought in a high-powered attorney to defend the SEIU thugs who were charged with assault, and it’s just kind of disappeared.

And what’s interesting is that it disappeared within the jurisdictions of those individuals who are part of Buffy Wicks’ truth squad.

BECK: I don’t think that’s true. Is that true? I don’t think that’s true that she was a part of the — that they were a part of — they were the same people of the truth squad, but I’m not sure. I’d have to check —

FLYNN: No, not the individuals, the individuals right now who are not pursuing the charges.

BECK: OK. We’ll have to look into that. Here’s my point — and I want to follow this up tomorrow — why haven’t charges been filed? It has been 90 days. Why haven’t they been filed? It’s my understanding that it’s now being kicked to the county, which the county usually only handles misdemeanors. This sounds like felony assault.

FLYNN: Right.

BECK: I’d like to know what game is being played through strings being pulled through the purple people. Also, the administration — is Buffy Wicks involved? How is she involved? This is all propaganda to send a message, and they’re getting off scot-free. I’m wondering how exactly. Mike, keep digging into it, and we’ll talk to you again.

FLYNN: We will. All right. Thanks. [11/03/09]

Conservative commentator Vadum echoed Beck’s, Flynn’s attacks. Writing for conservative David Horowitz’s Newsreal.com blog, the Capital Research Center’s Matthew Vadum highlighted Flynn’s assertion that the alleged assault case has “disappeared within the jurisdictions of those individuals who are part of Buffy Wicks’ truth squad.” [Newsreal.com, 11/04/09]

None of them cite actual evidence of Wicks’ involvement. Beck, Flynn, and Vadum cited no evidence that Wicks had any involvement in the alleged attack or in the decisions made by Missouri law enforcement officials about whether to bring any people to trial based on the incident.

Right-wing media continue to flog claims that SEIU “thugs” beat up tea party protester, White House was involved

Breitbart claimed White House literally “directed” town hall violence. In a Washington Times op-ed, Breitbart cited the incident in St. Louis and distorted a reported quote from a White House official in claiming that “union thugs were directed by the White House to go to” the meetings “and ‘punch back twice as hard.’ ” In fact, White House deputy chief of staff Jim Messina reportedly used that phrase while speaking to Senate Democrats — not to any union groups — and there is no indication it was anything other than a metaphorical explanation of how the White House plans to respond to attacks against Senate Democrats.

Beck said SEIU “delivers beatdowns to opponents,” asks, “[W]ho would have thought union members might be thugs?” On August 10, Beck said: “While the SEIU dons their health care ’09 T-shirts and delivers beatdowns to opponents, the tensions keep getting worse and the president really is not saying much helpful. You know what I mean? How about throwing us a bone here, Mr. President? How about a little, ‘Hey, you know what? You guys should knock it off’?” Later, Beck said: “Who’s the mob here? Kenneth Gladley [sic], he is a 38-year-old conservative. He’d probably say, I don’t know. SEIU, you know, the people — when I was handing out “don’t tread on me” flags and I was attacked by a member of the SEIU?”

Beck subsequently added:

BECK: First of all, who would have thought that union members might be thugs? Not me.

You know, I am so sick and tired of the media and everybody else equating union thugs, like these guys, with regular American citizens who have gathered — most of them — for the first time in their lives to be heard. This isn’t a bunch of college kids and hippies and union members being paid to protest. These are regular people who see how things are being run in this government, things like, oh, I don’t know, Chicago politics, and they’re terrified at the prospects of government-run health care. [8/10/09]

Beck, Breitbart’s BigHollywood, BigGovernment websites on a witch hunt for Wicks

Beck, Breitbart’s website attacked Wicks for participating in NEA conference call. As of November 5, Breitbart’s BigHollywood.com has posted 21 different entries attacking Wicks. Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com has posted 13 entries attacking Wicks, some of which are cross-posts from BigHollywood.com. On each occasion, the entries brought up Wicks’ participation in an August 5 National Endowment for the Arts conference call. Beck has also previously attacked Wicks, saying, “Valerie Jarrett is the one that Buffy [Wicks, deputy director of the White House Office of Public Engagement] was working for. Buffy, the propaganda slayer.” According to a Nexis search, Beck has attacked Wicks on at least four occasions.

Beck compared NEA conference call to Goebbels. On November 3, Beck said of the NEA conference call: “Advocating through art is known as propaganda. You should look up the name Goebbels.” [11/03/09]

No evidence of illegality in NEA conference call. As Media Matters for America has documented, advancing Beck’s and Breitbart’s aggressive promotion of the NEA conference call, Fox News’ Gretchen Carlson and conservative columnist Ben Shapiro alleged that the NEA broke laws against lobbying and electioneering during the secretly taped call. In fact, the transcript of the conference call released by Breitbart’s website contains no evidence of illegal electioneering or lobbying by government officials.

Baseless attacks against Wicks part of pattern

Right-wing media have repeatedly attacked the targets of their witch hunts with false and baseless charges. In addition to the baseless claims that Wicks is preventing prosecutions of people involved in the alleged assault in Missouri and that the NEA conference call contains evidence of illegality, right-wing media advanced other falsehoods, including:

  • Education Department official Kevin Jennings “cover[ed] up statutory rape”
  • State Department official Harold Koh “advocates the use of Sharia law in America”
  • White House official Cass Sunstein advocated for forced organ donation, and that he argued that “you should not be able to remove rats from your home”
  • former White House official Van Jones is a “convicted felon”
  • Obama science and technology adviser John Holdren called for forced abortion and forced sterilization.

Right-wing media figures have also made baseless charges against Obama judicial nominees David Hamilton and Edward Chen and have smeared White House communications director Anita Dunn for stating that Mao Zedong was one of her “favorite political philosophers,” and “manufacturing czar” Ron Bloom for stating in February 2008 that he agreed “with Mao that political power comes largely from the barrel of a gun.


Chamber: We Want To Help On Climate Change — Really!

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2009 5:44 am by HL

Chamber: We Want To Help On Climate Change — Really!
The Chamber of Commerce has sent a letter to the Senate indicating that it wants to play a constructive role in the coming debate over climate change legislation — but committing itself to nothing.


Report: Ethics Panel Will Clear Rangel And Others In Caribbean Trip Probe
The House ethics committee will likely clear five Democratic members of Congress including Charlie Rangel (D-NY) of wrongdoing in an investigation into whether a privately financed trip to the Caribbean broke House travel rules, Roll Call reports this morning.



Why the GOP is Dying, Post-Election Special

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2009 5:39 am by HL

Why the GOP is Dying, Post-Election Special


Feinstein Still Considering Run for Governor

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2009 5:38 am by HL

Feinstein Still Considering Run for Governor
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said “she will base a decision on whether to run for California governor next year largely on the solutions the announced candidates put forward to deal with the state’s fiscal problems,” the AP reports.

Republicans have three candidates running for governor: Steve Poizner (R), Meg Whitman (R) and Tom Campbell (R).

Democrats have no announced candidate so far, though Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) has formed an exploratory committee.

Strategic Vision Vanishes
Nate Silver notes polling firm Strategic Vision has been very quiet since the controversy broke about their methodology and accusations that they possibly faked results.

“Strategic Vision vehemently denied my interpretation of the evidence and made public threats to sue me. But no lawyer has contacted me, and in fact, Strategic Vision has not conducted any further public polling since that time.”


How an Entire Town Leveled By a Tornado Is Rebuilding Green

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2009 5:37 am by HL

How an Entire Town Leveled By a Tornado Is Rebuilding Green
While the rest of rural America is being hit hard with the economic downturn, Greensburg’s emphasis on green living has given the town a buffer.

Why Congress’ Health Care Bills Are Better Than You Think
The health care bills wending through Congress are getting a bad rap. And the major culprit is the Congressional Budget Office, and its chief, Doug Elmendorf.

How a Public Jobs Program Could Put America Back on Track
The same nation that created a Works Progress Administration in the 1930s should create another one in the 21st century.

Thousands of Right-Wingers Rally at Capitol to Hear Lies About Health-Care Reform, Courtesy of Bachmann and GOP Leaders
Days before a health bill is expected to pass the House, Republicans rallied their flock with the help of FOX News, Michele Bachmann and leading conservative groups.


Medical Technology Arms Race

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2009 5:36 am by HL

Medical Technology Arms Race
I must say I’m worried that the Democrats are setting a trap for themselves on Health Care Reform by not really confronting the issue of cost inflation. Why does a CT Scan in America cost so much more than any…



United StatesHealth careHealthcare reformDemocraticHealth

Grover Norquist and Anti-Tax Movement Big Loser of the Night
A lot of folks are declaring Obama — who wasn’t on the ballot — the loser of the night based on two state elections, but the defeat of three anti-tax initiatives that were on the ballot in Washington State and…


Grover NorquistEconomicTaxationUnited StatesNew York


Armey throws Hoffman under the bus: ?He didn’t pay enough attention to the local concerns.?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2009 5:35 am by HL

Armey throws Hoffman under the bus: ?He didn’t pay enough attention to the local concerns.?
In the run-up to Tuesday’s special election in New York’s 23rd congressional district, Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman met with the editorial board of the Watertown Daily Times, the largest paper in the district. After Hoffman “showed no grasp of the bread-and-butter issues pertinent to district residents,” his companion in the meeting, former House Majority […]

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey In the run-up to Tuesday’s special election in New York’s 23rd congressional district, Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman met with the editorial board of the Watertown Daily Times, the largest paper in the district. After Hoffman “showed no grasp of the bread-and-butter issues pertinent to district residents,” his companion in the meeting, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, rose to his defense by dismissing regional concerns as “parochial” issues that would not determine the outcome of the election. Armey’s comment was a major factor in the paper offering a “flat-out blistering” critique of Hoffman when it endorsed Democrat Bill Owens. Now, Armey is throwing Hoffman under the bus, saying that “he didn’t pay enough attention to local concerns”:

Armey, the former House GOP majority leader, noted that Democrats had seized on Hoffman’s inability to address local concerns.

“The fact of the matter is, he didn’t pay enough attention to the local concerns, and they were able to tag him as being unaware of the local needs and concerns,” Armey said.

North County Public Radio’s Brian Mann writes that since national conservatives like Armey “deliberately helped to shape Doug Hoffman into a national symbol, one whose stand on abortion, same-sex marriage and President Obama largely defined him,” it is “a stretch” for them to “complain now that he didn’t focus enough on local stuff.” But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Armey would use political rhetoric he apparently doesn’t believe in. In a New York Times Magazine profile posted online yesterday, Armey says it’s “O.K.” with him that opponents of health care reform fearmonger about “death panels,” even though “he does not believe” they exist.

Will Conservative Democrats Follow Graham?s Lead On Climate Policy?
Extensive coverage has been devoted to the fact that Lindsey Graham’s split on global warming and other issues highlights a rift in the Republican Party. While that’s true, another more important development has not been pursued: Graham’s departure from right-wing orthodoxy highlights the potential for conservative Democrats to follow in his footsteps. Many conservative Democrats […]

Extensive coverage has been devoted to the fact that Lindsey Graham’s split on global warming and other issues highlights a rift in the Republican Party. While that’s true, another more important development has not been pursued: Graham’s departure from right-wing orthodoxy highlights the potential for conservative Democrats to follow in his footsteps.

Many conservative Democrats have questioned President Obama’s clean energy agenda. Now, a Republican is breaking with his party to talk sense. In a press conference yesterday with Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), the author of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Graham rebuked senators unwilling to address carbon pollution. Saying that he has “seen the effects of a warming planet,” Graham called for the United States to “lead the world rather than follow the world on carbon pollution”:

The green economy is coming. We can either follow or lead. And those countries who follow will pay a price. Those nations who lead in creating the new green economy for the world will make money.

Watch it:

Graham sounded more like Van Jones — the author of “The Green Collar Economy” who was branded by Glenn Beck as a “communist” — than many of his Democratic colleagues:

Max Baucus (D-MT): Montana, with our resource-based agriculture and tourism economies, cannot afford the unmitigated impacts of climate change. But we also cannot afford the unmitigated effects of climate change legislation.

Evan Bayh (D-IN): Jobs should be our top priority and we shouldn’t do anything that detracts from that.

Robert Byrd (D-WV): I will actively oppose any bill that would harm the workers, families, industries, or our resource-based economy in West Virginia.

Byron Dorgan (D-ND): I just don’t think climate change is going to be on the floor this year. Trying to restart our economic engine and trying to get this country back to work — to me that is the most important issue.

Blanche Lincoln (D-AR): I am opposed to the House passed cap-and-trade legislation, which in my view, picks winners and losers and places a disproportionate share of the economic burden on families and businesses in Arkansas.

Claire McCaskill (D-MO): I hope we can fix cap and trade so it doesn’t unfairly punish businesses and families in coal dependent states like Missouri.

Ben Nelson (D-NE): I think at the end of the day, the people who turn the switch on at home are going to be disadvantaged.

Jim Webb (D-VA): We can’t just start with things like emission standards at a time when we’re at a crisis with the entire national energy policy.

Do these Democrats agree with Lindsey Graham that our planet “is in peril“? Do they agree with Graham that “limiting carbon pollution is good for business”? Will conservative Democrats follow Sen. Graham’s embrace of the “new green economy” — and shouldn’t they be asked if they will?


President Obama delivers remarks at White House-Tribal Nations conference

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 6th, 2009 5:34 am by HL

President Obama delivers remarks at White House-Tribal Nations conference
SPEAKER: PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA [*] OBAMA: Thank you. (APPLAUSE) Thank you so much. Thank you. Everybody, please, have a seat. Thank you. (APPLAUSE) Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) Thank you so much. Thank you. Please, everybody, have a seat. T…

Climate legislation is running into a chilly reception
MANHATTAN, Kan. — A curious debate has broken out among American environmental groups, as the U.S. Senate finally, balkily starts to focus on the threat of climate change.Is this really the time to talk about the threat of climate change?