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Archive for December 24th, 2009

Carter Atones for ‘Stigmatizing’ Israel

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 24th, 2009 5:47 am by HL

Carter Atones for ‘Stigmatizing’ Israel
Maybe it’s because his grandson is running for public office, maybe because the former president just doesn’t like tension, but Jimmy Carter has written an open letter to the Jewish community essentially apologizing for any past statements that might have stigmatized the nation of Israel. Carter took a lot of heat for his 2006 book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” But he was also celebrated by progressive voices, activists and thinkers who may be disappointed by this rapprochement with staunch defenders of the occupation, the conservative American Israel lobby and anyone else who was offended by his book. Although the letter reads more like an act of diplomacy, it shouldn’t be taken as a sign that Carter has changed his views. He calls for attacks on all civilians to stop and urges peace talks to commence with “all issues on the negotiating table.” Carter and his grandson, who is running for the state legislature, both deny that the former president’s statement has anything to do with the campaign. The full letter can be read below. The Associated Press has more background on the story.  —PZS Jimmy Carter via JTA: An open letter to the Jewish community at the season of Chanukah from former President Jimmy Carter: The time of Chanukah and the Christian holidays presents an occasion for reflection on the past and for looking to the future. In that vein, I wish to share some thoughts with you about the State of Israel and the Middle East. I have the hope and a prayer that the State of Israel will flourish as a Jewish state within secure and recognized borders in peaceful co-existence with its neighbors and with all the Moslem States, and that this peaceful co-existence will bring security, prosperity and happiness to the people of Israel and to the people of the Middle East of all faiths. I have the hope and a prayer that the bloodshed and hatred will change to mutual respect and cooperation, fulfilling the prophetic aspiration that the lion shall lie down with the lamb in harmony and peace. I likewise hope that violent attacks against all civilians will end, which will help set a better framework for commencing negotiations. I further hope that peace negotiations can soon commence, with all issues on the negotiating table. I have the hope and a prayer that just as Chanukah is the Festival of Lights, the State of Israel will fulfill its destiny as a light unto the nations. We must recognize Israel’s achievements under difficult circumstances, even as we strive in a positive way to help Israel continue to improve its relations with its Arab populations, but we must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel. As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so. May we work and pray for that better day. Hag Semach and Happy Chanukah. [Link]

Maybe it’s because his grandson is running for public office, maybe because the former president just doesn’t like tension, but Jimmy Carter has written an open letter to the Jewish community essentially apologizing for any past statements that might have stigmatized the nation of Israel.

Carter took a lot of heat for his 2006 book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.” But he was also celebrated by progressive voices, activists and thinkers who may be disappointed by this rapprochement with staunch defenders of the occupation, the conservative American Israel lobby and anyone else who was offended by his book.

Although the letter reads more like an act of diplomacy, it shouldn’t be taken as a sign that Carter has changed his views. He calls for attacks on all civilians to stop and urges peace talks to commence with “all issues on the negotiating table.”

Carter and his grandson, who is running for the state legislature, both deny that the former president’s statement has anything to do with the campaign.

The full letter can be read below. The Associated Press has more background on the story.? —PZS

Jimmy Carter via JTA:

An open letter to the Jewish community at the season of Chanukah from former President Jimmy Carter:

The time of Chanukah and the Christian holidays presents an occasion for reflection on the past and for looking to the future. In that vein, I wish to share some thoughts with you about the State of Israel and the Middle East.

I have the hope and a prayer that the State of Israel will flourish as a Jewish state within secure and recognized borders in peaceful co-existence with its neighbors and with all the Moslem States, and that this peaceful co-existence will bring security, prosperity and happiness to the people of Israel and to the people of the Middle East of all faiths.

I have the hope and a prayer that the bloodshed and hatred will change to mutual respect and cooperation, fulfilling the prophetic aspiration that the lion shall lie down with the lamb in harmony and peace. I likewise hope that violent attacks against all civilians will end, which will help set a better framework for commencing negotiations. I further hope that peace negotiations can soon commence, with all issues on the negotiating table.

I have the hope and a prayer that just as Chanukah is the Festival of Lights, the State of Israel will fulfill its destiny as a light unto the nations.

We must recognize Israel’s achievements under difficult circumstances, even as we strive in a positive way to help Israel continue to improve its relations with its Arab populations, but we must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel. As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so.

May we work and pray for that better day.

Hag Semach and Happy Chanukah.

[Link]

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Beck’s Dec. ’09 Fusion magazine: A rehashing of old falsehoods

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 24th, 2009 5:45 am by HL

Beck’s Dec. ’09 Fusion magazine: A rehashing of old falsehoods

Glenn Beck’s Fusion magazine claims to provide its subscribers with “the latest perspective on what is happening in our world, coupled with [Beck’s] personal thoughts as ‘work in progress’ as well as cutting edge comedy and satire.” But the December 2009 issue of Fusion simply rehashed many of the falsehoods, smears, and hysterics promoted by Beck and others in the right-wing media throughout the previous year.

Fusion misleads on 2009 stimulus and omnibus spending programs

documented. Wayne State University, which received the grant, posted a press release announcing the award on November 5, 2008.

Criticized “tattoo removal programs in California” is an “anti-crime program” reportedly praised by law enforcement officials. As Greg Sargent 100 Stimulus Projects: A Second Opinion.” But as Media Matters noted, Coburn’s reported on November 27, “Since 1994, ACORN … has received about $53 million in federal aid.”

Beck previously claimed ACORN would receive billions of dollars from stimulus. As Media Matters has documented, on the May 6 edition of his Fox News program, Beck repeated the false claim that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act had “guaranteed” “ACORN, or groups like them … billions of dollars to buy more votes for the party that helps them the most.” Media Matters has noted that the stimulus bill does not mention ACORN or otherwise single it out for funding; ACORN itself has said that it is ineligible for the funds in question and has no plans to apply for them.

Investigation of ACORN videos found no “pattern of intentional, illegal conduct by ACORN staff.” As Media Matters noted, in his “Independent Governance Assessment of ACORN” report, former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger (D) found “no evidence that action, illegal or otherwise, was taken by any ACORN employee on behalf of the videographers”:

While some of the advice and counsel given by ACORN employees and volunteers was clearly inappropriate and unprofessional, we did not find a pattern of intentional, illegal conduct by ACORN staff; in fact, there is no evidence that action, illegal or otherwise, was taken by any ACORN employee on behalf of the videographers. Instead, the videos represent the byproduct of ACORN’s longstanding management weaknesses, including a lack of training, a lack of procedures, and a lack of on-site supervision.

Fusion repeats right-wing hysteria over Obama’s back to school speech, video of children singing about Obama

The “So Sayeth the Shepherd. So Sayeth the Flock” graph of Fusion‘s “Year in Review” feature read:

The MSM dismissed the concerns of parents about Department of Education back-to-school lesson plans that would have brainwashed children across the entire country into becoming little community organizers. Even now, reporters continue to disregard creepy examples of liberal indoctrination in the classroom, including the disturbing video of a kindergarten teacher in Burlington Township, New Jersey who changed the words “Jesus loves the little children…” to make her young students praise and glorify “Barack Hussein Obama,” for we “all are equal in his eyes.” Apparently, not all types of prayer have been banned from public schools.

Beck and right-wing media previously spread hysteria over Obama’s back-to-school speech. As Media Matters previously documented, numerous conservative media figures baselessly accused Obama of trying to “indoctrinate” America’s children with his back-to-school speech encouraging students to succeed and persist in their studies. Discussing a bas-relief supposedly representing Mussolini, Beck himself said: “Gee, who’s having indoctrination next week? Oh, yeah, that’s right, the president — completely unrelated. This represents, at the time this was made, Mussolini. This was Mussolini. By the way, the artist that made this — his son, ironically and tragically died fighting the army of Mussolini years after this was made.”

Education Secretary Duncan: Obama speech “about persisting and succeeding in school.” In an August 26 documented, conservative media figures fearmongered about the Burlington Township school video, in which children sing a song about Obama, with Beck saying, “This is indoctrination. This should horrify the American people.”

District superintendent: Song is from Black History Month activity, and the “recording and distribution of the classroom activity was unauthorized.” The Burlington Township school board superintendent local and national media outlets noted that Fox News was a driving force behind the tea parties and numerous reports quoted participants saying they were driven to the protests by Fox.

Beck and his organization promoted 9-12 rallies. Beck founded the conducted campaigns to turn out their supporters to events on health care reform. CPR reportedly “documented, conservative media advanced the claim that the Obama administration was targeting conservatives simply because they disagree with administration policies and proposals, citing a Department of Homeland Security noted that the DHS report on right-wing extremism cited a 2008 FBI report titled “White Supremacist Recruitment of Military Personnel since 9/11.” The FBI’s Counterterrorism Division determined with “[h]igh confidence” that “[m]ilitary experience is found throughout the white supremacist extremist movement as the result of recruitment campaigns by extremist groups and self-recruitment by veterans sympathetic to white supremacist causes.” The 2008 report further stated that a “review of FBI white supremacist extremist cases from October 2001 to May 2008 identified 203 individuals with confirmed or claimed military service active in the extremist movement at some time during the reporting period,” and that “[a]ccording to FBI information, an estimated 19 veterans (approximately 9 percent of the 203) have verified or unverified service in the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” In its April 7 assessment, DHS stated, “Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists. DHS/I&A is concerned that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities.”

Beck’s magazine ignored previous DHS report on left-wing extremism. On January 26, DHS issued a report titled “Leftwing Extremists Likely to Increase Use of Cyber Attacks over the Coming Decade.” The report concluded that “a number of emerging trends point to leftwing extremists maturing and expanding their cyber attack capabilities over the next decade with the aim of attacking targets in the United States.”


Report Finds No Recent Funding Violations By ACORN

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 24th, 2009 5:44 am by HL

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Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 24th, 2009 5:40 am by HL

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Senate Passes Health Care Reform

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 24th, 2009 5:39 am by HL

Senate Passes Health Care Reform
The health care reform bill passed the Senate in a historic 60 to 39 vote this morning. Even though only a simple majority was needed, every Democratic senator ultimately voted for the bill.

The Washington Post notes that with the vote “the hardest work of all will begin: reckoning with long-standing differences with the House version and uniting behind a single bill that can be sent to the president.”

New York Times: “If the two chambers can strike a deal, as seems likely, the resulting product would vastly expand the role and responsibilities of the federal government. It would, as lawmakers said repeatedly in the debate, touch the lives of nearly all Americans… If the bill becomes law, it would be a milestone in social policy, comparable to the creation of Social Security in 1935 and Medicare in 1965.”

President Obama will make a statement at 8:45 am ET.


I Volunteered For Obama in 2008, But His Support of Landmines Is the Last Straw

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 24th, 2009 5:38 am by HL

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AIPAC’s Ex-Joe McCarthy On J Street Again

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 24th, 2009 5:37 am by HL

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To appease conservatives, CPAC organizer promises that gay group won?t speak at the conference.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 24th, 2009 5:36 am by HL

To appease conservatives, CPAC organizer promises that gay group won?t speak at the conference.
Earlier this month, conservative gay rights group GOProud announced that it would be a co-sponsor of this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). But the group’s inclusion as a co-sponsor has led to a backlash from the anti-gay right, some of whom are threatening to boycott CPAC if GOProud’s sponsorship isn’t removed. CPAC director Lisa […]

Earlier this month, conservative gay rights group GOProud announced that it would be a co-sponsor of this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). But the group’s inclusion as a co-sponsor has led to a backlash from the anti-gay right, some of whom are threatening to boycott CPAC if GOProud’s sponsorship isn’t removed. CPAC director Lisa De Pasquale told Hot Air last week that she was “satisfied” that GOProud “do not represent a ‘radical leftist agenda’ and thus “should not be rejected as a CPAC cosponsor.” But David Keene, the head of CPAC’s main organizing group, tried to calm the potential boycott by using a different tactic. In an e-mail to a right-wing radio host, Keene promised that GOProud would not have a speaking spot and that gay rights issues would not be “open to debate”:

In his e-mail response, Keene admitted GOProud “has signed on as a CPAC co-sponsor, but will have no speakers and we told them that, in fact, since opposition to gay marriage, etc are consensus positions (if not unanimous) among conservatives, these topics are not open to debate.” […]

“I know that there are those who are as opposed to the sinner as the sin, but our view is that CPAC is inclusive and welcomes all of those who agree with us on most issues. I don’t know the GOProud people personally, but we find it difficult to exclude groups because of disagreements on one or two issues no matter how important many of us believe those issues to be … other examples: we have pro-life and pro-abortion co-sponsors, advocates of restrictive and more open immigration, supporters and opponents of the war in Afghanistan and supporters and opponents of some of the restrictions adopted in the war on terror since 9/11,” he continued.

“Some of these issues draw significant support on both sides of the question from the broad movement and these we often debate at CPAC … trade policy, immigration are example … while others like abortion are consensus positions and while we accept those who differ from the consensus, we see no reason for further debate. Gay issues fall within this category,” he said.


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