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Archive for January 31st, 2010

Not So Fast, Chris Matthews

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2010 5:46 am by HL

Not So Fast, Chris Matthews
Many argue that Obama’s election to the presidency and status as global “supercelebrity” are signs that we have entered a post-racial moment in which everyone and everything are mixed. Among these believers is Chris Matthews of MSNBC.

Obama

By Marcia Alesan Dawkins

Many argue that Obama’s election to the presidency and status as global “supercelebrity” are signs that we have entered a post-racial moment in which everyone and everything are mixed. Among these believers is Chris Matthews of MSNBC.


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Bin Laden Hearts the Environment
Osama bin Laden has found a new cause—the environment. Criticizing the U.S. and other industrial economies, bin Laden has released an audiotape that blames former President George W. Bush for not signing the Kyoto treaty and global corporations for their environmental degradation. —JCL Al-Jazeera: Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader, has condemned the US and other industrial economies, holding them responsible for the phenomenon of climate change. In an audio tape obtained by Al Jazeera, bin Laden criticised George Bush, the former US president, for rejecting the Kyoto pact and condemned global corporations. “This is a message to the whole world about those responsible for climate change and its repercussions – whether intentionally or unintentionally – and about the action we must take,” bin Laden said. Read more

binladen

Osama bin Laden has found a new cause—the environment. Criticizing the U.S. and other industrial economies, bin Laden has released an audiotape that blames former President George W. Bush for not signing the Kyoto treaty and global corporations for their environmental degradation. —JCL

Al-Jazeera:

Osama bin Laden, the al-Qaeda leader, has condemned the US and other industrial economies, holding them responsible for the phenomenon of climate change.

In an audio tape obtained by Al Jazeera, bin Laden criticised George Bush, the former US president, for rejecting the Kyoto pact and condemned global corporations.

“This is a message to the whole world about those responsible for climate change and its repercussions – whether intentionally or unintentionally – and about the action we must take,” bin Laden said.

Read more

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Jacob Reitan: Ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell This Year

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2010 5:45 am by HL

Jacob Reitan: Ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell This Year
If the Pentagon’s timetable for repeal of DADT is truly “several years” long, then their timetable does not live up to what the President promised in the State of the Union Address.

David Brody: The New Star of Must See TV: President Obama
When President Obama appeared in front of hundreds of chomping-at-the-bit Republicans with the cameras rolling on live TV he not only made for Must See TV, he also provided the jolt that voters want to see.

American Action Network: Republican Leaders Forming New Political Group
At least half a dozen leaders of the Republican Party have joined forces to create a new political group with the goal of organizing grass-roots…

Tom Vander Ark: Competition, Civil Rights, and Change Theory
Civil rights advocates are split on the competitive nature of $10 billion in grant programs from the US Department of Education. Some, like Education Equality…

James Zogby: Putting Middle East Peace Back On the Agenda
As we mark one year into the Obama era, several realities have become painfully clear. â? There are limits to what a U.S. President is…


“Bolshevik plot”: Right-wing media declare Obama a radical who threatens America

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2010 5:44 am by HL

“Bolshevik plot”: Right-wing media declare Obama a radical who threatens America

Urging that “we’ve got to close the gap a little bit between the rhetoric and the reality,” President Obama stated during his January 29 question and answer session with House Republicans that “if you were to listen to the debate” over health care reform “you’d think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot.” Throughout Obama’s administration thus far, conservative media have embraced such rhetoric, routinely attacking Obama’s agenda as socialist, communist or fascist and telling audiences that Obama and health care reform are a threat to America itself.

Obama calls out GOP for outrageous rhetoric in health care debate

During the January 29 Q&A session with House Republicans, Obama stated, “You’ve given yourselves very little room to work in a bipartisan fashion because what you’ve been telling your constituents is, this guy is doing all kinds of crazy stuff that’s going to destroy America”:

OBAMA: And so we were in the process of scrubbing this and making sure that it’s tight.  But at its core, if you look at the basic proposal that we’ve put forward:  it has an exchange so that businesses and the self-employed can buy into a pool and can get bargaining power the same way big companies do; the insurance reforms that I’ve already discussed, making sure that there’s choice and competition for those who don’t have health insurance.  The component parts of this thing are pretty similar to what Howard Baker, Bob Dole, and Tom Daschle proposed at the beginning of this debate last year.

Now, you may not agree with Bob Dole and Howard Baker, and, certainly you don’t agree with Tom Daschle on much, but that’s not a radical bunch.  But if you were to listen to the debate and, frankly, how some of you went after this bill, you’d think that this thing was some Bolshevik plot.  No, I mean, that’s how you guys — (applause) — that’s how you guys presented it.

And so I’m thinking to myself, well, how is it that a plan that is pretty centrist — no, look, I mean, I’m just saying, I know you guys disagree, but if you look at the facts of this bill, most independent observers would say this is actually what many Republicans — is similar to what many Republicans proposed to Bill Clinton when he was doing his debate on health care.

So all I’m saying is, we’ve got to close the gap a little bit between the rhetoric and the reality.  I’m not suggesting that we’re going to agree on everything, whether it’s on health care or energy or what have you, but if the way these issues are being presented by the Republicans is that this is some wild-eyed plot to impose huge government in every aspect of our lives, what happens is you guys then don’t have a lot of room to negotiate with me.

I mean, the fact of the matter is, is that many of you, if you voted with the administration on something, are politically vulnerable in your own base, in your own party.  You’ve given yourselves very little room to work in a bipartisan fashion because what you’ve been telling your constituents is, this guy is doing all kinds of crazy stuff that’s going to destroy America.

Conservative media frequently invoke socialism, communism, fascism to attack Obama’s agenda

Media Matters for America has documented numerous instances in which conservative media invoked socialism, communism and fascism to vilify health care reform, president Obama and congressional Democrats. For example:

Conservative media assert that Obama, health care reform threaten America

Media Matters has also complied examples of conservative media asserting that Democrats and health care reform could destroy the United States”


House Ethics Panel Clears Rep. Pete Stark In Tax Break Probe

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2010 5:42 am by HL

House Ethics Panel Clears Rep. Pete Stark In Tax Break Probe
In a unanimous vote, the House ethics committee has found that Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) did not violate ethics rules in allegedly taking a tax break on a property he owns in Maryland.

Landrieu’s New Orleans Office Swept For Bugs After Phone Incident
What’s a U.S. senator to do after a visit from a man known for planting hidden cameras? Sweep the place for bugs, cameras, and any other listening devices, of course.


Our Liberal Media at Work on John Edwards

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2010 5:39 am by HL

Our Liberal Media at Work on John Edwards


Cameron Douglas Faces More Time Than a Murderer or a Rapist for a Non-Violent Drug Charge

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2010 5:38 am by HL

Cameron Douglas Faces More Time Than a Murderer or a Rapist for a Non-Violent Drug Charge
Who benefits from Cameron Douglas getting at least 10 years in prison? No one does. But the govt. is hell bent on punishing him for the crime of being an addict.

Who benefits from Cameron Douglas getting at least 10 years in prison? No one does. But the govt. is hell bent on punishing him for the crime of being an addict.


Are Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations Finished?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2010 5:37 am by HL

Are Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations Finished?
President Obama’s “State of the Union” left out the traditional call for the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations which, for years, has been boilerplate in Presidential addresses to Congress. I imagine Obama left it out because his previous calls fell on…


Barack ObamaUnited States and IsraelMiddle EastWest BankPresident of the United States

How Democrats Pulled U.S. Economy Back From The Brink
When President Barack Obama took the oath of office about a year ago, he inherited the biggest economic mess since the 1930’s: millions of Americans losing their homes to foreclosure and their jobs to a steadily deteriorating economy, huge budget…


Barack ObamaUnited StatesEconomy of the United StatesPresident of the United StatesCongress


DOJ official reportedly clears torture architects John Yoo and Jay Bybee.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2010 5:36 am by HL

DOJ official reportedly clears torture architects John Yoo and Jay Bybee.
Justice Department officials John Yoo and Jay Bybee were two of the main architects of the Bush administration’s torture program. As Bybee’s deputy, Yoo “was the author of much of the legal rationale for using waterboarding and other severe interrogation techniques.” He argued that interrogators who harm a prisoner would be protected “national and international […]

Justice Department officials John Yoo and Jay Bybee were two of the main architects of the Bush administration’s torture program. As Bybee’s deputy, Yoo “was the author of much of the legal rationale for using waterboarding and other severe interrogation techniques.” He argued that interrogators who harm a prisoner would be protected “national and international version of the right to self-defense,” and illegal conduct must “shock the conscience.” Bybee headed the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel and signed off on the infamous 2002 torture memo. Newsweek now reports that a senior DOJ official has essentially cleared the two men of misconduct in an upcoming office of Professional Responsibility report:

While the probe is sharply critical of the legal reasoning used to justify waterboarding and other “enhanced” interrogation techniques, NEWSWEEK has learned that a senior Justice official who did the final review of the report softened an earlier OPR finding. Previously, the report concluded that two key authors — Jay Bybee, now a federal appellate court judge, and John Yoo, now a law professor — violated their professional obligations as lawyers when they crafted a crucial 2002 memo approving the use of harsh tactics, say two Justice sources who asked for anonymity discussing an internal matter. But the reviewer, career veteran David Margolis, downgraded that assessment to say they showed “poor judgment,” say the sources. (Under department rules, poor judgment does not constitute professional misconduct.) The shift is significant: the original finding would have triggered a referral to state bar associations for potential disciplinary action — which, in Bybee’s case, could have led to an impeachment inquiry.

A DOJ official said that Margolis “acted without input” from Attorney General Eric Holder. Emptywheel has more.

Cornyn Hypocritically Accuses Democrats Of ?Hysterical? Reaction To Right-Wing Judicial Activism
Last week, the Supreme Court’s five conservative justices joined together to invalidate a 63-year-old ban on corporate money in federal elections and in the process overruled a 20-year-old precedent permitting such bans on corporate electioneering. “There were principled, narrower paths that a court that was serious about judicial restraint could have taken,” Justice John Paul […]

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)Last week, the Supreme Court’s five conservative justices joined together to invalidate a 63-year-old ban on corporate money in federal elections and in the process overruled a 20-year-old precedent permitting such bans on corporate electioneering. “There were principled, narrower paths that a court that was serious about judicial restraint could have taken,” Justice John Paul Stevens wrote in dissent, essentially “accusing his colleagues of judicial activism,” in the words of the New York Times’ Adam Liptak.

Indeed, though “judicial activism” is a common scare phrase invoked by conservatives, the Roberts Court has “demonstrated that decades of conservative criticism of judicial activism was nonsense” because “conservative justices are happy to be activists when it serves their ideological agenda.” Politico reports that Democratic senators are saying that Justices “Roberts and Alito misled them during their confirmation hearings when they represented themselves as jurists who would respect precedent”:

Referring to the memorable analogy in which Roberts compared himself to a baseball umpire, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told POLITICO this week, “He’s not somebody who just measures balls and strikes. It’s been the most activist court that I’ve seen in my 17 years in the committee.” […]

Conservatives regularly attack Democratic judges as “judicial activists,” but Judiciary Committee member Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said, “It’s well past time” to call out conservative justices for their own brand of judicial activism. He said that making such arguments now could help the president if he has another chance to nominate a justice to the court.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), a former judge and current Judiciary Committee member, called such complaints “hysterical.” He thinks the court’s decision last week was simply an effort to “to protect the Constitution’s First Amendment rights of free speech and association.” But his charge that Democrats are “hysterical” over right-wing judicial activism is odd considering he mused in 2005 that there might be a connection between violent attacks against judges and judges “making political decisions“:

CORNYN: I don’t know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that’s been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in — engage in violence.

Cornyn refused to apologize for or repudiate his remarks, saying that they had been “taken out of context to create a wrong impression.” But even conservatives thought he had crossed the line. Charles Krauthammer wrote in the Washington Post that Cornyn had “wandered somewhere off the Pacific Coast Highway” with his outrageous — and yes — “hysterical” attack on judicial activism.


Sunday talk-show guests: Jan. 31, 2010

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2010 5:35 am by HL

Sunday talk-show guests: Jan. 31, 2010
Guests to be interviewed Sunday on major television talk shows:

U.S. sells weapons to Taiwan, angering China
The Obama administration announced the sale Friday of $6 billion worth of Patriot anti-missile systems, helicopters, mine-sweeping ships and communications equipment to Taiwan in a long-expected move that sparked an angry protest from China.


Henry Paulson’s book offers a glimpse inside the economic crisis
The Washington memoir, typically published after a calamitous event or the end of a political campaign, often brings a nugget or two of news. But that’s a tall order for Henry M. Paulson Jr.’s “On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System,” as many authors have…


John Edwards’s denial of baby was final straw, Andrew Young writes
His marriage was in tatters. His presidential campaign had ended with a primary loss in his birth state of South Carolina. But even with less to lose than he once had, John Edwards had to be hectored into calling his former mistress after the birth of their daughter on Feb. 27, 2008, former aide …

No sanctions for Bush lawyers who approved waterboarding, report will say
Bush administration lawyers who paved the way for sleep deprivation and waterboarding of terrorism suspects exercised poor judgment but will not be referred to authorities for possible sanctions, according to a forthcoming ethics report, a legal source confirmed.


White House Forced to Review 9/11 Trials

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 31st, 2010 5:31 am by HL

White House Forced to Review 9/11 Trials
Harvey Morris, Financial Times

Obama Decries Divisive Rhetoric, Slams Critics
Nick Gillespie, Reason
Media Inquiries and Reprint…

Alarmists’ Credibility Melting

Possible Epic Party Disaster for Democrats
Michael Barone, DC Examiner

Holocaust Remembrance Day
Cathy Young, RealClearPolitics
Wednesdays Holocaust Remembrance Day, which this year commemorates the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, was marked by customary calls to combat anti-Semitism worldwide. Yet resisting bigotry is not as clear-cut an issue as it might seem at first glance, at a time when the very definition of anti-Semitism is shifting and constantly questioned. Where some see the cancer of Jew-hatred, others see the charge of anti-Semitism being used to stifle discussion of issues particularly in relation to Israel and the conflict in the Middle East.Anti-Semitism is probably the world's…