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Archive for June 18th, 2010

He says “he is very sorry for being sorry about not feeling sorry for you and your sorry ass”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2010 4:55 am by HL

He says “he is very sorry for being sorry about not feeling sorry for you and your sorry ass”
And all this time I though the “Sorrow and the Pity” wasn’t about Joe Barton, but occupied France?

Joe Barton would like to once again say to his friends at BP, he is sorry for embarrassing them over apologizing and expressing his embarrassment at BP was sorrily treated by Obama. Poor BP had to just sit there yesterday and be apologized to by Joe Barton and for that he is truly sorry.

And especially to his dear, and very sorrowful friend Tony Hayward, who looked all day as if Michael Sheen was playing the role reserved for Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon, he is very sorry for expressing his sorrow in such a sorry way.

Especially since most of Joe Barton’s Republican colleagues are in agreement with his sentiments — for which they should be made quite sorrowful the next five months.



Iceland Passes WikiLeaks Law

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2010 4:53 am by HL

Iceland Passes WikiLeaks Law
The Icelandic parliament has approved a package of broad protections for journalists, making the island nation perhaps the safest place in the world to afflict the comfortable and speak truth to power. Icelandic leaders wanted to create a haven for journalists and whistle-blowers and sought assistance from WikiLeaks, the website that recently released video of U.S. forces gunning down civilians and journalists in Iraq. —PZS New York Times: At 4 a.m. on Thursday, Iceland’s Parliament, the Althing, voted unanimously in favor of a package of legislation aimed at making the country a haven for freedom of expression by offering legal protection to whistle-blower Web sites like WikiLeaks, which helped to craft the proposal. As the Web site Ice News reports, “One of the inspirations for the proposal was the dramatic August 2009 gagging of of Iceland’s national broadcaster, RUV by Iceland’s then largest bank, Kaupthing.” One of the sponsors of the proposal in the Althing, Birgitta Jonsdottir, told my colleague Noam Cohen in February that Iceland hoped to become “the inverse of a tax haven,” by offering journalists and publishers some of the most aggressive protections for free speech and investigative journalism in the world. “They are trying to make everything opaque,” she said. “We are trying to make it transparent.” Read more

The Icelandic parliament has approved a package of broad protections for journalists, making the island nation perhaps the safest place in the world to afflict the comfortable and speak truth to power.

Icelandic leaders wanted to create a haven for journalists and whistle-blowers and sought assistance from WikiLeaks, the website that recently released video of U.S. forces gunning down civilians and journalists in Iraq. —PZS

New York Times:

At 4 a.m. on Thursday, Iceland’s Parliament, the Althing, voted unanimously in favor of a package of legislation aimed at making the country a haven for freedom of expression by offering legal protection to whistle-blower Web sites like WikiLeaks, which helped to craft the proposal.

As the Web site Ice News reports, “One of the inspirations for the proposal was the dramatic August 2009 gagging of of Iceland’s national broadcaster, RUV by Iceland’s then largest bank, Kaupthing.”

One of the sponsors of the proposal in the Althing, Birgitta Jonsdottir, told my colleague Noam Cohen in February that Iceland hoped to become “the inverse of a tax haven,” by offering journalists and publishers some of the most aggressive protections for free speech and investigative journalism in the world. “They are trying to make everything opaque,” she said. “We are trying to make it transparent.”

Read more


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Alvin McEwen: We call them bigots because they show themselves to be bigots

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2010 4:52 am by HL

Alvin McEwen: We call them bigots because they show themselves to be bigots
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Another double standard: Giuliani bashes Obama over “vacations”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2010 4:51 am by HL

Another double standard: Giuliani bashes Obama over “vacations”

Appearing on Fox News and MSNBC to criticize the Obama administration’s response to the oil spill, Rudy Giuliani attacked President Obama for taking vacations after the oil spill and the Christmas Day bombing attempt, stating that “if it had been President Bush,” the media would have slammed him. In fact, Bush did remain on vacation after the 2001 shoe bomber attempt and was not criticized for doing so; moreover, Bush spent several weekends at the Camp David retreat in the months following Hurricane Katrina.

Attacking Obama’s Christmas bomber response, Giuliani claims Bush would have been slammed by press if he “remain[ed] on vacation” and didn’t “respond for three days”

Giuliani: “[I]f it had been President Bush, the media would have come down on him.” From the June 17 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:

GIULIANI: They caught him on Christmas morning, the president’s on vacation. President remains on vacation for 11 days. Doesn’t respond for three days. This is a dilatory response that I think if it had been President Bush, the media would have come down on him like catch the dogs. And I think you would have learned something from that. You learn from getting criticized. He gets a pass. He doesn’t get criticized.

In fact, Bush waited six days before mentioning shoe bomber and remained on vacation

Bush waited six days before commenting on 2001 shoe bomber attack. On December 22, 2001, after Richard Reid attempted to light a fuse in his shoes while aboard a U.S.-bound American Airlines international flight, the passengers and flight crew were able to restrain him and foil the plot. Bush first mentioned Reid on December 28, 2001six days after Reid’s attempted bombing — during a press conference in Crawford, Texas.

Bush remained on two-week vacation at Camp David and his Texas ranch after shoe bomber attack. According to announcements from the Office of the Press Secretary (accessed via Nexis), Bush arrived at Camp David on December 22, 2001, and then traveled to the Bush ranch in Crawford, Texas, on December 26. The New York Times article noted that “it was six days before President George W. Bush, then on vacation, made any public remarks about the so-called shoe bomber, Richard Reid, and there were virtually no complaints from the press or any opposition Democrats that his response was sluggish or inadequate.” Politico added: “That stands in sharp contrast to the withering criticism President Barack Obama has received from Republicans and some in the press for his reaction to Friday’s incident on a Northwest Airlines flight heading for Detroit.” From the article:

Bush did not address reporters about the Reid episode until December 28, after he had traveled from Camp David to his ranch in Texas.

Democrats do not appear to have criticized Bush over the delay. Many were wary of publicly clashing with the commander in chief, who was getting lofty approval ratings after what appeared to be a successful military campaign in Afghanistan. The media also seemed to have little interest in pressing Bush about the bombing, or the fact that the incident had revealed a previously unknown vulnerability in airplane security — that shoes could be used to hide chemicals or explosive devices.

Giuliani attacks Obama for weekend trips during oil spill

Giuliani: Obama “was off on vacation twice” during oil spill. During the June 17 edition of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Giuliani stated that the oil spill was not Obama’s priority “because the president was off on vacation twice during all of this.” He later repeated his claim that “when we had the Christmas bombing, he was on vacation … remained on vacation for 11 days”:

JOE SCARBOROUGH (co-host): Well, the president himself said, though, on April 22 — 

MIKA BRZEZINKSI (co-host): Yes, I just pulled up that —

SCARBOROUGH: On April 22 he called all the agency heads in and he said, OK, listen, this is gonna be very bad. It’s before — it’s before the thing blew out of the water, and he said this is the top priority for this government. We have to focus on it. This is job number one.

GIULIANI: Well, then that’s even worse, because if — if this was job number one, look at the horrible — if this is job number one, which I don’t think it was, because the president was off on vacation twice during all of this. If this were job number one —

SCARBOROUGH: Did you go on vacation as the mayor?

GIULIANI: Did I go on vacation as the mayor? No.

SCARBOROUGH: Isn’t that a cheap shot?

GIULIANI: No, it is not a cheap shot.

SCARBOROUGH: You never went on vacation?

GIULIANI: Not in the middle of a crisis, I didn’t.

SCARBOROUGH: Ronald Reagan went on vacation.

GIULIANI: Not in the middle of a crisis, he didn’t.

SCARBOROUGH: George W. Bush went on vacation.

GIULIANI: Not in the middle of a crisis. This is the second time the president has done that, and I resent it. On Christmas Day, when we had the Christmas bombing, he was on vacation —

SCARBOROUGH: It was Christmas.                                                                              

GIULIANI: — remained on vacation for 11 days.

Obama visited Asheville in April and Chicago in May. The Obamas visited Asheville, North Carolina, the weekend of April 23. During that trip, Obama September 2005 and again during two weekends in October 2005. Three months after the hurricane, news outlets reported that hundreds of thousands of people were “article, The New York Times reported:

On at least three occasions, in responding to accusations that the city failed to adequately protect the health of workers in the wreckage, he has boasted that he faced comparable risks himself. In one appearance he declared that he had been in the ruins “as often, if not more” than the cleanup workers who logged hundreds of hours in the smoldering pile.

[…]

So, how much time did Mayor Giuliani spend at ground zero?

A complete record of Mr. Giuliani’s exposure to the site is not available for the chaotic six days after the attack, when he was a frequent visitor. But an exhaustively detailed account from his mayoral archive, revised after the events to account for last-minute changes on scheduled stops, does exist for the period of Sept. 17 to Dec. 16, 2001. It shows he was there for a total of 29 hours in those three months, often for short periods or to visit locations adjacent to the rubble. In that same period, many rescue and recovery workers put in daily 12-hour shifts.

Salon: Giuliani spent more time at Yankees games than at ground zero following the 9-11 attacks. In an August 18, 2007, Salon.com article, Alex Koppelman examined Giuliani’s schedule in the 90 days following the World Trade Center attacks and found: “By our count, Giuliani spent about 58 hours at Yankees games or flying to them in the 40 days between Sept. 25 and Nov. 4, roughly twice as long as he spent at ground zero in the 90 days between Sept. 17 and Dec. 16.”    

Giuliani has previously revised history of Bush-era terror attacks

Giuliani falsely claimed “[w]e had no domestic attacks under Bush.” On the January 8 edition of ABC’s Good Morning America, Giuliani falsely claimed that “[w]e had no domestic attacks under Bush. We’ve had one under Obama.” Media Matters has documented numerous domestic attacks during the Bush administration following the September 11 World Trade Center attacks.

Giuliani: “I usually say we had no domestic attacks, no major domestic attack under President Bush since September 11.” After falsely claiming on Good Morning America that “[w]e had no domestic attacks under Bush,” Giuliani stated during CNN’s The Situation Room, “I did omit the words ‘since September 11.’ I apologize for that. I should have put it in.” However, Giuliani continued to ignore several domestic attacks that took place under Bush after 9-11 — including the 2002 attack at Los Angeles International Airport, the 2002 D.C.-area sniper shootings, and the 2006 SUV attack at the University of North Carolina — and dismissed the 2001 anthrax attacks, which were characterized by John Ashcroft as “a terrorist act,” because, Giuliani said, “as far as we know, that was not done in the name of Islamic terrorism.”


Barton’s Top Campaign Contributor Is Implicated In Gulf Oil Disaster

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2010 4:50 am by HL

Barton’s Top Campaign Contributor Is Implicated In Gulf Oil Disaster
Rep. Joe Barton’s number one career campaign contributor, Anadarko Petroleum, has 25% ownership in the well where the April 20 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion occurred.



Joe BartonAnadarko Petroleum CorporationEnergyOil and GasBusiness

Blago Lawyers Try To Tie Kickbacks To Obama Donation
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Rod BlagojevichBarack ObamaTony RezkoPresidentUnited States

GOP Aide, Charged With Stealing $1.1M From Bloomberg, Works For NY-GOV Candidate Paladino
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RepublicanMichael BloombergNew York CityUnited StatesJohn Haggerty


The GOP Broken Record: Avoiding Blame Republican-Style

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2010 4:44 am by HL

The GOP Broken Record: Avoiding Blame Republican-Style


Angle Breaks Her Silence

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2010 4:43 am by HL

Angle Breaks Her Silence
After refusing to take questions from reporters since her Republican primary victory, Nevada U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle (R) did speak to KLAS-TV about her positions on “transitioning out” of the Social Security program and eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency but then refused to answer other questions about other controversial statements. A video shows she was followed out into the parking lot but wouldn’t talk to the reporter.

But it didn’t end there. A campaign spokesperson later called the reporter “an idiot” and “another term that can’t be repeated.”

Fallin Holds Big Leads for Oklahoma Governor
A new Sooner Poll in Oklahoma shows Rep. Mary Fallin (R-OK) with solid leads in the race for governor over both possible Democratic rivals.

Fallin leads Drew Edmondson (D), 50% to 35%, and tops Jari Askins (D), 49% to 36%.


Imagine What Father’s Day Is Like for All the Dads and Sons in Prison

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2010 4:42 am by HL

Imagine What Father’s Day Is Like for All the Dads and Sons in Prison
We can only celebrate Father’s Day correctly if we include all fathers — black, white, brown, rich and poor.

We can only celebrate Father's Day correctly if we include all fathers — black, white, brown, rich and poor.

After Cutting Little Girls’ Clitorises, Ivy League Doctor Tests Handiwork With a Vibrator
Scandal explodes over doctor’s ‘clitoroplasty.’

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Stephen Colbert for Secretary of State

Stephen Colbert absolutely destroyed the rationales offered for continuing a military escalation in Afghanistan on last night’s episode of The Colbert Report: “In the search for reasons to stay in Afghanistan, we struck gold.”Colbert was mocking the “news” that Afghanistan has vast, untapped mineral deposits. It wasn’t news — The New York Times’ James Risen got […]

The Dollar Might Be Having Problems, But Here’s Why We Really Don’t Want to Go Back to Gold
The United States has faced a vacillating dollar, calls to replace the greenback as the global reserve currency, and an international consensus that it should save more.

The United States has faced a vacillating dollar, calls to replace the greenback as the global reserve currency, and an international consensus that it should save more.

The Bad, the Bold and the Bogus: Food Industry Health Claims to Watch Out For
There are myriad ways packaged food companies mislead consumers through vague, false, meaningless health claims, and difficult to decipher nutritional panels.

There are myriad ways packaged food companies mislead consumers through vague, false, meaningless health claims, and difficult to decipher nutritional panels.


Obama’s Missed Opportunity

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2010 4:41 am by HL

Obama’s Missed Opportunity
There was a moment in President Obama’s speech last night, where I thought he was going to do something bold. And then the moment passed. It came with this prelude. For decades, we have known the days of cheap and…


Barack ObamaPresident of the United StatesUnited StatesPresidentEnergy

Presented By:


Biden angrily responds to Barton: It?s not a ‘shakedown? to insist BP takes care of people who are ?drowning.?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on June 18th, 2010 4:39 am by HL

Biden angrily responds to Barton: It?s not a ‘shakedown? to insist BP takes care of people who are ?drowning.?
Vice President Biden stopped by today’s White House press briefing to talk about the Recovery Act. While there, however, reporters encouraged him address Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-TX) apology to BP for the fact that the Obama administration is making the company set up a fund to pay individuals and businesses that are suffering because of […]

Vice President Biden stopped by today’s White House press briefing to talk about the Recovery Act. While there, however, reporters encouraged him address Rep. Joe Barton’s (R-TX) apology to BP for the fact that the Obama administration is making the company set up a fund to pay individuals and businesses that are suffering because of the oil spill. Biden angrily responded to Barton, calling his comments “astonishing” and “outrageous”:

BIDEN: There’s an entire way of life in jeopardy. This is just not about jobs. This is just not about whether or not the waterfowl is polluted and you can’t — this is an entire way of life that’s in jeopardy. And to sit there and say that we’re being — in effect, as I understood the statement — that he was ashamed we’re being tough on an oil company who caused the problem — I mean, I — look, I just think that it’s pretty important to the people of Louisiana all the way through Florida and even in his home state of Texas that people disassociate themselves from that.

That’s not the role — there’s no shakedown. It’s insisting on responsible conduct and a responsible response to something they caused. And I find it outrageous to suggest that if, in fact, we insisted that BP demonstrate their preparedness, to put aside billions of dollars — in this case, $20 billion — to take care of the immediate needs of people who are drowning — these guys don’t have deep pockets. The guy who runs the local marina, the guy who has one shrimping boat, the guy who has one small business — he can’t afford to lose $10,000, $12,000, $15,000, $30,000 a month. […]

What is wrong with that? How is that a shakedown? I mean, I just — I don’t know, I find it pretty astounding, the comment.

Watch it:

Transcript:

Q Vice President Biden, you said this is pretty much basic, and you said there’s still millions of Americans who believe that they’re in a depression still. Do you — with that, do you believe there should be targeted approaches for minorities, particularly African Americans, as well as Hispanics and even teens, when it comes to the unemployment rate?

And also, on another subject, what are your thoughts about Mr. Barton’s comments this morning?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, since you know I never say what’s on my mind — (laughter) — I probably shouldn’t comment on Mr. Barton’s comment.

Q Oh, come on.

Q Please –

Q Is it that bad?

THE VICE PRESIDENT: They’re encouraging me, what can I say? (Laughter.)

MR. GIBBS: Well, okay, you should –

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Look, look — (laughter.)

Q How big of a deal was it? (Laughter.)

THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank God my mother wasn’t around. (Laughter.) Look, guys, I find it incredibly insensitive, incredibly out of touch. The reason why I got involved in politics, the reason why the President and I ran, the President got involved, is the one primary role for government is to protect people who are being taken advantage of; protect people who are in an extreme straits and not able to take care of the circumstances themselves.

I’ve been down in the bayou area off and on for the last 36 years. My daughter went down to Tulane — I was worried she was not going to come home. I think I know the area relatively well as an outsider. There’s an entire way of life in jeopardy. This is just not about jobs. This is just not about whether or not the waterfowl is polluted and you can’t — this is an entire way of life that’s in jeopardy. And to sit there and say that we’re being — in effect, as I understood the statement — that he was ashamed we’re being tough on an oil company who caused the problem — I mean, I — look, I just think that it’s pretty important to the people of Louisiana all the way through Florida and even in his home state of Texas that people disassociate themselves from that.

That’s not the role — there’s no shakedown. It’s insisting on responsible conduct and a responsible response to something they caused. And I find it outrageous to suggest that if, in fact, we insisted that BP demonstrate their preparedness, to put aside billions of dollars — in this case, $20 billion — to take care of the immediate needs of people who are drowning — these guys don’t have deep pockets. The guy who runs the local marina, the guy who has one shrimping boat, the guy who has one small business — he can’t afford to lose $10,000, $12,000, $15,000, $30,000 a month.

And so the thing the President did — and I was so proud of him — is when we had the meeting with BP — and they were cooperative in the meeting. They were cooperative. He said, look, what I want you to do is take care of those people now who, if they don’t get help now, are going to be under, gone. Gone.

And I might add, this fund is not a ceiling, and people can go back to it as many times as they can prove they have been damaged and they need help. And the cleanup costs are all BP’s costs, separate, apart and above that $20 billion.

What is wrong with that? How is that a shakedown? I mean, I just — I don’t know, I find it pretty astounding, the comment.

More GOP Lawmakers Hop On Bandwagon To Smear $20 Billion Escrow Fund As ?Chicago Style Shakedown?
Last night, the Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest caucus of Republican House members, fired off a statement declaring that the $20 billion dollar negotiated by BP and the Obama administration for victims of the oil catastrophe in the gulf is a “Chicago-Style Political Shakedown.” Echoing this sentiment, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) told BP executives […]

Last night, the Republican Study Committee (RSC), the largest caucus of Republican House members, fired off a statement declaring that the $20 billion dollar negotiated by BP and the Obama administration for victims of the oil catastrophe in the gulf is a “Chicago-Style Political Shakedown.” Echoing this sentiment, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) told BP executives that he is “sorry” for Obama’s “shakedown” of their company.

This morning, ThinkProgress traveled to Capitol Hill to interview lawmakers about the escrow fund. Several members of Congress, like Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), agreed with the RSC’s criticism of the fund. Even though Fleming’s home state of Louisiana has been devastated by BP’s spill, Fleming attacked the administration for not trusting BP and for daring to “take control of all the money from BP.” Asked about Barton’s apology to BP, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) said any lawmaker has a right to “do what they want”:

TP: He announced the $20 billion dollar escrow fund, funded by BP, to compensate some of the victims of this catastrophe. The Republican Study Committee put out a press release last night saying it’s a Chicago style power grab, do you agree with that sentiment?

FLEMING: I do because what we have seen from this administration is whenever something like this happens — look at automotive industry, financial industry — what they do is take control of dollars then they begin to disperse them along political agendas. And we’ve seen this happen before, and it looks like its the development here. BP has said, time and time again, that they will process all legitimate claims, we have no reason to believe they won’t. Why does the administration feel like it’s got to take control of all the money from BP?

TP: So Congressman, the Republican Study Committee last night said that the $20 billion dollar escrow fund is just another Chicago style politics kind of power grab. Do you agree with that, do you think that’s a fair characterization?

JORDAN: I’m, look, I’m always worried about this unprecedented involvement by the government in the private sector and look, BP obviously made some mistakes, but do we really believe the Federal government is going to do a better job?

TP: What do you think about Joe Barton in the hearing this morning, he said ‘I apologize’ to the BP executives for the escrow fund, saying again it’s a shakedown […] Do you have any kind of reaction to a member of Congress apologizing to BP executives?

NUNES: Look, every member of Congress represents seven, eight hundred thousand people and they can do what they want.

Watch it:

The apology from Barton does not appear to be a “gaffe” — rather, it seems like a genuine belief held by conservatives and much of the Republican Party that no matter the crime committed by BP or another major corporation, any effort to conduct oversight for the victims is somehow a government “shakedown.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) made a similar argument as Fleming, explaining that the escrow fund for BP’s victims is just another Obama effort to “redistribute the wealth.” As Steve Benen notes, Dick Armey, Rand Paul (R-KY), Sharron Angle (R-NV), Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) and the Heritage Foundation have all attacked Obama for daring to interfere with “private businesses” even during one of the greatest environmental and economic disasters in modern America.

This knee-jerk defense of big business isn’t confined to BP or the oil spill disaster. During the health reform debate, conservative lawmakers, like Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), quickly came to the defense of health insurance companies fighting against reform.