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Archive for November 9th, 2010

Late, Late Night FDL: We Didn’t Start The Fire

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2010 5:48 am by HL

Late, Late Night FDL: We Didn’t Start The Fire
We Didn’t Start The Fire – Billy Joel

We Didn’t Start The Fire – Billy Joel

What would the lyrics be if Billy updated it…?

What’s on your mind tonite…?

Rage-cation
Someone who had way too much time on their hands, now deservedly has more.

Future Senator of Alaska…on right? via DJ@buzz twang at flicker.com

You may remember, whether you’d like to or not, the story of Andrew Shirvell the assistant Michigan AG who decided to spend his free (and other) time stalking, abusing, and harassing a gay University of Michigan student. Well, Mr. Shirvell has finally been fired.

So now he can devote more time to being an asshole. Roger Ailes be must phoning, texting, faxing, and emailing his tiny, overworked, little heart out to add him as a FoxNews All-Star.

So we better keep him busy.

Perhaps he could be hired as a ballot counter in Alaska and proclaim “Murkowski” is the Inuit word for “Lizard People”?

Maybe he can travel the globe and declare whose Jesus is bigger than another’s Jesus (America ironically ineligible through Act of God).

He’s young enough to enlist in the military, and pathetically able to serve openly while being an asshole.

Or course the Taliban (non-American branch) is hiring.


Washington Laughs at ‘Revolution’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2010 5:47 am by HL

Washington Laughs at ‘Revolution’
Washingtonians giggle at the new and the recycled anti-Washington loudmouths coming or coming back to our capital city. There are no outsiders inside the Beltway. By Richard Reeves

Washingtonians giggle at the new and the recycled anti-Washington loudmouths coming or coming back to our capital city. There are no outsiders inside the Beltway.


Related Entries



Jonathan Weiler: Why Sarah Palin (Probably) Won’t Run for President in 2012

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2010 5:46 am by HL

Jonathan Weiler: Why Sarah Palin (Probably) Won’t Run for President in 2012
In another promotional spot for her TLC show, Palin says of the wilderness: “I’d rather be out here than in some dumpy old political office.” Maybe this is one time when we should take her at her word.

Jon Stewart Responds To The ‘False Equivalency’ Critique Of The Rally To Restore Sanity (VIDEO)
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Paul Volcker: Unemployment Has No Short-Term Solution
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Fox attacks Obama for uncontroversial statements about jihad

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2010 5:45 am by HL

Fox attacks Obama for uncontroversial statements about jihad

Fox News figures are attacking President Obama for suggesting during a town hall meeting with Indian students that jihad is a tenet of Islam that “has been distorted to justify violence towards innocent people.” But former President George W. Bush similarly stated that extremists “distort the idea of jihad” to support their terrorist acts.

Asked about jihad, Obama explains that Islam “has been distorted to justify violence”

Obama responds to jihad question: Islam “in the hands of a few extremists has been distorted to justify violence towards innocent people that is never justified.” During a November 7 town hall meeting with students in Mumbai, India, Obama had the following exchange:

Q: Hi, good day, sir. Hi, my name is Anna and I’m from St. Davis College. My question to you is, what is your take on opinion about jihad, or jihadi? Whatever is your opinion, what do you think of them?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the phrase jihad has a lot of meanings within Islam and is subject to a lot of different interpretations. But I will say that, first, Islam is one of the world’s great religions. And more than a billion people who practice Islam, the overwhelming majority view their obligations to their religion as ones that reaffirm peace and justice and fairness and tolerance.  I think all of us recognize that this great religion in the hands of a few extremists has been distorted to justify violence towards innocent people that is never justified.

And so I think one of the challenges that we face is how do we isolate those who have these distorted notions of religious war and reaffirm those who see faiths of all sorts — whether you are a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian or a Jew or any other religion, or your don’t practice a religion — that we can all treat each other with respect and mutual dignity, and that some of the universal principles that Gandhi referred to — that those are what we’re living up to, as we live in a nation or nations that have very diverse religious beliefs.

And that’s a major challenge. It’s a major here in India, but it’s a challenge obviously around the world. And young people like yourselves can make a huge impact in reaffirming that you can be a stronger observer of your faith without putting somebody else down or visiting violence on somebody else.

I think a lot of these ideas form very early. And how you respond to each other is going to be probably as important as any speech that a President makes in encouraging the kinds of religious tolerance that I think is so necessary in a world that’s getting smaller and smaller, where more and more people of different backgrounds, different races, different ethnicities are interacting and working and learning from each other. 

And those circumstances — I think all of us have to fundamentally reject the notion that violence is a way to mediate our differences.

Fox figures freak out over Obama’s refusal to state that “jihad killed 3,000 Americans”

Hannity: “Why couldn’t he just say, ‘jihad killed 3,000 Americans’?” On the November 8 edition of Fox News show, after airing portions of Obama’s comments, Sean Hannity asked contributor Newt Gingrich, “Why couldn’t he just say, ‘Jihad killed 3,000 Americans, it is the belief or the false use of God to justify killing and murder and war’? Why didn’t he say that?”

Gingrich: Obama “was following up” on his administration’s “continuous denial” about “who is trying to kill us.” Gingrich replied in part to Hannity, “I think this administration is in such total denial about who’s trying to kill us and what their motives are that it’s dangerous to the country. And the president today, in this particular performance, was following up on this continuous denial.”

O’Reilly: Obama was asked “about the world-wide problem of jihad” and “dodged” it. On his November 8 program, Bill O’Reilly said, “In Indi,a the president held a big town hall-type meeting, and the first question was about the worldwide Muslim problem, which deeply affects India.” After airing a portion of Obama’s comments, O’Reilly said, “So once again, Mr. Obama dodged the girl’s question and failed to answer about the jihad. Whenever, whenever the president is faced with the worldwide problem of jihad, Mr. Obama delivers platitudes.” O’Reilly later added:

While soothing words can help persuade peace-loving Muslims that we are not the enemy, I’ll submit to that you that most Americans don’t want that kind of presentation exclusively. We need to combine the platitudes with straight talk about the danger in the Muslim world. The USA avoided the jihad issue for decades, and finally 3,000 people wound up dead on 9-11. Americans will never forget that.

Ham: I’m “worried” Obama can’t “answer a question about jihad which is a present danger to our country.” On the November 8 edition of The O’Reilly Factor, Mary Katherine Ham said of Obama: “I’m worried about where he stands on things like being able to answer a question about jihad, which is a present danger to our country. So that part worries me. The sort of dancing around that question, I think, is silly and does not really serve the purpose of his mission.”

Official Bush administration policy: “Terrorists distort the idea of jihad into a call for violence”

Bush: “extremists distort the idea of jihad.” In a November 11, 2005, speech, President Bush said that “[t]hese extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Hindus and Jews — and against Muslims, themselves, who do not share their radical vision.” From the speech:

All these separate images of destruction and suffering that we see on the news can seem like random, isolated acts of madness — innocent men and women and children who have died simply because they boarded the wrong train, or worked in the wrong building, or checked into the wrong hotel. Yet, while the killers choose their victims indiscriminately, their attacks serve a clear and focused ideology — a set of beliefs and goals that are evil, but not insane.

Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; and still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it’s called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam. This form of radicalism exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision: the establishment, by terrorism, subversion and insurgency, of a totalitarian empire that denies all political and religious freedom. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against Christians and Hindus and Jews — and against Muslims, themselves, who do not share their radical vision.

Bush: “extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against anyone who does not share their radical vision.” In a October 17, 2005, speech, Bush said that “These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against anyone who does not share their radical vision, including Muslims from other traditions, who they regard as heretics.” From the speech:

As we work together to defeat the terrorists, we must be very clear about the enemies we face. The killers who take the lives of innocent men, women, and children are followers of a violent ideology very different from the religion of Islam. These extremists distort the idea of jihad into a call for terrorist murder against anyone who does not share their radical vision, including Muslims from other traditions, who they regard as heretics.

Their strategy will fail. Many Muslim scholars have already publicly condemned terrorism, often citing chapter 5, verse 32 of the Koran, which states that killing an innocent human being is like killing all of humanity, and saving the life of one person is like saving all of humanity. I appreciate those of you here who have joined these scholars in rejecting violent extremists. And I believe the time has come for all responsible Islamic leaders to denounce an ideology that exploits Islam for political ends, and defiles your noble faith.

2006 National Strategy for Combating Terrorism: “Terrorists distort the idea of jihad into a call for violence and murder against those they regard as apostates or unbelievers.” The September 2006 National Strategy for Combating Terrorism — authored by the Bush administration’s National Security Council — stated of “Today’s Terrorist Enemy”: “This enemy movement seeks to create and exploit a division between the Muslim and non-Muslim world and within the Muslim world itself. The terrorists distort the idea of jihad into a call for violence and murder against those they regard as apostates or unbelievers, including all those who disagree with them. Most of the terrorist attacks since September 11 have occurred in Muslim countries — and most of the victims have been Muslims.”

Bush adviser Hughes: I recommended to Bush that he stop referencing “Islamic jihad.” According to an April 7 Associated Press report, Karen Hughes, who served as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in the Bush administration, took credit for urging President Bush to stop using the term “Islamic jihad” because of “the way it’s heard” by Muslims:

But the Bush administration struggled with its rhetoric. Muslims criticized him for describing the war against terror as a “crusade” and labeling the invasion of Afghanistan “Operation Infinite Justice” — words that were seen as religious. He regularly identified America’s enemy as “Islamic extremists” and “radical jihadists.”

Karen Hughes, a Bush confidant who served as his top diplomat to the Muslim world in his second term, urged the White House to stop.

“I did recommend that, in my judgment, it’s unfortunate because of the way it’s heard. We ought to avoid the language of religion,” Hughes said. “Whenever they hear ‘Islamic extremism, Islamic jihad, Islamic fundamentalism,’ they perceive it as a sort of an attack on their faith. That’s the world view Osama bin Laden wants them to have.”

Hughes and Juan Zarate, Bush’s former deputy national security adviser, said Obama’s efforts build on groundwork from Bush’s second term, when some of the rhetoric softened.

FoxNews.com: Obama’s remarks have been widely praised by Indian Muslims

Indian Muslim leaders: Obama “is right,” jihad “has been wrongly interpreted by some people.” In a November 8 article headlined “Indian Muslims Appreciate Obama Remarks on ‘Jihad,'” FoxNews.com reported:

President Obama’s remarks on the real meaning of “jihad” and the exploitation of Islam by extremists has gone over well with Muslim activists and opinion-makers in India, where the president is traveling on a three-day jaunt to the world’s largest democracy.

[…]

“Jihad can in no way assume the form of violence against the innocent and those who are perpetrating such violent acts have done great disservice to Islam,” Kamal Farooqi, a prominent member of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, which protects the use of Islamic Shariah law for Muslims in India, was quoted saying by the Times of India. 

“To that extent President Obama is correct,” Farooqi said.

Maulana Masood Madani, head of the Organization of Indian Scholars known as Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, which also promotes Muslim issues in India, also agreed that Obama gets it.

“It’s true that jihad has been wrongly interpreted by some people; however, I don’t know by what yardsticks the US brands someone a jihadi or non-jihadi,” said Madani, who is a parliamentarian.

“He is right — jihad originally meant struggle against injustice, it does not mean killing the innocent,” said Parliamentarian Rashid Alvi, who told the Times of India that Al Qaeda or Lashkar-e-Taiba do not represent Islamic interests.

Right-wing media previously attacked Brennan over similar statements about jihad

Right-wing media previously claimed Obama administration counterterrorism adviser John Brennan’s statement that jihad is a “legitimate tenet of Islam” was “absurd” and frightening” and indicates Brennan is “deranged.” Hannity, for example, called for Brennan to be “fired for his ignorance.”

Fox News has an Islam problem

The network has a long history of making controversial assertions about Muslims — often by baselessly branding them as “terrorists” or “terrorist sympathizers” — calling for profiling, or equating Islam and all of its adherents with radical extremists who claim to act in its name.


Darrell Issa Embarks On Charm Offensive, Lays Out Bipartisan Agenda (VIDEO)

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2010 5:44 am by HL

Darrell Issa Embarks On Charm Offensive, Lays Out Bipartisan Agenda (VIDEO)
All the predictions had Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the chairman-in-waiting of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, embarking on a partisan subpoena spree, dredging up various conservatives’ pet issues to take shots at the Obama administration.

CAIR Member Sues Oklahoma Over Sharia Ban
Days after Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to prohibit its courts from considering Sharia or international law, CAIR’s Oklahoma director filed a lawsuit asking for an injunction against the law.



The Teabaggers Go To Washington

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2010 5:41 am by HL

The Teabaggers Go To Washington


Christie’s Approval Bounces Back

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2010 5:40 am by HL

Christie’s Approval Bounces Back
Though early polls showed New Jersey voters might have felt buyer’s remorse after electing Chris Christie as their governor, a new Quinnipiac poll shows him with a 51% to 38% approval rating — higher than President Obama or any other statewide leader.

Indeed, 52% say his first year in office has been mainly a success, while 35% say it’s been mainly a failure.


The Writing on the Wall: Calendar Portrays America’s Longest War

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2010 5:39 am by HL

The Writing on the Wall: Calendar Portrays America’s Longest War
Sometimes it takes a picture to drive home the the human suffering and the outright absurdities wrought by our 40-year-old war on drugs.


“On November 3rd, No one’s gonna Care about” Meg Whitman

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2010 5:38 am by HL

“On November 3rd, No one’s gonna Care about” Meg Whitman
Meg Whitman predicted nobody was going to care about her former housekeeper Niki Diaz on November 3rd. It looks like she was projecting, in more ways than one.?Meg Whitman covers Regina Spektor’s hit “Fidelity” (“It Breaks my Heart”) as she…


Nothing Happened Last Tuesday
The slogan behind Bill Clinton’s 1992 victory — “It’s the economy, stupid” — worked to the Republicans’ advantage this time for reasons we need to understand. Obama’s comment that voters don’t face facts when they’re scared was true, even if…

The Republican Recipe For An Anemic Economy Through Election Day 2012
The real message from voters was “Fix this stinking economy.” But Republicans have no intention of doing so. With Republicans in control of the House, forget spending increases or tax cuts to stimulate the economy. Republicans don’t believe in stimulating…



GA GOP Governor-Elect Nathan Deal?s Transition Team Is Comprised Of State?s Top Special Interests And Lobbyists

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 9th, 2010 5:37 am by HL

GA GOP Governor-Elect Nathan Deal?s Transition Team Is Comprised Of State?s Top Special Interests And Lobbyists
Few states were impacted by last week’s Republican victories as much as Georgia. In addition to defeating Blue Dog Rep. Jim Marshall (D), Republicans seized control of every single state-wide office and expanded powerful majorities in the legislature, giving them a position of strength they have not had in modern political history. Former Rep. Nathan […]

Few states were impacted by last week’s Republican victories as much as Georgia. In addition to defeating Blue Dog Rep. Jim Marshall (D), Republicans seized control of every single state-wide office and expanded powerful majorities in the legislature, giving them a position of strength they have not had in modern political history.

Former Rep. Nathan Deal (R) won the governor’s race 53-43, handily defeating former Gov. Roy Barnes (D). During the campaign, Deal had to overcome numerous serious investigations and allegations of corrupt behavior, including his history of exerting political influence to win no-bid contracts for businesses he had a financial stake in. Many good government watchdogs worried that a Deal governorship would continue to use political means for the private profit of special interests tied to Deal.

This morning, the Deal campaign released a list of staffers who comprise his transition team. The list reads like a who’s who list of some of the state’s top special interests and lobbyists — people who have represented corporate giants ranging from Georgia Power to Goldman Sachs. Here are a few highlights:

– Rogers Wade: Wade is leading the transition team. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation (GPPF), a far-right local think tank which seats numerous corporate special interests on its board. Before joining GPPF, Wade was a “senior partner in the public affairs firm of Edington, Wade and Associates.” While there, he represented “over half of the Fortune 100 companies from throughout the United States and Europe.” He is also the former vice president of Watkins Associated Industries, a “national company with major holdings in transportation, development, seafood processing, insurance and communications.”

– Pete Robinson: Robinson is the Chairman of Troutman Sanders Strategies, a major Atlanta-based lobbying firm. The firm has in the past defended major polluters and employers fending off labor abuse lawsuits.

– Joe Tanner: Tanner is the president of Joe Tanner & Associates, another Atlanta-based firm heavily involved in lobbying. His firm has served such clients such as WellStar Health System and energy giant Georgia Power.

– Monty Veazey: Veazey is what the Center for Public Integrity calls a “hired gun” — a former legislator who was quickly snapped up to be a lobbyist soon after he left office. He has lobbied on behalf of the Georgia Industrial Loan Association and Kraft Foods, among other corporate clients.

– Rob Leebern: Despite the fact that Deal spent much of his campaign attacking Washington, D.C., he has hired a D.C.-based lobbyist to work on his transition team. Leebern, like Robinson, does lobbying work for Troutman Sanders Strategies.

– Dan Lee: Lee, like Veazey, is a “hired gun.” Shortly after leaving office, he lobbied for such clients as the Corrections Corporation of America, United Healthcare, Goldman Sachs, and New South Energy.

The Deal campaign maintains that none of the transition team members will engage in lobbying activities while they are working for the Governor-elect. Yet the fact remains that Deal has chosen some of the state’s most well-connected conduits for corporate influence in government to staff the team that will be moving him into the Governor’s mansion. If anything, it appears that Deal is signaling to the state’s special interests that pay-for-play is well and alive in the state’s capitol.

Meet The Speaker From K Street: John Boehner
Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), widely expected to become the next Speaker of the House, has promised to create a more “open” and “transparent” Congress. To cultivate an image of independence, Boehner has projected a media profile revolving around his humble upbringing and his refusal to request earmarks. However, Boehner’s media profile simply does not comport […]

Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), widely expected to become the next Speaker of the House, has promised to create a more “open” and “transparent” Congress. To cultivate an image of independence, Boehner has projected a media profile revolving around his humble upbringing and his refusal to request earmarks.

However, Boehner’s media profile simply does not comport with his career-long record of corruption and influence peddling. Before his ascent to leadership, Boehner had been known for once handing out campaign contribution checks from tobacco lobbyists on the House floor. When Republicans controlled Congress, Boehner and Rep. Roy Blunt (R-MO) were the point men for former Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) in communicating with corporate lobbyists. At one point, Boehner even convened a weekly meeting called the “Thursday Group” to huddle with K Street lobbyists.

As the Guardian’s Paul Harris noted yesterday, Boehner was caught lobbying the Environmental Protection Agency to drop a lawsuit against one of Boehner’s biggest contributors in the steel industry, and has attacked an array of regulations aimed at the specific businesses which contribute to his campaign committee. Moreover, the overwhelmingly positive and uncritical press accounts of Boehner’s career have ignored his cozy relationship with business lobbyists in just the past two years:

– Roll Call reported that lobbyists view Boehner as a “good investment,” and that Boehner assembled a “kitchen cabinet” of lobbyists to organize his fundraising operation, including representatives from Goldman Sachs, Phillip Morris, UnitedHealth, and FedEx. According to the article, Boehner leaned on these lobbyists to pressure their clients to increase their contributions to vulnerable Republican lawmakers. Boehner’s outreach helped his own campaign war chest swell to $3.2 million, while his leadership PAC had brought in $1.9 million by the end of March.

– In July of 2009, Boehner interrupted House proceedings so Republican lawmakers could attend his annual “Boehner Beach Party” fundraiser with corporate lobbyists. [Politico]

– In December of 2009, Boehner convened a meeting with 100 corporate lobbyists to plot strategy to defeat Wall Street reform. [Roll Call]

– In January of 2010, Boehner organized a House Republican retreat. In an interview with ThinkProgress, Boehner said he didn’t know if any corporate lobbyists would be there. However, ThinkProgress traveled to the retreat, and found lobbyists from Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, and the health insurance industry not only in attendance, but helping to fund the event. [ThinkProgress]

– In March of 2010, Boehner addressed the American Bankers Association, telling corporate lobbyists to fight financial reform. “Don’t let those little punk staffers take advantage of you,” Boehner implored the bank lobbyists, encouraging them to stand up to Capitol Hill staffers. [MarketWatch]

– Last week, Boehner selected Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) to lead his Majority Transition Team to help set the rules and staffing selections for the new Republican Congress. Rather than select a lawmaker with a strong ethical history, Walden gained his new leadership stature by serving as the National Republican Campaign Committee liaison to the big business community for 2009 and 2010.

Boehner and his allies have pledged largely cosmetic attempts at reforming the ethics of Washington. For instance, he has indicated that he is open to cutting his own pay. This move may garner more good press and promote Boehner’s image. However, a more apt symbol of Boehner’s ethical standards occurred four years ago. In 2006, Boehner was caught living in a house owned by a lobbyist who had sought legislative favors from him.