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Archive for November 20th, 2010

Nation: The Money-Media Election Complex

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2010 5:50 am by HL

Nation: The Money-Media Election Complex
Writing for The Nation, Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols cal this the most important story of the election: “the radical transformation of our politics by a money-and-media election complex that is now more definitional than any candidate or party — and that poses every bit as much of a threat to democracy as the military-industrial complex about which Dwight Eisenhower warned us a half-century ago.”



Late Late Night FDL: Classical Chicken

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2010 5:49 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Classical Chicken
Classical ChickenMuppet Studio‘s bawkapella version of Johann Strauss’ Blue Danube.

Classical ChickenMuppet Studio‘s bawkapella version of Johann Strauss’ Blue Danube.

What’s on your mind?


Lame Duck

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2010 5:48 am by HL

Lame Duck

By Nate Beeler, Cagle Cartoons, The Washington Examiner

Mr. Fish's Cartoon

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USPS Losses

By Mike Keefe, Cagle Cartoons, The Denver Post

Mr. Fish's Cartoon

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Fact-Checking The Nuclear-Arms Treaty Debate

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2010 5:47 am by HL

Fact-Checking The Nuclear-Arms Treaty Debate
WASHINGTON — In their showdown over an arms-control treaty with Russia, Democrats and Republicans are charging each other with undermining national security. Who’s right?…

Senior Federal Judge Pleads Guilty To 2 Drug Charges In Shocking Case
ATLANTA — A veteran federal judge who was arrested on charges that he bought and used drugs with a stripper pleaded guilty Friday to two-drug…

Chris Weigant: Friday Talking Points [147] — Democrats Fighting The Good Fight
Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but I thought that was a pretty good week for Democrats. Maybe it’s just the subject matter I’ve…

Report: U.S. Preparing Sweeping Insider-Trading Charges
Federal authorities, capping a three-year investigation, are preparing insider-trading charges that could ensnare consultants, investment bankers, hedge-fund and mutual-fund traders and analysts across the nation,…


Media Matters: Glenn Beck is the face of Fox News

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2010 5:46 am by HL

Media Matters: Glenn Beck is the face of Fox News

To those Fox News journalists who are reportedly “worried about the prospect that Beck is becoming the face of the network”: Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes have picked a side in this fight — and it’s not yours.

For months, accounts of internal tension over Beck have been leaking out of Fox News. Back in March, media critic Howard Kurtz — then with The Washington Postreported that “there is a deep split within Fox between those — led by Chairman Roger Ailes — who are supportive, and many journalists who are worried about the prospect that Beck is becoming the face of the network. … Beck has become a constant topic of conversation among Fox journalists, some of whom say they believe he uses distorted or inflammatory rhetoric that undermines their credibility.”

In an October New York Times Magazine profile of Beck, Mark Leibovich — who noted the “[o]ff-the-record sniping shoots in both directions” and could be related to upcoming contract negotiations — reported: “But the friction is evident in many areas.”  In addition to reporting — like Kurtz — that some Fox News journalists felt Beck’s inflammatory rhetoric undermined the network, Leibovich introduced a new twist: Ailes’ support for Beck may have been flagging.

Ailes, Leibovich wrote, “has generally been supportive of Beck,” but he’s also “complained about Beck’s hawking his non-Fox ventures too much on his Fox show” and has been “vocal around the network about how Beck does not fully appreciate the degree to which Fox News has made him the sensation he has become in recent months.”

With his ratings in a slump, advertisers dropping like flies, and the reported sniping from Ailes, it seemed possible that Beck’s influence at Fox might wane.

Then Rupert Murdoch stepped in.

When asked at the News Corp. annual shareholders meeting later that month about Ailes’ reported frustration with Beck’s use of Fox News airwaves to promote his own brand and interests, Murdoch dismissed such concerns, saying, “I don’t know whether you watch Fox News, but Mr. Beck is the least of our stars who take liberties in promoting their interests.”

And Murdoch was unfazed when asked at the meeting about reports that nearly 300 advertisers are boycotting Glenn Beck, responding, “That’s not true. … Maybe four or five who have been moved over to Mr. O’Reilly’s program. No one has taken any money off the channel.”

But perhaps most surprising was Murdoch’s unprompted praise for Beck in a November interview in his native Australia, which was paired with some trash-talking aimed at Fox News ratings giant Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly’s “easy” treatment of now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an interview was “disgraceful,” Murdoch said. He then lavished Beck with praise:

There’s a guy on Fox who started on CNN called Glenn Beck.

He is a little bit of an actor, he looks in the camera all the time. He’s very genuine, extremely well-read libertarian, doesn’t make any secret of it. He says don’t trust the government, don’t trust me, just trust yourselves.

He’s hit a nerve. Millions — millions — watch him at five in the afternoon!

Never mind that these days, O’Reilly regularly pulls in well over a million more viewers in his 8 p.m. slot than Beck does in his 5 p.m. slot. Or that advertisers — by Murdoch’s own admission — have moved from Beck’s program to O’Reilly’s. Beck is the one Murdoch brags about.

Is Murdoch out of touch with what is happening at his own network? Is his defense and praise of Beck an accident? That seems unlikely, given that he views the network as the jewel of his empire. When asked earlier this week by Fox Business’ Liz Claman what News Corp.’s best growth market is, Murdoch said, “Our best growth engine right now is in this country.” When Claman pressed for specifics, Murdoch immediately responded, “Fox Business. Fox News. Seriously.”

He later noted “other cable channels” — though not by name — and gave “Fox Broadcasting Company” a shout-out, but it’s clear that he believes financial future of News Corp. as a whole is tied closely to the financial future of Fox News.

Murdoch has quite consciously pushed Beck to the forefront at Fox News, and with him the type of paranoid, incendiary rhetoric and wild inaccuracies with which some Fox journalists are growing increasingly uncomfortable.

With a directive straight from the top of News Corp., Roger Ailes quickly fell back into line as Beck’s key backer at Fox News.

Ailes came roaring back to Beck’s defense this week in an interview with Kurtz after prominent Jewish leaders and Holocaust survivors condemned Beck’s threeday attack on financier and philanthropist George Soros.

In the special series — which ran from November 9th to 11th and was heavily promoted by Fox News — Beck falsely accused Soros of being a Holocaust collaborator and repeatedly attacked Soros with anti-Semitic stereotypes, referring to him as a “puppet master” and accusing him of controlling the media, the political process, and the global economy.

Kurtz, now with The Daily Beast, reported that Ailes offered a “spirited defense” of Beck in the wake of his recent attacks on Soros, and that Ailes had even reached out to the Anti-Defamation League — one of the groups that condemned Beck’s “puppet master” series — to smooth things over.

In fact, according to Kurtz’s interview, Ailes’ only real gripe with Beck seems to be that Beck criticizes Republicans too much. Ailes told Kurtz: “Beck trashes Republicans every night. I’ve said to him, ‘Where the hell are you going to get your audience if you keep this up? You’re trashing everyone.'”

Kurtz added: “There’s one criticism that Ailes doesn’t want to hear. He admonished the staff after unnamed Fox journalists told me they are worried that the divisive Beck is becoming the face of the network. ‘Yeah, shut up,’ says Ailes. ‘You’re getting a paycheck. Go on the team or get off the team. Don’t run around here badmouthing a colleague.'”

Indeed, Murdoch and Ailes have made their game plan for Fox News increasingly clear with their constant Beck boosterism. And ironically, Ailes’ analysis of Jon Stewart in his interview with Kurtz seems to best apply to Fox News and Ailes himself:

“If it wasn’t polarized, he couldn’t make a living.” … “He loves polarization. He depends on it. If liberals and conservatives are all getting along, how good would that show be? It’d be a bomb.'”


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2010 5:44 am by HL

Presented By:

Conservatives Approve Interim Report Slamming DOJ On New Black Panther Case
The conservative majority of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights today voted to approve what they are now calling an “interim” report on the Justice Department’s handling of the voter intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party.


Sarah Palin’s Alaska — The Edited Version

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2010 5:41 am by HL

Sarah Palin’s Alaska — The Edited Version
Stay tuned for the uncut version tomorrow.


The Conservative Pledge to Freeze the Debt Ceiling Is a Looming Disaster

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2010 5:40 am by HL

The Conservative Pledge to Freeze the Debt Ceiling Is a Looming Disaster
The resulting cuts would eviscerate basic services and protections offered by our federal government, and would increase unemployment and severely dampen economic growth.

The resulting cuts would eviscerate basic services and protections offered by our federal government, and would increase unemployment and severely dampen economic growth.

5 Tips to Stretch Your Holiday Dollars
With a little creativity and effort you might find that you’ve started a new holiday tradition that helps you avoid holiday debt year after year.

With a little creativity and effort you might find that you’ve started a new holiday tradition that helps you avoid holiday debt year after year.

ICE’s Partnership with Local Police Departments Leads to Migrants Quietly Disappearing
The "secure communities" program is especially troubling in light of recent reports that ICE has asked for the deportation of people eligible to be in the U.S.

The "secure communities" program is especially troubling in light of recent reports that ICE has asked for the deportation of people eligible to be in the U.S.


Lugar to Kyl: Time to “Get Real”

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2010 5:39 am by HL

Lugar to Kyl: Time to “Get Real”
Strong words today from ranking Repblican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Dick Lugar, insisting that ratification of the New START treaty should be voted on during the lame-duck session, despite Sen. Jon Kyl’s announcement yesterday of his opposition to…


Rotwang Ruminates, Post 11/10
Dissociated observations . . . Tickle Me, TSA. I’ve seen the pictures of people being scanned by the TSA. They look like the ghost of the Michelin Man. I’ve heard the radiation in question is no worse than what you…



Prospective RNC Chair Saul Anuzis Defended Right-Wing Extremist: ?Exactly The Type Of Young Kid We Want?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on November 20th, 2010 5:38 am by HL

Prospective RNC Chair Saul Anuzis Defended Right-Wing Extremist: ?Exactly The Type Of Young Kid We Want?
Saul Anuzis, the former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, announced this week that he’s running to replace Michael Steele as the chairman of the Republican National Committee. Anuzis — who also ran against Steele in 2009 — is widely considered to be a front-runner, and says that he plans to keep a low profile, […]

Saul Anuzis, the former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, announced this week that he’s running to replace Michael Steele as the chairman of the Republican National Committee. Anuzis — who also ran against Steele in 2009 — is widely considered to be a front-runner, and says that he plans to keep a low profile, telling Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on Monday that he just wants to “make sure the trains run on time.”

Keeping a low profile may be a good strategy for Anuzis — this week, the Southern Poverty Law Center revealed that Anuzis has defended and endorsed a vocal right-wing extremist named Kyle Bristow, who was the head of the Michigan State University chapter of Young Americans for Freedom (MSU-YAF). “This is exactly the type of young kid we want out there,” Anuzis said on a radio program in May 2007. “I’ve known Kyle for years and I can tell you I have never heard him say a racist or bigoted or sexist thing, ever.”

Throughout the “years” Anuzis professes to have know him, Bristow and MSU-YAF have engaged in a series of disturbing racist and homophobic activities. MSU-YAF staged events like “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day,” held a “Koran Desecration” competition, jokingly threatened to distribute smallpox-infested blankets to Native American students, and posted “Gays Spread AIDS” fliers across campus. Bristow is on record saying “Homosexuality kills people almost to a degree worse than cigarettes,” adding, “these [pro-gay rights] groups are complicit with murder.” He also invited Holocaust denier Nick Griffin, who is the leader of the whites-only British National Party, to give a speech at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, MI.

Many students quit MSU-YAF after Bristow began engaging the group in these activities; one student said she left MSU-YAF because it gained a reputation as a home for “racists and fascists” under Bristow. “Frankly,” she said, “he’s embarrassing.”

Thanks to Bristow’s leadership, the SPLC — which tracks extremist groups — designated the MSU-YAF as a hate group in 2006. Bristow appears to have taken the designation very personally. He recently wrote a novel with a plot that “evolves around a series of violent revenge fantasies against Jewish professors, Latino and Native American activists,” and also includes a graphic murder targeting a character only thinly veiled as an SPLC staffer:

The supersonic projectile hit the leftist agitator one inch below the eye, and the bullet exited the back of his head nanoseconds later. … Brain, blood, and skull fragments burst forth from what was once Greenberg’s head, and the leftist was blown off both of his feet. Greenberg died instantly, and his last words were “We must destroy the plague that is Western culture.” Ironically, Western culture got him first. From Valhalla [a celebration hall in Scandinavian mythology], Thor, the archenemy of trolls, smiled at the accomplishment of the epitome of Western Man.

“Several notable white supremacists and anti-Semites have endorsed the novel.” It should be noted that Anuzis’ defense of Bristow came almost a full year after MSU-YAF’s exploits were made public, and after the SPLC designated him as the leader of a hate group.

Anuzis would hardly be the first high-profile RNC chair candidate in recent years with a checked history on race. In 2008, former Tennessee GOP Chair Chip Saltsman, who also ran Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign that year, infamously sent out a “Christmas gift” to RNC members, including a song titled, “Barack the Magic Negro,” which parodied Obama “as a black man acceptable to whites.” Another song, “Star Spanglish Banner,” disparages Latinos.

Steve King Argues Undocumented Immigrants Aren?t Subject To The Jurisdiction Of U.S. Laws
Yesterday, the Miami Herald reported that “[a]s one of its first acts” next year, the GOP-controlled Congress will advance a bill by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) — the incoming chairman of the subcommittee that oversees immigration — that would modify the 14th amendment to deny “birthright citizenship” to the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants. In […]

Yesterday, the Miami Herald reported that “[a]s one of its first acts” next year, the GOP-controlled Congress will advance a bill by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) — the incoming chairman of the subcommittee that oversees immigration — that would modify the 14th amendment to deny “birthright citizenship” to the U.S.-born children of undocumented immigrants.

In an interview with Fox News’ Bill Hemmer this morning, King explained just how he plans to go about radically changing citizenship requirements. According to King, it doesn’t involve a Constitutional amendment, but rather, simply reinterpreting the 14th amendment in a way that would treat undocumented immigrants like foreign diplomats and exclude them from being subject to the jurisdiction of U.S. laws:

HEMMER: The critics are going to say “why deny citizenship to a child?” Your argument is what?

KING: Well it’s really pretty simple. There is an industry that has grown up out of this that pregnant woman come into the United States illegally so that they can have a family that’s anchored to their citizenship and anchored to American benefits.

HEMMER: You can find countless examples of that I’m certain. […] But you would need a Constitutional amendment to do away with this. That is a huge mountain to climb.

KING: I don’t agree Bill. Let me say that when you look at the scholarship on this — and I don’t present myself as a lead scholar — but I listen to some of them however and I read the text of it: all persons born within the United States and subject to jurisdiction thereof shall be American citizens. […]

HEMMER: So you would argue that it’s the language and the interpretation of the amendment?

KING: I would say so. That clause is there. If it weren’t there, then I think they would have a case. But the proper way to go about this is: pass the law banning birthright citizenship and then certainly the people on the other side will litigate…and we’ll fight out on the other side of this what the will in the Supreme Court is.

Watch it:

King clearly doesn’t understand the dangerous implications of mandating that anyone who comes to the U.S. illegally is not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. government. King’s interpretation of the 14th amendment could create a situation in which, rather than being legally defined and treated as removable “illegal aliens,” undocumented immigrants could only be declared personae non grata — a legal term under international law used to refer to “unwelcome” foreigners, usually diplomats, who are inherently under the jurisdiction of their home governments.

The personae non grata designation is completely discretionary and “[e]xpulsion is not the automatic consequence of the declaration.” In other words, by reinterpreting the 14th amendment in the manner that King suggests, when undocumented immigrants (or their children under this new schema) commit a crime they are no longer subject to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts and legal authorities. It’s hard to imagine King — or anyone else for that matter — would be on board with that.

The WonkRoom has more on why King is wrong about “anchor babies” and how dangerous his legislation would be.