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Archive for January 28th, 2011

Freedom now smells like tear gas, feels like rubber bullets

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2011 5:46 am by HL

Freedom now smells like tear gas, feels like rubber bullets
Egypt goes dark, but for most of it’s people it already is.

Always good to see the United States on the side of freedom and change. Nearly 30 years of rule by “emergency decree” and grooming your son to replace you does seem pretty democratic, if by democratic you mean Feudal.

The Obama Administration sure sounds a lot like the Carter Administration, right Joe Biden?

I wouldn’t refer to him as a dictator

Of course not, he’s our “friend”, just because he meets the definition, its no reason to go around truthfully labeling people.

Thankfully for Mubarak, like any leader of a “free” country, he can shut down the internet, have the country go dark and do really democratic stuff like this:

On Wednesday, the interior ministry declared all demonstrations illegal and the police moved in quickly to break up any gatherings

But all that well-spent American aid the last thirty plus years has really paid dividends for the people of Egypt.

The vast majority of Egyptians are too busy scratching a living to join the protests. There is widespread anger and disillusionment with the government, but there are probably not more than a few thousand people actively expressing their anger. That will give some reassurance to the government.

So, mission still possibly accomplished.


Late, Late Night FDL: F**kin’ Perfect
P!nk – F**kin’ Perfect

P!nk – F**kin’ Perfect

While the cat’s away the mice shall play…!

What’s on your mind tonite…?

Early Morning Swim


The Real Deal

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2011 5:45 am by HL

The Real Deal
Andrew Foster Altschul’s “Deus Ex Machina,” set amid a TV show that looks like the love child of “Survivor” and “Lost,” explores reality in several senses of the word. Here’s an excerpt from the novel, which will be published next week.

Andrew Foster Altschul’s “Deus Ex Machina,” set amid a TV show that looks like the love child of “Survivor” and “Lost,” explores reality in several senses of the word. Here’s an excerpt from the novel, which will be published next week.

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Heather Taylor-Miesle: We Must Put Out Newt Gingrich’s Wildfire Before It Starts

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2011 5:44 am by HL

Heather Taylor-Miesle: We Must Put Out Newt Gingrich’s Wildfire Before It Starts
Newt might want to paint EPA scientists as a bunch of bureaucratic tree huggers but make no mistake — this agency is all about the health of your family.

House Republicans Consider Privatizing Medicare
WASHINGTON — Months after they hammered Democrats for cutting Medicare, House Republicans are debating whether to relaunch their quest to privatize the health program for…

Roberto Ramos: Before a Latino White House, Comes a Latino Leader
As a group, we are still young, enterprising, gaining in numbers and can point to a number of inspiring individuals and committed organizations upon whose shoulders we can stand.

Sam Bennett: Rep. Giffords and Christina Green: Inspiring Progress and Possibilities for American Women in Politics
Rep. Giffords’ career and Ms. Green’s life cut tragically short provide something more potent than gender parity statistics: powerful examples of public leadership by women for women (and men) to admire.


Broken Record: Fox Still Falsely Claiming That Snow Disproves Global Warming

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2011 5:43 am by HL

Broken Record: Fox Still Falsely Claiming That Snow Disproves Global Warming

During their recent coverage of winter storms, Fox News has repeatedly mocked former Vice President Al Gore and cited the cold and snowy weather to attempt to discredit global warming. Fox News and other right-wing media routinely use snow to cast doubt on global warming, and internal emails from Fox News’ Washington bureau show that in the past Fox employees have been instructed to question climate science.

Fox Uses Latest Snowstorm To Mock Gore, Climate Science

Doocy Asks: “I Wonder Where Al Gore Is This Morning?” On the January 27 broadcast of Fox & Friendshost Steve Doocy reported from outside of Fox News’ studios to show viewers how much snow fell in New York City during the previous evening’s storm. During the segment, he asked, “I wonder where Al Gore is this morning?” He then added: “That global warming is really taking its toll. Isn’t it?” [Fox News’ Fox & Friends, 1/27/11] 

Fox Chyron: “What Global Warming?” During one segment about the recent snowstorm, Fox & Friends aired an on-screen graphic that read, “What Global Warming?” [Fox & Friends, 1/20/11]

NASA: 2010 Hottest Year On Record. In December 2010, the Washington Post’s Post Carbon blog reported that NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies had released data showing that 2010 was the hottest climate year on record. [Washington Post12/10/10]

2000-2009 Warmest Decade On Record. In January, major meteorological organizations throughout the world — including NASA — released reports showing that the past decade, 2000-2009, was the warmest on record. The reports undermine the right-wing media’s numerous claims that recent snow and cold weather show climate change does not exist or has slowed over the past 10 years. [Media Matters1/25/10]

Fox’s Sammon Ordered Reporters To Cast Doubt On Climate Science

Fox Boss Ordered Staff To Cast Doubt On Climate Science. In the midst of global climate change talks in Copenhagen in December 2009, Fox News’ Washington Managing Editor Bill Sammon sent an email to Fox staff questioning the “veracity of climate change data” and ordering the network’s journalists to “refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.” [Media Matters, 12/15/10]

Indeed, Fox Recently Tried And Failed To Debunk Fact That Global Temperatures Have Increased In Recent Decades. In an article titled, “Five Reasons the Planet May Not Be Its Hottest Ever,” FoxNews.com sought to debunk the fact that global temperatures have increased over the past 30 years, as well as the notion that human activity has contributed to the warming. But in compiling a handful of contrarian arguments, Fox largely ignored climate science and botched basic facts; even one of the skeptics Fox cited said part of the article “does not make sense.” [Media Matters, 1/25/111/14/11]

Fox Nation Falsely Suggests January Snow Disproves Global Warming. On January 11, Fox Nation linked to a story about high amounts of snow in the U.S. with the headline, “Someone Tell Gore it’s Snowing in 49 States Today, Including Hawaii.” [Fox Nation, 1/11/11]

Right-Wing Media Cite December 2010 Snowstorm To Mock Global Warming. Glenn Beck, Fox Nation, and right-wing blogger Jim Hoft all used the December 2010 snowstorm and the collapse of the roof of Minnesota Vikings’ football stadium to mock Gore and claim that global warming isn’t happening. [Media Matters12/13/11]

Wash Times Uses Cold Weather In December To Call Global Warming A “Hoax.” In a December 13 editorial, The Washington Times cited recent snow and cold temperatures to call global warming a “hoax.” [The Washington Times 12/13/10]

Right-wing Media Use DC Snowstorms To Attack Gore And Climate Science. Following a February 2010 snowstorm in Washington, DC, right-wing media across the board mocked Al Gore and tried to attack climate science by pointing to the snowfall. Fox Nation and Fox News personalities Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Gretchen Carlson, Steve Doocy, Stuart Varney, and Eric Bolling all used the DC snowstorm to attack Gore or the science supporting global warming, as did Rush Limbaugh and The Washington Times. The New York Post used the snowstorm to suggest that Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) was correct in saying that the snow “must be a sign from God” about the existence of global warming. [Media Matters2/10/10]


Ethics Committee: Wall Street Fundraisers Weren’t As Bad As DeLay

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2011 5:41 am by HL

Ethics Committee: Wall Street Fundraisers Weren’t As Bad As DeLay
Nothing to see here, folks! That’s the takeaway of the House Ethics Committee’s on fundraisers targeting financial industry lobbyists held by members of the House around the time the legislative body was voting on an overhaul of financial regulation in December of 2009.

Allen Stanford’s Case Highlights Prison Violence
An inmate at the Joe Corley Detention Facility, a private prison owned by the GEO Group, was on the phone in his cell. The other prisoners in his unit on that day in late September 2009 didn’t like that.

Command Changes At Brig Where Manning Is Held
A new commander has taken over the brig at the Quantico Marine Corps base in Virginia, where Pfc. Bradley Manning is being held on charges that he leaked classified information.


1816 Flashback?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2011 5:38 am by HL

1816 Flashback?
A volcanic eruption of Biblical proportions is often cited as the cause of the unusual weather experienced around the northern hemisphere in 1816, which is often called “the year there was no summer.” If, as some of the cutting edge conspiracy theory advocates are alleging, the summer of 2011 does a repeat of its […]


Rachel Maddow: In America Today, Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower Would Be Bernie Sanders in the U.S. Senate

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2011 5:37 am by HL

Rachel Maddow: In America Today, Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower Would Be Bernie Sanders in the U.S. Senate
The huge ever rapid shift rightward makes Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon look like lefty radicals today.

75-Year Prison Sentence for Taping the Police? The Absurd Laws That Criminalize Audio and Video Recording in America
The growing accessibility of recording devices is prompting officials to dig up dusty old eavesdropping laws that are being used to intimidate the nation’s citizens.

Republicans Say Everything the Dems Pass Is Unconstitutional — Even Policies They’ve Championed for Decades
The individual mandate was long championed by the GOP, but since it was passed by a Democratic Congress they’ve decided it violates the Constitution.


The Real Battle With China: Goldman Sachs versus American Workers

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2011 5:36 am by HL

The Real Battle With China: Goldman Sachs versus American Workers
When China’s President Hu Jintao came for his state visit last week the White House press corps completely ignored almost all the substantive issues raised by Mr. Hu’s visit. The domestic policy issues raised by this trip were altogether invisible…

Tea Party Forever
I think Michael is absolutely correct in connecting the Tea Party to a raft of unpleasant political movements of the past. This is not to say that everybody in the somewhat diffuse movement is identical; for example, about a third…

Persecution Politics: How Glenn Beck Rationalizes Bigotry
I’d like to thank Michael, Michael, and Michelle for their excellent articles. We actually had a fourth Michael slated for the book club, but he had to cancel due to personal circumstances. In the meantime, I’d like to use these…



How The U.S. Chamber Of Commerce?s Egyptian Affiliate Went To Bat For The Egyptian Dictatorship

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2011 5:35 am by HL

How The U.S. Chamber Of Commerce?s Egyptian Affiliate Went To Bat For The Egyptian Dictatorship

As Egyptian protests continue to rage and thousands of people in that country continue to demand democratic reforms, many commentators are rightly calling upon the international community to show solidarity with the demonstrators and join them in battling the Mubarak regime.

However, there is at least one powerful, multinational entity that has continually stood by Mubarak and the Egyptian elite and has continually fought efforts to democratize the country. As ThinkProgress previously reported, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce maintains a network of foreign affiliates known as Amchams, “which are foreign chambers of the Chamber composed of American and foreign companies.” In Egypt, this foreign affiliate is known as the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, known in short as AmCham Egypt.

AmCham Egypt’s relation to the Mubarak dictatorship stretches back decades. In fact, the Egyptian dictator even personally intervened to create the organization. In 1981, Mubarak issued an order to allow for the creation of the AmCham by large Western multinational corporations, like Coca Cola and BP. The Chamber’s member companies account for nearly 20 percent of Egypt’s GDP.

When a powerful corporate-backed entity like the AmCham Egypt gains favorable treatment, it is natural for it to try to protect its patron. So last year, when a group of U.S. Senators — lead by Russ Feingold (D-WI) — introduced legislation that called on the government of Egypt to end crackdowns on pro-democracy activists and hold free and fair elections, AmCham Egypt, at the behest of the Egyptian dictatorship, sprung into action.

As Al Masra Al Youm, a major Egyptian paper, reports, the Mubarak regime tapped AmCham Egypt President Shafik Gabr to do its bidding. Gabr was “dispatched expressly” for the purpose of scuttling the bill:

American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Egypt President Shafik Gabr arrived in Washington on Wednesday to meet with members of US Congress in an effort to persuade them to refrain from issuing a resolution demanding that Egypt “hold fair elections, allow international monitoring of elections, and respect democracy and human rights.”

Informed sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Gabr, who is also a leading member of the ruling National Democratic Party of President Hosni Mubarak, had been dispatched expressly for this purpose by the Egyptian government.

By asking a non-American who technically worked for a nongovernmental organization to do their advocacy for them, the Mubarak regime successfully skirted numerous laws dealing with lobbying disclosure, making it easier to hide its role. But thanks to the intervention of AmCham Egypt as well as a died a quiet death as it wasn’t brought to the floor before the Senate’s recess.

And stunningly, just days before massive protests erupted all over Egypt demanding democracy — protests which were widely expected given events in neighboring Tunisia and the upcoming anniversary of a police massacre at the hands of British colonizers — AmCham Egypt hosted former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, who blamed the media for its “sensational coverage” of the Tunisian revolution and said it was in American interests to “continue to support ‘our friends’ in the region, such as Egypt, Jordan and Gulf countries.” “Chaos is in no one’s interest,” he concluded, disparaging the protests:

Negroponte said it will be crucial for US interests to continue to support “our friends” in the region, such as Egypt, Jordan and Gulf countries. […]

During a brief question-and-answer session at the conclusion of his address, Negroponte said he was surprised by the unrest in Tunisia that ended the 23-year presidency of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. He said that what happened in Tunisia is “not necessarily transferable” to other countries. He blamed the news media for sensational coverage of self-immolation protests in Egypt, Algeria and Mauritania, and urged “a little bit of patience.” “Let’s hope the country doesn’t descend into chaos,” he said. “Chaos is in no one’s interest.”

While backing dictatorships is nothing new for Negroponte, it should be noted that he has financial interests at stake in Egypt as well. He is on the board of Agility DGS, a defense company that has major operations in Egypt.

In 2006, AmCham Egypt, in a particularly outlandish move, put out a statement in its Business Monthly that bragged that President Mubarak “became Egypt’s first president to be directly elected in a multiparty contest” in 2005 — a reference to an election where almost all the independent opposition was banned and Mubarak won 88 percent of the vote. For years, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been using its massive amounts of corporate money to distort American democracy. Let the record show that its foreign affiliates appear to be dead set on doing much worse in foreign countries, even if it means backing a brutal dictator like Mubarak.


As Arabs protest, Obama administration offers assertive support

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on January 28th, 2011 5:34 am by HL

As Arabs protest, Obama administration offers assertive support
The Obama administration is openly supporting the anti-government demonstrations shaking the Arab Middle East, a stance that is far less tempered than the one the president has taken during past unrest in the region.

ComPost: Sarah Palin on the ‘Race to Space,’ Sputnik and Spudnut
Dear Sarah Palin, Based on your comments to Greta van Susteren on Fox News last night about the State of the Union address, I think there has been a slight misunderstanding. Or, possibly, several large misunderstandings. I liked your coinage of “WTF moments” from President Obama’s phrase, “winnin…


Senate leaders agree on filibuster changes
Senate leaders announced a bipartisan deal Thursday to speed up the chamber’s work by limiting the use of the filibuster and dropping the confirmation process for about 400 federal agency nominees.

Stephen Stromberg: The debt is ballooning. Now can we think clearly?
The Congressional Budget Office reports that the budget deficit this year will be the highest ever — $1.5 trillion — and that the national debt will equal 77 percent of Gross Domestic Product by 2021. And the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget reports that the CBO’s long-term estimates …