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Archive for April 25th, 2011

Late, Late Night FDL: Sex Kills

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 25th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Late, Late Night FDL: Sex Kills
Joni Mitchell – Sex Kills

Joni Mitchell – Sex Kills (Lyrics)

Happy Easter to ya’ll…!

What’s on your mind tonite…?

A real confidence builder
Leaked documents bring the banality of GITMO and much of the so-called War on Terror back to light.

An iconic image of GITMO from NewsHour at flickr.com

The New York Times has published files related to the prisoners of GITMO since the Fall of 2001 and the details are about as uninspiring and depressing as you would imagine…though it could get more depressing in a pinch.

In May 2003, for example, Afghan forces captured Prisoner 1051, an Afghan named Sharbat, near the scene of a roadside bomb explosion, the documents show. He denied any involvement, saying he was a shepherd. Guantánamo debriefers and analysts agreed, citing his consistent story, his knowledge of herding animals and his ignorance of “simple military and political concepts,” according to his assessment. Yet a military tribunal declared him an “enemy combatant” anyway, and he was not sent home until 2006.

That’s a real endorsement of the military tribunals. I’m sure this gentlemen is now a real fan of American values.

And speaking of which:

The documents show that a major reason a Sudanese cameraman for Al Jazeera, Sami al-Hajj, was held at Guantánamo for six years was for questioning about the television network’s “training program, telecommunications equipment, and newsgathering operations in Chechnya, Kosovo, and Afghanistan…He was released in 2008 and returned to work for Al Jazeera.

I guess it could have been worse, the Bush Administration could have “accidentally” blown him up again and again and again.


Kissing GOP Frogs

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 25th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Kissing GOP Frogs

By Adam Zyglis, Cagle Cartoons, The Buffalo News

Mr. Fish's Cartoon

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Armenian Remembrance and the Politics of Genocide
Today is Armenian Remembrance Day, celebrating the lives of the 1.5 million Armenians killed in 1915. Yet, nearly a century later, the issue is still highly charged, with President Obama taking note of the “horrific events” but refraining from using the word genocide. —JCL USA Today: Turkey, a key Islamic ally of the U.S. that angrily denies accusations of genocide, attacked Obama’s statement as “one-sided.” “The statement distorts the historical facts.” said the Turkish foreign ministry. “Therefore, we find it very problematic and deeply regret it … One-sided statements that interpret controversial historical events by a selective sense of justice prevent understanding of the truth.” In his statement—issued late Saturday—Obama said: “I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed. A full, frank, and just acknowledgment of the facts is in all our interests.” In the meantime, the chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America, Ken Hachikian, criticized Obama for a “disgraceful capitulation to Turkey’s threats” and failing to acknowledge what many historians describe as genocide. Read more

Today is Armenian Remembrance Day, celebrating the lives of the 1.5 million Armenians killed in 1915. Yet, nearly a century later, the issue is still highly charged, with President Obama taking note of the “horrific events” but refraining from using the word genocide. —JCL

USA Today:

Turkey, a key Islamic ally of the U.S. that angrily denies accusations of genocide, attacked Obama’s statement as “one-sided.”

“The statement distorts the historical facts.” said the Turkish foreign ministry. “Therefore, we find it very problematic and deeply regret it … One-sided statements that interpret controversial historical events by a selective sense of justice prevent understanding of the truth.”

In his statement—issued late Saturday—Obama said: “I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view of that history has not changed. A full, frank, and just acknowledgment of the facts is in all our interests.”

In the meantime, the chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America, Ken Hachikian, criticized Obama for a “disgraceful capitulation to Turkey’s threats” and failing to acknowledge what many historians describe as genocide.

Read more

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Workers Recover Body Of Trapped Idaho Miner

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 25th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Workers Recover Body Of Trapped Idaho Miner
BOISE, Idaho — Workers at a northern Idaho silver mine have recovered the body of a miner who was trapped when a tunnel collapsed nine…

Gabrielle Giffords Cleared To Attend Shuttle Launch
HOUSTON — Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will attend husband Mark Kelly’s space shuttle launch in Florida on Friday, Kelly said, allowing the Arizona congresswoman to travel…

Howard S. Friedman, Ph.D.: We’re Not Really Living Much Longer
The truth of the matter is that we are not really living much longer. We hear the propaganda repeated endlessly: “The average American can today…

Mark Green: How the GOP Will Re-elect Obama in 2012
The Slur de Jour election has begun. The GOP presidential nominee won’t be able to survive the taint of wingers competing for headlines.


Irony: Hannity Special On “Liberal Bias” Features Laughably Distorted Quotes

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 25th, 2011 4:35 am by HL

Irony: Hannity Special On “Liberal Bias” Features Laughably Distorted Quotes

Sean Hannity devoted an episode of his Fox News show to an hour-long special on what he claimed was the media’s “liberal bias.” However, several of the quotes he used as examples of this purported bias were deceptively cropped to leave out crucial context.

Hannity Promises “Close-Up Look” At Media’s “Liberal Bias”

Hannity: “[I]t Is Common Knowledge That The Mainstream Media … Are Biased Against The GOP.” From the April 22 edition of Hannity — his “Behind the Bias” special:

HANNITY: And welcome to this special edition of Hannity. Behind the bias, a close-up look at the Obama-mania media’s liberal bias. Now, it is common knowledge that the mainstream media from the major television networks to the country’s most influential newspapers are biased against the GOP. Tonight, we’ll examine some of the major scandals that resulted from this bias, and the victims that it has left in its wake. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/22/11]

Hannity Deceptively Crops Couric’s Description Of Author’s Opinion

Hannity Clip Shows Katie Couric Calling Reagan “An Airhead.” From Hannity’s “Behind the Bias” special:

KATIE COURIC: Good morning. The Gipper was an airhead. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/22/11]

Full Context: Couric Was Citing A Conclusion From A Reagan Biography That Drew A “Tremendous Amount Of Interest And Fire.” From the September 27, 1999, edition of NBC’s Today:

KATIE COURIC, co-host: Good morning. The Gipper was an airhead. That’s one of the conclusions of a new biography of Ronald Reagan that’s drawing a tremendous amount of interest and fire today, Monday, September the 27th, 1999.

Announcer: From NBC News, this is TODAY, with Katie Couric and Matt Lauer, live from Studio 1A in Rockefeller Plaza.

COURIC: And good morning, everyone. Welcome to TODAY on this Monday morning. I’m Katie Couric.

ANN CURRY, co-host: And I’m Ann Curry. Good morning, everybody. Matt’s back tomorrow. Perhaps he’s still celebrating with the American team that won the Ryder Golf Cup tournament yesterday.

COURIC: That’s right. We hope he’s having a great time. We’ll see him tomorrow. But this morning we’re going to begin by looking at this new biography of Ronald Reagan called “Dutch.” The author was actually hand-picked by Ronald and Nancy Reagan, which is why some of his conclusions are so startling. The author, Edmund Morris, will be here for a three-part interview later this week. But in advance of that, we’re going to see why Morris thinks Reagan was an airhead, but still a great president. [NBC, Today, 9/27/99, via Nexis]

Hannity Deceptively Crops Cooper’s Report On Plame

Hannity Clip Shows Anderson Cooper Labeling Outing Of CIA Operative Valerie Plame As A “Smear Campaign.” From Hannity’s “Behind the Bias” special:

ANDERSON COOPER (CNN host): He is the victim of a Bush administration smear campaign. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/22/11]

Full Context: Cooper Was Reporting Wilson’s Allegations. From Cooper’s July 17, 2003, CNN report:

COOPER: A former U.S. diplomat who investigated Africa’s suspected link to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program now says he is the victim of a Bush administration smear campaign.

Administration officials say former ambassador Joseph Wilson’s report on Niger last year supported the now discredited claim that Iraq had tried to buy uranium in Africa.

Wilson says that is not true. He spoke exclusively to “TIME” magazine today. He accuses the administration of twisting intelligence to exaggerate the Iraqi threat. [CNN, 7/17/03, via Nexis]

Hannity Falsely Depicts Wallace As “Apolog[etic]” For The Soviet Union

After Stating That Media “Apologiz[e] For “America’s Enemies,” Hannity Suggests Mike Wallace Was Speaking Positively About Stalin. From Hannity’s “Behind the Bias” special:

GERARD ALEXANDER, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSITUTE: To have a fundamentally conflicted attitude about not just the United States, but whether the United States is a constructive force in the world, that is something that I think really does separates a lot of liberals and conservatives.

HANNITY: The media have been apologizing for America’s enemies from the cold war through the war on terror.

MIKE WALLACE, FORMER CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Many Soviets viewing the current chaos and nationalist unrest under Gorbachev look back almost longingly to the era of brutal order under Stalin. [Fox News, Hannity, 4/22/11]

Full Context: Wallace Was Portraying Nostalgia For Stalin As Surprising, Given His “Atrocities.” From the February 11, 1990, edition of CBS’ 60 Minutes:

MIKE WALLACE, co-host: During this past extraordinary week in Moscow, Soviet citizens have had a chance to hear with stunning candor reports of a boisterous public debate about the Communist Party unparalleled in the history of the Soviet Union, and it is that current candor, that current glasnost, that is also giving Soviet citizens their most horrifying look at the crimes of their founding father, Joseph Stalin. During the quarter century that he ruled the Soviet Union, at least 20 million Soviet citizens died, victims of Stalin’s bloody paranoia, his mindless assault on any and all that he perceived as in any way dangerous to him. An unofficial group called Memoriale in 200 cities across the Soviet Union is digging, researching and publicizing a record of the horrors, the murders, the atrocities committed in the name of, at the direction of Joseph Stalin.

There is a newly discovered mass grave just off the main road linking Moscow and its airport. At the end of a trail, a wooden cross directed a few months ago by Memoriale. Tens of thousands are buried in this ground. No one yet knows how many–slave laborers from Stalin’s prison camps. They were among the hundreds of thousands who perished nearby from hunger, disease, exhaustion, worked to death.

[…]

WALLACE: When did this all become known to the Soviet citizens?

STEPHEN COHEN [Princeton University professor]: That is a painful question that’s being debated here. People say: We didn’t know. We didn’t know.

GALENA IVANOVA LEWINSON [Memoriale]: The same thing that happened in Germany when Hitler came. Hitler came. Many people said that: We didn’t see anything. Nothing happened–the same thing exactly.

COHEN: People worshipped Stalin as a kind of living god. It was bizarre. It’s hard for us to even imagine it. It’s hard for Soviet citizens today. I know hundreds of them who lived through that–to remember and imagine and understand how they themselves paid homage to this cult.

WALLACE: Incredibly, even many of Stalin’s victims didn’t believe it was Stalin who was responsible for all the killings, all the arrests. They continued to have faith in their great leader Stalin and his system.

And we say: We believed in him–a lot of us.

LEWINSON: Yes, yes.

WALLACE: As a matter of fact, a lot of Russians still believe in him.

LEWINSON: Yes. That’s a trouble. That’s a trouble, and that’s a question we can’t answer ourselves. You’re asking me, but we–I can’t answer it myself.

WALLACE: Is there resistance to the work of Memoriale in the Soviet community?

COHEN: Powerful resistance. Stalin’s grip on this society has not yet been broken. His legacy is everywhere here.

WALLACE: Many Soviets viewing the current chaos and national unrest under Gorbachev look back almost longingly to the era of brutal order under Stalin. In a Moscow marketplace, we conducted our own informal public opinion poll.

What do you remember of Joseph Stalin?

WOMAN #1 (through interpreter): Ah, about Stalin. I remember all the best things about Stalin. I am simply delighted with him. I remember from my childhood that we could see how he cared about simple people, about our nation, about children.

WALLACE: Would you like Stalin back in the Soviet Union?

MAN #1 (through interpreter): Yes, yes, yes, I would like him back. If this was Stalin’s time now, people wouldn’t be standing about in the marketplace. Half of them would be in prison now, and everyone would work. As it is, there is no one but loafers here, speculators and loafers.

WALLACE: Why do so many people here like Joseph Stalin? They’re for Stalin. Why?

WOMAN #2 (through interpreter): There is so much chaos in this country now that everyone wants a new iron hand complete to bring things back to order.

WALLACE: And they’re willing to pay the price of Joseph Stalin if necessary.

WOMAN #2 (through interpreter): Yes, they’re ready for another Stalin. They’re ready, and they are willing to pay the same price of blood.

MAN #2: I’m a Soviet army lieutenant colonel. I’m 37. What I think–that Stalin is in the same boat with Hitler. He’s one of the–one of the most terrible tyrants history has ever known. And I hate this man’s guts. He murdered in cold blood tens of millions of people.

WALLACE: OK. If that’s true, then why do so many people that I’m talking to here say: We need Stalin back?

MAN #2: Stalinism has very deep roots, and . . .

WALLACE: Why?

MAN #2: . . . in these people.

WALLACE: Why?

MAN #2: Because this country has never had democratic traditions, and now the democracy’s an infant in this country.

WALLACE: Look. We are at a market. Food is hard to come by, soap, razorblades, everything is hard to come by, and people are saying: Perestroika, fine, but, you know, we don’t have food on our tables, so let’s get rid of Gorbachev, get the strong hand of Stalin or somebody like that back.

MAN #2: I do not understand that, no.

WALLACE: But you hear it.

MAN #2: Yes. Yes, I do, and I’m very sorry. I’m very sorry. That means that some time must pass before people realize what–what–that freedom is more than a pan of sausage.

WALLACE: Is it possible that what happened to you, what happened to millions of others, could happen again in this country?

LEWINSON: I don’t think so, really. I really don’t think so. But it depends on the humans. That’s what our Memoriale is for. Memoriale is for that. We hope not, but that doesn’t depend on us anymore. It’s the young ones. [CBS News, 60 Minutes, 2/11/90, via Nexis]


9/11 First Responders To Be Run Through FBI Terrorism Watch List Before Getting Health Care Benefits

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 25th, 2011 4:34 am by HL

9/11 First Responders To Be Run Through FBI Terrorism Watch List Before Getting Health Care Benefits
Medical providers will soon inform 9/11 first responders about a provision in the James Zadroga 9/11 Health And Compensation law that requires them to be run through the FBI’s terrorism watch list before they can receive health care benefits.

Republican Obama Supporter Resigns As Ambassador, Says State Dept. Nixed Reagan Article
Doug Kmiec, a prominent conservative supporter of President Barack Obama who submitted his resignation as the U.S. ambassador to Malta earlier this month, says the State Department improperly clamped down on articles he wrote about his Catholic faith and his admiration for President Ronald Reagan.


Michigan GOPers Put Teachers On Notice, As Strike Looms
On Wednesday, the Michigan House’s Committee on Education discussed two bills aimed at upping the consequences on teachers who strike illegally, amid reports that the Michigan Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, is considering just such a move….



Petroleum G-Man on Big Oil

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 25th, 2011 4:33 am by HL

Petroleum G-Man on Big Oil


Senators Seek to Unclog Confirmations

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 25th, 2011 4:32 am by HL

Senators Seek to Unclog Confirmations
“Hoping to unclog the Senate and spare scores of presidential appointees from what is often a grueling confirmation process, leading lawmakers in both parties are moving to cut the number of administration posts that are subject to Senate approval,” the New York Times reports.

“The proposal to end Senate review of about 200 executive branch positions would be the most serious effort in recent years to pare the chamber’s constitutional power of advice and consent. It amounts to a rare voluntary surrender of Congressional clout, and it has high-caliber, bipartisan support with the endorsement of the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, and the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.”


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 25th, 2011 4:31 am by HL

Presented By:

Paul Ryan’s $30 Trillion Burden, Where Is Peter Peterson?
Paul Ryan is proving more useful than any of could have possibly dreamed. His plan, as analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), drives home the simple truth that the long-term budget problem is a health care problem. Ryan radically…


Extortion Politics: Why Won’t American Business Stop the GOP From Threatening to Blow Up The Economy?
As the government approaches its borrowing limit of $14.3 trillion, Republicans are seeking political advantage over what conditions should be attached to raising that limit. This is a scandal — or should be. Raising the debt limit shouldn’t be subject…


Why Are Kate And William Inviting A Bahraini Dictator To Their Wedding?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 25th, 2011 4:30 am by HL

Why Are Kate And William Inviting A Bahraini Dictator To Their Wedding?

Next week, the United Kingdom’s Prince William and Catherine Middleton will tie the knot, in a wedding that has graced the cover of newspapers across the world. One study from technology specialist firm Greenlight found that the wedding receives one mention online every ten seconds, and online search engine and news source Yahoo! brags that Internet searches about the royal wedding soared “eight million percent overall” since the couple announced their wedding.

One of the most-covered aspects of the wedding is its guest list. Included among the coveted list are singer-songwriter Elton John and actor Rowan Atkinson of “Mr. Bean” fame.

However, one name on the guest list is stirring up controversy. Al Jazeera English reports that Bahraini human rights activists — who are facing a brutal crackdown in the country that has killed or disappeared hundreds following a nonviolent pro-democracy uprising — are outraged that Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, is among the 40 foreign royals invited to attend the wedding:

Salman bin Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain, was one of more than 40 foreign royals invited to attend the British royals’ wedding in Westminster Abbey on Friday. Human rights advocates were quick to condemn the decision to invite al-Khalifa to the ceremony.

Najib Rajab, president of Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, told Al Jazeera that protesters were expecting the British to take a “tough stance,” rather than invite those accused of grievous human rights abuses to the high-profile celebrations. “Calling our crown prince at a time when people are being killed … for demanding their political rights and peacefully protesting, is extremely disappointing,” he said in a phone interview. “They’re losing the hearts and minds of the people in this region.”

Watch Al Jazeera English’s report about activists protesting the invitation of the Crown Prince:

It was the Crown Prince himself that was widely regarded as the Bahraini figure who invited Saudi troops into the country to help violently put down the student-led movement for democracy.

The Bahraini government’s latest tactic it is using against its nonviolent protest movement is to target Shi’a mosques for destruction. Some reports indicated that dozens of places of worship have been destroyed by al-Khalifa’s government. Earlier this month, a Bahraini captured a picture of a man praying in the ruins of one mosque ordered demolished by the government:

By inviting al-Khalifa, Kate and William may be sending a message to the world that the British monarchy is indifferent to the atrocities being committed by the Bahraini monarchy. The famed couple should consider whether this is the message it wants to send.

Bill Kristol Says It’s ?Wrong? For Obama to Worry About ?One American Pilot? Getting Shot Down

No one loves war more than the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol. Kristol is one of the biggest cheerleaders for George W. Bush’s costly and unnecessary war in Iraq. He is a staunch defender of torture. And he wants America to start even more wars to bring about “regime change in Syria and Iran.” So it should come as no surprise that Kristol wants the Obama Administration to ramp up its military presence in Libya.

On Fox News Sunday this morning, Kristol lamented what he perceives as an obstacle to a broader effort in Libya. Kristol claims that the United States is now relying less on slower, lower flying aircraft that are relatively easy to shoot down — and that this is a bad thing:

The A-10 and the AC-130 were doing a huge amount of damage in those first couple of days. Then we pulled them back. Now we’re bombing from 25,000 feet . . . . It’s ridiculous. What are we saving now?

If you talk off the record with people from the Administration, they’re terrified of having some American pilot show down, taken hostage. The A-10 and the AC-130 fly low and sort of lumber along. They do a huge amount of damage.

You can’t get involved in a military action like this though and be totally driven by fear of one American pilot getting shot down. It’s just wrong, in my opinion.

Watch it:

Morality is obviously a difficult subject for Kristol, so he could use a brief tutorial on what the word “wrong” means. Dragging the United States into an unnecessary war against a nation that did not attack us is “wrong.” Torture, which is both an ineffective interrogation method and a good way to contribute to our enemies’ recruitment efforts, is “wrong.” Thrusting our already-overstretched military into war with every nation Bill Kristol doesn’t like is “wrong.”

Living every day in abject terror that the people you sent into harms way could be killed or captured — even if you sent them there for good reason — is the opposite of “wrong.”


Europeans shift long-held view that social benefits are untouchable

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on April 25th, 2011 4:29 am by HL

Europeans shift long-held view that social benefits are untouchable
PARIS — From blanket health insurance to long vacations and early retirement, the cozy social benefits that have been a way of life in Western Europe since World War II increasingly appear to be luxuries the continent can no longer afford.

Bloomberg on possible Trump bid for GOP presidential nod: ‘Anybody can run for president’
WASHINGTON — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg calls real estate tycoon Donald Trump a friend and says “anybody can run for president if you’re 35 and an American citizen.”

Lawmaker wants DNA from suspects when arrested for state crimes
In 2001, King County Sheriff Dave Reichert relied on a DNA match to solve the case of Washington state’s Green River Killer, who murdered 49 women and ranks as the nation’s most prolific serial killer.