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Archive for May 4th, 2011

Late Late Night FDL: Summertime Blues

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 4th, 2011 4:46 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: Summertime Blues
Blue CheerSummertime Blues, 1968.

Blue CheerSummertime Blues, 1968.

What’s on your mind?

Washington’s modern elite are finally getting a grip on themselves.

via janale1 at flickr.comI guess it just depends on your perspective, for example, if you are a depraved asshole, no problem:

Representative Peter King said this afternoon he’s heard the Bin Laden death photos aren’t that bad.

“They’re not ghoulish, they’re not going to scare people off, they’re not offensive,” King told reporters after the briefing. “Nothing more than you expect with a person with a bullet in his head.”

But, as Mr. King acknowledged, he has not seen the photos.

But even the thought of such pictures is enough for Peter King to wish he could be alone for a couple minutes with them.

And speaking of snuff porn…Kent Conrad, showing once again, establishment Democrats are nothing, if not master self-negotiators.

Herzog Lights Up ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 4th, 2011 4:45 am by HL

Herzog Lights Up ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’
What I’m saying is that Herzog is a director whose work is never to be missed, for the simple reason that he takes you places—especially in his documentaries—that no other director thinks of going.

What I’m saying is that Herzog is a director whose work is never to be missed, for the simple reason that he takes you places—especially in his documentaries—that no other director thinks of going.

Related Entries

WATCH: The Media Mixes Up Names

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 4th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

WATCH: The Media Mixes Up Names
As we’ve already pointed out, having to cover President Barack Obama’s announcement of the operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden proved…

Boehner: U.S. Needs To Maintain Relationship With Pakistan
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration was investigating whether Pakistan knew Osama bin Laden was hiding deep inside the country as House Speaker John Boehner and…

Robert Scheer: A Monster of Our Own Creation
He was our kind of guy until he wasn’t, an ally during the Cold War until he no longer served our purposes. The problem with…

Carl Pope: No Hobgoblins Here!
If oil and coal paid for everything they took, including the landscapes they foul; if they had to own our lungs before dumping toxics into them; and if we got to choose what we bought from them, then we would have real energy markets.

Stu Kreisman: Why The Bin Laden Death Photos Should Be Seen by Everyone
I don’t want to remember the youthful Bin Laden sitting with a microphone in his hand and an AK 47 by his side, preaching his hate. I’m sure that the moment I see the gruesome pictures, that is the way I’ll remember him.

Right-Wing Media Embrace Latest Anti-Obama Conspiracy Theory: Bin Laden Might Not Be Dead

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 4th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Right-Wing Media Embrace Latest Anti-Obama Conspiracy Theory: Bin Laden Might Not Be Dead

Led by Fox’s Andrew Napolitano, right-wing media figures have embraced yet another conspiracy theory aimed at attacking President Obama: that Osama bin Laden might not be dead. Right-wing media have previously promoted the false conspiracy theory that Obama was not born in United States and the myth that Obama is a Muslim.

Right-Wing Media Figures Ask For “Proof,” “More Evidence” Of Bin Laden’s Death

Napolitano Wonders If Government Is “Telling Us The Truth” About Bin Laden Or “Pulling A Fast One To Save Obama’s Lousy Presidency.” On the May 2 edition of Fox Business’ Freedom Watch, host Andrew Napolitano said: “Osama bin Laden assassinated. Killed on the illegal whim of the president,” but later questioned whether the government was “telling the truth” about bin Laden. From Freedom Watch:

NAPOLITANO: But last night a little before midnight here on the East Coast, President Obama, with an eye on his lagging poll numbers and the sickening economy over which he presides, announced in a quick 40 minutes of time, 40 of America’s best Navy SEALs found bin Laden, asked him to surrender and when he declined, blew his brains out. And then he told us after bin Laden’s remains were identified they were dumped at sea, in accordance with Muslim tradition. No photos, no testimony from eyewitnesses, just the president’s word that he’s dead and, to repeat a famous phrase, now sleeps with the fishes.

Of course, the burial at sea is new to most Americans. It is new to many Muslims as well. Bin Laden belonged to a Muslim sect that believes in anonymous burial in the earth. Beyond the issue of whether the government is telling us the truth or pulling a fast one to save Obama’s lousy presidency, is the issue of the lawful power of the president to order someone killed, no matter how monstrous, how dangerous, or how unpopular. [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 5/2/11, 5/2/11]

Napolitano Asks Guest, “Do You Believe He’s Dead, Or Do You Want Some More Evidence?” Later on the May 2 Freedom Watch, Napolitano asked guest Michael Scheuer: “Do you believe he’s dead, or do you want some more evidence? A photograph, a testimony of an eyewitness? Something other than the words of a president whose words we have doubted before?” He later asked Scheuer, “So with the body gone, or sleeping with the fishes, won’t there always be that lingering doubt amongst Americans?” From Freedom Watch:

NAPOLITANO: Do you believe he’s dead, or do you want some more evidence? A photograph, a testimony of an eyewitness? Something other than the words of a president whose words we have doubted before?

SCHEUER: Well, Judge, I think what I go with is the men and women on the ground. If they didn’t get him, they would admit it. The really, the success story here is not the president who did the right thing at last, but the true story is the young men and women who serve the United States in the military and the intelligence services. They risked their lives, they did their job. And if he’s not dead, they’ll never be able to keep that a secret.

NAPOLITANO: All right, but the intelligence services of which you were once a part want as much closure to this as the American public does. So with the body gone, or sleeping with the fishes, won’t there always be that lingering doubt amongst Americans: “Well, where is the body? How do we know he’s dead? Why isn’t there a picture of it? Why didn’t we see it before they shipped it off to sea?”

SCHEUER: I think much more than just a likelihood, Judge, I think we’re already in it. The conspiracy people are going to spin this up to a very high degree, and even if they release the pictures they claim they have, with Photoshop and other programs, you can doctor any, any photograph to make it look however you want. So I think it perhaps might have been wiser to keep the body or at least show the body before they buried it. [Fox Business, Freedom Watch, 5/2/11]

Doocy: Bin Laden Death Deniers Won’t “Believe DNA” Evidence Because “That’s Just Numbers On A Piece Of Paper.” On the May 2 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends, during a “Radio Rumble” segment debating whether the Obama administration should release photos of bin Laden’s body, co-host Steve Doocy stated that people who deny that bin Laden was killed won’t “believe DNA – that’s just numbers on a piece of paper.” From Fox & Friends:

ELLEN RATNER (radio host): I think the liberals have transparency. I think the DNA evidence is pretty clear. I think, you know, you don’t even hear –

CHUCK BOOMS (radio host): What DNA evidence?

RATNER: You do not even hear –

DOOCY: Yeah, but they’re not going to believe DNA — that’s just numbers on a piece of paper, Ellen. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/3/11]

On Fox, Right-Wing Radio Host Expresses Doubt About Bin Laden’s Death. During the “Radio Rumble” segment on Fox & Friends, right-wing radio host Chuck Booms stated: “We need the picture, Steve. Without the picture, it’s going to make people like me think maybe they actually did throw a bag over his head and get him down to Club Gitmo and let Jack Bauer have at him with some jumper cables.” [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/3/11]

Big Peace Contributor On Bin Laden’s Death: “I’ll Believe It When I See It.” In a May 2 post on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Peace site, J. Michael Waller wrote that the U.S. must “[d]isplay the body” because “[e]very American has a right to walk right up to bin Laden’s corpse and view it. We are entitled to know for a fact that the witch is dead.” Waller later wrote: “Bin Laden may be dead (I’ll believe it when I see it), but al Qaeda is still alive.” [Big Peace, 5/2/11]

Wash. Times‘ Miller: Photo Of Bin Laden Is “What We Need For Proof.” As Think Progress noted on May 2, Washington Times senior opinion page editor Emily Miller wrote in a Twitter post, “no photo of the body. that’s what we need for proof.”

Emily Miller tweet

[Twitter, 5/2/11]

Officials Confirmed Bin Laden’s Death Through DNA Evidence, Photo Comparisons

AP: “Officials Produced A Quick DNA Match From His Remains That They Said Established Bin Laden’s Identity.” In a May 2 article, The Associated Press reported:

Knowing there would be disbelievers, the U.S. says it used convincing means to confirm Osama bin Laden’s identity during and after the firefight that killed him.


Officials produced a quick DNA match from his remains that they said established bin Laden’s identity, even absent the other techniques, with 99.9 percent certainty. U.S. officials also said bin Laden was identified through photo comparisons and other methods. [AP, 5/2/11]

Right-Wing Media Have Previously Promoted Other Anti-Obama Conspiracy Theories

Fox Obsessively Promoted Birther Myths. As Media Matters reported, following potential Donald Trump’s embrace of theories regarding Obama’s birthplace, Fox News ramped up its coverage of birther conspiracies, devoted nearly two hours and 20 minutes to the issue from February 21 to April 21. In the vast majority of the cases, Fox hosts either espoused birther conspiracies or did not challenge or correct false claims about Obama’s birth that aired on their shows. [Media Matters, 4/27/11]

Right-Wing Media Incessantly Promoted Falsehood That Obama Is A Muslim. As Media Matters has noted, right-wing media have relentlessly pushed the myth that Obama is a Muslim. Those falsehoods have run the gamut — from outright claiming that Obama is a Muslim to alleging that he “is a Christian that Christians don’t recognize”; from using his family and upbringing in Indonesia to portray him as an “Islamist” to claiming he has an agenda that shows he has a “preference of Islam over Christianity”; and from distorting comments Obama or his administration has made to picking out symbols associated with his administration to perpetuate the lie about his faith. [Media Matters, 8/19/10]

Issa’s Office: Obama Admin Wouldn’t Answer Questions On ‘Role In Arming Deadly Drug Cartels’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 4th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Issa’s Office: Obama Admin Wouldn’t Answer Questions On ‘Role In Arming Deadly Drug Cartels’
As congressional investigators ramp up their investigation into Project Gunrunner, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) is ramping up his rhetoric….

After Four-Month Impasse, House Ethics Taps Staff Director
The House Ethics Committee hired a staff director and chief counsel Monday, ending a four-month impasse that had the panel’s investigative functions at a standstill, according to two House aides. The panel most likely will tap Daniel Schwager, who currently serves as a counsel for the Senate Ethics Committee and previously worked in the public integrity section of the Justice Department, the sources indicated.

Ye Olde Scribe Presents: More Birther Questions

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 4th, 2011 4:39 am by HL

Ye Olde Scribe Presents: More Birther Questions
“Cause nothing says racism like some Birthers when they cook up controversy. Scribe imagines a Birther cookbook. And, yes, ‘It’s a COOKBOOK! It’s a COOKBOOK!’ Because follow Birther’s instructions and the nation’s goose IS cooked.” (Donald Trump picture courtesy gawker.com) Ah, nothing is more satisfying than… ROAST RUMP OF TRUMP 1 placenta from Obama’s birth Any […]

Obama Approval Spikes Upward

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

Obama Approval Spikes Upward
A new New York Times/CBS News poll finds support for President Obama has risen sharply following the killing of Osama bin Laden, with a majority now approving of his overall job performance, as well as his handling of foreign policy, the war in Afghanistan and the threat of terrorism.

In all, 57% said they now approved of the president’s job performance, up from 46% last month.

Still No Clear Leader in GOP Field
A new Quinnipiac poll finds American voters say they would consider supporting Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee for president in 2012, but 58% would never support Sarah Palin or Donald Trump.

Romney leads the Republican pack nationally with 18%, followed by Huckabee and Palin at 15% each and Trump at 12%. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul have 5% each. Tim Pawlenty and Rep. Michelle Bachman each get 4%.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “It is difficult to get a handle on the 2012 Republican race. Many contenders are not well known and many who are known are not liked, making their candidacies problematic. You could call this the ‘No Way’ measure. Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee are in the best shape. Sarah Palin and Donald Trump suffer from the reality that, as our mothers told us, ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression.'”

Quote of the Day
“How many more gay people does God have to create before we ask ourselves if he wants them around?”

— Minnesota state Rep. Steve Simon (D), testifying in opposition to a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would outlaw gay marriage.

GOP Sneak Attack: Republicans Try to Redefine Rape … Again

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

GOP Sneak Attack: Republicans Try to Redefine Rape … Again
House Republicans are attempting a backdoor maneuver to ensure that solely victims of "forcible rape" are eligible for federal funding if they seek abortions.

Surprise: Making Sudafed Prescription-Only Is Smart (And Pisses off Greedy Drug Companies)
A growing regulatory movement is afoot to revoke the over-the-counter status of drugs containing pseudoephredrine and instead require a doctor’s prescription.

Obama Drops Ball On Palestinian Unity

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

Obama Drops Ball On Palestinian Unity
Any doubt about how the United States makes its policies on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be dispelled by the Obama administration’s near-instant reaction to the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation announcement: it is determined to be fully in sync with Prime Minister Netanyahu….

Amid Royal Wedding Hoopla, Remembering Veterans on Both Sides of the Atlantic
Like infantrymen everywhere, I can’t get enough news about the Royal Wedding. What will the dress look like? How long will the train be? Who’s sitting where at Westminster? Thankfully, the media is providing non-stop coverage to fill my insatiable appetite for all things Wills…

Osama Bin Dustbin?
There’s something valid in “great man” versions of history, including those focusing on the diabolically great: Without Adolph Hitler, it’s unlikely that German racism, especially anti-Semitism, would have become as shattering and unspeakable as it did. Without Osama bin Laden,…

Oklahoma House Finally Reprimands State Rep. Sally Kern For Saying ?Blacks? Don?t Work Hard

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

Oklahoma House Finally Reprimands State Rep. Sally Kern For Saying ?Blacks? Don?t Work Hard

Last week, the speaker of the Oklahoma state House of Representatives refused to reprimand radical state Rep. Sally Kern (R) for saying in a floor speech that “blacks” and women are lazy. “I taught school for 20 years, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t want to work as hard,” Kern said, eliciting demands from the NAACP for her resignation. But Oklahoma House Speaker Kris Steele (R) said he was satisfied with the written apology Kern later issued, saying Kern “handled it appropriately and that a public reprimand was not necessary.”

Still, civil rights leaders and Democratic lawmakers kept up the pressure and yesterday, state Rep. Mike Shelton (D) — one of four African-American members of the 101-member House — successfully brought a motion to reprimand, following another apology from Kern read from the House floor:

Shelton said the reprimand was necessary because Oklahoma is working hard to improve its image.

“We are trying to be a player within the United States as well as the world,” he said. “The comments by Sally Kern make us step back and it makes people look at the state of Oklahoma as a different place.” […]

“I made my apology, and I do understand that just saying you’re sorry does not make everything right,” Kern said.

But not everyone in Kern’s party was as accepting of the punishment as she was. Sixteen lawmakers voted against the reprimand, with state Rep. Paul Wesselhoft (R) saying the censure “flies in the face of every Sunday school lesson I’ve ever had.” “Kern issued a sincere apology. My faith teaches me that I’m to forgive,” he said. State Rep. Randy Grau (R), who also voted against the move, explained, “If we reprimand for what somebody says in debate we could have a very detrimental, chilling effect on free speech.”

Kern was not reprimanded nor apologized for saying three years ago that homosexuality is more dangerous than terrorism.

ANALYSIS: Bush?s Lackluster Hunt For Bin Laden

Politico reports that supporters of George W. Bush are “irked” that the former president isn’t getting more credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden, despite the droves of conservatives lawmakers and pundits who have been rushing to give Bush equal credit as Obama.

But this praise for Bush relies on rewriting history to obscure the fact Obama re-prioritized the hunt for Bin Laden after Bush had largely abandoned the effort to focus on Iraq.

While many conservatives are triumphantly replaying Bush’s September 2001 declaration that he would find Bin Laden, just months later, by Bush’s own account, he was unconcerned about the terrorist mastermind. Asked about the hunt for Bin Laden at a March, 2002 press conference, Bush said, “I truly am not that concerned about him. I am deeply concerned about Iraq.” “I really just don’t spend that much time on him, to be honest with you,” Bush added.

By 2006, the trail for Bin Laden had gone “stone cold” and Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes said Bush told him that hunting Bin Laden was “not a top priority use of American resources.” (Indeed, there was a flailing war in Iraq to fight.)

That year, it was revealed that the administration had shuttered the CIA’s Bin Laden unit in late 2005. As the New York Times reported at the time, the move reflected a shift in resources to Iraq:

In recent years, the war in Iraq has stretched the resources of the intelligence agencies and the Pentagon, generating new priorities for American officials. For instance, much of the military’s counterterrorism units, like the Army’s Delta Force, had been redirected from the hunt for Mr. bin Laden to the search for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed last month in Iraq.

But Bush’s biggest misstep in the Bin Laden hunt occurred years before, in the early days of the war in Afghanistan. As a 2009 Senate Foreign Relations Committee report found, the Bush administration blew a critical opportunity to capture Bin Laden in 2001. Bin Laden was wounded and on the run, but top Bush national security officials rejected repeated pleas for reinforcements from commanders and intelligence officials fighting the terrorist leader in the caves of Tora Bora, despite the availability of resources:

Fewer than 100 American commandos were on the scene with their Afghan allies and calls for reinforcements to launch an assault were rejected. Requests were also turned down for U.S. troops to block the mountain paths leading to sanctuary a few miles away in Pakistan. The vast array of American military power, from sniper teams to the most mobile divisions of the Marine Corps and the Army, was kept on the sidelines. Instead, the U.S. command chose to rely on airstrikes and untrained Afghan militias. […]

Even when his own commanders and senior intelligence officials in Afghanistan and Washington argued for dispatching more U.S. troops, [Commanding Gen. Tommy] Franks refused to deviate from the plan.

The report “removes any lingering doubts and makes it clear that Osama bin Laden was within our grasp at Tora Bora,” but that decisions made by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his deputies, and other top administration officials allowed Bin Laden to escape.

The consequence of this missed ooportunity are tremendous. As Lt. Col. Reid Sawyer, the director of the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, told NPR yesterday, “if bin Laden had been killed in Afghanistan eight years ago in the caves of Tora Bora, al-Qaida might well have died with him. Now the organization is diversified enough it could weather bin Laden’s death — and hardly miss a beat.”

Moreover, as Rumsfeld himself acknowledged, Bush’s extra-legal torture and rendition policies did not help capture Bin Laden. Enhanced interrogation techniques did not work. Bush ordered one final push to capture Bin laden shortly before he left office, but this effort too was unsuccessful.