Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Harvest Of Hate Has Always Been Blood, Fire, Steel And Death In The Streets.

The Harvest Of Hate Has Always Been Blood, Fire, Steel And Death In The Streets.

Random Thoughts:

America reminds me of a small, neurotic Chihuahua that is on the verge of wetting itself over anything at any moment... BOO!-Bang!

You don’t have to be a Proctologist to diagnose the problem on the right.

Letterman/Obama Broadcast

Bill Clinton: Not All Health Care Opponents Motivated By Race
(CNN) -- While some criticism targeting President Obama is racially motivated, the fight over
health care isn't, former President Clinton told CNN. ...
See all stories on this topic

Could Congress Be Held In Lower Esteem? Check The Numbers

Lawyers, stockbrokers, and journalists, take heart. You're not the lowest creatures on Earth, according to a poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports Sept. 17-18.

That label is now worn by members of Congress, and it's something where people of all political stripes actually seem to agree: 86 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of independents have an unfavorable opinion of members of Congress. And maybe the most sobering kick in the pants is that 56 percent of Democrats - who control both the House and Senate - say they don't like the people they find there.

Seventy-two percent of the respondents to the Rasmussen survey said they had an unfavorable opinion of members of Congress, and slightly more than half of that group said their opinion was "very unfavorable."

The cranky disposition of the electorate dovetails with a Rasmussen poll taken at the end of the August that found 42 percent thought they could assemble a better Congress by picking names randomly from the phone book. Another 42 percent disagreed.

Professions held in highest regard were small business owners, favored by 93 percent of the respondents to the poll, and people who start their own business, favored by 92 percent. After that are members of the clergy (70 percent), bankers (48 percent), journalists (43 percent), lawyers (42 percent), stockbrokers and financial analysts (41 percent), CEO's (27 percent), and members of Congress (25 percent).

The latest survey is based on telephone interviews with 1,000 adults nationwide and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Don't Count Health Care Chickens Yet

by Nate Silver @ 8:48 PM

The smart, insider take these days seems to be that health care reform will almost certainly pass the Congress. Different encapsulations of this can be found from Ezra Klein ("that's where we sit: incredibly, incredibly close to the finish line") and Megan McArdle ("I now put the chances of a substantial health care bill passing at 75%").

Actually, Megan's number seems about right. If I had to attach a probability estimate to health care passing, it would be that one: 75 percent. But I don't think it's as high as, say, 90 or 95 percent, and my sense is that there are lot of informed observers who do.

encapsulation last week was that public opinion on health care is now more or less fully formed, and that Democrats managed to snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat. Hardly what they'd want under ideal circumstances. But probably good enough, given that the memory of the impact of the failure to pass health care reform in 1993-94 looms large in the Democratic consciousness.

But it's one thing for some combination of the 59 Senate Democrats, plus Olympia Snowe, plus Ted Kennedy's replacement in Massachusetts, plus perhaps one or two retiring Republicans like George Voinovich, to have the
intention of passing health care reform. It's another thing to actually do it. And the process itself is rather complicated, for several reasons.

There's More...


...see also health care, senate, senate democrats

Pelosi Predicts Approval Of Public Option Inquirer

By Thomas Fitzgerald House Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicted yesterday that a government-run insurance program would be in the final version of a health-care ...See all stories on this topic

Baucus Sweetens Bill To Make Premiums More Affordable As Finance ...
By Erica Werner

The proposal by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus "will move this historic debate forward," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, although she quickly added that Baucus' plan was less desirable than a bill taking shape in the ...
Breaking News - http://blog.taragana.com/n/

Senate Finance Committee Begins Health-Care Bill Revision


Sen. Snowe Calls For Slowing Down Work On Health Care
USA Today
Olympia Snowe, a critical Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, called today for slowing down the work on crafting a
health care bill. ...
See all stories on this topic

Senate Panel Takes Up Healthcare Plan

By John Whitesides

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Finance Committee begins consideration of its long-delayed healthcare reform bill on Tuesday, with costs and affordability topping the list of concerns for Democrats who control the panel.

Committee members have filed 564 potential amendments to the healthcare plan offered by Democratic Chairman Max Baucus as the raging debate over President Barack Obama's top domestic priority enters a new phase in Congress.

Obama has pushed for a sweeping healthcare overhaul that would rein in costs, create competition for insurers and expand coverage to many of the 46 million uninsured people living in the United States.

The initiative has been besieged by critics and slowed by battles in Congress, where elements of the insurance and healthcare industries have lobbied against parts of it.

The finance panel, the last of five congressional committees to take up a healthcare bill after months of negotiation failed to win Republican support, is expected to spend at least three days working its way through amendments before a final vote.

Many of the amendments were designed to reduce costs and make insurance more affordable. To help ease those concerns, Baucus said on Monday he would adjust his bill to make it easier for people at all income levels to afford insurance under his plan.

In shifts incorporating several Democratic-sponsored amendments, Baucus will consider an expansion of subsidies to help purchase insurance, a reduction in penalties for not buying insurance and an increase in the level where an excise tax on high-cost insurance plans kicks in.

"There is a strong desire to make the plans more affordable," Democratic Senator Kent Conrad told reporters after a meeting of Democratic panel members on Monday.

Baucus would pay for the changes with $28 billion in surplus from the bill. The Congressional Budget Office estimated last week the proposal would reduce the deficit by $49 billion over 10 years.

Under the plan Baucus unveiled last week, all U.S. citizens and legal residents would be required to obtain health insurance, with subsidies offered on a sliding scale to help people buy it.

The plan would create state-based exchanges where individuals and small businesses could shop for insurance. The proposal also would levy fees on healthcare companies and insurers, tax high-cost insurance plans and expand Medicaid, the healthcare system for the poor.


Many Democrats have questioned whether the subsidies are generous enough, and panel Democrats had offered amendments similar to the changes being considered by Baucus.

Democratic Senator John Rockefeller of West Virginia offered an amendment to exempt workers in high-risk professions -- such as coal miners in his home state -- from the tax because they typically have expensive insurance policies.

"These are workers that require more expensive health coverage due to the nature of their job, and they should not have to foot the bill for healthcare reform," said Rockefeller, the only panel Democrat to say he will not support the bill in its current form.

Other amendments would require a government-run public insurance option, which is not included in the bill, and would kill the bill's provision to create nonprofit cooperatives to inject competition into the insurance market.

Republicans offered 292 of the bill's amendments, including proposals to eliminate the individual insurance requirement, allow purchase of insurance across state lines and eliminate the fees on healthcare industries.

Republican Olympia Snowe, a moderate who was one of the "Gang of Six" negotiators with Baucus, offered an amendment making the government-run public insurance option an emergency option if coverage remained too expensive.

Snowe's "trigger" option would establish a government-run plan in any state where affordable coverage -- as defined by a portion of an individual's income -- was not available to 95 percent of residents.

(Additional reporting by Donna Smith; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Senate Finance to Consider More than 500 Reform Bill Amendments

By Emily P. Walker, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today

WASHINGTON -- The Senate Finance Committee will begin considering its healthcare reform bill on Tuesday, with more than 500 Democratic and Republican amendments already slated for discussion during the markup.

The amendments are grouped into three categories: delivery system reform, coverage, and financing, and are listed here. The committee will start its markup with delivery system reform.

MedPage Today highlights some of the notable amendments to watch for.

Delivery System

Democratic amendments include eliminating overpayments to the private Medicaid Advantage plans, establishing a coupon program to help seniors pay for drugs under Medicare Part D, redistributing Graduate Medical Education (GME) credits to favor primary care physicians, and ensuring that more GME slots are reserved for rural and underserved communities.

Several amendments deal with medical malpractice, and one would set up a grant program for states to run "Safe Harbor" pilot projects in which a physician or hospital would be protected from liability if certain state-established standards were met.

Other delivery system amendments that will be offered by Democrats include:

  • An amendment that would establish a grant program to create community-based "teaching health centers" to train primary care physicians
  • An amendment that would retool how home-based healthcare is paid for under Medicaid
  • A $500 million amendment that would increase mental health coverage
  • An amendment to overturn proposed cuts to radiologists
  • An amendment to provide a 5% increase in payments to emergency room physicians

Delivery system amendments expected from Republicans would eliminate cuts in payments to private Medicare Advantage programs from Baucus' bill and prohibit data gleaned from comparative effectiveness research to be used to deny coverage for a medical services.

A handful of amendments would cap malpractice lawsuit awards, while others would create more pilot programs to test alternatives to the current tort system for medical liability cases.

Another amendment would eliminate the sustainable growth rate (SGR) and instead provide a payment update to physicians based on the Medicare Economic Index -- a medical price index that reflects both cost and productivity changes.

Baucus' bill would not eliminate the SGR, but replaces a planned 21% cut in Medicare payments with a 0.5% payment increase.

Expanding Health Coverage

During debate on this portion of the bill, Democrats will offer amendments that would establish a new public health insurance option (similar to the one approved by the Senate HELP committee). They will also push for Medicare and Medicaid expansions, and an inclusion of an employer mandate.

Other Democratic amendments would:

  • Immediately prohibit insurance companies from using preexisting medical conditions to deny coverage to children. While Baucus' bill would prohibit the practice at all ages, it wouldn't kick in until 2013
  • Allow early retirees between the ages of 55 and 64 to buy into Medicare
  • Increase Medicaid eligibility to those with incomes of 150% of the poverty level, rather than 133%, as the Baucus bill proposes
  • Make health insurance portable, so that if a worker loses a job, there would be no need for COBRA
  • Limit how much more money an insurance company can charge based on a person's age Baucus' bill would allow insurance companies to charge up to five times more for its oldest patients than its youngest, but the amendment would limit the range of charges to a factor of two

Meanwhile, Republicans will offer amendments that would eliminate the individual mandate provision from the bill, loosen proposed rules that would require companies with more than 50 employees to provide insurance or pay a penalty, and eliminate the proposed expansion of Medicaid to those with incomes of up to 133% of the federal poverty line.

Spectators can prepare for some longshot amendments from Republicans intended solely to make a point, such as an amendment that would require any member of Congress that supports the bill to enroll in Medicaid.

Other Republican amendments would:

  • Allow states to opt out of certain provisions in the bill
  • Restore funding for abstinence-only education
  • Lower the income threshold for qualifying for federal assistance to purchase private insurance
  • Create a safety-net fallback insurance plan (to be offered by moderate Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine)
  • Eliminate the insurance cooperatives that would be established in the bill
  • Require legal immigrants to live in the U.S. for at least five years before becoming eligible for tax credits used to purchase insurance
  • Prohibit any health plan included in the exchange to be required to pay for abortion services

Financing Reform

Under the sure-to-be contentious category of "paying for reform," Democrats will consider amendments that would raise the threshold for the proposed 35% tax on "Cadillac" insurance plans and other amendments that would eliminate the excise tax altogether.

Cadillac plans are defined as those with premiums of $8,000 for an individual or $21,000 for a family. Senate Finance Committee aides estimated that the new tax would affect 10% to 15% of all insurance plans, and about 8% of all taxpayers.

It's the largest "pay for" in the bill and would bring in an additional $774 billion over 10 years. Labor unions are opposed to the tax because many of their member have generous benefits.

Several Republican amendments will also seek to eliminate the 35% tax on the high-cost plans. Other amendments would eliminate the annual fees the bill would impose on insurance companies, medical device manufacturers, clinical labs, and drug companies. One amendment asks that the fee be eliminated for companies producing products to combat the H1N1 pandemic flu virus.

Other Republican amendments would:

  • Trigger a "fail-safe" so that the bill does not increase the federal deficit
  • Require that 50% of a medical malpractice attorney's fee be funneled into Medicare Part A if the lawyer's fee is more than one-quarter of the total amount awarded to the defendant
  • Adjust inpatient and outpatient payment updates to better account for "provider efficiency, quality, and value" in a budget neutral manner.
  • Reduce the penalty on individuals who fail to obtain insurance, or eliminate the individual mandate provision altogether
  • Insert language to mirror the president's promise to not raise taxes on the middle class

The markup begins at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

Right-Wing Radio Host Mark Levin Lashes Out At Glenn Beck: He’s ‘Mindless, ‘Incoherent,’ ‘Pathetic’

In an interview with Katie Couric for her new web-only show, Fox News pundit Glenn Beck said he thinks John McCain would have been a bad president because he’s “this weird progressive like Theodore Roosevelt was.” Beck added that McCain would be worse than Obama:

I think John McCain would have been worse — [laughs] How about this? I think John McCain would have been worse for the country than Barack Obama. How’s that?

Watch it:…


GOP Rep. Still Doing Penance for War Vote


Players in the Afghanistan Sandbox

by Renard Sexton @ 4:45 AM

While reports are varied regarding the implications of the Afghan election recount, and the chance of a coalition government in the meantime seems slim, the coming week will likely include some hard-spun rhetoric and policy debate, particularly from the international players in Afghanistan.

The upcoming German Federal elections (27 September) are the most pressing political deadline for the major NATO partners, which have been thrown into turmoil over the
controversial air strike on 4 September. At the same time, the top US commander in Afghanistan, Stanley McChrystal, has given a frank assessment of the US strategy in the country, assigning failing marks to both the NATO forces and the Afghan government. He contends that "without more forces and the rapid implementation of a genuine counterinsurgency strategy, defeat is likely," says the Washington Post.

British fatigue with the Afghanistan conflict has been long-standing, enough to prompt US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other senior US military officials to question the UK's "political will" on the subject last December.

The summer's infamous
"helicopter row" further politicized the British engagement, with the Tory opposition calling Gordon Brown to the mat over alleged reductions to helicopter production budgets in the early 2000s. Representative of broader claims that British troops are poorly equipped and vulnerable as a result, the Conservatives used the issue to challenge Labour's overall progress in conduct of the war. With the foreign policy legacy of the Blair and Brown "New Labour" governments strongly linked to success in Afghanistan, and David Cameron's insistence that the Conservatives would also pursue an aggressive Afghistan policy (albeit a "smarter" strategy), however, it is unlikely that the UK would entertain a serious reduction or pull-out in the coming several years.

There's More...


...see also afghanistan, international

CIA,Blackwater And Mossad Killed Harari And Bhutto!
By Eann

He said Cheney was in charge of a secret team that was tasked with assassinating prominent political figures. After the assassination of Rafik Hariri in 2005, the U.S. and a number of other countries pointed the finger at Syria, ...
Argue With Everyone Political Forums - http://www.arguewitheveryone.com/

Gay Marriage Is Fading as 'Values' Focal Point

by Nate Silver @ 9:47 PM

It's Mike Huckabee's win in the presidential straw poll at this past week's Value Voters' summit that's drawing the headlines. But this is every bit as interesting:

Abortion ranked first among issues of concern to straw-poll voters, getting 41 percent of the vote, with protection of religious liberty second with 18 percent.

Opposition To Same-Sex Marriage Was Third At 7 Percent.

Emphasis is mine. These are not the tea-partiers, who have a libertarian bent. This is a forum, rather, sponsored by the Family Research Council, an organization which continues to insist that homosexuality is curable and to link it to pedophilia. But the actual attendees at the forum -- religious conservative activists from around the country -- just don't seem to be all that riled up about the prospect of two men getting married.

This is not to suggest that these voters have become pro-gay marriage. If any of them was spotted in leather chaps at
Remington's after the event -- it was not, I assure you, to show solidarity for their gay brothers and sisters. But the last time this poll was conducted, in October 2007, gay marriage was the top choice of 20 percent of the attendees. That's quite a decline, particularly given that gay marriage has been more in the news than abortion for the past couple of years.

Public opinion is
moving toward acceptance of gay marriage. But it is doing so very slowly, at a rate of perhaps a point or two per year, and has at least a few years to go before it is the majority opinion. In the near term, the more relevant dimension may be 'passion', or depth of feeling. It used to be that the conservatives were ahead on passion -- they were strongly opposed to gay marriage, whereas liberals were, at best, lukewarmly in favor of it. Increasingly, that dynamic seems to be reversing.


...see also conservatives, gay rights, values

Harry Jackson To Religious Right Activists: Please Stop Sounding Like Racists

(If Quacks Like A Duck; It’s A Duck; If It Says: It Ain’t Right, Iffen It Ain’t White; It’s A Nucking Futs Racist. Ed.)

Submitted by Peter on September 21, 2009 - 6:14am

Bishop Harry Jackson, the Religious Right’s favorite African American preacher, asked the mostly white participants at the Values Voter Summit to tone down their anti-Obama rhetoric. He knew they weren’t racists, he explained, but the fact that some people were sounding like racists made it even harder on him as a conservative trying to get other black clergy to join his anti-gay organizing in D.C. While asking summit participants to be less offensive, Jackson’s Saturday afternoon speech may have actually reached some new personal lows of offensive rhetoric. Let’s review:

1) Gays and liberal Christians are enemies of God who deserve to be struck down. Jackson cited verses from Psalm 68 saying “let God arise, let his enemies be scattered….let the wicked perish at the presence of God.” He described God striking dead a person who wasn’t following instructions about how the Ark of the Covenant should be moved. Who are the wicked? Gays, certainly, but also “folk who are Christians in name only” but are just asking to be struck dead by God for not following His ways.

2) Jackson said repeatedly of people who don’t support his agenda that “there are people in our culture who are easily led.” Do you remember the outcry from the Religious Right when the Washington Post said the same thing about them? But nobody batted an eye when Jackson suggested that African Americans who don’t support him are “in an ideological plantation” and “easily led” to believe the worst “character assassination” about white conservative evangelicals. That’s why, he said, right-wing activists need to tone down their attacks on Obama. In the fight to keep same-sex couples from getting married, he said, he “can’t win if my own black brothers see me as a traitor.”

3) Jackson utterly ignored the existence of African American LGBT people and their leadership in the pro-equality movement in the District of Columbia. He portrayed the battle over marriage equality in DC as a battle pitting rich gay lawyers against black clergy and poor single mothers. Jackson’s litany was a perfect example of the race- and class-baiting he is using to rouse opposition to marriage equality in the District. “Many of our gay people,” he said, are professionals, disproportionately educated, make a lot of money, are living in DC’s fancy new condos. Jackson said a “K Street lawyer who decides to come out and call himself gay” cannot understand the plight of a single mother in Washington, DC raising two kids without a father. This seems to be from his new gays-vs-blacks talking points. Hey, Rev. Jackson, what about all the LGBT people in DC who aren’t rich lawyers, who are people of color, who are raising kids without the legal protections of marriage? Maybe he hasn’t spent enough time in his new hometown to meet any of them yet.

4) Jackson cited his father’s experiences of racism to credential himself for an attack the notion that the gay rights movement is a civil rights movement. “Their movement is a handful of privileged people,” he said, who are “intolerant of anybody with another idea” and who want to “oppress and suppress truth in the name of freedom.”

5) The tea party movement, on the other hand, “is a movement that God is in the background stirring up.”

Jackson, who borrowed a line from fellow Religious Right figure Rick Scarborough to say, “I’m not a Republican or a Democrat, I’m a Christocrat,” ended his speech by leading the crowd in chanting:

“Let God Arise And His Enemies Be Scattered.”


The Raw Story » Birther Lawyer In Hot Water After Accusing Judge ...
By Daniel Tencer

I think Jeb Bush / Lez Cheney 2012 was doing a bit of stand-up for us. Even the nuttiest of the right wingnuts surely couldn't believe those absurdities. I would expect that anyone who could truly believe such things would be locked up ...
The Raw Story - http://rawstory.com/blog/

Media Is More Interested in Rightwing Racism Than Rightwing Distortion, Deception, Lies, and Hypocrisy

I am a law professor who teaches Constitutional Law, Civil Rights, Race and the Law and other areas related to equality. I have spent nearly two decades researching and writing about race relations and public policy. With respect to the rightwing attacks on President Obama, however, I find the issue of race largely uninteresting.

I think it is safe to say that most Tea Party marchers, rightwingers, Joe Wilson, and many other anti-Obama types are not progressive on issues of race. Indeed, many of the participants in the protest marches have carried signs or made statements that show racial hostility. So -- yes -- some of Obama's critics harbor racial bias.

Nevertheless, it is impossible to psychoanalyze the entire opposition to Obama. Discussing this issue will do nothing but take the public's attention away from more important public policy concerns. Race is definitely an important social, political and legal concern, and the issue of race and access to healthcare is extremely important. But in this setting, there are far more pressing matters than the racial motivation of Obama's opponents.

Furthermore, even though racism informs some of the opposition to Obama, rightwingers have exhibited lunactic opposition to liberal and even moderate policies in the past (think Bill Clinton).
Glenn Greenwald(of Salon) and I have both analyzed this topic.

What to Talk About Instead of Race

For over a month, conservatives have advanced gross distortions regarding healthcare reform. They have described it as
socialism, Nazism, and totalitarianism, and they have argued that it would establish "death panels" to decide whether to "pull the plug on grandma." They have portrayed healthcare reform as an effort to harm seniors -- even though Republican John McCain proposed the very same cuts to Medicare that Obama has proposed. They have also condemned "government-run" healthcare, while pretending to support Medicare and TRICARE; these two programs, however, are forms of government-run healthcare.

many of Obama's opponents have blasted "big government," but they want the federal government to reform tort laws in every state and to veto a doctor and patient's decision regarding abortion. Many of them also supported the unnecessary war in Iraq and the increasingly unpopular war in Afghanistan. They also endorse governmental regulation of some of the most intimate human relations, such as sex among consenting adults.

Conservatives blame Obama for the financial sector and auto industry bailouts -- even though the Bush administration proposed both bailouts and ushered the legislation through Congress. Bush also sharply increased the rate of government spending -- while cutting taxes. That disastrous fiscal policy turned a surplus into a record deficit.

I am not even intrigued by Joe "You Lie" Wilson's racial mindset. His prior work for Strom Thurmond and his reaction to the "unseemly" possibility that Thurmond had a "black" daughter indicate that Wilson is not the most advanced mind on issues of race and sex. But focusing on this obvious fact detracts from the content of Wilson's own "lies."

Wilson, for example,
has rallied his conservative constituents against the inclusion of a public plan option in healthcare reform. Wilson makes typical Republican arguments regarding this issue, claiming that a public plan would interfere with doctor and patient relationships and reduce the level and quality of care. Wilson, however, has spoken quite fondly of TRICARE -- the government-run health system for military personnel, veterans and their families. Wilson and his children and their families are all on TRICARE. Wilson has said that TRICARE delivers "world class" medical care. Wilson has also noted that TRICARE receives high marks from participants.

TRICARE also establishes treatment options (just like private insurance) that define the contours of a doctor-patient relationship for patients who lack private insurance or the ability to self-pay. Wilson's contradictory positions on this subject are far more important than whether he hates Obama because he is black.


The issue of race has become the latest nonpolicy distraction for the media. Earlier, the media covered violence and mayhem at healthcare town hall discussions -- rather than the substance of reform. It then covered the conflicts between moderate and liberal Democrats (rather than the substance of reform). Now, it is exploring whether the opposition to Obama is racist (rather than the substance of reform).

Here's a thought: Analyze the substance of reform -- rather than the subjective emotions that shape its opposition. The media cannot tell us whether most of Obama's opponents are racist, but it can certainly unveil the hypocritical and deceitful nature of that opposition.

Racism And Right Wing Opposition To Obama Liberal Values
By Ron Chusid

Sometimes the question is posed as by questioning whether racism is the main reason for the form of opposition to Obama we are seeing from the far right. I've felt that the question is not this simple as the authoritarian right has many ...
Liberal Values - http://liberalvaluesblog.com/

Pelosi Is Right: Political Violence Is A Real Threat | Ron Paul ...
By johndennis

Apparently referring to the death of Harvey Milk at the hands of fellow San Francisco city Supervisor Dan White in 1978, Nancy Pelosi suggested today that "rhetoric" which was "frightening" might lead to "violence. ...
Ron Paul Wins! | Campaign for... - http://www.dailypaul.com/

Secret State Police Report: Ron Paul, Bob Barr, Chuck Baldwin ...

Kurt Nimmo | The Missouri Information Analysis Center instructs police that Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr supporters should be considered violent ...

Krauthammer Ignored Former CIA Directors Bush, Turner To Claim Only Obama Officials Failed To Sign Letter Against Investigation


Appearing on Fox News, Charles Krauthammer falsely asserted that a letter from seven former CIA directors calling on President Obama to "reverse Attorney General Holder's August 24 decision to re-open the criminal investigation of CIA interrogations" was signed "by every living CIA director" except Defense Secretary Robert Gates and current CIA director Leon Panetta, whom Krauthammer noted were "in the Obama Cabinet." In fact, former CIA directors George H.W. Bush and Stansfield Turner also did not sign the letter.

Krauthammer claimed only 2 living CIA directors did not sign letter

From the September 21 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:

BRET BAIER (host): Well, two days after seven former CIA directors asked the president to kill a potential investigation into alleged interrogation abuse by interrogators, he declined. And now Attorney General Eric Holder is moving forward, and the president is not stepping in.


KRAUTHAMMER: Look, this letter was signed by every living CIA director, with one exception, Gates, who is now in the Cabinet, so he couldn't sign it. And one other exception, Leon Panetta, who we know opposes these prosecutions and is in the Obama Cabinet. So what you have in total is eight, of whom half were appointed by Democrats, and they all oppose it.

Letter not signed by four living CIA directors

Bush, Turner join Gates and Panetta in not signing letter. In addition to Gates and Panetta, former CIA directors George H.W. Bush and Adm. Stansfield Turner did not sign the September 18 letter to Obama. President Gerald Ford appointed Bush as CIA director, where he served from January 1976 until January 1977. President Jimmy Carter appointed Turner as CIA director, where he served from March 1977 until January 1981.


Israeli War Crimes: United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict

UN Fact Finding Mission finds strong evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the Gaza conflict; calls for end to impunity


Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict

Appointment of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict

On 3 April 2009, the President of the Human Rights Council established an international independent Fact Finding Mission with the mandate “to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.” [See press release of 3 April 2009 and transcript of press briefing]

The appointment of the mission followed the adoption on 12 January 2009 of resolution S-9/1 by the United Nations Human Rights Council at the end of its 9th Special Session.

Mission Members

The Mission is headed by Justice Richard Goldstone, former member of the South African Constitutional Court and former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

The Three Other Mission Members Are:

Professor Christine Chinkin, Professor of International Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science, who was a member of the High Level Fact Finding Mission to Beit Hanoun (2008);

Ms. Hina Jilani, Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and former Special Representative of the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders, who was a member of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur (2004);

and Colonel Desmond Travers, a former officer in the Irish Armed Forces and member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for International Criminal Investigations (IICI).

As is usual practice, the Mission is supported by a Secretariat provided by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

Source: Global Research

U.N. Finds Evidence of War Crimes by Both Sides in Gaza

Gaza acts amounted to war crimes, U.N. report says

Could Israelis Face War Crimes Charges Over Gaza?

Islamic Prayer Scheduled on Capitol Hill
The New American
He hopes organizers will "denounce Islamic
fascism — the kind of extremism and regular violence we see around the world." Bauer pointed out that, ...
See all stories on this topic

Van Jones Victimized By New Red Scare
It didn't matter that the main source of the attacks on Jones came from Beck, the face of proto-
fascism in America, backed up by the Fox News Network - the ...
See all stories on this topic

The peasant mentality lives on in America
The People's Voice (blog)
That leaves them with no recourse but to dream up wholesale lunacies along the lines of Glenn Beck's recent “Fascism
With a Happy Face” rants, ...
See all stories on this topic

Obama Tells Letterman: I Was Black Before the Election
CBS News
... your voice also say "he's taking over America and changing it so much, no one will ever know it was once free.... ahhh, socialism, f

DownWithTyranny!: Why Has Glenn Beck Captured The Imagination Of ...
By DownWithTyranny
fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." -- Sinclair Lewis. Monday, September 21, 2009. Why Has Glenn Beck Captured The Imagination Of IdiotAmerica? ...
DownWithTyranny! - http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/

The Return Of McCarthyism: Hysteria In Action On The Right (VIDEO)
By The Huffington Post News Editors
a return of McCarthyism with their hysterical and shrill denunciations of President Obama and his administration as secret Communists and Marxists and Fascists who actually hate America and are trying to destroy it from the inside. ...
The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/raw_feed_index.rdf

Will Blog for Food: The Peasant Mentality Lives On In America
By John
That leaves them with no recourse but to dream up wholesale lunacies along the lines of Glenn Beck's recent “Fascism
With a Happy Face” rants, which link the protesting “populists” and the Obama adminstration somehow and imagine them as ...
Will Blog for Food - http://willblogforfood.typepad.com/will_blog_for_food/

Obama Losing To China & Russia In Afghanistan | Real Zionist News
By admin
In other words, Obama has received his marching orders both from the Pentagon and the Jews who own the propaganda machine in our post-modern,
fascist-tending America. Eurasia is the chess board and Obama is in the game with weapons of ...
Real Zionist News - http://www.realzionistnews.com/

NY Times disappears Fox's history of attacking Obama as "racist ...
By Get Real
According to Beck, "Everything that is getting pushed through Congress, including this health care bill, are transforming
America, and they are all driven by President Obama's thinking on one idea: reparations. ... February 6: Beck on O' Reilly Factor: "We are really truly stepping beyond socialism and starting to look at fascism"; compares proposals to Nazi Germany April 2: Teasing show, Beck airs photos of Hitler, Stalin, Lenin, asks, "Is this where we're headed?" ...
Argue With Everyone Political Forums - http://www.arguewitheveryone.com/

WIRE WATCH: Baucus Health Care Bill Mark Up, Obama at UN, McCain ...
Here's Looking at You, Max: The Senate Finance Committee begins its long-awaited markup of a
health care overhaul bill this morning. Expect heated opening remarks from Chairman Max Baucus of Montana and Ranking Republican Sen. ...
WSJ.com: Washington Wire - http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/

The Senate Finance Committee Writes a Health Care Bill

By Karen Tumulty

It starts--finally--in just a few hours. With the bang of a gavel in the high-tech cavern that is the conference room of the Senate Hart Office Building, the Senate Finance Committee will sit down around a table and confront the question of whether it can actually produce a health reform bill.

One of the worst kept secrets on Capitol Hill is that "mark-ups"--the formal public sessions in which legislation is ostensibly drafted--are not where any real work gets done. Where the real deals get cut, and where the favors get traded back and forth, is in private. The mark-up itself is little more than theater, a chance for everyone to give speeches and then march toward a pre-ordained conclusion.

There will be plenty of dealing on the sidelines here as well. But the Senate Finance Committee's markup of health reform legislation is likely to be more revealing than most. On public display will be all of the ideological and philosophical fault lines that have for decades stymied every President and every Congress that have tried to do something about this issue.

And there will be additional pressure. The mark-up comes as the culmination of months in which Chairman Max Baucus made a thus-far fruitless effort to woo a handful of GOP members, shutting out some of his fellow Democrats in the process. As a result, the bill that Baucus produced has been the target of intense criticism from both sides. It faces hundreds of amendments, promising a tug of war between the left and the right that will be the best test yet of whether this legislation has any chance of ever reaching the President's desk.

Baucus and his staff are predicting that the committee will actually reach its final vote by the end of the week. That looks pretty optimistic to me, though Baucus has been moving with uncharacteristic speed to resolve as much as he can in advance. Already, he has modified his original bill to meet some of the broader concerns of his members. He has made the subsidies more generous, so that the uninsured will be able to better afford the coverage that they would be required to purchase under the legislation. And he has trimmed back his initial plan to slap a hefty excise tax on the most expensive health insurance policies.

But there are a raft of other issues that can only be settled the old-fashioned way, by an up-or-down vote. Among them: Will there be a new government-run "public option"? Should employers be required to offer coverage? Should individuals be forced to buy it? And what should be the consequences if they don't?

There are other bills out there. Three committees in the House and one in the Senate passed theirs this summer. But this is the one that matters the most, if only because the degree of difficulty is so much greater. If Baucus manages to get his legislation through his committee intact, it will become the template--first on the Senate floor, and then in the conference committee. If he doesn't, Democratic leaders will have to recalculate their entire strategy amid new questions as to whether health reform, Barack Obama's most ambitious domestic priority, is doable at all.

Kate Pickert, Jay Newton-Small and I will be following the progress of the mark-up here in Swampland, so check back with us often in the coming days.

Contributions Come Back To Haunt Wealthy Senate Candidates

By Aaron Blake - 09/22/09 10:16 AM ET

With great wealth comes great answerability.

Two of the newest Senate candidates in the country, Steve Pagliuca (D) in Massachusetts and Linda McMahon (R) in Connecticut, are going to have to answer for their contributions to the opposing party over the years.

Pagliuca, the co-owner of the Boston Celtics, and McMahon, the recently resigned CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), both bring tremendous wealth to their respective races. But they have used that wealth to help out both major parties, and they face primary opponents who are sure to hammer them over it.

Pagliuca’s struggle is particularly difficult, since he is running to replace Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) after supporting Mitt Romney’s (R) 1994 challenge to the senator. Pagliuca's defense (and it's a decent one) is that he was a colleague of Romney at Bain Capital. He can also point to the fact that he would later support Kennedy in the 2000 campaign.

But Romney isn’t the only GOP candidate Pagliuca has supported, as the businessman has spread his money around to candidates including former Gov. William Weld (R) and, in 1999, to then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R). That last one, though just $1,000, could be particularly painful in true-blue Massachusetts.

McMahon has an unfortunate history of contributions too, and probably moreso than Pagliuca. She and her husband, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, have actually given more to Democrats than to Republicans over the years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. More than half – 51 percent – of their money has gone to Democrats, while 47 percent has gone to Republicans, the Center reports.

Her primary opponents will point out that McMahon gave to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) during the 2006 cycle – the same year the committee helped unseat two Connecticut Republicans. A local blogdid an analysis that suggested that the contributions, on a dollars-per-vote basis, more than paid for former Rep. Rob Simmons’s (R-Conn.) 83-vote loss.

Incidentally, Simmons is the favorite in the Senate primary that McMahon entered last week.

Hannity Reasserts Control Over Fox News' Witch Hunt Of Obama Appointees


On his Fox News program, Sean Hannity aired a list of "10 people who President Obama has appointed or nominated to work on your behalf in your government," and asked, "Should any of them be fired?" Hannity's case for dismissing the advisers largely consisted of false attacks, distortions, and trivial guilt by association.

After going through "entire list," Hannity asks, "Should any of them be fired?"

From the September 18 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY: And over the past few months we have sounded the alarm about the White House's green jobs czar, Van Jones, who was forced to step down just weeks ago.

JONES [video clip]: This moment is deeper than a solar panel. Deeper than a solar panel. Don't stop there. Don't stop there. No, we're going to change the whole system. We're going to change the whole thing. We're not going to put a new battery in a broken system. We want a new system.

HANNITY: But those men are just the tip of the iceberg. Now, tonight we bring you a special report about 10 people who President Obama has appointed or nominated to work on your behalf in your government. Now you judge for yourself: Are the president's 10 representative of your vision for America?


Now, you've heard the entire list. Folks, don't go anywhere, because coming up next, we have a very, very special edition of our great, "Great American Panel." They're going to react to the president's top 10. And you've got to ask yourself the question: Should any of them be fired?

Hannity's case against top 10 list is largely based on falsehoods, distortions, and trivial guilt by association

Hannity claims Carol Browner supports "redistribution of wealth" because of link to an international federation of progressive political parties. Referring to Obama administration energy official Carol Browner, Hannity said:

HANNITY: Now, The Washington Times reports that, as recently as December 2008, Browner's name appeared as one of the directors of the group Socialist International. Now, the group's own website proclaims that they support a, quote, "new world order to replace the current concentration of power in a few economic hands." Well, that sounds like redistribution of wealth, now, doesn't it?

As Media Matters for America has noted, Socialist International is an international federation of progressive parties that includes the British and Israeli Labor parties as constituent members.

Hannity distorts Rosa Brooks' statement on Al Qaeda. Hannity stated: "Now, during her previous career as a columnist for the L.A. Times, [Defense Department official Rosa Brooks] wrote a July 2007 column claiming that before 9-11 Al Qaeda was a little more than obscure group of extremist thugs and that U.S. policies have since turned them into a vast global threat. So I guess she's suggesting it was our fault." In fact, in her July 20, 2007, Los Angeles Timesop-ed, Brooks attributed to "most experts" the conclusion that Al Qaeda "was little more than an obscure group of extremist thugs." She also wrote that the group was "well financed and intermittently lethal" in 2001.

Hannity alleges that Mark Lloyd's position on corporate and public broadcasting "sounds like something that may happen in Venezuela." Hannity asserted of Federal Communications Commission chief diversity officer Mark Lloyd: "Now, The Wall Street Journalreports that Lloyd has criticized corporate ownership of media and has advocated taxing station owners to subsidize public broadcasters. And if that sounds like something that may happen in Venezuela, well, you may be right."

Hannity links David Hamilton to recent ACORN videos based on one month of fundraising he did for ACORN in 1979. Hannity declared: "Now, besides once being a board member of the Indiana ACLU, [Obama's 7th Circuit Court of Appeals nominee David] Hamilton was also a one-time fundraiser for -- you guessed it -- the group ACORN. By the way, I wonder what he thinks of all the videotapes that have been released in the past week." However, Hamilton's work for ACORN reportedly consisted of "raising contributions door-to-door for the advocacy group ACORN for one month after college" in 1979, as Media Matters has noted.

Hannity advances dubious claim that Harold Koh may believe "we should also apply Sharia law here in the United States." Hannity stated that State Department legal adviser Harold Koh "advocates a, quote, 'transnational legal process,' meaning that judges should not follow American law when making decisions but also follow global, quote, 'norms.' " Hannity added: "Now, does he think we should also apply Sharia law here in the United States?" Hannity has previously asserted as fact that Koh "advocates the use of Sharia law in America." But that characterization -- originated by a lawyer who claimed that at a 2007 event, Koh said that Sharia law "could, in an appropriate instance ... govern a controversy in a federal or state court in the US" -- has been disputed by both the host of the event where Koh purportedly spoke about Sharia law and by Koh himself.

Notorious Clinton-basher Hannity puts Samantha Power on the list for calling Clinton a "monster." Hannity said that National Security Council adviser Samantha Power "had been a foreign policy adviser during the campaign until she referred to then-Senator Hillary Clinton as a, quote, 'monster' and was fired. But now she's back. And by the way, I wonder if she and Hillary made up and are having coffee together." Hannity -- who has previously said that "demoniz[ing]" Clinton is "my job" and repeatedly smeared her -- provided no other justification for including Power on the list.

Hannity distorts Cass Sunstein's position, falsely claims he supports "basically creating a nation of forced organ donors." Hannity falsely claimed that Cass Sunstein, Obama's nominee to head the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, has said that "the state should own the organs of the deceased, basically creating a nation of forced organ donors." In fact, Sunstein recommended that states should consider either presumed consent or mandated choices, policies he said would save lives while "preserving freedom." Under "presumed consent" policy, citizens "would be presumed to be consenting donors" and could "easily" opt-out. Under a "mandated choice" policy, individuals could be required to make their preference known in order to renew their driver's license.

Hannity claimed John Holdren has "come close to advancing" theories that "kind of sound like forced sterilization." Hannity asserted that White House science and technology adviser John Holdren has "written about population control and has come close to advancing some very unusual theories, including the idea that sterilization capsules could be implanted in people when they reach puberty or by spiking drinking water with chemicals to prevent pregnancy. Now, doesn't it kind of sound like forced sterilization? It does to me." Hannity haspreviously claimed that Holdren "spoke out in defense of compulsory abortion and sterilization." But Holdren never advocated for any kind of involuntary birth control; he co-authored an environmental sciences book more than 30 years ago that discusses "compulsory control of family size" including sterilization as a possible consequence for countries whose expanding birth rates are not curbed by "milder methods."

Sean Hannity-hannity@foxnews.com

Fox News Channel-FOX News Channel
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036


Overshadowed by Tea Party Movement, the Christian Right Scrambles to Claim It Isn't Racist

By Adele M. Stan, AlterNet.

With Global Capitalism Exposed as a Sham, All the Global Elite Have Left Is Pure Force
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig
Delegates from the world's wealthiest nations gather this week for G-20, walled off from protesters by a National Guard combat battalion recently returned from Iraq.
more »

Discovery Channel's 'Gang Wars: Oakland' Series Spreads All the Wrong Messages About Poverty and Minorities

By Aimee Allison, AlterNet. Posted September 22, 2009.

The Discovery Channel's series spreads dangerous myths, focusing on the worst racial stereotypes and uses sensational police footage to depict crimes of poverty.

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest -- but the myth -- persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. -- John F. Kennedy

There's a rising tide of Americans that is challenging the myths that media perpetuate about people of color, violence and our nation's cities.

While Colorofchange.org challenges Glen Beck's racially tinged character attacks and bastadobbs.com calls for the ouster of Lou Dobbs from CNN for profiling Latinos, these efforts are the tip of the iceberg in addressing racism in the media.

Take the controversial documentary that aired this week -- Discovery Channel's two-parter, Gang Wars: Oakland, which aired its final episode Monday night.

Yes, Oakland has a shameful homicide rate, like many other American cities. But by multiplying the number of gang members in the city and connecting the homicide rate with a cardboard stereotype, the myths themselves become dangerous and counterproductive.

The show offers unrealistic and simplistic explanations about why killings happen, who the people in the community are and what would make things better. It's time for Oakland, and the rest of America, to dump the myths that have lead to ineffective approaches to safety -- and that means calling out this show that feeds on our worst fears of the poor and of people of color.

Maybe the show's producers formed their opinions about Oakland by playing the video game of the same name -- but our tragedies are not entertainment. And, we all admit, there's plenty of blame to go around for crime in our cities. We are all paying the price for letting go of the hand of young people.

But all the scorn in the world will not make Oakland, or even suburban areas, safer.

Discovery portrays Oakland from the narrow perspective of a gang task force making busts in the city's economically disadvantaged east and west flatlands.

The grainy night shots, closeups of semiautomatic weapons, wailing sirens and shot after shot of black and brown tattooed bravado is horror-flick fun to some -- but this is a harrowing reality for those of us in Oakland grappling with the persistent problem of violence.

And to make matters worse, the show claims there are 10,000 gang members in the city -- a number refuted by acting Oakland Police Chief Harold Jordan. Since the show producers haven't come up with where they got the inflated number, one can only guess that they lumped in people based on neighborhood or skin color.

Therein lies the essence of the problem.

If the show was your sole point of reference, you would get the impression that Oakland's response to crime involves mostly white police kicking down doors, conducting dangerous high-speed chases and stopping AC Transit buses in mostly black Oakland.

Gang Wars: Oakland would have us believe the myth -- as the voiceover in the show says -- that law-abiding citizens have only one hope, which is more and tougher policing. The reality is far more complex -- with the community itself taking a central role in creating peace.

"Young people are afraid, people want to protect themselves," offers Olis Simmons, executive director of Oakland's Youth Uprising. She adds, "the police can't make the city safe without partnership with the community, and that cannot happen as long as the community feels it's being infiltrated."

Fear grows in darkness; if you think there's a bogeyman around, turn on the light. -- Dorothy Thompson

Here's the biggest myth: That we can arrest our way out of our homicide rate. We can't, and the Oakland Police Department agrees. Racial profiling and harassment won't get us there -- although the Oakland Police Department has cost the city millions in settlements for just those behaviors.

But here's what we can do: We can hire our way out. We can school our way out. As a city, we believe that so deeply that we voted to pass Measure Y -- to tax ourselves to the tune of $10 million a year to make policing more effective and to expand youth programs and community outreach. The community-outreach workers that make a small cameo in the Gang Wars: Oakland are the cornerstone of Oakland's approach to making the streets safer.

And if you want reality -- how about the fact that many Oakland guns have been traced k to a gun dealer in nearby San Leandro who couldn't account for more than 2,000 guns in 2006, according to federal authorities. Let's revive the national gun-control conversation, because stricter federal laws is the only way to impact easy availability of guns in Oakland.

Locally, the myths depicted in Gang Wars: Oakland carry real consequences. Forget about the visceral reactions from suburban coworkers or the couple you met on vacation when you tell them you live in Oakland.

The city's own efforts to transform its neighborhoods are thwarted in the frenzy heightened by fearmongering shows. Racial profiling proliferates -- when cooler heads and a balanced view on safety don't prevail. Money is funneled away from youth and community programs. Businesses avoid opening in the city, and we lose valuable economic opportunities.

In Oakland, we are asking: Does this show reflect the true story of what's happening in my city? If it does, what is my responsibility to make things better?

Here's our reality from the streets of Oakland. Despite what you see on the Discovery Channel, Oakland's young people, coming from under-resourced communities, have shown a remarkable capacity for success and leadership to transform their peers.

Nick James of Youth Together, an organization with programs in five Oakland public schools, discusses its successful work: "We teach young people how to mediate conflicts and help their peers heal from being exposed to violence and loss. Our youth are becoming change agents and are breaking the cycle."

False history gets made all day, any day, the truth of the new is never on the news. -- Adrienne Rich

"The stereotypes won't make us safer, but a focus on hopeful efforts to support young people does," says Xiomara Castro, co-founder of the Urban Peace Movement, an Oakland youth violence-prevention program.

She suggests an alternate ending to the tale told in Gang Wars: "Young people who have experienced violence can turn their lives around. But thankfully Gang Wars isn't the end of the story. Let's try a real reality show, where we invite cameras to follow the young people who have transformed themselves."

Watch Gang Wars: Oakland and make up your own mind:





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