Saturday, July 31, 2010

Milbank to Beck: "Stop encouraging" potential murderers.

Beck is now claiming that linking Byron Williams wanting to attack and kill members of the Tides Foundation with the fact that Beck was almost alone in constantly talking about the Tides Foundation, is tantamount to calling him a terrorist.

The next thing is, they're painting people into terrorists -- painting people into dangers.

Um, you know, we had a sniper in, um, Oakland, California, trying to kill police. At the same time we have another guy who appears to be against the Tides Foundation, uh, and he goes down and he's going to try to kill people at the Tides Foundation. I'm tied to the Tides Foundation in this story because, quote, how scary is this? We have searched all the television records and Glenn Beck is the only host that spoke about the Tides Foundation in the past year. That's terrifying.

Firstly, no-one, literally no-one, has ever called Beck a terrorist. But he is the person who has talked of the Tides Foundation more than anyone else on TV and he does tend to talk in apocalyptic terms about a coming war.

Dana Milbank has the best advice for Beck:

Beck has at times spoken against violence, but he more often forecasts it, warning that "it is only a matter of time before an actual crazy person really does something stupid." Most every broadcast has some violent imagery: "The clock is ticking. . . . The war is just beginning. . . . Shoot me in the head if you try to change our government. . . . You have to be prepared to take rocks to the head. . . . The other side is attacking. . . . There is a coup going on. . . . Grab a torch!. . . . Drive a stake through the heart of the bloodsuckers. . . . They are taking you to a place to be slaughtered. . . . They are putting a gun to America's head. . . . Hold these people responsible."

Beck has prophesied darkly to his millions of followers that we are reaching "a point where the people will have exhausted all their options. When that happens, look out." One night on Fox, discussing the case of a man who killed 10 people, Beck suggested such things were inevitable. "If you're a conservative, you are called a racist, you want to starve children," he said. "And every time they do speak out, they are shut down by political correctness. How do you not have those people turn into that guy?"

Here's one idea: Stop encouraging them.

Where Beck is caught out here is that very few of us had ever heard of the Tides Foundation, but his audience had.
According to our searches, since Beck's show premiered on January 19, 2009, Tides has been mentioned on 31 editions of Fox News programs, 29 of which were editions of Beck's show (the other two were on Sean Hannity's program). In most of those references, Beck attacked Tides, often weaving the organization into his conspiracy theories. Two of those Beck mentions occurred during the week before Williams' shootout.
William's mother said that Williams "watched the news on television and was upset by 'the way Congress was railroading through all these left-wing agenda items.'"

Now, no-one can prove what Williams did or didn't watch, but the very fact that he chose to target the Tides Foundation, which Beck was almost alone in weaving into his conspiracy theories, does lead one to ask what led Williams to target them?

Breitbart Sounds The Retreat.

Breitbart is back pedalling as fast as he can.

She said she simply wanted an apology? Why not just do it?

[...] This thing has gotten to a place that’s far beyond where it should be. I’d be more than happy to meet with her in private and have a discussion with her.

Is that an invitation?

Sure, I’ll go whoever she wants. I’ll go to Albany, Georgia. I’ll go anywhere to have a private discussion with her.
Although there is every indication that he might have left all of this far too late.
Sherrod said she had not received an apology from Breitbart and no longer wanted one. “He had to know that he was targeting me,” she said.
Now, as is to be expected, Breitbart's web sites are talking of how unlikely Sherrod would be to win such a case.
Thus she would have to meet the rigorous standard, set forth by the Supreme Court in New York Times v. Sullivan (1964), of proving not only that Breitbart published a damaging falsehood about her but that he did so “with ‘actual malice’–that is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.”
I think, given the history of Breitbart's actions with another tape involving Acorn it could be quite easily proven that this is someone with a track record of putting things out there "with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not".

He made no attempt to contact Sherrod before publishing to even ask her side of the story. Indeed, if he is to be believed, he didn't even ask to view the full tape - despite having released a falsely edited tape before concerning Acorn - before he published this thing.

I think she would a very easy time proving that he acted recklessly.

Of course, Breitbart's colleagues are horrified - horrified I tell you - that journalists applauded when Sherrod said she might sue.
But one aspect of this story strikes us as passing strange: The venue in which she issued this threat was a convention of journalists. What’s more, someone who was there tells us that when she said she planned to sue, the audience applauded. Our source was careful to note that there were nonjournalists in the audience too (PR men and corporate sponsors). Still, we have to ask: What kind of journalist would applaud the threat of a defamation lawsuit?
Erm, ones who care about journalism and realise that Breitbart isn't a journalist?

Click here for full article.

Ellen DeGeneres: Hysterical Phone Call.

This made me roar.

Anthony Weiner's Spitting Mad Rant Against Republicans On The House Floor.

I love Weiner. He really does talk from the heart.

The House was debating a bill last night that would provide up to $7.4 billion in health care aid to rescue and recovery workers who have faced health problems since their work in the wake of the September 11 attacks. The bill ultimately failed to get the needed two-thirds majority, 255-159, and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) was not happy about it. Not one bit.

In a rant that lasted for almost two minutes, a hopping mad Weiner railed against "cowardly" Republicans who claimed they were voting against the bill because of "procedure." Weiner spat: "It's Republicans wrapping their arms around Republicans, rather than doing the right thing on behalf of the heroes!"

Weiner attacked those who "stand up and say, 'Oh, if only we had a different process we'd vote yes.' You vote yes if you believe yes! You vote in favor of something if you believe it's the right thing! If you believe it's the wrong thing, you vote no!"

"It is a shame! A shame," he exclaimed.
And it continued later on Fox News.

Tags: ,

Prescott: files on Iraq's WMD made me nervous.

It's astonishing how so many Labour party members, who were utterly silent as Blair led us into the war in Iraq, now want us to know that they really didn't agree with it. John Prescott is the latest person to perform this pathetic dance in front of Chilcot, but it's the reasons he gives for his behaviour that I find mesmerising.

Intelligence reports that were the evidence that sent British troops into war in Iraq consisted of "a bit of tittle- tattle here and a bit more information there", the former deputy prime minister John Prescott said yesterday.

The flimsiness of those reports made him "a little bit nervous", but did not shake his support for the war, he told the Iraq war inquiry. His role, as he saw it, was to support Tony Blair and keep the Cabinet united.

His role was to support Tony Blair and "keep the cabinet united". Even as the nation prepared to go to war on a false premise.

Even as his government were preparing to do something which would result in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and bring years of misery to the Iraqi people. All that mattered was supporting Blair and holding the cabinet together.
Lord Prescott told Sir John Chilcot and his panel that he saw the reports, and they made him "nervous". He said: "I just thought: 'Well, this is the intelligence document; this is what you have. It seems robust, but not enough to justify it.' Certainly what they do in intelligence is a bit of tittle-tattle here and a bit more information there."
The outrage of the families who have lost loved ones is perfectly understandable.

Mike Aston, whose 30-year-old son Corporal Russell Aston was one of six military policemen killed during a riot in Basra in June 2003, said: "His [Lord Prescott's] remarks are absolutely disgraceful. There are 179 families who have lost their loved ones in this war. It has cost me a son. I have to keep that at the back of my mind to stop it boiling over."

Rose Gentle, whose 19-year-old son Gordon was one of the first British casualties, said: "I'm disgusted. This is my boy's life they are talking about. The smug look on that man's face made it seem as if it was just a joke to him."

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said: "It just goes to undermine further any sense that the Government's stated reasons for going into Iraq were accurate.

"We have always suspected that there were other reasons. The sense that we were in there to protect British interests or security is further undermined by what Lord Prescott said."

Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn said: "If John really believes that, why was he so silent at a time of such a momentous decision that has led to a war that has cost the lives of half a million people?"

What I find most striking about Prescott's comments are the utter lack of shame. That's because he sees no shame in what he saying. He really thinks that his job was to protect Blair - even as he stood on the precipice of an utterly illegal war - and to "hold the cabinet together".

That mattered more to him than what he was "holding the cabinet together" to do.

And he now admits that Blair was being duplicitous when he laid the blame for the war at the door of the French.

He also contradicted the claim made in Parliament at the time, by Mr Blair and the former foreign secretary Jack Straw that the UK had not applied for a second UN resolution authorising the invasion because the French had announced in advance that they would veto it.

Lord Prescott said they had been wrong to blame "the poor old French".

The fact that Blair ludicrously attempted to blame France for the war is yet another indication of the mindset which, at that time, gripped his government. The truth mattered little, what mattered most was what Blair could sell to the public.

Prescott is yet another Labour politician who could have spoken out at the time and made a vital difference. He chose not to. And he has told us his reasons for not doing so.

And he's not ashamed and he's not even embarrassed. He saw his role as protecting Blair and holding the cabinet together. Even as they prepared to wage a war outside of the UN Charter.

People have gone to jail for less.

Click here for full article.

Coalition is more radical than Thatcher government, says senior Tory minister.

Francis Maude is saying this because he is proud of it, and whilst loathing it, I agree with his sentiment.

The coalition is trying to push through quicker and more vigorous reforms than attempted by either Margaret Thatcher or Tony Blair in their first terms, Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister and senior Tory responsible for the party's transition into government, said today.

There has been criticism that David Cameron risks overloading the Whitehall machine, and storing up political trouble, by quickly pursuing radical reforms on so many fronts simultaneously.

But Maude, in a Guardian interview, said: "If you look at the last transitions of governments and the way they came in, I would say one of the things that Thatcher regretted was not pushing ahead vigorously enough, and quickly enough, in terms of reform. The big reforming Thatcher governments were not until 1983 and 1987.

"Similarly, the Blair government did not just waste its first 100 days – it wasted its first five years. By contrast we have prepared very carefully. So we are well equipped to hit the ground running"

I would agree that this government has hit the ground running, my problem is that they have hit the ground running with a radical right wing agenda.

Since the election, the government has announced plans to eradicate the structural deficit by the end of the parliament, reform welfare, put GP commissioning at the heart of NHS change, set up a wave of new academies and free schools, elect police commissioners to oversee police, impose radical reforms to the pay and conditions of public sector workers, and introduce the biggest wave of constitutional reform since the 1832 Great Reform Act, including a referendum next May on the alternative vote system.

In a sign that the government recognises that public opinion is in a fragile state, Cameron is to not planning to relax in early August, but will be undertaking two "PM directs" in the regions next week to try to reassure voters that the cuts programme is necessary and not part of an ideological drive to shrink the state.

What they are doing is, of course, an ideological drive to shrink the state. The main difference is that they are getting to shrink the state with the political cover of the Liberal Democrats, who will echo their insistence that there really is no other way out of this other than to cut public services and, essentially, make the poorest members of society pay for the greed of the bankers who got us into this mess.

And nowhere, despite his campaign promises to protect the NHS, is Cameron more dangerous than with his plans for our health system.

Strip away the ­management speak and David Cameron’s naked policy is to privatise health, to wreck universal free care, to recreate the postcode lottery, to celebrate markets over medical need, to champion profit ahead of patients.

Another of the reasons why Cameron is getting away with this level of radicalism is that there is, effectively, no opposition. The Liberal Democrats are in bed with him and the opposition have no leader.

Until the Labour leadership contest is concluded Cameron is getting away with all of this without any effective opposition voice that the public can hear.

I said at the time of Osborne's budget that even Thatcher wouldn't have attempted to be that radical. I find it scary and depressing that Francis Maude agrees.

Click here for full article.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Beck: "What kind of monster would say the kinds of things that I do if they were just doing it for money?"

Only a monster would say the kind of things Beck's says if he were only saying it for money. That comes from Glenn Beck's mouth, not mine.

I have only one thing to say.... Goldline?

If that's not saying something just for money I don't know what is.

Is nothing sacred? Beck connects Homer Simpson to the Weather Underground.

He gets crazier with each day that passes. How deluded would anyone have to be to listen to this tosh?

Lib Dems fear guilt by association with Osborne.

Some Liberals are waking up to the very real danger of having anything to do with George Osborne and the Tories.

Liberal Democrat ministers have warned that the Conservatives will inflict lasting political damage to Nick Clegg's party if voters think the coalition Government is relishing the task of cutting public spending.

Although the Cabinet has agreed to try to blame the cuts on its inheritance from Labour, senior Lib Dems are worried that some Tory politicians – including George Osborne, the Chancellor – give the impression they are on a Thatcherite mission to shrink the state.

One Liberal Democrat minister warned yesterday: “If we look as though we are enjoying it, we’re dead. We have to take people with us.”

Another minister from Mr Clegg’s party said: “Some of the language coming out of the Treasury is causing concern. We have to remember that we are talking about the jobs of real people and vital services that people depend on.”
Osborne is having the time of his life, slashing back the state whilst attempting to place the blame for what he is doing on the previous administration.

The problem with that strategy is that the public are not fools. We recognise this as essentially what the Tories always want to do when they get into power, they cut public services and, when possible, lower the taxes of the better off.

The danger for the Liberal Democrats is that they are being asked to give political cover for this Thatcherite agenda.

Anxiety about the spending squeeze is also growing on the Liberal Democrat backbenches. Three MPs – Bob Russell, Mike Hancock and Adrian Sanders – have signed a Commons motion expressing concern that almost one million people, including 170,000 pensioners, will lose an average of £12 a week from cuts in housing benefit announced by Mr Osborne. It says that he is hitting the unemployed the hardest.

The MPs joined forces with Labour backbenchers to call on the Government “not to proceed with policies which will force those on low incomes to leave their homes and existing communities”. They warn that there is a real risk the benefit cuts will push hundreds of thousands of people into poverty, debt and even on to the streets if they are evicted from their homes.

Many people, myself amongst them, welcomed Clegg's decision to form a government with the Tories as we believed that the Lib Dems would hold back the very worst of the Tories excesses. So far, this plan does not appear to have been realistic. The Lib Dems, until now, have been providing cover for Tory excesses rather than opposing and stopping them.

The noises coming from the Lib Dem backbenches gives some vague hope that the rank and file might force Clegg to do what he has so far manifestly failed to do: stop Osborne from carrying out this Thatcherite assault on public services.

Clegg's credibility is falling faster than a stone flung off a mountain. I found myself screaming at the TV last night as Clegg claimed that he decided cuts had to happen sooner rather than later before polling day. He, of course, had campaigned throughout the election campaign arguing that early cuts would be disastrous.

The Deputy Prime Minister told a BBC Two documentary last night on how the coalition was formed that he did not change his mind during the negotiations with the Tories after the election resulted in a hung parliament.

“I changed my mind earlier than that... between March and the actual general election, a financial earthquake occurred in on our European doorstep." Asked why he did not announce his change of heart, he told the BBC political editor Nick Robinson: “Ah, to be fair we were all I think reacting to very very fast-moving economic events.”

Liam Byrne, Labour’s shadow Chief Secretary, said: “This shows Nick Clegg simply misled voters. He’d clearly decided before the election that David Cameron was his partner of choice.”

His position is simply not credible. It's odd, but I actually am much angrier with Clegg than I am with Cameron or Osborne. Cameron and Osborne are doing what the Tories have done since time immemorial. It is Clegg who is now saying that black is white.

It is Clegg who is now claiming that he changed his mind before election day but simply failed to inform the electorate of his change of heart.

The Liberal Democrats have lost one third of their supporters since the election, with most of them defecting to Labour. I don't find that remotely surprising.

Clegg has seriously misled everyone about who he is and what he believes.

Click here for full article.

Michael Gove's academy plan under fire as scale of demand emerges.

Michael Gove, the education secretary, has had a shaky start in government, where he has already had to apologise to House for making 25 errors when making a speech about schooling.

Now, he appears to be in trouble again as it has been revealed that a mere 153 schools have applied to become academies, when he had attempted to rush legislation through parliament by stating that more than a thousand schools had applied.

The shadow education secretary, Ed Balls, accused Gove of "railroading" the legislation through parliament, and demanded that he explain why he "misleadingly claimed that more than 1,000 schools had applied". Balls, a contender for the Labour leadership, added: "It seems to me that the real reason for the rush was to avoid proper scrutiny for a deeply flawed piece of legislation."

Gove is already under attack from MPs, teachers and councils for a bungled announcement over whether hundreds of schools' plans for new buildings would go ahead.

He was forced to apologise in the Commons earlier this month after his office ignored advice to check an error-strewn list of cancelled building projects before it was published. The list suggested that many school building programmes would go ahead that had in fact been cancelled.

In relation to the academies, the department issued a press release on 2 June quoting Gove as saying: "The response has been overwhelming. In just one week, over 1,100 schools have applied." He added: "Of these, 626 are outstanding schools, including over 250 primary schools, nearly 300 secondary schools (over half of all the outstanding secondary schools in the country) and over 50 special schools."

Now the mistake might simply be that Gove confused schools which expressed an interest in his scheme with schools making an actual application, but he is in danger of becoming a liability for the new Con-Dem coalition.

How many times can this man make pronouncements which turn out to be false?

Teachers' leaders condemned the government tonight for acting too hastily over academies.

"Our education system is too important to be subject to acting in haste, but repenting at leisure," said Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

"We remain concerned that many of the schools which have applied won't have carried out any form of consultation. Democracy will not be well served if children, parents and staff first learn of their school's plans to become an academy from the media."

She added that it would be "interesting to see if the list of schools applying to become an academy is as accurate, or not" as the error-ridden list that informed schools whether their building projects were to be scrapped.

It will, indeed, be interesting. Gove is fast becoming a walking gaffe machine. Nothing he says turns out to be true.

Click here for full article.

US Senate Lockerbie bomber inquiry 'may visit UK'.

Having been told that UK politicians will not attend the US's congressional inquiry into the Lockerbie bomber release in the United States, the US Senator in charge of the inquiry has now said that he might send investigators to the UK.

Scots Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill and former UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw refused to testify in the US.

BP's outgoing chief executive Tony Hayward also declined to appear.

Mr Menendez has rescheduled the hearing for September and issued fresh invitations to all potential witnesses.

The senator told Newsnight: "In addition to making a request for them to come to the hearings, we will be sending individuals... to Great Britain and Scotland to interview the individuals and to ask questions and get a thorough understanding of how they came to their decisions."

I find this simply outrageous. Having been told that they refused to come to the United States to answer his inquiry's questions, Senator Robert Menendez appears to be under the notion that it was the inconvenience of crossing the Atlantic which brought about the refusal of so many Brits to testify, rather than the fact that they don't feel the need to justify their decisions before any American hearing.

And the Scottish First Minister summed up the feelings of people over here rather succinctly.

Also speaking on the programme, Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said he was happy to offer a visiting US senator "the courtesy of a meeting".

But he said there was "no way on Earth" Scottish ministers would formally give evidence to a committee hearing of a foreign legislature, even if it was held in the UK.

"It's a point of principle that you're not responsible to the committee of another parliament," he said.

"I don't think there is a recorded case in history of a serving American secretary going to another jurisdiction to give evidence to a committee of another parliament. That applies to the Chilcot Committee, it applies to coroners' inquests in England, it applies to extraordinary rendition and all the other controversies the US has been involved in.

"You shouldn't ask other people to do things that your own government would never dream of," he said.

No matter how offended Americans are by this decision, it was a decision made by another parliament, and that parliament does not have to explain to the Americans how it came to that decision.

Salmond is being very kind in offering the courtesy of a meeting, my instinct would be to offer nothing.

We are not living in the days of the Roman Empire, and neither the British nor the Scottish executives are answerable to a foreign power.

Click here for full article.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Democratic Plan: We Can't Lose BecauseThey're Crazy.

Despite all the talk from the Republicans regarding their plans to crush the Democrats and take back the House come November, Obama's White House have let it be known that there is no need for the Democrats to panic as the Republicans are not going to take back the House.

But it's the reasoning they give that I just love. They say the Republicans can't win because they are simply too crazy.

Good party messages are organic, and they are not announced. Fortunately for Democrats, theirs just sort of came along, thanks to the Tea Party movement, which has invited into politics hecklers and cranks and fairly fringe candidates who are currently hurting the Republican Party in several key states. Oh, but the Tea Party is an organic movement of conservative men and women who will feel insulted if the Democrats cast them as crazy and lumps them together with Republicans, right? Nah. These people are perpetually offended by the Democratic Party.

The Democratic strategy in a nutshell is small enough to fit in one but has the protein of a good, tasty nut. The Republicans want to be mayors of crazy-town. They've embraced a fringe and proto-racist isolationist and ignorant conservative populism that has no solutions for fixing anything and the collective intelligence of a wine flask. This IS offensive and over the top, and the more Democrats repeat it, and the more dumb things some Republican candidates do, the more generally conservative voters who might be thinking of sending a message to Democrats by voting for a Republican will be reminded that the replacement party is even more loony than the party that can't tie its shoes.
Here, a Democratic memo lays out the problem that the Tea Party movement presents for the Republicans.
The Tea Party has presented three problems for Republicans. The most glaring problem is where the Tea Party candidate has defeated the moderate (and more electable) Republican candidate. Second, Republican candidates are being forced to take unpopular extreme positions to satisfy the ideological base to avoid defeat in their primaries. Third, we are seeing numerous Tea Party candidates run as third party candidates which is splitting the Republican vote...
Palin and the Tea Party protesters have taken many of these candidates into such extremist waters that they are virtually unelectable.

The Republican leadership have been caught between a rock and a hard place. They had lost many supporters after Bush's dreadful time in office and the Tea Party protesters represented the runt of the party. But it was literally all they were left with. So they were too cowardly to turn against them.

Now, these lunatics are trying to push the party ever further to the right. It means that no reasonable candidate can get past the primaries. The Tea Party protesters are going to be a death knell for the Republicans.

Fools Gold.

This chart takes you through Glenn Beck's role in the Gold Line rip off. (Click on chart for full size).

Hannity cites op-ed by "Democratic" pollsters Caddell and Schoen to declare that Obama divides people by race.

Does Fox News ever discuss anything other than race these days? They seem obsessed with it ever since Obama was elected.

Matthews Follow's Fox's Lead on New Black Panthers Story Now that GOP Senators Are Pushing Their Race Baiting as Well.

I agree with Matthews that this entire story is simply "right wing swirl", but it's depressing that this has now crossed from Fox News and into the MSM.

Matthews is also right when he states that there are some people who want this to "be about race all the time". This is what Fox have been doing since the day Obama was elected.

I get the feeling that Matthews was forced to cover this story by his producers, especially when I look at the way he signs off.

MATTHEWS: I hope we don`t have to revisit this. I hope something gets done. Well, maybe it shouldn`t get done, but I hope we don`t have to talk about this one again!
Amen to that.... I've said it before but this is an intimidation case where not a single person has ever claimed that they were intimidated.

Cameron: I didn't think I would become Prime Minister.

In a new programme "Five Days That Changed Britain" David Cameron admits that he did not think he would become Prime Minister as he was sure that Nick Clegg would come to a deal with Labour.

Despite making a "generous offer" to Nick Clegg's party, he feared it would link up with Labour when the two parties opened rival talks. "On Sunday I was thinking I probably will be Prime Minister on Monday. I was thinking by the end of Monday I definitely won't be Prime Minister," he says.

When an impatient Gordon Brown resigned before the Tories and Liberal Democrats agreed a deal, Mr Cameron was taken by surprise. "I remember having to ring Samantha. She was doing Nancy's homework and I said, 'We could be going to the Palace – you'd better get your frock on'."

I remember that day well. I drove into town convinced that Clegg was about to do a deal with Labour and drove home to the news that a Con-Dem coalition was in the making.

Of course, it now transpires that Clegg had no intention of ever forming a coalition with Labour and that he was merely going through the motions to please his own backbenchers.

But it's interesting that even Cameron appears to have believed that Labour were more natural bedfellows for the Liberal Democrats than his own party were.

It's a feeling which many of us shared.

Indeed, I think it's something which the Liberal Democrats might one day deeply regret. It's very hard to see what they are getting out of this deal. They are going to share the blame for Osborne's dreadful budget whilst the concessions they have achieved will possibly be utterly forgotten.
Sir Menzies Campbell, the former Liberal Democrat leader, warns that Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg might end up looking like each other, in the way that owners look like their dogs. "If you have a coalition partner then it seems to me there's a grave risk eventually you'll come to look like them," he says.
Sir Menzies Campbell has got it in one.

Click here for full article.

Arizona immigration law blocked by judge in temporary victory for Obama.

The Obama administration has achieved a temporary success in their battle against Arizona's new racist anti-immigration law.

Judge Susan Bolton granted a preliminary injunction which prevents implementation of two main elements of the legislation: the requirement that police determine the immigration status of people they arrest or question should they suspect them of being illegal, and the part of the new law that would make it a state crime for a foreigner to be in Arizona without registration papers.

The injunction will hold, Bolton said, until the courts have considered a lawsuit against Arizona by the federal government that seeks permanently to block the new law on the grounds that it is unconstitutional.

The temporary and partial reprieve marks success, in the short term at least, of attempts by the Obama administration to maintain federal control of immigration policy, against efforts by states, led by Arizona, to take the matter into their own hands. Several states have expressed support for Arizona's legislation that was due to come into effect today.

This will be the cue for right wing commentators everywhere to go bat shit crazy.
Come November, this particular moment of happiness is going to smack him again. For now, he just doesn’t realize that this injunction he thinks is in his favor isn’t going to work out as he would have liked. That hasn’t stopped the left from celebrating, but they won’t be happy for long.
The strangest thing about right wingers is that they always imagine that their prejudices are universally felt and that electoral disaster will befall any regime which dares to oppose them.

It's this same mindset which allows the Tea Party protesters to imagine that an election which produced Obama was somehow an aberration and that the country must instantly be experiencing buyers remorse, which is why they take to the streets demanding "their" country back.

It's why for weeks after the election we were constantly being told that the United States was "a centre right country" and the Democrats might have won, but they must govern as if the Republicans had won.

Of course the opposite applies to the Republicans according to right wing "logic", as they must be pushed ever further to the right.

Our job this year as conservatives is to put some distance between us and the left. In doing so, it is our job to push the Senate Republican to the right. Every inch counts when dealing with 100 senators and 40 or 50 Republicans.

Every inch.

You see, you can be too left wing in "a centre right country", but there appears to be no such thing as too right wing.

Click here for full article.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

File Under B: Barrel, Scraping Bottom Of.

This has got to be the dumbest attempt yet to defame Shirley Sherrod.

It isn't true.

Shirley Sherrod's story in her now famous speech about the lynching of a relative is not true.
Now, he knows this is not true because he has read the Screws vs. the U.S. Government case. And, reading carefully, he found this:
The arrest was made late at night at Hall's home on a warrant charging Hall with theft of a tire. Hall, a young negro about thirty years of age, was handcuffed and taken by car to the courthouse. As Hall alighted from the car at the courthouse square, the three petitioners began beating him with their fists and with a solid-bar blackjack about eight inches long and weighing two pounds. They claimed Hall had reached for a gun and had used insulting language as he alighted from the car. But after Hall, still handcuffed, had been knocked to the ground, they continued to beat him from fifteen to thirty minutes until he was unconscious. Hall was then dragged feet first through the courthouse yard into the jail and thrown upon the floor, dying.
So, Sherrod is a liar to say that he was lynched as he was merely beaten to death, not lynched.

The Breitbart defenders are really scraping the bottom of the barrel these days.

Click here for full article.

Fox News Audience Just 1.38% Black.

Why do I not find this remotely surprising?

The New York Times’ Brian Stelter tweeted that, according to Nielsen Media Research, Fox News has averaged just 29,000 black viewers in primetime so far this television season (9/09-7/10). That represents just 1.38% of its 2.102 million total viewer audience.

CNN and MSNBC, meanwhile, both have far more black viewers, both in absolute terms and as a proportion of their overall audiences.

The race baiting that goes on over at that channel is simply disgraceful. For months we have heard Megyn Kelly harp on about the New Black Panthers and imply that Holder won't prosecute black people where whites are the victims.

They have been claiming that this reverse racism is going on for months now. It can be no surprise to anyone that the black proportion of their audience is tiny. They recognise racist crap when they see it.

Hard hitting: Hannity asks Pam Geller if she thinks Obama is anti-Semitic -- she does.

Disgraceful. Simply disgraceful. Pam Geller announces that she believes Obama is anti-Semitic. She offers no proof to back this suggestion, merely that he is not pro-Israeli enough to suit her tastes.

Shadow cabinet to oppose voting reform bill.

One really has to wonder what Nick Clegg has gained from his pact with the Tories when you read this.

The Labour shadow cabinet has decided to vote against a bill introducing reform to the voting system, raising the prospect of a Commons defeat for one of the governing coalition's flagship policies.

The decision, taken last night, followed two lengthy shadow cabinet discussions.

It could herald a backbench Tory-Labour alliance designed to derail the bill either at its second reading or by rejecting the proposal that the referendum be held on the same day as elections in Scotland and parts of England and Wales next May.

A total of 50 Tory MPs are opposing next May as the date for the referendum, and are coming under intense pressure from Tory whips to pull back from that stance.

The shadow cabinet had an earlier discussion at which – on the advice of John Denham, the shadow communities and local government secretary – it proposed abstaining on the bill.

But Denham, a strong advocate of voting reform, backed moves at yesterday's shadow cabinet, led by the justice secretary, Jack Straw, to oppose the bill outright.

Straw argued that the bill introducing the referendum was being coupled unnecessarily with boundary changes which he described as gerrymandering.

The shadow cabinet agreed yesterday that it still supported the referendum the Alternative Vote (AV) system – but, in a new reasoned amendment, will say it is entirely wrong that this reform, on Conservative insistence, is being bound up with plans to reduce the number of MPs and introduce widespread boundary changes.

Labour claims the boundary reforms would benefit the Tories so much that the Labour party would find it impossible to win a general election again.

Of course, the Tories have never wanted a reform in voting so perhaps they have planned to gerrymander the system in order to force Labour to oppose a policy which the Tories don't wish to see brought about.

After all, Clegg has got into bed with a party which will allow a referendum on voting reform whilst reserving the right to campaign against that reform.

So, he now has both Labour and the Tories opposing his party's platform policy.

Maybe he can turn that to his advantage. But the danger is that he has dragged his party so far to the right that the public will utterly reject anything he offers them on the grounds that the Liberal Democrats are now regarded as soiled goods.

Click here for full article.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gaza is a "prison camp", says Cameron.

Let me applaud Cameron when applause is due:

“Turkey's relationships in the [Middle East] region, both with Israel and with the Arab world, are of incalculable value. No other country has the same potential to build understanding between Israel and the Arab world. I know that Gaza has led to real strains in Turkey's relationship with Israel. But Turkey is a friend of Israel. And I urge Turkey, and Israel, not to give up on that friendship.

Let me be clear.

The Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable. And I have told PM Netanyahu, we will expect the Israeli inquiry to be swift, transparent and rigorous. Let me also be clear that the situation in Gaza has to change. Humanitarian goods and people must flow in both directions. Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp. But as, hopefully, we move in the coming weeks to direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians so it's Turkey that can make the case for peace and Turkey that can help to press the parties to come together, and point the way to a just and viable solution.“

Tony Blair was always ridiculously one sided when it came to the Israel Palestinian dispute, even though he did recognise the need for peace to be made possible between the two sides. But it is simply unthinkable that Blair, whilst Prime Minister, would have (a) spoken out so forcefully against an Israeli attack anywhere, or (b) recognised Gaza as a prison camp. Indeed, after the Israeli attack on Gaza in 2008/9 Blair said that he thought the debate about proportionality was "not really a sensible conversation".

The UN famously later disagreed with him finding that war crimes had actually been committed. And yes, the UN also found the subject of proportionality to be rather relevant.
The 575-page report concluded that Israel used disproportionate force, deliberately targeted civilians, used Palestinians as human shields, and destroyed civilian infrastructure during its Dec. 27-Jan. 18 incursion into the Gaza Strip to root out Palestinian rocket squads.
So, Cameron is to be congratulated for having a courage which Blair always lacked on this subject.

Click here for full article.


Here's how one attempts to spin a disaster into something positive.

Media-circus ringmaster Andrew Breitbart, the self-styled scourge of everything liberal and politically correct, has really outdone himself this time. With the help of Fox News—and, truth be told, key members of the Obama administration—he has made the president’s minions look like clowns.
This is being done on a right wing website so it is to be expected that they will try and put as positive a gloss as possible on what was a PR nightmare for Breitbart.

The truth, of course, is that it is Breitbart who looks like a clown, which is why he has gone into hiding.

Never again will he get away with releasing one of his edited tapes and have anyone assume that it reflects what he tells us it does.

No amount of spin will make anyone - other than the truly deranged right wingers who see only what they want to see anyway - fail to recognise the considerable damage Breitbart has done to his credibility.

Not that one gets that impression from reading The Daily Beast:
For the media-savvy Breitbart, it’s an unalloyed triumph—even better than last year’s redacted videos of a fake pimp and prostitute seeking business advice from ACORN, which resulted in Congress voting to defund the community group.
He's applauding the fact that this year's lie is even more audacious than last years. But he really is missing the point. The Acorn lie wasn't revealed until long after the damage had been done. And, more importantly, until after the media had moved on.

In this case the lie was instantly revealed and also linked to the fact that this was not the first time Breitbart had been caught peddling untruths. And the media, full of genuine outrage at the fact that they fell for it, have been all over this story like a rash.

The Daily Beast can spin that any way which they want, but it's very hard to imagine that this is good news for Breitbart's credibility.

As this story was breaking I imagined that he might get away with it. But the story has simply become too big for that to happen.

Click here for Daily Beast's spin piece.


Gillian Duffy backs David Miliband in Labour leadership battle.

It says everything about the tabloid culture of British politics that we are hearing that David Miliband has visited Gillian Duffy - the woman branded "a bigot" by Gordon Brown during the last election - and that we are being breathlessly told that he has secured her support.

It appears that the shadow foreign secretary has managed to sway Duffy back after meeting her for a coffee and chat over the weekend.

She told the Daily Mirror she found him "very intelligent but also down to earth" when he visited her home in Rochdale for "a cup of tea and a chat".

Are we now going the way of the US in searching for our own Joe the Plumber? That one citizen who will come to represent the disenfranchised millions?

I find that profoundly depressing. I've nothing against the woman herself, she just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, but what is Miliband playing at travelling to Rochdale to secure her backing?

Click here for full article.

Wikileaks and Afghanistan.

It is blatantly to this war what the Pentagon papers were to the Vietnam war.

The details emerge from more than 90,000 secret US military files, covering six years of the war, which caused a worldwide uproar when they were leaked yesterday.

The war logs show how a group of US marines who went on a shooting rampage after coming under attack near Jalalabad in 2007 recorded false information about the incident, in which they killed 19 unarmed civilians and wounded a further 50.

In another case that year, the logs detail how US special forces dropped six 2,000lb bombs on a compound where they believed a "high-value individual" was hiding, after "ensuring there were no innocent Afghans in the surrounding area". A senior US commander reported that 150 Taliban had been killed. Locals, however, reported that up to 300 civilians had died.

Other files in the secret archive reveal:

• Coalition commanders received numerous intelligence reports about the whereabouts and activity of Osama bin Laden between 2004 and 2009, even though the CIA chief has said there has been no precise information about the al-Qaida leader since 2003.

• The hopelessly ineffective attempts of US troops to win the "hearts and minds" of Afghans.

• How a notorious criminal was appointed chief of police in the south-western province of Farrah.

Speaking at a press conference at the Frontline Club in central London yesterday, Julian Assange, of Wikileaks, the website which initially published the war logs, said: "It is up to a court to decide clearly whether something is in the end a crime. That said, on the face of it, there does appear to be evidence of war crimes in this material."

The strangest thing about this release is that so little of it is of surprise. The US is killing many more innocents than we are being told about. They are failing in their efforts to "win hearts and minds" in Afghanistan. Pakistan intelligence have links to al Qaeda. Am I a cynic to say that none of this surprises me?

I remember, as the US were preparing to invade that country, reading a Russian general saying that the US could pound those mountains for a decade, just as the Russians had done, but that they wouldn't win a war in Afghanistan.

During the election I always believed that Obama was focusing on Afghanistan simply because he couldn't promise to withdraw from there and Iraq without being perceived as being soft on national security. I always believed him to be too intelligent to buy into the notion of a military victory in that place. To that end, I was pleased when I heard that the US were about to negotiate with the Taliban.

That, at least, showed that the US were prepared to think outside of the box. To search for an exit that didn't demand military victory.

For, reading what I have of the Wikileaks story, only confirms that wars cannot be won in Afghanistan through military means alone. But, we knew that anyway.


Crooks and Liars say this:
But what I find more interesting is trying to determine who might have sent these documents to WikiLeaks - 92,000 classified documents, mostly tactical level reports, over a six-year period. Is this person a military officer who has seen one too many operations go south? A low-level DOD civilian, secretly frustrated at the mismatch between reality and the manufactured news on the television? A poorly-screened defense contractor, taking advantage of stressed out defense personnel to slip messages out to other confederates?

Who is this modern-day Daniel Ellsberg?

But I think we might know who leaked the papers as Bradley Manning has already been arrested after confessing on-line to a former outlaw computer hacker, R. Adrian Lamo, that he had passed the material to Wikileaks.
In a series of online chats in late May with a fellow computer geek, Manning claimed he had leaked a staggering 260,000 classified diplomatic reports, along with secret video of U.S. service members killing civilians, to the whistleblower website
And the leaks contain exactly what UK intelligence analyst Crispin Black said they would:
Diplomatic cables don't usually contain huge secrets but they do contain the unvarnished truth so in a sense they can be even more embarrassing than secrets.
The reason the US government will prosecute Manning with the full force of the law has almost nothing to do with national security and everything to do with the fact that this embarrasses them.

Click here for full article.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Beck implores his audience to "reject violence every step of the way".

Glenn Beck pleads with his audience to avoid violence. This shows how near to the wire this psychopath walks. Can you think of any other broadcaster having to make such a plea to their audience?

And we know that it is highly likely that Beck is already responsible for certain unhinged lunatics deciding that they were going to attack people, because the people they set out to attack are virtually unknown. Except, of course, that Glenn Beck talks about them with monotonous frequency during his conspiracy rants.

On July 18, Byron Williams, an ex-felon with a history of violent criminal behavior, was pulled over by California Highway Police on I-580. Williams, who was apparently intoxicated, opened fire at the officers as one approached his truck. He continued firing as eight additional officers arrived. More than 60 rounds were reportedly fired during the five to eight minute shootout; two officers were reportedly injured by flying glass after a squad cars window and windshield were shattered by gunfire. Williams was arrested and hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds.

Williams was reportedly heavily armed with a handgun, shotgun, rifle and body armor. Shortly after the shooting, a CHP sergeant said that "There is no doubt in our mind, given the body armor and the extensive amount of ammunition he had, that he was on his way to do a very serious crime against either someone or a group of people" And indeed, Williams reportedly told investigators that "his intention was to start a revolution by traveling to San Francisco and killing people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU."

How would he have heard of the Tides Foundation?
According to our searches, since Beck's show premiered on January 19, 2009, Tides has been mentioned on 31 editions of Fox News programs, 29 of which were editions of Beck's show (the other two were on Sean Hannity's program). In most of those references, Beck attacked Tides, often weaving the organization into his conspiracy theories. Two of those Beck mentions occurred during the week before Williams' shootout.
Indeed, Beck even appears to be proud that no-one had heard of Tides before he put it on his blackboard:

BECK: Then he says, the reason why I'm trouble is because no one knew what Tides was before Glenn Beck's blackboard. Tides was one of the hardest things that we ever tried to explain, and everyone told us that we couldn't. It is the reason why the blackboard really became what the blackboard is, is because I was trying to explain Tides, and how all of this worked. Now, you'll notice that I'm a danger because no one knew what Tides was until the blackboard. Meaning that they need the cover of darkness. They must silence people that turn the light of day on to these organizations.
People who "turn the light of day on these organisations"? If "the light of day" is a "five to eight minute shoot-out" between the police and a disturbed individual who wanted to "kill people of importance at the Tides Foundation and the ACLU", then it's mission accomplished, Mr Beck.

And now, suddenly, he is calling on his listeners to eschew violence. I wonder if these things are somehow related?

Blame Obama.

It's so bloody predictable. Here, Matt Lewis, a contributor to Breitbart's websites, explains how the real villain in the Sherrod case was the White House.

Even he now admits that the tape was edited and that a wrong has taken place, but he appears to be okay with the fact that Breitbart has refused to issue any form of apology. He certainly refuses to say that Breitbart should apologise.

And, also missing from this conversation, is the demand that Breitbart should name who his source was for this highly edited video.

Then there is this:

Again, Newt Gingrich seeks to lay the blame for this at the door of the White House. The blame for this entire episode lies at the door of Andrew Breitbart. It is certainly true that The White House acted irresponsibly by giving credence to this fraudsters claims, but the villain of the piece remains the fraudster, not the people taken in by the fraud.


Laura Ingraham, the woman who said this:

Now this emerges, pretty much confirming what many of us thought about people who have burrowed their way into the Obama administration, with radical outlooks and a radical agenda, and in this case a racist sentiment.
She now blames the White House for not reading the full transcript before they fired Sherrod. That's a fair point, but Ingraham admits that the story confirmed what she previously thought. It fit right into her opinion of the Obama administration.

An opinion formed at Fox News. Where Breitbart, the actual person behind this fraud, finds a natural home. Again, no mention of Breitbart, instead the blame is swiftly passed to the Obama administration.

Ingraham is actually saying that she trusted this tape because she doesn't trust the Obama administration. The tape was trusted because it fit in with her already established bias.

Barack Obama faces rising pressure to publish Lockerbie bomber release letter.

Barack Obama is under pressure to release a letter sent to Scottish ministers by a senior diplomat at the US embassy in London last August, which the Scottish government say "grudgingly supported" freeing the Lockerbie bomber on compassionate grounds.

The Scottish government feel that this letter undermines Obama's public position, where he has claimed to be "surprised, disappointed and angry" by the Libyan's release.

The Scottish government have been pressured by the US Senate's foreign relations committee to allow the Scottish justice minister, Kenny MacAskill, to appear in front of their Lockerbie hearing to explain his decision. Alex Salmond, the Scottish First Minister has refused to allow this.

The existence and content of the US embassy note was first disclosed by the Guardian last August, at the height of the controversy over Megrahi's release, and its full text has now been leaked to the Sunday Times.

In it, the deputy head of the US embassy in London, Frank LeBaron, said the US believed Megrahi should remain in Greenock jail because of the seriousness of his conviction for killing 270 passengers and crew, and 11 Lockerbie townspeople, by bombing Pan Am flight 103 in 1988.

But he added: "Nevertheless, if Scottish authorities [conclude] that Megrahi must be released from Scottish custody, the US position is that conditional release on compassionate grounds would be a far preferable alternative to prisoner transfer, which we strongly oppose."

LeBaron said releasing Megrahi but making him live in Scotland "would mitigate a number of strong concerns we have expressed with regards to Megrahi's release."

So, the US position appears to have been not against the release of Megrahi, but against his return to Libya. The Americans made clear that keeping Megrahi in Scotland "would mitigate" many of their concerns.
Allowing Megrahi to live outside prison in Scotland was one of the options considered by MacAskill. Megrahi's wife and sons had a family home paid for by the Libyan government in the prosperous Glasgow suburb of Newton Mearns. But that option was rejected after police advice that this would cause immense security and logistical problems, and cost £100,000 a week to protect him. The house would need a 24-hour armed guard, while Megrahi would need heavy security for his regular trips for medical treatment.
This option was apparently considered, but rejected on the grounds of costs.

Click here for full article.