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Archive for March, 2010

The Rage Is Not About Health Care

The New York Times- Opinion

Published: March 27, 2010
THERE were times when last Sunday’s great G.O.P. health care implosion threatened to bring the thrill back to reality television. On ABC’s “This Week,” a frothing and filibustering Karl Rove all but lost it in a debate with the Obama strategist David Plouffe. A few hours later, the perennially copper-faced Republican leader John Boehner revved up his “Hell no, you can’t!” incantation in the House chamber — instant fodder for a new viral video remixing his rap with will.i.am’s “Yes, we can!” classic from the campaign. Boehner, having previously likened the health care bill to Armageddon, was now so apoplectic you had to wonder if he had just discovered one of its more obscure revenue-generating provisions, a tax on indoor tanning salons.

But the laughs evaporated soon enough. There’s nothing entertaining about watching goons hurl venomous slurs at congressmen like the civil rights hero John Lewis and the openly gay Barney Frank. And as the week dragged on, and reports of death threats and vandalism stretched from Arizona to Kansas to upstate New York, the F.B.I. and the local police had to get into the act to protect members of Congress and their families.

How curious that a mob fond of likening President Obama to Hitler knows so little about history that it doesn’t recognize its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht. The weapon of choice for vigilante violence at Congressional offices has been a brick hurled through a window. So far.

No less curious is how disproportionate this red-hot anger is to its proximate cause. The historic Obama-Pelosi health care victory is a big deal, all right, so much so it doesn’t need Joe Biden’s adjective to hype it. But the bill does not erect a huge New Deal-Great Society-style government program. In lieu of a public option, it delivers 32 million newly insured Americans to private insurers. As no less a conservative authority than The Wall Street Journal editorial page observed last week, the bill’s prototype is the health care legislation Mitt Romney signed into law in Massachusetts. It contains what used to be considered Republican ideas.

MORE HERE

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Los Angeles Times- By Kathleen Hennessey and Ashley Powers

March 28, 2010

Reporting from Searchlight, Nev. – Gathered amid the dust and sagebrush of the Nevada desert, thousands of conservative “tea party” protesters responded Saturday to their critics with what might be called the young protest movement’s unofficial motto.

Don’t tread on me.

Dozens of yellow flags bearing that defiant message, along with the image of a coiled snake poised to strike, whipped in the wind above the crowds rallying in the tiny highway hometown of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Along with repeating familiar tea party themes — government is too big, the healthcare overhaul is socialist — the protesters pointedly answered critics who say the group’s rhetoric has fueled violence and threats against Democratic lawmakers in an increasingly poisonous political climate after the passage of healthcare legislation.

“Don’t ever let anybody tell you to sit down and shut up, Americans!” said former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. A hearty crowd huddled in a dirt lot for the “Showdown in Searchlight” cheered.

The rally was originally intended to stir up opposition to Reid’s bid for reelection this fall.

But the parade of speakers seemed equally focused on defending the young protest movement from its detractors, an acknowledgment that any association with the vandalism, threats and slurs reported by Democrats could harm tea party aims and drive away allies.

MORE HERE

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Screeching Dingbat Delights Group of Teabaggers

WONKETTE– 9:56 PM on Sat March 27 2010
By Ken Layne

Oh well, here she is, Miss Also America, proving once again why nobody would give her a job as a local-teevee-news announcer because GAH nails on chalkboard, etc. Your editor almost drove out to the southern Nevada mining town of Searchlight to witness this public-speaking abortion. But, honestly, being in the same town as Sarah Palin once was more than enough.

As Frank Rich writes in tomorrow’s NYT: “At least four of the House members hit with death threats or vandalism are among the 20 political targets Palin marks with rifle crosshairs on a map on her Facebook page.” So, the Wasilla Grifter is doing about as well with this as she did with winning the vice presidency, or sticking with her job as Alaska’s governor.

Let her pack up her bags of money and tacky leather dresses and go back to Alaska, forever. Fucking idiot crook. [Los Angeles Times]

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Sydney Morning Herald

March 27, 2010 – 9:54PM
AFP

Israeli tanks entered the Gaza Strip on Friday night, following the killing by militants of two Israeli soldiers, sparking a clash in which a Palestinian was killed.

At least seven Palestinians were killed in the clash, which comes amid the worst spate of violence in the besieged coastal territory in 14 months.

The Palestinian medics said the death and injuries were caused by a tank shell but gave no further details.

The tanks, backed by helicopters, advanced briefly into the Khan Yunis section in the south of the Gaza Strip before retreating to Israeli territory, witnesses said.

The incursion followed a fierce clash on Friday on the border between the Gaza Strip and the Jewish state in which two Israeli soldiers, one an officer, and four Palestinians were killed, according to the Israeli army.

“An officer and a soldier were killed and two others slightly wounded in an exchange of fire with terrorists planting explosives along the security fence in southern Gaza,” an army spokesman said in a statement.

General Yoav Golan, the army’s commander for the southern region, said one of the Israelis died when his own grenade exploded and that a total of four Palestinians were killed.

Palestinian officials have not confirmed the toll.

Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigade, the military wing of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas which rules Gaza, has claimed responsibility for the killing of the two soldiers in the heaviest fighting in the territory since the end of the 2008-09 Gaza war.

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John McCain Is So Confused About Everything Right Now

Wonkette–4:51 PM on Fri March 26 2010
By Jim Newell

Here is a clip, ANY clip, of John McCain’s rally with Sarah Palin this afternoon, in Arizona. See she’s bustin’ out the leather tit jacket.  TeLLyPrOmmTr, notes-on-mah-hand, etc.  But just look at John McCain back there.  Just look at him.  At :32, clapping like that robot monkey with the cymbals.  He has no idea what the fuck is happening. [YouTube]

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Palin, McCain Rally In Arizona (VIDEO): GOP Is ‘Party Of Hell No’

HuffPost- First Posted: 03-26-10 02:42 PM   |   Updated: 03-26-10 05:33 PM

John McCain helped Sarah Palin launch her national political career two years ago. Now, she’s trying to help McCain save his. The former running mates campaigned together Friday for the first time since losing the presidential race in 2008.

Palin was a first-term governor of Alaska when McCain plucked her from relative obscurity to be his running mate. She went on to become a conservative rock star and a key Republican critic of President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress.

At the rally on Friday, Palin proclaimed that the Republican Party isn’t the party of no — “we’re the party of hell no!”

She derided “this BS coming from the lame-stream media” about “us common-sense conservatives kinda inciting violence,” but added, “We know violence isn’t the answer. When we take up our arms, we’re talking about our vote.”

The Tea Party movement, Palin declared, is “a beautiful grassroots movement that is putting government back on the side of the people. … Everybody here today supporting John McCain, we’re all part of that tea party movement.”

MORE HERE

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THE DOCTOR MIGHT BE IN Cubans young and old at a Havana clinic in 2004. Sven Creutzmann/Polaris

Global Research, March 26, 2010
Digital Granma Internacional – 2010-03-24

Barack Obama is a fanatical believer in the imperialist capitalist system imposed by the United States on the world: “God bless the United States,” at the end of his speeches.

Some of his acts wounded the sensitivity of world opinion, which viewed with sympathy the African-American candidate’s victory over that country’s extreme right-wing candidate. Basing himself on one of the worst economic crises that the world has ever seen, and the pain caused by young Americans who lost their lives or were injured or mutilated in his predecessor’s genocidal wars of conquest, he won the votes of the majority of 50% of Americans who went to the polls in that democratic country.

Out of an elemental sense of ethics, Obama should have abstained from accepting the Nobel Peace Prize when he had already decided to send 40,000 soldiers to an absurd war in the heart of Asia.

Read more…

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by Paul Craig Roberts

Global Research, March 26, 2010
Counterpunch – 2010-03-25

There was a time when the pen was mightier than the sword. That was a time when people believed in truth and regarded truth as an independent power and not as an auxiliary for government, class, race, ideological, personal, or financial interest.

Today Americans are ruled by propaganda. Americans have little regard for truth, little access to it, and little ability to recognize it.

Truth is an unwelcome entity. It is disturbing. It is off limits. Those who speak it run the risk of being branded “anti-American,” “anti-semite” or “conspiracy theorist.”

Truth is an inconvenience for government and for the interest groups whose campaign contributions control government.

Truth is an inconvenience for prosecutors who want convictions, not the discovery of innocence or guilt.

Truth is inconvenient for ideologues.

Today many whose goal once was the discovery of truth are now paid handsomely to hide it. “Free market economists” are paid to sell offshoring to the American people. High-productivity, high value-added American jobs are denigrated as dirty, old industrial jobs. Relicts from long ago, we are best shed of them. Their place has been taken by “the New Economy,” a mythical economy that allegedly consists of high-tech white collar jobs in which Americans innovate and finance activities that occur offshore. All Americans need in order to participate in this “new economy” are finance degrees from Ivy League universities, and then they will work on Wall Street at million dollar jobs.

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For OpEdNews: Roger Shuler
March 24, 2010

Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has led efforts to prevent investigations of political prosecutions during the George W. Bush administration, according to a recent Web report.

Brendan DeMelle, at Huffington Post, writes that the Obama administration’s decision to turn a blind eye to politicization of the U.S. Justice Department has profound implications for the country–not to mention the victims of political prosecutions, such as Don Siegelman in Alabama, Paul Minor in Mississippi, and Charles Walker in Georgia.

Read more…

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Tell the GOP: Apologize for your hate-spewing proxies in the Tea Party Patriots. It is not acceptable for you to build your party’s political fortunes by encouraging and defending bigotry and hatred among your supporters.

We will deliver the petition to the leaders of the Republican Party: Congressman Eric Cantor, Congressman John Boehner, Senator Mitch McConnell, and RNC Chair Michael Steele.

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Statement by Law Professor Peter Erlinder of the ICTR
by Ann Garrison
Global Research, March 26, 2010
KPFA News

Law Professor Peter Erlinder, Lead Defense Counsel for the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda, says without hesitation that the UK and the US have financed Central African wars in which eight million Africans have died.

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Tea party in Hartford, Connecticut in 2009

Feeling The Heat, Tea Partiers Denounce Violence

TPM Muckraker

Zachary Roth | March 26, 2010, 1:12PM

Tea Partiers and others on the right are starting to distance themselves from the recent spate of violence and racism that has characterized the opposition to health-care reform.

In a letter to President Obama and Congress released yesterday, an alliance of Florida Tea Party groups called the Tea Party movement “a peaceful movement” and declared that they “stand in stark opposition to any person using derogatory characterizations, threats of violence, or disparaging terms toward members of Congress or the President.”

A similar coalition in Colorado — where the office of Rep. Betsy Markey (D-CO) recently notified police about a phone call it received threatening violence — released a similar statement. “Tea party and similar groups across Colorado are saddened tonight to hear of threats made upon Democratic lawmakers in response to the passing their recent health insurance reform legislation, specifically … Rep. Betsy Markey,” it said.

And FreedomWorks, the Washington grassroots lobbying group that has helped co-ordinate Tea Party events put out a statement declaring “political violence is both immoral and ineffective, and will only set the movement back.”

Separately, Debbie Dooley, a co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party and a national coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, told Fox News: “We support peaceful means,” adding, “there are so many Tea Party groups that are out there. … It’s like herding cats. It’s impossible.”

Even Glenn Beck — not known for his cool head — has counseled his followers against violence, calling it counter-productive.

As we’ve reported, the last few days have seen a spate of violent attacks on Democratic offices around the country, as well as threats against several Democrats who voted for reform. The protests over the weekend at the Capitol involved incidents of racism and homophobia.

So it’s significant that some Tea Partiers and their allies are starting to feel the need to distance themselves from the violence, for fear of being associated with it. In normal times, it might be unremarkable for activists to declare that violence is bad. But these are hardly normal times.

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