Archive for February 13th, 2008

McCain Voted for Torture Today!

By- Suzie-Q @ 9:00 PM MST

Who’s Your Maverick? John McCain Votes In Favor Of Torture

The Senate voted today to ban the CIA from using torture on suspected terrorists and the most famous POW in the Senate voted against the bill. The Maverick is now most assuredly dead and the betrayal is complete. The blogosphere was all over this issue, and thankfully the measure passed, but for McCain, it was a show of pure cowardice. In other words, the Senator who himself was tortured for years and has previously spoken out against it, voted to allow the use of torture on others to save his political hide and pander to a party base that despises him. Shame on you, Senator. Is this the sort of weakness you want from your Commander in Chief?

Tell me again how this no jobs, more wars, pro-torture, pro-Bush tax cuts, anti-choice, pro-surge Republican is going to draw Independents and Democrats to his side this fall? As a side note, would it surprise you that alleged Democratic caucus members Senators Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman also voted for torture today?

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Sudhan @23:35 CET

By Chris Hedges, Truthdig. Posted February 12, 2008.

Christian extremists are preaching a war against tolerance to target and persecute all Muslims, including the 6 million who live in the U.S.

Walid Shoebat, Kamal Saleem and Zachariah Anani are the three stooges of the Christian right. These self-described former Muslim terrorists are regularly trotted out at Christian colleges — a few days ago they were at the Air Force Academy — to spew racist filth about Islam on behalf of groups such as Focus on the Family. It is a clever tactic. Curly, Larry and Mo, who all say they are born-again Christians, engage in hate speech and assure us it comes from personal experience. They tell their audiences that the only way to deal with one-fifth of the world’s population is by converting or eradicating all Muslims. Their cant is broadcast regularly on Fox News, including the Bill O’Reilly and Neil Cavuto shows, as well as on numerous Christian radio and television programs. Shoebat, who has written a book called Why We Want to Kill You, promises in his lectures to explain the numerous similarities between radical Muslims and the Nazis, how “Muslim terrorists” invaded America 30 years ago and how “perseverance, recruitment and hate” have fueled attacks by Muslims.

Continued . . .

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By- Suzie-Q @ 2:00 PM MST

Bush Administration Hides More Data, Shuts Down Website Tracking U.S. Economic Indicators

The U.S. economy is faltering. Family debt is on the rise, benefits are disappearing, the deficit is skyrocketing, and the mortgage crisis has worsened. Conservatives have attempted to deflect attention from the crisis, by blaming the media’s negative coverage and insisting the United States is not headed toward a recession, despite what economists are predicting.

The Bush administration’s latest move is to simply hide the data. Forbes has awarded EconomicIndicators.gov one of its “Best of the Web” awards. As Forbes explains, the government site provides an invaluable service to the public for accessing U.S. economic data:

This site is maintained by the Economics and Statistics Administration and combines data collected by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, like GDP and net imports and exports, and the Census Bureau, like retail sales and durable goods shipments. The site simply links to the relevant department’s Web site. This might not seem like a big deal, but doing it yourself–say, trying to find retail sales data on the Census Bureau’s site–is such an exercise in futility that it will convince you why this portal is necessary.

Yet the Bush administration has decided to shut down this site because of “budgetary constraints,” effective March 1:


Economic Indicators is particularly useful because people can sign up to receive e-mails as soon as new economic data across government agencies becomes available. While the data will still be available online at various federal websites, it will be less readily accessible to members of the public.

In its e-mail announcement on the closing of Economic Indicators, the Department of Commerce acknowledged the “inconvenience” and offered “a free quarterly subscription to STAT-USA®/Internet™” instead. Once this temporary subscription runs out, however, the public will be forced to pay a fee. So not only will economic data be more hidden, it will also cost money.

It’s ironic that the Economic and Statistics Administration is facing “budgetary contraints,” considering Bush recently submitted a record $3.1 trillion budget to Congress for FY ‘09.

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How The Right Explains The Left’s Online Dominance

By- Suzie-Q @ 12:00 PM MST

Carpetbagger Report

The last I heard, the right was feeling quite pleased with itself because there was some evidence to suggest the traffic for the top liberal blogs was trending down, while the traffic for the top conservative blogs was trending up. This item, relying on SiteMeter data from the end of December, argued, “It has long been understood that the largest liberal blogs have generally produced more web traffic than the largest conservative blogs…. After surveying the traffic stats of many major political blogs, I found that web traffic for several major liberal blogs either declined sharply or stayed the same while major conservative blogs saw a sharp increase in traffic.”

Now, apparently, the right is prepared to argue the opposite — liberal blogs are more popular — but with a rationalization to explain the phenomenon.

Erick Erickson, editor of the popular conservative megablog RedState, conceded that progressives currently enjoy an advantage over conservatives online — though he attributed it to an asymmetry in free time, since conservatives “have families because we don’t abort our kids, and we have jobs because we believe in capitalism.”

I see.

I’m not quite sure how best to respond to something like this — it’s unusually unhinged, even by the standards of the far-right blogosphere — though I think Matt Stoller is on the right track by relying on simple mockery: “Now, being a doctor who performs abortions is in fact a job, so one might find conflicting narratives in Erick’s quote. And if the way to use the internet well politically is to up the number of abortions, then the GOP is kind of fu**ed.”

On a slightly more serious note, Erickson actually went beyond tasteless nonsense to offer the right advice on how its end of the blogosphere might catch up to ours.

First, he argued, conservatives must place less emphasis on punditry (”everyone wants to be the next online Rush Limbaugh”) and begin to emulate the left’s use of the Internet to facilitate organization and activism.

Second, they should focus to a greater extent on local- and state-level politics, and in particular on the 2010 race, which Erickson regards as more important than the upcoming presidential race, as it will determine which party controls the redrawing of congressional district lines.

Third, they must “transcend old tech” in order to enjoy the same kind of advantage over e-mail that the Republican Party currently enjoys with respect to direct mail marketing. Bloggers, for instance, might seek to collect reader e-mail addresses as a first step toward turning casual commentary consumers into donors or full-blown activists.

That’s not bad advice, as far as it goes, but given that the far-right blogs tend to think it’s impressive when someone peeks in a low-income family’s window to see what kind of countertops they have in their kitchen, I have a hunch it’ll be a while until they’re taking on anything too sophisticated.

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Write A Caption…

By- Suzie-Q @ 10:00 AM MST

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Ted Stevens And The Alaska SeaLife Center

By- Suzie-Q @ 8:00 AM MST

Paper: Docs Show Stevens Arranged Fed Funded Bailout for Former Aide

The feds are probing whether Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) was on the take from execs at the oil company Veco. One focus in particular has been whether CEO Bill Allen paid for Stevens to jack up his Alaska home and another floor. Allen, cooperating with investigators, even taped phone conversations with Stevens. That much is clear.

But there’s another angle to the investigation which seems to center on Stevens’ possible use of earmarks to stuff his buddies’ pockets. One of those earmarks that’s getting a lot of attention is a $1.6 million appropriation Stevens made in 2005 to the Alaska SeaLife Center for it to buy property partially owned by Trevor McCabe, a former aide and close associate of Stevens. McCabe is also tied up in another area of investigation with Stevens’ son Ben.

According to this detailed blow-by-blow account of the deal by The Anchorage Daily News, an aide from Stevens’ office and a lobbyist teamed up in order to make sure that McCabe and his partners got their money. They had some trouble finding the right organization to close the deal. The City of Seward, where the property is located, was eventually ruled out, because the requisite public oversight would prove too hairy — it wasn’t a sure thing. That’s why the funds made their way to the SeaLife Center, a marine research center and tourist attraction that’s grown up on $50 million in public money.

As the ADN summarizes the deal:

The backdoor arrangement described in the documents appeared to assure that a money-losing real estate venture by the partners would be bailed out by U.S. taxpayers without any need for the earmark itself to be explicit about its intent. As passed into law, the public language of the legislation only spoke vaguely about “various acquisitions.”

The FBI is digging on this, along with the inspector generals from the Interior and Commerce departments.

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Obama makes threepeat out of DC, Maryland, Virginia

anthony @ 09:45 GMT

John Byrne | therawstory | Published: Tuesday February 12, 2008

A variety of TV news networks have called the Potomac primaries in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC for Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), just after polls closed at 7 pm ET and 8 pm ET respectively.

At an address at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Obama’s victory speech aimed a barb at Washington insiders and played up what he implied was the universal appeal of his campaign around the United States.

“And although we won tonight in the District of Columbia, this movement won’t stop until there’s change in Washington, DC, and tonight we’re on our way,” he said at the start of his speech. “We know how much further we have to go. We know it takes more than one night to overcome the decades of money and influence and partisanship….let let you down and told you to settle.”


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anthony @ 09:35 GMT

Mike Aivaz and Michael Roston | therawstory | Published: Tuesday February 12, 2008

Jon Stewart hosted the New York Times’ Philip Shenon on Monday night to discuss his new book, The Commission: An Uncensored history of the 9/11 Commission. The author described White House obstructionism in the course of the officially-mandated Sept. 11 investigation.

“It is remarkable the efforts that the Bush White House went through to try to prevent the 9/11 Commission from getting the information it needed,” Shenon told Stewart. “The person who was most responsible for that tension was former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who was then the White House Counsel.”

“Well he’s really matured since then, I don’t know if you’ve seen some of his work recently,” Stewart joked in response.

Stewart also asked Shenon about Commission executive director Philip Zelikow and his relationship with Karl Rove. According to the author, “alarms” went off for the staff when they heard about multiple phone calls Rove had made to Zelikow.

“Then Zelikow calls in his secretary and apparently tells her to stop keeping phone logs of his conversations with the White House,” Shenon explained.

“I’m sure it’s all innocent stuff,” Stewart quipped.

Reached by the Associated Press, Zelikow provided a 131-page statement with information he said was provided for the book. In it, Zelikow acknowledges talking to Rove and Rice during the course of the commission’s work despite a general pledge he made not to. But he said the conversations never dealt with politics.

A video clip from Monday night’s episode of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is presented below:

(with wire reports)

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