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Archive for February 17th, 2010

Crooks & Liars- By Heather Wednesday Feb 17, 2010 2:30pm

Rachel Maddow calls out Beck for editing her criticism of him on her show and making sure his viewers didn’t see Rachel calling him out for his bullshit. I had said before that Dylan Ratigan was wasting his time engaging Beck. That’s because Ratigan actually thought it would be a good idea to either bring Beck on his show or go on Beck’s show. I do not think when Beck lies about one of them they should let it go unchallenged and am glad Rachel Maddow pointed out Beck’s hypocrisy here and how he edited her segment. Engaging him is a complete waste of time. He’s not going to come on MSNBC any time soon and he sure as hell isn’t going to bring either Ratigan or Maddow on his show any time soon and if he did they’d be in some debate box where he could hit the mute button any time he wanted instead of live on his set.

It’s useless to even pretend like that might happen in any fair manner, ever, as Ratigan proposed. Calling him out for his bullshit is not. Although I would love to see the idiot try to debate Rachel in person if he wasn’t just allowed to yell over her, cut her mike or filibuster the entire time. I would imagine it would be much like Beck bringing a toy knife to an assault rifle fight if he actually had to debate Rachel Maddow on any subject and those were the rules of the game. I hope Rachel doesn’t spend too much time on this pissing contest with Beck though because in the end, too much time spent on this serial liar is just a waste of energy. Fox doesn’t care how much he lies and neither do his brain dead viewers. Well enough to point it out and move along.

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Daniel and Patricia Ellsberg. (Courtesy of Daniel and Patricia Ellsberg)

Four decades later, Ellsberg again powers a moral drama

Ty Burr | Boston Globe | February 12, 2010

Toward the end of “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers,’’ you begin to realize just how much four decades of history owe to one man.

If Ellsberg, a Defense Department-contracted policy analyst, hadn’t leaked 47 volumes of top secret CIA documents to the press and Congress in early 1971, the Vietnam War might have continued indefinitely. Broad public sentiment wouldn’t have finally turned against the conflict, and the Nixon administration wouldn’t have adopted a paranoid bunker mentality. The president wouldn’t have formed his dirty-tricks squad of White House “plumbers’’ to stop the leaks, wouldn’t have sent them out to dig up dirt on Ellsberg by burglarizing his psychiatrist’s office. The Watergate break-in wouldn’t have happened. Nixon wouldn’t have resigned.

And so on, and so on – no historic 1971 Supreme Court First Amendment case, no politicizing of the nation’s press for better and worse – and all because one stiff-backed ex-Marine refused to ignore his conscience. “The Most Dangerous Man in America’’ – the epithet comes from Henry Kissinger – is hardly evenhanded: It views Ellsberg as a hero and a genuine patriot and allows him, at a grey and dignified 78, to narrate his own story. But evenhanded is one thing and fair is another, and directors Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith make their case that if you or I had known what Ellsberg did – the secret story of US involvement in Southeast Asia and the cynical misleading of the American public by five presidential administrations – we would have, or should have, done the same.

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It seems like just yesterday that Republicans, wingnuts and teabaggers suffered a collective schizoid embolism over the passage and signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

One year ago today, the president signed the bill amidst protestations from Fox News, talk radio and Rick Santelli about how the “porkulus” spending bill wouldn’t work — how it wouldn’t stimulate economic growth or create jobs. It was called generational theft, socialism, communism, Nazism and any other -ism that could be quickly plucked from the glossary of Glenn Beck’s fifth grade social studies textbook.

Nearly all Republican members of Congress voted against it — the first shot in their “trash and cash” strategy whereby they screech about the evil stimulus and how it’s an unmitigated catastrophe, while also gleefully celebrating the incoming cash in their districts, scores of Republican lawmakers outright begging various cabinet-level agencies for stimulus grant money. In all, 111 members of Congress have engaged in this hypocrisy. One of many reasons why they’re consistent only in their unapologetic self-contradictions.

And, at the end of the day, they can get away with it because of annoyingly common misconceptions about the bill. Chief among these misconceptions is the mixing up of the stimulus and the bailout. A recent CNN poll shows that only 25 percent of Americans think the stimulus helped the middle class, while a majority think it helped bankers. Of course the stimulus had nothing to do with bankers.

CNN Polling Director Keating Holland: “It’s possible that the belief that the stimulus bill helped bankers and CEOs is due to the public confusing the stimulus bill with the various bailout bills that were passed at roughly the same time last year.”

So let’s clear this up.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is “the stimulus.” Those signs you see along the highway just before driving onto super-smooth new asphalt? That’s the stimulus. The recovery act. When you hear “stimulus,” it references this $787 billion spending bill, and it contains the following key provisions.

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Obama: Stimulus package prevented another depression

By Raw Story
Wednesday, February 17th, 2010 — 3:13 pm

On the anniversary of his huge stimulus bill, President Barack Obama admitted Wednesday that millions of Americans had yet to feel the economic recovery, but insisted he had staved off a depression.

Obama also lashed out at Republicans he accused of misrepresenting the aims and achievements of the $862-billion mix of tax cuts and government spending, which he said had saved or created two million jobs.

“One year later, it is largely thanks to the Recovery Act that a second depression is no longer a possibility,” Obama said, at an event marking the anniversary of the day he signed the bill last year in Denver, Colorado.

“We acted because failure to do so would have led to catastrophe.”

Obama’s remarks came the same day as the New York Times‘ David Leonhardt reported that the “best-known economic research firms” agree the stimulus package created somewhere between 1.6 million and 1.8 million jobs, with the final tally expected to be around 2.5 million.

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Joan Brunwasser | OpEdNews | February 16, 2010

Daniel Ellsberg is definitely a name out of our national past. Baby Boomers immediately conjure up images of the Vietnam War and the Pentagon Papers. For the younger set, or those whose recollections have faded, there’s a brand new documentary about Ellsberg and his historic actions. The Most Dangerous Man in America opened in theaters across the country this past weekend and is guaranteed to bring you up to speed. In it, whistleblower and activist Ellsberg is both star and narrator. Welcome to OpEdNews, Dan. If you don’t mind, we’ll come back to the documentary later. I’d like to hear your take on current events. We are now officially one year into this new administration. Are we on the way to achieving the change that the voters were so eager for?

No.

On Afghanistan, there is change: for the worse, much worse.

Not just a tripling of the American troop presence, though that’s bad enough. I believe that’s just the start of an open-ended, indefinitely prolonged fighting occupation.

Some of my friends and a large part of the public, perhaps most, believe that he’s committed himself to put a ceiling on the American troop presence of about 100,000. They realize that his officials quickly backed away from his talk in December of beginning to withdraw then, but they think he won’t go above the level reached by this “one-time” deployment (which will be closer to 40,000 than his announced 30,000).

I believe that’s mistaken. I expect that no later than his 18-24-month “deadline” and probably much earlier than that, General McChrystal will be asking for a lot more troops. And I now expect Obama to give them to him (if and when troops become available from Iraq, and perhaps elsewhere as necessary).

A president who didn’t say “No” to this recent request–the best chance he’ll ever have to do so, when he could still blame a hopeless situation on the last eight years under his predecessor and “reluctantly” name a date for total withdrawal–will find it even harder to do after wasting more lives in coming months. The odds are very high, I believe, that Obama’s War will last as long as he’s in the White House–whether four or eight years–and beyond.

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Right-Wing Stunts and Tea Party Froth on the Eve of Conservatives’ Big Yearly Conference

Right-wing leaders gather at a Masonic “museum on Americanism” to sign a statement aimed at giving the Tea Party movement a set of principles.

February 17, 2010 |

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As the day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference approaches, Washington is abuzz about the new kid in town — the Tea Party movement.

Like any conference, this one, which kicks off tomorrow, will have its yearly star, likely to be drawn from the ranks of that rancorous mob of discontents. The whole shebang will conclude with a closing address by Fox News personality Glenn Beck, Rupert Murdoch’s community organizer and  online convener of the 9/12 March on Washington. (You may recall the 2007 queen of CPAC, Ann Coulter, made big news for calling John Edwards, then a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, “a faggot” — an accusation he has since disproved in a rather spectacular fashion.)

In a bid, perhaps, not to be shunted to the wings of conservatism’s center stage, a group of old-school conservative leaders will gather today to put their signatures on something they’re calling the Mount Vernon Statement, named for the tangential location of its ceremonial signing, which will take place at a venue that sits on land once part of George Washington’s original estate. The Collingwood Library and Museum on Americanism, where the signing will take place, is run by the National Sojourners, an Masonic organization of past and present military officers.

The statement will sound an ominous chord, likely to win the favor of Tea Party activists, about the message of change for America so identified with the Obama presidential campaign, even asking if “this idea of change” is “a dangerous deception.”

The idea for the statement, say organizers, is the Sharon Statement on which the New Right was formed in the early 1960s. The Sharon Statement was a declaration of principles, not specific to any one issue, but rather to the philosophy of the conservative movement during its salad days under the leadership of the late William F. Buckley.

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Kennedy Series For ‘History Channel’ Called Inaccurate, Vindictive

Huff Po– First Posted: 02-16-10 06:30 PM   |   Updated: 02-16-10 10:34 PM

A television series on the Kennedys that is nearly a year away from official release has already spurred heated debate and aggressive pushback over its treatment of the iconic American family.

On Tuesday progressive filmmaker Robert Greenwald released a short video preemptively calling into question the accuracy of “The Kennedys,” an eight-hour miniseries which will air on the History Channel and is being produced by Joel Surnow, the creator of the series “24” and a well-known Hollywood conservative.

In on-camera interviews, a set of renowned Kennedy historians, including Ted Sorensen — a one-time aide to John F. Kennedy — trash the script, which was obtained in advance by Greenwald. Charging that it is littered with easily documented falsehoods, they insist that the production team drafted a “cartoon” and “caricature” of the former president — downplaying weighty historical episodes in favor of tawdry and salacious material.

WATCH “Stop The Kennedy Smears” — Brave New Films makes the case against the miniseries.

Greenwald told the Huffington Post he counted more than a dozen sex scenes written into the biopic with only scant acknowledgment of the Cuban Missile crisis. Sorenson, in the film, says that the conversations he is depicted to have had with the President “never happened.”

“[T]his one-sided right wing script suffers from a vindictive, malicious approach,” he says. “Even the right-wingers at whom this script is aimed are going to be disappointed when they look for new and interesting accusations.”

The team behind the History Channel series, set to air in January 2011, insists that the early criticism is misplaced.

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