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Archive for January, 2011

Olbermann’s MSNBC Exit Was Weeks in the Making

NY Times January 22, 2011, 2:48 pm

By BILL CARTER

On Thursday, NBC’s news division staged an elaborate presentation for advertisers, seeking to sell commercial time in NBC’s news programs over the next year. All the members of MSNBC’s prime-time lineup spoke at the lunch with one exception: Keith Olbermann, the network’s biggest star.

For the last several weeks, Mr. Olbermann and the network have been in negotiations to end his successful run on MSNBC, according to executives involved in the talks who requested anonymity because the talks were confidential. The deal was completed on Friday, and Mr. Olbermann made the announcement on his final “Countdown” hours later.

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And this from the Ass Press

Knowing that the corporate media has absolutely no compunctions, about spinning the truth, the connection concerning the merger of Comcast and NBC can’t be ignored, especially when their denial began before the fact. The local paper in this area, I’ll name it “The Statesman Journal”, consists mostly of articles from the Associated Press, which in my opinion puts it in the catagory of toilet paper. Anyways, it is pretty obvious that Olbermann’s story will never see the light of day in the corporate media.

Mad as hell…

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C-SPAN

For a second time former British Prime Minister Tony Blair testified before the Committee of Inquiry on the Iraq War. January 2010, Mr. Blair testified before the five-member group on his role during the lead up to the war, military preparedness, and his relationship with President George W. Bush.

Chilcot Inquiry: Tony Blair heckled as he expresses regret for this loss of life in the Iraq war

The Telegraph

By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent
2:31PM GMT 21 Jan 2011
Relatives of those killed in the conflict shouted out “It’s too late,” as an emotional Mr Blair told of his sorrow at the bloodshed, while two female witnesses walked out and another turned her face away.

Video & More

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Question for the tea party and everyone who voted for tea party Republicans in November: Did you enjoy your purely cosmetic vote to repeal the health care reform law? Personally, I would feel pandered to, and not particularly satisfied with all of that fiscally expensive congressional time being wasted on a vote that meant absolutely nothing. But that’s me.

I mean, you and your peers are obsessively focused on budget deficits and the national debt. Perhaps all of that federal money, all of that federal time and all of those federal resources would have been more effectively spent on something that had a chance of actually happening. Instead, you mandated that your Republican members of the House spend countless dollars on a symbolic exercise in, well, hooey. Nonsense. The political equivalent of pissing into the wind.

Considering that many of us on the progressive side of the political divide supported the health care law in part because it actually reduces the deficit, and considering that many of us on the progressive side of the political divide supported the stimulus and, within it, the largest middle class tax cut in American history, I’m getting a strong idea as to who is more interested in fiscal discipline and who isn’t.

With this meaningless vote, not only have the Republicans proved themselves to be entirely disinterested in reducing the deficit, but they’ve also reinforced their obsession with bumper sticker slogans, self-contradictions and utterly nonsensical political gestures.

Here are two more fantastic examples of how Republicans seriously dislike health care reform, socialized medicine and “government-run” healthcare — that is, until they actually need it.

You may or may not recall a study conducted before the health care reform law was passed by the office of Rep. Anthony Weiner. At the time, 55 Republican members of Congress were enrolled in Medicare, including Senators McCain, McConnell, Kyl, Shelby, Lugar, Inhofe and Grassley. All of whom were opposed to the public option and health care reform.

On the House side, Rep. Weiner’s list includes Peter King, Phil Gingrey, wingnut Virginia Foxx and the godfather of the tea party movement Ron Paul. Seriously, Ron Paul! All 55 members are accepting a form of the public option. Government-run health care. Socialized medicine. I wonder what Ayn Rand would say about Ron Paul accepting Medicare? A program that, more than anything else, will help to bump the national debt from 15 percent of GDP to 35 percent of GDP by 2082. And they claim to be worried about the debt? That’s rich.

Where are the tea party budget hawks — the tri-corned hat reenactors with their misspelled signs and racist voodoo portraits of the president — screeching for Ron Paul to give up his share in American socialism?

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Kennedy’s Speeches Revisited

As good as Kennedy’s inaugural was, the speeches that define him historically were given within just over 50 hours in June 1963, one of them prepared secretly over months, the other practically ad-libbed.

JFK’s Eloquence, 50 Years Later

E.J. Dionne, Jr. | Truthdig | Posted on Jan 19, 2011

It’s remembered as a day chilled by “a Siberian wind knifing down Pennsylvania Avenue” and illuminated by “the dazzling combination of bright sunshine and deep snow.”

On Jan. 20, 1961, John F. Kennedy began his presidency with a speech at once soaring and solemn. Fifty years on, we have not heard an inaugural address like it. Tethered to its time and place, it still challenges with its ambition to harness realism to idealism, patriotism to service, national interest to universal aspiration.

What It Was Like to Be John F. Kennedy

Richard Reeves | Truthdig | Posted on Jan 18, 2011

Fifty years ago, John F. Kennedy was sworn in as the 35th president of the United States. He gave a stirring inaugural address and then took over a job for which he was unprepared. No one is ever prepared. The presidency is essentially a reactive job, with a man standing alone facing crises unforeseen.

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Poll: Majority Of Americans, Including Gun Owners, Support Tougher Restrictions

Huff Post- Amanda Terkel
First Posted: 01/18/11 09:07 AM Updated: 01/18/11 09:47 AM

WASHINGTON — Despite powerful lobbying against any new gun-control measures by groups like the National Rifle Association, a new bipartisan poll shows that both gun owners and the general public support stronger measures to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and other potentially dangerous individuals.

The poll — conducted for the coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns, co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino — suggests that while far-reaching gun-control legislation seems unlikely to pass, some narrower measures may be able to earn bipartisan support.

“Large majorities of Americans agree with the 2008 Supreme Court ruling that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to own guns, and Americans strongly oppose efforts to ban handguns,” said Bob Carpenter, vice president of American Viewpoint, the Republican polling firm that joined with Democratic firm Momentum Analysis to conduct the survey. “But Americans and gun owners feel with equal fervor that government must act to get every single record in the background-check system that belongs there and to ensure that every gun sale includes a background check. Most Americans view these goals, protecting gun rights for the law-abiding and keeping guns from criminals, as compatible.”

Some findings from the poll results, provided exclusively to The Huffington Post:

— 90 percent of Americans and 90 percent of gun owners support fixing gaps in government databases that are meant to prevent the mentally ill, drug abusers and others from buying guns.– 91 percent of Americans and 93 percent of gun owners support requiring federal agencies to share information about suspected dangerous persons or terrorists to prevent them from buying guns.

— 89 percent of Americans and 89 percent of gun owners support full funding of the law a unanimous Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed after the Virginia Tech shootings to put more records in the background-check database.

— 86 percent of Americans and 81 percent of gun owners support requiring all gun buyers to pass a background check, no matter where they buy the gun and no matter who they buy it from.

MORE HERE

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As unpleasant as it is to inject political history into a discussion surrounding the tragedy that is becoming known as the Tea Party Massacre (the term itself is, of course, a political injection,) I think that is is something that we should do. Something we MUST do.

As you might have guessed by the graphic, I lay a great deal of the blame at the feet of none other than Saint Ronnie. Saint Ronnie, by beginning his campaign in Philadalphia, Mississippi, blew a silent dog whistle that many people on the fringes of our society listened, and responded, to. The “militia” movement of today began in earnest in the Saint Ronnie era, and almost all of those people were either loosely, or tightly, bound around the notion of “White Pride.” The Aryan Nations, The Order, and hundreds of little imitators suddenly felt a whole lot better about themselves, and what they stood for, because of the guy in the White House, who famously used to talk about the “strapping young buck” buying his steak with food stamps. The “Welfare Queen,” which is a racist figment of the right wing imagination, was born in the era of Saint Ronnie. While there is no evidence that Jared Loughner was ever a member of one or another of these groups, they are as numerous as cacti in Arizona, and Loughner definitely knew, and repeated, a lot of their jargon.

Anyways…. let’s continue…

The juxtaposition of events that occurred in the Saint Ronnie era, in my opinion, led us right to where we are today.

-Saint Ronnie convinced people that they should have it all-roads, schools, police, fire departments-but that they should PAY for NONE of it. Two lingering results have come from the Gipper’s dishonesty regarding taxes and services; (1.) is that no politician who wishes to prevail can dare to even BEGIN to talk about raising revenues, and (2.) our borrowing has finally constrained us to the point where we cannot even begin to address the deterioration in our educational system, or our highways, or our schools. If EVER we needed to have an honest discussion about what we want, and what we are willing to pay for, the time has come. It is time to put this right wing demonization of GUBMINT and taxes to bed once and for all, and I’ll give you just one example of why.

Arizona, loaded down with “Tea Party” type Republicans, is starved to death for revenue. As a direct result of being starved to death for revenue, spending for mental health services has dropped dramatically (a trend that also began in the Saint Ronnie era, when state mental health systems broke down from lack of funding and thousands of mentally ill people were dumped on the streets.) As a result of that drop in spending, these days you have to do something pretty dramatic to get the attention of mental health authorities in Arizona.

You know what I mean-something like Jared Loughner did.

-The second thing that Saint Ronnie popularized was this notion that any American ought to be able to buy whatever gun he or she fancied. As a result, for 30 years now fringe, lunatic elements in our society have been able to get their hands on ever-stronger and more effective firepower. Any politician who dares to talk about controlling the lethality of weapons in this country can expect to be drowned in a sea of NRA money, in spite of the fact that gun violence-towards individuals, and Police Officers, and Government officials-is disturbingly high, and in the case of Police and other officials, definitely on the rise. The idiots who insist that the Second Amendment to the Constitution gives us all the right to pack heat that can turn a guy into hamburger always ignore the words “A WELL REGULATED MILITIA.” The Founders, who put that Amendment in, were dealing with a country that faced hostile frontiers on all sides of it-and had smooth-bore hog rifles that were cumbersome to reload, and dangerous for a distance of about 50 feet. As far as the malarkey about “they wanted us armed ‘cuz they wanted to keep the GUBMINT scared,” history has shown us that from the days of the Whiskey Rebellion on, the Federal Government has not hesitated to use lethal force to enforce its mandates any time it judged the situation to warrant it. Far too many American lives have been either lost or horribly altered from what is obviously a perverted reading of the intent of the Second Amendment, and it is high time that we got together and decided on a reasonable system of regulation of firepower.

I don’t know about you, but I am sick to death of a bunch of deaf-eared right-wing fossils preventing me from even having a DEBATE on what is to be done. If they don’t want to talk about it, then they need to get out of the way. Their twisted paranoia has caused this country enough misery, death, and decline. It’s time for the reasonable and the rational to be heard.

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Obama Arizona Memorial Speech: FULL TEXT

AP/The Huffington Post

First Posted: 01/12/11 08:46 PM Updated: 01/12/11 09:10 PM

As released by the White House, below are President Obama’s prepared remarks for his speech at the Arizona memorial:

To the families of those we’ve lost; to all who called them friends; to the students of this university, the public servants gathered tonight, and the people of Tucson and Arizona: I have come here tonight as an American who, like all Americans, kneels to pray with you today, and will stand by you tomorrow.

There is nothing I can say that will fill the sudden hole torn in your hearts. But know this: the hopes of a nation are here tonight. We mourn with you for the fallen. We join you in your grief. And we add our faith to yours that Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the other living victims of this tragedy pull through. 

As Scripture tells us:

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.

On Saturday morning, Gabby, her staff, and many of her constituents gathered outside a supermarket to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and free speech. They were fulfilling a central tenet of the democracy envisioned by our founders – representatives of the people answering to their constituents, so as to carry their concerns to our nation’s capital. Gabby called it “Congress on Your Corner” – just an updated version of government of and by and for the people.

That is the quintessentially American scene that was shattered by a gunman’s bullets. And the six people who lost their lives on Saturday – they too represented what is best in America.

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Following Sarah Palin’s videotaped statement today, let there be no doubt about her total lack of seriousness — a character trait, in fact, that’s utterly dwarfed by her chronic inability to construct prepared, teleprompter-presented remarks without virtually choking on her own tongue.

Sarah Palin could have used her time to be a leader — to take the high road and talk about the heroes and the victims of this terrorist attack. She could have used the time to discuss responsible gun ownership. She could have taken the time to address her people and mitigate the anger and political hatred that’s bubbled up around this tragedy. Instead, she diminished the tragedy by conflating it with the attacks against her and her record of inflammatory statements.

And, along the same line, arguably the biggest gaffe of today’s narcissistic word salad was her use of the phrase “blood libel.” So not only did she opt to whine about her critics on a day when real heroes and real victims will be memorialized, but she also compared the criticism and stress she’s endured throughout the last four days to thousands of years of anti-Semitic religious persecution endured by Jews.

Can you imagine how she’ll react in a crisis should everyone go insane and elevate her to the White House? “Rachel Maddow is committing a holocaust against me. Wah! Feel sorry for me! Oh, and by the way, we’re invading Mexico. God Bless America. And my life is as tragic as a German Jew in 1943, also. Good night!”

The histrionics are staggering, especially for someone who wants to be taken seriously as a potential candidate for national office. Though, in her defense, it’s very likely she didn’t write this speech. So whoever included “blood libel” in the text had to have understood the meaning — even if she didn’t. After all, it’s not a phrase that pops up in normal conversation or within the average political address.

She’s clearly been taking seriously the e-mail Glenn Beck sent to her following the shootings, in which he implied that she’s the victim in all of this, and how she ought to hire his personal security firm, because if she’s ever taken out, it could mean “the end of the republic.”

At no other point in her address were Beck’s phony-baloney, maudlin dramatics more apparent than when she accused the press of inciting violence against her: “Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.”

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Sarah Palin. (Photo: sskennel)

Poor, Poor Sarah

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Truth Out
by: William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

So let me get this straight.

Twenty people were gunned down at a supermarket in Arizona on Saturday. Six were killed, including a nine-year-old girl. Fourteen others were wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was the main target of the attack, and who was shot through the head. She is currently lying in a hospital bed with half of her skull removed because brain swelling from her bullet wound could kill her.

Twenty people shot.

Six killed.

Fourteen wounded.

And guess what?

It appears Sarah Palin is the principal victim of the shooting.

No, really.

Don’t believe me? Watch the video she posted to her Facebook page. There she sits, in front of a fireplace and beside an American flag like some cruel joke on Franklin Delano Roosevelt, wreathing herself in pity because people are coming to the conclusion that politicians like her – the ones who have spent the last two years talking about guns and civil war and reloading and such – should bear some of the blame for what happened in Arizona.

How on Earth could anyone come to such an irresponsible and reprehensible conclusion?

Hm

In a message posted on her Facebook page Sunday afternoon, Sarah Palin reiterated her call for supporters to “reload” in the battle against health care reform, a term that provoked controversy last week after critics accused her of inciting violence against members of Congress. Presenting her message as an exhortation to college basketball teams competing in March Madness, Palin stood her ground in using firearm imagery against the administration.

The crossfire is intense, so penetrate through enemy territory by bombing through the press, and use your strong weapons – your Big Guns – to drive to the hole. Shoot with accuracy; aim high and remember it takes blood, sweat and tears to win,” Palin wrote. In the headline of her update, she mockingly predicted that the message would be “subject to new politically correct language police censorship.”

(Emphasis added)

That was supposed to be about basketball, and as usual, all sorts of mean people jumped up and down on her for once again vomiting gun-violence rhetoric into the political debate. Yup, she was the victim then, and is now the victim once again.

Poor, poor Sarah.

Before you start spluttering and staggering in an attempt to comprehend the sheer galactic magnitude of this new round of idiocy – “Who the what the where the when the why the how the what?!” was my initial response – stop a second and remember that this is how people like Sarah Palin operate. This is how they get others to follow them. They make themselves out to be victims, and convince their followers that they, too, are victims.

Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, Savage, O’Reilly and the rest of the right-wing media machine have turned professional victimhood into a license to print money, and people like Sarah Palin are all too happy to jump on that bandwagon. You’re losing your country, your rights, your guns, your family, your religion, the sanctity of your marriage, the supremacy of your heterosexuality, my God, you’re losing Christmas, for the love of God! You’re losing everything (…psssst…they’re talking to White Christians when they say this stuff, by the way, which just cracks me all the way up…), and if you don’t “take up arms” to stop it, well, it will just make the Baby Jesus weep bitter, bitter tears.

Speaking of “taking up arms,” here is Palin’s explanation for such rhetoric: “When we say ‘take up our arms,’ we are talking about our vote.”

Of course. How could we have missed such an obvious reference? Silly us.

Poor, poor Sarah.

MORE HERE

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After Giffords Shooting, Several AZ Republicans Resign Amid Fears of Tea Party Violence

By Lauren Kelley | Sourced from AlterNet

Posted at January 12, 2011, 9:26 am

What the Arizona Republic calls a “nasty little battle” has broken out among Republican members of Arizona’s Legislative District 20 in the wake of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. Several Republicans have resigned, citing fears that local Tea Party supporters will harm them or their families for not being conservative enough.

Now-former Chairman Anthony Miller was among those to resign. A former campaign worker for Sen. John McCain, Miller sent an email to state Republican Party Chairman Randy Pullen just hours after Saturday’s shooting, saying, “Today my wife of 20 yrs ask (sic) me do I think that my PCs (Precinct Committee members) will shoot at our home? So with this being said I am stepping down from LD20GOP Chairman…I will make a full statement on Monday.”

Miller said he faced “constant verbal attacks” from the Tea Party after being elected to his second term last month. Many of those attacks centered around Miller’s involvement with McCain’s bid last year against Tea Party darling J.D. Hayworth.

 

 

The first and only African-American to hold the party’s precinct chairmanship, Miller said he has been called “McCain’s boy,” and during the campaign saw a critic form his hand in the shape of a gun and point it at him.

“I wasn’t going to resign but decided to quit after what happened Saturday,” Miller said. “I love the Republican Party but I don’t want to take a bullet for anyone.”

 

 

After Miller’s announcement, three other District 20 Republicans quit: newly-elected secretary Sophia Johnson, first vice chairman Roger Dickinson and former district spokesman Jeff Kolb, who said in an email, “This singular focus on ‘getting’ Anthony [Miller] was one of the main reasons I chose to resign.”

SOURCE

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