Daily Archives: September 10, 2010

Media to Pastor Jones: You used us!

The media has no business having hurt feelings over “being used” by whack job Terry Jones and his very small flock of sheeple.  This has been all about grabbing attention from the media, and in my opinion the media sucked in every word that Terry Jones and his ilk had to say on the oft threatened “Quar’an burning”.  In my opinion the media fueled the chaos that followed.

Washington Post

Gainesville, Fla. — With the world on standby for possible violent rioting over a proposed Koran-burning here, the most fraught moment of the day Friday involved church representatives and a huge, sweaty, frustrated media corps.

Reporters from around the world, some of whom had been waiting on the large open lawn of the Dove World Outreach Center in intense heat and humidity for days, began yelling at youth pastor Luke Jones and an evangelist who has been working with the church after the two men gave a series of unclear comments about what would or wouldn’t happen Saturday– “International Burn the Koran Day”.

The appearances by K.A. Paul and Jones – son of the Rev. Terry Jones – just after 3:30 p.m. were the latest in a string of unexpected appearances church representatives made throughout the day. Terry Jones and Paul emerged shortly after 1 p.m. to say they were giving New York Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf two hours to agree to call off plans for a controversial Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero.

Two hours passed. Paul came out of the warehouse-like church, followed by Jones, 29. The men gave no clear answer to questions about whether the Koran-burning was off permanently, what the New York City project had to do with it, and whether there were behind-the-scenes talks going on that could change things.

“We’re not going to tell you what’s going on!” Jones finally yelled to a crowd of nearly 100 journalists and a few onlookers.

After having just had a similar, frustrating exchange with Paul, who had stood with Jones at the 1 p.m. news conference to issue the ultimatum, the hot and cranky media horde had had enough.

“Are you just toying with us to get attention?” asked a sweaty woman in a suit, crouching to keep out of the shot of multiple cameras over her head.

The crowd groaned.

“Why did you give this two-hour window?” came a shout from another side of the scrum.

“So will you say you’re going to burn a Koran anytime you want press coverage?” snapped a reporter with a German accent.

“We’re negotiating,” said Jones, his maroon T-shirt soaked through with sweat — but he refused to say what they were negotiating or with whom. And he kept repeating a tantalizingly ambiguous refrain: There will be no Koran-burning at 6 p.m. Saturday night.

“You’re just using us! We should all leave!” someone yelled from deep in the media pack.

Silence – for a moment. “Yeah! Let’s all leave!”

Jones’s response: “Fine, we’re not press hungry, go!”

But no one moved, until Jones turned and shuffled back to the church.

Clusters of police officers stood beneath a tree. “We know what you all know,” said Cpl. Tscharna Senn, spokeswoman for the Gainesville police department, gesturing to the weary pack.

The media throng silently dispersed — some back under the trees, where flies (maybe seeking shade?) swarmed, or for the lucky, to air-conditioned satellite trucks or cars. The only sound was a small group of college-age protesters that had gathered across the street in the otherwise quiet neighborhood.

“When our Muslim brothers are under attack, what do we do? Fight back!” came the chant.

Left standing in the middle of the field were two cameramen.

“See, if everyone leaves except for a few people, something could happen,” said one.

The other nodded, his face drenched with sweat.

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Obama On U.S. Muslims: ‘We Don’t Differentiate Between Them And Us — It’s Just Us’ (Video)

TPM DC

President Obama concluded his press conference today with a statement on the importance of protecting the rights of American Muslims. “We don’t differentiate between them and us,” he said. “It’s just us. And that is a principle that I think is going to be very important for us to sustain.”

Obama was asked about the controversial Park51 Islamic center, and said: “I think I’ve been pretty clear on my position here. And that is: This country stands for the proposition that all men and women are created equal, that they have certain inalienable rights, and one of those inalienable rights is to practice their religion freely.”

“What that means,” he continued, “is that if you could build a church on a site, you could build a synagogue on a site, if you could build a Hindu temple on a site, then you should be able to build a mosque on the site.”

“We’ve got millions of Muslim Americans, our fellow citizens in this country,” Obama said. “They’re going to school with our kids. They’re our neighbors. They’re our friends. They’re our coworkers. And when we start acting as if their religion is somehow offensive, what are we saying to them?”

He continued that there are also Muslims fighting in Afghanistan: “They’re out there putting their lives on the line for us, and we’ve got to make sure that we are crystal clear for our sakes and their sakes — they are Americans, and we honor their service.”

Watch:

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U.S. Marines Take Ship From Somali Pirates

Now these are our guys in the military at their finest…

Huffington Post

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — U.S. Marine commandos stormed a pirate-held cargo ship off the Somalia coast Thursday, reclaiming control and taking nine prisoners without firing a shot in the first such boarding raid by the international anti-piracy flotilla, U.S. Navy officials said.

The mission – using small craft to reach the deck of German-owned vessel as the crew huddled in a safe room below – ranks among the most dramatic high seas confrontations with pirates by the task force created to protect shipping lanes off lawless Somalia.

The crew managed to kill the engines before taking refuge in an panic room-style chamber, leaving the ship adrift and the pirates so frustrated they started damaging equipment after hijacking the vessel Wednesday, Navy officials and the ship’s operator say.

Lt. John Fage, a spokesman at the U.S. Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain, described the pre-dawn raid as an “air and sea” assault that included Cobra attack helicopters for surveillance and coordination.

Marine Corps officers involved in the raid told reporters in a conference call that the attack involved “overwhelming force” and the element of surprise. Marines were able to separate the pirates and confront them singly or in small groups, while helicopters bore down.

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OBAMA CALLS OUT GOP: THEY’RE HOLDING THE ‘MIDDLE CLASS HOSTAGE’

Huffington Post

In his first press conference since late May, President Obama offered one of the sternest rebukes to date of the Republican Party’s position on the Bush tax cuts, saying that those pushing to extend the cuts for the wealthy are holding the “middle class hostage.”

In the process, Obama may have tipped his hand as to how the Democratic Party will structure the forthcoming legislative debate. His position, he said, is to work first on an extension of the tax cuts for those making less than $250,000 a year. After that, Obama added, Republicans and Democrats can debate or vote on whether to continue extending the tax cuts for the wealthy.

“My position is, lets get done what we all agree on,” said the president. “What they’ve said is, ‘We all agree that the middle-class tax cuts should be made permanent. Let’s work on that, let’s do it.’ We can have a further conversation about how they want to spend an additional $700 billion dollars to give an average of $100,000 to millionaires. That, I think, is a bad idea. If you were going to spend that money there are a lot of better ways of spending it. But more to the point, these are the same folks who say they are concerned about the deficit — why would we borrow money on policies that won’t help the economy and help people who don’t need help.”

Continue reading…

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REPORT: Overview Of House Committee Chairmen In A GOP-Controlled 112th Congress

Members of the Committee on Financial Services...

Image via Wikipedia

Think Progress

With less than two months until the midterm elections, all eyes are on what a Speaker Boehner would look like if Republicans take back the House. Just as important, though, are those GOPers who would head the House committees. Republicans have vowed that House committee chairmen like these will see their power increase if their party returns to power. With that in mind, it’s worth asking: Who are the House Republicans who would control national legislation in the 112th Congress?

A new report from ThinkProgress takes a closer look. The potential committee and subcommittee chairmen aren’t your run-of-the-mill House Republicans. Rather, those who could be in charge of our nation’s laws are the GOP’s right-wing extremists. Of the 10 right-wing extremists we profiled, eight have voting scores of 95 percent or higher from the American Conservative Union, seven are stimulus hypocrites, four are members of the Tea Party Caucus, and one is even a birther.

Those would control the House committees and subcommittees also may include:

– A Judiciary chairman, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), who has hinted at impeaching President Obama

– Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who opposes the existence of the global warming committee he would chair

– The subcommittee that controls monetary policy would be headed by Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who has called paper money “nothing short of counterfeiting”

– Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), who apologized to BP during the oil spill for a $20 billion “shakedown,” would control national energy policy

Click here to download a pdf of our report.

Explore the profiles of these right-wing extremists and decide for yourself: do you want these men in charge come January 2011?

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Napolitano: Another 9/11 coming?

Politico

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will mark the ninth anniversary of 9/11 with a speech Friday in New York vowing to keep up the fight against terrorists and to “to enlist the nation in its own collective security.”

“We can’t guarantee there won’t be another successful terrorist attack,” Napolitano will tell first responders and emergency workers. “The threats we face are evolving, and enemies like Al Qaeda and its affiliates are determined. … Today, on the eve of the ninth anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history, I can pledge to you this: We will do everything in our power to prevent attacks and to prepare ourselves.”

Here are excerpts from Napolitano’s prepared remarks:

“Over the past year and a half, I have made one of my very top priorities for DHS to get information, to get tools and to get resources out of Washington, D.C., and into the hands of the men and women serving on the front lines. That includes you — the first responders — but it also includes citizens, community groups and our partners in the private sector. This may not generate big headlines. But this hometown-centric approach has a big impact on our ability to be effective and — more important — to support you in the field.

“The old view that ‘if we fight the terrorists abroad, we won’t have to fight them here’ is just that — the old view. It is abundantly clear that we have to fight them abroad, we have to fight them at home. We have to fight them, period.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0910/41967.html#ixzz0z97Ankha 

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Quran-burning saga boosts Palin-style Islamophobia

Salon

Pastor Terry Jones might not be an expert in theology, politics or basic human decency, but he more than compensates with media savvy. He can wring every last drop of press attention out of even a retreat, as he demonstrated last night when he announced the cancellation of Burn a Quran Day and then, not four hours later, issued a semi-retraction, claiming that he’d been misled (those sneaky Muslims!) and suggesting he might still burn some Qurans after all.

As I write this, the fate of Burn a Quran Day is still up in the air, but my guess is it probably won’t happen. Instead, Jones will soak up another news cycle or so of sweet, sweet infamy, before publicly declaring that he’s holding off “out of respect for the troops,” whom his actions could endanger. The career Muslim-haters who previously called him out for going just a teensy bit too far will thank him profusely, leaving open the door to future friendship, interviews and well-paying speaking engagements.

But even if my prediction turns out to be completely wrong, the leaders of the right-wing’s anti-Muslim brigade nonetheless owe this man a fruit basket. He may not have sparked the recent explosion of Islamophobia, but he’s done as much as just about anyone to drag it into the mainstream.

Continue reading…

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U.S. Soldiers Allegedly Killed Afghan Civilians, Kept Body Parts As Trophies

This is kind of scary and disheartening, to think that our own military personnel may have done this with total disregard for humanity and morality…

Huffington Post

A dozen U.S. soldiers are charged with organizing a secret “kill team” which allegedly murdered Afghan civilians at random and cut fingers and other body parts from corpses as trophies, according to new documents released by the U.S. military.

According to news reports, details in the charging documents released Wednesday shed new light on the cases against 12 soldiers who served a year in southern Afghanistan with a Stryker infantry brigade.

The most serious accusations involve five soldiers — Calvin Gibbs, Adam Winfield, Jeremy Mortlock, Andrew Holmes and Michael Wagnon II — who are said to have slain three Afghans earlier this year. According to reports, those men would likely be charged with premeditated murder, but may face additional charges relating to obstructing justice, possessing human body parts and retaining mortar rounds for personal use.

Authorities allege that Gibbs kept finger bones, leg bones and a tooth from the Afghan corpses, while Wagnon is said to have kept a skull. The remaining seven soldiers are charged with participating in the cover-up, which included smoking hashish stolen from the civilians, taking photos of the corpses and lying to investigators about their deaths.

Winfield’s father Christopher has slammed the accusations against his 22-year-old son, telling the Associated Press he tried nearly half a dozen times to pass on urgent messages to the Army, received via e-mail and Internet chats, from his son earlier this year. According to the elder Winfield, his son had been made aware of — but did not witness or participate in — the murder of the first civilian, and had been physically threatened by Gibbs to keep quiet.

From the AP:

On Feb. 14, he told his parents what happened in a lengthy Internet chat: Members of his unit on patrol had killed “some innocent guy about my age just farming.” He said he did not witness the killing.But, he wrote, those involved told him about it and urged him to “get one of my own.”

He said that virtually everyone in the platoon was aware of what was going on, but no one seemed to object.

“If you talk to anyone on my behalf, I have proof that they are planning another one in the form of an AK-47 they want to drop on a guy.”

Media outlets have equated the alleged crimes to abuses committed by U.S. troops at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison in 2004. “This is the kind of thing that hurts us enormously,” foreign policy expert Michael O’Hanlon told CBS. “It will have a disproportionate effect, just like Abu Ghraib did … just like the Koran burning would in Florida.”

A military grand jury will consider the charges later this month. McClatchy has a helpful breakdown of the charges here.

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Mark Fiore’s Political Animated Videos

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Palin Endorses Tea Party Candidate O’Donnell in Delaware Senate Race

Newsweek

Forget Castle vs. O’Donnell. This race is now all about Palin vs. Colbert.

Just two days after Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert pledged to give Mike Castle the “Colbert Bump” in his fight for the Republican nomination for Senate in Delaware, Sarah Palin has weighed in to back Christine O’Donnell, his right-wing, Tea Party–backed challenger. They’re both hoping to fill the Senate seat vacated by Vice President Joe Biden and currently held by Ted Kauffman, a temporary replacement.

The background: Castle is a moderate Republican (pro-choice, pro-gun), while O’Donnell is much further to the right, and espouses some ideas that are out of the mainstream (she has spoken out against masturbation and has claimed she’s being followed). Castle’s race has been up and down: it first appeared he faced a tough challenge from Beau Biden, the vice president’s son and Delaware’s attorney general. Biden bowed out, but O’Donnell is surging—at least according to one Tea Party Express poll.

Now, at nearly the last minute, Palin has given O’Donnell her support, speaking to Fox New host Sean Hannity on his radio show Thursday afternoon.

As Dave Weigel points out, the race is turning into another strange battle between the Republican establishment and the Tea Party upstarts (the Delaware GOP head called O’Donnell, a perennial candidate, a “delusional liar”). But the consequences are real: while Castle leads Democrat Chris Coons, O’Donnell—a lesser-known and far more conservative candidate—would likely lose, leaving the seat in Democratic hands.

It still seems like a long shot for O’Donnell to upset Castle on Tuesday. But then again, it seemed like a long shot for obscure, Palin-backed Joe Miller to beat a sitting U.S. senator in Alaska. Can lightning strike twice?

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