Day: November 30, 2010

The Palinistas vs. The Pragmatists

Mario Piperni nails it again with his illustrations and commentary on Sarah Palin in his latest post.

The Empress Has No Clothes:

Joe Scarborough is the latest conservative to publicly speak out against Sarah Palin.

Republicans have a problem. The most-talked-about figure in the GOP is a reality show star who cannot be elected. And yet the same leaders who fret that Sarah Palin could devastate their party in 2012 are too scared to say in public what they all complain about in private.

Everybody knows that Palin is a busy woman. The former half-term governor of Alaska stays so busy these days that one wonders how this mother of five manages to juggle her new reality show, follow her eldest daughter’s dancing career and launch her latest frenetic book tour while still finding the time to insult a slew of revered presidents and first ladies.

Whatever.  The point here is that Scarborough, like some conservatives in possession of an actual brain, is deeply concerned that Palin might actually pull this thing off…of becoming the Republican presidential candidate in 2012.  And should that happen, Republicans can just about kiss away any chance of taking back the White House.  Buried somewhere in the Constitution is some line, I’m sure, which states that each political party is granted a single opportunity to offer up a nitwit as their presidential candidate.  Sorry Sarah, W beat you to it.

If Palin is serious about running in 2012, then Republicans are about to embark on a battle between the pragmatists and the Palinistas.  Or as Scarborough puts it:

If Republicans want to embrace Palin as a cultural icon whose anti-intellectualism fulfills a base political need, then have at it. I suppose it’s cheaper than therapy.

Leaked cables reveal America’s ‘profound hatred of democracy,’ Chomsky declares

I don’t agree with Chomsky on some things  but he just might be correct on this one…

Raw Story

What does the release of over 250,000 secret US State Department cables by WikiLeaks ultimately reflect?

“What that reveals is the profound hatred for democracy on the part of our political leadership and of course the Israeli political leadership,” Noam Chomsky, renowned American linguist and political dissident, told Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman on Tuesday.

In the context of Israeli and US policymakers view of Iran shown in the cables, Chomsky said that the perspectives of the leadership stand in sharp contrast to the opinions of the populations they supposedly serve.

“[US Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton and [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu surely know of the careful polls of Arab public opinion,” Chomsky said.

Specifically, the scholar noted the Brookings Institute’s recent release of its annual poll on what Arabs think about Iran, the United States, and Israel.

Continue reading here…

Atlanta storm: Major damage reported in Gwinnett County

I live in Gwinnett County.  We’ve had some pretty severe weather since early this morning.  Apparently my small section of Gwinnett County “dodged the bullet” in terms of damage from this severe weather.  

Following is a report from the Atlanta Journal Constitution

4:35 p.m.: AJC photographer Phil Skinner reports one house destroyed.

4:20 p.m.: A tornado warning has been issued for southeastern Henry County and western Newton County.

4:15 p.m.: National Weather Service: “What we know right now is that damage has been reported.”

4:10 p.m.: The damaged homes are in the Buford area, according to Capt. Tommy Rutledge with the Gwinnett County fire department. No injuries have been reported.

4 p.m.: Gwinnett County fire and police officials are reporting several homes have been damaged due to storms.

The rain is making its way out of the metro Atlanta area, and much cooler temperatures are on the way.

In the meantime, expect standing water on area interstates and streets.

The National Weather Service Issued a tornado watch Tuesday morning for most of metro Atlanta, and at 3 p.m. a watch was issued for counties in the east and southeast metro area. The watch means conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop.

Heavy rain moved into the metro area early Tuesday afternoon, with a heavy downpour reported through Cobb and Paulding counties around 1:30. A line of heavy thunderstorms stretched hundreds of miles, from the Georgia-Tennessee border to the Gulf of Mexico in west Florida.

By 3 p.m., the line of storms was moving northeast and south of the metro area, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist David Chandley said.

“Our threat is greatly diminished for the afternoon commute,” Chandley said.

The biggest threat to the evening commute is likely to be pooled water on interstates and side streets. Shortly before 4 p.m., GDOT reported several lane closures due to water.   Continue reading here…

Republican House Rep. Steve King Calls Obama “Very, Very Urban”

“Figure this out, Madame Speaker, we have a very, very urban Senator, Barack Obama, who has decided he’s going to run for president, and what does he do? He introduces legislation to create a whole new Pigford claim.” ~ Rep. Steve King (R-IA)

WTF?  I know Rep. Steve King has been known to be certifiable, based on many of his comments, but does this cross the line between nutjob and totally whacked out? 

Granted, King used the term “very very urban…” in the context of a floor debate about the Pigford Case in which the USDA just recently settled a discrimination case against minority farmers.  However, King knows exactly what he is saying when he makes these alleged “gaffes”… 

Mediaite

Rep. Steve King of Iowa just can’t stop making racially charged statements. In June, he declared that President Obama “has a default mechanism in him that breaks down the side of race, on the side that favors the black person.” In July, he questioned a class action lawsuit brought by black farmers against the USDA, implying that what the farmers really wanted were reparations. Today, he turned his focus back to Obama, calling the President “very, very urban”—and we all know what he means by “urban.”

Some background: King was talking, again, about the Pigford case, the aforementioned class action suit. Here’s a breakdown of the case, courtesy of our own Tommy Christopher:

The Pigford case is a class action lawsuit that was brought by black farmers after the USDA admitted it had been discriminating against black farmers for years. In essence, Clinton Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman said, “Hey, all you black farmers out there, remember when we denied you that loan? It was because you’re black.”

Black farmers, naturally, were like, “Oh, well, that’s messed up. I could’ve saved/purchased my own farm with that loan. Pay me.”

Shirley Sherrod was the leader of a group of farmers called New Communities, Inc., who were collectively awarded $13 million for the loss of 6,000 acres of land due to USDA’s racial discrimination, and Sherrod was awarded $150,000, as was her husband Charles. Sherrod’s work on behalf of black farmers in this case is precisely why she was hired by Vilsack, to help “turn the corner” on decades of discriminatory practices.

Track A of the Pigford settlement was structured so that a fixed payment of $50,000 would be awarded to any black farmer who could prove that he:

* owned or leased, or attempted to own or lease, farm land, applied for a specific credit transaction at a USDA county office during the applicable period
* the loan was denied, provided late, approved for a lesser amount than requested, encumbered by restrictive conditions, or USDA failed to provide appropriate loan service, and such treatment was less favorable than that accorded specifically identified, similarly situated white farmers.
* the USDA’s treatment of the loan application led to economic damage.

Anyone who wanted to seek a larger amount would use “Track B,” which had an even stricter burden of proof.

King’s statement today began with the representative noting that “Bobby Scott of Virginia and others” introduced legislation aimed at increasing the federal government’s role in the Pigford settlement. As Ryan Grim of the Huffington Post notes, Scott is African-American.

King then took aim at Obama, complaining that as a senator, he favored African-American farmers. “Figure this out, Madame Speaker,” King said. “We have a very, very urban Senator, Barack Obama, who has decided he’s going to run for president, and what does he do? He introduces legislation to create a whole new Pigford claim.”

Yikes. It’s also pretty strange that King would choose to use this particular euphemism while describing actions Obama took to help rural farmers. See King’s statement in the video below, from C-SPAN.

Bush Speechwriter Marc Thiessen Suggests Invading U.S.-Allied Nations To Capture WikiLeaks Founder

Prosecute the truth so as to hide its stark reality…

Once again, this blog is mainly about sorting out the “crazies”.   Well, we’ve found a few more!

Think Progress

Conservative outrage over the WikiLeaks release of secret State Department cables has reached a fever pitch, with Rep. Pete King (R-NY) — who will chair the Homeland Security Committee in the new Congress — demanding the group be declared a terrorist organization. Former GOP Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum echoed King yesterday, saying WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is guilty of “terrorism,” while a number of Republican lawmakers have called for treason charges against suspected leaker Bradley Manning. Meanwhile, a number of conservative figures have fantasized about committing bodily harm to Assange.

But former Bush speechwriter-cum-leading torture advocate Marc Thiessen took this outrage to comic heights last night on Fox News host Sean Hannity’s show. Proving that neoconservatives never miss an opportunity to call for war, Thiessen suggested that if diplomacy fails to capture Assange, the U.S. should “go and get him” — with or without his host country’s permission:

THIESSEN: There are plenty of tools at our disposal. … But failing that, we can act unilaterally. We can go and get him without another country’s permission. We did it with General Noriega — there’s authority within the Office of Legal Counsel and that we can go and take anybody anywhere in the world.      Continue reading here…

Watch it:      

DADT Repeal Fully Endorsed In Pentagon Study

Huffington Post

The Pentagon released its much-anticipated study on repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) on Tuesday, finding that 70 percent of servicemembers believe the change in policy would have a positive, mixed or no effect. The announcement was accompanied by a full-throated endorsement of allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly by the study’s co-authors, who concluded that there is little risk of disruption to the military if implementation is properly carried out.

Co-authors Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson and Army Gen. Carter Ham told reporters in a press briefing on Tuesday that the study found strong support for implementing repeal, and activists are hoping that lawmakers who were waiting to see the findings will now come out in support of allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly. Furthermore, they made clear that much of the opposition to repeal springs from misinformation.

“The reality is that there are gay men and lesbians already serving in today’s U.S. military, and most Service members recognize this,” said Johnson in his prepared remarks to reporters. “Further, in the course of our assessment, it became apparent to us that, aside from the moral and religious objections to homosexuality, much of the concern about ‘openly’ gay Service members is driven by misperceptions and stereotypes.”

Continue reading here…

Sarah Palin Rips Obama White House Over WikiLeaks

Mrs. Palin compares her ability to stop the “leak” of her new book on the internet with the President’s “lack of ability” to do the same with the latest “WikiLeaks dump.”  She claims that it was a treasonous act from WikiLeaks and its conspirators should be held accountable.

There’s only one problem with Palin’s analysis…Julian Assange founder of WikiLeaks is not based in the United States and therefore cannot be prosecuted for treason. 

Mrs. Palin’s depth of knowledge with all things “government” leaves a lot to be desired…

Huffington Post

Sarah Palin blasted out a dispatch to her Facebook supporters Monday, taking aim at the Obama administration’s handling of the latest WikiLeaks document drop and criticizing the White House’s “incompetent handling of this whole fiasco.” The former Alaska governor also seemingly encouraged the hunting of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with “the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.”

In her Facebook post, Palin questions the timing of Obama’s recent steps to try to patch intelligence holes that have allowed repeated leaks of classified information:

The White House has now issued orders to federal departments and agencies asking them to take immediate steps to ensure that no more leaks like this happen again. It’s of course important that we do all we can to prevent similar massive document leaks in the future. But why did the White House not publish these orders after the first leak back in July? What explains this strange lack of urgency on their part?

Palin also takes a shot at the failure to capture or stop Assange, an ineffectiveness that she appears to characterize as a lack of effort or caring by the Obama administration:

First and foremost, what steps were taken to stop Wikileaks director Julian Assange from distributing this highly sensitive classified material especially after he had already published material not once but twice in the previous months? Assange is not a “journalist,” any more than the “editor” of al Qaeda’s new English-language magazine Inspire is a “journalist.” He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands. His past posting of classified documents revealed the identity of more than 100 Afghan sources to the Taliban. Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders?

Palin expressed similar annoyance on Twitter Monday, when she compared her own legal effort against leaks to the latest intelligence releases:

Inexplicable: I recently won in court to stop my book “America by Heart” from being leaked,but US Govt can’t stop Wikileaks’ treasonous act?

Continue reading here…

All the Hottest Diplomatic Gossip From the Latest Wikileak

As many news pundits have pointed out over the last 24 hours, the WikiLeaks dump this past week-end is mainly pure gossip on a geopolitical scale.  Gawker gives us a glimpse…

Gawker

The giant diplomatic cable dump released by Wikileaks today represents the world’s largest leak of geopolitical gossip: Diplomats tittering about world leaders’ sexxxy affairs, their financial skeeziness and weird quirks. Let’s dive into a U.S. Embassy gossip roundup!

  • Libyan President Mumammar al-Qadhafi apparently keeps a “voluptuous blonde” Ukranian nurse named Galyna Kolotnytska at his side at all times. According to one cable: “the Libyan Government sent a private jet to ferry her from Libya to Portugal to meet up with the Leader during his rest-stop. Some embassy contacts have claimed that Qadhafi and the 38 year-old Kolotnytska have a romantic relationship. While he did not comment on such rumors, a Ukrainian political officer recently confirmed that the Ukrainian nurses ‘travel everywhere with the Leader.'” The cable says Kolotnytska is always with Qadhafi because “she alone knows his routine.” Imagining this routine is the mental equivalent of the nuclear bomb Libya was trying to build in the early 2000s. [NYT]

 

  • Qadhafi also uses botox, which is obvious because of how beautifully taut his skin is. [BoingBoing]

 

  • Blind item! Which member of the royal family did something naughty? According to the Guardian, the Wikileaks dump includes “claims of inappropriate behavior by a member of the British royal family.” But they offer no details! We are going to guess Harry, and we are going to guess it was something racist. [Guardian]

 

  • Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime minister Vladimir Putin‘s relationship can be expressed in cartoon terms. Medvedev, “plays Robin to Putin’s Batman.” (Duh: Unlike Putin, Medvedev hasn’t put out massive forest fires using only his two hands.) In other news: U.S. diplomats are huge nerds. [Guardian]

 

  • Speaking of Vladimir Putin, he and staggeringly corrupt Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi are engaged in what BoingBoing appropriately terms a “bromance.” They exchange “lavish gifts” and energy contracts through a “shadowy” middle-man. Aw, so sweet. Now the only things leaking are our eyes. [NYT]

 

  • Idiotic Zimbabwean dictator/president Robert Mugabe is an idiot. So says a former U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe in a cable! Mugabe sucks as a leader because of “his deep ignorance on economic issues (coupled with the belief that his 18 doctorates give him the authority to suspend the laws of economics, including supply and demand).” Oh, you did not just go there: In Zimbabwe people have been disappeared for insulting just one of Mugabe’s doctorates. [NYT]

 

  • Kim Jong-Il was described by a diplomatic source as a “flabby old chap.” That’s mean. So the guy has curves? We’re so sick of unrealistic body expectations for unhinged dictators. [Guardian]

 

  • The U.S. spied on Ban Ki-moon and other UN leaders. Bet whatever spy was in charge of that snoozer wished they were put on the Qadhafi beat. [Guardian]

 

  • Afghanistan’s Vice President, Ahmed Zia Massoud was discovered to be carrying $52 million in cash in the United Arab Emirates last year. He was allowed to keep the money. Nobody asked him where it came from, which is probably a good thing. [NYT]

 

  • Remember that massive hack attack on Google, which Google blamed on the Chinese government earlier this year? It totally was them! “China’s Politburo directed the intrusion into Google’s computer systems.” They’ve also hacked into U.S. computers and those belonging to the Dalai Lama. That’s right: China may have the Dalai Lama’s cock shots, if he forgot to erase them from his computer. [NYT]

 

  • Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was “dismissive, bored and impatient,” during a meeting with Obama’s deputy national security adviser, John Brennan. [Guardian]

 

Fox News hosts pretend birther author’s novel is non-fiction

 Comment from the Raw Story article on Fox News’ irrational hatred toward the President:

Obama was born in Hawaii –  full stop.
There are of course opportunists, racists and morons including many people who watch Fox News who cannot bear the idea that a black man is both their superior in intellect and President.

This is par for the course over at Fox News…

Raw Story

Fox News is helping a former Republican congressman spread the myth that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

Appearing on Fox News Monday, John LeBoutillier explained that his new fictional book uses “real things” like Obama’s grandmother once claimed she was present for his Kenyan birth.

LeBoutillier’s new book, The Obama Identity: A Novel (Or Is It?), seems to be referring to a 2008 World Net Daily article where a Pennsylvania man is said to have a telephone recording of Obama’s grandmother.

“Ed Klein and I, when we wrote this book, used real things in a book of fiction,” LeBoutillier told Fox News hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade.

“There’s so much real stuff in this book. Like you asked me before we came on the air about Obama’s grandmother living today in Kenya. And we have her in the book. It’s fiction but in reality, she has claimed consistently that he was born in Mombasa, Kenya. She said this adamantly on the record. We took that and used it in the book in a very funny way,” he said

[…]

It’s not the first time Fox News has given a platform to birther notions. In July 2009, Fox News anchor Bret Baier reported that a US soldier was refusing to deploy because Obama was not born in the US. “Baier never pointed out that Obama’s American birth certificate has been produced and authenticated,” News Hounds noted.

In August 2008, FactCheck.org confirmed that it had examined and verified Obama’s birth certificate.

In April of this year, Fox News correspondent Wendell Goler asked White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, “Do the complaints of birthers complicate the president’s dealing with the American Muslim community?”

“I got to give you credit, Wendell, for getting a lot of crazy people in one question,” Gibbs replied.

“I’ve said this many times, Wendell. If you’re — if after I asked that the President’s birth certificate be put on the Internet hasn’t dissuaded you from where he was being born, I’m almost positive that no argument is somehow going to dissuade you from that,” Gibbs added

Continue reading here…