Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin Accidentally Invents a Word, Then Invokes Shakespeare

Caribou Barbie never admits to her mistakes.  She tends to embellish her original mistake with some form of twisted logic to support the faux pas.

Blue Wave News

I suppose blogger John Avarosis said it best, in a tweet: “If republicans can demand that immigrants speak English, can’t we demand same of Sarah Palin?”

He was referring to the latest incident created by the Woman Who Would Be President, in which she once again demonstrated an astonishing lack of knowledge of her native tongue. Yesterday, she issued a tweet in response to the plan to build an Islamic center two blocks from Ground Zero in Manhattan. Naturally, the right-wing nutbars have reacted to this plan with hysteria, hyperbole, and a fearless disregard for the facts:

But here are the facts:The center is not at Ground Zero but two blocks away, and the Cordoba Initiative seeks to build a center, not a mosque. The center is not designed as a local mosque for a Muslim community but rather to serve the wider community.

It is meant to improve interfaith and Muslim-West relations and promote tolerance — not just to provide services to Muslims. The proposed 15-story community center will include a prayer room, offices, meeting rooms, gym, swimming pool and performing arts center.

But Palin reacted with her customary don’t-distract-me-with-the-facts enthusiasm, issuing the following tweet on Sunday:

Ground Zero Mosque supporters: doesn’t it stab you in the heart, as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, pls refudiate

A good time had by all.

U.S. Politics

Oil Spill Seepage: Rupture Reported At Top Of Well

Huffington Post

WASHINGTON (AP) — A White House spokesman says BP’s ruptured oil well is leaking at the top, along with seepage about two miles away.

Robert Gibbs also says officials are monitoring bubbles that can be seen on an underwater camera.

Leaks could mean the cap on the well has to be opened to prevent oil and gas from escaping elsewhere.

The mechanical cap on the well stopped the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday.

Mark Williams · Tea Party · Tea Party Racists

Mark Williams Responds To Being Ousted By Tea Party Federation

“It’s a little odd getting lectures on sobriety from folks who spent like drunken sailors for the last decade.”  –Obama 7/9/2010

Jason Linkins is one of my favorite HuffPo writers. Here’s why:

Huffington Post – Jason Linkins

On yesterday’s “Face The Nation”, the NAACP’s Ben Jealous called upon David Webb — representing the Tea Party Federation — to refudiate repudiate Mark Williams, the chairman of the Tea Party Express, for unhinged comments he made in the wake of the NAACP’s call for the Tea Party movement to do a better job policing racists in its ranks.

Now, Williams is no more. Adam Serwer has the details:

This is what happened to Tea Party Express Chairman Mark Williams , who wrote a nasty piece of “satire” last week basically reinforcing every negative stereotype about black people you could imagine, and was then forced out of a Tea Party umbrella organization, the Tea Party Federation, sometime over the last few days.

“We, in the last 24 hours, have expelled Tea Party Express and Mark Williams from the National Tea Party Federation because of the letter that he wrote,” Webb said of the blog post by Williams that satirized a fictional letter from what he called “Colored People” to President Abraham Lincoln.
[David] Webb called the blog post “clearly offensive.”

Now, Williams has responded, tellingly, to his ouster. Per Evan McMorris-Santoro, in TPM:

“Apparently I have offended the tea party ‘leadership,'” Williams wrote. “Mind you, there is no tea party leadership; every tea partier is a tea party leader. But something happens when the stronger egos and personalities in a movement begin to feel a sense of ownership. It is not long before they act to claim and defend that feeling.”Williams, who until a month ago was a national chairman of the Tea Party Express, claimed that Webb was trying to make a name for himself by taking on Williams.

“It is a crying shame,” Williams wrote. “We are fighting for the future of not just this nation but for the future of Mankind. That’s just a little more important than my fat head, or the apparently even fatter head [Webb] on Face the Nation Today [sic] who misrepresented himself as the tea party ‘leader’.”

 One of the more interesting consequences of the NAACP’s resolution seems to be that now the Tea Party movement is going to have to take some responsibility for having an actual organizing structure. At the very least, it raises the expectation that the movement should have an organization. In the past, it’s vast amorphous nature was a tidy means by which it could extricate itself from the kind of accusations that the NAACP made in the first place. Saw a racist sign? Heard a Tea Party leader say something unhinged? Well, you cannot impugn the Judean Liberation Front for the actions of the Popular Liberation Front of Judea!

 Believe it or not, this could benefit the Tea Party in the long run, should it choose to organize itself into some sort of third party alternative. The confusion that persists in places like Florida and Nevada, where all sorts of freelance candidates shroud themselves in the Tea Party mantle to the consternation of the larger organized bodies could be alleviated. Of course, the strongest tidal pull on the organization comes from Freedom Works, which desires the integration of these hopped-up insurgents into the larger GOP establishment. (Of course, maybe this movement of eliminationists will simply revert to form and eliminate one another.)

Intelligence · Pentagon · United States Dept. Of State · United States Intelligence · Washington Post

The Washington Post Reveals ‘Top Secret America’

The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work. ~ Dana Priest and William M. Arkin

Without a doubt, one must visit the Washington Post to view the entire project.  However, I chose to use The Atlantic Wire’s “executive summary” for this post.

The Atlantic Wire

The Washington Post has unveiled its comprehensive, alarming, and much-anticipated report on “Top Secret America.” The dedicated site details the billions of dollars in private, for-profit intelligence operations that have emerged since Sept. 11, 2001, which the Post calls our “fourth branch” of government. Led by reporters William Arkin and Pulitzer Prize-winner Dana Priest, the investigation was two years in the making and shook up the vast U.S. intelligence community even before it was released. The “Top Secret America” website includes articles, videos, interactive features, and maps all begging to be explored. But here’s the executive summary.

  • The Intelligence-Industrial Complex  Priest and Arkin write, “This is not exactly President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s ‘military-industrial complex,’ which emerged with the Cold War and centered on building nuclear weapons to deter the Soviet Union. This is a national security enterprise with a more amorphous mission: defeating transnational violent extremists. Much of the information about this mission is classified. That is the reason it is so difficult to gauge the success and identify the problems of Top Secret America, including whether money is being spent wisely. … the Bush administration and Congress gave agencies more money than they were capable of responsibly spending. … In all, at least 263 organizations have been created or reorganized as a response to 9/11. Each has required more people, and those people have required more administrative and logistic support. … With so many more employees, units and organizations, the lines of responsibility began to blur.”
  • Our Fourth Branch  The introductory video states, “In response to 9/11, a fourth branch has emerged. It is protected from public scrutiny by overwhelming secrecy. … It has become so big, and the lines of responsibility so blurred, that even our nation’s leaders don’t have a handle on it. Where is it? It’s being built from coast to coast, hidden within some of America’s most familiar cities and neighborhoods. In Colorado, in Nebraska, in Texas, in Florida, in the suburbs of Washington, DC. Top Secret America includes hundreds of federal departments and agencies operating out of 1300 facilities around this country. They contract of nearly 2,000 companies. In all, more people than live in our nation’s capital have top secret security clearance.” The screen flashes “850,000 Americans with top secret clearance.”
  • Why This Is Dangerous  The Post’s editors write in an introductory note, “When it comes to national security, all too often no expense is spared and few questions are asked – with the result an enterprise so massive that nobody in government has a full understanding of it. It is, as Dana Priest and William M. Arkin have found, ubiquitous, often inefficient and mostly invisible to the people it is meant to protect and who fund it. … Within a responsible framework, our objective is to provide as much information as possible, so readers gain a real, granular understanding of the scale and breadth of the top-secret world we are describing.”
  • 5 Points on the Private Spy Industry’s Huge Size  Priest and Arkin write, “(1) Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States. (2) An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances. (3) In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings – about 17 million square feet of space. (4) Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks. (5) Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year – a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.”

Underscoring the seriousness of these issues are the conclusions of retired Army Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, who was asked last year to review the method for tracking the Defense Department’s most sensitive programs. Vines, who once commanded 145,000 troops in Iraq and is familiar with complex problems, was stunned by what he discovered.
“I’m not aware of any agency with the authority, responsibility or a process in place to coordinate all these interagency and commercial activities,” he said in an interview. “The complexity of this system defies description.”

The result, he added, is that it’s impossible to tell whether the country is safer because of all this spending and all these activities. “Because it lacks a synchronizing process, it inevitably results in message dissonance, reduced effectiveness and waste,” Vines said. “We consequently can’t effectively assess whether it is making us more safe.”

Economy · GOP Lies · GOP Obstructionism · Rep. Mike Pence

Wallace Presses Pence On How He Can Call The Stimulus A ‘Failure’ In The Face Of Job Growth

 Think Progress

 Republicans continue to rail against the stimulus, even though economists agree that the program has created a significant number of jobs. Last week, the White House Council of Economic Advisers said the Recovery Act has saved or created 3.6 million jobs. A recent report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) also found that the stimulus “has increased the number of workers by between 1.2 million and 2.8 million” and projects that “3.7 million jobs could be attributed to the stimulus by the end of September.”

Today, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace presented Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) with the CBO number and asked him how he could still say that the Recovery Act has “failed” in the face of this nonpartisan evidence:

WALLACE: These are numbers from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. It estimates the stimulus has boosted growth between 1.7 and 4.2 percent, and it’s increased the number of people unemployed by 2-2.8 million. Congressman Pence, is that failure?

PENCE: Look, the reality is the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that is that part of our government that tracks the economy when people are hired and fired, says that since the stimulus was passed, we’ve lost 3 million jobs overall. About 2.5 million jobs net. The reality is unemployment today over 14 million Americans are unemployed; that’s exactly what it was a year ago. The American people know. We can’t borrow and spend and bail our way back to a growing economy.

WALLACE: But what about the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office just in effect saying, it would have been worse, and the fact is that it has boosted growth, it has gotten millions of people employed?

PENCE: Well, our economy is beginning to grow in a tepid way on the margins, I would argue in spite of the prescriptions of the physicians in Washington, DC. The American people know what’s necessary to get this economy moving again. It’s fiscal discipline in Washington, DC, and across-the-board tax relief for working families, small businesses, and family farms.

 Basically, Pence seems to be saying that because unemployment hasn’t been completely eradicated, the stimulus must be a failure. But it’s important to remember the hole the country had to dig itself out of from the Bush administration, and the fact that unemployment would be even higher without the stimulus:

Many Republicans continue to go around and pretend that the stimulus hasn’t created any new jobs, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Last week, ThinkProgress attended a job fair hosted by Rep. Eric Cantor where the businesses in attendance had received more than $52 million in federal stimulus funds. Other Republicans who voted against the stimulus have similarly had no problem taking credit for its success.

Mitch McConnell

McConnell refuses to denounce Tea Party racism: ‘I am not interested in getting into that debate.’

Mitch McConnell is the minority leader in the Senate.  When asked about the current debate surrounding the Tea Party and racism, McConnell side-stepped the issue completely:

Think Progress

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, host Candy Crowley asked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) about the NAACP’s resolution calling on the Tea Party movement to condemn the “racist elements” in its ranks. McConnell, however, brushed aside accusations of racism, saying he’s “got better things to do”:

CROWLEY: Well, as you know, this weekend, NAACP said that the tea — there are racist elements in the tea party.

MCCONNELL: I am not interested in getting into that debate. What we are interested in is trying to have an election this fall that will respond to what the American people are asking us to do, which is to have some checks and balances here. […]

CROWLEY: Nothing that you have seen on TV, including some of the signs that we’ve seen, albeit the minority at some of these tea party rallies, some of the posters that have been put up in the name of some factions of the tea party make you the least bit uncomfortable?

MCCONNELL: Look, there are all kinds of things going on in America that make me uncomfortable, both on the right and on the left. I have got better things to do than to wade in to all of these disputes and discussions that are going on out in the country. What we are trying to do is to make the president a born again moderate. We are trying to send enough conservatives to Congress this November to move him in a different direction.

Last year, McConnell was quick “to heap the most fulsome praise” on the Tea Party protests while “bashing the media” for portraying the protests unfavorably. Today on CBS’s Face the Nation, TeaParty365 co-founder David Webb said that the National Tea Party Federation “expelled” Mark Williams and his Tea Party Express “in the last 24 hours” for his “clearly offensive” satirical letter saying “coloreds” supported slavery.

Fear Mongering · Stupid People · Sue Myrick

Rep. Sue Myrick’s Crazy Conspiracy Theories

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you,  just one of the dozens of loony toon representatives from the GOP in the House and Senate.  Don’t get me wrong, we have a few wack-a-doodles on the Democrat’s side as well.  However today we focus on the GOP.  Tomorrow we’ll focus on the Dems.  Here is Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC).

Huffington Post – Jason Linkins

Anyone remember the terrible 1997 movie The Jackal, in which Bruce Willis played an international assassin with a secret identity and the propensity for dreaming up the craziest, most super-complicated ways of doing the simplest things? Here, let’s allow the great Roger Ebert to remind you:

“The Jackal” is a glum, curiously flat thriller about a man who goes to a great deal of trouble in order to create a crime that anyone in the audience could commit more quickly and efficiently. An example: Can you think, faithful reader, of an easier way to sneak from Canada into the United States than buying a sailboat and entering it in the Mackinaw to Chicago race? Surely there must be an entry point somewhere along the famous 3,000-mile border that would attract less attention than the finish line of a regatta.[…]

There was never a moment in “The Jackal” where I had the slightest confidence in the expertise of the characters. The Jackal strikes me as the kind of overachiever who, assigned to kill a mosquito, would purchase contraband insecticides from Iraq and bring them into the United States by hot air balloon, distilling his drinking water from clouds and shooting birds for food.

I immediately thought of this movie, and this review, when I heard this latest nutlog conspiracy theory from the utterly zany Representative Sue Myrick (R-N.C.).

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