Friday, May 31, 2013

Deranged Republican Erick Erickson Does a Great Impression of a Fundamentalist Iranian Mullah

Deranged Republican Erick Erickson Does a Great Impression of a Fundamentalist Iranian Mullah

Erick Erickson, the conservative blogger and Fox News personality, became the most hated man on Twitter today after responding to a much-discussed Pew survey on female breadwinners by saying that science says that men should dominate women (to be fair to Erickson, Juan Williams and Lou Dobbs expressed equally retrograde sentiments on the very same segment, but have largely escaped the drubbing).

Erickson tried to clear things up with a blog post this afternoon, but only made matters worse by showing how much he doesn’t get it. The missive started off poorly, with some whining about how feminists and “emo lefties have their panties in a wad” (pro-tip: when accused of sexism, don’t reference your opponents’ panties while mounting your defense) and only got worse from there.

First there was a science lesson:

    I also noted that the left, which tells us all the time we’re just another animal in the animal kingdom, is rather anti-science when it comes to this. In many, many animal species, the male and female of the species play complementary roles, with the male dominant in strength and protection and the female dominant in nurture.

There are also species where males castrate themselves before sex to avoid being eating alive by females. Perhaps Erickson would like to experience that — you know, because science?

Erickson goes on to equate all female breadwinners with single mothers, and then to assume that the outrage directed at his comments was about some kind of politically correct effort to destroy families:

    But we should not kid ourselves or scream so loudly in politically correct outrage to drown the truth — kids most likely will do best in households where they have a mom at home nurturing them while dad is out bringing home the bacon.

Here he shows he just doesn’t get it. What upset people about Erickson’s comments had less to do with single mothers and the decline of marriage rates than about gender roles. It was his notion that women should always stay at home and tend to the kids and that men should always be the breadwinners and dominate women — because that’s only natural.

But almost 40 percent of the female breadwinners identified by the survey are married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands. Married women “are more likely than before to be the primary provider in the family,” growing from 4 percent in 1960 to 23 percent in 2011. That’s faster than the rate single mothers have grown. Married women have gained because they’ve had better education and employment opportunities — in other words, more equality.

But Erickson says that breadwinning is not the woman’s role anyway — it’s the “female who tames the male beast.” His worldview, as even better expressed in his blog post than his comments on Fox News, fundamentally rejects the notion of gender equality. How can men and women be equal if one is not supposed to work outside the home and the other is supposed to dominate it?

In short, Erckson, like most of the radical Anti-American, anti-freedom conservative movement has exactly the same attitude towards women as fundamentalist Iranian Mullahs. Women's rights in Iran

Equality does not take precedence over justice... Justice does not mean that all laws must be the same for men and women. One of the mistakes that Westerners make is to forget this.... The difference in the stature, vitality, voice, development, muscular quality and physical strength of men and women shows that men are stronger and more capable in all fields... Men's brains are larger.... Men incline toward reasoning and rationalism while women basically tend to be emotional... These differences affect the delegation of responsibilities, duties and rights.

Now who said that? Wacko anti-America Erick Erickson or wacko anti-America Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iranian Parliament Speaker in 1986.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Welcome To Conservative Planet Where The World's Richest 8% Earn Half of All Income

Welcome To Conservative Planet Where The World's Richest 8% Earn Half of All Income

The lead research economist at the World Bank, Branko Milanovic, will be reporting soon, in the journal Global Policy, the first calculation of global income-inequality, and he has found that the top 8% of global earners are drawing 50% of all of this planet's income. He notes: "Global inequality is much greater than inequality within any individual country," because the stark inequality between countries adds to the inequality within any one of them, and because most people live in extremely poor countries, largely the nations within three thousand miles of the Equator, where it's already too hot, even without the global warming that scientists say will heat the world much more from now on.

[  ]...Wealth-inequality is always far higher than income-inequality, and therefore a reasonable estimate of personal wealth throughout the world would probably be somewhere on the order of the wealthiest 1% of people owning roughly half of all personal assets. These individuals might be considered the current aristocracy, insofar as their economic clout is about equal to that of all of the remaining 99% of the world's population.

Milanovich says: "Among the global top 1 per cent, we find the richest 12 per cent of Americans, ... and between 3 and 6 per cent of the richest Britons, Japanese, Germans and French. It is a 'club' that is still overwhelmingly composed of the 'old rich'," who pass on to their children (tax-free in the many countries that have no estate-taxes) the fortunes that they have accumulated, and who help set them up in businesses of their own - often after having sent them first to the most prestigious universities (many in the United States), where those children meet and make friends of others who are similarly situated as themselves.

For example, on 22 April 2004, The New York Times headlined "As Wealthy Fill Top Colleges, Concerns Grow Over Fairness," and reported that 55% of freshman students at the nation's 250 most selective colleges and universities came from parents in the top 25% of this nation's income. Only 12% of students had parents in the bottom 25% of income. Even at an elite public, state, college, the University of Michigan, "more members of this year's freshman class ... have parents making at least $200,000 a year [then America's top 2%] than have parents making less than the national median of about $53,000 [America's bottom 50%].'"

Most of the redistribution that favors more than just the top 1% has occurred in the "developing" countries, such as China. However, a larger proportion of the world's population live in nations of Central and South America, Africa, etc., where today's leading families tend overwhelmingly to be the same as in the previous generation. They, too, near the Equator, are members of the "club," but there are fewer of them.

Milanovic finds that globally, "The top 1 per cent has seen its real income rise by more than 60 per cent over those two decades [1988-2008]," while "the poorest 5 per cent" have received incomes which "have remained the same" - the desperately poor are simply remaining desperately poor. Maybe there's too much heat where they live.

This study, in Global Policy, to be titled "Global Income Inequality in Numbers: In History and Now," reports that economic developments of the past twenty years have caused "the top 1 per cent to pull ahead of the other rich and to reaffirm in fact - and even more so in public perception - its preponderant role as a winner of globalization."

Conservatism preaches that those are the top are there because they earned it, while those at the bottom are lazy moochers. This report verifies what most rational people se as obvious. Conservative economics in action are a form of thief from workers. Conservatism is not about merit and working hard, it is about redistributing wealth upwards to the 1%.

Monday, May 27, 2013

If Radical Conservative Groups had Not Been Trying To Violate The Law, They Would Not Have Been Investigated by the IRS

If Radical Conservative Groups had Not Been Trying To Violate The Law, They Would Not Have Been Investigated by the IRS

At last week's ways and means committee hearing on the Internal Revenue Service's treatment of tax-exempt organizations, Representative Aaron Schock (an Illinois Republican) helped propel a new firestorm across conservative media: in addition to tea party groups, Schock maintained, anti-abortion organizations were also being subjected to "horrible instances of IRS abuse of power, political and religious bias, and repression of their constitutional rights".

In one of the hearing's most charged moments, Schock interrogated the outgoing acting IRS Commissioner, Steven Miller, about how IRS personnel asked one of the groups to describe its public prayers. Senator Charles Grassley (an Iowa Republican) joined the fray during the Senate's finance committee hearings Tuesday.

For anyone who knows the history of the religious right, the possible revocation of tax-exempt status for claimed religious belief is a potent flashpoint. In his book, Thy Kingdom Come: An Evangelical's Lament, religion historian Randall Balmer argues that contrary to conventional wisdom, which Balmar calls the "abortion myth", evangelical voters were not propelled to political activism by the supreme court's 1973 decision in Roe v Wade.

Instead, the issue that mobilized these voters was the IRS's 1975 revocation of the tax-exempt status of the segregationist Bob Jones University. Rightwing religious architect Paul Weyrich told Balmer that it was "the federal government's moves against Christian schools" that actually "enraged the Christian community".

Bob Jones University claimed its ban on interracial dating and admission of students in interracial marriages was rooted in the Bible. It did not end its ban on interracial dating until 2000. The IRS's decision – which went through protracted litigation that ultimately ended when the supreme court let the revocation stand – was in response to new IRS regulations and a 1972 Supreme Court case holding that educational institutions with racially discriminatory policies were not entitled to tax exemption.

Balmar concluded:

    "The Religious Right arose as a political movement for the purpose, effectively, of defending racial discrimination at Bob Jones University and at other segregated schools."

Denying tax-exempt status to racially discriminatory schools – regardless of whether they claim their religion commands it – is not the only issue which the IRS can lawfully examine an applicant's or organization's activities. Under IRS regulations, tax-exempt organizations "may not have purposes or activities that are illegal or violate fundamental public policy". The Bob Jones University case is just one example of the IRS applying this test. Its treatment of anti-abortion groups may be another.

Questioning anti-abortion groups – even the content of their prayers – could very likely have been aimed at determining whether these groups engaged in activities outside abortion clinics that ran afoul of the law. Because of the history of abortion clinic violence by those claiming a religious imperative, the IRS could have been attempting to determine whether the groups' activities were in violation of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act (Face), a 1994 law which prohibits the use of force, the threat of force, or physical obstruction to injure, intimidate or interfere with someone's access to or provision of reproductive health services.

At last week's hearing, Schock entered a 150-page exhibit into the congressional record, a compilation of correspondence about tax-exempt status of three anti-abortion organizations. Two of them, Christian Voices for Life and Coalition for Life of Iowa, claim they were subjected to "unwarranted" questioning during the application process. A third, Small Victories, which already had tax-exempt status, claims to have been "harassed" and exposed to an "intrusive investigation". Christian Voices for Life and Coalition for Life of Iowa eventually obtained their tax-exempt status, and Small Victories' remained intact.

The exhibit was assembled by the groups' attorneys at the Thomas More Society, a rightwing law firm that defended anti-choice activists in National Organization for Women v Scheidler. The National Organization for Women (Now) brought that lawsuit aiming to put an end to clinic violence that had included: "invasions, violent blockades, arson, chemical attacks and bombings of women's health care clinics, assaults on patients, death threats and shootings of health care workers and administrators, including the murder of eight abortion providers."

Although Now's efforts to sue these protestors under federal racketeering laws was ultimately unsuccessful at the supreme court, the Thomas More Society still calls the litigation "a transparent attempt to gag pro-life activism at abortion clinics nationally".

The Face statute was enacted while this litigation was ongoing. It would not be unprecedented, for example, for an anti-choice activist to pray that an abortion provider die. While we still do not know what the IRS's thinking on this matter was, it is not entirely irrelevant or intrusive for the IRS to make such inquiries, including the nature of prayer.

Despite the hype and outrage about the Thomas More Society's clients' treatment by the IRS, the IRS ultimately did not penalize any of these organizations. But a religious right grudge against the IRS runs deep – back to its defense of Bob Jones University. It was just waiting to surface again.

As more and more details emerge it does seem that many of these conservative groups were trying to get a tax exempt status that basically made ALL tax payers subsidize their purely political, and sometimes illegal activities.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sleazebag of the Week, Anti-American Pundit Bill O'Reilly For Lying About IRS Controversy

Sleazebag of the Week, Anti-American Pundit Bill O'Reilly For Lying About IRS Controversy

Bill O'Reilly ignored reality and claimed that "President Obama is not holding anyone accountable" for the actions of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) after an Inspector General report found the agency gave extra scrutiny to tea party groups' tax status applications. O'Reilly failed to mention the fact that the Obama administration has fired Steven Miller, the acting commissioner of the IRS, placed Lois Lerner, the director of the tax-exempt organizations division at the IRS, on administrative leave, and that Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a criminal investigation into the case.

On the May 23 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly told guest Ben Stein, "I think to be fair on this we have to say a few things definitely. That President Obama is not holding anyone accountable. That's absolutely true." O'Reilly then claimed that the president should "be scolded for that," and that Lerner should have been suspended immediately.

But President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew forced Miller out as a "first step," with President Obama promising to "do everything in my power" to stop future targeting. On May 23, the acting IRS commissioner placed Lois Lerner on administrative leave after she refused his request that she resign. And Attorney General Eric Holder announced on May 14 that the Justice Department would work with the FBI to see if any laws were broken in relation to the IRS case.

Fox News' scandal machine, eager for a new target after the collapse of its Benghazi investigations, has been whitewashing Mr. Obama's response from the start. Some in the right wing media are even using the opportunity to call for a special prosecutor.

If the Obama administration is guilty of anything it is over reacting to a controversy that does not amount to much. See the details here and read the Inspector General's report. More liberal organizations were singled out than conservative.

How California Is Debunking The GOP’s Obamacare Talking Points.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Truth Comes Out, Conservatives and The Tea Party Were Not Targeted By The IRS

The Truth Comes Out, Conservatives and The Tea Party Were Not Targeted By The IRS

Remember the video of the guy in the “pimp costume” who got advice from ACORN employees on how to run his prostitution ring? Turns out the whole story was just a lie, a doctored-video smear job on an important organization. The guy never wore a “pimp costume” and the real, undoctored videos showed that ACORN employees did nothing wrong. But a lie travels around the world before the corporate media bothers to check the facts. The “news” media blasted the story everywhere, and Congress was so outraged they forced ACORN to close its doors. And here we are again.

The corporate media is blasting out the story that the IRS “targeted conservative groups.” Some in the media say there was “IRS harassment of conservative groups.” Some of the media are going so far as claiming that conservative groups were “audited.”

This story that is being repeated and treated as “true” is just not what happened at all. It is one more right-wing victimization fable, repeated endlessly until the public has no choice except t believe it.

Conservative Groups Were Not “Targeted,” “Singled Out” Or Anything Else

You are hearing that conservative groups were “targeted.” What you are not hearing is that progressive groups were also “targeted.” So were groups that are not progressive or conservative.

All that happened here is that groups applying to the IRS for special tax status were checked to see if they were engaged in political activity. They were checked, not targeted. Only 1/3 of the groups checked were conservative groups.

Once again: Only 1/3 of the groups checked were conservative groups.

Conservative groups were not “singled out,” were not “targeted” and in the end none were denied special tax status — even though many obviously should have been.

From last week’s House hearings on this:

Rep. Peter Roskam, R-IL: “How come only conservative groups got snagged?”

Outgoing acting IRS commissioner Steve Miller: “They didn’t sir. Organizations of all walks and all persuasions were pulled in. That’s shown by the fact that only 70 of the 300 organizations were tea party organizations, of the ones that were looked at by TIGTA [Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration].”

Bet you didn’t see that blasted all over your TV news that night.

Click here to watch the video clip of this. It’s worth it. (Video at link)

And from Bloomberg reporting: IRS Sent Same Letter to Democrats That Fed Tea Party Row, (emphasis added, for emphasis)

    One of those groups, Emerge America, saw its tax-exempt status denied, forcing it to disclose its donors and pay some taxes. None of the Republican groups have said their applications were rejected. Progress Texas … faced the same lines of questioning as the Tea Party groups from the same IRS office that issued letters to the Republican-friendly applicants. A third group, Clean Elections Texas, which supports public funding of campaigns, also received IRS inquiries.

    In a statement late yesterday, the tax agency said it had pooled together the politically active nonpartisan applicants — including a “minority” that were identified because of their names. “It is also important to understand that the group of centralized cases included organizations of all political views,” the IRS said in its statement.

Again, for emphasis: “It is also important to understand that the group of centralized cases included organizations of all political views,” the IRS said in its statement.”

This is just another non-scandal that conservatives will embrace just like some people still believe myths about mermaids and the earth being flat. Conservatives thrive on their precious lies. That is because they have some some highly dubious values. You have to be able to parse out the truth from lies, the good from the bad to have ral values. Things conservative Republicans cannot seem to do with any consistency.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Justice Department Investigation of Reporters May Not Be a Scandal Either

The Justice Department Investigation of Reporters May Not Be a Scandal Either

FOLLOWING the disclosure that the Justice Department obtained the telephone records of Associated Press journalists, The A.P. and other news organizations have sharply criticized the action as investigative overreaching and unwarranted interference with the ability of journalists to report on government operations.

As former Justice Department officials who served in the three administrations preceding President Obama’s, we are worried that the criticism of the decision to subpoena telephone toll records of A.P. journalists in an important leak investigation sends the wrong message to the government officials who are responsible for our national security.

While neither we nor the critics know the circumstances behind the prosecutors’ decision to issue this subpoena, we do know from the government’s public disclosures that the prosecutors were right to investigate this leak vigorously. The leak — which resulted in a May 2012 article by The A.P. about the disruption of a Yemen-based terrorist plot to bomb an airliner — significantly damaged our national security.

The United States and its allies were trying to locate a master bomb builder affiliated with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a group that was extremely difficult to penetrate. After considerable effort and danger, an agent was inserted inside the group. Although that agent succeeded in foiling one serious bombing plot against the United States, he was rendered ineffective once his existence was disclosed.

The leak of such sensitive source information not only denies us an invaluable insight into our adversaries’ plans and operations. It is also devastating to our overall ability to thwart terrorist threats, because it discourages our allies from working and sharing intelligence with us and deters would-be sources from providing intelligence about our adversaries. Unless we can demonstrate the willingness and ability to stop this kind of leak, those critical intelligence resources may be lost to us.

At the time the article was published, there were strong bipartisan calls for the Justice Department to find the leaker. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. gave that assignment to Ronald C. Machen Jr., the United States attorney for the District of Columbia, who is known for his meticulous and dedicated work. Importantly, his assignment was to identify and prosecute the government official who leaked the sensitive information; it was not to conduct an inquiry into the news organization that published it.

His office, which has an experienced national security team, undertook a methodical and measured investigation. Did prosecutors immediately seek the reporters’ toll records? No. Did they subpoena the reporters to testify or compel them to turn over their notes? No. Rather, according to the Justice Department’s May 14 letter to The A.P., they first interviewed 550 people, presumably those who knew or might have known about the agent, and scoured the documentary record. But after eight months of intensive effort, it appears that they still could not identify the leaker.

It was only then — after pursuing “all reasonable alternative investigative steps,” as required by the department’s regulations — that investigators proposed obtaining telephone toll records (logs of calls made and received) for about 20 phone lines that the leaker might have used in conversations with A.P. journalists. They limited the request to the two months when the leak most likely occurred, and did not propose more intrusive investigative steps.

The decision was made at the highest levels of the Justice Department, under longstanding regulations that are well within the boundaries of the Constitution.

Just some opinion, all be it expert opinion. It is a good thing to be concerned about any government activity that interferes with freedom of the press. yet as we all know after 9-11 our general attitude toward national security has leaned towards stopping leaks, even if the reporters claim they are whistle-blowers. As usual conservatives have been hypocrites. During the Bush years they singled out ANY negative reporting of the Bush lies, scandals and general lack of respect for the Constitution as some kind of treason. Now they have done a 180 and decided that the "liberal' media are all saints who can do no wrong. Goodness forbid they should see any issue or event as a little more complex than that.

 A Right-Wing Mole at ABC News Jonathan Karl and the success of the conservative media movement

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Why Are Republicans and the Media Not Discussing Real Scandals

Why are Republicans and the Media Not Discussing Real Scandals

1. Carbon pollution reaches historic highs, threatening human existence. The concentration of climate warming carbon dioxide in the atmosphere “has passed the milestone level of 400 parts per million (ppm),” scientists estimate. “At the beginning of industrialisation the concentration of CO2 was just 280ppm,” said Prof Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “We must hope that the world crossing this milestone will bring about awareness of the scientific reality of climate change and how human society should deal with the challenge.” The last time the Earth saw carbon dioxide levels that high, humans did not exist. The West Antarctic ice sheet also did not exist, and sea levels were as much as 82 feet higher than they are today. During an earlier period when CO2 levels were this high, temperatures were 5° to 10°F warmer globally.

2. The devastating impact of sequestration on kids, cancer patients and first responders. On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the budget deficit will shrink to its smallest level since before the Great Recession in 2013, and it will continue to decrease through 2015. But despite the smaller deficits, Republicans remain focused on spending reductions — even as the most recent round of cuts has kicked children out of preschool, left cancer patients without needed screenings, undermined public health and fire safety, and gutted programs that help low-income Americans in a variety of ways. Those cuts have also threatened to derail the economic recovery, which has sputtered along despite the headwinds created by a consistent focus on deficit reduction.

3. Massive cuts to food stamps for the most vulnerable Americans. The House Agriculture Committee approved a farm bill late Wednesday night that would cut federal food stamps by $20.5 billion — more steeply than any legislation since the welfare reforms of the 1990s. Earlier this week, the Senate Agriculture Committee also agreed to a $4.1 billion reduction. The program keeps hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Americans out of the deepest pits of poverty, and even as the Great Recession swelled SNAP rolls, the program continued to push its erroneous payments rates to record lows.

4. 1100 workers die in garment factory collapse in Bangladesh and most American retailers plan business as usual. Since a factory collapsed in Bangladesh, killing 1,100 clothing industry workers, American retailers have been hesitant to adopt safety plans that could prevent similar tragedies. Abercrombie & Fitch announced it would sign a safety upgrade plan that has been approved by six major European retailers and one other American company, but many other manufacturers — including Walmart and Gap — are holding out. Although some retailers fear the costs of upgrades, they could pass them on entirely to consumers and only raise prices by 10 cents per garment.

5. 4,000 gun deaths due to gun violence since Newtown. A crowdsourced effort to count every person killed by a gun in the United States since the Newtown tragedy is currently being hosted by Slate. As of this writing, the count is 4,150. The Senate rejected gun safety legislation in April and has not yet set a date for reconsidering the measure.

Republicans have tried to make scandals where there are none. Certainly the IRS out is Cincinnati - or two employees could have used better judgement, but Obama started firing people as soon as he heard. Benghazi went nowhere because Obama has in truth been better at protecting America than conservatives. The AP scandal is going nowhere because the DOJ did nothing illegal - though many of us may find it disturbing.

Obama, Sarah Palin and The Great Umbrella Hypocrisy

Obama, Sarah Palin and The Great Umbrella Hypocrisy

A new, fourth, bigger-than-Watergate scandal has come up to end a fabulous week.

It’s Umbrellagate, the uproar over President Obama’s asking Marines to hold umbrellas for him and for Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Rose Garden.

The Internet lit up as the controversy unfolded.

Former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin weighed in Thursday night, blasting Obama and tweeting:

“Scandalous Hat Trick,” she wrote.

“Mr. President, when it rains it pours, but most Americans hold their own umbrellas. Today in...”

Except when they don't. Pailn might want to whip out the old dictionary and look up the words honorable and truth. It is never too late for her and other conservative nutbars to learn what those words mean and start having some actual values. Male Marines are not allowed to carry umbrellas for themselves ( a strange policy which no one can really explain or justify), but they do have to follow orders of the commander-in-chief regardless of party.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The New Propaganda, ABC News and The Weekly Standard Shill For Republicans, Put Out False Benghazi Email

The New Propaganda, ABC News and The Weekly Standard Shill For Republicans, Put Out False Benghazi Email

CNN is challenging the accuracy of reporting on a supposed email from a White House aide that seemed to suggest an effort to provide political cover for the administration following the September attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The new revelations regarding the email comes after the allegedly flawed reporting has spread through the media.

CNN host Jake Tapper reported today that a newly obtained email from White House aide Ben Rhodes about Benghazi "differs from how sources inaccurately quoted and paraphrased it in previous accounts to different media organizations." Tapper writes that the email shows that someone provided outlets like ABC News and The Weekly Standard with "inaccurate information" to make it appear that the White House was "more interested in the State Department's desire to remove mentions of specific terrorist groups and warnings about these groups so as to not bring criticism to the State Department than Rhodes' email actually stated."

From Tapper's report:

    In the email sent on Friday, September 14, 2012, at 9:34 p.m., obtained by CNN from a U.S. government source, Rhodes wrote:

    "All -

    "Sorry to be late to this discussion. We need to resolve this in a way that respects all of the relevant equities, particularly the investigation.

    "There is a ton of wrong information getting out into the public domain from Congress and people who are not particularly informed. Insofar as we have firmed up assessments that don't compromise intel or the investigation, we need to have the capability to correct the record, as there are significant policy and messaging ramifications that would flow from a hardened mis-impression.

    "We can take this up tomorrow morning at deputies."

    You can read the email HERE.

    ABC News reported that Rhodes wrote: "We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities, including those of the State Department, and we don't want to undermine the FBI investigation. We thus will work through the talking points tomorrow morning at the Deputies Committee meeting." The Weekly Standard reported that Rhodes "responded to the group, explaining that Nuland had raised valid concerns and advising that the issues would be resolved at a meeting of the National Security Council's Deputies Committee the following morning."

    Whoever provided those quotes seemingly invented the notion that Rhodes wanted the concerns of the State Department specifically addressed. While Nuland, particularly, had expressed a desire to remove mentions of specific terrorist groups and CIA warnings about the increasingly dangerous assignment, Rhodes put no emphasis at all in his email on the State Department's concerns.

The allegedly inaccurate characterizations of the Rhodes email by ABC News and The Weekly Standard were repeated in numerous media outlets, and a Republican research document. 

ABC News' alleged misquote of the Rhodes email -- filed by Jonathan Karl -- was cited and repeated in numerous outlets, including USA Today, Politico, The Daily Mail, National Review Online, and Fox News. During Special Report's panel discussion on May 10, contributor Charles Krauthammer cited the email to claim the White House was more interested in "political cover for all the agencies and not about the truth."

    KRAUTHAMMER: There is in one of the memos that you mentioned the deputy national security advisor, Ben Rhodes. So he is writing in the heat of this when they're trying to get revisions and redactions. He writes, "We must make sure that the talking points reflect all agency equities." Not reflect the truth, but reflect -- an "agency equity" is a way of saying, bureaucratese, reflects the interests and the political cover of all of the agencies. The point of the exercise is what he is saying, it has to reflect stuff that will be political cover for all the agencies and not about the truth. And we know now that it was a document completely rammed through by the White House and the State Department reflecting all their objections. And the bottom line is in the end they redacted the truth.

ABC News' report about the email was also cited in a Republican National Committee research document about "Obama's Bungled Benghazi Response":

The Weekly Standard's alleged mischaracterization, filed by Stephen Hayes, was cited and repeated in conservative outlets like, The American Thinker, Hot Air, and

Media Matters has previously noted numerous problems with the media's Benghazi reporting.

UPDATE: NBC News' Chuck Todd is also reporting that he obtained Rhodes' email and it paints a "different picture" than previously reported and "contradicts" ABC News' Benghazi report.

UPDATE 2: The Washington Post's Erik Wemple reports that a "spokesman for ABC News says, 'Assuming the email cited by Jake Tapper is accurate, it is consistent with the summary quoted by Jon Karl.'" While ABC News has reportedly suggested that Karl's reporting on the email simply provided a "summary," Karl's piece actually purported to present a direct quote from the Rhodes email -- a quote which does not appear in the email posted by CNN

The Daily Mail, National Review Online, Fox News, The American Thinker, Hot Air, and are all anti-American neo-fascist "news' outlets. They'll say anything to make the USA weaker and look more like 1852 than 2013.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Conservative Media ABC's Exclusive Benghazi Report Shows Nothing New

Conservative Media ABC's "Exclusive" Benghazi Report Shows Nothing New

ABC News is buying into right-wing scandal mongering over the tragic September 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, with an "exclusive" report that doesn't stand up to minimal scrutiny, with flaws that are being used by the right to call for a major investigation.

The so-called "exclusive" report, posted at, purports to uncover dramatic new developments in the right wing's Benghazi witch hunt, but in reality it is little more than a rehash of previously covered debates over whose input was given to the early draft of intelligence talking points put together in the early days of the investigation into the attacks. None of this largely rehashed debate disproves what Gen. David Petraeus, former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, testified in November: that the intelligence community signed off on the final draft of the talking points, and that references to terrorist groups in Libya were removed in order to avoid tipping off those groups.

ABC has been in the bag for radical far Right conservatives since the early days of the G.W. Bush administration. They helped sell Bush's lies about Iraq to the public so what is a few lies and exaggerations about Benghazi.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

UnAmerican Fox News Promoted Claim That Benghazi Witness Was Threatened Falls Apart

UnAmerican Fox News Promoted Claim That Benghazi Witness Was Threatened Falls Apart

After Fox News pushed a claim that a Benghazi witness had been "subjected to threats and intimidation" by State Department employees, the witness' lawyer admitted on the network that his client never said he had been threatened by anyone.

In a May 6 article for previewing the then-upcoming House hearings on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Fox News reporters James Rosen and Chad Pergram wrote that Mark Thompson, one of the scheduled witnesses, "has been subjected to threats and intimidation by as-yet-unnamed superiors at State, in advance of his cooperation with Congress." The claim was sourced to Joseph diGenova, the Republican attorney representing Thompson.

But in a May 9 appearance on Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, when diGenova was asked by guest host Stuart Varney about Thompson's claims that "he was the target of threats and intimidation," diGenova responded that Thompson "actually hasn't said that."

Fox News, just another way of saying dangerous thugs who are are threat to true American values.

 The full size chart gives s snapshot of how the sequester affects average Americans.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Radical Conservative Movement Terrified It's Benghazi Conspiracy Madness Is Not Working

The Radical Conservative Movement Terrified It's Benghazi Conspiracy Madness Is Not Working

Right-wing media are using a congressional hearing to push new myths about the Obama administration's response to the September 11, 2012 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya. In fact, these myths are discredited by previous congressional reports and testimony, which show that the politicized nature of the hearings come from right-wing media and Congressional Republicans, that the military could not have rescued personnel from the second attack, that the administration was in constant communication at all levels during the attacks, and that the intelligence community believed there was a link to an anti-Islam video at the time of the attacks.
MYTH: Latest Benghazi Hearing Is Apolitical

Fox News' Brian Kilmeade Attacks The Claim That Benghazi Hearings Are "Politically Driven." On Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade claimed that because self-identified whistleblowers are testifying at congressional hearings on Benghazi at a time that elections are not being held, the hearings can't be politically driven, saying "politics is out, and whistleblowers are in":

    KILMEADE: [A]nyone who says this is politically driven, or it's against the president, that's out the window. Because if there's a non-political season in this world in American politics, it's now. The mid-terms aren't close --

    STEVE DOOCY [co-host]: Sure.

    KILMEADE: And the president is not running. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/7/13, via Media Matters]

FACT: Right-Wing Media And Congressional Republicans Have Politicized The Hearings

Fox News' John Bolton: "I Hope [Benghazi] Is A Cover Up ... If It Was Merely A Political Cover-Up Then There Can Be A Political Cost To Pay." On Your World, Fox News contributor John Bolton said he hoped the hearings found that despite all evidence to the contrary, the Obama administration had engaged in a "political cover up" by altering CIA talking points to suggest that the attacks came in response to an anti-Islam video:

    BOLTON: I'd have to say for the good of the country, I hope it is a cover up rather than the alternative, which is the Obama administration was so blind to the reality of the threat of Islamic terrorism, the continued threat from Al Qaeda... If that's the problem there's no cure for it. If it was merely a political cover-up then there can be a political cost to pay. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 5/6/13, via Media Matters]

Lawyers Representing The "Whistleblowers" In Hearings Are Long-Time GOP Activists With History Of Pushing Discredited Claims. The lawyers claiming to represent some of the witnesses at the Benghazi hearing, Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova, are long-time Republicans known for pushing false claims in the media and for having conflicts of interest in their professional work. They have both served as advisors to Republican candidates and donated thousands of dollars to GOP candidates and causes, and have been criticized for a conflict of interest for serving in a dual role in separate Justice Department investigations and for dropping "the air of impartiality, non-partisanship, and professionalism required" by their roles as leaders of a congressional investigation. [Media Matters, 4/30/13; 5/6/13]

Conservatives would like patriotic Americans to believe that the military operates like some movie fantasy in which they either can see into the future and arrive with a full special forces unit anywhere in the world on fifteen minutes notice.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Conservative Republican Dreams Come True, American Workers Live on the New Wage Slave Plantation

Conservative Republican Dreams Come True, American Workers Live on the New Wage Slave Plantation

Imagine you’ve just landed a job with a big-time retailer. Your task is to load and unload boxes from trucks and containers. It’s back-breaking work. You toil 12 to 16 hours a day, often without a lunch break. Sweat drenches your clothes in the 90-degree heat, but you keep going: your kids need their dinner. One day, your supervisor tells you that instead of being paid an hourly wage, you will now get paid for the number of containers you load or unload. This will be great for you, your supervisor says: More money!  But you open your next paycheck to find it shrunken to the point that you are no longer even making minimum wage. You complain to your supervisor, who promptly sends you home without pay for the day. If you pipe up again, you’ll be looking for another job.

Everardo Carrillo says that's just what happened to him and other low-wage employees who worked at a Southern California warehouse run by a Walmart contractor. Carrillo and his fellow workers have launched a multi-class-action lawsuit for massive wage theft (Everardo Carrillo et al. v. Schneider Logistics) in a case that’s finally bringing national attention to an invisible epidemic. (Walmart, despite its claims that it has no responsibility for what its contractors do, has been named a defendant [3].)

What happened to Carrillo happens every day in America. And it could happen to you.

How big is the problem?

Americans like to think that a fair day’s work brings a fair day’s pay. Cheating workers of their wages may seem like a problem of 19th-century sweatshops. But it’s back and taking a terrible toll. We’re talking billions of dollars in wages; millions of workers affected each year. A gigantic heist is being perpetrated against working people: they’re getting screwed on overtime, denied their tips, shortchanged on benefits, defrauded on payroll, and handed paychecks that bounce like rubber balls. A conservative estimate of unpaid overtime alone shows that it costs workers at least $19 billion per year.

The laws protecting workers are grossly inadequate [4], and wage thieves go unpunished. For giant companies like Walmart, Citigroup and UPS, getting fined is just the cost of doing business. You could even say that they're incentivized to cheat because punishment is so unlikely, and when it happens, so light. The protections we used to take for granted, like the right to receive at least the minimum wage, the right to workers’ compensation when hurt on the job, and the right to advocate for better working conditions, are nothing more than a quaint memory for many Americans. Activist Kim Bobo, author of Wage Theft in America,calls it a "national crime wave."

Corporate America does not believe in an honest day's pay for an honest day's work. They believe that workers should shut up and produce so that the corny elite can have more money and even more power. Workers who get uppity and demand the freedom and dignity they deserve are branded Marxists. How ironic that conservative claim to love America and freedom, yet are working to make America less free and less humane.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Why Does The Conservative Republican Movement Hate Families and Children

Why Does The Conservative Republican Movement Hate Families and Children

From the 2012 Presidential campaign onwards, Republicans have railed against the regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “job-killing,” as a threat to freedom, and as a drag on economic growth. The claim has never comported with evidence, but like a zombie it just refuses to die.

The latest effort to kill it comes via a new study from the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, which found that the benefits EPA regulations bring to the economy far outweigh the costs.

The way this works is pretty straight-forward. Environmental regulations do impose compliance costs on businesses, and can raise prices, which hurt economic growth. But they also create jobs by requiring pollution clean-up and prevention efforts. And perhaps even more importantly, they save the economy billions by avoiding pollution’s deleterious health effects. Particles from smoke stacks, for example, are implicated in respiratory diseases, heart attacks, infections and a host of other ailments, all of which require billions in health care costs per year to treat. Preventing those particles from going into the air means healthier and more productive citizens, who can go spend that money on something other than making themselves well again. Another example is carbon emissions, which will impose costs on the economy in the form of future disruption to food supplies, destruction from extreme weather, and other upheavals if they’re not curbed. Researchers generally put those costs at around $20 to $25 per ton of carbon, but estimates vary widely. Other regulations are actually aimed at reducing red tape, improving communication between agencies, and facilitating the flow of information.

The OMB study looked at a range of regulations across the economy, and found their benefits outweighed their costs across the board. The blue and red bars below represent the range of estimates for what the respective costs and benefits of regulations were. In very few instances was even the very upper limit of cost estimates equal to the very lower limit of benefit estimates.

Source: Office of Management and Budget

But no where was the effect greater than with EPA regulations themselves. Over the last decade, they imposed as much as $45 billion in costs on the economy, but they also drove as much as $640 billion in benefits:

    The OMB found that a decade’s worth of major federal rules had produced annual benefits to the U.S. economy of between $193 billion and $800 billion and impose aggregate costs of $57 billion to $84 billion. “These ranges are reported in 2001 dollars and reflect the uncertain benefits and costs of each rule,” the report noted.

    Rules from the EPA added significantly to both sides of the ledger. “It should be clear that the rules with the highest benefits and the highest costs, by far, come from the Environmental Protection Agency and in particular its Office of Air and Radiation,” the OMB study said. EPA regulations accounted for between 58% and 80% of the benefits the study found as well as 44% to 54% of the costs. Air regulations accounted for nearly 99% of EPA rule benefits, according to the report.

Why are anti-American conservative billionaires like the Koch brothers,  Sheldon Adelson, Harold Simmons, Bob Perry, Foster Friess, William DorĂ© and Peter Thiel against environmental regulation, claiming they are too regulated to make money. Do these conservatives and libertarians think Americans are dumb as dirt. They're making plenty of money. They just want more money and more power that goes with it. They'll never get enough tax breaks or deregulation, they'll always want more, and average Americans will pay for it with the health of their family and friends.

Friday, May 3, 2013

How the National Right To Murder Children Association NRA Shapes Laws That Foster Childhood Deaths

How the National Right To Murder Children Association NRA Shapes Laws That Foster Childhood Deaths
"Unintentional poisoning killed 838 children in the US in 2010; more than 90 percent of them were teenagers, ages 10-19," says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Child Injuries page. "130,000 children visited emergency departments for unintentional poisoning-related injuries in 2011… About 80 percent of these calls were for children under 6, and roughly half of them involved exposures to medications."

But search for similar statistics about gun deaths of children on the CDC website and you will find a big back hole, thanks to NRA lobbying. The NRA has succeeded in getting legislation passed that blocks government health agencies from studying gun violence lest it lead to tighter laws. In fact, you will find more entries for "nail gun" safety on construction sites on the CDC site than for the 5,000 plus children killed by guns every year in the US, which is almost six times that of poisoning deaths. Thank you, NRA.

Gun lobbyists and the legislators whose strings they pull enacted this legislation the same way they have prevented a registry of gun owners or retention of background check information by authorities for more than 24 hours. They tack it on to appropriation bills which receive little debate or discussion because they are viewed as "must pass," mandatory legislation. The riders prohibit the CDC and also the National Institutes of Health from spending funds to "advocate or promote gun control," says the Center for American Progress.

Why? Because gun violence is a law enforcement issue and government research agencies should not be participating in policy debates, bluster NRA lobbyists. Don't confuse us with facts!  The NRA doesn't mind gun violence being a law enforcement issue because it personally pushed through most of the EZ gun laws we are living with like the prohibition of registries, record retention and prohibition of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from requiring dealers to conduct annual inventories.

Thanks to "no inventory laws," a single dealer had 997 guns that were unaccounted for and 93 that were not logged in, during an inspection last year reports, the Center for American Progress. 1,300 illegal Chicago guns were traced to one dealer, Chuck’s Gun Shop since 2008. And Bull’s Eye Shooter Supply in Tacoma, Washington lost 238 guns in three years–one of which surfaced as a gun used during the 2002 Maryland/Washington D.C./ Virginia sniper murder spree that left 10 dead. What's a little unaccounted for inventory?

The NRA-driven riders against studying gun violence and deaths are not overt bans, but are perceived as a warning to government agencies that their funding will be cut if they tread into gun violence terrain. Since the prohibition against spending funds to "advocate or promote gun control," funding for the CDC to study firearms injury prevention has fallen from over $2 million to around $100,000, says the Center for American Progress report--that's 95 percent.

"Most of these poisoning-related deaths and injuries are predictable and preventable," says the CDC website, announcing its 2012 National Action Plan for Child Injury Prevention (NAP), an initiative developed "with more than 60 stakeholders to spark action across the nation." No such action plan exists for the six times as many children killed by gun violence. "Predictable and preventable" gun violence like the 2-year-old Kentucky girl who was killed by her 5-year-old brother with a rifle he had been given as a gift, this week. And the 4-year-old who shot and killed his 6-year-old his playmate in New Jersey, last month.

The 2nd amendment says is its text the word regulated. yet here we are in a country that quite rightly regulates drivers licenses and medical licenses, yet we have an organization that thinks any sensible regulation of guns is unconstitutional. Only a mindless plastic moron would think like that.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Morally Corrupt South Carolina Republicans Go Full Wacko With Sinister Push Poll

Morally Corrupt South Carolina Republicans Go Full Wacko With Sinister Push Poll

A mysterious conservative group has been placing highly-misleading phone calls to South Carolina voters, trying to dissuade them from voting for the Democrat in an upcoming congressional special election.

South Carolina has a reputation for dirty tricks, and next week’s special election between former Gov. Mark Sanford (R) and businesswoman Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D) is no exception. One of the most popular tactics is known as “push polling,” whereby a group calls up voters under the guise of conducting a poll, only to ask questions that leave the voter with a highly-misleading impression about a certain candidate.

ThinkProgress spoke with multiple individuals in South Carolina’s first congressional district who have received push polls from an unknown conservative group that only referred to itself as “SSI Polling”.

April Wolford, a middle-aged woman who has long been active in Democratic politics in the state, was one. At 12:55pm on February 25th, Wolford’s cell phone lit up with “Unavailable” on the caller ID screen. A young man without a discernible accent – “he certainly wasn’t from South Carolina,” she noted – said he was conducting a poll and began with general questions about the race. “But they quickly got slanted,” Wolford noted, “and they didn’t ask a single question about Sanford at all!”

As the conversation turned, she asked him where he was calling from. “SSI Polling,” he told her, but wouldn’t elaborate.

The questions they did ask ranged from outlandish smears to thinly-veiled Republican talking points. Here are some of the issues SSI brought up in various iterations of the push poll, according to those ThinkProgress spoke with:

    - “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she had had an abortion?”

    - “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you a judge held her in contempt of court at her divorce proceedings?

    - “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if she had done jail time?”

    - “What would you think of Elizabeth Colbert Busch if I told you she was caught running up a charge account bill?”

Fox News does similar "push polls" all the time. Such immoral tactics are part of Conservative culture.

Why Does Raging Anti-American Lunatic Lou Dobbs Have a Job as a Business Reporter

Why Does Raging Anti-American Lunatic Lou Dobbs Have a Job as a Business Reporter

Fox Business anchor Lou Dobbs dismissed the discovery of errant data points in a recently dismantled Harvard economics study that had formed the cornerstone for arguments supporting U.S. and European austerity as merely "a small mistake."

On the April 30 edition of Fox Business' Lou Dobbs Tonight, Dobbs discussed with former Reagan administration economic adviser Arthur Laffer a "contretemps" between New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman and historian Niall Ferguson over national debt and the economy. Dobbs stated that Krugman and Ferguson were referring to a recent Harvard study that contained "a small mistake," then asserting that the study's errors "doesn't change the fact," as advocated by Ferguson, that "high debt constrains opportunity for growth."

Laffer responded by saying he'd rather talk about taxes and spending. Dobbs added: "I'd rather they all start talking about both the creation of jobs and how to spur economic growth and be done with the bunch of nonsense and the debt. It's so dreary."

In fact, the Reinhart-Rogoff study -- which asserted that nations with public debt of more than 90 percent of GDP faced a tipping point of economic decline, an idea embraced by right-wing politicians and media alike, including Fox News -- suffered from much more than "a small mistake." The study was dismantled by Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, and Robert Pollin of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who found that Reinhart and Rogoff's data includes calculation errors and selective exclusions that biased the results and invalidates the 90 percent tipping point finding. Rogoff and Reinhart conceded the calculation error but "adamantly deny the other accusations," which has been criticized as a weak rebuttal.

Dobbs' stance of finding discussions of debt to be "dreary" is a shift from how he led his program as recently as March 29, when he called for reduced government spending in response to President Obama's proposed improvements to infrastructure. "It shouldn't be a partisan issue because neither political party should be calling for higher spending when the federal government is running almost trillion-dollar deficits and the national debt amounts to almost $17 trillion,"  Dobbs said. "That doesn't seem to me to be a partisan issue at all, just one of common sense and good judgment and responsibility."
Dobbs is a dangerous ideologue who cannot do the simplest economic math. That does not seem to affect his conviction that the USA should follow the same failed austerity plans that have been a drag on European economic recovery. Dobbs has made millions giving bad advice, crazy opinions and factless commentary so there is no reason for him to stop being a lunatic, it pays well. If he has to convince millions of Americans to join him in leading America down the path to economic disaster, he, like most conservative nutbars is happy to do so.