Standing up to the NRA after Roanoke, horrifying U.S. gun death toll; PLUS: Denying global warming on Katrina's 10th anniversary; Trump's ugly nativism; Good news for Dems; Marriage dead-enders in KY...
Some fine bloggery from RAW STORY today. First, Diane Sweet highlights Dana Gould's must-watch "WTF" moment on health care reform from last night's Real Times with Bill Maher on HBO:
Gould's package includes a visit to a recent health fair at Staples Center in L.A. where folks lined up around the block for free dental care, glasses, blood pressure checks, mammograms, vital immunizations for children, and other medical procedures not usually available to them, because they don't have health coverage.
Stephen C. Webster notes coverage of that event by another outlet which additionally notes some stark statistics comparing the UK's national health system to the system in the U.S. where health spending is twice that of the UK's (as a percentage of the GDP), more than twice-over per person, and yet, the U.S. life-expectancy is shorter, infant mortality higher, and there are more physicians per capita in the UK.
Finally, Webster also features a video of a town hall forum featuring Congressman Rick Larsen (D-WA) who is forced to inform a wingnut: "I've got facts on my side, you've got Glenn Beck on your side."
(Of course, Beck wasn't always an opponent of health care reform. In fact, he was in favor of it before he was against it --- after arriving at Fox "News" --- as Jon Stewart reminded us earlier this week.)
That, and one other excellent point is made about the "Constitutionality" of Congress providing for the general welfare. Just like it says in the, um, Constitution. Go watch it...
"The nightmare that is our health care system." - Jan. '08 for CNN
"The best health care system in the world." - Aug. '09 for Fox "News"
Why The Daily Show must be the one to reveal this stuff on broadcast television remains far beyond our pay grade. We're just glad that someone does....
But what's becoming more and more clear is that Beck seems to be taking a page from the Ann Coulter playbook: Say something outrageous, no matter how factually deficient, whether you believe it or not, in order to help rile the easily riled Republicanist/Fox "News" base, piss off everyone else, garner media attention to yourself, make millions of dollars in the bargain, largely off the losers you're exploiting and lying to in the first place.
Worked well for Coulter, still is, seems to be working very well for Beck now too. (Also for Sarah Palin, though there's some question whether she's smart enough to realize that's what she's doing. Beck, however, knows damn well what he's doing, and knows damn well that he's an unapologetic liar and opportunist, playing the Fox "News" base for the gullible suckers and chumps that they are. Doesn't care.)
David Kurtz at TPM suggests: "How about a program where we can turn in the old, washed-up pundits and talking heads on the cable nets for ones that spew less dangerous emissions?"
And, in not entirely unrelated news, Glenn Greenwald offers the proper perspective on today's report that the corporate ownership of both Fox "News" and MSNBC have interceded into their news divisions' ongoing Olbermann v. O'Reilly Wars because, while it's been good for ratings for both of them, it's bad for the corporations.
To build on Kurtz' notion, how about if we turn in the old, washed-up, corporatized news outlets who live large on our public airwaves and government largesse as well?
And on a "lighter" note, Colbert takes a look at the report that AG Eric Holder is "on the verge of" appointing a prosecutor to look into Bush/Cheney torture, and the media's dismal coverage (hello NBC's Chuck Todd!), contending that carrying out the Rule of Law against politicians --- apparently only Republican ones --- should be avoided, because politicians would debate about it on television...
At this rate, Beck is turning himself into a real contender against Palin for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination! A very impressive moment from his radio show today, courtesy of Media Matters, sure to make the wingnuts go further gaga for him!...
Now, if he'd only shoot someone in the face, he'd be a lock for the nomination!
Will Palin now have to threaten a lawsuit against Fox "News" too?! Oh, the tangled webs...
By way of reminder, Palin's private attorney, Thomas Van Flein, had issued a legal threat on the 4th of July to those in the media (seemingly only the perceived left-leaning media) who discussed questions about the Palin's contracting of their house in Wasilla, and the Wasilla Sports Complex, both built while the state's soon-to-be-former Governor was mayor of the small Alaskan town.
"This is to provide notice to [Alaska blogger and radio host Shannyn] Moore, and those who re-publish the defamation, such as Huffington Post, MSNBC, the New York Times and The Washington Post, that the Palins will not allow them to propagate defamatory material without answering to this in a court of law," Van Flein wrote for Palin over the weekend.
When asked why the other outlets, which hadn't reported on the matter, had been targetted as well in the statement,"Van Flein said he believed they were asking questions," according to the Anchorage Daily News. "What I've been informed is that they've been interviewing people in Wasilla about this, and have tried to interview the governor's parents about it," Palin's attorney told the paper.
For her part, Moore quickly shot back in her own defense, against the Van Flein/Palin legal threats, assailing the outgoing Governor as "a coward and a bully."
It's been nearly five months since the official complaint about Ann Coulter's alleged voter fraud in 2002 and 2004 was filed in Connecticut, yet state election officials continue to refuse comment on the status of the case beyond acknowledging that it's "still pending," as recently confirmed by The BRAD BLOG.
Several charges of absentee voter fraud were alleged in the complaint against Coulter in Connecticut, where evidence shows she cast absentee ballots illegally while living in her then permanent New York City residence.
In addition to the head of the California GOP's voter registration firm pleading guilty to fraud last week (his company, Young Political Majors, is under investigation in several other states as well, and is alleged to have secretly changed thousands of registrations from Democratic to Republican, denying voters the ability to cast votes in last year's primary), and the Republican election official in Kentucky who last month pleaded guilty to participating in a massive election fraud conspiracy beginning in 2002, there still remains the outstanding official investigation into the allegations against Coulter, the GOP's storied Queen of Voter Fraud.
If all you watched was the Fox "News" Channel, however, and their increasingly bizarre --- and yet still evidence-free --- "investigation" into "voter fraud" by ACORN, you'd have no idea. That, even though Coulter herself continues to parade in front of their cameras as a regular guest without ever being asked about the official inquiry in the second state to investigate voting improprieties by the GOP superstar.
"The delay in this case is inexplicable given they need to prove two things: where she registered to vote/voted and where she lived when she registered to vote/voted," the complainant in the case, Daniel Borchers, a Christian conservative who has long opposed Coulter's behavior, told The BRAD BLOG. "Both are easily proven."...
What's perhaps most interesting here is what isn't mentioned in this story, as written on the Los Angeles Times' "L.A. Now" blog. First, here's their entire blog item...
The owner of a voter-registration company pleaded guilty Tuesday to voter-registration fraud, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
Laguna Beach resident Mark Jacoby, who collects signatures for petition drives, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to three years' probation and 30 days of service with the California Department of Transportation.
Jacoby, owner of Young Political Majors, registered to vote at Los Angeles addresses that were not his own. State law requires petition circulators to be qualified voters. Jacoby will also be required to show proof he is registered at his correct address.
And what they didn't bother to mention in that story?...
Meant to run this clip from Crazy Land (aka Fox "News") over the weekend. You may have seen some portions of O'Reilly's flip-out previously, but the entire thing is worth a look. Feelin' guilty much, Mr. O'Reilly? What a maroon (and that's putting it nicely). Crazy Land gets crazier and crazier by the day...
"George Tiller’s clinic will close in the wake of the Wichita abortion provider’s shooting death, lawyers for the Tiller family said today," the Wichita Eagle is reporting. "Lee Thompson and Dan Monnat, the family’s lawyers, said in a statement that the clinic, Women’s Health Care Services, will be permanently closed, effective immediately."
Waytago anti-choice terrorists! You're winning!
Even Tiller's accused murderer, Scott Roeder is celebrating, telling CNN that closure is "a victory"!
On Sunday, the assassin of the man Bill O'Reilly repeatedly described as "Tiller the Baby Killer," told AP "there are many other similar events planned around the country," prompting Keith Olbermann to wonder, appropriately: "Why is the far right not calling for him to be waterboarded to tell us against whom the next gun or bomb will be directed?"
Good question, though Dick Cheney could not be reached for comment.
Now, he's just lying. On his TV show, and in his newspaper column. We understand why Fox "News" is willing to let him say any irresponsible thing he wants, but what of the newspapers who run his syndicated garbage? Do they have no responsibility to do any fact checking? How about his column's syndicator, Creators Syndicate? Do they have any responsibility to fact check their authors' work before they send it out to be published in hundreds of papers around the country?
In fact, O'Reilly himself used that term, over and over again, to describe Tiller. Media Matters offers the documented, video-taped facts which, as usual, aren't even close to O'Reilly's blatant Spin, which is now also being perpetuated by this nation's newspapers. Here are the facts...
[Updated at end of article with videos of responses to O'Reilly response from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann.]
After years of demonizing Kansas physician Dr. George Tiller, who was assassinated in his Wichita church on Sunday, Fox "News" host Bill O'Reilly toned back his inflammatory rhetoric on his first show back since yesterday's murder. (See video at end of article.)
Where he had previously, and repeatedly, described Tiller as "Tiller the Baby Killer," equated him with Nazis and al-Qaeda, described him repeatedly as "executing babies" and "operating a death mill," tonight O'Reilly characterized himself as the victim of a "left-wing" cabal of "Fox News haters" trying to "exploit" the tragedy to "shut guys like me down." Notably, however, he did not use the same strident rhetoric that had characterized his "reportage" of Tiller in the past...
Update 6/1/09: Thanks to Jed Lewison at DailyKosTV for the following short compilation of clips from among 29 segments of O'Reilly's show, in which he persisently demonized Tiller. "As you can see from these video clip samplings of O’Reilly’s holy war," Lewison writes, "you don’t have to actually pull the trigger to help sponsor terrorism:"
Tiller was better known to Fox "News" viewers as "Tiller the Baby Killer," as he's long been described by Bill O'Reilly, who has spent years targeting Tiller on the most-watched show in cable news. O'Reilly has long demonized him with allegations of performing illegal late-term abortions, characterized as murder by O'Reilly and his guests.
Of course, it's no more O'Reilly's fault when a lunatic takes action to murder someone the Fox host has targeted for years on his popular television show than it was when another lunatic gunned down church-goers in Tennessee last year, claiming in his pre-murder "manifesto" that it was "a symbolic killing," and that he had "wanted to kill...every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book." Goldberg is a regular featured guest on O'Reilly's show, and the author of 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken is #37).
Jim David Adkisson, the Knoxville, TN, murderer, also advocated the murder of "liberals" in his manifesto, echoing comments frequently made by O'Reilly that "The Major News outlets have become the propaganda arm of the Democrat Party. Liberals are evil, they embrace the tenets of Karl Marx, they're Marxist, socialist, communists."
Those are all merely coincidences, of course. Nobody, other than the murderers themselves, should feel it necessary to take any personal responsibility whatsoever when such events occur.
In March of this year, after Tiller had been acquitted of charges alleging that he'd performed late-term abortions in violation of Kansas state law, O'Reilly continued his series of programs focusing on the Kansas physician, charging him with "operating a death mill" (video here), and alleging that he was "executing babies" (video here).
O'Reilly had previously been highly critical of the state's Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, charging, during his Talking Points commentary in 2007, that she was "allowing [Tiller] to continue the slaughter."
Now, O'Reilly won't have to worry about that anymore.
FURTHER UPDATE: A quick read of the far right website FreeRepublic (O'Reilly's base), reveals hundreds of comments on a number of threads, applauding and even celebrating the death of Tiller. We've reposted many of them below. (Hat-tip Charles at Little Green Footballs.)
Note to O'Reilly, who has proven not to understand the difference when he repeatedly highlights a selected anonymous user comment from what he describes as "liberal hate-sites," such as Huffington Post and Daily Kos, while comparing them to the Ku Klux Klan: The following are comments by readers at the site, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of those who run Free Republic. Nor is there any guarantee that such posters are not purposely posting these comments in hopes of reflecting poorly on the site in question. Though, in this case, there are so many of them, most posted by users with a long posting history on the site, that we'll leave it to your judgement as to whether you believe these comments are for real or not...
Chicago radio host Erich "Mancow" Muller decided he'd get himself waterboarded to prove the technique wasn't torture.
It didn't turn out that way. "Mancow," in fact, lasted just six or seven seconds before crying foul. Apparently, the experience went pretty badly --- "Witnesses said Muller thrashed on the table, and even instantly threw the toy cow he was holding as his emergency tool to signify when he wanted the experiment to stop," according to NBC Chicago.
"I wanted to prove it wasn't torture," Mancow said. "They cut off our heads, we put water on their face...I got voted to do this but I really thought 'I'm going to laugh this off.' "
The upshot? "It is way worse than I thought it would be, and that's no joke," Mancow told listeners. "It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back...It was instantaneous...and I don't want to say this: absolutely torture."
So far, it's been almost a full month since Fox "News"/ABC Radio propagandist Sean Hannity volunteered to be waterboarded for charity, claiming it was not torture. Despite MSNBC's Keith Olbermann offering $1000 for the troops, for every second Hannity lasts, the cowardly wingnut torture apologists has failed to revisit the topic since his original act of phony bravado.
See "Mancow" being waterboarded, and then commenting on it, in the two very short videos below. And remember, unlike the detainees that we tortured, he was not being waterboarded by hostile folks, and was able to call it off at any time, on his own...
* * *
On a related topic... I was on San Francisco's usually very rightwing radio station KGO last night, with the progressive Christine Craft sitting in as late-night host. Lots of similarly cowardly wingnuts called in to inform us that waterboarding isn't torture at all. Here's the audio. Enjoy.
Last night on Countdown, Olbermann announced that he was rescinding the offer to Hannity, and instead giving $10,000 to charity following radio host Erich “Mancow” Muller’s waterboarding attempt. Olbermann promised to donate to the charity Veterans of Valor, founded by Sgt. Klay South, who administered the waterboarding to Muller. Olbermann revealed that Mancow’s publicist had contacted Olbermann’s show yesterday to see whether Olbermann would make a similar offer to Mancow as he did for Hannity:
OLBERMANN: Mancow Muller had the guts to put his mouth where his mouth was, and the guts to admit he was dead wrong. As you saw, he not only said it is torture, but that he had nearly drowned as a boy, and it is drowning, and that he would have admitted to anything to make it stop.
So the offer to the coward Hannity — a thousand dollars a second he lasted on the waterboard — is withdrawn.
And to Mr. Muller, whose station’s publicity person contacted us yesterday saying she’d heard I’d offered ten thousand dollars to anybody who would do what he did –
You got it. Ten thousand dollars to the military-families charity of the man who did the waterboarding, Veterans Of Valor. [...]
As to Hannity, you are now unnecessary.
UPDATE 5/29/09: Olbermann interviews Mancow after his waterboarding. Video follows below. Here's a bit of the transcript...
Despite the new wealth of evidence that the Bush administration’s desire to torture suspects was driven by a desire to gin up phony links between Iraq and al Qaeda, not by concerns about another terrorist attack, former Vice President Cheney is sticking to his story that it was all about terrorism. In part II of his interview with Fixed News, the Dark Lord accusing the Obama administration of not believing that the U.S. is threatened by terrorism.
The Fox "News" interview was vintage Cheney. He referred to torture as “a robust interrogation program on detainees” that was vital “to the very existence of the nation.”
CHENEY: What the Obama administration is doing, in effect, is saying that we don’t need those tough policies that we had. That says, either they didn’t work, which we know is not the case—they did work, they kept us safe for seven years...
You have to see a Cheney performance in order to appreciate the effectiveness of Cheney propaganda. Unlike George W. Bush, who was inclined to trip over his own tongue, Cheney has perfected the quiet lie. His words may be false but he delivers them as facts so uncontroversial you’d think he was a local network anchor reporting on traffic conditions...