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...
Leave your Open Thread thoughts on tonight's State of the Union Speech in comments below...
POST-SOTU UPDATE: The Republicanists at Fox "News" just can't help themselves, even for the State of the Union...
UPDATE 8:10pm PT: Following the (supposedly) "centrist" response to the SOTU, offered up by the scared-to-death Democratic "leadership", in the person of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sibelius, a real response to Bush's SOTU was sent out by Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI). The short response follows below in full, and serves to remind us what reality looks like...
Last night Fox 'News' aired a special hosted by Bret Baier, George W. Bush: Fighting to the Finish, that was an impressive piece of propaganda even by Fox's lofty standards. In order to make watching it a bit more palatable, I've made a couple of mashups addressing different aspects of the hour long program.
The first video covers the "unprecedented access" Fox 'News' was given to Bush. As Baier writes over at foxnews.com:
I’ve really enjoyed working on this program. For starters, the footage you will see in this hour is historic and fascinating. We were given access to the president at his ranch in Texas, in the Oval Office during meetings, aboard Air Force One during his historic trip to the Mideast and in the White House residence that is rarely seen.
In the second mashup I've edited together many of Bret Baier's questions and transitional comments in order to highlight the extent of the propaganda. Hopefully you will find it as interesting as Baier finds his own work:
I think, as someone who covers the White House everyday, it’s extremely interesting — and is definitely worth watching.
A third mashup covering some of the remarkable content will follow tonight or tomorrow morning.
UPDATE: Third Mashup Below
Victory, The PDB, Osama, Bush's Joyousness and more...
Neil Cavuto of Fox "News" had on Maryland state senator, Alex Mooney (R), to discuss Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's plan to allow "illegals" to keep driver's licenses. For the most part, Mooney plays the Fox guest role perfectly --- bashing the plan that could help "illegals", calling the Governor a "strong supporter of Hillary Clinton" and repeatedly referring to his political opposition as the "Democrat" party. However, the Senator fails to follow Cavuto's lead when he tries to link the licensing of "illegals" to voter fraud (beginning at the 2:55 mark):
Cavuto: But that second license, the illegal license, whatever you want to call it, that can't get you on planes or in federal offices, but I bet you it could let you vote.
Senator Mooney: Well, actually to vote you have to be a citizen according to the voter, when you register to vote you have to check off, at least pledge, under penalties of perjury, that you are a citizen.
Unconvinced, Cavuto pushes his case by stating that some municipalities might accept the licenses granted to illegals to which Mooney gives in a little. With Mooney back on board, Cavuto proceeds to bottom line the issue:
Cavuto: Bottom line Senator, you could have illegals voting in your state.
Senator Mooney: We could, but it wouldn't make much sense for them to do so, to be perfectly honest, because they would be subject to perjury and other problems. There's other things they'd rather do like be able to drive and have these jobs and, you know, go to schools.
Ouch! Only time will tell if the Senator is ever invited back to Fox "News".
Neil Cavuto wonders why "we put a lot of stock" into exit polls when pollsters "get it wrong a lot." Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway agrees that we put "too much stock" in exit polls. Conway goes on to blame the media, "who are running their own polls" and reminds viewers that, "these are the same media who ran polls in 2000 on election night declaring Al Gore the winner, 2004 declaring John Kerry the winner according to exit polls and here we are again." And even though she claims to be a pollster, Conway strangely adds that, "exit polling is not scientific. It's illustrative. It's fun."
Finally the conversation turns to the question of race in exit polling where, according to Conway, "people use pollster to lie to themselves". The reason for this is that people like to "make themselves sound more progressive".
Ron Paul says his exclusion from last night's debate on Fox "News" is an "awful embarrassment" for the Republican propaganda outlet.
The Republican Presidential candidate points out, during an interview this morning on CNN, that he received 10% of the vote in Iowa, where he finished well ahead of Rudy Giuliani --- who was allowed to participate in the Fox debate --- and that he's beating him "2 to 1" currently in New Hampshire. As well, Paul points out that his campaign has "raised more money than any other Republican candidate in the last quarter."
He also notes both the impossible and the obvious in a single sentence when he charges: "I think they're making a mockery of the whole situation...because they've lost all credibility."
Fox claims their criteria on deciding who would participate in the New Hampshire debate was based on who was receiving at least 10% in the national polls. RAW STORY has the story and video.
Paul supporters are seen in this video, chasing Fox "News" and ABC radio propagandist Sean Hannity down the street last night in New Hampshire, chanting "Fox News sucks" and yelling reminders to the Republican party mouthpiece that he is not, in fact, as his fans would otherwise claim, "a great American."
Similarly, Democratic candidate Dennis Kucinich was not allowed to participate in Sunday's (capital "D") Democratic debate on ABC. The Ohio Congressman is filing a complaint with the FCC, which points out, among other things, that the Disney-owned network is "violating its obligation to operate in the public interest," and that he "is the only Democratic presidential candidate who has qualified for Federal matching funds who is being excluded by ABC."
Meanwhile American democracy (small "d") gently weeps.
In 1999, former Pres. George Bush famously said, "I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors."
John Gibson, the Fox "News" anchor, takes an opposite view. He says he wants to "give a medal" to the Bush officials who deliberately jeopardized a top-secret, well-established CIA program that tracked the sales of weapons of mass destruction in black markets worldwide.
Why would a rightwinger like Gibby want to pin a medal on these traitors? Because the traitors are Republicans --- a cabal led by Dick Cheney and that included Karl Rove and Scooter Libby --- while the covert agent in charge of the CIA's top secret WMD tracking program, Valerie Plame Wilson, made a campaign donation to Al Gore in 1999.
(Ed Note: It is our understanding that she and her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, also contributed to George W. Bush's campaign at the time as well.)
In her 20 years as a spy for the United States, Agent Wilson worked for a front business, an oil industry consulting firm called Brewster Jennings and Associates. She frequently traveled overseas where she developed a network of secret "assets" --- foreign nationals who provided her with inside knowledge on the movement of chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons and materials in the worldwide terrorist black market.
The CIA will not say, of course, how many of these foreign assets were compromised, killed, wounded or kidnapped and tortured as a result of Cheney's treasonous conspiracy to forfeit them by exposing Agent Wilson's covert identity.
And only time will tell how many weapons of mass destruction were transported undetected because Agent Wilson's network was forfeited --- and whether one or more of these weapons will be used to attack the United States.
But none of that matters to Republicans like John Gibson and his cohorts at Fox "News" and in the Bush White House, whose patriotism is as fake as the made-in-China American flags pinned to their lapels. Gibson's remarkable statement advocating giving a medal to Rove, Cheney and Libby --- the "most insidious of traitors" who betrayed vital national secrets --- exposes him for what he is: an ideologue who puts his party ahead of his country even at the risk of national security.
Apparently Texas oil tycoon, T. Boone Pickens, who funded the so-called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" propaganda campaign against John Kerry in 2004 to the tune of $3 million, seems, like the group themselves, to have trouble with the definition of the word "truth".
Earlier this month, at a DC dinner celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Rightwing publication American Spectator, Pickens made a very public challenge (not a bet), offering, as the Republicanist blog, American Thinker reported, "a million dollars to anyone who could prove wrong anything the Swiftboat Veterans charged about Kerry."
The similarly Rightwing blog RedState echoed that the challenge was made to anybody who "can prove anything the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth said in 2004 was false."
But it looks like Pickens was lying, as he is now trying to renege on the challenge since Kerry himself decided to take him up on it late last week, writing in a letter to Pickens (posted in full at the end of this article): "While I am prepared to show they lied on allegation after allegation, you have generously offered to pay one million dollars for just one thing that can be proven false. I am prepared to prove the lie beyond any reasonable doubt."
Kerry said that the $1 million should then be given to the Paralyzed Veterans of America, concluding his letter with: "I trust that you are a man of your word, having made a very public challenge at a major Washington dinner, and look forward to taking you up on this challenge."
Pickens, however --- wait for it --- has proven to be less than a man of his word. Who'd have thunk it? Rather than accept Kerry's offer to meet the challenge, he's moved the goal posts and Fox "News" Network stooge, Sean Hannity --- no man of honor either --- is entirely scummy enough to aide and abet Pickens in welching out of the challenge...
By Brad Friedman...trying to keep up with all from the road...
Our story so far...Last Friday I was at the BlogWorld Expo in Vegas, where billionaire Dallas Mavericks owner, HDNet media impresario, and blogger Mark Cuban gave the closing keynote address. I asked him about the various attacks on him from Bill O'Reilly concerning Redacted, the new Brian DePalma film which HDNet is releasing this week...and which O'Reilly has not seen...but has declared to be "anti-troop" nonetheless.
Cuban told me that he's "very grateful" to the far-Right Fox "News" desk-jockey for the publicity he's brought to what would otherwise have been a small film release. "Bill O'Reilly is my new best friend!" he declared. My coverage of that, blogged from the conference room just after his address, is here.
On Sunday, Cuban himself blogged more on the topic at his BlogMaverick site, in a post which begins, "I've grown to love Bill O'Reilly. Seriously. If there is anyone who can publicize a political movie, it's Bill and I truly appreciate that about him." Cuban then goes on to speak to O'Reilly's concerns about the film...which O'Reilly has not seen.
On Monday, a visibly angry (or mock-angry, as the case usually is) O'Reilly shot back. He ranted that in a different day FDR "might have incarcerated" Cuban and that "General Patton would have slapped the tar out of him." O'Reilly's ingenious plan to teach Cuban a lesson: A campaign calling for Dallas Mavericks fans to display "Support the Troops" signs at games, and for protesters to show up outside movie theaters showing the film with "Support the Troops" signs. O'Reilly said he would be doing so himself. We posted video of his silly rant yesterday.
Which brings us up to yesterday, when O'Reilly railed again against Cuban, calling him an "extremist." Ironically, Ann Coulter would join him for the conversation...about the film O'Reilly hasn't seen.
At the same time, MSNBC's Kieth Olbermann (O'Reilly's actual arch-enemy) jumped into the fray to have much fun at O'Reilly's expense from the night before. His report included a video-taped look at the actual answer Cuban gave to my question last Friday at the BlogWorld Expo (though not the question itself), along with an examination of O'Reilly's claim that Cuban would have been locked up by FDR and slapped by Patton for having produced the film...Which O'Reilly hasn't seen.
Olbermann also notes that the Dallas Mavericks had previously planned a "Support the Troops" night for the Texas National Guard at their upcoming home game anyway, but we're sure that O'Reilly will take credit for the thousands of green shirts with such a message --- long-planned to be given out to fans that night --- along with the Mavs' long-standing "Seats for Soldiers" program as some response to his ingenious plan to teach Cuban a lesson...by "promoting" his film for him, even though he hasn't seen it.
Here's last night's O'Reilly and then Olbermann videos, courtesy of our own video-ace, Alan Breslauer...
Lastly, Olbermann had a short follow-up segment with a former Reagan Administration Official, Constitutional Attorney Bruce Fein, for a historical look at FDR's actual imprisonment plans during WWII...
So now, if you cared, you're all up to date!
And a personal message for Cuban from The BRAD BLOG: Hey, it's been our pleasure to give your film all this free publicity! Sorry we haven't called you an extremist or called for you to be locked up, but it's the best we can do. (We also did a fairly good job of making noise with Dan Rather's blockbuster HDNet exposé on touch-screen voting machines to boot!) Both have been our pleasure. But, feel free to say thanks by purchasing a BlogAd here, as you've done on a number of the other progressive blogs, but not ours --- We could certainly use the support to keep taking down the bad guys! Not to mention an ad buy here is a great way to "thank" O'Reilly for all he's done for ya! Hope you'll consider it!
In what may be one of his most ironic public statements to date, far-Right Fox "News" commentator Bill O'Reilly charged last night that Dallas Mavericks owner and media mogul Mark Cuban's "arrogance is horrifying."
He then went on to call the billionaire blogger Cuban "anti-American" and noted, approvingly, that "during WWII President Roosevelt might have incarcerated" him and "General Patton would have slapped the tar out of him."
Why? Because Cuban's cable television network, HDNet, is distributing Brian DePalma's new film Redacted, apparently.
After Cuban, the billionaire entrepreneur, had earlier noted in his address that while he might feel O'Reilly was "a moron," for the various attacks the news commentator had unleashed upon him, he had thought better than to blog that point, noting that the written word hangs around forever on the Internet.
When The BRAD BLOG, who was present at the speech, later asked him during the Q&A if he felt O'Reilly's attacks have been a "net plus or minus" in regard to Redacted, the amused Cuban said that he was "very grateful" to O'Reilly, who he called his "new best friend" for all the attention he'd brought to the otherwise small film release.
Last night on The O'Reilly Factor, the Fox "News" host shot back, promising still more publicity for the film, by calling for the public to show up outside theaters showing Redacted with signs reading "Support the Troops." O'Reilly claimed that he will personally be at theaters holding up such signs, charging that "Mark Cuban has a grudge against his country" and that he is somehow "putting our troops in danger."
At the end of the segment, O'Reilly promised that he would "have more information about what we're going to do and when we're going to do it...coming up."
His "Talking Points Memo" tirade (video below) charges that "subsequently the effort became extremely difficult," after opposition to the Iraq War was brought by "the far-left." He then went on to include a quick, out of context video clip from Cuban's BlogWorld address. He did not show the part in which Cuban said he was "very grateful" to O'Reilly, or that he considered him his "new best friend."
Here's O'Reilly's "outraged" comments from last night's The O'Reilly Factor on Fox "News," along with a discussion with a Republican and a "Democratic" analyst which follows. (Thanks to Alan Breslauer for the video!)...
UPDATE:Cuban blogs on the ridiculous O'Reilly situation, in a piece which begins "I've grown to love Bill OReilly. Seriously. If there is anyone who can publicize a political movie, it's Bill and I truly appreciate that about him."
Blogged by Brad Friedman, from BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas...
Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, several television networks and, in fact, a blogger, is "very grateful" to Bill O'Reilly, the Fox "News" media personality who has been attacking --- and even threatening --- him mercilessly, of late.
After first replying that O'Reilly's attacks didn't much matter, and that they had very little effect either way, I followed up to ask specifically about Brian DePalma's upcoming film, Redacted, which Cuban's network, HDNet is releasing shortly.
"When it comes to a specific project like Redacted," Cuban responded, "which is a small movie, it's grown bigger and bigger by the day. So I'm very grateful to him."
"Bill O'Reilly is my new best friend," he added, to laughter from the crowd which was made up of bloggers and industry-related folks of all political stripes.
I'll try to get the audio or video posted on that point later if I can, as an update. As the room is filled with several thousand bloggers, I suspect it should be easy to find shortly. (If anybody beats me to it, feel free to link it in comments, as I'll be off grid for the next several hours!)
P.S. As his address was in the same room where I had just finished up my final panel of the conference, I had the opportunity to chat with him quickly as we were trading places on the stage, and was able to thank him for HDNet's breathtaking Dan Rather Reportsinvestigative exposé on touch-screen voting technology. I encouraged him to keep going along those lines and support Rather's work in this regard. He agreed that it was an amazing report, and in turn, he thanked me for The BRAD BLOG's coverage of same.
So he's a billionaire who pays attention.
The most understated bio I've perhaps ever seen: On the big screens next to the podium where he was speaking, the title card read simply, "Mark Cuban, Blogger".
On his radio gabfest yesterday, CNN's resident rightwing crackpot Glenn Beck implied that because residents of Malibu "hate America," they were therefore unluckily suffering the loss of their homes to wildfires:
I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire [sic] today.
Leaving aside the fact that there isn't a "forest" within miles of Malibu, just seconds before that outrageous, though half-baked, assertion, Beck made a statement that contradicted what he was about to say:
[We're] all one America, that just because I disagree with you doesn't mean you hate America, and I love America. We all love America. We just disagree on how we should function...
He then contradicted himself in the same sentence a second time, saying he was not referring to Democrats but to nefarious people (liberals? terrorists?) who pretend to be Democrats:
There are a few people that hate America. But I don't think the Democrats are those. I think there are those posing as Democrats that are like that.
During the ninety full minutes of last night's lively Republican Debate on Fox "News" from Orlando, the word "Bush" was used only twice by the candidates. One time each by Ron Paul and then Fred Thompson.
Hat tip to BRAD BLOG commenter Floridiot for this one! But yes, that does seem to be a diaphragm that Fred Thompson's daughter (grand daughter?) is munching on at the beginning of a recent Fox "News" interview...
Oh look, it’s Folksy Fred Thompson doing a teevee interview and he’s got a little girl on his lap for some reason and OH JESUS CHRIST SHE’S EATING A DIAPHRAGM. Okay, you can stop the clip now — we have no idea what happens after it cuts away from the charming sight of a little girl chewing on her mother’s giant diaphragm. WTF, people, WTF? Is this what happens when all the real toys are covered in Red Chinese poison lead paint?
In case you're wondering if that could really be a diaphragm, someone at DU was kind enough to post a picture of a few, so you can judge for yourself. God God.