Not only did I miss this, but it’s apparently been an annual tradition just like the War on Christmas.
I have a few things I like to bring out for an annual viewing too. Like this:
Not only did I miss this, but it’s apparently been an annual tradition just like the War on Christmas.
I have a few things I like to bring out for an annual viewing too. Like this:
Of course they went there. The very next day.
From the couch of the stupid, Elizabeth Hasselback lamented that ““ you have our soldiers not being able to arm themselves . . . if they do have a weapon, they are to register it within five days of purchase. . . then that must be stored away in these lockers so that it cannot be carried on their person, therefore leaving them vulnerable.”
Doocy then pointed to the current Democratic president by quoting a conservative blogger: “Gateway Pundit, which is a way right-leaning blog, what they write this morning is, ‘The Obama administration is responsible for this mass shooting. They witnessed this before, they didn’t learn a thing. Gun-free zones are death zones. It is time to stand up to the lunacy.’”
Best. Headline. Ever.
from the Boston Globe.
Tea Party hero “Joe the Plumber” (name’s not really Joe and he never was a plumber) has a new job. At Chrysler. Which could hire him because they didn’t go out of business in 2009 after, you know, that socialist ‘rescue package’ from the Feds saved their baby bottoms. Also, it’s a union shop – Joe is now a member of the UAW.
“In order to work for Chrysler, you are required to join the Union, in this case UAW. There’s no choice – it’s a union shop – the employees voted to have it that way and in America that’s the way it is,” he wrote.
Can’t wait till Neil Cavuto has him back on the program at FOX.
And I mean everything. Whatever veneer of civility existed in the US Congress was very deliberately extinguished in 1994 by Newt Gingrich when he instructed his caucus that their Democratic colleagues were no longer ‘the opposition’. They were ‘the enemy’.
After that, and after being tossed out by his own party just a few years later, and after a few more wives, and after a near bankruptcy or two, and after a vanity campaign for president, and after being hired by CNN – proving their irrelevance once again – to resurrect the reviled show Crossfire (perfect casting, I must say), comes now his call for John Kerry to resign as Secretary of State. Because climate change you know.
There’s no getting rid of this guy.
The 2014 World Press Freedom Index is out. Nasty news – again – for the old U-S-of-A where we’ve been sliding into the badlands ever since 9/11. And where my President and his Attorney General have some ‘splainin’ to do. Which will not happen with this President or any future President unless we get really really lucky.
Countries that pride themselves on being democracies and respecting the rule of law have not set an example . . . Freedom of information is too often sacrificed to an overly broad and abusive interpretation of national security needs, marking a disturbing retreat from democratic practices.
This has been the case in the United States (46th), which fell 13 places, one of the most significant declines, amid increased efforts to track down whistleblowers and the sources of leaks. The trial and conviction of Private Bradley Manning and the pursuit of NSA analyst Edward Snowden were warnings to all those thinking of assisting in the disclosure of sensitive information that would clearly be in the public interest.
US journalists were stunned by the Department of Justice’s seizure of Associated Press phone records without warning in order to identify the source of a CIA leak. It served as a reminder of the urgent need for a “shield law” to protect the confidentiality of journalists’ sources at the federal level. The revival of the legislative process is little consolation for James Risen of The New York Times, who is subject to a court order to testify against a former CIA employee accused of leaking classified information. And less still for Barrett Brown, a young freelance journalist facing 105 years in prison in connection with the posting of information that hackers obtained from Statfor, a private intelligence company with close ties to the federal government.
The United Kingdom (33rd, -3) distinguished itself in the war on terror by the disgraceful pressure it put on The Guardian newspaper and by its detention of David Miranda, journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner and assistant, for nine hours. Both the US and UK authorities seem obsessed with hunting down whistleblowers instead of adopting legislation to rein in abusive surveillance practices that negate privacy, a democratic value cherished in both countries.
At least the UK was spared the shame of our double-digit decline in press freedom. USA!
From the Monday ‘Patriot Humor’ feature at The Patriot Post. And the joke is?
UPDATE: jonolan points out that I read this one wrong. The joke is that the letters behind Carney spell ‘white washing…” and that, indeed, is funny. The site it came from features regular racist slurs and that influenced how I interpreted it at first.
Same scene, same time, different angles. Partisans will choose which to embrace.
As Josh Marshall put it at Talking Points Memo:
The photos appear to have been taken at nearly the same moment, but from two different angles. And they tell different stories.
As I said in my headline, these two photos contain an important lesson about assumptions and jumping to conclusions.
But that said and friendly smiles notwithstanding I see intentional cruelty, nearly of the Westboro Baptist Church variety. Here, they’re gathered outside a Houston restaurant to “protest” the meeting inside of the state chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a gun safety advocacy group formed in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Bet you didn’t know this. Neither did I, but it’s right there on Glenn Beck’s own site, The Blaze, the place for dystopian paranoia and apocalyptic terror – plus there are many wonderful things available for purchase!
Glenn Beck on Monday began what he said is “just the beginning” of his work to reveal the background and motivations of Grover Norquist, the founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform.
Beck began by playing recent clips of Norquist calling out Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for his efforts to derail Obamacare, noting that while he used to joke about the left’s portrayal of Norquist as a “big power player,” he’s since revised his dismissive opinion in light of the warnings that you “don’t ever take this guy on unless you’re prepared.”
Beck’s show Monday primarily concentrated on Norquist’s alleged connections to Islamists. He invited Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy, and Daniel Greenfield of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, to weigh in.
There’s a David Horowitz Freedom Center? Seriously?
Townhall.com, an enormously influential righty website, has posted its list of the 25 most influential conservatives. AND 32 runners-up. The runners-up are:
At number 41, not only doesn’t Bill O’Reilly make their top 25, but he ranks behind trickster James O’Keefe. Methinks this will rouse Papa Bear (as Steven Colbert calls him) to new heights of retribution – an O’Reilly staple. He is, like Rush Limbaugh,, remarkably thin-skinned for someone who’s been in the public eye for so long.
Just as the right wing noise machine always says, that liberal media will spin every which way to make their guy look good. Like with this screaming front page at Huff Post right now:
Of course, I will allow as they aren’t calling for impeachment, so there’s that.
Here’s a bit of incomplete reporting on a recent “outrage-of-the-day” claimed to result from that damn Obama government shutdown – this is from National Review; for hyperbolic end-of-the-Republic rhetoric, visit less reliable outlets elsewhere where the sputtering abounds:
“With the government shutdown, many GS [government services] and contract priests who minister to Catholics on military bases worldwide are not permitted to work – not even to volunteer,” Schlageter wrote. “During the shutdown, it is illegal for them to minister on base and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so.”
Why would that be? Surely there’s a reason but perhaps National Review simply ran out of space.
Let us board the way-back-machine and visit, for example, the Gingrich shutdown of 1995. Hundreds of thousands of Federal employees were furloughed. Many of them tried to get around the rules and work anyway; turns out they found themselves in a spot of trouble. Why was that?
It was pretty much for the same reason they would be in trouble now – subject to disciplinary action, criminal charges even, if they violate the rules*.
Allow me to quote an email from a family friend in DC who is a long-time Federal employee; he’s been locked out of his office since Tuesday:
. . . the General Counsel listed what would happen to us if we did any work during the shutdown, including up to two years of prison. . . I cannot find out what is happening with the grass roots grantees I work with in Latin America – much less process their next disbursement. I can’t even volunteer my time.
Ah, just like those Catholic priests! And here’s why – our friend goes on:
This is thanks to the Anti-Deficiency Act* which prohibits the government to spend money which hasn’t been appropriated and puts the fear of God into government supervisors.
The Anti-Deficiency Act was initially enacted – wait for it – in 1884. James Garfield was President. Major amendments occurred in 1950 and 1982. Any employee or supervisor who “knowingly and willfully” violates any of the law’s provisions can face punishments of up to $5,000 in fines and two years in prison, according to the GAO.
I don’t see any mention of the Anti-Deficiency Act in The National Review story but I’m confident it’ll be included in all those FOX News stories to follow.
Dear Stuart Varney: You are an idiot and that’s probably why you’re a star at the Fox Business channel (the one no one watches). Asked if Federal workers are deserving of back pay when this is over, Varney said:
That is a loaded question isn’t it? You want my opinion? . . . No, I don’t think they should get their back pay, frankly, I really don’t. I’m sick and tired of a massive, bloated federal bureaucracy living on our backs, and taking money out of us, a lot more money than most of us earn in the private sector, then getting a furlough, and then getting their money back at the end of it. Sorry, I’m not for that. I want to punish these people. Sorry to say that, but that’s what I want to do.
(Why is he sorry to say that?) Stuart, the people you want to punish aren’t the ones who created the agencies, funded them, or made the rules. They are people, plain people who work in payroll or data processing. Maybe they’re engineers or safety inspectors or mathematicians or nurses. Perhaps they clean the offices. How about the folks who answer phones at IRS, CDC, Defense . . . they don’t carry weapons so they’re probably non-essential. I’m guessing that most departments have IT people – let’s hope nobody needs critical help on their computers or – Elvis forbid – servers.
As for those who are essential … they’re required to stay on the job (see Washington DC, Thursday, Capitol Police) but won’t see paychecks for the duration. And today is Friday – for most people, that’s payday.
And you want to punish them. Delightful.
Now that the couch at Fox & Friends is getting a new lady to sit in the middle, it’s time for me to stop referring to Brian Kilmeade as the one whose name no one knows. After all, he is now the second most recognizable face of the couch dwellers. Watch that very face as John McCain ‘splains a little something:
Launched today and we should all wish them luck. It’ll be nice to have a real news channel on cable. We’ll see. Should be okay as long as they keep it Wolf Blitzer free.
The real Lou Grant – but with lots of booze, horses and cigars. I always liked this guy . . . lookee’ here: from The McLaughlin Group in 1994:
Just got to watch Obama’s press conference from this afternoon. I’ve watched a few of these and I think this was better than the others. With one exception, his answers were crisp and confident. I liked how he dealt with the gotcha type questions from the likes of Chuck Todd and Ed Henry; he didn’t take the bait. So pretty good.
What you think of the sales of the Boston Globe and Washington Post for peanuts on the dollar? How in the hell is Bezos going to make money with the WP? Does he get the rights to the very good Sousa March of the same name?
I’m unqualified when it comes to the Sousa question (there’s a March?), but we all know that Moe do so luv to offer her opinion (I do it for free, so grateful am I for the ‘ask’.)
Here’s how I see it:
It’s a changed world. Big metro dailies need to be reinvented and as for Bezos and The Post, I think he’s the guy to do it. WaPo and the Globe have been shrinking for years like so many others. They’ve lost classified, real estate, and car ads to online. The one thing that isn’t going to happen again is growth – in size, in advertising and eventually in circulation – although the Post and the NYT and WSJ continue to reign supreme in readership because they all excel in an internet proof-product – excellent substantive reporting.
So I think at least with the Post, the goal is to find a revenue stream to support that core product and not fiddle with it. Everything else has to be reinvented. And who better to do it than Bezos who literally invented how to actually make big money online. Since he’s an individual owner – which was the tradition at the Post – I trust him more than a corp looking for quarterly earnings. He’ll support it for quite a while probably.. Just like Murdock has to support the NY Post and the Moonies have to support the Washington Times (daily circulation 83,000 vs WaPo 1.4million).
Metro dailies are today’s horse and buggies. Not surprisingly though, small weekly or bi-weekly local papers are doing very well. Very very well, which is probably why Buffet just bought a bunch of ‘em. Their operating cost are low – no need for out of town bureaus for instance. Or financing investigative reporting. As long as they cover city hall, births, deaths and school pageants, they’ve got it covered. Plus advertising is pretty cheap.
I don’t know much about the Globe except that again, this is a single owner – one already invested in the community. And also, I think that sale is an example of how the NY Times by selling it is sharpening its focus on protecting its flagship paper. They’ve been selling ‘Times Group’ papers for a while.
So I think Bezos can find a way to keep up readership while developing that reliable revenue stream with paid online access. The Times and WSJ are already doing that very successfully. And MOST importantly, he’ll usher the paper into the age of the mobile device because he also understands the future.
And that’s what I think.
As this story says (video at the link) this is the single most cringe-worthy interview ever.
The author here, Reza Aslan, has been interviewed extensively on C-Span’s Booknotes, PBS’ News Hour, the BBC and dozens of other outlets. So why not FOX? This is why - and lesson learned. Don’t bother next time Reza, unless you’re game for providing the rest of us with something to fill in the time while Jon Stewart is away.
Fox News anchor Lauren Green* had religious scholar Reza Aslan on her FoxNews.com show Friday to talk about Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, his book that has been stirring up some online controversy recently. And right off the bat, Green gets to what is important: “You’re a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?” Aslan seemed a little flabbergasted: “Well, to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament, and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim.”*
But Green just wouldn’t let it go: “It still begs the question though, why would you be interested in the founder of Christianity?” Aslan then starts talking to Green slowly, as if she were a child: “Because it’s my job as an academic. I am a professor of religion, including the New Testament. That’s what I do for a living, actually.” But Green insisted, accusing him of failing to “disclose” that he’s a Muslim and at one point asking him about a stupefying claim on whether a Muslim writing a book on Jesus isn’t sort of like a Democrat writing a book on former president Ronald Reagan.
Dear god (by which I mean the one of the Hebrews, Christians and Muslims. That one.)
*And she’s not even blonde!
Oh boy, ‘s true. From ABC News, and now echoing with hallejulia’s from every single bit of righty internet real estate, where, all along, the between-the-lines-meme has been that George was really a hero.
George Zimmerman, who has been in hiding since he was acquitted of murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, emerged to help rescue a family who was trapped in an overturned vehicle, police said today.
Zimmerman was one of two men who came to the aid of a family of four — two parents and two children — trapped inside a blue Ford Explorer SUV that had rolled over after traveling off the highway in Sanford, Fla. at approximately 5:45 p.m. Thursday, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
This isn’t directed at Zimmerman who did a good thing here. It’s his media fans. They do piss me off.
His name is Titus. He is two years old. And this is real. (He showed up on Fox & Friends and it was going great ’till Brian Kilmeade (the one whose name no one can remember) tried to get in the act and basically lobbed the ball into little Titus’ face. Show over. The little guy burst into loud tears and Dad carried him off the set trying to make things right by saying “Brian didn’t mean it”. What he should have said was “Brian is just a doofus.”
A revealing moment in an exchange on Charlie Rose last night. His guests were the Editor and primary reporter from the Guardian there to talk about Snowden and the NSA leaks. At one point, Rose asked the reporter “so do you just call Snowden when you need to ask questions?”. She looked at him as though he were not wearing pants and replied “Um, we just text.” A telling moment.
Then this morning, I saw this:
The Army admitted Thursday to not only restricting access to The Guardian news website at the Presidio of Monterey, as reported in Thursday’s Herald, but Armywide.
Presidio employees said the site had been blocked since The Guardian broke stories on data collection by the National Security Agency
Granted there was major competing news over the last few days, but I’ll go out on a limb and say this chart would look exactly the same in a slow news week.
If there were any doubt at all about corporate (not to mention entirely self-absorbed) media playing the apologist when one’s place in the social pecking order in D.C. is at stake, let this exchange settle it - David Gregory and his cohort are only too glad to jump aboard the USS Patriot. And salute.
“Meet the Press” host David Gregory asked columnist Glenn Greenwald why he shouldn’t be charged with a crime for working with NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Greenwald was on to discuss his source’s Sunday morning flight from Hong Kong to Moscow. (It is unclear where Snowden will ultimately land, though reports have suggested he is headed to Venezuela.) At the tail end of the conversation, Gregory suddenly asked Greenwald why the government shouldn’t be going after him.
“To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?” he asked.
Greenwald replied that it was “pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies,” and that there was no evidence to back up Gregory’s claim that he had “aided” Snowden.
Keep speaking truth to power Glenn. You’re on the right side of this one. (There’s video at the link.)
*And who are ‘the villagers’? See here.
Not all things are the same: not all whistle blowers are honorable, but the tradition of revealing secret government activity to the press . . . that will always be the essential ingredient if the press is to fulfill its most important mission. Our press is charged to:
Speak truth to power
Connor Friedersdorf makes that point today:
The Unknown Patriot Who Exposed the Government’s Verizon Spy ProgramIn praise of whistle-blowers whose risky disclosures of official wrongdoing make the nation stronger rather than weaker . . . “The order was marked TOP SECRET//SI//NOFORN, referring to communications-related intelligence information that may not be released to noncitizens. That would make it among the most closely held secrets in the federal government”
Here is today’s outrage – from the Washington Examiner:
According to some of the usual noisemakers on the right, a Cabinet Secretary is the appropriate person to make decisions about who gets organ transplants and who doesn’t.
If the regulation in question were waived, 20 more children (including three at the same hospital) would be added to the regular ‘adult’ lung waiting list, which currently has 1600 people on it. So for this kid to get the lung, a political appointee would have to put her at the front of the list based on – what? Because it would be caring? Thoughtful? Because of a mother’s grief?
From one of our best investigative journalists, here’s Steve Coll, today in The New Yorker:
It seems likely that Holder or his deputies have authorized other press subpoenas and surveillance regimes that have not yet been disclosed. The Justice Department has acted belligerently even in cases where no grave harm to the public interest has been demonstrated, or where, as in the A.P. case, the leaks under suspicion have served to publicize the Administration’s successes. . .
He allows that the increase in investigations by Justice in recent years may relate to this:
Obama inherited a bloated national-security state. It contains far too many official secrets and far too many secret-keepers—more than a million people now hold top-secret clearances. Under a thirty-year-old executive order issued by the White House, the intelligence agencies must inform the Justice Department whenever they believe that classified information has been disclosed illegally to the press. These referrals operate on a kind of automatic pilot, and the system is unbalanced.
But ultimately, Coll says:
. . . The media are not just watchdogs barking at the White House and the C.I.A. The First Amendment aspires to a fuller compact among citizens, including between journalists and confidential sources, that is premised on the self-evident truth that secrecy and concentrated power are inherently corrupting.
Oh, boy — this is truly amazing. I guess I’m not surprised that the WSJ doesn’t like the idea of providing New York with a European-style system of rental bikes. But accusing Bloomberg and company of being “totalitarians” for the vicious crime of … making bright blue bikes available to tourists … seems like it has to be parody.
On the other hand, let’s not forget George Will’s explanation of why liberals like mass transit:
the real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.
Something about transportation seems to bring out the crazy in these people.
(The post, comments and all, is here.)
The latest meme in Perpetual Outrage Land has former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman practically living in the Oval Office. It’s a scandal ya’ see – and a perfect example of how to gin up outrage over the thinnest bit of information.
Bill O’Reilly: “You must explain under oath what you were doing at the White House on 157 separate occasions.”
The Daily Caller: “IRS’s Shulman had more public White House visits than any Cabinet member.”
Brit Hume tweeeted: “Sooner or later this [question] will have to be answered. What was the ex-IRS chief doing at the White House all those times?” (Ahem, answered by whom Brit? Does FOX News not have any reporters?)
Did. Not. Happen. An actual reporter went and actually reported the charge and it turned out that it Did. Not. Happen.
First, she explains how visitors logs work, what they mean and how they very often only mean that a name is ‘precleared’ for a meeting or event, even if the person never attended. And, she informs us, ‘White House’ usually means either the Eisenhower Executive Office Building or the New Executive Office Building (17 blocks away). And then, doing the ‘reporting’ thing, she look things up and gets into the weeds.
Here’s a taste. This is just 2010 (the other years are at the link); this is the year of the bi-weekly health reform deputies meetings, i.e. regularly scheduled working meetings.
Eisenhower Executive Office Building, recorded as Old Executive Office Building
New Executive Office Building
(actual) White House (but not Oval Office)
I’m not seeing much this morning – perhaps someone inside the right-wing noise machine (so named by Eric Alterman?) read her story and send out a memo to find a new narrative for this week.