Saturday, July 23, 2011

Headlines - Saturday July 23

Can we start honestly talking about what the west is facing now from the far right?

You've got teatards threatening to destroy the American economy, Fox Newsers hacking and blackmailing everyone in sight in the UK for who knows how long, and now it looks like a crazy right-wing terrorist (and apparent Pam Geller fan) killed nearly 100 people in Norway yesterday.

To top it all off, we're told over and over again that both sides do it.

I'm not advocating that we start dropping freedom bombs or torturing people, far from it. But the rising tide of home-grown right-wing extremism in the west scares me a lot more than anything going on in the Middle East.

The second part of whatever is going on in Norway is an attack by a man dressed as a police officer at a Labour party youth camp on Utoya island:

There are 700 people on the island camp. At 5.20 pm ambulance personel were told not to proceed out to the island because there was still shooting there. One Labour youth member tweeted: "We are sitting down by the beach. A man is shotting clothed in a police uniform. Help us! When are the police coming to help us!"

Police stormtroopers are about to land on Utoya island from helicopters. Shooting still going on. Eyewitness describes shooting from his position on the mainland: "There is a little war going on out there"

There are 700 people on the island, and the Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg was supposed to address it (he didn't, and he's safe, but BBC just reported the former PM is on the island).


Ten gallons of dumb in a 5 gallon hat.









The American Family Association's Bryan Fischer is furious that somebody on the internet called him a "Nazi gas bag." Because only losers call people Nazis.

This a clear indication that the Left has lost the argument and the debate in public policy. Because name-calling is the first refuge of a man who does not have an argument. As soon as someone starts calling you names, then realize they're out of ammunition, they're out of arguments. They can't reason with you any longer, they don't have facts on their side, they don't have reason on their side, they don't have logic on their side, they don't have history on their side, they don't have research on their side, they don't have science on their side so they start calling you things like a "Nazi gas bag."

Bryan Fischer, two months ago:

Ladies and gentlemen, they are Nazis. Homosexual activists, when it comes to freedom of speech, are Nazis. When it comes to freedom of religion, they are Nazis. There is no room in their world dissent, there is no room in their world for disagreement, there is no room in their world for criticism. You criticize homosexual behavior, they tag you as a bigot and a homophobe and then they got to work to silence you just like the Roman Catholic Church did in the days of Galileo - it's no different; it's the Spanish Inquisition all over again. Ladies and gentlemen, they are Nazis. Do not be under any illusions about what homosexual activists will do with your freedoms and your religion if they have the opportunity. They'll do the same thing to you that the Nazis did to their opponents in Nazi Germany.

Right Wing Watch notes: "Bryan Fischer is a lot of things, self-aware is not one of them."

The debt talks meltdown.



Yes, everything Smirky/Darth touched turned to shit.

From McClatchy:

The Justice Department has called into question a key pillar of the FBI's case against Bruce Ivins, the Army scientist accused of mailing the anthrax-laced letters that killed five people and terrorized Congress a decade ago.

Shortly after Ivins committed suicide in 2008, federal investigators announced that they'd identified him as the mass murderer who sent the letters to members of Congress and the news media. The case was circumstantial, with federal officials arguing that the scientist had the means, motive and opportunity to make the deadly powder at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md.

Now, however, Justice Department lawyers have acknowledged in court papers that the sealed area in Ivins' lab - the so-called hot suite - didn't contain the equipment needed to turn liquid anthrax into the refined powder that floated through congressional buildings and post offices in the fall of 2001.

But it gets worse:

From McClatchy:

Waffling by Justice Department lawyers in a wrongful death lawsuit that arose from the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks could boost prospects that the government will be liable for millions in damages for failing to prevent the killing of a Florida man.

Department lawyers created a stir in recent days, first by filing court papers that appeared to undercut the FBI's finding that the late Army scientist Bruce Ivins was the killer. The filings said Ivins had no access in a secure lab to the sophisticated equipment to produce the anthrax powder. Four days later, the lawyers abruptly revised that statement to say he lacked access in his lab to a specific machine that could dry wet anthrax.

"I think it creates a great deal of problems for the government," said Paul Kemp, who represented Ivins before his 2008 suicide.

John De Leon, a Miami lawyer who's the president of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the legal flip-flop "undermines the government's credibility" in the civil suit, the only one to proceed so far on behalf of the families of the five people who died.

Liberals don't condone ignoring a genuine case of domestic terrorism to go haring off on a fake terrorism wild goose chase.


How many ways can conservatives bone the country?


Schwarzenegger doesn't want to pay Shriver supportArnold Schwarzenegger indicated in a court filing that he does not want to pay wife Maria Shriver spousal support or attorney fees as the couple ends their 25-year marriage.


Huge increases in deportations of people after they were arrested for breaking traffic or immigration laws or driving drunk helped the Obama administration set a record last year for the number of criminal immigrants forced to leave the country, documents show.

The U.S. deported nearly 393,000 people in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, half of whom were considered criminals.
Of those, 27,635 had been arrested for drunken driving, more than double the 10,851 deported after drunken driving arrests in 2008, the last full year of the Bush administration, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement data provided to The Associated Press.
Arizona continues to live up to its reputation:

PHOENIX — The massive dust storms that swept through central Arizona this month have stirred up not just clouds of sand but a debate over what to call them.


"I am insulted that local TV news crews are now calling this kind of storm a haboob," Don Yonts, a resident of Gilbert, Ariz., wrote to The Arizona Republic after a particularly fierce, mile-high dust storm swept through the state on July 5. "How do they think our soldiers feel coming back to Arizona and hearing some Middle Eastern term?"

Next thing you know, "pita", "hummus" and "algebra" will be banned in Arizona.

It's no wonder she bought a house there.


Wisco: There's Only One Pledge that Should Matter to House GOP -- And It's Not Grover Norquist's 


Today In Christian Love™

"Though victory against such an evil onslaught will never come easy, it will also never come until the church awakes from her slumber and becomes the visible expression of Jesus Christ, raised from the dead in the power of the Holy Spirit, in this fallen world. The homosexual agenda will never be defeated by mere laws. This war will only be won by a church awakened and determined to stand for the righteousness of God. It is my hope and fervent prayer that, before it's too late and the agenda of death and destruction has overcome us utterly, God's people will rise." - Traditional Values Coalition head Lou Sheldon, adding that gays are "the very face of evil."
For the low price of $35, you can learn how to receive your supernatural organ transplant.
"The American people will not tolerate a clean increase in the debt limit." Speaker John Boehner

Oh yes they will. We've tolerated it dozens of times — even all those times John Boehner voted for clean increases in the debt limit.


The FFA shuts down tonight at midnight. As many as 4,000 employees will be immediately furloughed.

By the way, the president kicked serious ass during his press conference today.


According to a new report from the Economics for Equity and the Environment Network, the estimated cost to society per ton of CO2 released into the atmosphere may be 45 times higher than previously estimated by the federal government.

The study found the true cost of those emissions to be far beyond the $21 per ton derived by the federal government.

The figure, commonly known as the "social cost of carbon," is used by federal agencies when weighing the costs and benefits of emissions-cutting regulations, such as air conditioner efficiency standards and greenhouse gas emissions limits for light trucks.

A truer value, according the Economics for Equity and the Environment Network, an umbrella organization of economists who advocate for environmental protection, could be as high as $900 per ton—equivalent to adding $9 to each gallon of gas. Viewed another way, with the U.S. emitting the equivalent of close to 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually, the higher figure suggests that avoiding those emissions could save the nation $5.3 trillion annually, one-third of the nation's economic output.*

A second, separate report released July 12 buttressed the argument, finding that the government routinely underestimates the benefits of avoiding climate change when conducting cost-benefit analysis on regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Rather than discussing the debt burden we're going to leave behind for our grandchildren, we should be discussing the environmental catastrophe that awaits them. We should be discussing how our lack of spending on infrastructure and green energy will make their lives that much more difficult.

The economic costs of doing nothing will, in the future, dwarf our current fiscal problems in their severity.


The Onion: Congress Continues Debate Over Whether Or Not Nation Should Be Economically Ruined


Here's a clip of Jim Meskimen doing Shakespeare in the voices of Robert DeNiro, Rick Gervais, Paul Giamatti and others. Excellent.


A little over a week left before the August 2nd deadline to reach a deal and the Tea Party and Grover Norquist still have a stranglehold on Republicans in Congress.

Debt-reduction negotiations between President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner collapsed Friday, derailing an effort to reach a landmark agreement to cut spending, overhaul the tax code and avert a government default.

In subsequent statements, both sides blamed the other for an impasse that threatens to plunge the nation into a fiscal crisis if the government fails to meet a looming deadline to raise the federal debt ceiling.

Barack Obama offered Republicans a deal which was slanted further to the right than anything a Ronald Reagan could have imagined in his wildest dreams. And John Boehner said no. Boehner walked away from a deal which had over $1 trillion in cuts in domestic and defense spending as well as $650 billion in cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Make no mistake about it, Republicans have broken government. Their refusal to compromise even when presented with a proposal which could easily have been written by the most staunch of conservatives a few years back, is a grim reminder of their ultimate goal – take down this president at any cost. Republicans have made the conscience decision to sacrifice the economic welfare of their country in pursuit of that goal.

Andrew Sullivan:

Coming from abroad, this country seems as if it is beyond dysfunctional. It looks like a banana republic on the verge of economic collapse. Now that Nixon's dream has come true and the GOP is fundamentally the party of the Confederacy, it was perhaps naive to think they could ever accept the legitimacy of this president, or treat him with respect or act as adults in the governing process.

But this is who they are. I longed for Obama to bridge this gulf in ideology. But he cannot bridge it alone, especially when the GOP is determined to burn the bridge entirely, even when presented with a deal so tilted to the right only true fanatics could possibly walk away from it. And so the very republic is being plunged into crisis and possible depression by a single, implacable, fanatical faction. Until they are defeated, the country remains in more peril than we know.

In a perfect world, the consequences of Republican's indefensible actions would be isolated to the fools who empower the madmen at the voting booth – the Ailes' zombies who have turned over all responsibility to reason for themselves to a right-wing lying, noise machine they pay allegiance to. The actions of a few has put into jeopardy the economic welfare of the U.S. and, in large measure, an entire world.

In this imperfect world, a minority of lunatics have taken over the asylum.

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