Anti-Equality Christian Lawyer Indicted On Federal Child Pornography Charges


Christian attorney indicted on federal child pornography charges
By Arturo Garcia
Lisa Biron via FB page

Federal agents arrested a Christian New Hampshire lawyer Saturday and accused her of allegedly driving a teen girl to Canada and cajoling her into allowing her to film her having sex.

The Concord Monitor reported that Biron was arrested by FBI officials Friday before a scheduled hearing on child pornography possession charges stemming from an Oct. 9 arrest.

The federal indictment against Biron — who has been linked to Alliance Defending Freedom, a right-wing lawyers group that says on its website it advocates for “religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family” — includes charges of not only possessing child pornography, but five counts of sexually exploiting a child and one count of transportation with intent to engage in child pornography.

According to the New Hampshire Union Leader, Police had been investigating Biron since September, when they received a tip that she had child pornography on her computer. That led to the Oct. 9 arrest, and seven subsequent counts of child pornography possession at the district level.

But the FBI pursued the search further, and federal prosecutors are also accusing Biron of driving the girl to Ontario, Canada, and recording four digital videos of her having sex and taking a digital photograph between May 25 and May 28.

A U.S. District Court judge ordered Biron to be held without bail in part due to violations of bail conditions from the earlier charges. Biron was found to have disobeyed orders to only use her laptop for work purposes and to not have any weapons; agents discovered 200 rounds of ammunition, though no gun, at her home.

[Image via Lisa Byron Facebook community page]
Raw Story (http://s.tt/1u6v9)

Dire Warning! | Frothing Religious Lunatic Pat Robertson Accuses Atheists!


Dire Warning! | Frothing Religious Lunatic Pat Robertson Accuses Atheists!
Robertson: ‘Miserable’ Atheists Trying to ‘Steal’ Christmas
SUBMITTED BY Brian Tashman

The “War on Christmas” has arrived and the 700 Club is doing all it can to stoke fears that Christmas may cease to exist. Host Pat Robertson warned that “the Grinch is trying to steal our holiday” as “miserable” atheists “want to steal your holiday away from you” simply because they can’t stand the joy of Christmas. “Atheists don’t like our happiness, they don’t want you to be happy, they want you to be miserable,” he said. “They’re miserable so they want you to be miserable.”

Watch:

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The Kremlin’s Conspiracy Channel | Are America’s Conspiracy Purveyors The Most “Useful Idiots” of Russian Propaganda?


The Kremlin’s Conspiracy Channel | Are America’s Conspiracy Purveyors The Most “Useful Idiots” of Russian Propaganda?
Russian TV Channel Pushes ‘Patriot’ Conspiracy Theories
By Sonia Scherr

Five years ago, Russia Today made its debut as a news network aimed at enhancing Russia’s image in the West.

Recently, however, the Kremlin-financed television channel has devoted considerable airtime not only to coverage that makes Russia look good, but to coverage that makes the United States look bad. Over the past year and a half, Russia Today has reported with boosterish zeal on conspiracy theories popular in the resurgent “Patriot” movement, whose adherents typically advocate extreme antigovernment doctrines. Its slickly packaged stories suggest that a legitimate debate is under way in the United States about who perpetrated the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, for instance, and about President Obama’s eligibility for high office.

Russia Today screenshot
Russia Today’s vision of the U.S. – a Byzantine nation animated by all kinds of dark conspiracies – is beamed out to as many as 200 million people.

It also frequently quotes U.S.extremistsas authorities on world events or interviews them at length without asking anything more than softball questions. One British journalist called Russia Today “a strange propaganda outfit” after appearing on a show in which the host injected Sept. 11 revisionism.Unlike most U.S.-based Patriot radio shows that do the same, the Moscow-headquartered Russia Today has a large global audience tuning in via cable, satellite and the Internet. In North America, Europe and South Africa, some 200 million paying viewers — including a growing number in the United States — have access to the network. Last year, more Washington, D.C.-area viewers told Nielsen Media Research they preferred to watch primetime news on Russia Today than on such other English-language foreign networks as Deutsche Welle (Germany), France 24, Euronews (France), CCTV News (China) and Al Jazeera English (Qatar). On YouTube, Russia Today ranks among the top 10 most-viewed news and political channels of all time. It employs some 2,000 staff worldwide, including about 100 in its recently opened Washington, D.C., office. (That makes its staff larger than Fox News, which reports a worldwide staff of 1,200, and about half the size of that of cable news pioneer CNN.) Russia Today has launched sister networks in Arabic and Spanish in addition to its flagship English broadcasting service.

Though a spokeswoman for Russia Today declined to give the amount of its annual budget, the Russian government has pumped millions into the network since its inception in 2005.

Kathryn Stoner-Weiss, deputy director of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, said the network’s target audience appears to be second- and third-generation members of the Russian diaspora in the United States and abroad, along with foreign investors and international media. “It’s clearly a pro-Russian perspective; that’s the purpose of Russia Today,” she said. “Sometimes, a pro-Russia perspective involves an anti-somebody-else perspective — and we’re the most useful target at certain times.”

Plugging 9/11 Plots
Russia Today’s officials, who have long insisted that they operate without government influence despite multimillion-dollar subsidies, contend that the network is simply presenting a fresh take on the news. (Full disclosure: Intelligence Report Editor Mark Potok appeared on the April 26 edition of Russia Today’s “CrossTalk” program to discuss the rise of militias. The network also aired an interview with a militia leader who criticized the Southern Poverty Law Center’s characterization of militia groups.) In a statement to the Intelligence Report, Russia Today Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan called the network’s editorial policy “open and balanced” and dismissed criticism that the channel gives undue airtime to fringe ideas. “We don’t talk about 9/11 any more than U.S. media discusses who was behind the 1999 explosions in Moscow,” she wrote, referring to a series of deadly apartment bombings that helped spark the Second Chechen War. “Moreover, our own journalists have never claimed or even as much as hinted that the U.S. government may have been behind the tragedy of 9/11.”

That last claim is debatable at best. Russia Today has churned out dozens of stories that focus solely on the perspective of “9/11 truthers” — the small minority that, despite overwhelming evidence, rejects the government’s finding that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were perpetrated by al-Qaeda terrorists flying planes into buildings. Last year, for instance, independent producer Lori Harfenist, whose program “The Resident” is carried regularly on Russia Today, interviewed New Yorkers on the street about whether they thought Sept. 11 was “an inside job.” “Eight years after the attacks on U.S. soil on Sept. 11, 2001, questions still loom as to whether there were more people involved or if the U.S. government had anything to do with it,” she said in her introduction to that program. “Do you think the events were purely terrorist attacks or do you think there were conspiratorial forces behind them?” The following statement appeared on the television screen throughout the segment: “New Yorkers unsure whether 9/11 was terrorist attack or inside job.”

Russia Today 9/11 screenshot
Russia Today has regularly featured 9/11 “truthers,” Obama-bashing “birthers,” conspiracy theorists and white supremacists.

Russia Today also appears to give credence to the Sept. 11 truthers in its news and commentary. For instance, the network reported on Oct. 13, 2009, that a judge would not let New Yorkers vote on whether to launch a new investigation into Sept. 11. “If a government by the people ignores the people, many wonder if here democracy is becoming a hypocrisy,” the reporter concluded. The channel also spoke extensively with Luke Rudkowski, the founder of We Are Change, a group that not only seeks “the truth” behind the Sept. 11 attacks but also frets about a looming “one world order,” a classic Patriot fear. “We go up to members … we shake their hands and we ask them what happens when you meet with the world’s elites and banking media corporations and governments all around the world in secret,” Rudkowski said in the April 13, 2009, interview. The Russia Today host did not challenge Rudkowski’s suggestion of international conspiracies by world elites, a common theme on the U.S. radicalright. On Feb. 11, Russia Today interviewed another We Are Change activist. Manny Badillo claimed that newly released Sept. 11 photos prove that explosives, not planes, brought down the buildings.At the time of the last anniversary of Sept. 11, the channel published a four-part series on its website titled  “911 Reasons why 9/11 was (probably) an inside job.” The articles, by Russia Today commentator Robert Bridge, report uncritically on discredited notions about Sept. 11, including the possibility that a bomb inside the towers contributed to their collapse and that the CIA had advance knowledge of the attack. On March 10, one of Russia Today’s top stories was headlined “Americans continue to fight for 9/11 truth.” That story, about a Pennsylvania gathering of Sept. 11 truthers, reported incorrectly that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) listed Rudkowski’s We Are Change as a hate group along with the Ku Klux Klan. (In fact, this year the SPLC added We Are Change to its Patriot group listing, which is distinct from the hate group listing and includes hard-line antigovernment organizations that engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing.)

Russia Today’s focus on Sept. 11 “truth” hasn’t gone unnoticed. Douglas Murray, a British journalist and conservative political commentator, posted a withering blog item earlier this year about his “CrossTalk” appearance. “You can probably imagine,” he wrote on Feb. 15, “indeed can see, the look of astonishment that I and my fellow guest felt when the presenter declared to us, in the middle of a discussion about a totally different subject, that ‘the people that perpetrated 9/11 were not even fundamentalists at all.'” (The show’s host, Peter Lavelle, told The Moscow Times that show had been a “fiasco” because bad weather had prevented him from lining up guests to argue both sides of the issue under discussion.)

Russia Today editor-in-chief Simonyan told the Intelligence Report that “the last time we talked about it [the Sept. 11 truthers movement] was in March.” On May 20, however, the channel published another article by Bridge on its website that again questioned the 9/11 Commission Report. The article asserted that the official report “has only served to fuel suspicions about that watershed moment that will dominate U.S. foreign and domestic policy for many years to come.”

Simonyan is by no means a seasoned veteran of the practice of objective journalsim. Born in Russia of Armenian parents, Simonyan was only 25 when the Kremlin named her editor-in-chief of the new network five years ago. Washington Post Moscow correspondent Peter Finn, quoted in a September 2008 article on the website Russia Beyond the Headlines, called the network a “breathless cheerleader” for the Kremlin, one which carefully avoided topics deemed too critical of then-President Vladimir Putin. The article continued: “During the [2008] conflict in South Ossetia, one of Russia Today’s foreign journalists resigned, claiming that his reports were being censored to meet the official line. Even longtime Kremlin adviser Vyacheslav Nikonov at first referred to Russia Today as ‘too amateurish.'”

Birthers, Militiamen and Racists
It’s not just conspiracy theories about Sept. 11 that preoccupy Russia Today. The channel has also reported on the false notion that Obama was born outside the United States and therefore is ineligible for the presidency. The channel in March interviewed Dr. Orly Taitz, an émigré from the former Soviet republic of Moldova and a chief proponent of the “birther” movement who gained notoriety in August 2009 by unveiling Obama’s supposed Kenyan birth certificate — a document quickly exposed as a laughable forgery — and also has made a whole raft of other completely unsupported claims. Though the host noted that major American media outlets have refuted birther claims, he did not state that Obama has made public his birth certificate, even when Taitz asserted that “Obama himself owed allegiance to three other nations.” Taitz has made other appearances on Russia Today.

Sometimes Russia Today seems to want to have it two ways. A July 31, 2009, article on its website reported that Hawaii officials had confirmed that Obama was born there. It went on to state, however, that Obama was “being asked a lot of questions,” including the “particularly embarrassing” one about his birthplace. It quoted a correspondent for the far-right website World Net Daily who suggested that, if the birth certificate exists, Obama should display it. The article didn’t mention that White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told World Net Daily that the birth certificate is posted on the Internet.

In addition, a Nov. 25, 2009, Russia Today story reported that James David Manning, the black pastor of a Harlem church, not only sees “pure evil” in Obama — but also contends he’s not a U.S. citizen. The story noted Manning’s views are controversial, but concluded, “Pastor Manning remains undeterred in his rhetoric, despite the criticism of his community.” (Manning is apparently a friend of Taitz, joining her for a tiny 2009 protest in front of Fox News’ offices in New York after Fox’s Bill O’Reilly called Taitz “a nut.”)

Manning isn’t the only fringe figure to whom Russia Today has given exposure. Conspiracy-minded radio host Alex Jones makes frequent appearances. In a softball interview last year, Jones rehashed a signature Patriot conspiracy theory when he described the United States as a tool of the “New World Order” and asserted that the world is “controlled by the Bilderberg Group.” (The Bilderberg Group is an international, invitation-only group of influential business and government figures that meets privately every year. Many on the American radical right, including a number of anti-Semites, have long seen the Bilderberg group as being behind all kinds of nefarious plots.) “The New World Order,” Jones said in his April 7, 2009, show, “is just a super-rich international mafia of oligarchs that are playing God, who want to abolish and bankrupt nation states so they can set up an international order, where the planet is owned by a private bank.” The host, Anastasia Churkina, did not challenge any of Jones’ claims. In fact, Russia Today has sought Jones’ opinion on topics ranging from Internet security to a Philadelphia school district’s webcam spying scandal to the BP oil spill response. (He sees a federal conspiracy in all these cases.) An April 16 story headlined “Alex Jones reacts to news of potential oil shortages” gives odd weight to the opinion of the self-described truth teller. Consider the story’s opening paragraph: “In a new report, U.S. military officials are warning of a drop in oil production as early as 2012, but Alex Jones says that this may be true, and if so, it is the result of a conspiracy.”

Longtime militia organizer Jim Stachowiak — a controversial figure even in Patriot circles — also is a regular guest on Russia Today. Earlier this year, the Georgia-based radio host appeared on the network to defend Charles Dyer, a prominent associate of the Patriot group Oath Keepers until Dyer was charged with child sex abuse in January. “We’re standing by Dyer,” said Stachowiak, who wore a “Don’t Tread on Me” hat and referred to the ATF (the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) as the “American Terrorism Force.”

Even white nationalist Jared Taylor has found a platform on Russia Today. On Feb. 8 of this year, when Taylor participated in a “CrossTalk” discussion of whether Obama is a post-racial president, host Lavelle introduced him as an author and editor of American Renaissance journal but made no mention of his blatantly racist views. (In 2005, for instance, Taylor wrote in his journal: “Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears.”) Russia Today was also the only major media outlet to interview Taylor after multiple hotels cancelled his magazine’s biannual conference in February. It did not seek comment from the activists behind the campaign to shut down the conference, which brings together prominent white supremacists and academic racists from the United States and abroad.

But editor-in-chief Simonyan denied the channel is providing a forum for extremists. “We don’t give airtime to public figures who you call extremist any more than CNN and other channels give airtime to people who many in Russia consider extremists,” she said.

Yet Russia Today is clearly serving the interests of those who promote the ideas that animate the burgeoning Patriot movement. The channel gets rave reviews on Patriot websites, including Jones’ Prison Planet Forum. “This is what mainstream news should be like,” one forum poster declared on May 7 — ironically overlooking that his ideal media outlet is heavily subsidized by and very likely beholden to a government. “Russia Today,” he said, “gets many kudos from me.”

 

Right Wing Cocoon Begins To Revolt Against Its Own Biased Media


MSNBC Making Moves Against Fox, While Right-Wingers Revolt Against Conservative Media

The downfall of Fox may be the story of the election.

Catholic Loon Sean Hannity, one of the Fox News channel’s strident crackpot conservative voices.

The big media story of the week continues to be the seeming implosion of the Fox News channel after its on-air talent’s refusal to acknowledge Obama’s lead, then victory, in the polls. The network’s  mishaps have made it a laughingstock, while rival network MSNBC just keeps growing.

The NYtimes reports on the way MSNBC has begun creeping up on the conservative news behemoth:

During Mr. Obama’s first term, MSNBC underwent a metamorphosis from a CNN also-ran to the anti-Fox, and handily beat CNN in the ratings along the way. Now that it is known, at least to those who cannot get enough politics, as the nation’s liberal television network, the challenge in the next four years will be to capitalize on that identity.

MSNBC, a unit of NBCUniversal, has a long way to go to overtake the Fox News Channel, a unit of News Corporation: on most nights this year, Fox had two million more viewers than MSNBC.

But the two channels, which skew toward an audience that is 55 or older, are on average separated by fewer than 300,000 viewers in the 25- to 54-year-old demographic that advertisers desire. On three nights in a row after the election last week, MSNBC — whose hosts reveled in Mr. Obama’s victory — had more viewers than Fox in that demographic.

“We’re closer to Fox than we’ve ever been,” said Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC, who has been trying to overtake Fox for years. “All of this is great for 2013, 2014 to keep building.”

Just as interesting is the critique of Fox from within the conservative movement, particularly younger conservatives like Ross Douthat, who have had enough with the “bubble.”

Today, a story in POLITICO features Douthat and a bunch of young conservatives  scolding their elders for buying into the myths Fox perpetuates, and not finding other ways to reach the public:

And this, say next-generation Republicans, is where cocoonism has been detrimental to the cause.

The tension between the profit- and ratings-driven right — call them entertainment-based conservatives — and conservatives focused on ideas (the thinkers) and winning (the operatives) has never been more evident.

The latter group worries that too many on the right are credulous about the former.

“Dick Morris is a joke to every smart conservative in Washington and most every smart conservative under the age of 40 in America,” said Douthat. “The problem is that most of the people watching Dick Morris don’t know that.”

The egghead-hack coalition believes that the entertainment-based conservatives create an atmosphere that enables flawed down-ballot candidates, creates a cartoonish presidential primary and blocks needed policy reforms, and generally leave an odor on the party that turns off swing voters.

It even fosters an atmosphere in which there’s a disconnect with the ostensible party leaders.

Even big-ticket donors have bought into this disconnect, surrounding themselves with Fox news, talk radio and their “apocalyptic” vision. They entered the bubble wiilingly, right along with the party rank and file.

In the Washington Post, there’s a profile of Beth Cox, a member of the GOP faithful who personally bought into the bubble created by the conservative media–now she is devastated by what she sees.

She turned on her computer and pulled up an electoral map that she had filled out a few days before the election. She had predicted the outcome twice — once coming up with a narrow Romney win and once more with a blowout.

Florida: red.

Colorado: red.

Virginia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin: all red.

Everything in her version of America had confirmed her predictions: the confident anchors on Fox News; the Republican pollsters so sure of their data; the two-hour line outside her voting precinct, where Romney supporters hugged and honked for her handmade signs during a celebration that lasted until the results started coming in after sundown. Romney’s thorough defeat had come more as a shock than as a disappointment, and now Cox stared at the actual results on her computer and tried to imagine what the majority of her country believed.

Cox recognized that much of the blame lay at her own party’s feet:

She blamed some of the divisiveness on Republicans. The party had gotten “way too white,” she said, and she hoped it would never again run a presidential ticket without including a woman or a minority. The tea party was an extremist movement that needed to be “neutralized,” she said, and Romney’s campaign had suffered irreparable damage when high-profile Republicans spoke about “crazy immigration talk and legitimate rape.”

Still, she is one of many who now believes the country is headed to hell in a handbasket.
It’s hard to imagine conservative media not taking the lucrative chance to capitalize on the fear and anger of people like Beth Cox. And if the party and media do change,  what will they replace the fearmongering with? Vague reassurances about “reaching out” are all we’ve got so far.

The Kremlins Conspiracy Theorists and Islamic Fundamentalism


The Kremlins Conspiracy Theorists and Islamic Fundamentalism
Islamic Fundamentalists in the Kremlin
By Michael  Bohm

The wave of anger in North Africa and the Middle East  over the anti-Islam video “Innocence of Muslims” underscores several  troubling similarities between anti-Americanism in Russia and the  Muslim world. Injured pride is at the top of the list.

Prominent journalist Maxim Shevchenko has suggested that  the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama may have stood  behind the production of “Innocence of Muslims.” Shevchenko, who  made his remarks on Sept. 13 on Ekho Moskvy radio, isn’t alone  in embracing this conspiracy theory, which has been circulated in the  Russian blogosphere. The motive behind provoking the Muslim world with  the video, Shevchenko reasoned, was to boost Obama’s popularity two  months away from the U.S. presidential election by creating  a major crisis, much like the 9/11 attacks initially consolidated  Americans around President George W. Bush and increased his ratings. This,  Shevchenko said, may explain why there was so little security protecting  the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and why  the ambassador and three other Americans ended up dead.

Russians’ fondness for conspiracy theories is exceeded perhaps only  by Muslims’. In Egypt, for example, 75 percent of Muslims  believe U.S. authorities carried out the 9/11 attacks, according to a  2011 Pew poll. In Russia, the figure is 16 percent, according  to a 2008 Levada poll, with 20 percent having difficulty answering.

Yet if there were any government forces that used the anti-Islam video  to provoke a crisis, they were located in North Africa, not  in Washington. This crude, amateurish video had gone unnoticed since June,  when it was first released by U.S.-based producers in English,  and it would have remained unnoticed if Salafi forces in Egypt hadn’t  translated the video into Arabic.

Al-Nas, a Salafist pan-Arab television station based in Cairo,  translated the video several days before the 9/11 anniversary  and distributed it in Egypt and other Muslim countries.  The Arabic version then went viral in days, with 10 million Muslims  watching it, which led to violent protests at U.S. embassies  and consulates in more than a dozen cities around the globe.

The political goal of the Salafist fundamentalists — presumably  with a silent nod, or even the active participation, of Egypt’s  ruling Muslim Brotherhood — was clear: to mobilize angry, poor Muslims  against a time-honored foreign enemy, the United States,  to deflect attention from the region’s domestic problems.

Clearly, flawed U.S. policies in the Middle East, including  the Iraq invasion and decades of support for secular  autocrats, have fueled anti-Americanism in the region. But Husain Haqqani,  formerly Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, believes that  anti-Americanism among Muslims has other important roots as well. In a  Sept. 13 comment in The Wall Street Journal, he wrote: “At the heart  of Muslim street violence is the frustration of the world’s  Muslims over their steady decline for three centuries, a decline that  has coincided with the rise and spread of the West’s military,  economic and intellectual prowess. … The image of an ascendant  West belittling Islam with the view to eliminate it serves as  a convenient explanation for Muslim weakness.”

For Russia watchers, this should sound familiar. This phenomenon also  underlies the anti-­Americanism stoked by the Kremlin.  The only difference is that the Kremlin’s propaganda hasn’t led  to angry mobs storming the U.S. Embassy or consulates. Rather, it is  limited to anti-American comments by the nation’s leaders  and crude propaganda programs on state-run television. The latest  example was “Provocateurs: Part Two,” shown on Rossia 1 last week,  and suggested that the West, along with self-exiled tycoon Boris  Berezovksy, organized Pussy Riot’s purported attempt to undermine  the country’s cultural foundation and values.

In addition, for months the Kremlin has carried out attacks  against U.S.-funded nongovernmental organizations, which have been labeled as  fifth columns whose mission is to weaken the state and organize  an Orange-style revolution. The Kremlin’s campaign reached  a climax this month when the Foreign Ministry gave notice to the  U.S. government that the Russia office of USAID, a major sponsor  of Russian NGOs such as Golos, must be closed by Oct. 1 because  of USAID’s “meddling in Russia’s domestic politics.” Notably, Egypt’s  Muslim Brotherhood government has also increased its crackdown on U.S.-funded  NGOs operating in the country, claiming that they, too, carry out subversive  activities.

Like in many Muslim countries, Russia’s state-sponsored anti-U.S.  propaganda helps boost ratings for the country’s leaders and deflect  attention from domestic problems. In both cases, the Kremlin and Islamic  fundamentalists in the Middle East and North Africa use anti-Americanism to  manipulate public opinion among the masses.

The irony, however, is that against the backdrop of the attack  on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi,  Libyans stand in long  lines every day at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli to get visas  to study or work in the United States. The lines are much longer  for U.S. visas in Moscow.

There is another similarity between anti-­Americanism in Russia  and the Muslim world: the need for Potemkin victories. Both  Muslims and Russians want to look like they are successful in the  absence of real international victories and development  at home.

Thankfully, Russia’s Potemkin victories against the United States are  not violent like in North Africa and the Middle East. But they do take  the form of playing the spoiler role on the United Nations  Security Council — Syria being the latest example — largely to spite  the United States and to force Washington to acknowledge that key  international issues cannot be solved without Moscow.

The Muslim world’s steady 300-year decline has arguably played  an important role in shaping its worldview and, specifically,  anti-Americanism. Of course, Russia’s decline from its superpower  status is more recent and less severe but hardly less painful.

Still, Russia should take a lesson from Britain on how  to recover gracefully from lost-superpower status. Much of Russia  is, indeed, stuck in the nostalgia of the past — in an  overglorified version of Soviet power and influence. The past is  a bad place to be. There is no future in it.

 

Tommy Emmanuel | Guitar Boogie!


Another version of Arthur Smith’s “Guitar Boogie”. This version by Tommy is one of my favourites. Great playing by the guitar master!
Tommy Emmanuel | Guitar Boogie!

 

Iceman Mummy Found | Science News


FROZEN FARMER The 5,300-year-old Iceman mummy found in the Alps was part of a wave of immigrants that moved into Europe as agriculture spread from the Middle East, a new genetic analysis finds.          more >>
© South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, EURAC, Samadelli, Staschitz

Latest News
  • The insidious spread of an abnormal protein may be behind Parkinson’s disease, a study in mice suggests. A harmful version of the protein crawls through the brains of healthy mice, killing brain cells and damaging the animals’ balance and coordination, researchers report in the Nov. 16 Science.                   11.16.12 | more >>

  • NASA’s Curiosity rover isn’t leaving just tire tracks in the reddish Martian dust — it’s also leaving scoop marks in an area called Rocknest, about 480 meters away from where the rover touched down in August.                   11.16.12 | more >>

  • Not all planets are content to dutifully circle a star. A new rogue planet has been spied roaming free among a pack of young stars about 115 to 160 light-years from Earth.                   11.15.12 | more >>

  • A rainforest katydid doesn’t talk like a mammal, or walk like a mammal, but it does hear with the first mammal-like, three-stage sound-sensing system known outside vertebrates.                  11.15.12 | more >>

  • Beefing up some muscles doesn’t take steroids or exercise — paraffin wax will do. Incorporating wax into artificial muscles spun from carbon nanotubes gives them superior flexing power, a discovery that could lead to smart materials such as fabrics that respond to environmental changes.                   11.15.12 | more >>

  • Scientists working in South Africa have unearthed the oldest-known spear tips, apparently made by a common ancestor of people and Neandertals around 500,000 years ago.                  11.15.12 | more >>

  • View the videos  Snowboarders and marine engineers both worry about avalanches, but the latter may have a tougher job when working underwater. They have to understand not only what makes a cliffside collapse, but also how fluid between sand grains affects the flow.                  11.15.12 | more >>

  • The Ebola virus can spread through the air from pigs to macaques, a new study suggests.                  11.15.12 | more >>

  • Droughts shrivel crops, threaten communities, and wither ecosystems. Studies claim global warming is increasing drought worldwide, and may already have done so. But the standard method of assessing drought has exaggerated drying trends over the past 60 years, scientists report in the Nov. 14 Nature.                   11.14.12 | more >>

  • A collection of reports from the conference, held November 6-10 in San Francisco                  11.14.12 | more >>

  • China’s famous Qinling pandas may run out of their favorite food by the end of this century. Scientists have simulated how three bamboo species native to central China’s Qinling Mountains might move around as climate changes. And the news is bad for hungry pandas: All three plant species shrink in range.                  11.13.12 | more >>

  • A mysterious, 3-million-year-old member of the human evolutionary family had a maverick taste for grasses and flowering plants called sedges, a chemical analysis of the creature’s teeth suggests.                  11.12.12 | more >>

  • SAN FRANCISCO — Nearly gnawed-off telomeres — the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes — may portend a higher risk of death, a new study suggests.                   11.11.12 | more >>

  • The effects of a baby’s rough start can linger. An early stressful environment during a baby girl’s first year was associated with altered brain behavior and signs of anxiety in her late teens, scientists report online November 11 in Nature Neuroscience.                   11.11.12 | more >>

  • SAN FRANCISCO — Rare tweaks in single letters of DNA are not as powerful a force in health and in common diseases as scientists hoped, new work suggests.                   11.08.12 | more >>

  • Classic Maya civilization rose and fell with the rains.                  11.08.12 | more >>

  • When a killer seaweed touches a kind of spiky coral, the coral pushes a chemical panic button that brings small resident fish to the rescue.                  11.08.12 | more >>

  • Making hydrogen gas in water just got a little easier. The discovery may lead to inexpensive, practical means of harvesting sunlight to create clean-burning hydrogen for powering cars or generating electricity.                   11.08.12 | more >>

  • Sea levels may swell much higher than previously predicted, thanks to feedback mechanisms that are speeding up ice melt in Greenland and Antarctica.                   11.08.12 | more >>

  • Astronomers on the prowl for potentially habitable planets have found a new candidate: a world seven times as massive as Earth in a nearby solar system.                  11.07.12 | more >>

  • The seemingly unending election cycle may have left you battle-weary and bleary-eyed, but that’s not why physicist Mark Newman’s election maps look distorted. He makes cartograms, maps in which familiar shapes are morphed to represent something other than just area.                  11.07.12 | more >>

Woman Refused Abortion Dies In ‘Catholic Country’ | The Republican Party Intends Far Worse For American Women


Irish Hospital Refuses to Perform Abortion, Lets Woman Die
This is what the Republican Party wants for America
Posted by:-  Charles Johnson
This horrifying story from Ireland is a grim warning of what’s in store for the United States if the Republican Party’s anti-abortion agenda is allowed to succeed: Woman ‘Denied a Termination’ Dies in Hospital.

Two investigations are under way into the death of a woman who was 17 weeks pregnant, at University Hospital Galway last month.

Savita Halappanavar (31), a dentist, presented with back pain at the hospital on October 21st, was found to be miscarrying, and died of septicaemia a week later.

Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. He says that, having been told she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Ms Halappanavar asked for a medical termination.

This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.

She spent a further 2½ days “in agony” until the foetal heartbeat stopped.

Note the hospital’s reason for refusing this poor woman an abortion: a heartbeat was present.

This is exactly the kind of law the Republican Party is pushing in many states – to define human life as beginning when a heartbeat is audible.

It’s no exaggeration at all to say this is what the GOP wants for America. They’re working hard to make it happen, right now.

Giant Croaking Toad John Hagee Thinks Obama is Precursor To Anti-Christ


Hagee: ‘God Will Hold America Responsible’ for Re-Electing Obama

SUBMITTED BY Kyle Mantyla

Yesterday, John Hagee opened up the “Hagee Hotline” to answer questions from parishioners about the election; questions like “do you believe [President Obama] is the precursor to the Anti-Christ?”  Hagee never really answered the question, simply predicting that an economic crash is coming that will result in the rise of a global economic czar who will, in fact, be the Anti-Christ.

But as for the election, Hagee warned that “America chose a leader who is for men marrying men” and who is “pro-abortion” and who has “attacked freedom of religion” and so this nation is “about to face the consequences of our choices” because “God will hold America responsible for that choice”:

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Raving Lunatics | Fawning, Slobbering, Superstitious Catholics Scramble to Idolatry


‘Virgin Mary’ draws hundreds of Malaysian Catholics
AFP
Monday, Nov 12, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Hundreds of Catholics have gathered in prayer and worship outside a Malaysian hospital after seeing an image said to resemble the Virgin Mary on one of the windows.

Pictures of the image have gone viral among local Christians on Facebook and large crowds have gathered at the Sime Darby Medical Centre just outside Kuala Lumpur.

Those assembled Sunday maintained they can now also see an image of an adult Jesus Christ just two windows away from His mother.

Nearly 100 Catholics were still at the hospital Sunday, lighting candles, singing hymns and saying prayers. Several tourist buses added to the congestion.

Some have come from as far as Singapore, over 300 kilometers (187 miles) away, to see the image on a seventh-floor window, which they describe as a miracle.

“We believe Mary, mother of God, has a message for us, as she is looking down on us and then at a Malaysian flag. We can also see Jesus and He is also moving, they are not static,” Eunice Fernandez, who lives nearby, told AFP.

The 54-year-old housewife dismissed claims the image could be a hoax.

Sime Darby, which is primarily a plantations conglomerate, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Father Lawrence Andrew, editor of Malaysian Catholic newsletter The Herald, told AFP the Church would need to investigate and verify the authenticity of the images and “the experiences of the witnesses.”

“It could be private revelations. We have to make sure they are not imagined but real apparitions,” he said.

Catholics make up a sizeable minority in Muslim-dominated Malaysia.

Is The Meme “Nuclear Iran” a Cover For Iran’s Killing and Torture of Dissenters?


The meme of “nuclear Iran” is plastered in every media. This makes convenient cover for Iran’s internal killings and human rights violations. Little attention is given to the slaughter, torture and persecution of minorities, women, atheists, perceived heretics and dissenters!

US Blasts Iran Over Torture And Death Of Blogger

Posted by:– chainsoff

English: Mr. Sayyed Mohammad Beheshti
English: Mr. Sayyed Mohammad Beheshti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. has strongly condemned Iran for thetorture and death of Iranian blogger and labor activistSattar Beheshti (35), who as reported, died earlier this week while undergoing interrogation in Evin Prison. “We are appalled by reports that Iranian authorities tortured and killed blogger and activist Sattar Beheshti during a prison interrogation. Besheshti had been arrested for a crime no greater than expressing his political opinion online,” saidVictoria Nuland, U.S. Department spokesperson.

Nuland said that the Iranian government must “investigate this murder, hold accountable those responsible for Beheshti’s arrest, torture, and killing, and immediately cease all reported harassment of Beheshti’s family.” GVF reported that Beheshti’s death occured just one week after his arrest by Iran’s cyber police.

Beheshti was arrested by Iran’s cyber police on national security charges on October 30, who also confiscated the activist’s personal belongings, including his computer and handwritten notes.

Beheshti, the family’s only breadwinner, was reportedly active on Facebook. Iran’s cyber police was launched in January 2011 as part of the nation’s crackdown on online activism. “Sattar Beheshti is just one of thousands of victims of the Iranian government’s campaign of violent repression and efforts to curtail basic freedoms at all costs,” Nuland said

Australia’s Disneyfied Israel


Australia’s Disneyfied Israel

by 

For two weeks this month, Hagai El-Ad, executive director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), visited Australia as a guest of the New Israel Fund Australia Foundation. Only 18 months old, NIF Australia has already achieved a significant aim of its creation: to begin anew a conversation about Israel and Judaism in Australia.

Hagai El-Ad standing in front of the Melbourne skyline. (Photo by Arielle Perlow via New Israel Fund Australia)
Hagai El-Ad standing in front of the Melbourne skyline. (Photo by Arielle Perlow via New Israel Fund Australia)

The Jewish community here—dominated by Holocaust survivors and their descendants, and migrants from South Africa and the former Soviet Union—is acutely aware of the importance of multiculturalism and of respecting human rights in Australia. But, paradoxically, though hardly uniquely, the communal leadership has ensured these values aren’t applied in its engagement with Israel.

Blinded by fear of anti-Semitism and the need to over-protect Israel and our conversations about it, the community has landed firmly on the Zionist Right. With a leadership composed almost exclusively of middle-aged Religious Zionist men, the community has developed a thinly veiled enmity towards left-wing Jews and Zionists. Instead of fostering a pluralist Zionist conversation, they largely promote a limited set of views. The lessons of tolerance, human rights, and equality have, over time, been lost and replaced with a myopic Zionism.

Though the establishment sets its “red lines” for inclusion as being anti-BDS and pro-two-state solution, it has embraced, or at best turned a blind eye to, groups on the right, like Ateret Cohanim, which are active campaigners against Palestinian sovereignty. Meanwhile, NIF guests like David Landau, despite firmly fitting the criteria, are demonized. Similarly, NIF’s credentials and leadership are constantly brought into question.

The math just doesn’t add up: Setting boundaries for Zionist conversation, and then ignoring those boundaries to welcome speakers with anti-Palestinian agendas and to undermine liberal Zionists is, quite simply, rank hypocrisy.

The community’s leadership also deliberately weakens public expressions of liberal Zionism. The cancellation of a visit by Naomi Chazan to Australia in early 2010 served as the precursor for a prolonged global campaign against the New Israel Fund. It was as if, to the communal leadership’s sudden surprise, NIF was full of liberals and left-wing Zionists, and was therefore unworthy of engagement. I have been a victim myself, having been terminated as a columnist at the country’s only Jewish newspaper for daring to support a boycott of settlement goods.

Fully understanding the causes of this dynamic is difficult, but the unbroken right-wing communal leadership and the impact of the Holocaust no doubt contribute to wanting to protect Israel and Diaspora Jews.

Which is why El-Ad’s visit is so crucial. Throughout, a common theme of his talks was an urge to have a “real relationship with a real Israelnot a fake relationship with a ‘Disneyfied’ version of Israel.” Each time he said that, I watched the crowd lift their heads. It was as if they paused, reflected back on his discussion of the human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, of Bedouin displacement in the Negev, of Israel’s mistreatment of asylum seekers and refugees, and realized this was the first time they were actually engaging in these real-world-Israel issues.

His visits to Jewish day schools, in particular, provoked such responses. The occupation, when it is dealt with, is not understood as something that necessarily creates terrible human rights violations and undermines the long-term viability of the Jewish-democratic Zionist project. The ‘aha’ moment with regard to the occupation and the realities facing refugees and asylum seekers, when El-Ad spoke, was that Israel faces these issues, and that bringing them to light is okay. In a small way, his visit contributed to a wider understanding of Israel.

Given everything Jews have been through, and given how close Australian Jewry has been to these catastrophes, it’s not surprising there is a desire to shelter or be sheltered. But creating an atmosphere in which views held by loving and concerned Zionists are marginalized is precisely the wrong way to go, not only as a matter of principle, but because of the way young Jews are disengaging like never before.

El-Ad’s message of human rights and his plea to challenge assumptions ingrained over the decades has further challenged the self-perceived right of the communal leadership to act as marshals of Zionist conversation, deciding who is allowed in and which opinions are kept out. Recently, because of organizations like NIF, members of the community have begun rejecting that paradigm. Being exposed to Israel’s wrongs brings an appreciation for how we can contribute to curing them. These messages don’t delegitimize Israel, they add to its strength.

Tears In Heaven


The Brilliant Eric Clapton!

Tears In Heaven

Hate Peddlers Robert Spencer and Pamela Geller’s Link to Neo-Fascist Thugs and Criminals


EDL Boss Stephen Lennon aka Tommy Robinson Arrested For Using A False Passport To Enter USA And Speak At Pamela Geller NYC Anti-Islam Rally.

LUTTON Published on Monday 22 October 2012…English Defence League leader Stephen Lennon has appeared in court this morning charged with entering the US on a false passport.  Lennon, who goes by the name Tommy Robinson, appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court and was remanded in custody, according to an EDL spokesman. He travelled to New York in September to speak at a Pamela Geller conference. A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the unemployed 29-year-old had been charged with having “a false identity document with improper intention contrary to Section 4 of the Identity Documents Act 2010”.

EDL Leader Tommy Robinson Faces Trial for Passport Allegation after 9/11 US Speech for Pamela Geller. The leader of the far-right English Defence League (EDL) could face extradition to the US on criminal charges. Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was arrested amid reports that he entered the US illegally in September.

EDL leader Stephen Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson), appeared at Westminster magistrates’ court charged with possession of an illegal identity document. Yaxley-Lennon was remanded in custody until January to stand trial at Southwark crown court. He claimed on his Twitter page that his arrest stemmed from an invitation he accepted to speak in the US to mark the anniversary of 9/11 terror attacks.   Additional arrests came ahead of a planned march by the EDL in Walthamstow, east London, on October 27th, 2012.  Robinson used social media to publicise the event, revealing he intended to hold a viewing there of the inflammatory film Innocence of Muslims – which mocks Islam and portrays the prophet Mohammed as a paedophile.

As Per Islamophobia Watch: The EDL members released on bail after being arrested on Saturday October 20th, 2012 – apparently en route to the East London Mosque – didn’t include EDL leader Stephen Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson), who has been remanded in prison on a charge of entering the United States illegally. This arises from his visit to New York City last month to speak at the so-called International Freedom Defense Congress organised by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s Stop Islamization of Nations (SION).

Stephen Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) had previously been refused entry to the US when he tried to attend a demonstration (also organised by Pamela Geller and Spencer) against the “Ground Zero mosque” in September 2010. So it was always pretty obvious that he must have got through US customs to attend last month’s conference by using a false passport. It is difficult to believe that his hosts Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer were unaware of this, and hopefully the US authorities are investigating that aspect of the case too.

It appears that Lennon’s arrest over the New York trip wasn’t exactly unexpected. Back on 10 October he was asking Pamela Geller to contact him to discuss problems arising from his appearance at her conference.  Stephen Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court today and was remanded in custody until January 2013. The EDL confirms that the offence he has been charged with is passport fraud.

AFP reports that Stephen Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) has been charged with “possession of a false identity document with improper intention” and quotes a Met police spokesman as saying: “The case relates to allegations that a man tried to travel to the US in September using another person’s passport.” In addition, Stephen Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) faces the prospect of being extradited to the US to face charges there.

Insane Islamophobe Pamela Geller | Petraeus Resignation Is an Obama Plot to Put a Muslim in Charge of the CIA


Loony Pamela Geller: Petraeus Resignation Is an Obama Plot to Put a Muslim in Charge of the CIA
Just another stealth shariah plot by BHO
Thanks to:-  Charles Johnson
The right wing universe is now in full-bore conspiracy theory mode over the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus, just as I predicted. It’s a case study in the conservative movement’s decline into bad craziness; they’re all muttering darkly about cover-ups and hidden connections and “questioning the timing.”

One of the most brain-dead of the wingnuts, loony hateblogger Pamela Geller, has a typical post on the subject; for her it’s all part of the Islamic supremacist stealth shariah takeover of America, of course:

GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS RESIGNS – Atlas Shrugs.

I do not believe it was the real reason was [sic] an extramarital affair. I believe it was Benghazi. He refused to be the fall guy. When did an affair ever stop a Democrat. If anything….

Perhaps one of Obama’s many Muslim Brotherhood advisors are on the shortlist to replace him.

World NUT Daily Crazy Called For Political Witch Hunts, Purges and Ultimately, Executions of Liberals if Romney Had Won!


WND Columnist: Prosecute Liberals, Journalists for Treason
Submitted by Brian Tashman

For years, conservatives have claimed that liberals seek to criminalize Christianity and conservative opinions through imaginary hate speech laws. But today, WorldNetDaily columnist Erik Rush writes that the government should prosecute liberals and members of the press… in order to defend freedom, of course. He accuses journalists of “treasonous collusion” with the Obama administration and said the Founders would have wanted journalists to be “found guilty of high crimes.” “Trials for treason and the requisite sentences would apply,” Rush says, “and I would have no qualms about seeing such sentences executed, no matter how severe.” He claims that progressives’ “seditious, anti-American” speech is “excepted from protection under the First Amendment,” hoping that “the political disenfranchisement of liberals, progressives, socialists and Marxists can begin in earnest, and in the open.”

Assuming that all goes well and that we are rid of Obama in January, there will be a nation to repair – but what about the causes for this necessity? Yes, many Americans are now cognizant of the fact that progressives have “progressed” America dangerously close to being a Marxist-socialist nation and that we are collectively responsible for not having checked that progress. But aside from grass-roots efforts toward electoral and political reform, there are other widespread, organized threats to America’s ongoing concern as a representative republic with guaranteed personal liberties, free speech foremost among them.

Here, I am speaking of the press, the conglomeration of national broadcast, digital and print media organizations that has been incrementally packed with ideological liberals and socialists, and so has disqualified itself as the impartial government watchdog it once was. During my lifetime, I have seen the press become an advance force for social engineering and global socialism. The degree to which they have deceived Americans and enabled the agenda of radicals in recent decades is beyond shame. As former Democratic pollster Pat Caddell said recently, the press has become an enemy of the American people. In the matter of this president, the press largely facilitated the ascension of Barack Obama. The instances wherein they have promoted, shielded and aided him are beyond enumeration.

This goes beyond such things as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and his man crush on Obama – I’m talking about treasonous collusion. One particularly scandalous incident occurred during the second presidential debate, when CNN moderator Candy Crowley made an interjection that appeared to have been as spontaneous as Ambassador Chris Stevens’ murder, and which led to a solid point scored for Obama. Most recently, after Mitt Romney brought up Obama’s 2009 “Apology Tour,” the press did their best to support Obama’s claim that this never happened, despite boundless reams of footage that exist chronicling the event.

It is improbable that the framers of the Constitution anticipated a situation in which the press were entirely given over to seditious, anti-American policies. If they had, it is likely that their modus operandi would be similar to that for any faction found guilty of high crimes. Trials for treason and the requisite sentences would apply, and I would have no qualms about seeing such sentences executed, no matter how severe.

This is not likely to occur, however. Radio personality and nascent media mogul Glenn Beck has the intention of putting the establishment press out of business. While I wish him every success, it doesn’t seem likely that he will accomplish this through his organizations alone. In addition to the advent of powerful alternative media sources, I believe it will be necessary to codify – or reaffirm – the nature of crimes against the Constitution and the American people. In this manner, we can thwart the designs not only of the press, but all global socialists operating in America.

Those whose speech and actions impinge upon the God-given rights set forth in the Declaration of Independence and codified in the Constitution are, by definition, excepted from protection under the First Amendment (as well as the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment). This is a very important concept to consider, because it is based on these presumptions of protected speech and equal protection for all that progressives and socialists have engaged in their predation upon our liberties.

If these truths can be acknowledged and widely accepted as such (as opposed to progressives’ Orwellian interpretations), then the political disenfranchisement of liberals, progressives, socialists and Marxists can begin in earnest, and in the open.

Jewish Fascist David Horowitz Sputters Inanities About Obama


Horowitz: Obama will use Climate Change to ‘Control Your Environment’ and ‘Everybody’s Life’
Submitted by Brian Tashman

David Horowitz talked to Frank Gaffney today on Secure Freedom Radio about what to expect in President Obama’s second term, where Horowitz warned that while the government through health care reform can “control your health, now they’re going to control your environment.” He said that the movement for environmental protection is America’s “biggest threat” because it is working with Obama to impose government “control over everybody’s life” under the excuse of preventing climate change, “the chimera of the left.” He even brought up the debunked claim that Obama will enforce a light switch tax.

The far-right author demanded that Republicans read his book Radicals: Portraits of a Destructive Passion and learn that Obama is following the playbook of Saul Alinsky. Horowitz details how Saul Alinsky came up with the absolutely novel idea that politicians should make compromises, try to pass their policy agenda when they can and run negative advertisements against their opponents.

Horowitz also seems to be under the impression that Romney did not respond to any of the negative ads against him and did not go negative against Obama. “Character assassination is the middle name of every Democratic political operative,” Horowitz maintained, “What is wrong with Republicans that they don’t understand that this is a war? And the other side is playing for keeps.”

Horowitz: Alinsky advised, do what’s possible, not your ideal, make compromises, which Obama has done and he’s turned off some of the left because of it. SO he’s going to continue to fund the left with taxpayer money, that’s a given, that’s where the Stimulus money went, it went to the unions, he’s going to fund the unions. He’s going to pursue this other chimera of the left, the climate change, because it means control over energy policies. They actually want to control when you turn on your light switch, they want to tax you for the energy that you use. I have to tell you, this is the biggest threat, that environmental movement. That’s the powerful movement because it means control over everybody’s life. They won Obamacare and control your health, now they’re going to control your environment.

Gaffney: And energy. David, what would you recommend to the loyal opposition as to what it should be doing to contend with this radical and his agenda for the next four years?

Horowitz: Read my book. The big problem here is conservatives understand policy issues very well, they’re wonks like Paul Ryan. Romney by the way could have won this election if he had made Rubio his vice presidential candidate, as much as I admire Paul Ryan, it was Rubio we should’ve picked for the politics of it. But the main thing is you have to understand your enemy, it’s not good enough to do the policy, people never get to hear the policies. Romney never appeared to half the electorate, what appeared were all those negative campaign ads and that’s just what politics is about. You have got to understand how dedicated and vicious your opponents are. Stop calling them liberals and hopefully some people will read my book because my book is portraits of threes people so you understand who they are.

Gaffney: Right. One of the things that just jumps off of the pages is something that we saw play out, right out of Saul Alinsky’s playbook, I think it was “Rules for Radicals #11,” in which he said, select a target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it. If that wasn’t the script for taking down Mitt Romney I don’t know what was. Horowitz: Yes. Character assassination is the middle name of every Democratic political operative, and everybody who is a conservative knows it, we’ve all been victims of it. It’s not a secret, everybody said, everybody said, this will be the dirtiest campaign ever and Obama has nothing to run on, he has to demonize Romney. And when he did that, did the Romney campaign respond? No. What is wrong with Republicans that they don’t understand that this is a war?

Gaffney: They have to read your book, that’s for sure.

Horowitz: And the other side is playing for keeps.

Insane Allen West and Key Wingnuts of The Congressional ‘Islamophobia Caucus’ Swept From Power


Key members of the Congressional ‘Islamophobia caucus’ swept from Congress
Via:- Alex Kane

West and Geller
Former Florida House Republican Allen West poses with corrupt anti-Muslim bigot Pamela Geller (Phota via DownWithTyranny.blogspot.com)

https://theageofblasphemy.wordpress.com/category/pamela-geller-corruption-money/

Key members of what has been termed Congress’ “Islamophobia caucus” went down in their re-election fights last night, dealing a blow to anti-Muslim activists’ efforts to influence policy and the national discourse. National Muslim organizations celebrated their victories today.

Allen West (R-FL), Joe Walsh (R-IL) and Adam Hasner (R-FL) were three Republicans that had used anti-Muslim rhetoric throughout their elected careers. But now they’re out of a job (though Hasner was running for a Congressional seat he did not hold).

“Folks in their districts wanted to send a message: we will not allow divisive politics, we will not allow extremism to run our political conversation,” said Haris Tarin, the director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s Washington, D.C. office. “It also tells people that trying to divide Americans, by using anti-Muslim rhetoric, will not work in the long run.”

West, a former U.S. Army colonel, went down in Florida’s 18th Congressional district after Patrick Murphy squeaked by in a slim victory. West’s political career from the outset was marred by controversy; he is alleged to have threatened an Iraqi prisoner with death during an interrogation and to have fired shots near the prisoner–something that Murphy attacked him for in the campaign.

The Daily Beast’s Ali Gharib has more background on West’s Islamophobia:

In the House, West earned a reputation as a ferocious right-wing attack dog. The unfounded accusations that dozens of Communists populate the Congress’s Democratic caucus were nothing new, but his most novel legacy may be West’s inflammatory rhetoric about Muslims. Along with Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN), West used his time in Congress to press his case that Islam is “not a religion” but a “totalitarian theocratic political ideology,” and that terrorism is inherent to the faith—not radical Islam, but Islam, writ large. He’s accused a fellow Member of Congress, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), a Muslim, of “represent(ing) the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established.”

If all that wasn’t bad enough, West has shared a stage with America’s foremost anti-Muslim activist, Pamela Geller (who was recently in the news again). When he was called out for his ties to bigots like Geller and asked to respect Muslims’ right to worship freely, his one-word response made an apparent comparison between the request and Nazi overtures for an American surrender in World War II.

Illinois’ Walsh lost his Congressional seat to Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth. “With 93 percent of the unofficial vote counted, Duckworth had 55 percent, with 45 percent for Walsh,” according to the Chicago Tribune. Walsh, in addition to his far-right advocacy on the Israel/Palestine conflict, has also spewed anti-Muslim rhetoric.

In August, Walsh warned that radical Islamists were “trying to kill Americans every week” and that the next 9/11 was inevitable. Walsh also claimed that radical Islam “was here” in the Chicago suburbs. Shortly after Walsh’s remarks made waves, two Chicago-area Muslim centers were violently attacked.

Hasner was a former Florida state representative until 2010, and decided to run for a Florida House seat in 2012. But he lost to Lois Frankel last night. He was an up and coming Jewish Republican who is really cozy with Pamela Geller, the nation’s leading and most virulent anti-Muslim activist. Hasner also was a leader in ginning up fear over the non-existent threat of Sharia law coming to the U.S, and once invited notorious anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders to a “free speech” conference.

“These encouraging results clearly show that mainstream Americans reject anti-Muslim bigotry by candidates for public office and will demonstrate that rejection at the polls,” Nihad Awad, executive director for the Council on American Islamic Relations, said in a statement. “This election witnessed an increased political awareness and mobilization effort among American Muslims that dealt a major blow to the Islamophobia machine.”

And while Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the undisputed leader of Islamophobia in U.S. government, ultimately won her race last night, it was extremely close. Despite spending 10 times the amount her opponent Jim Graves did, Bachmann only won by a few thousand votes. Bachmann is the woman who claimed, with no evidence, that there was Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. government. MPAC’s Tarin said that the message voters in Bachmann’s district sent was, “if you continue to use this anti-Muslim rhetoric as your main platform issue, to divide Americans, it’s not going to work.”

In a press release, CAIR also noted some other races where anti-Muslim politicians went down: “In Arkansas, Rep. James McLean defeated Republican Charlie Fuqua, a candidate who advocated the deportation of all Muslims in a self-published book. In Minnesota, Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) lost his seat. Cravaack was a key supporter’s of Rep. Peter King’s (R-NY) series of anti-Muslim hearings.”

OBAMA | A Crushing Defeat For Racists, Bigots, Misogynists, Exploiters, Homophobes and Blowhards


Some thoughts on Obama: A stunning defeat for racists, patriarchs, exploiters, homophobes and blowhards

Sent by Alan Gilbert

I am – and most people I know are – enormously relieved and thrilled at Obama’s victory. These are some thoughts about it.

***

Bill O’Reilly spoke of the defeat of “traditional America” a “white America.” He spoke of the latinos as well as blacks who voted for Obama as just wanting “stuff.”

This is a standard pseudo-tea-party line (the Boston Tea party was an integrated revolutionary crowd…). It is wrong in three ways. First, no “tea party” advocate refuses social security, medicare or veterans benefits. “Keep the government’s hands off my social security” was an early tea-party sign which captures the racist ninnie-dom of its aging, not to say doddering “white” advocates.

That slogan is, of course, against the interests of people who believe it. Fortunately, in Ohio, many working class white people didn’t (even in the South, I suspect, a lot of poorer white people didn’t). And fortunately, fewer unmarried white women – a growing per cent of voters – and married white women didn’t.

Second, nobody gets bigger breaks or more “welfare” from the government than billionaires. They get special deals so they can hide their profits overseas from taxation. They get special tax incentives so the Romneys pay a lower tax rate, if any, on their multimillions than any of the people who clean up their many mansions…

Third, the executives at Goldman Sachs, AIG and Bain, for example, make money largely through speculation and gutting other people’s jobs. They are literally parasites or speculators – the creatures of “derivatives” and “credit default swaps” – who produce nothing and wrecked the world economy to boot.

There is another category of capitalists who produce something (Apple being a leading example). At their plant in China (Foxconn), however, 14 workers threw themselves off the roof this summer…

There is thus exploitation of people who actually work, physically, hard, at little pay, under coercion, often in despair, in the production of bright i-phones and computers. Many ordinary Americans are among their number.

Bill O’Reilly is a blowhard who speaks of others who want “stuff” and gets paid a lot of money for doing very little. His claims are projection, psychologically speaking. For the takers and I mean particularly categories two and three above, rich people, capitalists, bankers (some of whom have some self-possession and decency, but unfortunately not many), what they say of others is who they are.

It was their defeat. It was earned.

***

John Nichols emphasized this morning on Democracy Now that Obama’s victory, likely to be over 3 million votes, was decisive. It was a bigger victory than that of JFK, Nixon, Carter or W in either term. Remember W’s preening agenda – made possible only by the corporate media – to spend his “political capital” by stealing social security.

Obama needs to push decent immigration reform. Legalizing the immigrants who are exploited here, some 11 or more million people, will further shift the electorate over time – move further toward decency – and force the “Republican” party or some successor to stop being the party of bigotry and pseudo-Israeli, pseudo-Berlin “walls” against the world.

As Hurricane Sandy and the Colorado fires this spring underline, the oceans are warming. There is structural causality of climate change, the rising sea levels or increasing droughts – as well as particular causes – to the increasing dangers of nature. Obama needs to act on this.

But Obama will not act on anything without pressure from below. So we need to push hard on these things.

***

Presidential campaigns are always a spectacle. The attention and energy of millions of people is absorbed in them. Doing something about politics from below – as in the social movements like Occupy which made Obama a decent candidate – are temporarily weakened, go by the board. Yet see the bracing efforts of people on Occupy in flooded New York below.

***

After the election, even in victory, people are tired or need to have a life, get back to work.

So fighting for what needs to be done becomes, in this way, more difficult,

***

In his victory speech, Obama spoke of what is supposedly exceptional in America. This is partly true and partly just a de rigeuer politician’s slogan.

***

America has supported and is the biggest arms seller to oppressors abroad. We need a campaign to awaken Americans to the plight of the Palestinians – inside and outside the Occupied territories – by the state of Israel. We need a decent two state solution or a one state solution with human rights for all.

But Israel plays a destructive flaunter of international law role in the world as well as in American politics, as the Netanyahu-Romney couple showed. This needs to be stopped. See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

The settlements need to be challenged and reversed (or integrated – might be nice to trade some of the $3 billion military aid, not just to move settlers back to Israel, but to move Palestinians in…).

As the civil rights delegation of which I was a part saw, it will take a determined anti-aparteid movement from below to change this.

***

Unlike other Presidents running for reelection, Obama did not bomb Iran or support Israeli aggression during the campaign (see my Must Global Politics Constrain Democracy?, ch. 1). But the dangers of American/Israeli aggression, too, will take a movement from below to head off.

***

That Obama, as an able African-American and mixed race candidate, weathered this storm – won despite 8% unemployment (15% in real terms, counting those who have given up looking for work or have part-time and would jump at full time jobs) and racism – the heart of the Romney campaign – is startling. The so-called Republican party (the imperial authoritarian party) has been the party of sabotage, of voting no to defeat Obama regardless of a common good.

That was what made Chris Christie’s behavior in the storm, along with Obama’s, exemplary. The Republicans, as Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, has rightly argued recently, are the zealous party of “no” at the expense of a common good, buoyed only by money, lies, the bought press, and of course, the fantasies and fears of many ordinary people.

It comes from what Obama said – standing for opportunity and decency for all Americans, inviting all into the community and from, for the most part, extremely able campaigning. The campaigning is, as the Presidency, during Hurricane Sandy, mainly efficient, doing competently what one might expect someone to do though candidates/politicians often don’t, and also inventive.

Most Americans want decency and opportunity for themselves and their familieis, and see that this is something that needs extension to others. And Americans are tired of imperial aggressions.

***

The Obama campaigns have been memorable for finding many new to politics, lost or forgotten or overlooked, reaching out to them, enabling them to mobilize. Their method reveals a new model of skill in figuring out how to mobilize the vote. Here Obama says some interesting things about himself and to his campaign workers about what they mean to him and about their future. It is pretty good.

The Republicans might catch up technically. But they don’t have the politics to reach voters – “white” land is not a place so many of us want to be. And of course, the spirit that mark the Obama campaigns is absent. Nonetheless, it is only if they and the whole spectrum shifts now to the center (or “left” in American terms) that they will be likely to win national elections.

***

Was Obama a favorite against Hilary Clinton? Against McCain (it took two losing wars and a financial collapse)? Against Romney?

Not a chance.

In terms of ability, this is a once in a lifetime candidate (team) and President.

***

The economy seems to be picking up. Bill Clinton worried that Romney might – if austerity and cutting the throats of poor people who actually spend the money they earn in America and thus exert a multiplier impact on growth (their buying leads to the employment of others who provide them goods) – reap the benefits. He won’t.

But the depression may continue. Obama needs to fight for genuine programs for jobs and using federal moneys to prevent state layoffs of teachers and other public workers.
Whether American capitalism can provide full employment at decent wages – even with a new burst for the green economy – remains to be fought for and, less likely, seen.

***

The movement that brought Obama back to power is not the reality of power in Imperial Washington. The rich, as Barack says, always have a place at the table, the militarists (a trillion dollar war complex) much more.

***

Obama’s speech in Iowa was a bit wistful, looking back on campaigning. His victory speech was generous and large, looking to, once again, lift everyone up.

It was what he had been cautioned against – given the depression – in campaigning. But it is much more who Barack Obama is.

One could hear the relief in his voice as well. It was no certain victory, particularly after the stylistic debacle in Denver. He could have been the one-term African-American president, the results largely erased.

The forces of racism were mobilized against him, baying behind Romney. Listen again to O’Reilly…

He mobilized the people to overcome them.

We overcame them. I join with everyone else in the feeling of relief and being thrilled by his reemergence as someone with a broader and decent vision for America.

***

But Obama is, again, the leader of the empire. If one expects too much from him or the Democrats, one is likely to be disappointed.

Obama is still the man of drones, every one he fires a war crime. As Democratic neo-neo cons blither, he kills less civilians than in neocon-Bush-Cheney-would-be Romney aggressions. He kills many.

He is making new enemies in Pakistan daily – those who hate us because the American President murders children and other innocents – for the United States.

***

Obama is still the man of state secrets. The Canadian government can pay damages to Maher Arar, the Syrian-Canadian engineer kidnapped by Bush from Laguardia and sent to be tortured in a coffin like cell in Syria, released when the Syrian authorities told the US monsters that he knew nothing). But Obama’s government will not allow him to sue for damages in the United States. The “Courts,” too, squeak “state secrets.”

***

There will be no hearings about torture. American war criminals like Richard Cheney and Condoleeza Rice strut around – inside the United States. But they and Bush can not go abroad (except for Bush’s recent visit, carefully planned, well guarded, to the Cayman islands to speak to the rich on how exploiters can shift their gains to avoid taxation…)

***

The victories of Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin and the “amazons,” as Rachel Maddow put it, in New Hampshire are a heartening rejection of the disgusting patriarchy of the “Republican” party.

Warren stood up to Wall Street. The bankers wanted her, above others, gone.

For all our problems (I lived for many years in Massachusetts and much of my family does still), the people of Massachusetts are not fools. Elizabeth Warren is the successor of Ted Kennedy.

Warren (though not on foregin policy yet) is a voice for the future.

***

Gay marriage was, for the first time, upheld in two elections. There isn’t a single person in my class at Metro who has the slightest sympathy for bigotry. Obama is the first President to stand against homophobia and to include gay people in his victory speech.

America is changing before our eyes.

(Karl Rove’s explosion on Fox News was a wonderful revelation of this – the moneyman of evil and epistemogical closure was unable to deal with the shattering of his demented universe, telling the peons who was boss…)

***

Marijuana legalization won in Colorado. Three notes on this. First, tobacco, still pushed by the US government in Spain and China, inter alia, is lethal to people’s lives in a way that grass is not.

Alcoholism in America is also a far more startling danger than weed. We once had real prohibition – an abomination – for a reason. Drunkenness has always been a favorite drug for many people against a feeling of misery and oppression, generated by capitalism and by the amazing difficulties of family life.

Second, Tom Tancredo, a leading racist and an odious human being, is completely right about this. It is a matter of individual liberty whether one smokes marijuana. The prohibition against it has resulted in a pseudo- and failed “war” on drugs (i.e. a lot of violence comes into our lives from this attempted prohibition).

More importantly, as Michalle Alexander underlines in The New Jim Crow, America had 300,000 in jail in the 1970s. With the segregationists moving to the Republican party, the Congress passed mandatory sentencing. An 8 fold increase in prisoners to 2.3 million, 25% of the world’s prisoners, occurred.

Many people, particularly teenagers are in jail for possession of marijuana (80% of the increase is for victimless drug “crimes”).

The police permitted by the Supreme “Court” routinely violate the Fourth Amendment against unreasonable searches and seizures by stopping cars in largely black or chicano neighborhoods, searching them, and doing drug busts on the 5% with some marijuana. If they did it in Boulder or Cherry Creek or Scarsdale, they would be halted by middle class outrage.

It is despicable that Democrats like Michael Hancock blither about “gateway” drugs. It is now the time to push against the Obama administration’s crackdown on marijuana, to cut down the jails, and to restore hope i.e. chances for education and jobs for people to whom what is basically an American police state (the prison-industrial complex, nurtured in racism and affecting many whites as well) has denied it.

***

The choice in this election was between decency – this kind of democratic evolution, marked by protest movements from below – and an increasing police state of the .0001% (clinging to the older presudo-America by aggression, racism and repression). There is not much future, not just for the United States but for the existence of humans on this planet, in the second course.

That was what was in the balance. It will be still for many years.

Nonetheless, our reelection of Obama was a blow for decency.

***

Delusional Religious Crazies Claim to Have Stopped Terrorists


Jacobs Claims to have Thwarted Numerous Terrorist Attacks
Submitted by Ariella on Friday, 11/9/2012 1:15 pm

Self-proclaimed “prophets” Mike and Cindy Jacobs of Generals International continued to spew their predictions about terrorism, natural disasters and economic turmoil on their show God Knows. Jacobs—who previously alleged that she helped avert bombings—revealed that she along with other prophets were having dreams in 2011 about a looming terrorist attack, and explains that their visions were confirmed by the events in Benghazi.

Mike Jacobs contended that there were even more terrorist plots, but that they had been thwarted by “the prayer cover that has been placed over the United States by various prayer groups and individuals praying.”

Watch:

Romney Was ‘Shellshocked’ Says Advisor | GOP Exists In a Fairyland Cocoon Isolated From Reality


Adviser: Romney Was ‘Shellshocked’

Reality is a harsh mistress! RomneyBOT MELTDOWN!

Details are now leaking out about what it was like in the final hours of the Romney campaign: Adviser: Romney ‘Shellshocked’ by Loss.

Romney was stoic as he talked to the president, an aide said, but his wife Ann cried. Running mate Paul Ryan seemed genuinely shocked, the adviser said. Ryan’s wife Janna also was shaken and cried softly.

“There’s nothing worse than when you think you’re going to win, and you don’t,” said another adviser. “It was like a sucker punch.”

Their emotion was visible on their faces when they walked on stage after Romney finished his remarks, which Romney had hastily composed, knowing he had to say something.

Both wives looked stricken, and Ryan himself seemed grim. They all were thrust on that stage without understanding what had just happened.

“He was shellshocked,” one adviser said of Romney.

Crazy Losers In Despair | Glenn Beck, Robert Stacy McCain


Wingnuts in Despair: Glenn Beck, Robert Stacy McCain

All is bleak. Hope is gone. Buy guns. We’re doomed.
Via:- Charles Johnson

Glenn Beck is despondent over the reelection of Barack Obama, and he’s talking apocalypse. I know, he always talks apocalypse, but this time he’s headin’ out to the farm with a good supply of ammo.

Today, Glenn Beck sought to make sense of the results of last night’s election, beginning with a lengthy, tear-filled monologue about George Washington before getting down to business by rolling out hints about his plans to create an entire Blaze “ecosystem” that will be able to operate independently of the government and existing media structure because everything is about to go downhill … so people need to start buying up farmland, pull their kids out of the public schools, and load up on guns.

My other favorite wingnut reaction today is from creepy right wing neo-Confederate Robert Stacy McCain, who is thinking dark thoughts, utterly convinced that America is doomed beyond all hope of redemption.

Perhaps others will still see some cause for hope, and in another few weeks my friends may persuade me to see it, too. But today I will hear no such talk, and I doubt I’ll be in a better mood tomorrow. At the moment, I am convinced America is doomed beyond all hope of redemption, and any talk of the future fills me with dread and horror.

For further context on the possible reasons why the reelection of America’s first black President is having such a mind-shattering effect on Mr. McCain, see: The Other ‘Other McCain’.

Mormon Nutcase Glenn Beck On Romney Loss | “God Really Sucks”


BECK ON ROMNEY’S LOSS: ‘MAN, SOMETIMES GOD REALLY SUCKS’ –

David Edwards reports:

“Conservative radio host Glenn Beck on Wednesday declared that Mitt Romney’s loss to President Barack Obama proved that ‘sometimes God really sucks.’

“As it was becoming apparently that the president was going to be re-elected on Tuesday, Beck had told a panel on his Blaze TV network that ‘the body of America is even sicker than I thought it was.’

“’Twelve years ago, I could say with real assurance that I knew who Americans were,’ he explained. ‘And I can’t say that any more.’

“During his radio show the next morning, Beck told listeners that he had realized Romney was going to lose while praying before the polls opened on Tuesday.

“’Man, sometimes God really sucks’ the radio host lamented. ‘I got up yesterday at 3:00 in the morning and I knew. And I couldn’t sleep and I started to say my prayers and I got up and kneeled down by the edge of my bed and I knew that — or I suspected that my mind’s not God’s mind, and the peace and the comfort that he had given me and so many of my friends was not about an election.’

Beck on Romney’s loss: ‘Man, sometimes God really sucks’ – what are your comments?

Beck on Romney’s loss: ‘Man, sometimes God really sucks’

By David Edwards

Raw Story

…He added: “Just like those Christians that rolled up the Dead Sea Scrolls and put them in pots. I don’t know what happened to those Christians but they hid them. They hid them and they preserved them because it was important. The Bible was never wiped out, but the people who originally wrote the Bible were scattered.”

But in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s election, Beck had repeatedly said that God was orchestrating Republican nominee’s path to the presidency.

Speaking to his radio listeners in September, he insisted that Romney’s poll numbers had fallen as a part of a plan from God to make it obvious to the American people that divine intervention was responsible when Republicans took the White House in November.

The conservative radio host later speculated that Romney had lost the final debate because he was “being guided” by God to be “less contentious” and agree with President Barack Obama.

A Guide To Almost Every Insane Obama Conspiracy Theory Yet!


Chart: Almost Every Obama Conspiracy Theory Ever
Thanks owed to:-  Dorado
Radical Obama New Yorker
The controversial cover of The New Yorker magazine on July 14, 2008 in New York City, which carries an illustration depicting Barack and Michelle Obama, dressed as a Muslim and a gun-toting militant. Photograph: Chris Hondros/Getty images

It’s tough keeping up with all the paranoid conspiracy theories swirling around President Obama. Fortunately, Mother Jones has compiled a summary, accompanied by a handy chart.

Chart: Almost Every Obama Conspiracy Theory Ever

By Asawin Suebsaeng and Dave Gilson, Mother Jones

Barack Obama’s presidency has been an inspiration to many Americans—especially nutjobs. Ever since the first-black-president-to-be appeared on the national political stage, a cottage industry of conservative conspiracy theorists has churned out bizarro, paranoid, and just plain racist effluvia—some of which has trickled into the political mainstream. Below, we’ve charted some of the Obama-baiters best (i.e., worst) work. (Scroll down for more detailed descriptions of the conspiracy theories in the diagram.)

Obama Conspiracy Chart

The Conspiracy Theories

Disclaimer: It should go without saying that none of these are true. Follow links at your own risk.

Obama is a secret Muslim: This one began right after he took the stage at the 2004 Democratic convention, with chain emails alleging his “true” religious affiliation. The rumor soon found its way onto the popular conservative online forum Free Republic, and took on a whole new life in the years to come. Related: Obama secretly speaks Arabicattended a madrassa as a kid in Indonesia, referred to “my Muslim faith” in an interview, and was sworn in on a Koran. 

Obama’s bringing 100 million Muslims to America: Avi Lipkin and his PR outfit Special Guests claimed to have evidence of a scheme to bring roughly 100 million Muslims from the Middle East into the United States, converting the country into an Islamic nation by the end of Obama’s second term and making it easier to obliterate Israel.

Obama once aided the mujahideen: Harlem pastor and professional race-baiter James David Manning contended that in his younger days, Obama went undercover as a CIA agent to facilitate the transfer of cash and weapons to the Afghan mujahideen in the ’80s, thereby aiding what would become the Taliban.

Obama is in the pocket of the Muslim Brotherhood: Billy Graham’s son Franklin wants you to know that Obama is allowing the Muslim Brotherhood to take over the federal government.

Obama redecorated the Oval Office in Middle Eastern style: Driven by his fierce sense of anti-American interior design, Obama got rid of the red, white, and blue decoration scheme in his White House office.

Obama married a Pakistani guy: World Net Daily correspondent and conspiracymonger extraordinaire Jerome Corsi posted a video in which he claimed to have “strong” evidence that Obama was once married to his college roommate from Pakistan. The smoking gun: Photos of the chums in which the future president is “sitting about on the [Pakistani roommate’s] lap.” Related: For years Obama wore a gold ring on his left hand. Was it his gay-wedding ring?

Obama’s ring has a Koranic verse on it: The very same ring is allegedly emblazoned with a key phrase in the Islamic declaration of faith: “There is no god except Allah.” (It’s not.)

Obama was funded by a Saudi prince: Another fairy tale courtesy of Corsi: In late-’70s Chicago, Obama secured political and academic funding from a variety of sketchy Arab sponsors, including a Saudi prince. Which may explain why President Obama bowed to the Saudi king.

Obama was born in Kenya: In early 2008, fringe theorists began a push to prove Obama was born on foreign soil and was therefore ineligible to live in the White House. The theory gained national attention thanks to the efforts of perennial GOP candidate Alan Keyes, “birther queen”Orly Taitz, and Corsi. Related: Obama’s birth certificate is a fake, he killed his grandmother in Hawaii because she knew the truth, sealed access to his birth certificate and other damning documents, and did pretty much everything horrible you could possibly do for the sake of a phony birth certificate.

Obama lost his US citizenship: According to Corsi, Obama became an citizen of Indonesia while he lived there as a child.

Michelle’s “whitey” tape: During the 2008 campaign, rumors surfaced that a video of Michelle Obama using the word “whitey” would be released to sink her husband’s campaign. It’s never materialized. Related: The time Glenn Beck called Barack Obama a racist.

Obama was a Black Panther: Well, only if you’re not very good at spotting photoshopped images.

Obama is the son of Malcolm X: Because, you know, black people. This charmer popped up on Atlas Shrugged, Pamela Geller’s anti-Muslim website. (Geller is also known for obsessing over Shariah turkeys she believes are destroying Thanksgiving.)

Obama is the son of Frank Marshall Davis: The conspiracy film Dreams From My Real Father espouses the theory that Davis, a leftist activist, was not only Obama’s ideological mentor but his biological father. Related: Obama got a nose job to make his nose look less like Davis’.

Obama’s mom and dad were communists: And you know that communism is an inherited condition.

Obama’s ghostwriter was Bill Ayers: Conservative commentators claimed they uncovered evidence that ex-Weatherman Bill Ayers was the true author of Obama’s 1995 memoir Dreams from my Father. Former Republican congressman Chris Cannon of Utah went as far as to try to commission an Oxford professor to confirm Ayers’ authorship through computer analysis.

Obama trained to overthrow the government: In 2008, leading Obama conspiracy theorist Andy Martin declared on Fox News’ Hannity’s America that the then-presidential candidate had trained for “a radical overthrow of the government” during his time as a community organizer in Chicago.

Obama wouldn’t say the Pledge of Allegiance: During the ’08 campaign, Obama was rumored to have refused to say the pledge during a town hall meeting. A photo of the incident was actually taken while the national anthem was being sung.

Obama removed the flag from Air Force One: …and replaced it with his campaign logo.

Obama ordered soldiers to swear allegiance to him: In April 2009, a clearly satirical report detailing how secretary of defense Robert Gates was growing “extremely frustrated” with the White House’s plans to scrub the Constitution from the military oath of loyalty made the rounds on the right-wing blogosphere.

Obama secretly gave away American islands to Russia: Texas House candidate Wes Riddle endorsed this theory and noted the relinquishment as grounds for impeachment. However, the seven Arctic islands were actually given away in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush.

Obama caused the recession—in 1995: According to a recent Daily Caller story, Obama’s efforts to force banks to lend to African Americans in the mid-’90s led to the subprime mortgage crisis that killed the economy in 2008.

Obama’s youth reeducation camps: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) warned that “young people will be put into mandatory service” at politically correct, billion-dollar camps run by the Democrats.

Obama’s coming for your guns: Extreme gun-rights outfits, along with Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), alleged that the Obama administration is supporting the (nonexistent) United Nations Small Arms Treaty, which would lead to nationwide gun confiscation.

Obama’s coming for your gold: This theory was floated by Glenn Beck—and the gold company he shilled for.

Obama is planning FEMA concentration camps: Again with the camps. This theory got a big boost from Glenn Beck (who claims he didn’t mean anything by it). Related: An executive order titled, “National Defense Resources Preparedness,” was issued in the middle of March 2012. Conservative commentators saw it as a martial law power-grab that allowed the president to commandeer farmland, steal everyone’s food, and draft any American into slave labor for a war of aggression against Iran. Also, he has a “secret vault” at Interpol’s headquarters for imprisoning Americans. (Chuck Norris is on the case.)

Obama wants to confiscate your IRA: Townhall.com sent out an message ad claiming that Obama wants to seize your retirement account by force.

Obama caused the BP oil spill: Conspiracy-minded radio host Alex Jones promoted the theory that the Deepwater Horizon spill was all part of the administration’s plans of oil nationalization and global government.

Obama was behind the Aurora massacre: In July, Gun Owners of America blasted out a press release claiming that the mass murder at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, was suspiciously timed. “Someone in Washington” was probably behind it, paving the way for Obama-led firearm confiscation and “government genocide.”

Obama personally caused Hurricane Sandy: It wasn’t global warming that made Sandy so intense; it was Barack. Alex Jones’ site reportedthe president engineered the storm using a Pentagon weather modification project. The mayhem caused by the hurricane would afford Obama the opportunity to score points by briskly managing disaster relief a week before the election.

Obama had Andrew Breitbart killed: In March 2012, conservative media impresario Andrew Breitbart died of heart failure. Less than a month prior to his death, he had announced that he had uncovered footage of Obama’s formative years as a radical. So obviously, Obama had him offed. (The tapes were later revealed to contain things like a young Obama hugging a black college professor.) Related: People—like a Rod Blagojevich fundraiser and an Obama impersonator—died between 2008 and 2012. Obama was in office between 2008 and 2012…coincidence?!?!

Obama spiked the jobs report: ”Jobs truthers” (like former GE CEO Jack Welch and Florida tea party congressman Allen West) accused the Obama administration of cooking the September unemployment numbers to manufacture a rosier picture of the economy and boost the president’s chances of reelection.

Obama faked bin Laden’s death: Since no photographs of Osama bin Laden’s corpse were produced, the Al Qaeda leader must still be out there. Fox News’ Steve Doocy and Andrew Napolitano entertained the idea that Operation Neptune Spear was merely a ploy to revive Obama’s sagging approval ratings. Related: Obama was photoshopped into the iconic killing-OBL White House photo.

Obama’s plan to fake an assassination attempt: A false-flag operation would create urban tumult and give Obama the pretext to declare martial law, thus suspending democracy, postponing the 2012 election, and prolonging his stay in office. The theory was flagged by Tenn. State Rep. Kelly Keisling, among others, after circulating online.

Obama the brainwashing hypnotist: As a master of neurolinguistic programming, Obama convinced Americans to vote for him via subliminal messages. Related: Rush Limbaugh pondered if hypnosis was the reason that so many Jewish voters were in the bag for Obama.

Obama’s teleprompter: Obama’s eloquence is a myth! The 44th president is incapable of speaking in public with his teleprompter.

Obama had a ghostwriter for everything: Jack Cashill over at WND had a hot scoop on how Obama’s love letters to his college girlfriend were ghostwritten.

Obama’s anti-Semitic poetry: However, according to the American Thinker, Obama’s ghostwriters did not write his youthful poem “Underground,” which compares Jews to fig-eating underwater apes and echoes Koranic verse.

Obama’s exiled lover: Obama was supposedly fooling around with an attractive young staffer from his 2004 Senate campaign. Michelle Obama had the temptress packed off to the Caribbean before the ’08 campaign.

Obama is gay: Which explains why he joined Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church. No, really. (Via Corsi, of course.)

Obama’s crack cocaine/gay sex/murder orgy cover-up: In 2008, a small-time conman named Larry Sinclair and his kilt-wearing lawyer held a press conference to tell the world of the future president’s murderous, drug-and-sodomy-fueled crimes.

Obama’s campaigns were funded by drug money: During an October conference call organized to oppose pot legalization, a writer from Lyndon LaRouche’s magazine asked about “reports [that both Obama’s] 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns have been financed in part by laundered drug money.”

Obama is the Antichrist: Obviously. Related: If you play his 2008 Democratic nomination acceptance speech backwards, you can hear him instruct listeners to do Satan’s bidding.

Obama is a lizard overlord: According to codes hidden in Biblical verse, Obama is a reptilian humanoid. This idea has found its way on to some right-wing radio shows, and two Daily Caller reporters recently published a (satirical?) e-book on the topic titled, The Lizard King: The Shocking Inside Account of Obama’s True Intergalactic Ambitions by an Anonymous White House Staffer.

Obama’s adventures on Mars: As a teen, Obama participated in a CIA initiative to teleport to Mars using a top-secret “jump room.” Self-described time travelers William Stillings and Andrew Basiago claim to have met the future POTUS at American space bases on the Red Planet. In early 2012, a spokesman for the National Security Council actually acknowledged these claims, and issued a fairly convincing denial.

The Dangerous Apocalyptic Visions of Mitt Romney and the Mormon Theocratic Edifice | The “war that’s coming in to kill all the Jews”


Romney and the End-Times

Post by SARAH POSNER

There’s a lot of chatter about a video, made in 2007, when Romney was running for president the first time, that has (naturally) surfaced again just a few days before the election. Apparently filmed by hidden camera, it shows Romney arguing with conservative Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson, in studio but off the air, about his Mormon beliefs. Mickelson appears to be goading Romney into admitting or explaining ways that Mormonism differs from evangelical Christianity, and Romney gets pretty angry and heated throughout.

Earlier this year, Joanna Brooks wrote about how journalists who focus on, for example, Romney’s citation to Mickelson of Cold War-era Mormon figure W. Cleon Skousen (long a religious right, tea party, and Glenn Beck favorite) miss the mark about the Mormon world in which Romney functions, “a powerful multinational network of financial and political influence brokers connected by a profound common bond: their multigenerational membership and service in the LDS Church.”

This week, one part of the Mickelson video in particular has generated some discussion: Mickelson asks Romney about the end-times, and about whether he believes the Second Coming of Christ will happen in Missouri. In the video, Romney tells Mickelson that, no, the LDS Church teaches (as do evangelical churches) that the Second Coming will happen in Jerusalem. He then goes on to explain, rather clumsily and without much detail, “what the church” teaches about this.

Mickelson seemed inspired to broach the topic by an interview Romney gave to George Stephanopoulos. Here’s part of that transcript:

George Stephanopoulos: In your faith, if I understand it correctly, it teaches that Jesus will return probably to the United States and reign on Earth for 1,000 years. And I wonder how that would be viewed in the Muslim world. Have you thought about how the Muslim world will react to that and whether it would make it more difficult, if you were president, to build alliances with the Muslim world?

Former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass.: Well, I’m not a spokesman for my church. I’m not running for pastor in chief. I’m running for commander in chief. So the best place to go for my church’s doctrines would be my church.

Stephanopoulos: But I’m talking about how they will take it, how they will perceive it.

Romney: I understand, but that doesn’t happen to be a doctrine of my church. Our belief is just as it says in the Bible, that the messiah will come to Jerusalem, stand on the Mount of Olives and that the Mount of Olives will be the place for the great gathering and so forth. It’s the same as the other Christian tradition. But that being said, how do Muslims feel about Christian doctrines? They don’t agree with them. There are differences between doctrines of churches. But the values at the core of the Christian faith, the Jewish faith and many other religions are very, very similar. And it’s that common basis that we have to support and find ability to draw people to rather than to point out the differences between our faiths. The differences are less pronounced than the common base that can lead to the peace and the acceptability and the brother and sisterhood of humankind.

Stephanopoulos: But your church does teach that Jesus will reign on Earth for the millennium, right?

Romney: Yes.

Mickelson asks Romney whether, contrary to what he told Stephanopoulos, he believes the Second Coming will take place in Missouri. After mentioning that a Skousen book explains LDS teaching on this, Romney seems either unwilling or at a loss to go into too much detail. Romney adds:

Christ appears, it’s throughout the Bible, Christ appears in Jerusalem, splits the Mount of Olives, to stop the war that’s coming in to kill all the Jews, it’s—our church believes that. That’s where the coming and glory of Christ occurs. We also believe that over the 1000 years that follows, the millenium, he will reign from two places, that the law will come forward from one place, from Missouri, the other will be in Jerusalem. Back to abortion.

A few things here. First, except for the part about Missouri, what Romney is saying about LDS belief about Christ’s return doesn’t deviate that much from what many evangelicals believe. I’m not in any way endorsing apocalyptic biblical literalism or proof-texting here, or saying that all Mormons or all evangelicals believe this. I’m just pointing out that Romney was relying on the same parts of the Bible many evangelicals do about Christ’s return. For example: “‘In the whole land,’ declares the Lord, ‘two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it.'” (Zechariah 13:8) and “On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south” (Zechariah 14:4). I’ve seen preaching on this by evangelicals; I’ve talked to evangelicals who believe these verses to be true, accurate, and undeniable prophecy of what will happen in Jerusalem. (N.B.: Zechariah was not talking about Jesus, and what exactly he—or more than one he—was actually talking about is far from clear. But anyway.)

The question that’s being raised now, as this video resurfaces and generates discussion, is: does Romney himself really believe this? Does he somehow revel in a “war that’s coming in to kill all the Jews,” or see it as inevitable? I think that’s not evident from the video, or from his answer to Stephanopoulos. (Of course Romney’s a notorious liar, so we may never know.) Romney’s very defensive in the video, under questioning by Mickelson who clearly is trying to get him to admit that Mormon end-times theology is wildly different from evangelical end-times theology (which has many variants, incidentally, but none that include Missouri as a locus for anything except the second coming of Todd Akin). But Romney appears to be suggesting that “our church believes that” rather than saying, “I believe this is a literal prophecy of how world events will play out.” I’ve written before about how Romney’s public pronouncements on the Israel-Palestine conflict are out of touch with non-apocalyptic, contemporary Mormon thinking, but still, he’s never discussed his own beliefs on the end-times, or disagreements, if any, with LDS doctrine.

Apocalyptic beliefs are a Republican problem, though, not just a Romney problem; for example, George W. Bush, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee are all evangelicals who forged relationships with apocalyptic preacher John Hagee. I would very much like to know whether they co-sign Hagee’s apocalyptic visions.

I want to know the same answers about Romney, but not because he’s Mormon. Equally as pertinent to what Romney himself believes is what he thinks his base believes, and to what extent, as president, he’d be worrying about placating them. Remember, he was trying to show Mickelson he believes the same things evangelicals do. He’s running for president, for Pete’s sake!

Mitt Romney Falls Short with White Voters


Mitt Romney Falls Short with White Voters

Via:- Jamelle Bouie

He isn’t winning enough of the white vote.

If you’re looking for reasons to be confident of a Barack Obama win tonight, it’s worth noting Mitt Romney’s share of the white vote in the final pre-election polls:

Graph here:-

http://prospect.org/article/mitt-romney-falls-short-white-voters

Given the likely composition of the electorate—74 percent white, 26 percent nonwhite—Mitt Romney needs to win at least 61 percent of white voters. But in this average, he roughly repeats George W. Bush’s 2004 performance. Then, this was good enough to eke out a small win in the popular vote. Now, it brings him within striking distance of 50 percent, but no further. What’s more, this is probably the last presidential race where Republicans can count on maximizing their share of white voters to win the election; as National Journal’s Ron Brownstein points out, the white share of the electorate has steadily declined in every election since 1992, from 88 percent of all voters to 74 percent four years ago.

Which is to say that if Republicans had made efforts to bring Latino voters in—or at least, not alienate them—they would be in better shape. The same goes for African American voters—a small share of whom have always voted for GOP presidential candidates—and Asian Americans. As it stands, Republicans are far behind with each. Or, as South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham recently put it to Politico, “If I hear anybody say it was because Romney wasn’t conservative enough I’m going to go nuts. We’re not losing 95 percent of African-Americans and two-thirds of Hispanics and voters under 30 because we’re not being hard-ass enough.”

President Barack Obama Is Much Better on Most Issues and Worse on None!


The No-Brainer Progressive Case For Obama

Via Scott Lemieux

Should it be surprising President Obama has largely maintained the support of the left of the Democratic Party? According to a number of critics—notably Matt Stoller and David Sirota of Salon—the answer is yes. Essentially, this contrarian case depends on obscuring two crucial truths:

  • Either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama will win the 2012 presidential election.
  • Whether you’re a moderate liberal or a democratic socialist, Obama is much better on many issues and worse on none.

In obfuscating this case for supporting Obama despite the undeniable flaws of his administration, third-party fantasists rely on three categories of argument: dismissing the achievements of the Obama administration, inventing a moderate of Mitt Romney, and exaggerating the benefits of third-party nihilism. None of these arguments can withstand any scrutiny.

Underrating Obama’s achievements

To put this in plain terms, Obama has the third most impressive record of progressive achievement of any president of the last century. Moreover, the two presidents with better legislative records—FDR and LBJ—were working in far more favorable circumstances, with larger majorities in Congress and rapidly growing economies. (Lyndon Johnson, who had the most impressive record of all, benefited not only from his own formidable skills but from the presence of liberal Republicans who increased his bargaining leverage and the halo effect of an assassinated president.) If Obama is re-elected, the Affordable Care Act—which will make health care more accessible to tens of millions of people, succeeding where numerous presidents had failed—will be seen as a monumental achievement. And as Michael Grunwald’s terrific new book demonstrates, as much as liberals grumble about the stimulus package, it was a substantial achievement. Assumptions that Obama left lots of potential money on the table are clearly wrong. These major bills are just the beginning.

Part of the problem is that once major progressive reforms have been achieved, they can seem inevitable—it can be easy to forget they wouldn’t have happened with John McCain or Mitt Romney in the White House. Overriding the Supreme Court’s Ledbetter decision and ensuring that women received coverage of contraception for their health care premiums were major feminist priorities before Barack Obama took office, but these accomplishments inevitably vanish down the memory hole when leftists urge people to reject Obama. Ten years ago, an administration that secured the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, and came out in favor of same-sex marriage would have seemed like too much to wish for—but, again, these remarkable advances are ignored when critics suggest we should be indifferent about whether Obama wins or loses.

This is not, of course, to say that leftists don’t have real reasons to be disappointed with Obama. His civil liberties record has generally been poor. The Bush administration’s torture regime was stopped but went unpunished. He wasn’t creative enough with using appropriated funds to alleviate the mortgage and housing crisis. But there’s no president in American history who doesn’t have demerits as bad or worse on their records. To call any of these issues “dealbreakers” is to inherently trivialize gender equity, access to health insurance, gay and lesbian rights, the enforcement of civil rights and environmental laws by the executive branch and the courts, the saving of the American auto industry, and the many other issues on which there are huge differences between the national parties. There’s nothing remotely progressive about doing so.

Imagining a moderate Romney.

To read Stoller and Sirota, you would think that the Republican primaries came down to battle between Lincoln Chaffee and Zombie Nelson Rockefeller. Sirota, asserting that the election won’t really affect the Supreme Court, points out that Earl Warren was a Republican appointee, a fact that’s about as relevant to politics in 2012 as Pat Boone is to today’s teenagers. Dismissing the Affordable Care Act, Stoller asserts that ” whether you call it Romneycare in Massachusetts, or Obamacare nationally, it’s the same healthcare program.” By this farcially transparent sleight of hand, Stoller transforms a statute that received zero Republican votes in Congress and was ruled entirely unconstitutional by four of the five Republican appointees on the Supreme Court into a bipartisan consensus.

It is true Mitt Romney talked like a moderate when he was the governor or Massachusetts, and if both houses of Congress consisted of supermajorities of Massachusetts Democrats this would be relevant to how he would govern as president. In the actually existing political context, there’s no reason to believe the Romney running for election in Massachusetts is the “real Romney.” If Romney wins, we’re not going to get someone like John Paul Stevens appointed to the Supreme Court and a moderate deficit-cutting deal; we’ll get another Alito and as many of the upper-class tax cuts and savage cuts to social programs in the Ryan budget as the Republicans can pass. Senate Democrats can contain the damage, but they can’t eliminate it—especially when it comes to executive branch actions and judicial appointments.

Third-Party daydream believing.

Another way of avoiding the fact that Obama is far superior to Romney for progressives is to evade the question by comparing Obama to a candidate with no chance of becoming president. In a particularly revealing argument, Robert Prasch uses the trite language of consumer capitalism to urge progressives to throw the election to Romney: “[a]nyone who has ever gone shopping knows that their bargaining power depends ultimately upon his/her willingness to walk away.” Voters, based on this line of reasoning, should see voting not as part of a collective project to choose the best available majority coalition for the country, but as an act of self-absorbed individual expression, like choosing a favorite brand of designer jeans.

These arguments are self-refuting. In actual politics, walking away “empowers” the left about as much as being able to choose between Coke and Pepsi “empowers” a worker negotiating with Wal-Mart. Conservatives didn’t take over the Republican Party by running third-party vanity campaigns. The legislative victories of the Great Society happened because civil rights and labor groups stayed in the Democratic coalition after decades of frustration (it was the segregationists who were repeatedly threatening to take their ball and go home by running third-party candidates.) And not only does third-party voting at the national level carry no benefits, there’s a serious downside risk. Ralph Nader throwing the 2000 election to George W. Bush didn’t radicalize the Democratic Party, but it did lead to the horrors of Iraq as well as a great deal of awful domestic policy. Indulging in fantasies that the Democratic Party could win as a European-style social democratic party if only Republicans make things bad enough is both bad strategy and grossly immoral.

There is, in other words, nothing complicated about the progressive choice in the 2012 election, which is Barack Obama. There are merely attempts by people unwilling to accept that major-party candidates are unlikely to represent their beliefs in every detail to make the choice appear more complicated than it is. Progressives should be critical about the inevitable failures of a second Obama term—but they should also be clear-eyed about the fact that this would be infinitely preferable to Romney and Ryan occupying the White House.

Obama Fights Against a GOP Determined to Regress America


E.J. Dionne: Obama fights GOP determined to bring back Gilded Age
By E.J. Dionne Jr.
Washington Post

The 2012 campaign began on Aug. 2, 2011, when President Barack Obama signed the deal ending the debt-ceiling fiasco. At that moment, the president relinquished his last illusions that the current, radical version of the Republican Party could be dealt with as a governing partner. From then on, Obama was determined to fight – and to win.

It was the right choice, the only alternative to capitulation. A Republican majority both inspired and intimidated by the tea party was demanding that Obama renounce every principle dear to him about the role of government in 21st century America.

And so he set out to defeat those who threatened to bring back the economic policies of the 1890s.

Now, it’s up to the voters.

Obama took the oath of office before a vast and euphoric crowd, but as he raised his hand, he was inheriting an economy worsening by the day. And he was about to confront a Republican Party that took its setback as an imperative to radicalize.

In the wake of the failures of George W. Bush’s presidency, Republicans would ascribe their party’s problems to Bush as a big-spender, ignoring the major culprits in the country’s fiscal troubles: a downturn that began on their watch, and their own support for two tax cuts at a time of two wars. They would block, obstruct, stall and denounce all of Obama’s initiatives, and abuse the rules of the Senate to demand that every bill would need 60 votes.

And then came the tea party. It was, all at once, a rebirth of the old far right from John Birch Society days, a partisan movement seeded by right-wing billionaires, and a cry of anguish from older, middle-class Americans fearful over the speed of social change. The GOP establishment rode the tea party tiger to power in 2010, and then ended up inside it. Republicans who dared to deal or compromise risked humiliation in primaries at the hands of a far right certain that the president of the United States was a subversive figure.

Nonetheless, Obama kept trying to work with them. His plans and proposals were geared not toward his progressive base but toward moderates in both parties: no public option in the health care law, plenty of tax cuts in a stimulus whose size was held down, a very temperate reform of a dysfunctional financial system.

Obama’s aides are unanimous in saying that the breaking point came when Republicans, filled with tea party zeal, were willing to endanger the nation’s financial standing to achieve steep budget cuts during the debt-ceiling fight. When House Speaker John Boehner walked away from a deal that conservatives of another era would have hailed as a great victory, Obama realized that a grand bargain would be a chimera until he could win the battle about first principles.

Everything you needed to know about Obama’s argument was laid out Dec. 6, 2011, at a high school in Osawatomie, Kan., the place where Theodore Roosevelt had laid out the core themes of American progressivism a century earlier.

“Just as there was in Teddy Roosevelt’s time,” Obama declared, “there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. ‘The market will take care of everything,’ they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes – especially for the wealthy – our economy will grow stronger. … even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty. Now, it’s a simple theory. … But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked.”

In Mitt Romney, Obama was blessed with an opponent who embraced that theory, not only in his move far to the right to secure the Republican nomination but also in his own career as a private equity capitalist. Romney may have flipped and flopped and flipped again on issues he didn’t care about, but his view of American capitalism and American government never wavered. If Teddy Roosevelt fought against the policies of the Gilded Age, Obama is fighting a Republican Party determined to bring the Gilded Age back and undo the achievements of a century.

And so, beneath the attacks, the counterattacks, and the billions invested by small numbers of the very rich to sway the undecided, we face a choice on Tuesday that is worthy of a great democracy. My hunch is that the country will not go backward, because that’s not what Americans do.

Why I’m Voting to Re-Elect Barack Obama


Why I’m Voting to Re-Elect Barack Obama
Via:- Charles Johnson

I have to admit I’m making a deliberate effort to ignore the political world today, at least more than usual. I made up my mind a long time ago to vote for Barack Obama, and against anyone the Republican Party put up. I don’t agree with everything Obama has done, but overall he’s achieved quite a bit in his first term, despite ferocious and often deranged opposition from Republicans, and deserves a second term as much as any President I’ve ever seen.

The GOP is a serious danger to the future of this country The Republican Party … well, if you’ve been reading the site for the past couple of years you know what I think about them. They’re lost in cloud cuckoo land in so many ways and on so many levels, there’s just no doubt that they represent a serious danger to the future prosperity of this country — not just for their magical thinking on economics, but in their denial of many areas of modern science (based on either religious fanaticism or cynical political calculation for personal profit), their continuing, relentless attempts to roll back progress on women’s reproductive rights, and the shockingly prevalent racism and xenophobia that have bubbled up to the surface in a highly disturbing way since the election of our first black President.

At this point, it’s not even really about Mitt Romney, although he’s an especially cynical example of the Republican brand. Nobody the GOP could prop up and nominate would ever convince me to vote for a Republican in the foreseeable future, because of what the party as a whole represents: reactionary paranoia, manifesting as authoritarian rule whenever they gain power.

In my life, I’ve voted twice for Republican presidents, and Democrats every other time — and the second time I voted for a Republican (John McCain) it was with grave misgivings.

I’ll have no misgivings at all about casting my vote for Barack Obama.

Smearing The President From Start, Unrelenting, Unfair and Immoral


The Pulse: The smearing of a president: From start, unrelenting, unfair
President Barack Obama answers a question during the third presidential debate at Lynn University, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Boca Raton, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP
President Barack Obama answers a question during the third presidential debate at Lynn University, Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, in Boca Raton, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Michael Smerconish, Inquirer Columnist

This election has always been a referendum on Barack Obama. For some, not on matters of substance. They can’t have it both ways. It’s hypocritical to distribute a vicious, false narrative about him while fancying yourself a patriot and a great American. Vilify a sitting president of the United States with fiction and innuendo, and you are neither.

I objected when George W. Bush was the subject of undeserved hyperbolic criticism, but the baseless scorn heaped upon President Obama makes Bush’s detractors look diplomatic. The president, the office, and our nation deserve better.

It’s been unrelenting. The day after Obama took office, Rush Limbaugh told Sean Hannity he wanted him to “fail.” Later, Glenn Beck called the president a “racist” with a “deep-seated hatred of white people.” Donald Trump’s birtherism took hold while words like socialist were uttered with increased frequency. And a prairie fire of falsehoods spread through the Internet suggesting, among other things, that Obama is a Muslim or refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, paving the way for Dinesh D’Souza’s fictionalized “documentary” 2016, which characterized Obama as fulfilling the anticolonial agenda of his father – a man he literally knew for just one weekend!

Among the usual memes used to undermine the president is the threat of some apocalyptic cataclysm, usually in the form of an assertion of federal power, like the seizing of guns. These predictions demand unthinking acceptance of the notion that the president, like a bizarre Manchurian candidate, is saving his nefarious agenda for a second term that might never arrive. By my count, the website Snopes.com has evaluated and debunked 103 of 124 Internet assertions about Obama.

Just before Hurricane Sandy hit, Ann Coulter called our sitting president a “retard,” Sarah Palin mocked his “shuck and jive shtick,” and John Sununu openly questioned Gen. Colin Powell’s weighty endorsement as being motivated by race. At least earlier in the campaign there was some effort at camouflage. Such as when Mitt Romney aired an anti-Obama welfare commercial that falsely suggested Obama supported handouts (“They just send you your welfare check”) when, in fact, Obama was accommodating requests of several governors, two of them conservative Republicans, to try new ways to put people back to work. A similar sentiment was expressed by Romney when he maligned the 47 percent who don’t pay federal income taxes, overlooking that 83 percent of that group are either working and paying payroll taxes or they’re elderly.

And, almost daily, there have been dire warnings about Obama, often with sirens, from the Drudge Report. Example: the Sept. 18 edition featuring a hideous picture of Obama (eyes closed) emblazoned with the all-capped quote: “I ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN REDISTRIBUTION,” a 14-year-old excerpt that conveniently excised the future president’s explicit embrace of “competition” and “marketplace.” No wonder I routinely field calls from radio listeners who, with no hint of embarrassment in their voices, say things such as “I call him ‘comrade’ ” or “he’s not my president.”

Their best evidence? Obamacare – crafted by the same people who wrote Romneycare. Critics ignore that the Affordable Care Act is premised upon personal responsibility and was born in a right-wing think tank. Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning website of the Tampa Bay Times, called the idea that Obamacare represents a “takeover” of the health-care system the 2010 Lie of the Year. And while some have also labeled the president a “socialist” for signing the $831 billion stimulus, no one ever used such language when Bush acted similarly with the $700 billion TARP.

In the final days, the critics have turned to Benghazi, drilling down on the shifting narrative regarding the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya, but ignoring that, as the Wall Street Journal reported on Oct. 22, “The CIA was consistent from Sept. 13 to Sept. 21 that the attack evolved from a protest.” There’s another problem with the criticism. Romney now gets intelligence briefings, too. Perhaps that’s why he took a pass on this kerfuffle when Libya was the first question at the final debate.

So why the attention on the recent 9/11? Perhaps to deflect attention from Obama avenging the first 9/11. Most disturbing, the president’s critics have sought to diminish that achievement by treating his order as a no-brainer. As a candidate in 2008, Obama was roundly criticized when he said (to me and others) that he would act on intelligence regarding the al-Qaeda leader even if he were in Pakistan. To Bush that was “unsavory.” To John McCain that was “naive.” Hillary Clinton said this was “a mistake.” Joe Biden said Obama “undermined his ability to be tough.” And Romney regarded that pledge as “ill-timed” and “ill-considered.” Imagine the criticism Obama would have faced if the mission had failed.

The reality is that there is much to be admired in the president and his rise to power. Replace Kenya with Poland or Germany, and you’d have observers rightly saying that only in this country could such a career path be possible. He is a loving husband and father who, with the first lady, is ably raising two daughters in the glare of the White House. He is an intellectual heavyweight. And his personal ethics have been above reproach.

Real patriots vote for or against candidates based on substance, not smears.