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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Rush Limbaugh At CPAC: Doubles Down On Wanting Obama To Fail (VIDEO)

Sam Stein

At his closing speech at the CPAC conference, conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh doubled down on his widely-controversial claim that he wanted President Barack Obama to fail, insisting that he meant what he said, and chastising those who were critical of him.

"This notion that I want the president to fail, this shows you the problem we've got. This is nothing more than common sense and to not be able to say it? Why in the world would I want what we just described: rampant government growth, welfare that is not being created yet is being spent? What is in this, what is possibly in this that any of us want to succeed? Did the Democrats want the war of Iraq to fail? They certainly did. And they not only wanted the war in Iraq to fail they proclaimed it a failure.... They hoped George Bush failed. So what is so strange about being honest and saying I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to restructure and reform this country so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation?"

The crowd, watching in three individual ballrooms because of overcrowding, went absolutely wild.

"I know what's going on. We are in the aspects here of a historic presidency, I know that. But let me be honest again, I got over the historical aspects of that in November. President Obama is our president. President Obama stands for some things. He could be a Martian. He could be from Michigan. I don't care. It doesn't matter to me what his race is. It doesn't matter. He is liberal. That's what matters to me.... I want the country to survive. I want the country to succeed."

Limbaugh, whose speech went on more than an hour than what was planned, didn't end there.

"Ladies and gentleman of the United States, the Democrat Party has actively not just sought the failure of Republican presidents, and policies, and now war for the first time. The Democrat party does not stop at failure. Talk to judge Robert Bork, talk to justice Clarence Thomas about how they try to destroy lives, reputations and character. And I'm supposed to say I don't want the president to fail? We are in for a real battle. We are talking about the United States of America... remaining the country we were all born into and reared and grown into. And it is under assault, it has always been under assault. But it has never been under assault like this, from within."

The red meat speech was more than well received among the adoring conservative crowd which punctuated his address with repeated standing applause. On the flip side, it is hard to see how the elected officials of the Republican Party welcome this. Limbaugh's first declaration of hope for Obama's failure put a lot of GOPers on the line: did they stand with the brash talk show host against the president? Though, to be sure, there was little push back. Now, however, Limbaugh's invited more of the same line of questioning.

MCL comment:

This is the reason I don't like these freaks they spent the last eight years demonizing anyone that was critical of George W.Bush, remember they was so quick to go after the Dixie Chicks when the lead singer said she was ashamed they were from the same state as Bush. The right wing got themselves worked up in a frenzy from having their songs dropped on country stations to having their brain dead followers smashed their cds and tapes. Now leap ahead now leap ahead to 2009 where the president has a (D) after his name the same people who screamed you're not supporting the country if you're not standing behind Bush are out there telling their brain dead followers that they want the President of the United States to fail. Could you image if Thom Hartmann back in 2005 said " Ah I want George W. Bush to have a fail second term" Rush, his ass plug Sean Hannity and that two bit Asian pornstar Michelle Malkin would be demanding Hartmann to be place in Gitmo for wanting the president to fail in a time of war. Can someone please tell me how can these ass clowns get away with this?

Michelle Malkin: I hope Obama fails.

As ThinkProgress has documented, a growing number of conservatives are rooting for the failure of Obama’s presidency. Today on C-SPAN Washington Journal, a caller asked right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin if she agrees with Rush Limbaugh’s statement that he hopes President Obama fails. Malkin explained why she does:

MALKIN: When the President proposes things like trillion dollar budgets that have earmarks that he claims do not exist, yes, I hope that fails. When he proposes the same kind of wealth re-distributionist policies that had appalled me under the Bush administration, yes, I hope they fail.

Malkin then became increasingly defensive, arguing, “It certainly doesn’t make me some kind of racist for wanting to disagree with the President.” Watch it:

Friday, February 27, 2009

Criticizing Ty'Sheoma Bethea

Joan Walsh

Friday February 27, 2009 06:11 EST

Criticizing Ty'Sheoma Bethea

I thought it would come from Michelle Malkin or Rush Limbaugh, but Malkin is too busy planning her anti-tax tea parties while Rush gets ready for his close-up at the Conservative Political Action Committee this weekend (which is a collection of nuts so nutty even Sarah Palin stayed away).

No, it was the conservative Washington Times that cast the first stone at Ty'Sheoma Bethea, the Dillon, S.C., teenager who wrote to Congress seeking stimulus funds for her shamefully dilapidated school. Obama used her statement, "We are not quitters," as the coda of his speech Tuesday night, but now the Moon-owned paper tells us what's wrong with Bethea, in an editorial with the condescending headline, 'Yes, Ty'Sheoma, there is a Santa Claus."

Obama "presented" Bethea "as a plucky girl from a hopeless school who took it on herself to write the president and Congress asking for much needed help," the Times began, ominously. Wait, she's not a plucky girl from a hopeless school? The editorial depicts her instead as a player in Obama's "mere political theater" because the president has been using her school, J.V. Martin, as a "political prop" since he first visited in 2005. Wow. Dastardly. I'm getting the picture: Obama, that slick Democrat opportunist, has repeatedly visited one of the poorest schools in South Carolina, a state that voted for John McCain. You just know he leaves with his pockets stuffed with cash every time he makes the trip.

It gets worse. The Times insists Dillon residents haven't been callous about conditions at Ty'Sheoma's school; in fact they passed a 2007 bond measure to reconstruct it. That's true, but it's only part of the story: The Chicago Tribune's Howard Witt reported that the bond measure "ran aground of the national credit crisis: No bank will loan the school district the construction funds."

Facts be damned. To the Times, the plight of J.V. Martin is actually a story of how locals can solve their own problem, but Ty'Sheoma and Obama have hijacked it to make it an example of how only the federal government can help. Obama said Ty'Sheoma's letter reflected "a willingness to take responsibility for our future and for posterity." The Times disagrees: "What is on display is not responsibility but irresponsibility. This is the new reality in America, that those with political pull will benefit, those without will not ... Connections are replacing competence as a measure of a person's worth."

Got it? Ty'Sheoma Bethea, she's no enterprising teen from a broken-down school. She sounds like the new Jack Abramoff, using her "political pull" and "connections" to benefit herself.

Yes, they're that crazy.

Obama: US combat in Iraq to end by Aug. 31, 2010

byBEN FELLER President Barack Obama greets Marines following his speech at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Friday, Feb. 27, 2009. Obama moved to fulfill the defining promise of his campaign, announcing that all U.S. combat troops will be withdrawn by September 2010. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Declaring "I have come to speak to you about how the war in Iraq will end," President Barack Obama on Friday moved to fulfill the defining promise of his campaign, saying all U.S. combat troops will be withdrawn by the end of August 2010.

But in the same speech before Marines and military leadership here, he announced that the vast majority of those involved in the pullout will not leave this year. Obama also said that tens of thousands of U.S. personnel will remain behind afterward.

"The most important decisions that have to be made about Iraq's future must now be made by Iraqis," the president said at the sprawling Camp Lejeune, N.C., base, which is about to deploy thousands of troops to the U.S.'s other war front, in Afghanistan.

Senior Obama administration officials had said earlier that of the roughly 100,000 U.S. combat troops to be pulled out of Iraq over the next 18 months, most will remain in the war zone through at least the end of this year to ensure national elections there go smoothly. The pace of withdrawal means that although Obama's promised pullout will start soon, it will be backloaded, with most troops returning in the last few months of the time frame.

And even after the drawdown, a sizable U.S. force of 35,000 to 50,000 U.S. troops will stay in Iraq under a new mission of training, civilian protection and counterterrorism.

With most Americans telling pollsters they believe the long, costly, divisive war was a mistake and more than 4,250 Americans killed there, the Aug. 31, 2010 end date for Iraq war combat operations is slower than Obama had promised voters as a candidate. The timetable he pledged then would have seen combat end in May 2010.

Regardless, it is a hastened exit, something Obama called a necessity, both for the future of Iraq and to allow the U.S. to refocus its attention more firmly on Afghanistan.

"America can no longer afford to see Iraq in isolation from other priorities: we face the challenge of refocusing on Afghanistan and Pakistan; of relieving the burden on our military; and of rebuilding our struggling economy and these are challenges that we will meet," he said.

Story continues below

Obama applauded the military for its role in an improved situation in Iraq, where violence is down significantly in Baghdad and most of Iraq and U.S. military deaths have plunged.

He also acknowledged that many problems remain in the country and said "there will be difficult days ahead." Those include violence that will remain "a part of life," political instability and fundamental unresolved questions, a large displaced and destitute citizenry, tepid support for Iraq's fragile government in the neighborhoods and the stress of declining oil revenues.

But, the president said the U.S. cannot continue to try to solve all Iraq's problems.

"We cannot rid Iraq of all who oppose America or sympathize with our adversaries," he said. "We cannot police Iraq's streets until they are completely safe, nor stay until Iraq's union is perfected. We cannot sustain indefinitely a commitment that has put a strain on our military, and will cost the American people nearly a trillion dollars."

He emphasized that an end to the war does not mean the U.S. plans to withdraw from its interests in the region. He promised intensified diplomatic and humanitarian efforts.

"The end of the war in Iraq will enable a new era of American leadership and engagement in the Middle East," Obama said.

War critics were ready to hear Obama's public words, which came just three weeks shy of the war's 6-year anniversary.

But the size of the force to be left behind after the combat-troop drawdown didn't please leaders of Obama's own Democratic Party, who had envisioned a fuller withdrawal. Obama personally briefed House and Senate members of both parties about his intentions behind closed doors Thursday.

"When they talk about 50,000, that's a little higher number than I had anticipated," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, echoing many others.

Republican Sen. John McCain, who lost the presidential election to Obama, offered his support for the president's plan while saying that the residual force would still go on combat patrols alongside Iraqis. "They'll still be in harm's way," he said in an interview. "There's no doubt about it."

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told lawmakers in the White House briefing that ground commanders in Iraq believe the plan poses only a moderate risk to security, McCain said.

Obama also on Friday notified two key figures of his pending announcement: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and, minutes before taking the podium, former President George W. Bush.

From the Jan. 20 start of his presidency to his deadline for ending the combat mission, Obama has settled on a 19-month withdrawal. He had promised the faster pace of 16 months during his campaign but also said he would confer with military commanders on a responsible exit.

Officials said Thursday that the timetable Obama ultimately selected was the recommendation of all the key principals _ including Gates and Mullen. The timeline was settled on as the one that would best manage security risks without jeopardizing the gains of recent months.

In any case, the last of any kind of U.S. troop must be out of Iraq no later than Dec. 31, 2011. That's the deadline set under an agreement the two countries sealed near the end of Bush's presidency. Obama has no plans to extend that date or pursue any permanent troop presence in Iraq.

With 142,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, Obama plans to withdraw most of them; the total comes to roughly 92,000 to 107,000, based on administration projections.

Administration officials spoke about Obama's Iraq decision under condition of anonymity to discuss details of the strategy ahead of the announcement.

They said Obama would not set a more specific schedule, such as how many troops will exit per month because he wants to give his commanders in Iraq flexibility. "They'll either speed it up or slow it down, depending on what they need," said one official.

Yet the officials made clear Obama wants to keep a strong security presence in Iraq through a series of elections in 2009, capped by national elections tentatively set for December. That important, final election date could slip into 2010, which is perhaps why Obama's timetable for withdrawing combat troops has slipped by a few months, too.

The officials said that Gen. Ray Odierno, the top American commander in Baghdad, wanted flexibility around the elections. "The president found that very compelling," one said.

The senior administration officials sought to describe Obama's decision-making process as one that was not driven by his political promise to end the war. They said he consulted extensively with his military team while interagency government teams reviewed the options.

Jindal may have fudged the facts in his Katrina boat story

Stephen C. Webster (Update at bottom: Jindal aide 'clarifies' Katrina tale) Louisiana Governor "Bobby" Jindal's retort to President Obama's first major address to Congress was not exactly well-received. One Fox News panelist went so far as to call his oration "amateurish," "simplistic" and even "childish." Also, on Thursday, a report by Talking Points Memo strongly suggests Jindal's critics should add dishonest to the litany of complaints. "During Katrina, I visited Sheriff Harry Lee, a Democrat and a good friend of mine," said Jindal during his Tuesday night speech. "When I walked into his makeshift office I'd never seen him so angry. He was yelling into the phone: 'Well, I'm the Sheriff and if you don't like it you can come and arrest me!' I asked him: 'Sheriff, what's got you so mad?' He told me that he had put out a call for volunteers to come with their boats to rescue people who were trapped on their rooftops by the floodwaters. "The boats were all lined up ready to go - when some bureaucrat showed up and told them they couldn't go out on the water unless they had proof of insurance and registration. I told him, 'Sheriff, that's ridiculous.' And before I knew it, he was yelling into the phone: 'Congressman Jindal is here, and he says you can come and arrest him too!' Harry just told the boaters to ignore the bureaucrats and start rescuing people." The problem with Jindal's recounting is that it may not have even happened. However, the one man who could have set the record straight -- Democrat Harry Lee, "one of the most famous politicians in Louisiana history," according to the Times-Picayune -- passed away in late 2007. "According to numerous reports, Harry Lee did not leave the affected area of New Orleans during the crisis," wrote TPM's Zachary Roth. "But there is no reported evidence of Jindal having set foot in the area during the period when people were still stranded on roofs -- which, based on a review of news stories from the time, was only until September 3 at the very latest. Indeed, the evidence strongly suggests he did not." "We've reviewed [Lexis] Nexis and other sources, and can find no news reports putting Jindal on the ground in the affected area during the few days after Katrina struck when people might still have needed boats to rescue them from rooftops," he added. Portions of TPM's research were based on a DailyKos diary by user xgz, who links to a find in CNN's archives that appears to be "the final nail in the coffin," he said. Speaking with CNN's Larry King on Sept. 11, 2005, Lee, the sheriff Jindal spoke of, said he didn't learn of the required insurance forms until a week after the boats were needed. Saying, "rules and regulations is what got things all screwed up around here," the sheriff inadvertently shot down the future governor's claim. "Those boats where not allowed to get into the water when they were needed and I just found out about seven days later one of the reason boats couldn't get in was they didn't have enough life preservers and some of them didn't have proof of insurance," said Lee. "And I'm sure that there's a FEMA regulation that says that. But when a storm of this magnitude hits, you through those regulations out the window and you do what you have to do and start saving lives." "Perhaps Mr. Jindal can explain how he learned that lesson during Katrina, when Harry Lee didn't learn about it until a week later?" asked DailyKos user Barbara Morrill. A request for comment to Gov. Jindal's office was not returned as of press time.

Jindal aide 'clarifies' Katrina tale

Politico's Ben Smith spoke to an aide for Governor Jindal who "clarifies" his Katrina anecdote, but it may not be enough for some liberal critics. "A spokeswoman for Bobby Jindal says the Louisiana governor didn't intend to imply that an anecdote about battling bureaucrats during Katrina directly involved the governor or took place during the heat of a fight to release rescue boats," Smith writes. "The spokeswoman, Melissa Sellers, said the story Jindal told in his response to Obama actually took place some days later in Lee's office -- though still in Katrina's chaotic aftermath -- as Lee was 'recounting' his frustrations with the bureaucracy to someone else on the telephone." Jindal chief of staff Timmy Teepell also told Smith that the "the exchange took place in the week following Katrina, when Jindal visited Jefferson Parish multiple times." "He was boots on the ground all the time," Teepell claims. At TPMMuckraker, Zachary Roth responds that this is "no minor difference." "Jindal's presence in Lee's office during the crisis itself was a key element of the story's intended appeal, putting him at the center of the action during the maelstrom," Roth writes. "Just as important, Jindal implied that his support for the sheriff helped ensure the rescue went ahead. But it turns out Jindal wasn't there at the key moment, and played no role in making the rescue happen." Roth adds, "There's a larger point here, though. The central anecdote of the GOP's prime-time response to President Obama's speech, intended to illustrate the threat of excessive government regulation, turns out to have been made up. Maybe it's time to rethink the premise."

Mayor who sent watermelon e-mail says he'll resign

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. – The mayor of a small Southern California city says he will resign after being criticized for sharing an e-mail picture depicting the White House lawn planted with watermelons under the title "No Easter egg hunt this year." Los Alamitos Mayor Dean Grose issued a statement Thursday saying he is sorry and will step down as mayor at Monday's City Council meeting. Grose came under fire for sending the picture to what he called "a small group of friends." One of the recipients, a local businesswoman and city volunteer, publicly scolded the mayor for his actions. Grose says he accepts that the e-mail was in poor taste and has affected his ability to lead the city. Grose said he didn't mean to offend anyone and claimed he was unaware of the racial stereotype linking black people with eating watermelons. Located in Orange County, Los Alamitos is a 2 1/4-square-mile city of around 12,000 peopl

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

After getting busted for lying, Hannity tells another one

During the February 24 broadcast of his Fox News program, host Sean Hannity repeated the false Republican talking points that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 directs that funds be spent to protect the salt marsh harvest mouse in San Francisco and on a high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas. In response to Hannity's false claims, Hannity's guest, Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) noted, "Sean, that -- those words are absolutely not in the bill, and you know it. You may be reading them off the Internet, but those words are not in the bill."

After Sestak challenged Hannity to "try to name" an earmark in the bill, Hannity responded: "The salt harvest marsh mouse that gets $30 million. The railway from Los Angeles to Las Vegas: that is a pork project." In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted, the bill does not contain any language directing funds to the salt marsh harvest mouse or its San Francisco wetlands habitat, a fact that the House Republican leadership aide who reportedly originated the claim has reportedly acknowledged. Nor does the bill include, as Media Matters has noted, a provision directing that $8 billion in funds be spent on a high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas.

After writing that "there isn't any such money in the bill" for the mouse, The Plum Line blogger Greg Sargent reported on February 12 that the "marsh harvest mouse" claim originated in an email from a "House Republican leadership staffer" who, when contacted by Sargent, "conceded that the claim by conservative media that the mouse money is currently in the bill is a misstatement." San Jose Mercury News staff writer Paul Rogers subsequently reported on February 13 that Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), originated the claim and said that "[t]here is no language in the bill that says this money will go to this project."

Moreover, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace has said that the claim that the bill had funding to protect the mouse has been "supposedly ... debunked."

As Media Matters has noted, the mouse falsehood has been repeated several times on Fox News, including on Hannity. Furthermore, other media outlets such as The New York Times, Fox Business Network, The Washington Times, and CNN have advanced the same falsehood.

Furthermore, contrary to Hannity's false claim -- which has been pushed by House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) -- that the economic recovery bill directs that funds be spent on a high-speed rail line between Southern California and Las Vegas, the bill does not direct high-speed rail funds to any specific high-speed rail project. Furthermore, any funding would be allocated by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman.

The bill states that $8 billion shall remain available for the "Secretary of Transportation" for "projects that support the development of intercity high speed rail service" and that the secretary shall "submit to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations a strategic plan that describes how the Secretary will use the funding provided under this heading to improve and deploy high speed passenger rail systems." The Joint Explanatory Statement of the Conference Report on H.R. 1 further states of the high-speed rail program: "The conferees have provided the Secretary flexibility in allocating resources between the programs to advance the goal of deploying intercity high speed rail systems in the United States."

From the February 24 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY: And that was President Obama, delivering his remarks to a joint session of Congress just a bit ago. And joining us now to give us his thoughts on the president's speech is Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak [PA] is with us.

You know, Congressman Sestak, I'm getting a little frustrated. He said in last week's $1 trillion-plus with interest, you know, massive spending bill -- he said there were no pet projects in it. We all know that's not true.

I have a list of the $410 billion omnibus spending bill. I have a list -- I'll start reading them to you, if you like -- of nothing but part of the 9,000 earmarks. How can you say with a straight face that this is not irresponsible spending when it's full of earmarks? Last week's bill; this week's bill being debated. Explain that to me. You're a Democrat. Help me out.

SESTAK: Absolutely. Sean, first off, you try to name me one -- one in the recovery bill of an earmark. Now, with a --

HANNITY: Got it.

SESTAK: -- 9,000 earmarks in this omnibus --

HANNITY: I got it.

SESTAK: -- bill -- just one moment.

HANNITY: Answer.

SESTAK: There were -- OK. If --

HANNITY: One.

SESTAK: -- you could, just answer this: Is -- there's 9,000 --

HANNITY: The salt harvest marsh mouse that gets $30 million. The railway from Los Angeles to Las Vegas: that is a pork project. That is reckless spending.

SESTAK: Sean, that -- those words are absolutely not in the bill, and you know it.

HANNITY: What --

SESTAK: You may be reading them off --

HANNITY: -- the stimulus --

SESTAK: -- the Internet, but those words are not in the bill.

HANNITY: Yeah, of course, because you hide it. But we know where the money's going. It's just like, for example, all-terrain --

SESTAK: Now, Sean, those words --

HANNITY: I'll give you another one.

SESTAK: Sean, if I could.

HANNITY: All-terrain vehicles --

SESTAK: Now, wait a minute, Sean, you're reading off an Internet type of thing.

HANNITY: I'm actually reading the bill.

SESTAK: You've got to read the actual bill, and I've read every word.

HANNITY: You know --

SESTAK: Now let's talk about the 9,000 earmarks.

HANNITY: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You know and I know that Nancy Pelosi's district, that these marshlands to help save the mouse, that's where that money's going. This railway for Harry Reid, these all-terrain vehicle trails, they're in the bill, Congressman. We're spending $1.3 trillion of our kids' money. Why?

SESTAK: Sean, I just don't want to mislead the public. Those words are not in the bill. Number two: We're --

HANNITY: But the money is earmarked for it.

SESTAK: No, there are not, Sean. Number two --

HANNITY: You sound like Bill Clinton.

SESTAK: No, I'm just telling you what the facts are, 'cause I've read every word of the bill.

HANNITY: "I did not have sex with that woman." They -- that is where the money is going, Congressman. Be straight with the American people.

Limbaugh Defends Jindal, Warns Conservatives They Are ‘Making A Real Mistake If They Go After’ Him

From Think Progress

The response across the political spectrum to Gov. Bobby Jindal’s (R-LA) speech last night has been overwhelmingly negative. Even the most enthusiastic conservative talkers had harsh words for Jindal’s speech, calling it “cheesy,” “insane,” and “not his greatest oratorical moment.”

But Jindal still maintains one key supporter — Rush Limbaugh. On his radio show this afternoon, Limbaugh leaped to Jindal’s defense. “I love Bobby Jindal, and that did not change after last night,” he said. Limbaugh then directed this admonition at his fellow conservatives:

LIMBAUGH: [T]he people on our side are really making a mistake if they go after Bobby Jindal on the basis of style. Because if you think — people on our side I’m talking to you — those of you who think Jindal was horrible, you think — in fact, I don’t ever want to hear from you ever again. … I’ve spoken to him numerous times, he’s brilliant. He’s the real deal.

Watch it:

It should come as no surprise that Limbaugh would try desperately to shield Jindal from any criticism. Limbaugh repeatedly refers to the Louisiana governor as the “next Ronald Reagan.” During his Feb. 28, 2008 radio show, Limbaugh explained that Jindal is among the small group of conservative leaders with the “guts to articulate” right-wing “Rushism” principles.

The affection between the two is growing stronger over time. Limbaugh recently praised Jindal for rejecting unemployment benefits in the stimulus package. In an interview with Limbaugh in 2007, Jindal gushed that he reads Limbaugh’s books and that he is a “huge fan” of Limbaugh’s program. In addition, Jindal proudly displays Limbaugh’s kind words for him on his campaign website, where there are links to Limbaugh transcripts and articles.

UpdatePaul Begala urges Jindal to “dump Rush.” Begala writes, “But if it is Pres. Bush who haunts Gov. Jindal’s past, it is Rush Limbaugh who haunts his future.”
UpdateLast night on Twitter, conservative commentator Amanda Carpenter wrote: "Hackwatch: Conservatives/GOP-ers who try to spin Jindal's performance as anything better than it was..are hacks. Ugh, I have to go to bed."
MCL comment: Someone needs to tell Rush the only people he has influence over are the Republicans in Washington D.C. and his dumb ass listeners.

Krugman Jindal Response: GOP Has Become 'The Party Of Beavis And Butthead'

The full gamut of punditry had little praise for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's rebuttal speech Tuesday night. Notably, Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman, responding to the flak Jindal gave high-speed rail and volcano-monitoring, has labeled the GOP 'the party of Beavis and Butthead':

So what did Bobby Jindal choose to ridicule in this response to Obama last night? Volcano monitoring, of course.

...

The intellectual incoherence is stunning. Basically, the political philosophy of the GOP right now seems to consist of snickering at stuff that they think sounds funny. The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead.

Sam Stein has more on the response from Democrats, Republicans and pundits, who more or less reached consensus: the speech was an awkward, embarrassing flop. From Stein:

"After watching Jindal," one Democratic strategist emailed, "I'd pay a lot of money to be back watching a Palin speech."

"Awkward with capital A," emailed another.

The punditry was equally brutal. Part of the problem was the crux of Jindal's address, which consisted almost entirely of red meat for conservatives. The Governor offered criticism for anything other than tax cuts and ridiculed government spending for items that are either widely supported -- "$8 billion for high-speed rail" -- or seemingly essential -- "$140 million for something called 'volcano monitoring'" (isn't Louisiana Exhibit A in the need for natural disaster warning?).

And as Jason Linkins notes, even the usually lackluster New York Times columnist David Brooks became somewhat animated in his reaction to the speech, describing Jindal's argument on NewsHour with Jim Lehrer as "just a form of nihilism". The transcript:

LEHRER: How well did he do?

BROOKS: Not so well. You know, I think Bobby Jindal is a very promising politician, and I opposed the stimulus package - I thought it was poorly drafted - but to come up at this moment in history with a stale, "government is the problem...we can't trust the government"...it's just a disaster for the Republican Party. The country is in a panic, now. They may not like the way the Congress passed the stimulus bill. The idea that government is going to have no role in this...in a moment where only the Federal government is big enough to do stuff...to just ignore all that and say government's the problem...corruption, earmarks, wasteful spending - it's just a form of nihilism. It's just not where the country is, it's not where the future of the country is. There's an intra-Republican debate: some people say the Republican party lost its way because it got too moderate, some people say they got too weird or too conservative. He thinks they got too moderate, and he's making that case. I think it's insane. I think it's a disaster for the party. I just think it's unfortunate right now.

Conservatives pan Jindal's 'weak' and 'amateurish' speech

by Rachel Oswald After President Obama's strong address to Congress Tuesday, hopes were high among conservatives that their new golden boy, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, would respond with equal oratorical might. Judging from the responses of commentators and bloggers from the right side of the aisle, that did not happen. Commenting on the public response to Jindal's speech, Kathryn Jean Lopez, a blogger with The Corner on National Review Online, a conservative Web site, shared one e-mail she had received from a reader in Seattle: "Jindal's delivery was weak in this sense: he did not look like someone who could lead this country. He did not instill in me any confidence that he would or could be the standard-bearer in four or eight years, which I was looking for. I wanted him to do well. But he didn't... He came across as the guy you'd want to have your daughter bring home, but not the guy you'd want leading your company during tough times." Writing for the American Spectator, Philip Klein wrote of Jindal, "The substance of his speech read fine, but his delivery was absolutely awful. His delivery was flat and his jokes and anecdotes were awkward, his grin childish. He may be brilliant, but presentation matters too, and this was a lackluster performance." Even the folks at Fox News, who are generally more friendly towards Republicans had harsh words for his speech delivery. “Jindal didn’t have a chance," said Fox News' Charles Krauthammer. "He follows Obama, who in making speeches, is in a league of his own. He’s in a Reaganesque league." Juan Williams had the harshest words of the group reviewing Jindal's performance. “It came off as amateurish and even the tempo in which he spoke was sing-songy," Williams said. "He was telling stories that seemed very simplistic and almost childish.” Chiming in from the more liberal point-of-view, Andrew Sullivan with the Daily Dish compared Jindal to Kenneth the page from 30 Rock. "Stylistically, he got better as he went along but there was, alas, a slightly high-school debate team feel to the beginning," Sullivan said. "And there was a patronizing feel to it as well - as if he were talking to kindergartners - that made Obama's adult approach so much more striking." Conservative commentator Michelle Malkin was kinder to Jindal saying that she thought "his delivery was fine." "I’ll take Bobby Jindal’s genuine faith in American entrepreneurship over Barack Obama’s fear-mongering-turned-faux Reaganism any day," Malkin wrote. "His actions and his actual record — reforming his state’s decrepit health care system, fixing higher ed, serving in Congress, tackling entitlement reform, managing natural emergencies, etc. — remain mightily impressive." Tepid though his delivery may have been, conservatives are criticizing MSNBC today for a remark an employee of MSNBC made off-camera of "Oh God" which can distinctly be heard coming right before Jindal first took to the podium

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On Hannity, Dietl promoted Social Security falsehood

During the February 23 edition of Hannity, Fox News contributor and private investigator Richard "Bo" Dietl falsely asserted that "[t]en years from now" there will be only two workers for each Social Security beneficiary. Dietl added, "The problem is there's going to be bankruptcy in Social Security and then the pension system." Host Sean Hannity then said, "All right. That raises one last question. That -- the Social Security bankrupt, Medicare bankrupt -- why do people put their hope that government's going to solve this and health care on top of it?" In fact, the 2008 Social Security trustee's report estimates that the current ratio will fall from more than 3 workers for every beneficiary to a 2.2 ratio in 2030, not that the ratio will be "two to one" "[t]en years from now." Furthermore, the Social Security trustees have projected that in the absence of a change in the law, Social Security will be able to pay full benefits until 2041, after which it will be able to cover between 78 and 75 percent of scheduled benefits through the end of the 75-year period covered by their 2008 long-range projection.

As Media Matters for America has noted, the 2008 Social Security trustees' report explained that "[e]ven if a trust fund's assets are exhausted ... tax income will continue to flow into the fund" and Social Security will be able to pay full benefits until 2041, at which point it will be able to cover 78 percent of benefits if no legislative changes are made:

Redemption of trust fund assets will allow continuation of full benefit payments on a timely basis until 2041, when the trust funds are projected to become exhausted. This redemption process will require a flow of cash from the General Fund of the Treasury. Pressures on the Federal Budget will thus emerge well before 2041. Even if a trust fund's assets are exhausted, however, tax income will continue to flow into the fund. Present tax rates are projected to be sufficient to pay 78 percent of scheduled benefits after trust fund exhaustion in 2041 and 75 percent of scheduled benefits in 2082.

As Media Matters has documented, in previous cable news appearances, Dietl has referred to Arabs by such names as "Aba Dabba Doos," "Ali Baba Boo," and "Aba Daba Dah." He has also said law enforcement officials should "[g]o into your 7-Elevens or go into one of these stores that keep rotating young men who are Muslims," and say "identify yourself."

From the February 23 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

ROBERT EHRLICH JR. (former Maryland governor): If they don't buy our debt, Sean, there's only one alternative, two alternatives: Raise taxes big time or print money. And print money -- we know what that leads to. We've seen that in the past.

HANNITY: Well, we got stagflation coming because --

EHRLICH: Absolutely. That's --

HANNITY: -- we're going to have high unemployment, high inflation, stagflation.

DIETL: And your other shoe's dropping very fast. You know what your big shoe's going to be? Your public pension funds. All your pension funds all are out there, and then the Social Security that we have in this country --

HANNITY: Bankrupt.

DIETL: Social Security was formulated after the Great Depression. It wasn't supposed to be pension. There were 15 people working to every one retired; now, it's three to one --

HANNITY: That's true.

DIETL: Ten years from now it's going to be two to one. The problem is there's going to be bankruptcy in Social Security and then the pension system.

HANNITY: All right. That raises one last question. That -- the Social Security bankrupt, Medicare bankrupt -- why do people put their hope that government's going to solve this and health care on top of it, Alicia?

ALICIA MENENDEZ (Democratic strategist): Because some of us are true believers. And we believe that if we actually stayed on one course, pursued one objective, we'd actually be able to get something done --

HANNITY: True believers.

MENENDEZ: -- instead of all the partisan bickering that we do.

HANNITY: All right. Repeat after me. Yes, we can. Change, change, change.

MCL comment: What ticks me off that rat bastard Sean Hannity passed off every talking point from the RNC and the Bush white house as the god honest truth but now the slanted head freak is acting like Dems are just marching behind Obama like he and the Republicans did with Bush makes me sick.

Schumer To GOP Govs On Stimulus: Take It Or Leave It

By Ryan Grim

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has a message for Republican governors hemming and hawing over whether to accept the stimulus money Uncle Sam is mailing to each state: Take it or leave it.

Several GOP governors, including Louisiana's Bobby Jindal and South Carolina's Mark Sanford, have cited ideological differences with the stimulus spending and suggested they may take some parts of it and decline the rest. For Schumer, it's all or nothing.

"No one would dispute that these governors should be given the choice as to whether to accept the funds or not. But it should not be multiple choice," Schumer writes in a letter to Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag.

Schumer argues that the stimulus plan is a comprehensive approach, and rejecting portions of the package of it would undermine it. "To protect the integrity of the recovery program, I urge the administration to issue implementation guidance clarifying that while any Governor may exercise his or her discretion to accept or reject the federal funds provided in the stimulus, no Governor should have the authority to arbitrarily adopt a select subset of the overall package," writes Schumer.

Schumer also argues that cherry picking the stimulus is unconstitutional. "To allow such picking and choosing would, in effect, empower the governors with a line-item veto authority that President Obama himself did not possess at the time he signed the legislation," he writes.

UPDATE: House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) authored the part of the stimulus that allows state legislatures to overrule governors on whether to accept stimulus money because he was concerned Stanford would turn down money in his home state.

Now, he's highlighting Jindal's willingness -- indeed, his eagerness -- to take federal money for Katrina recovery, while rejecting other forms of federal aid.

"It seems to me like Governor Jindal is bluffing," said Clyburn in a statement. "The incentives in the economic recovery package to help states cover more unemployed workers will not cause states to increase taxes. In fact, it would do the opposite--the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides a much-needed cash infusion for severely depleted state unemployment trust funds and helps states avoid triggering mandatory tax increases.

Story continues below

"In the wake of a natural disaster after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005, then-Congressman Jindal cosponsored and supported legislation to expand unemployment benefits and inject federal dollars into Louisiana's unemployment trust fund. Yet today in the face of a financial disaster and record unemployment, he opposes similar action under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. What changed?"

The full letter, as provided to the Huffington Post:

Dear Director Orszag:

In recent days, a small minority of governors, mostly Republicans, have publicly weighed the possibility of foregoing certain emergency provisions provided under the American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act signed last week by President Obama. I believe this prospect not only would undercut the stimulative effect of the recovery package, but also is inconsistent with a key provision included in the law passed by Congress. To protect the integrity of the recovery program, I urge the administration to issue implementation guidance clarifying that while any Governor may exercise his or her discretion to accept or reject the federal funds provided in the stimulus, no Governor should have the authority to arbitrarily adopt a select subset of the overall package.

As you know, Section 1607(a) of the economic recovery legislation provides that the Governor of each state must certify a request for stimulus funds before any money can flow. No language in this provision, however, permits the governor to selectively adopt some components of the bill while rejecting others. To allow such picking and choosing would, in effect, empower the governors with a line-item veto authority that President Obama himself did not possess at the time he signed the legislation. It would also undermine the overall success of the bill, as the components most singled out for criticism by these governors are among the most productive measures in terms of stimulating the economy.

For instance, at least two governors have proposed rejecting a program to expand unemployment insurance for laid-off workers. Economists consistently rank unemployment insurance among the most efficient and cost-effective fiscal stimulus measures; by one frequently cited estimate, it provides an economic return of as high as $1.73 for every dollar invested. Thus, by denying this provision for their residents, these governors are not just depriving some of the neediest Americans of relief in a dire economy; they are undermining the overall stimulative impact of the package.

No one would dispute that these governors should be given the choice as to whether to accept the funds or not. But it should not be multiple choice. The composition of the package was rightly dictated by economic considerations; we should not let the implementation of the package be dictated by political considerations.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

GOP punishing members who cross party lines

by Rachel Oswald Determined to enforce the party line, the GOP has taken new steps to punish those members who have crossed the aisle in recent weeks to vote in support of the federal stimulus package and to send the message to any party moderates - turncoats will not be tolerated. In a Monday interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto, Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele said he was open to primary challenges to the three Republican senators who voted in favor of the federal stimulus package --Arlen Spector of Pennsylvania and the two senators from Maine, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe. Spector is up for re-election in 2010. "My retribution is the retribution of the voters in their state. They're going to have to go through a primary in their state," Steele said, adding that the RNC would follow the lead of the state parties in choosing which Republicans to back with campaign money. "When the state party says we're going to endorse a candidate, the RNC is behind them. When the state party says we have a problem with them, so does the RNC." Today the National Republican Congressional Committee will be unveiling its new campaign fundraising program for the 2010 elections. Called the "Patriot" program, the plan will among other things hold members accountable for their votes if they wish to recive any campaign aid, reports Roll Call's John McArdle. Writes McArdle, "As one Republican source put it Monday, the effort is also designed to 'end the welfare state that the NRCC has become over the past six to eight years' by setting strict benchmarks for Members and adding one big stick to the process. Namely, those candidates who aren’t working to help themselves will be cut off from NRCC financial assistance." "We have very limited resources," said Mike Rogers, chairman of the NRCC's incumbent retention program, to Roll Call. “It’s not right to ask the whole Conference to help those who aren’t willing to help themselves.” Some state parties are already punishing members who have crossed the aisle in recent weeks. On Sunday, the California Republican Party voted to withhold party funding in the 2010 election from the six GOP state legislators who voted in favor of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's compromise budget last week. The budget included the largest tax increase in the state's history to balance a $42 billion shortfall. "The measure was "approved swiftly and without debate Sunday as the party's twice-annual convention wrapped up in Sacramento. An earlier version of the measure contained stronger language, calling for a censure," writes the Associated Press. "Supporters said Sunday's resolution sends a strong message to politicians that there will be consequences for breaking their no-tax pledge."

'Self-censoring' journalists gave visual nod to GOP: study

by Rachel Oswald Journalists, so concerned with being accused of having a liberal agenda, will at times overreact by self-censoring themselves, resulting in more favorable coverage of Republicans, a new analysis of television coverage finds. A book by two Indiana University professors details their study of the three broadcast networks' -- ABC, CBS and NBC -- presidential campaign coverage from 1992 to 2004. According to the analysis, the coverage favored Republican candidates in each election. "We don't think this is journalists conspiring to favor Republicans. We think they're just so beat up and tired of being accused of a liberal bias that they unknowingly give Republicans the benefit in coverage," said Maria Elizabeth Grabe, an associate professor at IU, who along with Associate Professor Erik Bucy, wrote Image Bite Politics: News and the Visual Framing of Elections. "It's self-censorship that journalists might be imposing on themselves." Grabe and Bucy's book is the first major research project to analyze the visual coverage of presidential elections and how it influences public opinion, according to a press release on the book. The authors examined 62 hours of network news coverage between Labor Day and Election Day over the four presidential elections. Among their findings were that candidates were steadily shown more visually in so-called image bites, while their verbal statements, or sound bites, shortened in average length. Notably, cable news outlets, including CNN and Fox News, were not included in their research. The professors are now looking at 2008 election coverage. More so than the networks, cable news outlets have received the most criticism of bias in their broadcasts with Fox News generally being accused of a conservative bias and MSNBC generally accused of a liberal bias. "Grabe and Bucy found the volume of news coverage focusing exclusively on each party -- one measure of media bias -- favored Republicans. Their research found there were more single-party stories about Republicans overall and in each election year except 1992," reads the release. The authors examined one of the most negative forms of image bites, the "lip-flap shot," in which a reporter's narration is overlaid on video of the candidate talking. In their findings, Democrats were more likely than Republicans to be given the "lip-flap shot." "This phenomenon, though relatively easy to find in news coverage of elections, is generally viewed as a violation of professional television news production standards that has detrimental consequences," said the authors. "Not only is 'lip-flap' unflattering for the candidate who appears . . . but it also distracts from the reporter's narration because viewers focus attention on making sense of what the lip flapper appears to be saying." Also looked at was the "Goldilocks effect," which is who was given the last say in a piece and so better remembered by viewers. The authors found that Republicans were more likely to get the last word in every presidential election studied but the 2004 election. Interestingly, the findings of Image Bite Politics contravene the results of a 2005 UCLA-led study which found that there was a liberal media bias. That study examined not only the networks but also newspapers, cable news, prominent blogs and public radio. Of the 20 major media outlets studied by UCLA, 18 scored left-of-center, with CBS' "Evening News," The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal. Only Fox News' "Special Report With Brit Hume" and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter, according to a UCLA press release on the study. The UCLA study found that the most centrist outlets were the "News Hour With Jim Lehrer," CNN's "NewsNight With Aaron Brown" and ABC's "Good Morning America."

Monday, February 23, 2009

Unhinged in 30 days: The right-wing media's Obama era implosion

by Eric Boehlert

The Republican Noise Machine doesn't need the customary 100 days to size up the new president. Right-wing commentators barely needed 30 days to come to their conclusion that they hate everything Barack Obama stands for.

In terms of speed and efficiency, the right-wing collection of bloggers, AM talkers, pundits, and yes, newspaper cartoonists, may have set a new land speed record for becoming collectively unhinged, as they wail and moan about how the new Democratic president's turning America into a fascist state, or communist, or socialist, or whatever other bugaboo claim Glenn Beck and Laura Ingraham are tossing out to viewers and listeners on a daily basis.

Barack Obama is "arrogant," "dishonest," and "radical," Fox News' Sean Hannity announced during a single 10-second chunk of prime-time TV last week -- a casually hateful appraisal that didn't even raise eyebrows, simply because that kind of blanketed disdain for the new president has already become so commonplace.

Rush Limbaugh's original anti-Obama proclamation at the outset of his presidency -- "I hope he fails" -- already seems benign in retrospect. Since Inauguration Day we've learned Obama has "Marxist tendencies" and is "addicting this country to heroin -- the heroin that is government slavery" (Glenn Beck). That, "there are eerie, eerie similarities" between Obama and Nazis" (Michael Savage's guest host, Chris Stigall). And of course, Limbaugh himself famously bemoaned that "[w]e are being told that we have to hope [Obama] succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles ... because his father was black."

Meanwhile, last week widely read right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin was seen smiling while getting her picture taken with an Obama hater who proudly brandished a swastika placard at an anti-Obama rally in Denver. And the following day, Rupert Murdoch's far-right New York Post published a grotesque cartoon that seemed to associate Obama with a bullet-ridden monkey who'd been shot by two white cops on a city sidewalk.

If we just pause and take one or two steps back from the daily/hourly barrage of hate, it's obvious that faced with the new Obama presidency, the Republican Noise Machine has already lost all perspective -- has gone totally loco -- and it's only February, a mere month into Obama's first four years in office. Who dares to even imagine where the right-wing "conversation" goes from here?

It's astounding to watch the avalanche of hate ooze from conservative media quarters. And why? Because Obama passed an economic recovery bill. Good Lord, imagine if he had failed to win the popular vote and then led the country into a pre-emptive war based on faulty intelligence, a war that lost thousands of American lives, and tens of thousands of foreign lives, while milking the U.S. treasury out of a few trillion dollars in the process.

I suspect the unvarnished hate directed toward Obama, the radical rhetoric behind it, and most especially the overnight delivery used to proclaim it, is unprecedented for our modern politics. Even during the first Clinton weeks and months in 1993, I don't think the right-wing ratcheted up the demonizing language this quickly. Note that back then the Republican Noise Machine was just coming into its own, whereas today it's a well-oiled hate machine. Also, in the early 1990s, the Noise Machine (i.e., Limbaugh) hadn't been given unofficial control of Republican Party messaging the way it has today. There still seemed to be some (emphasis on some) adult supervision within conservative circles.

But today, by openly embracing Limbaugh, leader-less conservatives are purposefully mainstreaming the talkers' brand of loonyness. And by enthusiastically endorsing Limbaugh and his crowd, Republicans must accept -- must take ownership of -- the radical hate speech that defines the Noise Machine. The way Limbaugh, already under Obama, has compared Democrats to murderers, rapists, and Satan. The way Limbaugh recently tagged them as "immoral" people who are "not truly religious" and who are waging an "assault" on the Constitution, while claiming Democrats hate life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. (And Beltway journalists naïvely scratch their heads wondering why Obama cannot achieve bipartisanship.)

That hate speech is now, unequivocally, the sanctioned voice of the Republican Party. It's a voice that, after just 30 days of an Obama presidency, has gone completely bonkers. And it's a voice that's revealed itself in the form of swastikas, dead monkeys, and bizarre talk of ankle-grabbing.

But liberals hated Bush! That's the but-they-did-it-too defense being paraded around by right-wingers like Malkin after she was spotted with Swastika Guy. Everybody on the left compared Bush to Hitler, Malkin claimed last week. Really? Liberal protesters waved around Bush-Hitler signs at rallies to protest new administration policy during Bush's first month in office? Bush hadn't even finished filling out his Cabinet, and prominent liberals were demonizing the new president as an anti-American fascist?

Please.

Malkin's lame stab at revisionism was simply an attempt to justify the right's radical attacks on Obama. Were there widespread, hysterical Hitler references to Bush 30 days after he took office? Not that I recall. And in the wake of Bush's tax cuts being passed by Congress in 2001, did any major newspapers publish cartoons that seemed to connect Bush with a bullet-ridden monkey? No. And if there had been such a tasteless cartoon, would a single high-profile liberal commenter have possibly defended it? I can't imagine one who would have.

Some on the right adopted the same, childish two-wrongs-make-a-right defense in reaction to that hateful New York Post cartoon. But the left hated Bush more, wrote conservative blogger (and Post apologist) John Hinderaker at Power Line. Note the time frame he uses:

Democrats will no doubt continue to use Obama's race to try to silence criticism, but they can rest assured that conservatives will never unleash the kind of mindless hate against Obama (or anyone else) that we have all witnessed from the Left over the past six years.

Six years. Meaning, there was very little outlandish Bush hate broadcast from the left for approximately the Republicans' first 24 months in office. Let alone his first 30 days. (What kind of political movement melts down 30 days into a new administration?) In fact, during the summer of 2001, The Washington Post's Sally Quinn went on TV and talked about how suddenly calm and rational Beltway partisan differences were, as opposed to those chaotic Clinton years:

I don't think [Bush has] changed the city at all, but I think what has happened is that he has allowed the city to get back to normal. It has not been normal for eight years. For eight years it's been really ugly and vicious and personal, and what's happened now is that this is -- that the adversary situation is back to normal.

See the trend? When a Democrat was in the White House, the atmosphere was "ugly and vicious and personal." When a Republican took over, everything went back to "normal." And now with the return of another Democrat, the right-wing hate returns in full bloom. And in record time.

Secondly, Malkin tried to claim that everyone on the left used the Hitler/Nazi language, and to prove her point she did lots of Googling and posted links to sites that contained that kind of language or imagery. But one was a photo of anti-Bush graffiti from Argentina, circa 2006. What that had to do with Malkin's claim about American liberals, I'm still not sure. And many of the links Malkin posted led to sites I've never heard of.

She did link to the landmark site Daily Kos, and a search there found lots of dumb, regrettable Bush/Hitler references. But most of those were from 2006 and 2007, 60 months after Bush had been in office, and most were by Daily Kos readers, or diarists, not front-page writers. You'll note that in her liberals-did-it-too defense Malkin didn't link to images of Markos at Daily Kos with his arms around a Bush-era swastika protester, or Matt Stoller or John Amato or Jeralyn Merritt -- or fill in the blank with any other A-list blogger you'd like to mention. Even after eight years of despair (i.e. botched war, trampled civil liberties, mass incompetence), most prominent liberal bloggers never went there with the Bush-Hitler nonsense.

But Malkin, among the most widely read bloggers in the conservative movement, and just four weeks into the new Democratic presidency's run? Hell yeah, she'll pose with an Obama hater waving around a swastika sign, and then refuse to apologize, claiming the Nazi/Obama analogy was not "completely out of the bounds of public civil discourse." Because honestly, who knows more about the guidelines of "public civil discourse" than Michelle Malkin?

The Republican Noise Machine, which has already turned its hate amplifiers up to 10, doesn't like to admit it, but over time a strong majority of Americans came to share the liberals' contempt for Bush, who they dubbed to be an utter failure as a president. And perhaps the worst in the nation's history. The Obama disdain, though, is being unleashed against a president with extraordinarily high job approval ratings, which highlights how the Noise Machine remains completely out of touch with mainstream America.

As that fact becomes increasingly obvious in the months to come, I fear it's only going to force feverish conservatives to ratchet up the hate.

Maybe they'll turn it up to 11.

FYI: Here were some other signs spotted at the anti-Obama Denver rally that Malkin attended, signs that perfectly captured -- and regurgitated -- the hateful talking points the Noise Machine has been churning out since Obama's inauguration just one month ago:

MCL comment: The only positive thing I get from a month worth of assault on Obama is that the only people that's eating up the bull crap is the same people that would defend Bush until their blue in the face. What the right wing has done is put themselves in a tough spot during Bush's two term all these losers said that if you don't support the president you probably had Bin Laden hiding out in your basement, when Obama went from senator to president-elect the right wing attack him. So what's different only than the man who's becoming president? If they demand 100% support for the president out of respect for the office. Using their logic Sean Hannity supports terrorism, and Rush Limbaugh has Bin Laden on his staff because Rush wants the President of the United States of America to fail.

CBS News pick Republican activist who claimed Dems are bad people

From Huffy Post

from Ira Forman

Today, I learned that CBS News named Jeff Ballabon, a New York Republican activist, to serve as the Senior Vice President of Communications.

What is CBS thinking? This guy is very far out there with his partisan rhetoric.

A decade ago, I debated Ballabon in New York. I represented the Democratic Jewish community while he spoke on behalf of Republican Jews. During the debate, Ballabon claimed that, after his most recent job in Washington, he became convinced that Democrats are inherently bad people and Republicans are fundamentally good people.

What planet does this guy come from? It's astonishing that CBS News would name Ballabon to its senior management.

In fact, it is not atypical of Ballabon to use this kind of extreme partisan rhetoric. During the 2008 election, Ballabon said, "Obama is incredibly dangerous."

During the 2004 elections, JTA reported, "AIPAC has touted this election [in 2004] as a 'win-win' proposition, noting Bush's strong support for Israel and Kerry's 100 percent pro-Israel voting record in the Senate." In response, Ballabon wrote, "Bush and Kerry 'win-win?' Republicans and Democrats indistinguishable? It would be funny if Jews weren't being killed."

Ironically, Ballabon told JTA, following his new CBS News appointment, that he "always worked well with Democrats and Republicans."

The website of the Ballabon Group, where Ballabon serves as President, quotes a satisfied client saying, "When Jeff Ballabon tells you he can do something, consider it done."

Maybe Ballabon can get "it done," but perhaps CBS News can get "it done" more effectively by paying more attention when vetting its senior executives.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Jindal Rejects $90 Million In Recovery Funding That Would Have Benefited 25,000 Louisiana Residents»

From think progress: When President Obama signed the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act last week, it included three different provisions to benefit unemployed workers. The first provided funding to states that allowed for a $25 per week increase in benefits. The second extended the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program which gives 20 weeks of federally-funded unemployment benefits to individuals “who had already collected all regular state benefits,” while the third provision widened the pool of people eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

Today, however, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal announced his intention to oppose changing state law to allow his Lousiana citizens to qualify for the second two unemployment provisions. Jindal said the state would only be accepting money to increase the unemployment insurance payments for those who currently qualify for unemployment insurance.

In all, Jindal turned away nearly $100 million in federal aid for his state’s unemployed residents. Further, as the National Employment Law Project projected on Febuary 13, EUC extension alone would have benefited 24,981 Louisiana residents. Jindal justified his decision by claiming that expanding unemployment benefits would result in tax increases for businesses. In a press release, the governor’s office explained:

The Governor said the state will not use a portion of the stimulus package that requires the state to change its law to expand unemployment insurance (UI) coverage to qualify for up to $32.8 million of the federal stimulus funding because it ultimately would result in a tax increase on Louisiana businesses.

But it is not clear why participating in the expanded unemployment insurance program would result in tax increases for business. By Jindal’s own estimate, the recovery package would have funded his state’s unemployment expansion for three years, at which point the state could — if it chose to do so — phase out the program.

As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin suggested earlier today, perhaps Jindal’s presidential ambitions are “clouding” his judgement. “I think he’s been tapped as the up-and-coming Republican to petition a run for president the next time it goes around. So he has a certain vernacular, and a certain way he needs to talk right now,” Nagin said.

MCL Comment: Well I guess Bobby Jindal is going to have a lot of time to plan out his run for president after he gets booted out after his one term.

Sean Hannity: black belt in the art of lying

Citing a February 19 Congressional Quarterly article about the relationship between House members and lobbying firm The PMA Group, Fox News host Sean Hannity stated during the February 19 edition of his show that "[n]inety-one of the 104 lawmakers who granted earmark requests for PMA clients -- well, they just so happened to receive sizable campaign contributions from PMA." After naming Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-IN), Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), and Rep. James Moran (D-VA), Hannity stated, "Oh, yeah, they're all Democrats. Welcome to President Obama's brand new Washington." In fact, according to a chart accompanying the CQ article Hannity cited, 44 of 91 current or former House members who, according to CQ, received campaign contributions from the PMA Group's political action committe or its employees from 2001-2008 and "secured earmarks for clients of The PMA Group in the fiscal 2008 defense appropriations law," are Republicans.

From the February 19 edition of Fox News' Hannity:

HANNITY: And tonight in Hannity's America, with the Democrats securely in the majority, Washington's culture of corruption continues to thrive.

Now, the latest scandal falls on the doorstep of none other than John "my constituents are racist" Murtha. Now, the Congressional Quarterly reports that more than a hundred House members secured earmarks for clients of The PMA Group.

Now, that is a lobbying firm famous for its ties to Representative Murtha. Now, the group's offices were raided by the FBI, which is investigating suspicious campaign contributions that PMA made to Murtha and others. Ninety-one of the 104 lawmakers who granted earmark requests for PMA clients -- well, they just so happened to receive sizable campaign contributions from PMA.

Now, Representative Peter Visclosky, who earmarked almost $24 million for PMA -- well, he received $219,000 in campaign donations from the group. Murtha, who has earmarked a whopping $38.1 million for PMA -- well, he got $143,600 in campaign donations from them. And Representative James Moran, who earmarked 10.8 million for PMA clients -- well, he raked in more than $125,000 from them since 2001.

Oh, yeah, they're all Democrats. Welcome to President Obama's brand new Washington.

Rush: I’m No Coward On Race, I Stood Up To Media’s ‘Slavish Coverage Of Black Quarterbacks

From think progress Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the U.S. has acted as a “nation of cowards” when it comes to discussing the sometimes “awkward and painful” issue of race relations. Today on his radio show, however, conservative talker Rush Limbaugh rejected Holder’s view claiming, “I, El Rushbo, am no coward. … I show bravery on race” by standing up to the media’s “slavish coverage of black quarterbacks”: LIMBAUGH: I, El Rushbo, am no coward. … In fact, I show bravery on race. I am totally willing to discuss it openly and honestly. How does one show bravery on race as I have? You talk about media bias, you talk about slavish media coverage of Black quarter backs in the National Football League. Then see what happens. Then watch all hell descend upon you from every quarter of this nation’s media. From print to broadcast to internet. … I show bravery on matters of race. Watch it: Limbaugh is clearly still bitter about the fact that he was forced to resign from his position as an ESPN commentator in 2003 for claiming that the media were only interested in Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Donovan McNabb because he is black (despite the fact that McNabb has shown himself to be incredibly talented): Sorry to say this, I don’t think he’s been that good from the get-go. I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve. By citing the McNabb episode as a “brave” moment in the history of race-relations, Limbaugh actually reaffirmed Holder’s point. As Holder explained yesterday, discussions surrounding race and public policy in American society ought to be “nuanced, principled and spirited.” But too often, we leave the conversation to “those on the extremes who are not hesitant to use these issues to advance nothing more than their own, narrow self interest.”

File this under H for Hypocrisy

From think progress title orignal:

Now Issa cares about taking extra measures to preserve White House e-mails.'">Now Issa cares about taking extra measures to preserve White House e-mails.»

In a letter to White House Counsel Gregory Craig today, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the ranking Republican on the House Oversight Committee, “called on President Obama to put in place a system that ensures all White House emails be preserved even if official business was done through private e- mail accounts.” This newfound interest in the use of outside e-mail accounts at the White House is ironic, considering his dismissal of such concerns when Democrats investigated the Bush administration’s use of RNC e-mail accounts:

Republicans accused the Democrats of pursuing the investigation simply to dig up dirt on Rove and waste hundreds of thousands of dollars of money that the RNC could be using to shore up its candidates’ campaigns.

“Are we simply going on a fishing expedition at $40,000 to $50,000 a month?” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) asked National Archives and White House officials at the hearing. “Do any of you know of a single document, because this committee doesn’t, that should’ve been in the archives but in fact was done at the RNC?”

In 2007, the House Oversight Committee discovered that at least 88 Bush White House officials, including former adviser Karl Rove and former chief of staff Andrew Card, had RNC e-mail accounts. Additionally, the RNC has preserved no e-mails for 51 officials and had major gaps in the e-mail records of the 37 White House officials for whom the RNC did preserve e-mails.