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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Kent County GOP cancel speech by Utah’s Republican governor because he’s too moderate.

From Think Progress and By Amanda Terkel

Joanne Voorhees, the chairwoman of the Kent County Republican party in Michigan, has "abruptly canceled" an upcoming fundraiser with Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. (R). Voorhees "said that hosting the moderate Utah governor would mean abandoning the party's conservative principles." The cancellation comes as Republicans are pushing for a more narrow party focused on hard-right principles. In a new interview with ABC News, Huntsman sharply criticizes the national GOP leadership, giving them an "incomplete" grade on their first 100 days as an opposition party to President Obama. "Instead of just kind of grousing and complaining, it would do us all a whole lot of good if we actually started engaging directly in finding compromises and common ground and shared solutions," said Hunstman."

MCL comment: Now I personally don't care about the Republican Party but maybe the Republicans shouldn't try to kick out all the sane people in their party. Because I do want other people to have options in terms of political parties for people to take part in.But if the Republicans think they can with with the radical finge of their party go right ahead I don't mind seeing more elctoral victories for the Democrats and I don't mind seeing the Republicans becoming the modern day Whig Party.

GOP Hysterical Over Hate Crimes Bill Because It Would Protect Gay People

By Ali Frick

The House is scheduled to vote today on the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The bill, also called the Matthew Shepard Act, would "permit greater federal involvement in investigating hate crimes and expand the federal definition of such crimes to include those motivated by gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability." Yesterday, President Obama urged Congress "to act on this important civil rights issue," and pass the bill. Indeed, in 2007, the most recent year for which statics are available, there were 7,621 single-bias hate crimes that involved 8,999 offenses, more than 50 percent of which were racially-motivated.

The right wing, unsurprisingly, is up in arms over extending protection to victims of anti-gay crimes. Led by Rep. Steve King (R-IA), House Republicans took to the floor last night to warn that the bill would impose "tyranny," create a "Big Brother" government, and end religious freedom:

REP MICHELE BACHMANN (R-MN): I feel that this hate crime legislation could be considered the very definition of tyranny.

REP. GRESHMAN BARRET (R-SC): This bill would inhibit religious freedom in our society -- a scary thought.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): You think a pregnant mother does not deserve the protection of a homosexual? You think a military member doesn't deserve the protection of a transvestite?

REP. STEVE KING (R-IA): I, Mr. Speaker, oppose and I defy the logic of the people that would advocate for such legislation the very idea we could divine what goes on in the heads of people when they commit crimes.

Watch a compilation:

Hate crimes laws go after violent crimes, not thoughts. In fact, the law specifically stipulates that "evidence of expression or associations of the defendant may not be introduced as substantive evidence at trial, unless the evidence specifically relates to that offense."

Apparently unbeknownst to House Republicans, a federal hate crimes law already exists: Passed in 1968, it allowed federal investigation and prosecution of hate crimes based on race, religion, and national origin. The new law would simply add sexual orientation and gender identity to the protected groups, and allow local governments to get needed resources from the federal government for investigations and prosecutions. The need for such parity was made starkly clear more than a decade ago, in 1998, during the investigations of two different murders:

The Laramie, Wyoming Sheriff’s Office had to furlough five deputies in order to cover the more than $150,000 that it cost to investigate Matthew Shepard’s murder. Yet when Jasper, Texas investigated the lynching of James Byrd, Jr., it received $284,000 in federal funds because Byrd’s murder was motivated by race, rather than sexual orientation.

Since then, members of Congress have sought to pass an expanded hate crimes law. The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act passed both houses in 2007, but was stripped from a larger bill after President Bush vowed to veto it.

More than thirty states already have hate crime legislation that includes anti-gay crimes -- and in none of those states has notorious gay hater Fred Phelps been arrested for his speech. It's clear what the GOP is really concerned about is any perceived infringement on their right to discriminate against gay people.

UpdateDebating the bill on the House floor today, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) called Matthew Shepherd's murder "a hoax" and denied that it was a hate crime. Watch it:

UpdateThe House passed the bill today, 249 to 175. 18 Republicans joined 231 Democrats to approve the bill.
UpdateStatement from CAPAF Senior Vice President Winnie Stachelberg: "The Center for American Progress Action Fund applauds today's passage of the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 by a vote of 249-175 in the House of Representatives. From Matthew Shepard in 1998 to Angie Zapata in 2008, too many gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans have been killed by hate-motivated violence. I am optimistic that the Senate will swiftly pass the companion Matthew Shepard Act, delivering this essential legislation to President Obama's desk." MCL Comment: It's a good to see the Republicans staying on the side of the homophobes, racist and sexist on this issue bravo GOP, When will the Republicans learn that siding with that 20 to 30 something fringe isn't going to help them? Now let's get to comments of one Virgina Foxx that called Matthew Shepherd's murder a hoax, a hoax really? Now if she didn't believe if he was killed because Matthew was gay there are other ways around not justifying supporting the bill, but making stuff up when there's video footage of these guys admitting why they beat Matthew Shepherd to death. I wished these Republicans just admit the reason they don't support hate crimes legislation because their base believe in hate is ok and they shouldn't be told that they can express that hate.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Snowe says GOP isn’t ‘encouraging’ of ‘moderates,’ will she follow Specter?

By Matt Corley

Following the surprising news that Sen. Arlen Specter is switching his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, Politico writes that one of the last Republican moderates, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), "didn't seem surprised" by Specter's announcement:

"I'm stunned ... I'm very surprised. I had no idea this was coming," said Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) "I'm stunned." But Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) a fellow moderate, didn't seem suprised. On the national level, she says, "you haven't certainly heard warm encouraging words of how they [Republicans] view moderates. Either you are with us or against us."

According to Politico, Specter made his "final move" to switch parties after "a recent poll showed him badly losing a Pennsylvania Republican primary next year." Snowe was most recently elected in 2006, so she won't face re-election until 2012.

Arlen Specter Switching Parties From Republican To Democrat

byRachel Weiner

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) is becoming a Democrat.

"I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary," said Specter in a statement. "I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election."

"Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans."

The move will give Democrats a filibuster-proof 60 vote majority in the Senate, presuming Minnesota's Al Franken is eventually seated. However, in his statement Specter said his opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act -- widely seen as a defense against a Republican primary challenge -- will not change.

Polls had shown that, despite his shift on EFCA, Specter was on his way to losing his seat if he stayed in the GOP. A Rasmussen survey from last Friday had former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey beating the Senator by 21 points in the primary.

Sources told the AP that an announcement could come later in the day -- or Wednesday.

Vice President Joe Biden and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell have urged Specter to switch parties in the past.

President Obama called Specter Tuesday to say Democrats "are thrilled to have you."

Story continues below

Specter's Full Statement:

I have been a Republican since 1966. I have been working extremely hard for the Party, for its candidates and for the ideals of a Republican Party whose tent is big enough to welcome diverse points of view. While I have been comfortable being a Republican, my Party has not defined who I am. I have taken each issue one at a time and have exercised independent judgment to do what I thought was best for Pennsylvania and the nation.

Since my election in 1980, as part of the Reagan Big Tent, the Republican Party has moved far to the right. Last year, more than 200,000 Republicans in Pennsylvania changed their registration to become Democrats. I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans.

When I supported the stimulus package, I knew that it would not be popular with the Republican Party. But, I saw the stimulus as necessary to lessen the risk of a far more serious recession than we are now experiencing.

Since then, I have traveled the State, talked to Republican leaders and office-holders and my supporters and I have carefully examined public opinion. It has become clear to me that the stimulus vote caused a schism which makes our differences irreconcilable. On this state of the record, I am unwilling to have my twenty-nine year Senate record judged by the Pennsylvania Republican primary electorate. I have not represented the Republican Party. I have represented the people of Pennsylvania.

I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary.

I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.

I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters. I can understand their disappointment. I am also disappointed that so many in the Party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate. It is very painful on both sides. I thank specially Senators McConnell and Cornyn for their forbearance.

I am not making this decision because there are no important and interesting opportunities outside the Senate. I take on this complicated run for re-election because I am deeply concerned about the future of our country and I believe I have a significant contribution to make on many of the key issues of the day, especially medical research. NIH funding has saved or lengthened thousands of lives, including mine, and much more needs to be done. And my seniority is very important to continue to bring important projects vital to Pennsylvania's economy.

I am taking this action now because there are fewer than thirteen months to the 2010 Pennsylvania Primary and there is much to be done in preparation for that election. Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle.

While each member of the Senate caucuses with his Party, what each of us hopes to accomplish is distinct from his party affiliation. The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation. And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation.

My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords' switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.

Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy's statement that sometimes Party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Shane Murphy, Freed Pirate Hostage, Slams "Disgusting" Rush Limbaugh

From Huffy Post and by Arthur Delaney

Shane Murphy, second-in-command aboard the ship seized by Somali pirates this month, is happy to be home. But he's not happy to be sharing turf with land-lubber Rush Limbaugh, who politicized the pirate affair by referring to the pirates as "black teenagers."

"It feels great to be home," said Murphy in an interview with WCBV in Boston. "It feels like everyone around here has my back, with the exception of Rush Limbaugh, who is trying to make this into a race issue...that's disgusting."

Limbaugh made the remark to suggest why President obama might have appeared preoccupied at church on the day of the operation to rescue the ship's captain, who was taken hostage by the pirates until Navy SEAL snipers shot them in a daring rescue effort.

"He was worried about the order he had given to wipe out three teenagers on the high seas," Limbaugh said. "Black Muslim teenagers."

"You gotta get with us or against us here, Rush," Murphy said. "The president did the right thing...It's a war.... It's about good versus evil. And what you said is evil. It's hate speech. I won't tolerate it."

GOP Stripped Flu Pandemic Preparedness From Stimulus [UPDATED]

From Huffy Post and by

Jason Linkins more links at the bottom

Remember way back in the day, President Obama delivered his Not Really The State Of The Union address, and the GOP trotted out Future Of The Republican Party Supra-Genius Bobbly Jindal to provide a rebuttal? Well, we all had some laughs, didn't we? Mainly because Jindal was all: "They want to spend stimulus money on volcano monitoring? Why everyone knows that the Hill Witch keeps tabs on our volcanoes by floating chicken bones in her own intestinal ichor!" And then Alaska's Mount Redoubt erupted, suggesting there might be something to this "let's monitor volcanoes with government-funded science" idea.

Well, as it turns out, volcano monitoring wasn't the only worthwhile public safety program that was deemed extravagant in the stimulus package, funding for pandemic preparation was axed as well. And playing a critical role was Susan Collins -- for whom the necessity of obtaining her vote is in inverse proportion to the intelligence she shows in policy making.

Via The Nation:

Famously, Maine Senator Collins, the supposedly moderate Republican who demanded cuts in health care spending in exchange for her support of a watered-down version of the stimulus, fumed about the pandemic funding: "Does it belong in this bill? Should we have $870 million in this bill No, we should not."

Even now, Collins continues to use her official website to highlight the fact that she led the fight to strip the pandemic preparedness money out of the Senate's version of the stimulus measure.

The wisdom of Collins' lawmaking is already being celebrated, in video:

Naturally, it's tough to keep an economy stimulated if productivity gets diminished by a pandemic. And, hey, it turns out that the lack of a stable and well-funded public health infrastructure may ">not be so good for economic recovery as a whole:

On Monday, the question began to be answered, as Associated Press reported -- under the headline: "World Markets Struck By Swine Flu Fears" -- that: "World stock markets fell Monday as investors worried that a deadly outbreak of swine flu in Mexico could go global and derail any global economic recovery."
Story continues below

Before U.S. markets opened, the Wall Street Journal reported: "U.S. stock futures fell sharply Monday as the outbreak of deadly swine flu stoked fears that a possible recovery in the global economy could be derailed."

Karl Rove, from his perch at the Wall Street Journal, criticized the inclusion of "$462 million for the Centers for Disease Control, and $900 million for pandemic flu preparations," on the grounds that "health care also added jobs" in the previous year. Such expenditures were, to Rove, "disturbing" and an example of President Obama's "lack of engagement and leadership."

All of this is playing out at a time when HHS nominee sits on the sidelines, her nomination held up at the behest of pro-life organizations who want to paint her as the "Abortion Queen." The hold up is pointless - merely delaying the inevitable for "another week." Maybe the swine flu would be good enough to wait!

UPDATE: HuffPost's Ryan Grim has been chasing down comments today, in an attempt to measure the effect the swine flu outbreak is having on everyone's hindsight:

"We had $870 million in the committee-reported stimulus bill for buying anti-virals, vaccines, planning, etc. It was dropped in Collins-Nelson because it was 'not stimulative,'" said a Senate leadership aide.

"We did put over $500 million in the omnibus, and HHS/DHS are fairly well-supplied, but it was an opportunity lost for being appropriately prepared."

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) was among those who had pushed for the pandemic money after pressing the Bush administration to take bird flu seriously.

"The Senator was disappointed that the money was taken out of the economic recovery package because that money was to develop the capacity to produce pandemic vaccines quickly in the U.S. in response to any pandemic," said his spokeswoman Kate Cyrul. "This capacity is not there yet and would not be if we had appropriated the money, but the current outbreak reminds us that we need to be prepared."

Susan Collins' office offered a statement to Glenn Thrush:

As Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Senator Collins has led hearings on pandemic flu preparedness, worked on "bioshield" legislation and funding, and helped strengthen our nation's preparedness for a pandemic flu.

Claims that she is opposed to increased funding for pandemic flu research are blatantly false and politically motivated. In fact, in December 2008, Senator Collins joined in a letter to Senate leaders requesting a $905 million increase for the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund at the Department of Health and Human Services.

There is no evidence that federal efforts to address the swine flu outbreak have been hampered by a lack of funds. Senator Collins does, however, believe that it is a problem that the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Health and Human Services still do not have top positions filled. She hopes the Senate will move promptly to confirm Governor Sebelius for HHS Secretary.

Dave Obey (D-Wisc.), who backed the pandemic preparedness funding in the stimulus package, also released a statement today:

"We have been trying to get adequate funding to prepare the nation for a pandemic outbreak since 2005. We tried again as recently as January in the economic recovery package. Whether or not this influenza strain turns out to have pandemic potential, sooner or later some strain will."

"We are not prepared today. Let's hope we don't need to be. Because we need to become prepared as soon as possible, I intend to again request additional funds in the upcoming supplemental."

Here's what Obey said about pandemic funding in the report that accompanied the House version of the recovery package:

Pandemic influenza poses a major threat to the nation's public health, security, and economy. CBO has estimated that an influenza pandemic might cause a decline in U.S. gross domestic product of between 1 and 4.25 percent depending on the severity of the pandemic. Providing additional funding to prepare for and respond to a pandemic will ameliorate the morbidity and mortality associated with worst case scenarios of an influenza pandemic thereby reducing the potential economic burden. Another program funded in this recovery package is BARDA, which supports advanced development and procurement of medical countermeasures, such as vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear agents, as well as other emerging infectious diseases. According to a recent independent economic analysis of BARDA, in order to develop countermeasures for all biodefense requirements identified in HHS's Public Health Emergency Countermeasures Enterprise Implementation Plan, significant increased investment in advanced development is required. BARDA also provides for the expansion of the domestic manufacturing infrastructure to support new vaccines and other countermeasures, where an expansion of domestic manufacturing is desired to provide sufficient quantities of products in a timely manner.

RELATED: GOP Know-Nothings Fought Pandemic Preparedness [The Nation] Republicans Put Brakes On Sebelius' Nomination [CBS News] Rove mocked spending on flu preparedness [Raw Story] Volcano Monitoring and the Stimulus: Cost Effective and a Clear Public Good [The Questionable Authority]

At Fox, ‘American Idol’ trumps Obama’s 100th day

From Raw Story and by Stephen C. Webster The Fox television network has refused to air President Barack Obama’s primetime press conference on Wednesday night, scheduled to mark the president’s 100th day in office.

“The address, scheduled for 8 p.m. (ET), could have possibly affected the ‘American Idol’ results show, which begins at 9 p.m., and the network did not want to risk that during the critical sweeps period for ratings, according to sources,” reported the Los Angeles Times. “Fox has historically not registered high ratings for presidential addresses and decided, given the nature of this particular press conference, not to show it, sources said. Fox aired Obama’s two previous primetime addresses.”

“It’s the first time a broadcast network has refused Obama’s request,” noted the Associated Press. “This will be the third prime-time news conference in Obama’s presidency. ABC, CBS and NBC are airing it.”

“Network execs got word yesterday morning that Obamavision was making another return visit, sending them scrambling to decide whether to air, how to reschedule planned programming, etc.,” opined the Washington Post’s television columnist. “Really, how hard would it have been to count 100 days out from Obama’s first day in office in anticipation that something like this would happen, and get out ahead of this headache? The guy’s nothing if not consistent when it comes to on-camera time.”

“Fox will be alerting viewers with an on-screen graphic at the top of the 8:00 PM (ET) hour that the press conference is available on Fox News Channel and the Fox Business Network,” the network said in a prepared statement.

A recent Pew Research poll found news watchers rated Fox News, by a wide margin, as overly critical of the Obama administration.

President Obama is enjoying the best presidential job approval rating at this point in 20 years, according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, with 69 percent of Americans approving of the job he is doing: the highest evaluation in about two decades.

But the president faces a partisan divide. While 93 percent of Democrats approve of his activities, only 36 percent of Republicans do so, the poll showed.

Fifty-four percent say Obama’s doing a better job than they expected, far above former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton at their 100-day mark.

Humorously enough, President Obama plans to mark his 100th day in office with a “town hall” meeting at Fox High School in Arnold, Missouri.

With AFP.

MCL comment:

Doesn't Bill O'Reilly complain that the so called liberal media ignored Bush when he give these press conferences? I'm not totally surprised that Fox is doing this but I doubt people are going to roit in the streets if they miss American Idol.

Santorum: Reconciliation ‘Has Never Been Done Before’ — Except For When I Used It

From Think Progress and By Ali Frick Last week, the White House increased the pressure to pass President Obama's budget proposal this week by keeping the reconciliation language in place that would allow the budget -- and the essential health care reforms it includes -- to pass with 51 rather than 60 Senate votes.

Adding his voice to the conservative hysteria over the use of reconciliation, former senator Rick Santorum declared today that such a move would "short-circuit the process" and "has never been done before":

SANTORUM: What the Democrats have done is to try to short-circuit the process on a major piece of legislation. This has never been done before. We have never seen a major, long-term, policy prescription, whether it's Medicare, or go back throughout history and look at all the major pieces of legislation, none of them have ever been passed using this procedure. ... This is truly an abomination.

Listen to it:

Of course, reconciliation has been used nearly 20 times since 1980, when it was first created. The New Republic notes that using reconciliation to pass health care reform fits into the historical pattern. "Whether reducing or increasing deficits, many of the reconciliation bills made major changes in policy. Health insurance portability (COBRA), nursing home standards, expanded Medicaid eligibility, increases in the earned income tax credit, welfare reform, the state Children's Health Insurance Program, major tax cuts and student aid reform were all enacted under reconciliation procedures."

Indeed, Santorum himself was the Senate Republicans' point man in trying to push welfare reform through budget reconciliation in 1995, including it in a budget then-President Clinton opposed, as the Washington Post reported on Nov. 11, 1995:

But the welfare measures will be part of the overall reconciliation bill that Clinton has said he will veto.

Welfare reform may become a free-standing bill to be passed separately from the reconciliation measure. "This is a bill the president has absolutely no reason not to sign," said Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who acted as an intermediary in negotiations between the House and Senate on welfare.

Arguing that budget reconciliation is the key to enacting meaningful health care reform, the Wonk Room's Igor Volsky wrote, "14,000 Americans are losing their health care coverage every single day and, instead of seriously considering the President’s proposal, Republicans are busy pai

Friday, April 24, 2009

Military agency warned Bush administration in 2002 that its interrogation program was ‘torture.’

From Think Progress and

By Faiz Shakir

In a July 2002 document uncovered by the Washington Post, the military's Joint Personnel Recovery Agency warned that the Bush administration’s interrogation program was “torture” and that it would produce “unreliable information.” JPRA is the military agency that ran the program known as Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE), “which trains pilots and others to resist hostile questioning.” JPRA warned in the 2002 document:

The unintended consequence of a U.S. policy that provides for the torture of prisoners is that it could be used by our adversaries as justification for the torture of captured U.S. personnel.

Pentagon may have up to 2,000 photographs of prisoner abuse

From Raw Story and by Stephen C. Webster The Pentagon will release for the first time 44 photographs depicting prisoner abuse after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) won a court ruling in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed in 2004. A "substantial number of other images" are also being processed for release, the Department of Justice wrote in a letter to a US federal court: according to the Guardian, citing an unnamed official, that "substantial number" could be as many as 2,000 photos. "These photographs provide visual proof that prisoner abuse by US personnel was not aberrational but widespread, reaching far beyond the walls of Abu Ghraib," ACLU staff attorney Amrit Singh said in a release. The Iraqi prison at Abu Ghraib became infamous after photographs showing Iraqi detainees being humiliated and abused by their US guards were published in 2004. The latest disclosure "is critical for helping the public understand the scope and scale of prisoner abuse as well as for holding senior officials accountable for authorizing or permitting such abuse," added Singh. "The Pentagon has noted that it investigates all allegations of detainee abuse, and since 2001 has taken more than 400 disciplinary actions against U.S. military personnel found to have been involved in such abuse," reported the Washington Post. "Calling the ACLU push to release the photographs 'prurient' and 'reprehensible,' Dr. Mark M. Lowenthal, former Assistant Director of Central Intelligence for Analysis and Production, told ABC News that the Obama administration should have taken the case all the way to the Supreme Court," reported ABC News. "They should have fought it all the way; if they lost, they lost," Lowenthal said. "There's nothing to be gained from it. There's no substantive reason why those photos have to be released." The Obama administration released four sensitive memos last week that blew the lid on harsh CIA terror interrogation tactics approved by the Bush administration, including the use of insects, simulated drowning and sleep deprivation. But Obama has said that CIA officers involved in interrogations should not be prosecuted as they had received legal guidance from their superiors. Obama has faced criticism from both ends of the political spectrum, with rights groups demanding prosecution of former Bush administration officials and conservatives charging the move endangered national security.

Hannity Offers To Be Waterboarded For Charity (By Charles Grodin!)

From Huffy Post and byJason Linkins

Oh, well. This is, I believe, a "golden moment" in the history of televised media. Sean Hannity had actor Charles Grodin on his show tonight, and the two men actually had some genuinely good natured sparring with each other over the news of the week. Hannity asked Grodin if he'd ever accept a book from Hugo Chavez or listen to a speech by a "brutal thug murdering dictator like Daniel Ortega." Grodin's respective ripostes were "I'd hand him my book!" and "I'd listen to anybody. I'm listening to you." Grodin then went on to ask Hannity if he was wearing mascara and if he had any plans to marry Ann Coulter. But that's not the fun part! This is the fun part:

GRODIN: You're for torture.

HANNITY: I am for enhanced interrogation.

GRODIN: You don't believe it's torture. Have you ever been waterboarded?

HANNITY: No, but Ollie North has.

GRODIN: Would you consent to be waterboarded? We can waterboard you?

HANNITY: Sure.

GRODIN: Are you busy on Sunday?

HANNITY: I'll do it for charity. I'll let you do it. I'll do it for the troops' families.

Obviously, this has to happen. For the troops, I mean! Not merely for my amusement! And, look, if Sean Hannity agrees to this, then props to him. That takes real guts. I mean, you don't see me letting people waterboard me, for anything. Mainly because waterboarding is crazy, terrifying and sadistic! But the salient point is this: In a world gone mad, can you really afford to NOT give money to the troops, if it means that Sean Hannity gets waterboarded by the star of the Great Muppet Caper? We truly are the change we've been waiting for.

(Oh, and later, Grodin called Hannity a fascist and repeatedly asked him what branch of the military he served in, the end.)

[WATCH.]

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Conservative media's take on torture: A laughing matter

Following President Obama's release of four previously classified Justice Department memos that had authorized the use of harsh interrogation techniques on detainees -- including "stress positions," "cramped confinement," "sleep deprivation," and "the waterboard" -- numerous conservative media figures have downplayed, mocked, and jeered the notion that those practices constitute torture. For instance, during the April 17 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh asserted: "If you look at what we are calling torture, you have to laugh."

Media Matters for America has previously noted that Allen S. Keller, M.D., director of the Bellevue Hospital Center/New York University Program for Survivors of Torture, submitted written testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that stated that waterboarding can cause "[l]ong term effects includ[ing] panic attacks, depression and PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]," and said it poses a "real risk of death." Moreover, Media Matters documented that a Department of Defense official concluded that the combination and duration of multiple interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, prolonged exposure to cold, sustained deprivation, and waterboarding constituted torture.

Listed below are further examples of conservative media personalities making light of the idea that such practices constitute torture:

  • During the April 16 edition of CNN's No Bias, No Bull, convicted Watergate criminal G. Gordon Liddy compared the proposed technique of placing a detainee who "appears to have a fear of insects" in "a cramped confinement box with an insect" to his appearance on a game show, stating, "I went through worse on Fear Factor."
  • During the April 17 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox contributor Mike Huckabee mocked the same proposed technique, saying: "Look, I've been in some hotels where there were more bugs than these guys faced." Huckabee went on to state that under the Obama administration, "We're going to talk to them, we're going to have a nice conversation, we're going to invite them down for some tea and crumpets." Co-host Gretchen Carlson replied, "That usually works with your kids, too, right? When they're in trouble for something, they just tell you everything." Co-host Steve Doocy then joked, "Mr. Moussaui, it's time for you over in the time-out chair."
  • During the April 17 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough commented that "if putting a caterpillar in a box will save your child, that's OK." Later, Scarborough stated: "Yeah, you know, millions of people are dead, but I feel good about myself -- we didn't put caterpillars in people's boxes." Scarborough went on to say: "God, I go through torture everyday."
  • During the April 17 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh said: "I just slapped myself. I'm torturing myself right now. That's torture according to these people."
  • During the April 17 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Karl Rove equated presidential candidates' campaigning to sleep deprivation of detainees, saying of the CIA: "They authorized up to several hundred hours worth of sleep deprivation. They used it three times for a total of 96 hours. Remember when Bob Dole ran for president, and said that he was going to campaign nonstop for 96 hours? Do you remember when Al Gore was campaigning and said he was going to campaign for two days straight? Both of those men were, according to the left, torturing themselves by engaging in sleep deprivation."
  • During the "Panel Plus" segment of the April 19 edition of Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol argued: "I'm not confident that forswearing the use of the techniques is prudent." Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume went on to characterize the technique of throwing detainees against a false wall as "very controlled," while host Chris Wallace called the technique "fairly cautious and careful."
  • During the April 20 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Brian Kilmeade commented that he "feel[s] better" knowing that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was "waterboarded 183 times."
  • During the April 20 edition of his show, Limbaugh stated that "if somebody can be water-tortured six times a day, then it isn't torture."

Leahy: Torture memo judge should do 'honorable' thing and resign

From Raw Story/by David Edwards and Muriel Kane Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called on Tuesday for former torture memo author Jay Bybee to resign from his current position as a federal judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In an appearance with MSNBC's Ed Schultz, Leahy explained, "If the Bush-Cheney administration told the truth about him, and he told the truth about what he did, he never would have been confirmed by the Senate. He never would have become a judge. I think the only decent and honorable thing for him to do now that these facts have come out, is to resign -- resign for the good of the judiciary." When Schultz ask what happens if Bybee does not resign, Leahy -- who had declined to answer a similar question earlier when speaking with reporters -- replied, "That would, of course, be up to the House." Under the Constitution, the House of Representatives has the sole power to initiate impeachment proceedings. Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) also suggested in a statement on Tuesday that the torture memos may provide "grounds for impeachment" of Bybee. Leahy further expressed his hope that President Obama's leaving the door open to the eventual prosecution of Bush administration officials will make it possible to go after "the people who knew they were misstating the law, who knew they were giving the wrong directions," He acknowledged that "a lot of it's on the desk of [Attorney General Eric] Holder" but emphasized that "I intend to continue my investigations. ... I want to find just who directed anybody to write this kind of garbage." Leahy told Schultz that even though "so far there are no Republicans" prepared to support a bipartisan Congressional investigation, "if we don't have Republicans go along with a commission, we're going to have to do it ourselves. ... This is not going to go away." This video is from MSNBC's The Ed Show, broadcast Apr. 21, 2009.

Fleischer On Torture Memos: ‘I Have No Problem With’ Sleep Deprivation

By Ben Armbruster

While discussing the recent release of Bush-era Office of Legal Counsel torture memos last night on CNN, host Anderson Cooper asked President Bush's former press secretary Ari Fleischer if he believes that torture took place. "Waterboarding is pretty close to the line," Fleischer responded. "Sleep deprivation," however, "I have no problem with," he said.

Cooper noted that the torture tactics OLC lawyers authorized were "techniques that the Nazis used," but Fleischer dismissed this concern. "I think it's all how it's conducted and to what extent things go," he added, justifying the techniques because "medical people" were "present." Watch it:

Either Fleischer hasn't read the memos or he thinks hanging detainees from shackles to keep them awake is fine. The May 30, 2005 memo says that "shackling is used only as a passive means of keeping the detainee awake," and therefore does not constitute torture. However, the International Committee of the Red Cross documented this technique's true effect:

Although this position prevented most detainees from sleeping, three of the detainees stated that they did fall asleep once or more while shackled in this position. [...] When they did fall asleep held in this position, the whole weight of their bodies was effectively suspended from the shackled wrists, transmitting the strain through the arms to the shoulders.

Despite Fleischer's relief that doctors were present during the interrogations, some medical professionals overseeing the harsh techniques actually enabled some of them. Moreover, the Bush administration manipulated scientists' work on sleep deprivation to justify the tactic. One scientist equated the CIA's use of his study results to the overdosing of medication. "It's like giving a drug to a patient: if you administer it in small doses for therapeutic reasons, it helps them. If you give it in huge volumes, it becomes toxic -- and can even kill them."

Many conservatives, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, have been arguing over the past few days that the torture tactics these memos approved are justified because they "work" (they don't). However, it doesn't appear that Fleischer has received the memo. Later in the segment Cooper asked, "If it works, do you think, then, it's justified?" "No, I don't," Fleischer replied.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Charles Barkley Tears Into "Unpatriotic" Limbaugh And "Idiot" Hannity (VIDEO)

NBA great Charles Barkley dipped into some political punditry during a Tonight Show appearance on Friday, tearing into conservative talking heads who have rooted for President Obama to fail.

"I mean, you look at this country now, we've got all these foreclosures, we've got all these people laid off. We should be behind him 110 percent, hoping he's successful," Barkley said. "And I just thought it was unpatriotic and basically B.S. for Rush Limbaugh and that idiot Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck and all those idiots to not root for this guy."

Barkley is no stranger to the national political debate, and he said last year that he's planning a run for Alabama governor in 2014. But it's pretty clear at this point that he won't be on the GOP ticket.

"Neither party is anything to write home about," Barkley told Jay Leno. "But the Republican Party just went right-wing whack nut job on America and screwed up the country."

Barkley did note that he's a huge fan of Obama (he's read his book multiple times), but that he can't get the president to return his calls anymore. "He's been big-timing me," he said to laughter. "When he was getting elected, you know, I was out there with him on the trail, beating the path, you know. He called me all the time then. You see what happens? You get a job, you forget about your friends."

Watch:

Filed by Nico Pitney

History Professor Gingrich Falsely Claims U.S. Presidents Don't 'Smile And Greet' Russian Leaders

By Satyam Khanna

Yesterday, President Obama shook hands and briefly chatted with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, explaining in a press conference afterwards that he was trying to move towards a "more constructive" relationship with the South American country.

The right wing has responded with outrage to Obama's meeting with Chavez, claiming face-to-face talks with a dictator show that Obama is projecting weakness. On NBC this morning, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Obama "bows to the Saudi King and is friends with Venezuela" and claimed the President showed "shallowness" in talking with Chavez. Gingrich then claimed that U.S. presidents do not "smile and greet" with Russian leaders:

Q: But do you think he should not be trying to mend relationships with other world leaders?

GINGRICH: How do you mend relationships with somebody who hates your country, who actively calls for the destruction of your country and who wants to undermine you?

Q: But we certainly have mended relationships with countries that have hated us in the past. Russia comes to mind, China comes to mind.

GINGRICH: But we didn't rush over, smile, and greet Russian dictators. We understood who they were.

Watch it:

Dr. Gingrich, who has a Ph.D. in European history, should re-read his history books. As the Cold War waned, President Reagan (whose foreign policy Gingrich repeatedly praises) met with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev at four summits, leading to nuclear arms reductions. President George H. W. Bush negotiated the Start II treaty alongside Russian President Boris Yeltsin, and President Clinton discussed foreign investment with Yeltsin. President Bush, of course, said he saw into Vladimir Putin's soul after a private engagement. Each meeting had smiles all around:

russian3.jpg

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fox promotion of tea parties follows years of attacking progressive demonstrators

On the April 11 edition of Fox News' Your World, host Neil Cavuto stated: "[A]t Fox, we do not pick and choose these rallies and protests." Cavuto went on to claim, "We were there for the Million Man March, even though as I pointed out, it turned out to be well shy of a million men. We were there for the Iraq war protests and the protests against the Iraq war protests. So, you see, we really don't decide what populist causes matter -- just that when a whole lot of people gather in a whole lot of towns and cities across America, it is indeed worth checking out, not just shutting down." But at Fox News, all protests are not covered equally. As Media Matters for America has documented and the rest of the media have noted, despite its promise to deliver "total fair and balanced network coverage" of the April 15 tea-party protests, Fox News repeatedly promoted the protests that day and in preceding days, while hosts and guests, including those on Fox Business Network, engaged in inflammatory rhetoric during their coverage of the protests. By contrast, Media Matters' review of Fox News' coverage of prior demonstrations finds that the network offered no such promotional coverage of 2003 and 2005 protests opposing the Iraq war, the 2006 immigrants' rights protests, or other demonstrations in support of progressive positions. Instead, the network's hosts, contributors, and guests often attacked participants in those protests. (Where video is not provided, transcripts were retrieved from the Nexis database.)

Protests against the Iraq war

  • On the February 3, 2003, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly stated:

O'REILLY: I called some of the anti-war demonstrators anti-American when they start saying that a -- the United States is a terrorist nation and, you know, giving us this revisionist history that -- this one and that one, we did this and that, and, you know, there's a line. We respect dissent here, by the way. If you're against the war, and -- that's fine, and we respect that. But, once you start attacking your country as fundamentally an evil place, which some of these anti-war people have done, then you're anti-American, in my opinion.

  • On the February 16, 2003, edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, host Tony Snow asked Sen. John McCain:

SNOW: Is it your view that the pacifism espoused by the protesters and by some of our international colleagues in fact makes war more likely by giving Saddam Hussein the ability to continue to develop weapons of mass destruction or at least to go ahead and thumb his nose at U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441?

Snow later asked then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice:

SNOW: Do you think the protesters are naive?

  • On the February 17, 2003, edition of The Big Story, host John Gibson stated:

GIBSON: But do any of the thousands of marchers march and protest against Saddam Hussein? No. Do they protest that he defies the U.N., the international organization they think it is so important that George Bush dare not defy? No. Do they protest Saddam Hussein's obsession to acquire weapons he could use to make the world cower? No. Do they protest governments in Europe, which want to appease him in the same way Chamberlain appeased Hitler? No. Do they protest bin Laden, who wants to use the war against Saddam as a trigger for more terror? No. In fact, in San Francisco, they actually fought with cops, rioted for peace. Fighting for peace.

  • On the February 17, 2003, edition of Special Report, Fox News host and Roll Call executive editor Morton Kondracke said of protesters:

KONDRACKE: And it's curious that they would be supporting a fascist like Saddam Hussein. The only reason that they could be doing that is because they don't like the United States and they don't like war and they don't like a war perpetrated by the United States of America.

Fox News host and Weekly Standard executive editor Fred Barnes also stated:

BARNES: You know, I was struck by how uninformed and morally empty these demonstrations were.

[...]

BARNES: These demonstrators are both morally vacuous, they're stupid, they're disingenuous.

[...]

BARNES: They just don't want a war and they hate the U.S., Mort's right about that.

  • On the February 17, 2003, edition of his show, in response to a guest's statement that the protests were "anti-American rallies," O'Reilly stated:

O'REILLY: All right. I believe there's a heavy strain. I don't think everybody -- And I know everybody -- I think there are some sincere peace demonstrators. I just think they haven't thought it through.

I always say to people who are doing this, remember Vietnam and remember Cambodia. What happened there, OK?

Because for every cause there's an effect, all right?

So you don't want Saddam Hussein removed for whatever your reason may be, but you can't guarantee anybody that this guy, a proven killer, will not turn around and do something very heinous. And then what happens? Are you responsible for that?

  • On the February 17, 2003, edition of Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity stated of the protesters:

HANNITY: Had we listened to the appeasement movement, the pacifist movement, the same protesters back then as the ones today, the world wouldn't be a safer place. Why do they even have any credibility based on their failure after failure, historically speaking?

[...]

HANNITY: Steven, by the way, these are Marxist groups. They do organize this thing with very anti-American ideas. I don't believe every anti-war protester is anti-American. I'm not suggesting that.

Hannity also had the following exchange with protester Steven Zunes:

HANNITY: Steven, if you don't be quiet I'm going the turn your microphone down. I was about to ask you a question. When we go to war, do you want America to win?

ZUNES: I don't want there to be a war.

HANNITY: The war is coming. Wait a minute. The minute we go to war, do you want this country to win?

ZUNES: You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake.

HANNITY: Hey, Steven, so you're not going to support the troops? You're not going to support them?

ZUNES: Pardon?

HANNITY: You're not going to support them?

NEIL DOBRO (Americans Against Terrorism): There are a lot of Afghanis (sic) who think we can win the war.

ZUNES: I opposed Saddam Hussein back in the 1980s when our government was supporting him.

HANNITY: One last question and I've got to break. Why don't I ever hear you anti-war protesters say, Saddam, disarm like you promised. Give up your weapons. Stop killing innocent people. Why do you always attack Bush and not Saddam?

  • On the February 18, 2003, edition of Hannity & Colmes, Hannity stated:

HANNITY: I want to -- you saw the protests over the weekend. Some of the placards on display. "The unelected idiot is going to start World War III." "Bush, stop your terror." "Bush, the baby killer." "Illegally installed, immorally behaved." "Spoiled fascist cowboy." You get the idea.

[...]

HANNITY: And I there's a lot of anti-Americanism and, frankly, there are a lot of anti-Semitic statements in some of the different protests.

During the same segment, co-host Alan Colmes defended the protestors:

COLMES: But let's face it, 100,000 people in New York, San Francisco and Paris, 500,000 in Berlin, 750,000 in London, several million in 55 cities in Spain, including 660,000 in Madrid alone, not all these people are anti-Americans, and many of them have principled views against a war. Let's not paint them all with a broad brush or imply that they're appeasers, anti-American or mean spirited toward the president. Because some of us have a legitimate other point of view.

[...]

COLMES: Dr. Bennett, every time there's an American action that some people object to, the argument for those who are in favor of that action is, you're giving aid and comfort to the enemy. How can one legitimately -- let me just ask you a serious question. How can one legitimately truthfully and principally protest an action that one does not agree with without being called an appeaser, a traitor, or a comforter of the enemy? How can one legitimately do that?

  • On the February 18, 2003, edition of On the Record, Fox News contributor Bill Kristol stated:

KRISTOL: On the other hand, I thought Tony Blair, who had hundreds of thousands of protesters in his own country, had by far the most impressive response when he gave a speech Saturday and said to the protesters, look, where were you when Saddam was killing and torturing tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, leaving more hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to their deaths in wars that he started, wars of aggression that he started. Where were all of the protesters then?

  • On the February 20, 2003, edition of Hannity & Colmes, Hannity said of Saddam Hussein:

HANNITY: He's emboldened by what he sees at the Council and what he sees in the streets of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and in Europe. Does that mean the anti-war movement is giving him aid and comfort?

  • On the August 26, 2005, edition of Special Report, Barnes stated of anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan:

BARNES: Look, she is entirely the creation of the American mainstream press, entirely. She has no moral standing. She has no political standing. The press has created her. And why have they created her? It's August. They hate Bush. And they've used her as a mascot to get at Bush. It's as simple as that.

  • On the September 27, 2005, edition of Fox News' DaySide, co-host Mike Jerrick asked Gold Star Mothers for Peace founding member Celeste Zappala:

JERRICK: Celeste, let me just jump in quickly here --

ZAPPALA: Sure.

JERRICK: -- because we've had so many people respond to us at DaySide with their emails and phone calls saying that don't you feel like the people who are protesting this war, especially the people we saw down there in D.C. over the weekend, are just giving the terrorists in Iraq and the insurgents in Iraq more hope -- [applause] -- that possibly we're losing will in the United States to continue to battle?

  • On the September 27, 2005, edition of The Big Story, Gibson stated of Sheehan:

GIBSON: You know what all this proved to me? Despite her protest, it wasn't about the war anymore. It isn't about the loss of American lives. It isn't about the question of whether the war was something America need to do or something a politician wanted to do. This was about Cindy.

You know what? I'm interested in the war and the war debate, but I'm not interested in Cindy.

  • On the September 36, 2005, edition of Hannity & Colmes, Hannity stated:

HANNITY: But today in Washington, anti-war mom Cindy Sheehan is back, and she was arrested following a weekend of rallies and protests on the Mall and in front of the White House. Here are some of the sights and sounds from the radical left wing weekend.

  • On the July 27, 2006, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly said of Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin's vocal protest during Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki's July 26, 2006, address to Congress:

O'REILLY: OK. Can we send her to Guantánamo, is that possible? I guess not.

MAJOR GARRETT (Fox News correspondent): I'll leave that up to you, Bill.

O'REILLY: All right. Well, if it's up to me, she's -- come on, Major! You don't give her that. Don't give her the Factor tribunal. She'll be swimming with the fishes. Just kidding, of course.

2006 immigrants' rights demonstrations

  • On the March 30, 2006, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin said of the protesters:

MALKIN: It was the far left, the open-borders activists, who were the ones who are the extremists, who were the ones advocating militant ethnic separatism. This is our stolen land. Chicano power. You had folks with Aztlan T-shirts mugging for the cameras in front of city hall. These are people who believe that the American southwest belongs to Mexico, that we don't have a right to enforce our borders, and who do nothing more than try to sabotage our sovereignty.

[...]

O'REILLY: But what did the Mexican flag say to you, Michelle?

MALKIN: Well, first of all, do not buy Dr. Hinojosa's spin. He sounds very reasonable. He sounds very benign, but the kind of quote-unquote "pride" that a lot of these illegal alien activists are touting now goes much further than just being proud about one's heritage and one's roots. The idea, the intellectual underpinnings of reconquista are embraced by the vast majority of mainstream Hispanic politicians, as well as the international --

O'REILLY: How do you know that, Michelle? How do you know that?

MALKIN: Because I've read -- because I've read the history.

  • On the March 29, 2006, edition of The Big Story, syndicated columnist Bob Novak stated:

NOVAK: Where did all these flags come from? Do the young Latinos keep the Mexican flags in their homes?

[...]

NOVAK: I am no hard-liner on immigration who wants to expel 11 million illegal immigrants, but flags are a symbol of national identity. The student brandishing the Mexican flag signals divided loyalty or perhaps loyalty to a foreign power.

  • On the March 29, 2006, edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Juan Williams stated:

WILLIAMS: These kids don't know anything. ... [A] lot of these are poor kids, struggling along in those schools and struggling to gain some sense of identity, so they're going to wave the Mexican flag because they feel somehow they are fighting for Mexicans living in the United States. And they're even going to get into crazy arguments about whether California should truly belong to the Mexico or the United States -- all kinds of stupidity.

But those are kids, Bill. I mean, kids who are -- I mean, they use kids during the civil rights era as demonstrators. The kids know nothing, but at their heart, they feel like they're giving a voice to what their uncles, their aunties, you know, some people who are illegal in this country who may never have a voice against the Minutemen and the far right wing that wants to throw everybody out.

  • On the March 29, 2006, edition of Hannity & Colmes, Hannity stated:

HANNITY: No, no, I think [former President Ronald] Reagan made a mistake, one of the mistakes, because he's my favorite president. But, look, I'm saying, at this point, if we allow people to stay that came here illegally and jumped in front of the line, then we're telling other people to do the same.

Here's what I don't like. I didn't like a lot of these signs. "This is you -- this is stolen land, America." "This is our continent, not yours." If you disagree with the idea of amnesty, you're a racist or anti-immigrant. People holding the Mexican flag up. It seemed to be, in many, many ways, outrages, some of the things that were said and done.

  • On the April 2, 2006, edition of Fox News Sunday, Fox News host Brit Hume stated:

HUME: Especially, Chris, because reasonable Americans are probably having a difficult time finding anybody to root for in this debate. On the one hand, you have, you know, tens of thousands of people demonstrating, waving foreign flags, on behalf of illegal immigration and against the idea that America should enforce its own laws. What a repellent spectacle.

  • On the March 31, 2006, edition of Your World, guest host David Asman stated:

ASMAN: Now, we -- we do -- we're just looking at pictures of San Diego. There is a demonstration going on right now.

At first, we began to see reaction to last weekend's demos, where they all waved Mexican flags. You saw more American flags. Now, we're getting back to the all-Mexican-flag thing. There seems to be an antagonistic edge to these protestors that is just making matters worse. Do you see it that way?

  • On the April 10, 2006, edition of Your World, Asman stated:

ASMAN: But, of course, you know, people in the States listen to the protests and listen to the Spanish going on behind you and think that's -- maybe this is just a cover, maybe they're just trying to cover up the real intention, which is to keep things as normal among illegal immigrants in the country.

Asman also had the following exchange with movie director Ronald F. Maxwell:

MAXWELL: It's been the fastest migration in the history of the world. Twenty-five illegal people (sic) -- remember the ones who are already amnestied -- 25 illegal people -- 25 million since 1990. You can't find this in the history of the planet. The result is the Southwest will fall away. At some point, ethnically, demographically, those people will say, "This belongs to Mexico. We're the northern province of Mexico." They're already saying it.

ASMAN: You think we're going -- you think we're going to lose states as a result of this?

MAXWELL. I think that 20, 30 years from now, we will be looking back at this period. This will be the watershed. And we have to decide now -- this -- I don't -- this is not immigration. This is an invasion. This is a future annexation, a satellite state north of the Rio Grande. We have to decide --

ASMAN: But Ron, let me just ask you, are they going to secede from the Union, these states in the Southwest?

MAXWELL: Well, the mere fact that we're talking about this, why should we have this as a possibility? Why are we creating the conditions where 15 and 20 years from now, who knows what'll happen? Do we want a separatist movement like what's going on in Canada with Quebec or a separatist movement like the Basques?

ASMAN: Ron, I've got to ask you -- I've got to ask you -- we only have about 20 seconds. What do your Hollywood friends think about your views?

  • On the April 10, 2006, edition of Your World, Asman stated:

ASMAN: Should they be American citizens or convicted felons? Across the country, illegal immigrants are protesting to stay in this country. We are live in the nation's capital, where demonstrators are gathering right now at the National Mall, on the streets of New York City as well, and also in Phoenix, where protestors are flying American flags today.

With so many illegals hitting the streets, is this the perfect time to round up these lawbreakers and ship them out? We're gonna debate it.

  • On the May 1, 2006, edition of Westwood One's The Radio Factor, O'Reilly stated:

O'REILLY: And then there's the hardcore militant agenda of "You stole our land, you bad gringos." This is the organizers of these demonstrations: "The border -- we didn't cross the border, the border crossed us." That is their slogan. That you stole our land, and now, we're going to take it back by massive, massive migration into the Southwest. And we're going to control those places, because you stole it from us, and that's the agenda underneath.

Other demonstrations in support of progressive positions

  • On the March 17, 2006, edition of The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly stated:

O'REILLY: In the "impact" segment tonight, once again this year, a gay person, New York City Councilwoman Christine Quinn, wanted to march in the St. Patrick's Day parade under a banner proclaiming her sexuality. And once again, she was denied, because the parade honors a saint and the Irish heritage and has nothing to do with anybody's sexuality. Such a display is deemed to be inappropriate.

The question: Why doesn't Ms. Quinn and others who support her wise up? Why don't they understand that?

[...]

O'REILLY: Well, they can come out on the Gay Day Parade or the Halloween parade. They have plenty of opportunities to do that. This is a saint. Don't you feel that that is inappropriate?

GLASS: Well, when you put it that way, I can see your point of view.

O'REILLY: Well, I'm glad you can, because I'm getting nervous. If you -- if Christine Quinn, who's Irish, and I like Christine Quinn, if she goes to a baptism, doctor, if one of her nieces or nephews are baptized, a baby, you don't walk into the church in the baptism with "I'm queer" on your shirt. It's inappropriate. It's a sacrament.

[...]

O'REILLY: Right. Look, if Christine Quinn wants to go to a party after the parade and celebrate her gayness, her Irish gayness, whatever gayness she's happy about --

GLASS: Right, right.

O'REILLY: I don't have a problem with that. OK?

GLASS: Right.

O'REILLY: And there are plenty of opportunities for her to do that. But in the context of what the parade is, you don't see heterosexuals going out there proclaiming what they do in private. It doesn't happen. So what I'm trying to sell everybody, including you, is that the more this stuff happens, the worse it is for people who are proud to be homosexual.

[...]

O'REILLY: Right. But I don't want these people intruding on a parade where little children are standing there, watching. And then they have to go mommy, "What does that mean?" OK? You have your holiday. You have your Gay Day parade. You have your Stonewall celebration. You have your Halloween deal, OK? You don't need this. Now you understand my point.

GLASS: Yes.

O'REILLY: I think 95 percent of the people watching me understand my point, but there are five who don't or won't. Is that a neurosis?

  • On the March 17, 2006, edition of his radio show, O'Reilly stated:

OK, so you're not going to do that. And good. That's the right thing to do. Context is everything. You know, I mean -- and then the parade leaders say, what are we next to have Irish prostitutes marching under their banner? You know, Irish hookers, here we are. Hey, ladies and gentlemen, after the Marist College marching band, we have the Irish prostitute contingent from Nevada. There they are, Tessie O'Shea and the girls. Making good money out there in the money ranch.

You know, come on, it's ridiculous. Nobody's barring anybody from marching in the St. Patrick's Day parade, but what does your sexuality have to do with St. Patrick? Believe me, he doesn't want to hear about it.

  • On the May 19, 2006, edition of The Big Story, Gibson stated:

GIBSON: It's Friday, and we are instituting a new service here on The Big Story. We are looking for the person or persons deserving special attention as our "Nitwit of the Week."

Monday, Boston College will have its commencement, and graduates will gather to hear an address from Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the United States secretary of state. She is arguably the highest-ranking African-American woman in the three centuries or so that African-American women have been present here. She is the secretary of state of the most powerful nation on earth. She is discussed regularly as a candidate to be president of the United States.

Yet, 200 or so students at Boston College, along with some professors, will be protesting her presence at the college, protesting especially the school conferring upon her an honorary degree. Why? The students say they object to her presence because she doesn't represent their values. An adjunct professor and part-time novelist named Steve Almond actually quit over her appearance, saying in his resignation letter that he and others object to her because she is a liar. As far as the professor goes, I spoke to him on my radio show until he hung up on me, and the college should consider his resignation good riddance.

When it comes to the students, we have to consider some facts. These are students whose parents have paid upwards of $1,000 a week for them to be in school. They have lived protected and sheltered lives. They didn't suffer an attack on 9-11. They haven't fought the wars that followed. They have virtually no experience in life except for what happened before they left home and what happened when the college professors got hold of them.

Condoleezza Rice helped free more women in Afghanistan and Iraq than anybody has ever freed in the history of man. She is playing a major role in a solution to the war in Darfur. Condi Rice doesn't represent their values. I should say not, since their values seem to be intolerance, closed-mindedness, and the cocksuredness of youth that allows a college student to pass high-minded judgment on a secretary of state.

  • On the March 2 edition of his Fox News show, Hannity stated:

HANNITY: All right, take a look at the protesters carrying forth the legacy of Gandhi and Martin Luther King -- shivering in the snow as they protest the Earth's rising temperature as a foot of snow falls. Now, maybe it's just a coincidence that nearly every global warming protest occurs on the exact same day that we have a major snowstorm, or maybe the big guy up there is trying to send a message to these people. We report; we'll let you decide.

  • On the March 2 edition of Special Report, Hume stated:

HUME: Well, you have to give those global warming activists credit for pluck. Not only were they were protesting warming temperatures in a city going through its coldest winter in recent memories -- a city in the midst of a snow emergency and sub-freezing temperatures -- they were also doing so on a planet that has seen no average warming for the past 10 years. But climate change alarmists are not easily fazed.