Friday, April 29, 2011

Random Friday:Infamous 2: Karma Trailer

M.C.L Comment: Looking forward to this sequel, first one was fun but this one looks amazing.

About-Face: Conservative Media Start Downplaying Their Birther Credentials

From Media Matters

In the wake of President Obama's release of his long-form birth certificate, which further debunks the claims of those who have been saying Obama was not born in Hawaii, some in the conservative media are now trying to pretend they never questioned Obama's citizenship in the first place.

Right-Wing Media Distance Themselves From Birther Conspiracies They Promoted

Limbaugh Now Claims: "I Warned People This Is A Dead End." Citing emails he had received from listeners telling him "not to be fooled by the White House" following the release of Obama's long-form birth certificate, Limbaugh stated that birther conspiracies are "fun" but that he is "not going to be distracted" by the claims. He said:
LIMBAUGH: It's fun. I make no apology or excuse for enjoying the show this morning that this was. Yeah, while we're gonna have our fun with it, we are not going to be distracted. Because as I have warned, I -- you know, you ought to replay sound bite 2. When we come back from the break, I will, 'cause back on April 7th, I warned people this is a dead end -- dead-end street to start driving down or walking down. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show4/28/11]
Hannity: "This Was Never A Defining Issue For Me, But I Found It Odd." Discussing Obama's release of his long-form birth certificate on the April 27 edition of his show, Sean Hannity tried to downplay his role in promoting the birther myth, saying: "We've got this big issue involving the birth certificate and I was never -- this was never a defining issue for me, but I found it odd. All the president had to do was what he did today: release it, move on, and we're out of the way." [Fox News, Hannity,4/27/11]
Fox News Tries To Distance Itself From Its Promotion Of Birther Conspiracy. Fox News' website Fox Nation pointed to a recent study by Pew's Project for Excellence in Journalism in trying to downplay Fox News' role in promoting the birther conspiracy. The post republished part of the study finding that, among the three cable networks, Fox devoted the "least" amount of coverage to the birther claims and boasted of Fox's apparent low amount of coverage to the birther issue during the week of April 11-17. But while the study included Fox evening shows Special ReportThe O'Reilly Factor, and Hannity, it did not include other Fox News opinion shows that also contributed air time to the controversy, includingFox & Friends and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. The study also did not examine Fox Nation itself. [Fox Nation, 4/28/11
  • NewsBusters Also Highlighted Pew Research To Absolve Fox Of Pushing Birther Conspiracy. NewsBusters' Lachlan Markey wrote: "Unfortunately, simply by giving a megaphone to Donald Trump -- the personality who undergirded much of the birther coverage of late -- news networks implicitly gave voice to the conspiracy theory. Simply ignoring the theory is generally the best way to combat it, and Fox led the field in that regard (on cable news, anyway)." [NewsBusters,4/29/11]

In Fact, Limbaugh And Fox News Have Repeatedly Promoted The Birther Myth

Limbaugh Has Constantly Stoked The Flames Of The Birther Movement. While Limbaugh is now stressing his prior statement that the issue was a "dead end," Limbaugh has consistently engaged in promoting the birther myth:
  • Limbaugh made the false claim that Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie "can't find" Obama's birth certificate. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show4/4/11]
  • Limbaugh also recently said, "We've got somebody about whom there are legitimate citizenship questions here, serving as president." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show,4/11/11]
  • Limbaugh said to a birther that he "would love nothing more than for this guy to be proven a fraud," adding, "that would be fun." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show4/7/11]
  • Limbaugh speculated that, in October 2008, when Obama made a quick trip to Hawaii to visit his ailing grandmother, he might actually be there to deal with "this birth certificate business." Obama's grandmother subsequently passed away two days before the election. [Premiere Radio Networks,The Rush Limbaugh Show10/23/08]
  • Limbaugh has also attacked the press for not asking Obama "why won't you show the birth certificate." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show4/26/11]
  • Limbaugh has repeatedly touted Donald Trump's birther theories. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show3/28/11]
Hannity Spent Weeks Demanding Obama Release Long-Form Birth Certificate. Despite his claim that the birther myth "was never a defining issue for me," Hannity repeatedly used his show to demand that Obama release his long-form birth certificate (all the while maintaining that it wasn't his "main issue" and professing a desire to "move on"):
  • On March 24, Hannity asked: "What's the deal? Produce the birth certificate, it's over, done with." During the segment, he also said that Obama "did talk in his book about how he went and prayers and he went to a Muslim school, and he did talk about all this. And he studied the Quran, and prayers at sunset were some of the most beautiful things he saw in life. So he spent a lot of years of his youth in Indonesia ... And show the birth certificate." [Fox News, Hannity3/24/11]
  • On March 23, Hannity asked, "What do you think about this birth certificate issue? I mean, it has not been my main issue, but it kind of does get a little odd here after a while. Can't they just produce it and we move on?" [Fox News, Hannity3/23/11]
  • On March 25, Hannity stated, "Donald Trump brought up the issue of the birth certificate, and it's getting huge buzz around the country," and later asked, "Why can't they just release the birth certificate, you know, and just move on?" [Fox News, Hannity3/25/11]
  • Later on the March 25 show, Hannity stated: "Do I think he was [born in America]? Yes. Do I think this is odd that they won't produce the birth certificate? It's beginning to get odd to me." Hannity later stated that it's "not true" that Obama has shown his birth certificate. [Fox News, Hannity,3/25/11]
  • On April 5, Hannity said that Obama was born in the United States but demanded that he "show the stupid birth certificate and move on." [Fox News, Hannity4/5/11]
Fox Promotes Birther Myth In At Least 52 Segments. A Media Matters review of Fox News' opinion programs found that over a recent two-month period, the network devoted nearly two hours and 20 minutes to the birther issue, and in the vast majority of the cases, the hosts either espoused birther conspiracies or did not challenge or correct false claims about Obama's birth that aired on their shows. [Media Matters4/27/11]
Fox Nation Has Repeatedly Hyped Trump's Birtherism. Fox Nation repeatedly promoted Donald Trump's birther claims, including Trump's claim he had investigators in Hawaii who could not believe what they were finding and his claim that Obama may be a Muslim. [Media Matters4/7/11]
Other Fox News Figures Embraced Aspects Of Birther Conspiracy. Aside from Hannity, following Donald Trump's lead, other Fox News figures -- including Sarah Palin, Steve Doocy, Bill O'Reilly, Dick Morris, and Monica Crowley -- have embraced or promoted aspects of the birther conspiracy theory by falsely claiming that Obama has not produced his birth certificate, by hosting birthers to hype their discredited theories unchallenged, and/or by calling on Obama to release the long-form birth certificate. [Media Matters4/20/11]

Snyder Recall Moves Forward

A petition to recall Governor Rick Snyder was approved today by the Washtenaw County Election Commission.
The approval is the first step to getting the question on the ballot. Recall supporters would need to collect about 800,000 valid signatures in order to put the question before voters.
The petition language was approved by a 2-to-1 vote.
"Although we're disappointed, we respect their decision," says Attorney John Pirich, who represents the governor.
This meeting was held solely to approve the language of the petition, which states, among other things, that Governor Snyder "approved and signed various laws that take authority and funds from local governments."
"I think anyone who would read the language would see that not only is it not clear, in our opinion, but it's also very misleading in regard to events that have not occurred or events that are just completely inaccurate," Pirich says.
It's not an easy fight for the petition supporters, either. Tim Kramer of Michigan Citizens United says he knows they have a lot of work to do in the next few months.
"I think it's going to be pretty tough (to collect enough valid signatures), to be honest with you," he says. 
Kramer is most concerned with a new law Snyder signed this year that grants broad powers to emergency financial managers that step in and take control of struggling schools and local governments.
"That's a dictatorship, in my opinion," Kramer says. "You can't have that. You can't go in and remove the mayor of a city, just because you don't agree-basically he can do it because he doesn't agree with them, you know?"

Gallup: Tea party negative ratings at record high

Gallup polling released new survey results on Friday, showing that negative opinions of the so-called tea party movement have risen sharply in the US. Independent voters have turned away from the conservative group.
The poll shows that only a core constituency of Republicans and conservatives now view the fledgling political movement positively.
The organization began tracking the tea party just over a year ago in March of 2010. At that time, the ultra conservative group had a 37% favorable and 40% unfavorable rating.
Those numbers stayed flat until January of this year when the first round of tea party supporting legislators were sworn in to the U.S. Congress.
According to Gallup, "The April 20-23 USA Today/Gallup poll finds favorable opinions of the Tea Party movement dropping to 33%, from 39% in January, and unfavorable opinions rising to 47% from 42%."
Men 50 and older count for the strongest base of support for the political group, whereas women 50 and older poll most strongly against it. The number of tea party members has remained stagnant, with the heaviest concentrations in the southern states.
Read more about the new poll results here.

Andrew Brietbart smearing college professors with deceptively edited video

By Muriel Kane

Andrew Breitbart, who sponsored the heavily edited "pimp" videos that destroyed the anti-poverty group ACORN, is now using the same technique to go after two college professors for statements they allegedly made while teaching a course at the University of Missouri on Labor, Politics and Society.
According to MediaMatters, Breitbart's BigGovernment website has started running a series of videos from the class, claiming that they "instruct students on how fear, intimidation, and, even, industrial sabotage are important and, often, necessary tools."
MediaMatters' analysis of the videos, however, reveals that they have been edited to make it seem that the professors were endorsing the kind of "thuggish" tactics that they were actually rejecting.
In the edited version, lecturer Don Giljum appears to be saying, "Because I think if you look at labor's history over the years, you'll find that, you know, we've had a very violent history with violent protests-- [CUT] certain instances, strategically played out, and for certain purposes, that industrial sabotage doesn't have its place. I think it certainly does."
The unedited video, however, shows that Giljum was actually saying, "I think if you look at labor's history over the years, you'll find that, you know, we've had a very violent history with violent protests and reaction to suppression. ... It certainly makes you feel a hell of a lot better sometimes, but beyond that I'm not sure as a tactic today, the type of violence or reaction to the violence we had back then would be called for here, and I think it would do more harm than good."
Even more deceptively, Professor Judy Ancel is shown saying, "Violence is a tactic, and it's to be used when it's appropriate-- the appropriate tactic." But the full clip makes it clear that she was quoting a 1960s student radical in a documentary film that her class had just watched.
In a statement reprinted by Crooks and Liars, Ancel further explained, "After students had watched a film on the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers’ Strike and the assassination of Martin Luther King, they were discussing nonviolence. I said, “One guy in the film. . . said ‘violence is a tactic, and it’s to be used when it’s the appropriate tactic.’ . . . “ The class proceeded to discuss and debate this. Thus Mr. Breitbart’s editing has literally put words in my mouth that were not mine, and they never were mine."
The Brietbart smears are already being widely repeated by conservative websites under headings such as "Shut Down Labor Studies Now" and Union Leaders Teach Labor Studies Courses on Communism, Violence, Industrial Sabotage & Frying Cats.
Officials at the University of Missouri-Kansas City arestanding behind Ancel and have also raised questions about whether the privacy rights of the students in the videos were violated by Breitbart's unauthorized use of their images.
However, Giljum -- who was already planning to retire on May 1 -- was forced to resign prematurely. He says that he was told to do so by a dean, who was being pressured by her superiors.
M.C.L Comment: Still don't understand why media outlets(outside of Fox News) keeps booking this guy, all Andrew Breitbart does is whine and make shit up. 

Town Halls Spawn Main Street Movement Pushback On Republican Ideas

By Jeff Spross 

The GOP-led House’s passage of a 2012 budget — engineered by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) — has laid the Republicans’ values out in the open for all to see: Strip huge amounts of funding from Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs aimed at supporting middle- and lower-income Americans, all to balance the budget (depending on whose numbers you believe) while keeping taxes on the wealthy at unprecedented lows.
Now that Republican representatives have returned to their districts for the congressional recess, everyday Americans at town hall meetings across the country are reacting with outrage at the perverse priorities of the Ryan budget. And this latestmanifestation of the burgeoning Main Street Movement against the right’s economic agenda has only grown in intensity since both ThinkProgress (and even some mainstream media outlets) began reporting on the phenomenon.
Watch a compilation video of some highlights from town halls across the country over the past week:

GOP Freshman Ends First Town Hall After Tough Questions On Tax Cuts For The Wealthy: ‘We’re Done’

Freshman Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) became the latest Republican to face the ire of his own constituents for voting for the Medicare-ending GOP budget when he was repeatedly challenged by attendees at a town hall meeting in Jonesboro, AR last night. At his first town hallsince being seated, Crawford had attendees write their questions on index cards and then read them out loud, “but a handful of audience members weren’t satisfied andshouted at Crawford from their seats.”
While Republicans have insisted that their budget saves Medicare, Crawford veered off message at one point, responding to the question “why are you going to end Medicare as we know it?” by saying, “the answer to that is because Medicare as we know is bankrupt.”
Later, Crawford faced a heated question about why the GOP budget cuts taxes for the wealthy and corporations while slashing social services. Crawford replied, “I don’t support tax cuts for the wealthy over help for socio-economically challenged individuals.” A number of his constituents repeatedly challenged him on this claim, accusing Crawford of “class warfare against the poor people” and explaining that tax cuts don’t create jobs. Crawford apparently did not appreciate this, and ended the session:
CONSTITUENT 1: [The GOP budget ] is a significant tax cut for the wealthy.
CRAWFORD: A 10 percent tax cut?
CONSTITUENT 2: Wouldn’t that be class warfare against the poor people?
CRAWFORD: Well, you’re asking me if I want to continue taxing at a higher rate the people that are creating jobs and no –
CONSTITUENT 2: They’re not creating jobs, though! They haven’t created any more jobs! … They’re taking them all overseas!
CONSTITUENT 3: Are you taking any more questions?
CRAWFORD: No, we’re done.
CONSTITUENT 3: We’re done?
CRAWFORD: We’re done.
CONSTITUENT 4: During the Bush administration, and the tax cuts, how many jobs were created?
CRAWFORD: I don’t have those numbers.
CONSTITUENT 4: Three million. During the Clinton administration, where he raised taxes on the highest bracket to 39.5, how many jobs were created? 22 million. You’re going to tell me that tax cuts create jobs?!
Watch a video shot by Arkansas progressive blog Blue Arkansas, and edited by ThinkProgress for length (full videos here):
Crawford walked away from the podium and left the meeting moments later.

GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold Compares Unemployed Americans To Alcoholics And Drug Users

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) held a “listening session” at Burns Elementary School on Tuesday where he discussed a variety of issues with a crowd of nearly two dozen constituents. One of the attendees uploaded video of the session on YouTube.
At one point during the session, a man asked about drug testing for “welfare recipients.” Farenthold said that this is an idea worth considering, and then went on to complain that unemployment insurance is too generous. He then compared Americans on unemployment insurance to alcoholics and drug addicts:
FARENTHOLD: Drug testing for recipients of various welfare programs, I really think that’s something that needs to be considered. We’ve gotta, you know, nobody wants to starve anybody. Everybody wants to help folks out. But we’ve got a system where you can stay on unemployment for an awfully long time. And I think we need to create a system of decreasing benefits over time to encourage you to get a job. I think anybody who’s had an alcoholic in their life or somebody with a drug problem, realizes that until things get bad enough there’s no incentive to change. I think that we’re so generous in some of our social problems that people are unwilling to get a job outside in the heat. Rather than get 15 dollars to go get roofing they’d rather get 9 or 10 dollars in benefits. I think drug testing is not an unreasonable requirement to get benefits.
Watch it:
Farenthold’s insults towards unemployed Americans are as devoid of factual backing as they are offensive. The reason there are so many unemployed people in his state right now is because the jobs simply do not exist, not that unemployment benefits are too “generous.” The following chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows a gigantic jump in unemployment from 2008 to 2011. Unless the congressman is arguing that Texans simply became more lazy during this time or that there was a massive expansion of the welfare state during this time, it appears that the recession is the primary reason to explain unemployment, not meager benefits:
Additionally, it should be noted that U.S. social spending is far from “generous” when compared to other developed countries. Among OECD countries, the United States ranks second to last in social spending, ahead of only Turkey. Goldman Sachs actually studied this issue earlier this year and concluded that “only ½ percentage point of the current 9.4% jobless rate can be explained by the extension of UI benefits. Moreover, our calculations suggest that this effect will fade when the extended benefits eventually expire. These estimates—broadly in line with a recent study by the San Francisco Fed—reinforce our view that the overwhelming share of unemployment is cyclical rather than structural.”

Rachel Maddow Video: Hostile Nerd takeover

Random Late night:Michael Jackson-Wanna be starting

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Right-Wing Media Hype Conspiracies About Obama's Long-Form Birth Certificate

From Media Matters:

Right-wing media have responded to the release of President Obama's original Hawaii birth certificate by embracing conspiracy theories that the document is fake or has been altered.

Right-Wing Media Hype Conspiracy Theories About Obama's Original Birth Certificate

Bolling: "[G]reen Border" On Birth Certificate "Had To Be Photoshopped In." On the April 27 edition of Fox Business' Follow the Money, host Eric Bolling displayed an enlarged version of Obama's birth certificate and stated that a "green border" on the document "had to be Photoshopped in." His guest, Pam Geller, responded by stating, in part, "Well, this whole border is suspect." From Follow the Money:
BOLLING: I need to know this. You see this fold. This has clearly been photocopied from a book. You see that? It kind of folds back to, like, almost like a binding of a book. And then for some reason, there's a green border around it that had to be Photoshopped in. Trying to figure out why they would do that.
GELLER: Well, this whole border is suspect. I mean, if you're taking a scan of something, it would, to your point, it would be white. Why is this the color of the same --
BOLLING: Note this - note this, you guys, April 25, 2011 -- two days ago -- is when this was requested from the state registrar, Alvin Onaka. So we'll keep our eye on it. We'll keep digging. Hey, listen. It may or may not be, but certainly opens up the can of worms that there are at least questions for it.
OK, Pam. Hang on. Let me bring in the rest of our all-star panel. On the left, we have Fox News contributor Tamara Holder; on the right, Dr. Ablow rejoins us, along with Fox News contributor Monica Crowley.
I'm looking at you over there, Tamara. I'm looking at you smirking a little bit. What's wrong? I mean, at least it's certainly -- you have to ask the question, has this been Photoshopped? [Fox Business, Follow the Money4/27/11]
Bolling, Geller Conspiracy-Monger About Doctor Who Gave Birth To Obama. From Follow the Money:
BOLLING: Very quickly, Pamela, this doctor right here, the guy who signed it four days after the birth. He passed away, but his wife today, TMZ had his wife saying I had no idea.
She didn't know about it. His son said I had no idea. It came as a complete shock to him as well. If you gave birth to the president of the United States, don't you think your family would know about it?
GELLER: Maybe he doesn't know about it, either. I mean, I think it's very telling that for three years he didn't release it. There's a big question there. We have to say why -- why didn't he release it after three years? [Fox Business, Follow the Money4/27/11]
Geller: "This Is Actually Not A Birth Certificate." Also on Follow the Money, Geller claimed that the document the White House released on April 27 is "a certification of a live birth. This is actually not a birth certificate." From Follow the Money:
BOLLING: Pamela, were any of these notation on here - I don't know if our camera can get it in too close --- you can see some of these numbers that are clearly written in handwriting on the side. We don't know what they are. Trying to figure out a zero, a two there, an X up over here, a one up here. Were they on the short form?
GELLER: Look, this is a certification of live birth. When I left the hospital, I left with a birth certificate. I'm sorry, I didn't bring with it me, but it looked very much like Donald Trump's. It's a little piece of paper, you've got the nurse -- you know what I'm talking about? Certificate - you know, birth certificate. This is a certification of a live birth. This is actually not a birth certificate. [Fox Business, Follow the Money4/27/11]
Geller Promotes "Layering" Conspiracy Theory, Asks, "[W]hy Release Such An Obvious Forgery?" In an April 27 blog post, Geller promoted a conspiracy theory claiming that Obama's birth certificate "has been cobbled together" in Photoshop. Geller wrote, "And so the question is, why release such an obvious forgery?" From Geller's post, titled, "Layering: Obama's New COLB raises more questions than it answers":
Today, Obama released another copy of his COLB (certification of live birth) -- more here. It looks like another exhaustive digital forensic examination is in order.
And so the question is, why release such an obvious forgery?
Over at Free Republic:
I thought there was something wrong with my computer when I tried to import the .gov's PDF file into Photoshop. But now that I see what you got when you put it in Word, it's the same thing that Photoshop does to it when I import it! It's DEFINITELY a Layered image that has been cobbled together!
Now, why would only the signatures (and just a partial of Stanley Ann Dunham's) come up? It certainly looks as if someone took Obama's Birth Certificate and then cut&pasted it together! [Atlas Shrugs, 4/27/11]
Drudge Promotes Article On Conspiracy Theorist Alex Jones' Site Claiming Birth Certificate Is A "Forgery." On April 28, under the headline, "Is it real?" the Drudge Report linked to a story on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones' website that claimed the birth certificate released by the White House is a "forgery." From the Drudge Report:
Drudge: Is It Real?
[Drudge Report, 4/28/11;, 4/28/11]
Hoft Pushes Conspiracy Theory From "Photoshop Expert" That Birth Certificate Is "Such An Obvious Fake." In an April 27 Gateway Pundit post, Jim Hoft touted a conspiracy theory from "Photoshop expert and author of more than 17 books on computer graphics Mara Z." declaring Obama's birth certificate "such an obvious fake." [Gateway Pundit, 4/27/11]

Conservative NRO "Dismissed" "Layering" Conspiracy Theory

NRO: "We Looked Into" PDF Layers Theory And "Dismissed It." In an April 27 post on the conservative National Review Online, Nathan Goulding wrote about the "layer" theory -- which was advanced by Geller and Hoft -- and wrote:
We have received several e-mails today calling into question the validity of the PDF that the White House released, namely that there are embedded layers in the document. There are now several other people on the case. We looked into it and dismissed it.
The PDF is composed of multiple images. That's correct. Using a photo editor or PDF viewer of your choice, you can extract this image data, view it, hide it, etc. But these layers, as they're being called, aren't layers in the traditional photo-editing sense of the word. They are, quite literally, pieces of image data that have been positioned in a PDF container. They appear as text but also contain glyphs, dots, lines, boxes, squiggles, and random garbage. They're not combined or merged in any way. Quite simply, they look like they were created programmatically, not by a human.
What's plausible is that somewhere along the way -- from the scanning device to the PDF-creation software, both of which can perform OCR (optical character recognition) -- these partial/pseudo-text images were created and saved. What's not plausible is that the government spent all this time manufacturing Obama's birth certificate only to commit the laughably rookie mistake of exporting the layers from Photoshop, or whatever photo editing software they are meant to have used. It's likely that whoever scanned the birth certificate in Hawaii forgot to turn off the OCR setting on the scanner. Let's leave it at that. [NRO, 4/27/11]

In Addition, Doctor Listed On Obama's Birth Certificate Died Years Before Obama Became Famous

Right-Wing Claims That Family Of Obama's Birth Doc Should Have Known He Delivered Obama Undermined By Fact That Doctor Died In 2003. Contrary to Bolling's suggestion that it was odd that the family of Obama's birth doctor didn't know that he had delivered the president, the doctor in question died in 2003, when Obama was a little-known state senator from Illinois. [Media Matters,4/28/11]