Friday, December 21, 2012

Holly Jolly Friday:The Singing Dogs Jingle Bells

WND Columnist Alleges Sandy Hook Shooting Was Staged

 BEN DIMIERO/Media Matters for America

In an outlandish column for WorldNetDaily, Bradlee Dean suggests that the mass shooting last week in Newtown, Connecticut, was staged in order to aid the passage of the UN Arms Trade Treaty and gun control legislation, comparing the administration's purported actions to that of the Nazis setting the Reichstag Fire.
Though WorldNetDaily often publishes conspiratorial stories like Dean's column -- the site was the driving force behind the birther movement -- it's still regularly validated by more mainstream conservatives. Last month, the site announced that they had hired former GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum as a columnist. 
Dean, an "ordained preacher, heavy metal drummer, [and] talk-show host of Sons of Liberty Radio," suggests in his December 21 column that the "timing is impeccable" for both the theater shooting in Aurora and the shooting in Newtown because they happened while the UN was deliberating over the Arms Trade Treaty:
The Sandy Hook shooting occurred just days after Sen. Rand Paul sent out an alert that the U.N. was set to pass the final version of the Small Arms Treaty, supported by Obama the day after election.
Part of the treaty bans the trade, sale and ownership of all semi-automatic weapons ... like the one Adam Lanza used to kill 20 children and 6 adults.
The "Batman shooting" in Aurora, Colo., also happened to coincide with the same time as negotiations of the U.N. Small Arms Treaty.
The timing is impeccable.
Aside from its conspiratorial nature, Dean's column is also plainly inaccurate. Contrary to his suggestion that the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty would ban "the trade, sale, and ownership of all semi-automatic weapons" like the one used by Newtown shooter Adam Lanza, it does nothing of the sort. The Arms Trade Treaty is an effort to regulate the international arms trade and overtly affirms the "sovereign right" of countries to regulate the domestic ownership of firearms "pursuant to its own legal or constitutional system."
As we have previously explained, the Department of State has stated that it will oppose any treaty that contains "restrictions on civilian possession or trade of firearms otherwise permitted by law or protected by the U.S. Constitution."
Dean also provides links to several "reports" alleging inconsistencies in eyewitness accounts of several recent mass shootings in our country. He concludes that "[e]yewitnesses in all of these massacres said there were more shooters than the media maintain, indicating the shootings were coordinated and planned."
Among the sources for these "reports" are Alex Jones' InfoWars website, a forum posting at a separate Alex Jones affiliated site, and a site called "Conscious Life News." Reliable sources, all. (For a sample of the type of conspiracy-mongering Jones' websites have been engaged in this week, a few days ago they published an article proposing that the presence of the phrase "Sandy Hook" on a map in the latest Batman movie is "bizarre evidence" that the shooting "may have been staged.")
According to Dean, Obama's call for "meaningful action" and the push from others for new gun violence prevention legislation in the wake of Sandy Hook is akin to Adolf Hitler "attacking his own Reichstag to start a world war":
When the "fire" is started, these government gun banners are right there to strip away your rights in an attempt to gain control under the guise of "putting out the fire."
Adolf Hitler was responsible for attacking his own Reichstag to start a world war. Hitler was also responsible for sending his brownshirts to incite the people so he could play the role of solving their problems. No one believed Hitler was guilty of these crimes until after the fact.
Then it was too late.
Today, these gun banners are doing the opposite of what our forefathers fought, bled and died to give us.
Dean's column also includes a video suggesting that the Oklahoma City bombing and the Columbine shooting (among others) were similarly staged.

Obama issues stern warning to GOP

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Choice of Kerry May Harden Obama’s Foreign Policy Grip


WASHINGTON — With a patrician bearing, nearly three decades of service on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, a highly decorated combat career in the Vietnam War, even a father who was a diplomat, John Kerry is the very picture of a secretary of state.

“In a sense, John’s entire life has prepared him for this role,” President Obama said on Friday at the White House, as he nominated Mr. Kerry to replace Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first step in filling out a national security team for his second term.
Mr. Obama praised Mr. Kerry, 69, a Massachusetts Democrat, for having been immersed in “every major foreign-policy debate for nearly 30 years.”
But though Mr. Kerry would bring even deeper experience to the job than Mrs. Clinton did, his appointment is likely to further centralize policy decisions in the White House, where for the past four years the president and a small circle of advisers have kept a tight grip on issues like Iran’s nuclear program, China, Pakistan, and the winding down of the war in Afghanistan.
“There’s every reason to believe that we’re going to have a very White House-centric foreign policy,” said David J. Rothkopf, the chief executive of the Foreign Policy Group. “Kerry is going to have to show his loyalty and willingness to work within the Obama system.”
In contrast to Mrs. Clinton, whom Mr. Obama named to his cabinet after they competed against each other in the 2008 presidential primaries, Mr. Kerry has been a loyal supporter of the Obama administration, guiding an arms-reduction treaty with Russia to ratification in the Senate and playing diplomatic troubleshooter for the White House in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sudan.
He has also figured at critical moments in Mr. Obama’s career. At the 2004 Democratic National Convention that nominated him for president, Mr. Kerry gave the keynote speaking slot to Mr. Obama, then a little-known Illinois state senator, catapulting him to national prominence. In early 2008, Mr. Kerry endorsed him over Mrs. Clinton, and this fall he played the role of Mitt Romney in mock debates — sessions that by some accounts put the president’s teeth on edge.
“Nothing brings two people closer together than weeks of debate prep,” said Mr. Obama on Friday, looking at a grinning Mr. Kerry. “John, I’m looking forward to working with you instead of debating you.”
However lavish Mr. Obama’s praise, his instinctive choice for secretary of state was Susan E. Rice, the ambassador to the United Nations, who withdrew her name from consideration after Republicans threatened to block her nomination because of statements she made after the lethal attack on the American Mission in Benghazi, Libya.
Mr. Obama, his aides said, likes Ms. Rice’s blunt style and is in sync with her view of foreign policy, which places a premium on aggressively defending human rights.
As a result, Ms. Rice, who is staying in her post, remains a candidate for a major foreign-policy post in the second term, according to administration officials. Thomas E. Donilon, the national security adviser, is expected to stay on for a year or so, but Ms. Rice could be named to his job.
If she were to move into the White House, analysts said, that would pose a test for Mr. Kerry, given her access to Mr. Obama and their shared views on many foreign policy issues.
“The easiest model to see developing is one in which Kerry is on the road a lot, interfacing with foreign leaders, but the decision-making is done at the White House,” said Elliott Abrams, who held foreign-policy posts in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
Mr. Obama expressed confidence that Mr. Kerry would be confirmed by his Senate colleagues, a prediction that seemed safe, given that at a recent news conference, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, one of Ms. Rice’s fiercest critics, jokingly referred to Mr. Kerry as “Mr. Secretary.”
Mrs. Clinton has not announced her resignation, but she has made it clear she would not stay beyond a single term. Because she is recovering from a concussion, she did not appear at the midday announcement. Mr. Obama said that he spoke to her on Friday morning, and reported that she was “in good spirits.”
In a statement, Mrs. Clinton said Mr. Kerry was a leader of the “highest caliber,” who had advocated on behalf of diplomacy and development in Congress.
Mr. Kerry is working with her to adopt the recommendations of a recent report that harshly criticized the State Department for lapses in security in Benghazi, she said. The Benghazi attack, analysts said, underscored the management challenge for a longtime senator like Mr. Kerry in taking over a sprawling worldwide bureaucracy. Former aides to Mr. Kerry point out that he did oversee a huge, if temporary, campaign operation in 2004, which, though criticized for tactical missteps, was not viewed as poorly managed.
Although Mr. Kerry is not a global celebrity like Mrs. Clinton, his background as a presidential nominee and his chairmanship of the Foreign Relations Committee have made him well known abroad, accustomed to meeting monarchs and presidents.
In October 2009, he was viewed as instrumental in persuading President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan to accept the need for a runoff election. Mr. Kerry spent 20 hours over five days with Mr. Karzai, telling him over dinner and in long walks in the garden of the presidential palace in Kabul of his own frustrations at the ballot box in 2004.
“I told him, ‘Sometimes there are tough things,’ ” Mr. Kerry said in an interview at the time.
Before Syria exploded in violence, Mr. Kerry met several times with its president, Bashar al-Assad, hoping to draw him into a more constructive role in the Middle East. His failed effort at engagement may elicit some tough questions from Mr. McCain and other Senate hawks.
As a senator, Mr. Kerry compiled a strong record on climate change, and environmental groups issued enthusiastic responses to his nomination. But Mr. Obama, pressed at a recent news conference, said climate change would take a back seat to the economy, at least for now.
For Mr. Kerry, exerting influence internally is likely to be the greatest challenge of the job he has long coveted. Friends and former aides predicted he would carve out a role, just as Mrs. Clinton did.
“John was someone who from an early age dreamed of being president,” said Jim Gomes, a former chief of staff to Mr. Kerry. “As someone who grew up in a Foreign Service family, who testified before Senate Foreign Relations after coming home from Vietnam and who wanted to serve on Foreign Relations, this is a pretty terrific Plan B.”

While emos shriek, Obama gives Boehner the shiv

Liberal Librarian/The People's View
A bit of analysis from Josh Marshall:
 But the real issue here probably comes down to Boehner’s weakness, institutional and personal. It’s a question the White House has had from the beginning and suspects the worst on — that John Boehner can’t actually deliver any deal, almost no matter what’s included in it. Someone on Twitter just called him the rodeo clown of conservative politics, which about captures it.
We've been treated to a full meltdown among our True Progressive (TM) friends for the past two days—while the nation is still raw over the Newtown massacre—over the reports leaking out that President Obama is going to "cave" to Boehner and give him the Keys to the Kingdom, turning Social Security over to the corporatists and making you wait until you're on your deathbed to qualify for Medicare. It's predictable, and really not worth going over in too much detail. Much like the bomb throwers on the Right, those on the Left have a preternatural hatred of this president, distrusting him as much as denizens of Red State do, and look at any action and statement from him or his Administration as prelude to a betrayal. This is merely another milestone in the infantilization of our political culture, where total defeat is to be preferred to messy compromise in which you achieve at least some of your aims.

So, as with Mr. Marshall, let's focus on what Obama has been able to accomplish in the short few weeks since negotiations began in earnest.

During the last hostage negotiation, John Boehner wouldn't take a "grand bargain" where the ratio of revenue to cuts was 1:4. He couldn't sell that to his caucus, as it would have been seen to be a victory for compromise, which in the Tea Party dominated House was anathema.

Now? Boehner has agreed, if the reports are correct, to a 1:1 ratio between revenue and cuts. Good, no? Well, yes, but here's the rub: if he couldn't sell the 2011 grand bargain to his membership, he certainly won't be able to sell this.

But here's the other thing: the big business community,  mainstay of the GOP, has pretty much come out in favor of this grand bargain. They control the purse strings. So Boehner has to contend with that.

It's gone beyond that, however. The speaker has no control over his party. No one does, not him, not Cantor, not any other putative candidate for the Speakership. What Obama has done in a few weeks is reveal, once and for all, that the Republican Party as it stands today is totally unready to govern. Boehner won't bring any bill to the floor that doesn't have the support of his membership. But there is no bill that he could bring that would have that support.

The reason for this is very simple: any resolution will be seen as a victory for Obama. If he and Boehner come to an agreement, the public will see it as due mostly to the President's efforts. If we go off the cliff, the public has already made it clear that it will blame Boehner and his party, and demand that it follow the President's and Democrats' lead.

As I've said in other pieces, it's been obvious to me that Obama's overarching goal has been to break the 30 year long Republican fever which has gripped this country's governance. We are now facing a situation where those who bankroll the GOP will not countenance taking a risk with a rise in taxes and drastic spending cuts—and certainly not any more dithering with the debt limit. Boehner will be forced to take the President's offered hand, and pass a deal which will depend on Nancy Pelosi providing votes from her caucus. If the Tea Party is true to its word, this will set off a political bloodbath. This doesn't bode well for the next 2 years of governance; but it does set up the Democrats—backed by OFA's organizational muscle—to wrest the House away from Boehner and Cantor. Yes, the math doesn't favor it happening; but it didn't favor it happening going into 2006, either. 

In his analysis, Marshall goes on to say that Boehner is like Mahmoud Abbas, and it might be time for the Democrats to negotiate with the Hamas wing of the GOP. That's a bit further than I'd go; Abbas has no partner on the Israeli side; whereas Boehner knows all too well that Obama is waiting, with that welcoming grin on his face, for the Speaker to face the inevitable. Doing so will upend the Republicans. Where the pieces fall on the right will be hard to predict. But the country will see once again that there is one party working to govern for the good of all, and one party that is a cauldron of dysfunction. Win-win indeed.

Maddow: Entire conservative movement is ‘a complete mess

By David Ferguson/Raw Story
Thursday night on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow took stock of Republicans — from where they stand on the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations to their their overall message. If the wild, shouting-match free-for-all that went on under the Capitol dome Thursday night is any indication, the party is in complete disarray.
“Do you want to know what just happened in Washington?” she asked at the segment’s opening. “Do you want to know what just happened, with Congress just unexpectedly imploding and the Republicans in Congress dissolving into a huge internal fight including screaming matches within their own caucus? And then all of a sudden, they’re just turning off the lights and abandoning what they were doing and nobody really knows why, nobody really knows what happens next?”
It all started, apparently, with Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC). Since taking his Senate seat in 2004, DeMint, a tea party favorite, has sponsored no major pieces of legislation, but has instead spent his time building a coalition and amassing a great deal of support against Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), who the tea party see as being a little too squishy on some of their most important issues.

Then, DeMint abruptly announced earlier this month that he’s leaving the Senate to chair the Heritage Foundation. In his farewell speech on Thursday, Maddow said, things got a little weird.
“I hope that we can create more common ground between the political parties,” DeMint said, “by showing everyone that ideas that work for their constituents and our constituents are right there in front of our faces, if we’re willing to set aside the pressure groups and special interests and let’s just focus on what’s working.”
The camera cut back to Maddow, who looked deeply skeptical. This is Jim DeMint, one of the most obstructive, anti-Obama Republicans on the Hill calling for comity and a focus on the practical? And telling the party to ignore pressure groups?
“Jim DeMint is leaving the Senate to go run a pressure group!” she said.
Then there was the equally abrupt departure of Dick Armey from another pressure group, FreedomWorks, earlier this month. Add to that, the strange sight of anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist appearing in media outlets this week saying that it’s alright for Republicans to sign on with Speaker Boehner’s Plan B budget proposal to forestall the fiscal cliff.
By Thursday afternoon, however, he had abandoned the Plan B ship and was recanting his support of Boehner.

“What’s going on?” Maddow asked. “We liberals have spent a generation, we’ve spent all this envious time studying the strength and depth and singular focus of the conservative movement, like they’ve got themselves so together. And then days like this, you pull back the curtain and it turns out it’s just this little tiny guy going, ‘I’m the big, powerful Oz! I’m the big powerful Oz! Somebody find the curtain!’”
“They are a complete mess,” she said. “They are a complete mess and I’m not talking about the Republican Party, I’m talking about the conservative movement and that’s more important, because the conservative movement is the dog and the Republican Party is the tail.”
“Because of the chaos right now in the conservative movement,” she continued, “in their K-Street, fake grassroots, big money, used-to-be-a-think-tank, revolving door, conservative influence lobbying, fundraising machine is such a mess right now, the way Republicans are trying to do policy on Capitol Hill is also a mess.”
Maddow then detailed the negotiating process thus far on the fiscal cliff in which President Barack Obama presented Congress with his terms, Boehner and Congressional Republicans responded with a counter-offer, which Obama took into account, made some concessions and presented a second plan.
Rather than offer a coherent response to the president’s plan, though, Boehner unveiled “Plan B,” an extravagant and ultimately impracticable wish-list of conservative demands. This sent the House Republican caucus into complete chaos and left us where we stand today, with the president’s counter-offer left unanswered by Congress, and House Republicans fighting amongst themselves before turning off the lights and leaving for the Christmas break.
Watch the clip, embedded via MSNBC, below:
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Democratic House Candidates Now Have A Nearly 1.2 Million Vote Lead Over The Republicans

By Ian Millhiser/Think Progress
The day after the election last month, ThinkProgress took a preliminary tally of the total number of votes cast for candidates for the House of Representatives. We found that, despite the fact that Republicans won a commanding majority of the seats, theAmerican people cast more than half-a-million votes for Democrats. This number was based on early tallies, however, and it was especially likely to undercount many West Coast states that had less time to count ballots.
More than a month after the election, the Democrats’ popular vote lead expanded significantly. Based on current tallies,Democrats now lead Republicans 59,343,447 to 58,178,393 in total votes cast for their House candidates — meaning that the American people preferred Democrats over Republicans by nearly a full percentage point of the total vote. Yet, despite clearly losing the popular vote, Republicans will control nearly 54 percent of the seats in the House in the 113th Congress.
This disparity between the will of the American people and the actual outcome of the election did not happen by accident — it is largely the product of massive gerrymandering by Republican state officials. President Obama won Pennsylvania by more than 5 points, but Democrats carried only 5 of the state’s 18 congressional seats. Obama won Virginia, and Democrats took 3 of 11 House seats. Obama won Ohio, but Democrats carried only 4 of 16 seats in Ohio’s House delegation. In state after state after state, Republicans used their unconstitutional ability to gerrymander Democratic votes into meaninglessness — and they were able to do so because the conservatives on the Supreme Court refuse to do anything about it.
In just a few weeks, a misguided package of spending cuts and middle class tax hikes threatens to drag America back into recession. Just over a month after that, America risks defaulting on its debt — potentially plunging us into depression. And even if these immediate threats are averted, it could come at a very high price. In an attempt to strike a deal with recalcitrant Republicans, President Obama recently offered to take future Social Security benefits away from seniors. Meanwhile, Speaker Boehner can’t even manage the right flank of his caucus enough to hold a purely cosmetic vote intended to counter the — now entirely justified — view that Republicans care primarily about protecting millionaires from paying taxes. Because of the Republican Party’s apparently inability to negotiate in good faith in order to avert catastrophe, America now faces the very real possibility of an economic collapse once the debt ceiling comes due early next year.
All of these risks would evaporate completely if the divided 113th Congress bore any resemblance to the unified government the American people voted for.

Conservative Columnist Doubles Down On Women Are To Blame For Newtown Argument

By Rebecca Leber/Think Progress

According to anti-feminist Charlotte Allen, a male janitor or “even some of the huskier 12-year-old boys” would have made all the difference in the Newtown massacre,simply because they are male. National Review published Allen’s controversial piece on Wednesday, where she attributed the massacre to Sandy Hook’s female staff and its “feminized setting.”
On Friday, Allen responded to her storm of critics, including National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, who characterized her piece as “somewhat perverse.” Allen described her latest experience examining Sandy Hook’s staff page as a “depressing [...] sea of women’s names,” while she mocked the school’s anti-bullying resources and a society that encourages boys to use Easy Bake Ovens too:
No, I was not blaming any of the 26 victims or the parents who enrolled their kids at Sandy Hook. I am, however, blaming our culture that denies, dismisses, and denigrates the masculine traits—including size, strength, male aggression and a male facility for strategic thinking–that until recently have been viewed as essential for building a society and protecting its weaker members. We now have Hanna Rosin at Slate urging parents to buy their little boys Easy Bake ovens so they’ll be more like little girls. Women are less aggressive by instinct, and they are typically trained to be nice
I am also responding to David Weigel, who told me I gotten my facts wrong: that there are actually two men, a custodian and a fourth-grade teacher, on Sandy Hook’s 52-person staff. He’s right, and I stand corrected. This does help prove my point, though: just two adult men in a building containing 500 people — and it’s not clear that both of them were at work that day. Indeed, a visit to Sandy Hook’s staff website is a depressing experience, the sea of women’s names. Why aren’t there more men? Perhaps not enough want the job? But why? Because they are tacitly discouraged from careers in elementary education? It’s certainly not the money, because union rules typically require kindergarten teachers and high-school chemistry teachers to be paid on exactly the same salary scale.
Another depressing page on the Sandy Hook website is the “Safe Schools Climate” page. It’s a page of links to “anti-bullying” resources. Yes, the Sandy Hook staff’s idea of a “safe school” was a school where kids didn’t say mean things about each other on Facebook! The Sandy Hook massacre was a tragedy, but it was at least in part a tragedy of the collision between feminist delusions and reality.
As Dave Weigel points out (in “The Stupidest Thing Anyone Has Written About Sandy Hook”), Allen gets many basic facts of the scene wrong, though she claims even her errors “help prove my point.”

Everything You Need To Know About The NRA’s Wayne LaPierre

By Josh Israel/Think Progress

The National Rifle Association’s CEO and executive vice president Wayne LaPierre finally broke the organization’s silence about the Newtown, Connecticut shooting at a press conference today, delivering a long indictment of the media violence and its demonization of gun owners. LaPierre will also appear on NBC’s Meet the Press this Sunday.
LaPierre, who has been with the organization since 1991, has been one of the nation’s most visible and vocal opponents of gun control laws. Over his tenure, he has drawn bipartisan criticism for a wide array of extreme public statements — in addition to his most recent comments following the school shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Here are some of LaPierre’s more stunning statements:
1. Law enforcement are “Jack-Booted Thugs.” In March 1995, LaPierre sent afundraising letter to 3.5 million NRA members calling federal law enforcement agents “jack-booted government thugs” and arguing that “in Clinton’s administration, if you have a badge, you have the government’s go-ahead to harass, intimidate, even murder law-abiding citizens.” President George H.W. Bush resigned his membership in protest and LaPierre was forced to apologize.
2. Bill Clinton purposely tolerated violence in order to ban guns. In March 2000, the New York Times reported LaPierre “said President Clinton tolerated a certain amount of violence and killing to strengthen the case for gun control and to score points for his party. Mr. Clinton called the comments ‘smear tactics.’ Then Mr. LaPierre said Mr. Clinton had blood ‘on his hands’ because he had not enforced existing gun laws.”
3. Gun-Free zones are killing people. After the January 2011 Tucson shootings, LaPierre claimed “gun-free zones and anti-self defense laws that protected the safety of no one except the killers,” and said that “by its lies and laws and lack of enforcement, government polices are getting us killed, and imprisoning us in a society of terrifying violence.” This, despite the fact that the shooting had not taken place in a gun-free zone. He added, “These clowns want to ban magazines. Are you kidding me? But that’s their response to the blizzard of violence and mayhem affecting our nation. One more gun law on top of all of the laws already on the books.”
4. Obama spent a lifetime destroying the Second Amendment. LaPierrerefused to take part in discussions with President Obama’s administration after Tucson shootings to discuss possible ways to avoid future mass shootings. “Why should I or the N.R.A. go sit down with a group of people that have spent a lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment in the United States,” he asked.
5. Fast and Furious was engineered for “political advantage.” In March 2011, LaPierre said on a Fox News program he hosted that “someone in the government” engineered the failed Operation Fast and Furious “to seek political advantage.”
6. The UN is coming for American guns. In July 2012, LaPierre told Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly that a proposed United Nations treaty regulating the global arms trade “says to people in the United States, turn over your personal protection and your firearms to the government.”
7. Obama will confiscate “our firearms.” In July 2012 — just three days after the movie theater shootings in Aurora, CO — LaPierre sent a paranoid fundraising letter warning that the group needed to defeat President Obama’s re-election. “The future of your Second Amendment rights will be at stake,” the letter said. “And nothing less than the future of our country and our freedom will be at stake.” . . . The solicitation letter says that Obama’s re-election would result in the “confiscation of our firearms.”
8. Obama’s inaction on guns is a conspiracy to win re-election. In September 2012, LaPierre suggested a novel theory as to why President Obama had not opposed gun rights in his first term. He said the administration’s inaction was “part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and hide his true intentions to destroy the Second Amendment in our country…Before the president was even sworn into office, they met and they hatched a conspiracy of public deception to try to guarantee his re-election in 2012.”
9. All will be lost if Obama is re-elected. In February, LaPierre predicted that gun owners will rally en masse to defeat Obama in November. “All of what we know is good and right about America, all of it could be lost if Barack Obama is re-elected,” he said. “It’s all or nothing.”

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Snyder's Popularity Plummets in Michigan

Who needs voters when the media
still has love for me?
Taegan Goddard's Political Wire

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Michigan finds Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is one of the most unpopular governors in the country. Only 38% of voters approve of him, while 56% disapprove. 

Key finding: Snyder has dropped a net 28 points from the weekend before the election, when his approval rate was 47% to 37%.

"There's not much doubt that it's the right to work law and his embrace of other actions by the Republican legislature that are driving this precipitous drop in Snyder's popularity. Only 41% of voters in the state support the right to work legislation, while 51% are opposed to it. If voters got to decide the issue directly only 40% of them say they would vote to keep the law enacted, while 49% would vote to overturn it."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Fox News Accuses Hillary Clinton Of Faking Concussion

Fox News figures accused Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of faking an illness when she suffered a concussion after fainting due to dehydration. The State Department has criticized Fox News contributor John Bolton for engaging in "wild speculation based on no information."

Clinton Suffers Concussion After Fainting Due To Illness

Wash. Post: "clinton Sustained A Concussion After Fainting From Dehydration At Her Home Early Last Week." From The Washington Post:
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sustained a concussion after fainting from dehydration at her home early last week, her office disclosed Saturday.
Clinton, 65, has been suffering from a stomach virus and had to cancel a trip to Morocco and the Persian Gulf on Monday.
Philippe Reines, a State Department spokesman, said Clinton became dehydrated because of the virus and fainted, sustaining the concussion. He said she has been under the care of doctors.
"At their recommendation, she will continue to work from home next week, staying in regular contact with department and other officials," Reines said in a statement. "She is looking forward to being back in the office soon." [The Washington Post12/15/12]
Reuters: Clinton's Testimony About Attack On Benghazi Compound Postponed Following Concussion.From Reuters:
Clinton had been expected to testify on December 20 before the House of Representatives and Senate foreign affairs committees on a report on the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans and raised questions about security at far-flung posts.
Jodi Seth, a spokeswoman for Senate Foreign Relations Committee head John Kerry, said that given her condition, Clinton's testimony would be postponed, but did not say until when. Seth said the planned hearings would be held with other senior officials appearing in Clinton's place. [Reuters, 12/15/12]

"Diplomatic Illness": Fox Figures Accuse Clinton Of Faking Concussion

Fox's Bolton Suggests Clinton Is Faking "Diplomatic Illness" To Avoid Testifying About Benghazi.During the December 17 edition of Fox News' On the Record, Fox News contributor John Bolton told host Greta van Susteren that when foreign service officers "don't want to go to a meeting or conference or event," they have "a diplomatic illness. And this is a diplomatic illness to beat the band." He continued:
BOLTON: I mean, I certainly hope it's nothing serious. But this was revealed in a way that I think was not transparent, and I think there is an obligation here, especially if Secretary Clinton decides to run for president, to indicate what happened. She may beat testifying this week, but she's not going to escape it forever.
Van Susteren noted after Bolton spoke that "it has been reported prior to the concussion that she had the flu. ... She reported that she was dehydrated, and if you fall and hit your head and get a concussion, that is a brain injury." [Fox News, On the Record, 12/17/12]
Fox's Crowley: Clinton's Illness Had "Apparently Impeccable Timing." During the December 17 edition ofAmerica Live, Fox News contributor Monica Crowley discussed Clinton's illness with host Megyn Kelly. Kelly asked Crowley, "What's really going on? I mean, she fainted sometime last week and can't show up this Thursday for a previously scheduled testimony? I mean, there was speculation, I want all the viewers to know, about whether she'd really go" to the Benghazi hearing even before her illness. Kelly then said, "I'm not suggesting she didn't get a concussion. But there is a legitimate question about, is -- do we believe this is an excuse and that she really will show up to testify?" Crowley responded by referring to Clinton's illness as "this virus with apparently impeccable timing." [Fox News, America Live, 12/17/12]

State Dept. On Bolton's Claims: "Completely Untrue"

Politico: "State Dept. Slams Bolton For Claiming Clinton Faked Illness." Politico reported on December 18 that State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters that Bolton's suggestion is "completely untrue." The Politico article continued:
"I can't speak to his personal motivation," she said. "I can assure you that he's not privy to any inside information."
Nulan added that Bolton and others who have questioned Clinton's illness "are people who don't know what they're talking about."
"It's really unfortunate that in times like this people make wild speculation based on no information," she said. [Politico12/18/12]

Familiar faces lined up for CPAC

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Discovery Channel kicks Ted Nugent to the curb

By Stephen C. Webster/Raw Story
In addition to cancelling its popular “American Guns” reality show, The Discovery Channel confirmed to Raw Story on Tuesday that firearms enthusiast Ted Nugent will also not be returning to the channel in any form or fashion.
Speaking to Raw Story in remarks specified as “not for attribution,” a spokesperson admitted that “Ted Nugent’s Gun Country” didn’t do very well when it aired in October, even with fellow firearms fashionistas. Nielsen Ratings placed the viewership at about 864,000 people in all. But the network’s decision is not just about the numbers.
After Friday’s devastating massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, the spokesperson said that Nugent would definitely not be returning to the Discovery Channel.

Nugent and his allies at the National Rifle Association (NRA) repeatedly claimed that his hour-long Discovery Channel special was actually a planned “series.” The Detroit native and longtime southern rocker even told Armed America Radio listeners in October to “expect that there will be at least a dozen shows a year.” The channel’s spokesperson confirmed that this was never actually in the works.
Nugent, who endorsed Mitt Romney for president, was investigated by the Secret Service earlier this year after he urged NRA members to “chop [Democrats'] heads off in November.”
“I’ll tell you this right now, if Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year,” the rocker said in April.
News of Nugent’s fall at Discovery comes the same day that the channel confirmed it is cancelling “American Guns,” a popular reality show that glamorizes a family that produces deadly weapons.
“‘American Guns’ concluded earlier this year,” the network’s prepared statement explains. “Discovery Channel chose not to renew the series and has no plans to air repeats of the show.”
Although the Discovery Channel’s statement did not directly link the cancellation of “American Guns” to Friday’s massacre, the channel’s spokesperson did say the tragedy “has really started something,” but didn’t specify what that something may be.

Nugent’s spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

‘Stand your ground’ cited in shooting of whiny Little Caesars Pizza customer

By David Edwards/Raw Story
A Florida man is using the state’s “stand your ground” law as a defense after he shot a customer who was complaining about slow service at a St. Petersburg Little Caesars Pizza restaurant.
Randall White, 49, was in line waiting for his pizza on Sunday when he began complaining that he wasn’t being served fast enough. According to the Tampa Bay Times, 52-year-old Michael Jock was also in line and scolded White for whining.
The two began arguing and it eventually “became a shoving match,” police spokesperson Mike Puetz said.
After White allegedly raised his fist, Jock pulled out a .38 Taurus Ultralight Special Revolver and fired a shot into the man’s torso. A second shot also hit White in the torso. One round became lodged in the restaurant wall.
When police arrived, Jock told them that the shooting had been justified under Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which says that gun owners do not have a “duty to retreat.”
“He felt he was in his rights,” Puetz explained. “He brought it up specifically and cited it to the officer.”
Jock, who had a concealed-carry permit, told police that White had an object in his hand, but later abandoned that story under police questioning.
“We determined it did not reach a level where deadly force was required,” Puetz said.
Jock was arrested by St. Petersburg Police and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and shooting at, within or into a building. He was released by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office after posting $20,000 bond.

White later told the Tampa Bay Times that he felt lucky just to be alive.
“There are arguments every day, but how many people pull out a gun?” he observed. “He was in my face and I pushed him. His life was not being threatened.”
White admitted that he had been agitated when he started complaining that his thin-crust vegetable pizza had taken more than the 10 minutes the restaurant promised.
“Twenty minutes later, I’m like, ‘Where’s my pizza?’” White recalled, adding that he still had a bullet fragment in his back but he “got lucky.”
“To me, that stand your ground rule … people are twisting it. He’s twisting it. I walked in to get a pizza and I got shot … I’m hoping the law prevails. We’ll see.”

Boehner Decides A Tax Hike On Millionaires Won’t Kill Jobs, After All

By Aviva Shen/Think Progress
With time dwindling before the scheduled tax increase on all Americans on January 1, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has switched to his“Plan B,” allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire on income in excess of $1 million. Originally, Boehner refused to consider any deal without an extended tax cut for the top 1 percent of earners, claiming it would kill jobs and hurt businesses.
Bohener’s new baseline is still far higher than Obama’s latest limit, which revised the income bracket up from incomes of $250,000 to $400,000. But the Speaker has changed his tune since May, when Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tried to hold the same vote.
At the time, Boehner refused to let Congress pass a tax cut for middle-class families without one for millionaires, calling Pelosi’s offer “bullshit” at a closed meeting. He cited a popular GOP myth that small businesses would be affected by the expiration of the tax cuts on individuals making $250,000 or more, claiming it was “a big mistake” that would “kill jobs.”
“I believe that raising taxes at this point in our recovery is a big mistake,”Boehner said at a Capitol press conference when asked about Pelosi’s letter. [...] “Even under Ms. Pelosi’s argument, half of those who would get this higher tax are small-business people that are sub-Chapter S or other types of pass-through entities,” Boehner said. “At a time when we are trying to help small businesses create jobs, this proposal would kill jobs.”
In fact, only 3 percent of small businesses would be affected by the tax increase. Before the Bush tax cuts, small businesses grew twice as fast under Clinton rates.
Boehner’s fiscal cliff deal is full of pseudo-compromises. Besides his new willingness to allow tax cuts to expire for millionaires, the Speaker’s deal also promises not to bring the nation to the brink of default again for at least one year — in exchange for devastating spending cuts.
The House will vote on two separate proposals to extend the Bush tax cuts for people making $250,000 and below or for people making $1 million and below on Thursday.