Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Rove, Rasmussen And The Right Wing Wages War On America.

Rove, Rasmussen And The Right Wing Wages War On America.

Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin Fall into Nancy Pelosi's Trap ...
By Matt Lewis

'Never interrupt your enemy,' goes the old aphorism, 'when he is making a mistake.' Republicans didn't get that memo. A week ago, President O.

Politics Daily -

SHOCK! Nancy Pelosi Used To Love Protests! at Chicks On The Right
By Mockarena

Hey – remember when Nancy Pelosi used to not blatantly insult average American voters? Here's what she said back in January of 2006 about anti-war protestors: “It's always exciting…This is democracy in action. I'm energized by it, ...

Chicks On The Right -

Rasmussen Reveals Republicans Are Doing Serious Damage

Thirty-two percent (32%) of voters nationwide favor a single-payer health care system where the federal government provides coverage for everyone. A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 57% are opposed to a single-payer plan.

Fifty-two percent (52%) believe such a system would lead to a lower quality of care while 13% believe care would improve. Twenty-seven percent (27%) think that the quality of care would remain about the same.

Forty-five percent (45%) also say a single-payer system would lead to higher health care costs while 24% think lower costs would result. Nineteen percent (19%) think prices would remain about the same.

There's wide political disagreement over the single-payer issue. Sixty-two percent (62%) of Democrats favor a single-payer system, but 87% of Republicans are opposed to one. As for those not affiliated with either major party, 22% favor a single-payer approach while 63% are opposed.

Vocal Foes Rally Outside Health Care Town Hall As Obama Denies 'Death Panel'

PORTSMOUTH,N.H.- If President Obama wanted to hear from hard-core "skeptics" of his health care plan here on Tuesday, he could have just stepped outside his town hall meeting.

One man carried a sign that read "Obama Pelosi= Mein Kampf," a reference toAdolf Hitler's anti-Semitic political treatise.

"Government Healthcare = Death Warrant for Seniors," read another.

Both sides of the health care debate faced off Tuesday outside thePortsmouth High School, site of the town hall.

Its main driveway became a loud demilitarized zone: some 250 screaming opponents of Obama's plan on one side, a quieter but equally large group of supporters on the other and a small platoon of cops in between.

Calvin Montgomery, 39, of nearby Exeter, N.H., who showed up with the "Mein Kampf" sign, blamed his choice of words on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has accused protesters of displaying Nazi imagery at other health care forums and called their shouting down of opponents "un-American."

"I didn't want to go down this road," said Montgomery. "But then Nancy Pelosi accused us of being fascists. It just disgusts me."

Montgomery - wearing a T-shirt that read "I Was Anti-Obama Before It Was Cool" - argued that Obama's health care plan was another sign of big-spending government run amok.

"The federal government should be building roads and providing for defense, and that's it," said Montgomery, who added he has private insurance through his employer, a government contractor.

Those across the driveway, many of them health care workers and members of the Service Employees International Union, were much more placid.

They sang "Give Peace a Chance," listened to the local Leftist Marching Band and swayed to the rhythm of an African drumming troupe.

"If we counter rage with rage, we won't move the process along," said Anne Connolly King, 53, a registered nurse from Amesbury, Mass."This is our civil rights movement - the right to health care. And just like they overcame hurdles, we will, too."

Read more:


Posted: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 12:45 PM by Mark Murray
Filed Under:
White House, Ron Allen

From NBC's Ron Allen
Outside the event where
President Obama will conduct his town hall, there is an anti-Obama protestor with a gun -- a pistol strapped to his lower leg.

The local police chief said it's legal for the man to have a registered handgun -- as long as it is not concealed. What's more, he is on private property, a church yard, which has given him permission to be there.

*** UPDATE *** More on the man with the gun... William Kostric is a married man in his mid 30S who works in sales. He says he moved here to New Hampshire from Arizona about a year ago, because it's a "live free or die" state -- and he thought Arizona was becoming too restrictive with its gun laws.

He's passing out a bookmark that says, "Join the Second Amendment Revolution, the most exciting pro-liberty movement in over 200 years."

He's a Ron Paul supporter, who opposes just about everything Obama, including health care reform.

The local police say he is within his rights to carry a handgun openly under state law. He was carrying a 9-mm Smith and Wesson strapped to his lower leg.

Police say he's OK on a public sidewalk. Kostric says he has permission from a church just down the street from the high school to be on its private property.

He says he was approached by a "detective," possibly a Secret Service Agent, who told him he could be arrested within 1,000 feet of a school with a weapon under a federal law. Kostric moved back to private property.

When Obama arrived, the police had Kostric under surveillance. A local police captain said the Secret Service has been "in the loop."

Kostric has been about 50 to 75 yards from the entrance to the high school, since about 11:00 am ET, doing interviews and carrying a sign and his gun and police have had their eye on him. But as long as he's been "cooperative," they have watched, but let him be.

Testimony Puts Rove At Center Of Justice Firings

Congressman Releases Documents On Iglesias Firing

STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press Writer

Posted: 3:09 pm EDT August 11, 2009

["After all the delay and despite all the obfuscation, lies, and spin, this basic truth can no longer be denied: Karl Rove and his cohorts at the Bush White House were the driving force behind several of these firings, which were done for improper reasons," said Rep. John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Conyers said he provided a copy of the documents released Tuesday to acting U.S. Attorney Nora Dannehy, who questioned Rove earlier this year to determine his precise role in the Bush administration's politically tinged firings of U.S. attorneys.]

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. attorney in Albuquerque, N.M., didn't see enough evidence when asked to prosecute some voter fraud cases in his state.

In Washington, however, then-White House political adviser Karl Rove was getting a different message and acting on it.

Transcripts of closed-door congressional testimony indicate that Rove played a central role in the ouster of David Iglesias, who was one of nine federal prosecutors fired in a series of politically tinged dismissals in 2006.

Harriet Miers, then White House counsel, said in testimony June 15 to House Judiciary Committee investigators that Rove was "very agitated" over Iglesias "and wanted something done about it."

The committee released more than 5,400 pages of White House and Republican National Committee e-mails, along with transcripts of closed-door testimony by Miers and Rove. Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., said the documents reveal that White House political officials were deeply involved in the firing of Iglesias and the other U.S. attorneys.

The documents show that staffers in Rove's office were actively seeking to have Iglesias removed after Republican figures in New Mexico complained that he was not pursuing voter fraud cases they wanted. In 2005, Rove aide Scott Jennings sent an e-mail to another Rove aide saying, "I would really like to move forward with getting rid of NM US ATTY."

Miers testified that Rove relayed to her complaints about Iglesias from political figures in New Mexico but added that she could not recall whether Rove told her specifically that the prosecutor should be fired.

"My best recollection is that he was very agitated about the U.S. attorney in New Mexico," Miers testified. "It was clear to me that he felt like he had a serious problem."

Rove's aides kept him apprised of complaints about Iglesias in other e-mails released Tuesday by the committee.

In a 2006 e-mail, Jennings told Rove that then-Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., wanted Iglesias fired. "You are aware of the issues, I believe," Jennings said in the e-mail to Rove.

Rove issued a statement Tuesday saying the documents "show politics played no role in the Bush administration's removal of U.S. attorneys, that I never sought to influence the conduct of any prosecution, and that I played no role in deciding which U.S. attorneys were retained and which were replaced."

He added, "Rather than relying on partisans selectively quoting testimony or excerpting e-mail messages, I urge anyone interested to review the documents in their entirety."

A subsequent Justice Department inquiry into the firing of Iglesias and other U.S. attorneys concluded that political considerations played a part in as many as four of the dismissals. A political uproar led to a series of damaging revelations about the Bush administration's political meddling with the Justice Department and the eventual resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Iglesias said in an interview Tuesday he was nauseated by the whole affair.

"It's exactly what I feared. Over two years ago, I said that all roads lead to Rove," Iglesias said. "I've said consistently that he was highly involved, and now the evidence is there."

Iglesias said there wasn't enough evidence to pursue the voter fraud cases that Republicans wanted.

Conyers said he provided a copy of the documents to acting U.S. Attorney Nora Dannehy, who questioned Rove earlier this year to determine his precise role in the firings.

"After all the delay and despite all the obfuscation, lies and spin, this basic truth can no longer be denied: Karl Rove and his cohorts at the Bush White House were the driving force behind several of these firings, which were done for improper reasons," Conyers said.

Rove, who was interviewed by the committee on July 7 and again July 30, has told reporters in recent interviews that he acted simply as a conduit for other Republicans' complaints about the job performance of specific U.S. attorneys.

Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said the documents show no evidence of wrongdoing. "Democrats need to stop wasting taxpayers' time and money on political investigations that are nothing more than the politics of personal destruction," Smith said.

Associated Press writer Deb Riechmann contributed to this report.

Karl Rove's E-mails Undercut Claim He Had Minor Role in U.S. ...
By Bob Franken

Newly released documents indicate he was deeply involved in at least one dismissal and possibly others, said Democratic House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.). .... They have their own agenda and hopefully the public won' t be stupid enought to elect Republicans to any elective post in government and they had better not elect a Republican president or this country will have another financial crisis that the Republican Party has no idea how to correct. ...
Politics Daily -

Harriet Miers Finally Admits It, Fingers Rove: The U.S. Attorney ...

By Susie Madrak
The disclosures mark the end of a two-and-a-half year investigation by the House Judiciary Committee, which sued to gain access to Bush White House documents in a dispute that struck at the heart of a president's executive power. .... I guess they allready protect themself from loosing their great medical paid by the stupid sucker like us in anything they will vote on. I am coming home from Belgium next week, they do have one of the best medical system. ...
Crooks and Liars -

Miers Told House Panel of 'Agitated' Rove

Bush White House Counsel Said Adviser Called U.S. Attorney a 'Serious Problem' 12 Aug 2009 The dismissal of U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias of New Mexico in December 2006 followed extensive communication among lawyers and political aides in the White House who hashed over complaints about his work on public corruption cases against Democrats, according to newly released e-mails and transcripts of closed-door House testimony by former Bush counsel Harriet Miers and political chief Karl Rove. A campaign to oust Iglesias intensified after state GOP officials and Republican members of the congressional delegation apparently concluded that he was not pursuing the cases against Democrats in a way that could help then-Rep. Heather A. Wilson (R) in a tight reelection race in New Mexico, according to interviews and Bush White House e-mails released Tuesday by congressional investigators. The documents place the genesis of Iglesias's dismissal earlier than previously known.

E-mails: Rove was key to firing of New Mexico U.S. attorney

11 Aug 2009 Karl Rove and other top officials in the George W. Bush White House were deeply involved in pushing for the ouster of several U.S. attorneys, notably including one in New Mexico, according to testimony and e-mails that the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee released Tuesday. Sworn testimony from former White House Counsel Harriet Miers revealed that Rove considered former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias of New Mexico a "serious problem" and "wanted something done about it" because of complaints about politically sensitive investigations that Iglesias had mounted.

LATimes: Holder 'All But Certain' to Launch 'Narrow' Probe into Bush Administration Torture

From the sub-title used with the LATimesstory over the weekend about AG Eric Holder's long-rumored, now reportedly "all but certain" plan to appoint a special prosecutor to examine torture during the Bush Adminstration:

Insiders say Atty. Gen. Eric Holder is close to naming a prosecutor to look into reports of excessivewaterboarding and other unauthorized methods.

So Non-"Excessive Waterboarding" Is Now Legal?

Holder's Torture-Probe Plan Faulted

Civil liberties advocates are criticizing an expected decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to limit a criminal probe of the Bush administration’s torture practices to CIA interrogators who exceeded Justice Department guidelines.

“There simply is no legal, moral or principled reason to insulate those who authorized the torture of detainees, either through legal reasoning or other policy directive, from investigation,” Rep. Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat and chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, said in a letter to Holder.

Nadler’s letter of Aug. 4 was followed on Sunday by a report in the Los Angeles Times that Holder was likely to sign off on a criminal probe, but would limit its scope to CIA interrogators who exceeded interrogation limits set in 2002 by Justice Department attorneys John Yoo and Jay Bybee in memos that authorized waterboarding and other brutal acts against suspected terrorists.

“A senior Justice Department official said that Holder envisioned an inquiry that would be narrow in scope, focusing on ‘whether people went beyond the techniques that were authorized’ in Bush administration memos that liberally interpreted anti-torture laws,” the Los Angeles Times reported…
Jason Leopold has launched his own Web site, The Public Record, at

August 11 2009

Groups Call on Attorney General Holder to Appoint Independent Special Prosecutor to Investigate Torture

Press Release From Velvetrevolution.US

Holder Warned that Limited Investigation and Selective Prosecution Would Violate the Law and Further Undermine Credibility of DOJ

Washington, DC: Yesterday, the Disbar Torture Lawyer coalition, consisting of more than 150 NGOs representing over a million members, sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder calling on him to appoint a special prosecutor, independent of the Justice Department, to fully investigate the use of torture, and to prosecute all officials and employees who advocated, ordered and committed acts of torture against people held by the United States.

The letter, see below, signed by coalition attorney Kevin Zeese, who is Executive Director of Voters for Peace, carefully analyzed the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”), which was signed by President Reagan, to underscore that Mr. Holder has no discretion to ignore its mandates. CAT is written in mandatory language, and it requires the investigation of all acts or torture and the prosecution of all those who conspired to and did commit torture.

The media has reported that Mr. Holder is reluctant to prosecute torturers because most of them were “following orders.” The letter to holder points out that CAT specifically prohibits reliance on extraordinary circumstances or the orders of superiors as justifications of torture. CAT provides no discretion, if torture occurred countries must investigate and prosecute those responsible.

“Selective prosecution of low-level officials who conducted some acts of torture, while ignoring those who created the policy and facilitated torture would violate the law,” noted Zeese. “Every history student knows from the Nuremberg trials that there is no ‘I was just following orders’ defense allowed for war crimes, yet this is the precise argument now being used to argue against the prosecution for the war crime of torture. Mr. Holder took an oath to uphold the law, and repeatedly promised to remain above politics and restore the integrity of the DOJ. He can accomplish these by appointing a special prosecutor to follow the evidence where it leads without restriction. The Rule of Law applies to all Americans, no matter what office they hold.”

The letter concludes: “You can restore our moral high ground and the Department of Justice’s reputation as an agency that follows the law by appointing a special prosecutor, independent of the Department of Justice, with the very clear mandate – investigate the facts and apply the rule of law wherever it leads – as required by the Convention Against Torture.”

The letter warns that a limited investigation that selectively prosecuted only some of those involved in torture, and excluded those who developed the torture policy, would violate the law and would likely to lead to litigation.

* * *

August 10, 2009

Attorney General Eric Holder
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Re: The Convention Against Torture Requires the Investigation and Prosecution of Torture by an Independent Prosecutor Mandated to Investigate the Facts and Apply the Law. Selective Prosecution of Some Instances of Torture, or Limiting Prosecution to Low Level Officials, Will Not Satisfy the Requirements of the Convention Against Torture or Other Laws Proscribing Torture.

Dear Mr. Attorney General:

I am writing as the attorney for the Disbar Torture Lawyers Campaign, a coalition of more than 150 organizations representing over a million members, in order to request that you appoint a special prosecutor to fully investigate all aspects of the torture issue, and to then follow where the evidence leads. We are concerned, based on various media reports quoting anonymous sources in your office, that you will soon announce a very narrow probe focusing limited instances of torture rather than the full investigation required by law. If the Department of Justice is going to restore its credibility and America’s reputation as a nation of laws, then it must even handedly apply the rule of law, especially in tough situations such as torture.

Our coalition has been involved with this issue for some time, and we recently filed disciplinary complaints against 15 lawyers who were instrumental in formulating and advocating the use of torture, including all those who prepared the now rescinded OLC memos. The critical law proscribing torture, which the United States must follow, is the Convention Against Torture (“CAT”), adopted by the United States and signed by President Ronald Reagan. CAT is written in mandatory language in order ensure that prosecutorial discretion does not come into play when dealing with state sponsored torture. I have attached a copy of CAT and highlight key portions in this letter.

In the Preamble, CAT notes that that it was enacted to “make more effective the struggle against torture….” Article 1 defines torture as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.” Emphasis added. Because torture under CAT requires “instigation, consent, or acquiescence” of a government official, the selective prosecution of a few government employees who followed orders, while giving immunity for government officials who gave those orders, would undermine our bedrock rule of law that it applies equally, no matter what position a person holds.

Article 2(2) lays out our position in very clear terms: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.” [Emphasis added.] In the case of torture by the United States, it has been said by various officials from both parties that, in light of the shock of 9/11, extreme means were necessary and that officials “were scared” and had to act to stop additional attacks. But CAT specifically prohibits such justifications.

Article 2(3) underscores our position: “An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture.” The media is reporting that you do not intend to investigate and prosecute the public officials who created the torture policy of the previous administration, and that you do not intend to investigate or prosecute those who followed the OLC memoranda because they were complying with legal opinions and orders issued by the DOJ. But this type of justification is precisely what the CAT forbids. Indeed, the DOJ involvement with justifying torture is one reason why it is critical that the prosecutor be a special prosecutor independent of the DOJ. If legal memoranda could be used to change the definition of torture – which is quite clear under CAT – and justify torture, then the Convention would be meaningless because a government that wanted to use torture would merely have their legal officials provide memoranda to allow it.

Moreover, the “I was just following orders” defense, made famous in the Nuremberg trials after World War II, has been rejected for decades. Nuremberg Principle IV states: "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him." This "defense of superior orders" is not a defense for war crimes, although it might influence a sentencing authority to lessen the penalty.

Article 4(1) states: “Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law.” The United States has complied with this by enacting a criminal statute prohibiting torture under 18 USC 2340. This is clearly an enabling statute that cannot be ignored. Moreover, in order to comply with Article 4(2) to prohibit “complicity” to torture, the Patriot Act, passed during the same time period as much of the torture of detainees, added this language to Section 2340 under subsection (c): “Conspiracy.— A person who conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.” Clearly, those who conspired to torture, such as those who used their official position to justify and order it, cannot be excused from the dictates of CAT Article 4 or Section 2340.

Article 5 requires the establishment of jurisdiction over persons covered under Article 4, including citizens of that country, and in cases where the persons are not extradited to face prosecution for torture in another country under Article 8. Clearly, this gives you jurisdiction to prosecute American citizens who committed torture and places the burden on you to do so unless you intend to rely on Article 8 to extradite Americans who may be indicted for torture by a foreign State Party.

Article 6 requires, “after an examination of information available,” that a person who committed torture be taken “into custody” and then that “a preliminary inquiry into the facts” be immediately undertaken. There have been vast amounts of information released, leaked and uncovered, which document who ordered and who committed torture. No doubt an independent investigation would find more evidence of who was responsible for committing these crimes. In our ethics complaints, we included over 600 pages of exhibits, including both the Senate and Red Cross detainee treatment reports and many of OLC memos. See for copies of all exhibits filed. Clearly, this and your own internal “examination of information available” require that you take the known torturers into custody and conduct a more thorough investigation.

Article 7 requires a State Party, unless it extradites a torturer to another country for prosecution, “to submit the case to its competent authorities for the purpose of prosecution.” Again, this is not discretionary. In order to follow the law you must investigate and prosecute all those involved with torture and not selectively prosecute certain low level officials involved in only some acts of torture. In the case of American torturers, despite the widespread torture of hundreds of individuals, including at least 98 deaths, not a single case has been submitted for prosecution, “Command's Responsibility: Detainee Deaths in U.S. Custody in Iraq and Afghanistan” by Hina Shamsi and Edited by Deborah Pearlstein, Human Rights First, February 2006

Article 8 states that torture is a required extraditable offense between State Parties. It may be that you do not intend to prosecute American citizens for torture in the United

States because a foreign State Party has notified you of an impending indictment and you intend to extradite those indicted. If that is the case, please confirm that in writing. It has been widely reported that other countries are well on their way to initiating torture charges against Americans.

Article 9 requires each State Party to assist each other in connection with torture prosecutions, “including the supply of all evidence at their disposal necessary to carry out the proceedings.” The United States must therefore, once notified, provide all torture evidence in its possession to foreign State Parties working on torture prosecutions.

Articles 10 requires the education about the rules against torture of all persons involved with detainees, and Article 11 requires the review of all interrogation and custody rules for detainees “with a view to preventing any cases of torture.” This is another powerful reason why the “I was just following orders” defense cannot be used to provide immunity to people who committed torture and why officials who created the torture policy must also be investigated and prosecuted.

Article 12 provides the strongest language for the appointment of a special prosecutor: “Each State Party shall ensure that its competent authorities proceed to a prompt and

impartial investigation, wherever there is reasonable ground to believe that an act of torture has been committed in any territory under its jurisdiction.” Clearly, in the case of torture by American citizens, there is indisputable evidence in various official reports and news articles to require an impartial investigation by a special prosecutor.

Article 13 requires a State Party to investigate all complaints of torture made by persons who have been tortured. Clearly, your office has received many complaints about torture either directly, such as in the case of Jose Padilla, or through proxies such as attorneys representing Guantanamo prisoners, the Red Cross, ACLU, Center for Constitutional Rights, and Amnesty International. Because victims have complained, you must appoint a special prosecutor with broad authority to investigate all acts of torture.

Mr. Attorney General, you have repeatedly stated, in your confirmation hearings and in public statements, that your Department of Justice “will follow the law.” That law, as specified by CAT, outlined above, not only prohibits the use of torture, but requires the investigation and prosecution of those who committed or conspired to commit torture. Applying the rule of law evenly is a key component of our American jurisprudence, and that is why the scales of justice should not be weighted in favor of those who hold positions of power. Our nation suffered a grievous blow to her reputation and moral standing when the previous administration intentionally violated the law by advocating and instituting wholesale torture of detainees. You can restore our moral high ground and the Department of Justice’s reputation as an agency that follows the law by appointing a special prosecutor, independent of the Department of Justice, with the very clear mandate – investigate the facts and apply the rule of law wherever it leads – as required by the Convention Against Torture.

American citizens who ordered and committed acts of torture should be prosecuted in the United States where they will be given the full panoply of legal protections under our Constitution. At trial, they should be allowed to present any defense under the law, and they should be able to argue whatever mitigating factors are applicable during sentencing. They should also be allowed to ask for a pardon or commutation from the President after conviction. However, they should not be granted immunity from prosecution, tantamount to amnesty, in advance of a complete criminal investigation.

Failure to hold those accountable for torture will have numerous repercussions. We believe that anything less than a full torture investigation mandated by your office will result in indictment of American citizens by other CAT State Parties, which will then require you to extradite those citizens and provide evidence against them. It is also likely to result in litigation requesting that the federal court compel your office to comply with your duty to follow the dictates of CAT. We also believe that the failure to prosecute will embolden other Party States and non-party states to ignore international treaties and laws protecting Americans, resulting in future atrocities against our own citizens. Failure to prosecute will also create a de facto exception for future administrations that may decide that torture, or any other atrocity, should be U.S. policy.

In closing, we strongly urge you to quickly appoint a special prosecutor, independent of the DOJ, to investigate and prosecute torture wherever the facts lead, as required by CAT. If I can be of assistance in your investigations, please contact me.


Kevin B. Zeese

Target Of Obama-Era Rendition Alleges Torture

By Scott Horton | Special to the Huffington Post

During the 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama sharply criticized the Bush Administration's extraordinary renditions program. "To build a better, freer world, we must first behave in ways that reflect the decency and aspirations of the American people," he wrote in Foreign Affairs. "This means ending the practice of shipping away prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far-off countries, of detaining thousands without charge or trial, of maintaining a network of secret prisons to jail people beyond the reach of law." But Obama was consistently careful never to commit to ending the practice of rendition entirely. When the issue flared shortly after his inauguration, senior administration officials were quick to say that abuses including torture would end, but that "ordinary" renditions - the spiriting away of suspects from other countries without going through the formal process of extradition -- would be continued in a cleaned-up form. Now in a federal court in suburban Washington, a case is unfolding that gives us a practical sense of what an Obama-era rendition looks like.

Raymond Azar, a 45-year-old Lebanese construction manager with a grade school education, is employed by Sima International, a Lebanon-based contractor that does work for the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also has the unlikely distinction of being the first target of a rendition carried out on the Obama watch.

According to court papers, on April 7, 2009, Azar and a Lebanese-American colleague, Dinorah Cobos, were seized by "at least eight" heavily armed FBI agents in Kabul, Afghanistan, where they had traveled for a meeting to discuss the status of one of his company's U.S. government contracts. The trip ended with Azar alighting in manacles from a Gulfstream V executive jet in Manassas, Virginia, where he was formally arrested and charged in a federal antitrust probe.

This rendition involved no black sites and was clearly driven by a desire to get the target quickly before a court. Also unlike renditions of the Bush-era, the target wasn't even a terror suspect; rather, he was suspected of fraud. But in a troubling intimation of the last administration, accusations of torture hover menacingly over the case. According to papers filed by his lawyers, Azar was threatened, subjected to coercive interrogation techniques and induced to sign a confession. Azar claims he was hooded, stripped naked (while being photographed) and subjected to a "body cavity search."

On a ride to the infamous Bagram air base in Afghanistan -- site of the torture-homicides involving U.S. interrogators exposed in the Oscar-winning documentary Taxi to the Dark Side -- Azar contends that a federal agent pulled a photograph of Azar's wife and four children from his wallet. Confess that you were bribing the contract officer, the agent allegedly said, or you may "never see them again." Azar told his lawyers he interpreted that as a threat to do physical harm to his family.

Azar alleges that on arriving at Bagram he was shackled to a chair in an office for seven hours and not allowed to move. Then in the midst of a cold rainstorm he was taken to an unheated metal shipping container converted to use as a cell. The cell was brightly lit and although the outside temperature approached freezing, he was given only a thin blanket. He also claims that he was not permitted to sleep during his confinement at Bagram, which lasted over a day. Then he was told he was going to take a plane trip. His handlers would not tell him where he was going. He feared he was being dragged to Guantanamo, there to be "disappeared" and tortured. How else, he thought, could he explain the absence of Afghan authorities, the hooding and other techniques?

Before boarding the Gulfstream, Azar was shackled, blindfolded and had earphones placed on his head. Occasionally, the earphones and blindfold were removed so that his interrogation by FBI agents could continue. The 16-hour flight was broken by a refueling stop in Tbilisi, Georgia -- which has long served as a pit stop for rendition flights into and out of the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. During the flight, according to papers filed by the Justice Department, Azar confessed to the charges against him--essentially that he was aware of corrupt payments made to a U.S. government contract agent to help Sima International secure or extend its contracts with U.S. government agencies.

Inquiry into Britain's involvement in torture rejected by Government

11 Aug 2009 An inquiry into whether Britain’s intelligence services have been involved indirectly in the torture of terrorist suspects by foreign agencies is not necessary, the Government said yesterday. Downing Street’s rejection of calls for an inquiry came as the head of MI6 publicly insisted that none of his intelligence officers could be accused of complicit involvement in torture.

U.S. Battling CIA Rendition Case In 3 Courts

10 Aug 2009 The Obama administration is fighting on multiple fronts - in courts in San Francisco, Washington and London - to keep an official veil of secrecy over the treatment of a former prisoner who says he was tortured at Guantanamo Bay. The administration has asked a federal appeals court in San Francisco to reconsider its ruling allowing Binyam Mohamed and four other former or current prisoners to sue a Bay Area company for allegedly flying them to overseas torture chambers for the CIA.

Judge: CIA Interrogations Not Relevant To 9/11 Accused's Sanity

10 Aug 2009 U.S. military defense lawyers for accused 9/11 conspirator Ramzi bin al Shibh cannot learn what interrogation techniques CIA agents used on the Yemeni before he was moved to Guantánamo to be tried as a terrorist, an Army judge has ruled. Bin al Shibh, 37, is one of five men charged in a complex death penalty prosecution by military commission currently under review by the Obama administration. But his lawyers say he suffers a "delusional disorder," and hallucinations in his cell at Guantánamo may leave him neither sane enough to act as his own attorney nor to stand trial... The judge ruled on Aug. 6 that "evidence of specific techniques [torture] employed by various governmental agencies to interrogate the accused is... not essential to a fair resolution of the incompetence determination hearing in this case." The Miami Herald obtained a copy of the ruling Monday. Prosecutors had invoked a national security privilege in seeking to shield the details from defense lawyers.

Court Upholds CIA Contractor's Detainee Abuse Conviction

11 Aug 2009 A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction of David Passaro, the first US civilian found guilty of abusing a prisoner in Afghanistan, according to a copy of the ruling obtained by AFP Tuesday. A three-judge panel from the Fourth US Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia on Monday found that, contrary to Passaro's argument, federal courts have jurisdiction over assaults committed by US citizens abroad in countries where the United States conducts military missions.

Ally Warns Pentagon Over Plans To Put Detainees In Kansas

10 Aug 2009 An advocate of closing the prison camps at Guantánamo wrote Defense Secretary Robert Gates Monday of his alarm that Fort Leavenworth might be used to confine some of the captives now held in Cuba, saying the choice might deter friendly Muslim countries from sending officers to train at the Army base in Kansas. The Pentagon houses some of its most serious military offenders at the so-called Disciplinary Barracks at Leavenworth, a 512-prisoner capacity jail complex with a Death Row. It is frequently mentioned as a possible future lock-up site for some of the 229 detainees now held at the remote prison camps in southeast Cuba.

Afghan Presidential Contender Vows Closure Of Bagram Prison

10 Aug 2009 A main rival of Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the country's upcoming presidential voting pledged to close down Bagram Prison within 3 years if he is elected as Afghanistan's next president. "I will shut down Bagram Prison and other jails and prisons under the control of international forces within 3 years. Following this period international forces will not have the right to incarcerate Afghan citizens," Former Finance Minister Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai told FNA.

We can't 'afford' health care for all US citizens, but by golly: Afghanistan Needs More Money --U.S. ambassador asks for an additional $2.5B next year for development and [KBR-funded] civilian reconstruction. 12 Aug 2009 The United States will not meet its goals in Afghanistan without a major increase in planned spending on development and civilian reconstruction next year, the U.S. ambassador in Kabul has told the State Department. In a cable sent to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry said an additional $2.5 billion in nonmilitary spending will be needed for 2010, about 60 percent more than the amount President Obama has requested from Congress. Obama has asked for $68 billion in Defense Department spending in Afghanistan next year, an amount that for the first time would exceed U.S. military expenditures in Iraq. Spending on civilian governance and development programs has doubled under the Obama administration, to $200 million a month -- equal to the monthly rate in Iraq during the zenith of spending on nonmilitary projects there.

Birthers pick up support in Virginia, North Carolina - Full Comment
By NP Editor

Rule-me, a "
stupid rule"? IT'S THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA you idiot. It cannot be undone or ignored without undermining the basis of law and government by the people of the Republic. The US cannot ignore its own Constitution ... The "stupid rule" needs a decision from the Senate Judiciary Committee or from the Supreme Court as to whether the "stupid rule" prohibits or allows the elected President to serve. Otherwise every other "stupid law" (with ...
Full Comment -

(The Complete Right Wing Smear) Obamacare Broken Down For All

Palin's 'Death Panel' And GOP Lying

False Republican claims about President Barack Obama’s health-care initiative, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s demagogic charge about a “death panel,” are part of a pattern of systematic lying that has marked the GOP’s political tactics at least since Ronald Reagan’s presidency in the 1980s.

Indeed, to understand how the war against health-care reform is gaining traction, you must look back three decades to the dawn of this Republican era of pervasive deception…

Bush's Conspiracy to Riot

From the Archive:
Today's right-wing disruptions of health-care "town halls" harken back to George W. Bush's riot in 2000. By Robert Parry

Editor’s Note: As the American Right celebrates its success in disrupting “town hall” meetings where congressional Democrats try to discuss health-care reform with constituents, the ugly precedent for these hooligan tactics is the Republican-organized riot in Miami that stopped a recount in Election 2000.

What was extraordinary about the supposedly spontaneous riot on Nov. 22, 2000, was that it was -- we later learned -- organized and financed by George W. Bush’s presidential campaign, which had flown in Republican operatives to pose as outraged local residents.

Some of that was reported at the time – though downplayed – but more details emerged in summer 2002 when the Internal Revenue Service forced the Bush campaign to disclose its recount expenditures.

After release of those IRS documents, we published the following story, which contrasted how the U.S. government reacted to the definitive evidence that Bush and other top Republicans had dispatched rioters across state lines to disrupt the democratic process in 2000 against what was done to alleged riot organizers at the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago.

The big difference, of course, was that in 1968 the alleged riot organizers were anti-war radicals who faced prosecution, when in 2000, the riot organizers went on to seize control of the U.S. government and thus escaped all punishment.

Having succeeded with the hooliganism in 2000 – and having paid no price – the Republicans and their right-wing allies appear to be following a similar script to block health-care reform now:

More than three decades apart, two political riots influenced the outcome of U.S. presidential elections.

In 1968, protests at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago hurt Democrat Hubert Humphrey and helped Republican Richard Nixon eke out a victory. On Nov. 22, 2000, the so-called “Brooks Brothers Riot” of Republican activists helped stop a vote recount in Miami -- and showed how far George W. Bush’s supporters were ready to go to put their man in the White House.

But the government reaction to the two events was dramatically different. The clashes between police and Vietnam War protesters in 1968 led the Nixon administration to charge seven anti-war radicals with “conspiring to cross state lines with the intent to incite a riot.”

The defendants, who became known as the Chicago Seven, were later acquitted of conspiracy charges, in part, because the protests were loosely organized and because solid documentary evidence was lacking.

After the Miami “Brooks Brothers Riot” – named after the protesters’ preppie clothing – no government action was taken beyond the police rescuing several Democrats who were surrounded and roughed up by the rioters. While no legal charges were filed against the Republicans, newly released documents show that at least a half dozen of the publicly identified rioters were paid by Bush’s recount committee.

The payments to the Republican activists are documented in hundreds of pages of Bush committee records – released grudgingly to the Internal Revenue Service in July 2002, 19 months after the 36-day recount battle ended. Overall, the records provide a road map of how the Bush recount team brought its operatives across state lines to stop then-Vice President Al Gore’s recount efforts.

The records show that the Bush committee spent a total of $13.8 million to frustrate the recount of Florida’s votes and secure the state's crucial electoral votes for Bush. By contrast, the Gore recount operation spent $3.2 million, about one quarter of the Bush total. Bush spent more just on lawyers – $4.4 million – than Gore did on his entire effort.

First Thoughts: Town Halls Gone Wild - Domenico Montanaro

*** Towns halls gone wild: After going on for several days now, who looks worse in this town-halls-gone-wild story? An Obama administration that promised a ...

Fox News Interrupts Obama Town Hall To Spin And Distort It And ... News Hounds

“Fair and balanced" Fox News interrupted its coverage of President Obama's health care town hall meeting to mischaracterize Obama's position on health care, ...

Cable Coverage Differs On Health Care Meetings

The Associated Press - David Bauder

NEW YORK — Fox News Channel cut away from President Barack Obama's town hall meeting on health care reform Tuesday as he faced a far more polite crowd than ...

Sie Sind Verrückt

Is there still any doubt that there is no bottom, no depth below which the crazed, incestuous coupling of American Christianity and American Fascism will not take this decaying society?

Even with the insane ravings and body spasms of a drug-addled freak like Rush Limbaugh; the gibbering bullshit and potential on-camera suicide by the alcoholic Glenn Beck; the demon-possessed (or demon-exorcised; who knows?) shrieks of a once and future Republican presidential hopeful about “death panels” that may pass judgement on her grandmother and her (as she describes him) “baby with Down Syndrome,” the increasingly incoherent Sarah Palin; even with all that foaming, acid-soaked madness there is an even deeper pit into which America’s Curse of Christian Fascism is trying to drag us all.

Writing at Sara Robinson - a Fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future and one of the few trained social futurists in North America - brings into sharp focus just how close we are now positioned for the last shove into an irreversible drop into Fascism. She defines and describes how “mature democracies turn fascist by a recognizable process, a set of five stages that may be the most important family resemblance that links all the whole motley collection of 20th Century fascisms together.” The third stage is the one now staring us in the eyes.

All through the Bush years, progressive right-wing watchers refused to call it “fascism” because, though we kept looking, we never saw clear signs of a deliberate, committed institutional partnership forming between America’s conservative elites and its emerging homegrown brown shirt horde. We caught tantalizing signs of brief flirtations — passing political alliances, money passing hands, far-right moonbat talking points flying out of the mouths of “mainstream” conservative leaders. But it was all circumstantial, and fairly transitory. The two sides kept a discreet distance from each other, at least in public. What went on behind closed doors, we could only guess. They certainly didn’t act like a married couple.

Now, the guessing game is over. We know beyond doubt that the Teabag movement was created out of whole cloth by astroturf groups like Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks and Tim Phillips’ Americans for Prosperity, with massive media help from FOX News. We see the Birther fracas — the kind of urban myth-making that should have never made it out of the pages of the National Enquirer — being openly ratified by Congressional Republicans. We’ve seen Armey’s own professionally-produced field manual that carefully instructs conservative goon squads in the fine art of disrupting the democratic governing process — and the film of public officials being terrorized and threatened to the point where some of them required armed escorts to leave the building. We’ve seen Republican House Minority Leader John Boehner applauding and promoting a video of the disruptions and looking forward to “a long, hot August for Democrats in Congress.”

This is the sign we were waiting for — the one that tells us that yes, kids: we are there now. America’s conservative elites have openly thrown in with the country’s legions of discontented far right thugs. They have explicitly deputized them and empowered them to act as their enforcement arm on America’s streets, sanctioning the physical harassment and intimidation of workers, liberals, and public officials who won’t do their political or economic bidding.

This is the catalyzing moment at which honest-to-Hitler fascism begins. It’s also our very last chance to stop it.

Meanwhile, deep in the weeds of religious screwballery there lies one of the puff adders of American Christianity (they are legion), The Pray in Jesus Name Project which is, no surprise, an advertiser at the web site that simply has to be cyber-toilet of the American Fascist, um, movement, Human

The crazy man at The Pray, etc, site - “Captain” Gordon James Klingenschmitt, a former Navy Chaplain kicked off the boat for, what? must have been something really, really screwy - insists “Obama’s Socialist Health Care Takeover” is really an attempt to re-crucify Gordon’s personal savior and money-man.

Gordon insists Obama will make us all pay for sex change operations and he even knows how much they’ll cost: $50,000.00. He says Obama will kill old people. He says Obama will murder babies. He says Obama will remove “Christian” prayers and symbols from hospitals. He says Obama would have enjoyed killing Jesus. He says Obama is pumping poison gas into his bedroom at night. He says Obama has a third eye in the palm of his hand and can turn spaghetti into worms. He says Obama was never born. He says Obama is gay. He says Obama wants to stop Gordon from getting back into the Navy. He says Obama has a collection of human eyes in a jar of babies’ blood. He says Obama has a microphone in Gordon’s bedroom and whispers shit at night, words that make Gordon bark all day long. He says Obama invades his dreams and shouts things like, “SPIDERS! GLENN BECK!” He says Obama is a sorcerer.

So . . . what to do? Dunno. Got any suggestions? Send them to me if you do.

White House Didn't See Right Wing Demagoguery And Thuggery Coming ...
By mark karlin

If there is one thing that motivated BuzzFlash to start online in May of 2000, it was how the Democratic leadership was always blindsided and helpless against Right Wing demagoguery and lies. We were committed to filling that gap.

And now, with the Obama White House, it is "deja vu all over again."

In two telling interviews yesterday, White House staffers acted is if Republicans never acted like brown shirts and propagandists without scruples before.

A threesome of WH anonymous WH aides -- who might be identified as Curly, Larry and Moe -- told the Huffington Post:

Hannity Offers Plethora Of Town Hall Falsehoods To Claim Dems Are The Ones "Calling Names"

Asserting that "the Democrats" are the ones "yelling here and calling names," Sean Hannity claimed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called health care town hall protesters "Nazis"; that Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer wrote "that they are un-American"; and that President Obama is "telling the American people to shut up." In fact, none of these claims is true.

If They Think The Left Is Unruly; They Haven’t Seen What My Friends Are Capable Of Doing! What A Crock!

Despite Air America "blackout," companies support Beck, Dobbs, and Limbaugh

15 minutes ago — 2 Comments

Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Lou Dobbs have used their radio and television shows to incite hatred and push wild conspiracy theories, leading several of Beck's advertisers to reportedly pull out of his broadcasts. Many advertisers have nonetheless sponsored these hosts' hate speech in recent weeks, including major corporations and organizations that, in 2006, reportedly requested that ABC Radio Networks not air their advertisements during any Air America programs.

In 2006, companies reportedly requested their ads not run during Air America content

ABC memo: Corporations and organizations "request" that "NONE of their commercials air within AIR AMERICA programming." In October 2006, Media Matters for America obtained an internal ABC Radio Networks memo listing nearly 100 ABC advertisers that reportedly requested that "NONE of their commercials air within AIR AMERICA programming." (Some of those companies later said they were included on ABC's "blackout" list by mistake.) ABC subsequently provided a statementto Media Matters, which read: "It is not uncommon for advertisers and/or agencies to request that their ads run or not run in specific programming environments or dayparts. ABC Radio Networks does not solicit nor encourage these requests from advertisers. If a request is made by an advertiser/and [sic] or agency we make our best effort to comply."

Air America "blackout" in sharp contrast to "commercial success of right-wing talk radio." The New York Times reported at the time that "the advertisers' avoidance of Air America's liberal programming seems pointed when contrasted with the commercial success of right-wing talk radio programs like those of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity." [New York Times, 11/6/06]

Advertisers on Air America "blackout" list have recently sponsored Beck, Dobbs, Limbaugh broadcasts

Despite their appearance on ABC's Air America "blackout" list in 2006, a number of those same advertisers have recently run ads during broadcasts of one or more of the following: Limbaugh's radio show, Beck's Fox News show, Beck's radio show, Dobbs' CNN show, and Dobbs' radio show. These advertisers include:



Beck Radio

General Electric

Farmers Insurance

Office Depot

Beck TV

Farmers Insurance

General Electric

Nestle (Gerber)

Red Lobster*

State Farm


U.S. Postal Service



Dobbs Radio


Chattem (Gold Bond)


Dobbs TV



U.S. Postal Service



Home Depot

JC Penney

Office Depot

* Red Lobster reportedly later said that it "has made no decision to not advertise on Air America Radio" and that its "current [2006] marketing does not include any radio advertising."

** Travelocity reportedly said: "There was a simple misunderstanding. We did not intentionally pull our advertising from this program and Travelocity has been removed from that [Air America "blackout"] list."

*** According to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Allstate "said that [it was] on the [Air America "blackout"] list by mistake."

Beck reportedly loses advertisers after calling Obama a "racist"

LexisNexis "suspended further advertising during Mr. Beck's program." From a press release:

Three companies who run ads during Glenn Beck -- NexisLexis-owned, Procter & Gamble and Progressive Insurance -- today distanced themselves from Beck. LexisNexis has pulled its advertising from Beck and says it has no plans to advertise on the program in the future. Both Procter & Gamble and Progressive Insurance called the Beck advertising placements an error that they would correct.

The decision by the three companies comes as over 45,000 members call on advertisers to pull their ads from Glenn Beck after the controversial news host called President Obama a "racist" who "has a deep-seated hatred for white people" on "Fox & Friends" last week.

"Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention," said John Michaels, Senior Communications Manager at LexisNexis in an email to "We have suspended further advertising during Mr. Beck's program." [ release,8/6/09]

"GEICO no longer runs any paid advertising spots during Mr. Beck's program." From a subsequent release:

Adding to a growing list of advertisers distancing themselves from controversial Fox News personality Glenn Beck, GEICO has pledged to re-direct their advertisements away from Beck's program on the Fox News Channel. The decision by GEICO comes on the heels of announcements made last week that LexisNexis-owned, Procter & Gamble, Progressive Insurance and SC Johnson were distancing themselves from Beck after the news host called President Obama a "racist" who "has a deep-seated hatred for white people."

"On Tuesday, August 4, GEICO instructed its ad buying service to redistribute its inventory of rotational spots on FOX-TV to their other network programs, exclusive of the Glenn Beck program," said a spokesperson for GEICO Corporate Communications in an email to "As of August 4, GEICO no longer runs any paid advertising spots during Mr. Beck's program." [ release, 8/10/09]

"Sargento ads won't be airing during" Beck's Fox show. From an email Sargento sent to Media Matters' Oliver Willis:

We deeply appreciate your reaching out to us and sharing your comments and concerns about Sargento ads appearing during "The Glenn Beck Show." We sat down with the marketing department to talk about it and I learned that we buy time periods not specific programs. But in any event, they've made the decision to exclude that program from our future ad rotation. Simply stated, Sargento ads won't be airing during that show. Again, thanks for contacting us.

Glenn Beck's outrageous commentary

Advertisers on the Air America "blackout" list support Beck. Some of the advertisers that have recently run commercials during Beck's radio program and Fox News show also appeared on the Air America "blackout" list. For Beck's radio program, they include: Farmers Insurance, General Electric, and Office Depot. For Beck's Fox News show, the advertisers include: Farmers Insurance, General Electric, Nestle (Gerber), Red Lobster, State Farm Insurance, Travelocity, the U.S. Postal Service, Wal-Mart, and Wyeth.

Beck talks about "put[ting] poison" in Speaker Pelosi's wine. On his Fox News show, Beck gave a glass of wine to a person wearing a Pelosi mask, encouraged her to drink it, and then said: "By the way, I put poison in your -- no, I -- I look forward to all the policy discussions that we're supposed to have." [Glenn Beck, 8/6/09]

Beck: Obama is a "racist" and "has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture." Beck said: "This president, I think, has exposed himself as a guy -- over and over and over again -- who has a deep-seated hatred for white people, or the white culture -- I don't know what it is. But you can't sit in a pew with Jeremiah Wright for 20 years and not hear some of that stuff and not have it wash over." He later added, "I'm not saying that he doesn't like white people. I'm saying he has a problem. He has a -- this guy is, I believe, a racist. Look at the way -- look at the things he has been surrounded by." [Fox News' Fox & Friends, 7/28/09]

Beck: "Everything that is getting pushed through Congress, including this health care bill" is "driven by President Obama's thinking on ... reparations" and his desire to "settle old racial scores." According to Beck, "Everything that is getting pushed through Congress, including this health care bill, are transforming America. And they are all driven by President Obama's thinking on one idea: reparations." Beck later added that Obama's "goal is creating a new America, a new model, a model that will settle old racial scores through new social justice." [Glenn Beck, 7/23/09]

Beck imitates Obama pouring gasoline on "average American"; says, "President Obama, why don't you just set us on fire?" From the April 9 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:

BECK: So what does Obama do, he says, boy, I'm not -- I'm just out of stuff to do. What else could I possibly do to the American people?

President Obama, why don't you just set us on fire? For the love of Pete, what are you doing? Do you not hear -- do you not hear the cries of people who are saying stop? We would like some sanity in our country for a second!

We didn't vote to lose the republic. We didn't vote for any of this stuff. We voted for change.


We can disagree with each other on policies, but Good Lord Almighty, man, please. Some of us don't agree with all of the policies. We'd like to have a country left in the end of four years. No need to set us on fire. [Glenn Beck, 4/9/09]

Beck: U.S. government under Bush and Obama moving us "into a system of fascism." Beck said: "I am not saying that Barack Obama is a fascist. I am not saying the Democrats are a fascist. I'm saying the government under Bush and under Obama and under -- under all of the presidents that we've seen, or at least most of the presidents we've seen for quite some time, are slowly but surely moving us away from our republic and into a system of fascism." [Glenn Beck, 4/1/09]

Beck calls Sotomayor a "racist" who "is not that bright" and "divisive." Discussing then-Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, Beck said, "I think the woman is a racist. ... I think the woman is not so bright. From what I have heard from people who have worked around her, worked with her ... she's not that bright, and she is a divisive individual." [Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program,5/28/09]

Beck on health care: "This system is going to come out the other side dictorial -- it's going to come out a fascist state." Beck told a caller: "Let me tell you something, the end game ... for Congress and this president -- and I don't know how many members of Congress even realize the game that they are either being used in or a pawn in. But believe me, they'll take ... the universal health care coverage over what ... skin they do have in it. They're going to come out -- this system is going to come out the other side dictorial -- it is going to come out a fascist state." [The Glenn Beck Program, 7/27/09]

Beck: "We are a country that is headed towards socialism, totalitarianism"; "I can't debunk" FEMA camps conspiracy theory. Saying that Eastern European countries "understand freedom," Beck added: "We don't even understand freedom anymore. We are a country that is headed towards socialism, totalitarianism, beyond your wildest imagination. I have to tell you, I'm doing a story tonight that I wanted to debunk these FEMA camps." Beck further stated: "I'm tired of hearing -- I wanted to debunk them. Well, we've now for several days done research on them. I can't debunk them. And we're going to carry the story tonight. ... [I]t is our government. If you trust our government, it's fine. If you have any kind of fear that we might be headed towards a totalitarian state, look out, buckle up. There is something going on in our country that is -- ain't good." [Fox & Friends, 3/3/09] (Beck eventually managed to "debunk" this conspiracy theory.)

Lou Dobbs' outrageous commentary

Advertisers on the Air America "blackout" list support Dobbs. Recent advertisers on Dobbs' radio program who also appeared on the Air America "blackout" list are: Bayer, Chattem (Gold Bond), and Wyeth. For Dobbs' CNN show, the recent advertisers who were also on the Air America "blackout" list include: Allstate, Bayer, the U.S. Postal Service, and Wal-Mart.

Dobbs' anti-Obama rant: "I'm moving from being an independent, sir, to being absolutely opposed to ... any policy you could conceive of." From the August 6 broadcast of The Lou Dobbs Show:

DOBBS: Now we're going to be talking at some various points today in rather hushed tones. When you call in, I want you to be very, very careful, because the White House -- the White House apparatus -- is listening. Listening carefully. And all of its supporters are ready to turn you in. Oh my God, it's happening, right before our very ears. Oh my lord. I'm going to speak up just a little bit. What do you think you're doing, Barack Obama? What kind of mindless, churlish, un-American nonsense are you ginning up this time? I'm moving from being an independent, sir, to being absolutely opposed to your -- any policy you could conceive of. I mean, this is getting ridiculous. Who are these idiots who work for you? I know they won you an election, sir, but I have got to tell you. This is ignorance on parade emanating from 1600 Pennsylvania, and these fellows are your responsibility. [United Stations Radio Networks'The Lou Dobbs Show, 8/6/09]

Dobbs has claimed birth certificate provided by Obama is not "the real document." On July 15 on CNN, Dobbs cast doubt on the adequacy of the birth certificate posted by, saying: "President Obama was born in Hawaii, according to state officials, and copies of his certification of birth --, investigating those circumstances prior to the election, and they have a copy of what they say is the original birth certificate posted on their website. It is, in fact, the so-called short form, not the original document. It is really a document saying that the state of Hawaii has the real document in its possession." [CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, 7/15/09]

Dobbs: Obama birth certificate is not "the real deal." On the July 15 broadcast of his radio show, Dobbs claimed that a "long-form" birth certificate -- rather than the document Obama has provided -- is "the real deal," asking: "What do you think? Is President Obama -- should he produce his birth certificate -- the long form, the real deal? Should he be a little more forthcoming?" [The Lou Dobbs Show, 7/15/09]

Dobbs faulted "liberal" media "trying to knock down" birth certificate "issue" and claimed "a certificate of live birth is not a birth certificate." On his July 21 radio show, Dobbs said that "there's certain quarters of the national liberal media that are just absolutely trying to knock down the issue of President Obama's birth certificate -- his certificate of live birth. And it's funny, because this is an issue that I get a lot of calls on from time to time and we -- and what we talk about is the fact that a certificate of live birth is not a birth certificate. It isn't the original document." [The Lou Dobbs Show; 7/21/09]

Dobbs: "I do believe in a national left-wing media conspiracy in which they work in concert and attack like hell." After agreeing with Jim Geraghty's assertion that "[i]n order to discredit you, when you have really legitimate lines of criticism, there is an effort to paint you as something you're not ... a conspiracy theorist, et cetera," Dobbs said: "By the way, they missed the one conspiracy ... that I do believe in. And that is I do believe in a national left-wing media conspiracy in which they work in concert and attack like hell, and they're not even in the slightest embarrassed by their own nonsense and just absolute dishonesty. It's -- it's, to me, without question, and established conspiracy." [The Lou Dobbs Show, 7/23/09]

Dobbs: Obama's policies are "raising new concerns about what many are calling a socialist revolution in prospect -- some say even a risk of totalitarianism." Dobbs claimed Obama's policies are "raising new concerns about what many are calling a socialist revolution in prospect -- some say even a risk of totalitarianism." Dobbs made this assertion while displaying onscreen text reading, "Socialist Revolution." [Lou Dobbs Tonight, 3/31/09]

Dobbs: America is "moving toward a combination of corporate power and political power" that is "disturbingly similar to what we witnessed in Italy in the 1930s." Later on his March 31 CNN show, referring to the Pay for Performance Act, which "would tie pay to performance at companies that have received direct capital investments under the Troubled Asset Relief Program," Dobbs said, "We are moving toward a combination of corporate power and political power that is so disturbingly similar to what we witnessed in Italy in the 1930s, and it's not funny." [Lou Dobbs Tonight, 3/31/09]

Dobbs: Cabinet secretaries are "acting like commissars in the old Soviet Union." On the April 16 broadcast of his radio show, Dobbs said Cabinet secretaries "are acting like commissars in the old Soviet Union," adding that "it's time for them to get rolled back. This is America, and it's not some fascist state." [The Lou Dobbs Show, 4/16/09]

Dobbs: "[W]hat this White House is leading us to is direct confrontation, a physical confrontation." From the August 7 broadcast of The Lou Dobbs Show:

DOBBS: I am pro-labor, by the way, folks. I am pro-business. But I gotta tell you, what this White House is leading us to is direct confrontation, a physical confrontation, and they're going to take -- President Obama will take full responsibility for what happens here. You heard his voice in Virginia. This is a -- I mean, he's -- he's fanning the flames of a mob.

He's not a president trying to bring some sort of sensibility and order to a public debate. This is a guy who didn't want debate, remember? He wanted legislation passed come hell or high water by today. He didn't get it. And the result here is that suddenly dialogue is inconvenient -- oh, my God. This, Mr. President, I'm begging you. Find your senses and lead this nation in a positive and open way, just as you promised in your campaign.

This is thuggery. It is ridiculous to tolerate. Your attack dogs on the left wing are having their way, and you, sir -- you sir now know what is happening, if you did not before. Before, it was on those who worked for you, and the way in which they served you not being in the national interest. Now, Mr. President, this is entirely on you what happens. And it will be -- let me be very clear -- your responsibility. [The Lou Dobbs Show, 8/7/09]

Dobbs warns of mythical "North American Union." Dobbs said on his radio show: "There is an agenda at work here. I truly believe it's all about -- and Barack Obama referred to it in his meetings with [Canadian Prime Minister] Stephen Harper in Ottawa, in which they talked about harmonization. This is an effort, I truly believe, to extend ultimately to the North American Union -- that is, the combination of Mexico, the United States, and Canada. That's underlying much -- that's subtext for much of what is happening. There's no other explanation -- other than outright corruption and utter madness." [The Lou Dobbs Show, 3/3/09]

Rush Limbaugh's outrageous commentary

Advertisers on the Air America "blackout" list support Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh's recent advertisers who also appeared on the Air America "blackout" list include: Home Depot, Office Depot, and JC Penney.

Limbaugh: "Of course I want Obama to fail," and "I hope" the stimulus package "prolongs the recession." Limbaugh said on February 13: "Of course I want Obama to fail. And after this stimulus bill package passes, I want it to fail." Limbaugh later stated: "Not only do I want Obama to fail, I want this package to fail. I want this to blow up in their face. I want this to be seen by the American people for what it is -- nothing to do with getting them jobs, nothing to do with reviving the gross domestic product of this country." Referring to the economic recovery plan, Limbaugh said: "I hope it prolongs the recession." [Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show; 2/13/09]

Limbaugh on Obama: "We are being told that we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles ... because his father was black." On January 21, referring to media coverage of Obama, Limbaugh said: "We are being told that we have to hope he succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this is the first black president." [Fox News' Hannity, 1/21/09]

Limbaugh discusses "the similarities between the Democrat Party of today and the Nazi Party in Germany." From the August 6 broadcast of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: They accuse of us being Nazis, and Obama's got a health care logo that's right out of Adolf Hitler's playbook. Now, what are the similarities between the Democrat Party of today and the Nazi Party in Germany? Well, the Nazis were against big business. They hated big business. And, of course, we all know that they were opposed to Jewish capitalism.

They were insanely, irrationally against pollution. They were for two years mandatory voluntary service to Germany. They had a whole bunch of make-work projects to keep people working, one of which was the Autobahn. They were against cruelty and vivisection of animals. But in the radical sense of devaluing human life, they banned smoking. They were totally against that. They were for abortion and euthanasia of the undesirables, as we all know, and they were for cradle-to-grave nationalized health care.

This is why I have always bristled when I hear people claim that conservatism gets close to Nazism. It is liberalism that's the closest you can get to Nazism and socialism. It's all bundled up under the socialist banner. There are far more similarities between Nancy Pelosi and Adolf Hitler than between these people showing up at town halls to protest a Hitler-like policy that's being heralded by a Hitler-like logo.


LIMBAUGH: Oh, another similarity: Obama is asking citizens to rat each other out like Hitler did. Obama's the one that's got the snitch website right out of the White House -- asking citizens to report people who are saying weird, odd things. You know, the White House response: "No, no, no, we're not taking names here. We're not taking names. We're just taking people who are putting up faulty arguments and refuting them." Well, that's not the intention. Ted Kennedy's dad, by the way, Joe Kennedy, sympathetic to Hitler, sympathetic to the Nazis. [The Rush Limbaugh Show; 8/06/09]

Limbaugh: "Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate." Limbaugh also said on August 6: "Adolf Hitler, like Barack Obama, also ruled by dictate. His Cabinet only met once -- one day. That was it. Hitler said he didn't need to meet with his Cabinet; he represented the will of the people. He was called the messiah. He said the people spoke through him." [The Rush Limbaugh Show; 8/06/09]

Hours before it turned violent, Limbaugh warned listeners that Obama "mobilized union thugs" for Tampa town hall. On August 6, hours before violence broke out at Rep. Kathy Castor's (D-FL) town hall meeting, Limbaugh said on his radio show: "This is from my buddy Erick Erickson 'Trying to avoid middle class workers opposed to ObamaCare, Congresswoman Kathy Castor, Democrat-Florida, has scheduled a last-minute town hall for tonight -- she wasn't going to have one. She will be surrounded by union goons from the Service Employees International Union to feed middle class voters to alligators if they dare criticize ObamaCare.' " Limbaugh continued: "This is what's happened. Obama has mobilized union thugs to go out and also attend these town meetings to intimidate the genuine citizens out there who are upset about this. ... Those are paid active -- paid activists are going to be showing up. And that's why -- so the Democrats are going to get brave now. So they're going to have protection. Their -- the mob's showing up. The real genuine mob is showing up to protect these Democrats from the unruly Nazis that are showing up to protest the health care bill." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 8/06/09]

Limbaugh: "ObamaCare is the end of the United States as we know it." On July 28, Limbaugh said, "This -- ObamaCare is ballgame. ObamaCare is the end of the United States as we know it; it's not just the end of health care as you know it. With government-run health care, every aspect of our lives will be regulated as it relates to the cost of health care." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 7/28/09]

Limbaugh: Sotomayor is "a reverse racist"; Obama is "the greatest living example of a reverse racist." On May 26, Limbaugh said, "So, here you have a racist. You might want to soften that, and you might want to say a reverse racist. And the libs, of course, say that minorities cannot be racists because they don't have the power to implement their racism. Well, those days are gone, because reverse racists certainly do have the power to implement their power. Obama is the greatest living example of a reverse racist, and now he's appointed one." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 5/26/09]

Limbaugh: "Barack Obama has yet to have to prove he's a citizen. All he'd have to do is show a birth certificate." On July 20, Limbaugh stated: "Barack Obama has yet to have to prove he's a citizen. All he'd have to do is show a birth certificate. He has yet to have to prove he's -- I have to show them 14 different ways where the hell I am every day of the year for three years." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 7/20/09]

Limbaugh: "God does not have a birth certificate. Neither does Obama." On June 10, Limbaugh said, "Hey, Mr. Snerdley, you know, a lot of people talk about Obama and his messianic complex. He does have one thing in common with God. Barack Obama has one thing in common with God. Do you know what it is? God does not have a birth certificate either. ... God does not have a birth certificate. Neither does Obama -- not that we've seen." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/10/09]

Limbaugh: "Obama's entire economic program is reparations." On June 22, Limbaugh stated: "What they don't know is that in -- Obama's entire economic program is reparations. If I were [Al] Sharpton, if I'd been guest-hosting Sharpton's show and I got a call like that, somebody complaining, I'd say, 'No, don't do -- hey, hey, hey, shh, shh, let me tell you the truth here. Everything in the stimulus plan, every plan he's got is reparations. He's going to take from the rich -- he's going to take from them, he's going to give it to you. It's just can't happen overnight. Be patient.' That's what's -- redistribution of wealth, reparations, returning the nation's wealth to its rightful owners, whatever you want to call it. It's reparations." [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/22/09]

Limbaugh: Obama "wants to pay people to kill some of us before we are born and before we are ready to die." Limbaugh also said on the August 22 broadcast of his show: "By the way, here's another way to look at it. We've learned that elective abortions -- Peter Orszag, the budget director, said, 'No, I can't -- the elective abortions -- I can't say that they're not going to be paid for.' Elective abortions will be covered in Obama health care. So, the way to explain this to people is that President Obama, of the compassionate Democrat Party, wants to provide cover for those who kill us before we are born. He wants to pay people to kill some of us before we are born and before we're ready to die after we are born. It's called 'efficiency.' " [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 6/22/09]

Limbaugh: Obama sending out "union thugs," involved in "Mussolini-type stuff." On August 7, Limbaugh stated: "Obama sends out his army. You gotta -- folks, this is -- this Mussolini-type stuff. This is the president of the United States -- who cannot deal with opposition. There will not be any. He is going to silence it -- sending his union thugs out to physically assault in some cases and to, in all cases, intimidate average Americans who just want some answers." [The Rush Limbaugh Show,8/07/09]

14 Points Of Fascism: The Warning Signs

The Opposite Of The Nuremberg Defense | Salon

So a criminal investigation of John Yoo, David Addington or Dick Cheney was just not on the table. But I don't think there's any real way for an independent ...

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Chris Hedges' Columns

Nader Was Right: Liberals Are Going Nowhere With Obama

The American empire has not altered under Barack Obama. It kills as brutally and indiscriminately in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan as it did under George W. Bush. It steals from the U.S. treasury to enrich the corporate elite as rapaciously. It will not give us universal health care, abolish the Bush secrecy laws, end torture or “extraordinary rendition,” restore habeas corpus or halt the warrantless wiretapping and monitoring of citizens. It will not push through significant environmental reform, regulate Wall Street or end our relationship with private contractors that provide mercenary armies to fight our imperial wars and produce useless and costly weapons systems.

The sad reality is that all the well-meaning groups and individuals who challenge our permanent war economy and the doctrine of pre-emptive war, who care about sustainable energy, fight for civil liberties and want corporate malfeasance to end, were once again suckered by the Democratic Party. They were had. It is not a new story. The Democrats have been doing this to us since Bill Clinton. It is the same old merry-go-round, only with Obama branding. And if we have not learned by now that the system is broken, that as citizens we do not matter to our political elite, that we live in a corporate state where our welfare and our interests are irrelevant, we are in serious trouble. Our last hope is to step outside of the two-party system and build movements that defy the Democrats and the Republicans. If we fail to do this, we will continue to undergo a corporate coup d’etat in slow motion that will end in feudalism.

We owe Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney and the Green Party an apology. They were right. If a few million of us had had the temerity to stand behind our ideals rather than our illusions and the empty slogans peddled by the Obama campaign, we would have a platform. We forgot that social reform never comes from accommodating the power structure but from frightening it. The Liberty Party, which fought slavery, the suffragists who battled for women’s rights, the labor movement, and the civil rights movement knew that the question was not how do we get good people to rule—those attracted to power tend to be venal mediocrities—but how do we limit the damage the powerful do to us. These mass movements were the engines for social reform, the correctives to our democracy and the true protectors of the rights of citizens. We have surrendered this power. It is vital to reclaim it. Where is the foreclosure movement? Where is the robust universal health care or anti-war movement? Where is the militant movement for sustainable energy?


1. "More 'Town Halls Gone Wild': Angry Far Right Protesters Disrupt Events With 'Incomprehensible' Yelling," Think Progress, August 4, 2009.

2. "Fight the smears," Health Care for America NOW, accessed August 10, 2009.

3. "Palin Paints Picture of 'Obama Death Panel' Giving Thumbs Down to Trig," ABC News, August 7, 2009.

4. "No 'death panel' in health care bill," The Associated Press, August 10, 2009.

5. "Stop Distorting the Truth about End of Life Care," The Huffington Post, July 24, 2009.

6. "Reality Check FAQs,", accessed August 11, 2009.

7. "Why We Need a Public Health-Care Plan," The Wall Street Journal, June 24, 2009.

8. "Obama: 'If You Like Your Doctor, You Can Keep Your Doctor,'" The Wall Street Journal, 15, 2009.

9. "Reality Check FAQs,", accessed August 10, 2009.

10. "Obama: No reduced Medicare benefits in health care reform," CNN, July 28, 2009.

11. "Reality Check FAQs,", accessed August 10, 2009.

12. "Reality Check FAQs,", accessed August 10, 2009.

13. "Premiums Run Amok," Center for American Progress, July 24, 2009.

14. "Medical bills prompt more than 60 percent of U.S. bankruptcies," CNN, June 5, 2009.

15. "Reality Check FAQs,", accessed August 10, 2009.

16. "A euthanasia mandate," The Washington Times, July 29, 2009.

17. "It's Not An Option," Investor's Business Daily, July 15, 2009.

18. "Rationing Health Care," The Washington Times, April 21, 2009.

19. "60 Plus Ad Is Chock Full Of Misinformation," Media Matters for America, August 8, 2009.

20. "Obama's 'Public' Health Plan Will Bankrupt the Nation," The National Review, May 13, 2009.

Obama's healthcare horror

Heads should roll -- beginning with Nancy Pelosi's!

By Camille Paglia

Aug. 12, 2009 | Buyer's remorse? Not me. At the North American summit in Guadalajara this week, President Obama resumed the role he is best at -- representing the U.S. with dignity and authority abroad. This is why I, for one, voted for Obama and continue to support him. The damage done to U.S. prestige by the feckless, buffoonish George W. Bush will take years to repair. Obama has barely begun the crucial mission that he was elected to do.

Having said that, I must confess my dismay bordering on horror at the amateurism of the White House apparatus for domestic policy. When will heads start to roll? I was glad to see the White House counsel booted, as well as Michelle Obama's chief of staff, and hope it's a harbinger of things to come. Except for that wily fox, David Axelrod, who could charm gold threads out of moonbeams, Obama seems to be surrounded by juvenile tinhorns, bumbling mediocrities and crass bully boys.

Case in point: the administration's grotesque mishandling of healthcare reform, one of the most vital issues facing the nation. Ever since Hillary Clinton's megalomaniacal annihilation of our last best chance at reform in 1993 (all of which was suppressed by the mainstream media when she was running for president), Democrats have been longing for that happy day when this issue would once again be front and center.

But who would have thought that the sober, deliberative Barack Obama would have nothing to propose but vague and slippery promises -- or that he would so easily cede the leadership clout of the executive branch to a chaotic, rapacious, solipsistic Congress? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whom I used to admire for her smooth aplomb under pressure, has clearly gone off the deep end with her bizarre rants about legitimate town-hall protests by American citizens. She is doing grievous damage to the party and should immediately step down.

There is plenty of blame to go around. Obama's aggressive endorsement of a healthcare plan that does not even exist yet, except in five competing, fluctuating drafts, makes Washington seem like Cloud Cuckoo Land. The president is promoting the most colossal, brazen bait-and-switch operation since the Bush administration snookered the country into invading Iraq with apocalyptic visions of mushroom clouds over American cities.

You can keep your doctor; you can keep your insurance, if you're happy with it, Obama keeps assuring us in soothing, lullaby tones. Oh, really? And what if my doctor is not the one appointed by the new government medical boards for ruling on my access to tests and specialists? And what if my insurance company goes belly up because of undercutting by its government-bankrolled competitor? Face it: Virtually all nationalized health systems, neither nourished nor updated by profit-driven private investment, eventually lead to rationing.

I just don't get it. Why the insane rush to pass a bill, any bill, in three weeks? And why such an abject failure by the Obama administration to present the issues to the public in a rational, detailed, informational way? The U.S. is gigantic; many of our states are bigger than whole European nations. The bureaucracy required to institute and manage a nationalized health system here would be Byzantine beyond belief and would vampirically absorb whatever savings Obama thinks could be made. And the transition period would be a nightmare of red tape and mammoth screw-ups, which we can ill afford with a faltering economy.

As with the massive boondoggle of the stimulus package, which Obama foolishly let Congress turn into a pork rut, too much has been attempted all at once; focused, targeted initiatives would, instead, have won wide public support. How is it possible that Democrats, through their own clumsiness and arrogance, have sabotaged healthcare reform yet again? Blaming obstructionist Republicans is nonsensical because Democrats control all three branches of government. It isn't conservative rumors or lies that are stopping healthcare legislation; it's the justifiable alarm of an electorate that has been cut out of the loop and is watching its representatives construct a tangled labyrinth for others but not for themselves. No, the airheads of Congress will keep their own plush healthcare plan -- it's the rest of us guinea pigs who will be thrown to the wolves.

With the Republican party leaderless and in backbiting disarray following its destruction by the ideologically incoherent George W. Bush, Democrats are apparently eager to join the hara-kiri brigade. What looked like smooth coasting to the 2010 election has now become a nail-biter. Both major parties have become a rats' nest of hypocrisy and incompetence. That, combined with our stratospheric, near-criminal indebtedness to China (which could destroy the dollar overnight), should raise signal flags. Are we like late Rome, infatuated with past glories, ruled by a complacent, greedy elite, and hopelessly powerless to respond to changing conditions?

What does either party stand for these days? Republican politicians, with their endless scandals, are hardly exemplars of traditional moral values. Nor have they generated new ideas for healthcare, except for medical savings accounts, which would be pathetically inadequate in a major crisis for anyone earning at or below a median income.

And what do Democrats stand for, if they are so ready to defame concerned citizens as the "mob" -- a word betraying a Marie Antoinette delusion of superiority to ordinary mortals. I thought my party was populist, attentive to the needs and wishes of those outside the power structure. And as a product of the 1960s, I thought the Democratic party was passionately committed to freedom of thought and speech.

But somehow liberals have drifted into a strange servility toward big government, which they revere as a godlike foster father-mother who can dispense all bounty and magically heal all ills. The ethical collapse of the left was nowhere more evident than in the near total silence of liberal media and Web sites at the Obama administration's outrageous solicitation to private citizens to report unacceptable "casual conversations" to the White House. If Republicans had done this, there would have been an angry explosion by Democrats from coast to coast. I was stunned at the failure of liberals to see the blatant totalitarianism in this incident, which the president should have immediately denounced. His failure to do so implicates him in it.

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