Rem Reider writes for the American Journalism Review: Chico Marx once famously asked, "Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" America has become a country filled with people who stubbornly continue to believe what they want to believe, regardless of the facts. Take the so-called birthers, who refuse to accept that President Obama is an American citizen, despite ample evidence showing that he is."
America the Delusional
Tim Rutten comments for The Los Angeles Times: "At least a dozen people openly displaying everything from an AR-15 assault rifle to 9-millimeter Beretta sidearms were in the crowd outside the hall where Obama spoke in Arizona on Monday. The state is one of those that have a so-called open-carry law, which allows people into public places with loaded weapons. Their appearance at recent rallies is supposed to signal their implacable opposition to the 'tyranny' of health care reform. In Hagerstown, Maryland, last week, a man appeared at a town hall meeting hosted by Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D-Maryland) with a sign that read 'Death to Obama' and 'Death to Michelle and her two stupid kids.'"
Mike Huckabee's right-wing cocoon and "liberal bloggers"
Glenn Greenwald comments for Salon.com: "Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee defended himself Tuesday against accusations from liberal bloggers that he has been "bashing America" during his ongoing visit to Israel. . . ."
Recommended Audio: Democracy Now - "All Roads Lead to Rove": Fmr. New Mexico US Attorney David Iglesias on New Evidence Linking Bush Admin to Firings
Documents released by Congress this week offer powerful new evidence that Karl Rove and other senior Bush administration figures took the lead in the firing of nine US attorneys in 2006. We speak to former New Mexico US attorney David Iglesias, who was fired after refusing Republican pressure to take on allegations of voter fraud and pursue cases against Democrats to help a Republican lawmaker’s re-election campaign.
Scalia Says There’s Nothing Unconstitutional about Executing the Innocent.
Ian Millhiser reports for Think Progress: "Almost two decades ago, Troy Anthony Davis was convicted of murder and sentenced to die. Since then, seven of the witnesses against him have recanted their testimony, and some have even implicated Sylvester “Redd” Coles, a witness who testified that Davis was the shooter. In light of the very real evidence that Davis could be innocent of the crime that placed him on death row, the Supreme Court today invoked a rarely used procedure giving Davis an opportunity to challenge his conviction."
We Have the Moral High Ground
Cindy Sheehan writes for the San Francisco Bay View: "I remember back in the good ol’ days of 2005 and 2006 when being against the wars was not only politically correct, but it was very popular. I remember receiving dozens of awards, uncountable accolades and was even nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. "
Afghan Civilians Soured on US Security Contractors
David Zucchino reports for The Chicago Tribune: "The shooting deaths of Raheb Dost, 24, and Romal, 22, who used just one name, by four gunmen with the company once known as Blackwater have turned an entire neighborhood against the American presence here. Enraged by the deaths of civilians in military airstrikes, many Afghans are demanding more accountability from security contractors who routinely block traffic and bark orders to motorists and pedestrians."
Afghan Women on the Campaign Trail
Ben Arnoldy writes for the Christian Science Monitor: "When Farzana Barekzai and her small band of female campaigners knock at the home of Ahmadin Pahlawan, he greets them and points to a poster of President Hamid Karzai above the door to assure them: His vote isn't changing."
MoJo Forum: Does Fiji Water Legitimize a Dictatorship?
The Fiji Phenomenon: It's a Human Rights and Environmental Nightmare, So Why Is It the #1 Imported Bottled Water in the US?
Among water brands, Fiji Water is the green elite's top drop. Its sleek square-sided bottle design is synonymous with ecochic, and it's beloved by Mary J. Blige, Paris Hilton, and even President Obama. But as Anna Lenzer reports in a must-read Mother Jones story (link below), the water giant has a dark side:
Nowhere in Fiji Water's glossy marketing materials...will you find the fact that its signature bottle is made from Chinese plastic in a diesel-fueled plant and hauled thousands of miles to its ecoconscious consumers. And, of course, you won't find mention of the military junta for which Fiji Water is a major source of global recognition and legitimacy.
The Mother Jones exposé struck a nerve with its readers (check out the comments on Lenzer's story) and showcased the dilemmas of a "green" business. We invite you to continue and broaden the conversation below, in this week's live online forum. The question: "Does America's favorite imported water legitimize a dictatorship?"Fiji Water: Spin the Bottle
Ana Lenzer reports for Mother Jones: "The Internet Café in the Fijian capital, Suva, was usually open all night long. Dimly lit, with rows of sleek, modern terminals, the place was packed at all hours with teenage boys playing boisterous rounds of video games. But one day soon after I arrived, the staff told me they now had to shut down by 5 p.m. Police orders, they shrugged: The country's military junta had declared martial law a few days before, and things were a bit tense."
William Greider writes for The Nation: "After his brilliant beginning, the president suddenly looks weak and unreliable. That will be the common interpretation around Washington of the president's abrupt retreat on substantive heathcare reform. Give Barack Obama a hard shove, they will say, rough him up a bit and he folds. A few weeks back, the president was touting a "public option" health plan as an essential element in reform. Now he says, take it or leave it. Whatever Congress does, he's okay with that."
FACT CHECK: Health Overhaul Myths Taking Root
Calvin Woodward reports for the Huffington Post: "The judgment is harsh in a new poll that finds Americans worried about the government taking over health insurance, cutting off treatment to the elderly and giving coverage to illegal immigrants. Harsh, but not based on facts."
Six Lobbyists Per Lawmaker Work on Health Overhaul
Jonathan D. Salant and Lizzie O'Leary report for Bloomberg News: "If there is any doubt that President Barack Obama's plan to overhaul U.S. health care is the hottest topic in Congress, just ask the 3,300 lobbyists who have lined up to work on the issue. That's six lobbyists for each of the 535 members of the House and Senate, according to Senate records, and three times the number of people registered to lobby on defense."
Stop Corporate Terrorism
The Progressive Populist comments: "For sheer, unmitigated gall, it's hard to beat the conservatives who are mounting a last-ditch campaign to derail meaningful health care reform. First, the health insurance and pharmaceutical companies bribed Congress members with millions of dollars in campaign contributions to keep expansion of Medicare - the most efficient way to provide affordable health coverage to every American - 'off the table.'"
"Democratic" Fox News Guest Attacks Obama's Health Care Reform With A Slew Of Falsehoods, All Unchallenged
Brian and Ellen write for News Hounds: "On Tuesday's (8/18.09) Your World, Neil Cavuto interviewed nurse Anna Barone about the Obama health plan. Barone was introduced as a “registered Democrat.” But Cavuto forgot to mention that she has been involved in a number of conservative causes, most recently firedavidletterman.com, which gave her a previous appearance on Fox News. Sure enough, “Democrat” Barone was soon touting anti-Obama, anti-health care reform talking points, wrongly claiming the health care reform bill 'caters to non-citizens,' that it will cost young people $4,000 and other falsehoods that went unchallenged by Cavuto." With video.
Town Hall Protests: Astroturf 2.0
Ben Buchwalter and Nikki Gloudeman report for Mother Jones: "This summer, town hall meetings to discuss health care reform have turned into battlegrounds—with fist fights, belligerent protestors, and at least one lawmaker reporting a death threat. Some Democrats have blamed the chaos on astroturf operations: fake grassroots groups funded by special interests. But are the forces whipping up the anti-health care frenzy really astroturf—or a new form of corporate-funded campaigning?"
Health Care Homework for the L.A. Times: How Does the Canadian Medical System Actually Work?
Trudy Liberman writes for the Columbia Journalism Review: "By now, it’s pretty clear that the U.S. is not going to adopt health reform that in any way resembles the systems in Canada, Germany, Great Britain, or any other country that gives all its citizens health care as a matter of right. But that hasn’t stopped reporters from mischaracterizing the nature of other countries’ national health systems, like the Los Angeles Times did a few days ago."
Network TV Morning Health News Segments May Be Harmful to Your Health
Gary Scwhitzer reports for HealthNewsReview.org: "By reviewing health news coverage every day, we are able to see big pictures of clear patterns unfolding that the casual day-to-day news consumer may miss. One picture is quite clear. The morning health news segments on ABC, CBS and NBC do the following regularly:
- Unquestioningly promote new drugs and new technologies
- Feed the “worried well” by raising unrealistic expectations of unproven technologies that may produce more harm than good
- Fail to ask tough questions
- Make any discussion of health care reform that much more difficult
Wendy Norris writes for RH Reality Check: "In just five short years, the primary movers and shakers in the absolutist anti-abortion/anti-choice movement seeking to promote the 'personhood' of zygotes (the single cell that forms after a sperm fertilizes an egg) have amassed nearly $58 million in tax-deductible contributions for their cause. Even the lead up to one of the worst economic periods in U.S. history has barely registered a blip in the group's collective money-drawing power according to an examination of IRS and state campaign finance records conducted for RH Reality Check."
Iraq's Gays Face Rising Persecution
Liz Sly reports for The Los Angeles Times: "In January, a video began circulating on cellphones in Baghdad showing men dancing provocatively with one another at a party. At the time, many Iraqis considered the video a sign of how much life in Iraq had normalized, an indication of new freedoms. But activists and some gays in Baghdad say the video instead served as a trigger for a systematic campaign of persecution and killings of gays by Iraqi security forces and Shiite militias."
Gay Men Targeted in Iraq, Report Says
Ernesto Londoño reports for the Washington Post: "Human Rights Watch will urge in a report to be released Monday that the Iraqi government do more to protect gay men, saying militiamen have killed and tortured scores in recent months as part of a social cleansing campaign."
Recommended Audio: Mother Jones Podcast - NetRoots Nation Dispatch With Kevin Drum
Kevin Drum is a political blogger based in California. This weekend he's in Pittsburgh speaking about the economy at NetRoots Nation, a progressive blogger confab originally started by the DailyKos site. Laura McClure spoke with him about the NetRoots blogger male-to-female ratio, what happened when Arlen Specter mentioned the healthcare "death panels" to a Pittsburgh audience, and how Obama is perceived by the NetRoots liberals.
Saving Journalism: Howard Kurtz is Worng; Dan Rather is Right
Josh Silver writes for the Huffington Post: "On Monday, Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post and CNN criticized veteran newsman Dan Rather for his recent call for a White House commission on the future of journalism and public media. It was a misguided criticism of Mr. Rather, who has called for the commission as a way to bring attention to the crisis facing American newsrooms (20,000 newspaper jobs lost in the past 18 months alone), and to create the political will necessary to get our elected leaders to address the problem."
More Paranoia About Net Neutrality Attempts to Scare Conservatives
Phillip Dampier writes for Stop the Cap!: "The astroturfers remain hard at work trying to convince conservatives the best way to oppose Obama Administration telecommunications policies would be to adopt industry-friendly views opposing Net Neutrality. The latest to buy in is The American Spectator, publishing a piece this morning titled, 'The Great Regrouping.' In it, The Prowler casts Net Neutrality as part of the Obama Administration’s plot to impose government controls on the Internet, representing a 'grave threat … to free speech and conservatives’ ability to organize and mobilize politically.'”
Eight More Companies Stop Advertising on Glenn Beck
Amanda Trekel reports for Think Progress: "Eight more companies — including Allergan, Ally Bank, Best Buy, Broadview Security, CVS, Re-Bath, Travelocity, and Wal-Mart — have agreed to stop advertising on Glenn Beck’s Fox News show. Their announcements are in response to a ColorOfChange campaign after Beck said that President Obama is a “racist” with 'a deep-seated hatred for white people.' A total of 20 companies have now pulled their advertising. 'We support vigorous debate, especially around policy issues that affect millions of Americans, but we expect it to be informed, inclusive and respectful, in keeping with our company’s core values and commitment to diversity,' explained Carolyn Castel, Vice President of Corporate Communications for CVS Caremark."
Rush Limbaugh Shows His True Bigotry by Making Gay Joke About Barney Frank: "He Spends Most Of His Time Living Around Uranus"
Rush Limbaugh has made what appears to be a joke mocking Barney Frank's sexuality in response to Frank's tough stance with a town hall protester Tuesday night. Tuesday, Frank asked a protester who had compared President Obama to Hitler, "On what planet do you spend most of your time?"