Melissa Harris-Lacewell writes for The Nation: "Congress passed the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798. These four acts of Congress were meant to protect the new nation from French immigrants. They reflected a broad paranoia that French newcomers would poison American minds and weaken the new American government."
Joe Wilson's Dixie Partisans
Joe Conason comments for Truthout: "The stupid misconduct of entertainer Kanye West and politician Joe Wilson demonstrated, if any fresh proof is necessary, that thoughtless rudeness isn't confined by ethnicity, ideology or background. With their highly public episodes of misconduct, both earned sharp public censure. Yet while West has expressed real remorse for his misbehavior at the MTV Music Awards, Wilson has swiftly left behind a quick apology to cash in on his historic insult to the president of the United States. The South Carolina conservative's political consultants have raised upward of a million dollars from donors across the country who want to express solidarity with him for blurting, 'You lie!' on the House floor."
Stand with Van Jones
Starhawk writes on her blog "Dirt Worship": "Okay, now, I’m really mad! The right wing bullies at Fox News—Glenn Beck and his ilk, are going after a man who I know personally from years of progressive work in the Bay Area—Van Jones. Jones is a grass roots organizer who started the Ella Baker Center in Oakland, as well as the program Green For All. He wrote a best-selling book, one of the few books on environmental action written by an African American: The Green Collar Economy."
The Right Wing's Values
Faiz Shakir, Amanda Terkel, Matt Corley, Benjamin Armbruster, and Zaid Jilani write for the Progress Report at Think Progress: "On Saturday, roughly 60,000 aggrieved conservatives converged on Washington, DC to participate in the Glenn Beck-inspired 9/12 anti-Obama rally. The event, organized by FreedomWorks, a corporate-funded right-wing advocacy group headed by former Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX), was promoted as a grassroots manifestation of anger at the direction of America under President Obama. But at the same time, 'Washington's institutional conservative leaders and groups' jumped at the opportunity to hitch themselves to the 'angry, anti-government fit.' Top conservative lawmakers, such as Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) addressed the crowd on Saturday. While promoting his organization's upcoming Values Voter Summit, Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, praised the 'outpouring of concerns' at the rally. 'I don't think it's something that can be directed or controlled. This is not the work of organizations,' said Perkins. "I think organizations can fan it and channel it but they can't build it and direct it. I think this is coming genuinely -- this is not astroturf. This is coming from the soil of America." Indeed, Perkins will try to 'fan' and 'channel' the conservative enthusiasm on display at the 9/12 rally and August's town halls at his group's conference, which starts on Friday. The event will feature a who's who of the conservative movement, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and Fox News' Bill O'Reilly."
In Defense of ACORN
Joe Conason writes for Salon.com: "For many years the combined forces of the far right and the Republican Party have sought to ruin ACORN, the largest organization of poor and working families in America. Owing to the idiocy of a few ACORN employees, notoriously caught in a videotape "sting" sponsored by a conservative Web site and publicized by Fox News, that campaign has scored significant victories on Capitol Hill and in the media."
Fox News' Incomplete, Misleading ACORN Coverage Is Just Nuts
Karl Frisch writes for Media Matters: " If you get your news from right-wing talk radio and Fox News, you probably think America is being overrun by a hyper-corrupt organized prostitution ring headquartered in the White House. In case you missed this story: Two conservative activists, Hannah Giles and James O'Keefe, visited a host of ACORN offices around the country posing as a pimp and prostitute. They asked for help establishing a brothel, and even stated that underage girls would be working for them. They had a surveillance camera and recorded at least four interactions with ACORN employees and claimed these employees provided them with assistance. All of the employees implicated have now been fired, and federal aid to ACORN has been cut off."
Is America Hooked on War?
Tom Engelhardt writes for TomDispatch: "What a world might be like in which we began not just to withdraw our troops from one war to fight another, but to seriously scale down the American global mission, close those hundreds of bases - recently, there were almost 300 of them, macro to micro, in Iraq alone - and bring our military home is beyond imagining. To discuss such obviously absurd possibilities makes you an apostate to America's true religion and addiction, which is force."
CIA Directors Conclude CIA Shouldn't Be Investigated for Murder
Glenn Breenwald comments for Salon.com: "In a truly shocking development being treated as major news, seven former CIA Directors -- including all three who served under George W. Bush -- jointly concluded that the CIA should not be criminally investigated for torture deaths, and they have written a letter to President Obama (.pdf) expressing that view. Do leaders of organizations in general ever believe that their organizations and its members should be criminally investigated and possibly prosecuted for acts carried out on behalf of that organization, and do CIA Directors specifically ever believe that about the CIA? Has a CIA Director ever advocated that CIA agents be criminally investigated for illegal intelligence activities?"
Pressure Builds On Pentagon to Investigate Electrocution Death in Iraq
Jeremy Scahill reports for RebelReports: "Congressional pressure is increasing on the Department of Defense to investigate the apparent electrocution death of Adam Hermanson, a 25 year old DoD contractor who died September 1 in a shower at Camp Olympia inside the Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq."
All US Presidents Need a War to Call Their Own --and Obama Has His
William Pfaff writes for Truthdig: "The more one hears the discussion among Democrats about the war in Afghanistan, the more one feels that it is a serious handicap that Barack Obama has no personal experience of international relations or of foreign policy or military service, beyond such experience as one gains as a first-term U.S. senator."
Questions That Need to Be Asked about Afghanistan
George Wilson writes for Neiman Watchdog: "Neither Congress nor the press asked the president, the secretary of Defense, the secretary of State and military leaders the kind of tough questions that might have kept our commander-in-chief from sending thousands of young American men and women to die in the quagmires of Vietnam, Iraq and now Afghanistan."
Rising Threat to Aid Agencies in Afghanistan
William Dowell reports for GlobalPost: "International aid and humanitarian organizations are increasingly under the threat of attack in Afghanistan and are struggling to find ways to operate safely in areas where the U.S. and the Taliban are at war."
Selective Deficit Disorder
David Sirota writes for Truthout: "Watching the health care debate unfold these days is a little like watching scenes from 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' - the ones showing a collage of strung-out, deranged or otherwise incapacitated patients rotting away in a squalid psychiatric ward.... Clearly, the inmates in America's political sanitarium are each struggling with different maladies. However, they are all suffering from Selective Deficit Disorder - an illness, the symptoms of which can be particularly difficult to detect."
Rep. Capps Says Disinformation, 'Outright Fabrications' Surround Abortion Amendment in Health Reform
National Partnership for Women and Families writes: "There is "a lot of misinformation" about an amendment adopted by the House Energy and Commerce Committee regarding coverage of abortion services under the House health reform bill (HR 3200), Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) writes in The Hill's "Congress Blog." Capps writes that she offered the amendment as "an attempt to try to find a compromise for dealing with abortion services in legislation," adding that the proposal received support from Energy and Commerce Committee members "whose records span the pro-life and pro-choice spectrum." The amendment "would essentially continue" the federal abortion restriction in Medicaid known as the Hyde Amendment, which prevents the use of federal Medicaid funds for abortion services except in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman. In other words, under the Capps amendment, for public and private plans in the newly created health insurance exchange, "no federal funds may be used to pay for abortions that are not allowed by current law," Capps says. The committee's "hope was that we could continue the current ban on federal funding for abortion so the issue wouldn't bog down the overall health reform legislation," according to Capps."
Fact Check: Health Care and Undocumented Immigrants
Marshall Fitz writes for The Center for American Progress: "The health care town hall circus this August had a recurrent sideshow: the illegal immigration paper tiger. The well-scripted disruption tactics by antireform activists played up one patently false claim after another. One of the most prevalent was the ungrounded assertion that undocumented immigrants will receive health care benefits in the legislative proposals before Congress."
A $1,761 Postage Stamp: How The Glenn Beck Machine Constructed An Attack On Clean Energy Reform
Brad Johnson writes for Think Progress: "Fox News host Glenn Beck, the new darling of the radical right, is part of a well-coordinated machine to block progressive reform. Yesterday, Beck fanned himself with a giant $1,761 postage stamp, claiming he had uncovered 'outright lies' by a 'spooky' White House. According to Beck, 'buried' Treasury documents reveal that President Obama’s clean energy agenda “is going to cost a lot of money.” He thanked “our friend Chris Horner at CEI” for revealing the “facts” about the cap and trade energy bill..."
Legislation Watch: Fighting Hunger in Our Schools
Greg Kaufmann writes for The Nation: "In 2008 the nation suffered its largest one-year decline in median income since 1967, and the largest one-year increase in poverty since 1991, a US Census report announced last week. The Economic Policy Institute called these statistics just the tip of the iceberg--since the economy continues to hemorrhage jobs and the report takes into account less than one-quarter of the total rise in unemployment through August 2009. The report from the Census Bureau didn't reveal anything anti-hunger advocates don't already know. Families who never struggled with hunger now need help for the first time, and families who rarely used food shelves in the past are visiting on a monthly basis, just to get by."
Unhealthy US Diets Prompt more Calls for Reform
Russell Blinch reports for Reuters: "The American way of eating is under attack, which could expose the food industry to new junk food taxes, but it's unlikely major reforms are in the offing to quickly alter U.S. food policies."
Health Ills Abound as Farm Runoff Fouls Wells
Charles Duhigg reports for The New York Times: "All it took was an early thaw for the drinking water here to become unsafe. There are 41,000 dairy cows in Brown County, which includes Morrison, and they produce more than 260 million gallons of manure each year, much of which is spread on nearby grain fields. Other farmers receive fees to cover their land with slaughterhouse waste and treated sewage."
Planned Parenthood President Richards Links Abstinence-Only Sex Education, High Teen Birth, STI Rates in Texas
Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje reports for the San Antonio Express-News: "In a packed sanctuary at Temple Beth-El on Monday night, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, issued a ringing call to action to a warm and friendly audience. 'The country is changing, but (President Barack Obama) can only do so much,' she said. 'Grass-roots action is what makes the difference. We've got to be agents of change in America.' Richards, who is the daughter of the late Gov. Ann Richards, was in San Antonio as part of the Faith & Freedom Speakers series co-sponsored by the Texas Freedom Network and Planned Parenthood of San Antonio and South Central Texas."
Murphy Expects House Hearings on DADT Repeal in Early 2010
Kevin Naff writes in the Washington Blade: "Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.) said he expects the House to hold hearings on a bill to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in winter or spring of 2010. Murphy, speaking to the Blade at a Wednesday event sponsored by the Raben Group, a D.C.-based public affairs firm, also said he has 166 co-sponsors lined up for the measure and commitments from another 10 lawmakers to vote for the bill but not sponsor it. Murphy took over as lead sponsor of the repeal effort in the House after Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) resigned her seat to take the job of undersecretary for Arms Control & International Security at the State Department."
A President Was Killed the Last Time Right-Wing Hatred Ran Wild Like This
Eric Boehlert writes for Media Matters for America: "I've been thinking a lot of Kennedy and Dallas as I've watched the increasingly violent rhetorical attacks on Obama be unfurled. As Americans yank their kids of class in order to save them from being exposed to the President of the United States who only wanted to urge them to excel in the classroom. And as unvarnished hate and name-calling passed for health care 'debate' this summer."
Coalition Organizes Support of Mark Lloyd
Alexi Mostrous reports for the Washington Post: "More than 50 public interest groups wrote Wednesday to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging the agency to speak out in support of its chief diversity officer, Mark Lloyd, who has suffered a recent barrage of criticism from right-wing commentators. Glenn Beck, the conservative host of Fox News, has headed the attacks on Lloyd, who has called for public broadcasting outlets to receive greater funding from private broadcasters. Beck said that Lloyd's proposals, which were outlined in a 2006 book written before he joined the FCC in July, would hamper free speech and put "voices like mine" out of business."
FCC chief gets new net neutrality support in House from Waxman
Kim Hart writes for The Hill: "The chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that he supports legislation that would prohibit Internet companies from giving preferential treatment to certain services and content on the Web. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said he signed on to a bill introduced by Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) to codify the principal of net neutrality, which would force Internet service providers to treat all traffic the same."
With Science Journalism in Retreat, Universities Try New Strategy for Informing the Public
Paul Rogers reports for the San Jose Mercury News: "Concerned that journalism's economic problems are reducing Americans' understanding of science, medicine and other research, 35 of the nation's top universities — including Stanford and UC-Berkeley — on Tuesday announced they will feed their own accounts of their discoveries directly to top news sites on the Internet. Under the plan, the universities have formed what is essentially their own nonprofit wire service, called Futurity, to provide articles to popular Web sites such as Yahoo News and Google News, along with MySpace and Twitter."