Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Media Matters Daily Summary 06-30-10

Drudge falsely suggests U.S. has not previously accepted international aid for oil spill
Linking to an Associated Press article on the State Department's recent announcement that it is accepting dozens of offers of international aid for the Gulf oil spill response, the Drudge Report falsely suggested that this is the first time the government has "accept[ed] international assistance for [the] spill." In fact, as noted, offers had been previously accepted, and numerous foreign-flagged vessels are already involved in the oil spill response. Read More

Wash. Times twists facts to bash Kagan, Sotomayor
A Washington Times editorial rehashed false attacks on Elena Kagan and falsely claimed that Sotomayor's dissent in a recent case relating to gun laws shows that she "lied" in her confirmation hearing about her views on the Second Amendment. In fact, the dissent is not inconsistent with Sotomayor's testimony. Read More

Media ran with now-retracted attack on IPCC in their assault on global warming science
Numerous media outlets seized on a dubious January London Sunday Times report which claimed that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) 2007 statement on Amazon rain forests was "unsubstantiated" and without scientific basis in order to attack the IPCC's credibility and global warming science in general. However, The Sunday Times has now retracted that claim, noting, "In fact, the IPCC's Amazon statement is supported by peer-reviewed scientific evidence." Will these media outlets follow suit? Read More

Beck misleads about Kagan's arguments on political books, pamphlets
Glenn Beck falsely suggested that Elena Kagan, in arguing before the Supreme Court that the government could ban "certain political pamphlets," would have banned Thomas Paine's pamphlets. In fact, she was arguing the government's case that pamphlets by corporations and unions could be restricted, not those by individual citizens. Read More

Fox hypes GOP activist's "explosive new allegations" against Obama DOJ
Fox News is trumpeting completely unsubstantiated allegations made by GOP activist and former Justice Department attorney J. Christian Adams that the DOJ improperly dismissed voter-intimidation charges against members of the New Black Panther Party for political reasons. But Adams, a longtime Republican activist, relied on hearsay and charges made by others, rather than firsthand knowledge, in making his allegations. Read More

Beck runs with debunked Phoenix kidnapping claim
Glenn Beck falsely claimed that Phoenix experiences more kidnappings "than any other city in the world outside of Mexico City." In fact, has reported that this claim is "false", saying that "experts advise that such rankings can't be made based on available information." Read More

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Media Matters Daily Summary 06-29-10

Quick Fact: Beck falsely suggests troops do not have a "right to defend themselves"
Glenn Beck falsely suggested that the rules of engagement in Afghanistan prevent troops from firing in self-defense, claiming that we should "[t]ake the shackles off our troops; they have a right to defend themselves." But the current rules of engagement already ensure "that no one is ever denied the right to self-defense." Read More

Right-wing media invent Kagan quote to falsely claim she said "it's fine if the law bans books"
Right-wing media are distorting comments Elena Kagan made during arguments before the Supreme Court to falsely claim she said "it's fine if the law bans books." In fact, in the video the right is citing, Kagan never said "it's fine if the law bans books"; she specifically argued that federal law had never banned books and likely could not do so. Read More

Do media really think Obama promised stimulus alone would fill 8 million-job hole?
Media figures have falsely suggested that Vice President Joe Biden admitted the stimulus failed when he said, "There's no possibility to restore 8 million jobs lost in the Great Recession." In fact, the administration said all along that the stimulus would mitigate job losses but that government action alone could not restore all of the jobs lost since December 2007 and that "the private sector needs to do the rest." In addition, private analysts have said the stimulus significantly raised employment over what would have occurred otherwise, and Congressional Budget Office estimates show that the unemployment rate is expected to return to pre-recession levels in the coming years. Read More

Megyn Kelly gets it wrong on Kagan's abortion rights record
Fox News' Megyn Kelly falsely claimed that the health exception to a ban on late-term abortions that Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan advised President Clinton to endorse "essentially" would have allowed women to "get an abortion in the third trimester" because of "a headache." In fact, Kagan advised Clinton to endorse a proposal banning late-term abortions that included a much narrower health exception. Read More

Varney, Moore revive Reagan tax cut myth to attack Obama's stimulus
Stuart Varney and Steve Moore claimed that that President Obama's stimulus plan has failed, while President Reagan stopped the recession of the early 1980s with tax cuts. In fact, economists have said the stimulus helped promote economic recovery, and that the recession was ended under Reagan primarily due to federal interest rate cuts. Read More

If Sharon Angle and Michele Bachmann had a baby....

Conservative Judicial Philosophy: That's BullShit

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Media Matters Daily Summary 06-24-10

Big Gov. invents Obama's secret "agenda" -- but it's also his public agenda
A Big Government post accused President Obama of having a secret agenda he would never discuss during an "address from the Oval Office," citing video circulated to supporters as evidence of what Obama says "when it's 'just us.' " In fact, the language Big Government cited mirrors Obama's June 15 Oval Office address. Read More

Drudge hypes discredited attack on Kagan's admiration for a judge that Scalia, Fried also praised
The Drudge Report is hyping a discredited attack that Elena Kagan's past praise of former Israeli Supreme Court Justice Aharon Barak is evidence that she is outside of the mainstream. In fact, conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and former Reagan administration Solicitor General Charles Fried also praised Barak. Read More

Rove propagates public misconception about job losses
In his Wall Street Journal column, Karl Rove forwarded the falsehood that President Obama's economic policies have not slowed job losses, citing it as one of his "failures." In fact, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data show several months of positive job growth, and independent analysts predicted unemployment rates would have been higher without the stimulus. Read More

Fox News is BP oil spill misinformation clearinghouse
Media Matters for America has compiled a list of myths and falsehoods about the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, all of which have been pushed by Fox News. Read More

Memo to right-wing media: Petraeus has spoken favorably on Afghanistan's rules of engagement
Following the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the right-wing media have falsely suggested that Gen. David Petraeus, who will replace McChrystal, does not support the rules of engagement being used in conducting the war. In fact, Petraeus has repeatedly expressed his support both for the rules, and for the principal of prioritizing protection of civilian lives. Read More

Conservative media falsely accuse Obama of "excoriating" Petraeus
Conservative media figures have distorted comments President Obama made during Senate hearings in 2007 to accuse him of "chastising" and "excoriating" Gen. David Petraeus, who he recently tapped as the top commander in Afghanistan. In fact, during the hearing, Obama specifically said his criticism was directed at former President Bush, not Petraeus. Read More

leno has lower ratings than conan did

When NBC fired Conan O’Brien, they said his numbers sucked and Letterman was beating him and they were losing money. So they replaced him with Jay Leno. The bad news is that Leno gets even lower numbers than Conan did. The badder news is that Lenos comeback numbers have dropped and now he doesn’t beat Letterman either. So if NBC’s plan was to piss away 200 million dollars on a complete clusterfuck, mission accomplished!

For the first week since Jay Leno’s Tonight Show return, he was tied by David Letterman’s Late Show, as both shows averaged a 0.9 adults 18-49 rating for the week of June 7-11. Coming off a week of repeats for both shows, Leno fell a tenth of a point and Letterman gained two tenths.

Conans biggest problem may have been that he started too great. His debut had 2.3 million viewers. Lenos comeback debut had 1.5. So when both settled in to a normal range (of a million or so), Conans drop was more dramatic. TV by the numbers has two charts, and the first shows Conan vs Leno in the same sequential weeks of their run as host, and it shows that Conan has had better numbers for a month now.

That put Leno’s Tonight Show two tenths of a ratings point below Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show, comparing the ratings for each show’s fifteenth week.
(Leno) was 0.6 ratings points below the same calendar week of Conan’s Tonight Show ratings last summer.

Sources say NBC executives are taking the news is stride, and by that I mean they’re hopelessly lost and confused. One of them tried to fuck a dog the other day.

Bloomberg, Murdoch team up on immigration battle


Chief executives of several major corporations, including Hewlett-Packard, Boeing, Disney and News Corp., are joining Mayor Michael Bloomberg to form a coalition advocating for immigration reform — including a path to legal status for all undocumented immigrants now in the United States.

The group includes several other big-city mayors and calls itself the Partnership for a New American Economy. It seeks to reframe immigration reform as the solution to repairing and stimulating the economy.

Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp., appeared together Thursday on Fox News to discuss the effort.

"We're just going to keep the pressure on the congressmen," Murdoch said. "I think we can show to the public the benefits of having migrants and the jobs that go with them."................

Immigrant farm workers' challenge: Take our jobs

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- In a tongue-in-cheek call for immigration reform, farm workers are teaming up with comedian Stephen Colbert to challenge unemployed Americans: Come on, take our jobs.

Arturo Rodriguez, the president of the United Farm Workers, says workers are tired of being blamed for taking American jobs.

Now the group is challenging the nation's unemployed citizens to apply for the some of the thousands of agricultural jobs posted with state agencies. The group says applicants can fill out an online form and they will be trained and connected to farms.

According to the Labor Department, more than half the nation's farm workers are illegal immigrants.

To drive the point home, Comedy Central's "Colbert Report" plans to feature the "Take Our Jobs" campaign on July 8.


On the Net:

Social Security Broke: That's Bullshit

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Media Matters Daily Summary 06-23-10

Fox News' Crowley falsely suggests McChrystal criticized Afghanistan war strategy
Fox News' Monica Crowley falsely suggested that Gen. Stanley McChrystal criticized "the Afghan war strategy and the leadership coming out of this administration" in a recent profile in Rolling Stone. In fact, McChrystal offered no criticism of President Obama's war strategy, a strategy endorsed by McChrystal himself. Read More

Fox still making blatantly false claim that U.S. has "not accepted" international help in Gulf
Fox News' Gretchen Carlson falsely claimed that "international help has been offered, but not accepted" for the Gulf oil spill response, citing the Jones Act, which she speculated that President Obama has not waived because of union pressure. In fact, the National Incident Commander has repeatedly stated that foreign vessels are operating in the Gulf, that they have not yet "seen any need to waive the Jones Act," and that they are prepared to process case-by-case waivers if needed. Read More

Carlson twists McChrystal's interview to falsely suggest Obama doesn't support war in Afghanistan
Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson urged President Obama to "support this war," and suggested that Gen. Stanley McChrystal claimed in his Rolling Stone interview that he wasn't getting support from the administration. In fact, McChrystal offered no such criticism in the article and has repeatedly expressed support for Obama's war strategy. Read More

Right-wing media launches absurd attack on Chu for praising BP grant in 2007
Right-wing media are absurdly attacking Energy Secretary Steven Chu's past praise of BP for awarding UC Berkley an alternative energy grant which Chu said would help "save the world." But the grant had bipartisan support, and scientists and university professors praised the grant's importance for alternative energy research aimed at weaning the world off of oil. Read More

Witch Hunt: Hannity smears Obama nominee as "display[ing] empathy for a convicted serial killer"
Sean Hannity distorted Obama appeals court nominee Robert Chatigny's record to smear him as someone who "displays empathy for a convicted serial killer", Michael Ross, and suggested that Chatigny acted improperly in his role as a judge in Ross's case. However, an appeals court panel -- which included former Bush Attorney General Michael Mukasey -- found that Chatigny's actions were "reasonable" and "not motivated by any bias," a fact not reported by Hannity. Read More

Out-of-mainstream Bork attempts to paint Kagan as outside the mainstream
Robert Bork -- Reagan's failed 1987 Supreme Court nominee -- announced his opposition to current nominee Elena Kagan using the discredited argument that Kagan's praise of Israeli Justice Aharon Barak puts her outside of the mainstream. In fact, it is Bork himself who is outside the mainstream. Read More

Limbaugh falsely claimed McChrystal "didn't get the rules of engagement" or troops he wanted
Rush Limbaugh falsely claimed that Gen. Stanley McChrystal "didn't get the rules of engagement" or "boots on the ground" he wanted in Afghanistan. In fact, McChrystal has stated that the rules of engagement are based in part on his "experience," and agreed that President Obama provided the "right number" of additional troops. Read More

Hannity deceptively edited Obama to falsely accuse him of "attacking General Petraeus"
Sean Hannity deceptively edited comments President Obama made during a 2007 Senate hearing to falsely accuse Obama of "attacking General [David] Petraeus." In fact, in comments cropped out of the video, Obama made clear his criticism was directed at President Bush and was "not a criticism" of Petraeus. Read More

Farmer who put up sign claiming Democrats are ‘party of parasites’ has taken $1 million in farm subsidies.


Missouri farmer David Jungerman has raised the hackles of local residents with a politically-charged sign he’s placed on his “45-foot-long, semi-truck box trailer” on his farm. The trailer reads: “Are you a Producer or Parasite Democrats – Party of the Parasites.” Now, the Kansas City Star reveals that Jungerman has been the recipient of over a million dollars of federal farm subsidies since 1995:

The Raytown farmer who posted a sign on a semi-truck trailer accusing Democrats of being the “Party of Parasites” received more than $1 million in federal crop subsidies since 1995. [...]

After a story about Jungerman’s trailer ran in Sunday’s Star, however, some readers called him a hypocrite for criticizing others for getting government help while taking government subsidies paid for by taxpayers.

Jungerman said he put up the sign to protest people who pay no taxes, but, “Always have their hand out for whatever the government will give them” in social programs.

Trying to defend himself, Jungerman told the press, “That’s just my money coming back to me. I pay a lot in taxes. I’m not a parasite.” He also said that the sign is aimed at national Democrats, not local Democrats, many of whom are “are old-fashioned Harry Truman Democrats,” who Jungerman says are “more conservative than many Republicans.” For the record, Harry Truman campaigned on establishing a single-payer health care system and famously vetoed tax cuts, making him much more progressive than many of today’s Democrats.

LIVE STREAM - BP yanks containment cap after problem, oil flows unimpeded into the Gulf

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Oil Spill Conspiracy Theorist Carrying The GOP Flag In North Carolina


North Carolinians made their choice in the 13th Congressional District Republican runoff last night. And most of them went with the guy whose take on the worst environmental disaster in the nation's history makes Oliver Stone's JFK look like a Ken Burns documentary.

Bill Randall, a tea partier who made headlines with his suggestion that BP and the federal government worked together to blow up the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig in April, decisively won last night's runoff, defeating magazine publisher (and relatively more mainstream Republican) Bernie Reeves by a margin of 59% to 41%. Randall will now carry his party's flag to the general election, where he'll face incumbent Rep. Brad Miller (D).

It's a safe Democratic seat, not one that anyone really expects Miller to lose. But Randall's presence on the campaign trail could pose something of an embarrassing problem for Republicans in North Carolina. Democrats in the state already plan to hit Republicans on oil drilling politics in the fall. Randall's take on the spill could bring up uncomfortable memories for Republicans of classic spill-related gaffes from former FEMA director Michael Brown and Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX)..................................

Raining Oil In Louisiana

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Media Matters Daily Summary 06-22-10

Hannity, Dobbs baselessly claim Obama and Democrats are not "committed to securing our borders"
Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs baselessly claimed that President Obama and Democrats are not "committed to securing our borders." In fact, President Obama has taken measures to increase border security and immigration enforcement, and Democratic proposals for comprehensive immigration reform emphasize border security. Read More

Conservative media defend BP against "shakedowns," "show trials," and environmentalists at least 62 times
Media Matters has identified at least 62 recent instances of media conservatives defending BP, 38 of which occurred on the Fox News Channel, Fox Business, the Fox Nation, or the talk shows of Fox News hosts. There were at least 21 criticisms of BP's escrow account as an Obama "shakedown" or "slush fund," 10 attacks on President Obama for supposedly "demonizing" BP, 15 examples of conservatives deriding investigations of the company, 12 claims that environmental regulations are responsible for the spill, and five absurd conspiracy theories about the spill. Read More

Right-wing media vouch for Kyl's honesty despite his history of false claims
Right-wing media have vouched for Sen. Jon Kyl's (R-AZ) "integrity" in the wake of a video in which Kyl accused President Obama of refusing to "secure the border" in order to force the GOP to support immigration reform, a claim the White House has flatly denied. However, these media have ignored Kyl's history of making false claims. Read More

Right wing discovers long-established Labor Dept. policy on unauthorized workers
Right-wing media have denounced Labor Secretary Hilda Solis' campaign informing vulnerable workers, including the undocumented, about the wage standards to which they are entitled. However, the Labor Department's policy of enforcing labor laws without regard to immigration status long predates the Obama administration; moreover, the enforcement of labor laws is widely seen -- even by those who advocate for greater restrictions on immigration -- as a key to discouraging employers from hiring unauthorized workers. Read More

Ken Blackwell falsely claims Kagan supports human cloning
On, Ken Blackwell falsely claimed that Elena Kagan has shown "support for cloning human beings." In fact, Kagan recommended that former President Bill Clinton propose a bill that would ban cloning for the purpose of creating a human baby while still allowing important stem-cell research to continue. Read More

Beck's attack on drilling moratorium rests on falsehood
In stating that the Obama administration had "defied all logic" by setting a six-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling, Glenn Beck falsely claimed that there had been no "major incidents" in offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico before the Deepwater Horizon oil leak. In fact, there was a massive offshore Gulf oil spill 1979, and there have been many major spills from other oil platforms in the past. Read More

King Touts Project Funded By The Stimulus Package That He Opposed


Yesterday, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) attended the ground-breaking of a transportation project in Lytton, IA, a small town in his district. In a glowing press release on his website, he praised the project:

“Today we celebrate a major milestone in the effort to complete a four-lane U.S. Highway 20 from Sioux City all the way to Dubuque and on to Chicago,” said King. “I supported this project before I was elected to the Iowa Senate and made it my number one transportation priority as a Member of Congress. In working with our state’s senators and House delegation, the Four-Lane Highway 20 Association, and local communities, I have networked the effort to secure millions in federal funds to help bring this project to western Iowa. I will continue to do all I can to keep it moving until the day we cut the ribbon on the final mile of four-lane Highway 20.”

While King happily touts his role in the procurement of funds for U.S. 20’s expansion, he neglects to mention that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (commonly referred to as the stimulus package) — a bill that he heavily criticized and voted against — actually provides a majority of the funds for the project. Although King also secured federal funds for this project through the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, the congressman again overlooks his unequivocal opposition to the bill, which he previously described as a part of the “ongoing fiscal train wreck in Washington.”

Following the long tradition of Republican stimulus hypocrites before him, King fails to acknowledge the benefits of the stimulus to his state. In Iowa alone, nearly 9,000 jobs have been created as a result of stimulus dollars. Moreover, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the Recovery act has already saved or created 2.8 million jobs, an estimated 3.7 million by September.

Nina Bhattacharya

Rand Paul flips, seeks money from bailout senators

LOUISVILLE, Ky.Kentucky Republican senatorial candidate Rand Paul is seeking fund-raising help from lawmakers who voted for the 2008 financial bailout, flip-flopping on a campaign promise to shun those lawmakers.

The libertarian-leaning Paul, who condemns taxpayer-backed bailouts of the private sector, will benefit from a Thursday night fundraiser at the National Republican Senatorial Committee in Washington, D.C.

Nine of 12 GOP senators listed on the event's invitation voted for the $700 billion bank bailout. Individual tickets to the fundraiser went for $1,000, with sponsorships costing up to $5,000 per group.

During the primary, Paul pledged not to accept contributions from any senator who voted for the financial bailout, even including the commitment on his campaign website — a vow since removed from the site.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Media Matters Daily Summary 06-21-10

Doocy advances false claim that VA county immigration law lowered crime rates
On Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy and guest Corey Stewart, chairman of the Prince William County, Virginia, board of supervisors, falsely claimed that the county's controversial immigration law reduced violent crime and has never been altered. In fact, Prince William County's violent crime rates actually increased in 2009; the law was modified in 2008 to avoid legal challenges; and a University of Virginia study of the law shows that it has not led to a reduction in crime. Read More

Right-wing media push Kyl's flatly denied claim that Obama said he won't "secure the border"
Right-wing blogs have seized on Sen. Jon Kyl's (R-AZ) claim that President Obama is refusing to "secure the border" in order to force the GOP to support comprehensive immigration reform -- a claim the White House has since flatly denied. Indeed, the Obama administration has already taken numerous steps to boost border security but argues that "truly securing the border will require a comprehensive solution," which is a view shared by immigration experts as well as several Republicans. Read More

Despite contractor corruption, Beck and Napolitano back use of "private army" in Afghanistan
Glenn Beck and Andrew Napolitano endorsed the idea of a "private army," with Beck claiming there are "private individuals that could probably take care of things in Afghanistan better." In fact, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. government has made widespread use of private contractors who have been accused of waste and fraud and been allegedly implicated in the deaths of military personnel and civilians. Read More

"Is this what we fought the Nazis for?": Beck's staunch defense of big corporations with big problems
Glenn Beck has repeatedly rushed to the defense of corporations and corporate executives that have been widely criticized for recklessness, corporate greed, and alleged violations of federal laws. Beck has specifically defended BP, AIG executives, and Toyota. Read More

Times Square Bomber Pleads Guilty, Hours After National Review Slams DoJ’s Inability To Secure Guilty Plea


This afternoon, Faisal Shahzad pleaded guilty in federal court in Manhattan to trying to detonate a homemade car bomb in Times Square. Shahzad has been “cooperating with federal authorities,” the New York Times reported.

His failed bombing attempt in May touched off a heated debate about whether Shahzad — a naturalized American citizen — should be Mirandized and tried in federal court, or be subject to a different, dubious legal protocol. Those who opposed the Constitutionally-based law enforcement approach argued Shahzad would not cooperate after being told he had the right to remain silent, and thus authorities would be unable to collect intelligence or convict him.

As the Washington Independent’s Spencer Ackerman sarcastically noted, Shahzad’s guilty plea is “obviously another crucial failure for a law-enforcement-based response to terrorism.” Indeed, Shahzad’s guilty plea puts the National Review’s Andrew McCarthy in an awkward spot. Just this morning — hours before the announcement of the guilty please — McCarthy gleefully declared the failure of the law enforcement approach, citing the Department of Justice’s failure to secure a guilty plea:

Now comes word from the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York that Shahzad has been indicted.[...]

Attorney General Eric Holder has been telling anyone who would listen that Shahzad is cooperating and providing valuable information. Civilian due process has been no obstacle at all, Holder insists: no problem posed by Miranda, the appointment of counsel, the prospect of providing discovery, and the dynamics of plea-bargaining. Yet it is highly unusual to indict a cooperator, precisely because it is so strategically disadvantageous to the government. When someone is cooperating, the standard practice is to strike a deal, complete with a cooperation agreement and a guilty plea, in what is known as a “criminal information,” rather than to file an indictment. [...]

An indictment, on the other hand, is the throwdown moment in a criminal case, the opening bell for the first round of a prize fight. It signals that the parties have been unable to work out an agreement and are in an antagonistic posture.

Unfortunately for McCarthy, his eagerness to bash President Obama put him on the wrong side of the facts by about five hours. Of course, this probably won’t stop McCarthy from making up another reason for why the Obama administration has botched this terrorism prosecution.

Korn - Freak On A Leash

KoRn - Got The Life

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Conservatives falsely claim Kagan compared NRA to Klan

Conservative media have falsely claimed that in hand-written notes Elena Kagan took as a Clinton administration official in 1996, she compared the National Rifle Association to the Ku Klux Klan. In fact, Kagan wasn't comparing the NRA to the Klan; rather, she was reportedly taking notes that reflected a Justice Department attorney's assessment of whether proposed legislation would shield volunteers for either of those two groups from lawsuits. Indeed, the supposedly controversial language in Kagan's notes reportedly echoed the language of a memo that attorney had sent to Kagan.

Conservatives falsely accuse Kagan of comparing NRA to Klan

NRO: "Kagan apparently tied the NRA to the KKK." From a June 18 National Review Online blog post headlined "Did Kagan Compare the NRA with the KKK?":

National Review has learned that in 1996, Kagan apparently tied the NRA to the KKK -- yes, the KKK -- while debating the Clinton administration's position on a bill.


Two documents discovered at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and obtained by National Review suggest that Kagan was involved in these discussions. One does not contain her name, but the handwriting appears to be hers. (You can see an example of Kagan's handwriting here.) It has the name of administration colleague Fran Allegra at the top, and lists two "Bad guy orgs" that might be covered -- the NRA and the KKK.


Is Kagan so hostile to gun rights that she would compare the top gun-rights organization in the United States with a viciously racist hate group? It sure looks that way. We look forward to her explanation.

Fox: "Kagan Compares NRA to KKK?" From the front page of Fox Nation, which linked to a June 18 Fox Nation post:

Kagan didn't compare the NRA to the Klan

REALITY: Kagan's hand-written notes reportedly reflected the language of another attorney's assessment. Kagan wasn't indicating that the NRA was comparable to the Klan. Rather, according to the White House, Kagan was simply echoing the language of another attorney's memo when, in hand-written notes about a conversation with that attorney, she listed the NRA under "bad guy orgs." Both Kagan's notes and the memo they are reportedly based on indicate that the NRA and the Klan would not have been covered by legislation that would have shielded volunteers for non-profits from lawsuits.

Kagan was taking notes about effects of legislation to protect volunteers for nonprofits from lawsuits. The documents in question related to legislation that would have protected volunteers for nonprofit organizations from lawsuits. The Washington Post's Greg Sargent wrote:

One of the docs in question is a handwritten note Kagan, then in the White House counsel's office, took while discussing the act on the phone with a Department of Justice attorney. In it, she listed what she called two "bad guy orgs," the "NRA" and the "KKK."


Here's the White House version of events. At the time, two separate things were going on simultaneously. First, Clinton officials were concerned that the proposal would make it tougher for victims of gun violence to pursue liability claims. Officials viewed the bill as a major giveaway to the gun industry and the NRA. As part of analyzing the impact in this area, Clinton lawyers looked at how it would benefit the NRA.

In a second, separate development, Democratic members of Congress were worried that the act could protect the KKK and other hate groups from liability. Senator Patrick Leahy branded it the "KKK protection act." That prompted Clinton lawyers to analyze how it would impact such groups -- the KKK included.

CNN: White House says Kagan was simply "writing down notes" about another lawyer's memo. CNN's Ed Henry reported on June 18 that the White House is "trying to make the point that this is not Elena Kagan herself calling them bad guys or lumping them together with a racist group like the KKK" and that in her notes, Kagan was simply repeating the language of the memo and the broader public "debate at the time." Henry explained:

[W]hat they're saying is, it's important to note that Elena Kagan did not write the original memo suggesting perhaps that the KKK and NRA would be lumped together and would be known as "bad guys." Instead, she was on phone, talking about this memo and writing down notes about it. Now, obviously we weren't there in 1996. We don't know all the details, but what the White House is insisting is that she did not lump the KKK and the NRA together originally. She was repeating the debate at the time.

A June 18 article reported that the White House explained that Kagan's notes simply "track[ed]" another lawyer's memo and that the White House said that "the organizations discussed reflect the public debate over the legislation at that time":

"Kagan's notes from a conversation with DOJ Attorney Fran Allegra track an earlier memo Allegra sent to her outlining which organizations would be shielded under volunteer and nonprofit liability legislation," said White House spokesman Ben LaBolt. "Allegra's memo notes that neither the KKK nor the NRA would be shielded from liability under the bill, after Democrats in Congress and others raised concerns that the provision swept too broadly. It's simply not credible to suggest that these jotted down notes represent anything but preliminary research on legal questions about what organizations would be covered under the legislation, and the organizations discussed reflect the public debate over the legislation at that time."

"Bad guy" language in Kagan's notes echoes language from memo she was reportedly discussing. Indeed, the memo Kagan was reportedly discussing was written on March 27, 1996, by then-Justice Department lawyer Fran Allegra. It suggested that the NRA and the Klan would likely not receive protection under the act and said, "[W]e probably need to be careful about suggesting that 'bad' organizations will qualify for the provision in the bill as it would suggest that we are allowing 'bad' organization to qualify for tax-exempt status." In the notes she took the same day, reportedly while discussing Allegra's memo, Kagan similarly wrote, "Bad guy orgs -- not NRA ... not KKK" -- presumably summarizing Allegra's analysis that the NRA and KKK would not be protected by the legislation.

Sargent: "[T]here's no evidence of any comparison." Nowhere in Kagan's notes did she "compare" or "tie" the NRA to the Klan. As Sargent explained:

There's nothing in the docs that draws an explicit comparison between the NRA and the KKK. The White House will argue that it's incidental that they happened to be listed next to each other -- they were only two of many groups that lawyers were examining in order to determine how they'd be impacted by the law.

It's perhaps unfortunate for the White House that she happened to list the two names side by side. But there's no evidence of any comparison, aside from the fact that they appeared next to each other on two pieces of paper amid a lengthy and wide-ranging analysis.

TV Ad: Tender Mercies

The Bachmann Agenda: Whose Side Is She On?

Bachmann doles out advice to BP corporate honchos, but doesn't show up to vote for constituents

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's national campaign tour has once again left her constituents scratching their heads wondering: whose side is she on?

Bachmann's remarks Tuesday were no exception. In a speech to the Heritage Foundation, instead of standing up for the millions of Americans who have been affected by the BP oil spill, Bachmann offered advice to the corporate honchos at BP on how to keep themselves from being ‘fleeced' by the American people.

According to the Washington Post, Bachmann offered these pearls of wisdom to BP:

"But if I was the head of BP, I would let the signal get out there -- 'We're not going to be chumps, and we're not going to be fleeced.' And they shouldn't be. They shouldn't have to be fleeced and make chumps to have to pay for perpetual unemployment and all the rest -- they've got to be legitimate claims."

Whose side is Michele Bachmann on?

It's hard to know, since Bachmann missed an opportunity to take action when she missed a vote to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, authorizing advances from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund - financed by the Oil companies - to address the spill. While the bill passed 410 - 0, Bachmann didn't even cast a vote. (Roll Call vote 354, S.3473, June 10, 2010)

During her Heritage Foundation speech, Bachmann accused the President of "voting present" on the Gulf Oil disaster - turns out Bachmann herself didn't vote at all.

"Once again, the Bachmann Agenda is crystal clear," said Zach Rodvold, Campaign Manager for Tarryl Clark's campaign for Congress. "While Congresswoman Bachmann is concerned about the ‘fleecing' of BP, she's a no-show when it comes to cleaning up this mess. Whose side is she really on?"

"The oil spill isn't the only thing that needs cleaning up. It's time to clean up Washington, starting with do-nothing politicians like Michele Bachmann," concluded Rodvold. "The people of the 6th District deserve a Congresswoman who will show up and fight every day to put the American people ahead of the special interests. That's what Tarryl Clark has done and what she will do in Congress."


Friday, June 18, 2010

Foot, Meet Mouth: Our Top Six GOP Oil Spill Gaffes


BP isn't standing alone with one foot on the ground and the other in its mouth. Since the spill began in April, Republicans have demonstrated an exceptional tendency to blurt out their inconvenient beliefs about the disaster and the federal response. And we're not talking about backbenchers here -- the dirty talk has come from their most powerful and visible members. From Capitol Hill to the Gulf Coast, we bring you, in chronological order, the top six GOP oil spill slip-ups.

1. Rand Paul
He's since gone into hiding, likely on NRSC orders, but back when the Kentucky Senate hopeful was still flapping his gums (to hilarious effect) on national television, he let slip that he wanted the Obama administration to leave BP aloooooone!

"This sort of, you know 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP,' I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business," Paul said on Good Morning America last month.


2. Michele Bachmann
Everyone's favorite Minnesota congresswoman took the opportunity of time on the House floor to rip the administration earlier this month, saying that the government was "nowhere to be found" after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded...except, of course, they actually arrived within hours. The kicker though is that Bachmann, scourge of socialism, wondered out loud why the government hadn't "commandeered" privately-owned boats to "deal with that oil plume as it was coming up to the water."

3. Sarah Palin
The former half-term Alaska Governor tried to capitalize on the spill with an unusually awkward "I told you so." Palin tweeted out to "extreme greenies" to gloat that the spill vindicates "Drill, Baby, Drill." With a caveat.

"Extreme Greenies:see now why we push"drill,baby,drill"of known reserves&promising finds in safe onshore places like ANWR? Now do you get it?"

Of course, her constant refrain had actually been that America should allow drilling just about everywhere right away. The phrase "Drill, baby, drill!" wasn't shouted with caveats.

4. Haley Barbour
The Mississippi Governor might not suffer politically for it, but he's repeatedly insisted that the oil spill isn't worth fretting over. It "isn't anything like Exxon Valdez," Barbour claims, comparing the crude itself to caramel mousse, toothpaste, and the fuel sheen surrounding speed boats.

5. John Boehner
House Republicans are so accustomed to going to great pains to remain in the good graces of the Chamber of Commerce that their leader even aligned himself Chamber president Tom Donohue over whether taxpayers should pitch in to help BP pay for clean up and damages. That lasted about six hours.

"I think the people responsible in the oil spill--BP and the federal government--should take full responsibility for what's happening there," Boehner said at his weekly press conference on June 10. Later that day, his office was forced to publicly say Boehner believes BP should pay for everything, and last Sunday, he took to the morning shows to back the concept of lifting the $75 million cap on BP's exposure. Still no word on whether that means he'll whip Republicans to vote for that.

6. Joe Barton
The House Republicans' top energy guy didn't get the memo that BP has no (public) friend in the GOP. Yesterday, at a hearing with BP CEO Tony Hayward, Barton accused the Obama administration of perpetrating a shakedown by pressuring BP to set aside $20 billion to cover expected damages. But that was the least of it because, on that point, conservative pundits and the Republican Study Committee fully backed him up. It was his apology to Hayward that unleashed a tsunami of negative press and set leadership scrambling to contain the floods.

"I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown, in this case a $20 billion shakedown," Barton said. "I'm only speaking for myself, I'm not speaking for anybody else. But I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, is subject to to some sort of political pressure that is, again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown. So I apologize."

Then he (sort of) apologized for apologizing. Then he apologized again, falling on his sword even as party leaders were throwing him under the bus. No word on whether he plans to move to a country where BP could get away with something like this.

VIDEO COMPILATION: Conservative Pundits Rush To Defend Barton, Praise Him As Courageous


Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) has been widely condemned for telling BP executives yesterday that he is “sorry” for the Obama administration’s “shakedown” of their company, which resulted in a $20 billion escrow fund help Gulf families suffering from the oil spill. While the Republican leadership realized the potential political fallout and quickly distanced themselves from Barton’s comments, right-wing pundits rushed to Barton’s defense:

– PAT BUCHANAN: “Barton made a very courageous statement in my judgment. … To have anyone stand up and even indirectly defend [BP] and say that they were a victim of a shakedown shows some political courage.

– INGRAHAM: “I think Joe Barton, before he apologized, had a legitimate point.

– NAPOLITANO: “That is a classic shakedown. The threat to do something that you don’t have the authority to do. ”

– KILMEADE: “One Congressman calling the BP compsensation fund a ’shakedown,’ but does he have a point?

– GINGRICH: “The president is directly engaged in extorting money from a company.

– VARNEY: “It is Hugo Chavez-like, is it not? To sieze a private company’s assets.”

Watch a compilation of conservative pundit Pat Buchanan, Fox News analyst Laura Ingraham, Fox News Business host Andrew Napolitano, Fox and Friends host Brian Kilmeade, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Fox News Business host Stuart Varney, and right-wing radio host Mark Levin:

Levin went on to say that GOP leadership’s treatment of the Barton incident made him fear the “Republican party in the House will not have the courage to do what needs to be done should it win the majority in November” to resist the “increasingly tyrannical administration.”

Sharron Angle Flees Local TV Station Questions (VIDEO)


Senate nominee Sharron Angle (R-NV), who has adopted a pattern of avoiding all media except for friendly right-wing radio and TV talk show hosts, had an amusing run-in with a local CBS station's reporter in Las Vegas -- who repeatedly asked her tough questions.

Reporter Nathan Baca asked Angle about past policy position statements on her campaign website about "transitioning out" of Social Security. Angle strongly denied that this meant she wanted to eliminate the program entirely -- saying instead that she wanted to save it. "You believe the Harry Reid lie," Angle replied, also adding that "transitioning out" really meant: "Transition into a personalized account...personalized Social Security accounts that they can't raid."

Angle also refused to answer a question about her previous statement that people could potentially seek out their "Second Amendment remedies" if Congress is not reined in -- a statement that has been widely interpreted as predicting an armed revolt against the government.

Baca followed Angle through a parking lot, repeatedly asking what she meant by "Second Amendment remedies." Angle ignored him.

As Baca reports: "The reaction from the Angle campaign was swift. Their spokesperson called this reporter 'an idiot' -- and another term that cannot be repeated on television."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

GOP Objects to Holding Oil Companies Accountable for Spills

Nev. Senate hopeful Sharron Angle talks of armed revolt

LAS VEGAS - There's no doubt a chunk of the electorate is angry with the federal government. But are voters willing to take up arms?

In Nevada, Sharron Angle -- the Senate candidate who wants to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid --seemed to raise that specter in three interviews in the past six months, suggesting that some would seek "Second Amendment remedies" if Congress isn't reined in.

She said the purpose of the right to bear arms is to check the federal government. But she stopped short of saying that she would support an armed uprising.

"Our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason, and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government," Angle told conservative talk show host Lars Larson in January. "In fact, Thomas Jefferson said it's good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years. I hope that's not where we're going, but you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies."

Also that month, she told Reno conservative talk show host Bill Manders she hoped Reid would be defeated at the ballot box before the electorate resorted to more aggressive measures.

"I'm hoping that we're not getting to Second Amendment remedies," Angle said. "I hope that the vote will be the cure for the Harry Reid problems."

And last month she told the Reno Gazette-Journal "it's almost an imperative" that conservatives win.

"The nation is arming," she told the newspaper. "What are they arming for if it isn't that they are so distrustful of their government? They're afraid they'll have to fight for their liberty in more Second Amendment kinds of ways. That's why I look at this as almost an imperative. If we don't win at the ballot box, what will be the next step?"

Is she simply tapping into an intense mistrust of the federal government? Or is she advocating something?

Fred Lokken, a political scientist at Truckee Meadows Community College, said Angle has an obligation to explain what she means.

"She needs to assure us she's not advocating violence against our sitting government or those serving in the sitting government," he said.

Reid spokesman Jon Summers said, "Her rhetoric that if she doesn't win at the ballot box people should go to the bullet box undermines the Democratic process."

"We know people are upset," he added. "Clearly the economy isn't where it needs to be. The unemployment situation, the foreclosure situation, are not good. Sen. Reid is doing everything he can to turn it around."

Angle spokesman Jerry Stacy stressed that Angle is not "advocating for a revolution." But he didn't back away from Angle's comments that trouble could be brewing.

"We should all be worried, but again, she's not advocating or suggesting a revolution," Stacy said.

The armed revolt sentiment doesn't belong to Angle alone.

Rick Barber, a candidate in a Republican congressional runoff in Alabama, is airing an ad in which he appears to conspire with 18th-century revolutionaries to stage an armed revolt.

Angle said she prefers to fight at the ballot box, according to the Gazette-Journal interview.

"That's why I'm in the battle the way I'm in the battle," she said. "I still have a great deal of faith in our political system and a great deal of faith in the American people and voter."

John Chachas, who lost to Angle in the primary, said it's not necessarily an ill-advised campaign message, especially to her base. Although he is a self-described gun owner who "likes to kill things," Chachas said he was surprised by how intense the gun rights issue became on the campaign trail.

"It speaks volumes, it seems to me, to how imposed upon people in rural America feel by these things passed on a national level," he said. "It really has them up in arms. It has them really unhappy.

"You sort of see it on TV and might think, 'Oh, that's just Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann on one end and Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck on the other,' and convince yourself with some ease that it's a figment of media creation. It is not. It's deeply felt."

Bob List, a Republican national committeeman and former Nevada governor, wouldn't speculate on the meaning of Angle's comments. But, he said, "People are far more riled up about what's going on out there than I've ever seen in my lifetime.

Still, he said, he doesn't think an armed revolution is coming.

"What will happen is people will go to the ballot box and vote out the incumbents who are doing this," he said.

Larson, host of a nationally syndicated talk radio show, said he agreed with Angle's sentiment that the purpose of the Second Amendment is a check on the federal government.

"That doesn't mean she was advocating war if she loses," Larson said. "She was saying at some point, the purpose of the Second Amendment wasn't first for hunting, or personal protection. It was to make sure government never got out of control."

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service,

I Apoligize

Bachmann backs off BP defense, as GOPers distance from Barton

The Minnesota Independent

Rep. Michele Bachmann on Wednesday appeared to back off her criticisms of the Obama administration’s plans to have BP pay for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as other Republicans weighed in the plan: Rep. Joe Barton apologized to BP for the escrow fund, while Republican Rep. Jeff Miller called for Barton to step down from his leadership post on the House energy committee. Meanwhile, Bachmann’s opponent this fall, DFL Sen. Tarry Clark, pounced on Bachmann’s earlier criticisms, stating unequivocally, “I stand with taxpayers” — not BP.

On Tuesday, Bachmann said that a $20 billion victims escrow amounted to “wealth redistribution,” urged BP executives not to be “chumps,” and said the Obama administration was “fleecing” BP. But on Wednesday, she told CNN, “I’m not here to shill for BP. That’s not the goal. BP clearly is at fault here. They need to pay every last dime of damage and that’s what needs to be done. But at the same time, we don’t want these payouts to become political.”

Sen. Clark seized on Bachmann’s earlier statements.

“Let me be clear: I stand with the victims of this tragedy and the American taxpayers. They are the ones who deserve to be defended,” Clark said in a statement. “But instead, Congresswoman Bachmann has risen to the defense of BP. Holding BP accountable for this disaster is not ‘fleecing’ it. It’s making sure they do what’s right by the citizens of the Gulf whose livelihoods are threatened and by all Americans who want the Gulf cleaned up.”

She added, “Michele Bachmann refuses to hold BP accountable — but I will. Make no mistake, I stand with taxpayers, not BP.”

Bachmann isn’t the only Republican seeming to defend BP.

On Thursday afternoon, Texas Rep. Barton, the ranking Republican on the Energy Committee, apologized to BP for the White House’s creation of the victims’ escrow, calling it a “shakedown” and a “slush fund.”

Barton’s comments prompted fellow Republican Rep. Jeff Miller to call for Barton’s resignation from the committee.

I condemn Mr. Barton’s statement. Mr. Barton’s remarks are out of touch with this tragedy and I feel his comments call into question his judgment and ability to serve in a leadership on the Energy and Commerce Committee. He should step down as Ranking Member of the Committee.

And Minority Leader John Boehner said on Thursday that Barton was wrong.

“I have said since the beginning that BP ought to be responsible for all of this cleanup,” Boehner told Fox News. “The fact is that they’ve agreed to put this $20 billion in escrow. I don’t know what context Mr. Barton was making that remark, but I’m glad that BP has accepted responsibility for their actions.