Friday, February 5

Jon Stewart Skewers O'Reilly into Bits

In this full length version of the interview between Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly there are so many golden moments where Stewart just completely burns O'Reilly and Fox News to the ground, but not very surprisingly most of the best bits were edited out of the final broadcast.

One section edited out near the 11 min mark was a discussion of how Stewart's Show Treated O'Reilly over the issue of protests under Bush and protests under Obama.

Stewart: I disagree that we took you out of context.

O'Reilly: You mocked me.

Stewart: We have, we do mock. If you had said "Most people surveyed think that protested who are arrested are Loons" we wouldn't have used the clip, but you didn't say that.

And he didn't, O'Reilly's whine here is that the Daily Show cut out his preface statement which said "Most of the protesters are peaceful" and ignored that later statement where he went on to say "Most people surveyed think the protesters are LOONS!" when there was no distinction made between those who were violent protesters and those who weren't. It's clear that O'Reilly felt anyone who protested the Iraq War and President Bush - Were Lunatics, he's constantly talking about the Lunatic Left Fringe so this dodge isn't very artful.

Later on Stewart does a full-on vivisection of Fox News, cutting it to it's core. And apparently he did so well that O'Reilly had to print a rebuttal on his own site.

Mr. Stewart bases his GOP belief primarily on two guys, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. As everybody knows, Sean is a conservative who admires the politics of Ronald Reagan, and he is very consistent with his point of view. So why does that offend people? Shouldn't there be one program, one program on cable news hosted by a political conservative? Does CNN have anybody like that? Does MSNBC? Does "Headline News"? Come on.

And then there's Glenn Beck. Trust me on this one: Beck doesn't like most party politics. He is a constitutionalist. He takes a very traditional point of view on what America should be. It's ridiculous, crazy even to assert that Glenn Beck devotes his program to promoting the GOP.

First off yes CNN does have people like that on staff (but they don't constantly expose their opinions on air) Lynn Cheney and Tucker Carlson both used to work for CNN. Headline News - IS NEWS, not "Headline Opinion." So does MSNBC. Let's take the show on MSNBC that airs for the longest time Morning Joe with former Gingrich Era Congressman Joe Scarborough, and follow that up with Pat Freaking Buchanan.

More from O'Reilly post interview cleanup:

As far as the rest of Fox News is concerned, we have plenty of Republicans and plenty of Democrats on the staff, but nobody here really cares about that. If you're good at your job, you get to keep your job. If you watch the reporting by our hard news people, much of it brought to you by Bret Baier and Shepard Smith, two very fair guys, you know it's all facts, all the time.

I give some credit to Shep Smith, but he's just one out of a full house of crazy.

Secondly Stewart's main complain wasn't just with Hannity and Beck, it was with the entire Network being deliberately right-wing and getting away with it using just a sprinkling of neo-objectivity from people like Shep Smith or Major Barret every once in awhile. They discuss this about 16 Mins in.

Stewart: What are you News from 9am to 11am, then again from 1pm to 4pm? You're "News" every other Tuesday, with Jewish Holidays off?

You've taken a cyclonic media arm of a political party and sprinkled it, you've cut it a little bit of "objectivity" - a little bit of Chris Wallace asking a tough question.

O'Reilly: What do you mean? We're News from 9 til 4 when Cavuto comes on.

Stewart: Not even close, because they're also part of the Journey.

O'Reilly: What's the Journey?

Stewart: The Journey begins in the Morning with the wide-eyed Innocent of Fox and Friends: "Y'know Obama has a lot of Czars, I googled 'Czar' - did you know that's a Russian word? For a Russian Leader?" Or "These children in second grade are singing the praises of Obama, did you know they sing the praises of their leader - In North Korean"

And then when the Hard News starts it's like "Some people are concerned that they're indoctrinating children"

O'Reilly: You think that the Fox News Network is setup solely to provide aid and comfort to the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement.

Stewart: That's right, and to make some money.

O'Reilly then tries to counter all of these examples by arguing that since Fox News isn't biased for Republicans because neither John McCain or Dick Cheney would comes The Factor.

Stewarts: McCain's not "GOP Enough" for you - and maybe Dick Cheney saw all these lights - y'know he hates to come out of the dark

More from O'Reilly's cleanup:

Now Stewart has a minor beef with the "Fox & Friends" crew in the morning, but that's a hybrid news/entertainment program. So my question for John is this: You have an entertainment program. You're a liberal. So what if some of the "Fox & Friends" crew are conservative? Doesn't that balance things out?

So you're argument is that Stewart's COMEDY Show is "Liberal" so Fox gets to have a NOT COMEDY SHOW that isn't Liberal and that's some kind of Balance? Does anybody remember when Fox tried to actually do a "Conservative Comedy" Show that featured Funny Guy and Gal Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter on it's debut program? That's lasted about half a minute, didn't it?

I don't think Stewart begrudges that Fox that Fox is (Mostly) Conservative, it's just that they play this bullshit game of pretending they aren't - and then when they get called on it they're excuse is well, gee everyone else is SO LIBERAL then don't we have a responsibility to be SO Conservative?

They can't seem to make up their damned mind. Are you "Fair and Balanced" or are you Conservative? Nevermind the fact that MSNBC Does have a Conservative Hosted Program on the air... where's the Fox Liberal Hosted Program?

And no, Greta Van Susteren doesn't come close. She's about crime and sensationalism and always has been since she got her start in broadcasting as a consultant with Geraldo Rivera during the first O.J. Trial. She's an ambulance chaser, not a journalist.

Seriously, these guys couldn't let Alan Colmes outdoors to take leak without Hannity holding his leash, and now even he's gone. I frankly don't give a Crap that Fox is Conservative, I'd just wish they'd Admit It stop Lying about it - and Stop Pretending to be NEWS!.

But the best part was when Stewart took down Cavuto.

Stewart: You (O'Reilly) have become in some ways the voice of sanity here. Which when said is like being the skinniest kid at Fat Camp.

O'Reilly: Cavuto's Sane?

Stewart: No, he is not.

O'Reilly: Cavuto is insane? Neal Cavuto?

Stewart: His thing is all about questions. "Are Democrats Tanking the Stock Market?" It's all done with this very subtle propaganda, it's all done in questions. "I'm not saying Obama is a Stalinist, I'm just putting up Stalin's picture behind me and saying all his programs (are).

Look I grew up in Jersey, I know what this is: "I'm not saying you're mother's a whore - I'm just saying she has Sex for Money!"

Here's how I know you are (In the Tank for Republicans), because Fox News has done a 180 on so many integral principles of what a News Organization should be. Fox News used to be all about "You don't criticize a President during War Time. It's unacceptable, It's Treasonous -it gives Aid and Comfort to the Enemy." All of a sudden, for some reason you can say "Barack Obama is destroying the Fabric of this Country".

Here's what Fox has done through their cyclonic perpetual emotion machine. 24 Hours a Day. 7 Days a Week. They've taken reasonable concerns about this President and this economy and turned it into a full-fledge panic attack about the Coming of Chairman Mao!

O'Reilly response to this was priceless...

O'Reilly: Some people do that - but most don't. Not Brett Baier?

Ok, Look - when you have people on your network seriously suggesting that the President is a Stalinlist and you're defense is basically "Not All of 'Em" - it reminds me of the Kathy Griffin routine where she goes off on the Catholic Church being a bunch of "Kid Fuckers" and her mother weakly exclaims..."Not All of 'Em"!

It's 2 mins into this routine.

When you traffic is things as toxic as calling the duly elected President of the United States a Secret Muslim Terrorist/Stalinist/America-Hater - it becomes the DUTY of the rest of the people on that Network to MAKE IT CLEAR that they disagree, not just passively let those things slide - because if you do, then the entire rest of the Network is tacitly (if not actively) endorsing it.

Afterwhich you shouldn't be SHOCKED that a significant percentage of your audience believes that Crap.

It's like not everybody in the Tea Party Movement has a Obama is Hitler Sign in their hand, but you NEVER see anyone of them complain or protest the use of that kind of imagery, do you? It's then fair to say - They Support it.

You don't have to be holding the sign yourself, you just have to be standing next to the crazy guy with the sign while smiling and wearing the "I'm With Teh Crazy" T-shirt to show where you stand on the issue.


Thursday, February 4

Health Care Reform Defriibulated

In this interview on the Young Turks, Rep Debbie Wasserman-Schultz lays out the current path forward on Health Care Reform to Cenk.

Definitely worth a listen all the way through. Transcript Here.

Essentially DWS describes the path to passage that I outlined last week with a couple small modifications.

CENK UYGUR: Yeah. Now you have a Senate version which I think is an absolute gift to corporate America. They love every piece of that legislation. You guys say you're not going to pass that in the House, right? Or if you do, you need a second bill that goes through reconciliation.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: I think we'll pass this. I think we'll pass the reconciliation bill with a majority of the House and a majority of the Senate before we agree to vote on the Senate bill. So if it goes down like that, what I think will happen is, we will hold the Senate bill at the desk in the House, pass the reconciliation bill with a majority of the House, send it to the Senate, wait for them to pass it, and only then would we pass the Senate bill.

CENK UYGUR: All right, now we're making news.

Acoording to Wasserman-Schulz the House is currently working on a Reconciliation Amendment to the Senate Bill that can pass constitutional muster. My thoughts last week were that the House would need to pass the Senate Bill first, then work on a Reconciliation Amendment to fix it afterward - apparently they're doing exactly that but in the reverse order. Pass a fixing/correcting Amendment - then vote to pass the Senate Bill which will then include those corrections.

The problems are that anything included in the Amendment has to directly relate to funding issues and the House is currently working with the parliamentarians to outline what can and can not be included.

Just as Chris Mattew's told Alan Grayson you can't possibly get everything under the sun through Reconclliation, because it only allows you to fund or defund existing programs, however what you can do is pass an Amendment to an existing bill.

CENK UYGUR: Okay, and of course, the other major question everybody's got on their minds is, will it also have a public option in it?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: It's unlikely that we can do in public option in a reconciliation bill because it's not funding related.

CENK UYGUR: Wait, I... Wait, whoa, whoa, whoa. I don't understand that at all. I thought the public option was completely funding related.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: No because, it's...I mean, it's not a funding, I mean, mechanically, it's not a funding issue. The public option is the way you would structure, I mean, I'm trying to find the best way to explain it.

CENK UYGUR: No. I understand. It's, you know...

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: It's not a funding mechanism.

CENK UYGUR: But it certainly affects the deficit. It certainly affects the budget, and I thought that was the necessary requirement for being included in a reconciliation bill.

The Public Option is not a current or active program, therefore it can't either have it's funding increased or decreased through Reconciliation. In the past Reconciliation has been used to fund the Iraq War (which was already ongoing) to implement the Bush Tax Cuts (which are clearly a funding issue) and the expand SCHIP (which was already an active program) - the Public Option is none of the above.

For the same reasons Drug Re-importation probably can't be included, nor can drug renegotiation. But you can do some things to modify or even exclude the excise tax as well as some other spending/funding modifications.

More importantly Cenk is forgetting or ignoring the power of the Insurance Exchange to help maintain cost controls.

As I've said before, the Public Option is pyrate - the Real Gold is the Exchange...

Klein: There's a 80-90% Chance that we'll have Insurance Reform this year, which will ban Pre-existing conditions, and you'll have Health Care Exchanges - which will lower the prices for small business and individuals.

Klein: The Public Option is peripheral to the really important stuff here.

Ed: It's not.

Klein: I've been covering this 20 years, you can have Universal Coverage without a Public Option. What does the Public Option do? It's give bargaining power to the public against the insurance companies - that is precisely what the Health Exchange Does!

The Exchange actually does provided the Interstate Competition that Repbulicans have been clamoring for. It provides for choices and an economy of scale that can drastically lower prices. Further with pre-existing conditions banned (or at least limited), as well as a mandated medical loss ratio of 80-85% which ensures that most of the money provided in premiums actually goes directly into care and not into inflating stock prices - there is quite of bit of cost containment even in the Senate Bill.

CENK UYGUR: How. There's no public option. There's no check. How are you going to bring the cost down?

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Because you're broadening the pool. You're prohibiting them from dropping people for preexisting conditions. You're requiring the insurance to be Guaranty Issue, you're setting the premiums... Just look what we're doing for women. Women pay on average a 48% higher premium, Cenk, right now, simply because of our gender. We're going to prohibit that and only allow very basic things for the premiums to be based on. That's gonna bring down costs all by itself.

CENK UYGUR: I don't want the audience to get misled into thinking that I don't think there are good things about this. There are. You do expand coverage.


CENK UYGUR: There's no question about that.


CENK UYGUR: Ok. You expand coverage. What the things that you mentioned are absolutely true. But I'm going to guarantee you right here that our premiums are going to skyrocket.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: You are wrong. And I will come, I'm happy...

CENK UYGUR: The things that you mentioned are not cost containment. They expand coverage.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: Okay. I will bet you that that's not true and I will come back on your show so that we can have another conversation about that so you can congratulate me that I was right.

CENK UYGUR: Okay. Two years from now, if my premium goes down, I'll pay for your insurance.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That sounds good. Perfect.

CENK UYGUR: If my premium goes up, you pay for my insurance.

REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: It works for me. I gotta run though. I'm sorry.

Cenk expresses more than a bit of skeptiscm that without a Public Option the price gouging that the Insurance Companies have been engaging in will be curbed - this is an issue I've addressed repeatedly - and I still maintain that even without the public option costs are likely to GO DOWN.

The proof of this isn't theory, it's History. During the 90's simply the threat of implementing a Health Care system that included Exchanges (which at the time were called "Associations") under the original Hillary Clinton plan did the following to the cost of private health insurance.

No Public Option was even considered at the time, yet medical inflation costs actually dropped below the Consumer Price Index and Wage inflation. The Public Option is a nice "get", but it's not a Must have.

But there's something even more important that Cenk and Debbie discuss here that goes by without being seriously considered - costs are not and should not be the bottom line issue, it should be about SAVING LIVES!

Even if Cenk is right and Debbie is wrong expanding Health Care coverage to another 35 Million Americans will put a huge dent in the 45,000 Americans who DIE each year from lack of coverage. Over ten years that could potentially save as much as 400,000 Lives.

How much is too much to pay for that?

Democrats have had such a difficult time with this because they've been repeatedly arguing about spare change rather than addressing what the Republicans and Tea-Baggers have been talking about - Life and Death. And the sad part is that we've always been on the winning side of that argument, but have failed to use the fact that expanding healthcare protects and save American Lives as a rallying cry.

It's time we got on the Moral side of this issue, and stopped squabbling over lose sheckles. What isn't perfect in the bill now, can be fixed in the future - meanwhile children who had been blocked from care because they had to temerity to get sick, will be able to get it.

There is no price tag too high for that.


Fox Denies GOP Crazies they Created

O'Reilly: Did you know most Republicans are Stupid or Evil?

Yes, actually I did know that. All you have to do is pay attention to know that. But Bill doesn't.

So apparently Bill O'Reilly and Karl Rove object to the Dkos/Research 2000 Poll which indicated that about 30% of the Republican Party think that Obama is a Socialist, Terrorist Sympathesizer who wasn't even born in America and should be Impeached. After heaping a ton of attacks on DKOS - ("they use foul language", "they're loons") - Billo then tries to get Rove to estimate how many on the Right really are as crazy as to believe half the shit Fox News has told them - "What is it 15%? 20%?"

So they *ARE* Crazy, it's just not as many of them as the DKOS Poll says, but don't do your own poll or anything just have Rove spit-ball it why don't cha?

But seriously, after 24/7 Coverage Like this what would you believe?

FOX News: "What else do we not know about Barack Obama?"

88% of Fox Viewers vote Republican, and the vast majority don't watch Any other news outlets because of their so-called "Liberal Bias" - which is to say they don't regularly put out GOP-Based Lies and Spin.

Like these:

Is it any wonder that you get thousands of people who are like this?

P.S. You say we're fouled mouthed Bill? - "FUCK YOU!"


Wednesday, February 3

O'Keefe's Racial Animus: White Supremacy & Baked Goods

Long before he showed up at various ACORN Offices in a Pimp Suit (Although he never actually wore his Huggy Bear Outfit inside the buildings) James O'Keefe had a long history of racial pranks and advocacy - including attendence at a Button-down White Supremacist Conference so toxic - not even his employers the "Leadership Institute" wouldn't touch with a ten-foot dead fish.

(Note: Not the original photo - just a snarky photoshopped version)

Via Max Blumenthal at Salon (h/t Democratic Underground)

His right-wing admirers don't seem to mind that O’Keefe's short but storied career has been defined by a series of political stunts shot through with racial resentment. Now an activist organization that monitors hate groups has produced a photo of O'Keefe at a 2006 conference on "Race and Conservatism" that featured leading white nationalists. The photo, first published Jan. 30 on the website of the anti-racism group One Peoples Project shows O’Keefe at the gathering, which was so controversial even the ultra-right Leadership Institute, which employed O'Keefe at the time, withdrew its backing. But O'Keefe and fellow young conservative provocateur Marcus Epstein soldiered on to give anti-Semites, professional racists and proponents of Aryanism an opportunity to share their grievances and plans to make inroads in the GOP.

But here's the thing O'Keefe didn't just attend the Conference as a bystander who may have simply been curious but didn't necessarily agree with the most radical of the attendees there - O'Keefe was manning one of the tables and pushing Racist Literature to the other participants.

According to One Peoples Project founder Daryle Jenkins, O'Keefe was manning the literature table at the gathering that brought together anti-Semites, professional racists and proponents of Aryanism. OPP covered the event at the time, sending a freelance photographer to document the gathering. Jenkins told me the table was filled with tracts from the white supremacist right, including two pseudo-academic publications that have called blacks and Latinos genetically inferior to whites: American Renaissance and The Occidental Quarterly. The leading speaker was Jared Taylor, founder of the white nationalist group American Renaissance. "We can say for certain that James O'Keefe was at the 2006 meeting with Jared Taylor. He has absolutely no way of denying that," Jenkins said. O'Keefe's attorney did not respond to a request for comment on his client's role in the conference.

If you might still think this is merely a fluke, and not really a true representation of O'Keefe's heart and motives when he decided to attack ACORN, an organization than helps Black and poor people to vote and find affordable Housing, or go after Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu for using her leverage to bring more relief funds for Lousiana - a state that to this day continues to struggle under the burden of reconstruction after Hurricane katrina, then you have to look no further than some of the pranks that O'Keefe pulled prior to his Pimp and Ho Show.

O'Keefe's racial issues can be seen in many of his prior stunts, of course. The notorious ACORN videos highlighted images of himself dressed as a pimp, deceptively edited through hidden camera footage as he baited African-American office workers into making statements that could be perceived as incriminating. There were also lesser-known but equally inflammatory spectacles like the “affirmative action bake sale” O’Keefe and his conservative comrades held when they were students at Rutgers University. During the event, O’Keefe stood at a table in the center of campus offering baked goods at reduced prices to Latinos and African-Americans while whites were forced to pay exorbitant amounts. (Native Americans, he announced, would eat free.)


Meanwhile, O’Keefe lost his job at the Leadership Institute in 2008 for a prank call he made to an Ohio-based Planned Parenthood clinic. During the call, O’Keefe offered a donation to the clinic on the condition that it would be earmarked to pay for aborting African-American fetuses. “Because there's definitely way too many black people in Ohio,” O’Keefe remarked to the receptionist. “So, I'm just trying to do my part.”

Shades of Bill Bennett there I think.

Another example (provided via Comments) of O'Keefe pulling his "Tax Payers Clearing House" Scam on a Black Family, claming they've one a prize only to present them with a BILL for the Bailout (Which by the way- has mostly been Paid Back already)

(Note: After watching this video - I actually think it's pretty funny in a Michael Moore kind of way. If they did more of this they'd be onto something, but I would also point out - it's not journalism either)

Look one clearly Racial Stunt could simply be a slip - ala Bennet - two is a trend, but three and four in a row is a clear and obvious pattern of bigotry.

But it shouldn't be a surprise O'Keefe just might be one of the Insane 23% of Republicans and Conservatives who probably think the President is a Kenyan, Socialist, Muslim who was only elected because ACORN (who've only registered 2 Million Voters in thier entire history) somehow managed to give him a 10 Million Vote Victory.

O'Keefe is far from alone on the Wingnut fringe. They think they've been greivously wronged somehow. They want "Their America Back" - and their willing to do almost anything to get it back.

Even commit multiple Felonies, then Lie About it on National TV.

Here's a question Hannity should ask: How Long Have You been a racist Mr. O'Keefe? Has it been since birth, or did you only gradually begin to Hate non-Whites?

This may explain why "Jammed" suddenly equals "Broken" in his twisted little mind of douchebaggery.

Hannity: Did you have any electronic equipment that could be used to tap into the Senator's phones?

O'Keefe: We never even thought about interfere with phones, it never even occured to me. They slandered me, and jumped the gone on the story. It's journalism malpractice what they've done.

O'Keefe: I was trying to get to the truth of what these people think about their constituents.

"These People"? Hmm...

"Never thought about it" is an artful dodge. The Criminal Complaint against them, as I describe in a previous diary addresses the fact that they perpetrated a charade intended to give the impression that Landrieu's phones were inoperative and gain access to their phone closet - where certainly the charade would have continued. Those actions alone disrupted the operation of the phones Violating (18 USC 1362) and is itself the underlying Felony, not "Wiretaping". Nitwit.

Also Is he going to sue Fox News for "Slander" when their very first reaction to his arrest was this?

GAUGHAN: [It's a] very weird story that probably needs a lot of context and a lot of looking into, which is what we’re going to do here. I just wanted to get it on the record with it right now.

SHEP SMITH: So, they’re saying basically, they’re in there — It sounds as if what they’re saying is, they’re looking for some ACORN hanky panky and they try to tap into Mary Landrieu’s telephone to get it.

GAUGHAN: That could be one way of looking at it, yes

Somehow I doubt it. Besides since the AP and New York Post did it in print - it would be Libel, not Slander - Dipwad.