Friday, October 5, 2007

Closing the Hack Gap? Not Me

(Former KFBK conservative talk show gabber Mark Williams)

Ezra Klieg recently griped there's a "Democratic hack gap in the punditariat. And my soon-to-be colleague at Mother Jones, Jonathan Stein echoed the sentiment. But this is one gap I'm not all that interested in closing--at least not personally.

I ran smack into said gap today when I appeared on Fox News to discuss that significant issue that has gripped the imagination of all Americans: why Barack Obama does not wear a flag pin on his lapel. I was up against a rightwing radio talk guy I've never heard of (name: Mark Williams). And he made stuff up--can you believe that?--just to provoke. It was so over-the-top that Media Matters interrupted it's Rush-watching to post a transcript. It seems this guy clearly has Coulter-envy. Given that I am restrained by an obligation to stick with the facts, I could never compete with him on the red-hot-and-outrageous rhetoric scale. I could merely make the case that he's talking out of his backside and is not worthy of attention. I hope I did so effectively. But you can be the judge of that. Meanwhile, I know I could never match his hackery--and I'm proud of that. Let's roll the tape:

BILL HEMMER (co-host): All right, Barack Obama wants to be president, right? This week he was asked why he no longer wears an American flag lapel pin on his suit. Instead the Illinois senator saying that he wants to show Americans his beliefs are a testament to his patriotism. How's this going to impact his campaign? Let's debate that now with radio talk show host Mark Williams and the Washington editor for The Nation, David Corn. Gentlemen, welcome to both of you here.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

CORN: Good to be here.

HEMMER: David, you first, now how does this decision win votes? That's the name of the game, right?

CORN: Uh, excuse me. Last night, on this very network, there was an interview with Fred Thompson. Guess what he had on his lapel? No flag pin. I went on to the websites this morning of John McCain and Mitt Romney. Found lots of pictures of them, no flag pin, flag pin. I looked at Congressional Quarterly this morning, and I did see a picture of Larry Craig, the disgraced senator who's not giving up his seat. There was a flag pin.

HEMMER: I don't, OK.

CORN: This is a big nothing. Unless you want to talk about everybody else who's wearing and not wearing a flag pin, I don't see how this makes a difference in the race.

HEMMER: I want to bring in Mark in a moment. Have these guys been asked about it yet? I don't think they have. I think it's Obama that's on record as addressing this. Mark, what do you make of this? How does it win votes? That is the name of the game.

WILLIAMS: It uh, well first of all, Obama's very different than those other names, in that Obama says he took his flag pin off after 9-11, and he felt, apparently, some sort of an affinity or some sort of a connection, because at that point he felt it OK to come out of the closet as the domestic insurgent he is.

CORN: Oh, you know –

WILLIAMS: The Democrat [sic] Party is coming out of the closet as the domestic insurgency and the domestic enemy. We've got John "Skippy" Edwards, who wants us all to march off to the doctor for mandatory physicals. Hillary Clinton, who wants us to be denied the right to work for a living unless we live a politically correct prescribed lifestyle for our universal health insurance. Obama, who says 9-11 is his cue to take off the American flag –

CORN: Mark, Mark –

WILLIAMS: And then now David Corn equating an American flag with a pervert in a toilet.

CORN: That's wrong, Mark. You have your facts wrong.

HEMMER: He's calling him a "domestic insurgent," David?

CORN: Hey, hey, Bill, Bill, let me make a suggestion here. If you want to have an intelligent debate, you should have someone who knows the facts. What Obama says is that he wore a flag pin after 9-11. That's not that 9-11 caused him to take it off. And that after –

WILLIAMS: Took it off after 9-11.

CORN: No, no. And then he took it off sometime after 9-11 –

WILLIAMS: As a - as a good ally –


CORN: He took it off because he didn't like the run-up to the war, and he decided that you show your patriotism by your ideals, not by what you wear on your lapel. So you have it wrong, Mark. Mark, you owe him an apology.

HEMMER: David, you've made your point. Mark, is that the case? Is that a fact?

CORN: You owe him an apology, Mark.

HEMMER: Hang on, David. Mark, go ahead.

WILLIAMS: He took it off after 9/11. He said that he felt that the flag was becoming something -- it was becoming too noticeable, too high profile. He thought that people were wearing it in place of showing their patriotism. I mean, come on, what has Obama done to demonstrate the patriotism that he says doesn't belong on his lapel? What's he done to demonstrate that, except get out there, badmouth this country, and help demoralize the troops, and help do his part to undermine this nation?

CORN: You know, there are plenty of generals who don't support this war who have spoken out against it. I guess they're all unpatriotic in your view too. More Americans than not say the war was a mistake. Are they unpatriotic as well, Mark? You're putting yourself into a very small corner.

WILLIAMS: Are they throwing their flags into the gutter?

CORN: No one's throwing their flags into the gutter.

WILLIAMS: Maybe Obama would like a cloth flag and a match.

CORN: You know, you really should stick to some facts. I know on radio talk, rhetoric is what counts the most, but you're misstating the facts, and now you're branding everybody who's against the war as being unpatriotic? Some people would say that that's unpatriotic.

WILLIAMS: I'm talking about Obama –

HEMMER: Mark, you get the last word. Fire away.

WILLIAMS: I'm talking about Obama and the domestic enemies in the Democrat Party –

CORN: Oh, this is absurd.

WILLIAMS: -- who stand for everything this country was founded to oppose.

HEMMER: You guys are hot.

Hot indeed. But what are you gonna do with people like that?

Posted by David Corn at October 5, 2007 03:44 PM


capt said...

Mr. David Corn,

This guy Mark is a extreme kook.

If Hemmer surprised you with this idiot you should be pissed. If you were actually booked to chat with this hot-head - I would fire the person that booked you.

I think the only thing you achieve entering into non-discourse is giving validation to the lies shouted over you. Yes you have the truth of your side and some people see that but others only hear the loud lies and so end up deceived.

I don't know the business but what is a "Washington Bureau Chief" doing a tête à tête with a loser like Mark? You aren't the only person that has NEVER even heard of him. He does some drive-time on demand radio via a webpage?

I guess you should have expected as much from FOX?

Someone set you up to give this Mark guy some mad-street-neo-cred. He will be bloviating about how he shouted down David Corn. He will lie about your exchange.

I know it has been getting worse by the year. Cliff May, Ann Coulter, Hannity, etc.

I hope you have some good and reasonable exchanges about real issues in your next and future appearances. You have to demand better more fact based opponents. You deserve better.

Thanks for all of your work.


capt said...

The Democrats who enable Bush

WASHINGTON -- President Bush has no better friends than the spineless Democratic congressional leadership and the party's leading presidential candidates when it comes to his failing Iraq policy.

Those Democrats seem to have forgotten that the American people want U.S. troops out of Iraq, especially since Bush still cannot give a credible reason for attacking Iraq after nearly five years of war.

Last week at a debate in Hanover, N.H., the leading Democratic presidential candidates sang from the same songbook: Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York, and Barack Obama of Illinois and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards refused to promise to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by 2013, at the end of the first term of their hypothetical presidencies. Can you believe it?

When the question was put to Clinton, she reverted to her usual cautious equivocation, saying: "It is very difficult to know what we're going to be inheriting."

Obama dodged, too: "I think it would be irresponsible" to say what he would do as president.

Edwards, on whom hopes were riding to show some independence, replied to the question: "I cannot make that commitment."

They have left the voters little choice with those answers.

Some supporters were outraged at the obfuscation by the Democratic front-runners.

On the other hand, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., are more definitive in their calls for quick troop withdrawals.

But Biden wants to break up Iraq into three provinces along religious and ethnic lines. In other words, Balkanize Iraq.

To have major Democratic backing to stay the course in Iraq added up to good news for Bush.

Now comes a surprising Clinton fan.

President Bush told Bill Sammon -- Washington Examiner correspondent and author of a new book titled "The Evangelical President" -- that Clinton will beat Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination because she is a "formidable candidate" and better known.

Sammon says Bush revealed that he has been sending messages to Clinton to urge her to "maintain some political wiggle room in your campaign rhetoric about Iraq."

The author said Bush contends that whoever inherits the White House will be faced with a potential vacuum in Iraq and "will begin to understand the need to continue to support the young democracy."

Bush ought to know about campaign rhetoric. Remember how he ridiculed "nation building" in the 2000 presidential campaign? Now he claims he is trying to spread democracy throughout the Middle East.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is another Democratic leader who has empowered Bush's war.

Pelosi removed a provision from the most recent war-funding bill that would have required Bush to seek the permission of Congress before launching any attack on Iran. Her spokesman gave the lame excuse that she didn't like the wording of the provision. More likely, she bowed to political pressure.

Is it any wonder the Democrats are faring lower than the president in a Washington Post ABC approval poll? Bush came in at 33 percent and Congress at 29 percent.

Members of Congress seem to have forgotten their constitutional prerogative to declare war; World War II was the last time Congress formally declared war.

Presidents have found other ways to make end runs around the law, mainly by obtaining congressional authorization "to do whatever is necessary" in a crisis involving use of the military. That's the way we got into the Vietnam and Iraq wars.

So what are the leading Democratic White House hopefuls offering? It seems nothing but more war. So where do the voters go who are sick of the Iraqi debacle?


*****end of clip*****

Anybody that thinks a Democratic sweep will translate into good governance is not looking at the larger picture.

Here’s an example of what I mean. With Pete Domenici retiring and a possible run by Heather for the seat, if David Inglesias decided to run - I would vote for him over anybody - hands down. He could run as a GOP or Indy and he would still have my vote. Not because he was screwed but because he is a good guy and he is honest. I think he would be a good senator for NM and he is fair minded enough to consider all the people in his state. (Something Pete has never done).


capt said...

Today as never before in their history Americans are enthralled with military power. The global military supremacy that the United States presently enjoys--and is bent on perpetuating--has become central to our national identity. More than America's matchless material abundance or even the effusions of its pop culture, the nation's arsenal of high-tech weaponry and the soldiers who employ that arsenal have come to signify who we are and what we stand for. --Andrew Bacevich in The New American Militarism

"The revulsion against war ... will be an almost insuperable obstacle for us to overcome. For that reason, I am convinced that we must begin now to set the machinery in motion for a permanent wartime economy."- Charles E. Wilson (1886-1972) President of General Electric (1940-42, 1945-50), head of the Office of Defense Mobilization in 1951, US Secretary of Defense (1953-57) - Source: internal memo, 1944

"American strategic [nuclear] forces do not exist solely for the purpose of deterring a Soviet nuclear threat or attack against the U.S. itself. Instead, they are intended to support U.S. foreign policy." - Colin Gray U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Source: "Victory is Possible," Foreign Policy, Summer 1980

"The principal beneficiary of America's foreign assistance programs has always been the United States." -- US Agency for International Development Source: "Direct Economic Benefits of U.S. Assistance Programs," 1999


Thanks ICH Newsletter!

capt said...

Imagine Peace

Imagine all the people, living life in peace.
John Winston Ono Lennon
October 9, 1940-December 8, 1980

A dream you dream alone is only a dream.
A dream you dream together is reality.
Yoko Ono Lennon

On October 9th, on what would have been John Lennon's 67th birthday, his widow, Yoko Ono is dedicating a peace tower in Reykjavik, Iceland in the memory of her husband. There will also be almost a half a million peace wishes buried in capsules around the tower which is a blue tower of light extending up to the sky above us.

I received the link to the Imagine Peace website while I was on a layover in the airport in Las Vegas, Nv. Still reeling from the reports of hundreds, if not thousands of Burmese monks and other humans being slaughtered for protesting against their oppressive government, it was hard for me to watch all the people sitting hypnotized at the slot machines, pulling the handles or pushing the buttons as if the world is not going to hell in George's hand basket. The dichotomy of business as usual in America compared with genocides in Darfur and Iraq while I am still and always will be mourning my son makes me dizzy sometimes.

So, I made myself close my eyes for a few minutes between planes and tried to shut out the bells and whistles of the slots and "imagined" peace. What would a world at peace look like? What would a world at peace be like to live in? I have a great imagination but I knew this exercise would be challenging.

John Lennon called his song Imagine an "anti-religious, anti-nationalism, anti-conventional, anti-capitalist" sort of a "Communist manifesto." It is for sure a utopian vision of a perfect society that unfortunately can not be achieved by imagining, and probably not at all---but how close can we get to this world and how much sacrifice will a world at peace take from each and everyone of us?

First of all, imagine a world with no religion. A world where sick and evil people could not manipulate the masses into believing that the set of myths and beliefs that they profess are more important or powerful than the other's set of myths or beliefs. Israelis could not (with the help of Christian extremists) tell Palestinians that it is okay to occupy them or kill them so that the Jews could claim their "Promised Land." Land promised to whom by whom? Muslims could not proclaim "jihad" against infidels. There would have been no Nazi holocaust against Jews; no Crusades; no holocaust against our own native population; no black slavery justified by the Christian scriptures; no George Bush saying that his Christian God is like a mob-boss ordering him to "hit" the world. Imagine that!

Secondly, imagine no countries. No jingoistic worship of banners made of mere cloth (not spun gold) or arrogant nationalism that gives leaders the right to kill other human beings just because they do not happen to live within the same false borders that were artificially drawn many years ago by empires that have long ago fallen. In this homeland-istic fervor it is especially correct to kill those other people if they are not the same religion as the religion of your state (and don't kid yourself that the US does not have a state sanctioned religion). Imagine no armies that in reality kill and get killed for the imperialistic neo-liberalism that has crept around our globe like a flesh eating bacteria since the Reagan years. Imagine that.

Imagine no possessions: This is the crux of our problem. Going back to my brothers and sisters at the slot machines in Vegas, pulling almost catatonically on the lever of the One Armed Bandit, for what? To win the "jackpot" of course! How nice is it of the State of Nevada to allow gambling machines in their airports, so we can perchance live the American dream of buying higher stacks of stuff! On a day that George vetoed the health of over six-million children here in America, 16,000 children around the world died of starvation. In a week that we saw murder on a horrendous scale in Burma, more Iraqis were killed or forced from their homes by violence: to wander in the desert, or probably off to Syria where their daughters may be forced into prostitution to help support the family which should be able to live in peace and relative prosperity in their own country. Imagine that.

It was hard for me to imagine or envision peace when I am terrified because BushCo is contemplating even more slaughter in the Middle East in Iran and when Congress, Inc is busy supporting a murderous status quo that hurts humans within all borders, even our own.

Peace will only happen when every member of humanity is guaranteed prosperity, health and security which will not happen when we here in the US can't even get off our asses to protest a war that is four and a half years and hundreds of thousands of bodies old, now.

We can imagine peace all we want but until each and everyone of us is willing to sacrifice some of our prosperity (because we have already had our security robbed from us by the rotten Republicans and complicit corporate Democrats) true peace---not just the absence of war---will be as elusive as a morsel of truth or modicum of courage coming out of Washington, DC.

Voluntary sacrifice is truly a revolutionary concept here in the United States of America.

So you say you want a revolution? Imagine that.


David B. Benson said...

Voluntary sacrifice --- Yes, if we are to leave an even half-way decent world for our children, grand-children and their children, some sacrifice is certainly required to stave off the more serious consequences of global warming.

Just better weather stripping and a more fuel-efficient car won't cut the mustard...

Hajji said...

Worthless exchanges of vitriol that do nothing but destroy any chance of returning to civil conversation about our differences that might one day lead to talking about shared goals.

THAT's what MSM is all about, these daze it seem.


Hajji said...

It DOES highlight the few remaining places where one can look for more intelligent observation, such as "The News Hour" on PBS.

The too-infrequent exchanges between David Brooks and Mark Shields are generally civil, always insightful and rarely escalated to the screetchy voiced donneybrooks one finds most elsewhere.


O'Reilly said...


Fox News America’s Newsroom has shown itself to be neither a news program nor an opinion program featuring reasonable and reasoning fact-based pundits. Instead, Fox News chooses to give a platform to the contemptuous anti-democratic rhetoric disgorged by disingenuous Republican Party hacks, like Mark Williams.

Fox News America’s Newsroom is nothing more than a platform for Republican Party hacks to paste Democratic candidates like Barack Obama with patently false negative characterizations. To repeatedly give Mark Williams a platform on your network is irresponsible journalism.

Fox News may be the largest corporate media entity in the United States that enables the destruction of a reasoned political discourse and it does so for profit. There is a special place in purgatory for low-minded people who reject the ethical responsibilities of journalism in favor of profit and at the expense of quality political debate; in other words, at the expense of our political process.

On the October 5 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, former radio host Mark Williams said

“…that Obama says he took his flag pin off after 9-11, and he felt, apparently, some sort of an affinity or some sort of a connection, because at that point he felt it OK to come out of the closet as the domestic insurgent he is.”

“The Democratic Party is coming out of the closet as the domestic insurgency and the domestic enemy.”

“What's he [Barack Obama] done to demonstrate that [his patriotism], except get out there, badmouth this country, and help demoralize the troops, and help do his part to undermine this nation?”

“Maybe Obama would like a cloth flag and a match.”

“…the domestic enemies in the Democrat Party who stand for everything this country was founded to oppose.”

If Fox News does not take the responsible course of action in choosing pundits who offer reasoned opinions based on facts; I will boycott the national and local companies that buy advertising on your programs, I will notify them I am doing so and why.

capt said...

Iraqi government to sue its former corruption fighter for corruption

BAGHDAD: The government of Iraq will sue an Iraqi judge who led the U.S.-established Commission on Public Integrity for smuggling documents, libeling the prime minister and corruption, according to a statement released Saturday by the prime minister's office.

Radhi Hamza al-Radhi, who's seeking asylum in the U.S., said he was forced to flee Iraq after trying to unearth instances of government fraud and abuse.

But the statement called Al-Radhi's accusations nothing more than "lies" that were part of a smear campaign against Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. It said al-Maliki urged al-Radhi to investigate corruption allegations regardless of political, religious and ethnic backgrounds.

The prime minister's office also said al-Radhi fled the country because a cabinet committee had been formed to investigate corruption allegations against him.

Last week, al-Radhi testified to a U.S. Congressional committee about the alleged improprieties in the higher echelons of al-Maliki's government. He said he believed al-Maliki had protected some relatives involved in corruption and allowed other ministers to protect their employees from investigation.

The allegations are similar to those made in a draft report by the State Department's Office of Accountability and Transparency. It said the al-Maliki government sometimes has derailed or prevented investigations into Shiite-controlled agencies. Despite the wide reporting of its findings, the department has classified the report on the grounds it could damage U.S.-Iraqi relations.

Al-Radhi detailed the fallout from the commission's work: Thirty-one of his employees and 12 of their family members were assassinated, including one investigator and his pregnant wife, and his home was attacked with rockets.

"We have learned the hard way that the corrupt will stop at nothing," al-Radhi said last week. "They are so corrupt that they will attack their accusers and their families with guns and meat hooks, as well as countercharges of corruption."

It was not immediately clear when the suit would be filed.


*****end of clip*****

See, the only corruption in Iraq is here in the USA telling congress that the Iraqi government is corrupt.

I think the Maliki thugs have been taking notes on how the Reich-wingnuttia just spew the opposite of the truth.


capt said...

Americans Keep Dying

Soldier (NE) Dies From August Afghan Injuries, Never Got to See Baby Daughter

Queens (NY) GI Killed in Iraq Just Days Before Return Home

Illinois Marine Dies From Wounds Received in Iraq in 2005

Indiana Guardsman Wounded in Iraq in April Dies

Soldier (CA) Dies of Wounds Suffered in Afghanistan in July

US Forestry Service Civilian Worker (NV) Killed in Afghanistan

Lubbock (TX) Navy Corpsman Killed in Afghanistan

Michigan Soldier Killed in Afghanistan Was Silver Star Recipient

Army Medical Corps Surgeon Dies in Iraq (OH)

Broken Hearts, Unshakable Faith for Soldier Killed in Iraq (TX)

Columbine Was 'Defining Moment' for Navy Medic (CO) Who Died a Hero in Afghanistan

Soldier (NH) Killed in Afghanistan Got Start at Community TV Station

Texas Family Mourns Loss of Fallen Soldier

NJ Soldier's Widow, Sister Remember His 'Big Heart'

Improvised Explosive Device Kills Lima (OH) Soldier in Baghdad

Army Combat Medic (OR) Dies in Iraq

Alabama Marine Killed in Combat During Third Trip to Iraq

capt said...

Time to remove both Bush & Cheney

These madmen must be driven from office

George W. Bush is an American Hitler. We can no longer deny that unpleasant reality and we must face the sad fact that the President of the United States is an international war criminal, a despot who sanctions torture and a madman who is nothing less than a mass murderer.

Impeachment of this criminal is no longer an option. It is a necessity. Bush, along with his partner in crime Dick Cheney, must be removed from office. They must be arrested and tried for their crimes and, upon conviction, they must be punished to the full extent of the law.

The United States can no longer sit back and allow the slow, plodding wheels of Democracy take its course. We cannot wait until January 20, 2009, to remove these thugs from office. It must happen now. He is a threat not only to the peace and security of the United States but represents a clear and present danger to the world as we know it.

Bush is an international terrorist far more dangerous than Osama bin Laden. Bush is a Hitler with nuclear weapons, an unhinged, megalomaniacal madman bent on world destruction.

On Friday, Bush defended his administration’s use of torture. He has ordered the Pentagon to draw up plans for an invasion of Iran and authorized the military to develop scenarios that include the use of nuclear weapons in such a war. He has placed loyalists in permanent positions on many key federal agencies, ensuring that his insane policies will be carried out long after he leaves office.

I’m sorry, but as an American I can no longer sit back and leave the removal of George W. Bush from office to the flawed political system. That is the system that put him into office, not once but twice, and it is the system that has allowed him to seize control of the government and subvert the will of the American people.

The Democratic leadership of Congress failed the American people by not delivering on the promises that swept them into power in the 2006 midterm elections. The only way they can restore credibility is by taking the drastic, but necessary, steps to remove Bush and Cheney from office before they destroy this nation and the world.

I truly believe the situation is that desperate, that this nation cannot survive another 15 months with Bush and his cronies in power.

The time to act is now…before it is too late.

I only pray it not already too late.


*****end of clip*****

Whoop’s under 18 months - too late.


capt said...

Three months before a single vote is cast in the primary and . . .

HRC is pulling ahead!



capt said...

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