Saturday Morning Reads

Good Morning!!

The political news this past week has been so strange and disturbing that I’ve begun to feel as if I’ve gone through the looking glass into some alternate reality. For years we’ve dealt with a press corps that refuses to deal in facts and will only report what one group of politicians say on the one hand, and contrast it with what another group of politicians say on the other hand, refusing to evaluate the truth value of what they are reporting.

But suddenly in 2012, we are dealing with a presidential candidate who seemingly has no scruples whatsoever. Mitt Romney lies blatantly and constantly, believing that he can get away with it in this media culture of false equivalency. And his running mate, Paul Ryan, also has a troubled relationship with the truth, although he isn’t quite as practiced a liar as Romney is.

James Fallows has been chronicling the way the media deals with what he calls the “post truth” era in politics. A few mainstream reporters have also begun trying to confront the blatant lying head on. Surprisingly, Norah O’Donnell, whom lefties have often mocked in the past, has been a standout. She successfully confronted Paul Ryan on blaming President Obama for spending cuts that Ryan voted for. And yesterday, she did it again with Romney surrogate Ohio Sen. Rob Portman.

Tommy Christopher of Mediaite: Norah O’Donnell Teaches TV Journos Another Lesson With Rob Portman Stuffage

Former Chief White House Correspondent and newly-minted CBS This Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell has been on fire lately, holding a veritable clinic on how to interview dishonest politicians that her mainstream media colleagues would do well to study. In the latest example of this, O’Donnell abandoned the current media fashion of ignoring lies (or presenting the truth as just another counter-argument), and pursued Sen. Rob Portman‘s (R-OH) disinformation on the recent violence in Libya like a Terminator with OCD.

What O’Donnell has been doing recently shouldn’t seem as remarkable as it is, but good old-fashioned feet to the fire followup is a sadly dying art, especially in television news. Interviewers either let lies and misinformation slip by because they need to hit all their prepared questions before time’s up, or because they’re numb to post-truth politics, or they present the facts in asterisk fashion before moving on to allow more lies to spew forth.

Portman completely twisted the timeline of events surrounding attacks on the embassy in Cairo and on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. He actually claimed that Romney had made his statement the U.S. embassy in Cairo had issued a statement after the attacks saying “We apologize,” and that Romney’s Tuesday night statement had been made before the violent attacks in Libya. O’Donnell point out the falsehoods, and Portman attempted to continue lying. O’Donnell kept at it, and Portman came out looking the fool. You can watch the video at the link.

After describing O’Donnell’s performance, Christopher concludes:

O’Donnell’s performance here should be in network news training videos, because the only way to get these people to stop lying is to put up a lie stop sign. For awhile, of course, every interview would look like this one, with the subject being stuck on the one lie for the whole interview, but eventually, they’d have to either start fessing up when they’re busted, or (heaven forbid) just start telling the truth.

Clearly, Republicans have learned they can blatantly lie to the media a get away with it; now Romney and Ryan have raised the lying to a new level. Will other reporters begin to point it out, as O’Donnell has? For the sake of our democracy, I hope so.

In contrast, I urge you to read the full transcript of George Stephanopoulos’ interview with Mitt Romney yesterday. Stephanopoulos half-heartedly pushed back on some of Romney’s lies, Romney just ran right over Stephanopoulos’ weak protests. There are points in this interview where Romney makes long rambling statements that make absolutely no sense, and gets away with it!

Romney actually claims that the White House agreed with his his initial statement on Tuesday night, that the U.S. Embassy in Cairo had apologized to terrorists for a muslim-bashing internet video!

Here is the Embassy’s statement, posted on its website hours before any protests began.

The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

Now Romney’s Tuesday night statement, released after it was known that there was an ongoing violent attack on the Consulate in Benghazi with one American death already reported.

“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi,” Romney said in the statement. “It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

And of course Romney doubled down the next day at his infamous smirk-filled Wednesday morning press conference, by attacking and lying about President Obama even after it was known that four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stephens, had been murdered. Now let’s look at how Romney tried to wriggle out of responsibility for his ugly remarks in his ABC interview:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Boy, there has been quite a controversy in the last couple of days, since those killings in Libya, the chaos in the Middle East. And we heard some of that at your event today. President Obama has stepped in as well. He said your comments on Tuesday night displayed a tendency of yours to “shoot first and aim later.” What’s your response?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, early on, with the developments in Egypt, the embassy there put out a statement which stayed up on their website for, I think, 14-15 hours.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But before the protestors had breached the wall.

MITT ROMNEY: Well, it first went up before they breached the wall. But it stayed up. And they reiterated the statement after they breached the wall, even after some of the tragedy in Libya, the statement stayed up. And I thought the statement was inappropriate and pointed that out. And of course, the White House also thought it was inappropriate. But of course, now our attention is focused on the loss of life and the tragedy of having a remarkable ambassador and diplomatic members, have their lives taken. This is a great sadness and tragedy for America.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You said the statement showed a tendency to sympathize with those who waged the attacks. And what the statement seems to be is condemning the continuing efforts of individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims. Where do they show sympathy for those who waged the attacks? It was done before the attacks happened.

MITT ROMNEY: Well, the statement as I indicated stayed on the website for some 14-15 hours. The statement was reiterated after they had breached the sovereignty of the embassy.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Coupled with a condemnation–

MITT ROMNEY: Even– and even–

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: –of the attacks, though.
MITT ROMNEY: And even after the killing in Libya. And by the way what I said was exactly the same conclusion the White House reached, which was that the statement was inappropriate. That’s why they backed away from it as well.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: They didn’t say that it was showing sympathy for the attackers.
MITT ROMNEY: Well, I think the statement was an inappropriate statement. I think it was not directly applicable and appropriate for the setting. I think it should have been taken down. And apparently the White House felt the same way.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: So no regrets?

MITT ROMNEY: Well, I indicated, at the time, and continue to that what was said at that time was not appropriate, that they continued to have that. They reiterated the statement after the then breaching of the grounds. And I think that was wrong. And by the way my statement was the same point, which was that the White House said they distanced themself from the statement. I also thought it was an inappropriate statement. I made the statement– my point at the same time, I think, the White House did. So I think we said about the same thing there. I just thought the statement was wrong.

Is it just me, or does Mitt Romney sound like a gibbering idiot? Yet the Stephanopoulos allows him to spew his nonsense at will after a few weak efforts to point out fallacies. Seriously, does Romney expect people to believe this garbage?  Stephanopoulos should have said something like that–slightly more tactfully, of course, but emphatically.  Please read the entire disgusting thing, if you can stand it. And then cleanse your palate with this hilarious post by Sarah Proud and Tall at Balloon Juice.

Here are a few more links to get you started on your weekend reading:

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Judge throws out Walker’s union bargaining law.

LA Times: Christian charity, ex-con linked to film on Islam

BBC News: Seven dead as anti-Islam film protests widen

Danger Room: ‘Muslims’ Movie Producer Was Arrested for PCP, Snitched for Feds

Smoking Gun: Producer Of Anti-Islam Film Was Fed Snitch

Houston Chronicle: US scrambles to rush spies, drones to Libya

Don’t miss this one! Wayne Barrett at The Nation: Mitt Romney, Monsanto Man

Politico: Pennsylvania poll: Obama up by 11

ABC News: The Early Voting Factor: Mitt Better Hurry

ABC News: Jennifer Granholm, DNC Firebrand, ‘Cute’ on ’78 ‘Dating Game’

Now what are you reading and blogging about this fine Saturday morning?


55 Comments on “Saturday Morning Reads”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    When lies go unchallenged they tend to grow bigger with each telling. These people depend upon the ineptitude of the press to gloss over the lies at the risk of accessibility and a theory that they are being “fair and balanced” to the speaker.

    Thus up to 1/2 of the Republican party are convinced that Obama was born elsewhere. The latest polls in Ohio show 37% of the GOP electorate believes it without question. Keep covering those who make these false assertions and sooner or later they being to take root.

    The press continues to cover Sarah Palin’s gibberish while Romney and his surrogates are allowed a forum to throw just about anything out there hoping it will stick. For people who watch Fox they are served up lie after lie and are convinced that what they are hearing must be the truth,. But that is Fox News. You know that going in.

    It is when the mainstream media chooses to let these lies sit there. Rather than cut the microphone or refuse to allow these morons to go any further, they “debate” the lie as if there were subtance to be found if it goes on long enough.

    But I will hand Mittens this much: the frequency of his lies must leave the heads of those covering him to question their own sanity. Trying to keep up with Mitt must prove a chore since his lies breed more lies giving “mendacity” a whole new meaning.

    With 15 years in the making, and 15 months of fumbling, mumbling, and disassembly, does anyone actual believe that Mitt will suddenly emerge during those debates as a statesman, a potential POTUS, or a Casey Anthony wannabe?

    Kind of late in the game for the tiger to change his spots. We have been watching “the real Mitt Romney” all along.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Joseph Cannon continues to be on top of the story of “Sam Bacile” and porno-film about Mohammed that set of the attacks on American embassies.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Gary Bauer tells TPM that Obama’s votes come from welfare checks and voter fraud.

    Bauer told TPM “voter fraud is rampant in urban areas” and he expected that to help Obama.

    Bauer also told TPM that “there are a lot of people who will vote this November because they depend on government largesse,” meaning checks from Washington. He expects those voters to go Obama as well.

    “They will vote for their own perceived interests, which is they don’t want anybody cutting back the size of the checks,” Bauer said.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      See what I mean?

      Throw out another lie, see if it sticks, and take heart that these assertions go unchallenged.

      And this from a member of the “values” crowd who swims in this syrup of duplicity.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      And you can bet those checks are BIG checks. There are apparently lots of rich poor people. “Government largesse” – I think it’s more common for that largesse to go to corporations than to people. Ya know, like oil, coal & gas.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    In case you missed it, Josh Marshall published a comment from an American foreign service officer:

    It’s probably not a surprise. But can I just say that if Mitt Romney wins in November, he is going to have a very chilly reception from his employees every time he goes abroad? I don’t think I can quite state the rage we’re all feeling towards him.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      I am not one for conspiracies but I just remembered that recently Michele Bachmann made some pretty heavy claims about Muslin infiltration withing the government.

      Now some crackpost with a record films a movie and sets off another protest in the Mideast. Romney rushes to a microphone and further fans the flames.

      Could this be the “backstory” to arouse a population that could offer Bibi the excuse he is searching for to go after Iran?

      Plant the seed, watch it flourish, then drag us even further into a situation we do not want or need but will satisfy the Israeli right wing, the Rapture crowd, and “pay back” Sheldon Adelson for his donations?

      There are too many “coincidences” and actors at work here but one thing for certain. Show any disrepect for the Prophet and World War 3 is not far behind.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Joseph Cannon thinks it’s a Mossad operation.

        • dakinikat says:

          I agree on this. The folks used aliases. They disappeared. I have a close friend that is Coptic and know the Coptic community well. His mom offered to fly me to Egypt after Katrina so I would have hot meals. They all liked Bush and did not like Arab culture or islam but i just don’t see anything in the Coptic culture that would suggest a group of them would do this. They are really peace loving Christians and are mostly merchants. They don’t have a radical element that i have ever seen. It would be like thinking Presbyterians could produce suicide bombers.

      • Pat Johnson says:

        One thing I can say for certain that after listening to these wingnuts over the past few years I myself may be going crazy as well.

      • bostonboomer says:

        It seems more likely that right wing American fundamentalists would be involved.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    U.S. authorities question Man Allegedly Behind Anti-Islam Film

    U.S. probation officials in California have questioned the man allegedly behind the controversial film that sparked violent protests in the Muslim world.

    Sheriff’s officials said Saturday that Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was questioned in Cerritos near his home for possible probation violations stemming from a 2010 bank fraud conviction.

    They say the terms of his probation include a five year ban on using computers or the Internet, without approval from a probation officer.

    ….

    The man believed to be Nakoula tells Radio Sawa he did not expect the film would cause such strong reactions from the Arab and Muslim world, saying the film’s other producers “put my mind at ease.” But he also says all the film’s advisers were “foreigners who do not know anything about Arabs and have never visited Arab countries.”

    During a protest over the film outside the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Tuesday, armed militants killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. staff members.

    Nakoula says he is saddened by the deaths, but that he does not regret making the film. Nakoula also rejected allegations made by some of the actors and crew members that they were tricked into making the movie.

    When asked if he misled the actors and crew, he said “This is a producer’s right. He can put what he wants in the film without consulting the actors… my answer to them is that they do not belong to a professional association.”

  6. ecocatwoman says:

    O/T but a concerning story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/nih-superbug-claims-7th-victim/2012/09/14/09b3742e-fe9b-11e1-b153-218509a954e1_story.html

    A deadly, drug-resistant superbug outbreak that began last summer at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center claimed its seventh victim Sept. 7, when a seriously ill boy from Minnesota succumbed to a bloodstream infection, officials said Friday.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Google will not take down the anti-muslim video that is fueling the MENA protests.

  8. Pat Johnson says:

    Let’s take a closer look at what another Mideast conflict would look like today.

    Most of those countries are no longer dominated by a tyrannical dictator who was more than happy to take our money for his own use and keep tight conrols over his population.

    Al Qaeda is not “dead” after all as we have discovered in the last few days. Muslim will be expected to stand alongside Muslim in a conflict they see more as an attack on their religion.

    The Arab Spring has yet to correct the economical divide they fought for. Few have much to lose.

    Some of their artillery “disappeared” during these uprisings and are more than likely in the hands of groups who would welcome a war. The “new democracies” are fragile.

    The oil embargo will cripple the global economy. Everyone will suffer from the effect. This conflict would make Syria’s crackdown appear mild by comparison.

    And we cannot discount the “domestic terrorism” here at home as an outlet which may find Muslims facing down “militias” that have tripled since Obama took office. We are armed to the teeth.

    Democracy will disappear under “martial law” because this is what World War 3 will look like. The Arab world will treat this as a “jihad” and tghis conflict will have no end in sight.

  9. RalphB says:

    So much for protests only happening in the Middle East. This crowd does look like a bunch of soccer hooligans in the pictures.

    Sydney Morning Herald: Police gas Sydney protesters

    Eight people were arrested and six officers were injured after a protest swept through the Sydney CBD this afternoon.

    Police said that, about 1pm today, a group marched from Sydney Town Hall to Martin Place, where a confrontation occurred between protesters and police outside a building housing the US consulate.

    Police used capsicum spray on the protesters, who at times pelted officers with bottles. Up to 500 people stormed through the city, working their way through Pitt Street before moving to Hyde Park amid a heavy police presence.

    • dakinikat says:

      The White House is calling shenanigans on that Guardian article:

      White House says ‘no intelligence’ could have been acted on to prevent attacks

      http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/249561-white-house-no-actionable-intelligence-ahead-of-libyan-assault

      • RalphB says:

        Frankly I can’t imagine Obama and Hillary Clinton sitting around and just letting this happen. That’s just an insane prospect on it’s face!

      • bostonboomer says:

        Do you mean the Independent article? The article didn’t say the events could have been prevented. I read it carefully. Only Drudge said that.

      • RalphB says:

        BB. Maybe they didn’t say it but it’s being spun that way by more than Drudge.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Who else is spinning it that way? Based on what?

      • RalphB says:

        There was a long list of sites listed on memeorandum under the story. Since that story ran, the State Dept has been hammered with questions about it from all over.

        What do you mean “based on what”? The sub headline of the story for one thing and you know it takes nothing to set off a witch hunt.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I agree. I’ve been reading a lot of stuff this afternoon. This is very confusing. Is it possible that the leftists at The Independent got leaks from fundamentalists at the Pentagon–there are plenty of them–and got duped? I see that some general who works for Fox News now is spreading nasty stuff about Hillary.

        I don’t believe for one minute that either Hillary or Obama would have ignored warnings. If anything Obama is supercareful after all the mistakes the Bushies made.

  10. peggysue22 says:

    Portman looked like a fool during that interview, insisting that the Administration was apologizing for a terrorist attack before it even happened. As far as I’m concerned Romney and his supporters disqualified themselves for ever holding the reins of power by this misstep that they’ve doubled down on. And that idiot who heads the RNC, Priebus made the outrageous statement that all of this proves that Obama sides with the terrorists. Sad, pathetic, he said. That about sums it up for the entire GOP.

    I still don’t like Obama but the Republicans make the man look like a damn saint. I’ve never heard such sheer craziness in my life. And you can bet your bottom dollar this is being fanned by the neocons, all itching for a war with Iran. Romney has even said he would do whatever his good friend Bibi wants. Are you kidding me????

    Btw, Dinesh D’Souza was on Book TV this morning hawking his ‘documentary,’ which is sucking up amazing ticket sales, pushing the whole meme that Barack Obama is deliberately undercutting American influence in the world, some grand scheme as payback for his father’s lost dream. And goobers who buy into the most extreme birther, anti-Christ message are eating this garbage up.

    I watched the memorial service yesterday. If there was ever a genuine expression of grief and resolve, it was written on the face of Hillary Clinton. And yes, Barack Obama, who gave an amazing eulogy.

    If the polls are accurate [and I’m very leery about polls in general], the Republicans are losing badly. Every time they open their mouths, they expose themselves for the sick puppies they really are.

    I thought the Bushies were bad. This group is beyond belief. Being out of power obviously drives the Republicans literally mad. What they need is a padded cell.

    Excellent roundup, bb. I’m not writing articles anymore, but I am keeping up. Hard not to.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      So good to see you again, peggysue. Always a refreshing voice of reason.

    • dakinikat says:

      Hi!!!

      I know, it’s like Romney rounded up the WORST of the Bushies. The few reasonable Bushies aren’t even on his call list.

    • Boo Radly says:

      “I thought the Bushies were bad. This group is beyond belief. Being out of power obviously drives the Republicans literally mad. What they need is a padded cell.”…………

      Great post BB, excellent comment(s) peggysue. I became unhinged back in 1999 regarding Bu$h, bushies and the gang of neocon thieves/liars. They exceeded my wildest low expectations back then. I was in my early 20’s when exposed to these people(70’s) and, granted naive but the overwhelming stench of evil was so obvious. The sense of entitlement with the lack of any moral compass – Bu$h policies accelerated the loss of rule of law – any pretense of constitutional law, morals – the scarier situation now is, there are only 5% of the US population that would be made wealthier, family history of always been enabled by government mis-appropriations(gov’t welfare, if you will) How did the rest of these rabid dogs get that way? What sets off this sub-human thinking? Are they just wannabes? I can somewhat understand those who have lost good paying jobs wanting their jobs back but they seem short sighted as the 4/5% are never going to make that happen. Even the low information voters, and those who profess christian ‘faithers’ are literally mad dog crazy.

      From the timing of the embassy attack and the comments made by Romney – I figured out in my sleep what had been wrought and by whom. Those Romney (chimpmister) smirks were so telling. The twists on the ceremony for the returned American victims from the embassy as photo op for the present administration by these miscreants is truly sickening.

  11. dakinikat says:

    http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/polls/249665-poll-obama-widens-lead-over-romney-to-11-points-in-pennsylvania

    A new poll finds President Obama opening up a commanding 11-point lead in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

    A Philadelphia Inquirer poll released on Saturday shows Obama with 50 percent support to Romney’s 39 among likely voters in the state.

    Obama has expanded his 8-point lead in the same poll taken last month, where he topped Romney with 51 percent to 42.

  12. dakinikat says:

    The Washington Post ‏@washingtonpost

    Editorial Board: Where’s your foreign policy program, Mr. Romney? http://wapo.st/SnOJSJ

    Looks like WAPO will not be endorsing Romney despite the fact they have a bunch of right wing toadies writing for them.

    • RalphB says:

      In reading that editorial, I agreed with almost none of it except asking Romney to present his own foreign policy positions. They seem still captured by neo-cons to me.

  13. RalphB says:

    John Heilemann calls this Rmoney mess for what it really says about the candidate. It should be completely disqualifying.

    NYMag: Don’t Say “Desperate”

    And so it does, with the past week proving another maxim: that when shit rains, shit pours. In the space of 72 hours, what began, horrifically enough on September 11, with the murder of four Americans (including one of our best and bravest, Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya) at the consulate in Benghazi spiraled into a region-wide upheaval, with angry Muslim protests directed at American diplomatic missions erupting in sixteen countries. Suddenly, the president was facing just the kind of externality that his team had been bracing for: a full-blown ­foreign-policy crisis less than eight weeks out from Election Day. And a campaign marked by stasis and even torpor was jolted to life as if by a pair of defibrillator paddles applied squarely to its solar plexus.

    Moments like this are not uncommon in presidential elections, and when they come, they tend to matter. For unlike the posturing and platitudes that constitute the bulk of what occurs on the campaign trail, big external events provide voters with something authentic and valuable: a real-time test of the temperament, character, and instincts of the men who would be commander-in-chief. And when it comes to the past week, the divergence between the resulting report cards could hardly be more stark.
    […]
    “This is worse than a Lehman moment,” says a senior GOP operative. “­McCain made mistakes of impulsiveness, but this was a deliberate and premeditated move, and it totally revealed Romney’s character; it revealed him as completely craven and his candidacy as serving no higher purpose than his ambition.”

  14. dakinikat says:

    Rick Santorum: “Smart People Will Never Be on Our Side” http://lgf.bz/R6AzL3

    omigawsh … he admits that republicans rely on idiots

  15. dakinikat says:

    cute boy band parody on Romney and “full frontal disclosure”

  16. dakinikat says:

    More religious nut craziness:

    Creationists Boycott Dr. Pepper Over ‘Evolution of Flavor’ Facebook Ad http://lgf.bz/RUQFBV

    • HT says:

      That’s it – I held out hope, but it seems that the majority of loud mouth creationist Xianists are winning the media blitz. Who are these people? Where’s Eddie Izzard when you need him?

  17. bostonboomer says:

    Glenn Greenwald sort of defends attackers in Libya, with obligatory statement that killing is still wrong.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/14/egypt-nbc

  18. RalphB says:

    This is sweet considering the so-called debate that’s been going on about supporting Israel.

    Obama Extends Lead With Jewish Voters

    President Barack Obama is closing extending his lead with Jewish voters, leading among registered voters 70-25 percent according to unreleased Gallup daily tracking poll data.