Category Archives: NPR

Zombie WMDs


And on NPR this evening, I heard national political correspondent Mara Liasson refer to Syria’s Bashir as “Saddam.” NPR is really harshing my post-vacation mellow.


In the car this morning I caught about 10 minutes of On Point’s discussion of Syria. It’s a call-in show and if you were listening you heard an Ohio Teanut phone in to ramble something bizarre about “Obama’s Muslim Brotherhood” and advising John McCain to talk to Sarah Palin. But the kicker was when he said, I shit you not,

“Those Iraq WMD’s? Looks like they ended up in Syria.”

You gotta give ’em credit: there’s no true believer like a conservative true believer.

This idea that Saddam’s WMDs ended up in Syria has cropped up occasionally on wingnut websites over the past 10 years. It’s one of those zombie lies that just won’t die. I figured it was only a matter of time before some Breit Bulb suggested maybe there’s a connection between Iraq and Syria, and it looks like the chain e-mail FWDs have begun.

Iraq’s WMDs did not end up in Syria. It’s been debunked aplenty, but officially by the Iraq Survey Group. But the Breitbarts and Freepers have kept the myth alive because they need it to be true. Desperately and pathetically, they need to believe Saddam Hussein had WMD. It’s crucial to their entire worldview to believe our intelligence wasn’t faulty (or our Administration didn’t lie us into war). If the WMD thing is false, it all unravels — every bit of it. It is the worst institutional failure conceivable. That the mighty U.S. intelligence apparatus we’re always told rules the world like a master puppeteer is not just incompetent but irresponsible? Even dangerous? Not possible. We’re the good guys! We’re AMERICA, man! We’re Big Daddy and Big Daddy is not incompetent.

I get the need to hold onto this thing, I really do. So much of the conservative worldview has to be taken on faith anyway — evolution is false, peace through war, tax cuts create budget surpluses, feminism killed the American family. At least if the WMDs had been found there could be one tangible thing they could hold on to proving their worldview correct.

Now even a Republican Congress Critter is bringing this zombie lie back to life:

WASHINGTON — Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) said on Thursday that he is against military intervention in Syria, even though his “gut feeling” is that the Syrian government now possesses chemical weapons that came from fallen Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain.

“The theory then and the evidence was that Iraq was an enemy of the United States and had direct plans in either support of al Qaeda and/or with other weapons that we found out weren’t there — which I still think they were moved to Syria,” said Terry. “And it wouldn’t surprise me if some of the chemical weapons that have been used by Syria actually came from Iraq.”

There is no evidence that Hussein sent weapons of mass destruction to Syria. When Becka asked whether Terry’s claim about the transfer of weapons was based on information he had received as a member of Congress, Terry replied, “Gut feeling. Yeah, I have not had any classified briefing, but all we know that Iraq had … chemical and biological weapons and then they weren’t there. … It wasn’t that the U.S. was guessing; that was something that they had actually declared. But they went someplace.”

Hilarious. Rep. Terry has been in Congress since 1999, and was a gung-ho supporter of the Iraq invasion. Now he says he doesn’t support military intervention in Syria. Why, Rep. Terry? If having WMD was good enough to take out Saddam, why not Assad? Don’t bothering answering that one. We all know the difference: only Republican presidents are given their pet wars!

By the way, that On Point radio show I was telling you about? The Teanut caller’s comments about WMD and “Obama’s Muslim Brotherhood” were both completely ignored by Tom Ashbrook and the rest of the panel. Instead, they addressed the guy’s belief that President Obama wants to pass all responsibility/blame related to Syria onto the Republicans. Which is a heads-we-win-tails-you-lose proposition, since certain Tea Party Republicans have been yammering for President Obama to bring any action on Syria before the U.S. Congress for a full debate.

I guess it makes sense to ignore the truly nutty stuff on the air, but seriously: when even a member of Congress starts bringing back the Zombie WMD lie? Maybe y’all need to start paying attention to it. “We’re going to have to leave it there” on WMDs is kinda how we got into this mess in the first place, isn’t it?


Filed under Iraq War, Media, NPR, WMD

Maybe Dude Needs To Chill Out Just A Bit

People, is there any show on NPR more insufferable than “Marketplace”? I think not.

Every time it comes on the radio I want to cringe. Last night on the way to dinner we heard this report about a possible change in FAA rules regulating use of electronic devices on airplanes. Let me begin by saying, I don’t think anyone buys the BS that turning your iPad or laptop on will interfere with a plane’s electronics. If that were the case, the FAA would ban all electronics in the cabin and Al Qaeda wouldn’t have used guys with box cutters on 9/11.

But regardless, there’s word that the FAA may change the rules and allow you to keep your electronic devices on during takeoff and landing. To which this special snowflake responded:

The news brings a smile to Henry Feintuch, who really doesn’t like getting on airplanes right now. “It makes me feel out of control, insignificant, and frustrated and angry, frankly,” he says.

Feintuch runs a New York public relations firm. But with clients all over, he flies two or three times a month. He says staying plugged in during taxing, takeoffs and landings, could mean salvaging a business meeting with a quick text.

“Tell them the answer is yes,” he says. “Or ‘no problem, we’ll go that way.’” But by not being able to communicate that, I’m out of the loop,” he says.

Oh, my. Dude, if you feel “out of control, insignificant, frustrated and angry” because you can’t send a text for 15 minutes maybe you need to take a pill. Or a vacation. And if your business is so precarious that not sending a text scuttles a deal, please rethink your business model.

I swear to God, the overarching sense of self-importance in our business class is truly painful to endure. Get over your damn selves, please.


Filed under Media, NPR, travel

Your Modern Liberal Media

I’m so old, I remember when it was the height of treason to say you were ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas! Such words would get your career killed, corporate sponsorships dropped, and radio stations would host CD-crushing parties in your honor. Ah, the good old days!

But Mark Halperin, editor of the “liberal” Time Magazine and also its “senior political analyst,” can show up on Morning Joe, of the “liberal” MSNBC, and call President Obama a dick. And Morning Joke’s response? Classic denial:

“Delay that. Delay that. What are you doing? I can’t believe… don’t do that. Did we delay that?”

No, you didn’t delay it, thanks to a new producer who was unclear on how to use the delay button. It was the talk of Twitter this morning. Which is pretty hilarious. I guess if no one heard it, it never really happened, right?

Your modern liberal media at work, folks. Halperin has apologized and it’s all, bygones! Hey Republicans, can liberals get that deal? No? Why not?

IOKIYAR, that’s why.

[UDPATE]: And MSNBC suspends Halperin. Time should do so as well.


Of course, this is so much worse:

Judge Brinkema wrote in her opinion that in April 2003, Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser to President George W. Bush, and George J. Tenet, then the C.I.A. director, met with Mr. Risen and Jill Abramson, then the Times’s Washington bureau chief and now the newspaper’s managing editor, to ask them not to write about the agency’s effort to undermine Iran’s nuclear program. Ms. Abramson later told the government the newspaper would not publish the article.

That’s the “liberal” New York Times, bowing to do the bidding of the Bush Administration, for like the gazillionth time. Remember: Judy Miller published her pro-war propaganda, all of which was proved to be false, in the pages of the Times.

The notion that our media is anything close to “liberal” is ludicrous.


Via Min in comments, courtesy of Nashville’s “liberal” NPR station, WPLN:

Haslam Opposes Big Jump in Fuel Economy Standards
Thursday, June 30th, 2011, by Daniel Potter

Tennessee’s Bill Haslam is among a group of fifteen governors from around the country asking the EPA and federal transportation officials not to push fuel economy too hard. Last week White House officials floated the idea of requiring all new vehicles to get better than 55 miles per gallon by 2025.

The group of governors is made up of 14 Republicans and one Democrat, many from states home to major carmakers. They argue against quote “overreaching regulations,” saying such high standards could drive up car prices, hurting sales and consumers.

Tennessee’s auto sector is huge, with thousands of workers for carmakers like Volkswagen and Nissan, as well as thousands more jobs in the parts-supply industry.

In 2009, the Obama administration raised standards to require carmakers to boost the average fuel efficiency of their vehicles to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. For a link to a letter sent by the 15 governors against the hypothetical further increase, click here.

No mention of the Haslam family business, Pilot Oil, the nation’s largest truck stop and travel center chain.


Thanks to reader Min, WPLN has fixed its online version of the story.


Filed under Joe Scarborough, Media, media fairness, NPR

Nobody Could Have Anticipated That James O’Keefe Is A Lying Sack Of Shit With A Partisan Political Agenda

Yeah maybe you should have had your independent experts analyze the “largely unedited” tape (“largely” means exactly what, I wonder?) before issuing pink slips:

One “big warning flag” Tompkins saw in the shorter tape was the way it made it appear that Schiller had laughed and commented “really, that’s what they said?” after being told that the fake Muslim group advocates for sharia law. In fact, the longer tape shows that Schiller made that comment during an “innocuous exchange” that had nothing to do with the supposed group’s position on sharia law, David reports.

No! Really?!

Tompkins also says that O’Keefe’s edited tape ignores the fact that Schiller said “six times … over and over and over again” that donors cannot buy the kind of coverage they want on NPR.

Yes but we said that Ron Schiller was not involved in NPR’s news division in any way. So we already knew the entire pretext of the tape (“NPR people have opinions! Those opinions mean their news coverage is biased!”) was bullshit.

More from Morning Edition’s report:

Take the political remarks. Ron Schiller speaks of growing up as a Republican and admiring the party’s fiscal conservatism. He says Republican politicians and evangelicals are becoming “fanatically” involved in people’s lives.

But in the shorter tape, Schiller is also presented as saying the GOP has been “hijacked” by Tea Partiers and xenophobes.

In the longer tape, it’s evident Schiller is not giving his own views but instead quoting two influential Republicans — one an ambassador, another a senior Republican donor. Schiller notably does not take issue with their conclusions — but they are not his own.

You don’t say! And finally:

In recent days, several influential journalists have written that they regret giving O’Keefe’s NPR videos wider circulation without scrutinizing them for themselves, given his past record and some of the objections that the Blaze first raised. They include Ben Smith of Politico, James Poniewozik of Time magazine and Dave Weigel of Slate.

“The speed at which the media operates when a video comes out is a problem,” Weigel said Sunday. “I mean, the rush to be the first to report on a video — and, let’s be brutally honest, the rush is to get traffic and to get people booked on [cable TV] shows to talk about it — and that nature leads you to not do the rigor and fact-checking that you would do in other situations.”

Ah well, mistakes were made! Just like with the war in Iraq, the media blames its “rush to be first” for its shoddy work and failure to be accurate. Deadlines, dammit they are such pesky little things! Bygones!

And they wonder why people don’t trust the media. Amazing! Nobody, certainly not Dave Weigel or Ben Smith or James Poniewozik, could have had any idea that James O’Keefe is a lying sack of shit with a partisan political agenda and a well-documented history of lies and distortions. Hoocoodanode?!

Furthermore, this incident proves what I said last month is still correct:

When the right wants to embarrass the left they must resort to severely edited videos doctored with the intention of misleading viewers, and which completely misrepresent actual events. When the left wants to embarrass the right they just need to capture the right speaking honestly.

Still holds true.

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Filed under James O'Keefe, media, media manipulation, NPR

>This Too Shall Pass

>I think pretty much everything that needs to be said about Juan Williams’ firing by NPR has been said, from Sarah Palin’s ghost-written Tweets to more sane commentary from real media analysts. I just want to remind everyone that this latest hissy fit will be forgotten as soon as the next shiny-sparkly thing comes along to divert everyone’s attention, probably a wardrobe malfunction or celebrity tweet or stupid thing from Christine O’Donnell, Carl Palladino or another car in the Teanut trainwreck.

I need to go through my blog archive to remember what the last big fauxtrage was about — and I don’t even write about most of them. Let’s see: three weeks ago it was CNN dumping Rick Sanchez. Gosh I’d already forgotten about that.

Anyone remember the Great Laura Schlessinger Debate of August 2010? All of that “Don’t retreat: reload!” advice from the Sage of Wasilla? Of course we’ve forgotten it! Ninety-nine-point-nine percent of what happens in the media fishbowl is irrelevant to everyone who is not in the media, and therefore it’s forgotten within a week.

Anyone remember the furor over Dave Weigel being forced to resign from the Washington Post? David Frum’s firing from the American Enterprise Institute? CNN hiring right-wing hack Erick Erickson?

I mean seriously. The way the media covers itself is indecent. So many politicized outrages over media personalities losing (or getting) jobs, and they all follow the same pattern. Something happens, Sarah Palin Tweets about it, conservatives get up in arms, liberals get up in arms, there’s endless analysis on blogs and news shows like Moanin’ Joe, and then in a week it’s gone. (Though I must say: the national media is far less likely to be interested in something when it pisses off the Left. I don’t recall nearly as much media interest in the Weigel and Erickson stories. I still haven’t figured that out.)

Anyway, I’m tired of the bullshit, and it occurred to me that so few people have come out and said that this is bullshit. So I will: it’s all bullshit, people. It matters not one iota to anyone’s life, save the man who just landed a $2 million contract at Fox. Heh heh, who could have seen that coming — besides everyone, that is!

Let me just offer conservatives like Andrew Breitbart and Mike Huckabee a tip: saying you will now boycott NPR is seen by the left as a win. Just sayin’.


Filed under conservatives, media, NPR

Liberal Media Fail, NPR Edition

Apparently no one told NPR’s Jeff Brady at All Things Considered that the offshore oil drilling moratorium affects just 33 rigs operating in deep water. Well they did — but that didn’t stop him from spewing oil industry propaganda. On tonight’s All Things Considered, he buys the oil industry’s bullshit propaganda hook, line and sinker. First we have the headline:

Small Businesses May Sink Under Drilling Hiatus

That’s some lovely fearmongering. Then we have this:

There’s a sign in front of Delmar Systems’ headquarters in Broussard, La., that reads “Mr. Obama you should not eliminate our jobs.”

If the current moratorium continues it could hit Delmar especially hard. The bulk of the company’s business is anchoring and mooring semi-submersible drilling rigs. If there are no rigs drilling in the Gulf — there’s nothing to anchor. So, it’s a little surprising how much activity there is in Delmar’s shop these days.

Yes, surprising, isn’t it? Why is that? Maybe it’s because the moratorium, I repeat, affects just 33 rigs doing exploratory drilling in water deeper than 500 feet.


Then we have this:

“We figure that for every deepwater well, there’s about 1,400 jobs affected,” says Randall Luthi, president of the National Ocean Industries Association.

Currently 33 rigs are idled — by Luthi’s calculation that’s more than 45,000 jobs hanging in the balance. Luthi says the bulk of those workers are employed not by the big names in the oil industry, but by companies like Delmar.

Well by all means let’s take Luthi’s calculation as gospel, why don’t we. Your entire business is predicated on 33 rigs when there are thousands operating in the Gulf of Mexico? Sounds like a bad business plan to me.

Okay, so who is NOIA? According to their website:

NOIA’s mission is to secure reliable access and a fair regulatory and economic environment for the companies that develop the nation’s valuable offshore energy resources in an environmentally responsible manner. NOIA members include producers of oil and natural gas, renewable energy, contractors, marine engineers, service and supply companies and others with an interest in producing energy from the nation’s outer continental shelf.

Oh, okay. In other words, an industry group. A trade group. Fair enough. Does NPR’s Jeff Brady tell you that? No he does not. They never do. Like how last month NPR’s April Fulton quoted “Justin Wilson” from the “Center For Consumer Freedom,” one of DC lobbyist Rick Berman’s many phony front groups. Wilson is a busy guy, holding lots of titles with lots of different fake “consumer groups,” all funded by Rick Berman. Did NPR’s April Fulton tell you that? No she did not.

Brady repeats the oil industry talking point thusly:

Some of the companies likely won’t survive a six-month moratorium. Luthi says that’ll lead to more consolidation in the industry and less competition — something he thinks will hurt his industry in the long run.

Oh I have a sad. Oh wait. No, I don’t. Maybe Jeff Brady needs to take this up with all of the tourism and fishing folks who really are suffering right now. Most of them didn’t just lose 33 points of business while thousands of others chug merrily along. These really are small businesses. Take it up with the mom-and-pop shrimp and oyster shacks which have been put out of business. Or New Orleans’ 134-year-old P&J Oyster House , shuttered by the BP oil spill.

Honestly, this is why I go nuts when people tell me that NPR is somehow the “liberal” equivalent of FOX News. No, it’s not. They don’t spew anything close to Democratic Party propaganda in the same way FOX spews Republican Party propaganda. Most of NPR’s programming is cultural, like “My Front Porch” and stories on obscure African drumming ensembles in Zimbabwe. There’s no political slant in that. And when they do cover news, it’s poorly done.

This is why I don’t give you people money.

Hey Jeff Brady, maybe next time instead of just buying the oil industry’s sad tale of woe, you might try checking with someone else, too. Just to give your piece a little, ya know, balance.

Adding …. And one more thing, because I didn’t have time to research it earlier: I know we’re all supposed to worship at the altar of the “small business” these days, but Delmar Systems apparently has 200 employees and annual revenues of $10.9 million. That might technically qualify as “small” by Small Business Administration standards, but it’s pretty gigantic compared to some of the truly small operations now shut down by the oil spill. People like Vicki Guillot, owner of Debbie’s Cafe, or Tarek Tay, owner of Catch Seafood Pub, both shuttered by the spill. Or people like Cassie Cox, who rents beach umbrellas. Or any of the hundreds of tiny little shrimp shacks and oyster outfits catering to tourists in the summer.

Jeff Brady and the people at Delmar Systems need to talk to these folks and see if anyone is crying for them right now.


Filed under Gulf oil spill, media, NPR, Rick Berman

>NPR: Stop Hurting America

>NPR’s “Morning Edition” asks if you remember when Jack Bauer was cool?

The show 24 was often ahead of the curve. It had a black president, years before President Obama. It offered a window into the fight against terrorism. It helped fuel a serious debate over the use of torture.

And now Fox has just announced that the ticking clock is winding down — this is 24’s last season. So is this another case of the writers of 24 predicting the future?

No. Just, stop it already.

I have never understood the fascination of our political betters with a TV show. It’s bad enough that conservatives used Jack Bauer to justify torture and changes to the legal code in times of crisis. I’ve never thought conservatives operated in the realm of intellectual complexity anyway.

But when the news media endorses that approach by positing its own ridiculous as-goes-“24”-so-goes-America theory, then Houston, we have a problem.

I would have thought NPR would take this shit seriously. Sadly, no.


Filed under Jack Bauer, NPR


>Don Schmierer, former board member of “pray away the gay” group Exodus International, was one of three American evangelicals who traveled to Uganda last year to participate in a conference about sexual orientation. Following that visit Uganda proposed legislation that would imprison and execute gays. Needless to say, there’s been a bit of negative fallout from that trip.

So Don Schmierer and the rest have gone into damage-control mode. I heard a short interview with him on today’s Here & Now (give it a listen yourself here, it’s short). Schmierer is trying to distance himself from some of the more hateful messaging at that conference by fellow panelist Scott Lively, who compared homosexuality to beastiality and pedophilia. But Schmierer is in deep denial if he thinks his stance on gays is any less intolerant or hateful than those of folks like Lively.

Schmierer did say he thought the Ugandan anti-gay law was “horrible”:

I can’t believe anybody’s doing that type of thing. Not today. I mean, good night.

Shocking that our patented American fearmongering tying gays to pedophilia and beastiality would, in a Third World country not known for its high democratic standards, result in extreme measures like a gay death penalty. I kept waiting for Schmierer to take some responsibility but he never did, in fact, he denied any responsibility at all and tried to claim he was brought to the conference under false pretenses. He said he “didn’t know what I was walking into.”

That explains why he vociferously objected to Scott Lively’s hate speech at the time, to make sure his Ugandan audience knew where he stood. Oh wait. It doesn’t appear he did. (Furthermore, it’s a lie: Ex-Gay Watch says they warned Exodus International about what they were getting into.)

Here & Now interviewer Robin Young asked Schmierer what he counsels parents whose children have come out and he responded (keep in mind this is my own quickie transcript):

I teach parents how to help connect with their kids. One of the first things I say .. some of the nicest people I’ve ever met on the face of the earth are gay people. We talk about how to listen to each other. The second thing I teach them is how to affirm them for who they are.

“Affirm” is one of those liberal church words which means to accept GLBT folks and their families unconditionally. If you are a gay person looking for a church home, you look for one that advertises itself as “affirming,” or sometimes, “welcoming and affirming.” It’s a type of code word and everyone in the church world knows what it means. And let me add: there are lots of affirming churches out there, even right here in the Bible Belt. I can think of half a dozen here in Nashville right off the top of my head.

So to hear Don Schmierer say he counsels parents to “affirm” their gay children when he in fact meant no such thing struck me as the height of weasledom. I’ve got no doubt in my mind that Schmierer knew exactly what he was saying. I suspect he’s trying to change the definition of “affirming” among church people from “we accept you and your family–your partner, your children–unconditionally, just as you are. Welcome to God’s table,” to “we won’t kill you or throw you in jail.”

And in fact, kudos to Robin Young for asking the follow-up question,

Do you teach parents to affirm their children if they are gay?

to which Schierer responded

I didn’t say that!

Schmierer sounded annoyed that Young even asked the question. Methinks Schmierer got smacked in the face by the reality that his own argument is just as intolerant as Lively’s, just a different shade.

Schmierer and his fellow “pray away the gay” people have this crackpot theory that sexual orientation is connected to a person’s “disconnect” from the same sex parent. In other words, if you’re a gay guy, you are that way because you didn’t connect with your father, and if you’re a lesbian woman, you are that way because you didn’t connect with your mother. That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard, and it’s certainly completely at odds with modern psychiatric beliefs and practice. It sounds like an old wive’s tale, to me.

Schmierer went on in this interview to equate sexual orientation with “other addictions” (!!) and said he’d never met a healthy, happy homosexual person. So that pretty much tells us all we need to know about Don Schmierer. He can say he was “duped” all he wants, but you are deep in denial if you think a life’s work devoted to telling gays that there’s something wrong with them could somehow not lead to an extreme measure like the Ugandan gay death penalty.


Filed under Don Schmierer, GLBT, NPR, religious right


>Angela Brawley, CEO of insurance giant WellPoint, didn’t do herself any favors with her Morning Edition interview Friday. Her defense of the poor, beleaguered insurance companies who couldn’t possibly survive against the big, bad public option fell apart under Steve Inskeep’s rather mild questioning. Inskeep did a good job countering Brawley’s talking points-laden delivery but this was hardly a tough grilling.

For example:

Steve Inskeep: Although isn’t there some fairness to the Administration’s contention that your concern is not necessarily cost-shifting so much as you just don’t want the extra competition?

Angela Brawley: You know, there is competition in the health insurance market, there are over 1,300 health insurance companies competing and–

SI: Whoa, whoa, whoa. They don’t all compete in the same place for the same customers. Aren’t there huge swaths of America where there’s only a handful of companies to choose from?

AB: We think there’s pretty broad competition, particularly among the major national insurance companies. So you know really what’s interesting about this debate is that it’s shifted to this question about insurance companies when where we started out in the discussion was about healthcare reform.

Ooh nice way to change the subject! Brawley happened to hit upon a pet peeve of mine, which I’ve written about a-plenty: It is indeed frustrating that the issue has been framed as an insurance issue, not a healthcare issue. My concern is that we all know way too many people who have health insurance and pay through the nose for it, yet they can’t afford healthcare because of the insurance company bureaucrat standing between them and their doctor.

Inskeep didn’t ask about that.

I caught the interview while stuck in the car this morning and frankly I nearly drove into a ditch. I’m not all that familiar with WellPoint, I don’t even know if the company operates here in Tennessee since most of their business seems to be operating BlueCross/BlueShield licenses (Great! That’s two insurance companies skimming profits off your doctor’s visit!). Indeed, the discussion about insurance company profits was especially frustrating:

Brawley: Our profit is in the 3-4% range, I think this year around 4%? When you look, though, across healthcare there are profit margins in a number of sectors around healthcare that are 3, 4, 5 times ours. If you look at biotech margins, pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers, they’re 3-4-5-6 times the margin of the health insurance industry. And the irony of that is, it is our job to get to the efficiency of healthcare.

Yes, ironic, isn’t it? You know, there are millions of people around the world who have healthcare without the benefit of an insurance company. However, it’s awfully hard to get quality healthcare without pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers and the like. Now, I’m not defending obscene profit margins by any means, and frankly I think Ms. Brawley pulled these figures out of her ass, but I’m just making the distinction here: insurance companies are vampires on the healthcare system which serve no earthly purpose that I can fathom, as Brawley herself seemed to admit.

Inskeep, in fact, made that point, which is that if “efficiency” is the insurance companies’ job, and yet costs have doubled in the past five years,

somebody might suggest you’re not doing a very good job.

Some might say that, yes.

And speaking of profits, perhaps coincidentally I recently stumbled upon this information about Ms. Brawley.

I think Ms. Brawley, who earned $9.84 million in 2008–an $800,000 increase over 2007–and whose compensation includes use of a private jet, doth protest too much.

The interview ended with Brawley calling for the whaaambulance because, she claims, the insurance companies came to the table early and offered “good solutions,” “real reforms,” “sustainable reforms,” and this is all the thanks they get! Let me offer a hearty “bullshit!” All you’ve done is call for Congress to end abusive insurance company policies that are entirely within your own power to stop anytime you wish. Meanwhile you’ve spent millions lobbying Congress and organizing astroturf, even sending phony letters to the editors of small-town newspapers.

I wonder, as Angela Brawley hopscotches around the country on her private jets, does she seriously think anyone buys this BS?

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Filed under health insurance, healthcare, NPR

>Nope, No Demonstrations Here

If you listened to the American news media, you’d think no one showed up to protest President Bush on his farewell tour of Europe. Bush’s “lame duck” status, and a warming of attitudes toward the hated American president, have been credited.

From the “liberal” NPR:

Anti-Bush Animosity Waning

In scheduling what is expected to be his farewell visit, President Bush did not stick to countries where he’d be guaranteed cheers. Instead, he went to Germany, Italy, France and Britain — the capitals of “old Europe.” Yet President Bush has seen little evidence of animosity or protest.

Oh, really? Maybe this has something to do with it:

Anti-war protest erupts in violence with 25 arrested during Bush visit

AN ANTI-WAR demonstration held yesterday to coincide with George Bush’s farewell tour of London descended into violent clashes between protesters and police.

What began as a peaceful demonstration in Parliament Square yesterday afternoon flared into scuffles as protesters tried to force their way past blockades on to Whitehall.

The road was sealed off by police as the US president met the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, at Downing Street last night.

One protester, Suzanna Wylie, 29, was left bleeding from a head injury after being hit by a baton. She had been linking arms with protesters at the front of the crowd, trying to stop demonstrators surging forward.

She said: “I’ve been on lots of demonstrations before and every one of the Stop the War demonstrations has been peaceful.

“This time because Bush is here, specifically because Bush is here, because of his own security arrangements, they won’t let us demonstrate. If they let us demonstrate, there would have been none of this.”

And then there’s this:

British police say up to 2,500 people show up to protest Bush and 25 arrested

LONDON — Up to 2,500 demonstrators held a boisterous rally in London’s Parliament Square on Sunday as U.S. President George W. Bush dined with his British counterpart nearby.

Protesters blew their whistles, banged their drums, and voiced their opposition to the so-called “War on Terror.”

A few pelted officers with placards and tried to breach a police cordon set up to block them from getting near Downing Street, where Bush arrived for a private dinner with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Demonstrators chanted “Bush – terrorist” only about 300 metres away from where the president and prime minister were eating.

And then there’s this:

George Bush in Britain: Police investigate anti-war protests

Police today will begin an investigation into protests against the US president, George Bush, that turned violent after clashes between officers and demonstrators.

Scotland Yard said 10 police officers suffered minor injuries during a demonstration in Parliament Square yesterday, while Bush met Gordon Brown a few hundred yards away at Downing Street.
Protesters blamed the authorities for not allowing a letter to be handed to Downing Street. The trouble began after a few cans and placards were lobbed over police lines.

“This was very predictable,” said Stop the War. “If they had allowed us to deliver our letters of protests to Downing Street, as we had asked, none of this would have happened.”

Way to go, U.S. media! Don’t let facts stand in the way of a good story fantasy. President Bush and his war: still hated, all around the world.

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Filed under media, NPR, President Bush, protests