In April, 2009, former vice president Dick Cheney called for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to release classified memos he said demonstrated how well "harsh interrogation methods" -- torture -- worked to prevent terrorist attacks and save lives. But investigators with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) just released a report saying that the CIA memo Cheney cited as justifying U.S. torture contains "plainly inaccurate information" that undermines its conclusions.
Even before a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision blew the lid off corporate campaign spending, it was clear that the big banks would be key players in the 2010 election cycle. Unemployment will remain high, and so will resentment against the banks -- a volatile combination that will encourage savvy members of Congress to continue to fight for meaningful reform of the financial sector.
Ex-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is becoming more vocal and visible in recent days, and indications are that the upswing will continue.
In a video posted on YouTube on February 3, House Representative Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) explains how the right wing media machine creates and spreads disinformation in an effort to smear the left. "Disinformation" should not be confused with "misinformation," the unintentional form of wrong information. Disinformation is produced by people who intend to mislead their audience.
Step 1: Fabricate the Lie
Frank tells how John Fund, an editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal, told a lie about him in November of last year: In a speech at a conservative function in Florida called "Restoration Weekend," Fund claimed that, after losing the special election in Massachusetts, Democrats Chuck Schumer and Barney Frank were going to propose a bill to create universal voter registration. Fund further stated that Democrats were going to add all welfare recipients and unemployed people to the voter rolls, and he called it "felon re-enfranchisement." In reality, Frank explains, there was no such bill.
The Republican National Committee (RNC) has sent out fund raising mailers that mimic the appearance of the 2010 U.S. Census forms, which started going out this week. The letters are sent in plain white envelopes bearing the words "2010 Congressional District Census" and "Do Not Destroy, Official Document." The word "census" is spelled with a capital "C," the same as the U.S. Census Bureau.
Six months ago, the vocal factions of the Tea Party revolt organized among anti-Obama right wingers were mostly an annoyance to the Democratic Party. Today, the Congressional Democrats are scared for their political lives after Scott Brown, with the help of a Tea Party-organized online "money bomb" and get-out-the-vote campaign, won back for Republicans Ted Kennedy's former Massachusetts senate seat. The "money bomb" is a tactic borrowed from MoveOn and the liberal netroots movement through which the Tea Party activists raised way over one million dollars online in 24 hours for Scott Brown. Even though the Republicans have only reduced the still large fifty-nine member Democratic senate majority by one person, the fact that Brown ran an uphill campaign that came from nowhere and steamrolled to victory means that all the Congressional Democrats are now looking over their right shoulders, fearing a similar populist attack as the 2010 electoral season heats up.
The Tea Party money bomb has also blown up Obamacare, the President's muddled health care reform plan. While many pundits point to local issues that helped Brown win, the fact is that Brown ran hardest against Obama's health care bill, and won despite personal appearances in Massachusetts by Obama and Bill Clinton, and despite a desperate but failed Democratic effort to beat back the insurgency.
On her January 12 show, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC reviewed a portion of the new book about the 2008 Presidential election, Game Change, by political reporters John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. The section was about Sarah Palin. The authors discuss Palin's prep and tutoring for the campaign trail, and conclude that "her grasp of rudimentary facts and concepts was minimal." They allege Palin didn't know why North and South Korea were separate nations, didn't know what the Fed does, and couldn't explain who her son, Track, was going to fight in Iraq. Maddow played a video clip of Palin, taped during her appearance on the Bill O'Reilly show shortly before Maddow's show that same night, in which Palin admitted that she didn't know who perpetrated the 9-11 terror attacks against the U.S. In another clip, Palin was giving a speech to American troops as they prepared to ship off to Iraq. In her speech, Palin suggested Saddam Hussein was behind 9-11, even though her campaign prep team had carefully explained to her the day before her speech that Iraq was not involved in planning or perpetrating 9-11.