Monday, July 30, 2007

July 28:

1868 : 14th Amendment adopted

(The one thing that is not mentioned here is the fact that the court ruling granting "personhood" to corporations was based on the 14th amendment.........Research it..........PEACE................Scott)

Following its ratification by the necessary three-quarters of U.S.

states, the 14th Amendment, guaranteeing to African Americans
citizenship and all its privileges, is officially adopted into the
U.S. Constitution.

Two years after the Civil War, the Reconstruction Acts of 1867 divided
the South into five military districts, where new state governments,
based on universal manhood suffrage, were to be established. Thus
began the period known as Radical Reconstruction, which saw the 14th
Amendment, which had been passed by Congress in 1866, ratified in July
1868. The amendment resolved pre-Civil War questions of African
American citizenship by stating that "all persons born or naturalized
in the United States...are citizens of the United States and of the
state in which they reside." The amendment then reaffirmed the
privileges and rights of all citizens, and granted all these citizens
the "equal protection of the laws."

In the decades after its adoption, the equal protection clause was
cited by a number of African American activists who argued that racial
segregation denied them the equal protection of law. However, in 1896,
the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that states could
constitutionally provide segregated facilities for African Americans,
so long as they were equal to those afforded white persons. The Plessy
v. Ferguson decision, which announced federal toleration of the
so-called "separate but equal" doctrine, was eventually used to
justify segregating all public facilities, including railroad cars,
restaurants, hospitals, and schools. However, "colored" facilities
were never equal to their white counterparts, and African Americans
suffered through decades of debilitating discrimination in the South
and elsewhere. In 1954, Plessy v. Ferguson was finally struck down by
the Supreme Court in its ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of

1932 : Bonus Marchers evicted by U.S. Army

1976 : Worst modern earthquake


Service Civilians and the Wounds of War

By Ann Scott Tyson
The Washington Post

Wednesday 25 July 2007

Many fill vital roles in Iraq, but medical care can be spotty.

Traveling through Sunni insurgent territory north of Baghdad, the U.S. military convoy was nearing a base when a roadside bomb ripped into the lead Humvee, leaving its gunner, Mike Helms, bleeding and swaying from a strap in the open back.

Helms, 31, a civilian counterintelligence expert with the Army's 902nd Military Intelligence Group, had been sent to Iraq in 2004 to help fill a critical intelligence gap in the area known as the Sunni Triangle. While in Iraq, he lived with soldiers and ate military rations, took fire from mortar rounds and small arms, and clocked hundreds of miles manning a machine gun on the back of a Humvee.

Nevertheless, his status as an Army civilian would leave him stranded in the aftermath of the June 16, 2004, attack, when the bomb hit his Humvee so hard it blew his M-60 off its turret.

In the months that followed, Helms recalled, he was denied vital care for his wounds - ranging from shrapnel in his left arm to traumatic brain injury. Forced to rely on federal workers' compensation and turned away from regular care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other military hospitals, Helms has faced years of frustration grappling with bureaucracies unprepared to help a government civilian wounded in combat.

"I did not have an 'accident' while working. I was subjected to an offensive attack by an enemy of the U.S. government who attempted to kill me," said Helms, now a counterintelligence agent at the 902nd's Fort Knox, Ky., field office. "Why am I under workers' comp if workers' comp does not recognize a combat injury?"

As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan strain the U.S. military, the Pentagon is sending civilian workers such as Helms into war zones to provide critical support to the troops, raising questions about their status and treatment.

Several thousand Defense Department civilian employees - with about 3,300 of them from the Army - are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Pentagon data. Since 2001, about 7,500 DOD civilians have worked in those combat zones or in anti-terrorism capacities elsewhere, including seven who died there and 118 who were injured.

"We must use government civilians ... to fill out the force or we could not do our job right now," said Gary J. Motsek, assistant deputy undersecretary of defense for program support. He called the civilians "unheralded patriots."

Army officials have acknowledged serious gaps in Helms's treatment and have pledged to fix them, but he says that despite repeated assurances over three years, he has not obtained the specialized care he needs. U.S. troops receive coordinated care from military doctors accustomed to battlefield injuries, but Helms's treatment has come from a hodgepodge of mainly civilian providers - a mix of Blue Cross and workers' compensation, plus free drugs from the military that he obtains through a back-door deal with his local Army hospital.

DOD civilians such as Helms perform vital missions in Iraq. They maintain and repair equipment, provide technical expertise on new weapons systems, conduct investigations, oversee contracts and serve in logistics, engineering, medical and intelligence jobs. They work long hours and share the same - often austere - living conditions as U.S. troops. At the time he was injured, Helms was doing intelligence work and training novice troops in weapons and tactics.

An Army jobs Web site currently seeks civilian employees "with sharp military intelligence skills to work side by side with our troops" in Iraq, Afghanistan, Djibouti and elsewhere. "You are expected to perform military intelligence tasks as close as possible to what would be expected of military," one job description reads, while working "a 12 hour day, seven days a week."

In the back of an armored Stryker vehicle, Army civilian Benjamin Needles recently ventured into the volatile town of Baqubah on his job as a senior intelligence analyst for U.S. commanders, covering "a spectrum of issues from counterterrorism to governance," he said. If wounded, Needles added, he would expect to be treated "like any other soldier" - an expectation not fulfilled in Helms's case.

Many DOD civilians, such as Needles, volunteer to serve in Iraq or Afghanistan, including all those currently there, according to the Pentagon. In the war zone, they receive a 70 percent increase over their regular pay plus overtime - and Helms made double his usual income. But their salaries are generally lower than those of U.S. civilian contractors, and unlike contractors and military personnel, DOD civilians do not receive any income tax break while deployed.

Unlike soldiers, civilians can refuse to deploy. But Helms and others say they have little choice but to volunteer.

When Maj. Gen. John Kimmons, then commander of the Army's intelligence command, formed a 130-member task force to help fill a shortage of intelligence personnel in the months after the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, he drew on civilians such as Helms to fill a fifth of its ranks, task force members said.

"My name was put on the list as 'you're going,' " said Helms, a heavyset man with close-cropped hair and glasses who had been a sergeant in the active-duty Army. "At that point, I knew it was inevitable," he said. Because Helms was designated an "emergency-essential" Army civilian, he could be involuntarily transferred overseas during a military crisis.

Some of Helms's colleagues dropped out for medical reasons. Others resigned. But he needed his job, and having served three tours in the Balkans from 1996 to 2001, he thought that he could help inexperienced soldiers.

"We were going into combat, and we had guys who had never shot these weapons," he said. Because the 902nd task force was not part of a scheduled deployment, it lacked such basic equipment as Humvees and rifles. "I needed to train them as best I could," Helms said.

A civilian colleague of Helms's who previously spent 20 years in military intelligence on active duty explained: "Civilians went out because we were experienced. The young soldiers had no experience with radios, with weapons."

As a result, Helms and other civilians took turns manning the M-60 on convoys. On June 16, it was his turn. At midday, as the convoy headed toward Samarra, the bomb exploded on the left shoulder. The driver was knocked out and the Humvee veered across the road, with Helms cheek down in the back, held in by a cargo strap and "flopping around like a dead person," his comrades said.

"Helms was in a state of shock," said Spec. Damian Werts, the gunner in the vehicle just behind. Helms was carried off the vehicle and given an IV, then placed in the shade under a truck. His left arm had a fragment wound, and his helmet was splintered, according to official military accounts.

Evacuated to the U.S. military base at Landstuhl, Germany, Helms was improperly coded as a civilian contractor, so he was turned away from Walter Reed after he arrived there. "They wouldn't admit me or give me a room," said Helms, who moved in with the wounded sergeant who was driving his Humvee. "They left me sitting in the waiting room." After about a month of ad hoc care, the sergeant moved out and Helms also left.

"This was the first in a series of problems resulting in Mr. Helms being denied timely treatment within military treatment facilities in the U.S.," according to a November 2004 memo by Kimmons. It found "systemic failures in the provision of medical treatment to civilian employees who are injured in the line of duty."

Under Pentagon policy, DOD civilians evacuated to a military medical facility in the United States because of injury or illness "may receive medical treatment in the military medical system or they can be transported to a civilian medical treatment facility of their choice."

A co-worker said the problem was rooted in the hasty way that civilian intelligence workers were deployed. "They hadn't thought through what they would do if someone got hurt, and unfortunately Mike became the test case," said the co-worker, who like others declined to be identified by name because the Army last week issued e-mails prohibiting employees from discussing Helms's case without permission.

Meanwhile, Helms's case was accepted by the Office of Workers' Compensation for "shrapnel wound upper left arm," "post concussive disorder" and other ailments. But because workers' comp covers only workplace accidents, the injury codes do not match Helms's battlefield wounds. "There is nothing for combat injuries, so it is up to the provider to weasel it in," he said.

Care has been slow and uncoordinated, as civilian doctors with little experience treating combat wounds have handled his ear injuries, broken tailbone and nerve damage. "There is no consistent care at all," he said.

Doctors at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center later diagnosed Helms's brain injury, but overall he has received limited care from military facilities. The Army declined to discuss his case, citing privacy laws, but said that "the Army assists injured Army civilian employees, and helps them seek the care and benefits they are entitled to as Federal employees." It said that in the case of an IED injury, a case worker at Walter Reed should coordinate civilian care, which Helms says never happened.

During a recent visit to the Army's intelligence command headquarters at Fort Meade, Helms looked over the thousands of pages of documents related to his case, spread in piles on a hotel room floor. He shook his head.

"I am on Month Six waiting to see a behavioral specialist and internal medical doctor, and on the first month of waiting for a sleep doctor," he said, adding that the person who approves his workers' comp claims at the Labor Department "works only on Thursday and does not have voice mail, e-mail or fax."

Helms wears hearing aids and suffers from short-term memory loss, irritability and post-traumatic stress disorder. He said that he survives mainly on maple-flavored instant oatmeal and Gatorade because his medication-racked system cannot tolerate anything else.

He pulled out a laminated card that he uses to keep track of seven medications he takes for sleep, nausea, depression, anxiety and PTSD. "No one will change my meds," he said, because he lacks a primary-care doctor capable of managing all his injuries and ailments.

Helms - who has been awarded the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Defense of Freedom, the civilian equivalent of the Purple Heart - is single and lives alone. "Work is all I have," he said. During time off, he works on his truck, watches the History Channel or researches his medical problems. He has tried dating but usually his relationships don't last.

"My short-term memory is so bad, I will forget to call for days," he said. "They can tell something is wrong with me."


No Exit Strategy

The New York Times | Editorial

Wednesday 25 July 2007

The American people have only one question left about Iraq: What is President Bush's plan for a timely and responsible exit? That is the essential precondition for salvaging broader American interests in the Middle East and for waging a more effective fight against Al Qaeda in its base areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan. And it is exactly the question that Mr. Bush, his top generals and his diplomats so stubbornly and damagingly refuse to answer.

Yesterday provided two more frustrating and shameful examples of this denial. One was a new war plan drawn up by America's top military commander and top diplomat in Baghdad that will keep American troops fighting in Iraq at least until 2009. The other was yet one more speech by President Bush that claimed that Iraq was the do-or-die front in the war on terrorism - rather than a rallying point for extremists and a never-ending drain on the resources America needs to fight that fight.

The war plan drawn up by Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker simply assumes that a large-scale United States military presence in Iraq will continue for at least two more years.

So much for Mr. Bush's soothing incantations about a relatively short-term "surge" of additional troops. The plan ignores the fact that the volunteer Army cannot sustain a prolonged escalation without grievous losses in quality, readiness and morale. Even more unrealistically, the plan assumes that with two more years of an American blank check, Iraqi politicians will somehow decide to take responsibility for their political future - something they've refused to do for the last four years.

General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker may feel they have little choice but to project the administration's flawed policies to their logical, or illogical, conclusions. Mr. Bush does have a choice and a clear obligation to re-evaluate strategy when everything, but his own illusions, tells him that it is failing. Instead, he spoke yesterday as if the latest National Intelligence Estimate had not found Al Qaeda's top leadership regrouped and resurgent in its old strongholds along the Pakistani-Afghan frontier. Or as if the latest bleak assessment of the Iraqi government's political and economic failures had never been issued.

Mr. Bush proposed no realistic new plan for more effectively fighting Al Qaeda in its heartland or for exiting from the tragic misadventure in Iraq. Instead he offered the familiar, simplistic and misleading arguments that he used to drag the country into this disastrous war to start.

Prolonging the war for another two years will not bring victory. It will mean more lives lost, more damage to America's international standing and fewer resources to fight the real fight against terrorists. If Mr. Bush's advisers can't tell him that, Congress will have to - with a veto-proof majority.


Controversy Erupts Over Endangered Species Act

By Brad Knickerbocker
The Christian Science Monitor

Wednesday 25 July 2007

Congress and the Interior Department investigate whether the Bush administration undermined federal protections.

From the day it became law 34 years ago, the federal Endangered Species Act has been politically hot - a flash point of contention between defenders of nature and advocates of economic progress. Now, the ESA is embroiled in new controversy.

Two different government entities are investigating decisions by Bush administration officials related to species recovery. In one, the US Interior Department is reviewing the scientific integrity of decisions under the law made by a political appointee, who recently resigned under fire. At the same time, Congress is investigating evidence that Vice President Dick Cheney interfered with decisions involving water in California and Oregon that resulted in the killing of tens of thousands of Klamath River salmon, some of which were listed as "threatened" species.

Both episodes illustrate what critics say is the Bush administration's resistance to the law.

During President Bush's time in the White House, the listing of endangered and threatened species has slowed down considerably. It's a fraction of the number his father made in four years (58 new listings compared with 231 by the senior Bush), and most of those were court-ordered.

New funding for protection of such species has been cut as well. As a result, 278 "candidate species" are waiting to join the list of 1,352 plant and animal species now listed as "endangered" or "threatened."

Scientists and activists see the ESA as the last chance for preventing extinction of dwindling plants and animals ranging from the obscure - the rock gnome lichen, for example - to the grizzly bear and other "charismatic megafauna."

But to developers, it can be a very costly impediment to business. And to farmers, ranchers, loggers, and others whose work is land-based, it can threaten a traditional way of life. Many fights over species protection have ended up in federal court.

But it is the political pressure on government scientists that is the current focus.

Following a critical report by the inspector general of the Interior Department in March, Julie MacDonald - the official in charge of fish and wildlife, including those listed under the ESA - resigned.

Fish and Wildlife Service employees complained that Ms. MacDonald had "bullied, insulted, and harassed the professional staff ... to change documents and alter biological reporting," according to the report.

"We confirmed that MacDonald has been heavily involved with editing, commenting on, and reshaping the endangered species program's scientific reports from the field," the inspector general wrote, also noting that "she has no formal educational background in natural sciences, such as biology."

The Interior Department inspector general also found that MacDonald had "disclosed nonpublic information to private sector sources" - special interests that had a financial stake in species listing and protection - including the California Farm Bureau Federation and the Pacific Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm that specializes in property rights advocacy and litigation.

Government officials moved quickly to fix the political damage.

Last week, the director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service (the Interior Department agency in charge of endangered species programs) announced that eight decisions MacDonald had made under the ESA would be examined for scientific and legal discrepancies.

In a phone conference with reporters, Fish and Wildlife Service director H. Dale Hall called the episode "a blemish ... on the scientific integrity" of the agency. "When I became director, I made scientific integrity my highest priority, and these reviews underscore our commitment to species conservation," Mr. Hall said.

Critics welcomed the action. But they want the internal review to include many more of some 200 species decisions that MacDonald had a hand in, such as those for the marbled murrelet (a shore bird), the bull trout, and the controversial northern spotted owl. Also, they say, the problem goes deeper.

"The real culprit here is not a renegade political appointee," says Francesca Grifo, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' (UCS) scientific integrity program. "The real culprit is a process where decisions are made behind closed doors."

In 2005, UCS surveyed about 450 Fish and Wildlife Service scientists. Two-thirds said they knew of cases where Interior Department political appointees had interfered with scientific reports and decisions, and 84 said they had been ordered to remove or change technical information from scientific documents.

Political pressure is alleged to have taken place during a summer drought in 2002 when Klamath River water was allowed to irrigate farmers' fields rather than provide adequate passage for salmon headed upstream to spawn as government scientists had recommended.

As reported in detail recently by The Washington Post, Vice President Cheney intervened in decisions involving a 10-year water plan for the Klamath River basin, siding with farmers and ranchers over environmental considerations. Courts later termed that plan "arbitrary and capricious and in violation of the Endangered Species Act."

As a result of the low water flows that summer, which make the water warmer and the fish more prone to disease, some 70,000 salmon died. Since then, fish runs have remained low, causing economic hardship for Indian tribes as well as commercial and sport-fishing businesses along the West Coast.

The House Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a hearing next week to investigate "political influence ... on agency science and decisionmaking." Cheney has been invited to testify, but he is not expected to attend the hearing.


Forget Lindsay Lohan, Alberto Gonzales Must Be Impeached!

Posted by Guest Blogger at 2:26 PM on July 24, 2007.

Jane Hamsher: While the press obsesses over Lohan's latest brush with the law, the Attorney General continues to brazenly lie under oath and get away with it.
Lindsay Lohan - Another DUI, Cocaine, & Her New Mugshot

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This post, written by Jane Hamsher, originally appeared on FireDogLake

I was watching Abu lie his face off on CSPAN3 for most of the morning so I've only heard it 3 times on CNN but the fact that there is a link between people who drink soda pop and heart disease seems to be dominating the headlines. Who woulda thunk.

I realize the future of the goddamn country rests on whether Lindsay Lohan is a drunken coke whore or not but the Attorney General of the United States will not answer Chuck Schumer's question and say who sent him to Ashcroft's room that fateful night. Simple question. He's smirking in the face of Senators trying to get at exactly what happened; the little he manages to remember is inconsistent with the things he said before, and he knows there will be no penalty to pay if George Bush has anything to say for it. Scooter's friends will protect him.

In a discussion of censure vs. impeachment this morning, Kagro X was analyzing the Youngstown case and had this to say:

I take that to be an acknowledgment by Justice Frankfurter that even bullshit claims like Bush's can become part of the accepted range of presidential powers if they're exercised -- as Bush's violations certainly have been -- with the full knowledge of Congress, and to this point, unquestioned by them.

Many Democrats are so afraid of being accused of "overreach" by Republican bullies that they do not want to take any action that might be considered "drastic." I was amusing myself by looking through the archives and all the predictions that Feingold was "destroying Democratic hopes" in 2006 when he introduced his censure measure last year. Yeah that happened. But the political risks involved in impeaching the oily and disgraced Abu are certainly much more limited than going after Cheney and Bush, and it allows Congress to begin to draw a line. Any line.


This man is an insult to the constitution. Impeach him. Get him out of there. Whatever it takes.

Sweet tapdancing Jesus, just do something to say "enough" and convince us that we are not looking at the New World Order because nobody wants to get their hands dirty.

And CNN? I liked your debate last night. People who drink a lot of soda tend to be fat and Lindsay Lohan is a subject best left to the pervs at The Corner. It would be nice to hear something about the fate of our country. I realize you can't take LiLo out of the eye of the camera, but maybe pick a Sheldon Whitehouse clip or two and slug it into soda rotation for the rest of the day?

Just a thought.


Tagged as: justice department, gonzales, lohan, mainstream media

Jane Hamsher is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect.

The Ten Reasons Bush Refuses to End the War

Posted by Guest Blogger at 4:59 AM on July 25, 2007.

Daniel DiRito: The most recent Bush administration plan for a do-over in Iraq had me wondering if I could think of other events in history that had an equivalent "You've got to be kidding me" factor.

This post, written by Daniel DiRito, originally appeared on All Spin Zone

As I read yesterday's New York Times article on the most recent Bush administration plan for a do-over in Iraq, I found myself wondering if I could think of other events in history that had an equivalent "You've got to be kidding me" factor. According to the report, high level officials are working on a plan that envisions a strong U.S. presence in Iraq until at least 2009.

This new strategy focuses upon securing Baghdad in order to provide Iraq's shaky government the "breathing space they need to try political reconciliation" idea that I'm still attempting to comprehend. Does this mean that Iraq's politicians are afraid to meet with each other because the streets of Baghdad are too threatening? The Times explains the plan as follows:

The plan envisions two phases. The "near-term" goal is to achieve "localized security" in Baghdad and other areas no later than June 2008. It envisions encouraging political accommodations at the local level, including with former insurgents, while pressing Iraq's leaders to make headway on their program of national reconciliation.
The "intermediate" goal is to stitch together such local arrangements to establish a broader sense of security on a nationwide basis no later than June 2009.
"The coalition, in partnership with the government of Iraq, employs integrated political, security, economic and diplomatic means, to help the people of Iraq achieve sustainable security by the summer of 2009," a summary of the campaign plan states.

I have to hand it to those crafting this new plan...they have mastered the art of doublespeak, nuance, and innuendo...such that it is virtually impossible to understand the actual actions to be executed.

Perhaps the Bush administration has concluded that numbers and catchy names for the latest assault or the next surge have done little more than lead to overwhelming skepticism. I guess if you can devise a plan that defies description or understanding, you cannot be held accountable since it would be impossible to measure its effectiveness.

With that in mind, I decided absurdity was the order of the day. The following is my own list of the top ten reasons George Bush is determined to stay in Iraq.

Number 10:

John McCain would have nothing to talk about on the campaign trail.

Number 9:

What would he do with the 10 billion dollars a month we're spending on the war?

Number 8:

Dick Cheney would have nothing to do.

Number 7:

Clinton be damned, there is no way he's turning the presidency over to his successor in the same state he found it.

Number 6:

Osama bin Laden hates his oasis in Pakistan and can't wait to relocate to beautiful downtown Baghdad.

Number 5:

He's not quitting until he finds a general that enjoys being his puppet and having GWB's hand shoved up his behind.

Number 4:

There's no way he's leaving Iraq until his daddy admits that junior knows best.

Number 3:

Iraq's new government needs someone to run the country while they are on vacation.

Number 2:

Until his direct line to god is reconnected, he wouldn't feel right acting on his own.

Number 1:

The doctors who performed a colonoscopy on the President were unable to locate his head while examining his ass.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater


Tagged as: iraq war, bush

Daniel DiRito is the All Spin Zone’s most recent permanent contributor. He’s also the blogmaster at Thought Theater.

Will Cheney Run for President?

Posted by Guest Blogger at 4:26 AM on July 25, 2007.

Faiz Shakir: A New York Sun editorial suggests that Cheney may look at the weak Republican '08 field and see an opening.

This post, written by Faiz Shakir, originally appeared on Think Progress

In April, the New York Sun published an editorial entitled "Cheney's Chance," encouraging the Vice President to jump into the presidential race. The Sun argued that having a "defender on the campaign trail" would boost Bush's approval ratings.

In a review of Stephen Hayes' new biography of Cheney, Ira Stoll -- the editor of the Sun -- recycles his plea. Stoll writes that he believes the Hayes book is part of an effort by Cheney to drum up support for a potential campaign run:

The book quotes Senator McCain as saying, "Dick doesn't like campaigning." Nothing in the Hayes book suggests that Mr. Cheney is about to do it -- except for that the vice president spent nearly 30 hours cooperating with the author and apparently gave the okay for many of his friends and colleagues to grant similar access. The Richard Cheney described in this book isn't vain enough to do that simply for his reputation in history. My own guess -- okay, hope -- is that Mr. Cheney has taken a look at the Republican presidential field and sees an opening. If Iowa and New Hampshire Republicans start receiving copies of "Cheney" in their mailboxes, Mr. Cheney's popularity may yet begin to climb.

Stoll acknowledges that his previous editorial calling for Cheney to run "was widely mocked." Apparently, once wasn't enough.


Tagged as: campaign08, cheney

Faiz Shakir is the Research Director at the Center for American Progress and serves as Editor of and The Progress Report.

Clinton Campaign Clobbers O'Reilly

Posted by Guest Blogger at 5:37 AM on July 25, 2007.

Taylor Marsh: Clinton campaign communications director tells O'Reilly, “The days where you can dictate where Senator Clinton and other Democrats go, who we talk to, are over.”
Clinton Campaign Clobbers O'Reilly

This post, written by Taylor Marsh, originally appeared on Taylor

Remember the 2004 election?

Remember Bill O'Reilly telling Democrats that if they'd come on his show their chances would be better in the election? That any candidate who goes on his show stands a better chance with "the folks"?

Remember the fight with Fox "News" over the presidential debate in Nevada? Bill-O went ballistic.

Fox and O'Reilly have made it a point to blather on ad nauseam that Democrats are crazy not to come on Fox. That we ignore Fox at our peril. Of course they believe it's the smart thing and actually offers something for Democrats. It's an absurd proposition, especially given the way O'Reilly and hosts like Sean Hannity treat Democrats and progressives who venture in. Even Alan Colmes sometimes gets into the act when a Democrat takes an opposite opinion on an issue. The latest was a segment on "The Factor," where Bill-O went at Peter Beinart and a foreign policy expert from the Clinton administration on how to deal with Pakistan. Bill-O was insulting from the start, followed by his usual dripping condescension at all things Democratic.

But last night Howard Wolfson laid Bill-O out.

"I think it's unfortunate that in the last week or so you have cherry picked some comments on the Daily Kos site that you or I or others might find objectionable and decided to smear an entire community - hundreds of thousands of people who go to the site every day, who talk to one another, who participate vigorously in our democracy; and you are urging Democratic presidential candidates to stay away from their yearly conference. And unfortunately with all due respect for you, the days where you can dictate where Senator Clinton and other Democrats go, who we talk to, are over." - Howard Wolfson

Going on "The Factor" to talk about Clinton's appearance at YearlyKos afer his comment about O'Reilly's attacks on the convention, as well as Daily Kos, was a brilliant move. That Wolfson left Bill O'Reilly slack jawed was a bonus. Wolfson didn't get combative or argumentative. He didn't offer a laundry list of insults that O'Reilly himself has hurled. Wolfson didn't name all the guests and the outrageous things that get said on "The Factor" either, but only mentioned that reality almost in passing, as an assumption. He didn't have to. Instead, Wolfson stated very matter-of-factly that O'Reilly was wrong to say the things he did and "cherry pick" comments from a blog that has millions of commenters over the last years. He also talked about the thousands of dedicated progressives out here in the blogosphere, as well as stating that he didn't agree with every single comment, but policy disagreements are welcome. Wolfson acknowledged the criticism Clinton takes in the blogosphere, which is an understatement. You've seen the video, so you know how this turned out.

O'Reilly, throughout it all, kept coming at Wolfson, intent on making him blink, back down, come over to Bill-O's side. When O'Reilly read some of the comments placed on Daily Kos, he made sure to read one about "the blue dress," which had a twisted smear that was directed at candidate Clinton. You could see Wolfson close his eyes at that point. It was a disgusting display by O'Reilly to try to goad Wolfson down to his level. But he didn't bite, not once, not ever.

Wolfson treated O'Reilly like just another interview with someone who has a beef with the Clinton camp, but he had no intention of giving an inch to the Fox "News" prima donna, something that clearly irked Bill-O. It was priceless and particularly devastating because of Wolfson's calm dismantling of Fox's chief pontificating gas bag.

But let's face it. You don't need a bazooka to brush away a nat.

For more on this developing story click here


Tagged as: o'reilly, yearly kos, daily kos, clinton, wolfson, fox news, media

Taylor Marsh is a radio show talk host, national blog reporter and author who’s been a consistent political, social and cultural force on TV and radio for over 15 years.