USA Today editorial board takes sides: call it the Tea Party shutdown

The Shutdown Party: Our view

…This shutdown, the first in 17 years, isn’t the result of two parties acting equally irresponsibly. It is the product of an increasingly radicalized Republican Party, controlled by a disaffected base that demands legislative hostage-taking in an effort to get what it has not been able to attain by the usual means: winning elections.

Call it the Tea Party shutdown. The group will wear the badge proudly.

Pressed by this uncompromising fringe, Republicans leaders in the House are making demands that are both preposterous and largely unrelated to budgetary matters in return for keeping government running. Most absurdly, they want President Obama to undermine the health care law that he ran on in 2008 and 2012, and now considers his signature domestic accomplishment.

No president of either party could accept that kind of badgering. No president should.

[...] The question for the GOP now is how its more mainstream elements can regain control. Somehow, the party needs to get back to the model of Ronald Reagan, who was plenty conservative but understood that leadership is less about issuing ultimatums than about offering a compelling vision and working patiently to achieve it.

More immediately, the party needs to get out of the hole it is digging for itself and the nation. That will require Boehner to allow the House to vote on a bill to fund the government without any Obamacare amendments. Such a measure would likely pass with votes from Democrats and pragmatic Republicans, ending the shutdown and leaving Obamacare to succeed or fail on its own.

Yes, that would be a tough call for Boehner, but he has allowed several measures to pass without backing from a majority of Republicans, including last year’s “fiscal cliff” deal and aid for Hurricane Sandy victims.

Whether and when Boehner will permit such a vote remains to be seen, but as the shutdown drags on and the toll on the economy mounts, the public will have little trouble seeing where the blame is properly laid.

When you’ve lost the editorial board of USA Today, you’re losing the mainstream.

Currently 20 House Republicans would support a “clean” CR to reopen the government

Washington Post — An increasing number of House Republicans have said that they will support a “clean” continuing resolution. This “clean” bill is free of any amendments attempting to delay or change President Obama’s health-care law. Here is a look at what may be fueling some of that sudden bipartisanship, whether they represent a competitive district or a high percentage of the district’s workforce is employed by the federal government.

  1. Rep. Lou Barletta — won 58% of vote / district has a federal workforce of 3%
  2. Rep. Charlie Dent — 57% / 1%
  3. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart — 76% / 2%
  4. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick — 57% / 1%
  5. Rep. Randy Forbes — 57% / 8%
  6. Rep. Jim Gerlach — 57% / 1%
  7. Rep. Tim Griffin — 55% / 4%
  8. Rep. Michael Grimm — 53% / 2%
  9. Rep. Richard Hanna — 60% / 2%
  10. Rep. Peter King — 59% / 2%
  11. Rep. Frank LoBiondo — 58% / 2%
  12. Rep. Pat Meehan — 59% / 2%
  13. Rep. Devin Nunes — 63% / 2%
  14. Rep. Erik Paulsen — 58% / 1%
  15. Rep. Scott Rigell — 54% / 10%
  16. Rep. Jon Runyan — 54% / 4%
  17. Rep. Mike Simpson — 65% / 4%
  18. Rep. Rob Wittman — 56% / 13%
  19. Rep. Frank Wolf — 59% / 9%
  20. Rep. Bill Young — 58% / 2%

Let your congress member know: we’ve been Teabagged Enough Already!

via

Attn GOP House: “Here’s what you ‘get.’ Here’s what you should be asking for.”

President Obama responds to this quote from Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN): “We’re not going to be disrespected, We have to get something out of this, And I don’t know what that even is.”

Replying to Stutzman’s question about what Republicans “get” for ending the three-day shutdown, Obama said,

“What you get is our intelligence professionals being back on the job. What you get is our medical researchers back on the job. What you get are little kids back into Head Start. What you get are our national parks and monuments open again. What you get is the economy not stalling, but continuing to grow. What you get are workers continuing to be hired. That’s what you get. That’s what you should be asking for.”

——————————————————————————————————————–

In a meeting with GOP lawmakers, Speaker John Boehner “offered no clue as to how he expected Congress to get out of the dead end it has found itself in, with the government shut for a fourth day and no clear path to raise the federal debt limit to avoid the nation’s first default,” the New York Times reports.

Said Boehner: “We are locked in an epic battle,” while urging them to “hang tough.” The overarching problem for the man at the center of the budget fight, say allies and opponents, is that he and his leadership team have no real idea how to resolve the fiscal showdown.

They are only trying to survive another day, Republican strategists say, hoping to maintain unity as long as possible so that when the Republican position collapses, they can capitulate on two issues at once — financing the government and raising the debt ceiling — and head off any internal party backlash. Republican lawmakers say Mr. Boehner has assured them privately that he will not permit a default.

[...] on Friday [Boehner] played down any personal animosity between him and his Democratic adversaries, but did show a flash of temper when he referred to suggestions from the White House that Democrats had the advantage. “This isn’t some damn game,” he said, his voice rising. “The American people don’t want their government shut down, and neither do I.”

Good to know—maybe John Boehner should clue in the other members of his own party:

via Think Progress, Political Wire

Jon Stewart: Government Shutstorm from Bullshit Mountain

Stewart points out: “Outraged, [Fox News' false-outrage-exploitation-engine] will storm the barricades to make sure these, maybe, 100 veterans get into the [WWII] Memorial while forgetting that it’s their allies asinine budget shenanigans that not only shut it in the first place, but also put Meals on Wheels at risk–a program that serves meals to over 500,000 veterans a year.”

After playing a montage of Republicans describing their love for “small government,” Stewart summarizes: “You hate the government. Yet you rail like banshees if any of the services and benefits YOU like are taken away.” Echoing a famous scene from Steve Martin’s The Jerk, he says, “I don’t need any government… except these memorials… and Social Security… and the paddle game.”

He continues, “And THEN, in the middle of your outrage and sadness over the government shutdown, well… you always wind up giving away the bullshit game.” Stewart cuts to a video of Michele Bachmann saying, “We’re really very energized today, we’re very strong. This is about the happiest I’ve seen members in a long time.”

WashingtonPost — One of the last remaining veterans of World War II in Congress called Thursday afternoon for his colleagues to end the government shutdown, suggesting that members of the legislative body who have appeared at the World War II memorial this week are not doing enough to support those who served in the conflict. “If this Congress truly wishes to recognize the sacrifice and bravery of our World War II veterans and all who’ve come after, it will end this shutdown and reopen our government now,” John Dingell (D-Mich.) said in a joint statement issued with former Republican senator Bob Dole of Kansas, a combat-injured veteran of World War II.

What? Photo ops with WWII veterans in wheelchairs isn’t doing enough for veterans during the shutdown? That must be a mistake.

Related: 

Video: Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) bullies a National Park Service Ranger

Video: Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) bullies a National Park Service Ranger

TPM — Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), one of a number of Republicans who have tried to use the closed World War II Memorial to bash the Obama administration and Democrats on the shutdown, confronted [a National Park Service Ranger] while surrounded by a crowd of onlookers.

Photo op!

Neugebauer asked the Ranger how she could turn World War II veterans away.

“How do you look at them and…deny them access?” the congressman asked.

“It’s difficult,” she responded.

“Well, it should be difficult,” Neugebauer snapped.

“It is difficult,” the Ranger said. “I’m sorry sir.”

“The Park Service should be ashamed of themselves,” Neugebauer said.

“I’m not ashamed,” the Ranger said.

Members of the crowd then chimed in. One person shouted “This woman is doing her job, just like me.”

“I’m a 30-year federal veteran — I’m out of work,” the man continued.

“Well, the reason you are is because [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid decided to shutdown the government,” Neugebauer said.

“No, it’s because the government won’t do its job and pass a budget,” the man responded.

Neugebauer then tells his entourage, “Come on, let’s take this somewhere else please,” and scurries away.

Keep in mind that, as a congressman, Neugebauer’s federal paychecks continue to be deposited every two weeks during this shutdown, while the NPS ranger is currently required to work without pay.

Related: 

Fox host: “I want to punish these people. Sorry to say that, but that’s what I want to do.”

“…I’m sick and tired of a massive, bloated federal bureaucracy living on our backs, and taking money out of us, a lot more money than most of us earn in the private sector, then getting a furlough, and then getting their money back at the end of it. Sorry, I’m not for that. I want to punish these people. Sorry to say that, but that’s what I want to do.”
— Stuart Varney, Fox Business host on furloughed federal workers.

When Varney says “us,” he doesn’t actually, literally mean usVarney’s net worth is $10 million. So this is exactly like when Willard Romney complained that government workers earn more than he does.

In reality, the super wealthy want the conservative base to believe and agree with the notion that a middle-class wage is an unfathomable luxury that shouldn’t be paid in the public sector AND shouldn’t be something that ordinary people even aspire to in the private sector. Stuart Varney must resent that he’s not getting a new tax cut this year for his income bracket.

Unfortunately for everyone, the Fox viewing audience gobbles up this delicious bullshit and always holds out their plates for seconds. Be happy with your Walmart wages, baggers. Keep your standards low and keep voting for the one percent. Praise Jesus! 

Brace yourself for the upcoming and excessive ‘failures of journalism’

James Fallows:

As a matter of journalism, any story that presents the disagreements as a “standoff,” a “showdown,” a “failure of leadership,” a sign of “partisan gridlock,” or any of the other usual terms for political disagreement, represents a failure of journalism*** and an inability to see or describe what is going on. For instance: the “dig in their heels” headline you see below, which is from a proprietary newsletter I read this morning, and about which I am leaving off the identifying details.

This isn’t “gridlock.” It is a ferocious struggle within one party, between its traditionalists and its radical factions, with results that unfortunately can harm all the rest of us — and, should there be a debt default, could harm the rest of the world too.

*** For examples of coverage that plainly states what is going on, here is a small sampling: Greg Sargent, Derek Thompson, John Gilmour (on why Ronald Reagan believed in compromise), Jonathan RauchBrian Beutler, Jonathan Chait, Andrew Sullivan (also here), Ezra Klein and Evan Soltas, Dan Froomkin. On today’s Diane Rehm show News Roundup, panelists Ruth Marcus, Janet Hook, and Todd Purdum all said with a bluntness unusual for a D.C.-based talk show that we are witnessing the effects not of gridlock but of one party’s internal crisis. 

David Frum:

All in all, it’s hard to see any positive outcome emerging for Republicans from this confrontation. Yet the party is charging forward anyway. Why?

The short answer is a breakdown in the party’s ability to govern itself. It can’t think strategically. Even when pressed to do something overwhelmingly likely to end in disaster, as this shutdown looks likely to do for Republicans, the party has no way to stop itself. It stumbles into fights it cannot win, gets mad, and then in its anger lurches into yet another fight that ends in yet another loss.

John Avlon:

Republicans have lost control of the conservative populist forces that helped them ride to congressional victory in 2010. These folks are happy to ruin if they cannot rule. But the real reason the rot of polarisation is setting in is because the rigged system of redistricting has created safe districts where Republican congressmen will only lose their seats if they are challenged from the right in closed partisan primaries… So the GOP congressional leadership is caught in a trap of their own making, without the ability to govern responsibly as they not-so-secretly see fit.

House Republican Conference “went bonkers” with approval for a Government Shutdown

The Republican government shutdown is a day and a half closer to happening, thanks to John Boehner (who is now exclusively controlled by Sen. Ted Cruz and his 2016 political aspirations) and the dimmest bulbs in the U.S. House:

GovExec.com: House Republicans on Saturday rallied around a short-term measure that would fund the government through Dec. 15 while delaying the implementation of Obamacare for one year, a politically risky proposal that unites the Republican conference but could bring the government within reach of a shutdown. The plan, which also includes an amendment to repeal the medical device tax and a separate provision to pay military members in the event of a shutdown, also puts the ball quickly back into the Senate’s court. …Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, though, dismissed the House’s plan outright…. “Today’s vote by House Republicans is pointless… Republicans must decide whether to pass the Senate’s clean CR, or force a Republican government shutdown.” To avoid a partial government shutdown, both chambers of Congress must reach an agreement by Tuesday, the start of the new fiscal year…

I don’t happen to agree with only paying the military in the event of a shutdown — that’s Republican hypocrisy at its finest.  What about all the federal workers who won’t be paid (those furloughed and those working through it)?  The GOP always, always pulls out their Military Card when they think they need to look patriotic (support the troops! except when they’re no longer active and need benefits, etc). In late 2013, this pathetically tired move should only work with baggers. If there’s going to be a shutdown of the American government, let’s all feel it together.

PLEASE NOTICE the Republican House did not amend anything to stop their own paychecks in the event of a shutdown. In fact, the Senate last month unanimously passed a bill that would eliminate pay for lawmakers but the bill has stalled in the House. There’s a revealing little factoid to share with any Republican-supporting acquaintances you might know.

So how excited were the entirety of the House Republican Conference about shutting down the government OVER HEALTHCARE REFORM? This excited:

  • Cheers erupted in a closed-door meeting after Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, made it clear the House would not give-up in the stand-off with the Senate and the White House.
  • “Let’s roll,” an exuberant Rep. John Culberson, R-Tex., shouted as colleagues cheered Boehner. An unfortunate analogy, perhaps, because Culberson later explained he was evoking the battle cry of passengers who tried to wrest control of United Airlines Flight 93 from terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. That was the fourth plane to go down in that day’s terrorist attacks, crashing in a Pennsylvania field and killing all on board.

Seriously.

  • Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas went on the House floor shortly after the meeting and called Boehner “our great speaker.”
  • …as lawmakers described it, Boehner walked up to the microphone and proceeded to matter-of-factly detail what his new strategy would entail. “People went bonkers,” with approval, said Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz. “They were very excited.”

That observation, all by itself, sums up everything that will happen in the next 48 hours.

  • And as the meeting adjourned, the accolades for Boehner kept on coming. Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, a vocal critic of leadership who just two days ago trashed Boehner’s proposed debt-ceiling maneuver, exited the meeting and flashed a big “thumbs up” sign.
  • Even Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who often clashes with leadership and is known to regularly shun the media, ran toward a horde of reporters and declared: “It’s a fabulous bill!”

Is it “fabulous,” Michele? Crazy-eyes approved.

  • House Republicans – including some who met privately this week with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., who has led the charge against Obamacare – said Saturday they were not worried that extending the battle with the Senate might send the nation spiraling into a shutdown.

They’re not worried because this is what they’ve been wanting since 2011.

  • “Republicans will probably be blamed for whatever happens,” said Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz. “So, what remains for us is to do the right thing.”

Shorter Trent Franks: “Whatever, so… What.Ev.Er.”

A interesting, but not surprising, observation from a congressional reporter at Politico last night:

Related: 

VA: All veterans’ benefit payments will be disrupted if a shutdown goes beyond two weeks — The Department of Veterans Affairs told congressional officials Friday that all benefit checks it issues, including disability claims and pension payments, will be disrupted if a government shutdown lasts for more than two or three weeks, according to congressional sources.

And Yes, the GOP Even Managed to Work Denial of Birth Control Into Their Clownish Budget Bill — this shows the influence of the extreme Calvinist religious right on today’s Tea Party Republicans. They know this crazy bill is never going to pass the Senate and is only intended as theater, so they’re lettin’ it all hang out.

The GOPeaParty never talks about how much their political theater (for the benefit of their gerrymandered, minority-opinion voting base) will actually cost the American taxpayer – According to the Office of Management and Budget, the two shutdowns in 1995 and 1996 cost taxpayers $1.4 billion combined. Adjust for inflation and you’ve got $2 billion in today’s dollars. …In the immediate aftermath of the first government shutdown in 1981, the most conservative estimate – conducted by the General Accounting Office (now called the Government Accountability Office) — put the cost of shutting the government down for a single day at $8.2 million, or almost $21 million in today’s dollars. A House panel later concluded that the day-long furlough cost taxpayers 10 times more than that.

“This has been a rather confusing week, I know. I don’t think, ever, in the history of the Senate, have we had a 21-hour filibuster, and then the persons carrying out the filibuster voted for the issue they were filibustering. I don’t think that’s happened in the history of our country… is it more important to the Senator from Texas and the Senator from Utah that people around the country watch this vote, or is it more important to us that we have a good policy outcome from our standpoint and actually have a body that has a majority of Republicans to be able to react and send back something of good policy?”   — GOP Senator BOB CORKER (R – TN), ripping his fellow Tea Party Republican senators Ted Cruz (R – TX) and Mike Lee (R – UT)

CNN blew it. MSNBC got it right.

POLITICO: And when the dust from Boston Marathon bombing clears, viewers will remember two things about the cable news coverage of this historic event: that John King blew it, and that Pete Williams got it right.

On Wednesday, while CNN was self-destructing after falsely reporting that a suspect has been taken into custody, Williams rightly reported otherwise. Through Thursday, he reported what was known, while resisting the temptation to speculate on what he did not. Then, in the early hours of Friday morning, Williams was among the first to report on the ongoing developments of the search for the suspects — including that one of the suspects was dead and that both suspects were legal residents with foreign military training. [...]

“MSNBC isn’t a news network — they don’t do news,” is something I’ve often heard folks at CNN say.

This week’s coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings demonstrated that that is a false argument. MSNBC doesn’t need to “do news,” because they have the resources of NBC — they have Williams, Michael Isikoff, Richard Espositio and Jonathan Dienst, just to name a few. CNN may have more boots on the ground, but in the chaotic 21st century media environment, viewers want quality not quantity.

CPAC2013: Keep F*cking That Chicken

On Bill Maher’s New Rules segment this week, he talked about a “relatively small group of very shrill people [who are] devoted to — and succeeding at — convincing us that this is a much more conservative and religious nation than it is.”

Maher goes on to explain that CPAC is merely an extension of such devotion:

Maher discusses his term Shit Kicker Inflation “the phenomenon of all things conservative being portrayed as way bigger than they really are” with the following examples:

  • ONE MILLION MOMS: the number of followers that One Million Moms has on Twitter: 2,258. 
  • THE CATHOLIC LEAGUE: just as there aren’t a million moms in One Million Moms, there is no “league” in The Catholic League. It’s one guy with a fax machine.
  • OBAMACARE: as an idea, it’s unpopular. But ask voters about the elements in it, they’re all very popular. It’s like saying “I hate pizza! I love tomato sauce and melted cheese on dough, but pizza? I hate that shit.”
  • GUNS: gun ownership is actually DOWN in this country… way down. And yet the NRA, with just 4 million members, has a stranglehold on the gun policies in a nation of 300 million.
  • CPAC2013: Among the featured speakers at CPAC this year include Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum, Wayne LaPierre, Donald Trump, and Sarah Palin… a virtual who’s who of what the fuck.

Here are some highlights from a few of CPAC’s featured who’s who of WTF:

Sarah Palin: “We’re not here to rebrand a party [but to] put on a fresh coat of rhetorical paint.” Then she said: “More background checks? Dandy idea, Mr. President. Should’ve started with yours.” Fresh birther paint!

Next, she dazzled the audience with a boob joke followed by heroically (according to crowd reaction?) drinking from a Big Gulp. Wolverines!

“Outside the ballroom afterward, CPAC attendees raved about the stunt. “Hilarious.” “I thought that was awesome.” “I loved that.” One woman I spoke to said the moment “just really symbolized American freedom.” A man named Tomas told me that Palin holding up the Big Gulp “gave a new look to the Statue of Liberty.” Whether or not anyone, including Palin, realized that Mayor Bloomberg’s soda restrictions wouldn’t even have affected Big Gulps is not clear.” — Dan Amira




Freedumb!

Donald Trump: “Behold, the scene at Donald Trump’s CPAC speech this morning in the main ballroom. Empty seats were everywhere, although it’s not entirely Trump’s fault. He was given an 8:45 a.m. speaking slot, the very first of the day. Many CPAC attendees aren’t even out of bed yet. Still, Trump was invited not because of his conservative bona fides (he’s donated more money over the years to Democrats than to Republicans), but because he’s supposedly a crowd-pleasing draw.”

Pre-speech:

Post-speech:

These empty seats are Totally False.

Photos via ‘flunky’ Dan Amira

Mitt Romney: “‘It’s up to us to make sure that we learn from our mistakes — and my mistakes,’ Romney told the crowd Friday. [...] Romney’s re-emergence at CPAC comes after months spent almost entirely out of public view. People close to him say he consumes large volumes of news every day on his iPad and on Fox News. He stews as he reads the coverage of the various budget showdowns in Congress, frustrated that the president has pursued what he sees as an aggressively liberal agenda that won’t solve the country’s economic problems.”

So to Mitt Romney, “learning from his mistakes” includes continuing to bravely watch Fox and continuing to bravely label the President’s insistence on a balanced approach to deficit reduction (spending cuts alongside closing loopholes and subsidies for the wealthy) an “aggressively liberal agenda.” Sure. Apparently the only mistakes Mitt made with his CPAC speech were omitting some birther jokes and not drinking from a Big Gulp.

Let’s be honest: the theme “America’s Future: The Next Generation of Conservatives” really doesn’t describe CPAC. This annual gathering of wingnuts could be more efficiently labeled “Keep F*cking That Chicken.”

Related: Keep F*cking That Chicken

God Save Us from the next generation of conservatives.

Our “liberal lamestream” media: the President is golfing!

I’m constantly amazed by how much our “liberal lamestream” media has reported on President Obama being on another vacation over the weekend, how he’s golfing, he’s on a separate vacation from Michelle and the girls, he’s not working, etc. etc. etc.

Has there been any reporting about how the Republican-led House voted itself ANOTHER week-long break? Or that because they voted themselves another vacation, when they finally return to “work” on Feb. 25 they’ll have exactly FOUR DAYS to work on the Sequester before it goes into effect on March 1? Has there been any kind of reporting by network media on the fact that NOT ONE Democratic member voted for this break? Or that Nancy Pelosi and the other Democrats were angry because they wanted to stay and work on a bill to replace the Sequester?

Your tax dollars at work, Teabaggers.

Deconstructing the 5 most ridiculous myths about Barack Obama – The Week

A village in Alaska *finally* regained its Idiot

Sarah Palin and Fox “news” have agreed to part ways. Did she quit (again?) or was she fired? RealClearPolitics reported that a source close to Palin said she was offered a contract but declined it and a Fox spokesman said, “We wish her the best in her future endeavors.” In other words, Fox wasn’t going to pay her a million a year anymore — or, more likely, any money at all.

So how will this quitty, no job-y thing work out for Sarah? According to her: Great! Opportunities aplenty! For example, she’ll have so much more time to work on her Facebook posts whilst “not retreating” from her “message.”

Political Wire: Although Sarah Palin just lost her platform at Fox News, she tells Breitbart News that she’s been able to “free up opportunities” to “share more broadly” her message. Said Palin: “I was raised to never retreat and to pick battles wisely, and all in due season. When it comes to defending our republic, we haven’t begun to fight! But we delight in those who underestimate us.”

Think Progress briefly reviews the history of Sarah’s “message” which seems to coincide with the Palin family’s aspirations of wealth and fame:

The Palin family as a whole seems to hope for careers in show business, but this is only the latest in a string of failures for them. The TLC show Sarah Palin’s Alaska saw declining ratings and wasn’t renewed for a second season. Bristol Palin’s Lifetime show was yanked from the network for lower viewership, but not before landing $354,348 in tax subsidies from the state of Alaska. Todd Palin was reduced to appearing as one of many celebrities on NBC’s military reality show Stars Earned Stripes.

Maybe now that Fox News has cut ties with Palin, the rest of the television industry will follow suit. Sarah Palin long ago proved she had no real aptitude for governance when she quit her job as governor as Alaska. Her time on Fox proved she didn’t have much spark as a source of news or opinion. And the rest of her family’s efforts suggest that as entertainment, the Palins have nothing to offer us but diminishing returns.

If this isn’t one of longest, most painful ’15 minutes’ that has ever been foisted on the American people, I don’t know what is. Remember to thank John McCain. There is one thing we can know with certainty: morons everywhere will be devastated.

Fox “news” is stupid and the world is dumber because it exists

No.

The owners of Fox really must take its viewers’ intelligence (or lack thereof) for granted.

Jon Stewart: we have our first Fox boner alert of 2013

 

images: drunkonstevphen

Another day, another bunch of Fox hypocrisy:

Current TV, a fledgling cable network, was bought by the Arab news network Al Jazeera last week. Various Fox News personalities have blasted Al Gore for selling his channel to an allegedly “anti-American” network that was owned by Qatar.

To see what all the fuss was about, Stewart played a clip of a Saudi cleric saying that Jews made matzos with human blood, among other absurdities.

“You know, if that were true you’d think matzos would be more flavorful, but its not,” he joked. “That’s just awful. To air that on Al Jazeera — oh, I’m sorry, that didn’t air on Al Jazeera, that aired on a network called Rotana. That’s my fault, that’s another television station in the Arab world. That one is owned not by Qatar, but by a Saudi prince named Al-Waleed bin Talal and also 20 percent of that is owned by a guy named Rupert Murdoch.”

Stewart noted Rotana had also aired a movie that portrayed American soldiers as “the bad guys,” who massacred Iraqi civilians and sold their organs to Jews.

“I don’t even know what to say. Rupert Murdoch profiting from the airing of that type of anti-American propaganda? Words fail me. Can anyone else jump in?”

The late-night comedian then played a series of clips where Fox News personalities criticized Al Jazeera, but the word “Al Jazeera” was appropriately replaced by “Rotana.”

— Raw Story

[Watch clip on Comedy Central]

The Republican Party: scamming for profit

…There are a lot of people whose livelihoods depend on keeping lots of conservatives terrified and ill-informed. The groups that exist to raise funds raise more funds when they endorse the crazier candidate. So even if you don’t particularly care that regular conservative Americans are constantly being scammed by their media apparatus, you should still worry about the influence of the scammers. The fact that there is a lot of money to be made in acting like Michele Bachmann is part of why the House seems poised to blow up the U.S. economy. The fact that conservatives have that much contempt for their own true believers neatly explains how they govern when they actually have power.”

— The conservative movement is still an elaborate moneymaking venture – Alex Pareene – Salon (via)