Friday, December 03, 2010

Who the heck pays attention this old hag? Same that love Sarah P!!

Helen Thomas Outdoes Herself: "Congress, The White House, And Hollywood, Wall Street, Are Owned By The Zionists

Last June long-time White House reporter Helen Thomas unceremoniously retired after causing a media firestorm when she told an interviewer she thought Jews should "go back to Germany."

Five months later Thomas is standing by those remarks...and, er, adding to them.

In Detroit yesterday at an Arab workshop on anti-Arab bias Thomas, who is the daughter of Lebanese immigrants, told a Free Press reporter that "I paid the price for that...But it was worth it, to speak the truth."

Then she stepped it up a notch.

"We are owned by propagandists against the Arabs. There's no question about that. Congress, the White House, and Hollywood, Wall Street, are owned by the Zionists. No question in my opinion. They put their money where there mouth is…We're being pushed into a wrong direction in every way."

She also criticized the Iraq war. She reportedly got a standing ovation.

Sometimes I hate the left liberals when they act as the right wing wacko! KO Bristol!

Point Palin? Bristol Slams Keith Olbermann In A Facebook Note

Bristol Palin has taken to her Facebook page to respond to "a left wing commentator named" Keith Olbermann dubbing her 'worst person in the world' the other day for starring in a video promoting abstinence.

Admittedly, the post reads an awful lot like the posts that frequently pop up on Sarah Palin's page from time-to-time. Even still Bristol gets in some good (and warranted!) jabs.

Says Bristol: "Accusing me of hypocrisy is by now, an old canard. What Mr. Olbermann lacks in originality he makes up for with insincere incredulity. Mr. Olbermann fails to understand that in order to have credibility as a spokesperson, it sometimes takes a person who has made mistakes."

Point Bristol.

Read the full post:

Recently, a left wing commentator named Keith Olbermann attacked me for being a spokesperson for abstinence education and for being an Ambassador for the Candies Foundation, which promotes teen pregnancy awareness and prevention education. He went so far as to call me "the worst person" he knows, apparently, for my efforts to educate teenagers about the real world risks of premarital sex.

Accusing me of hypocrisy is by now, an old canard. What Mr. Olbermann lacks in originality he makes up for with insincere incredulity. Mr. Olbermann fails to understand that in order to have credibility as a spokesperson, it sometimes takes a person who has made mistakes.

Parents warn their children about the mistakes they made so they are not repeated. Former gang members travel to schools to educate teenagers about the risks of gang life.
Recovered addicts lecture to others about the risks of alcohol and drug abuse. And yes, a teen mother talks about the benefits of preventing teen pregnancy.

I have never claimed to be perfect.
If that makes me the "worst person in the world" to Mr. Olbermann, then I must apologize for not being absolutely faultless like he undoubtedly must be.

To Mr. Olbermann let me say this: you can attack me all you want. But you will not stop me from getting my message out about teen pregnancy prevention. And one day, if you ever have a daughter, you may change your mind about me.


Pentagon worried Congress won't end 'don't ask, don't tell'

The Pentagon is increasingly worried that Congress will not act to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, a scenario that defense officials fear would prompt federal courts to intervene and immediately allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces instead of giving the military several months or years to prepare.

In an appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates warned, "Those that choose not to act legislatively are rolling the dice that this policy will not be abruptly overturned by the courts."

But senior Democratic aides in the Senate concede that a vote this year to end the ban is growing highly unlikely because it is part of a massive defense policy bill that requires weeks of debate. With three weeks left before Christmas, senators are expected to consider tax cuts, a government spending plan and possibly a nuclear-disarmament treaty with Russia, leaving little time for other legislation. The aides spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter on the record.

Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen, citing a Pentagon report released Tuesday, said there is a "low risk" to ending the ban only if the Defense Department can roll out changes gradually and keep the process under their control.

Court rulings this fall - which temporarily suspended the law and led to bureaucratic chaos at the Pentagon and recruiting stations - alarmed defense and military officials, who said they were caught by surprise.

"I think that woke a lot of people up," Gen. James E. Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said in an interview Wednesday. Cartwright, the chiefs of staff of the Army, Navy and Air Force, and the commandants of the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard will testify before the Armed Services Committee on Friday.

"Given the opportunity to choose on how and if the law is repealed, I'd rather have the legislature do it than the judicial side," Cartwright said. A federal court decision forcing an immediate end to the policy would put gays currently serving in uniform in an awkward position, he said.

Defense Department General Counsel Jeh C. Johnson, testifying Thursday before the Senate panel, recounted how two federal court rulings forced the Pentagon to shift course on "don't ask, don't tell" twice in eight days.

"This legal uncertainty is not going away anytime soon," he said, noting that a legal challenge brought by the Log Cabin Republicans remains under consideration by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

The report written by Johnson and Army Gen. Carter F. Ham cited a survey of about 115,000 active-duty and reserve troops. It found that most combat troops oppose repealing "don't ask, don't tell" and are skeptical that it could be done correctly - a point seized upon this week by social conservatives and Republican lawmakers who want the law to remain.

Cartwright signaled that the military probably would instruct combat troops about any personnel changes over time, instead of all at once, because of their phased deployments.

"You need that time cushion. The Congress, I'm certain, is willing to work with us on that," he said.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) strongly criticized the Pentagon's new report Thursday.

"At this time, we should be inherently cautious about making any changes that would affect our military, and what changes we do make should be the product of careful and deliberate consideration," said the senator, a leading critic of ending the ban.

McCain also faulted the study because it did not examine whether the law should be repealed and said he worried that the survey accounts for the opinions of just 6 percent of the total armed forces.

In his testimony, Mullen acknowledged McCain's concerns, noting that some troops quoted in the report worry about having to bunk or shower with openly gay troops.

"We'll deal with that," the admiral said. "But I believe, and history tells us, that most of them will put aside personal proclivities for something larger than themselves and for each other."

He added: "There are some for whom this debate is all about gray areas. There is no gray area here. We treat each other with respect, or we find another place to work. Period. That's why I also believe leadership will prove vital."

Emerging as a forceful, impassioned proponent for repealing the law, Mullen said current policy "doesn't make any sense to me," because it requires troops to lie about their identity while serving for a military that values integrity.

Sarah Palin is wrong about John F. Kennedy - By Kathleen Kennedy Townsend

Sarah Palin has found a new opponent to debate: John F. Kennedy.

In her new book, "America by Heart," Palin objects to my uncle's famous 1960 speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, in which he challenged the ministers - and the country - to judge him, a Catholic presidential candidate, by his views rather than his faith. "Contrary to common newspaper usage, I am not the Catholic candidate for president," Kennedy said. "I am the Democratic Party's candidate for president who happens also to be a Catholic."

Palin writes that when she was growing up, she was taught that Kennedy's speech had "succeeded in the best possible way: It reconciled public service and religion without compromising either." Now, however, she says she has revisited the speech and changed her mind. She finds it "defensive . . . in tone and content" and is upset that Kennedy, rather than presenting a reconciliation of his private faith and his public role, instead offered an "unequivocal divorce of the two."

Palin's argument seems to challenge a great American tradition, enshrined in the Constitution, stipulating that there be no religious test for public office. A careful reading of her book leads me to conclude that Palin wishes for precisely such a test. And she seems to think that she, and those who think like her, are qualified to judge who would pass and who would not.

If there is no religious test, then there is no need for a candidate's religious affiliation to be "reconciled." My uncle urged that religion be private, removed from politics, because he feared that making faith an arena for public contention would lead American politics into ill-disguised religious warfare, with candidates tempted to use faith to manipulate voters and demean their opponents.

Kennedy cited Thomas Jefferson to argue that, as part of the American tradition, it was essential to keep any semblance of a religious test out of the political realm. Best to judge candidates on their public records, their positions on war and peace, jobs, poverty, and health care. No one, Kennedy pointed out, asked those who died at the Alamo which church they belonged to.

But Palin insists on evaluating and acting as an authority on candidates' faith. She faults Kennedy for not "telling the country how his faith had enriched him." With that line, she proceeds down a path fraught with danger - precisely the path my uncle warned against, when he said that a president's religious views should be "neither imposed by him upon the nation or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office."

After all, a candidate's faith will matter most to those who believe that they have the right to serve as arbiters of that faith. Is it worthy? Is it deep? Is it reflected in a certain ideology?

Palin further criticizes Kennedy because, "rather than spelling out how faith groups had provided life-changing services and education to millions of Americans, he repeatedly objected to any government assistance to religious schools." She does not seem to appreciate that Kennedy was courageous in arguing that government funds should not be used in parochial schools, despite the temptation to please his constituents. Many Catholics would have liked the money. But he wisely thought that the use of public dollars in places where nuns explicitly proselytized would be unconstitutional. Tax money should not be used to persuade someone to join a religion.

As a contrast to Kennedy's speech, Palin cites former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's remarks during the 2008 Republican primary campaign, in which he spoke publicly of "how my own faith would inform my presidency, if I were elected." After paying lip service to the separation of church and state, Romney condemned unnamed enemies "intent on establishing a new religion in America - the religion of secularism."

"There is one fundamental question about which I am often asked," Romney said. "What do I believe about Jesus Christ?" Romney, of course, is a Mormon. He answered the question, proclaiming that "Jesus Christ is the son of God."

Palin praises Romney for delivering a "thoughtful speech that eloquently and correctly described the role of faith in American public life." But if there should be no religious test in American politics, then why should a candidate feel compelled to respond to misplaced questions about his belief in Jesus?

When George Romney, Mitt Romney's father, was a presidential candidate in 1968, he felt no such compulsion. Respect for the Constitution and the founders' belief in the separation of church and state suggests that those kinds of questions should not play a role in political campaigns.

Palin contends that Kennedy sought to "run away from religion." The truth is that my uncle knew quite well that what made America so special was its revolutionary assertion of freedom of religion. No nation on Earth had ever framed in law that faith should be of no interest to government officials. For centuries, European authorities had murdered and tortured those whose religious beliefs differed from their own.

To demand that citizens display their religious beliefs attacks the very foundation of our nation and undermines the precise reason that America is exceptional.

Palin's book makes clear just how dangerous her proposed path can be. Not only does she want people to reveal their beliefs, but she wants to sit in judgment of them if their views don't match her own. For instance, she criticizes Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), a Democrat and a faithful Catholic, for "talking the (God) talk but not walking the walk."

Who is Palin to say what God's "walk" is? Who anointed her our grand inquisitor?

This is a woman who also praises Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural, even though Lincoln explicitly declared, "But let us judge not that we not be judged." The problem for those setting up a free-floating tribunal to evaluate faith is that, contrary to Lincoln, they are installing themselves as judges who can look into others' souls and assess their worthiness.

Kennedy did not and would not do that, but not because he was indifferent to faith. In fact, unlike Romney or Palin, in fealty to both his faith and the Constitution, he promised on that day in Houston that he would resign if his religion ever interfered with his duty as president.

My uncle was a man who had his faith tested. His brother and brother-in-law were killed in World War II, and his sister died in a plane crash soon after the war. He suffered from painful injuries inflicted during his Navy service when his PT boat was cut in two by a Japanese destroyer. His God did not make life easy but did require a commitment to justice.

America's first and only Catholic president referred to God three times in his inaugural address and invoked the Bible's command to care for poor and the sick. Later in his presidency, he said, unequivocally, about civil rights: "We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the Scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution."

Faith runs as a deep current through my family. Faith inspired my uncles' and my father's dedication to justice. My father, Robert F. Kennedy, on returning from apartheid-era South Africa in 1966, wrote a magazine article titled "Suppose God Is Black." And my uncle Teddy fought for health care for all Americans, even if in her book Palin presumes to judge that he took positions "directly at odds with his Catholic faith."

Teddy Kennedy believed that his stands were at one with his faith. He did disagree with the Roman Catholic hierarchy at times. But as we have seen, the hierarchy's positions can change, and in our church, we have an obligation to help bring about those changes. That may not be Palin's theology, but the glory of America is its support for those who would disagree - even on the most difficult and personal matters, such as religion.

John F. Kennedy knew that tearing down the wall separating church and state would tempt us toward self-righteousness and contempt for others. That is one reason he delivered his Houston speech.

Palin, for her part, argues that "morality itself cannot be sustained without the support of religious beliefs." That statement amounts to a wholesale attack on countless Americans, and no study or reasonable argument I have seen or heard of would support such a blanket condemnation. For a person who claims to love Lincoln, Palin curiously ignores his injunction that Americans, even those engaged in a Civil War, show "malice toward none, with charity for all."

Palin fails to understand the genius of our nation. The United States is one of the most vibrant religious countries on Earth precisely because of its religious freedom. When power and faith are entwined, faith loses. Power tends to obfuscate, corrupt and focus on temporal rather than eternal purposes.

Somehow Palin misses this. Perhaps she didn't read the full Houston speech; she certainly doesn't know it by heart. Or she may be appealing to a religious right that really seeks secular power. I don't know.

I am certain, however, that no American political leader should cavalierly - or out of political calculation - dismiss the hard-won ideal of religious freedom that is among our country's greatest gifts to the world. As John F. Kennedy said in Houston, that is the "kind of America I believe in."

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is a former lieutenant governor of Maryland and the author of "Failing America's Faithful: How Today's Churches Are Mixing God With Politics and Losing Their Way."

Democrats lost in the wilderness EUGENE ROBINSON WashPOST

Why did Republicans go to the trouble and expense of winning the midterm elections?
It looks like they're about to prove, once again, that you can get your way in Washington without a congressional majority - if you have a firm sense of purpose.

Maybe the Democratic Party will find one someday.
Or maybe not. Sigh.

What has me exercised - okay, frothing - is the ongoing fight over the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, which are set to expire at the end of the year. By all rights, this shouldn't be a fight at all. The Republican position is so ludicrous that it beggars belief.

Here's what they argue: Extend the tax cuts for the richest Americans - in fact, make them permanent. Doing so would increase the deficit by $700 billion over the next decade, but this doesn't matter. We did tell you that we're the party of fiscal responsibility, however, so to prove it we'll block the extension of unemployment benefits for millions of jobless workers. Three weeks before Christmas.

In other words, there's no additional money in the national coffers for the victims of the most devastating recession since the Great Depression. But to help investment bankers start the new year right, perhaps with a new Mercedes or a bit of sun in the Caribbean? Step right up, and we'll write you a check.

And there's more: Republicans contend that whatever the long-term impact of extending those tax cuts, it would be a mistake to let anyone's taxes rise when the economy is still struggling to find its legs. Some economists agree. But it's hard to find any economist who believes that ending jobless benefits is a good idea, since this money gets spent almost immediately - recipients, after all, are without other income but still have to pay for housing, food, clothing, transportation and other necessities. That's why unemployment payments pack such a stimulative punch. Tax savings for the rich, by contrast, have a much weaker economy-wide impact; the well-to-do, whose basic needs are already met, may decide to skip the new car or the vacation and just put the money in the bank.

So why is there even an argument? Certainly not because of any statement "the American people" might have made in last month's election. Every poll I've seen indicates that the Democrats still have public opinion on their side. They also hold the presidency and big majorities in Congress - and even in January they'll still control the White House and the Senate. Yet not only is there an argument over the tax cuts, but Republicans are also seen as having the upper hand.

That's because the GOP has been disciplined and purposeful in pursuit of its goals. I happen to think those goals are cynical, situational and ultimately bad for the country: Block the Democrats whenever and wherever possible, try to limit President Obama to a single term, and prevent any meaningful departure from the trickle-down economic philosophy that has left the nation's finances in such a parlous state. It's an agenda that may lack nobility, but not clarity.

What is the Democratic Party's bottom line? Who knows?

The White House, for the umpteenth time, has approached a negotiation by signaling in advance its willingness, if pushed to the wall, to make major concessions - in this case, a temporary tax-cut extension for the rich. It doesn't take a genius to recognize this as a flawed bargaining strategy. Voters may want more bipartisan cooperation in Washington, but I believe they also want their president to fight for the principles that got him elected.

Democrats in Congress are all over the map. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House leadership, predictably, are ready to have a fight on what they see as favorable political terrain. In the Senate, Democrats have to parse the implications of a GOP threat to halt all business until the tax cut issue is dealt with. And everyone wonders whether the White House intends to stand tough, or has decided to give in, or has already caved - or, perhaps, has a specific preferred outcome in mind. If so, the White House doesn't seem to have made clear what the objective is, much less how to get there.

Power without purpose, in fact, doesn't get you anywhere.

Product complaint database to be accessible to public (IT's long over due!)

Begining in March, consumers will for the first time be able to check a government database that will compile safety complaints about a wide array of products such as toys and electrical appliances.

The public database, approved last week by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, is almost unprecedented for a government agency.

Companies will be given a brief period to block complaints that are untrue or involve confidential information, but the database appears destined to become a massive equivalent of the Internet bulletin boards on which consumers can post personal safety reviews of products.

That's a marked change from the previous system, in which consumers could file complaints with the commission but the alleged problem would not be disclosed officially unless the agency ordered a recall.

The vote was 3 to 2, along party lines, with Democratic members voting to establish the database at, an existing commission Web site.

The database will allow the commission to "share more information about dangerous products than we have been allowed to in years past - a change that we believe will lead to safer products and, therefore, safer consumers," the Democratic commissioners, Thomas Moore, Robert Adler and Chairman Inez Tenenbaum, said in a joint statement.

The commission's two Republican members, Anne Northup and Nancy Nord, and other critics said the system would be open to abuse, including negative posts by competitors.

They said the decision expanded the categories of people who can lodge a complaint beyond what Congress had intended in a 2008 law authorizing a public complaint database.

"As a result, the database with be filled with bogus reports inspired by political or financial motives rather than safety," Rosario Palmieri of the National Association of Manufacturers said in a blog post.

But from a consumer perspective, "I can only see benefits," said Prashant Malaviya, a marketing professor at Georgetown University's McDonough School of Business. "Any little effort to increase the awareness of consumers about defective products is going to help." About two-thirds of the U.S. population has Internet access, and online research of products has become commonplace, making the database a potentially powerful tool for consumers and a megaphone for important announcements such as recalls, Malaviya said.

Starting March 11, consumers can contact the commission by way of an online complaint form or a telephone hotline to report complaints about products within its purview, basically everything except cars, tires, food, tobacco, drugs and cosmetics.

Companies that register with the commission will be given access to a Web portal in which they can view complaints about their products and will have 10 days to object if the information is false or involves confidential business information.

The decision about whether to honor the objection rests with the commission.

A similar Web site for cars is operated by the Transportation Department at

The commission's database will not include complaints currently on file.

In the case of older complaints, there would be no way to ensure fair comment by product makers, commission spokesman Scott Wolfson said. Also, the agency lacks the manpower to convert the information into a consumer-usable format, he said.

In what could yet develop into an obstacle for the new system, a Republican congressman who is in line to become the chairman of the committee that spawned the database legislation said the rules for the database were tilted against business.

"Several provisions of the staff-proposed final rule run contrary to the intent of Congress and the clear and unambiguous language of the act," Rep. Joe L. Barton (R-Tex.) said in a letter to Tenenbaum.

With the House soon to be in Republican hands, Barton is a contender to head the Energy and Commerce Committee.

- Chicago Tribune

Bourbon Economics PAUL KRUGMAN NY Times

Bourbon Economics
Reading articles about New Ideas In Economics, I often have a sense of deja vu: haven’t we been through all this before? Justin Fox does the legwork, and finds a 1988 article about New Ideas that could, with a few tweaks, have been written today.

In this case, though, the problem is not with the new ideas of 1988, still being marketed as new ideas of 2010: in particular, Shiller was right about market irrationality then, and he’s still right now — with two big bubbles that he called correctly under his belt.

The question we should ask, however, is why the economics profession has been so resistant to the obvious.

I remember 1988; 1988 was a friend of mine. By 1988, it was already obvious that equilibrium business cycle theory had failed. Shiller had already circulated his devastating demonstration that asset prices were much too volatile to be explained by fundamentals, and the 1987 market crash had provided an object lesson in panic. Also, by the way, the savings and loan mess was illustrating the problems with inadequate financial regulation.

And nothing happened. Real business cycle theory continued to prosper, developing an increasing stranglehold over the professional journals. Behavioral finance stayed on the margins. The equilibrium guys had learned nothing and forgotten nothing; and by the time 2008 came around, the ravages of time had left people who actually understood demand-side shocks much thinner on the ground than they had been 20 years earlier.

Our problem, in short, isn’t lack of nifty new ideas; it’s the refusal of too many economists to face up to the fact that some of their preferred theories don’t work, a fact that has been obvious for decades.

Truthers, birthers, and cowards: The week at Fox News

When Fox host and senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano appeared on "Conspiracy King" Alex Jones' radio show last week and announced that 9-11 "couldn't possibly have been done the way the government told us," he seemingly put his employer in a difficult position.

After all, for years Fox hosts and personalities have attacked anyone dabbling in 9-11 conspiracy theories as "Anti-American," "hurtful," "mentally ill," "idiots" that deserve to be "fired immediately."

By Fox News standards, you don't even have to personally espouse trutherism in order to be attacked. As evidenced by the network's attacks on Park51 Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf because he supposedly "Pals Around With Truthers," if you used to work with someone who later became a truther, you are a fair target for criticism (even if you yourself have emphatically stated that 9-11 was carried out by extremist Muslims.)

Before we discuss Fox News' astounding non-response to Napolitano's comments, it's important to point out that he is not just a random Fox contributor who pops up for occasional analysis -- Napolitano is undoubtedly a rising star at the network.

After several years as an analyst at Fox News, Napolitano was handed a weekend show earlier this year at the Fox News Junior Varsity team, more commonly known as Fox Business. His show -- which was exclusive to before being bumped up to FBN -- was recently moved to the prime 8pm weekday slot on the network. Napolitano also continues to regularly appear on Fox News to provide input on a wide range of issues.

He has been the recipient of effusive praise from some of Fox's most prominent on-air personalities as well. When Justice David Souter announced he was retiring from the Supreme Court in 2009, Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy joked that he "would like to officially nominate" Napolitano for the position.

Earlier this year, Glenn Beck called Napolitano "one of the sharpest men I know" and told him that "if I were God of the Universe, you'd be my Supreme Court justice."

In a case of remarkably poor timing, the morning after Napolitano's appearance on Jones' radio show -- but before his offensive comments had come to light -- Beck announced on his radio show that Napolitano "used to" piss him off when Beck was "naïve and foolish" in 2002. Beck said that Napolitano has actually "turned out to be right on almost everything," is "one of the most decent men" he knows, and that if Beck "ever had to go to battle" and "needed people behind" him, Napolitano would be "one of the first" people Beck would call.

Beck apparently thinks so highly of Napolitano that he frequently lets Napolitano serve as his guest host when he takes days off.

While Beck reveres Napolitano, he absolutely loathes anyone even tangentially associated with the 9-11 Truth movement. Last year, Beck repeatedly attacked former White House adviser Van Jones after his name appeared on a 9-11 Truth petition (Jones has stated that he believes Al-Qaeda caused the attacks and that he was lied to about the petition, which was "something that I never saw and never signed onto"). Beck also called for an "investigation" of Imam Rauf over the fact that his former colleague eventually became a truther.

On the March 22, 2007, edition of his CNN Headline News program (accessed via Nexis), Beck spent a large portion of his show debunking 9-11 conspiracy theories with Michael Shermer of Skeptic magazine and James Meigs, the editor-in-chief of Popular Mechanics.

During the show, Beck called 9-11 conspiracy theorists "nut jobs," "idiots," "dangerous," "anarchists," "the kind of group that a Timothy McVeigh would come from," and "exactly the kind of people who want to rock this nation's foundation, tear us apart and plant the seeds of dissatisfaction in all of us." Teasing the segment, he said "could these nut jobs also pose a very real threat? You'd better believe it."

Well, what does Beck think of the fact that "one of the sharpest" men he knows -- the man he hands the keys of his show over to when he is on vacation -- has revealed himself as a dangerous nut job idiot who could pose a very real threat?

It's anyone's guess, because Beck hasn't said a word about it. (In Beck's defense, he has been busy this week making things up about the food safety bill. And net neutrality. And health care reform. And the Federal Reserve. And the Smithsonian. And Wikipedia. But I digress.)

Beck's cowardly silence about Napolitano is in keeping with the rest of his network. Despite criticism from 9-11 victims' families and even numerous conservatives, both Fox News and Napolitano have refused to address the controversy on-air or off.

And, for the record, Napolitano's promotion of 9-11 conspiracy theories on Jones' show was no accident -- he previously made similar remarks on a Tennessee radio show in May.

During a February 2009 appearance on Fox & Friends, Red Eye host Greg Gutfeld ranted against 9-11 conspiracy theorists and said, "People are too scared to confront 9-11 conspiracies because it's like the crazy guy on the subway. You don't want to make eye contact. But sooner or later you've gotta make eye contact and tell that guy to get lost." Apparently, when the "crazy guy on the subway" is actually your coworker, at no point do you have to "tell that guy to get lost."

As always, it seems like there is almost nothing a Fox employee can do to warrant getting reprimanded by the network. This entire episode confirms once and for all that loyalty to Fox News trumps all.

And, this being Fox News, Napolitano's trutherism was not the network's only foray into promoting conspiracy theories this week.

On Monday's edition of Fox & Friends, the crew hosted former Republican congressman and current NewsMax columnist John LeBoutillier to promote his book, The Obama Identity. During the segment, LeBoutillier pushed the idea that Obama was actually born in Kenya, without any forceful rebuttal by hosts Steve Doocy or Brian Kilmeade. Both LeBoutillier and the Fox & Friends crew tried to suggest that his "fiction" book may actually have basis in reality. The chyron during the segment was "Fact or Fiction? 'Obama Identity' a fictional tale of reality."

So what is this "fictional tale of reality" about? Well, it promotes numerous conspiracy theories about Obama, and, in the words of Media Matters' Oliver Willis, it not only reads like it was written "in the language of a hormonal teenager," but also apparently features President Obama's foreskin as a major plot device.

And who is John LeBoutillier? Well, before his current occupation as a professional peddler of insane and discredited conspiracy theories about President Obama, LeBoutillier spent the 90s pushing outlandish conspiracies about then-President Clinton and his family -- including suggesting Clinton killed Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster and had an account "in the Cayman Islands, which is a refuge for drug money."

As we documented, Fox's promotion of LeBoutillier's book and Napolitano's trutherism are in character for the network, which has increasingly become a welcoming place for conspiracy theorists.

Earlier this week, discussing Napolitano, Hot Air's Allahpundit asked, "Precisely how many of these people does Fox have on staff? Am I going to open a newspaper tomorrow and find out that Megyn Kelly or Julie Banderas thinks the Pentagon was hit by a missile?" Based on the network's steadfast refusal to comment on the story, it's impossible to answer that question -- to the serious detriment of people at Fox who care about their credibility.

What does it say about Fox hosts like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Greta Van Susteren and Mike Huckabee -- many of whom have repeatedly and explicitly condemned truthers in the past -- that they are unwilling to speak out now that their coworker has revealed himself as one?

Are Fox's "news" anchors -- people like Chris Wallace, Bret Baier, and Megyn Kelly -- okay with the fact that their bosses refuse to condemn someone who promotes 9-11 conspiracy theories?

And how about Fox personalities like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Dick Morris, Michelle Malkin, and Laura Ingraham? Are they comfortable being employed by a network that refuses to condemn a truther employee and hosts people like John LeBoutillier to suggest the president was born in Kenya?

Based on their (apparently now discarded) standards, the entire Fox staff's association with a truther like Napolitano should make them a ripe target for criticism.

Is there anyone at Fox whose fealty to the network is outweighed by standards of decency?


This weekly wrap-up was compiled by Ben Dimiero, a research fellow at Media Matters for America.



Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are furious with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over the handling of Charlie Rangel's censure by the House for ethics violations -- and particularly the votes her closest allies cast against reducing his punishment to a reprimand -- several sources familiar with CBC politics told HUDDLE Thursday.

Some black lawmakers believe Pelosi and her top lieutenants were more concerned about public backlash if the House opted for the lesser sanction than they were about ensuring fairness for Rangel. They have argued that Rangel's ethics violations didn't rise to the level of censure, which has been meted out 23 times now in the history of the House. 'I know the leadership is interested in 'cleaning out the swamp.' But Mr. Rangel isn't the Swamp Thing. The punishment censure did not fit the circumstances of Mr. Rangel's so-called crime,' one member of the CBC who described caucus members as 'very' upset told Huddle. '[Rep. Bobby] Scott [who spoke for Rangel on the floor] laid out a clear case. I wish the leadership were that clear. Mr. Rangel earned greater care than our [Democratic] Caucus provided.'

An amendment by Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) to move to a reprimand instead of a censure failed on a 146 to 247 vote, with much of Pelosi's California delegation -- including inner circle members George Miller, Anna Eshoo and New York Rep. Steve Israel -- voting against Rangel. Republican Rep. Pete King, who represents a district next to Israel's on Long Island, voted with Rangel.

'It's obvious what message she gave her lieutenants,' said one Democratic insider who said there was 'palpable anger' not only in the CBC but also the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Rangel's New York delegation. Tension between Pelosi and the CBC -- already existent over an ethics process that has put several CBC members in the crosshairs, her decision to remain in leadership at the expense of Whip Jim Clyburn and a variety of other matters -- reached a crescendo Thursday as the House prepared to vote.

At a whip meeting earlier in the day, Pelosi's posture angered Rangel supporters, who saw her as averse to any effort to get the House to lessen the punishment. The normally cool Pelosi was described by friends and critics alike as emotional and even 'teary' in discussing the case and Rangel's service to the Congress and the country, but some participants questioned the degree to which she was truly conflicted.
Several sources said Pelosi was 'patronizing' toward Rangel and his supporters during the meeting. Pelosi's camp declined to comment on the record.