Friday, March 31, 2006


Are Tories a Bushco subsidiary?

Foreign money floats Tory boat The Tories have been forced to repay £5m over the past fortnight to at least 10 supporters in order to preserve their anonymity after the individuals who lent the money insisted they did not want their names to made public. Some of that money will have returned abroad. Abroad? As in... China? Burma? Yemen? Or maybe the US?

Democratic Capitalism arrives in Mosul

From Patrick Cockburn in The Independent "The government cannot control the city," said Hamid Effendi, an experienced ex-soldier who is Minister for Peshmerga Affairs in the Kurdistan Regional Government. ...."The Iraqi Army is only a small force in Mosul, the Americans do not leave their bases much and some of the police are connected to the terrorists." ...Saadi Pire, until recently the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Mosul, says bluntly that the 12,000 police "are police by day and terrorists by night. They should all be dismissed and other police brought in from outside."

Friday Cat Blogging

Welcome back, Open Window Season!

Another Mainline Church Joins The UCC's Fight

I posted earlier this week about the UCC's fight to get the GOP/Media Complex to acknowledge the existence of mainline churches. The National Council of Churches has now joined the fight:

Just days after the United Church of Christ launched a major new campaign to encourage the mainstream media to include mainline voices of faith on news programs (in lieu of the Religious Right political voices now seen on most news programs) the National Council of Churches USA released this important related statement:

New York, March 30, 2006 - The president of the National Council of Churches, the Rev. Michael Livingston, strongly urged church communicators to, "Tell our story. By any means necessary."

"Mainline Protestant and Orthodox churches have been pounded into irrelevancy by the media machine of a false religion," Livingston said. He described what passes as religion to be, "a political philosophy masquerading as gospel; an economic principle wrapped in religious rhetoric and painted red, white and blue."

Livingston made his remarks this week (March 27) in Cleveland at the semi-annual meeting of the National Council's Communications Commission. He spoke to about 30 communicators from many of the NCC's 35 member denominations.

"Get it [our story] out there," he said, "this truth about the human condition and the work of the church, these churches, this one effort of millions of Christians alongside and through NCC/CWS [Church World Service] to live in obedience to the word of the one who sends us into the world: When you did it to the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it unto me. It all comes down to this, love God and your neighbor."

Livingston, who is also executive director of the International Council of Community Churches, lamented the media attraction to Pat Robertson and how the work seems to go unnoticed by Christians in agencies like CWS, Lutheran World Relief and Presbyterian Disaster Assistance.

The communicators were challenged not to mimic or imitate others.

"We need fresh approaches to telling our story, reaching and touching our nation with what we know to be a faithful response to the gospel," Livingston said. He singled out as one way to share the good news of faithful Christians responding to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Livingston is serving the two-year term as elected president of the NCC through December, 2007. He has pastored Presbyterian churches in New York City and Los Angeles. He also served on the staff of Princeton (N.J.) Seminary prior to his current position with ICCC.

There are 35 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican denominations who are members of the NCC comprising nearly 45-million Christians in North America.

Click here to read Rev. Livingston's full address.

And visit Accessible Airways to send a message to network executives letting them know how you feel.  


Clipping The Moustache Of Understanding

Tom Friedman gets depantsed by a Twin Cities periodical, and probably doesn't realize it. (Be patient with the first third of the article. I suspect it's there just to make the devastating center section have that much more impact.)


IAEA To Bush RE: Iran -- STFU, OK?

The IAEA are the same folks whose repeated debunkings of Bush's WMD fantasies were minimized if not outright ignored by our GOP/Media Complex. Let's hope that they're not ignored this time around:

IAEA Head Warns Against Iran Sanctions In other news, the head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog agency said Thursday Iran does not pose a nuclear threat and should not be subjected to sanctions. International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei said: "We need to lower the pitch… [the] only durable solution is a negotiated solution." The US has threatened to impose sanctions if Iran fails to halt uranium enrichment activities.
Download and listen to and/or watch the full show here.


The Banshee Screams For Bugman Meat

Yet another of DeLay's minions gets fitted for an orange jumpsuit. Can you hear the screams, Tom? They're getting nearer.


Free Lunchonomics

This month's bulletin from that epicenter of moral uplift, Hillsdale College, has a long screed by Steve Forbes. The monstrosity of the lies therein deserves a moment of reverent silence. In the real world, as anyone can look up, Reagan cut taxes and deficits rose. Bush I and Clinton raised taxes and deficits declined. Bush II cut taxes and deficits increased. Forbes: "As we've seen time and again, tax cuts do not mean a loss of tax revenue." Forbes lives in an alternate reality, a universe of anti-truth: call it the Antiverse. In the Antiverse, The Great Depression was caused by the Smoot-Hawley tariff and Herbert Hoover's attempt to balance the budget by raising taxes. The collapse of asset value caused by the crash of a wild, speculative stock market and the consequent wave of failures of uninsured banks had nothing to do with it. The main bit of ugly antitruth in this speech is Forbes equation of Communism with New Deal economics. Against this, he poses a unicorn called "Democratic Capitalism." It bears no resemblance to this universe's "democratic capitalism" whose valiant workings we are told by the Administration are responsible for the joy and progress manifest in Iraq. Some of the bigger laughers: 1. "philanthropy and capitalism are two sides of the same coin". In the real world, the wealthy are not markedly more generous than average and are less generous than the poor. Sometimes, as with Ted Turner's gift to the UN, they figure out how to make the US Treasury pay for their "generosity." 2. "Statistics show that the U.S. is ... the most philanthropic nation in human history." Outside of the Antiverse, statistics show that the U.S. is one of the most miserly of nations. 3. "If I were dictator of the world... I would ban trade numbers..." Fortunately that would leave the world prime numbers, whole, numbers, irrational numbers, and fractions, at least until they also displeased Dictator Forbes. 4. "Without individual equality before the law, entrepreneurs cannot challenge already existing businesses." Upstarts displacing established wealth is, of course, what Steve Forbes (who inherited all his wealth) is in favor of. Har har. This speech being delivered at Hillsdale College, morality had to be brought into the whole thing. Making money is virtuous, Forbes tells us, while caring about displaced workers is sinful. You see, it's all a big misunderstanding. "The reason that the great economic debate continues into the 21st century despite the proven superiority of free markets ... is because of the misperceptions that keep democratic capitalism from capturing the moral high ground." "Misperceptions" like keeping tobacco and asbestos on the market long after they were known to cause fatal diseases, driving down wages, denying people health care, breaking the law to prevent union organizing, turning people against one another to keep them from defending their rights, creating a tyranny at home, wrecking the planet's ecology, and starting endless wars abroad. Oh, sorry, Mr. Forbes. I see now that none of this was due to the excessive power of money corrupting the political system. It was all because we allowed liberal bureaucrats to compile trade numbers. They really should call the place Hellsdale College.

Live In (Or Near) DC? Wanna Have Some Fun?

Jane Hamsher and Mike Stark have some suggestions for you. :-)

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Atlanta TV station plays by Calvinball Rules in reporting McKinney incident

And one of Calvinball rules is that in any tie, Republicans win. Just check out this one, in which WSBTV Atlanta reported on a scuffle Congresswoman Cynthia had with a Capitol Hill police officer. Here's the news article: According to U.S. Capitol Police, the two reportedly scuffled yesterday after the Georgia Democrat entered a House office building unrecognized and refused to stop when asked.According to one account, the sixth-term congresswoman from DeKalb County struck the officer. A police official said there were conflicting accounts. On the audio portion, we learn that the source for the claim that she struck the police officer was... a Republican. So, what's the headline? You got it. "Cynthia McKinney regrets hitting police officer." Calvinball rules. In a tie, the Republican wins. Now, there's no disagreement that Congresswoman McKinney was out of line, though she also says, I was urgently trying to get to an important meeting on time to fulfill my obligations to my constituents. Unfortunately, the Police Officer did not recognize me as a Member of Congress and a confrontation ensued. I did not have on my Congressional pin but showed the Police Officer my Congressional ID. Her concession that she should not have tried to push past is on the money. The Capitol Police have a tough job. It doesn't matter if Congresspeople really are in a hurry. It doesn't matter if, as some rumors have it, that she felt that she was being harassed by Capitol Police. But exactly what happened? According to America's number one vendor of malarkey, Matt Drudge and his enablers there's no question what happened. Crazy black woman punched cop. It's all on tape. She will be arrested when Congress adjourns. But when one reads the reports, it's generally agreed that the police officer mistakenly pursued McKinney, who had a perfect right to walk around the detector. So, maybe she has a case for assault? We shouldn't have to wade through a political mudbath every time that we get the news, and that's what we are seeing from media organizations. There is clearly politically motivated malice in spinning this story. Making up headlines that don't match the article isn't journalism. It's propaganda. If you have the information for the headline, you put it in the body of the article. Nor is taking unconfirmed rumors from Drudge as news journalism. It's laziness and bad taste, but it's not journalism. So, how do I know about the politicization? Because I learned about the story from Red State. You know. The Washington Post's main source for conservative thought. The guys who still don't get it that Ben Domenech was a four star liar. They are on this story, and I bet that Free Republic and Limbaugh are too. There are some great commments on RedState by a poster called "gamecock". You know, I am the Legal Editor and conservative voice for a DeKalb County paper. McKinney's district is DeKalb, which also includes part of the City of Atlanta and is the 2nd largest county after Fulton that make up the metro area.I had some dueling editorials with her in 2001-2 and did all I could to get the truth out as she lost her seat, only to win it back after the lady that beat her mysteriously decided not to run again.she is a disgrace the voter ID bill might doom her most of her voters are dead or felons and paid Don't you just love legal editors with third grade punctuation? And this one: amen bro, it speaks VOLUMES about the sorriness By: gamecock of her supporters in DeKalb, esp since she doesnt even bring home the bacon, ie pork. She is part of the ex-civil rights hustler crowd that keeps the race-bating, class envy, entitlement, greivance, victimhood game ginned up.I am also very suspicious concerning why Majette decided to seek a US Senate seat she had ZERO chance of winning rather than seeking re-election. I wonder if she was made an offer she couldnt refuse. McKinney has many thuggish and jihadist supporters.pure evil manipulating the ignorant and the complicit And this one: if he's [Bernie Sanders is] honest enough to admit he's a socialist By: gamecock I'm going to take his word for it and therefore exclude him from the communist cuteness pageant. Most communists call themselves progressives. This is the nest of the viper that The Washington Post brought to its breast. Calvinball rules.

Delta Force Founder: Bush Started World War Three By Invading Iraq

Wonder what all the right-wing "good news from Iraq" fetishists will do about this? Plug their ears and shout "LALALALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!", is my guess. Of course, note that this is buried in the paper's "entertainment" section, as opposed to headlining the front page. So there's a good chance that the people who most need to see it, never will.


They'll Ban Mainstream Churches, But Cater To The Religio-Racists? Please.

For all those wondering "Why haven't the mainstream churches been speaking out against the Fundy dingbats?": They have been -- but the GOP/Media Complex won't air their words.


Sad That I Have To Go To An Overseas Newspaper To Find Out What's Happening In My Own Country

Right-wing groups and jerks like Howard Kaloogian spend hundreds of millions of dollars on TV ads and other methods, trying to tell people that things are just peachy keen in Iraq. Meanwhile, we have to go to a non-US news source to find the stories of actual veterans. These veterans will tell you, if the US media would allow it, that far from being peachy, things in Iraq are far, far worse than Big Media generally lets on.


Hey, CA-50 Voters: Had Enough Yet?

Let's see: They vote in a Republican who turns into the second most corrupt Congresscritter of the past thirty years (Tom DeLay is still Number One in my book), so corrupt that he's now in prison for it. One of the Republican candidates to replace him, Howard Kaloogian, is the lying scumbag who with Darrell Issa launched (or at least takes credit for launching, though how much he actually did is debatable) the Gray Davis recall drive that inflicted Arnold Schwarzenegger on California. That movement morphed into "Move America Forward", which seems to serve as yet another sheltered workshop for otherwise-unemployable Republican hacks of the dirty trickster persuasion. (Kaloogian's also been known to tell a few fibs about Iraq.) One of the other Republican candidates, former Congresscritter Brian Bilbray, is himself a corrupt clown who is alleged to be up to his ears in a Mexican sewage scandal that reaches all the way up to Dick Cheney. Why not go with someone who's smart, honest and hardworking for a change? You know, someone like Francine Busby? She's already leading in the polls; if you give her 50% of the vote next month, she's your new Congressmember, and she'll be a really good one, too.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Kaloogian Baghdad Picture Lie Update

This Kaloogian idiot and his crew just can't help themselves, can they? Remember earlier today, when I posted various links about Kaloogian (or as I'm tempted to call him, Ka-lie-gian) and his using a picture of Istanbul and pretending it was Baghdad, so he could try to claim that Baghdad was safer than the US media claimed? Well, now that the picture's been debunked to hell and back, Ka-lie-gian's admitted that it's indeed Istanbul -- but that it was an honest mistake, since his entourage went through Istanbul on their way back from Baghdad and somehow the photos got mixed up. Except that they didn't go through Istanbul on that trip. As TPM Muckraker's Justin Rood reports, they went through Athens. (Which brings up the question: From which Internet site did they most likely steal that picture? Somebody owns the copyright to it, and it's probably not them.) Even better: Ka-lie-gian's now replaced the street-level Istanbul-as-Baghdad pic with an aerial view of Baghdad. As blogger AA notes (and demonstrates), aerial views aren't quite the same as street-level views when it comes to conveying information about things like relative peacefulness.


Bush Plans To Destroy Federal Government Put On Hold

Two Federal judges in a row have thrown a monkeywrench into Bush's plans to destroy the Civil Service System and its unions so he can turn the entire Federal Government into a Gilded-Age-style sheltered workshop for his otherwise-unemployable cronies.  (You know, like Michaels Chertoff and Brown?  Or Bernie Kerik?)

But of course, destroying the Federal Government has long been one of Bush's pet dreams.  So he's gearing up to try again.

Here's the deal:

Remember when Weepin' Joe Lieberman initially proposed a cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security?  Bush and his staffers opposed it -- until they realized that they could use it as the thin edge of a wedge designed to destroy the Civil Service System, the thing that stands between them and total control of the machinery of the Federal Government.

Now DHS has been set up -- and it's a turkey farm, just like FEMA under Bush I and II (Clinton actually made it into a real first-responder agency, but it soon reverted back to a home for incompetent right-wing hacks under Bush the Younger).   However, in two separate rulings, Federal judges have shot down Bush's efforts to export DHS' management system to the rest of the government:

Both judges zeroed in on provisions in the new regulations giving high-level officials the authority to override collective bargaining agreements simply by invoking national security. Referring to Collyer's ruling, Sullivan called a collective bargaining agreement under such conditions "illusory." Sullivan also pounced on the Pentagon's attempt to replace the government-wide Federal Labor Relations Authority with an internal board appointed by the Defense secretary to decide labor disagreements. On this issue, he went beyond Collyer; she let DHS keep its internal board.

But as I mentioned before, Bush isn't giving up:

In appealing the ruling against DHS, government lawyers will make their case before a three-judge panel that includes one George W. Bush-appointed judge and one selected by his father. The panel will be led by Senior Judge Harry Edwards, a Carter appointee who is often cited as an expert in the field, based on his book Labor Relations Law in the Public Sector.

The good news is that the appeals court judges are unlikely to give Bush what he wants:

Now that two judges have weighed in against these systems, the appeals court is unlikely to overturn the decisions, says Donald Rider, a lawyer and a professor of human resources management and labor relations at the University of Maryland's University College.

Both Homeland Security and Defense will "have an uphill struggle in convincing an appellate court that the district courts' logic was flawed," Rider said. "Judge Sullivan was very resourceful in bringing in the analysis of his fellow Judge Collyer. I think an appellate court is going to have a more difficult time dismissing the reasoning of two district court judges than [it] would if this were a kind of stand-alone decision."

Keep an eye on this.  The whole reason our Civil Service System exists is to rid the government of the horrific corruption that plagued it during the rise of the 19th-century "robber barons" -- people like the Walkers and the Bushes, who made their money from opium and other unsavory trades.  Of course, Bush and his buddies want to return to those thrilling days of yesteryear -- under the pretense of "reform", what they want is destruction and corruption.


They Lie About Everything: Baghdad, TURKEY?!

This is probably going to be the funniest thing I've seen all week, and it's only Wednesday. Over in Duke "Kickback Mountain" Cunningham's old Congressional District, a special election's being held to determine who'll take his seat now that he's making license plates in the Federal Pen. The area's normally fairly Republican, but this time around Francine Busby stands a good chance to take the seat right now if she can crack 50% in the upcoming election on April 11. If not, it heads to a June 6 runoff where she'll need a lot more money to win, so she needs to win it now. (Hint, hint.) And it looks like her strongest Republican opponent, Howard Kaloogian, has just helped her out by being caught in a big fat lie. Seems that he posted a picture on his website of what he claimed was a bustling-yet-calm street scene he'd recently witnessed in beautiful downtown Baghdad. The picture allegedly proved that Baghdad wasn't as bad/violent/etc. as the evil liberal media folks claim. Um, except that it's not a picture of Baghdad. The street signs are in Turkish, for one thing. And in Roman characters, not Arabic lettering. The women are wearing outfits that would literally get them killed in Iraq right now. And the cars have Turkish plates. Ooops. I hope The Daily Show picks up on this. UPDATE: It's official: Somebody at DKos has conclusive proof that Kaloogian's "Baghdad pic" is actually from a suburb of Istanbul (not Constantinople). HAHAHAHA! UPDATE #2: Oh, this gets even funnier. Now Kaloogian's blaming his webmaster. (Y'know, like how Domenech blamed his editor?) So I assume it was his webmaster who labeled the pic "sm_DowntownBaghdad.JPG"? Oh, jeez, stop it you're killing me! My stomach muscles haven't recovered yet from last week's Domenech laff riot, and now this? UPDATE #3: And now E&P's picked up the story. After three years of constant slagging by the GOP for "not reporting the truth on Iraq", this must be especially sweet for them.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Pentagon: Halliburton Is Ripping Us Off

That's the conclusion reached in a recent Pentagon report, as detailed here. Ho hum. If this gets a single above-the-fold mention in the NYT, I'll be surprised. Of course, if it was 1998 and this were a Clinton-aligned company, and they were involved in Kosovo, you can bet your boots that this would be Page One material on every major US paper, and it would be one of the top ten lead stories on the TV news shows for years. When they weren't talking about the non-crimes in Whitewater or "ChinaGate" or Monica's blue dress, they'd be talking about this.


Riverbend Nominated for British Literature Prize

From Reuters:

The anonymous female author of an Iraqi "blog", whose Web site entitled "Baghdad Burning" mixes humor, despair and acerbic political commentary, has been nominated for a major literary prize in Britain. [...] In her first entry, she wrote: "I'm female, Iraqi and 24. I survived the war. That's all you need to know. It's all that matters these days anyway". Soon afterwards she explained how she lost her job in a computer software company when it was deemed too dangerous for her to go to work. The online diary was collected and issued by Marion Boyars Publishers in 2005, and that book has made it on to the longlist of the annual Samuel Johnson Prize for contemporary non-fiction, the winner of which wins 30,000 pounds ($53,000).

Monday, March 27, 2006


The law that is at the stake in Hamdan

Lt. Cdr. Charles Swift did a tremendous presentation on military tribunals at Cato. If you can see it on C-Span, make the time. Swift has the unenviable task of defending Salim Ahmed Hamdan, allegedly Osama bin Laden's driver and bodyguard. But you may be able to see the central problem: how, exactly, is a chauffeur a war criminal? It is only possible if everyone who was in any way connected to Al Qaida, down to the lady who ironed his turban, is charged with conspiracy. International law has never recognized this. Why, you might ask, should we care? Well, because as Swift pointed out, it would automatically make every member of the US armed services equally and automatically responsible for the torture and murder that went on at Abu Ghraib. There are other problems. Bushco is arguing that Hamdan should be tried by a military tribunal because he is a terrorist. However, as we know, lots of the guys held at Guantanamo were not terrorists and have been released. So... exactly where is the due process to separate terrorists (who may be tried by military tribunal) from non-terrorists (who probably should be let go)? And there's more. Hamdan hasn't been allowed to crossexamine witnesses. This became part of law in Crown vs. Sir Walter Raleigh. Evidence has been obtained under torture. This was excluded as a legal tactic in the Salem witch trials. It seems that Hamdan was not shooting at anyone when he was captured. So, is he a combatant, entitled to the Geneva protections? In World War II, the Japanese were not signatories to the rules of war, because they expected their captured soldiers to commit suicide. But we more or less honored the rules of war because (a) we were signatories and (b) beating up on Japanese soldiers didn't help our guys. Who are we really at war with, in a legal sense? Yes, Congress authorized the president to take action against anyone involved in planning or executing the 9/11 attacks. That certainly didn't mean Iraq. It might not even mean the Taliban, since it's completely unclear they knew about the attacks or were harboring bin Laden. Osama's driver? Maybe, if you built an evidentiary case that he helped Osama escape. But it gets very circular. Swift demolished the Administration. His opponent in the debate was unable to answer his arguments. The Administration may win the debate in their little kangaroo courts. Tony Scalia may give Swift the finger as his irrefutable reasoning. But Bushco lost the moral debate long ago and are increasingly likely of finding themselves before the bar of justice at some future date. Real justice.

Things I'd Always Suspected

Today I was heeding a friend as she was expounding at infuriated length on her slacker ne'er-do-well brother, who is still living rent-free, diploma-free and job-free in Mom's basement, and who thinks that Michael Crichton is infallible and that global warming is a fraud. In other words, the very sort of guy most likely to be part of the 101st Keyboard Kommandoes. This made me think of two bits of info I ran into recently: 1) The most incompetent people are so incompetent, they don't even realize how incompetent they really are. 2) People who get most of their information from FOX News know less about the world than those who get it elsewhere -- and what they think they know is all-too-often dead wrong. I have a strong feeling that there is much overlap between Set 1 and Set 2. How many times have you seen wingnuts assume a pose of supercompetence, only to see subsequent events rip that pose to shreds? UPDATE: MEC in the comments points this out:

There's a third point that I think applies: whiny, insecure, defensive children grow up to be rightwingers. I think there's a close connection between these personality traits and intellectual limitations; not that people with limited intellect are whiny and insecure, but that the whininess is incompatible with intellectual curiosity, objectivity, and open-mindedness.
Exactly. Insecurity, which leads to withdrawal from the world, which stunts the ability to empathize, which leads to a cold, selfish callousness they pretend is virtue.


Honor Among Thieves, Or The Lack Thereof

I see from the Raw Story that Karl Rove may have been the source for the recent "discovery" of 250-odd e-mails implicating Dick Cheney in TreasonGate. Heheheheh. Granted, I suspect that Rove is smarter than Cheney, but Cheney's richer than Rove, if I recall correctly. He can hire people to do his thinking, and perhaps his dirty work, for him, and nobody need ever find out about it. But that's not the most interesting bout of possible right-wing backstabbing I've heard about today. This is (thanks to AmericaBlog for finding it):

One of the toughest [of Reed's critics] is Marvin Olasky, a close associate of President Bush who helped developed the administration's faith-based initiative and the concept of "compassionate conservatism." Olasky, a journalism professor at the University of Texas, is editor in chief of World magazine, the mission of which "is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever." Since Nov. 19, World has run 10 articles and essays describing the $4 million in gambling money Abramoff paid to Reed to lobby against casinos competing with Abramoff's clients. The articles have highlighted incriminating e-mails and other disclosures that have raised doubts about Reed's explanations of his activities. Reed, Olasky wrote March 4, "has damaged Christian political work by confirming for some the stereotype that evangelicals are easily manipulated and that evangelical leaders use moral issues to line their own pockets."
Wow. The thing is that Olasky must have some long-simmering grudges against Reed, to do ten separate articles in the last five months on his Abramoff ties. Because Olasky's focus on Reed's role is very, very dangerous to the cons' Abramoff storyline. The cons have gone out of their way to paint the Abramoff scandal as merely a "lobbyist/Indian" scandal. But digging too deeply into Reed's role exposes the way that "Christian" groups such as the US Family Network were and are used as slush funds for Republicans.


My advice to Robert Greenwald

...who will be on the Colbert Report Colbert Question: Now, Mr. Greenwald, if you had your way, Wal-Mart will no longer be able to underpay employees or discriminate against them. Isn't this dangerously likely to make American workers think that they deserve a decent livelihood? Wrong answer: Yes. Wrong answer: No. Correct answer: There is that risk. However, there are literally *billions* of foreigners who can still be underpaid, cheated, discriminated against, and denied healthcare coverage. So, think of my proposals as adding just a dollop of choice to the marketplace. The point of Colbert repartee is to listen carefully to the question, answer it perfectly seriously, and always provide a right-wing talking point as the explanation for why you are in favor of whatever cause you support. If you can throw in a word George Will would use, you get extra credit. * If you were a gay hooker, you'd point out the compassionate care and psychological counseling you provide to your clients, all without the intervention of the state. * If you were a drug addict, you would point out that you serve a valuable social function of being an object lesson for the mercenary exploitation of televangelists. * If you were a Republican, you can point out that you are so patriotic that if there is a draft and your father can't get you into the National Guard, you'd be delighted to serve... in Germany.

The First Annual Board-in-the-Eye Awards!

While reading the comments thread attached to this Eschaton post concerning yet another do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do moment from Antonin Scalia, I ran across this gem from Holden Caulfield:

So, does Scalia know Jack Abramoff? Jack says everyone who is anyone knows him.
In a word: Yup. I also ran across this little tidbit:
One of Fat Tony's best buddies is a professor named Ralph Rossum. A real right wing slimeball, this guy. Has written all sorts of neo-fascist books. Always going on about parental responsibility, etc. Well, Professor Rossum's daughter, Kristin, is in serving in prison for killing her husband. She was a meth addict since she was a teenager. Worked in the Medical Examiner's office after college, which was like a candy store for her. Was having an affair with a co-worker. Stole meth, and stole the fentanyl she used to kill her husband. Greg deVilliers. A couple of books written about the case. Ah, those Repug Family Values.
Indeed. Kristin Rossum's crime is dealt with here; the fact that her parents are notorious right-wing moral scolds was left out of the storyline. However, the fact that he's tied in with the Federalist Society and employed by Claremont should definitely indicate that he'll never be confused with Louis Brandeis. Let's see, now: Terry Dolan. (Hell, pretty much anyone who's ever been a member of the CNP.) Newt Gingrich. William Bennett. Laura Schlessinger (with pictures). Rush Limbaugh. Matt Glavin. And that's just off the top of my head. Are there any prominent right-wing nutjobs who aren't whited sepulchres? I think not. To wit, I'd like to ask the countless dozens of y'all that read this blog to help publicize this by sending in nominations for The First Annual Board-in-the-Eye Awards! The award will honor the most breathtaking act of hypocrisy committed during the past year by a person whose career is based on lecturing others about their morals. The name, as befits and award for which so many of what Mark Twain called "Professional Christians" are in the running, is taken from New Testament Scripture -- Chapter 6, verse 41 of the Book of Luke, to be exact: "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?"


I Had A Feeling They'd Do This

Lara Logan, one of the few reality-based correspondents in Iraq that's actually allowed regular air time, is under attack by the wingnut brigade, both at Protein (non) Wisdom and (more seriously and ominously) by the right-wing anti-media site "". These clowns will try to push CBS into dumping her. Let's push back:

(CBS) CBS Evening News, Weekdays editions: ADDRESS: CBS Evening News
524 West 57th St. New York, NY 10019 E-MAIL: PHONE: (212) 975-3247 TRANSCRIPTS: 1-800-777-TEXT CBS Evening News, Saturday and Sunday editions: ADDRESS: CBS Evening News, Saturday Edition or,CBS Evening News With John Roberts 524 West 57th St. New York, NY 10019 E-MAIL: PHONE: (212) 975-3247 TRANSCRIPTS: 1-800-777-TEXT
You know what to do.


Election Interference: It's OK If Bush Does It

Remember the wonderful reformist Orange Ukraine government that BushCo backed, partly because Russia's Putin backed the other guys? The one that would stop efforts to return Ukraine to Socialism and provide more troops to Iraq to shore up the PNAC Platoon's rapidly-shrinking Coalition of the Paid Off Willing? Well, first off, the first thing the Orange folk did upon winning was announce plans to pull Ukrainian troops out of Iraq. Oooops. Second off, it turns out that all is not roses with the Orange people, especially on the privatization front. One of the movement's leaders was kicked out of the government last year after she dared work to undo the corrupt privatization of a large steel factory, and that has led to the near-collapse of the movement:

At a midnight news conference, Ms Tymoshenko, 45, sporting her trademark breadbasket hairdo, announced she was "practically ready" to form a coalition. And if she does again take up the post of prime minister, the job she lost in September, this time she will have more power than Mr Yushchenko because Ukraine is changing its political system to become a parliamentary rather than presidential democracy. Ukrainians, who had protested against rigged presidential elections and interference by the Kremlin in 2004 and who had finally seen their orange heroes triumph, were bitterly disappointed when the honeymoon between Mr Yushchenko and Ms Tymoshenko ended and the in-fighting started. Not for this, they said, had they camped day after day in freezing weather during the famous street protests in Kiev. The two fell out because Ms Tymoshenko was more radical than Mr Yushchenko. In particular, she sparked unrest by trying to seize back a giant steel factory that had been corruptly privatised under the old regime. Western investors became nervous when they saw that potentially rich Ukraine was becoming unpredictable.
Translation: We don't want no high-minded uppity bint messing up our gravy train, dammit! The whole reason we threw all those millions of dollars at you was so you'd let us take over your industries!

Sunday, March 26, 2006


WaPo: Newspaper Unable to Do Novel Investigative Knowledgework

The Washington Post continues to trash its reputation by publishing a clumsy anonymous smear. As readers may or may not know, a Harvard dean and a professor at the University of Chicago have written a report on Israeli influence on US foreign policy. Daniel Levy, who is a top Israeli staffer, has said that while it is a bit simplistic, it has merit. In a sane world, an article on the influence of Israel on American foreign policy would have gotten maybe two column inches buried somewhere amid news on soybean futures. The Washington Post, however, engaged in a substantial bit of malice. It presented Juan Cole, a genuine scholar, and David Duke, a genuine Nazi, as defenders of the report. It didn't mention Levy or in any other way signal that it's not weird to think that Israel influences American foreign policy. On the other side, it puts CAMERA, a "watchdog group" in the Horowitzian sense of the word, i.e., nudniks. Also, Dennis Ross, who is part of an enterprise (Access Middle East) getting big bucks from Time Warner vice chairman Merv Adelson to produce pro-Israel "accurate and timely information," i.e. propaganda. Ruth Wisse, a CAMERA keynoter. Alan Dershowitz. Daniel Drezner. If I put some work into it, I bet that all of the people it quotes are CAMERA members and probably senior leadership. CAMERA is unaccountably shy about listing its advisory committee or staff. This anonymous Washington Post piece is a smear against Juan Cole, not to mention against Walt and Mearscheimer. It's so clumsy that it could only have been done by a N.U.D.N.I.K.

Allegation by Iranians of British oil sabotage

It's always worthwhile to read the Opposition. RedState links the following article to make the claim that Iran is going to go nuclear this year. The article says something slightly different. It says that Iran expects to have its first nuclear reactor online this year. Which, of course, it is entitled to do under the non-proliferation treaty, assuming it follows the rules. Not that it gladdens me to see yet another nation adopt nuclear generation of electricity, but it's 5-10 years between a reactor and a bomb. BUT. Just because that poster at RedState is apparently too dense to get the difference between a reactor and a bomb, it's actually an interesting article, giving specific Iranian grievances: Iran’s supreme leader accused Britain yesterday of conspiring to stop the country’s development through sabotage in the southern oil province of Khuzestan, the Tehran-based Arabic satellite news channel Al-Alam reported. “Enemies of Iran are plotting to stop Iran’s progress....” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.... “The British occupation force in neighboring Basra and Ammara (Maysan) provinces in Iraq is extending its plots....” Khuzestan is home to a large community of ethnic minority Arabs and has been plagued by a wave of bombings over the past year, including car bombings last June and October, another attack in January and smaller attacks in February. There has been also several explosions and fires hitting oil facilities in the area, which have raised suspicions of sabotage. Now, whether the allegations are correct or not, I don't know. But they are the basis for revving up the Iranian people. To get a flavor for this, what would Americans feel if, back when Bush had some credibility, he had claimed that Mexico was sabotaging oilfields in Texas and Oklahoma? My guess is that the Iranian people are psychologically very well-prepared for war.

Dear Gateway Pundit:

Responding to a post on Gateway Punditregarding Ben Domenech, a post that contained the following, evidently about the GOP: Being from the political party that values truth, integrity, God, country, family, and the 10 Commandments, I do not approve of lying, plagiarism, omission or slander. I gave this reply (I have corrected one typo): So, I take it that the proper translation of "I hope that Ben springs right back and does not wallow in shame. Come back soon Ben Domenech. You are welcome here anytime." is "wink wink." You know, I get really, really tired of God's name getting dragged into political uses. It is blasphemy. The "Republican Party" is a collection of human beings, including Duke Crook Cunningham, three-time adulterer Gingrich, Ken from the Closet Mehlman, Drugs Limbaugh, Gambling Ralph Reed, and a bunch of Congressmen and a president who never heard of Jack Abramoff even if he does have the photos. These people did not operate in a vacuum. They went to prayer breakfasts together, they went to church together, they invoked the Lord's name in their criminal conspiracies together. The ordinary Republicans who should be condemning them are instead finding reasons why the wrongs they did are not so bad. Or conspicuously winking. The real problem with Ben Domenech is that he is all too typical of what America has become: kids who can't do anything on their own and have to steal the labor of others; kids who have no talent to get their own jobs, but have to rely on their father's Rolodex; and especially people who have to find other people to demonize for their own failings. The broadbrush statement in your post that "Conservatives choose to fight Islamic terrorists for the preservation of our great nation. Liberals choose to fight conservatives and conservative values for power regardless of how it affects our great nation" is a perfect example of how people who fail desperately try to blame anyone else for that failure. It is a lie-- many conservatives are part of the Yellow Elephant brigade-- and also a slander, since many liberals are veterans, and indeed 50-plus veterans, including a number from this war, are running as Democrats. So, in this one statement, you accomplish doing not one but two things you claim you do not approve of and obviously do. As Jesus told the Pharisees in John 9, you claim you can see, and thereby condemn yourself. You can look it up.

Getting What They Want

What does the Democratic base want? Think about this in your own heads. Now, think about what the Republican base wants. Of the two bases, which party is most likely to give their base what they want? Better yet, which party has certain key societal sectors in its corner, to help convince their base that keeping gays from marrying, or blacks from getting government aid, or rich people and corporations from having to pay taxes, is much more desirable than good jobs, universal and affordable health care, and a pollution-free environment?


Democrats, Please Answer the Cluephone

Russ Feingold calls for Bush to be held accountable for breaking the law. The Associated Press reports that "the idea is increasing his standing among many Democratic voters". The obvious conclusion is that taking action that opposes Bush and standing up to the resulting attacks is a good thing. But the other Democrats are still cowering. And they're very stupid to be afraid of the issue. As Feingold said,

"These Democratic pundits are all scared of the Republican base getting energized, but they're willing to pay the price of not energizing the Democratic base," he said. "It's an overly defensive and meek approach to politics."
Feingold also has the right attitude about the Republican attempts to neuter him:
"I welcome their attempt to make a campaign issue of the question of whether there will be accountability for the president's breaking the law," he said. "They will remind people every minute that the president thumbed his nose at the law."
So come on, Democrats, if you're not going to answer the cluephone, at least check the voicemail once in a while. The voters have a message for you.

Racism, Bigotry And The GOP

It never fails. At the start of each election cycle (which nowadays, in this Age of the Permanent Campaign, is usually right after the end of the last one), there are articles in the GOP/Media Complex concerning the alleged gains made by Republicans among various non-white and/or non-Protestant groups: "GOP Wins Over Hispanics/Blacks/Muslims/Jews Etc." Then, a few months later, the Republicans do things to show that the only people whose votes they really care about are the very people who hate and fear Hispanics/ Blacks/Muslims/Jews/Et Cetera. The GOP's push to coddle the Minutemen and the other Hispanic-haters, even as businesses nationwide beg the Republicans not to deprive them of people to exploit employ, shows that their base is still racist above everything else. This is not going over well with America's Latino community. Not at all. This is reinforced by the floundering of Ken Blackwell's bid to become governor of Ohio. Blackwell's candidacy served the GOP's purpose by allowing a flurry of look-at-how-tolerant-we-in-the-GOP-now-are puff pieces to infect the national media. But the Ohio Republican Party knows full well that he's doomed -- if not by the rabidly anti-black base in the primaries who will vote for anyone but him on the GOP side, then in the general election where not even the most hateful of anti-gay ballot legislation will suffice to get them to the polls to vote for a black man for governor. So they turned off the endorsement and the money spigot, once the TV cameras turned away.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


All 360 degrees of the axis of evil

OK. We've had about a million, give or take a million, of instances of documentary forgeries, allegedly from the Saddam era, exposed. They've been consistently targeted against political opponents of the Bush Administration, like George Galloway. Now the Pentagon comes along and-- three years after they took control of the country-- suddenly discovers that: Russia funnelled intelligence on American troop movements in Iraq to Saddam Hussein during the early days of the war, according to documents contained in a Pentagon report released last night. Documents apparently from Saddam's regime, seized by the Americans, described how Russia collected crucial plans from "inside the American central command", and channelled it via Moscow's ambassador in Baghdad, Vladimir Titorenko. The Pentagon did not explicitly vouch for the authenticity of the documents.... This sounds like The Big Lie to me. Granted, I don't have inside sources. But if plans were collected from "inside American central command," you have a major, major espionage scandal, probably the biggest since the Walker scandal, in which submarine codes were compromised, three decades ago. It sounds like it would have been too big to hush up. These documents are just now coming to light? The Pentagon won't vouch for the authenticity of the documents? And the supposed "intelligence" is totally worthless nonsense? A more plausible explanation is that the allegation is bulls--t. I therefore make the following prediction: this will become the basis for the next wingnut heavy breathing session. The documents will be exposed as forgeries. At that point, it will abruptly vanish from right-wing sites.

Dear Red State...

I write this here because it seems clear to me that RedState does not welcome opposing views. Unlike your website, you may post anonymously here. My e-mail is also available. What is most striking to me in reading comments on this site is that the whole goal seems to be to support your man, with only a few RedStaters giving much serious consideration of the criticisms that have been raised. Even restricting oneself to what is documented by National Review Online, it is fairly clear that Mr. Domenech systematically plagiarized the work of others. And that in turn makes it clear that Mr. Domenech lied to his fellow RedStaters in claiming that this was simply a matter of youthful indiscretions or inadequate attribution. Some of the defenses that have been mounted are telling: 1. Conservatives are persecuted by "the left," i.e., "the martyr defense." These grievances, of course, cut both directions.Any conservative who wants to complain about persecution is welcome to try to make the case. I can supply a list dating back to the Alien and Sedition Act, if the history is limited to the American Republic, or to the hanging of Quakers and the stoning of Baptists by the conservatives of that day if we want to go back to the Colonial period. 2. Any sin by a conservative is dwarfed by the sins of their opponents, the so-called "Clinton's cock defense." This is the category of defenses that many mothers explain to their four year olds as "two wrongs don't make a right." 3. Ben Domenech's enemies are America's enemies, advanced by Mr. Domenech himself. This actually illustrates very well a major problem: the right conflates people who oppose them with people who wish harm on this nation. Our national security apparatus is malfunctioning, just as it did under Nixon, precisely because it has been turned against so many average Americans. There's nothing left over to catch Osama & Co. 4. Ben Domenech was threatened and reviled by the wicked left, as we know from... Ben Domenech, who we have good reason to believe lies, even to his friends, aka the Peter and the Wolf defense. If he really received threatening e-mail, he would have turned it over to the cops and let them discuss the issue with the sender. My guess is that maybe Domenech's charge is not exactly true? 5. The "they all do it" defense. Some plagiarists, notably Stephen Ambrose, have not been ruined; reference David Plotz in Slate. Well, true. People whose work is regarded as extraordinary have survived, much chastened. The careers of less brilliant luminaries are extinguished. Where does Ben Domenech stand in the writer's universe in terms of intellectual candlepower? 6. The limited hangout defense made so popular by Richard Nixon. In this case, it comes down to pretending this is all about plagiarism, that none of the other concerns have any validity. Alas, no it's not just about plagiarism. There are genuine questions about resume falsification, fabrication of quotes and extremism, for a start. 7. The "God is on our side" defense. I am also struck by the misuse by RedState posters of the name of Jesus for politics. I have to ask the poster who brought up the parable of the dishonest steward whether he only forgives his comrades, or does he forgive people who he regards as opponents? I have to ask the RedStater who uses as a tagline the statement that Christians would have to be stupid to vote Democratic what he thinks that Jesus's positions on war and on capital punishment would be? In short, RedState seems to have created an alternate reality, in which they are good because they are conservative, and their opponents are wicked because they are not. And if their opponents on an issue are conservative, like Michelle Malkin, then they're not really conservative. Plus, they're a whining minority (or whatever). RedStaters, you are not my enemy. Lies are. Lies seem to have taken almost total control of the conservative movement. The toxicity the RedStaters complain about in public debate really began in the assault on Bill Clinton's presidency. That assault was based mostly on lies and conservatives continue to lie about it. If the people who went after Clinton were as pure as many RedStaters seem to think they are, then there would be no problem. It would be a simple case of angels against devils. Of course, this being earth and not a Chick Comic, it isn't that simple. What the Domenech case illustrates so nicely, is that many too many Americans can't tell the difference between the truth and a lie. Some RedStaters think that Domenech's resignation from the WaPo ends it. But until the lies-- and especially until the defense of lies-- ceases, it is not over. The Hound of Heaven is on the move.

Things I Found En Route To Looking Up Other Things: The Oil-Fundy Connection

The late columnist Sydney Harris would often plan to write about one subject, only to find himself, in the course of his research, writing about others. The columns that resulted were titled "Things I Found En Route To Looking Up Other Things". (And no, Mr. Domenich, this isn't plagiarism, since I'm giving Mr. Harris full credit for the phrase.) I was looking up a MyDD reference on the upcoming 2006 elections -- and why Democrats are in much better shape now than they've been in the past six years -- and found this:

Protestant fundamentalism per se does not go back any further than the early 1900s. It derives from the publication of a pamphlet series, The Fundamentals, which was a response to the higher criticism. This is from an article by Slobodan Dimitrov that Random Lengths News published in March of last year (not available online):

Los Angeles has the reputation of being a liberal city, but in fact it is the birthplace of Fundamentalism. Fundamentalism began through a series of 12 pamphlets, called The Fundamentals, published over a 5-year period, from 1910-15, with financing from two brothers, Lyman and Milton Stewart, co-founders of Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA). Lyman Stewart was BIOLA's first president as well as one of the three founders of the Union Oil Corporation.

The Fundamentals were published as a conservative response to liberal modernist wing of Protestantism during a period of intense struggle that raged between and within various denominations within American Protestantism around the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, a period not unlike the turn of 20th to the 21st century. Both eras witnessed a dramatic rise in affluence and wealth, the former being driven by the great Westward expansion and the resulting wealth from oil and railroads; the latter due to the great explosion of technological innovation, from the computer chip to the reaches of Space, with benefits sprinkling across the economic landscape. Both eras magnified the disparity between the have and have-nots, and both have produced their versions of social concern.

Oh, yeah. It also involved oilmen.

And, of course, when it came to the issue of slavery, the Bible was the primary source of pro-slavery arguments, as documented by Larry E. Tise in Pro-Slavery: A History of the Defense of Slavery in America, 1701-1840. The Publishers Weekly review noted:

Tise chronicles a constant stream of books, articles, pamphlets and sermons--his chapter on the growth of proslavery arguments by clergy, usually derived from narrow interpretations of Scripture, is illuminating--and builds to a remarkable and probably controversial exploration of the "proslavery Republicanism," which he sees as the full flowering of the conservative Federalist viewpoint that had only temporarily been defeated by America's founding fathers when they framed our Constitution.

Furthermore, the notion that fundamentalists are preserving a traditional form of religion is utterly specious, as Karen Armstrong makes quite clear in her book, The Battle For God.

by Paul Rosenberg on Mon Mar 20, 2006 at 10:35:20 PM EST

This is one of these things that I'd always suspected but couldn't prove until now. No wonder why the oilmen don't give a fig about global warming. They're using the concept of the End Times to shore up their short-term bottom line.

Friday, March 24, 2006


The Propaganda Network. From the Lincoln Group to Public Interest Watch

DemocracyNow had two good segments on how the public debate is being shaped. The first is about The Lincoln Group and its participation in PysOps: ANDREW BUNCOMBE: Well, if you look on their website, they list a number of groups and people and individuals who they say have been partners with them and have helped them over the years. A lot of those people have since pointed out that their partnership with Mr. [Christian Jozefowicz] Bailey and the Lincoln Group have been all but fleeting. They have since ceased and never really amounted to much. The one group that you mentioned [WCV3 Security], from memory, is a consulting firm out in northern Virginia. One of their senior executives was involved in the attempt during the last election – you’ll remember back in October -- sorry, the summer of 2004, I think it was August, -- the swift boat affair that was one of the things that severely damaged John Kerry's campaign. That was the group of veterans, which essentially portrayed a false picture of John Kerry's war record and questioned his claims about his service in Vietnam and the Cambodian border. That involved one of this group's chief executives, who took unpaid leave to go work on that project. AMY GOODMAN: And that project, of course, was Stolen Honor, the famous film that was aired around the country.... [shifting gears to the Iraq propaganda effort] AMY GOODMAN: We just have 30 seconds, but Colonel Sam Gardiner, you referred to a law, the Smith-Mundt Act, that prevents the propaganda – the government from putting it out in this country, but it can be done internationally. Now, with the global media, with the internet, would you venture to speculate, if some of this that they say is directed to the Iraqi population is actually the main point is to have it recycled back into the United States as a PsyOps operation right here at home? COL. SAM GARDINER: Well, the Secretary of Defense told us he wanted to do that, and he was going to do that, when he started out with the Strategic Influence Group. Now, that still exists, and it has been transferred down to this contracting unit that contracted with the Lincoln Group, which is the Special Operations Command. And they have worldwide responsibilities, and I -- yeah, I think it certainly exists, and it's part of what's been making up the story. But the Pentagon isn't the only major player in manufacturing alternate realities. This second piece shows how Exxon Mobil, with an economic footprint about as large as the Pentagon's (revenues of over $300B annually vs the Pentagon at about $500B), is also energetically falfifying reality: The Wall Street Journal revealed this week a little-known watchdog group was responsible for getting the IRS to audit the environmental organization Greenpeace. Two years ago, Public Interest Watch challenged Greenpeace's tax-exempt status and accused the group of money laundering and other crimes. According to the Journal, tax records show more than 95 percent of the funding of Public Interest Watch was provided by the oil giant ExxonMobil... AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to turn to John Passacantando, head of Greenpeace USA, and read an excerpt of a piece that came out last year in Mother Jones magazine by Chris Mooney, called “Some Like It Hot." It's about some 40 public policy groups that have this in common: “They seek to undermine the scientific consensus that humans are causing the earth to overheat, and they all get money from ExxonMobil.” And Chris Mooney writes, "Mother Jones has tallied some 40 ExxonMobil-funded organizations that either have sought to undermine mainstream scientific findings on global climate change or have maintained affiliations with a small group of 'skeptic' scientists who continue to do so. Beyond think tanks, the count also includes quasi-journalistic outlets like (a website providing 'news, analysis, research, and commentary' that received $95,000 from ExxonMobil in 2003), a columnist, and even religious and civil rights groups. In total, [the groups] received more than $8 million between 2000 and 2003...ExxonMobil [chair] and CEO Lee Raymond serves as vice [chair] of the board of trustees for the AEI," -- that's American Enterprise Institute -- "which received $960,000 in funding from ExxonMobil. The AEI-Brookings Institution Joint Center for Regulatory Studies, which officially hosted [writer Michael] Crichton, received another $55,000. When asked about the event, the center’s executive director, Robert Hahn—who’s a fellow with the AEI—defended it, saying, ‘Climate science is a field in which reasonable experts can disagree.’ (By contrast, on the day of the event, the Brookings Institution posted a scathing critique of Crichton’s book, [State of Fear]).” There is no freedom when the truth cannot even get on her boots.

Friday Cat Blogging

Lady Lightfoot, upon finding out that the Washington Post hired Ben Domenech, hides her face in embarrassment for them.


Bush and "Original Intent"

John Dean on Bush's imperial ambitions:

Bush's position is that he does not need Congressional approval for his measures. Even he does not claim that Congress gave him express power to undertake them, but he does claim that Congress indirectly approved such measures when it authorized the use of force to go after those involved in the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States.
Reading this assessment, it occurred to me that seeing indirect approval in a bill that contains no words permitting the actions Bush has taken is just a wee tad inconsistent for a guy whose favorite people are religious fundamentalists and the "Original Intent" faction of the Supreme Court. Apparently, a literal interpretation is only for preventing other people from doing what they think they should do.

Dang! I Had Him Hanging On Until 5:30 PM Eastern Today.

As you all probably know by now, Ben Domenich, everybody's favorite right-wing homeschooled college dropout, has "resigned" from the WP. The Moral of Box Turtle Ben, at least where the US media is concerned? Appeasing Nazis Doesn't Work. Just ask Neville Chamberlain.


The Domenich Compendium

Over at DKos, Fleet Admiral J's putting together an attempt at a comprehensive list of Domenich's steals.

And guess what? What Domenich doesn't steal, he makes up out of thin air:

Oh, and the Post may wish to check the qualifications of its hires in the future. Domenech claims that he was "given the Ruben J. Salazar award by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists" on his bio page (

According to Marissa Silvera, Professional Development Manager of the NAHJ, that organization does not give out a "Ruben J. Salazar award." The NAHJ's overall scholarship/financial aid program is named for Salazar -- so maybe he got some cash from them by claiming Hispanic heritage. (although its difficult to see how he qualified, given that his father is a GOP operative and "financial need" is a criteria, and "Awareness of the Community" is also a criteria -- and its extremely difficult to find anything that suggests that Domenech is "aware of issues that face the Latino community and Latinos in the newsroom".

What. A. Dork. Truly, this guy is to journalism what Jack Abramoff is to fundraising.

Thursday, March 23, 2006


Charity Begins and Ends at Home

Barbara Bush (the old one) made a charitable donation to the "Katrina Fund" sponsored by former Presidents Bush and Clinton. Surprised that Ma Bush did something nice for a change? Don't be. Joshua Micah Marshall points us to a Houston Chronicle report that Big Bar's donation is going into her son Neil's pocket. The money was earmarked for his educational software company.


No-Bid National Security

U.S. Hiring Chinese Company to Scan Cargo

In the aftermath of the Dubai ports dispute, the Bush administration is hiring a Hong Kong conglomerate to help detect nuclear materials inside cargo passing through the Bahamas to the United States and elsewhere. The administration acknowledges the no-bid contract with Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. represents the first time a foreign company will be involved in running a sophisticated U.S. radiation detector at an overseas port without American customs agents present. [...] Hutchison Whampoa is the world's largest ports operator and among the industry's most-respected companies. It was an early adopter of U.S. anti-terror measures. But its billionaire chairman, Li Ka-Shing, also has substantial business ties to China's government that have raised U.S. concerns over the years. [...] Three years ago, the Bush administration effectively blocked a Hutchison subsidiary from buying part of a bankrupt U.S. telecommunications company, Global Crossing Ltd., on national security grounds. And a U.S. military intelligence report, once marked "secret," cited Hutchison in 1999 as a potential risk for smuggling arms and other prohibited materials into the United States from the Bahamas.
Aside from the national security concerns, what's with the no-bid contract? I bet $100 that some enterprising blogger will discover a close connection between this Hutchison Whampoa and Bush's uncle, Prescott Bush Jr., who does bidness in China. Any takers?

Good News

ETA calls a halt to decades of bloodshed

The Basque separatist organisation ETA has declared a permanent ceasefire, starting tomorrow, that would, if fulfilled, end decades of armed struggle for independence from Spain, and pave the way for a negotiated peace. [...] The unprecedented announcement was posted on the website of the radical nationalist Gara newspaper, and dominated every relevant website and media outlet in Spain. The news was greeted with joy and optimism among Basques, and welcomed by the Madrid government as "good news for Spaniards". [...] Terrorism as a political strategy was doomed on 11 March 2004 when the Madrid train bombers killed 192 and sickened the nation. ETA finally recognised that its aspiration for an independent homeland could be advanced only through non-violent means. The government, meanwhile, acknowledged that the organisation could never be defeated through repression alone. And in Catalonia, the tortuous but bloodless process towards greater autonomy, involving all parties, has provided an inspiration to Basques.
Anything that decreases violence anywhere is a Good Thing for the whole world.

GOP and Bigotry: WP Blogger Edition

Check this out. I'm speechless. On reflection: Remember when USA Today hired Little Miss Hitler herself, Ann Coulter -- only to drop her before her first column because it was so unbelieveably vile? The folks running USA Today, as right-wing as they are, have more decency and common sense than those running the Washington Post. UPDATE: Stop the presses! Domenich -- who already is known as a Stephen-Glass-style fabricator of news articles -- has just been busted for plagiarism! The Domenich Deathwatch begins now. My own guess: The WaPo, if they have any brains at all, will quietly dump this clown around about 5:30 PM Eastern Time tomorrow, in the hopes that the furor won't last over the weekend. But it will, it will. UPDATE #2: And the plagiarisms just keep on comin', to the point where I'm beginning to doubt that this clown ever had or wrote a single original thought. Ohhh, he is sooooo toasty toast!


Glancing nervously at the exits, our valiant British allies consider their next move

From >The Guardian's security editor, Richard Norton-Taylor A senior British military commander in the invasion of Iraq said the other day that Donald Rumsfeld, the US defence secretary, should be tried for war crimes. He was speaking in private and, I assume, did not mean to be taken literally. But there was no mistaking the anger in his voice. It reflected a deep fury at the decision to disband the Iraqi army after the invasion... Is it in Britain's national interest to be so closely allied to a US that takes Britain for granted, to an administration that sets up Guantánamo Bay - where the treatment of prisoners led a high-court judge to remark that "America's idea of what is torture is not the same as ours and does not appear to coincide with that of most civilised nations"?

Jimmy Carter, Presidential Blogger

Why not? Al Gore, our true current president, has Current TV, which is essentially an open-source TV network where you, Joe/Jane Q. Citizen, submit the content -- and that's about as bloggy as one can get.


News Media Covering Up for Bush Again

Even when reporting that Bush and the CIA knew Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction because the Iragi foreign minister "relayed information about Saddam’s actual capabilities", the so-called liberal media provide cover for Bush:

In the period before the Iraq war, the CIA and the Bush administration erroneously believed that Saddam Hussein was hiding major programs for weapons of mass destruction. Now NBC News has learned that for a short time the CIA had contact with a secret source at the highest levels within Saddam Hussein’s government, who gave them information far more accurate than what they believed. It is a spy story that has never been told before, and raises new questions about prewar intelligence. What makes the story significant is the high rank of the source. His name, officials tell NBC News, was Naji Sabri, Iraq’s foreign minister under Saddam. [...] Intelligence sources say that in a New York hotel room, CIA officers met with an intermediary who represented Sabri. All discussions between Sabri and the CIA were conducted through a "cutout," or third party. Through the intermediary, intelligence sources say, the CIA paid Sabri more than $100,000 in what was, essentially, "good-faith money." And for his part, Sabri, again through the intermediary, relayed information about Saddam’s actual capabilities.
This report goes on to Sabri provided information that showed Saddam didn't have the weapons capability to be any kind of serious threat. But instead of asking the obvious question — "Why did Bush keep saying Saddam had WMD when such an important source confirmed that he didn't?" — Aram Roston, Lisa Myers, and the NBC Investigative Unit spin their wheels on "Bush believed the WMD existed." The wonder is that anybody still believes the U.S. news media.

Giving The Game Away

As part of the Republican Party's election-year efforts to keep the Bigot Vote turning out in full force this November, they have linked up with very-well-funded national anti-gay groups to promote more anti-gay legislation. Of course, these bigot groups try to say that they "hate the sin and love the sinner". But their rank-and-file members, as Nick Coleman of the StarTribune notes, just can't help giving the game away:

Charlie Makidon had come to the right rally but his sign was not helping the cause. His contribution to Tuesday's Capitol demo in support of a constitutional amendment to keep gays away from the altar was a tad crude: "Homo Go Home." Makidon, 57, a retired electrician, stood on the Capitol sidewalk above a crowd of 1,000 demanding that state law conform to the Bible. If gays get married, he said, he will have to pay for benefits for same-sex partners in the ranks of lust-crazed state workers, who are just waiting for the bell to ring to make a dash to the Bridal Fair. "There's no way in hell my tax money is going for that," Makidon said. "It's a perverted, self-inflicted lifestyle." That's not how amendment backers spin the anti-gay crusade. So Makidon quickly attracted a gaggle of smoother types who closed in on him and asked him to drop his sign. "We want them to know that we love them," one rally organizer told Makidon. The guy sounded too irritated to be very loving, but there was no mistaking who "them" was. Makidon didn't budge. He held his sign high and demanded to see the person in charge. "Send the person with the rally permit to me, and I'll throw [the sign] away," he said. A crisis was brewing. More Christian spinners encircled Makidon. One wedged against him with a sign that said, "We do not support this." The arrows on the anti-sign sign were pointing away from Makidon. I was going to tell the guy to stand on the other side of Makidon, so the arrows would point at the "Homo Go Home" sign, but I got distracted.
Meanwhile, other would-be defenders of marriage were forced to admit that they weren't too vigilant about defending their own marriages:
Nearby was a man who looked like Jesus, with long hair and a beard, but who also wore a big purple top hat. He was carrying a sign saying marriage is for one man plus one woman. His name was Jim, but he asked me not to include his last name after I asked him where he lived. "St. Paul," he started to say. Then he corrected himself: "I'm in Little Canada right now," he said sheepishly. "My wife is kicking me out of the house. After 20 years, she's had it. We're getting divorced." One man, one woman. Until death do us part, or 20 years, whichever comes first.
OutFront Minnesota has some lovely pics of the refreshingly honest Mr. Makidon and friends. Meanwhile, a lawyer friend of mine has examined the proposed bill. According to him, the bill actually goes after straight unmarried couples as well as gays, which is something they don't want their supporters or the general public to know.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


More Trouble For Hot Tub Tom

Those charges that Hot Tub Tom DeLay thought he'd successfully killed for good? Maybe not.


Cutting big problems down to size

We all know what high technology is: big capital investment, lots of moving parts, no human intervention required. But a term that I may have invented, "low technology," is much more promising to solve the world's problems. A great example of this is a water treatment plant established in the Tanzanian village of Ndoela, which has conquered "stomach illness" (presumably dysentery and perhaps parasitic diseases). Total cost: maybe $15. They put water in plastic bottles on the roof. Now, this is not a perfect solution. Plastic contains plasticizers, which leach out and are suspected of causing hormonal disruption. Also, UV radiation reverses the polymerization process of many materials, leading to degradation and leaching out of potentially dangerous monomer. But one can easily imagine, say, glass containers that wouldn't have those problems. Or maybe there are plastics that have better properties. Or maybe charcoal could be used to further purify the water. This idea is being promoted by a group called Plan International A low tech NGO that I favor is Trees, Water, People. They produce very high-efficiency stoves for Central America and couple providing the stoves to reforestation.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Peak Oilmen

Over long eons, extreme compression under high heat of rancid populism, magical thinking, and hubris produced a huge oily mass called Republicans for Bush. This is a finite resource, whose production has reached a peak and due to decline: KEVIN PHILLIPS: ... I’ve talked with a number of conservatives, people running conservative publications, old aides from the Republican campaigns back in the 1960s and 1970s, and everybody agrees, and some are even starting to say it semi-publicly: [George W. Bush] is a national embarrassment. AMY GOODMAN: Conservatives? KEVIN PHILLIPS: Conservatives. AMY GOODMAN: ...Do you think that the -- what you describe, the American empire is headed for doom? KEVIN PHILLIPS: It’s certainly headed for some degree of dismantling and loss of international power.

Thanks to leak, God's position on Iraq now known

Terry Jones has the inside story A high-level leak has revealed that God is "furious" at Tony Blair's attempts to implicate him in the bombing of Iraq. Sources close to the archangel Gabriel report him as describing the Almighty as "hopping mad ... with sanctimonious yet unscrupulous politicians claiming He would condone their bestial activities when He has no way of going public Himself, owing to the MMW agreement" (a reference to the long-established Moving in Mysterious Ways concordat). ..."If Tony Blair thinks his friendship with George W Bush is worth rubbing out a couple of hundred thousand Iraqi men, women and children, then that's something he can talk over with me later," said God. "But when he starts publicly claiming that's the way I do the arithmetic too, it's time I put my foot down!" It is well known that God has a very big foot. ...The archangel reported that the Almighty has become increasingly irritated with the vogue for politicians to claim that He is behind their policies - especially if these involve killing large numbers of humans. According to Gabriel, God spake these words: "That George W Bush once had the nerve to say: 'God told me to go end the tyranny in Iraq, and I did.' Well, let me tell you I did no such thing! If I'd wanted to get rid of Saddam Hussein, I could have given him pneumonia. ... "The archangel further revealed that he had been advised by no less a person than Alastair Campbell to warn God to keep out of politics. "But it's hard to get God to do anything He doesn't want to," sighed the archangel. ... Seriously, I've never figured out why people are so blase about snuffing out lives. Just in case of a targeting error, how many of them can raise the dead? Thanks to Avedon Carol of The Sideshow for flagging this. I missed it while scanning the Guranida at X AM

The Little Candidate That Could

Francine Busby is the progressive Democrat running to take Randy "Duke" Cunningham's seat. She was supposed to be just a name on the ballot, but she stands a good chance of winning outright, and if there's a runoff, she'll probably win that. Go give her some love.


Wal-Mart: Always Low Bigotry. Always.

As if this surprises anyone.

Monday, March 20, 2006


More good news from the front

Declan Walsh in the nGaruida A powerful new militia dubbed "the Pakistani Taliban" has effectively seized control of swaths of the country's northern tribal areas in recent months, triggering alarm in Islamabad and marking a big setback in America's "war on terror".The militants are strongest in North and South Waziristan, two of seven tribal agencies on the border with Afghanistan. Strict social edicts have been handed down: shopkeepers may not sell music or films; barbers are instructed not to shave beards. Yesterday a bomb blew up a radio transmitter in Wana, taking the state radio off the air.... Analysts say the Pakistani Taliban is a loose alliance of tribal militia operating under radical clerics such as Sadiq Noor and Abdul Khaliq. Many are angered by heavy-handed Pakistani military attacks against suspected al-Qaida hideouts, which are thought to have killed hundreds of civilians over the last two years. Swapping the Taliban from controlling Afghanistan (rugged country, goats, opium) to Pakistan (rugged country, goats, nukes) does not seem like progress to me.

When the law becomes no more than a shield for the criminals

The Los Angeles District Attorney's office is prosecuting Stephen Heller for transcribing, printing out, and exposing internal memoranda by the Jones Day law firm. Media accounts suggest (to me, at least) that that lawfirm was engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Diebold, Inc. to defraud the government of the state of California. At the very least, they suggest legal ethics that wouldn't disqualify Al Capone from the Bar. Kos has more. This is the kind of prosecution that strikes at the very heart of the rule of law. Confidence in the integrity of the voting system is obviously the foundation for the consent of the governed, so exposing corruption is A Good Thing. But even more, the American Republic is based on a very bold assertion: that the law has legitimacy only as we give our consent, and that the consent exists only to the extent that our rights,inherent in our humanity and not in laws,are respected by the people who are temporary stewards of power. In other words, laws that do not lead to just and equitable ends are not laws at all. Prosecuting someone for trying to stop a crime in progress is a legal abomination. It turns the law into a shield for criminals. You can give money to help Heller fight this. You can write a letter or make a call. What you cannot in good conscience do is walk away.

But I Thought We'd Kicked The Taliban Out Of Afghanistan!

Actually, anyone who's been even casually following events in Afghanistan knows that we really didn't, and that our puppet Karzai is little more than the mayor of Kabul, if that. But in case it wasn't quite clear before, this pretty much confirms that they and/or their like-minded allies still rule:

KABUL, Afghanistan Mar 19, 2006 (AP)— An Afghan man is being prosecuted in a Kabul court and could be sentenced to death on a charge of converting from Islam to Christianity, a crime under this country's Islamic laws, a judge said Sunday. The trial is believed to be the first of its kind in Afghanistan and highlights a struggle between religious conservatives and reformists over what shape Islam should take here four years after the ouster of the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban regime. The defendant, 41-yer-old Abdul Rahman, was arrested last month after his family accused him of becoming a Christian, Judge Ansarullah Mawlavezada told The Associated Press in an interview. Rahman was charged with rejecting Islam and his trial started Thursday. During the one-day hearing, the defendant confessed that he converted from Islam to Christianity 16 years ago while working as a medical aid worker for an international Christian group helping Afghan refugees in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, Mawlavezada said. "We are not against any particular religion in the world. But in Afghanistan, this sort of thing is against the law," the judge said. "It is an attack on Islam." Mawlavezada said he would rule on the case within two months. Afghanistan's constitution is based on Shariah law, which is interpreted by many Muslims to require that any Muslim who rejects Islam be sentenced to death, said Ahmad Fahim Hakim, deputy chairman of the state-sponsored Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. Repeated attempts to interview Rahman in detention were barred. The prosecutor, Abdul Wasi, said he had offered to drop the charges if Rahman converted back to Islam, but he refused. "He would have been forgiven if he changed back. But he said he was a Christian and would always remain one," Wasi told AP. "We are Muslims and becoming a Christian is against our laws. He must get the death penalty."
Bill Clinton has gone on record saying that his failure to act in Rwanda was the greatest mistake of his presidency. That may be so, but I'd put the continuance of the Reagan-Bush policy of aiding the Taliban against the Russian-backed government of the 1980s and early 1990s as #2 or #3. Though he has plenty of company in that mistake, as Republicans like Dana Rohrabacher can attest if they ever chose to be honest with themselves and with America.


Shhhh! Don't Talk About The Bases!

The members of the GOP/Media Complex are going to such lengths to avoid putting the words "permanent bases" and Iraq in the same sentence that they all but ignored the vote on them this week. Shhhh!

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Canada: Our Mortal Enemy!

At least that's what Bush and his people seem to think:

For the first time since 1817, U.S. Coast Guard vessels on the Great Lakes are being outfitted with weapons – machine-guns capable of firing 600 bullets a minute. Until now, coast guard officers have been armed with handguns and rifles, but the vessels themselves haven't been equipped with weapons. The War of 1812 saw violent battles on Lake Erie and Lake Huron between U.S. troops and British forces, which were largely composed of militias from Britain's colonies in what is now Canada. After the war, the United States and Britain – and later Canada – agreed to demilitarize the Great Lakes waters. [...] Each vessel is now equipped with a 7.62-mm machine-gun, a light military gun that is the same calibre as a deer rifle but capable of shooting 600 bullets per minute. The guns are typically mounted because of their weight. But a spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard, Petty Officer William Colclough, said they will be stored below decks on the coast guard's 11 Great Lakes cutters and will be mounted only when needed. Warning shots will be fired when vessels refuse to stop, said Colclough, who is based at the U.S. Coast Guard's Great Lakes headquarters in Cleveland. Colclough said staff members have conducted live-fire drills in the past few months in American waters off the coast of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Can carry high-calibre guns that can down a helicopter A Canadian Foreign Affairs official said Ottawa has agreed to read the treaty in such a way that coast guard vessels may be mounted with guns by considering them weapons of law enforcement rather than war. Canada reserves the right to arm its own vessels as well, the official told CBC News.
I guess that's no longer the world's longest undefended border any more. First BushCo demanded passports, now they do this. Remember, folks: BushCo says they're doing this to stop smuggling and terrorism. Yet there was tons more smuggling going on during Prohibition, and we never once outfitted our Coast Guard vessels with machine guns. As for terrorism, it might help if Bush didn't do dumbass things like invade and occupy countries that had nothing to do with 9/11. (But of course, that was really all about replacing the permanent bases that the US lost when the Shah was toppled next door in Iran.) Gee, and I thought that Bush actually liked Harper.


Looking For Leadership: Fortunes (And Polls) Favor The Bold

Even as the same ding-dongs that dissed John Murtha now diss Russ Feingold, we find out that just as most Americans now know of and respect Murtha for taking a stand, most Democrats (and, I'll soon wager, most Americans) now know of and respect Feingold for taking a stand:

I'll repeat -- Feingold's popularity among Democrats has soared from 22% before he introduced the resolution to 52% after the resolution. The nerve he tapped is way beyond political squabbling. This should not be some big mystery.
No, it shouldn't be. And as for the idiots who whine (as they whined when Murtha stepped up to the plate) that opposing Bush just makes him more popular: Bush still occasionally cracked 50% approval when Murtha first spoke up. Now he's lucky to get above 35%.


NYT: US Torturing Iraqis Well After Abu Ghraib Came To Light

Abu Ghraib wasn't the only place in Iraq where the US ran torture facilities. Of course, this has been known or at least suspected for some time, but we now have proof. This Sunday's NYT, as mentioned in Editor and Publisher and by Atrios, tells of a place called "The Black Room" at Camp Nama that was open for business as a torture site well after the Abu Ghraib scandal first reached American ears. Of course, right-wingers will respond with "So what? They're just terrorists." But they weren't. As has been established in the past, many if not most of the Iraqis picked up and tortured were not terrorists at all. Page four of the the five-page NYT story starts with this paragraph:

Despite the task force's access to a wide range of intelligence, its raids were often dry holes, yielding little if any intelligence and alienating ordinary Iraqis, Defense Department personnel said. Prisoners deemed no threat to American troops were often driven deep into the Iraqi desert at night and released, sometimes given $100 or more in American money for their trouble.
Of course, the wingnuts will be on the attack. Which is why we should send the NYT some love for a change ( Reward good behavior and all that.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Now They Tell Us

Bush Using Straw-Man Arguments in Speeches

When the president starts a sentence with "some say" or offers up what "some in Washington" believe, as he is doing more often these days, a rhetorical retort almost assuredly follows. The device usually is code for Democrats or other White House opponents. In describing what they advocate, Bush often omits an important nuance or substitutes an extreme stance that bears little resemblance to their actual position. [...] Bush routinely is criticized for dressing up events with a too-rosy glow. But experts in political speech say the straw man device, in which the president makes himself appear entirely reasonable by contrast to supposed "critics," is just as problematic. [...] A specialist in presidential rhetoric, Wayne Fields of Washington University in St. Louis, views it as "a bizarre kind of double talk" that abuses the rules of legitimate discussion.
It's only been seven years, after all, that Bush has been on the national scene. I know I'm not the only person who got Bush's number the first time I heard him talk. What took the AP so long to figure this out?

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