Saturday, May 21, 2005

Goodnight, moon 

Grannyinsanity asks a very good question:

Speaking of ownership, does anybody know who provided Reverend Dobson's seed money?


NOTE Readers, I was trying to find Focus on the Family's RSS feed, when I found myself... Strangely attracted to Dobson's "Hot" [cough] "Topics" section on dominance and submission Spanking...

I'm starting to feel the strangest new sensations...

Saith The Good Doctor "It is essential to always balance firmness with loving sensitivity."

Oh yes! Yes! Yes!

NOTE If Luke, a physician, read these people, he'd puke.

"Christian" RSS Feeds 

On the theory of "Know Your Enemy" I'm looking for [cough] Christian (better, Dominionist) RSS feeds. But I'm coming up dry in Google.

I'd like influential rather than wacky—if such a distinction means anything these days... For example, I'd really like a feed from Focus on the Family, but they don't seem to have one. A really good anti-evolution site would be good, too.

Readers, any suggestions?

UPDATE No, I'm wrong. CBN does have feed. But I need more, more!

Dear Leader needs your help at once! 

And I'm sure you'll be willing to give it to Him:

Michigan is hardly the Old West, but after President Bush gave a commencement speech here Saturday an aide was spotted carrying a fancy brown leather saddle up the rear stairs of Air Force One.

Bush has been dubbed a "windshield rancher'" because he tools around his Texas spread in a white pickup truck. It's unclear what the president Bush, who seems to prefer bikes to horses, plans to do with the saddle.
(via AP)

Bush doesn't know what to do with a saddle...

Readers, can you help Inerrant Boy out?

Bush Torture Policies: The curious incident of the weasel in the night-time 

OK, OK, a dog, not a weasel. I just didn't want to get Senator Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum (R-Dobson) all hot and bothered. You remember the famous exchange between Holmes and hapless Inspector Gregory:

Inspector Gregory: "Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"

Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."

Inspector: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."

Holmes: "That was the curious incident."

The essential Seymour Hersh draws our attention to another "curious incident"—in fact, a whole series of them:

The night shift's activities at Abu Ghraib came to an end on January 13 2004, when specialist Joseph M Darby, one of the 372nd reservists, provided army police authorities with a disk full of explicit images. By then, these horrors had been taking place for nearly four months.

Three days later the army began an investigation. But it is what was not done that is significant. There is no evidence that President Bush, upon learning of the devastating conduct at Abu Ghraib, asked any hard questions of Rumsfeld and his own aides in the White House; no evidence that they took any significant steps, upon learning in mid-January of the abuses, to review and modify the military's policy toward prisoners. I was told by a high-level former intelligence official that within days of the first reports the judicial system was programmed to begin prosecuting the enlisted men and women in the photos and to go no further up the chain of command.

In late April, after the CBS and New Yorker reports, a series of news conferences and press briefings emphasised the White House's dismay ["Shocked, shocked!"] over the conduct of a few misguided soldiers at Abu Ghraib and the president's repeated opposition to torture.

Despite Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo - not to mention Iraq and the failure of intelligence - and the various roles they played in what went wrong, Rumsfeld kept his job; Rice was promoted to secretary of state; Alberto Gonzales, who commissioned the memos justifying torture, became attorney general; deputy secretary of defence Paul Wolfowitz was nominated to the presidency of the World Bank; and Stephen Cambone, under-secretary of defence for intelligence and one of those most directly involved in the policies on prisoners, was still one of Rumsfeld's closest confidants.
(via Guardian)

What Bush says: He's "shocked, shocked!" [Not on the balls, of course; he's the Preznit, not some hajji.]

What Bush does: Promote all the tortureres. Those actions don't just speak; they scream.

And one more curious incident: You'd think a Preznit who really wanted to prevent torture would make one very, very simple gesture:

He could raise Sergeant Darby for blowing the whistle. But Darby was following the rules, and since when do Republicans follow the rules? Following the rules is for little people!

He should give Sergeant Darby the Medal of Honor. But what do Republicans know about honor? Honor isn't for thieves and liars—or chickenhawks.

Republicans vs. The Constitution: Not with a whimper but a bang 

Since Frist has pushed the button on the nuclear option, the chain reaction has started; and nobody knows whether the last shreds of Republican legitimacy will disappear or not.

The logic is simple. There are three rules:

1. To change Senate rules requires 67 votes.

2. To end a filibuter takes 60 votes.

3. Motions to change the Senate rules can be filibustered.

The state of play:

The Republicans, if they obey the rules, certainly don't have 67 votes to change the Senate rules.

The Republicans, if they obey the rules, may not even have the 60 votes to end a filibuter.

Checkmate? No! There's hope for the Republicans still, since they have Dick "Dick" Cheney's pasty white ass firmly planted in the presiding officer's chair:

1. The Republicans make a motion to end the filibuster with 51 votes (perhaps with Cheney himself providing the 51st). That breaks rule 2 (60 votes versus 51)

2. The Democrats will filibuster the rule change.

3. Cheney will allow the rule change. That breaks rule 1. (67 votes versus 51)

Break the rules to change the rules.

Now, with 51 votes, the Republicans can do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want. They have absolute power.

And we, with our 49 votes—who represent a majority of the country— have no voice at all. We're completely disenfranchised.

Taxation without representation, anyone?

Rapture index down 1 on leadership 

Here. Why?

The lack of activity has downgraded this category.

Hey, I think I'm starting to decode how these people think. "Lack of leadership" must mean that Bush and Frist haven't already pushed the nuclear button, outlawed gay marriage, and generally done whatever their owner, James Dobson, wants. Eh?

Friday, May 20, 2005

Bush torture policies: Accountability moving up the chain of command 

We can dream, right? And speaking of hell on earth (back), Julian Borger writes:

A leaked report on a military investigation into two killings of detainees at a US prison in Afghanistan has produced new evidence of connivance of senior officers in systematic prisoner abuse.

The investigation shows the military intelligence officers in charge of the detention centre at Bagram airport were redeployed to Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2003, while still under investigation for the deaths of two detainees months earlier. Despite military prosecutors' recommendations, the officers involved have yet to be charged.

The Bagram case also suggests that some of the prison guards were given little if any training in handling detainees, and were influenced by a White House directive that "terrorist" suspects did not deserve the rights given to prisoners of war under the Geneva convention.
(via Guardian)

The Fog Machine in action. Just like we said all along: Bush torture policies were implemented outside the chain of command; a Stanford experiment where the torturers were told, by nods and winks from those in authority, that torture was permissible. And, human nature being what it is, in the deliberately chaotic environment, with no clear chain of command and no checks and balances, "everything is permissible." Especially when it's part of Bush's dirty war against 1.5 billion Muslims.

Artwork: Theocrats caucus on the nuclear option 


Can you spot the Republican moderates? And where's Whiney Joe?

Science for Republicans 

Make up your own jokes:

Lloyd stepped up a ladder and dipped his empty bottle into a tank of water that six hours earlier had been flushed out of three nearby pens filled with thousands of hogs.

"There, that's pig water," Lloyd proclaimed as he held up the bottle and tipped it back for a thirst-quenching chug.

Lloyd's demonstration Friday wasn't designed to gross people out, but to show just how confident he is in his system that purports to purify the kind of putrid, waste-filled water currently dumped into so-called hog lagoons across North Carolina.
(via AP)

Coming up, nuclear Tuesday: Breaking the rules to change the rules 

At 4:32PM:

After a third day of debate on one of President Bush's most controversial judicial nominees, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) filed a cloture motion to end the debate and put the nomination to a vote. The cloture vote, scheduled for Tuesday, would trigger a series of steps leading to the "nuclear option" -- unless a bipartisan group of moderate senators succeeds in negotiating a compromise to head it off.

n a floor speech preceding the cloture motion, Cornyn was critical of the bipartisan group of more than a dozen senators who have been trying to craft a compromise that would ensure votes on most of the contested nominees in return for preservation of the filibuster for use in "extraordinary circumstances."

The Texas senator said a resolution of the dispute should not be based on "some bogus suggestion, some deal cut by a handful of senators," that would "throw some nominees overboard" while leaving the main issue unresolved: the potential use of the filibuster to block a future Supreme Court nominee.

"Now is the time to resolve this issue once and for all," Cornyn said.
(via WaPo)

Out of curiousity, if the Senate breaks its own rules to pass legislation, is the legislation legally binding?

UPDATE Counting heads:

Reid told a group of columnists during the day he was within two votes of having the strength to prevail in a showdown, indicating that four Republicans have agreed to break ranks and side with the Democrats.

Straight outta Hellmouth, TX 

An excellent blog, Come and take it.

(Incredibly, there's a "Jeff Gannon" wannabe. Is there something about being wingerly that makes you want to, um, sell yourself?)

I Hate The World 

Because I'm pressed for time, I'll let Digby do the hard work of framing a suitable post for these atrocities, and simply note that this is nothing new. Anyone with an eye on the foreign press and the NGO websites could have told you as much ages ago. The most damning part of it all is that while we support (from the top down, mind you) a honeycomb of systemic torture chambers and kidnapping and transport to torture chambers, we continue to delude ourselves that we are not only good, we are chosen of God. We have a president who agonizes over the destruction of a muticellular organism with no more potential for life than the cells on the back of your hand, despite the promise of miracles they hold for the suffering, yet defends, protects and encourages the sadistic torment and murder of living human beings. And here in this mighty nation we have apologists for this outrage that find no fault, because they believe that "war is hell", and those on the receiving end are just getting what they deserve.

Gandalf said: “Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.” But no one could accuse those in the seats of power here or elsewhere of being overburdened by wisdom. And that goes double for the people who put them there in the first place.

Back To The Future 

(With apologies to my team members and the reading public, I have been so busy with personal stuff I haven't had the time I wished to write. Below is a piece I put on my own site late yesterday. I believe it retains relevancy.)

So John McHugh’s bright idea to restrict women’s combat roles, which would have virtually eliminated their support roles in medical and maintenance units, went down in flames after withdrawing the amendment amidst a howl of protest from veterans and the Pentagon. Instead we get this:

“The House Armed Services Committee approved the narrower provision after Democrats, along with the Army, said the amendment rammed through a subcommittee last week would close nearly 22,000 jobs to women, undermine morale, and hamper operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We want women to serve everywhere, except in ground combat," said Rep. John McHugh, a New York Republican. McHugh, chairman of the personnel subcommittee, said the amendment would require Congress to vote before women would be allowed in direct combat units.”
McHugh is no friend to women, as his voting record shows, and this attempt at faux chivalry stinks of the very sort of discriminatory selectivity the right claims to hate so much when it means giving consideration to groups that have been shut out of equal treatment for centuries.

But this is nothing new. Women are not exempt from the front lines, in this or any war. They have suffered and died in wars since the beginning of time, but have seldom been outright allowed to shoulder the weaponry and exhibit the aggression that might let them fight back. Furthermore, the idea that a woman’s life is somehow of greater value or more precious than a man’s is not only obscene, but merely a bullshit excuse belied by the actual treatment of women and the low value our culture puts on them.

McHugh is part of the Christianist right-wing patriarchy, eager to recapture the good old days of female subservience justified by religious interpretation and primitive biblical texts 3000 years old.

Rather than awaken to the horror that war truly is (as I'd hoped might happen when women began serving at the front), it seems some of us would deal with that by retreating back into a comfortable old duality, with men being torn to smithereens in combat, and women dutifully waiting at home to pick up the pieces, or suffering and dying as civilians with the combatants.

Ah, the good old days.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Theocrats vs. The Constitution: Breaking the rules to change the rules 

The details:

Later this week, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist plans to file for cloture, or a vote to end the filibuster and proceed to a final vote on Owen's nomination.

• On the second business day after Frist makes his motion, the Senate can vote on his request to end debate. It takes at least 60 of the Senate's 100 members to shut off debate. If, as expected, all 44 Senate Democrats and an independent vote to continue debate, the filibuster continues and no vote occurs on the nomination.

• Frist could seek to change the Senate rules on ending the filibuster, but that requires 67 votes. So Frist would probably try an alternative.

"Try an alternative..." That's rich. Try an alternative to following the rules (as upheld by the Senate Parliamentarian).

• Vice President Cheney, as president of the Senate, would exercise his option to chair the chamber. Frist would ask him to rule on a motion that debate on judicial nominations can be ended by a simple majority, or 51 votes. Cheney would rule in Frist's favor and Democrats would appeal. Republicans would move to table, or kill, the appeal. The tabling motion could be approved with 51 votes, and the filibuster of judicial nominations would be effectively banned. There are 55 Republican senators. If the vote is 50-50, Cheney breaks the tie.
(via USA Today)

So reading this, what I wonder is why the heck Frist is going to wait two business days? Since Cheney will rule in his favor no matter what, why putz around? Why not change the rules to break the rule on waiting two business days too while they're at it?

Good night, moon 

Hey, irony is not dead! The Republicans want strict constructionist judges... But they're tearing up their own rules to get them!

Alpo Accounts: Quack, quack 

Gee, Inerrant Boy's 60-days, 60-cities tour sure did frame the debate, didn't it? Even that Dem, Rozen, who was just trying to help out because he thought—silly boy—that the whole debate was [cough] about policy is jumping ship:

Robert C. Pozen, the business executive who developed the theory behind Mr. Bush's plan to trim Social Security benefits in the future, urged the president today to drop his insistence on using a portion of workers' taxes to pay for individual investment accounts.

This was one of two blows during the day to Mr. Bush's policies on Social Security and retirement saving. In the House, Representative Bill Thomas, the Republican chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, disregarded the methods favored by the president to encourage workers to save for retirement - mostly tax incentives for the affluent - and offered completely different proposals of his own.

Mr. Pozen, a member of Mr. Bush's advisory commission on Social Security in 2001, said at a forum at the Treasury Department that the president's approach to investment accounts would destroy the chances for a Social Security bill in Congress and would make it more difficult to resolve the long-term financial problems facing the system.

He developed the technique known as progressive indexing that Mr. Bush embraced last month as the way to reduce the long-term cost of Social Security and get closer to the goal of permanent solvency for the system.

Under the technique, the promised retirement benefits of workers earning less than about $20,000 would be fully protected, but other workers' promised benefits would be reduced on a sliding scale as their income increased. In all cases, benefits would at least keep pace with inflation.

But explaining his position in an interview after the forum at the Treasury, he said the president's plan to let workers divert up to 4 percent of their payroll taxes to private accounts would reduce tax revenues and lower guaranteed retirement benefits too much.

"The accounts are just too large," Mr. Pozen said.

Rozen suggested Mr. Bush consider a surcharge on payroll taxes for people who earn more than $90,000 a year, currently the ceiling on which Social Security taxes are paid, and the possibility of using some of that added revenue for private investment accounts.
(via Times)

So much for progressive indexing... Yeah, let the Republican rich fund it, and tax 'em to do so... It's their baby.

Of course, if the Theocrats win the filibuster debate, all normal—though, God help us, what's normal these days—politics goes out the window, since the Republicans will just ram through whatever they want.

Theocrats vs. The Constitution: Latest Republican Compromise 

Good for a chuckle:

Under the most recent Republican-crafted offer, Democrats would have to allow the confirmation of six Bush nominees: Owen, Brown, and former Alabama Attorney General William Pryor, as well as Michigan nominees Susan Neilson, David McKeague and Richard Griffin. The Senate would scuttle the nominations of Idaho lawyer William Myers and Michigan nominee Henry Saad, aides said.

But more importantly, both sides would have to operate on "good faith" when it comes to future nominations. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions are being held behind closed doors.
(via ABC)

"Good faith"? Isn't it pretty to think so...

You can trust the theocrats... To be theocrats!

Compare and Contrast, And There Will Be A Quiz 

I think it's fair to say that George Bush and Condi Rice have not yet managed to win Riverbend's heart or her mind.
…She stood in the crowded room as her drove of minions stood around her...…A huddling mass trying to draw closer to her aura of evil. The lights flashed against her fangs as her cruel lips curled into a grimace. It was meant to be a smile but it wouldn't reach her cold, lifeless eyes… It was a leer- the leer of the undead before a feeding...

The above was not a scene from Buffy the Vampire Slayer- it was just Condi Rice in Iraq a day ago. At home, we fondly refer to her as The Vampire. She's such a contrast to Bush- he simply looks stupid. She, on the other hand, looks utterly evil.

In these two posts, she tells us what it feels like to live in a city that has become a gigantic graveyard, why the bombs that go off everywhere in Baghdad are not mainly the work of suicide bombers, but more likely remotely controlled, and how she and the people she cares about manage to live in such circumstances without going crazy.

Joe Scarborough tells us why none of what Riverbend is telling us, and none of what she and the people of Iraq are living through matters.

And why is that? Because no one is paying attention to what those silly terrorists are doing. No one's noticing. "Suicide bombings. How 2004." The insurgents may not be tired of themselves, but everyone else is. "Kidnappings, beheadings, car bombings are nothing more than sound and fury signifying nothing. What do these terrorists take Bush for? An Italian PM?" Victory, though slow-moving, is at hand, Joe assures us. Read how victory is to be defined by clicking here.

Isn't the contrast between these two points of view the essence of the Bush doctrine, and doesn't Joe nail what is the essence of Bush's Iraq policy?

When the President pledged that he would stay the course in Iraq, he was being completely literal. Or as he likes to spin it, he meant what he said, because that's what he does, who he is, a man whose words tell you where he stands. That is nonsense, of course, when it's not an outright lie, but George Bush's literalism is real. He meant that under his leadership, this country would continue to do in Iraq exactly what it's been doing for the past two years, whether or not that policy succeeds or continues to fail to solve the most elementary problems it was the occupation's job to address - fixing the infrastructure, establishing minimal order and security, solving joblessness by employing Iraqis in reconstruction, stopping the influx of jihadists, and defeating an increasingly violent insurgency.

George Bush can't correct the course of the occupation because he doesn't know how to. In his own view, all that matters in and about Iraq is his own stubborn will, no matter the soaring rhetoric of his puppet-master speechwriters.

Joe Scarborough has that much right. Joe sees that willfulness as strength. But it's a terrible, brittle kind of strength.

Think of the great athletes, think of the great leaders: Real strength is muscular but also supple; without flexibility, muscular strength is mere brute power; even those Olympic power-lifters need more than that. Real strength is self-correcting because self-critical; it's able, when necessary, to pivot on a dime and give back nine cents, and it doesn't have to pretend it's staying the course when that course has already proved disastrous.

Increasingly, more and more of Bush's defenders will need to demand that we not pay attention to what's actually happening in Iraq; they've been demanding for some time that a free press is less a democratic strength than a foolish liability in this sacred war on international terror they keep telling us we're bound to keep fighting. So, it's going to be important to remind ourselves that they're wrong about what makes America strong, Peter Beinert be damned.

When a war on terror creates the kind of terror that Riverbend does not merely describe, but lives through every day of her life, then something is terribly, terribly wrong.

The Epidemiology of the Human Diaspora 

Last night Lambert and I both posted on different blogs about the subject below. (You can read him here.) I wanted to share my own views about it on corrente, too:

gross2 When you see a possibility that an epidemic may spread...that a lethal virus could multiply...that an infectious bacteria might take hold and completely destroy the healthy tissue on which it lives---you would do whatever you could to contain it and eliminate it, wouldn't you?

Then think about what it would take to contain this infectious disease:

"The Air Force, saying it must secure space to protect the nation from attack, is seeking President Bush's approval of a national-security directive that could move the United States closer to fielding offensive and defensive space weapons, according to White House and Air Force officials.
The proposed change would be a substantial shift in American policy. It would almost certainly be opposed by many American allies and potential enemies, who have said it may create an arms race in space.
A senior administration official said that a new presidential directive would replace a 1996 Clinton administration policy that emphasized a more pacific use of space, including spy satellites' support for military operations, arms control and nonproliferation pacts."
The clean flesh of space, of an entire ecosystem almost virtually unblemished by the black touch of human infestation, about to be contaminated in ways never attempted before. Then, in a bit of Kafkaesque comedy, we have this:

"Air Force officials said yesterday that the directive, which is still in draft form, did not call for militarizing space. "The focus of the process is not putting weapons in space," said Maj. Karen Finn, an Air Force spokeswoman, who said that the White House, not the Air Force, makes national policy. "The focus is having free access in space."
No, we come in peace. No wait, we lied:

"With little public debate, the Pentagon has already spent billions of dollars developing space weapons and preparing plans to deploy them.
"We haven't reached the point of strafing and bombing from space," Pete Teets, who stepped down last month as the acting secretary of the Air Force, told a space warfare symposium last year. "Nonetheless, we are thinking about those possibilities."
In January 2001, a commission led by Donald H. Rumsfeld, then the newly nominated defense secretary, recommended that the military should "ensure that the president will have the option to deploy weapons in space."
It said that "explicit national security guidance and defense policy is needed to direct development of doctrine, concepts of operations and capabilities for space, including weapons systems that operate in space."
This stuff has to be read to be believed: the pure, unadulterated paranoia, the unvarnished agression, the stomp-on-your-face exuberance of things like the quaintly-named "Rods From God" that "aims to hurl cylinders of tungsten, titanium or uranium from the edge of space to destroy targets on the ground, striking at speeds of about 7,200 miles an hour with the force of a small nuclear weapon." The laser beams bouncing off mirrors, the radio waves "whose powers could range "from tap on the shoulder to toast." Reading the plans and justifications of these toy soldiers reminds me of the big, bragging ideas that used to come out of my little-boy friends when we were all about 7 years old, except that these guys are decades older and still haven't learned anything.

It's a virulent disease, and the Bush administration is the nutritious culture in which it flourishes like never before. The question is, can a cure be found before it eats away so much healthy tissue that the whole organism finally bleeds out?

Nukular Spring 

NOW: Josh Marshall on the approaching sturm und drang:
For all the chaos and storm caused by this debate, and all that is likely to follow it, don't forget that the all of this will be done by fifty Republican senators quite knowingly invoking a demonstrably false claim of constitutionality to achieve something they couldn't manage by following the rules.

This is about power; and, to them, the rules quite simply mean nothing. - TPM

And it won't be the first time...

The U.S. Supreme Court has opened its 1996-97 term. It promises to be a stormy one for the justices - not in the court, but outside it.

Forty years ago, "Impeach Earl Warren!" billboards were sprinkled generously over the landscapes of the South and Southwest. A segment of the religious right has upped the ante - they want to impeach not merely one U.S. Supreme Court justice, but six. How's that for a crackpot idea gone big time?

Who are the lucky six? Those justices who didn't vote "the right way" in Romer vs. Evans, the Colorado Amendment 2 case. Colorado's amendment would have prohibited laws to protect homosexuals from discrimination. ~ Charles Levendosky, editorial page editor of the Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, October 21, 1996

The Romer Six
"Impeach the Court?"
Texas Lawyer, September 16, 1996 | Courtside; Presidential Race Triggers Supreme Court Name Game | By Tony Mauro

Some religious conservatives let it be known just how they felt about the Supreme Court recently, encouraging adherents to push for the impeachment of several justices.

The court's 6-3 ruling in Romer v. Evans, striking down Colorado's anti-gay Amendment 2, seems to have triggered the latest batch of broadsides against the justices, which also criticize the 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey decision for upholding abortion rights.

In July, James Dobson of the influential group Focus on the Family in Colorado wrote a letter to supporters excoriating the court for decisions that travel down a "slippery slope [that] will lead, I believe, to the destruction of the social order as we know it."

Dobson quoted favorably from a statement made on a recent broadcast by another pillar of the right, Paul Weyrich, president of the Free Congress Foundation and head of National Empowerment Television.

Weyrich said that Romer "paves the way for the complete acceptance and sanction by this society for a lifestyle which is openly condemned in the Bible more times than any other specific sin."

Noting that some of the justices in the majority were Republican appointees, Weyrich suggested that electing a Republican president was not enough to cure what ails the court.

"We are out of remedies," says Weyrich. "Impeachment is our only hope of bringing a court which is out of control back under control."

And in an earlier full-page ad in The Washington Times, Randall Terry of Operation Rescue fame also called for the impeachment of all the justices in the Romer majority: Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Stephen Breyer, John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

"The Supreme Court, in the name of law, has rejected God's law and codified lawlessness," the ad proclaims. "The court has usurped divine authority, church authority, parental authority, community authority, and representative authority. They sit as gods among us."

Dobson, Weyrich, and Terry have their work cut out for them, of course. Impeachment of a Supreme Court justice would require the U.S. House of Representatives to accuse the justice formally by a majority vote, a trial before the Senate, and a two-thirds majority of the upper chamber voting for conviction. So far, no member of the House has picked up the ball.

Enter the House of DeLay
"Impeachment madness perilous"; By Charles Levendosky, Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, December 27, 1998.

House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, R-Texas, began fomenting the current impeachment madness two years ago. His earlier target was the federal judiciary; later he elevated his sights -- to the presidency. DeLay is acknowledged to be the force behind lining up Republican votes to impeach President Clinton. He has cajoled, threatened and pulled in favors in order to fuel a radical revolution aimed at overturning democracy as we know it.

In mid-March 1997, DeLay proclaimed, "As part of our conservative efforts against judicial activism, we are going after judges."

DeLay took his script from James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Pat Buchanan, Gary Bauer of the Family Research Council, right-wing activist David Barton, Pat Robertson and the Christian Coalition. They all bemoaned what they called "judicial tyranny" and the "imperial judiciary."

In May 1997, DeLay targeted three federal judges for impeachment -- Harold Baer Jr. of the U.S. District Court of Manhattan, Fred Biery of the U.S. District Court in San Antonio and Chief Judge Thelton Henderson of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco -- because DeLay didn't like decisions they had handed down. He claimed that "articles of impeachment are being written right now" against Biery.

The conservative National Legal Foundation endorsed DeLay's call for impeaching federal judges.

DeLay promised more federal judges would be added to his hit list. "We have a whole big file cabinet full. We are receiving nominations from all across the country of judges that could be prime candidates for the first impeachment." DeLay made this statement even before he had any evidence of impeachable crimes against these judges. And then Clinton fell into his lap.


Conservative GOP members of Congress have watched their agenda blunted by the federal courts or fragmented by the president. And now, in frustration, these short-sighted elected officials are willing to destroy the foundation of our system of government in order to get their way.

Where are the statesmen who understand what is being done? The nation needs them desperately.

This year of 2003 is the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Warren Court revolution. Surely there could be no better observance of this history-changing event than the launching of a counter-revolution to reclaim America's courts and the Constitution from the constitutional black hole into which the Warren Court first plunged us. ~ "Impeach Earl Warren:" The Warren Court's
Legacy Fifty Years Later, Part I. By Virginia C. Armstrong, Ph.D., National Chairman, Eagle Forum's Court Watch Eagle Forum

Earl Warren was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. He ran as the Republican vice-presidential candidate in 1948 and served as the governor of California from 1943-1953. In the 1954 decision Brown vs Board of Education the Warren court declared segregation in schools unconstitutional. Thereby helping to launch a civil rights revolution to reclaim America from the racist white hood under which it had been plunged.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Beating seven shades of shit out of... 

..."a lickspittle Republican committee" - and - just for the hell of it - one tosspot popinjay:
Galloway and the mother of all invective
Wednesday May 18, 2005

They were "neo-cons" and "Zionists" and a "pro-war lynch mob", he raged, who belonged to a "lickspittle Republican committee" that was engaged in creating "the mother of all smokescreens".

Before the hearing began, the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow even had some scorn left over to bestow generously upon the pro-war writer Christopher Hitchens. "You're a drink-soaked former Trotskyist popinjay," Mr Galloway in formed him. "Your hands are shaking. You badly need another drink," he added later, ignoring Mr Hitchens's questions and staring intently ahead. "And you're a drink-soaked ..." Eventually Mr Hitchens gave up. "You're a real thug, aren't you?" he hissed, stalking away.

It was a hint of what was to come: not so much political theatre as political bloodsports - and with the senators, at least, it was Mr Galloway who emerged with the flesh between his teeth. ~ Guardian UK


Goodnight, moon 

Of course, the filibuster fight isn't about the 7 judges, or even about the Supreme Court.

It's about the Republicans, with 51 votes that don't even represent a majority of the country, having the power to do whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want to do it.

And breaking the rules to change the rules isn't a very promising start for a party that wants absolute power, now is it?

PNAC still hard at work: Now militarizing space 

More good news:

The Air Force, saying it must secure space to protect the nation from attack, is seeking President Bush's approval of a national-security directive that could move the United States closer to fielding offensive and defensive space weapons, according to White House and Air Force officials.
(via Times)

Of course, militarizing space, along with war for Iraq and a "Pearl Harbor" for the 21st Century, have long been part of the PNAC's agenda.

Bad craziness. You'd think that, what, 20,000 nuclear warheads on earth would be enough. But n-o-o-o-o-o ....

NOTE Of course, I'm assuming we haven't already militarized space.

Hey, Harry! Why not quote Margaret Chase Smith? 

Seeing as how Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe are both from Maine?

Here's what Senator Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME) said in her "Declaration of Conscience" in the depths of the McCarthy era in 1950:

But I don’t want to see the Republican Party ride to political victory on the four horsemen of calumny—fear, ignorance, bigotry and smear.

I doubt if the Republican Party could—simply because I don’t believe the American people will uphold any political party that puts political exploitation above national interest. Surely we Republicans aren’t that desperate for victory.

I don’t want to see the Republican Party win that way. While it might be a fleeting victory for the Republican Party, it would be a more lasting defeat for the American people. Surely it would ultimately be suicide for the Republican Party and the two-party system that has protected our American liberties from the dictatorship of a one-party system.
(via "History Matters")

Quoting JFK is well and good, but it's the Republican moderates—this time, two women from Maine, not one—we need.

Or, readers, you could courteously call them (back) and quote those words yourself.

Theocrats vs. The Constitution: Call these Republicans to support the Constitution 

So they want to break the rules to change the rules?

Senator Susan Collins (ME)
Phone: (202) 224-2523

Senator Olympia Snowe (ME)
Phone: (202) 224-5344

Senator Chuck Hagel (NE)
Phone: (202) 224-4224

Senator Arlen Specter (PA)
Phone: (202) 224-4254

Senator John W. Warner (VA)
Phone: (202) 224-2023

(Via Swing State Project

The Honorable Mr. George Galloway, M.P. Speaks 

And Senator Norm Coleman forgets to duck.

George Galloway's booming voice and staccato Scottish certitude can be irritating, especially when he's making an unpleasant, possibly overly-broad condemnation of the country you love.

There were moments in the run-up to our invasion of Iraq that I could feel one or two of my own hackles stirring when I listened to his blanket dismissals of American concerns about Saddam, even when I agreed with his denunciations of the Bush administrations' policy toward Iraq. He can be an uncomfortable person to have on your side.

However, I was always skeptical about the accusations he'd enriched himself playing footsie with Saddam, because I remembered him to be among the few government officials in Britain or America who were willing to stand up and denounce Saddam in the eighties, when both governments were tilting in favor of Saddam over Iran, and contributing to keeping the awful war between them going. And the group of Americans with whom I worked to try and get our government to concede that Saddam had committed an act of genocide in Halabja found a willing listener and ally in Mr. Galloway, even though his denunciations of Clinton administration policy toward Iraq sometimes struck me as...well, overly severe and under-nuanced.

So I cheered when he won his law suit against The Telegraph, and when The Christian Science Monitor agreed the documents in their possession, exposing Galloway as guilty of something or other having to do with the UN Oil For Food program, were forgeries, clear and simple. Take a moment in your busy morning and go read James Wolcott's inimitable appreciation of Galloway, "A Hero For Our Time," written when that monumental verdict against The Telegraph came down; in addition, find out a bit more about the verdict from The Gazetteer, who nicely references Wolcott as well. You'll thank me. (Take note of the trackbacks posted under Wolcott's post; I suspect the last three or four are the work of wingnut trolls, who, typically, seem all too familiar with all manner of porn; if I'm wrong please advice in comments)

Most of you probably saw the opening salvo Galloway launched at the hapless Senator yesterday, starting with Galloway's proud, flinty taking of the oath; by the third sentence of his total denial of the truth of any of the accusations presented to the world, without anyone on Coleman's staff ever having spoken a word, or soliciting any kind of response from M.P. Galloway, the crapulant Senator Coleman was already beginning to drown in his own effluent, to put entirely too fine a point on it.

And he was still damp by the time he hit the evening cable news shows, where his repetition that the hearing had showed Galloway to have no "credibility," and even that he had "lied to the committee," sounded increasingly desperate.

Do yourself a favor and read the transcript here of Galloway's opening statement; it will make your day.

ALERT READERS: Any thoughts on how we might be able to contact the honorable Mr. Galloway, to beseech him to sue Coleman for slander? I don't think the Senator's protection against a slander suit extends to an appearance on "Hardball," does it? Or maybe we could ask him to sue one of the long list of wingnut blogs that will undoubtedly sic themselves on Galloway, in defense of Coleman and Claudia Rossetti, who was cheated of that much-deserved Pulitzer because of the overwhelming liberal bias of liberal elites, of course. Such suits are easier to bring in Britain than here, but with the prospect of his sucessful verdict in the case of The Telegraph, there's a good chance that anyone Galloway sued here would be forced to offer an apology and a, dare I say it, a retraction to avoid defending themselves in court.

There is nothing the pundits of wingnuttery, which, as we know, includes most of the SCLM, could use more, or are more deserving of, than exactly that kind of kick in the pants. BTW, I'm serious.

UPDATE: Riggsveda alerts me in Comments that "Crooks And Liars" has the video of Galloway blowing Senator Coleman away, not rhetorically, but with the passion, clarity, and plain humanity of his rhetoric

AKA: "Bambi Carriles" 

Luis Posada Carriles arrested:
Published: May 18, 2005 | MIAMI (AP) - Caught between its hard-line policy against Fidel Castro and its war on terrorism, the Bush administration has arrested an anti-Castro exile accused of masterminding a deadly 1976 airliner bombing. Luis Posada Carriles, 77, was seized Tuesday by federal agents. He had been in hiding in Miami for two months and had petitioned for asylum in the United States. ~ AP

In 1985, Posada escaped from prison in Venezuela where he had been incarcerated after the plane bombing and remains a fugitive from justice. He went directly to El Salvador, where he worked, using the alias "Ramon Medina," on the illegal contra resupply program being run by Lt. Col. Oliver North in the Reagan National Security Council. In 1998 he was interviewed by Ann Louise Bardach for the New York Times at a secret location in Aruba, and claimed responsibility for a string of hotel bombings in Havana during which eleven people were injured and one Italian businessman was killed. Most recently he was imprisoned in Panama for trying to assassinate Fidel Castro in December 2000 with 33 pounds of C-4 explosives. In September 2004, he and three co-conspirators were suddenly pardoned, and Posada went to Honduras.

More annals of Posada, and friends, in recently (May 10, 2005) declassified CIA and FBI documents; via the National Security Archive at GWU.edu.

FLASH! Unnamed senior Bush administration official levels new charges at Newsweek. Claims editors may have been hiding Posada in luxury waterfront apartment in Miami since early March of 2005; paying for his Cuba Libres and slutty teenage escorts on the magazines expense account. Viva Batista! Heh. No, not really. An unnamed senior Bush administration official didn't really say that. But, it's still early, and the dew is still fresh on the Bubble in DC.


Death Toll in Uzbekistan Getting Higher--Newsweek Suspected 

freedom_3 In our good friend Uzbekistan, where non-governmental reports have leaked out about the massacre of over 500 men, women, and children, where estimates by the opposition there have been revised into the 700s, and where Karamov's tools took a European and Asian delegation on a whitewashed tour of some irrelevant area of the town where the deaths did NOT occur to spare their delicate feelings. Interior Minister Zakirdzhon Almatov channeled the Scott McClellan/Ari Flesicher School of Press Wrangling:
"(Almatov repeated the) government insistence that it was rebels, not Uzbek troops, who were behind last week's slaughter.
"Some media are saying the Uzbek government opened fire on peaceful demonstrators. But where do you see peaceful demonstrators? How dare you say those were peaceful civilians," Almatov barked at reporters."
But the reaction of the US has been firm and admirable. Condoleeza Rice was quoted as warning Karamov that if the site was not opened up to American and UN inspections for confirmation, and if Karamov did not agree to step down peaceably, we would have no choice but to pursue other measures to stop the atrocities and ensure freedom for the oppressed citizenry.

Oh, no, wait...wrong country. In fact, this is what Richard Boucher of the State Department, who agonized so over the riots and deaths in Afghanistan, had to say about it:
"We are deeply disturbed by the reports that the Uzbek authorities fired on demonstrators last Friday [13 May]," U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said. "We certainly condemn the indiscriminate use of force against unarmed civilians and deeply regret any loss of life. We have urged -- had urged, and continue to urge -- the Uzbek government to exercise restraint, stressing that violence cannot lead to long-term stability. And we've made that point with senior Uzbek authorities in Washington and Tashkent."
Boucher also condemned the actions of armed civilians who attacked a military barracks and prison in Andijon and occupied a regional administration building in the city. He said nothing justifies acts of violence or terrorism. And he said Washington remains concerned that members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, which the U.S. recognizes as a terrorist group, had escaped or been freed.
He said Washington has been disappointed by the pace of reform in Uzbekistan.
"The stability in Uzbekistan ultimately depends on their government reaching out to the citizenry and instituting real reforms -- political reforms, economic reforms, the rule of law -- and addressing its human-rights problems. We're disappointed in the degree of progress we've seen, and we will continue to work with the Uzbeks to address all these areas," Boucher said."
Yes, they've been reaching out. This is how well they've been "working with them".

Can we blame this on Isikoff, too?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Sign Harry Reid's petition against the Nuclear Option 

Goodnight, moon 

Maybe I'll go down to the power room and shut off the blinking lights tomorrow. Right now, I've been flattened by another attack of B.S.S. and so I'm lying on my cot in the tiny room under the stairs. With the lights out. Damn. What's that sound out in the street... Guttural shouting, boots marching...

B.S.S. (Bush Stress Syndrome) 

Isn't it time we had a talk about B.S.S.? B.S.S. isn't in the DSM_IV, but it's unquestionably real. My symptoms are:

1. Headache

2. Exteme irritability

3. Constant sense of nausea

4. Uneasy sleep and bad dreams

5. Urge to throw the nearest object to hand at TV or radio

What are your symptoms?

[Oh God, it's coming on again! Where's that damn bucket?!?!?]

Whack: Who said: "Truth is unimportant and subordinate to tactics and psychology"? 

We'll get around to that.

Mark Danner's essay on The Downing Street memo (back) is terrific. Some of the salient points:

The memo, which records the minutes of a meeting of Prime Minister Tony Blair's senior foreign policy and security officials, shows that even as President Bush told Americans in October 2002 that he "hope[d] the use of force will not become necessary"—that such a decision depended on whether or not the Iraqis complied with his demands to rid themselves of their weapons of mass destruction—the President had in fact already definitively decided, at least three months before, to choose this "last resort" of going "into battle" with Iraq. Whatever the Iraqis chose to do or not do, the President's decision to go to war had long since been made.

This passage [from the memo] is worth quoting in full:

C [head of MI6] reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.

That September the attempt to sell the war began in earnest, for, as White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card had told The New York Times in an unusually candid moment, "You don't roll out a new product in August." ... Though "the UN route" would be styled as an attempt to avoid war, its essence, as the Downing Street memo makes clear, was a strategy to make the war possible, partly by making it politically palatable.

In the United States the Downing Street memorandum has attracted little attention. ... The war continues, and Americans have grown weary of it; few seem much interested now in discussing how it began, and why their country came to fight a war in the cause of destroying weapons that turned out not to exist. For those who want answers, the Bush administration has followed a simple and heretofore largely successful policy: blame the intelligence agencies. Since "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" as early as July 2002 (as "C," the head of British intelligence, reported upon his return from Washington), it seems a matter of remarkable hubris, even for this administration, that its officials now explain their misjudgments in going to war by blaming them on "intelligence failures"—that is, on the intelligence that they themselves politicized.

[This] calls to mind an interesting observation that an unnamed "senior advisor" to President Bush made to a New York Times Magazine reporter last fall: "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality."

Though this seems on its face to be a disquisition on religion and faith, it is of course an argument about power, and its influence on truth. Power, the argument runs, can shape truth: power, in the end, can determine reality, or at least the reality that most people accept... The last century's most innovative authority on power and truth, Joseph Goebbels, made the same point but rather more directly:

There was no point in seeking to convert the intellectuals. For intellectuals would never be converted and would anyway always yield to the stronger, and this will always be "the man in the street." Arguments must therefore be crude, clear and forcible, and appeal to emotions and instincts, not the intellect. Truth was unimportant and entirely subordinate to tactics and psychology.

But I hear the torchlight parade after was fabulous!

Please refer all complaints about this post to the (newly created) Department of It Can't Happen Here!

NOTE Sorry about the crass formatting, but I'm just trying to get someone, anyone to pay attention

Fluffya WiFi 

There's still time to post your questions to Philadelphia CIO Diana Neff on WiFi, here.

Like, why isn't Internet access a basic thing like water and treated as a public utility, instead of being treated like a straight-to-video movie and sold by cable weasels?

Monkey Media Shines 

Busted, down on newsweak street, set up, like a bowlin’ pin. Knocked down, it get’s to wearin’ thin. They just won’t let you be, oh no.

Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News - read Fear and self-loathing in American journalism - gets right to the point with respect to the great Newsweek "tempest in a toilet bowl" scare of 2005:
Newsweek did make some mistakes. But its biggest one was retracting the story, instead of going back and building on the existing reporting from a half-dozen papers -- that there really was Koran desecration at Guantanamo, that the real damage to America's image came not from an aggressive and free press but from official misconduct.

At some point, one would like to believe, "the media" - you know who I mean (those in "the media" who still can't seem to figure out what Bunch is talking about) - would finally shake off the chains, remove the collar from around their collective necks, and run screaming from the madman who yanks on that chain. Like organ grinder monkeys, again and again and again, they dance to whatever looney tune this cynical manipulative dishonest administration cranks out. A continuous cacaphony of carefully keyed notes, tuned lies, misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, distortion and semantic hocus pocus. But, alas, no. The dancing monkey-show must go on. Because, presumably, good monkeys who bang the Right tambourine and dance on cue are rewarded with cigars and a shiny tin cup of coins to rattle and allowed to ride a tricycle around the ring with the wurlitzer king. What's a simple chained monkey to do?
Sometimes the light’s all shinin’ on me; Other times I can barely see. Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been.

Will Newsweek's Michael Isikoff run from the leash or jump back on his trike and follow the Rove ringmaster around in circles obediently aping the official score and tooting a surrender-monkey kazoo?
Truckin’ got my chips cashed in. keep truckin’, like the do-dah man. Together, more or less in line, just keep truckin’ on.

I dunno. So far Newsweek is behaving like a good little scolded redheaded step-monkey. Sigh. But that doesn't mean there can't be a monkey uprising elsewhere. Rise up captured monkeys, rise up! Take back the organ! Smash the tin-pot money cup and cast away your nose rings. Don't be beaten back into that Dobson Cage. Chew the fingers off the Rove Nation zookeepers who bind you to a crooked hurdy gurdy and crank a crooked tune. Don't be surrender monkeys! Run amok. Run fast and run hard. Run for your lives you simple simian bastards!

Live free or die.

Thanks to Will Bunch for mention of Corrente in his post linked up top.

Update: Attention please. The monkey uprising will not be televised.

And, thanks to dr sardonicus in comments, Brian Montopoli at CJR explains why:
"The issue of how prisoners are treated at Guantanamo has not gone away. Now they want to deflect that by talking about how irresponsible Newsweek magazine was."

What's harder to explain is why reporters covering the story have swallowed this red herring. But let's try: Producers, it seems, would rather stir viewers' emotions that provide them with the truth. The story, in its oversimplified form, plays well into television news' longstanding bias towards conflict. It's Newsweek vs. the government, the liberal media vs. conservatives, and, for some, overeager advocacy journalists vs. America.

The reality is much muddier, of course, but also less likely to drive our emotions -- if viewers realize that the riots aren't necessarily Newsweek's fault, and that the desecration might actually have happened, it's harder for them to become fired up about the story. And producers fear that means lower ratings. So they keep the story simple, and they keep the story wrong. That is the reality of our journalistic environment today -- a serious examination of the truth simply isn't a priority for bottom-line oriented, unapologetic executives who would rather hook viewers via emotions than honest reports.

Read the rest of The Story of the Story Isn't the Story At All


IOKIYAR: And speaking of leaks that killed people... 

The current New York Review of Books (besides The New Yorker, the only other essential analytical Manhattan-based current affairs publication, Dan Okrent you tool) has a fascination article on code names that includes this paragraph:

In 1998, the Washington Times revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) could eavesdrop on Osama bin Laden's satellite telephone. No sooner had the story appeared than bin Laden stopped using the telephone, effectively disappearing from the radar screens of US intelligence. This kind of leak has disastrous effects; Michael Scheuer, a twenty-two-year veteran of the CIA who ran the bin Laden desk at that time, recently told a gathering of intelligence officials in Washington that he believes you can draw a direct causal line from the publication of that story to the attacks of September 11.

Am I forgetting the frothing and stamping from the wingers on this one? Must be... Oh, wait. It's the Moonie paper! They're theocrats, so they get a free pass.

And putting on my tinfoil hat: That sentence, "You can draw a direct causal line from the publication of that story to the attacks of September 11" ... Almost like they wanted a 21st Century Pearl Harbor to happen, isn't it...

Museum of Endangered Republican Species 

Historical exhibit. Via James Poling an "excerpt from a letter that Dwight Eisenhower wrote to his brother in 1954.":

"Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or businessman from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid."

Link to Eisenhower's letter can be found via JP's post.


Boy in the Bubble: Only the annointed may touch the hem of Inerrant Boy's Garment 

One of the really nice things about the Republican's is that really know how to give the party line:

Phyllis Karhatsu and Sharon Clark both came from Richmond to see the president after getting tickets through the Republican women's club and the Chesterfield GOP committee.

"He's down to earth," Karhatsu said. "He's the type of person you can see as a father or a brother. He's a great leader."
(via WaPo)

Wow! Women who cleared the Republican Party's blacklisting operation and got tickets fluff Bush like the best of the pros. Who'd a thunk it?

And how very very odd: The President of [cough] all the people is only willing to let some of the people see him; and a PR stunt funded by every taxpayer's dollars is really an arm of the Republican Party's permanent campaign. But there's no story here. Move along, people! Move along!

Newsweak: WaPo playing catchup with farmer 

Timidly, the stenographers peep out to see if the storm has passed:

One problem for the government, and for the United States [make that the Bush regime], is that the Newsweek article was not the first to report allegations that the Koran [let farmer help you out] had been desecrated at the Guantanamo facility. In March 2003, for example, Afghan men who had been freed from the prison told reporters in the Afghan capital, Kabul, that American soldiers had taunted them by sitting on the Koran or dumping it into a toilet.

Imran Khan, the Pakistani cricket-star-turned-politician, cited those earlier reports in a telephone interview Tuesday.

"Newsweek was not the only source to report the desecration of the Koran and Islamic faith," said Khan, who, according to Newsweek, sparked the protests by brandishing a copy of the magazine at a May 6 news conference. "Scores of eyewitnesses accounts have been reported."

"For its own deeds the U.S. government [make that the Bush regime] is now facing a public diplomacy disaster," he added. "The cat is now out of the bag."
(via WaPo)

Some would say the cat was out of the bag with Abu Ghraib.

I just wish these stories would distinguish between the Bush regime, the United States government, and the United States. Three very distinct concepts, eh?

Newsweak: Sure looks like ratfucking to me! 

Here's an odd little detail:

Newsweek's editor, Mark Whitaker, said in an interview Sunday that a senior Pentagon official had declined to comment after a correspondent showed the official a draft before the item was published and asked, "Is this accurate or not?" The magazine, Whitaker said, would have held off publishing the item if military spokesmen had requested that. Whitaker said Pentagon officials offered no objection to the story for 11 days after it was published.
(via WaPo)

So, WaPo publishes. Then the outrage. Just like the Killian memos, where the White House also declined to comment. CBS published. Then the outrage.

Sounds like Rove was using the 11 days to find out which Pentagon bed to leave the horse's head in.

Who Dealt This Mess? Lowry Will Find You, Even If It Kills Isikoff 

Over at The Corner, Brain_Aneurysm550_ab Rick Lowry's aneurysm has finally burst, and the foam is leaking out of his mouth:

Not enough attention has focused on him. This guy deserves to be exposed--and assuming he's not protected by some rules or other--fired... "

Can you say "Valerie Plame," dear readers?

I knew you could.

Now s'plain to me, Lucy, why this fool is still pulling a paycheck?


Newsweek: Public Enemy Number One! 

PubEneJC The dirty rats. They went and destroyed American credibility throughout the Muslim world! Or in the words of one of the administration's poster boys for credibility, Scott McClellan:
"The image of the United States abroad has been damaged."
Heaven forfend! And we were doing so splendidly up to this point, too. Back in December 2004, the Washington Post reported on our work in Afghani prisons, via several Army and DoD reports:
"Many of the officials at Abu Ghraib had served in Afghanistan and honed their approach to handling prisoners there, according to two Defense Department reports issued in August. The reports said, for example, that the idea of using dogs to intimidate prisoners at Abu Ghraib migrated from Afghanistan, where U.S. soldiers noted that many citizens feared dogs; other methods transferred to Iraq included stripping prisoners, forcing them into stress positions, and depriving them of light, sleep or human contact.
Also, a report by investigators with the Army's Criminal Investigation Command, completed in May on the eve of Jacoby's visit and stamped "For Official Use Only," implicated more than two dozen military policemen in the deaths of two Afghan prisoners in Bagram, Afghanistan, in 2002.
That Army report, obtained by The Washington Post, also said that a senior officer of the 377th Military Police Company based in Cincinnati and eventually deployed to Iraq had admitted he knew his soldiers were striking detainees in Afghanistan, and it concluded that his dereliction of duty contributed to routine prisoner mistreatment.
The report listed a range of abuses committed by members of the 377th and a battalion of military intelligence officers from Fort Bragg, N.C., during their deployment in Afghanistan, including slamming prisoners into walls, twisting handcuffs to cause pain, kneeing prisoners, forcing a detainee to maintain "painful, contorted body positions," shackling the detainee's arms to the ceiling, and forcing water into the mouth of the detainee "until he could not breathe."
And before that, Human Rights Watch reported in March 2004 on the "systemic abuse" of Afghani prisoners, with John Sifton, Afghanistan researcher, stating,"Afghans have been telling us for well over a year about mistreatment in U.S. custody. We warned U.S. officials repeatedly about these problems in 2003 and 2004."

No question about it, we were doing so well up till now, and then Newsweek had to go and spoil it all, damn them. Comedian Richard Boucher, warming up for the State Department, remarked in a moment of exuberant dissociation from reality:
"We have made clear, I think, that there is the utmost respect for religion of the prisoners."
Oh, without a doubt--that business of rubbing breasts and fake menstrual blood on Gitmo captives had nothing whatever to do with their religious beliefs.

Once we get this whole worldwide Muslim uprising in hand by publicly stoning Isikoff and renditioning Whitaker's ass out to Egypt, I'm sure the MSM can safely go back to filing reports on runaway white girls and the child abduction/molestation/murder epidemic, and they will never trouble our sleep with inconvenient stories of American atrocities again.

Which is, after all, the whole point.

"Sunday Night" at CNN: the Clowntown Noise Network 

and other crazy bullshit that makes no sense.

Did anyone catch last weekends thrilling episode of CNN Sunday Night starring Carol Lin with special guest co-star David Gergen? It was very hilarious. In a thrilling dramatic way. Yet, at the same time, pathetic. And ultimately tragic. In any case it was sumpin'. It made me laugh, it made me cry. It made me want to poke a pundit in the eye. Unfortunately CNN has somehow misplaced this particular episode and I couldn't find it on their website, but, it popped up nicely in LexNex and so here it is for you now (bold and dramatic, yet seasonally cheerful, emphasis below is mine):

CNN SUNDAY NIGHT 10:00 PM EST | May 15, 2005 Sunday TRANSCRIPT: 051501CN.V89 | SECTION: NEWS; International

HEADLINE: 'Newsweek' Editors Admit They Made Mistake; In Iraq Today, a Surprise Visit by Condoleezza Rice

BYLINE: Carol Lin, Suzanne Malveaux, Drew Griffin, Jane Arraf GUESTS: David Gergen, Joyce Agu, Yutenna Agu, Fawaz Gerges, Al Sharpton, Stacey Honowitz, Jayne Weintraub


HIGHLIGHT: A respected American newsmagazine ran with a piece of shaky reporting and 15 people were killed after anti-American riots flared and spread across the Muslim world. In Iraq today, a surprise visit by Condoleezza Rice, her first time there as secretary of state.

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR: I imagine it was quite sharp and angry and we have certainly not heard the last words on this. This is mushrooming into a serious and very ugly controversy that is going to be with us now for a while and I think it is going to take uncertain turns, but I can guarantee you that the Pentagon is extremely angry and that anger will extend to the White House and the State Department and well into many friends of the administration who feel that this story has not only cost lives but endangered American troop and it may bring some danger to America's position in Afghanistan.

So we haven't heard the end of it. I do have a relationship with the friendly rival of "Newsweek," the "U.S. News" but in this case I am very sympathetic to the people at "Newsweek" for what they must be going - It must be sheer hell for them now ...

LIN: Right.

For a minute there I thought Gergen was going to douse himself with lighter fluid, strike a match and go up in a charred gooey blaze like a marshmallow at a campfire. Fortunately Mr. Gergen composes himself and fights back!:

GERGEN: But they do have a situation where there are two terrible mistakes made here. One by "Newsweek" and one by the person who misled them. Now, frankly, Carol, I hope before this is over we unmask the identity of this anonymous government official who misled them in the first place.

It's - they didn't do this story making it up of whole cloth, someone told them this.

LIN: Well, I want to talk about the issue of anonymous sourcing in just a moment, but give us also some perspective. I mean, have you ever heard of a single news report, in this case it was really just a few paragraphs in a specialized section of "Newsweek" magazine called "Periscope." Have you ever heard of a single news report that resulted in mass rioting, much less more than a dozen deaths?

Uh, H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds? How many died in that media fracas? Or how about the time that horrible Likudnik toad Ariel Sharon waddled aboard the Dome of the Rock in 2000? No? Ok...moving along:

GERGEN: No. I never have. Even Abu Ghraib didn't lead to this. And of course there is a degree to which this is being exploited by anti-American forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan and other Muslim nations, they are seizing upon this as a way to paint America in yet another Abu Ghraib kind of situation. So it's being exploited against us, but no, I have never, I don't think anybody can recall - We have had terrible journalistic scandals, mistakes, flaps, but I can't recall any one of them that has sparked protests in so many countries and led to so many deaths.

LIN: And think about the consequences here at home. I mean, a recent Gallup Poll indicates that American confidence in the media to report fairly and accurately is at an historic low. I think it is at 43 or 44 percent of Americans, only 43, 44 percent of Americans believe that the media is capable of doing that.

And you take a look at this last election, I mean, what is red state America, or Main Street America supposed to conclude about the media if a reputable magazine, widely spread magazine such as "Newsweek" can make these sorts of mistakes? Is it easier to conclude that there is a liberal media bias out there that is not only inaccurately reporting but also endangering American lives?

"what is red state America... supposed to conclude..." Jeezis. The crap ya hear when ya don't have a noisy toilet to flush it down. But that's what the American Enterprise Institu..., I mean Time Warner!, CNN Time Warner! - - that's what CNN/Time Warner pays Carol the BIG SEXY BUCKS for! Carol's a real trooper. A regular fountain of buzzphrase babble surrounded by a cozy moat full of wet BULLSHIT. A well practiced professional bullshit artist who willingly scoops and dishes it out in front of a hot TV camera day in and day out - cheerily - spooning up shovelfuls of official GOP/Pentagon approved bullshit statements and hell-popping horse cocky involving all manner of WMD's and sneaky bio-chemical weapons labs and disinformation and misinformation and outright lies and doctored intel and forty five minutes to nucular annihilation boo-scare stories in the cause of Commander Skybox's fabulous Cakewalk liberation Crusade to the cradle of civilization. Have some yellowcake! Carol helped bake it herself! Gergen rallies to the cause:

GERGEN: I think based on what we know now it is a mistake to say this is a liberal media bias. Some are going to say, well, they seized on something which made America look bad and therefore they printed it. I don't think that is what it was. The mistake here is that there is a rush in the media now, because it is so competitive and everybody is competing for the time and attention of readers and viewers, that there is a rush to get things into print. There is a - and there is a violation of one of the first rules of journalism, and that is get it first, but first get it right. And what we see here is an example when they went with a single source, they rushed into print with something, they did take it to another government official and he didn't wave them off, but they went - that wasn't a confirmation, so they only had a single source, so I think that that's going to be - they're getting really hung on that right now and -

Yeah Gergen, that "rush" to get that big Koran in the toilet bowl story out there must-a-been quite a run for the roses. Especially when you've got one of Karl Rove's or Michael Ledeen's little ratfucking pocket jockeys riding up top and whipping at your eyes. Gergen gallops on:

Carol, this could still take some unexpected twists. Michael Isikoff, who is a well-regarded reporter, is reported by "Newsweek" to be reporting other leads which suggests that there are other people who are saying these kinds of things happened in Guantanamo, so let's - I think we shouldn't - this is not time for us to reach final judgment, either.

LIN: All right. And it's not the last we are going to hear of it.

Good God I suspect not. On next weeks CNN Sunday Night Carol will reveal that the Traveling Wilbank ran away from the holy hitchin' post because Michael Isikoff had promised to set her up in a motel room in Bullhead City Nevada! Hot stuff! So, just to be on the safe side, lets help Spikey with some other leads before he really does wind up in a motel room in Bullhead City. Granted, I couldn't find any mention of anonymous Field Marshals or unnamed Five Star Generals or senior Lords of the Realm willing to go on the record in any of these past reports below, but, hey, who the sheer hell cares - and - granted, most of these old reports reference the same old "Tipton Three" story. But, well, ya know what they say...it's the thought that counts.

Yorkshire Post, November 1, 2004 | Tipton Three turn on the trauma for £22m... injected with "unknown substances", and had their Korans thrown into the toilets.

DAILY MAIL (London), October 28, 2004, ED_3RD; Pg. 1; Pg. 2, TIPTON THREE SUE FOR Pounds 22M, DUNCAN GARDHAM... guards threw prisoners' Korans into toilets

DAILY MAIL (London), October 28, 2004, ED_3RD; Pg. 1; Pg. 2, TIPTON THREE SUE FOR Pounds 22M, DUNCAN GARDHAM... guards threw prisoners' Korans into toilets

The Express, October 28, 2004, U.K. 3rd Edition; NEWS; Pg. 4, GUANTANAMO BRITONS WILL SUE US FOR £22M, By Lianne Kolirin... guards threw prisoners' Korans into toilets

Irish News, October 28, 2004, Pg. 26, British men detained at Guantanamo sue US government for rights abuses;... guards threw prisoners' Korans into toilets

Press Association, October 27, 2004, Wednesday, HOME NEWS, GUANTANAMO BRITONS SUE US GOVERNMENT, Mark Sage, PA News, in New York... guards threw prisoners' Korans into toilets

Belfast Telegraph, August 5, 2004, Father demands release of his British son after claims of torture at Guantanamo Bay, By Andrew Buncombe in Washington... allegedly threw prisoners' Korans into toilets, while others were injected with ...

Birmingham Post, August 5, 2004, Thursday, First Edition; NEWS; Pg. 2, TIPTON TRIO CLAIM THEY WERE TORTURED BY ALLIES, EMMA PINCH A detainee is led by military police to be interrogated by military officials at Camp X-Ray at the US Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul... Guards would throw prisoners' Korans into the toilet 'as part of their clear policy to ...

Federal News Service, August 5, 2004 Thursday, PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT - RELEASED GUANTANAMO DETAINEES ALLEGE ABUSE (ABC RADIO, AUSTRALIA, 08:25 (GMT+11) AUGUST 05, 2004)... guards would throw detainees' Korans down the toilet and shave them, to try to get them to ...

IPR Strategic Business Information Database, June 28, 2004, THEY ALLEGE ABUSE BY U.S. CAPTORS... at Guantanamo. "They tore the Koran to pieces in front of us, threw it into the toilet," Vakhitov said.

BBC Monitoring International Reports, June 26, 2004, RUSSIAN TV INTERVIEWS FREED GUANTANAMO PRISONERS... bucket instead of a toilet. People were in cells, ... ... floor. (Vahitov) They tore the Koran to pieces in front of us, threw it into the toilet.

The Observer, March 14, 2004, Observer News Pages, Pg. 5, 5420 words, World Exclusive: Inside Guantanamo: How we survived jail hell: For two years the Tipton Three have been silent prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. Now, in this remarkable interview with David Rose, they describe for the first time the extraordinary story of their journey from the West Midlands to Camp Delta, David Rose... ... sleeping tents, copies of the Koran would be trampled on by ... ... occasion, thrown into a toilet bucket.

some more here

Oh yeah, almost forgot, here's a bloody bone for all the Christian fundamentalist spanking fetish wowsers out there to gnaw on and get all hot under the white hood about. Just to keep it "fair and balanced", if ya know what I mean.

Via Agence France Presse, November 17, 2004 | One die, 11 injured as Muslims clash in northern Nigeria | DATELINE: KANO, Nigeria:

Last Friday, Islamic extremists killed a Christian for defiling the Holy Koran in Bichi village near northern city of Kano.

Celestine Kwanda, from southern Akwa Ibom State was lynched by a mob in the village, some 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of Kano, for allegedly tearing a portion of the Koran to clean himself after visiting the toilet, state police commissioner Ganiyu Dawodu told AFP.

Kano, a predominantly Muslim city, is considered the hotbed of religious violence in northern Nigeria. Hundreds of people have died in the past years in Christian-Muslim unrest in the city.

In 1996, Kano erupted into religious violence following the beheading of a southern Christian, Gideon Akaluka, for defiling the Koran.

That's really great. A world full of sociopathic religious junkies running around hacking each others heads off and yanking each other up lamposts and wiping their asses with the pages from the other guys book of life. I'm sure God is simply delighted with each and every one of you stupid bastards. Way to go. What bloodsplattered God could ask for a more enlightened flock of damned fools.

What a world.


Monday, May 16, 2005

Goodnight, moon 

Leave it to Newsweek to retract a true story. Oh well, CBS did.

NOTE to farmer: I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!

UPDATE Welcome, Kossacks (and thank you), to The Mighty Corrente Building. Farmer's greenhouse is out back, down the marble stairway just past The Wayback Machine, the Hall of Snark, and the wet bar.

Flushing Newsweek 

Scotty McClellan grunts on the pot:
"It's puzzling that while Newsweek now acknowledges that they got the facts wrong, they refused to retract the story," White House spokesman Scott McClellan said. "I think there's a certain journalistic standard that should be met and in this instance it was not." "The report has had serious consequences," McClellan said. "People have lost their lives. The image of the United States abroad has been damaged."

August 5, 2004
The Independent (London)

In the report, released in New York, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul - the so-called Tipton Three - said one inmate was threatened after being shown a video in which hooded inmates were forced to sodomise each other. Guards allegedly threw prisoners' Korans into toilets, while others were injected with drugs, it was claimed.

August 5, 2004
Daily News (New York) | Byline: By James Gordon Meek and Derek Rose.

They say that rats and scorpions had free run of their sweltering cages, loud rock music was used to drown out the sound of prayers, and sleep deprivation was common.

"They would kick the Koran, throw it into the toilet and generally disrespect it," Asif Iqbal wrote.


Pentagon spokesman Michael Shavers said the military "operates a professional detention facility at Guantanamo" and does not condone abuse of detainees.

January 9, 2005
Sunday | FINAL EDITION | HEADLINE: Nightmare of Guantanamo.... U.S. prison camp in Cuba has become legal black hole, reporter says BYLINE: John Freeman Special to The Denver Post

"They pepper sprayed me in the face, and I started vomiting; in all I must have brought up five cupfuls. They pinned me down and attacked me, poking their fingers in my eyes, and forced my head into the toilet pan and flushed. They tied me up like a beast and then they were kneeling on me, kicking and punching. Finally they dragged me out of my cell in chains ... and shaved my beard, my hair, my eyebrows."


And earlier this year, that process finally began. In March, the government released five British men from Guantanamo after nearly three years. They had been captured in Afghanistan, where they had gone to offer humanitarian aid. Rose interviewed them that same month, two months before the allegations of Abu Ghraib first surfaced, and yet they described a period of captivity eerily similar to that of the Iraqis in Abu Ghraib.

In August Mr Ahmed, Mr Rasul and Mr Iqbal issued a 115-page dossier accusing the US of abuse, including allegations that they were beaten and had their Korans thrown into toilets.*

(*Also published in The Hartford Courant (Connecticut), January 16, 2005.)

January 9, 2003
The New York Times | Late Edition - Final | SECTION: Section A; Column 2; Foreign Desk; Pg. 14 | THREATS AND RESPONSES: TERROR; Hate of the West Finds Fertile Soil in Yemen. But Does Al Qaeda? By Ian Fisher | DATELINE: SANA, Yemen, Jan. 8

Investigators know the basic facts: In this poor and isolated nation with no lack of extremists, a young preacher named Ahmed Ali Jarallah assembled a small cell of militants to strike the enemies of Islam in Yemen. Two years ago, he read off a hate list in a speech at a mosque here, singling out specifically a hospital run by American Baptists.

"In Jibla, there is the Baptist hospital, which is the source of Christian activities in the province," Mr. Jarallah said. Muslims converted to Christianity at this hospital, he charged, and even "stuff the Holy Koran into toilets of mosques."

On Dec. 28, anger went into action: Mr. Jarallah himself assassinated a leading secular politician, Jarallah Omar, according to the police. Two days later, one of Mr. Jarallah's followers, Abed Abdel Razzak Kamel, is said to have killed three Americans in the hospital, which provided medical care in the southern town of Jibla for 35 years.

March 26, 2003
The Washington Post | Final Edition | SECTION: A SECTION; Pg. A12 HEADLINE: Returning Afghans Talk of Guantanamo; Out of Legal Limbo, Some Tell of Mistreatment | BYLINE: Marc Kaufman and April Witt, Washington Post Staff Writers

The men, the largest single group of Afghans to be released after months of detainment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, gave varying accounts of how American forces treated them during interrogation and detainment. Some displayed medical records showing extensive care by American military doctors, while others complained that American soldiers insulted Islam by sitting on the Koran or dumping their sacred text into a toilet to taunt them.


Ehsannullah, 29, said American soldiers who initially questioned him in Kandahar before shipping him to Guantanamo hit him and taunted him by dumping the Koran in a toilet.

August 4, 2004
CNN.com | SECTION: LAW | HEADLINE: British men report abuse from Guantanamo BYLINE: By Jonathan Wald CNN

U.S. soldiers "would kick the Koran, throw it into the toilet, and generally disrespect it," Iqbal said.

June 28, 2004
Financial Times Information | Global News Wire - Asia Africa Intelligence Wire | InfoProd | Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

One of the men, Timur Ishmuratov of Tatarstan, told ORT on 24 June -- prior to the release -- that he had been captured by Northern Alliance forces shortly after the beginning of the U.S. military action in Afghanistan and "sold" to the Americans for $ 3,000-$ 5,000. Former prisoner Airat Vakhitov told ORT about alleged mistreatment while he was at Guantanamo. "They tore the Koran to pieces in front of us, threw it into the toilet," Vakhitov said. "When people were praying, they forced their way in and put their feet on people's heads and beat them."

January 12, 2005
Video Monitoring Services of America | The Morning Show II | WJR-AM

START: 30.05
A History teacher at Woodworth Middle School has been suspended for saying that Betawin Arab's use the Koran as toilet paper. [*Woodworth MS]

"Betawin" Arabs. Betawin a dictionary too.


This picture needs a caption! 


Filibuster: Only a Sith thinks in absolutes 

I'm still wild about Harry:

Democratic Leader Harry Reid declared an end Monday to compromise talks with Republican leaders over President Bush's controversial judicial nominees, saying their fate along with the future of long-standing filibuster rules will be settled in a showdown on the Senate floor.

"I've tried to compromise and they want all or nothing, and I can't do that," Reid told reporters after a private meeting with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn.
(via AP)

Reid calls 'em as he sees 'em:

Reid, who has been trying for more than a month to reach a compromise with Frist, said: "I don't think Senator Frist is capable of working something out on this. I think he is going to try to satisfy the radical right."
(via AP)

And his sense of humor is as dry as the Nevada desert:

Reid and Frist had dinner on Sunday, but Reid said the conversation was limited. "The only talk last night was how good the duck was," Reid told reporters.

Um, maybe that was lame duck? Let's hope so!

NOTE The latest framing by the winger thugs is "Dirty Harry" Reid (here) Frankly, I think the stupid wingers haven't made a bad choice for us. Isn't Reid really saying to Frist: "Now, you must ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky?" (here)

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