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Saturday, February 19, 2005

NPR Suckitude Continues 

OK, one quick thing before I head out to the truck and seek solitude and solace in the mountain snows with a sack of beans and a bottle of whiskey.

NPR. All things considered. Yesterday evening. A long segment by Andrea Seabrook about the effects and influence of political blogging.

And every last minute of it was about conservative blogs crowing about their success in bringing people down: Eason Jordan, the aWol memos…

Not. One. Lefty. Blog. Mentioned. Just a big GOP hatefest celebration of their blog success at spreading lies.

Fuck NPR.

Don’t believe it? Go listen: Republicans Turn to Blogs to Deliver a Message

See y’all Monday, if I come back.

There's a fly in my duck soup! 

Important news reaches The Bubble:
Shocker on Capitol Hill: We're creating enemies? Do tell. IN A SCENE that could have come straight from a 21st century remake of Duck Soup, CIA Director Porter Goss and military nabobs told Congress on Wednesday that the U.S. occupation of Iraq is fueling a growing insurgency and creating fresh enemies throughout an increasingly resentful and angry Arab world.

No shit. Too bad the Democrats didn't think of that argument before the 2004 election. - The Bush Beat by Ward Harkavy (Village Voice)


FOXNews gets all snooty and elitist 

So much for fair and balanced and the wonders of the "free" marketplace of ideas. Some snitty public relations pinwheel at Fox Noise gets all hoity-toity with Jarrett Murphy of the Village Voice...

Via Press Clips Extra (The Village Voice)
For Fox, Money Isn't Everything

You'd think Rupert Murdoch would laugh all the way to the bank if the liberal magazine The Nation cut a check to conservative Fox News. But the "fair and balanced" ad staff at FNC have rejected a TV spot that The Nation says Bravo, CNN, MSNBC, and TBS/TNT have accepted.

The ad goes like this: read on...

FOX responds:
February 18, 2005 - Fox Fumes At Press Clips Sin

In a posting yesterday about Fox News Channel refusing to run a TV commercial for The Nation magazine, I wrote: "Fox did not return phone calls."


A Fox spokeswoman now tells me that I called the wrong part of Fox, and reached a spokesperson who only handles press inquiries for individual Fox television stations, not for Fox News Channel. The spokeswoman derided my work as lazy and typical of the shoddy work many journalists practice. She scorned my piece as an old story that The New York Times reported last summer.

She demanded a correction.

On the story itself: Asked why Fox rejected The Nation's ad, Fox News Channel spokeswoman Irena Briganti answered, "I guess we're more selective than others."


Hmmm. Maybe she didn't get her hot loofah bath that morning? So, in honor of typical shoddy work practices, and stuff like that, I'd like to revisit a celebrated FOXNews Channel international geographic moment: with special thanks to globe trotting celebrity dandy Bill "falafel oil" O'Reilly.

During the course of this dinner, in approximately May 2003, Defendant BILL O'REILLY, without solicitation or invite, ragaled Plaintiff and her friend with stories concerning the loss of his virginity to a girl in a car at JFK, two "really wild" Scandinavian airline stewardesses he had gotten together with, and a "girl" at a sex show in Thailand who had shown him things in a backroom that "blew: [his] mind." Defendant then stated he was going to Italy to meet the Pope, that his pregnant wife was staying at home with his daughter, and implied he was looking forward to some extra-marital dalliances with "hot" Italian women. - smoking gun

A regular ambassador of good will, ain't he? (Briganti, that's Italian isn't it?)


"Jeff Gannon"—it's all good! 


Despite the battering he has taken, Gannon [sic] hasn't abandoned plans to work in journalism and hopes to generate sympathy by speaking out.

"People criticize me for being a Christian and having some of these questionable things in my past," he said. "I believe in a God of forgiveness."
(via WaPo)

"Gannon" is gay. So? "Gannon" is an escort. So?

I cared because I thought the wingers cared. I mean, gays are second class citizens, right? And if you think about it, escorts aren't exactly reinforcing the sanctimony of marriage, are they?

But apparently, it's good to be gay.

It's good to be a gay escort.

It's plusgood to be a gay escort, funded by the Republicans, posing as a journalist.

And it's doubleplusgood to be a gay escort, funded by the Republicans, posing as a journalist who gets to ask Bush questions at His very infrequent news conferences!

It's all good! So, can gays marry now?

Move along people, move along! There's no story here!

Incidentally, one very good way for "Gannon" to show he knows he's been forgiven would be to demonstrate repentance. Somehow, I don't think going on a PR offensive is the way to do that, but what do I know?

"Jeff Gannon" PR offensive begins 

From the Editor and Publisher transcript.

No time to look at this deeply right now; read it for yourselves. Just a few extracts to put on the record:

COOPER: There are those who have said that the reason perhaps you are using a different name is that there is stuff from your past that you did not want people to know about or find out about.

GANNON: How I'll address that is that I have made mistakes in my past. And these are all of a very personal and private nature that have been -- that have been all brought to the surface by people who disagreed with the question I asked at the presidential press conference several weeks ago. And is -- the effect of this has been that we seem to have established a new standard for journalists in this country, where if someone disagrees with you, then your personal life, your private life, and anything you have ever done in the past is going to be brought up for public inspection.

Am I alone in reading this as a blackmail threat, by "Gannon," against other members of the press?

Move along people, move along! If there's a story here, there shouldn't be!

Talk about defining deviancy down! Suppose "Gannon"'s private life included, um, man-on-dog sex. How would Senator-but-not-for-long Santorum react to that?

Anyhow, the issue isn't that "Gannon" is gay.

The issue is not that Gannon is a gay escort (although that's illegal in most states, and certainly opens the door to massive blackmail potential).

The issue is not whether "Gannon" is getting a free pass—hmmm, nice alliteration with freeper, but let that go—because he's a Republican, though surely if he were a Democrat, and this was the Clinton White House, this would be headline material for the next year.

The issue is not even the usual Republican hypocrisy, sanctimony, and doublethink. Apparently, it's now entirely OK to be gay; that's part of "private life." OK, then why can't Gannon get married?

The issue is who made the decision to give "Gannon" the daily passes, day after day after day, when (a) using one name on a driver's license, and another name on the pass, had to be a red flag, (b) Congress wouldn't give him a pass, since he couldn't prove he was a journlist, yet (c) the White House is famously organized? Could it have been the newly annointed Czar of All Policy Unka Karl Himself?

I mean, ordinary citizens can't get into Bush rallies, because the Partei keeps a blacklist!

And we are expected to believe that "Gannon" got into the White House press room, and asked Bush questions, and nobody knew who (and what) he was?! I don't think so.


COOPER: Let me give you a chance just to respond to what you want to respond to. You had previously stated that you had registered a number of pornographic Web sites for a private client. That's what you had said publicly. You said the sites were never activated. A man now has talked to The Washington Post, who said that you had essentially paid him to create some Web sites for an escort service, and you are yourself offering yourself as an escort.

GANNON: Well, like I said, there's a lot of things being said about me out there. A lot of things that have nothing to do with the reporting I have done for the last two years.

"Said," forsooth. Americablog has the invoices and the screendumps. Too bad that didn't form the substance of Cooper's next question.


COOPER: This liberal group, Media Matters, which I'm sure you know well about. They have been very critical about you, really looked into this probably closer than just about anybody. They say that essentially, you are not a real reporter. And it's not even a question of being an advocate, that you have directly lifted large segments of your reports directly from White House press releases.

GANNON: All my stories were usually titled "White House Says," "President Bush Wants," and I relied on transcripts from the briefings, I relied on press releases that were sent to the press for the purpose of accurately portraying what the White House believed or wanted.

COOPER: But using the term "reporting" implies some sort of vetting, some sort of research, some sort of -- I mean, that's called faxing or Xeroxing, if you are just lifting transcripts and putting them into an article.

GANNON: If I am communicating to my readers exactly what the White House believes on any certain issue, that's reporting to them an unvarnished, unfiltered version of what they believe.

Beyond words. "Gannon" seems to think that a press release is the same thing as a news story. Of course, he's in good company. That's what the wingers actually think. It's even what Judith "Kneepads" Miller thinks (back)


GANNON: Well, I don't see it that way. But what was -- what's been done to me is far in excess of what has ever been done to any other journalist that I could remember. My life has been turned inside out and upside down. And, again, it makes us all wonder that if someone disagrees with you, that is now your personal life fair game? And I'm hoping that fair-minded people will stand up and say that what's been done to me is wrong, and that -- that people's personal lives have no impact on their ability to be a journalist, you know. Why should my past prevent me from having a future?

It doesn't. Think of David Brock; after being "blinded by the right," he started Media Matters. So, Brock made himself a future out of his past.

"Gannon" can do exactly the same thing. He can take a serious look at his actions, come clean about his dirty tricks past, and his paymasters. Instead, he goes on a PR offensive.

C'mon, Jeff. Confession is good for the soul!

NOTE It would be very interesting to know if blackmail—it wouldn't have to be very explicit—had anything to do with the mystery of Gannon's continued access. Personnaly, I'd think that a closeted married man would be the most vulnerable...

Fuck you, blogger 

Generally, the salutation to business correspondence terminates with a colon, not a comma, but I digress.

Anyhow, this insouciant little splatter of Santa Clara corporate-speak is what I got back from blogger's [cough] support bot after I sent them a short note bringing their continuing massive suckitude service issues to their attention:

Hi there,

Errors like this are generally due to temporary problems with our servers, and if you wait a little while before trying again, Blogger should work normally. If you continue to have trouble with it, please try clearing your browser's cache and cookies before logging in again. We apologize for the inconvenience, and we are constantly working on making our servers more reliable.

Thanks for using Blogger!

Blogger Support

Morans. Clear the cookies? I fuckin' tossed 'em, and blogger still didn't work!

Blogger: The US Airways of the blogosphere.

I certainly hope Google's stock is tanking. Any company of Google's capitalization that can't manage to run a server farm successfully has serious internal management problems.

And what can be more "evil" than keeping people away from the medium that gives them a voice? Even free software should work! (As if I'd ever upgrade...)

Air America Flys 

Remember when all the wingnut wunderkinds and the Sunday gasbags and conventinal wisdom wowsers were rolling their eyes and smirking into the bright lights telling us all about how it would never even get off the ground?

Madison Magazine March 2005
The Liberal Media - One network set out a year ago this month to make the mtyh a reality.

The network went on the air in just a half-dozen cities one year ago this month...

A year on, listeners still hear Bush-bashing of the first order. Christy Harvey of the Center for American Progress and conservative-cum-liberal writer David Brock are near-daily guests on Franken's show, as is Franken's college roommate (and die-hard Republican) Mark Luther. Luther is Franken's "Resident Ditto-head," charged with defending Rush Limbaugh sound bites that may or may not contain half-truths and fibs. Callers can play Franken's game show, "Wait, Wait, Don't Lie To Me," in which they must identify quotes from the news as truth, lie, or "weasel words." Morning listeners hear "Ambrosia Sings the News," in which sultry jazz vocalist Ambrosia Parsley renders her three-verse version of the day's events. Guests and callers make a full-contact sport of trying to get a word in edgewise on The Randi Rhodes Show, and evening host Mike Malloy routinely refers to the president's kin as "the Bush crime family."

In a world where big corporations own most of the radio stations in the country, that kind of thing couldn't possibly survive, could it? No radio stations would sign on as affiliates to that, would they? After all, big corporations are all in bed with the NeoCons, aren't they?

Whether they are or they aren't, it turns out that their first priority is their own bottom line. Media conglomerates surprised more than a few people by letting local stations sign on for some or all of Air America's lineup, tolerating the potshots at the corporate-friendly right wing, as long as those local stations delivered audience and the resulting ad sales. And deliver they did - a test run in Portland took a station from the cellar to number three in three months, and the station now sits at number two in the market. That meager handful of stations at the start has grown to 50 in just a year, in addition to two channels on satellite radio. It's back on the air in LA and recently landed in Bush's backyard - Corpus Christi, Texas. By the time Bush was inaugurated for his second term, AAR had 40 percent of the nation's airwaves covered (projected to approach 50 percent by the time this article goes to press) and millions more sets of ears listening online. It has been the fastest launch in radio network history.


Friday, February 18, 2005

Speaking of Suckitude, How 'Bout That Greenspan? 

Why aren't more people livid that Alan Greenspan, in his testimony before congress, endorsed private accounts? Okay, it was a tepid endorsement. Yes, he admitted that private accounts wouldn't necessarily solve the so-called crises of SS, and he expressed concerns about the transitional costs, although he radically understated what they would be. The hard fact remains that Alan Greenspan has no business, ethically speaking, taking any position but that SS should be kept as it was originally designed to be, a universal Federal insurance program that guarantees workers won't live in dire poverty after retirement, and that survivors of workers who die during their productive years will be taken care of, and that any tweaking required to get SS past the retirement of the baby boomers should do nothing to change the essential nature of the program. Where does Alan Greenspan get off endorsing a plan that is meant to dismantle that system, and please, let us face this, that is what this President is talking about, difficult as it is to tellt, because of his penchent for talking similtaneously out of both sides of his mouth and various other of his bodily orifices.

Alan Greenspan promised Americans that the stunning rise in payroll taxes that was inacted in 1983 was sufficient to deal with the coming problem of the retirement of the baby boomers. All of us have been paying more into the SS Trust Fund than has been going out ever since, but the Fund is still in trouble. And the reason has nothing to do with the ratio of workers to retirees compared with the ratio in 1935, nothing to do with anything except the fact that the last three Republican presidents, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and George W. Bush have spent this country into penury. Bill Clinton got a handle on the problem, but the surpluses which Gore would have used to make sure SS got "fixed," is gone, up in the smoke and mirror of the Bush tax cuts.

Was Alan Greenspan lying in 1983. Did he make a mistake? Is he lying now? Or is he still just making a mistake? And why is he getting away with not having to confront any of these questions?

Please, don't leave a lot of comments blaming the Democrats. They share in some of the blame. But we're to blame too. There has never been a time when the Democratic Party feels more of a need to be responsive to its grassroots than it does now. Why can't we get sufficiently organized to generate phone calls, emails and letters to our various representatives and to the party apparatus to make sure that they are as knowledgeble about SS as we've become. Note please that many of our Senators and Representatives are knowledgable. And none of them are as dumb as most of the people in the mainstream press, who seem incapable of discussing SS for more than two minutes without making the most bizarre misstatements.

Why, when Atrios can generate comment threads three or four hundred comments long, Kevin Drum, ones almost as long, and it isn't that unusual to see fifty and sixty coments on posts all over the place in blogtopia, can we not use that strength to get ideas into the mainstream media, either directly, or through the Democratic Party? If half of those people would make a call a day, and get ten other people they know to do the same, then we'd see some action.

I know this has become a hobby horse, and that I'm in danger of becoming an old-fashioned bore on this subject, but we knew Greenspan would be testifying this week, why weren't we prepared to contact Democrats who would be questioning him to insist that they ask him about 1983, and about why that grand compromise to save Social Security, which all of us still pay for every paycheck, didn't seem to work out?

Why has the whole question of whether or not Bush is really talking about the US government defaulting on the debt in Treasury Bonds held by the SS Trust Fund, as implied in his constant citation of 2018 as a crucial year when SS bill be broke not made its way into mainstream media? When I break the news to those of my friends who don't read blogs, they can scarce believe what Josh Marshall and Matthew Yglesias are telling them. Yeah, it'll be broke all right, because Bush and Co will have managed to break it by then.

Where is MoveOn when we need them, and their member lists? They were great at getting people to call congress in the runup to the Iraq invasion. I understand that it's easier when there is a vote pending, but damn, are we not going to do any organizing around saving Social Security until there's a pending vote on a plan. Because that's going to be way too late.

It is such an outrage that Greenspan can turn his back on a fix he trumpeted, that all of us have been paying for these last twenty plus years, and nothing gets said, no one even seems to notice. Hey, if anyone is allowed to divert their SS contribution into a private account, then I want all the extra money I've been paying into SS back, damnit, with that three percent interest, too.

One person who notices everything about this debate is Bob Somerby, Mr. Daily Howler. Take a look at what he's been working on the last two weeks, or the last two months, and you'll see some of the problem. Now can we start a discussion about what we do about it? Click here, and then go to Bob's archives for 2005 and keep on clicking. Truly, no one understand the political ins and outs of the SS debate as well as Mr. Somerby. Keep on reading until you get angry enough to help all of us figure out what to do about all the bull that's being spread around, prepratory to burying SS as we've come to know and love it.

Euro Power? 

Over at the Online Journal, there’s a very interesting followup analysis by Linda Heard to the idea that there is a deal between the Shiites and the oil companies for a division of power. It’s probably just me, and everyone else has already thought of this, but in case you haven’t, here’s the bit that struck me:

Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein may not have possessed the fabled nasty weapons and neither was he buddy-buddy with Osama. What he actually did was far worse in the eyes of the Bush clan.

In 2000 he decided to give the petrodollar the elbow and trade, instead, in euros. In the four proceeding years, the euro has gained 20 per cent against the American currency.
Of course, the export of Iraqi oil was swiftly relinked to the greenback after the Americans rode into town.

OPEC was expected to be duly shocked and awed by the Iraq debacle and if its member countries had any ideas of switching to euros, which after all would make good financial sense in light of the dollar's weakness and the fact Europe buys more oil from OPEC than the United States, it was hoped they would think again.

Iraq's neighbour, Iran, is now on the brink of going one step further. It not only wants to see euros taking the place of the ailing dollar on the international energy markets, it plans to set-up its own oil bourse in direct competition with London and New York that are both owned by US-led consortiums.

If this takes off in 2006, as planned, it could be good news for the European Union, which may in part explain why Europe is so keen to forge a diplomatic route out of the current Iran-US impasse.

To the Bush administration, the Iranian government is loathsome but the other big kids on the block the EU, Russia and China do not share this view.

Germany's Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has entreated America to back the EU's Iran policy.
Russia may sign a contract with Iran at the end of February for the supply of atomic fuel with spent rods being returned to Russia for safe storage. This move would be anathema to the White House.

China's newly strengthened alliance with Iran could provide a further stumbling block to the more hawkish members of the US administration. This, especially since China's burgeoning economy is becoming increasingly dependent on Iranian oil and gas.

Keeping China firmly in its place by controlling the oil-rich Gulf is thought to be another reason the United States has staked its claim in the region so markedly.

Thus, even if America managed to haul Iran before the United Nations Security Council as it did with Iraq in 2002, any consequent proposed US military action might end up being vetoed before it got off the ground.
So it’s all about the euros and petrodollars, eh? And even if iWaq’s oil was in fact privatized, what’s to stop the continuing slide of the dollar, if Iran and the other major producers tie themselves to the euro? How in the hell could private companies, especially American, secure themselves in that environment? Not even the specter of peak oil could make that palatable without raising the specter of more wars, perhaps even global ones. (And Heard also speculates that Iran already has nukes—can we tie that to Rumsfeld’s wish to resurrect “tactical” nukes, and the missile defense shield?)

I swear, none of this makes any sense. Not even the lies make any sense. There has to be more to this. Maybe someone smarter than me can figger it out. Me, I'm going way out in the mountains tomorrow, without anything to connect me to the rest of the world, and stay for a day or two at least. What with the unholy trinity of Gonzales, Chertoff and Negroponte handling justice, I think it's best to clear my head. The whole Heard thing’s at
Oil and the American policy in the Middle East if anyone wants to tie it together...

With Apologies 

More than a few commenters have noted the unhappy length of my Eason Jordan post.

I understand completely.

I would point out, though, that much of what makes the post so long are less my comments than the use I decided to make of lengthy quotes, since this was an attempt, in part, at textual analysis. The use of texts within a text is a more acute dilemma in blogging than in any other of my writing experiences. Blogging is primarily a form of commentary, and as an internet phenomenon, largely a matter of creating a structure of links. Should the blogger assume that readers will have the patiance to go and read the linked texts as they arrive in the analysis, or should said blogger attempt to provide some form of the gist of what is being commented upon within the post?

I apologize for any pinwheeling of eyeballs the post may have provoked. The problem is more acute in Blogger, which does not have an easily available option of continuing longer posts on a separate page, away from the main page of the blog, and in addition, Blogger this week has been operating as if possessed by a satanic demon, as I believe may have been mentioned by Lambert.

Final irony, I ended up dumping that huge post right on top of a post that was meant to point to the good work being done by others on the net worthy of your attention. Talk about upstaging yourself. If you missed this version of a blogaround, "There And Back Again" you can take a glance by clicking here.

There's A Place For Them 

Journalists. And no, this has nothing to do with global warming or previously extremely warm places freezing over.

We need a free press, in every permutation you can think of for that word "free." Free to and me, and most of all, itself. We need a press free not merely of government constraints, but also establishment constraints, and free of the most fatal of constraints, those of conventional wisdom. The tricky part of all this is that the voices of the American right would probably insist that they believe exactly the same thing, and would locate conventional wisdom way way over on that center left axis where sit all those old radical Democrats and their voters.

Here's the difference between the two political sides; the American right is deeply committed to a two-prong strategy; deepen the mistrust of ordinary Americans in the press, encourage skepticism about even the possibility of a genuinly free, and independent press, and in the ensuing vacumn, set up an alternate Rube Goldenboy contraption, a Potemkin Village faux media to take the place of a free press. That, of course, is the most important aspect of the L'affaire Gannon/Guckhert.

Since it can be a despairing task to find oneself defending someone as powerful, and as consistently disappointing as Dan Rather, or the war coverage of CNN, which could hardly have been less critical of Bush policy, or more credulous about the Iraq invasion and subsequent occupation if they'd been...well, trying very hard to be credulous, I wanted to make sure that everyone had the opportunity to read a real journalist at work.

Cursor brings our attention to an amazing transcript that David Holiday had the moxie to notice and assemble for publication on his blog, "Central America and beyond;" it's a transcript of Rod Norland, a Newsweek correspondant in Baghdad, handling a live session of readers' questions. Norland is funny, knowledgable, wise and startingly honest. Even before I read this, I thought that he and Christopher Dickey were doing important work getting the story of Iraq back to us. But when you read a transcript like this, you remember that journalism is both a profession and a craft, that journalists do something real and important, that has its differences from what a blogger, or a citizen journalist might do.

We lefties want more free press, not less. Let's never forget that.

You can find Holiday's post about Norland here.

GOP: GOt Protstitutes... will travel 

Gannon-Guckert, male pedophile prostitution, and the GOP.

Well, we all know how fond of Asian prostitutes W's brother is:
The Neil v. Sharon Bush divorce papers provide the most titillating bedtable reading since the footnotes of the Starr Report. For example, the divorce depositions detail Neil's dalliances with prostitutes in Asia. While Neil was doing Interlink business in Thailand and Hong Kong, he enjoyed the exotic experience of hearing an urgent knocking on his hotel room door. Upon opening the door, Neil was confronted by a beautiful young woman who said she wanted to have sex with him. On at least three difference occasions, Neil accepted the hospitality of his hosts. He admitted to the sexual encounters in his bizarre deposition during his divorce proceedings. - Counterpunch/April 2004

I'm not even sure where to begin at this point, or what to make of all of this below, because I haven't had a chance to wade through it all myself. And, these stories track-back several years, and revisit the bottom of the pond where a lot of slimy things that never see the light of day (including dead bodies) have sunk deep into the muck and mud. There are a lot of forking paths here so go take a look for yourself. Via Wayne Madsen at Online Journal.
"Gannongate," which is only now being mentioned by the mainstream news media, threatens to expose a potentially damaging GOP pedophile and male prostitution ring dating back to the 1980s and the administration of George H. W.


Gannongate is reminiscent of a huge political scandal that surfaced in Nebraska in 1989 when it was learned that Lawrence King, the head of Franklin Community Credit Union in Omaha and a rising African American star in the GOP (he sang the national anthem at George H. W. Bush's 1988 nominating convention in New Orleans), was a kingpin—along with top Republicans in Nebraska and Washington, DC, including George H. W. Bush—in a child prostitution and pedophilia scandal. King was later convicted and jailed for fraud but pedophile and prostitution charges were never brought against him and other Nebraska Republican businessmen and politicians.

The scandal, investigated by Nebraska State Senator Loran Schmit, his assistant John DeCamp (a former GOP state senator), State Senate Committee investigator Gary Caradori, and former CIA Director William Colby, reached the very top echelons of the George H. W. Bush administration and GOP. Child prostitutes from Boys Town and other orphanages in Nebraska as well as children procured from China were reportedly flown to Washington for sexcapades with Republican politicians. GOP lobbyist Craig Spence and a number of GOP officials in the administration and Congress were implicated in the scandal, including Labor Secretary Elizabeth Dole's liaison to the White House. ~ Read full story: "Gannongate threatens to expose a huge GOP pedophile and male prostitution ring", By Wayne Madsen, Online Journal Contributing Writer

For more on this pedophile/prostitution ring backstory you can find a large backlog of specific citations and info and article references via the Randi Rhodes radio show from June 2004:

More details via Randi Rhodes Show, June 2004:

LoFi Text Version

Full Version: Homosexual Child Prostitution Ring; Bush SR


Thursday, February 17, 2005

Well, Shucks...! 

From the Chicago Tribune (lost the link, sorry):

Nice article that gives us a whiff of the model plan for Social Security as it was done in Texas. Apparently some counties in Texas have already done the experiment. A great success, according to the portfolio managers and wealthy participants, but not for the poor and working class. My bet is you’ll be hearing more about this great experiment:

"What we can learn from the Galveston experience is who will win and who will lose if we move toward this privatization plan," Kingson added. "People who work long and hard at relatively low wages get a proportionately higher benefit from Social Security, and that's because its purpose is to provide a basic set of protections for Americans."

The bottom line for many Galveston County retirees is the size of their check every month. And some say they have been bitterly disappointed.

"I get around $460 per month now, but under Social Security, I would have gotten $1,000," said Joyce Longcoy, who retired in 1998 after 23 years working for Galveston County. "They are putting this up to be a model for the rest of the country. Some model."

And according to the AP’s Deb Reichmann, Rove has put on his short pants and taken up the megaphone and pompom of a cheerleader. (Sorry for that image.)

Karl Rove, President Bush's top political strategist, on Thursday pronounced conservatism the "dominant political creed in America" and coached fellow conservatives on how to support his boss.

"The next time one of your smarty-pants liberal friends says to you, `Well, he didn't have a mandate', you tell him of this delicious fact: This president got a higher percentage of the vote than any Democratic candidate for president since 1964," Rove said.

Yeah, smarty pants. Trying to confuse me with relevant facts and your use of brain. Take that! Personally, I think I'd try to help him find a man date. Any ideas where to look?

Negroponte Retro 

Negroponte in an interview stored at GWU archives, discussing the invasion of Grenada:

I wasn't involved, I was not involved and I don't remember much, but I remember one thing very vividly which was that I, I basically learned about the invasion of Grenada from the President of Honduras, who called me up to say "Do you know what's going on?" and I said, "Well I have an idea, but I don't know for sure." And he said "well you're invading Grenada" and he said "please tell the troops that when they're finished there to just keep on coming to Nicaragua." So it had that effect on the leadership of Honduras and I'll never forget that phone call from the President of Honduras.

He goes on to deny that there was ever any intent to invade anybody else in Central America, but of course there were troops in Honduras all along (over 12,000 I hear), supporting torture and murder. And King George I had other ideas with Panama. Interesting that he says he’ll “never forget that phone call.” I wonder why? Imperialism has to cover its tracks, keep its plans hidden? Especially when the “president” in question is a U.S. puppet? You can bet Negroponte knows that the CIA supplied torture equipment to “Battalion 316,” a Honduran army unit that kidnapped, and then tortured and killed hundreds of people using electric shock and suffocation. The battalion was trained by American and Argentinian advisors, and their victims included anybody deemed to be anti-American, interested in social change in Latin America, or supporters of the Sandanistas. The director of the battalion, General Gustavo Alvares Martinez told Negroponte that he wanted to use Argentinian methods of eliminating his enemies. In 1983 Reagan awarded Martinez the Legion of Merit "for encouraging the success of the democratic process in Honduras.” Read more here: Torture was taught by CIA; Declassified manual details the methods used in Honduras; Agency denials refuted and here: In These Times 25/09 -- In From the Cold War

The Times reported in 1988 that: "American diplomats exercise more control over domestic politics in Honduras than in any other country in the hemisphere..."

What strikes me is that Negroponte has made a real career of supporting terror tactics, torture and “regime change,” then covering his tracks and denying knowledge of anything. Now he’s in charge of intelligence nationwide? Oy. Wonder if he still supports “Argentinian methods”? Of course not. Neither does Gonzales. Why? Because they said so. Duh.

Cointelpro and McCarthy never sounded so innocent. Frogs in the pan, getting warmer and warmer.

No word yet on when the new torturers will get their medals…

Have You Heard The One About Eason Jordan? 

The real power in the blogosphere, located firmly on the right, has another scalp to dangle from its warrior belt in its relentless battle to remove from international media any signs of aspostasy from their perception of what is appropriately American media behavior. (Not all apostasy is considered a negative; apostasy by liberals turning away from their previously held nasty mindsets are to be admired. see M. Kaus. Come to think of it, if you start out as an apostate liberal, were you ever a liberal?)

I speak of Eason Jordan, of course, formerly one of the top news executives of CNN. Until Friday, when he resigned. Mr. Jordan had said something about the extraordinarily high number of journalists who have perished while reporting in Iraq, often under fire from insurgents, but also, in some cases, from American fire. His comments were made while Mr. Jordan was participating in a panel discussion about media and democracy held at Davos as part of the International Economic Forum. Said something. About that there is general agreement. And then immediately, in real time, began to disavow the extreme interpretation of what he said that his accusers continue to insist he meant to say and continues to mean. Everyone, more or less, seems to agree upon that point, as well.

The first mention of this moment, which, please remember, came in an unscripted forum discussion, occurred in a post to the Forum's blog, by someone who is very open about not being a journalist. The post was dated January 28th. Friday was Feb 11th. Didn't take long, did it?

Since I was taking a breather from righwing blogovia, I remained unaware that this contretemp was even going on until I happened on it last week at Jay Rosen's "PressThink," by which time there was already a rightwing EasonGate blog active on the case, not to mention an excited blog swarm being led by Hugh Hewitt, Michele Malkin, Powerline, all the regulars. Mr. Rosen, a journalism professor at NYU had been covering the coverage, doing some actual journalism himself in an effort to ascertain with more precision what had happened at Davos, and his comment threads had become a forum for a variety of points of view, although the predominant one remained bloggers and commentators who insisted on believing that a single sentence uttered by Eason Jordan crossed a professional line, that he meant to say what he said, backtracking be damned, did so for the most unsavory reasons, and most infuriating of all, that the MSM, as they like to refer to big media, was steadfastly refusing to cover their allegations for all the usual suspect reasons. For his part, Mr. Rosen was attempting to withhold judgment about the exact nature of Eason Jordan's transgression, if indeed any such had transpired, until more facts were known about what he'd actually said, and what he'd said about what he meant, both during and after the fact.

What follows is an attempt to walk a reader, who, like me, was late to discover all this, through the basic texts of the "controversy," as they were developed and embraced by the rightwing blogosphere, with the help of certain well-placed media professionals, and the extraordinary passivity of the SCLM in the face of an attack that was clearly meant to limit discourse, even while the bloggers behind thie attack were extolling their own virtues as warriors in service to an expansion of discourse and media transparency. I know that many on the liberal/left axis become impatient with this kind of analysis, I become impatient with it, myself, and doing this post made me positively twitchy, but there is a pattern to be discerned here that recalls the success of the SwiftBoat Vets for their version of truth, and the success of the rightwing in slimming Joe Wilson as a liar, and Richard Clarke as a bitter ex-employee, and the obligteration of the Bush National Guard story as worthy of concern, which was the real point of the Dan Rather dustup. (Don't take this as a defense of Rather or CBS, it isn't)

The basic text regarding what happened at Davos used by everyone who has commented on this scandale was provided by Rony Abovitz, an attendee at Davos, who was in the audience at the panel discussion. I think it's fair to say that his report, in the Forum's blog, is very far from being recognizable as a news story. What seems clear is that Mr. Jordan used the unfortunate term "targeted," when discussing the high number of journalists that have been killed in Iraq in reference to both insurgents and members of the American military.

I'm willing to concede that is a highly provocative statement. And it appears to have provoked a response - some in the audience applauding the subject being brought up, Barney Franks, a panalist and David Gergen, the panel's moderator, registering shock and dismay. Abovitz is also clear that Jordan immediately backpedaled from the most extreme interpretation of that statement. What is missing from Abovitz's description is any sense of how the discussion developed, any sense of what actually got said, except for those key words that he memorializes in his title to his post, "Do US Troops Target Journalists in Iraq?"
During one of the discussions about the number of journalists killed in the Iraq War, Eason Jordan asserted that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by US troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted. He repeated the assertion a few times, which seemed to win favor in parts of the audience (the anti-US crowd) and cause great strain on others. Due to the nature of the forum, I was able to directly challenge Eason, asking if he had any objective and clear evidence to backup these claims, because if what he said was true, it would make Abu Ghraib look like a walk in the park. David Gergen was also clearly disturbed and shocked by the allegation that the U.S. would target journalists, foreign or U.S. He had always seen the U.S. military as the providers of safety and rescue for all reporters

Eason seemed to backpedal quickly, but his initial statements were backed by other members of the audience (one in particular who represented a worldwide journalist group). The ensuing debate was (for lack of better words) a real "sh--storm". What intensified the problem was the fact that the session was a public forum being taped on camera, in front of an international crowd. The other looming shadow on what was going on was the presence of a U.S. Congressman and a U.S. Senator in the middle of some very serious accusations about the U.S. military.

To be fair (and balanced), Eason did backpedal and make a number of statements claiming that he really did not know if what he said was true, and that he did not himself believe it. But when pressed by others, he seemed to waver back and forth between what might have been his beliefs and the realization that he had created a kind of public mess. His statements, his reaction, and the reaction of all in attendance left me perplexed and confused. Many in the crowd, especially those from Arab nations, applauded what he said and called him a "very brave man" for speaking up against the U.S. in a public way amongst a crowd ready to hear anti-US sentiments. I am quite sure that somewhere in the Middle East, right now, his remarks are being printed up in Arab language newspapers as proof that the U.S. is an evil and corrupt nation. That is a real nightmare, because the Arab world is taking something said by a credible leader of the media (CNN!) as the gospel, or koranic truth. What is worse is that I am not really sure what Eason really meant to communicate to us, but I do know that he was quite passionate about it. Members of the audience took away what they wanted to hear, and now they will use it in every vile and twisted way imaginable.

As you can see, there is a strong admixture of undocumented assumptions and speculations in this description., and no actual quotes. Understand, I'm not being critical of Abovitz. I don't doubt that he's being honest, and is also attempting to be fair to Eason Jordan. But Abovitz doesn't even tell us what was Jordan's answer to Abovitz's fairly direct question. There is also a clear bias, a set of assumptions about the "Arab world" and about the role of journalism as a representative of American policy that are unhidden in Abovitz's summary of what happened.

If what Eason originally said was true, exactly what happened and why needs to become known to the American public and world at large. If it is not, it is an example of how "news" is created by the heat of the moment, without any bearing to reality. If it is true, we need to know if it was official or if it was just some random disgruntled soldiers. The dark scenario, what the rest of the world would love to believe, is that the U.S. is sinister and evil and this is just another example of Darth Bush. Is this the same U.S. that I know and love, or was this just someone accidentally becoming swept up in the anti-U.S. feeling that is all pervasive in Davos (but they love us too, especially Clinton).
Heaven knows that we on the left have our own arguments with Big MacMedia, but when you read a mishmash of facts, assertions, and speculations like Mr. Abovitz's summary of the incident, (which if you haven't taken advantage of the link above to read all of, you should and can by clicking here), it reminds you of the value of a good news story. Again, this isn't a knock against Abovitz, who makes no journalistic claims, other than as a citizen observer. Fair enough.

But take a look at this exchange between Hugh Hewitt and Rebecca MacKinnon, journalist turned blogger, a former associate of Mr. Jordan at CNN, who was also at Davos, and who covered the incident on her own blog, and had agreed to answer Hewitt's questions about the incident.

Q:First, was Rony's account "accurate" in the sense that it would have been a responsible filing from any journalist working for, say, a big paper?

A: A news report by a newspaper or news agency would have included verbatim quotes, ideally double-checked from a digital or tape recording made by the journalist. A TV or radio report would have included the actual "soundbite." Rony's account is detailed, and was clearly written soon after the panel discussion ended. As I've said before, his account of what transpired is consistent with my recollection of the event. However, since nobody has verbatim quotes, all we have are Jordan's clarifications after-the-fact, in which he admits to have mis-spoken.

edit (it's a big edit, you can and should read her whole answer here, along with the rest of her answers to the rest of Hewett's questions.)

So to answer your question: yes, Rony's initial blog post was "accurate" in the sense that several of us in the room have corroborated his account. He has a great memory for detail. But would any news editor have relied on his or anybody else's memory for a news story? No.

Is it just me or is something about that answer highly unsatisfying? Does Ms. MacKinnon mean that she is corroborating that Eason Jordan "seemed to waver back and forth between what might have been his beliefs and the realization that he had created a kind of public mess." Does she even understand what that means? Because I don't. Is she corroborating that "Members of the audience took away what they wanted to hear, and now they will use it in every vile and twisted way imaginable. " To be frank, I don't see any "great memory for detail" anywhere in Abovitz's original description. And what of Hewett's question? Although by training a lawyer, Hugh Hewett more or less plays a journalist on talk radio, on his own blog, in a syndicated newspaper column, and he has been seen often on KCET, our local PBS station. Was Hugh Hewett serious when he asked if Abovitz's summary was publishable as a news story? Does he think so? Or was he merely getting a point of view about that question "on the record," as a lawyer might do in building a case?

Despite later charges that Jordan was part of a coverup and refused to admit to saying what he said, it turns out that he readily responded to questions from bloggers when asked to clarify what he meant. The first such response was received by Ms. MacKinnon and posted in her blog. If you're interested in following this story further you need to take a moment and read Eason Jordan's explanation of what he was trying to say.

You'll notice that he says several times that he does not believe that the US military is deliberately targeting journalists, that he was not trying to say that they did at Davos, and that he was using "targeted" in a highly limited way, to differentiate the fate of so many journalists in Iraq from the category of "collatoral damage," in which Barney Frank had just placed them during a discussion of the huge number of journalists who have died in Iraq since the American invasion. Note that this is consistent with one thing Abovitz says, i.e., that Jordan's remarks were in the context of a discussion on exactly that subject already in progress. Note, also, that the date of this post is February 2nd. Let's see, that means that Eason Jordan "stonewalled" for all of three or four days.

Another blogger got a similar reply from Eason Jordan. Carol Platt Liebou was less inclined than Ms. MacKinnon to take Jordan's words at face value.

Our friend, formerly of CNN, passed along this statement from Eason Jordan. It seems that he is making a semantic argument, i.e., that when he said that the journalists had been "targeted", he didn't mean to imply that the U.S. military realized that they were journalists. (That is, soldiers intended to shoot the people who were killed -- they just didn't know they were journalists.) Perhaps that's true. Perhaps. But why wouldn't he have made the point about mistaken identity clear in the original remarks?
Interesting question. I have one for Ms. Liebou: what makes you think that Eason Jordan didn't do that? Or at the very least, didn't try and do that? There is a lot in Ronnie Abovitz original summary to suggest that Jordan did, isn't there? And is it really only a "semantic" difference to insist that the term "collatoral damage" is not an accurate one to describe the deaths of journalists who have died from American fire aimed at them, however innocently? Remember also that the international organizations whose task it is to protect journalists in war zones, as well as Eason Jordan along with other heads of other international news organizations have been working with the American government and military to find ways to make the work of international journalists safer. For them this is not an academic subject.

Ms Liebou's commentators were even less inclined than she to take Eason Jordan's integrity at face value, and if you want a sense of what emotions and what habits of mind and argument fueled what had now become a self-described "blog swarm," you can't do better than to read the comments to a post that featured these words from Eason Jordan himself:

"To be clear, I do not believe the U.S. military is trying to kill journalists in Iraq. I said so during the forum panel discussion. But, nonetheless, the U.S. military has killed several journalists in Iraq in cases of mistaken identity. The reason the word "targeted" came up at all is because I was responding to a comment by Congressman Franks, who said he believed the 63 journalists killed in Iraq were the victims of "collateral damage." Since three of my CNN colleagues and many other journalists have been killed on purpose in Iraq, I disputed the "collateral damage" statement, saying, unfortunately, many journalists -- not all -- killed in Iraq were indeed targeted. When someone aims a gun at someone and pulls the trigger and then learns later the person fired at was actually a journalist, an apology is ppropriate and is accepted, and I believe those apologies to be genuine. But such a killing is a tragic case of mistaken identity, not a case of "collateral damage." That is the distinction I was trying to make even if I did not make it clearly at the time."
And here are a few of the responses to that statement:
Can you believe this guy Jordan? Semantical gymnastics. He should be very sore indeed.

Nobody's buying this. Jordan said what he said and meant it: journalists are being targeted. The implication was that United States soldiers were specifically going after journalists. Now he wants to backtrack and parse "collateral damage" and mistaken identity? Sorry. Too many fact-checkers on this case. The blog swarm has descended...


Great scoop, Carol. This sounds like more of the same spin we received from CNN - that his remarks were taken out of context, he didn't say what he meant, he didn't mean what he said, etc. (pick your favorite excuse).


Thanks for putting this up, but it does sound like Jordan's trying to lie his way out of the hole he dug with his own mouth.


This man has been involved with journalism for years. Does he really expect us to believe that he doesn't know the meaning of the words he is using? Are we to understand that he wasn't aware of the nature of those to whom he was speaking?

If the journalists he is speaking of were "targeted" in the military sense, what were they doing standing opposite American forces during a fire fight? Were they acting like the stringers who just happen to be around for events such as the murder of election officials on Haifa Street?

While I have sympathy for those innocently caught in a cross-fire, I have none for those who give voice to, and act as a propaganda tool for, the enemy. Such people get our people killed. I'm not saying that this is the case here, but there are enough reporters over there that fit the bill, that I have to ask the question.


So according to Jordan, Pat Tillman's death was NOT collateral damage, rather he was "targeted" by his fellow Rangers. Both reinterpretations of existing terms are absurd. Jordan must have stayed up all night looking for a way out of his bold-faced lies.

Of course Pat Tillman's death truly was not collateral damage, and yes, he was "targeted" by his fellow Rangers who thought he was the enemy. That is the very definition of "friendly fire." Such is one of the more tragic aspects of war, a horror all soldiers fear, whether as targeted or targeter.

Comments like these, which seemed unable to fathom as straighforward an assertion as Jordan's declaration that he doesn't believe American troops were deliberately targeting journalists as a matter of policy and had said so at Devos, branding it immediately a lie, a coverup, coupled with callous expessions of hostility to journalists who get in the way of American troops, were repeated again and again, with some variations, on all the blogs that were happy to consider themselves part of the swarm, as well as at PressThink.

One of the characteristics of the Eason Jordan blogswarm was the apparent attempts on the part of many of its members to do some actual journalism. As, for instance, the previously mentioned questions Hugh Hewitt emailed to Rebecca MacKinnon. The date of her own post answering those questioins was February 7th. The questions themselves seem fairly straightfoward. On one of the key issues, was Eason Jordan responding to something that Barney Franks said about dead journalists being collatoral damage, Ms. MacKimmon doesn't remember it that way, although she reminds Hewitt that she, like apparently everyone else in attendance at Davos, didn't take any written notes. That would leave that issue fairly open, would it not? But the real queestion is this; were her answers of any real interest to Hewitt? Were his questions an honest attempt to find out what happened?

You can supply your own answer by taking at look at Hewitt's postings on the subject to his own blog for February 2nd, five days earlier, here and here.

CNN's Eason Jordan slandered the American military as journalist killers, and MSM doesn't care.

"Are bloggers journalists?" That's the headline on a Christian Science Monitor piece that mentions Powewrline's John Hinderaker and TalkingpointsMemo's Joshua Micah Marshall. (Marshall "leans to the left" and John is "firmly in the conservative camp.")

The paper ought to have asked is Eason Jordan a journalist? I doubt very much that any blogger who speculated that the American military had targeted and murdered a dozen journalists would keep his or her readership or at least their reputation. When Kos slandered the American contractors dead in Fallujah as mercenaries, the blowback was immediate. Jordan slams the U.S. military as killers, and he gets a pass.

Here is the key quote from a first-person account of Jordan's remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos:

"During one of the discussions about the number of journalists killed in the Iraq War, Eason Jordan asserted that he knew of 12 journalists who had not only been killed by US troops in Iraq, but they had in fact been targeted. He repeated the assertion a few times, which seemed to win favor in parts of the audience (the anti-US crowd) and cause great strain on others."

A few bloggers have noted this report, and Instapundit provided a terse summary of the reaction last night: "HAVING KEPT HIS MOUTH SHUT on things he knew were true, it would behoove Eason Jordan not to blather about things that he doesn't know are true. Really." Powerline also focused on the story, and Mickey Kaus on the Powerline post.

But I searched the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post this morning, and came up with nothing on Jordan's blood slander.

That is remarkable. One of the most senior news execs in the world tells a crowd of dignitaries from around the globe that the U.S. military targeted a dozen journalists for death, and there is no MSM coverage of that?


So where's the accountability within CNN or Time-Warner? Where are the press ethicists at Poynter? What does Howard Kurtz or Jay Rosen have to say about this?

Or is it ok for an American news executive to feed anti-American propaganda machines the most incendiary of fuels for the benefit of a crowd's applause and approval?

I hope Rush devotes some time to this today. I certainly will, as I have heard from members of the military too often about the American media slagging them like this and walking away back to the green room for cupcakes and coffee.

You might want to let CNN know what you think. CNN posts this at its "Contact Us" page:

"Staffed 24 hours, seven days a week in CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, relies heavily on CNN's global newsgathering team of almost 4,000 professionals. And we want to hear what you think. If you have a comment, suggestion or have spotted a mistake, please select one of the links on this page"

If you post on this subject, send me the link with "Eason Jordan" in the subject line. I will post them here.

We could learn something about the way to coordinate an attack from these folks. But remember this irony; they have many more allies in the MSM they so revile than we do. Who can be surprised that Mickey Kaus would respond to CNN blood in the water; CNN has been identified as the "liberal" cable news network, what else would Kaus need to know to join the attack? Precisely nothing. Glenn Reynolds is published at MSNBC. And then there's Fox News, of course, whose bias slants in the, uh, right direction, so no problem.

Here's more Hewitt, later in the day for that same date, February 2nd, that goes directly to the issue of Eason Jordan's claim that he was responding to Barney Frank's collatoral damage formulation:

Updated at 1:30 PM, Pacific

As the list of blogs focusing attention on Eason Jordan's blood slander on the U.S. military grows, CNN begins a coverup. TKS reprints a CNN e-mail response to a critic:

"Many blogs have taken Mr. Jordan's remarks out of context. Eason Jordan does not believe the U.S. military is trying to kill journalists. Mr. Jordan simply pointed out the facts: While the majority of journalists killed in Iraq have been slain at the hands of insurgents, the Pentagon has also noted that the U.S. military on occasion has killed people who turned out to be journalists. The Pentagon has apologized for those actions.
Mr. Jordan was responding to an assertion by Cong. Frank that all 63 journalist victims had been the result of "collateral damage.""

This statement directly contradicts the account of Rony Abovitz whose post on the Jordan remarks began the controversy.

here's Mr. Abovtz's bio:
Rony Abovitz, M.S., Chief Technology Officer & Vice-President Mr. Abovitz has twelve years medical device development experience in the area of orthopedic, neurological, and cardiovascular surgery. Prior to co-founding Z-KAT, Mr. Abovitz worked on projects such as the development and testing of nitinol AAA stent-graft implants (acquired by Medtronic AVE) and the development and testing of orthopedic implants (joints and trauma). Mr. Abovitz led ZKAT.s development and acquisition of technology portfolio which includes MAKO's more than 120 patents worldwide. He has a B.S. in mechanical engineering and an M.S. in biomedical engineering from the University of Miami. Mr. Abovitz is also a member of the University of Miami Advisory Panel for Biomedical Engineering and has been a guest lecturer on computerassisted surgery.

Does that sound like a guy who would get it that wrong?

CNN should release a transcript and video of the Davos session and oblige Mr. Jordan to answer questions in front of a camera concerning his outrageous accusation.

Do these musings, assertions, digs, insults, whatever else you want to call them, by any stretch of the imagination add up to journalism? On Feb. 2nd, Hugh Hewitt already had all the answers he needed to assert that Eason Jordan was lying about what prompted his own assertions, and CNN was participating in a coverup on his behalf, even though Abovitz's summary doesn't in any substantive way actually contradict Jordan's or CNN's emailed response. It simply doesn't speak to the issue of the relationship of what Barney Franks said to what Jordan said, no matter how impressive Hugh Hewitt finds Abovitz's bio. (I haven't seen anything quite as amusing since John Stossel introduced his interview with Michael Crichton denigrating the whole notion of global warming by stressing that Crichton had shown himself to be way ahead of the crowd in such books as "The Andromeda Stain" and "Jurassic Park." Great minds and all that.)

By Feb 2nd, that rightwing powerhouse, Captain's Quarters had unearthed another pieceof damning evidence against Eason Jordan, and following that blog's framing of the evidence, Hugh Hewitt refers to it as "A second instance of Eason Jordan slandering the American military and doing so abroad." The evidence, which is referred to again and again through-out the various blog posts and comments that constitute the Eason Jordan blog swarm, is an unremarkable Guardian article from November 2004.

Independent journalists operating in Iraq face arrest and even torture at the hands of the US military and the authorities are failing to act on promises to do more to protect them, news organisations have warned.

Eason Jordan, chief news executive at CNN, said there had been only a "limited amount of progress", despite repeated meetings between news organisations and the US authorities.

"Actions speak louder than words. The reality is that at least 10 journalists have been killed by the US military, and according to reports I believe to be true journalists have been arrested and tortured by US forces," Mr Jordan told an audience of news executives at the News Xchange conference in Portugal.

Mr Jordan highlighted the case of al-Arabiya journalist Abdel Kader al-Saadi, who was arrested in Falluja last week by US forces and remains in their custody even though no reason has yet been given for his detention.
"These actions and the fact that no one has been reprimanded would indicate that no one is taking responsibility. We hear good words but not the actions to back them up," he added.

David Schlesinger, global managing editor for Reuters, said there was no indication the US government's own recommendations on journalists' safety had been understood or carried out by American military commanders in Iraq, or that there had been any progress.

Three Reuters cameramen - Taras Protsyuk, Dhia Najem and Mazen Dana - have been killed while working in Iraq.
"We have had three deaths and they were all non-embedded, non-coalition nationals and they were all at the hands of the US military, and the reaction of the US authorities in each case was that they were somehow justified," Mr Schlesinger said.
"What is the US's position on non-embeds? Are non-embedded journalists fair game?" he added.

The rest of the article is mainly an answer from a US government official, who was also at the conference. I take this as damning evidence only of Eason Jordan's on-going concern for the safety of all sorts of jounalists trying to cover what was going on in Iraq, as well as damning evidence of the rightwing's hostility to the very notion of a free press.

This is getting so long, I'm going to break it into two or three parts. Herewith ends the first part.

In the second part, you can look forward to Michelle Malkin caught in the act of doing journalism, Ronnie Abovitz having second thoughts, until he finds himself interviewed by Joe Scarborough, Jay Rosen in an act of real journalism, successfully solicits another first person viewpoint of what happened at Davos by one of the participants on the panel, three erstwhile lefties show up at PressThink to do battle with conventional wisdom, and the possibility of a tape of the session in question is promised and than denied. Stay tuned. (I anticipate posting the rest tonight or tomorrow, depending on how cranky Blogger is feeling)

(I should like to thank Jay Rosen, whose copious links form the foundation of my analysis)

Jeanne at Body & Soul had an excellent post that focuses attention on the specific jourrnalistic deaths in question, which you can and should read here. (read the comments, too)

Dirty wars, anyone? 

Looks like torturer Alberto Gonzales has another soulmate in the cabinet! Besides Bush, I mean:

President Bush on Thursday named John Negroponte, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and currently the administration's top representative in Iraq, to be America's first national intelligence director.
(via AP)

Of course, since Daschle's Dems caved when Negroponte was nominated for as Ambasssador to Whack, it's that much harder to resist Negroponte now. Unless he knows something about those sacks of cash the mercenaries loaded up on, of course...

There And Back Again 

Herein, some recommended readings you may have missed.

Steve Gilliard has a wonderful post about the funeral for the magnificent Ossie Davis that was held at the magnificent Riverside Cathedral in New York. Steve rightly and brilliantly calls it Harlem's State Funeral, and after a long quote from the NYTimes coverage of the event, explains why it was exactly that. A few highlights from the Times:
Mr. Clinton arrived about midway through the service and was seated in the front.

"I asked to sit in the back," he said. "I would proudly ride on the back of Ossie Davis's bus any day."

The crowd applauded wildly and did so again when he said of Mr. Davis, "He would have been a very good president of the United States."

Ms. Angelou compared Mr. Davis's death to a great tree falling and all of nature recoiling. She said that when Mr. Davis died, "the heaviest door in the universe slammed shut, and there are no knobs."

Mr. Alda said Mr. Davis taught him how to eat sweet potato pie. "Ossie was my hero, and he still is," he said. "He spoke of black princes; he was one."

Mr. Reynolds (Burt) said he came from the same part of Georgia as Mr. Davis. "He took a bad part of the South out of me," he said. "My heroes were a lot of John Waynes. I know what a man is because of Ossie."
Go read the whole thing, especially Steve's own comments. Don't miss his pictures and discussion of Chinese New Years here. In fact, if you haven't visited there recently, just go ahead and read all the new stuff.. There is no more original voice than Steve's.

BIG NEWS: Lisa English has resummed blogging at her own invaluable blog, "Ruminate This," and is there a wittier blog name anywhere? Or a better looking blog? She has been a much-missed voice. We trust that all is well with her family. And thanks to Jack K. for keeping the franchise going. Lisa explains that she hopes that he will be continuing to contribute. We do, too. But it is wonderful to have her back. Pay a visit and say hello.

We all know that John Aravosis at Americablog has done yeoman work on unthreading the "Jeff Gannon isn't his name, journalism isn't really his game" story. Could there be a better time to support his blog with a small contribution? Remember, it doesn't need to be anything extravagant if enough of us do it. John has made a huge step forward for our side of the blogisphere, not only getting himself invited onto CNN, but doing an outstanding job. If you haven't been following John's work, take a moment to scroll back to last week and read foward.

Rob of the same blog has a terrific piece up about what the story means for blogtopia (skippy's coinage, let us not forget). And the reverberations are still reverberating. As soon as I get this post up, I'm going over to make a contribution to say "thanks, and by all means keep up the good works."

Don't forget Wampum needs us too; I contributed last night, but if you haven't had a chance, see back here. As Digby remarked, their hosting of the Koufax Awards is the least of what makes Dwight and MB such admirable and important people.

Scott Rosenberg, journalist turned blogger, has a complex and interesting take on the differences between the Eason Jordan and Jeff Gannon stories that has a lot to say about what the left side of the blogisphere is up against. For Rosenberg, the issue isn't which was the bigger and better scalp to have taken. It's the way that a "savvy political establishment" has moved to take advantage of public mistrust of the media to create a Potemkin Village faux media of its own. Go read it.

Avedon Carol "The Sideshow" is one of my favorite blogs, no doubt one of yours, too. There is no one more generous; she seems to read everything, and then provides links in such a way that they provide a kind of commentary through juxtaposition; she often creates an essay just through her placement of a series of links. Every now and then she gives us the pleasure of a longer piece and we're reminded again what a fine writer she herself is, how good at making passionate, moral arguments. She takes on the Eason Jordan debacle, and you should go and read it asap. Jeanne of Body & Soul calls it the last word on the subject; actually, I hope not, because I'm hoping to post an analysis later today of how the right created their own blog swarm on the subject, so check back if that interests you. But don't miss Avedon's take, which you can find here.

Someone who early on figured out that the right was gonig for another media scalp was Jude Nagurney Camwell at "Iddybud;" she'll be making an appearance in my own post, but she has all kinds of good stuff up about Eason and Jordan and lots else, so if you haven't made the trip to her blog, or you missed her posts at The American Street, do yourself a favor and pay her a visit.

Another of my favorite bloggers is Jerome Doolittle, the founding spirit behind "Bad Attitudes." There is always so much there to link to, but I'll pick out a particularly interesting post Jerry has up about rural angst. He also recommends one of my favorite writers, Russell Banks, whose novel "Affliction," deals with the same subject. (Quite a good movie was made from it; I agree with Jerry both are worth your attention, but keep your Zoloft handy) One of the things I love about Banks, he writes about working folks. If you've never read "Continental Drift," put it on your "to read" list.

If you missed last night's "The Daily Show," commence kicking yourself, or try and find it online. Steven Colbert did bloggers vs the media, and neither will ever be the same again.

Well, now that should keep you busy, while I continue my struggles with the dreaded Blogger.

And our friends are all aboard... 

Many more of them, live next door. And the band, begins to play...

Frank Rich (login not required):
When the Bush administration isn't using taxpayers' money to buy its own fake news, it does everything it can to shut out and pillory real reporters who might tell Americans what is happening in what is, at least in theory, their own government. Paul Farhi of The Washington Post discovered that even at an inaugural ball he was assigned "minders" - attractive women who wouldn't give him their full names - to let the revelers know that Big Brother was watching should they be tempted to say anything remotely off message.

The inability of real journalists to penetrate this White House is not all the White House's fault. The errors of real news organizations have played perfectly into the administration's insidious efforts to blur the boundaries between the fake and the real and thereby demolish the whole notion that there could possibly be an objective and accurate free press. Conservatives, who supposedly deplore post-modernism, are now welcoming in a brave new world in which it's a given that there can be no empirical reality in news, only the reality you want to hear (or they want you to hear). The frequent fecklessness of the Beltway gang does little to penetrate this Washington smokescreen.


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Goodnight, moon 

Then again, I suppose if Jesus can sit down to dinner with prostitutes, Bush can field questions from one. So what's the issue here? Of course, Jesus sat down to dinner with tax collectors, too, and that's a whole other thing, but, like the man said, that was a long time ago, and we'll hope it wasn't true.

Ed Schultz: Talk radio on the side of the angels 

Interesting story in (again, of all places) MSNBC:

Ed Schultz comes from Bush country and looks like it. At 6 feet 2 and 250 pounds, his idea of the good life is eating wings, fishing for walleye and watching football on TV. He passionately defends his right to own a gun, eat a steak and drive a Suburban. He loves his nation, his wife and his son, who plays golf for Texas Christian. He's the kind of guy the president might grab in a rope line, give a fake jab to the gut and call by his nickname, "Big Eddie," just like a friend.

But Schultz doesn't want to be George W. Bush's buddy. For three hours every day he rails against Bush on his nationally syndicated radio show from Fargo, N.D., calling the administration "government by the rich, for the rich" and Bush's policies an "axis of bankruptcy." The White House is listening. When Bush came to Fargo this month, Schultz's producer was barred from attending the event (the White House blamed local officials). "Is this what the president thinks of us folks in the heartland?" Schultz asked his listeners. "He's afraid!"

Damn straight.

Schultz isn't interested in just preaching to the converted. He wants to do something even more ambitious: save souls behind conservative lines. So far, he's had tremendous success. He's been sitting behind a mike in Fargo for 20 years, but during the past 12 months he's gone national in a big way. Schultz has the fastest growing radio show since Rush Limbaugh's—81 markets and counting. He can be heard inside Republican fortresses like Waco, Texas, and Phoenix, Ariz. His syndicator, Jones Radio Networks, says he'll be on the air in 150 to 200 markets by the end of this year.

Schultz's secret is to borrow liberally from the Limbaugh playbook of exaggeration and simplification. When Democrats fretted that Bush was secretly plotting against Iran, Schultz pounded away at the White House, breathlessly telling listeners, "This is the kind of stuff that happened back in the 1930s in Germany."

Damn straight. And it's very very interesting that this message is playing well in the heartland. Seems like the Beltway Dems, as so often, are the last to know.

But who will replace "Jeff Gannon"? 

Not in our hearts, of course, but as Scott "Sucka MC" McClellan's lifeline? Here's a letter from one applicant:

Dear Mr. McClellan:

I am writing you in regard to the now-vacant position of White House press corps plant.

To give you an idea of my own abilities, I have put together a few sample press conference questions for your consideration:

Mr. President, at this point in your tenure you have not made a single wrong decision. Do you find it difficult to work with this kind of incredible record, or is perfection something you get used to over time?

Mr. President, now that Iraq has held free elections, your policy has been proven to be correct and democracy is on the march in the Middle East, how do you respond to those who are calling you the greatest American since FDR?

I think this applicant has a bright future in the malAdministration....

Readers, can you help him out with more questions for Scotty?

Rapture index closes down 1 on drought 


What they mean is that a drought ended—Arizona got some rain.

See, for these loons, worse is better: The worse off the world gets, the more likely the End Times are here!

Which explains a lot about the malAdministration, if you think about it...

Soldiers of (Ill) Fortune 

Lisa Myers over at MSNBC (yeah, I know), tells of more rumblings of discontent:

There are new allegations that heavily armed private security contractors in Iraq are brutalizing Iraqi civilians. In an exclusive interview, four former security contractors told NBC News that they watched as innocent Iraqi civilians were fired upon, and one crushed by a truck. The contractors worked for an American company paid by U.S. taxpayers. The Army is looking into the allegations.

The four men are all retired military veterans: Capt. Bill Craun, Army Rangers; Sgt. Jim Errante, military police; Cpl. Ernest Colling, U.S. Army; and Will Hough, U.S. Marines. All went to Iraq months ago as private security contractors.

"I went there for the money," says Hough.

"I'm a patriot," says Craun.

"You can't turn off being a soldier," says Colling.

They worked for an American company named Custer Battles, hired by the Pentagon to conduct dangerous missions guarding supply convoys. They were so upset by what they saw, three quit after only one or two missions.

"What we saw, I know the American population wouldn't stand for," says Craun.

Or would they? The other day I saw a pickup truck with a handpainted sign on the back bumper, underneath all of the God Bless America and United We Stand and W stickers that said “Annihilation, not Negotiation.” Thankfully, the truck was parked and I didn’t meet the owner and decorator.

Somehow, though, I don’t think most Americans would accept what these mercenaries are doing with their money. And the boulder keeps getting heavier.

Mercs who can’t even stomach what they see our tax dollars doing. And part of the billions that aWol is asking for will pay for more. Is the public willfully blind? What’s next? Peace and justice seem so very far away...

How much is that puppy in the window? 

And why is that tune going through my head...

Anyhow, help name Sean Hannity's new puppy here!

My suggestion would be "Rick," but that might not be fair to the puppy...

Bush: Soak the rich! 

Inerrant Boy must be getting desperate. He's actually opening the door to progressive taxation:

President Bush is not ruling out raising taxes on people who earn more than $90,000 as a way to help fix Social Security's finances.
(via AP)

Splendid. And deep down in the story we read:

If Congress did nothing but lift the cap entirely and therefore subjected all wages to the tax, Social Security would be financially balanced for 75 years, though the system would again face trouble after that, according to one economic analysis.

So, that's that, eh?

However, it's important that the Dems give Bush nothing on this issue. Since the only "responsible" course is to get these guys out of power as soon as possible.

But wait a minute. Since THERE IS NO SOCIAL SECURITY PROBLEM TO "FIX", why not put progressive taxation back in place for other purposes? As Dean advocated during the primaries, we could fix the deficit and move toward universal health insurance. What's not to like?

Gaslight watch: More extremely non-political terror alerts 

The "Jeff Gannon" fiasco must be getting to them. So they've turned to The Department of Changing The Subject for guidance:

Speaking with one voice....


... President Bush's top intelligence and military officials said Wednesday that terrorists are regrouping for possible new strikes against the United States.

Grim at times, the appraisals on threats to the United States indicated the second Bush term would remain fraught with warnings but often short on specifics shared with the public.

During the presidential campaign last year, the Bush-Cheney team often warned vaguely of terror threats.

But "it isn't over. It's going to take a while," Rumsfeld said. "It is a very serious business we're in."
(via AP)

Right. Hauling of bricks of greenbacks in paper sacks is certainly serious. I mean, it would be serious to me?

Incidentally, this is as close as I've seen routine reporting calling bullshit on the extremely non-political terror alerts. More like this, please.

UPDATE Our friend Howie the Whore has this to say:

White House spokesman Scott McClellan told the trade publication Editor & Publisher that he didn't know Gannon was using a pseudonym until recent weeks and that he was cleared into the White House on a daily basis using his real name. "People use aliases all the time in life, from journalists to actors," McClellan said. He said he has discussed the Gannon matter only "briefly" with [Bush]
(via WaPo)

Well, I'm sure a brief discussion was all that was needed...

"Jeff" vs. Monica All-Star Celebrity Death Cage Match 

Summing things up:

 "Jeff Gannon"Monica
White House passYesYes
Republican "Paid Policy Advocate"YesNo
Contact with President PublicPrivate
Used real nameNoYes
Softball questionsYesProbably
Funded by Texas RepublicansYesNo
Access to classified documentsYesNo
$27,000 owed in back taxesYesNo
Professional escortYesNo
Wore thongNot yet knownYes
Wall-to-wall media coverageNoYes
Length of time family's privacy invadedOne dayTwo years
It's not the sex, it's the lyingNot yet knownOh, please
President's PartyRepublicanDemocratic

Just to be helpful, I've highlighted the part that the wingers, and the LRWM, just don't seem to want to talk about.

I wonder why? I mean, it couldn't be that Gannon has something on someone in the White House, would it? Something about one of his clients from his life as an escort?

Something that reflects very badly on the party that's upholding the sanctity of (not gay) marriage?

I'd say it's Gannon winning easily, but what do I know?

WPS [draft] 

Winger Projection Syndrome. The tendency, shared by all wingers, to project their own thoughts, motivations, desires, and feelings, which they cannot admit to themselves, onto others. In psychology, a defense mechanism. Anticipated in the Christian Gospel: "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" (Matthew 7:3 KJV)Originated here here.

Usage example: "Sean Hannity titled his book Deliver Us From Evil. That's a fine example of WPS in action."

NOTE Alert readers, how's this one?

Torque [draft] 

Noun. A winger's interpretation of facts or events. Distinguished from spin by intensity, focus, and uncannily simultaneous appearance in multiple media outlets. Introduced here.

Usage examples: "Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer on torque radio." "Bill O'Reilly is a torque-ing head."

NOTE Alert readers: How's this?

Blogger's massive suckitude 

Wow! A post!

A new trick! In the dashboard, click the name of the blog to log into very fast, very often. That seems to get their attention.

OK, off to look for the names of some Google executives. Got any, alert readers?

Right after I push the [cough] "Publish Post" button. And wait, and wait, and wait...

Custer & Battles off-shore shams and bags full of boodle 

Further background and details on Custer Battles (see earlier HERE or scroll down a couple of posts)

Chris Floyd, writing for the The Moscow Times, has more on Scott and Mikes "plucky" Iraqi adventures and, as they say, compelling life stories:
Global Eye | Dream Team
By Chris Floyd
Published: October 15, 2004

It's another story of the American Dream come true, the kind you see every day in George Bush's blessed realm. All the usual inspiring elements are there: a couple of plucky kids starting a business with nothing but hustle and a whole lotta heart; a few lucky breaks crowned with big-time success; a duffel bag stuffed with millions in cash from a war-zone slush fund; a father and son held hostage at gunpoint to block a corruption probe, then dumped in hostile territory with no papers, no money, no protection.

Yes, it's the story of Custer Battles LLC., a mercenary firm run by two former covert operators and Bushist Party bagmen who sharked up more than $40 million in the usual no-bid conquistador contracts from the rape of Iraq – and may have skimmed an extra $50 million in fraudulent cream, the Los Angeles Times reports.


Could it be our plucky lads were actually playing with loaded dice? That merit and moxie aren't all you need to make it big in Bushland and its various vassal states? No doubt everything will be made clear when Mike finally finishes the book he's been touting on the company website – a title that captures the very pith and marrow of the whole Bushist enterprise: Blood in the Streets: Seizing Opportunity in Crises.

Yeah. Right. Leave no bloody opportunity unseized.

Article also mirrored via Information Clearinghouse
See: Bushist Party bagmen...

Chris Floyd is a contributor to The Nation and Counterpunch, among others, and the author of: Empire Burlesque: The Secret History of the Bush Regime See: or click here.

More on Custer Battles can be found here: See - "Iraq Contractor Claims Immunity From Fraud Laws - Seized Oil Assets Paid For Offshore Overbilling" - by David Phinney, Special to CorpWatch, December 23rd, 2004 ~


Blogger's massive suckitude 

So I fire off a scorched earth email to Blogger [cough] support, wherein I list the simple steps I take to actually post to blogger:

1. Clear the cookies
2. Flush the cache
3. Repair the connection (under Windoze)

and if need be:

4. Reboot

Then, if I'm lucky, I get past the dashboard and actually post. Then repeat the cycle.

Snarl. Enough is enough. I'm off to draw up the plans for renovating The Mighty Corrente Building.

Oh, and the problem cleared up right after I posted at Atrios's morning thread wondering if anyone else was having the problem. But I'm sure that's just coincidence.

Custer Battles: security personel shooting unarmed civilians? 

Custer Battles of McLean Virginia: Founders Scott Custer (former Army Ranger, defense consultant) and Michael Battles (former CIA and Republican congressional candidate, Rhode Island, 2002).

U.S. contractors in Iraq allege abuses - Four men say they witnessed shooting of unarmed civilians: MSNBC

There are new allegations that heavily armed private security contractors in Iraq are brutalizing Iraqi civilians. In an exclusive interview, four former security contractors told NBC News that they watched as innocent Iraqi civilians were fired upon, and one crushed by a truck. The contractors worked for an American company paid by U.S. taxpayers.


They worked for an American company named Custer Battles, hired by the Pentagon to conduct dangerous missions guarding supply convoys. They were so upset by what they saw, three quit after only one or two missions.

"What we saw, I know the American population wouldn't stand for," says Craun.

They claim heavily armed security operators on Custer Battles' missions — among them poorly trained young Kurds, who have historical resentments against other Iraqis — terrorized civilians, shooting indiscriminately as they ran for cover, smashing into and shooting up cars.

On a mission on Nov. 8, escorting ammunition and equipment for the Iraqi army, they claim a Kurd guarding the convoy allegedly shot into a passenger car to clear a traffic jam.

"[He] sighted down his AK-47 and started firing," says Colling. "It went through the window. As far as I could see, it hit a passenger. And they didn't even know we were there."

Later, the convoy came upon two teenagers by the road. One allegedly was gunned down.

"The rear gunner in my vehicle shot him," says Colling. "Unarmed, walking kids."


Custer Battles claims all these men are "disgruntled" former employees, who believe the company still owes them money. It says Hough was fired and that Craun once confided to a colleague that he knew the company didn't really kill any children.

So why are these men going public with these allegations now? They say because they care about American soldiers and about winning the war.

"If we continue to let this happen, those people will hate us even more than they already do," says Craun.

And they say that only makes Iraq more dangerous for American soldiers.

And, speaking of fake journalism, Battles is also a Fox News commentator. See Contractor accused of fraud in Iraq (LA Times article via Seattle Times)


Donate to Wampum rescue fund 

Click through to donate via Sisyphus Shrugged:
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Bernard Weiner reveals the contents of national planning documents unearthed during an archeological excavation in Washington DC in 2063. As I sit here now, on a warm sandy white beach, reading the Party Directive Daily under the rustling palms, on the shores of Lake Huron, with my animatronic CableNews anchor fuck-doll covenant wife (with mandatory reproductive capabilities fully enabled as required by clerical law) and my private GOP trained secuity personel guarding our privleged perimeter, I think back to those good old early days of blogging and political warfare and the throngs of orphans, homosexuals, small family farmers, Howard Dean Green Mountain Militias, public school teachers, former middle class Americans, treehuggers, post mortem hippies, Duncan Black Panthers, snookered senior citizens, "liberals" (et al) and so forth, and so forth, and so forth... who would ultimately perish in the blackened oily lake-sea before me in an attempt to escape across the waters to socialist tyranny in what used to be called Canada. Or whatever it was called.

Years before Canada, or whatever it was called, was assimilated into the ConFederated National Security State Complex of Private Corporate Military Industrail Nations and Affiliated ReConstructed Christian Religious Institutions (CFNSSCPCMINARCRI). Too bad about Canada, or whatever it was called. Heh. Indeed. Sigh. Anyway, Bernard Weiner has posted some interesting "historical" trivia related to that period which you might be interested in reading. I posted an excerpt below. Me, I'm glad I finally grew up and started behaving like an adult, or whatever you want to call it. Anyway, I don't really want to think back on those days. Yech. But you might want to.

Honey, smoochie, hey!, stupid! Want to sneak back to the fully leveraged ownership bungalow and do that thing with the loofah - Honey? heh heh heh... [pre-programmed robotic affirmation] --- Well, anyway, Honey's not to dangerously resouceful, but she knows a good time when her intuitive capablities are fully enabled as restricted by clerical law. Heh, Indeed. Sigh. Whatever.

Oh yeah...from Bernard Weiner at Crisis Papers:
We therefore need to re-pledge our fealty, and a large portion of our financial assets and energies, to the following goals:

1. Consolidating our control of the mass media.

2. Increasing our control of the Congress.

3. Making more inroads into controlling the Courts.

4. Keeping control of the White House.

5. Rolling back the socialist programs from the FDR and LBJ days.

6. Tightening up our education reforms.

7. Strengthening our electoral base.

8. Increasing our redistribution of wealth upwards.

9. Further weakening of, and ultimately destroying, the Democrat party.

You can read the rest of these "historical" documents via Crisis Papers. If you have time: See Secret Rightwing Agenda Unearthed

Honey! Honey! Damnit. The Bozells will be here for FOXTV-dinner any minute. Please change your batteries, slip into something conservative, and stop fussing with your internal i-Pod!


Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Koufax awards in trouble 

Alert reader Julia informs us, via email:

I just talked to MB - they didn't get enough to cover server costs and
their ISP pulled the plug.

Sure enough, they're down.

I don't even have their address, to direct some turkee their way. Readers?

Hidden Costs Pop Up 

And now we hear that the “supplemental” war budget request includes items Bushco didn’t want to put in the overall defense budget. Why? Duh. So it would seem that military spending is less than it really is. According to the Chicago Tribune,

But the White House attached its extra spending request to a measure that is labeled "Funding for the War on Terror." Among the extras is $5.3 billion to pay for a restructuring of the Army and, to a lesser degree, the Marine Corps. The administration chose to not include those items in the $419.3 billion defense budget for 2006 that Bush submitted to Congress last week.

That omission has raised bipartisan concerns among members of Congress, who criticized the president for using the supplemental request to further bolster an already escalating defense budget, and to fund programs that are unrelated to military operations.

You’ll be glad to hear that Kerry backs this spending. Why would he? Well, he says “we’re in a different situation” than the last time he voted against war spending. No “bipartisan concerns” from JFK, nope. And just when I thought he was spining up.

We gotta build this party from the ground up, folks… or I am I being unreasonable, here?

Alpo's GOOD for You! But We Knew That. 

Impact Press’ Chris Hartman did a very good job on Alpo Accounts back in ‘02. It’s dated, but this taste will show you why it’s still good:

…To satisfy their shareholders, companies must make bigger and bigger profits each year. One way companies do that is to take customers away from their competitors. For companies in the retirement account business, their biggest competitor by far is Social Security. If Social Security were dismantled, mutual fund firms could collect management fees on 300 million individual retirement accounts, a massive boost to market share and a staggering profit potential. So it makes sense that the Fidelitys, Prudentials, and Morgan Stanleys of the world would be working overtime to take customers away from Social Security.

But there's a problem. Social Security is not optional. Potential customers couldn't take their Social Security taxes and give them to Wall Street firms, even if they wanted to. Before the bankers and brokers can convince Social Security's customers to make a consumer choice -- to pick their mutual fund -- they have to get them to make a political choice. They have to get those customers, millions of Americans, to agree to the abolition of Social Security.

But that will require some persuasion. So the Wall Street firms are relying on an advertising concept called the Unique Selling Proposition, that special something that makes a given product unique or better than all the alternatives: Gillette Mach III razors provide the closest shave; Michelin tires provide the safest ride for cars carrying small infants; the best part of waking up is Folger's in your cup….

The whole thing’s at: IMPACT Press: Article: "Four Lies About Social Security" -- Feb.-Mar. '02

This is of course, the whole soft-sell approach now being used. Oh, heavens no. We aren’t going to abolish Social Security. My goodness, no. We’re going to SAVE it. Sillies.

We knew this was coming. So let’s not act surprised, eh? Why didn’t it come in ’03? Well, duh. Because of ’04. Hope you 51% is mighty satisfied.

When they say "the economy" they don't mean your economy 

The economists are at it again:

The U.S. economy grew at a brisk 4.4% clip last year, but it was not until last month that the number of jobs recovered to the levels of early 2001. The Labor Department pegs the unemployment rate at 5.2%, the lowest in four years, but the share of people who have stopped hunting for work is the largest it has been since 1988. Today's job growth is more than twice as slow as it was after the 1990-91 recession, and slower than during any recovery since World War II, analysts say.

The discrepancy is fueling a growing debate about whether such low employment growth is a harbinger of a world in which businesses can rake in increasing profits without much of it trickling down to workers.
(via LA Times)

So, does it really matter to me if "the economy" is doing well, when I can't find a job? "The economy" doesn't pay my rent!

52 (fifty-two) of 105 (one hundred and five) pre-9/11 PDBs mentioned AQ 

The LA Times puts this astonishing figure in context:

The warnings provided by intelligence agencies to the FAA were far clearer and more specific than suggested by Condoleezza Rice's testimony before the 9/11 commission when she reluctantly conceded the existence of a presidential briefing that warned of impending Al Qaeda attacks. Rice had dismissed those warnings as "historical," but according to the newly released section of the 9/11 report, an astonishing 52 of the 105 daily intelligence briefings received by the FAA — and available to Rice — before the Sept. 11 attacks made specific reference to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
(via LA Times)

And Clarke couldn't even get a meeting with Condi for a solid year.

You know, people generally get promoted because they do what the boss wants.

And Condi just got promoted.

I'm starting to come round to the conclusion—tinfoil hat territory though it may be—that Bush knew something like 9/11 was bound to happen, and let it happen. It's the old rule: Never give Bush the benefit of the doubt, because the reality is always much worse than you could possibly imagine.

After all, cui bono?

Your Morning Wanker Report 

Uh...Why do wealthy Beltway corporate media shills tend to under perform in journalistic settings even when those Beltway corporate media shills come from affluent elitist Beltway cocktail party settings?

Case study: Jeff Greenfield, your daily wanker specimen -- via Atrios

Somewhere there must be a study that examines the question of why pasty faced shrivel-dicked late middle aged cable television "news" wankers with bad toupees and stuffed with shrimp cocktails are most likely to succede as media gasbags. One would think.


Ambassador Plum bumped off on the loading dock 

Boo-hoo. Poor put-upon Duane just can't get no respect:
Donor Was Promised Ambassadorship

By SHARON THEIMER, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - A big Republican donor goes to his governor and senator, saying he was told by President Bush's chief fund-raiser he'd be getting a plum ambassadorial appointment but it wasn't delivered. The senator takes his case right to the top of the White House.

Nothing happens for two years.

The donor then helps stage a fund-raiser for Bush. A week later, the donor lands an appointment as the chairman of the federal board overseeing billions of dollars of student loans.

The aggressive job campaign of businessman Duane Acklie — detailed in the Nebraska gubernatorial files of new Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns — provides a rare window into donors, their access and their rewards.

And there's a twist.

Acklie named names — including chief fund-raiser Jack Oliver — and committed to writing one of the unwritten rules of politics: Presidents for years have rewarded big donors with plum ambassadorships.

"My only interest, if I am going to serve, would be in serving as an ambassador or in a position involving trade," Acklie wrote in a May 2001 "Dear Mike" letter to then-Gov. Johanns. The letter was contained in the official gubernatorial correspondence obtained by The Associated Press under Nebraska's open records law.

"Jack Oliver told me several weeks ago that he was informed that I would not receive one of the eight major ambassadorships but would be receiving an ambassadorship," Acklie wrote.

The owner of Crete Carrier Corp., a major trucking company, even wondered aloud why he hadn't yet landed an ambassadorship when other Republicans who helped elect Bush in 2000 had already gotten theirs.

"Most of the appointments have been made. That is perfectly OK, and if others have done more work for the party, are better qualified or have helped the Bush team more, I certainly understand," Acklie wrote. "I don't understand why I haven't heard a single thing after Jack Oliver's comment to me."

Acklie and Oliver both declined to be interviewed for this story.

Johanns' office said the new agriculture secretary may have tried to help Acklie with the White House but couldn't recall for sure. Johanns considers Acklie a "fine person" and would have no problem endorsing him, Agriculture Department spokeswoman Alisa Harrison said.

Oh my, bootlicking Partei patronage just ain't the goosestep cakewalk it's dolled up to be. What will we tell the children at the Heritage Foundation!


Things get ugly at the Westminister Dog Show 

Nooooo, not really.
Virginia Woman Sentenced to Two Days in Jail in Dog-on-Dog Cannibalism Case - Associated Press

Although I'm sure Rick Santorum and Dinesh D'Souza and Joe Scarborough will figure out some way to conflate Howard Dean's DNC chairmanship with this tasty item.


Howie and Wolf go all bitchy on us... 

A little commentary from "Joe in DC" which bears repeating. Via Americablog

A couple more thoughts on Gannon/Guckert

There has been some brilliant writing today on Americablog. Kudos to John for his excellent work. The other bloggers have also laid out key issues. I just wanted to say the things that are on my mind:

First, from talking to friends and family, I get the sense that there is some hesitancy about what appeared here today. Granted, some of the web sites and pictures people are looking at is pretty shocking. But, rest assured, to comment on what Gannon/Gucker has done isn't homophobic. This isn't about the gay issues. So, when you get over the initial shock, focus on the real issues.

Second, this shows the absolute disdain the right wingers have for the allegedly mainstream media. Gannon/Guckert/Talon/GOP USA did this right in front of the White House press corps. Gannon used the media last week to create a sob story...those means bloggers are picking on me. He had no compunction about appearing with Wolf Blitzer and denying anything sordid. He thought there were no ramifications. And Howie Kurtz...could he have had any more misplaced sanctimony?

This guy played the media -- including Wolf and Howie -- for fools. And they let him.

Yup. And that goes for those easily hoodwinked clowns at CNN's Daybreak too.


Howard Dean's Battlewagon 

Paul Krugman (login not required):
February 15, 2005/NYTimes

The Republicans know the America they want, and they are not afraid to use any means to get there," Howard Dean said in accepting the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee. "But there is something that this administration and the Republican Party are very afraid of. It is that we may actually begin fighting for what we believe."

Those words tell us what the selection of Mr. Dean means. It doesn't represent a turn to the left: Mr. Dean is squarely in the center of his party on issues like health care and national defense. Instead, Mr. Dean's political rejuvenation reflects the new ascendancy within the party of fighting moderates, the Democrats who believe that they must defend their principles aggressively against the right-wing radicals who have taken over Congress and the White House.

And while I'm at it; here's a suggestion for the cloistered prophets at the New York Times: drive Bobolink Brooks over to New Jersey, tie Judith Miller around his neck, and fling em both off a jetty into Sandy Hook Bay. Ok? Good idea? I don't know you, you don't know me, we didn't hear anything about it around here. Just sayin'.

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Corrente Poll #003 Results 

Poll closed just after midnight Feb 15, 2005.

[Question] Which classic childrens book had the most impact on you as a youngster:
430 total votes cast and counted.

9: Cinderellaism 1% - 5 votes
I know, I'm not sure what Cinderellaism is either. But at least 5 people have some idea. Enjoy the magic pumpkin ride to the dance.

8: Good Night Reverend Moon 3% - 15 votes

7: Mr Toads Wild Three County Ride 4% - 18 votes
Not as many of you rode the school bus as I would have guessed.

6: Little House On The Survellience Video 7% - 30 votes
I'd like to thank my friends from redacted for voting.

5: Oh No - Pioneers! (Native American Folklore) 9% - 37 votes
I'd like to thank real Americans everywhere for voting.

4: Charlie And The Restructuring Of The Chocolate Factory 9% - 38 votes
This one surprised me a little. I thought it might do a little better. I guess most of you escaped childhood prior to the wrath of Al Chainsaw Dunlap.

3: The Nancy Drew Book Of Sealed Indictments 10% - 43 votes
Please leave my friends in the survellience video alone.

2: James And The Giant Penis 12% - 52 votes
I'd like to thank James Jeff-Gannon "the White House Porn Cannon" Guckert for visiting Corrente 52 times over the last 3 weeks.

And the winner is ~ Sex and Drugs!
Splitting 192 total votes:

#1- TIE: The Adventures Of Pippi’s Long Sheer Smooth Silky Stockings - 22% - 96 votes

#1- TIE: Meth Lab At Pooh Corner - 22% - 96 votes

What are you people? Bikers? Maybe... lezzbean bikers?


Monday, February 14, 2005


How ironic is it that the NYT*, which prints an unending stream of bullshit which they misrepresent as "news," is still edited by such a prissy pack of pantywaists that they will not allow the word "bullshit" to be printed in their pristine pages?

This fact forced the reviewer/interviewer, Peter Edidin, to some rather convoluted, not to mention flat out silly, usages to write this piece. Read it anyway, because the distinction made here between "liars" and "bullshitters" is invaluable for our current battle:
Harry G. Frankfurt, 76, is a moral philosopher of international reputation and a professor emeritus at Princeton. He is also the author of a book recently published by the Princeton University Press that is the first in the publishing house's distinguished history to carry a title most newspapers, including this one, would find unfit to print. The work is called "On Bull - - - - ."

The opening paragraph of the 67-page essay is a model of reason and composition, repeatedly disrupted by that single obscenity:
Blah blah blah. See what I mean about convoluted writing? Anyway, here's the money quote:

What is [bull], after all?... Those who produce it certainly aren't honest, but neither are they liars, given that the liar and the honest man are linked in their common, if not identical, regard for the truth.

"It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth," Mr. Frankfurt writes. "A person who lies is thereby responding to the truth, and he is to that extent respectful of it."

The bull artist, on the other hand, cares nothing for truth or falsehood. The only thing that matters to him is "getting away with what he says," Mr. Frankfurt writes.
Sound like anybody we know?
An advertiser or a politician or talk show host given to [bull] "does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it," he writes. "He pays no attention to it at all."

And this makes him, Mr. Frankfurt says, potentially more harmful than any liar, because any culture and he means this culture rife with [bull] is one in danger of rejecting "the possibility of knowing how things truly are." It follows that any form of political argument or intellectual analysis or commercial appeal is only as legitimate, and true, as it is persuasive. There is no other court of appeal.

The reader is left to imagine a culture in which institutions, leaders, events, ethics feel improvised and lacking in substance.
Turns out the essay on which this book is based was written in 1986. I'm sure glad it's getting more attention now, but we could have used it these last few years to explain to people why, how, and with what they were Being Had.

*Sorry the link is to the regular site, I keep meaning to ask the farmer to tell me how he does those RSS thingies but keep forgetting. I blame February.

Goodnight, moon 

The amazing thing... Well, one of the amazing things about L'Affaire Gannon is that for a long time we called people like O'Reilly or Cokie Roberts media whores. Snarky, but metaphorical.

Then, with Armstrong Williams, we discovered that the media whores really were whores—though only in the media.

And now, with Jeff Gannon, we discover that not only are the media whores media whores, but they're whores.

With White House access.

Of course, the unfortunate thing about Jeff Gannon's chosen profession is that it undermines the sanctity of gay marriage.

Loathe, Actually 

That's how I felt about the British comedy, "Love, Actually." Cheap cuteness, facile sentiment, false sensibility, a tepid, tittering comedy that's in love with its own heart of steel and wants to make your flesh quiver with delight at your and its good intentions, and have I mentioned yet the colossal waste of major talents like Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Liam Neesam, Laura Linney, Colin Firth.

If you're asking yourself, why on earth is she going on about a year old movie, not only do I understand, I'm not sure I can make clear to anyone else the connection that exists in my own mind between my feelings about the film and my feelings about the on-going discussion on the left of values, morality, religion, passion, narrative, framing, re-centering, defining core beliefs, most of which can be subsummed under the general heading of "what's wrong with liberals, the Democratic Party, and "the left" and why is it continuing to lose so much ground to the right?" (For an entirely worthy example of the genre, see Xan's recent post on Dionne on Edwards HERE)

No, I don't loathe the discussion. Although it feels like it has been going on for decades, alas, it's still a necessary discussion, and I've been meaning to enter the fray. I do loathe some of what's getting said, which I often find confused, confusing, facile, smug, wasteful, bristling with false sentiments, preening with self-righteous moralism, or, often on the other ideological side, with attacks on ideological purity maintained at the expense of winning elections. Let me state my own prejudice immediately. Winning elections, always a good thing to be doing.

At this point, let me make clear that I loathe the right and what it has come to be and stand for to a degree far above any such emotion aimed at fellow progressives. But even aimed at the right, loathe is a heavy word, and as dangerous an emotion as is hatred, so easy is it to become what you loathe or hate, not that the copious employment of both emotions has seemed to put much of a dent in the right's ability to dominate this country's politics. Perhaps that's because the right is less self-critical than the left, and less likely, IRONY OF IRONIES, to engage in soul-searching. I supppose the current rightwing might counter, why should we; our telling political success is sufficient proof of the rightness of our dominion. To which I say, not so fast.

Most modern Americn conservatives, and certainly all neo-cons would have as much difficulty understanding what E.M. Forster meant when he wrote, "the inner life pays," as Mr. Wilson did in "Howard's End." I was a teenager when I first read that novel and those words. I took them to heart. I'll admit I've had occasion, since then, to feel that Forster might have added, "not all that well," but I still believe them and what they imply, not only that the inner life, conscience, self-awareness, compassion, empathy are admirable traits, that they are traits as necessary and as practical to living a human life as is food to maintain the body or a decent living is to maintain a family, and that an inner life must connect with an outer world for either to be meaningful.

Forster was the very essence of the mild-mannered liberal, but for all the apparent delicacy and ubanity of his belief in the primacy of personal relationships, of tolerance, in an "aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate, and the plucky," there is a hard, unyielding tough-mindedness in those last two novels, "Howard's End," and "A Passage To India," in his two but not three cheers for democracy, (because it admits diversity and allows criticism), his refusal of both despair and optimism, his belief that while "the human experiement on earth cannot be dismissed as a failure, it may well be hailed as tragedy," that present-day liberals, progressives, Democrats and leftists could learn from, as they scrape back to find the shape of their core beliefs.

What brought all this on was reading yet another helpful hint for Democrats in the virtual pages of The New Republic, by one Kenneth Baer, who is billed thusly, "former Senior Speechwriter to Vice President Al Gore and author of Reinventing Democrats: The Politics of Liberalism from Reagan to Clinton, runs Baer Communications, a Democratic consulting firm." His title suggests his premise: The Case Against Democratic Unity, United We Fall, argues that all the calls for Democratic unity, now that Dean has been annointed Chairman of the DNC, are wrong-headed; what Democrats need is division, debate, not a papering over of ideological differences. No doubt I'm being unfair to Mr. Baer's arguments, but you know what? I don't give a damn if I am. Although not explictly anti-Dean, implicitely, and from my point of view, inexplicably, it is. But it was a mere throwaway comment that got me seething.
To be fair, there has been some back-and-forth since the election about the party's stances on social issues, from its discomfort with religion to its positions on abortion and gay rights. Jump-started by a dubious reading of exit-poll results that found "moral values" to be voters' top concern, this discussion, though important, ignores the most pressing and glaring deficiency in the Democratic Party today: its lack of a coherent stance on what America's role in the world should be.
I'll admit I may have already been seething before I read that bit, having just listened to Cookie Roberts explain on NPR why Dr. Dean is such a bad idea for the Democratic Party, especially so because so many prominent Democrats are trying to temper the party's position on abortion, which Cookie pronounced as extreme. Oh God, isn't it time for Cookie to retire, or can't we get NPR to offer someone to rebut her predictable slams against Democrats?

See, I talk to God, too. And I'm not the least bit uncomfortable with religion, even though I do not go to synagogue, do not keep kosher, and do not consider myself religiously observant. I have felt completely at home sitting in a Quaker meeting, through a Protestant service, a Catholic one, and one more than a few occasions, Pentecostal services, visting a Mosque, travelling in India with a group of Muslims from Bangladesh who prayed five times a day, and attending a Hindu puja, to mention but a few of my experiences of religion. John Kerry has been a believing, observant Catholic his whole life.I doubt that he's uncomfortable with religion, either. The civil rights movement was suffused with religion, and no one was uncomfortable about it. That, of course, is often cited to accuse the left of hypocrisy, that we welcome religion when it's convenient, reject it when the other side invokes it. Note there is nothing inevitable about that conclusion; why isn't our readiness to accept religious dialogue in the service of ideas in which we believe an indication that we're not uncomfortable with religion, only with religion that seeks a special place for its ideas because they happen to be held by a majority, as in "this is a Christian country?"

I'll tell you why it's never presented in that light. Because branding as anti-religious anyone who believes that the establishment clause in the first amendment means that government should be relatively free of specific religious practice has become a cudgel in the hands of the right wing in this country with which to beat liberal ideas over the head.

Could we get something else straight, please? No one on the left is saying that religion must be banished from the public square. Nor, if you haven't noticed, is it absent from that public square. Is Jerry Fallwell's church not part of the public square? Is Liberty Uniersity not part of the public square? Are the creches many churches display, or individual home owners, for that matter, at Christmas, not part of the public square?

What the rightwing does constantly is to conflate that tiny part of the public square where is located government with the whole of the public square. Judge Moore was free to plaster his car, his home, even himself, with any version of the ten commandments that pleased him. All of those things, his car, his home, he himself, are part of the public square. The only part of the public square that he did not have the right to decide needed a large statute with his favorite version of those ten commandments chiseled into it was a public courthouse where Americans of all religions, or the lack thereof, have a right to expect that they will be treated as equal before the law.

For heaven's sake, would it be all right with Joe Scarborough if a Muslim-American judge decided it would be a good idea to order up a giant invocation of some aspect of the Koran and have it placed in the central rotunda of a state courthouse? Because unless he's willing to sign off on that one, he can't defend Judge Moore. The right loves to remind us that the establishment clause guarantees the free practice of religion. Yes, it does, but it does so for all religions. If it was okay for Judge Moore to decide the courthouse needed the ten commandments displayed centrally, then it would be okay for a practicing Hindu who becomes an American judge to insist that his court join him in a hymn to Krishna. I am uncomfortable with all three of these examples of "the practice thereof." How is it possible for an ex-congressman to be comfortable with only one of these, the one that honors his religion.

Nor does any of this mean that the ten commandments are not part of the public square. They are. They appear on the building that houses the Supreme Court, along with, please note, other examples of law givers. No one I know on the left was uncomfortable when Bill Moyers devoted a full hour and a half to examining the power of the hymn, "Amazing Grace." No one I know was uncomfortable when he produced a series that consisted of discussions by intellectuals and writers from various religious traditions of the Book of Genesis. Ken Burns documentary about The Shakers is among my favorites.

The assumption in so much of this discussion is that if you don't follow a specific religious practice, you are not a believer. Well, I believe in all kinds of things that aren't material. I believe in the promise of America, I believe in the Constitution, I believe in the Bill of Rights, I believe in the Golden Rule, I believe in the human spirit, I believe that evolution is both a theory and a fact, I believe that suffering can be redemptive, but don't believe that that belief is any reason to inflict suffering on anyone. Oh hell, who cares what I believe. Fair enough. Just don't try and tell me what I believe, or how I'm supposed to feel about religion because I'm a Democrat, or a liberal, or Jewish, or believe in the separation of church and state. Why are there so few media voices asking Joe Scarborough, or Pat Buchanan, of Chris Matthews why the hell they don't seem to believe in separation of church and state?

And what, in heaven's name, is wrong with a certain amount of skepticism about belief itself. Are we really sure we want to repeal the entire Enlightment, from whence was born our founding fathers and our constitution? Imagine the fuss if anyone prominent today were to echo what E.M. Forester was unafraid to say when asked by the BBC, along with a lot of other prominent figures, to sketch out their thoughts on a war-time credo for the British people. Under the title, What I Believe, here, from what I am able to remember (can't find my copy of the book) here is at least some of what he said:
I do not believe in Belief. But this is an age of faith, and there are so many militant creeds around that in self-defense one has to formulate a creed of one's own. Tolerance, good temper and sympathy are no longer enough in a world which is rent by by religioius and racial persecution, in a world where ignorance rules, and science, who ought to have ruled, plays the subservient pimp. Tolerance, good temper and sympathy, they are what matter really, but for the time being they are not enough; they want stiffening, even if the process coarsens them. Faith, to my mind, is a stiffening process, a sort of mental starch, which ought to be applied sparingly. I dislike the stuff.. I do not believe in it for its own sake at all. Herein, I probably differ from most peole who do believe in Belief, and are only sorry that they can't swallow more of than they already do. My law-givers are Erasmus and Montaigne, not Moses and St. Paul. My temple stands not on Mount Moriah, but in that Elysian Field where even the immoral are admitted. My motto is: "Lord, I disbelieve, help thou my unbelief."
That was written in late 1939, when war with Germany was understood by anyone as bright as Forester to be inevitable.Despite his innate skepticism about belief, he manages in the rest of the essay to sketch a compelling version of a liberal credo. As I say, what's wrong with a little skepticism, what's wrong with invoking Erasmus or Montaigne? Maybe it won't play in Peroria, but that doesn't make it unAmerican, either. And frankly, I think a lot of the rest of the essay would play quite well in Kansas, if I could but find it to give further examples. What gets in the way of liberals being able to talk with Kansans, is all those liberals telling the good people of Kansas what jerks most liberals are.

Mr. Gannon's Profession 

You had to know that when the winger replicants all started whining in unison about the politics of personal destruction in L'affaire Gannon (back), that they were trying to change the subject as fast as ever they could.

And now we know why.


Personally, I have no problems with Mr. Gannon's career choices. Nor, I suspect, would our libertarian friends (the ones, that is, who also recognize the fascist character of the Bush state).

But I suspect even the most see-no-evil member of the base might have some problems. Or not. [TYPICAL BASE MEMBER: Must... stop... cognitive... dissonance...]

The Bush mandate [Caution: NOT WORK SAFE either]. How right, how very right, how righteously right, how even righter than we knew, how utterly maximal schadenfreude-ly right we were....

Once again, things turn out to be so much worse than we ever imagined.

Not that I'm gloating.

UPDATE And what a wonderful valentine for Scott "Sucker MC" McClellan!

Wal-Mart violates child labor laws in 3 states 

The great leap backwards continues...

via Fact-esque:
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer agreed to pay $135,540 to settle federal charges that it violated child labor laws in Connecticut, Arkansas and New Hampshire. As part of the agreement, revealed yesterday after it was secretly signed in January, the Labor Department agreed "to give Wal-Mart 15 days' notice before the Labor Department investigates any other 'wage and hour' accusations, like failure to pay minimum wage or overtime." ~ LINK

via Jordan Barab:
The violations involved workers under age 18 operating dangerous machinery, including cardboard balers and chain saws. In the agreement, Wal-Mart denied any wrongdoing, although the company agreed to pay the fine. ~ Nathan

via Nathan Newman:
The Montana state Senate is debating a bill to fight Wal-Mart's low wages. If passed, the law would impose a tax on gross retail receipts of any retailer doing more than $10 million per year in business. No tax would be owed, however, if they certified that all full-time workers were making at least $22,000 per year. ~ Doing Something About Wal-Mart


Sunday, February 13, 2005

Goodnight, moon 

Anyone else feel they're living in a Matrix episode? With winger replicants, like Agent Smith, everywhere?

Joe Hill's Not Here 

The "sacrifice" of that Canadian store did its job all right.

(via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
After a nearly five-year battle just to get a vote, the United Food and Commercial Workers union lost an election to represent 17 employees of the Tire and Lube Express unit of Wal-Mart's store in New Castle, Lawrence County.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer said it was pleased with the outcome and described the workers' rejection of the union as evidence that they didn't "feel that a third party would add anything to Wal-Mart's culture or environment."

The UFCW, however, blamed the outcome on Wal-Mart's decision two days earlier to close a newly unionized Canadian store after failing to reach a contract and on turnover at the New Castle outlet. The planned shutdown of the store in Jonquiere, Quebec -- the first unionized Wal-Mart in North America -- is expected to mean the loss of 190 jobs, according to Bloomberg News.

An election in New Castle originally scheduled in 2000 was canceled after the UFCW's Cleveland-based Local 880 complained to the National Labor Relations Board.

The union said the company had improved conditions for the workers, interrogated them about their union sympathies and moved workers in and out of the tire and lube department to dilute support. That complaint was settled last year in an unpublished ruling.

Last month, when the NLRB scheduled the second election, it was the only representation election pending at any of the 3,064 Wal-Mart stores nationwide.

Since then, another has been scheduled for Feb. 25 at the tire and lube department of a Wal-Mart in Loveland, Colo., a Wal-Mart spokeswoman said.
Is anybody here still buying anything at Mal-Wart that they can conceivably do without, or get elsewhere? I sure hope not, because somewhere, Joe Hill is watching...

News There, Just Not News Here 

The New York Not-in-Times has a big story on their front page about the Industrial Food biz desperately trying to find a new kind of fat to fry things in. They don't have this little item, oddly enough. It's in English, even. And not exactly gossip of dubious provenance; note who wrote the report. But one must have priorities:

(via Deccan (India) Herald)
Pakistan will be a “failed” state by 2015 as it would be affected by civil war, complete Talibanisation and struggle for control of its nuclear weapons, premier US intelligence agencies have said in an assessment report.

Forecasting a “Yugoslavia-like fate” for Pakistan, the US National Intelligence Council (NIC) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in a jointly prepared Global Futures Assessment Report have said “by year 2015 Pakistan would be a failed state, ripe with civil war, bloodshed, inter-provincial rivalries and a struggle for control of its nuclear weapons and complete Talibanisation.”

“Pakistan will not recover easily from decades of political and economic mismanagement, divisive policies, lawlessness, corruption and ethnic friction,” said the report quoted by former Pakistan High Commissioner to United Kingdom Wajid Shamsul Hasan in an article in the South Asia Tribune.

Titled ‘Will Pakistan Army invade Balochistan as per the NIC-CIA Plan,’ the former senior diplomat said “in the context of Balochistan, one would like to refer to the 2015 NIC report. It forecast a Yugoslavia-like fate for Pakistan.

“The military operation that has been put in motion there would further distance the Baloch people from rest of the country. That perhaps is the (NIC-CIA) Plan,” Mr Hasan said. “Nascent democratic reforms will produce little change,” he added.
Papers all over south Asia are carrying this. Here? Not so much...

Bush torture policies: Yet another curious incident shows the LRWM fix is in 

As we've been saying: Follow the bytes. 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."

Today, another "curious incident" at The World's Greatest Newspaper (not!). Raymond Bonner plays the silent watchdog. We'll leave out the details of why a "detainee" would "say" he was "tortured" (kudos to the headline writer for not using the euphemism "abuse"); we already know Bush rationalizes, and practices, the evil of torture. Rather, we'll focus on a few, um, loose ends. The kind of loose ends that, if anyone would tug them, would unravel the Emperor's clothes:

Detainee Says He Was Tortured While in U.S. Custody
[In Gitmo, tortured Australian citizen Mamdouh Habib] also said he was forced to look at photographs of his wife's face superimposed on images of naked women next to Osama bin Laden.
(via the non-barking Times)

PhotoShop work. Where's the server that data was stored on, and who had access to it? Where was the PhotoShop work done, and who did it? Will the LRWM follow the bytes?

Men in black masks came into the room. One had a still camera, the other a video camera. "They make picture of everything in my body," he said.

Where were the videos stored? Will the LRWM follow the bytes?

We already know that 100,000 photographs from Abu Ghraib were stored on a "secret server".

Funny, though. The Army was going to be finished looking through the 100,000 photos in December. You'd think we'd have heard about the results by now. But n-o-o-o-o!

Funny, though. Now the Times have the evidence that the same modus operandi used at Abu Ghraib used at Gitmo ("Handwriting of The Fog Machine") You'd think that the Times would make that connection. But n-o-o-o-o!

And funny, too, about that Bush's executive order OKing torture. You'd think the Times would think to ask whether the torture at Gitmo was (putatively) authorized under it. But n-o-o-o-o!

How curious these incidents are! What could be going on? Will the LRWM follow the bytes?

NOTE The master of the slightly stale conventional wisdom goes to Australia and puzzles over why Bush is not an easy export Down Under. Maybe Bush torturing Australian citizens could have something to do with it?

MBF Watch: The only thing we have to hate is fear itself 

How soon before "the haters" become "the enemy within"?

I'd give the boys and girls in and behind the Whited Sepulchre House oh, say, a year at the very outside to work this noxious little meme into the mainstream; after all, they'll need it for the mid-terms, whether Whack is down the tubes by then or not. Inerrant Boy before the usual cheering crowd of Those Who Have Sworn Fealty:

[BUSH] Let me tell you some of the lessons I learned as your President, some
of the lessons I learned about September the 11th. Lesson one is that we face an enemy that's cold-blooded, and they are haters. They believe in an ideology of hate. They -- they -- they stand for the exact opposite we stand for in America.
(via White House transcript)

Well, and who would those haters be? Could they possibly be.... Bush's opposition? Could it possibly be that Bush's opposition and the Iraqi insurgents and the terrorists are the same enemy? Of course not. They would never do that. But, oh wait... They already are...

The first signs of change came from the Howard Dean campaign. His campaign manager, Joe Trippi, used the Internet and and to identify and bring together Bush haters from all over the country and raise far more money than anyone expected.
(Michael Barone Useless news

(It's so typical to the totalizing winger approach to politics that they want to control everything—they even want to mindfuck their opposition by reaching into our minds and deking us into giving our own emotions the wrong name.)

For the record: The emotion that fuels us is not hate ("Top 10 reasons not to hate George Bush), but outrage (back).

But let me remind the Winger Noise Machine of the old saying, so well-remembered by genuine Christians: Hate the sin, not the sinner.

What are the sins I hate?

I hate being lied to. I hate it when lies lead us into a war. I hate the very idea of destroying the Constitution. I hate even more when I see it happening before my eyes. I hate the idea of living in a country without law. I hate even more when I see the rule of law torn up to justify torture and shield torturers from justice. And I hate it when the men who tear the law up and enable torture teach their doctrines in our schools and become Attorney General. I hate it when children don't take care of their aging parents. And I hate it even more when winger idelogoues tell children that abandoning parents is good and right.

And you know what I hate most? I hate the fear. I hate the fear of being arrested if I wear the wrong T-shirt. I hate the fear that I'll lose my job if I vote for the wrong guy. I hate the fear that comes when thugs beat up women, and the President looks on, and by saying nothing says its OK. I hate the fear that the government isn't legitimate because it keeps stealing elections. I hate the fear of the camps. And I hate the fear that we're going to lose a city to a loose nuke.

Fear itself. Above all, I hate the fear.

If this be hate, let us make the most of it.

Don't park your stinkin' Humvee under my olive tree 


"The president's priorities are totally nuts." ~ Thomas L. Friedman / The New York Times - February 13, 2005. (no login required)

Uh oh. Tom's clearly escaped from the manor house and is running around on the front lawn like some kind of rogue frondescent sprout gnome! Next thing ya know he'll be stenciling daisies on the door panels of his Lexus or hitchhiking across the country to attend Rainbow Family gatherings in the Umpqua National Forest! Some kind of preemptive strike may be necessary. Perhaps Bill Keller will be compelled to reel him in and ship him off to madame Benador's parlor of neo-conservative charms for a little R&R.

I mean what next? We The Planet Festival workshops with Julia Butterfly Hill!

Judith Miller materializing on Hardball dressed in white go-go boots and sporting dangly peace sign earings! Good God, what will we tell the children at the Heritage Foundation!


"managed democracy"... 

...and Elliot Abrams dances in the Moon-light

Circa 1998: Elliot Abrams hits the PR trail on behalf of the Unification Church. Via John Gorenfeld:
Finding common cause in supporting the Contra death squads in those days was Reverend Moon, owner of the Washington Times, whose right-hand man cut the $100,000 check that opened Oliver North's "Freedom Fund." [1]

Well, it seems that Moon and Abrams haven't drifted apart since the Contra days. In 1998, Abrams hit the road to speak at a number of Moon's events.

In November, 1998, Moon's Unification Church hosted (through a front group, the "International Coalition For Religious Freedom") a seminar in Brazil. The conference tackled (along with the Scientologist perpsective and others) four "urgent contemporary problems":

1. Reverend Moon still banned from visiting various European countries
2. Parents keep hiring "deprogrammers" to kidnap young people who've left them for the Moon movement, Japanese government not doing squat about it
3. Japan not letting Reverend Moon visit (its Supreme Court having recently convicted his church of a gargantuan campaign to take the elderly for millions)
4. Followers in Moon's "True Family" still being called "cultists"

Read John Gorenfeld's latest on the adventures of Moon and Abrams HERE

Sun Myung Moon, 1987:
"There are three guiding principles for the world to choose among: democracy, communism and Godism…It is clear that democracy as the United States knows and practices it cannot be the model for the world."

Well, that doesn't sound very "patriotic" or freedom loving or democracy spreading does it? Hey?, where did all the Jesus shouting treason police wingnuts go? Where are all the hoots and monkey noises from the Cult of the 'W' Stofstrupp about the death of western civilization and Christianity when this diseased theocratic fascist cult-toad lets one rip? Huh? Where's all the foot stamping outrage! at the fawning exploits of Elliot Abrams. Oh yeah, I forgot. When it comes to guzzling the Moon-shine the right-wing faithful are all lined up at the back porch door; tin cups in hand.

It's a good thing the "True Parent" hadn't suggested that he was a model for some character from Love Story, or some similar horrible deception like that. For surely, had that been the case, the ferocious media sniff-dogs would have been at his heels like hyenas onto the scent of a wounded wildebeest.

[1] - Further note on the Nicaragua Freedom Fund: NFF co-chairs included Michael Novak (American Enterprise Institute, among others) and William Simon (former Olin Foundation president and Nixon administration Treasury Secretary, among others). Arnaud de Borchgrave (Washington Times editor in chief) announced the formation of the NFF in 1985. Oliver North had requested the NFF be established (reportedly with then National Security adviser Bud McFarlane's blessing) to route "humanitarian aid" to the Contra's. Later, Ronald S. Godwin (Moral Majority and Washington Times) would help secure funding for North through the Interamerican Partnership, which, as Common Cause Magazine described it in 1993, was "a fore-runner to North's own Freedom Alliance." (see Intra Contra Wars by Robert Parry)

Ronald S. Godwin? Godwin was former executive director of Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority and became a chief executive officer at The Washington Times following Moon's assisted bailout of Falwell's Libery University in the early 1990's. That's why Jerry Falwell always has that creepy smirk on his face. Moon has his finger so far up Falwell's fat ass it's affecting Jerry's countenance. Jerry Falwell is kind of like a used Moonie finger fuck puppet. And where is Ronald S. Godwin today? Apparently he's slithered back to Liberty University where he will hold sway as the first dean of the "Helms School of Government."

Grover Norquist and the College Republicans circa 1980's Robert Parry writes:
In the 1980s, Norquist was a leader of the College Republicans when they were getting subsidies from the secretive fortune of Sun Myung Moon, a South Korean theocrat whose organization has a long track record of illicit money-laundering. Moon was pumping tens of millions of dollars into American conservative organizations and into the right-wing Washington Times.

Some Republicans raised red flags, citing Moon’s history of brainwashing his disciples and his contempt for American democracy and individuality. In 1983, the GOP’s moderate Ripon Society charged that the New Right had entered “an alliance of expediency” with Moon’s church.

Ripon’s chairman, Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa, released a study which alleged that the College Republican National Committee “solicited and received” money from Moon’s Unification Church in 1981. The study also accused Reed Irvine’s Accuracy in Media of benefiting from low-cost or volunteer workers supplied by Moon.

Leach said the Unification Church has “infiltrated the New Right and the party it wants to control, the Republican Party, and infiltrated the media as well.” Leach’s news conference was disrupted when then-college GOP leader Grover Norquist accused Leach of lying.

For its part, the Washington Times dismissed Leach’s charges as “flummeries” and mocked the Ripon Society as a “discredited and insignificant left-wing offshoot of the Republican Party.” [For details on Moon’s ties to the GOP and the Bush family, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege: Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq.]

Over the next two decades, with billions of dollars from the likes of Rev. Moon and media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, the conservative media infrastructure grew exponentially, becoming possibly the most potent force in U.S. politics. - [see following link for source]

So, what kind of monster has the Bush administration and it's satrap movimiento been building in this country for at least the last twenty five years? Parry calls it "managed democracy." Read "Bush & the Rise of 'Managed-Democracy'", by Robert Parry, February 12, 2005.

I think - given it's close relationship to a collective bloc of powerful moneyed theocratic right-wing religious clerics and cultists, elitist corporatist business and media aristocrats, military industrial complex interests, all advancing behind a noisy bulldozer division of neo-fascist/falangelike pseudo-populist frontmen - that the Bush "vision" more resembles something comparable to El Caudillo Generalissimo Francisco Franco's Spain.

O'Lord, graciously accept the effort fo this people which was always Thine, and which with me and in Thy name has with heroism defeated the enemy of truth in this age.... Lend me Thy help to lead this people to the full liberty of dominion for Thy glory and that of thy Church. ~ Francisco Franco, May 20, 1939.

In any case, despite my recent interest in Spanish history, Parry asks:
Has the age of "managed-democracy" – and one-party rule – already arrived?

Don't hold your breath expecting our kennel of perfumed media poodles to attempt to answer that. They know who pays for their chew toys and trips to the grooming salon. And you can be sure that come Monday morning these very same media chippies will all be scurrying in front of their cameras and keyboards to remind us all that Howard Dean is the greatest threat to democracy, Christianity, and mother hearth and homeland since Sputnik and the election of the presidium of the Central Executive Committee in 1917.


You can help Howard Dean organize the resistance to the one party rule of El Caudillo Arbusto by donating HERE

Thank you for your generous support of traditional American values and a liberal multi-party representative democracy.


"Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it’s gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Oh, I mean, it’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?" - former first lady Barbara Bush - "Good Morning America" March 18, 2003


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