The Sideshow

Archive for September 2006

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Saturday, 30 September 2006

A few good links

Why Lieberman caucuses with the Democrats - and why he's likely to switch.

Arthur Silber really isn't optimistic about what we can expect from the Democrats in the face of the ruin of our country and the world.

Thanks to drjon for the condolences and the illustration.

Bill Clinton Courageously Waits A Mere Eight Years To Tell Truth: Thank god Bill Clinton wrote a letter to the NY Times the next day saying "Don't believe a word Pollack says. I personally never saw any intelligence on the nuclear issue, except that Saddam had some people in labs fooling around with it." If he hadn't, we might have made a terrible mistake and invaded Iraq!

Stop Big Media.

What's Wrong With Calling Bush A Devil?

The myth of fair elections in America

11:40 BST

With liberty and justice for all

More history lessons from Thom Hartmann, on Magna Carta and the Georges.

Katrina Vanden Heuvel on Suppressing the Vote.

Molly Ivins says, "New News Is Bad News ."

David Sirota wonders, "When will the tide of B.S. ebb and not just flow?": Try to think about that for a second without becoming lightheaded: We are being told by a major newspaper that Rahm Emanuel, the architect of trade policies like NAFTA that permanently solidified "Reagan Democrats" as Republicans, is "obsessed with winning back Reagan Democrats."

Tom Tomorrow, "Danger Man" (Odds are he won't live to see tomorrow!)

"What Hasn't Happened Yet? I keep asking that question, too, but apparently it's impolite. People who've survived Hitler and Idi Amin are asking it, so maybe you should be, too.

Ken Mehlman right there with the quid pro quo, and yes, it's a Republican scandal.

Digby: I feel I should point out that the old frog in boiling water thing is incorrect. When a frog feels the water heating up he jumps out. His survival instinct is strong. Humans, on the other hand, are much more complex creatures. It's not that we don't have a survival instinct --- it's that we have the ability to rationalize and make ourselves believe that boiling water can't kill us --- it only kills frogs.

Cliff Schecter on GOP Consistency: They Always Weaken America: So vote Republican, if you want to ensure that irrational, inane and incompetent foreign policy continues, ensuring we are attacked again and again in the future. Or don't vote at all. Same thing. (via)

John Aravosis asks a naive question about Bush's release of the NIE: But seriously, he must have read the thing - how did he get off thinking he could just lie about it, and then release it three hours later, like nobody would notice?

Dahlia Lithwick: Now we are affirmatively asking to be left in the dark. Instead of torture we were unaware of, we are sanctioning torture we'll never hear about. Instead of detainees we didn't care about, we are authorizing detentions we'll never know about. Instead of being misled by the president, we will be blind and powerless by our own choice. And that is a shame on us all. Via Michael Stickings, who has more.

03:36 BST

Friday, 29 September 2006

Isn't this a time?

Patrick has a post up with links to others commenting on the Kill The Constitution bill - and I recommend you click on them - and of course there's an interesting thread following. Xopher said: "Let's get one thing straight," said Giles, "Jesse is dead! You have to remember that when you see him, you're not looking at your friend. You're looking at the thing that killed him."

E.J. Dionne: To this day I remain astonished at Limbaugh's gall -- and at his shrewdness. Republicans were arguing simultaneously that it was treasonous finger-pointing to question what Bush did or failed to do to prevent the attacks, but patriotic to go after Clinton. Thus did they build up a mythology that cast Bush as the tough hero in confronting the terrorist threat and Clinton as the shirker. Bad history. Smart politics.

A bunch of students are trying to get a professor fired because he is a member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, an organization that disbelieves the official story. The organization's views range from believing that the administration ignored the warnings for 9/11 (a documented fact), to the suspicion that they were complicit in causing it. I think you have to be out of your mind at this point to believe that the administration did not ignore the warnings, but of course the right wing doesn't want anyone raising questions about the wonderful bravery and resolve of their wonderful brave and resolved president.

Ezra wonders why the TNR guys find it so necessary to bash Clinton for his global initiative to help poor and needy people.

Paul the Spud says Gonzales is already making threats: "A proper sense of judicial humility requires judges to keep in mind the institutional limitations of the judiciary and the duties expressly assigned by the Constitution to the more politically accountable branches." And Shakespeare's Sister says, "Listen to Coturnix," who remembers "the gradual transformation" of his own Yugoslavia "from a nice, sweet, prosperous, freedom-loving country into a bunch of thugs duking it out over land and religion," and knows that We are now officially living in a dictatorship. (And also (via), Something Terribly Wrong in the way the NYT covered the debate over the Kill the Constitution bill.)

The Grand Opening Of "Tortureland"

Is this ad responsible for Sherrod Brown's ten-point lead over DeWine?

The are the stakes. (via)

19:29 BST

Natural born liars

How curious. The headline in The Washington Post is "Card Urged Bush to Replace Rumsfeld, Woodward Says," and that's what the first three paragraphs are about, but then starting in the first para, we have:

Woodward writes that there was a vast difference between what the White House and Pentagon has known about the situation in Iraq and what they were saying publicly. In memos, reports and internal debates administration officials have voiced their concern about the conduct of the war, even while Bush and cabinet members such as Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have insisted that the war was going well.

Last May, Woodward writes, the intelligence division of the Joint Chiefs of Staff circulated a secret intelligence estimate predicting that violence will not only continue for the rest of this year in Iraq but increase in 2007.

"Insurgents and terrorists retain the resources and capabilities to sustain and even increase current level of violence through the next year," said the report, which was distributed to the Whites House, State Department and other intelligence agencies.

The report presented a similarly bleak assessment of oil production, electricity and the political situation in Iraq.

"Threats of Shia ascendancy could harden and expand Shia militant opposition and increase calls for coalition withdrawal," the report said.

Woodward writes that Rice and Rumsfeld have been warned repeatedly about the deteriorating situation in Iraq.

Okay, I know the WaPo couldn't possibly title an article about their Golden Bob with, "Too little, too late." But.

I mean, sure, it's nice that Andy and Laura both saw that Rumsfeld was a problem, and certainly not insignificant that Cheney insisted they couldn't do that because it would suggest that they'd made a mistake, but I think the NYT did better in calling their article, "Book Says Bush Ignored Urgent Warning on Iraq". (I have to say I'm amused by this: "The book, bought by a reporter for The New York Times at retail price in advance of its official release..." Heh.)

Here's an interesting datum:

The book says Mrs. Bush asked Mr. Boren whether it was right to be worried about a possible invasion of Iraq, and then to have confided that the presidents father, former President George H. W. Bush, "is certainly worried and is losing sleep over it; hes up at night worried."
And from CBS:
Veteran Washington reporter Bob Woodward tells Mike Wallace that the Bush administration has not told the truth regarding the level of violence, especially against U.S. troops, in Iraq. He also reveals key intelligence that predicts the insurgency will grow worse next year.

According to Woodward, insurgent attacks against coalition troops occur, on average, every 15 minutes, a shocking fact the administration has kept secret. "Its getting to the point now where there are eight-, nine-hundred attacks a week. That's more than 100 a day. That is four an hour attacking our forces," says Woodward.

The situation is getting much worse, says Woodward, despite what the White House and the Pentagon are saying in public. "The truth is that the assessment by intelligence experts is that next year, 2007, is going to get worse and, in public, you have the president and you have the Pentagon [saying], 'Oh, no, things are going to get better,'" he tells Wallace. "Now theres public, and then theres private. But what did they do with the private? They stamp it secret. No one is supposed to know," says Woodward.

"The insurgents know what they are doing. They know the level of violence and how effective they are. Who doesn't know? The American public," Woodward tells Wallace.

No wonder the White House is lying like crazy about the National Intelligence Estimate.

(A couple of those links come via Nick Burbules' amazingly link-rich Progressive Blog Digest from this morning.)

But... Oh, oh, my god. Josh asks: "Did you know that House passed something called the Iran Freedom Support Act tonight on a voice vote with no debate?" Well, they did. Here we go again....

16:20 BST

What's happened to liberals?

In the London Review of Books, Tony Judt:

In Five Germanys I Have Known, Fritz Stern - a coauthor of the 1988 New York Times text defending liberalism - writes of his concern about the condition of the liberal spirit in America today.[3] It is with the extinction of that spirit, he notes, that the death of a republic begins. Stern, a historian and a refugee from Nazi Germany, speaks with authority on this matter. And he is surely correct. We dont expect right-wingers to care very much about the health of a republic, particularly when they are assiduously engaged in the unilateral promotion of empire. And the ideological left, while occasionally adept at analysing the shortcomings of a liberal republic, is typically not much interested in defending it.

It is the liberals, then, who count. They are, as it might be, the canaries in the sulphurous mineshaft of modern democracy. The alacrity with which many of Americas most prominent liberals have censored themselves in the name of the War on Terror, the enthusiasm with which they have invented ideological and moral cover for war and war crimes and proffered that cover to their political enemies: all this is a bad sign. Liberal intellectuals used to be distinguished precisely by their efforts to think for themselves, rather than in the service of others. Intellectuals should not be smugly theorising endless war, much less confidently promoting and excusing it. They should be engaged in disturbing the peace - their own above all.

15:04 BST

You have to play to win

Last night I saw something quoted from the NYT and I went to bed because I couldn't see any reason to want to be awake anymore:

The vote was 51 to 48 against the amendment, which was offered by the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont. The action set the stage for final passage of the bill, which was approved on Wednesday by the House of Representatives.

The bills ultimate passage was assured on Wednesday when Democrats agreed to forgo a filibuster in return for consideration of the amendment. Any changes in the Senate bill, however, would have made it impossible for Republican leaders to meet their goal of sending the bill to the White House before adjourning on Friday to hit the campaign trail.

If you are in Connecticut for any reason, make sure you mention, every chance you get, that Joe Lieberman voted for torture, Joe Lieberman likes torture, Joe Lieberman is an immoral, Constitution-hating creep who supports torture.

That's for this election. But from now on, you want to be an active participant for every primary you can contribute to, just to make sure that legislators know they are on notice, and that if they won't fight for America, you will fight to replace them.

Meanwhile, right now, say it every day: Republicans are the party of torture.

And then we'll see about the Democrats. We've had enough of all of this crap, but first, the Party of Torture has to go.

Got that? You cannot possibly be angrier at the Democrats than I am right now, but it changes nothing: The Retaliban has to go.

13:33 BST

The Bill of Rights

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III ...Pending
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

Amendment VII
In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Update, via Matt Stoller:

Democrats in favor of torture (12) - Carper (Del.), Johnson (S.D.), Landrieu (La.), Lautenberg (N.J.), Lieberman (Conn.), Menendez (N.J), Pryor (Ark.), Rockefeller (W. Va.), Salazar (Co.), Stabenow (Mich.), Nelson (Fla.), Nelson (Neb.)

Republicans against (1) - Chafee (R.I.)

Independents against (1) - Jeffords

01:14 BST

Thursday, 28 September 2006

Watching the watchmen

Keith Olberman is now officially the hottest man in America. Yes, even hotter than Colbert. At first Keith didn't quite seem like my type, but lately he has been warming up real nice, and after seeing his investigative report on the Bush administration's pre-9/11 performance, I'm seeing a guy who has simply decided do what must be done. Keith is raising the points that should have been the substance of news coverage all along after 9/11: The dereliction of duty of the Bush administration in the face of warnings that we were about to be attacked. Keith Olberman should be nominated for every available award for doing what most other television journalists have failed to do.

In other news, Madison Guy has a look into another eruption of garden-variety sexism by John Tierney, pseuding it up in the NYT*.

Opera cancelled. At first blush, that might not seem like an interesting headline, but the fright-wing blogosphere is having another one of it's staunch defenses of free speech, and it's actually kinda funny.

13:39 BST


Digby has a hefty post on Faithbased Torture that is not only very much worth your time, but also contains the speech we should have heard now (and not then). In fact, I think it would be cool if everyone faxed a copy of that speech to the appropriate recipient.

I don't generally link to Louise Slaughter's site because, although she is one of the best people in Congress, her website usually gives me nightmares. It's better than it used to be, though. Atrios has posted excerpts from her fine floor speech, but if you want to see the whole thing and the press release, just go straight to the page at her site. (And I'm very pleased to see they're posting the pure-text versions now.) Louise is Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee, and is from New York's 28th. Thank her. Like Duncan says, she's a patriot, unlike some people.

Atrios also has a clip of Paul Waldman of Media Matters vs. John Stossel on Scarborough Country in which Waldman does exactly what anyone should do with these people, which is to demand an example. And, seriously, when you claim someone is smearing you and yet can't give a single example, I know you're just making it up. I know you're making it up because even a marginally normal person can usually give chapter and verse of any incidence of someone being unfair to them personally if it happened within the last 20 years.

The Brad Blog says, "Boxer, Dodd Introduce 11Th Hour Emergency Paper Ballot Legislation In Senate!" Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) introduced emergency legislation to amend the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) this afternoon to offer funding to states and counties who make 'contingency paper ballots' available to voters to be used at the voter's option instead of electronic voting systems. Contact your Senators and demand their support.

Jim Johnson has news about the values of those "values voters".

Major General John R.S. Batiste bears witness to Rumsfeld's disastrous rule, and Tim Ryan (D-OH) saying Bush has made us less safe.

Have I mentioned the Secretary of State Project lately? It's a worthy investment if you want honest elections.

I heard Carrie Rodriguez sing "7 Angels on a Bicycle" on live Rachel's show, and even though it's not my usual sort of thing, I thought it sounded pretty good.

02:53 BST

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Around the net

Ezra Klein says, "It Was Wal-Mart, In Arkansas, With The Corporate Memo": That's that, then. Wal-Mart, the largest employer in America, has decided to cease offering traditional health care plans and move entirely to high-deductible, HSA-style offerings. And Target is planning to do the same, and of course Wal-Mart's "ethic" will soon spread to all their suppliers, as usual.

Also via Ezra, Harold Meyerson in today's WaPo blowing the whistle on The 'Moderate Republican' Scam: They are loyal and indispensable foot soldiers in the Republicans' continuing campaign to drag the nation rightward and backward. And guess what. The moderates will vote for the extremist. "Moderate," after all, is only an adjective; "Republican" is a noun. Chafee, Snowe, the whole lot of them, are moderate enablers of an extremist party.

Glenn Greenwald's piece "Revisiting GOP attacks on President Clinton" gives a fuller perspective on the subject than Jake Tapper's did.

It's not terribly surprising to me to learn that editors at The Washington Times are racist and misogynist - something that's been obvious for a while - but it is a bit of a surprise that Preston Moon, Sun Myung Moon's son, is trying to get rid of them as a result.

No Child Left Behind means giving men in uniform unlimited access to our highschool girls. (Thanks to Jim Macdonald for the tip. Jim's been writing useful stuff at Making Light, too.)

RH Reality Check checked out the anti-contraception conference.

Meanwhile, in Reno, some familiar tropes raise their ugly heads.

Keith Thompson has a blog. He says he named it Quarkhenge because "Occam's Chainsaw" was taken. Damn, that was the name of Martin Smith's long-ago fanzine. Wish he'd grabbed it when he got on the net, before the wingers got it, but they did.

22:00 BST

Politics and media

Y'know, someone needs to do a campaign ad made up of all the times a member of the Republican leadership, including Bush and Cheney, answers a question by saying that they hadn't read some report, or otherwise didn't know something they should have known. People need to be reminded that their excuse for not being on the ball is that they just weren't on the ball.

Glenn Greenwald says Marty Peretz has a new blog: Marty Peretz's new blog, "Spine," is basically a museum for every anti-Arab/Muslim stereotype and caricature that exists. Each day, one can read about how primitive, violent, deceitful and generally horrible Arab Muslims are. Peretz's blog has revealed that he is basically a glorified (though otherwise quite standard) LGF commenter who happens to own a magazine. Peretz seems to think that a big problem with Muslims is that they have big families. Except that he seems unaware that there are Christian sects that believe in big families and no birth control. So it's a Muslim thing.

Henry Farrell (of Crooked Timber) has an article in The Boston Review called "Bloggers and Parties: Can the netroots reshape American democracy?". (via) It's certainly refreshing to see an article on that relationship that isn't, y'know, rubbish.

Whatever else you can say about Jim Webb, this is a good ad. (And more "senior" Democrats being insanely stupid.)

Hm, Elayne makes a good point about that particular dog-whistle thing.(This is kinda cute, and I see what she means about it recalling Jittlov.)

Kinky Friedman is a racist gasbag.

Milbank yesterday on Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing, but not on page 1. And Eric Boehlert notes that as far as the corporate media is concerned, neither this nor any other aspect of the war in Iraq seems to be all that interesting,

'The Scholar & Feminist XXX' Revisited - video of Rachel Maddow (with a really short haircut) explaining why she doesn't believe that the religious left can function as a "base" for Democrats the way the fright-wing religious groups have for the GOP. (via)

Eric Alterman was disgusted with the way the corporate media underplayed the National Intelligence Estimate report that Iraq had become just what they predicted - an inspiration for terrorists. (In other words, the intelligence was good, but the stupidity was running the shop.)

All the wallpaper you could ever need, including for multi-monitor use. And a lot of them are just plain cool photos. (You have to dig a bit to hit the political patch.) (via)

15:54 BST

Words and pictures

Thanks to D. Potter in comments for alerting me to this illustration of Bush's comma comment, and to Little Thom for pointing out what I should have guessed already, that the comment was dog whistle politics - that is, secret code for the base. (And at his blog, Little Thom has posted some neat-creepy pictures under the heading, Meet the Relatives.)

"Are yours the actions of a true American?" Keith Olbermann with another spectacular speech, this one responding to the fact that Clinton finally told the truth, while Bush continues his cowardly lying, Video and transcript at C&L, naturally. (But, of course, I did say it long ago.)

What happened when American Stranger contacted his reps in New York.

The John Edwards Implications

Chamber of Commerce supports Democrat!

Isn't it odd that the whole anthrax thing has suddenly turned up again? Hmm..

Julia gives us the Shorter John McCain.

Atrios is right again, and I'll just say that if torture is all right with your faith, then no, I certainly do not respect your faith. (Also, the best part of this video happens before Chris Wallace starts talking.)

01:42 BST

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

Where will we be when the summer's gone?

"Serenely, Bush sails on, across a sea of commas" - I still can't get over that line. It's almost as if Bush is trying to tell the troops outright that they don't mean anything to him. But then, he already has, in so many ways. From little things, like under-funding the VA by billions of dollars, to even littler things, like, oh, sending them out to get shot up without decent equipment or a reason to be there.

If you've been following the Cory Maye case, you'll be interested to know that, thanks largely to Radley Balko's efforts, Maye's chances have improved enormously. (Which reminds me - while you're recoiling in horror over Bush's destruction of habeas, bear in mind that this administration has already been trying to redefine drug users and distributors as "terrorists".)

And Radley also says: "Sen. Joe Lieberman has apparently obtained the fundraising services of Mel Sembler for his reelection campaign. Someone ought to ask him if he knows Sembler's history. And if so, what he thinks of it." He's a nasty piece of work, indeed.

The Western North Carolina News Network has set up a YouTube account to help fight "the election-fatigue gripping this attack ad saturated district." And our friend Screwy Hoolie got a sit-down interview with Heath Shuler, the candidate.

An excellent poster from Egalia.

Some nice photos at Inkbluesky. (But - psst! - there is no "l" in "Sideshow".)

Wisdom or Bollocks? - Take the quiz.

You know a lot of people shared your loss when it makes Tailrank. (And Roz wrote a poem in honor of the occasion.)

18:37 BST

Net worth

I'm not sure whether this is still Jack or the return of Lisa English, but, at a new address and with a much faster-loading template, RuminateThis appears to be reborn. Read "A Diebold Nuke?" to get started.

Bill Scher on What Dems Are Doing Right.

For those of us who still suffer with the after-effects of saccharine poisoning from "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree", have a bitter laugh when the Asylum Street Spankers deliver "Stick Magnetic Ribbons on Your SUV". Somehow I don't think the 101st Fighting Keyboarders will be singing this one.

MadKane says she's had enough of hand-coding her blog and has moved to WordPress and a new address. Naturally, there's a limerick for the occasion.

15:26 BST

Name your price

What makes me uncomfortable about this post and the ensuing comments?

Let's see.... "...buying bodies..." ... "...for a man to buy a woman to have sex with her..."

You know something? I hate it when I hear people talk about buying the services of a prostitute, or buying pornography, as buying women.

At no time does having sex with someone transfer ownership to them, even if they gave you a lot of money for it.

Look, if you are a prostitute's client, you pay for the service, you get the service, and you go away. Just like if you visited a masseuse, or a dentist, or golf pro. If you paid a sparring partner for boxing or karate, it would be much the same. You are not buying the person, you are buying the service they perform while you are there.

It doesn't matter whether it is highly-skilled work that takes years of training or whether it's unskilled labor that could be done by pretty much anyone. It doesn't matter whether it involves intellectual work or not. It's just work, it's employment, whatever you may think of it.

I have to say I find it a bit frightening that feminists, of all people, find it so easy to slip into talking about women as if sex is all they are, even while they are trying to talk about women as being more than just their sexual functions.

But if women are more than sex, then you can't buy a woman just by paying her for sex. You hire a prostitute, the same way you hire a gardener - you don't claim you bought someone just because you hired them to do a job, and the reason you don't make that claim is that you respect them enough as a human being not to pretend that they are no more than their job.

But it's okay to make that claim about prostitutes, apparently, because it's okay to define a woman by who she sleeps with. Always has been. She's either Mrs. Someguy, or she's a whore - right?

Ah, but that was the problem - a wife is the woman you buy - a whore you can only rent.

02:06 BST

Monday, 25 September 2006

Leftover links

I do like Annie Liebovitz, but I guess Newsweek thinks Americans can't possibly think there is anything more important than celebrity stuff.

"Osama's Ghost Haunts America" - at The s.n.a.f.u. Principle.

Assimilated Press tells you what they really think. (Well, probably not Hannity and O'Reilly, they're just too dumb.)

Gary Hart, once more with feeling, on The October Surprise. (But, you know, if it does happen, "surprise" doesn't cover it. More like, "The October Are-you-out-of-your-frickin'-mind?")

Classic compassionate conservatism on parade.

Even if we didn't need fresh Democratic leadership, Steny Hoyer would have to go. Gladys Noone Spellman must be spinning in her grave.

Gail Davis with today's mini-tour of the Torture State.

Via Atrios, August Pollack's absolutely perfect recap of the Brendan Nyhan affair. How gratifying.

23:57 BST

News and views

Thanks to Dominic for alerting me to :

More on electronic voting and the dangers of Diebold and hotel mini-bar keys, from the NYT. At least this issue is getting a bit more ink in the corporate media, even if it's on the Business pages.

This article on the "Wag the Dog" attacks on Clinton by Jake Tapper seems to be attempting to downplay the degree to which the GOP attack dogs were all over Clinton for trying to get bin Laden during the much more important business of sniffing his underwear (especially given his note at the end). But read the comments for a broader pictures. (And there are some hilarious assertions from the wingers, too.)

Terry Karney writes a letter to John McCain: I am an interrogator, and I am aghast that you, of all people, would sanction such a thing.

Thanks to Vast Left for the story about an anti-porn outbreak, You might want to check VLWC for updates on the accomplishments of the president of death and his adventures.

The Hartford Courant has a Republican supposedly "Getting A Line On Lamont," but I don't think so.

The Rise of Jihadistan - Newsweek admits that things are not going well in Afghanistan. This, remember, was the real mission. George Bush lost the war. Keep saying that. And at the WSJ, John Kerry on Losing Afghanistan: "If Washington seems to have forgotten Afghanistan, it is clear the Taliban and al Qaeda have not."

18:39 BST

There could never be enough of Mike Ford

The IM conversation between me and Teresa right now is this:

If something devastating happened, or someone important to us had died, Mike Ford - funny, wonderful, immensely talented John M. Ford - would have been able to say the right thing, write the meaningful poem (like he did with "110 Stories"), and even say something to make us smile, and make things clearer.

But who will do that now?

Oh, man, I'm glad I went to WisCon and saw him one more time.

My condolences to everyone else who is at least as miserable as I am about this, but right now I'm just thinking of me and how he will never make me laugh again and I feel so, so deprived of that wonderful presence.

Damn, damn, damn.

14:14 BST

Circled by the circus sands

At King of Zembla, Simbaud calls on some nervy little geek to do what needs to be done to get rid of election machines - hack them first.

Check out The All Spin Zone, and learn that We Are Not Safer: National Guard Stretched to Breaking Point, and that The GOP Base Loves Waterboarding. Additionally, harassment of Hugo Chavez in the US. (Steve Bates doesn't think it was any accident, either.)

"Osama bin Laden died again - Vote Republican," says Glenn Greenwald, who notes: "Osama bin Laden has died more times than any human being in history. In fact, he died right around this same time in 2002, a few weeks before the 2002 midterm elections." Boy, he sure is canny, that Osama. I think the GOP must pay him for this stuff.

Our favorite spy at the 2006 Values Voter Summit was Mark Kernes, the editor of Adult Video News. He reckoned they were pretty scary. Mark also reviewed what he tells me is "the ABSOLUTE BEST BOOK on sex, religion and government ever written," America's War on Sex by Dr. Marty Klein.

In an effort to help us all understand Michael Bérubé's book, Chris Clarke presents, What's Liberal About The Liberal Arts? The Graphic Novel. (Thanks to Neil Rest for the tip.)

Patrick Nielsen Hayden helps decode Pope Ratzinger's unfortunate comments.

An entertaining political defense.

Steve Soto says you can put a fork in George Allen's presidential ambitions, now that his college teammates have dropped a dime on his long-standing racism: "Allen said he came to Virginia because he wanted to play football in a place where 'blacks knew their place,'" said Dr. Ken Shelton, a white radiologist in North Carolina who played tight end for the University of Virginia football team when Allen was quarterback. "He used the N-word on a regular basis back then." And there's more!

Bill Scher takes us on another visit to the Party of Appeasement - the Bush GOP.

Cursor: The Bush administration takes "the scenic route" to torture, but is reportedly "already trying to wiggle out of its one real concession," as Democrats stand by.

Member of Gnome Liberation Front attends Steelers game. No details on how he got out of jail in time for the game, though.

12:03 BST

Sunday, 24 September 2006

Scary things

Bruce Baugh asks in comments:

Is an absentee ballot more or less likely to get screwed with than an on-the-day, in-person ballot? What factors affect the odds?

I can start with some obvious ones, but I'll bet there's a lot I don't know that might matter in choosing how to vote.

They can screw with anything, but the first thing to bear in mind is that the absentee ballots don't always seem to get counted if someone decides that counting them wouldn't affect the outcome from the on-the-day ballot results. I'm not entirely certain that such a judgment is always based on reality. (Also, remember that in Florida in 2000, Republicans happily rejected absentee ballots that might have been late or contained errors if they were for Democratic districts, but insisted on counting them if they were for Republican districts.) But Avi Rubin may be a better person to ask.

Meanwhile, I just watched Red State, in which Michael Shea walks off to look for America among the kind of people who still support George Bush, and discovers that they believe some very strange things about the Constitution and the Bible, neither of which they appear to be familiar with. I particularly liked the Young Republican who didn't seem to realize that the generation that was raised on Bible stories in school is the same generation that he hates. The weirdest thing was listening to people enumerate all the ways they are surviving on government checks and then announce that they get nothing from the government but God provides. Shea had gone looking for common ground with "red state" believers; instead, he found a nightmare headed our way. Worth seeing just in case you have any illusions. Buy a copy for your friends who think the GOP is about small government and individual freedom. (I needed to watch this again just to clear my brain.)

Lambert says, "See Federalist 47. Republican torture "compromise" is tyranny."

At C&L: Video and transcript of Chris Wallace vs. Clinton, in which Wallace tries to pretend Clinton is the caricature from the stupid right-wing fake movie, and Clinton giving him what for in return. (The fright-wingers are trying to pretend that was a wild-eyed crazy man, too.) And George Stephanopolis reads The New York Times to Bill Frist, who then pretends he hasn't just been told that George Bush has made us less safe. He then goes on to make up a bunch of stuff for why it's okay to torture people and not tell anyone what's going on. (Also: Elvis Costello doing a live version of "Alison" that's enough to make you cry.)

Ah, yes, I remember my neofan days, reading all the Hugo nominees I could get my hands on for my first WorldCon, and being shocked by the sheer stupidity of Arthur C. Clarke's sexist assumptions in (the incredibly boring) Rendezvous With Rama.

Our friend Scorpio (of) alerted me to an amazingly expensive gold bra.

23:02 BST

Facing a dying nation

Making it perfectly clear, Glenn Greenwald notes that Everyone -- including Democrats -- agrees to pretend that Bush "compromised" on torture :

Just last week at his press conference -- does the media have any short term memory at all? -- the President said he cared about only one thing with regard to the torture legislation: "I have one test for this legislation. I'm going to ask one question, as this legislation proceeds, and it's this: The intelligence community must be able to tell me that the bill Congress sends to my desk will allow this vital program to continue. That's what I'm going to ask." By "this program," he means the CIA's torture program.

This legislation unquestionably allows the administration to continue to do exactly what it is was doing before. It legalizes those methods. It actually strengthens what the administration was doing because now it provides those activities with statutory authority. Why are the media and others pretending that these questions are murky? They're not.

Even The Washington Post admits it up front: "The Abuse Can Continue" - Senators won't authorize torture, but they won't prevent it, either.

You might as well just read everything Billmon has to say about it all, but while you're over there you might want to check out his thoughts on who benefits from an attack on Iran and why Tehran doesn't seem to be in any particular tizzy about it. (Or maybe they just figure that there's nothing they can do that will deter Darth Cheney from turning Iran to glass?)

You know to read Digby, of course. Everything there. And Jane Hamsher, who says just what I'm sayin'. Disgusted. Yes. (And it doesn't sound like we can count on the Democratic leadership, either. Not that that's any surprise.)

You'd think the remedy would be in the courts, but with the kind of people the conservatives have been handing those powers to, I wouldn't bank on it. I see, for example, that Richard Posner has written another book I won't read because even just reading his reviews makes me sick. The very fact that his title is Not a Suicide Pact tells you all you need to know about his contempt for the Constitution and the people who, having fought a war to make it possible, created the document knowing that it was not suicide to demand accountability and restraint from government. Michiko Kakutani writes:

In addition to being a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Judge Posner is a prolific author, a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School and an intellectual leader of a school of jurisprudence that has pioneered the use of economics to analyze legal issues. He is known for his willfully provocative opinions - he once co-wrote an article recommending the private sales of babies - and the positions he takes in this volume will not only fuel his own controversial reputation but also underscore just how negotiable constitutional rights have become in the eyes of administration proponents, who argue that the dangers of terrorism trump civil liberties.

The very language Judge Posner uses in this shrilly titled volume conveys his impatience with constitutional rights, while signaling his determination to deliver a polemical battle cry, not a work of carefully reasoned scholarship. He writes about lawyers "rights fetishes," complains about judges "thralldom to precedent" and declares that the absence of an Official Secrets Act - which could be used to punish journalists for publishing leaked classified material - reflects "a national culture of nosiness, and of distrust of government bordering on paranoia."

Near the beginning of "Not a Suicide Pact" Judge Posner writes that "rooting out an invisible enemy in our midst might be fatally inhibited if we felt constrained to strict observance of civil liberties designed in and for eras in which the only serious internal threat (apart from spies) came from common criminals."

God almighty, talk about paranoia!. And I wonder how our "libertarian" friends are going to like this:
Many of Judge Posners arguments in this book are riddled with self-serving contradictions. While he declares that "the Bill of Rights should not be interpreted so broadly that any measure that does not strike the judiciary as a sound response to terrorism is deemed unconstitutional," he also argues that "a constitutional right should be modified when changed circumstances indicate that the right no longer strikes a sensible balance between competing constitutional values, such as personal liberty and public safety."
It only gets worse. It would be nice to believe that someday the country would come to its senses and defrock this treasonous bastard.

And the chances of that are... Well, I'm not in a very optimistic mood today, which is probably not helped by having Bobby Kennedy back at Rolling Stone asking, "Will The Next Election Be Hacked?" Well, come on, we know the answer to that, don't we? It's possible that enough people will be willing to fill out their ballots to express their disgust with all of this that the GOP won't be able to steal the election, but, like I say, I'm not feeling all that optimistic today. Maybe after I've had my tea and some aspirin....

17:11 BST

Heavenly breakfast

Chantelle Africa underwired bra Bra of the Week

Mary at The Left Coaster on Stealth Proposition 90 Designed to Destroy California's Ability To Regulate, hiding behind the reaction to the Kelo decision and pretending to be a response to it, but really for something else altogether. (Meanwhile, no one can say Greenwald didn't give them a chance to respond.)

There's a bunch of recommendable stuff at Tapped, on compassionate conservatism in the "family values" crowd and unnamed Democratic strategists, but don't miss the always wonderful Charles Pierce on stupid Democratic tricks: And the Democratic Party was nowhere in this debate. It contributed nothing. On the question of whether or not the United States will reconfigure itself as a nation which tortures its purported enemies and then grants itself absolution through adjectives -- "Aggressive interrogation techniques" -- the Democratic Party had no opinion. On the issue of allowing a demonstrably incompetent president as many of the de facto powers of a despot that you could wedge into a bill without having the Constitution spontaneously combust in the Archives, well, the Democratic Party was more pissed off at Hugo Chavez. (And speaking of being mad at name-calling, more on that here. I mean, seriously, after Rush called Daschle "El Diablo"....) Also: Sam Rosenfeld: I will only note ... something Sandy Levinson said yesterday. He asked why, if the Democrats can openly be called the party of death, the Republicans shouldn't be known as "the party of torture". No reason at all. And I'm with Ezra about Wal-Mart practices that drive wages down for their suppliers (or put them out of business), and also in recommending Barry Lynn's Harper's article on the subject.

President Bill talks to Keith Olbermann and tells him what advice he'd give Bush if Bush was smart enough to ask for it.

TChris at TalkLeft on the fake compromise on torture.

Trailer for The U.S. Vs. John Lennon. "His message is still alive."

eRobin says, "When we pay our taxes, we will be paying for torture." (via)

Frank Rich wants to know if we've learned anything after three years in Iraq - "Stuff Happens Again in Baghdad": Our blindness back in April 2003 seems ludicrous in retrospect. As the looting flared, an oblivious President Bush told the Iraqi people in a televised address that they were "the heirs of a great civilization that contributes to all humanity." Our actions - or, more accurately, our inaction as the artifacts of that great civilization were carted away - spoke louder than those pretty words. (via)

12:44 BST

Back from the cold north

I was up in Newcastle doing a debate for Ladyfest. Little did I know that the train would have free broadband, so I didn't bother to take my laptop, figuring I probably wouldn't be in the kind of hotel that had any kind of Internet connection. I was right about that last part, but the upshot was that I managed to read some books.

The debate was okay. It had all the usual features - the anti-porn women passed out some atypical photos (some of which weren't even porn, but fashion advertising), and announced that they were typical of porn. They insisted, of course, that "every single [pornographic] film" contains men degrading and dominating women. They pretty much blamed all the sexism that ever was on pornography. In the usual way, they spoke as if most porn was BDSM stuff (always male dom) and child porn. As usual, I had the strong impression that the only porn they'd ever seen was the stuff in anti-porn slide shows. Lots of projection going on, there.

So I missed a lot of news. I was excited to return and learn that Bill Clinton socked it to Chris Wallace. And I see in Mahabarb's post on torture that she quotes from a Guardian comment by Conor Foley. (Roz and I used to get into arguments with Conor about pornography when we were all involved with the National Council for Civil Liberties; he was great on censorship when it was the IRA, but he'd forget all his good arguments when it came to sexual material, poor thing.)

And in matters of local interest, Mr. Sideshow tipped me to Project Explorer, which has a lot of nifty stuff about England on it, but allow me to recommend the page about The Whitechapel Bell Foundry, which even has short videos about how to make the molds and cast the bells.

00:07 BST

Friday, 22 September 2006

Good news, bad news

Maybe it's my imagination, but Altercation seems to feel, I dunno, better somehow, at its new Media Matters home. And yesterday, Eric reported that Brendan Nyhan left The American Prospect after he was chided for his tiresome little attack on Atrios/me/Susie, and other equally ridiculous posts wasting space at their website.

And Brendan has a good cry over it at Time itself, probably the appropriate spiritual home for him. I suppose showing that he could make stupid, pointless attacks on bloggers earned him a place with the big boys. Right there next to some truly insane crackpots (and no liberals), where he should feel right at home.

Eric is moved to ask whether it is worth reading Time at all anymore. I think the answer is clear.

Meanwhile, a couple of my commenters have alerted me to their own thoughts on the GOP "compromise" on torture (how can you compromise on torture!?!?!?), at Thought Theater and at Mercury Rising.

11:04 BST

Sick again

I'm so disgusted with the "Let's let the Republicans do it" Democrats that I might really puke. Write to them, write to them all, and ask them how in the world they can be so silent when the subject is fergodsakes torture. I cannot believe they let this happen. I can't believe, after all this time, they really thought they could trust any Republican to stand up for what's right and put a stop to this. Didn't any of them even read the stupid McCain/Graham/ghost proposal? Gah. Read Digby, who appears to have moved beyond the teeth-gnashing phase to actual coherent sentences.

Harold Meyerson, in "Into a Moral Desert," discussed the descent into barbarism made explicit in the debate over torture and in the rendering of a "suspected terrorist" to Syria: We sent him there because he'd be tortured, because the Syrians would do the kinds of things that the same administration officials who devised this policy feared the Syrians, given half a chance, would do to us. [...] But it most certainly means we've abandoned our own moral and legal norms, as the administration's determination to create a loophole in the Geneva Conventions makes unmistakably clear. Meyerson makes an error in the piece, though, by assuming that the song and dance by McCain et al. has in any way been a serious attempt to stop the torture. It never was.

Some comic relief from earlier this week: The performance of Senators Reid and Durbin on the floor Monday was so wonderful you really must see it if you can. If you can't, Bob Geiger has the transcript:

Mr. Durbin: Did Michael Brown with FEMA receive a gold medal from the White House before he was dismissed?

Mr. Reid: I don't think he did. Even though he was doing a heck of a job, I don't think he obtained a medal from the White House.

Mr. Durbin: Apparently, these gold medals were being awarded for incompetence. They missed Mr. Brown, but they did give one to Mr. Bremmer. Will the Senator yield for another question?

Almost as good as Byrd and Fortune. (via)

(Be that as it may, Digby is absolutely right in saying that these guys got rolled.)

01:36 BST

Thursday, 21 September 2006

I wandered empty streets, down past the shop displays

Ah, now I understand. You don't need to show ID if you vote by absentee ballot, so that's why Republicans are encouraging their voters to use absentee ballots while simultaneously trying to force people who actually go to the polls to show ID. And guess where the real voter fraud is occurring? (This gets scarier and scarier. If everyone starts voting by absentee ballot, how long do you think it will be before employers start insisting on seeing those ballots before they go into the mailbox?)

It's all okay, because You have no right to vote - "The Constitution doesn't guarantee it, the Republicans know it, and real democratic values in our country are under assault."

Glenn Greenwald argues that the US is in no position to fault Chavez's decorum when he calls Bush "the Devil". (Chavez also said Bush stank up the place.)

From The Village Voice, Nat Hentoff on "Stoning Women to Death": As human rights lawyer Lily Mazahery, president of the Legal Rights Institute reports, "in 99 percent of these cases, the accused women have received no legal representation because, under the Shariah legal system, their testimony is at best worth only half the value of the testimony of men." We have no illusions about the loveliness of Shariah law, and never have. But these are the things our Holy Warriors of the West never seem to care about, nor to do anything about when they can. They walked out of Afghanistan just when they were in position to do some good, and then they unleashed the same madness on Iraq. So we have no illusions that invading Iran will improve things for women there, either.

Nice one from The Plank: On Tuesday, Republican Congressman Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia proudly boasted to a local Chamber of Commerce that he had "voted for torture." Today he reconsidered, saying perhaps he should have "put that another way." ("I should have said I voted against the anti-torture bill," he explained. So he's not pro-torture, evidently--just anti-anti-torture.) (via)

Yeah, right, they're fiscally responsible.

16:30 BST

Out of the haze

Who could possibly oppose protecting our troops from predatory lenders who stick them with 400% interest? Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY), the Congressman from Check 'n Go. He apparently thinks 36% interest is not enough.

I was delighted to see that The Daily Show covered the issue of gays in the military by getting its counterpoint from noted crackpot "researcher" Paul Cameron. One of the most thoroughly-debunked "experts" in America, he is frequently cited by right-wing nutbars as a "real scientist" who has "proven" that gays are more likely to engage in criminal behavior and child-molesting than straights. Since anyone with even a passing knowledge of child abuse knows this is a lie, the American Psychological Association wanted a look at his "research", and when he refused to allow an investigation of it, they kicked him out. (More here, here, here, and here.)

I think it's really cool that Keith Olbermann interviewed Jane Hamsher on Countdown and gave her an opportunity to talk about just what is good about blogs - and that she gave good answers. What Jane stressed is that we are not part of the Washington blitherati, that we're just ordinary people who, for the most part, have no contacts among the power players. One lunch with President Bill isn't likely to change that. It's also a warning to the press - we're responsible in a way that you're not because to us, our readers are ordinary people just like us, who sometimes know even more than we do. We're not representing the agenda of the people who dine with Sally Quinn.

OK, if you didn't actually click on those links yesterday, at least take a walk down Memory Lane with "A Day in The Life of Joe Republican" and remember what we used to have before the Republicans started "modernizing" our system of government. (Mind, this might entertain you. Of course, Bush and Rice are so full of bollocks most of the time that you just never know what to make of the things they say.)

13:20 BST

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

Station break

I'm kinda busy. Read Suburban Guerrilla and Slacktivist for a bit while I take care of business.

[Update: Of all the things I post, this is not the thing I expected to generate hate mail, but there you are.]

18:21 BST

Under the skin

I guess the mirror of a cold day in Hell would be global warming in Siberia.

Two interviews at The Talking Dog:
Dr. Steven Miles "is the author of Oath Betrayed: Torture, Medical Complicity and the War on Terror, a scathing examination of the failings of members of the medical profession serving in the military with respect to treatment of prisoners held by American forces in the war on terror..."
Bill Scher, who we all know as the very smart guy at Liberal Oasis.
But I just wanted to share with you the right and proper headline for the story of that little play that's going on in Washington right now: "President continues efforts to immunize self for war crimes".

Keith Olbermann interviews Robert Greenwald about his new film, Iraq for Sale: "Back then, war profiteers were run out of town. Today, it appears, they run the town."

At The Smirking Chimp, Randolph T. Holhut's piece about Thom Hartmann's latest book, Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class, was posted yesterday, as well as an excerpt from the book itself, "Needed: Workplace Democracy". I'm often awed at Hartmann's combination of historical knowledge, analysis, and ability to put it all down (or say it out loud) in simple, fluid English. Hartmann's show has been around for a while, and of course Air America has added him in syndication, but he's not part of the main weekday schedule - his show airs at the same time as Al Franken's, but you can stream Hartmann directly from his AAR page if you'd prefer. (Or these alternatives.) A "best of" version of his show is part of the main AAR weekend schedule, however. (Oh, and they've actually posted a program schedule, at last. I'd like to have a word with the person who designed it.)

Also at the Chimp, Brent Budowsky is doing a little series called "If Thomas Paine Were Here". Part 1, "George Washington, George III, George Bush", was posted Monday, and Part 2, "Common Sense Against Corrupting the Next Election", is an urgent call to action to protect the vote.

Meanwhile, Sidney Blumenthal says Bush is the most willfully radical president in American history.

Why Mikey will never sing "God Bless America" again.

12:50 BST

I was in the house when the house burned down

Xan is inspired by the Bal'mar Sun post-mortem on the Maryland election and says, "Go Become an Election Judge Today!"

All sorts of people seem willing to lend their support to getting peacekeepers into Darfur, and although I won't be marching, I certainly hope that something can be done. But when I hear Bush suddenly expressing his concern for Darfur, I suddenly begin to wonder what he will do to make an even worse mess of things.

I'm still waiting for my copy of Bill's book, but Faithful Progressive has already read it and says Wait! Don't Move to Canada! is a must-read that's got something for faithful progressives, too.

So, if The New Yorker's David Remnick did this huge and fascinating story on Bill Clinton, our last elected president to serve, how come no one is mentioning it? Well, probably because The New Yorker failed to give it much of a web presence. (Here's Remnick talking about doing the article itself.)

Keith Olbermann, in his continuing role as a Murrow for our time, says Bush owes us an apology. (Meanwhile, the guy who wrote The Path to 9/11 is whining because everyone has been so mean to him.)

CBS wants you to know that nuclear catastrophe is no big deal.

In some country, citizens show their anger when their leader lies to them. Ooops, sorry, that probably isn't your country!

00:03 BST

Tuesday, 19 September 2006

Over the wires

I just heard Bill Scher on the radio saying that when Mike Dukakis finally threw caution to the wind toward the end of his campaign and started answering questions about whether he was a liberal with a strong affirmative, his poll numbers went up.

Anyway, here's Bill explaining what the McCain-Graham-Warner charade on torture is really about:

In the mainstream media telling, Dubya wants to redefine the meaning of the treaty under US law to allow for "alternative interrogation techniques" (read: torture), while McCain's posse is gloriously defending Geneva's human rights standards.

But while McCain's crew doesn't want to overtly define Geneva's standards down, they do want to severely restrict the ability to prosecute torturers.

That makes Geneva rather meaningless.

We don't need a new bill to tell us what to do with the Geneva Conventions - the law is clear and has worked for a long time. What we need is the removal and prosecution of an executive branch that has chosen to break the law.

Lance Mannion has an entertaining post up on types, characters, and Cheers that was nice to read for a while and not have to think about, y'know, Bush destroying the world.

"Republican economics: The rich, the poor. No middle": If you think of "making it" in the United States today as walking a tightrope, what the Republicans are doing is forcing you to do more tricks on the rope, while they're also yanking the rope to make you fall off, and removing the safety net so that when you fall, you never walk again. Yes, there is class warfare. And most of us are losing it, without even knowing we're at war.

Oh, yeah, and something about an attmepted military coup in Thailand.

18:28 BST

Links for lunch

From comments at Eschaton, Annette says:

"I'm saying that nobody knows what humiliating treatment is. What does it mean?"
--National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley (TPM)

I say, let's subject everyone, who is unclear on the Geneva Conventions, to the various so-called interrogation techniques, and see if they become a bit more clear on the 'vague' language. And perhaps they'll come to see a clearer line once torture starts...

I have to admit, this same solution occurred to me as well.

Would you pay $97 to vote? On Wednesday, the U.S. House will vote on HR 4844, the Ehlers/Hyde bill, which requires all voters to show a photo ID that must also include proof of citizenship. That looks like a pretty hefty poll tax, since in most states there is no ID that identifies your citizenship, and the only thing that usually does is your passport. Pretty serious voter-suppression, if you ask me.

At TalkLeft, "U.S. Marijuana Arrests at All-Time High" - proving the country is really serious about fighting terrorism, I guess. I mean, they bagged Willie Nelson's bus - that'll keep us safer! And TChris says its now official that the RCMP botched the Arar investigation. (The Bush administration, of course, refused to respond to questions from the Canadian court.) The WaPo has more this morning. Arar was innocent, but the US is certainly guilty.

The opposing sides on the issue of "redefining" the Geneva Conventions aren't "conservatives" versus "liberals" or "hawks" versus "doves", it's the Bush administration versus almost everyone, including the military. But we already know how much Bush cares about our troops.

Connecticut's Journal Inquirer notes that Joe Lieberman doesn't appear to know what he thinks.

Mike Whitney saw her when she was in Seattle on her book tour, and he says that Amy Goodman is the real deal. The books is Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders, and the People Who Fight Back, written with David Goodman. She's still got a few cities left on her tour.

John Amato invites you to check out the new film Iraq for Sale. I've heard radio interviews about this and it sounds pretty good. There's also a link for the webcast of Gore's latest speech (which I haven't checked out, yet.)

14:34 BST

Good morning, Mr. Leach. Have you had a busy day?

And don't forget, folks: September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

MadKane defends Jessica's breasts with an Ode To Ann Althouse.

Jeez, even I have had keys that could open a Diebold machine. Talk about security!

Hecate finds out that, contrary to Pope Ratzinger, we now know the answer to the question, "Why do they hate us?"

If I bundle these three items from Think Progress together, maybe the first one won't seem so depressing: Retired Colonel: 'We Are Conducting Military Operations Inside Iran Right Now. The Evidence Is Overwhelming'; Cheney Biographer Launches Desperate Attack On Senate Intelligence Committee Report ('cause he still wants to pretend Osama and Saddam were friends rather than enemies); and Gore Calls For Immediate Freeze on C02 Emissions, Elimination of Payroll Taxes. This sounds interesting but I still need to give it some thought.

Jane Hamsher has the question that reporters should be asking Joe Lieberman when he talks about what a great bipartisan he is: "What Did You Get For It, Joe? Because as far as we can see, the Republicans haven't compromised with him on anything, and they haven't sent him home with any good federal pork, either. Seems he's been a total loss not just for his party and his country, but even for his state.

I think I just found out how Lindsay Graham wins Senate races - He knows what to say and how to say it. Obviously, I disagree with the whole business about how we need to give Bush more ability to do whatever it is he wants to do, but his explanation for why we need the Geneva Conventions and why he insists on saying so is absolutely the way it should be done.

02:08 BST

Tasty links

The Mirror has a photograph of the W-shaped furrow in Tony Blair's forehead. No, really.

Saxby Chambliss explains how the south lost: According to Roll Calls source, Chambliss said, "We need better intelligence. If we had better intelligence in the Civil War we'd be quoting Jefferson Davis, not Lincoln."

Wow, even Republicans are turning on Ken Blackwell: Last week, three prominent Ohio Republicans publicly denounced Blackwell as being outside the mainstream of the Republican Party and announced their support for his Democratic opponent, Ted Strickland.

Via Eschaton, Scott Lemieux says our Constitution is shrill (and John Yoo only believes in vast executive powers when the executive is Bush, or a Republican, or something), and Glenn Greenwald quotes a very old lefty blogger who apparently didn't have the benefit of Mr. Yoo's counsel.

Seth Finkelstein did a little citizen journalism to find out if there were any interesting distinctions between the headline about testing military weapons on demonstrators and what was actually said, and then reports back on the joys of the reportorial process.

Jim MacDonald: Yes, friends, Bush was saying, in almost so many words, "If you don't make torture legal, I'm going to stop torturing people!" Now there's a threat....

00:10 BST

Monday, 18 September 2006

Reading the signs

Whew! I just saw episode two of the two-part introductory story for the current series of Spooks, and whew!. Don't miss this one when it comes to a TV near you. It's absolutely timely. (Episode guide has clips.)

Bob Geiger wonders what it means when Joe Scarborough (R-TV) says stuff like this: How exactly does one convince the teeming masses that Republicans deserve to stay in power despite botching a war, doubling the national debt, keeping company with Jack Abramoff, fumbling the response to Hurricane Katrina, expanding the government at record rates, raising cronyism to an art form, playing poker with Duke Cunningham, isolating America and repeatedly electing Tom DeLay as their House majority leader? Scarborough used to be a member of Congress from Florida until he suddenly retired around the time a dead woman was found in his office.

I keep seeing and hearing comments from fright-wingers to the effect that there is something especially sick about Islam because it teaches its adherents to die for their religion. So how do you explain this stuff?

I see Obama is at it again: Quit telling Democrats - or the "American people" for that matter - that we've "got to show a serious agenda for change." Hello? You are a U.S. Senator, are you not? A Democratic one, if I recall correctly. If anyone is in a position to lay out a serious agenda, it's you, yes? And you're popular and you're not up for re-election and you can't be lambasted by ads in the next few months that will tear apart any agenda you suggest. It seems to me he's been told about this before. Is he stupid, or is he DLC?

"King of Pain" - Paul Krugman asks the important question: why is Mr. Bush so determined to engage in torture?

Time claims to have a "diverse chorus of political voices" among its blogs. But it doesn't.

Oh, no, some unbeliever has sent hate mail to Boing Boing about the FSM. Via Pagan Prattle.

Oh, God, Katie Couric even writes like an airhead.

22:13 BST

Time for dinner

Kevin has a post up on campaign financing that elicited this comment from Augustus:

The Republican fallacy that campaign contributions is a form of political/ free speech needs to be assaulted directly.

If you get pulled over by the police for breaking the law, you can't make a financial contribution to the arresting officer on the grounds that it is free or political speech.

When you go to court, you can't make a financial contribution to the prosecution, to the jurors, or to the judge.

However, you can give campaign contributions to the legislators... you know, the guys who make the laws that the police officers follow, that the prosecution enforces, the jurors decide, and the judge adjudicates.

And yet the last one is "free speech", all the rest are "bribery".

Take the Bush administration - it dropped the settlement amount the government was seeking from tobacco companies by 92% - from $130 billion to $10 billion. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that tobacco companies contributed 1000% more to Bush's campaign than Gore's.

Elton Beard reads Jonathan Chait and feels the need to explain why There is no such thing as a liberal hawk - and he's right.

The Bush doctrine in the War of Terror seems to be to unify and lose: Concede for the moment that whatever the character of American power in the world before September 11th, 2001, it has since then been at least quasi-imperial in its nature, at least in Iraq and Afghanistan. How odd it is, then, that the conscious doctrine of the people making policy appears to be not "divide and conquer" but "unify all possible foes into a single unitary body".

You might want to check out your state blogs for further information about local elections. For example, if you live in Nevada...

Have you ever seen the trailer for The Yes Men? Via Biomes Blog, where I also learned about a woman who took a picture of herself every day for three years and made a short film of it.

18:35 BST

Be careful what you ask for

Just to clarify, it has been obvious since before Day One that when George Bush says he is going to do something for the country (or the world), he is not only not going to do anything to help, but he is going to make things worse. That's what "No Child Left Behind" is about, that's what letting you decide what to do with your money was about, that's what "giving" more money for AIDS was about - and that's all before "liberating" Iraq and "protecting us" from terrorists. And - Healthy Forests, anyone? Yeah.

So when the White House announces that they are going to do a turnaround on global warming, I shake in my boots about what he's going to do to destroy the environment. And when it turns out that he's got a hundred-year plan to do something that we have to do within the next twenty years, believe me, I'm not even disappointed anymore - I'm just grateful that he isn't announcing a way to "solve global warming" by, I dunno, deliberately increasing greenhouse gasses or something.

At this late date, you have to be insane to want Bush to do anything about anything, because ordinarily what he does is make things worse. No matter how big the emergency is, we'd be better off just locking Bush in a closet somewhere so that he can't do anything else.

13:41 BST

Blogger's notebook

Molly Ivins remembers Ann Richards, and has some wonderful anecdotes.

At The Left Coaster, soccerdad explains Bush's attempt to tinker with the Geneva Conventions.

Oh, this is good - George Felix Allen is now claiming that, by an amazing coincidence, the word he used which just happens to be an insult well-known by white racist was one he independently just made up on the spot.

"Waking Nightmare: Bush and God, Together Again " - Chris Floyd on Bush's vision of a "Third Awakening". And BTC News considers whether this Great Awakening is more like a Great Lobotomy. (And I'm not just linking it because he quoted me.) Elsewhere, Chris on The Fall of Tony Blair.

The Indy says that Bush is preparing to make a big U-turn on global warming. Via Buzzflash, which characterizes this as Bush's plan to preempt a speech by Al Gore.

The Guardian has a piece on Bill Clinton's meeting with liberal bloggers, but I think overstates the degree to which Left Blogistan has equalized matters with the fright-wingers in getting relatively minor changes to The Path to 9/11 after the wingers got the Reagan feature pulled off the air entirely, not to mention getting Dan Rather fired.

Hilzoy joins the party with some interesting lingerie. (Thanks to Wayne (of) for the tip.)

00:39 BST

Sunday, 17 September 2006

On the interweb

Action Alert: "The FCC destroyed evidence a couple of years ago that would have undermined their justification for loosening media ownership rules. ... The FCC is once again rewriting media ownership rules that could allow big media companies to gobble up even more local media outlets." -- Hear Us Now. (via)

Another lovely find from Lambert - "DLC loses tax exempt status" - leads us to a Forbes article that says: In a previously unreported action, the Internal Revenue Service has revoked the DLC's tax exemption on the grounds that it primarily benefited a private group - Democrats, and particularly "New Democrats" running for or holding office - rather than the community at large. The DLC has sued in federal court to overturn the decision. The best part is their defense: The DLC responds that its exclusive purpose is to develop and promote its "Third Way" agenda and that some causes it has lobbied for - e.g., welfare reform, fast-track approval of free-trade agreements - got more Republican than Democratic votes in Congress. They sure did.

Republicans really do seem to hate our troops. Check out this ad, and maybe you can help them put it on the air in more states where Republicans have been voting against the troops.

Tristero: As glad as I am that these stories are finally getting wide, prominent coverage, I would be a lot happier if the press would report aggressively and, most importantly, report in a prominent way in real time on the current pack of lies about Iran and the Bush administration's plans for war. (And... Does Krauthammer get it? Um, not exactly, but....)

The Heretik explains why they want to get rid of the lawyers.

A few good things from or via Maru (although god knows there's plenty more):

  • Even Republicans can understand that we need the Geneva Conventions.
  • An interesting item I missed in the Dem response to Bush's recent fake "non-partisan" speech: Reid and Pelosi circulated a letter they sent to the television networks and cable news channels asking for equal coverage of Democratic viewpoints on terrorism and Iraq. "There has been a complete absence of balance in the news coverage of national security issues," they wrote.
  • College Republicans and RNC try to distance themselves from a college recruiting program that encourages students to "shoot cardboard cutouts of leading Democrats with a BB gun or paintball gun."
  • Christopher Buckley says that, "A more accurate term for Mr. Bush's political philosophy might be incontinent conservatism." It has a ring to it.
  • American Stranger has another timely video for us: "Breaking The Law".

16:23 BST

Frog & Peach

Aubade Promenade du Couchant half cup braBra of the Week (Or this, but it seems to have disappeared.)

Jonathan Schwarz notices an accumulation of stories in The Washington Post, and this, and realizes he has fallen into a Peter Cook and Dudley Moore routine.

The Cabbage is trying to pooh-pooh any suggestion of a relationship between the Bush Family Empire and Sun Myung Moon. Yeah, like there's no evidence of that!

Oh, No! WaPo Ombudscreature does it again! Apparently she thinks it's an opinion (a blue one) that when op-ed columnists and editorials make statements of fact, they ought to be true. Arrgh!

Just in case you were tired of waiting for the next Jack Chick cartoon, Roy Edroso has found a substitute. (via)

More Republicans opting out.

14:30 BST

Saturday, 16 September 2006

This week we learned...

I almost missed the fact that murdering Menezes doesn't stop you from getting promoted: Cressida Dick was in charge of the operation that led to Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, being shot seven times in the head on the underground after he was mistaken for a suspected suicide bomber. On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) which oversees the London force announced that Dick had been provisionally selected to be made a Deputy Assistant Commissioner. Via Epicycle.

Did I mention the thing about how Novak keeps changing his story? He's a regular Kathleen Willey.

Guess who is falling behind on broadband? The US is well on its way to third-world status....

Is Wynn stealing the election from Donna Edwards? The polls closed on Tuesday evening, but voting machines in anywhere between two to eight precincts (probably controlled by Wynn's allies) were not brought in to the Maryland Board of Elections until the next day. On Wednesday at 5pm, observers saw a white moving truck pull up and deliver voting machines from several precincts in Wynn-favoring Prince George's county, one of which the Edwards campaign heavily canvassed. Though memory cards were supposed to be taken out immediately after voting closed, these machines had their memory cards still in them. Though no one can yet prove that Wynn's people tampered with the machines, the margin on those machines went for Wynn by around 65-35, which is out of line with the rest of the county. The rest of the county had it at 57 or so for Wynn.

Dave Johnson on the new fright-wing front group that has stolen EFF's initials, on something he found significant during the conference call with Harry Reid, and on a small insight from President Bill.

Colbert praises George Felix Allen's ethnic rally.

19:52 BST

Late round-up

The New York Times says that while the rest of the country has doubled it's energy usage over the last few decades, California's has stayed flat, and smog levels have been reduced dramatically. Kevin Drum: And do you know why? Largely because California has passed laws forcing it to happen. Has that hurt them economically? Nope. (via)

Adele Stan says timing is everything for Colin Powell, who started standing up to Bush on the treatment of prisoners just as Plamegate hit the news again - Powell being the guy who ruined his public image by throwing yellowcake into the mix - but Armitage's little bombshell actually does nothing to exonerate Rove and Libby, nor to take Dick Cheney off the list of suspects. (PS. We should insist on calling it the illegal civilian surveillance program.)

In The St. Louis Post Dispatch, Eric Mink doesn't actually apologize to Karl Rove. Good on ya.

Pentagon Talks Openly About Testing Weapons On Demonstrators At Home - I went into an instant coma when I saw this story the other day (in the NYT), but Steve Soto is right - we should make a lot of noise about this. "Bringing Baghdad to Bridgeport - so the terrorists don't have to." (Also: Bush is freaking out, and Olympia Snow doesn't seem to like it.)

I'm with Thomas Nephew: Filibuster all of it.

Bush says you can't chase Osama in Pakistan because it's a sovereign nation.

Get-togethers among the "Christian" right are always meat for Charles Pierce: Now, aside from the fact that there is no attempt by the good Christian folks at the Family Research Council to distance themselves from the odious Coulter -- who is a walking, living, breathing example of what the nuns used to call a "sin against charity" -- there are so many other wonders to behold. For example, I count at least five people -- George Allen, Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and my own governor, Mitt Romney -- who are rumored to be running for president and who come to wallow with a woman who recommends the assassination of Supreme Court justices.

Fair and Balanced - no free speech for Democrats on CBS with Katie Couric.

What if Clare Short joined Respect?

12:21 BST

Bush doesn't know the difference between right and wrong

Friday in the Rose Garden:

Q Thank you very much, sir. What do you say to the argument that your proposal is basically seeking support for torture, coerced evidence and secret hearings? And Senator McCain says your plan will put U.S. troops at risk. What do you think about that?

THE PRESIDENT: This debate is occurring because of the Supreme Court's ruling that said that we must conduct ourselves under the Common Article III of the Geneva Convention. And that Common Article III says that there will be no outrages upon human dignity. It's very vague. What does that mean, "outrages upon human dignity"? That's a statement that is wide open to interpretation. And what I'm proposing is that there be clarity in the law so that our professionals will have no doubt that that which they are doing is legal. You know, it's -- and so the piece of legislation I sent up there provides our professionals that which is needed to go forward.

[Update from Monkeyfister: OK... George... What the hell is vague, here?]

00:51 BST

Friday, 15 September 2006


AAR has finally announced it's new line-up:
5am-6am The Mark Riley Show
6am-9am The Young Turks
9am-12noon The Sam Seder Show
12noon-3pm The Al Franken Show
3pm-6pm The Randi Rhodes Show
6pm-8pm The Rachel Maddow Show
8pm-9pm "Politically Direct" w/ David Bender
9pm-10pm "Ecotalk" w/ Betsy Rosenberg

Lambert asks: "Why did the Republicans want to sell our ports to slaveholders? Dubai sheiks sued for trafficking."

Billmon says "Be All You Can Be" - or, does anyone wonder why they're having so much trouble recruiting?

Is the story of the ticket agent who committed suicide an urban legend? I hope so (even after all that with Brendan). But that doesn't change the fact that Bush knew, and did nothing.

"Derelict On Detainees" at, where Aziz Huq says: The focus on the GOP intraparty squabble distracts from the sweeping detention powers Warner, Graham and McCain want to give the president.

Astronomers re-name Xena "Eris".

Pete Best's coal cellar given listed building status.

(Am I the only person who finds the so-called energy-saving light-bulbs completely inadequate for actually lighting a room or hallway? I tried the 100W and it was like being in the dark.)

19:00 BST

Everybody's talkin'

Atrios has picked his Wanker of the Day, and it's someone called Bree Nordenson who wrote a dreadful article at Columbia Journalism Review (daily edition) that regurgitates the usual "We're unbiased so let's pretend Krugman is biased" crap, woven from the same whole cloth. Nordenson deserves it. But Atrios is citing Brad DeLong's post in which he says he wrote to her boss to explain the problem, and hasn't received a response. Read Brad's article, and then Tell CJR to answer Brad DeLong. We need what CJR was doing, and we don't want them to start sounding like all of the other useless "fair and balanced" media. (Oh, and Brendan is at it again, too - When Sean Penn says, "Well, in 1932 Huey Long [who Penn is playing in a film] said something very interesting. It was, 'Fascism will come to America, but likely under another name, perhaps antifascism,'" Brendan invokes Godwin's Law - which, naturally, he gets completely wrong).

Bill Scher is telling us why we need to get out the vote and make sure it takes - here: "It is our only opportunity to deny Bush two more years of consolidating unchecked power." And here: "Ending Republican control of Congress this November will deny neocons a platform for spreading misinformation." (Well, at least one big one, anyway.)

Teresa: The administration still has a strongly enforced embargo on photographs of returning flag-draped coffins. They claim this is to spare the families' feelings. When, in all of human history, have the families of those who died in honorable combat been consoled by having their loved ones brought home in obscurity, ignored by the government that sent them to fight? This is why we, and most of the other nations of the world, have ceremonies of public remembrance for those who've served in our wars. (Teresa says she has gotten over her reluctance to discuss politics lately, and now has lots stored up.)

They can call it Good vs. Evil all they want to, but to me it just looks like two teams of right-wing religious loonies fighting with each other, and the rest of us are just cannon-fodder or part of the battleground.

17:14 BST

Our friends on the Hill

Glenn Greenwald and some other bloggers had a conference call with Harry Reid, and says Reid "flatly and unequivocally -- and I'm paraphrasing -- that the Specter bill was not going anywhere, that it would not be enacted." He says Reid hinted at a filibuster: "When I asked him expressly whether the Democrats are committed to filibustering the Specter bill if doing so is necessary to defeat it, he said he thought that would not be necessary, but repeated that they would make sure the Specter bill did not become law. He was unequivocal about that a second time."

(I think it's careless to think that way. No matter how many Republicans grandstand about their commitment to protecting the Constitution before the vote, none of them can be relied upon not to fall in line once the matter actually comes to the floor. I think, as a matter of principle, the Democrats should filibuster anyway as a statement that this bill should never have been passed out of committee let alone allowed onto the floor.)

Glenn also says:

There were numerous other questions on other topics, and Susie Madrak ended the call by underscoring the premise underlying most (if not all) of the questions posed to Sen. Reid, including mine -- namely, that the Democrats' greatest failing has been their failure to take real stands against the Bush administration and to convey to Americans that they are genuinely committed to fighting for their interests. She was appropriately insistent with that point, not allowing Sen. Reid to dismiss it away by claiming that he is sometimes accused of being too confrontational (it's probably true that he is, just like journalists are "sometimes" accused of being too hostile to the Bush administration, but they're both besides the point).
Thank you, Susie for spelling that out for him. It's rather worrying, though, to learn that Reid actually thought an appropriate response was to say that he is sometimes accused of being too confrontational. Of course he is - but the people saying that are conservatives. No one else thinks he's too confrontational. Polls show a majority of Americans want Democrats to operate as an opposition and hold the government accountable; lack of backbone is a cross-party complaint. No one is going to believe Democrats stand for anything if they won't stand up for their beliefs.

And now, a word from Langston Hughes.

14:00 BST

Lotta links

Digby on Crusader Codpiece: I love this. He and his administration want to try people for treason for leaking to the papers about his illegal spying on US citizens and then he blurts out some babble that validates every stupid thing bin Laden preaches to his deluded followers. He might as well just call it a Christian Crusade and get it over with. He just framed his War On Terror in religious terms, which is very, very dumb. (But is it? The more he can make the Muslim world see us as attacking them as a whole, the more terror there is worldwide, and the more both of them can strut their stuff.)

Hackable voting machines - Lots of people have linked this story already, but in case you missed it, some pretty good coverage from Thomas Nephew's Newsrack.

Palast says he thinks he's escaped the noose and that Exxon has admitted being behind the criminal complaint but apparently don't plan to push it.

The new White House press room decor includes cameras to spy on the journalists.

New Anti-Immigrant Law Chasing "Nonexistent Problem" is Dropping Millions of U.S. Citizens from Medicaid Coverage - Same crap they do with "voter fraud".

The Carpetbagger Report asks, "Remember the anthrax letters?" Actually, I do - I remember that someone seemed to be trying to assassinate two US Senators and everyone was acting like that hadn't happened. Everything about it was weird. Via Letter from Here, where Inside-Out-Sourcing was also named.

Man, is this magazine cover ever accurate.

Maybe you'd better call your local AAR affiliate and ask if they will be carrying Sam Seder - and not Springer.

Oh, look, there's another Yank in London.

02:38 BST

Thursday, 14 September 2006

Why I love John Amato

They only started showing The Daily Show on free television here a few months ago, so five years ago we didn't have Jon Stewart. My thanks to Nicole Belle for posting Stewart's first show intro after 9/11.

We still don't get Colbert, so here's his reaction to the truthiness of The Path to 9/11.

And we don't get Lou Dobbs, who knows just where the "human error" was with the voting machines in Maryland.

And, thank goodness, we don't get O'Reilly, but John caught Arianna.

And this is really kinda neat - Ted Kennedy on net neutrality - not on a TV show, but a recording made to go straight to you.

I saw Little Richard's interpretation for Bush on TV, but it was so good I watched it again.

In other video news, Tucker Carlson was the first guy to get kicked off of Dancing with the Stars. For those who've missed the background, Tucker is supposed to be the cute young "hip conservative" on TV, and he is so not cool that he couldn't even get some juice up to dance to Dancing in the Streets. All your worst white boy stereotypes confirmed. And the clothes - Mary!

16:56 BST

A bunch of news and stuff

Ann Richards, 73: "I did not want my tombstone to read, 'She kept a really clean house.' I think I'd like them to remember me by saying, 'She opened government to everyone,'" Richards said shortly before leaving office in January 1995. Be that as it may, we can hardly fail to notice that her successor has kept a really messy house.

Keith Ellison wins Dem. primary: State Rep. Keith Ellison won the 5th District Democratic primary Tuesday. His victory could bring the first black representative from Minnesota to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first Muslim to Congress.

In the WaPo, Ruth Marcus didn't like The Path to 9/11: But consider: The gripping final report of the Sept. 11 commission (budget: $13.5 million) became a surprise bestseller at 1.5 million copies. The not-so-gripping, not-so-accurate ABC production (budget: $40 million) was seen by about 13 million viewers on the first night. Not great in television terms, but that's millions more people than will ever read the report itself, or even the comic.

This is a bunch of crap, so I left a comment.

The Real Link Between 9/11 and Iraq (Finally) Revealed by Tom Engelhardt: Think of that link this way: In the immediate wake of 9/11, our President and Vice President hijacked our country, using the low-tech rhetorical equivalents of box cutters and mace; then, with most passengers on board and not quite enough of the spirit of United Flight 93 to spare, after a brief Afghan overflight, they crashed the plane of state directly into Iraq, causing the equivalent of a Katrina that never ends and turning that country - from Basra in the south to the border of Kurdistan - into the global equivalent of Ground Zero. Via Rubicon.

Jack & Jill Politics says Edwards wants the votes counted in Maryland, but Jim Webb is a horse of another color. Via African American Opinion.

I can't resist: George Bush last night admitted that Saddam Hussein had no hand in the 9/11 terror attacks and that he had been lying all along, but he asked Americans to fall for the hype support a war in Iraq that he said was the defining struggle of our age and is in fact a serious mistake. On a day of campaign hucksterism sorrow and remembrance, beginning with a moment of silence at Ground Zero and ending in a prime time TV address from the Oval Office, Mr Bush tried to steal another election steel Americans for the long war ahead against peace and prosperity al-Qaida which he described as an epochal struggle. (Mind you, this is pretty obvious from the rest of the article.)

13:00 BST

The search for slogans

Down in comments, ANON A MOUSE offers this for a campaign meme:

"The terrorists want you to be afraid. If you allow fear to rule your vote, the terrorists have already won.

Don't vote your fears, vote your hopes."

And Farang suggests we point out that the Republicans are "Like teenagers with credit cards."

Whatcha think?

11:52 BST


I was out, but now I'm back, and I see Brendan has updated his post with a correction to point the finger (properly) at me for my post at Eschaton in which I did not do what Brendan said Atrios did. I also see that lots of people have posted comments there trying to explain to him why he's an idiot.

Look, Brendan's been doing this kind of lame stuff for a long time, as I have been pointing out for years. It's a disease you catch when you think you can be "balanced" by use of false equivalency - you know, like it's just as bad for a Democrat to call gulags "gulags" as it for Rush Limbaugh to call feminists "feminazis".

And it is certainly a disease to waste time wanting to show how "balanced" and nonpartisan you are by attacking some minor blog post that points out the psychopathology of a national leader who is responsible for the torture, maiming, impoverishment and deaths of thousands of people and doesn't even seem to feel a moment of guilt or shame.

Anyway, Atrios is right about this. And, apparently, someone posted my phone number in a comment thread at Eschaton (which broke the minimal posting rules there and was deleted*), and this may be related to the fact that while Mr. Sideshow and I were enjoying an old Pertwee episode, the phone rang and some guy said he was Duncan Black and then said, "You're in a lot of trouble, you cunt." Actually, if it had been Duncan, that would have been kinda funny (we've known each other for a long time), but when I didn't get upset he hung up. (Probably because, unlike Duncan, he didn't know that I get weird phone calls all the time - my phone number is in the Hollis Directory, after all - and anyway, I don't consider the word "cunt" an insult.) I see some nitwit has also left a similar remark in my comments. Gosh, do you think they could be the same nitwit?

At any rate, the important, insightful comment to Brendan's post was by Phoenix Woman, who said:

Hey, Brendan!

Since you're addicted to reading Eschaton (be it guest-posted or not), why don't you make yourself useful and publicize the fact that ARLEN SPECTER IS VERY, VERY CLOSE TO GIVING BUSH FULL DICTATORIAL POWERS.

Or are you more interested in sucking up to Marty Peretz or Fred Hiatt by inventing a bogus 'blogger controversy'?

The choice is yours.

She's referring to Atrios' much more significant post quoting Glenn Greenwald about the fact that:
Democrats have been reluctant to pay much attention to the Specter bill, but the way in which it (a) abolishes all limits on the President's eavesdropping powers; (b) embraces the Bush administration's most radical executive power theories; and (c) virtually destroys the ability to obtain judicial review for the President's lawbreaking, renders it a bill that is at least as pernicious as anything else that is pending. It deserves full-scale attention and opposition.
I implore you, write to your Senators and any Democrat you can think of about the need to loudly, vocally, forcefully do everything possible to stop this piece of crap.

00:27 BST

Wednesday, 13 September 2006

It's always somethin'

While I was helping out at Eschaton I posted a link to Susie Madrak's post about the ticket agent who checked Atta in and has committed suicide. Brendan Nyhan didn't get it, and not only had a stupid response, but blamed it on Atrios instead of me, thus earning him the coveted Wanker of the Day award before lunchtime. (I left a comment for Brendan.)

Who says there's been no terrorism in America since 9/11? Man rams car into women's clinic in Davenport "He drove into the clinic and set his car on fire using an accelerant." So, it looks like the far right has picked up that "suicider" thing from Osama.

Roz sez: It seems to me that the best case that can be made for Gordon Brown is that Charles Clarke and David Blunkett hate him like poison, and Tony Blair does not like him very much. Yeah, but he seems to be the most avid supporter of the ID card, too. I say throw 'em all out. (Meanwhile, I actually did better than Roz on the basic classic rock test - I am a Rock Star.)

"Scandal" would be the word a real press would be using. Representative Press does: "SCANDAL: 9/11 Commissioners Bowed to Pressure to Suppress Main Motive for the 9/11 Attacks"

MahaBarb has been thinking about Paranoia, and is writing about 9/11 Ten Days After. That is, when she's not off dining with President Bill.

God, true conservatives are just a load of old sperm, aren't they?

Rachel Maddow has posted as much as she knows about the upcoming AAR schedule (when her own show moves to a later slot from six to eight in the evening), here. The new schedule starts Monday, and her current spot will be replaced with The Young Turks

What's really new in this "new kind of war".

16:23 BST

Voting in Maryland

I saw this posted last night on Sam Seder's Majority Report blog, from Ceecee, and asked if it'd be okay to post it here:

It was about 9:30 a.m. when I got to the polls. After living in D.C. for 13 years, I moved back to Maryland, where I was born and raised for the most part, and registered to vote as a Democrat when I got my Maryland driver's license. I never received confirmation and sent in a voter application in July 2006. In August, I got a letter that said I had to send proof of my residency which I did promptly. No confirmation but went to my designated polling place. I showed the registrar my letter and my driver's license but I was not registered. I had to fill out a provisional ballot and told to call the Board of Elections in ten days to determine whether my ballot will be counted. I overheard one of the election judges say they only had 8 Democrats and 1 Independent voters so far.

On the radio, it seems there are problems throughout the state. Strangely, the problems are in areas that have a high count of Democrat voters who usually turn out. Montgomery County had to turn away voters and ask them to come back later to vote since electronic voting machines had not been delivered to most sites. Paper ballots would be delivered later. Baltimore and Prince George's Counties had the same problem in some of the precincts. I will be contacting the state and local board of elections to register complaints. I don't remember having this many problems before, but that was before a REPUBLICAN governor.

I'm sure Ehrlich has plenty to do with it, but the Help America Vote Act has made this kind of disaster easy.

Avi Rubin also voted in Maryland, and was even a poll-worker - and he did not feel happy about their fun with Diebold, or even with electricity.

The Brad Blog, of course, has much more - seems there were a lot of unusual problems in Montgomery County.

13:30 BST

Your happenin' world

Scout Prime, "New Orleans Lower 9th Ward --One Year Later": On my last day I had asked lb0313 if I really needed to post all the videos I took on this trip. Surely people must know how bad it is here I thought. Then something happened on the plane.

Vote Republican or die - A fake grassroots group makes "a naked appeal to fear" in their campaign ad.

Okay, we don't exactly take the permalinkless Wayne Madsen as gospel around here, but who can resist a post like this? Sept. 12, 2006 -- In addition to Virginia Republican Senator George Allen setting off the "gaydar" in Washington, DC, outgoing Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee (another 2008 presidential hopeful) is reported by knowledgeable Capitol Hill sources to have repeatedly engaged in gay trysts with a freshman male senator. Story in progress.

NYPD Intelligence OfficerTells Senate to Focus on Domestic Concerns: He said the NYPD recently ordered large quantities of ammonium nitrate and had it delivered to a Brooklyn warehouse -- no questions asked. This is the chemical used in fertilizer bombs like that used in Oklahoma City.

Slacktivist on Fear itself.

TPMCafe's Book Club is doing How Bush Rules: Chronicles of a Radical Regime by Sidney Blumenthal.

UAW head blasts Bush's "Idol" worship: Gettelfinger also said it was "ludicrous" that Bush had no time for the car industry, but managed to find the time to tap Clay Aiken, the runner-up on the popular U.S. reality talent show "American Idol," to serve on the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities.

I gotta say it's a relief to finally have a Democrat in elective office admit that getting rid of Saddam has not made the world better.

War Goddess: The Varga Girls, WWII and Feminism (I don't get why she left the "s" off, but nevermind.)

Okay, this is incredibly lame and dopey but it still made me laugh.

02:18 BST

Blogospheric messeges

The Rude Pundit wants to help:

What Democrats need is a message that says, "We're not playing." The beauty of what Keith Olbermann has been doing lately on his MSNBC show Countdown is that he's made it safe for public figures to use a certain kind of rhetoric. When he says that Bush needs to hope for forgiveness (as he did last night), he's put out language in to the air that can now be built upon, much like Rush Limbaugh did for the right (and, Christ, no, the Rude Pundit's not saying that Olbermann is the Limbaugh of the Left). But it's gotta be tailored, simple, easy to recite and easy to remember. And the Rude Pundit's got it.
Look at this short speech segment that's possible: "My opponent has said that Osama Bin Laden wants to destroy America. My opponent wants you to be very scared. He says that's why you should vote for him. Well, I say to the people here in [insert podunk town, USA], 'Don't let Osama Bin Laden tell you how to vote.'"
The Rude One also asks us to support Egalia in light of recent tsouris.

And Egalia has Krugman's "Promises Not Kept".

Looks like my pals all ran off to hang out with President Bill today. I was wondering why Atrios just asked us to pinch-hit all of a sudden. Anyway, it seems to have inspired a good post from Attaturk that needed saying.

Suburban Guerrilla on the problem with "No One Could Have Known." (But we knew, didn't we?)

Greg Palast and Matt Pascarella have been formally charged with filming stuff you can find on Google Maps.

00:30 BST

Tuesday, 12 September 2006


Monroe Anderson in the Chicago Sun-Times appears to be suggesting that we can't trust the stuff Bush says and that he's just campaigning again, and supplies an illuminating quote:

There's a book just out with a title that sums it all up: Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal and the Selling of the Iraq War. Authors Michael Isikoff and David Corn report that Bush hated Saddam so much that he privately let loose expletive-laden tirades against the dictator. In March 2002, months before Bush asked Congress for authority to attack Saddam, he bluntly exposed his true intentions in an unguarded moment with two aides. When told that White House correspondent Helen Thomas was questioning the need to oust Saddam, Bush snapped: "Did you tell her I intend to kick his sorry m - - - - - - - - - - - - ass all over the Mideast?"
Josh Marshall posts a letter from a reader that every Dem spokesbeing should take to heart: If the Democrats want to achieve a substantial victory in November there are two words they need to excise from their vocabulary, "ashamed" and "politicized." Those words need to be replaced with "failure" and "accountability." Every time a Democrat gets the understandable urge to cry foul and say the President should be "ashamed" for having "politicized" national security, they need to exercise some self-censorship, and go on the offensive and attack the President for his many failures and promise the American people to hold him accountable.

If Digby had the steel to watch The Path to 9/11, we must have the fortitude to read the review. Digby also notes: Here in LA on the ABC 11 o'clock news they held a sort of focus group to watch the film and comment on it. (They all looked a little shell shocked --- and I doubt it was because the movie was so powerful.) I found it quite interesting that more than half of them saw it as a rightwing attempt to re-write history and found it "dangerous" and "false." The rightwingers present were forced to say things like "I find it amazing that half this country refuses to accept we are at war."

Keven Drum reminds us of a forgotten speech by Al Gore - forgotten mainly because this is the one post-9/11 speech where he essentially gives his support to George W. Bush. A lot of people wanted to trust Bush in those days. I knew there was no point, but clearly, most people assumed Bush would not entirely ignore wise counsel. (Also: A reminder that Armitage's confession about leaking Plame's name changes nothing, because there's no "the leaker" - there was more than one, and they went out of their way to mention Plame to at least six reporters.)

James Adomian has Bush down.

19:00 BST

And yesterday's gone

Keith Olbermann says what we know, with a little help from Abe Lincoln and Rod Serling. Watch it, read it, and mourn. "Not once in now five years has this President ever offered to assume responsibility for the failures that led to this empty space, and to this, the current, curdled, version of our beloved country." (via)

Eric Alterman fired from MSNBC, "as of this Friday" - but Altercation will resume on Monday at Media Matters. (via) Meanwhile, read what he says about the double curse of 9/11.

A meeting with Michael Steele - The only thing I know about his actual campaign has been his whining about alleged Oreo-throwing that appears not to have happened. But you can tell he's a Republican by the way he responds to being asked to account for himself. (Also: Marvin Gaye.)

Charles Pierce congratulates Matt Lauer for managing to rattle the Farting Prince right in the Oval Office. "The way you knew he'd pushed hard was that the president began talking in smaller and smaller circles."

Teresa has a reminder of why it's called torture, and adds: Isn't this great? Isn't this fine? We've traded the respect and good will of the other nations of the world for the right to torture prisoners into making worthless confessions.

Bill Scher has an article in In These Times about Privatized Warfare - the news is spilling out that private firms have spent billions of our dollars on not doing what they've been hired to do - they can't even manage to give our troops clean water, let alone rebuild Iraq: But until the American public calls for a change in philosophy-on privatization and on warfare-by replacing our leadership at the top, the corporatized Iraq occupation will continue to waste money and endanger the lives of both Americans and Iraqis.

Sure, I know where I was that day - I was at my desk and got a phone call telling me to turn on my television, so I fired up WinTV and spent the next couple of hours just staring in horror with the realization that this would be their Reichstag fire. But where was Bush?

12:08 BST

What I saw

All the ordinary film reviewer types have pretty much agreed now that Path to 9/11 just wasn't any good. Lance Mannion says: This is not surprising. The director and the writer are both Right Wing true-believers, but that's not why they're not good at the jobs they've taken on. They're not good at them because they didn't train for them. They didn't work at becoming filmmakers. They didn't become filmmakers to be filmmakers. They became filmmakers to make propaganda, which they mistakenly believe is the same as art.

Bill Scher's Sunday Talkshow Breakdown mostly shows Darth Cheney and Wild Rice lying their hineys off but, somehow, their interviewers failing to demonstrate an interest in buying it, even on Fox.

Ryan learns that the internets is mean. (Thanks to Jason Weisberger for the tip.)

"Not just skin deep... " - Grace at The Reaction finds some politically incendiary fashion photos at Vogue - the Italian version.

Five Years: For all the now-forgotten Y2K prattle over when exactly it is that a century actually ends, there is no doubt anymore anywhere when the 21st Century began. It began five years ago, roaring out of our nightmares and down out of the sky. Via Alice Marshall, who also reminds us once again about Operation Ignore, or what Bush really did to protect our country: Instead, Clinton and company decided to turn over the plan to the Bush administration to carry out. Clinton trusted Bush to protect America. This proved, nine months later, to be a disastrous mistake - perhaps the biggest one Clinton ever made.

American Airlines, Come on Down! You're the First Contestant on "The Price is ABC!" - Looks like they're a little pissed off with being blamed in the fake 9/11 movie for something that United did. (Oh, and this is cute.)

Police arrest gnome.

Hmm... "The government agencies housed at 7 World Trade Center were the United States Secret Service, the Department of Defense, the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Mayor's Office of Emergency Management, the Internal Revenue Service Regional Council (IRS), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). [2]"

For those who missed it, the book being hawked below is not the actual 9/11 Commission report, but a graphic adaptation of the report. In other words, a comic book.

00:21 BST

Monday, 11 September 2006

Stuff to check out

Rachel Maddow, who has actually read the entire official 9/11 Commission report, recommends The 9/11 Report; A Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón, both for those who have read the original and those who probably never will. She calls it "a clear, compelling and faithful condensation of the 500-plus page 9/11 Commission Report." (She also interviewed Ernie Colón on her show this morning, which you should be able to stream from her page for the rest of the day.)

Lambert on Why Jebbie has Mickey Rat's nuts in a vise, or how The Bush Crime Family made ABC/Disney try to shove a pack of lies down your throat.

King of Zembla has news about a poll-hack who has been releasing fraudulent poll results: The owner of DataUSA Inc., a company that conducted political polls for the campaigns of President Bush, Sen. Joe Lieberman and other candidates, pleaded guilty to fraud for making up survey and poll results. (Simbaud is also worried about poll numbers that show fewer Brits credulous about Tony Blair's unacceptable activities than Americans who still believe in Bush, and wonders, "What if it's not the tony accent that makes the stinking Brits seem 20 I.Q. points smarter? Well, up until now, Brits had an advantage in that the partisan media is openly partisan and makes no pretense at being "fair and balanced", and the BBC really did try to be fair and truthful, as much as possible. That was before they decided to spend six-hours of airtime on a GOP campaign commercial, of course. We shall see....)

Via Josh Marshall (I see those pop-ups are back with a vengeance), news that Zogby puts Lamont within the margin of error in the Connecticut race.

Some interesting items at TPMmuckraker:

  • The Chicago Tribune is crediting bloggers with having helped Obama get the pork database bill passed after far-right Alaska Senator Ted Stevens and conservative Democrat Robert Byrd of West Virginia put a secret hold on the bill.
  • At CJR, Eric Umansky says that the media downplayed torture stories after 9/11. At the NYT, for example: Galls story, it turns out, had been at the center of an editorial fight. Her piece was "the real deal. It referred to a homicide. Detainees had been killed in custody. I mean, you can't get much clearer than that," remembers Roger Cohen, then the Timess foreign editor. "I pitched it, I don't know, four times at page-one meetings, with increasing urgency and frustration. I laid awake at night over this story. And I don't fully understand to this day what happened. It was a really scarring thing. My single greatest frustration as foreign editor was my inability to get that story on page one."
  • The CIA is encouraging its people to take out special insurance "that would pay their civil judgments and legal expenses if they are sued or charged with criminal wrongdoing, according to current and former intelligence officials and others with knowledge of the program." Obviously, they're worried about whether the White House has sufficient control of the judiciary to make its criminal activities retroactively legal.

17:00 BST

What's goin' on


Sometimes I really hate being on the side of the spineless weenies. Watching the left defend Clinton and this comedy about 9-11, they're saying things like, "In my judgment, there are parts of this movie that are, to my way of thinking, inaccurate to say the least."

Can they be any more weenie-like?

If things were reversed, the GOP would have every member of both houses in front of a cameras on every network saying, "This is a pack of damned lies." When the left defends their record on terrorism, they do more harm than good.

I gotta admit, that word "inaccuracies" makes me twitch every time I hear it. They were not mere inaccuracies, they were big, deliberate lies.

* * *

Even soldiers in the field are smart enough to know that renewable energy could save their lives.

Official US Senate Report: Cheney Wrong About Saddam Tie to al-Qaida , but Cheney Ignores Senate Intel Report, Cites Zarqawi As Evidence of Iraq/Al Qaeda Connection . Rice is another one.

In Conflict Between Osama and Saddam, Bush Policy Aided Osamas Side - but then, Bush and Osama seem to be helping each other out constantly - why else does bin Laden keep making sure there's a tape ready every time we have an election coming up? He knows damned well it usually helps Bush's support whenever Osama makes one of his appearances. And He also knows that no one does more for him than George W. Bush.

Astroturf sighting - although I must point out that it doesn't have to be from a purported organization to be astroturf, it just has to fit the other criteria. Sometimes you will find the same letter published in two or three different newspapers in completely different markets, and sometimes those two or three identical letters will be signed with different names, too.

The GOP has unveiled their campaign strategery to launch personal attacks on Democrats, and Terry Nelson is just the unindicted co-conspirator to do it, having plenty of practice on the illegal phone-jamming scheme in New Hampshire and money-laundering for DeLay.

Note to novices: If you're looking for the permalink, most blogs still use the time-stamp - you know, the part that tells you the time? That's the one.

14:30 BST

Words and pictures

Simone Perele Katerina half cup bra

Bra of the Week

Mark at Biomes Blog says Dave the Rave's Path to 9/11 sneak preview is "the funniest things I've ever read. (He has a bunch of other related links, too.) Also via Mark, 50 Easy Questions to Ask Any Republican.

A photo. Another.And some Crepuscular Rays Over Moscow, Pennsylvania And a Green Aurora Over Lake Superior

Larry Beinhart says, "Say it Loud, Say it Often, 'Republicans are Bad on National Security'": We have trashed the bill of rights. We have trashed the Geneva conventions. We have a president and a vice president willing to go the mat to fight for the right to torture people. We have spent a fortune on illegal wiretaps. We have spent a fortune on collecting everyone's telephone data. And what have we achieved by all of this? A quagmire in Iraq. Dishonor. Debts. An empowered al Qaeda. A new war in Lebanon. The inability to stand up to Iran and North Korea. Osama bin Laden at large, an inspiration to extremists everywhere. And, of course, the shoe bomber.

Tom Tomorrow read another hilarious article by The Cabbage in which we are told we can solve the problem that half of marriages end in divorce by extending the Earned Income Tax Credit to single males. Savor that logic for a moment before checking out Tom's post where he reminds us that no conservative ever lets facts intrude on a stupid theory, even if he could have googled them easily before writing a whole stupid column about a problem that does not exist. (via)

Various people are linking Dana Priest and Ann Scott Tyson's WaPo article "Bin Laden Trail 'Stone Cold'" because it reveals that Bush Lets bin Laden Go at Tora Bora: This calculation is based largely on a lack of activity elsewhere and on other intelligence, including a videotape, obtained exclusively by the CIA and not previously reported, that shows bin Laden walking on a trail toward Pakistan at the end of the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001, when U.S. forces came close but failed to capture him. Meanwhile, Digby highlights the another part of the same article in which it is revealed that the wall between intelligence agencies is named Rumsfeld: Hayden, according to this source, told Rumsfeld that the information-sharing mechanism with the CIA was working well. Rumsfeld said it would have to stop.

Matt Stoller is worried that Lamont is starting to sound like someone else and talking about stuff voters really don't care about, like the blogosphere and bipartisanship. Voters want to hear about things like accountability right now, and he shouldn't get into talking about the concerns of the Stepford press corps.

Happy Birthday to The Boy at Good Nonsense.

After years of walking right by it, I finally took a look at this tree in Red Lion Square. Bark on old trees looks so cool. Definitely looks cooler without the flash than with it.

00:39 BST

Sunday, 10 September 2006

Fading light

As always, remember September 10th.

Kaveney on Blair: It is premature to write his obituary just yet - he still thinks he can carry on into next year, though my guess is that he will be gone within weeks - but I am too eager not to get stuck in now. (BTW, I was there with her, and it's all even more ugly than she makes it sound.)

Josh Marshall says"Social Security to be Phased Out in 2007" - or, at least, Bush is saying so. He's also refusing to believe it's possible that Republicans won't retain control of Congress.

On a somewhat smaller scale, United 93 was could also be called 'defamatory', of course.

Al Gore says The Path to 9/11 is "irresponsible".

"Tough Interrogation" - Maha reads David Johnston in the NYT on how torture still doesn't work.

No matter what the corporate media says, some 9/11 conspiracy theories are less crazy than others. "How crazy is it to associate Saddam Hussein with Osama bin Laden?" Pretty damned nuts.

No one can say they weren't told - not that we don't have a long list of these, but if Rumsfeld didn't get that the reason people were asking about post-invasion planning is that we were going to need it, he's as dumb as a PNAC Republican. Oh, ... right.

I think Atrios linked to Bérubeé's Blame America First edition already but I couldn't get the page to load at the time. Now I can, and you can read all about Dinesh D'Sousa's explanation that evil liberals fostered the culture of freedom that right-wing extremist Muslim jihadis hate, so it's our fault that they hate us and blew up the World Trade Towers, which is why we should appease them by returning to repressive values. And why it matters that we get loudly pissed off at this stuff. Michael Moore can lose weight, but nothing stops these vermin from boring their way upward.

The trouble with creationists. (via)

17:37 BST

"The official true story"

I can't seem to get Daily Kos up today, but I'm told they are linking this astonishing trailer being shown in Australia for The Path to 9/11 that makes clear that this movie is intended to claim that Bill Clinton was responsible for 9/11. The voice-over is:

The simultaneous worldwide broadcast to an audience of hundreds of millions

The official true story

How they could have wiped bin Laden out.

They didn't.

But why?

How one decision changed our world

Five years to the day, watch with the world

On September 10 and 11 the path to 9/11

One of the opening shots shows Bill Clinton (at his desk?), with flames around him.

Look, it's not an accident that this movie was designed around the false claims the fright-wingers have been making for years about how 9/11 is Clinton's fault. It was created by them for exactly that purpose.

13:30 BST

Saturday, 09 September 2006

Be careful what you metaphor

A letter in Wednesday's International Herald Tribune:

President George W. Bush has rightly pointed out that America is addicted to oil, but he fails to note the predictable consequences.

Addicts break into houses, steal stuff and shoot people. America is breaking into countries, stealing stuff and shooting people. Why is anyone surprised that those homeowners object to our addictive behavior? - Sheila Stoll Morcote, Switzerland

23:06 BST

Small screen stuff

Gosh, a Rachel Maddow fan blog that posts videos of her appearances on Tucker Carlson's show. And on her own show blog, Rachel posted a photo of Tucker's shoes. He's wearing pedal-pushers and white socks. But check out the very good Changing the Media clip on fair elections, where Rachel makes a really good point about the "debate" on the concerns of Democrats and Republicans over the verifiability of our elections. I don't know those faces but three of them sound like Tom Hartmann, Mike Malloy, and Laura Flanders. (But so many other campaigns have used a purple ribbon that I think ours is going to have to be striped red, purple, and blue.)

Via C&L, Zach Roberts reports that the government is going after Palast: Greg Palast is facing a criminal complaint from the Department of Homeland Security stemming from his filming the Hurricane Katrina investigation for Link TV and Democracy Now. The films producer, Matt Pascarella, is also facing the legal wrath of Big Brother. It appears the complaint is about filming a sensitive national security site owned by Exxon petroleum. It seems that photographing major Bush donors is now a federal offense. ... At Palasts request, Homeland Security confirmed that Louisiana is, indeed, still part of the USA but did not respond when asked if the First Amendment applies there. (That post also has links to the film.)

Even Bill Bennet disapproves of The Path to 9/11 - "But that's no reason to falsify the record" - however, he ruins it by making the false comparison between "inaccuracies" in Pt9/11 and Fahrenheit 9/11. There are a lot of reasons to find such arguments disingenuous - like the fact that Disney not only did not show Michael Moore's movie on ABC, but wouldn't even distribute it, in addition to the fact that you didn't get to see it at home for free, but had to go out and pay for it - but the number one reason to dismiss it is the fact that Fahrenheit 9/11 is a real documentary that shows real documentary footage, and does not have fake scenes of things that didn't happen in it.

19:32 BST

The pathology to 9/11

Here's the stupid response I got from the BBC about the GOP-umentary:

Thank you for your e-mail.

'The Path to 9/11', to be transmitted over September 10 & 11 is a drama based on real events and, as with any drama, the writer's perspective will be brought to bear on those events. A statement at the beginning of the programme is clear about the sources and methods which have been used:

"The following dramatization is based on the 9/11 Commission Report and other published sources and personal interviews. Composite and representative characters and incidents, and time compression have been used for dramatic purposes".

It is not our practice to engage in public debate about the contents of programmes before they've been transmitted, but what we will say is that this subject matter is always going to be politically controversial. Most of the events take place when the Clinton administration was in power so naturally it will feature heavily.

The programme has been reviewed by the Editorial Policy team and we are confident it lives up to high standards of fairness and accuracy.

With this in mind, we hope you will enjoy the drama.


Max Blumenthal helps you Discover the Secret Right-Wing Network Behind ABC's 9/11 Deception: In fact, "The Path to 9/11" is produced and promoted by a well-honed propaganda operation consisting of a network of little-known right-wingers working from within Hollywood to counter its supposedly liberal bias. This is the network within the ABC network. Its godfather is far right activist David Horowitz, who has worked for more than a decade to establish a right-wing presence in Hollywood and to discredit mainstream film and TV production. On this project, he is working with a secretive evangelical religious right group founded by The Path to 9/11's director David Cunningham that proclaims its goal to "transform Hollywood" in line with its messianic vision. (Thanks to John Bogan for the tip.)

Taylor Marsh asked John Kerry what he thought: What I find most stunning in all of this is that now five years after the real 9/11 - as if any fiction could somehow make more searing what each and every one of us lived with our own eyes and ears - is that we need less revisionism about the past and a hell of a lot more reality about whats going on now. Right now.

Americablog has a lot of good stuff on the Path to 9/11 story, including the letter Senate Democrats sent to ABC which appears to be hinting at legislative sanctions if the fabrications air. Also: Steve Jobs is one of the culprits.

Madeleine Albright and Sandy Berger have sent their own letter to Thomas Kean asking him to try to get ABC to kill the film. They were too cheap to hire a decent typist, apparently, and too lazy to proofread what they sent. How embarrassing.

On Fox & Friends, Chris Wallace went out of his way to say: "That's unethical, it shouldn't happen, they should take the scene out - I think it's just wrong. ... I think it's slanderous, I think it's defamatory, and I think ABC and Disney should be held to account."

15:43 BST

And, another thing...


Not surprisingly, the Taliban has risen again. Their adherents are using al Qaeda-style techniques. Let me repeat: these are the guys who actually do have a history of attacking the United States. You're just as vulnerable to them as you were on the day before 9/11.

And one more thing. You know how people who don't know how to do a particular thing think it's magic? Like, people who've bought their first truck think it'll do the kind of stunts they've seen on car commercials, or people who don't know the first thing about computers will somehow get the idea that their monitor can see them, or that their software can divine what it is they're trying to do? You really should go back and look at that article on The Project for a New American Century. It's fascinating. One way or another they're pretty much all draft dodgers, with no military experience to speak of.* They think that going to war will have magic effects. They have no idea what they're doing. Which may account for the way they've consistently been wrong about everything.

00:48 BST

Friday, 08 September 2006

More stuff

I do hope all this business has put paid to the idea that the networks broadcast this crap to grab viewers and therefore make more money on advertising, now that we know this rubbish is actually being aired with no advertising.

The BBC news has a story called "Clinton aides attack 9/11 drama" which makes no mention whatsoever of the fact that the BBC itself is planning to air something which even the makers are beginning to admit is slanderous. Ambitious letter-writers might also want to contact the Guardian, which has a virtually identical story, despite the fact that they also have another which does note that the BBC has also scheduled it for the same dates - though they don't seem to find it disturbing that Auntie Beeb will be showing a six-hour campaign ad for the Bush administration.

It has been pointed out to me that I neglected to mention when and where The Path to 9/11 was being shown by the BBC. That will be BBC2, Sunday at 8:00 PM and Monday at 8:30.

Americablog has the threatening letter Senate Democrats sent Disney: Presenting such deeply flawed and factually inaccurate misinformation to the American public and to children would be a gross miscarriage of your corporate and civic responsibility to the law, to your shareholders, and to the nation.

Madison Guy notes that the review referenced below actually had links to the damned Lewinsky crap.

Mark Mazzetti's article in the NYT detailing how Bush's speech about secret detentions was a load of bollocks is actually pretty good.

And Sherwood Ross says, "Many High Bush Administration Officials Guilty Of Violating Anti-Torture Laws".

I'm Avedon Carol, and I approve this Hugo.

You know, Jon Stewart was right - Ricky Gervais does look better in a jacket.

23:36 BST

Thou shalt not bear false witness

The reason lying against others is a serious moral failing, and a civil crime, and a felony in court, is because it has serious consequences. When Clinton denied having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky he was not bearing false witness against his neighbor, nor falsely accusing anyone, and so the consequences in and of themselves were not serious (except within his marriage, which was none of the court's or Congress' business).

But when The New York Times suggested that the Clintons had been complicit in embezzling in Whitewater despite a complete lack of evidence, and when the creators of The Path to 9/11 fabricate a tale in which the Clinton administration ignored the threat of terrorism after the '93 attack on the WTC, this falsifies the record in ways that will continue to have negative consequences not just for the people who are so besmirched, but for the future of our nation and its security.

Bill Scher on The Damage One Movie Can Do, points out that the reviewer for The New York Times was deceived, having written:

Its like focusing blame for a school shooting at the beginning of the school year on the students new home room teacher; the adults who watched the boy torment classmates and poison small animals knew better.
No, it's not, because the adults in the Clinton administration had not ignored terrorism once they recognized the threat, and had taken steps to stop it, and warned the new guy about it - and the new guy ignored those warnings and all those that followed. So, yes, the new homeroom teacher deserves the blame.

Let's not forget: The "pre-9/11 thinking" that there was no serious reason to worry about terrorism was a phenomenon of the Bush administration. The Clinton administration had already recognized that threat and was doing something about it. "Pre-9/11 thinkers", who were insisting that SDI was much more important, are all Republicans.

The Sept. 11 commission concluded that the sex scandal distracted the Clinton administration from the terrorist threat.
No, it didn't - it said the reverse. (And who was it who was trying to distract Clinton, anyway? Because the NYT obsessed on the false trail of Whitewater - a trail laid by right-wing segregationists and inflated by GOP operatives - the entire nation became so distracted that when Clinton tried to warn us about terrorism, he was attacked for "wagging the dog".)
But in hindsight, surely the right-wing groups who drove for impeachment must look back at their partisan obsession with shame, like widows sickened by the memory of spats about dirty dishes and gambling debts.
What kind of a nitwit believes this? Have we ever seen a single symptom of regret on the part of the right-wingers that they refused to credit Clinton's claims that terrorism was a serious threat?
But there is no dispute that in 2000, the destroyer Cole was attacked, Washington dithered and Mr. bin Ladens men kept burrowing deeper and deeper into their plot to attack America on its own soil.
Yes, the Cole was attacked in 2000 during the campaign, and the Clinton administration was working to finalize the evidence against Al Qaeda and produce a plan to retaliate. That plan was presented to the new occupants of the White House, who, upon receiving final confirmation of Al Qaeda's responsibility for the attack, dismissed it.

Says Judd Legum, "This is what happens when people learn about the 9/11 Commission by watching Path to 9/11."

And because people continue to believe this kind of nonsense, it has been way too easy for some to ignore not just the negligence that resulted in the devastation to New York, to our nation's economy, and to the position of the United States in the world, but the actual security matters that might help us prevent another such attack if our enemies should launch one.

I believe that many of the suggestions that had been made (mostly by Democrats) prior to 9/11 for increasing security were unnecessary and presented dangers of their own, but some were only prudent. All of them were being ignored by the Bush administration, although it has since become clear that they were illegally implementing some of them - although not, apparently, for the sake of protecting us from terrorists.

President Clinton did not seem to be duly concerned with protecting American's civil liberties, but at least his motivations really seemed to be about real terrorism from both without and within the United States. Most real acts of terrorism on US soil, remember, are still the work of white, Christianist, racist misogynists. I believe that it was Clinton's concern with right-wing American terrorists that motivated much of the resistance in the US to his attempts to weaken civil liberties.

You will recall that right-leaning libertarians of that time actually had a justified argument against Clinton's interest in curtailing our civil liberties, and thus did not appear to be paranoid crazies when they objected to them. However, very few of those "libertarians" turned out to mean what they said, because as soon as the Bush administration moved into the White House, they were willing to accept far more intrusive and unjustifiable violations of our rights.

We now know that well before 9/11, the Bush administration was illegally spying on American citizens without warrants, and they are still suspiciously reticent about allowing any oversight regarding who it is they spy on. We also know that the administration, to this day, still regards peace workers and vegetarians to be dangerous "terrorists" and has put more energy into chasing pot-smokers than into protecting our vulnerable ports. We know that the names of such people and of well-known Democrats and Green Party officials have been put on the no-fly list. We know that the administration has aimed the bulk of its resources not at Al Qaeda, but at those Americans who disagree with the GOP politically.

And we also know that both white racist terrorists in America and Wahabist Saudis, including bin Laden, have closer ties to the GOP than they do to anyone else in America. When Karl Rove is "firing up the base", he's firing up the same kind of people who give aid and comfort to American terrorists. The people who blow up abortion clinics certainly don't vote for liberal Democrats. George W. Bush's father dines with Osama bin Laden's father.

So the idea of having a "liberal" president with the power to investigate suspected terrorists frightens these people. But the idea of having a right-wing president with vast power to relieve people of their privacy, their citizenship, their liberty, and their lives - that's okay, because that means it's me they'll arrest, or Ted Kennedy, or you - but not other right-wing nut cases.

So the right-wingers were outraged at Clinton when he was trying to fight terrorists - not just the home-grown variety, but their right-wing counterparts in the Muslim world.

But the right wing has never tried to fight those people, and they still aren't. They may be annoyed by "Islamic fascism", but that doesn't mean they are annoyed by theofascists - they just want a monopoly on being the theofascists.

But many of them don't even want to admit this to themselves, let alone to the rest of us - and Karl Rove knows that some of their "base" is people who still think Bush is telling them the truth, and that he and his cronies really are trying to protect our country from real terrorists. And Karl Rove also knows that many people, although they are not "the base", also pick up information from the loudest media sources and would be horrified to learn that Bush is lying to them - but as long as they don't know that Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh are carrying lies, they will vote for Republicans and believe GOP lies and think that Democrats only disagree because we are "evil", just like Osama. And even a New York Times reviewer can be fooled if the atmosphere is polluted by enough lies.

So they really need things like The Path to 9/11 if they are to survive as a party, and as a movement. And we permit this at our peril.

Related links:

Harvey Keitel speaks out, says falsehoods should be corrected

Louise Slaughter's statement

Contact details for George Mitchell, Disney Chairman.

17:13 BST

Last night's links

The Drive to Victory Tour: "The American people have spoken by not saying anything. We don't want a president who gets all worked up about working. The Stay on the Golf Course approach absolutely guarantees victory. The president will be rested enough to do his important work when the time comes. Which is to declare victory is guaranteed. Somehow." And, "For us to win in November and maybe in the Mideast somehow, someday, we had to go back to what never worked but people think works. We realized people attach words to presidents more than they do actions. Lets be honest here, as long as you don't use my real name."

Someone who used to support prayer in schools suddenly learns it's not a good idea: Coming from a fairly traditional Southern upbringing, I was not at all initially surprised when a voice came over the PA and asked everyone to rise for the invocation.

Why shopping for healthcare is an unrealistic idea.

The WaPo won't print it, but I'm glad you wrote it.

The Poor Man is a god.

Terrorism in Belgium: Seventeen people have been arrested in Belgium for allegedly planning attacks aimed at "destabilising" the country's institutions, Belgian prosecutors say. Wait, there's a punchline. (via)

Someday, I wonder if they will ever understand that it's not who your loonies are, it's where your loonies are.

Separated at birth? David Horowitz and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

This gets my vote for best political campaign ad of the season so far. Sends chills up my spine.

Playing a theramin is hard enough without doing this.

13:37 BST

The truth is out there

In comments, MaryKay says: Well, Clinton's lawyer has sent a letter to the head of ABC demanding corrections. And, as ghu is my witness, it starts out, "Dear Bob, As you know..." TPM Cafe has it. I liked this part especially:

Using newsreel footage of President Clinton, the drama insinuates that President Clinton was too pre-occupied with the impeachment and the Lewinsky matter to be engaged in pursuing bin Laden. This allegation is absurd and was directly refuted by ABC News consultant Richard Clarke in his book, Against All Enemies: Clinton made clear that we were to give him our best national security advice without regard to his personal problems. Do you recommend that we strike on the 20th? Fine. Do not give me political advice or personal advice about the timing. Thats my problem. Let me worry about that. If we thought this was the best time to hit the Afghan camps, he would order it and take the heat.
I think I'll forward that to the BBC - and I'd be grateful if those of you who live in Britain would do the same. According to their contact page, you can call them on 08700 100 222 (or textphone 08700 100 212), or use their e-mail form.

"Talking with Folk Who Hate You": "Its not science vs. faith. It's science vs. crap."

"What's the worst part of this story? The worst part is that nobody is surprised by this."

Abstract Nonsense reminds me that every time we hear of formerly secure data bases flying loose, I can't help but wonder if it's deliberate. I mean, in what world is it necessary to put the Veteran's Administration data base on a disk and take it home?

World Can't Wait is planning an event for October and wants you to help start organizing for it now.

Son of Dork, "Ticket outta Loserville" - Remember when this was you?

01:19 BST

Thursday, 07 September 2006

Lazy blogging

Not in the mood to write anything, so here's some links:

David Gregory vs. Tony Snow - This is pretty funny, and it's nice to see Gregory fighting back, too. Via Maru.

Bush's hostages.

The first step in winning the fight against terror.

Teresa's right again, and the reasons for outing and trying to discredit Valerie Plame were even more reprehensible than we thought.

In comments, Charles asks what part of "No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed" (from Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution) George Bush doesn't understand.

MadKane has gone all haiku on The Rumsfeld Trap.

17:24 BST

Some interesting stuff

"Who will buy my Sweet Red Roses": "Heres the deal girly; I let you sell your flowers in my place, and you cut me 10%."

(The photo is one of three I took last night in the dark, which is really hard when you can't see what you're shooting. This one was taken without the flash, lit by an intense blue keychain light. That part was hard, too. All are of the same rose.)

Sarah Chayes sounds like an amazing woman. She came to Afghanistan as a journalist but stayed to help with the rebuilding. She probably can tell you more about what's going on there than you'll hear from most anyone else. And now she's published a book about it, The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban.

I think I got this from Atrios over the weekend and meant to link it, but now it's a lonely, neglected, open window. It's Matt Yglesias' smart response to the "rather surreal" debate over Iran that's been erupting from the fever swamps, and Matt puts down some actual sense. Bottom line: Calm down.

If you haven't read the address by Mayor Ross C. "Rocky" Anderson of Salt Lake City, Utah, you really should. "And who among you loves your country so much that you insist that our nation's leaders tell us the truth? ... Let no one deny we are patriots. We support our nation's troops. We are grateful to our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms. We love our country, we hold dear the values upon which our nation was founded, and we are distressed at what our President, his administration, and our Congress are doing to, and in the name of, our great nation. Blind faith in bad leaders is not patriotism."

Charles Pierce wants to know why Clinton isn't speaking up about the pack of lies ABC is about to air about his administration, and says, "If this is about his wife's presidential campaign -- 'Shh, honey, don't make the networks angry.' -- then there really isn't anything he can't, or won't, triangulate."

Electoral stuff: Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman on Saving the ballot evidence from Ohio 2004 - Blackwell is trying to pretend he is forced to destroy the ballots, although the law not only doesn't require it, but is not usually enforced. In fact, in order to get to the 2004 ballots, people had to climb over the archived ballots from previous elections.
Don't be fooled by the fact that Chuck Hagel is a Republican who has been an early-adopter of the idea that it might be good to criticize an incompetent president - and don't forget that Hagel is a big name in vapor voting. His criticisms of Bush sound pretty good until you ask yourself, "If that's what Senator Hagel truly believes, why doesn't he switch to the Democratic Party?"

The Emperor's No Clothes: Lambert concludes that Bush has nothing on at all after an article in Foreign Affairs asks the question, "Is There Still a Terrorist Threat?" and suggests that Bush is even more cynical than he thought.

TChris on Jailing Journalists in the Bay Area

Move over, baby - Joplin on Cavett.

01:47 BST

Wednesday, 06 September 2006

Too much news

I was busy earlier and now I'm kind of overwhelmed. I didn't just find out about this stuff but I haven't had enough down-time to let myself think about it until now, and I'm still in the 15-emotions-at-once stage. Makes it kind of hard to articulate it all.

I hardly know what to say about the peace deal with Osama. Well, it's Pakistan. Long-time readers will recall that I've always been particularly irritated by the fact that Bush was holding hands with Pakistan, of all places. And that it was pretty obviously where Osama would most likely have gone. And that the madrasses were in Peshawar. And that Pakistan's leader gained his position not through a democratic election, but through a military coup. I haven't written more about it because it always left me spluttering. We were told irony was dead, and this, I guess, was why. Check out Bill Scher on appeasement, too.

David Corn in The Nation learns What Valerie Plame Really Did at the CIA: Though Cheney was already looking toward war, the officers of the agency's Joint Task Force on Iraq--part of the Counterproliferation Division of the agency's clandestine Directorate of Operations--were frantically toiling away in the basement, mounting espionage operations to gather information on the WMD programs Iraq might have. The JTFI was trying to find evidence that would back up the White House's assertion that Iraq was a WMD danger. Its chief of operations was a career undercover officer named Valerie Wilson.

And Bush is once again trying to change law retroactively so that all the criminal acts he's been committing are suddenly made legal - this time it's the War Crimes Act.

Excuse me, I need to go chew some nails, now.

23:50 BST

Media media

Robert Parry asks, "How Obtuse Is the U.S. Press?" He wonders this because they are promoting the White House spin on the Plame story, as usual. Yes, even The New York Times. I don't think Parry thinks they can believe what they're writing:

The Times buries this crucial point in its Sept. 2 story that questions whether Fitzgerald "properly exercised his prosecutorial discretion." In the last sentence of the 17th paragraph, the Times reports that Armitage disclosed Plame's possible role in arranging Wilson's Niger trip "in reply to a question."

In other words, Armitage didn't just toss out Plame's CIA connection as "gossip," as the Post editorial assumes. He apparently mentioned it in response to Novak's question about how the Niger trip had been arranged, which begs the additional question of who might have suggested that Novak ask that.

The distinction is important because other evidence indicates that Bush's aides were pushing reporters to ask about the circumstances behind the Niger trip, knowing that line of questioning would lead to Plame's identity.

For instance, Time magazine correspondent John Dickerson, who accompanied a presidential trip to Africa shortly after Wilson's article was published, said he was twice urged to pursue the seemingly insignificant question of who had been involved in arranging Wilson's trip.

In other news, Zogby Poll: 9/11 + 5 Reveals Dramatic Partisan Split: Five years after 9/11, the bitter division between Republicans and Democrats on key issues is as intense as ever, with the two at loggerheads over the War in Iraq, wiretapping and surveillance, and what role, if any, Saddam Hussein played in the 2001 terror attacks, new polling by Zogby International shows. So, basically, people who still support Bush listen to Rush, watch Fox News, and have no idea what's really going on.

Olbermann goes after Bush: Mr. Bush and his colleagues have led us before to such waters. We will not drink again. And Max Cleland tells CNN: "I Don't Agree with a Damn Thing the Attorney General Said."

19:47 BST

On the landscape

Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy on Operation American Freedom: "Call me a wacky conspiracy theorist, but I am certain that there are connections between Republican Congressmen and President Bush."

MediaBloodhound notes that NBC chose to celebrate Labor Day by focusing not on workers, but on owners.

Wow, The Smirking Chimp has complete changed their face - it looks like a blog! (Do they know the difference between a "blog" and a blog post, though?)

Deborah at News Hounds says Paul Hackett really gave to Dan Senor on - surprise! - The O'Reilly Factor.

CathiefromCanada hopes Wolcott is right about Iran, but is afraid that Juan Cole is more likely to be.

Linkmeister found more about Bush's new appointee to the Department of Labor, Paul DeCamp, professional union-buster.

Letter from Here with an intriguing photo and thoughts about the Two Americas on Labor Day.

The very got House member Louise Slaughter (D-NY) has made a statement about ABC's revisionist The Path to 9/11 - but I was dismayed to note that she supports Real ID. I'd hope her constituents would contact her about that.*

Steve Gilliard has a few words to say about Condi's equation of slavery and opposition to the occupation in Essence.

Atrios is wrong - If Lieberman did all that, he would lose all of his Republican support, and he wouldn't win back any of the Democrats he's alienated. His best bet now is to straddle the line and keep his head down as much as possible. He will be better off if he stops the stupid attacks on Lamont and tries to make a case for the old 18-years-of-experience thing.

Well, that didn't work out, did it? Lambert at CorrenteWire on Bush v. Gore in Mexico, and Charles at Mercury Rising says it's A day for solemn assembly.

00:18 BST

Tuesday, 05 September 2006

Dear Radio Times



I was dismayed to see that the fictionalization of the 2001 attacks on New York's World Trade Towers and on the Pentagon will not only be broadcast here, but has received remarkably credulous coverage in The Radio Times.

Right-wing talk radio hosts and columnists in America have already lavished high praise on the docudrama, which apparently works hard to place most of the blame for the attacks on the Clinton administration, according to their reviews. (More mainstream or "liberal" commentators were not given advanced viewings of the The Path to 9/11.)

But, judging from those reviews, The Path to 9/11 seems to contain many "errors" in order to hide the culpability of George W. Bush in negligently ignoring warnings prior to the attacks. According to one right-wing pundit, it depicts a scenario in which the CIA and Northern Alliance had surrounded bin Laden's house - something that never happened. The operation that attempted to do so was halted by George Tenant because it was deemed unworkable, but the right-wing reviewers glowingly praise the movie for blaming that decision on Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger.

More praise is directed at the docudrama for castigating Clinton for having given "no response" to the attack on the USS Cole. But the investigation of the Cole incident was not completed until after George Bush was already in the White House, and it was he, not Clinton, who could have provided that response - and declined to do so.

Why is the BBC not only showing, but trumpeting, this revisionist history written and promoted by highly-partisan right-wingers in America?

Pity you can't just send links for further reading, eh?

18:59 BST

God loves, Man kills

If you didn't read Max Blumenthal's "Birth Pangs of a New Christian Zionism" in The Nation last month, you really ought to. Max has provided a lot of useful exposure of how the Christianist right in America has deliberately set out to manipulate Israel by "supporting" it onto a self-destructive road to conflagration. An attempt to rebut his article claimed that, on the contrary, the Christianist Zionists were, "the theological progeny of the religious righteous gentiles who saved Jews from the Holocaust, and true to their creed, they are seeking to stand with the Jews against current threats to their existence." At Alternet, Evan Derkacz explained why that's not true

The religious righteous gentiles, most of whom were Lutheran Evangelicals, were not right wing Christians and indeed would hardly be recognizable as coreligionists to today's conservative Evangelicals.
And, says Max later on his blog, they stood in contrast to Protestants who "saw Hitler's ascension as a blessing from God and collaborated enthusiastically with his regime" - much the way today's Christianists see Bush and his drive to dissolve the separation between church and state.

It's not an accident that the far right thinks things are going "swimmingly" in the Middle-East - they are.

The more dead and dismembered children we create, the more they glory in it. The Prince of Peace is overwritten by their new Ares, and God isn't love, he's war. Their God is a god who hates fags, who wants women to suffer for having sex, and who wants everyone but them to be tortured for all of eternity. They proclaim themselves "good" while pouring ever more fuel on the fire in hopes of a final solution that will somehow absolve them.

* * * * *

And, as long as we're doing Christianist news, I was reminded recently of a post I linked a couple of years ago from Slacktivist that I hope you didn't miss at the time but is always worth re-reading: "The Abominable Shellfish: Why some Christians hate gays but love bacon."

13:45 BST

Here's to the laws of Richard Cheney

The NYT tells us what's happening with all those Chicken Little arrests:

The number of terrorism cases brought by the Justice Department, which surged in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has dropped sharply since 2002, and prosecutors are turning down hundreds of cases because of weak evidence and other legal problems, according to a study released Sunday.
The Heretik says:
Don't forget the prosecutors and the FBI are on the same side in the War on Terror Everything TM. But its prosecutors, not defense lawyers, who are saying the FBI cases are all sizzle, no steak. All the relish the government brings to terrorism cases can not hide the weenie reality when things might come to court.

01:50 BST

The time-travel president strikes again!

My thanks to Cell Whitman for reminding me of this walk down memory lane:

President wants Senate to hurry with new anti-terrorism laws

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton urged Congress Tuesday to act swiftly in developing anti-terrorism legislation before its August recess.

"We need to keep this country together right now. We need to focus on this terrorism issue," Clinton said during a White House news conference.

But while the president pushed for quick legislation, Republican lawmakers hardened their stance against some of the proposed anti-terrorism measures.

And at Firedoglake, Sheldon Rampton discusses more of the GOP Hijacking 9/11 and specifically the lie that Clinton was "doing nothing" about terrorism and therefore 9/11 is all his fault. The right-wing persists in its fantasy that it was Clinton rather than Bush who failed to respond to the attack on the USS Cole, despite the fact that the evidence to confirm the culprits didn't come in until Clinton was out of office. As always, Clinton is responsible for everything that happened before and after his presidency, including the fact that the Farting Prince refused to react once the evidence on the Cole operation was confirmed. Clearly, Bill Clinton is a Time Lord.

00:39 BST

Monday, 04 September 2006

The Labor Day post

Rachel Maddow replayed her interview with Byron Dorgan about his book, Take This Job and Ship It: How Corporate Greed And Brain Dead Politics Are Selling Out America, and you can still stream the show from her page until they post a new one tomorrow. (This link might work.) I'm not in love with Dorgan, but I am in love with the way he talks about the destruction of our economy and the need to fix it. I do recommend listening to it if you have the time. (Also, Rachel says that the nomination of Paul DeCamp, who has made a career of fighting against enforcement of laws meant to protect workers, to be wage and hour administrator of the Department of Labor is the worst Labor Day present ever.)

Nicole Belle has a short post at Crooks and Liars on "The War at Home" that, among other things, discusses Thom Hartmann's Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle Class. She asks, "So what do you think? Have the policies of this administration struck the death knell for the American middle class?"

Confined Space, "Labor Day 2006: Read, Think, Celebrate, Relax and Reenergize" - Jordan praises the weekends that Unions brought us.

Nathan Newman on "The Brilliance of Labor", what we've won, and solidarity forever.

Blue Gal brings you "The reason for the season!" and notes that, "Ronald Reagan is a conservative value."

23:00 BST

Imagine my surprise

I remember the first time someone told me why the Sex Pistols got to be such a big deal and they explained that it was because they'd been rude on television. On television. I laughed out loud at the very thought that you could be a real spit in the eye of The Establishment and ever have been allowed on television. "Do you think The Fugs were ever on network television in America?" I said. And remember, in their heyday, network television was pretty much all there was.

Anyway, I am astonished to learn that the Fugs were, in fact, on television once - in Sweden. You can see Tuli and Ed, looking only slightly tidier than when I first saw them, doing "Crystal Liaison", where else but on YouTube. Wow.

(I am also amused to learn that Tony Snow himself once said that, "the truly intense acts of the age - Country Joe McDonald, Richie Havens or Fugs.... have been forgotten for the good and noble reason that their music stank.")

18:07 BST

Misguided, dangerous, and wrong, pt. 1,137 (Sex Panic Department)

This article gives the background of the case that led to the proposed new legislation against "violent" or "extreme" pornography in the UK, and a profile of the woman who has led the campaign for it, the mother of a woman who apparently died during strangulation-play. It's sympathetic to her, but a careful reader will note that we are being told we must accept a hugely expensive program that will tie up police resources and ruin numerous lives because, "it's all part of the therapy." Val Dobson, meanwhile, responds to another disingenuous whine about "snuff" films from Julie Bindel - and Feorag agrees but reminds readers that the anti-porn position is not "the" feminist position. Charlie says "British government decides to encourage rape."

(Charlie also has more reasons why the ID card won't make us safer - and likely make it easier not just for government and corporations but also garden-variety criminals to screw us.)

Meanwhile, Gary Farber alerts me that in Ohio, "An Ohio legislative panel yesterday rubber-stamped an unprecedented process that would allow sex offenders to be publicly identified and tracked even if they've never been charged with a crime." Note the lack of the word "alleged" in that sentence. "A recently enacted law allows county prosecutors, the state attorney general, or, as a last resort, alleged victims to ask judges to civilly declare someone to be a sex offender even when there has been no criminal verdict or successful lawsuit." So much for the presumption of innocence. Oh, but I guess we already knew after we learned about all those people in Guantanamo. Isn't it just great when the most fascistic impulses of both left and right combine to make us all "safer"? As Gary observes, this kind of thing makes it way easy to get a little revenge on anyone you just don't happen to like.

16:48 BST

Open windows

"The Compassionate Conservatism of The Times": The front page of Wednesday's New York Times was a veritable train wreck of socio-economic bias in reporting. In succession above the fold, the three lead stories were largely about the struggle of the economically disenfranchised. Yet you wouldn't know it from their upbeat headlines, slanted perspectives, curious structures and crucial omissions.

The current Black Commentator, unsurprisingly, features the anniversary of deluge, with Bill Quigley's "New Orleans is still in intensive care" and Anthony Asadullah Samad's "The Katrina Aftermath One Year: What are the Lessons Learned?" (And you know, I've been noticing that the phrase "Lower Ninth Ward" seems to be taken by most people as a geological description, but that's wrong - the Lower Ninth isn't particularly low, and now I'm hearing that a lot of it is in fairly decent shape, they just won't let the people who live there come back, or stay. They want that real estate.)

Maybe by the time the actual presidential election comes around, Gore could beat the Republican.

Why is the Catholic Church in Mexico suddenly incensed about the Virgin of Guadalupe's image on banners for Obrador?

Even when they're right, they're wrong about Iran.

Some neat photos of graffiti and London and stuff.

13:14 BST

Sunday, 03 September 2006

Because it's Sunday...

Barbara Cotillon underwired braBra of the Week - not, I fear, for under the T-shirt.

William K. Wolfrum was so inspired to read Warren's discussion of men without chests that he has proposed The David Warren Act: Because only by emulating terrorists can we truly be free.

When the WaPo tries to pretend that the whole Plame affair was just Joseph Wilson's fault for making a fuss, and really has nothing to do with anything other than Richard Armitage accidentally gossiping, well, the Rude One has some choice words.

TChris says when the NYT refuses Rove's terms for an interview, it's a sign of Rove's decreasing relevance. Maybe it is, but there used to be a time when no one could have played the unnamed "White House source" game with leading papers, and it would be nice to think they'd go back to that standard. (Listen to an amusing call-in to Michelangelo Signorile's radio show on the occasion of Bush's visit to Arkansas. (via))

I can't think of a better way to introduce this article about the severe, over-the-top prosecutions of "suspected terrorists" in our nation than the way Matt Yglesias does: "Good Plan! Fight terrorism by alienating America's domestic Muslim population."

ICE arrests 15 aliens in Roswell working for U.S. military contractor - Don't ya love it?

Epicycle has a few things to say about the proposed anti-porn law (and update here) that I think are helpful, and also links to Frank Fisher at the Guardian site rubbishing the idea that we need more censorship. (I supplied a brief comment to Frank's post.)

22:07 BST

Useless opinions

Why do these people get columns in the NYT when Digby doesn't? It makes no sense.

I'm looking at Friday's IHT editorial page and David Brooks says:

Perhaps, dear reader, you are perplexed. Perhaps you remember the scandal surrounding the outing of the C.I.A. agent Valerie Plame, a crime so heinous that her husband was forced to endure repeated magazine photo-shoots. Perhaps you remember Karl Roves face on the covers of magazines and newspapers, along with hundreds of stories and driveway stakeouts.
Blah blah blah. I gather the idea is that everyone got very silly when Karl Rove was the Suspect, but that's because he's not part of the real Washington society, but now that it's Armitage, well, he's a real person in those environs and it's all different. All just a lot of fuss that will now go away. But then, back when it first happened, we were being told it was nothing to get excited about, too - just a tempest in a teapot ginned up by partisans who just hated Bush so much that they were even acting like - ha ha! - blowing a CIA agent's cover and for that matter an entire operational cover was something really bad! Ah, but it's only good old Richard Armitage, and everyone likes him so it's really okay.

Except that it wasn't just Armitage - and by the way, how did he get that information in the first place? Did he need it? Or did someone deliberately make sure that a person who, we are now told, was Washington's biggest gossip, had information it was unnecessary for him to have that Dick Cheney just happened to really really really want the whole world to hear? And anyway, as Bill Scher keeps saying*, Karl Rove violated his security clearance agreement by discussing Plame's identity with reporters, and he still should be fired.

On the same page, Andrew Rosenthal, whose late father used to appear there often, wonders, "Where have all the protesters gone?" after seeing Crosby, Still, Nash & Young at Madison Square Garden. He can't seem to figure out why all the flower children aren't in the street.

Well, perhaps people would be if their own lives were really at stake, as they were when we had a draft. Certainly, many who refused to serve in 'Nam seem only to have opposed that war because they were afraid they might end up in it, and not that long ago some of them were the loudest cheerleaders for this war, which, by an amazing coincidence, they were pretty sure wouldn't be a risk to them. But this is just wrong:

Young's call for impeachment is over the top, and it's certainly not subtle. But the anti-Vietnam protesters were not exactly masters of subtlety either. Bloggers say there is an antiwar movement online. Perhaps, but it takes crowds to get America's attention. Just look at the immigration debate.
Leaving aside the fact that there is nothing over the top about calling for the impeachment of a president whose policy throughout his time in office has been to break the law as if it doesn't apply to him, why do we need to "get America's attention"? America seems to have figured out that the war is wrong and we need to extricate ourselves from the mess Bush made - and no doubt the bloggers helped with that little thing. In fact, it seems that by adding a bit of fuel to the Lamont campaign, bloggers have finally managed to get some of our elective officials to speak up themselves.

Really, much as I would love to see willowy young men in long hair and tight jeans on the streets again, I just don't think they're necessary for this job - and anyway, the truth is, I think all those wild teenaged boys frightened the life out of middle America and they voted for Nixon just as a way to say they thought everyone needed a haircut. Both McGovern and Nixon said they were going to end the war, anyway, so it didn't matter that much - but McGovern was the anti-war candidate for people in funny clothes, and Nixon was the anti-war candidate for people in suits.

But if we're going to have demonstrations, I would like it if they were very somber affairs, with everyone dressed for a funeral, walking quietly, keeping silence until they all softly start singing this song.

00:08 BST

Saturday, 02 September 2006

Dinner and links

I don't actually have much of an answer to the question, "What does the federal holiday, "Labor Day", really mean to you?". I mean, really, it means certain additions or subtractions to my schedule that week. I'm pissed off all year long about what is being done to workers, so in that sense it makes no difference to me.

Shapan looks back at some real prophecy from the late Alfred Sherman.

Moving Targets has some News You Should Not Ignore, although gods know the Republicans would like you to forget all about them.

In the groovy new economy, everyone gets to be treated like dirt.

A Conversation with Barbara Ehrenreich on the state of American workers and wages today. Via Elayne Riggs.

NTodd compares the difference in coverage of DOD's Iraq report from three publications - the NYT, Stars and Stripes, and AFPS.

In addition to more Clemens Gardens blogging (thanks!), Deep Blade blogs a bit of history from Saint Cloud, some travel blogging, and goes from the sublime to the ridiculous by talking about what Rumsfeld and Cheney have been saying to us this week.

The Melon Farmers have posted a Daily Mail article critical of the now proposed porn law. I am stunned that any such thing even appeared in the Mail.

Why it's better to take drugs in New York than in Chicago. (via)

19:40 BST

Act now!

I was just listening to Jeffrey Feldman of Frameshop talking to Thom Hartmann about Rumsfeld's creepy contribution to the Republican's main talking point, which that If you vote for Democrats or criticize the administration the worst thing in the world will happen!!!

He prescribes this response:

  • Rumsfeld is campaigning again

  • Rumsfeld is afraid Democrats are about to regain control of Congress

  • Rumsfeld is worried he will soon have to answer for what he has done

  • Nothing scares Rumsfeld more that the fear of facing the American people

  • Facing the prospect of answering to the American people, Rumsfeld will accuse us of more and more outlandish crimes

  • Rumsfeld is lashing out like a cornered thief

  • The more he senses he might have to answer for his crimes, the more he will accuse his accusers
This is exactly the way every Democratic leader or spokesbeing should be responding to GOP fear-mongering. The GOP has a huge line in memes that essentially say that if you don't agree with them you are Doing The Bad Thing, and they are specifically meant to frighten cowardly Hill types into either shutting up or, worse, moving even farther to the right so they can show they are just as macho as the Republicans!

And the result is that Democrats saying, "Me, too! Me, too!" look wimpier and wimpier. They look, in fact, like wannabe Republicans.

Democrats have to be prepared to all them what they are and make clear that Republicans are really just running away from accountability because they know that where they really belong is not in office, but in jail.

So send that little list to every Dem spokesbeing you can think of. If you are the constituent of any Dem reps, ask if they have bothered to talk to the local or national press about the shameless way Republicans are exploiting national security to campaign because they are afraid of having to face the American people and be held accountable.

Elsewhere: Take the Intoxination poll (top left). (da da da da da da)

13:53 BST

Bloggity blog

Mary at Pacific Views ponders the creation of a citizenry ripe for authoritarianism.

Terrance at The Republic of T finds out that homophobia really is what drives 'em.

Our desperate military is recruiting in all sorts of strange ways. Meanwhile, Arthur Magazine does some counter-recruitment work.

Ed Encho guests at Taylor Marsh's digs with "Armchair Patriots".

Skeptical Brotha has no illusions about George Felix Allen and his sheet-wearin' friends.

Interestingly, no one asks Republicans, "Do you support this crap?" (Also interestingly, Ted Ankrum took a poll of the deep-red district where he is running for office, and feels that the result confirms his feeling that Texas-10 is not a lock for the GOP.)

The General reports on The Blastocysts of War.

Skippy reports on the seasons of blog traffic.

Zebras are reactionaries. (And I have never seen one of these before, but it's real purty-lookin'.)

03:11 BST

Friday, 01 September 2006


"This is the moment to say that there are things in life worth fighting and dying for and one of 'em is making sure Nancy Pelosi doesn't become the speaker." - Sean Hannity (via)

James Baker III to appease Islamofascists.

Scott McLemee interviews Eric Rauchway about American exceptionalism. (via)

It's all about Joe - I still haven't gotten over Lieberman's admission that he's a vindictive little prick who is willing to screw the whole country just because he got his feelings hurt. And if he didn't like the primary results, maybe he should have thought of that before he spent the last few years making a career of insulting Democrats as well as liberal ideals. (More here.) (And I sure hope Thomas is right about Wal-Mart.)

I missed this one last month - Gene Lyons: Many journalists pretend that getting abuse from persons on both ends of the political spectrum proves their even-handedness. No, it doesn't. Besides, this column makes no pretense of neutrality, only factual accuracy. Even so, it's hard to ignore the irony of being denounced as an agent of the International Zionist Conspiracy one week and an unrepentant anti-Semite the next. And this week, here he is on "Marketing hysteria".

"The Faiths Of The Founding Fathers" - The Founding Mothers might have been predominantly Christian, but the Founding Fathers? Not so much. Tristero advises.

Glenn Greenwald on The full-chested warriors - Jeez, I knew the chickenhawks were wimps, but I didn't realize they were this limp. I mean, even I have done more sports than they have. (Only conservatives would be stupid enough to buy the idea that a guy who sits home at his keyboard is braver than a journalist who goes to Iraq to cover the war and gets close enough to it to get kidnapped.)

23:42 BST

Counting the ballots...or not

You may recall hearing, a few days ago, that the 2004 ballots in Ohio were to be destroyed. But the destruction has been delayed so that the ballots can be reviewed because of a federal lawsuit:

The suit would follow what researchers call the first time anyone other than county and state officials in Ohio have been given such extensive access to the main material from the previous presidential election.

After eight months inspecting 35,000 ballots from 75 rural and urban precincts, the critics say that they have found many with signs of tampering and that in some precincts the number of voters differs significantly from the certified results.

In Miami County, in southwestern Ohio, official tallies in one precinct recorded about 550 votes. Ballots and signature books indicated that 450 people voted.
"We're not claiming that what we found reveals a huge conspiracy," Mr. Rosenfeld said. "What we're claiming is that what we found at least reveals extremely shoddy handling of ballots, and there are some initial indications of local-level ballot stuffing."

In Miami County, Mr. Rosenfeld said, the team found discrepancies of 5 percent or more in some precincts between the people in the signature books and the certified results.

In 10 southwestern counties, he said, the team found thousands of punch card ballots that lacked codes identifying the precinct where the ballot was cast. The codes are typically necessary for the machines processing the ballots to "know" to record which candidate receives the votes.

Meanwhile, Francine Busby was interviewed on the radio after the court declared that there could be no recount of the ballots in the special election race between Busby and Bilbray in San Diego, because Dennis Hastert had illegally sworn Bilbray in before the election result was certified. The Brad Blog has a transcription.

16:38 BST

Leftover stuff

Via Elayne Riggs, your Official Seal Generator. (And more on public groping.)

"Mags Asks The Question: Is George Insane?"

The case against Kinky Friedman (via)

No, I didn't get much done here, yesterday, thanks to having to do stuff about the latest proposal to ban some pornography. You know, the usual writing letters that won't be published and that sort of thing. I did a radio interview in the early evening for Irish radio where the interviewer was shocked to learn that even the government's consultation paper acknowledges that there is no known link between the material and actual violence. More surprisingly, the proponent of the legislation who was on the show didn't stick to the safe advocacy of banning violent pornography and quickly spread her condemnation to all pornography. I wish I'd known she was going to be using those ancient arguments we spent the '90s debunking over here - I could have polished off my old one-sentence rebuttals, which I'd honed to perfection back then.

Now I need to do some catching up, so hang on a bit. You can take this opportunity to post all the interesting links I missed and do some blog-whoring in comments below.

12:02 BST

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, September 2006

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