Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Congressional page grabbers: where are they now?
Remember the two previous members of Congress who had a predaliction for underage pages? There was Republican Dan Crane of Illinois, who liked the young ladies, and who lost his reelection bid after tearfully admitting to having a sexual relationship with a page in 1980 ... and the aptly named Gerry Studds of Massachusetts, Democrat, who got it on with a male, 17-year-old page and then came out of the closet, literally turning his back on censure proceedings and then getting five more terms in office, Marion Berry style. Both men were a part of the Congressional page scandal of 1983. Where are they now?

Studds, 69, who retired from Congress in 1996, still lives in Massachuseetts, in an expensive condo with his partner, Dean Hara, 48, who he has been with since 1991. In 2004, the two participated in the rash of same sex marriages that torpedoed any chance of the Democratic Party taking back the Congress or the White House. The marriage was reported a year later. The age difference seems to indicate that in fact, old queens do indeed love the young'uns... (I keed, I keed!)

As for Crane? He was married with children at the time of the scandal, and really hasn't been seen since losing his seat. A Google search on him revealed nothing, and there's no "end date" on him in wikipedia, so I assume he's still kicking around there somewhere. (Note to young ladies, if you drop something in front of this guy, squat down to pick it up... and no matter what ... don't pull his finger...)


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posted by JReid @ 11:52 PM  
Did the media participate in the Foley cover-up?
Legitimate questions are being asked, in and out of the blogosphere, about whether Republican congressional leaders participated in a cover-up of Rep. Mark Foley's creepy behavior with interns, including possible criminal conduct regarding the sexual propositioning of minors.

But if Dennis Hastert and other GOP leaders knew about the emails sent by Foley to teenaged former pages, they clearly weren't the only ones. Several news outlets apparently knew, too, including at least one major Florida newspaper, the Tampa Tribune. Here's part of what the Tribune's editors had to say today about it's conduct in the case:
In November of last year, we were given copies of an email exchange Foley had with a former page from Louisiana. Other news organizations later got them,too. The conversation in those emails was friendly chit-chat. Foley asked the boy about how he had come through Hurricane Katrina and about the boy's upcoming birthday. In one of those emails, Foley casually asked the teen to send him a "pic" of himself. Also among those emails was the page's exchange with a congressional staffer in the office of Rep. Alexander, who had been the teen's sponsor in the page program. The teen shared his exchange he'd had with Foley and asked the staffer if she thought Foley was out of bounds.

There was nothing overtly sexual in the emails, but we assigned two reporters to find out more. We found the Louisiana page and talked with him. He told us Foley's request for a photo made him uncomfortable so he never responded, but both he and his parents made clear we could not use his name if we wrote a story. We also found another page who was willing to go on the record, but his experience with Foley was different. He said Foley did send a few emails but never said anything in them that he found inappropriate. We tried to find other pages but had no luck. We spoke with Rep. Alexander, who said the boy's family didn't want it pursued, and Foley, who insisted he was merely trying to be friendly and never wanted to make the page uncomfortable.

So, what we had was a set of emails between Foley and a teenager, who wouldn't go on the record about how those emails made him feel. As we said in today's paper, our policy is that we don't make accusations against people using unnamed sources. And given the seriousness of what would be implied in a story, it was critical that we have complete confidence in our sourcing. After much discussion among top editors at the paper, we concluded that the information we had on Foley last November didn't meet our standard for publication. Evidently, other news organizations felt the same way.

Since that time, we revisited the question more than once, but never learned anything that changed our position. The Louisiana boy's emails broke into the open last weekend, when a blogger got copies and posted them online. Later that week, on Thursday, a news blog at the website of ABC News followed suit, with the addition of one new fact: Foley's Democratic opponent, Tim Mahoney, was on the record about the Louisiana boy's emails and was calling for an investigation. That's when we wrote our first story, for Friday's papers. ...
Of course, after that, another news organization, ABC News and its reporter, Brian Ross, were credited with breaking the story (it was actually originally broken by a blogger.)

And the Tribune's explanation doesn't clear up the fact that they had the emails, and understood the clear implication of them, and yet decided not to publish a story. The family of the alleged victim appears not to have wanted the story squashed -- nor did they dispute the implication that Foley had made inappropriate contact with their son. What they wanted was their names kept out of it, and having worked in a newsroom, I can tell you that that would have happened anyway, since most news organizations have a policy against naming minors, or their family members, because that, too, would identify them (particularly since the minor in question is an alleged victim, not a perpetrator.)

So the Tribune -- a conservative-leaning paper that got kudos from myself and others in 2004 for withholding its endorsement of President Bush on principle -- gets no brownie points for killing this story nearly a year ago. They belatedly are reporting it, but in the meantime, Mark Foley has had 11 months to pursue his passion for blue Internet chats with young teenaged boys he met through the congressional page system, which he apparently used as his personal escort service. In this case, the Tribune and any other media outlet that knew about the emails protected Foley just as surely as his GOP bosses did.

Had it not been for the blogosphere, Foley might be emailing one of your sons tonight.

Related: Who knew? Foley's honorary roadie stint, his frienship with Sonny Bono, and other highlights of a thoroughly destroyed political career.


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posted by JReid @ 11:29 PM  
Foley's parting shot
Mark Foley may not have had the opportunity to screw one of those cute pages he was so hot for, but he does get the chance to screw the Republican Party, which hadn't counted on losing a House seat in Florida. Now, not only is Foley's seat looking increasingly "gettable" for the Democrats (even with a barely competent DNC, thanks to the flush coffers of the newly interested DCCC,) Foley will linger like a creepy, teen-lovin' ghost over the November election. Via an astute reader of TPMM:
In the event that death, resignation, withdrawal, removal, or any other cause or event should cause a party to have a vacancy in nomination which leaves no candidate for an office from such party, the Department of State shall notify the chair of the appropriate state, district, or county political party executive committee of such party; and, within 5 days, the chair shall call a meeting of his or her executive committee to consider designation of a nominee to fill the vacancy.... If the name of the new nominee is submitted after the certification of results of the preceding primary election, however, the ballots shall not be changed and the former party nominee's name will appear on the ballot. Any ballots cast for the former party nominee will be counted for the person designated by the political party to replace the former party nominee.

And then there's the matter of who to put on the ballot with the creepy Mr. Foley. How about this guy...?
State Rep. Joe Negron, a Stuart attorney, said Friday he will seek to become the replacement candidate on the November ballot for U.S. Rep. Mark Foley, who resigned Friday amid allegations he made advances to a 16-year-old congressional intern.

''I'm in this race, and I'm going to win,'' Negron told The Miami Herald.

Negron faces an uphill battle to replace Foley, whose name will appear on the ballot in spite of his resignation. Negron first must be appointed by the party's executive committee to be the replacement candidate, then voters would have to choose him over Democratic candidate Tim Mahoney.
Really? Tell me more ...
''The voters of House District 16 want a congressman who supports their president, and I do,'' Negron said. ''The district is smart enough to figure it out. I'm optimistic.'' Negron, the head of the state House Fiscal Council, has campaigned once before for Foley's congressional seat -- in 2004, when Foley planned to run for the U.S. Senate.

However, Negron withdrew when Foley decided to stay in his district, partly at the urging of national Republicans nervous about Foley's rumored sexual orientation and in order to clear the way for Housing Secretary Mel Martinez, who was elected.
Negron is a perennial campaigner who has $1 million left over from his attempt to run for attorney general -- one of about three or four different offices he's sought. But what's telling, beside the fact that Negron is running as a Bush lackey -- which proves he's not so good at taking the country's, or the state's, political temperature, is the fact that Foley's decision to remain in his district has again been pegged to GOP worries that his being gay -- even if closeted -- could affect him negatively should he run for statewide office (then, the U.S. Senate).

Well what does that mean for the man currently running to be Florida's governor -- one super-tan, "so not gay", sitting attorney general, Charlie Crist?

Fair or not, Crist's sexual orientation is back on the table, even if the Democratic candidate in the race proves too dovish to bring it up.


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posted by JReid @ 11:02 PM  
Specterism of the day: Detainee Derby
Why would Senator Arlen Specter sign a detainee torture and trial law he believes is "patently unconstitutional on its face?" Only Arlen himself knows for sure. Meanwhile, there could be a legal challenge to the law sooner rather than later.
posted by JReid @ 10:55 PM  
Grand Old Pedophile protectors
A commenter named "Gandhi" on this RawStory thread puts it about as harshly as it can be put:
GOP: "Grand" Old Pedophiles

The House leadership (meaning the Republicons in charge) were notified 11 months ago about this! And they did nothing. Foley was not even asked to resign his post as "protector" of children.

Foley is single and his sexual orientation seems to have been no secret. Who favored him for the job to beginn with?

This is what Republican Family Values are all about: claim to be the party that defends family values but provide a safe haven for pedophiles who want to prey on children. And give them a job that makes it even easier for them.

GOP: the party of perversion

That may sound harsh, but the fact is that the Republican leadership, including, arguably, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the leader of the ethics committee, and at least two other sitting members of Congress, including NRCC chair Tom Reynolds, knew about Mark Foley's penchant for hitting on pages -- or at least for contacting them personally, and inappropriately, from his home email account -- for at least a year. The scandal involving just the emails -- setting aside the disgusting Instant Messages that ultimately pushed the Florida Congressman to quickly resign before they could be made public -- occurred not this summer, but the summer of 2005; fully one year ago. And one has to wonder why the GOP leadership chose to treat him like a wayward parish priest (interestingly enough, Foley is Catholic, which says something about the peculiarity of that religion's particular brand of closet...) rather than like a potential felon, or at least, as a danger to other Congressional pages.

The question of why Foley was allowed to remain both deputy whip and chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children is a legitimate and inevitable one. Was it some twisted sense of irony among the House leadersip? An obliviousness to the political ramifications if Foley should slip up? Or just another manifestation of the Republican sense of hyper-invincibility and arrogance that have infected the do-nothing 109th Congress of the United States? These cretins have shirked every legitimate responsibility given to them by the Constitution; from acting as dupes for as shoddy a president ever foisted on the American people, to writing blank check after blank check on the war, to refusing to question the intelligence leading up to it, to failing to act on immigration, the budget deficit, or anything else of substance. Instead, this Congress has spent their time personally enriching themselves and their friends, gorging themselves on illicit contracts, prostitutes, free meals, free trips and lobbyist-paid grandiosity. This shoddy Congress, this shoddy Republican Party, has brought shame on itself, long before Mark Foley brought shame on himself and them.

More on the Foley scandal:

Gays rush to put distance between themselves and him...
The DNC calls for an investigation into the "sex crime cover-up"... but somehow they fail to put their call to arms on their web-site...
Foley's short, to the point, resignation letter...

John Aravosis is all over the story, including the latest buzz from Capitol HIll, where other Republicans, like the questionably not-gay Chris Shays, are saying anybody who knew about Foley and did nothing to stop him should resign. Aravosis also notes the apparent disinterest in the story at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue -- you know, the place where honor and dignity are supposed to be returning, even as we speak...

TPMM has further updates, including the yes, no, maybe so interest in Foley at Justice and via Roll Call, the widening pool of potential GOP coverer-uppers. From Roll Call:
As of Saturday evening, nearly a dozen House GOP lawmakers and staffers have acknowledged that they knew of the initial batch of non-sexually explicit messages from Foley to a 16-year-old former House page, some of them for a year or more. These include [House Speaker Dennis] Hastert [(IL)]; Majority Leader John Boehner (Ohio); National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.); Reps. Rodney Alexander (La.) and John Shimkus (Ill.); Mike Stokke, the Speaker’s deputy chief of staff; Ted Van Der Meid, Hastert’s counsel; Paula Nowakowski, Boehner’s chief of staff; Jeff Trandahl, the former Clerk of the House; and another Hastert aide and Alexander’s chief of staff, according to public statements and GOP insiders.

If resignations are to occur over the Foley scandal, I question whether they can occur without touching the top man, Hastert, who is currently in a statement release battle with Tom Reynolds over who knew what, and when. Read Hastert's statement here and Reynolds' statement here.


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posted by JReid @ 10:02 PM  
The unraveling of Mark Foley

The speed with which Mark Foley exited the political scene yesterday made it clear to most observers that the initial, creepy but harly explicit emails released by ABC News and others weren't going to be the last shoe to drop. Foley has beaten a hasty retreat, probably because he knew that the instant messages were coming. In them, Foiey doesn't mince words with other young men. He gets right to the point:
Maf54: You in your boxers, too?
Teen: Nope, just got home. I had a college interview that went late.
Maf54: Well, strip down and get relaxed.

Another message:

Maf54: What ya wearing?
Teen: tshirt and shorts
Maf54: Love to slip them off of you.

And this one:

Maf54: Do I make you a little horny?
Teen: A little.
Maf54: Cool.

(You can read all of the Foley messages here, on Brian Ross' blog. Believe me, the lines above are the tame stuff. Foley is one sick puppy.)
And the Palm Beach Post presents another disturbing allegation: that the Republican leadership on the Hill has treated known, sick behavior by Foley the way the Catholic Church treated its pedophile priests:
Congressional staff members who asked not to be identified said it was widely known among Hill staffers and some House leaders that Foley had been engaging in inappropriate conduct and language with young aides.

One highly placed staff member said Foley's abrupt resignation may have been demanded by Republican leaders who have been aware for some time about allegations of inappropriate behavior.
What??? Isn't this the same Republican Party that rose in indignation when a president had a consensual affair with an adult White House intern? And that demanded he resign or be impeached for it? Then, the cry was, "who will protect the interns?" Well who in the hell is protecting the pages, who are, after all, UNDER AGE??? And hang on ... wasn't Foley among those voting for articles of impeachment?

More on our man Foley:
In Congress, Rep. Foley (R-FL) was part of the Republican leadership and the chairman of the House caucus on missing and exploited children.

He crusaded for tough laws against those who used the Internet for sexual exploitation of children.

"They're sick people; they need mental health counseling," Foley said.

But, according to several former congressional pages, the congressman used the Internet to engage in sexually explicit exchanges.

The coming investigation should clearly not stop with Mr. Foley. It should go considerably higher up the chain, starting with all of those in the Republican leadership who deliberately hid what they knew about Foley's abuse of the page system in order to keep the knowledge from Democrats and from the public. With any luck, the same laws Foley pushed to enact for the protection of children from adult predators (ironically, as chairman of the Missing and Exploited Children's Caucus,) will usher him into a long prison sentence. But who will hold the Republican leadership, which suborned the abuse of minors, and withheld information on possible crimes for nearly ONE YEAR... to account?

Kudos to ABC News, which is claiming credit for Foley's stepping down:
One former page tells ABC News that his class was warned about Foley by people involved in the program.

Other pages told ABC News they were hesitant to report Foley because of his power in Congress.

This all came to a head in the last 24 hours. Yesterday, we asked the congressman about some much tamer e-mails from one page, and he said he was just being overly friendly. After we posted that story online, we began to hear from a number of other pages who sent these much more explicit, instant messages. When the congressman realized we had them, he resigned.
And good riddance to him.


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posted by JReid @ 4:11 AM  
Friday, September 29, 2006
.. the estimated number of contacts between the White House and disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, whom the president famously claims he barely knew... according to the House Government Reform Committee.

But wait, there's more...

Tags: , , Politics, Corruption, Bush, DeLay, Republicans, GOP, News
posted by JReid @ 10:59 AM  
Does Florida GOP Congressman Mark Foley have a problem with being overly "familiar" with young, male pages? Gay rumors that have long floated around Foley hit Main Street yesterday when ABC News' Brian Ross posted a story on his official blog about reported emails from the Congressman to a 16-year-old former page (not his own) from Foley's personal AOL account, asking what the teen described as some "sick" questions that "freaked him out."

Now, Raw Story has the actual emails, and you know what? The kid had a right to be freaked out. Foley is creepy, and I predict he will be announcing that he needs to step down and "spend more time with his family" before too long. Here's the creepiest email of them all (the misspellings and ellipses are Foley's):

I just emailed Will ...he's such a nice guy...acts much older than his age...and hes in really great shape...i am just finished riding my bike on a 25 mile journey now heading to the gym....whats school like for you this year?
Again, these were sent from Foley's personal AOL account, not from his Congressional e-mail (or more appropriately, if this were really about helping a kid out with a recommendation, from his assistant...)

And what is a 52-year-old United States Congressman doing hanging out on Myspace? ... Quasi-anonymously at that??? BTW here's the profile for Mark's lone Myspace friend... his name is Tom.

Update: The boys at Wonkette (who are gay btw, so don't know if they're being objective) claim that the emails aren't real, and that they emanate from a "semi-literate blogger." Here's the blogger, StopSexPredators. (They were later posted by RawStory and by CREW: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.)

Update 2: The Wonkette boys have retracted their skepticism on the emails.

3:57 Update (3): It didn't take long. Foley will indeed be resigning from the campaign and the Congress to spend more time with his family ... or with his MySpace friends, whichever works. From the AP via the Palm Beach Post:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., submitted a letter of resignation from Congress on Friday in the wake of questions about e-mails he wrote a former male page, according to a congressional official.

Foley, 52, had been considered a shoo-in for re-election until the e-mails surfaced in recent days.

Campaign aides had previously acknowledged that the Republican congressman e-mailed the former Capitol page five times, but had said there was nothing inappropriate about the exchange. The page was 16 at the time of the e-mail correspondence.

Foley's election opponent, Democrat Tim Mahoney, has called for an investigation.

The correspondence took place in August 2005 after the boy gave Foley a handwritten thank you note before returning to Louisiana.

Foley was running for re-election to a seventh term. He has represented his district, which includes West Palm Beach, since 1995. Florida Republicans could replace Foley on the ballot. ...

...The e-mails were posted Friday on Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington's Web site after ABC News reported their existence. The group asked the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct to investigate the exchange Foley had with the boy, who served as a page for Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La.

"The House of Representatives has an obligation to protect the teenagers who come to Congress to learn about the legislative process," the group wrote, adding that the committee, "must investigate any allegation that a page has been subjected to sexual advances by members of the House."

According to the CREW posting, the boy e-mailed a colleague in Alexander's office about Foley's e-mails, saying, "This freaked me out." On the request for a photo, the boy repeated the word "sick" 13 times.

He said Foley asked for his e-mail when the boy gave him a thank you card. The boy also said Foley wrote that he e-mailed another page. ...
... That being the infamous, and apparently quite mature and "in great shape" Wil...

What the boy wrote to Foley, who is single, wasn't available. The e-mails were sent from Foley's personal account, which Foley spokesman Jason Kello says he uses to communicate with many people, including Gov. Jeb Bush.

"They have taken these e-mails out of context in order to smear a good man," said Kello, who described the exchange as "nonchalant, casual." He said Foley didn't save his e-mails or the boy's response.

Efforts to reach the boy were unsuccessful, but he told the St. Petersburg Times last November, "I thought it was very inappropriate. After the one about the picture, I decided to stop e-mailing him back." The Times didn't publish the comments until Friday.

The campaign for Mahoney, who trails Foley in the polls, said it didn't release the e-mails and wouldn't make them part of the campaign. In a statement released by Mahoney spokesman Jessica Santillo, the campaign referred to the boy as an "alleged victim."
Kello also claims the Mahoney campaign has been "shopping the emails around for weeks." If that's true, these Mahoney people can't actually be Democrats.

Chalk up a freebie for the Dems in their quest to grab 15 seats in Congress -- and this wasn't even one on their target list.

Also ... a word to the wise ... and that means you, single, super-tan, curiously metrosexual Charlie Crist ... if you're a Republican and you have a penchant for trolling the Internet, gyms or bike paths for young male hotties, this would be the time to keep it in the closet.

Flashback: gay editorial writers slam the closeted Foley back in 2003. And an interesting reminiscence in this Boston Phoenx piece: apparently worries over Foley's apparent gayness were what prompted Karl Rove to draft Sideshow Mel Martinez into the 2004 race for Bob Graham's vacated Senate seat. Had he been better at playing off his sexuality, Foley might be resigning from the Senate, rather than the House, today. He was even tapped recently as a possible replacement for crazy Katherine Harris, who is running for the other Senate seat, belonging to Bill Nelson. Guess that's off the table now, too. I suppose we'll all have to wait for Foley's tell-all autobiography and his attempt to curry sympathy on Oprah's couch.

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posted by JReid @ 9:52 AM  
The Party of Torture
The Republican-led House and Senate pass bills that make a mockery of democracy and the Constitution, and all the Democrats can do is bitch and moan. McCain and his illustrious band of brothers don't do squat to protect the good name of the United States, either, and without a fillibuster, or a single profile in courage on either side of the aisle, we are allowed to go gently into the long, dark night of torture, with a Congress that according to its Republican leader, John Boeher, believes its only oversight responsibility is to oversee its members' left hands as they snappily salute the increasingly desperate and dictatorial commander in chief.

What a week.

The New York Times explains the smell emanating from the halls of Congress:

Here’s what happens when this irresponsible Congress railroads a profoundly important bill to serve the mindless politics of a midterm election: The Bush administration uses Republicans’ fear of losing their majority to push through ghastly ideas about antiterrorism that will make American troops less safe and do lasting damage to our 217-year-old nation of laws — while actually doing nothing to protect the nation from terrorists. Democrats betray their principles to avoid last-minute attack ads. Our democracy is the big loser.

Republicans say Congress must act right now to create procedures for charging and trying terrorists — because the men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks are available for trial. That’s pure propaganda. Those men could have been tried and convicted long ago, but President Bush chose not to. He held them in illegal detention, had them questioned in ways that will make real trials very hard, and invented a transparently illegal system of kangaroo courts to convict them.

It was only after the Supreme Court issued the inevitable ruling striking down Mr. Bush’s shadow penal system that he adopted his tone of urgency. It serves a cynical goal: Republican strategists think they can win this fall, not by passing a good law but by forcing Democrats to vote against a bad one so they could be made to look soft on terrorism.

Last week, the White House and three Republican senators announced a terrible deal on this legislation that gave Mr. Bush most of what he wanted, including a blanket waiver for crimes Americans may have committed in the service of his antiterrorism policies. Then Vice President Dick Cheney and his willing lawmakers rewrote the rest of the measure so that it would give Mr. Bush the power to jail pretty much anyone he wants for as long as he wants without charging them, to unilaterally reinterpret the Geneva Conventions, to authorize what normal people consider torture, and to deny justice to hundreds of men captured in error.
And may I remind you, the Clinton administration managed to bring both the "blind Sheikh" and Ramsey Yusef -- who plotted the 1993 WTC bombings -- to justice without star chamber courts or illegal detentions. (Yusef is now serving 240 years in a supermax prison...) More from the Times on what we've descended to:

Enemy Combatants: A dangerously broad definition of “illegal enemy combatant” in the bill could subject legal residents of the United States, as well as foreign citizens living in their own countries, to summary arrest and indefinite detention with no hope of appeal. The president could give the power to apply this label to anyone he wanted.
The Geneva Conventions: The bill would repudiate a half-century of international precedent by allowing Mr. Bush to decide on his own what abusive interrogation methods he considered permissible. And his decision could stay secret — there’s no requirement that this list be published.

Habeas Corpus: Detainees in U.S. military prisons would lose the basic right to challenge their imprisonment. These cases do not clog the courts, nor coddle terrorists. They simply give wrongly imprisoned people a chance to prove their innocence.

Judicial Review: The courts would have no power to review any aspect of this new system, except verdicts by military tribunals. The bill would limit appeals and bar legal actions based on the Geneva Conventions, directly or indirectly. All Mr. Bush would have to do to lock anyone up forever is to declare him an illegal combatant and not have a trial.

Coerced Evidence: Coerced evidence would be permissible if a judge considered it reliable — already a contradiction in terms — and relevant. Coercion is defined in a way that exempts anything done before the passage of the 2005 Detainee Treatment Act, and anything else Mr. Bush chooses.

Secret Evidence: American standards of justice prohibit evidence and testimony that is kept secret from the defendant, whether the accused is a corporate executive or a mass murderer. But the bill as redrafted by Mr. Cheney seems to weaken protections against such evidence.

Offenses: The definition of torture is unacceptably narrow, a virtual reprise of the deeply cynical memos the administration produced after 9/11. Rape and sexual assault are defined in a retrograde way that covers only forced or coerced activity, and not other forms of nonconsensual sex. The bill would effectively eliminate the idea of rape as torture.
And the Times' sobering conclusion:

There is not enough time to fix these bills, especially since the few Republicans who call themselves moderates have been whipped into line, and the Democratic leadership in the Senate seems to have misplaced its spine. If there was ever a moment for a filibuster, this was it.

We don’t blame the Democrats for being frightened. The Republicans have made it clear that they’ll use any opportunity to brand anyone who votes against this bill as a terrorist enabler. But Americans of the future won’t remember the pragmatic arguments for caving in to the administration.

They’ll know that in 2006, Congress passed a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in American democracy, our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts.
Not to mention the fact that some of those who voted for the bill admit -- albeit anonymously -- that they have essentially "kicked the can down the road" to the Supreme Court, where this abomination of a law (once it gets through conference) will more than likely wind up. Let's jsut pray the authoritarians haven't completely taken over the high court by then.

Shame on the Republican Party. Shame on the Bush administration. Shame on the Congress. Shame on us all.


Jimmy Carter slams the Bushies as bringing disgrace to the country...

Sen. Hillary Clinton says the last six years have done "incalculable damage" to the U.S. ...

And Bob Woodward turns on the Bushies with his new book.

Tags: Bush, , Torture, Politics, Bush, Guantanamo, War On Terror, Human Rights, News, War, Military, ,
posted by JReid @ 7:09 AM  
Thursday, September 28, 2006
All the president's advisors

Of all the president's advisors, the neocon whackos have been the most dangerous to this country, and to the world. But of all the dangerous men who have ever advised a president, Henry Kissinger tops even the current neocon crowd. Bob Woodward -- a man I lost a lot of respect for of late, because of his seeming coziness with the Bush crowd -- is out with a new book that will claim that Mr. Kissinger has been one of the president's most frequent visitors. Perhaps Kissinger simply enjoys the fact that the current occupant of the White House reminds him of his old boss.

Tags: Bush, Iraq, Politics, Bush, War, News, 9-11,
posted by JReid @ 11:29 AM  
When will we get to see the updated NIE?

After it's too late to make a difference. What else would you expect from this White House?

posted by JReid @ 11:24 AM  
The true path to 9/11
Would it have been great for the U.S. intelligence agencies, or those of our international allies, to have upended the 9/11 terror plot in the two years it's assumed it was being hatched, in cells in Germany, in caves somewhere in Afghanistan and in the money transfer houses of Saudi Arabia? Of course. If the plots could have been interrupted, or Osama bin Laden captured, or al-Qaida attacked and rooted out of Afghanistan in the eight years prior to 9/11, there is a chance -- though by no means a certainty -- that nearly 3,000 lives in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington could have been spared. Of course, that didn't happen.

And yet ... in the 9-12 months before 9/11, there were many more opportunities, and moer intensity devoted, to stopping al-Qaida than there had been at any time before. And no matter how badly the Bush-bots may want to hang all of the world's ills around Bill Clinton's neck, they cannot escape the fact that it was their president who was in office when the terror attacks happened. And now that they have chosen to fight on the "who's to blame" playing field, it's fair to examine what the Bush administration did, or failed to do, in the nine months leading up to the attacks.

Keith Olbermann did, last night, and he knocked it out of the park.

Point one: the U.S.S. Cole was attacked in October 2000, but the finding that it was attacked by al-Qaida, until early 2001, when the Bush administration was in office. What did they do to respond to the attacks? Nothing.

Point two: The administration not only had a comprehensive al-Qaida strategy handed to them by Richard Clarke and Sandy Berger when they came into office, contrary to Condoleezza Rice's questionable testimony to the 9/11 commission, it DID include a Pakistan strategy.

Point three: Olbermann played three key pieces of video last night. One was of a February 21, 2001 press conference in which a reporter asked then press secretary Ari Fleischer about a report that the Taliban was offering to turn Osama bin Laden over to the United States in exchange for lifting the sanctions on Afghanistan. Added to the debunked folklore that the Clinton administration had turned down a Sudanese offer to hand over Bin Laden, that tape raises the question of whether the righties have the right story, but the wrong administration... the second piece of tape was of Sandy Berger speaking at a welcome event for his replacement, Condi Rice. At that event, Berger described the struggle against growing Islamic extremism as the seminal struggle faced by the United States, and contrary to the usual rightie spin about the Democrats not being on a war footing, Berger described the struggle as nothing less than war.

Make that four pieces of tape. Clip three was of Michigan Senator Carl Levin testifiying, also in early 2001, that the U.S. would need to face asymmetric threats from terrorists like those who attacked the cole. Clearly the Democrats were thinking about al-Qaida before the attacks. (In fact, Senator Diane Feinstein requested a meeting on September 10, 2001 with the head of the president's task force on terrorism related issues, Dick Cheney -- who hadn't assembled his task force yet -- and she was told that it would take six months to get such a meeting). And what was the president thinking about? In his first address to the nation as president, (and the fourth clip on the key Olbermann clips list,) Mr. Bush said that the U.S. needed to get busy deploying a missile defense shield.

Crooks and Liars has the Olbermann video, which is a must see for anyone who cares about the truth, rather than the ridiculous Bush-bot spin spewed by the authoritarian set. They also have an advanced transcript. (I'll post the MSNBC version when it's available on the Countdown website).

Meanwhile, guess who's defending Bill Clinton? Hint, it's someone I generally can't stand, whose from New York, and who, despite Chris Matthews adoration, will never be president. But good looking out, nonetheless.

And the right wing wackos threaten Keith Olbermann ... the New York Post yuks it up... Nice work, winger faithful (aren't you the same nuts who say the left is insane in its hatred of Dubya?) Stay classy.

Tags: Bush, Iraq, Politics, Cheney, War, News, Iraq War,
posted by JReid @ 7:11 AM  
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
The quest for oversight
In case you still don't get it, here's proof that, no matter what they say and how much their spin-meisters fake it, Republicans hate the military, and worse, they don't listen to military leaders who are unwilling to feed them what they want to hear.

From the moment they conceived the ridiculous notion of invading Iraq (whenever that was) the Bush administration, and more specifically the Pentagon under Don Rumsfeld, has made it their policy to bully and intimidate the generals who bear the sober responsibility for conducting our troops in the field, rather than to listening to them when it comes to how best to wage the war. As a result, the Bush White House has relied on "advice" from the most pliant Joint Chiefs of Staff in recent memory, including the retired Dick Myers (who took submissiveness to new levels when he was JCS chair) and the current chairman, General Peter Pace (who has continued his predecessor's habit of parroting the robotic supposed "good news" on Iraq and the pishaw, we don't need more troops line,) and they have burrowed into an echo chamber that makes it almost impossible for them to realistically assess where we are and find a way to fix what's wrong on the ground

The president's constant refrain that he "listens to the generals, and they tell him how many troops they need," would be great, if the generals were giving him their objective advice, rather than the spoiled fruit of Rumsfeldian bullying and micromanagement, plus his absurd notion of holding onto 22 million people with an "ultra-light," stealthy force (which has to hop from hot spot to hot spot, just praying the Iraqi trainees they leave behind won't massacre -- or be massacred by -- the locals.)

And what has the Republican Congress done to turn this foundering ship around? Not a damned thing. They have shied away from oversight like a vampire avoids garlic.

Thankfully, Harry Truman in 1947 signed legislation creating independent Senate policy committees that can't be shoved into a basement meeting room by a big-bellied, chair-bully or denied the opportunity to meet at all, as happens in the House. On Monday, the Democratic version of this important, yet subpoena-less, committee, met. And while you wouldn't know it from the reaction of the supposedly liberal mainstream media, they actually made news.

With a big hat tip to Randi Rhodes, here is a link to the hearing, which saw a retired Marine colonel and two retired generals, including one who gave up the chance for a third star in order to retire early and speak out, testify that not only did we never have enough troops in Iraq (let alone a workable plan to win the peace) ... Donald Rumsfeld has been an impediment to progress, to openness and honesty with the White House, and to the successful implementation of his boss, the president's, ludicrous war policy.

Here's how the DPC describes itself on its web-site (it's chair is Byron Dorgan):

Members of Congress have a Constitutional obligation to oversee the activities of the Executive Branch. In the absence of effective oversight by congressional Republicans, the DPC conducts aggressive oversight and holds hearings to ensure government accountability.

Among the subjects the DPC has focused on are contracting abuses in Iraq and in the Gulf Coast region following Hurricane Katrina; pre-war intelligence failures; continuing homeland security vulnerabilities; wasteful deficit spending; proposals to undermine Social Security; covert propaganda by federal agencies to advance political agendas; the enforcement of environmental laws; and United States trade policy. Staff at the DPC Oversight and Accountability Project work with whistleblowers, non-profit groups, Executive Branch agencies, and their colleagues on Capitol Hill to protect U.S. taxpayers, uncover waste, fraud and abuse, and hold government officials accountable.

Aware of waste, fraud or abuse that we should investigate?
E-mail us at
Too bad the folks on the other side of the aisle care more about politics, and about covering the backside of the president, than they do about "the troops" -- or their constitutional responsibilities.

The only Republican to attend the hearings (all were invited, both via a letter from the DPC chair and by direct invitation from the Senate floor), wasn't even from the Senate (there was no John McCain, no Lindsey Graham ... not even a Chuck Hagel there.) Rep. Walter Jones (formerly known as the "freedom fry" guy, until he changed his mind on the war), was the lone GOP attendee.

And the response of the GOP to the hearings has also been telling. Sen. Trent Lott, who chairs the Rules Committee, claims that Democrats will hold no more such oversight hearings, or else...) Hilariously, this was Lott's explanation for why there should be no more hearings on the war:
Lott said he feared that DPC hearings, which have been conducted throughout the current Congress with little fanfare, could lead to increased partisanship.
As if.

Tags: , , Politics, Bush, War, Terrorism, News, Military, Middle East, Media
posted by JReid @ 7:07 AM  
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
It is written
Oprah endorses Obama for president.
posted by JReid @ 6:27 PM  
The fix?
Percentage of respondents to a recent Gallup poll who believe that the Bush administration "deliberately manipulated the price of gasoline so that it would decrease before this fall's elections": 42. Number of people who believe that if the Bushies are putting the fix in at the pump, they totally suck at it: at least one.
posted by JReid @ 6:23 PM  
Update: The 3 1/2 page solution
The declassified 3.5 pages of that controversial, leaked NIE is out. Is this a Negroponte no-look pass? Here are the key conclusions:
United States-led counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qa’ida and disrupted its operations; however, we judge that al-Qa’ida will continue to pose the greatest threat to the Homeland and US interests abroad by a single terrorist organization. We also assess that the global jihadist movement—which includes al-Qa’ida, affiliated and independent terrorist groups, and emerging networks and cells—is spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts.

• Although we cannot measure the extent of the spread with precision, a large body of all-source reporting indicates that activists identifying themselves as jihadists, although a small percentage of Muslims, are increasing in both number and
geographic dispersion.

• If this trend continues, threats to US interests at home and abroad will become more diverse, leading to increasing attacks worldwide.

• Greater pluralism and more responsive political systems in Muslim majority nations would alleviate some of the grievances jihadists exploit. Over time, such progress, together with sustained, multifaceted programs targeting the
vulnerabilities of the jihadist movement and continued pressure on al-Qa’ida, could erode support for the jihadists.
Note that it starts with supposed "good news."

Then it goes for the obvious:
• We assess that the operational threat from self-radicalized cells will grow in importance to US counterterrorism efforts, particularly abroad but also in the Homeland.

• The jihadists regard Europe as an important venue for attacking Western interests. Extremist networks inside the extensive Muslim diasporas in Europe facilitate recruitment and staging for urban attacks, as illustrated by the 2004 Madrid and
2005 London bombings.
Um ... duh...

Then it brings down your widdle Bushie spirits:
We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere.

• The Iraq conflict has become the “cause celebre” for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves,
and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight. We assess that the underlying factors fueling the spread of the movement outweigh its vulnerabilities and are likely to do so for the duration of the timeframe of this Estimate.

• Four underlying factors are fueling the spread of the jihadist movement: (1) Entrenched grievances, such as corruption, injustice, and fear of Western domination, leading to anger, humiliation, and a sense of powerlessness; (2) the Iraq “jihad;” (3) the slow pace of real and sustained economic, social, and political reforms in many Muslim majority nations; and (4) pervasive anti-US sentiment among most Muslims—all of which jihadists exploit.

...only to lift them up again with rhetoric straight out of a George Dubya script... like the wind beneath your wings...
Concomitant vulnerabilities in the jihadist movement have emerged that, if fully exposed and exploited, could begin to slow the spread of the movement. They include dependence on the continuation of Muslim-related conflicts, the limited appeal of the jihadists’ radical ideology, the emergence of respected voices of moderation, and criticism of the violent tactics employed against mostly Muslim citizens. ...

...If democratic reform efforts in Muslim majority nations progress over the next five years, political participation probably would drive a wedge between intransigent extremists and groups willing to use the political process to achieve their local objectives. Nonetheless, attendant reforms and potentially destabilizing transitions will create new opportunities for jihadists to exploit. ...
And of course, there's this:
The jihadists’ greatest vulnerability is that their ultimate political solution—an ultra-conservative interpretation of shari’a-based governance spanning the Muslim world—is unpopular with the vast majority of Muslims. Exposing the religious and political straitjacket that is implied by the jihadists’ propaganda would help to divide them from the audiences they seek to persuade.
... or we could stop bombing Muslim countries, giving Israel a free pass and secretly detaining, rendering and torturing folks... Just a thought...
...and here is the pdf.
posted by JReid @ 5:46 PM  
The Keith Olbermann Reader
Keith's special comment from last night is devastating and on target. Kudos, Keith. Thank God you're there.

Tags: , Bush, Iraq, Politics, Cheney, War, News, Iraq War,
posted by JReid @ 5:41 PM  
Condoleezza Rice lied to the New York Post. Care to comment, right wing whackosphere?

posted by JReid @ 5:34 PM  
Must-read transcripts
Top priority download for tomorrow: Ed Gillespie attempting to explain away how Virginia Senator George Allen could have "made up" the word "macaca..." and that deer head in the nigger's mailbox thing, too...

Hardball transcript preview:
Take one: "He just made it up..."
Take two: "Okay, yes his mother lived in North Africa, but she only used the word "pacoco" to describe darkies African Persons
Take three: "George Allen doesn't have a racist bone in his body. Just ask any of the niggers who know him... um ... can we do that again?"
Take four: "Back in his college days, George Allen wanted to put a deer head where? No, he said he wanted to find the nearest Black family so he could put a beer head in their mailbox..."
"George Allen never used the word "nigger" in college! He used the word macaca... hang on ... one more time, could we, Chris?"
Take five: "Of course it was a coincidence that George Allen happened to use a word to describe a dark-complexioned kid, which he totally made up on the spot, that it just so happens is commonly is used as a racial slur in North Africa where his totally not Jewish, pork chop cooking mother grew up! It happens every day, Chris... like just there, when in my head I was calling you a big, Irish bastard ... a term I'm totally making up in my head right now..."


Tags: , 2006 Races, James Webb, Virginia, Senate, 2006, Va-sen, Republicans, Virginia Politics,
posted by JReid @ 5:18 PM  
Bush admin to declassify NIE

The only question now is, will it be the entire national intelligence estimate or just select Pat Roberts-approved "findings" that benefit the White House? Time will tell...

Update:Time is telling. The BBC reports the administration will declassify only part of the NIE. RawStory is reporting this hour that it will be a mere few pages ... and let's take a wild guess ... it will be the few pages they can piece together to make it appear that the actual conclusion of the 16 intelligence agencies (namely that Iraq has made terrorism worse around the world) isn't quite what the intel agencies meant to say... I'd look for more intelligence leaks in the next few days bolstering the original, authentic conclusion ...
posted by JReid @ 12:40 PM  
The global fire sale on terror
How do you fill up your secret prisoners with "terrorists" so you can convince your population there really is a war on terror? You pay bounties for them, apparently.
posted by JReid @ 12:34 PM  
Condi tries for the okeydoke
Condi Rice says oh yes we did pay attention to Osama!
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday accused Bill Clinton of making "flatly false" claims that the Bush administration didn't lift a finger to stop terrorism before the 9/11 attacks.
Rice hammered Clinton, who leveled his charges in a contentious weekend interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News Channel, for his claims that the Bush administration "did not try" to kill Osama bin Laden in the eight months they controlled the White House before the Sept. 11 attacks.

"The notion somehow for eight months the Bush administration sat there and didn't do that is just flatly false - and I think the 9/11 commission understood that," Rice said during a wide-ranging meeting with Post editors and reporters.

"What we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years," Rice added.

The secretary of state also sharply disputed Clinton's claim that he "left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy" for the incoming Bush team during the presidential transition in 2001.

"We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al Qaeda," Rice responded during the hourlong session.

Her strong rebuttal was the Bush administration's first response to Clinton's headline-grabbing interview on Fox on Sunday in which he launched into an over-the-top defense of his handling of terrorism - wagging his finger in the air, leaning forward in his chair and getting red-faced, and even attacking Wallace for improper questioning.

The "Fox News Sunday" show had its best ratings since the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003, according to Nielsen Media Research. Two versions of the interview were the two most-watched clips on YouTube yesterday, totaling more than 800,000 views.

After Clinton got angry during the questioning, Wallace said Clinton aide Jay Carson tried to get his producer to stop the interview. Carson said he was concerned that time was running out and that little of the philanthropy efforts of the former president had been addressed.

In her pointed rebuttal of Clinton's inflammatory claims about the war on terror, Rice maintained the Bush White House did the best it could to defend against an attack - and expanded on the tools and intelligence it inherited.
"I would just suggest that you go back and read the 9/11 commission report on the efforts of the Bush administration in the eight months - things like working to get an armed Predator [drone] that actually turned out to be extraordinarily important," Rice added.

She also said Clinton's claims that Richard Clarke - the White House anti-terror guru hyped by Clinton as the country's "best guy" - had been demoted by Bush were bogus.

"Richard Clarke was the counterterrorism czar when 9/11 happened. And he left when he did not become deputy director of homeland security, some several months later," she said.

Rice noted that the world changed after 9/11.

"I would make the divide Sept. 11, 2001, when the attack on this country mobilized us to fight the war on terror in a very different way," Rice said.

Rice cited the final 9/11 commission report to substantiate her claims, while Clinton relied on Clarke's book as the basis for many of his rehashing the events leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks.

"I think this is not a very fruitful discussion. We've been through it. The 9/11 commission has turned over every rock and we know exactly what they said," she added. ...
Really? Condi?

The problem is, Dr. Rice, that the Clinton administration did leave you a comprehensive plan to fight al-Qaida ... and um... you did demote Richard Clarke.

Tags: Bush, Iraq, ,
posted by JReid @ 12:26 PM  
Monday, September 25, 2006
The Macaca Chronicles
Let's review ... Virginia Senator George Allen has a Jewish/non-Jewish mother (as he learned recently... or didn't...) who was raised in Tunisia, where they call their niggers "macaca," (as opposed to Allen himself, who apparently used to call nigger nigger...) but he didn't hear the word from her ... he made it up in a fit of campaign spontenaity...

He has been known to hoised a Confederate flag or two, and he tends to be accidentally photographed with members of the White Citizens Counsel. Well that ought to help him out with the Black vote...

And Virginia's voters should be more concerned about Jim Webb's problems with women in the military a quarter decade ago? Right....

Tags: , 2006 Races, James Webb, Virginia, Senate, 2006, Va-sen, Republicans, Virginia Politics,
posted by JReid @ 9:46 AM  
Mel Gibson loses his religion
Uh oh ... the righties are gonna stop loving Mel Gibson... he's gone full guns against the Iraq war (not that he hasn't gone negative on the Iraq invasion before, but the Bushies have wanted, badly, to believe that because he made "The Passion of the Christ," he was with them, not against them. They even backed him (no pun intended with that Andrew Sullivan link ... really...) through the whole "are you a Jew!?" thing ... But now? Look for them to drop Mel like a bad habit, which could prove interesting for his upcoming (and apparently, anti-Iraq) film Apocalypto. Question: will the left continue to punish him for the anti-Semitism thing, and will the right begin to punish him for abandoning Bush's war? Time, and movie tickets, will tell...

Tags: Bush, , Apocalypto, Film, Entertainment, Celebrities, Movies, The Passion of The Christ, Religion, Passion of The Christ
posted by JReid @ 9:36 AM  
NIE: Iraq is the central f***up in the 'war on terror'
A new National Intelligence Estimate confirms what most sentient beings (read, most non-Bushies) already know: that the invasion of Iraq has made fighting the so-called (though badly misnamed) "war on terror" more difficult to win.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.

The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology.

The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.

More than a dozen United States government officials and outside experts were interviewed for this article, and all spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a classified intelligence document. The officials included employees of several government agencies, and both supporters and critics of the Bush administration. All of those interviewed had either seen the final version of the document or participated in the creation of earlier drafts. These officials discussed some of the document’s general conclusions but not details, which remain highly classified.

Officials with knowledge of the intelligence estimate said it avoided specific judgments about the likelihood that terrorists would once again strike on United States soil. The relationship between the Iraq war and terrorism, and the question of whether the United States is safer, have been subjects of persistent debate since the war began in 2003.

National Intelligence Estimates are the most authoritative documents that the intelligence community produces on a specific national security issue, and are approved by John D. Negroponte, director of national intelligence. Their conclusions are based on analysis of raw intelligence collected by all of the spy agencies.

Analysts began working on the estimate in 2004, but it was not finalized until this year. Part of the reason was that some government officials were unhappy with the structure and focus of earlier versions of the document, according to officials involved in the discussion.

Previous drafts described actions by the United States government that were determined to have stoked the jihad movement, like the indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, and some policy makers argued that the intelligence estimate should be more focused on specific steps to mitigate the terror threat. It is unclear whether the final draft of the intelligence estimate criticizes individual policies of the United States, but intelligence officials involved in preparing the document said its conclusions were not softened or massaged for political purposes.

Frederick Jones, a White House spokesman, said the White House “played no role in drafting or reviewing the judgments expressed in the National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism.” The estimate’s judgments confirm some predictions of a National Intelligence Council report completed in January 2003, two months before the Iraq invasion. That report stated that the approaching war had the potential to increase support for political Islam worldwide and could increase support for some terrorist objectives.
Not a good look.

The Bushies, meanwhile, are arguing that reports on the NIE are incomplete.
U.S. intelligence chief John Negroponte said news reports on the NIE characterize "only a small handful" of the conclusions from a broad strategic assessment of global terrorism.

"The conclusions of the intelligence community are designed to be comprehensive and viewing them through the narrow prism of a fraction of judgments distorts the broad framework they create," Negroponte said in a statement.
Whatever you say, Bushies.

That said, some of the faithful will continue to believe ... probably the same 30 percent of Americans who continue to believe that Saddam was involved in 9/11...

Tags: Bush, Iraq,
posted by JReid @ 9:09 AM  
Confirmed: Bill Clinton, first Black president
His Fox News Sunday interview with Mike Wallace's lesser newsman son, Chris, could have been titled, "oh no you didn't, muthafucka..."

ThinkProgress has the transcript, Youtube has the video and ThinkP also breaks down the answer to Clinton's core question: Have Wallace (and his Fox friends) asked the same tough questions about the terror fight of the Bushies?

Answer: no, no and no.

Fox's marketing of the interview as "crazed" and their blogcorps bizarre take on it as a wild "meltdown" is typical right wing blogenfreude. Clinton seemed perfectly composed to me -- pissed off... but crazed or in a meltdown? I think not. I have to say I'm with liberal Clinton hater Arianna Huffington who says she likes the angry Clinton better than the conciliatory Clinton, and with others on the lefty side who say it was refreshing to see some raw emotion from a Democrat for a change, and to see someone take on the ghouls of FNC.

And Clinton's hard-hitting critique of the current administration's abject failure to go after Bin Laden once they took charge -- or even to take terrorism seriously -- before 9/11 provides important historical context in the ABC docudrama, pre-election climate we find ourselves in. Since no other Democrats are doing it, I think it was a good thing overall for Bill Clinton to focus America's attention on the present administration's pre-9/11 failures. After all, the lapdog media isn't going to do it. And God knows Chris Wallace isn't going to, either.

Update: Chris Wallace breaks down his encounter with Angry Bill...
I asked what I thought was a non-confrontational question about whether he could have done more to "connect the dots and really go after al Qaeda."

I was utterly surprised by the tidal wave of details--emotion--and political attacks that followed.

The President was clearly stung by any suggestion that he had not done everything he could to get bin Laden. He attacked right-wingers--accused me of a "conservative hit job"--and even spun a theory I still don't understand that somehow Fox was trying to cover up the fact that NewsCorp. chief Rupert Murdoch was supporting his Global Initiative. I still have no idea what set him off.
Former President Clinton is a very big man. As he leaned forward--wagging his finger in my face--and then poking the notes I was holding--I felt as if a mountain was coming down in front of me.

The President said I had a smirk. Actually--it was sheer wonder at what I was witnessing.

I tried repeatedly to adhere to the ground rules--to move the President along--and back to the CGI. But he wanted to keep talking about his record fighting terror.

When it became clear he wanted to throw out the ground rules--then I just went with the flow of the interview.
Yeah, he really thought the much larger Clinton was going to whup his little behind. And wouldn't that have been fun... Or perhaps he began to crack under the pressuer of doing stupid right wing spin.

Tags: , Politics, George W. Bush, Bush, George Bush, Clinton, , News, September 11, ,
posted by JReid @ 7:09 AM  
Friday, September 22, 2006
The torture compromise
The White House has reigned in the Senate renegades on its drive to secure a torture "gimme" bill before the election recess starts a week from now. WaPo reports on the compromise. The key points-- in my opinion -- are highlighted:
The White House and dissident Senate Republicans reached a tentative accord yesterday on legislation that President Bush said would provide for continued tough interrogations of terrorism suspects by the CIA at secret detention sites.

The accord, which includes a plan for future military trials of alleged terrorists, also spells out rules for the use of classified evidence as well as information obtained through coercion of some detainees.

While the deal is subject to further discussion with House Republican leaders, it resolved the most contentious issues in the Bush administration's high-profile drive to gain congressional backing for its detainee policies before Congress adjourns next week. It also could help settle an intraparty fracas that worried GOP leaders in the run-up to the November elections.

Both sides declared that they had achieved their aims. Bush hailed the accord in a brief televised appearance from Orlando. He said the deal preserved "the CIA program to question the world's most dangerous terrorists and to get their secrets." CIA Director Michael V. Hayden told the agency in a statement that "if this language becomes law, the Congress will have given us the clarity and the support that we need to move forward with a detention and interrogation program."

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a prisoner during the Vietnam War who led the Senate rebellion against the administration's proposals, said, "The agreement that we've entered into gives the president the tools that he needs to continue to fight the war on terror and bring these evil people to justice." But he added: "There is no doubt that the integrity and letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions have been preserved."

On the key issue of detainee treatment that had caused the impasse between the White House and the dissident Republicans, the two sides agreed on a list of specified crimes that could provoke prosecution of CIA interrogators and others. They also agreed that past violations of the Geneva Conventions, an international treaty barring degrading and humiliating treatment of detainees, would not result in criminal or civil legal action.

The White House, for its part, yielded in its demand to adopt, with congressional approval, a restricted definition of its obligations under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. That article requires humane treatment of detainees and bars "violence to life and person," such as death and mutilation, as well as cruel treatment and "outrages upon personal dignity."

The compromise language gives the president a dominant -- but not exclusive -- role in deciding which interrogation methods are permitted by that provision of the treaty. It also prohibits detainees from using the Geneva Conventions to challenge their imprisonment or seek civil damages for mistreatment, as the administration sought.

Subsidiary legal disputes will probably be hammered out in coming days, Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said at a crowded news conference outside his office. ...
Surely the White House believes that violations of the Geneva accords have occurred, and clearly they feared prosecution of people either at the administration level. I doubt very seriously that they would have gone to the mat like this for the grunts. Of course, the CIA aren't exactly grunts:
The White House has pressed for the legislation partly to obtain immunity from prosecution for government officials, including CIA interrogators, for past acts that degraded and humiliated detainees. Its impetus was a Supreme Court ruling in June, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld , that declared some aspects of the administration's past interrogation and trial policies illegal.

Officials' anxieties were provoked by a 10-year-old U.S. law, the War Crimes Act, that makes violations of the Geneva Conventions' prohibitions on degrading and humiliating detainees, as well as actions that amount to "outrages upon personal dignity," subject to felony prosecution. Senior military officials have told Congress those prohibitions were violated.

The agreement coalesced around two crucial issues: the GOP senators' insistence that Bush not be allowed to appear to reinterpret the meaning of the Geneva Conventions, and the White House's insistence that CIA officers not be subject to prosecution for aggressive interrogation techniques -- tactics that did not constitute torture but were more aggressive than "simple assault."

The biggest hurdle, Senate sources said, was convincing administration officials that lawmakers would never accept language that allowed Bush to appear to be reinterpreting the Geneva Conventions. Once that was settled, they said, the White House poured most of its energy into defining "cruel or inhuman treatment" that would constitute a crime under the War Crimes Act. The administration wanted the term to describe techniques resulting in "severe" physical or mental pain, but the senators insisted on the word "serious."

Negotiations then turned to the amount of time that a detainee's suffering must last before the treatment amounts to a war crime. Administration officials preferred designating "prolonged" mental or physical symptoms, while the senators wanted something milder. They settled on "serious and non-transitory mental harm, which need not be prolonged."

These definitions appear in a section of the legislation that specifically lists "grave breaches" of the Geneva Conventions that might bring criminal penalties.

For lesser offenses barred by the Geneva Conventions -- those lying between cruelty and minor abuse, putting them at the heart of the intraparty dispute -- the draft legislation would give the president explicit authority to interpret "the meaning and application" of the relevant provisions in Common Article 3. It also requires that such interpretations be considered as "authoritative" as other U.S. regulations.

But the language also requires that such interpretations be published, rather than described in secret to a restricted number of lawmakers. That provision was demanded by the dissident lawmakers, who resented the administration's past efforts to curtail the number of members who were told of its policies. The provision also affirms that Congress and the judiciary can play their customary roles in reviewing the interpretations, a statement that Senate sources say the White House vigorously resisted.

A senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said in an interview that Bush essentially got what he asked for in a different formulation that allows both sides to maintain that their concerns were addressed. "We kind of take the scenic route, but we get there," the official said.
So this is what we're down to? An American president and members of the upper house of our Congress dickering over how much pain our CIA agents and soldiers can cause to a detainee without it constituting criminal acts of torture. How far we've fallen. What country is this? And how do we get back our honor?


Tags: , Politics, Republicans, GOP, , , Politics, Iraq, Torture, Bush Administration, Human Rights, Abu Ghraib, War Crimes

posted by JReid @ 9:46 AM  
Links and 'tings
CREW releases its second annual list of the 20 most corrupt members of Congress. I see you, Katherine Harris...!

The HUD Inspector General has made it official: HUD chief Alphonso Jackson did steer contracts toward Bush supporters, and away from Democrats.

According to insiders, Karl Rove is telling supporters, there will be an October surprise... start holding your breath.

Also from Raw Story, the military brass are reluctantly preparing second stage plans for an attack on Iran.

More postcards from the Bush boom: forget the rich ... the super rich have never been so super rich. In fact, you can't get onto Forbes top 400 as a mere millionaire. You've got to have billions.

And now from the War on Terror: the National Guard is being squeezed to the limit to supplement the starved for forces Army. From the NYT comes this graphic:

Also at the NYT: crackdowns on border enforcement are meaning fewer pickers for the crops being grown on U.S. farms. Compounding the problem: the natural tendency of low wage workers to eventually seek more stable, better paying jobs. In this case, many migrants -- legal and illegal -- are getting out of the fields and going to work in hotels or restaurants, leaving many growers -- including many lifelong Republican growers -- furious at Congress. Just another pickle in the November election pickle jar.

... and the federal government is urging routine HIV testing, starting at age 13...

And a shadowy Black Republican group (funded by who, we don't know...) is trying to sell Black voters in Maryland (for now) a bill of pretty smelly goods. Michael Steele is running from the controversial radio ad placed by the National Black Republican Association which claims, of all things, that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Republican. ...

And while the pope is calling on Muslim leaders to sit down and talk with him, Pat Robertson is waitin' on the holy war...

Last but not least, does al-Qaida really care that much about Bill O'Reilly? Signs point to no.

Tags: News, News and politics, Politics

posted by JReid @ 7:47 AM  
Media Matters scares away the MRC
The big radio show gets a little link love from Media Matters for America, as does this humble blog. (blush)... The issue: The Media Research Center's refusal to go on the air with anyone from Media Matters. We had Eric Boehlert, of Salon and book fame, on the program yesterday, which I booked through Media Matters. And I also tried to book Brent Bozell of the MRC for counterpoint. Unfortunately, the perfectly nice young woman I spoke with at the MRC informed me that the organization has a policy of not going on the air opposite Media Matters. She told me that it was a written policy of not appearing with MM, even on the same day, "because they lie," and mysteriously, because "they're not accredited" (accredited for what, she ddin't explain.) The young woman said that the policy only applied to Media Matters, but that she'd be happy to help me book Mr. Bozell for another day ... as long as it was a day when Media Matters would not be on our air.

Interesting policy.

My response to her was to suggest that they engage with us in the battle of ideas, and if their ideas and facts were better, they'd win. (I know that sounds a bit like Tucker Carlson-speak, but it happens to be true. There's nothing to fear from debate, but if you refuse to engage, you allow the rest of us assume that it's becasue you can't support your point of view.) Of course, the answer was still "no," because of "the policy."

Anyway, we recovered. We wound up with a terrific panel that included Boehlert, as well as the New York Post's Robert George, and one of my favorite cable chat show hosts, sorta conservative former Florida Congressman Joe Scarborough.

You can check out a clip of the show for yourself here (part one) and here (part two).

Thanks to all those who joined us! And MRC: get yourselves together.

Tags: News, News and politics, Media Matters, Brent Bozell
posted by JReid @ 6:21 AM  
Thursday, September 21, 2006
He oughta know...
The man who shot Pope John Paul II has some chilling advice for the current pope...
posted by JReid @ 11:54 AM  
Death toll
6,599 Iraqis in two months, plus Meanwhile, the U.S. death toll has reached 2,692...

posted by JReid @ 11:45 AM  
Winners and losers
Check out this interesting Slate article that asks whether the November election is actually worth winning...

And speaking of winning, it seems Katherine Harris has won herself a spot at tonight's fundraiser with the President and would-be governor Charlie Crist. Oh joy.

BTW, we had Eric Boehlert, Robert George of the NYPost and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough on the radio show this morning. I asked Scarborough (former Florida Congressman and still a resident of the state, and someone who knows the party in question very well) the burning question of the hour: Is ... Katherine ... Harris ... nuts...?

His answer: "Katherine Harris has definitely gone off the deep end." Nuff said.

Tags: News, News and politics, Politics, , Democrats, Republicans, News, 2006, Congress
posted by JReid @ 10:01 AM  
You can't do that
A court rules that Lindsey Graham can't be both a Congressman and a JAG judge.
posted by JReid @ 9:31 AM  
Ahmadinejad gets his debate

... but not with George W. Bush (which would have been HILLARIOUS... and maybe even useful...) (Photo from the NYTimes. Here's their version of the story. I'll let you read the article for yourself -- well worth it -- and just skip to the conclusion:
Mr. Ahmadinejad’s habit of answering every question about Iranian policy with a question about American policy was clearly wearing on some of the members, but at the end they acknowledged that he was about as skillful an interlocutor as they had ever encountered. “He is a master of counterpunch, deception, circumlocution,’’ Mr. Scowcroft said, shaking his head. Mr. Blackwill emerged from the conversation wondering how the United States would ever be able to negotiate with this Iranian government.

“If this man represents the prevailing government opinion in Tehran, we are heading for a massive confrontation with Iran,” he said.

Tags: Bush, , ,
posted by JReid @ 8:35 AM  
If you think things are bad now...
Remember that Donald Rumsfeld could have been vice president.

posted by JReid @ 8:04 AM  
Toward the reckoning
The Red Cross will visit the 14 new U.S. terror detainees, including purported 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, who were transferred from various secret CIA prisons to Guantanamo in recent weeks.

This puts new urgency, I would think, into the administration's push to absolve itself from potential lawbreaking in the treatment of detainees by U.S. military and CIA personnel, by passing a law "clarifying" U.S. obligations under Geneva.

If some of the detainees claim they were tortured (assuming they're not too afraid to talk openly with the Red Cross interviewers, for fear of being ... well ... tortured... then that could set in motion louder questions about U.S. policy and morality in the so-called "war on terror."

Meanwhile, a fifth former Joint Chief has weighed in on the side of the uniformed military, which opposes torture as a matter of policy, even if the civilians in charge of the military do not. General Hugh Shelton (of whom I'm no fan after his treatment of Gen. Wes Clark in 2004) has joined Gen. Powell in calling on the administration not to break with American tradition and international law. As reported by CNN, via ThinkProgress:

He was joined by three other former Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs — Gen. John Vessey, Gen. John Shalikashvili and Admiral William Crowe. Moments ago, McCain’s office announced that a fifth former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Hugh Shelton, has publically declared his objections. Shelton said Bush’s plan “would signal that the U.S. ‘is attempting to water down’ its obligations and would be an ‘egregious mistake.’

Meanwhile, Republican toadies in the House continue to try to ram through the president's legislation giving his administration and their underlings a free pass on the torture they may already have committed. The margins are so razor thin, however, that the GOPers are down to sneaking in second votes after Democrats leave the room.


Tags: , Politics, Republicans, GOP, , , Politics, Iraq, Torture, Bush Administration, Human Rights, Abu Ghraib, War Crimes

posted by JReid @ 7:30 AM  
Poll position
According to the latest polls:

Just 25 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, according to a new NYT/CBS News poll... (that includes 77 percent of all respondents, and 65 percent of Republicans, who said that "most members of Congress haven't done a good enough job to deserve reelection -- 39 percent, though, said they're happy with their own representative (48 percent said it's "time for someone new...") Still, because of redistricting, that doesn't mean the Democrats can take the House.

The poll also shows Bush with a 37 percent approval rating (raising questions about that USAT Gallup poll...) even after two solid weeks of Bushista speechifying on "the war on terra..."

From PollingReport, here's the spread:

In that same poll, 63 percent of Americans say the U.S. should follow international agreements on detainee treatment (32 percent say the U.S. should “do what it thinks right, regardless of what other nations think”). And "56 percent say torture is never justified, while 35 percent say sometimes it is." Hat tip to ThinkProgress.

Tags: Bush,

posted by JReid @ 7:08 AM  
Hugo (heart) Noam ... Dubya? Not so much
Hugo Chavez's hilarious performance at the United Nations yesterday bears reprinting. The Patriot News has the transcript. Here's the first half:
SEPTEMBER 20, 2006

"Representatives of the governments of the world, good morning to all of you. First of all, I would like to invite you, very respectfully, to those who have not read this book, to read it. Noam Chomsky, one of the most prestigious American and world intellectuals, Noam Chomsky, and this is one of his most recent books, 'Hegemony or Survival: The Imperialist Strategy of the United States.'" [Holds up book, waves it in front of General Assembly.]

"It's an excellent book to help us understand what has been happening in the world throughout the 20th century, and what's happening now, and the greatest threat looming over our planet. The hegemonic pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very survival of the human species. We continue to warn you about this danger and we appeal to the people of the United States and the world to halt this threat, which is like a sword hanging over our heads. I had considered reading from this book, but, for the sake of time," [flips through the pages...] "I will just leave it as a recommendation.

It reads easily, it is a very good book, I'm sure Madame [President] you are familiar with it. It appears in English, in Russian, in Arabic, in German. I think that the first people who should read this book are our brothers and sisters in the United States, because their threat is right in their own house. The devil is right at home. The devil, the devil himself, is right in the house.

"And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the devil came here. Right here." [crosses himself]

"And it smells of sulfur still today."

Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world.

I think we could call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday's statement made by the president of the United States. As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums, to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world.

An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: "The Devil's Recipe."

As Chomsky says here, clearly and in depth, the American empire is doing all it can to consolidate its system of domination. And we cannot allow them to do that. We cannot allow world dictatorship to be consolidated.

CHAVEZ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): The world parent's statement -- cynical, hypocritical, full of this imperial hypocrisy from the need they have to control everything.

They say they want to impose a democratic model. But that's their democratic model. It's the false democracy of elites, and, I would say, a very original democracy that's imposed by weapons and bombs and firing weapons.

What a strange democracy. Aristotle might not recognize it or others who are at the root of democracy.

What type of democracy do you impose with marines and bombs?

The president of the United States, yesterday, said to us, right here, in this room, and I'm quoting, "Anywhere you look, you hear extremists telling you can escape from poverty and recover your dignity through violence, terror and martyrdom."

Wherever he looks, he sees extremists. And you, my brother -- he looks at your color, and he says, oh, there's an extremist. Evo Morales, the worthy president of Bolivia, looks like an extremist to him.

The imperialists see extremists everywhere. It's not that we are extremists. It's that the world is waking up. It's waking up all over. And people are standing up.

I have the feeling, dear world dictator, that you are going to live the rest of your days as a nightmare because the rest of us are standing up, all those who are rising up against American imperialism, who are shouting for equality, for respect, for the sovereignty of nations.

CHAVEZ (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Yes, you can call us extremists, but we are rising up against the empire, against the model of domination.

The president then -- and this he said himself, he said: "I have come to speak directly to the populations in the Middle East, to tell them that my country wants peace."

That's true. If we walk in the streets of the Bronx, if we walk around New York, Washington, San Diego, in any city, San Antonio, San Francisco, and we ask individuals, the citizens of the United States, what does this country want? Does it want peace? They'll say yes.

But the government doesn't want peace. The government of the United States doesn't want peace. It wants to exploit its system of exploitation, of pillage, of hegemony through war.

It wants peace. But what's happening in Iraq? What happened in Lebanon? In Palestine? What's happening? What's happened over the last 100 years in Latin America and in the world? And now threatening Venezuela -- new threats against Venezuela, against Iran?
And the Noam Chomsky book he was recommending? It's called "Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance." I'm sure he appreciates the recommendation. Or not.

So is it proper protocol for a president of one country to call the president of another country the Devil?

Tags: Bush, , , Politics, UN, Iraq, Israel, Middle East, News, International, Hugo Chavez, Venezuela
posted by JReid @ 6:37 AM  
Ain't that a kick in the head
How much does it suck being Thaksin Shinawatra this morning??? Your off to the U.N. being all prime ministerial, and your own military deposes you without even firing a shot. Then, just when you thought you might get some freaking sympathy, the King of your country endorses the coup! Damn... damn... damn...

So the next question is, will those October elections really happen? (The Cuban, Haitian, Congolese and Russian revolutions were very popular with the street at first, too. Unfortunately, coup leaders seem to have a hard time leaving office ...) And what will the Bushies do? They were feeling the Venezuelan coup when it briefly ousted Hugo Chavez. But this one? Not so much. (Apparently, the now jobless P.M. was a rare friend.)

Update: first they ban the political parties...



posted by JReid @ 6:08 AM  
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Before you take the wingers' word for it...
Read Ahmadinejad's U.N. speech for yourself. Sorry but I just didn't hear the lunatic ravings and scary rhetoric that the Rush Limbaugh's, Wizbangers and Todd Schnitt's of the world (you'd have to be here on that last one... trust me ... he's a piece of Bush-bot work...) are telling their sheep followers were in the speech. What was in the speech were clear slams at the Bush administration:
What afflicts humanity today is certainly not compatible with human dignity; the Almighty has not created human beings so that they could transgress against others and oppress them.

By causing war and conflict, some are fast expanding their domination, accumulating greater wealth and usurping all the resources, while others endure the resulting poverty, suffering and misery.

Some seek to rule the world relying on weapons and threats, while others live in perpetual insecurity and danger.

Some occupy the homeland of others, thousands of kilometers away from their borders, interfere in their affairs and control their oil and other resources and strategic routes, while others are bombarded daily in their own homes; their children murdered in the streets and alleys of their own country and their homes reduced to rubble.

... a sharp critique of the U.N.:
The fundamental question is that under such conditions, where should the oppressed seek justice? Who, or what organization defends the rights of the oppressed, and suppresses acts of aggression and oppression? Where is the seat of global justice?...

...Who can ensure Iraq's security? Insecurity in Iraq affects the entire region. Can the Security Council play a role in restoring peace and security in Iraq, while the occupiers are themselves permanent members of the Council? Can the Security Council adopt a fair decision in this regard? ...

...Just watch what is happening in the Palestinian land. People are being bombarded in their own homes and their children murdered in their own streets and alleys. But no authority, not even the Security Council, can afford them any support or protection. Why?

At the same time, a Government is formed democratically and through the free choice of the electorate in a part of the Palestinian territory. But instead of receiving the support of the so-called champions of democracy, its Ministers and Members of Parliament are illegally abducted and incarcerated in full view of the international community.

Which council or international organization stands up to protect this brutally besieged Government? And why can't the Security Council take any steps? ...

...For thirty-three long days, the Lebanese lived under the barrage of fire and bombs and close to 1.5 million of them were displaced; meanwhile some members of the Security Council practically chose a path that provided ample opportunity for the aggressor to achieve its objectives militarily. We witnessed that the Security Council of the United Nations was practically incapacitated by certain powers to even call for a ceasefire. The Security Council sat idly by for so many days, witnessing the cruel scenes of atrocities against the Lebanese while tragedies such as Qana were persistently repeated. Why?

In all these cases, the answer is self-evident. When the power behind the hostilities is itself a permanent member of the Security Council, how then can this Council fulfill its responsibilities?

And an appeal to the members' sense of irony, regarding Iran's own nuclear ambitions:
Some powers proudly announce their production of second and third generations of nuclear weapons. What do they need these weapons for? Is the development and stockpiling of these deadly weapons designed to promote peace and democracy? Or, are these weapons, in fact, instruments of coercion and threat against other peoples and governments? How long should the people of the world live with the nightmare of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons? What bounds the powers producing and possessing these weapons? How can they be held accountable before the international community? And, are the inhabitants of these countries content with the waste of their wealth and resources for the production of such destructive arsenals? Is it not possible to rely on justice, ethics and wisdom instead of these instruments of death? Aren't wisdom and justice more compatible with peace and tranquility than nuclear, chemical and biological weapons? If wisdom, ethics and justice prevail, then oppression and aggression will be uprooted, threats will wither away and no reason will remain for conflict. This is a solid proposition because most global conflicts emanate from injustice, and from the powerful, not being contented with their own rights, striving to devour the rights of others.

People across the globe embrace justice and are willing to sacrifice for its sake.

Would it not be easier for global powers to ensure their longevity and win hearts and minds through the championing of real promotion of justice, compassion and peace, than through continuing the proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons and the threat of their use?

The experience of the threat and the use of nuclear weapons is before us. Has it achieved anything for the perpetrators other than exacerbation of tension, hatred and animosity among nations?

Read dispassionately, without the Bush-bot spit, I'd have to say that for his purposes, Ahmadinejad accomplished his purpose. He came off as reasonable and measured, as opposed to the stark raving looney the right wingers in the U.S. portray him to be. (On that, I agree with Pat Buchanan). And as such, I think it's fair to say that the Iranians continue to out-smart the Bush administration, by painting it into a war corner, from which no one will likely help us fight our way out.

Of course, there was the obligatory dig at Israel, but there again, Ahmadinejad was careful not to call for Israel's elimination, or directly question the Holocaust. What he did question, was the pretext of Israel's creation, and the reapportionment of lands to Europeans at the expense of native Palestinians.
The roots of the Palestinian problem go back to the Second World War. Under the pretext of protecting some of the survivors of that War, the land of Palestine was occupied through war, aggression and the displacement of millions of its inhabitants; it was placed under the control of some of the War survivors, bringing even larger population groups from elsewhere in the world, who had not been even affected by the Second World War; and a government was established in the territory of others with a population collected from across the world at the expense of driving millions of the rightful inhabitants of the land into a diaspora and homelessness. This is a great tragedy with hardly a precedent in history. Refugees continue to live in temporary refugee camps, and many have died still hoping to one day return to their land. Can any logic, law or legal reasoning justify this tragedy? Can any member of the United Nations accept such a tragedy occurring in their own homeland?

The pretexts for the creation of the regime occupying Al-Qods Al-Sharif are so weak that its proponents want to silence any voice trying to merely speak about them, as they are concerned that shedding light on the facts would undermine the raison d'être of this regime, as it has. The tragedy does not end with the establishment of a regime in the territory of others. Regrettably, from its inception, that regime has been a constant source of threat and insecurity in the Middle East region, waging war and spilling blood and impeding the progress of regional countries, and has also been used by some powers as an instrument of division, coercion, and pressure on the people of the region. Reference to these historical realities may cause some disquiet among supporters of this regime. But these are sheer facts and not myth. History has unfolded before our eyes.
I hate to break it to the Israelophiles in the U.S., but that's rather an unremarkable view even in Europe, let alone the Mideast.

So no raving from the Iranian. And I doubt Mr. Bush's over the heads appeal to the Arab and Muslim street will do him a whit of good. And in the end, without a loony performance from Ahmadinejad, I think you have to assume that Europe will take cover behind the reasonable sounding words of Iran to back well away from any thought of military action.

But then again, the Bushies are hella good at coercion, so you never know what they'll get Tony Blair to go along with...

Now Hugo Chavez ... that's was a whole 'nother 'nother. Just get a load of the opener (which got major laughs, on a U.N. scale, btw):
"The devil came here yesterday," Chavez said, referring to Bush's address on Tuesday and making the sign of the cross. "He came here talking as if he were the owner of the world."

Standing at the podium, Chavez quipped that a day after Bush's appearance: "In this very spot it smells like sulfur still."

posted by JReid @ 5:01 PM  
The White House blinks
... on redefining Common ARticle 3. This is a clear win for the Senate veterans (McCain, Graham and Warner) and it's good for the country. Kudos, gentlemen. (See? I can say nice things about Republicans.) And yes, McCain will suffer the electoral and talk radio/right wing blogger consequences, including the dredging up of absurd questions about his sanity. The fact that he must know that, and that he is prepared to take the hit anyway to stand up for what's right for this country is proof that he does love his country -- and our Constitution -- more than he loves George W. Bush or the Republican Party (which has descended from the party of Lincoln to the party of torture in just two centuries). That's something I have had occasion to doubt. This is a good day for McCain.

Tags: , Politics, Republicans, GOP, , , Politics, Iraq, Torture, Bush Administration, Human Rights, Abu Ghraib, War Crimes
posted by JReid @ 10:03 AM  
Famous coup words
The army commander-in-chief, General Sondhi Boonyaratklin, led the country's first coup in 15 years without a shot being fired, overthrowing Thaksin Shinawatra while he was at the United Nations in New York.

In a televised address flanked by the three armed forces chiefs and the head of the national police force, Gen Sondhi said: "We would like to reaffirm that we don't have any intention to rule the country and will return power to the Thai people as soon as possible."
Sorry Thailand. Welcome to Pakistan-Cuba.

posted by JReid @ 9:51 AM  
Wednesday funnies
Jon Stewart:

Meet Lil' Bush:

Tags: , ,
posted by JReid @ 9:21 AM  
Turner time
Ted Turner should probably set his email spam filter on stun. He's going to get a ton of right wing hate mail after this:
The founder of CNN and unabashed internationalist also defended the right of Iran to have nuclear weapons and the effectiveness of the United Nations and, in a jocular mood, advocated banning men from elective office worldwide in a Reuters Newsmaker appearance.

Alternately combative and humorous, Turner spoke nine years after his pledge to donate $1 billion to the United Nations over 10 years and on the same day President Bush addressed the U.N. General Assembly a mile away.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq has caused "incalculable damage" that will take 20 years to overcome "if we just act reasonably intelligently."

"It will go down in history, it is already being seen in history, as one of the dumbest moves that was ever made by anybody. A couple of others that come to mind were the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and the German invasion of Russia," Turner told the forum.

"It literally broke my heart. You don't start wars just because you don't like somebody. ... I wouldn't even start a war with Rupert Murdoch," Turner said, referring to his onetime cable network rival.

Often contrarian, Turner called it a "joke" that Bush demanded that Iran abandon any ambitions for nuclear weapons while at the same time hoping to ban all such bombs.

"They're a sovereign state," Turner said of Iran. "We have 28,000. Why can't they have 10? We don't say anything about Israel -- they've got 100 of them approximately -- or India or Pakistan or Russia. And really, nobody should have them.
No amount of Bush butt-kissing from Wolf Blitzer at CNN is gonna fix this one. And there's more. You'll definitely want to read the rest.

This Brooklyn blogger got a question in to Turner at the event.

Tags: ,
posted by JReid @ 9:14 AM  
No more Islamofascism for George
Mort Kondracke reports that mother hens Condi Rice and Karen Hughes have ripped the word "Islamofascists" from Dubya's verbal quiver.
posted by JReid @ 8:58 AM  
Ahmad and the Kid
It was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vs. George W. Bush in a verbal showdown at the United Nations yesterday. You can sort out the winners for yourself. Mr. Bush tried to vault over the heads of the diplomats sitting stonefaced before him (perhaps they were just tired after all that standing up to give a rousing ovation to Kofi Annan...) and over the heads of the Muslim world leaders he hopes "democracy" will dislodge, to speak directly to the Muslim street. Mr. Ahmadinejad directly challenged not only the notion that the United States has the moral authority to tell his or any other country what technologies they may have, but also the notion that there are superpowers anymore at all. Said Ahmadinejad: the age of empires has ended. Here's the Guardian's take:
The intensifying war of words between Iran and the United States reached the floor of the United Nations last night when the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, accused America and Britain of violating international law.

Mr Ahmadinejad's speech only once directly referred to the United States, but was infused throughout with criticism of the "exclusionist policies" of what he called the "hegemonic power" and its grip over the UN through its membership of the security council.

"The question needs to be asked: if the governments of the United States or the United Kingdom who are permanent members of the security council, commit aggression, occupation and violation of international law, which of the organs of the UN can take them to account?" he said.

Hours earlier, at the same lectern, President George Bush accused the Tehran regime of supporting terrorism. He told the Iranian people that the greatest obstacle to a free future came from their own rulers, who had "chosen to deny you liberty and to use your nation's resources to fund terrorism, and fuel extremism, and pursue nuclear weapons". ...

...Mr Ahmadinejad made no reference to Iran's nuclear activities, instead reminding delegates that America had itself used the bomb.

He accused the US of using terrorism as a "pretext for the continued presence of foreign forces in Iraq". He also criticised Washington's support for Israel, and accused the UN security council of sitting "idly by for many days" while atrocities were committed in Lebanon this summer.

In his 15-minute address, President Bush chose to speak over the heads of several world leaders seated before him in the general assembly chamber in New York and address their people directly. He challenged the delegations not just from Iran, but also Syria and Sudan.

He invoked the interests of "ordinary men and women free to determine their own destiny" and expressed his desire for a world in which "the extremists are marginalised by the peaceful majority". ...

As for how it all went over:
Mr Bush's speech was the last in a series he has given around the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. The addresses were conceived by the White House as an attempt to regain control of the political agenda and steer it away from the troubles in Iraq towards the need to stand firm in the so-called war on terror.

But Mr Bush spoke against a troubled backdrop. Earlier Kofi Annan, making his last speech to the general assembly as UN secretary general before he steps down at the end of this year, painted a grim picture, saying the past 10 years had "not resolved, but sharpened" the problems of an unjust global economy, disorder, and contempt for human rights. "We face a world whose divisions threaten the very notion of an international community upon which this institution stands," he said.

Mr Bush denied that his administration was anti-Muslim and dismissed criticism that US efforts to spread democracy in the region were backfiring. "The reality is that the stability we thought we saw in the Middle East was a mirage. For decades, millions of men and women in the region had been trapped in oppression and hopelessness. And these conditions left a generation disillusioned and made this region a breeding ground for extremism."

Addressing himself "to the people of Iran", he said he admired their rich history and vibrant culture, and said they deserved an opportunity to determine their own future.

Mr Ahmadinejad's aggressive speech adds further heat to the dispute over Iran's nuclear programme that is dominating discussions at the UN. The French president, Jacques Chirac, told the general assembly that "dialogue must prevail. Our goal is not to call regimes into question."...

In other words, France (and read the world community there) will not support another stab at "regime change."

(The Bush-bots take on the Ahmadinjad speech can be summarized as "womp womp womp, womp womp...)

Meanwhile, the BBC has more on Annan's cold splash of water over the precedings:
The meeting was opened by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who made an urgent plea for peace in the Middle East.

Mr Annan also raised the Darfur crisis in Western Sudan, which he described as the UN's biggest challenge.

In his address, he said ongoing violence there "makes a mockery of our claim to shield people from abusers".

BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus says the issue hangs like a dark shadow over this session, raising questions about the UN's effectiveness and relevance.

The Security Council has backed the despatch of a full UN peacekeeping mission to protect civilians, but the Sudanese government has not approved the force. ...

... Mr Bush said that if the Khartoum authorities did not do so quickly, the UN had to act. "Your lives and the United Nation's credibility are at stake," he added, addressing the people of Darfur.

The US president also announced the appointment of a special US envoy to the region.
Oh, and by the way, the envoy? Hopefully he'll be better at peacemaking than he is at math or project management ...

Back to Ahmadinejad... the Iranian president also sat down with NBC News for a tete a tete in which Brian Williams reminded him that he was sitting there "under the protection of the United States." No, really? Here's a clip:
“The U.S. government thinks that it’s still the period after World War II,” Ahmadinejad said in an interview with Brian Williams, anchor and managing editor of “NBC Nightly News,” a mindset that led Bush to believe that he “can rule, therefore, over the rest of the world.”

But “the world has changed,” he said. “Nations are awakened now. They want their rights — equal rights, and fair ones. The time for world empires has ended.” ...

...“Why is the U.S. government so against our people?” Ahmadinejad, speaking through a translator, asked in the interview with NBC News. “They speak of war so easily, as if it’s on their daily agenda. We never speak of war.”

Nuclear program called peaceful

Ahmadinejad reiterated that Tehran’s uranium enrichment was intended to support a peaceful nuclear power program.

“We are against the atomic bomb,” he said. “We believe bombs are used only to kill people. And we are against killing people.”

And he accused Bush of hiding behind the nuclear issue to mask the U.S. government’s grudge for the overthrow of the shah in 1979.

“We all know that Iran’s nuclear issue is an excuse,” he said. “It’s been 27 years now that we've faced the hostility of the U.S. administration in various forms.”

“We thought we might be able to have friendly relations with the United States,” he added. “But the American government chose the wrong path, a path which is still continuing.”

Referring to America’s own nuclear arsenal, Ahmadinejad said, “We think that people who produce the atomic bomb cannot, in fact, speak of supporting world peace.”

Ahmadinejad calls U.S. leaders hypocrites

Ahmadinejad portrayed himself as a simple man who was plucked from the obscurity of academia to face the might of an American monolith. And he repeatedly accused the United States of hypocrisy in calling for other nations to dismantle their weapons while it maintained the largest military arsenal in the world.

“Again, I ask, who has the nuclear bomb and has used it before?” he asked. “Which one is a bigger danger? One that’s trying to develop a fuel for peaceful purposes? Or the one that made a nuclear weapon?”

Are these legitimate arguments, or the "mad ravings" that the U.S. right wing media insists they are? It's too bad that we don't do intellectual debate anymore. Just hystrionics on both sides. The NY Post sets the high bar with this headline:


The ALL CAPS are a nice touch. Some of the "ravings" the Post's reporter picked out:
Ahmadinejad called his country's atomic program "transparent" and said it was "under the watchful eyes of IAEA inspectors" - a reference to the U.N. nuclear watchdog. ...

... Ahmadinejad repeated his claim that the World War II Allies created a Jewish state "at the expense of millions of rightful" occupants - a reference to Palestinians.

"Can any logic or law justify this tragedy?" Ahmadinejad asked.

He then turned to another favorite subject when he voiced doubts that the Holocaust happened, saying the arguments used for the creation of Israel "are so weak" that its supporters "want to silence" the doubters.

Without ever naming the United States, Ahmadinejad said the Security Council was "practically incapacitated by some powers to even call a cease-fire."

He didn't mention Israel by name - but repeatedly referred to it as "the occupiers" and "the Zionist regime."

Ahmadinejad also charged that in Iraq, "the occupiers are incapable of establishing security" - even making the wacky claim that the United States and new Iraqi government had freed captured terrorists.

He said America wants instability in Iraq because it "serves as the pretext" for continued occupation.

Again and again, he returned to the theme that the Security Council had failed to stop "tragedies," like this past summer's Lebanese war.
Judge for yourself on the "ravigns" meter, but recall that Ahmadinejad's complaint about the founding of Israel at the expense of Palestinian Arabs is one shared by many millions of ordinary Muslims, and more than a few Westerners, as well. On the Holocaust denial, that is widely decried as ridiculous, since the Holocaust is an historical given. On the issue of the "tragedy" -- Post's quotes -- of Lebanon, well, count 99 percent of the world in Ahmadinejad's corner.

Back to the Bushies. Did they like his speech? The tried and true will give him a gold star (Bush would essentially have to burst out crying in order to turn off his most robotic supporters). But the neocon faithful didn't get the red meat they were looking for. David Frum, repping for the "smash all Muslims" neocon set, felt the speech was way too soft on Iran. Frum on Fox:
FRUM: This speech represents the collapse of the President’s Iran policy, and I think it will be seen — when Iran does succeed in going nuclear, this speech will be seen as a turning point in which the United States made the decision — the decision has been made — they formally announced to the world that it wasn’t going to do anything much to stop it. I think in conjunction with President Chirac’s remarks this morning, where he opposed any kind of sanction — and that’s important because Chirac is not just the leader of France. France is one of the three European countries — France, Germany and Britian — that the United States had subcontracted the job of negotiating with the Iranians. The Iranians have lied to the group, stiffed it, and up until now the French have been the most robust, the strongest, of the European 3. The French are saying, “no consequences,” and President Bush today said, “OK.” And he went to the UN and he had these words of respect for the Iranian people, but nothing about the huge next item on the UN agenda, which is whether or not we will enforce the IAEA rulings on Iran that say they are cheating, they are lying, they are making their way toward a nuclear weapon. We at the IAEA are bunkrupt. It must go to the Security Council. Obviously, it is not going to the Security Council. And I think we are heading toward a nuclear Iran.
Tell us what you really think, Frummy...

Now let's go to John Podhoretz, another neocon stalwart, writing for the NY Post, who liked Bush's speech and thought it was ... wait for it ... "Reaganesque" (as if...). Podhoretz's more interesting comments were on Ahmadinejad (he disagrees with his fellow NY Poster on just what the Iranian president said, btw:
hours after President Bush appeared at the United Nations to offer mostly soothing words of encouragement to the peoples of the Middle East who live under the barbarous yoke of tyranny, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hit the U.N. stage last night with an address blatantly positioning himself as a fearless world leader willing to confront the supposed tyrants of the West.
Ahmadinejad didn't come out like a Soviet leader of yore and scream, "We will bury you," which had commentators in the immediate aftermath of his speech falling over themselves to welcome a "kinder and gentler" Ahmadinejad (that was Wolf Blitzer of CNN).

And indeed, Ahmadinejad didn't say he would wipe Israel off the map or deny the Holocaust.

Evidently we're supposed to grade on a curve now.

Sure, he was probably one of the student monsters who took 51 of our diplomats captive and held them hostage for 444 days back in 1979-80, but let L'il Mahmoud now stand in front of the green U.N. marble without a tie and with a cute little beard, and suddenly he's a Tehran Munchkin.

True, he did spend a lot of time in his speech talking about peace and justice and the pain of the oppressed and candy canes and cake and lollipops. But that was pure window dressing.

Substantively, Ahmadinejad was setting himself up as a revolutionary reformer seeking to overhaul the international system to make it fairer for the world's less powerful countries.

He offered up a cockamamie scheme for the reorganization of the Security Council - one that would empower voting representatives from various organizations that are run for the convenience of tinpot dictators and thugs, groups like the so-called Non-Aligned Movement and the Union of Islamic Nations.

"Who will speak for the oppressed?" wondered this spokesman for an "Islamic democracy" so corrupt that he was only elected the titular head of his government because vast numbers of possible voters sat out the election in protest.

The notion of an unjust concentration of world power in the hands of Western democracies is an old Leftist conceit, and though Ahmadinejad is the president of a pointedly reactionary religious regime, he sounded very much like a 1970s Leftist - including talk about "imperialism" that was so old I could practically visualize the gas tank of a Ford Pinto blowing up while he was speaking.

And while he insisted that his nation only wants to develop "peaceful" nuclear energy, Ahmadinejad made a point of claiming that the United States dominates world discussion because of its nuclear arsenal. If indeed that is what he believes, then surely a person who wishes the world system to be rebalanced in his own country's favor would find the pursuit of nuclear weaponry an urgent and overwhelming necessity.
So many Posters, so little agreement...

Tags: Bush, , , Politics, UN, Iraq, Israel, Middle East, News, International
posted by JReid @ 7:32 AM  
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Faith based

A couple more stories percolating today...

Are Black churches plundering the faith based initiative money and turning their congregations over to the GOP? Apparently not.

Meanwhile, Salon plumbs familiar territory: George W. Bush is an idiot, whose "brain" is supplied by Karl Rove. But Salon rounds up a slew of new books that ponder whether Rove himself, might not be so smart, either...

And speaking of Dubya's mental capacity, something James Bamford said on Al Franken's radio show yesterday strikes me as particularly basic, but soberingly true. He said that what he finds oddest about President Bush is the extent to which he seems to see himself as a serious figure -- in the Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill sense of the word "serious," and the lengths his aides go to prove to the public that he is a serious figure. The contrast between the pretend seriousness of the man, and his actual intellectual heft, depth and curiosity is so striking, it's almost funny. Except that he's occupying an office that has been inflated by history, and by the American people and media, into an almost emperor-like roll as "commander in chief."

Salon also has the GOP's flip flop on the torture issue, as the international outcry over the further slippage of our global moral standing continues...

Over at the NY Observer, it's Hillary Time!

And Sy Hersh and company at the New York diagnose our ills five years after 9/11.

On the wacky religious front, Florida's Islam-bashing Rev. O'Neal Dozier (who's not returning my phonecalls after his last appearance on the radio show, which came shortly before Jeb Bush forgot who he was...) is at it again.

posted by JReid @ 10:51 AM  
The watch list

Is this thing on??? President Bush prepares for his lukewarm reception from the United Nations general assembly today.

A new NewsCorp/Fox unit will produce films targeted at American evangelicals.

In the biggest commitment of its sort by a Hollywood studio, News Corp.'s Fox Filmed Entertainment is expected to unveil plans today to capture the gargantuan Christian audience that made "The Passion of the Christ" a global phenomenon.

The home entertainment division of Rupert Murdoch's movie studio plans to produce as many as a dozen films a year under a banner called FoxFaith. At least six of those films will be released in theaters under an agreement with two of the nation's largest chains, AMC Theatres and Carmike Cinemas.

The first theatrical release, called "Love's Abiding Joy," is scheduled to hit the big screen Oct. 6. The movie, which cost about $2 million to make, is based on the fourth installment of Christian novelist Janette Oke's popular series, "Love Comes Softly."

"A segment of the market is starving for this type of content," said Simon Swart, general manager of Fox's U.S. home entertainment unit.

"We want to push the production value, not videotape sermons or proselytize."

Sometimes accurate pollster Rasmussen previews the upcoming Congressional balance of power. The bottom line: it could be even, rather than clearly Democrat-controlled...

Meanwhile, with Bush headed to the U.N. today, here's a timely LAT article on just why John Bolton is such a waste of ambassadorships.

Tags: News, News and politics, Bush,
posted by JReid @ 10:17 AM  
About those liquie bombs...

A renowned UK bomb expert says the supposed plot to blow up American airliners using sports drinks and mp3 players was a bunch of hooey.

posted by JReid @ 10:05 AM  
Getting around the Blogger buggle

Blogger is buggy today. Surprise, surprise. (Rant on) I truly hate Blogger. Truly, I do... (Rant off).

posted by JReid @ 9:44 AM  
The McCain chronicles
Could it be that John McCain, for all his quizzling, cuddling and sycophantic ass kissing of the Bush administration, actually has core principles? If so, they revolve around two issues that he is indisputably credible on: the American military, and torture. So this morning the questions are:

Will McCain and his fellow GOP apostates win their battle with the White House over "interpreting" the Geneva Conventions? The answer there is probably yes, but not because the Bushies have suddenly remembered the Constitution, or developed a newfound respect for their solemn duty to protect this country's good name. It will be because the White House desperately needs a deal that will protect them from possible war crimes charges.

Is John McCain performing a ritual act of self-immolation as he simultaneously challenges the Bush administration on its torture, detention and interrogation policies, while also seeking to become Bush's best friend and heir apparent. From the sound of the Limbaugh-blog contingent's anti-McCain rhetoric since he and his fellow military vets in the Senate (along with Oympia Snowe) took their stand, signs point to a more difficult primary season in 2007-2008 than McCain might have liked.

And has the neoonservative movement finally come full circle with its Trotskyite past? Bill Kristol and other neocon ideloogues, who to a man, have never served their country for even a single day in the uniformed military, or even the Peace Corps, are advocating not only that we torture the cursed Muslims we accuse of being al-Qaida, but that the GOP campaign on the issue of torture and secret detentions, too. As Andrew Sullivan says on his TIME blog, "The capitulation of neoconservatism to the evil it once fought against is now complete."

Now for the latest on the negotions, from the WaPo, which is now broadening the "maverick" meme to include more than just John McSomtimesaMaverick McCain:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House and maverick Senate Republicans have begun a fresh round of talks over how to handle the nation's most dangerous terrorism suspects, resuscitating GOP hopes for approving a key piece of the president's anti-terror agenda before the November elections.

In a new offer, the White House has conceded changes to its previous proposal, while the Senate Republicans who challenged the administration's plan say they are once again hopeful a deal could be reached.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in New York for meetings at the United Nations, predicted Tuesday that President Bush and Congress would find language for interrogation and treatment of terror suspects that ''gives the professionals, the people who actually interrogate, clarity on what is legal and what is not.''

''I do believe that the president and the Congress can work together to get a law that allows us to get the information we need legally and within our treaty obligations to protect the American people and to protect people abroad,'' Rice said on NBC's ''Today'' show. ''Nobody wants us to give up the methods and the program that has produced information that stopped attacks on the U.S. and abroad.''

While no details have been divulged, the change in rhetoric was in stark contrast to last week when the two sides began counting votes and turned to the press to plead their case. And it came amid indications that Bush's plan was in increasing trouble in the both chambers of the GOP-run Congress.

''We share the president's goal of enacting legislation preserving an effective CIA program to make us safe, upholding Geneva Convention protections for our troops, and passing constitutional muster,'' said Sen. Lindsey Graham in a statement Monday.

Graham, R-S.C., helped lead the charge against the administration's bill, alongside Sens. John Warner, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and John McCain, a prisoner of war in the Vietnam War.

The Senate Armed Services Committee last week passed the senators' proposal by a 15-9 vote, with mostly Democratic support. The president's measure would go further, allowing classified evidence to be withheld from defendants in terror trials and allowing coerced testimony. Bush also favors a narrower interpretation of the Geneva Conventions that would make it harder to prosecute U.S. interrogators for using harsh techniques. ...
And about those politics for McCain, a separate WashPost article says this:
McCain's Stand On Detainees May Pose Risk For 2008 Bid
Opposition to Bush Could Alienate Republican Base

By Charles Babington and Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, September 19, 2006; A01

Sen. John McCain's bid to position himself as the natural heir to President Bush as a wartime commander in chief and to court conservative leaders in advance of his likely 2008 presidential campaign has threatened to run aground in recent days, as the two men clash over how to detain and try terrorism suspects.

For months, McCain has been wooing Bush's donors, hiring his former advisers and standing by him in the Iraq debate. But the fragile rapprochement between two men who were once bitter rivals for the presidency is facing a sharp new test over McCain's rejection of Bush's pleas to let the administration interpret the Geneva Conventions as it sees fit.

The impasse, which has preoccupied Congress this month, is likely to be settled within a few days but could remain hanging when lawmakers adjourn in a few days. Either way, it is likely to carry a long echo -- especially if the senator from Arizona forces Bush to back down.

Substantively, the legislative battle will shape what limits the administration will face on its anti-terrorism policies in the final two years of Bush's term. Politically, McCain's willingness once again to confront Bush raises questions about how he will position himself toward the Republican Party's conservative base, which he has aggressively cultivated over the past year as he pursues the presidency.

In a reprise of criticism showered on McCain during his 2000 campaign, some prominent conservatives are branding him a disloyal Republican and an unreliable conservative because of his assertiveness on the detainee issue.

The senator's actions "are blocking our ability to gain from terrorist captives the vital information we need," said a front-page editorial Saturday in the Union Leader of Manchester, N.H., the largest newspaper in the state with the first presidential primary. Conservative radio talker Rush Limbaugh said Friday that opposition to Bush's approach "is going to go down as the event that will result in us getting hit again, and if we do, and if McCain, et al. , prevail, I can tell you where fingers are going to be pointed."

If McCain or his backers worry that such pointed criticism threatens his presidential hopes, they do not admit it, calling the issue a matter of principle on which the senator has had a long record. But his camp acknowledges being well aware of the potential political ramifications.

For now, those ramifications remain uncertain. McCain's maverick style has long been popular with GOP voters in New Hampshire, where he bested Bush in the 2000 primary, said Andy Smith, a pollster who directs the University of New Hampshire's Survey Center.

"I don't think this impacts him too much in New Hampshire," Smith said yesterday. Polls consistently show McCain well ahead of potential Republican rivals there, Smith said, and the Union Leader's once-feared editorial page "is nowhere near as strong as it used to be."

McCain's defiance of the administration could prove particularly troublesome in South Carolina, the early-primary state where Bush's hard-hitting attacks in 2000 killed McCain's momentum and put the Texas governor on the road to the White House. Yet McCain's most outspoken ally in the detainee dispute is the state's senior senator, freshman Republican Lindsey O. Graham, who spent years as a military lawyer.

In a telephone interview from South Carolina yesterday, Graham said: "What I hear is, people respect the commitment of the president to the [CIA interrogation] program, and they respect my commitment and Senator McCain's commitment to the troops."

Graham added: "Every editorial in the state has understood Senator McCain's and my concerns, and believe they are legitimate." The Geneva Conventions say wartime detainees must be "treated humanely." Bush says the United States complies so long as CIA interrogators abide by a 2005 law barring "cruel, inhuman, or degrading" treatment of captives. McCain and his allies say that the requirement is too narrow, and that they are concerned Bush's approach would invite other nations to interpret the conventions in lax ways that could lead to abusive treatment of captive U.S. troops.
In other words, the GOP base has embraced torture, mainly because they get their anti-terrorism policies from "24." If McCain doesn't want to go along, he's with the terorists.

Go figure.

And meanwhile, we get word from Canada that the U.S. not only has condoned torture by our own CIA agents and members of the military, but that we've also exported innocent people to countries -- including our purported enemy, Syria -- so that they can be tortured for us:
Canadians Fault U.S. for Its Role in Torture Case
OTTAWA, Sept. 18 — A government commission on Monday exonerated a Canadian computer engineer of any ties to terrorism and issued a scathing report that faulted Canada and the United States for his deportation four years ago to Syria, where he was imprisoned and tortured.

The report on the engineer, Maher Arar, said American officials had apparently acted on inaccurate information from Canadian investigators and then misled Canadian authorities about their plans for Mr. Arar before transporting him to Syria.

“I am able to say categorically that there is no evidence to indicate that Mr. Arar has committed any offense or that his activities constituted a threat to the security of Canada,” Justice Dennis R. O’Connor, head of the commission, said at a news conference.

The report’s findings could reverberate heavily through the leadership of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which handled the initial intelligence on Mr. Arar that led security officials in both Canada and the United States to assume he was a suspected Al Qaeda terrorist.

The report’s criticisms and recommendations are aimed primarily at Canada’s own government and activities, rather than the United States government, which refused to cooperate in the inquiry.

But its conclusions about a case that had emerged as one of the most infamous examples of rendition — the transfer of terrorism suspects to other nations for interrogation — draw new attention to the Bush administration’s handling of detainees. And it comes as the White House and Congress are contesting legislation that would set standards for the treatment and interrogation of prisoners.

“The American authorities who handled Mr. Arar’s case treated Mr. Arar in a most regrettable fashion,” Justice O’Connor wrote in a three-volume report, not all of which was made public. “They removed him to Syria against his wishes and in the face of his statements that he would be tortured if sent there. Moreover, they dealt with Canadian officials involved with Mr. Arar’s case in a less than forthcoming manner.”

A spokesman for the United States Justice Department, Charles Miller, and a White House spokesman traveling with President Bush in New York said officials had not seen the report and could not comment.

We've come a long way from the time when, on this day in 1796, President George Washington's farewell address was published, in which our country's first chief executive wrote, "Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all."

Tags: , Politics, Republicans, GOP,
posted by JReid @ 8:33 AM  
Drinking buddies?
Does this mean that Democrats and Republicans have to literally be in rehab in order to get along?

Tags: ,
posted by JReid @ 7:40 AM  
Monday, September 18, 2006
Give that man another Medal of Freedom
Did George "slam dunk" Tenet screw up a spy investigation as badly as he screwed up pre-Iraq? A new book says, yep.

posted by JReid @ 10:02 AM  
Why the rush to "define" Geneva?
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and law professor Johnathan Turley head down the path many observers are trucking on: that the Bush administration's quest to legislatively "define" Common Article III of the Geneva Conventions, which have stood unchallenged for 50 years, isn't about helping CIA agents do their jobs, or even about preserving the administration's secret detetions and harsh interrogations program "as is," "to protect American lives." It's about just what the president said in his erratic Friday presser:
"...Now, the Court said that you've got to live under Article III of the Geneva Convention, and the standards are so vague that our professionals won't be able to carry forward the program, because they don't want to be tried as war criminals. They don't want to break the law...."
And perhaps, neither do Mr. Bush and the members of the administration who put secret prisons and water boarding and other abusive interrogation practices in place.

Why might the Bushies be nervous? Here's a thought:
With great fanfare, George W. Bush announced to a group of carefully selected 9/11 families yesterday that he had finally decided to send Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and 13 other alleged terrorists to Guantánamo Bay, where they will be tried in military commissions. After nearly five years of interrogating these men, why did Bush choose this moment to bring them to "justice"?

Bush said his administration had "largely completed our questioning of the men" and complained that "the Supreme Court's recent decision has impaired our ability to prosecute terrorists through military commissions and has put in question the future of the CIA program."

He was referring to Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in which the high court recently held that Bush's military commissions did not comply with the law. Bush sought to try prisoners in commissions they could not attend with evidence they never see, including hearsay and evidence obtained by coercion.

The Court also determined that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applies to al Qaeda detainees. That provision of Geneva prohibits "outrages upon personal dignity" and "humiliating and degrading treatment."

Bush called on Congress to define these "vague and undefined" terms in Common Article 3 because "our military and intelligence personnel" involved in capture and interrogation "could now be at risk of prosecution under the War Crimes Act."

Congress enacted the War Crimes Act in 1996. That act defines violations of Geneva's Common Article 3 as war crimes. Those convicted face life imprisonment or even the death penalty if the victim dies.

The President is undoubtedly familiar with the doctrine of command responsibility, where commanders, all the way up the chain of command to the commander in chief, can be held liable for war crimes their inferiors commit if the commander knew or should have known they might be committed and did nothing to stop or prevent them.
What's more:
Bush defensively denied that the United States engages in torture and foreswore authorizing it. But it has been well-documented that policies set at the highest levels of our government have resulted in the torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of U.S. prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantánamo.

Indeed, Congress passed the Detainee Treatment Act in December, which codifies the prohibition in United States law against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment of prisoners in U.S. custody. In his speech yesterday, Bush took credit for working with Senator John McCain to pass the DTA.

In fact, Bush fought the McCain "anti-torture" amendment tooth-and-nail, at times threatening to veto the entire appropriations bill to which it was appended. At one point, Bush sent Dick Cheney to convince McCain to exempt the CIA from the prohibition on cruel treatment, but McCain refused.

Bush signed the bill, but attached a "signing statement" where he reserved the right to violate the DTA if, as commander-in-chief, he thought it necessary.

Throughout his speech, Bush carefully denied his administration had violated any laws during its "tough" interrogations of prisoners. Yet, the very same day, the Pentagon released a new interrogation manual that prohibits techniques including "waterboarding," which amounts to torture.

Before the Supreme Court decided the Hamdan case, the Pentagon intended to remove any mention of Common Article 3 from its manual. The manual had been the subject of revision since the Abu Ghraib torture photographs came to light.
In other words, the administration has, at best, been "iffy" on Common Article 3. Were the Democrats to take over the House, there could be hearings. And they do ... not ... want ... hearings.

Tags: , Politics, Iraq, Torture, Bush Administration, Human Rights, Abu Ghraib, War Crimes
posted by JReid @ 9:21 AM  
Silly John Ashcroft
More proof of insanity in the present age, from Jay Tea's spiritual father. Crazy John Ashcroft says Dubya "has been more respectful of civil liberties
and civil rights than any previous wartime president in the history of the United States" in a speech walked out on by dozens in N.C. Hat tip to ThinkProgress.

Tags: ,
posted by JReid @ 8:55 AM  
"Death" becomes them
The Toronoto film festival folks see fit to award "Death of a President" the International Critics Prize, ""for the audacity with which it distorts reality, to reveal a larger truth." The righties will just love that.


Tags: ,

posted by JReid @ 8:41 AM  
Monday news round-up
Worldwide protests this weekend urge Western governments to finally do something about Darfur, where the death toll is approaching a quarter million, and the number of displaced tops 3 million. Shame on us all.

How far has the U.S. fallen, en two Senators, including JAG officer Lindsey Graham and former POW John McCain, have to go on television to defend America's observance of the Geneva conventions?

Voters in Sarasota, Florida will get to decide whether to continue using electronic voting machines, whose reliability is increasingly in doubt, or whether to go back to paper ballots.

More on the winger mindset. How do you get a contract to rebuild Iraq? Support the President.
After the fall of Saddam Hussein's government in April 2003, the opportunity to participate in the U.S.-led effort to reconstruct Iraq attracted all manner of Americans -- restless professionals, Arabic-speaking academics, development specialists and war-zone adventurers. But before they could go to Baghdad, they had to get past Jim O'Beirne's office in the Pentagon.

To pass muster with O'Beirne, a political appointee who screens prospective political appointees for Defense Department posts, applicants didn't need to be experts in the Middle East or in post-conflict reconstruction. What seemed most important was loyalty to the Bush administration.

O'Beirne's staff posed blunt questions to some candidates about domestic politics: Did you vote for George W. Bush in 2000? Do you support the way the president is fighting the war on terror? Two people who sought jobs with the U.S. occupation authority said they were even asked their views on Roe v. Wade.
Hm... well those contractors who were chosen at least knew what they were doing, right?
Many of those chosen by O'Beirne's office to work for the Coalition Provisional Authority, which ran Iraq's government from April 2003 to June 2004, lacked vital skills and experience. A 24-year-old who had never worked in finance -- but had applied for a White House job -- was sent to reopen Baghdad's stock exchange. The daughter of a prominent neoconservative commentator and a recent graduate from an evangelical university for home-schooled children were tapped to manage Iraq's $13 billion budget, even though they didn't have a background in accounting.

The decision to send the loyal and the willing instead of the best and the brightest is now regarded by many people involved in the 3 1/2 -year effort to stabilize and rebuild Iraq as one of the Bush administration's gravest errors. Many of those selected because of their political fidelity spent their time trying to impose a conservative agenda on the postwar occupation, which sidetracked more important reconstruction efforts and squandered goodwill among the Iraqi people, according to many people who participated in the reconstruction effort.

The CPA had the power to enact laws, print currency, collect taxes, deploy police and spend Iraq's oil revenue. It had more than 1,500 employees in Baghdad at its height, working under America's viceroy in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, but never released a public roster of its entire staff.

Interviews with scores of former CPA personnel over the past two years depict an organization that was dominated -- and ultimately hobbled -- by administration ideologues.
Nice work if you can get it.

The man who was Bush's second choice for vice president, until Dick Cheney chose himself, is now blasting the adminisration in a new book.

CNN delves into the question of a U.S. attack on Iran, and what it could look like. Meanwhile, the U.S. is updating its Iran plans, and ramping up the Iraq-like sales job.

The U.S. is holding an AP photographer in Iraq, claiming he's a threat to coalition forces. Of course, in typical Bushian fashion, the man has not been charged. He's simply disappeared into Bush-style extra-legal limbo:
The U.S. military in Iraq has imprisoned an Associated Press photographer for five months, accusing him of being a security threat but never filing charges or permitting a public hearing.

Military officials said Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi citizen, was being held for "imperative reasons of security" under United Nations resolutions. AP executives said the news cooperative's review of Hussein's work did not find anything to indicate inappropriate contact with insurgents, and any evidence against him should be brought to the Iraqi criminal justice system.

Hussein, 35, is a native of Fallujah who began work for the AP in September 2004. He photographed events in Fallujah and Ramadi until he was detained on April 12 of this year.

"We want the rule of law to prevail. He either needs to be charged or released. Indefinite detention is not acceptable," said Tom Curley, AP's president and chief executive officer. "We've come to the conclusion that this is unacceptable under Iraqi law, or Geneva Conventions, or any military procedure."

Hussein is one of an estimated 14,000 people detained by the U.S. military worldwide - 13,000 of them in Iraq. They are held in limbo where few are ever charged with a specific crime or given a chance before any court or tribunal to argue for their freedom.

In Hussein's case, the military has not provided any concrete evidence to back up the vague allegations they have raised about him, Curley and other AP executives said.

The military said Hussein was captured with two insurgents, including Hamid Hamad Motib, an alleged leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. "He has close relationships with persons known to be responsible for kidnappings, smuggling, improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and other attacks on coalition forces," according to a May 7 e-mail from U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jack Gardner, who oversees all coalition detainees in Iraq.

"The information available establishes that he has relationships with insurgents and is afforded access to insurgent activities outside the normal scope afforded to journalists conducting legitimate activities," Gardner wrote to AP International Editor John Daniszewski.

Hussein proclaims his innocence, according to his Iraqi lawyer, Badie Arief Izzat, and believes he has been unfairly targeted because his photos from Ramadi and Fallujah were deemed unwelcome by the coalition forces.

That Hussein was captured at the same time as insurgents doesn't make him one of them, said Kathleen Carroll, AP's executive editor.

An Iranian-American woman heads to space as a $20 million tourist. (Must be nice to have $20 million to burn. For that kind of money, she probably could have built her own rocket ship.)

And cue the right wing Kennedy haters for some phony compassion today. JFK's sister Patricia Lawford has died.

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posted by JReid @ 7:03 AM  
Jihadis for Jesus
Here's one for the archives. You won't believe it ... or actually, maybe you will. Hat tip to Raw Story, credit to ABC News:
Sept. 17, 2006 — - An in-your-face documentary out this weekend is raising eyebrows, raising hackles and raising questions about evangelizing to young people.

Speaking in tongues, weeping for salvation, praying for an end to abortion and worshipping a picture of President Bush -- these are some of the activities at Pastor Becky Fischer's Bible camp in North Dakota, "Kids on Fire," subject of the provocative new documentary, "Jesus Camp."

"I want to see them as radically laying down their lives for the gospel as they are in Palestine, Pakistan and all those different places," Fisher said. "Because, excuse me, we have the truth."

"A lot of people die for God," one camper said, "and they're not afraid."

"We're kinda being trained to be warriors," said another, "only in a funner way."
After all, what's "funner" than dying for Jesus? (Hang on ... isn't that a bit of role reversal ... and therefore unnecessary?)

Tags: , Current Affairs, Christianity, News, Culture, Islam, Film
posted by JReid @ 6:52 AM  
Saturday, September 16, 2006
God's Rottweiler heels ... or doesn't
The Vatican appeared to back down this weekend, releasing an apology to any Muslims who were offended by an academic speech given by Pope Benedict XVI, which quoted an archaic emperor who took issue with Islam and the "spreading of the faith by the sword." But is there reason to believe that the former Cardinal Ratzinger, who was the enforcer of the faith during his predecessor's reigh, isn't really sorry, and that he actually meant to provoke an intellectual confrontation with Islam?

The Guardian's John Hooper says signs point to yes:
On the day he uttered the phrases that have prompted such uproar in the Muslim world, Pope Benedict celebrated an open-air mass. How did he try to reach out to the crowd? Initially, by talking about the medieval theological compendiums known as summae - not exactly a topic of burning currency in pious, rural southern Germany.

It is tempting to see the Pope's controversial reference to a 14th century Byzantine emperor in the same light - as the gaffe of an other-wordly intellectual who does not stop to think that his words are going to be seized on by journalists.

However, he more or less apologised in advance for the "startling brusqueness" of the emperor's remark that Muhammad brought "only evil and inhuman" things. That suggests he was fully aware of the impact it could make.

What is more, it is clear from the passage that followed that the Pope fully supports, if not the emperor's language, then certainly his underlying contention - that holy war is at odds with reason.

There are two further motives for thinking Benedict is ready to upset the believers in other faiths rather than shrink from what he believes needs to be said (or not said).

First, he has done it before. At Auschwitz, in May, he appalled many Jews by passing up what they saw as a historic opportunity for a German pope to apologise for the Roman Catholic church's conduct in the second world war. The second factor is that Pope Benedict has signalled clearly that he favours a tougher line in his church's dealings with Islam.

The key word in the Vatican now is "reciprocity". The leadership of the Roman Catholic church is increasingly of the opinion that a meaningful dialogue with the Muslim world is not possible while Christians are denied religious freedom in Muslim states.
If that is true, then the apology likely had more to do with worries over the pontiff's upcoming trip to Turkey, and to the need to siphon some of the heat off the ultra-sensitive Muslim world, where some are now condemning him as akin to Mussolini or Hitler, than with a real belief that what was said was inapprorpriate. (The full mea culpa statement can be read here, and exerpts of the offending speech at the university in Bonn, Germany can be found here. The key exerpt:
I was reminded of all this recently, when I read... of part of the dialogue carried on - perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara - by the erudite Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both.

In the seventh conversation...the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. Without descending to details, such as the difference in treatment accorded to those who have the "Book" and the "infidels", he addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. "God," he says, "is not pleased by blood - and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats."
Now, of course, American rightists have seized on the pope's speech as proof that we're fighting a clash of civilizations between the Judeo-Christian West and Muslims who want to forcibly convert us all or kill us.

The problem there, is that the so-called "war on terror" isn't a war to resist forcible conversion. Muslims haven't launched a war of conversion against the West since they took over Spain centuries ago. In fact, it is Christians who have launched the most extensive conversion wars (the Crusades, the Inquisition, etc.) and missions (the entire missionary movement, including the missionary aspects of the drive to settle the Americas and forcibly convert the native "Indians") which have been violent, cruel and relentless. Modern day Muslims are certainly hyper-sensitive -- one could argue, overly sensitive to dialogue which challenges their faith, and not open enough to intellectual discourse on the issues of faith and violence. But to suggest that the only issue at hand is Islam versus Christianity, is to be willfully ignorant of the political nature of the current clash between the West and the Muslim world. What the Muslim world really seems to want, is for Western countries to get out of their lands, pull our troops and our bases out, and to stop propping up their corrupt, authoritarian regimes.

Violent jihad may be the means to the end of getting enough people to fight and die to drive the Westerners out, but if you look at the pattern of behavior of so-called "terrorists", the political dimension comes through loud and clear. Yes, the Bin Ladenists throw in calls for the infidels to convert, and conversion becomes a component of the psychological war, but we are fighting, in the main, a war over resources -- namely, oil, natural gas, and water.

And while the notion of violent jihad as a means of conversion is an interesting academic argument (and a useful propaganda argument for the neocons and the Bushies) I think it's simplistic, and misses the point. The pope, I think, isn't missing the point, however. I think he's addressing something more basic, and in a way, more important -- the sentiment of violent religiosity istelf, particularly now, within Islam, which is distorting religious faith in pursuit of those larger political goals. Ordinary Muslims who allow themselves to be manipulated through religion, by men who in reality, are fighting an old fashioned territorial war, is a disturbing trend. Young men and women shouldn't be cajoled to give up their lives in order to win a resource war. However, American young men and women shouldn't be manipulated into thinking they're defending the faith by fighting the "jihadists," when all they're doing is providing the manpower for a resource war, too.
posted by JReid @ 2:14 PM  
Friday, September 15, 2006
The winger mind
The dictionary definition of authoritarianism is:

1. Characterized by or favoring absolute obedience to authority, as against individual freedom: an authoritarian regime.

2. Of, relating to, or expecting unquestioning obedience. See Synonyms at dictatorial.

But authoritarianism is also a kind of idolatry; an unspoken agreement between a leader who desires above all, to be worshipped as the embodiment of the state, and a willing mass of followers who will subborn any indiginity or loss of liberty, in order to maintain the protection of their leader. Whether they do it out of ideology, or out of fear (fear usually stoked, for full effect, by the leader), the authoritarian followers can only follow, and they demand that others do the same. That demand is usually made with extreme hostility, because those who refuse to follow threaten not only the authoritarian follower's safety, in his or her own mind, they also threaten his or her reality, because dissent carries with the even more frightening threat of exposing the follower's own obsequiousness, cowardice, and shallowness.

One Wizbanger, who seems to be a new writer for Jay Tea and the other Bush-bots over there, has distilled the authoritarian follower personality down to a perfect sound bite (and I thought A.J. Strata had it nailed.)

So here, for your academic scrutiny, is D.J. Drummond, authoritarian follower extraordinaire:
George W. Bush is the President of the United States. Him, no one else. You either back him up or you are not supporting America. Yes, he earned that support, by getting elected. Like it or not, it comes with the job.
One wonders if Mr. Drummond would literally kneel in Bush's presence.

This kind of obsequousness and supine worship of the president is usually combined with escalating hostility toward dissenters, whose independence threatens the authoritarian follower's world view, and of the "turncoats" in his own ranks who refuse to bow down to the president, and whose failure to believe is bringing the scary people closer, and closer! Those dissenters are usually dealt with harshly -- insulted and threatened ... they all should be thrown in jail, starting with the members of the press, whose truth telling spills the Leader's secrets to "the enemy." All of this is driven by a paranoid, nihilistic fear of "the enemy", which is everywhere, just waiting to strike, constantly drooling for our blood, and held back only by the benevolence of the Dear Leader, and his shhh!! top secret methods for "keeping us safe..."

It's actually kind of sad, and definitley disturbing, to see how many Americans are like D.J. ... how easily free people hand over their liberties to a government of men, in exchange for promises of safety. That's not just a send-up of the founding fathers, believe it or not, Neil Boortz said it last week. Pat Buchanan says it all the time. Even conservatives know a fascist movement when they see one. Let's get some wisdom from a REAL Republican: Teddy Roosevelt:
"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

D.J., I feel sorry for you.

You and the dwindling number of numb, terrified, unreconstructed Bush-bots clinging to George W. Bush's skirts and cowering in fear of "the terrorists" (who are less likely to kill you than your average city bus, by the way...); you talking point-memorizing pawns of the state who are raging against the New York Times for telling you that your government is spying on you (I don't want to know what the president is doing to protect me!!!) but not at the president FOR spying on you ... and who lap up every corn-pone utterance emanating out of the mouth of this president and his creepy administration cronies, even as everything they touch goes straight to hell in a war profiteering contractor's handbasket, along with your civil liberties... clearly don't understand what it means to be a free person, or to be an American.

To paraphrase Pat Buchanan (again...) the president of the United States is not Julius Caesar. Get off your knees and read the Constitution.

Update: While Jay Tea continues to believe that the world, and this post, revolve around him, D.J. Drummond continues to seize the stage at Wizbang, this time with this rather flowery, and rather tired, defense of his "support Bush or you don't support America" canard. My reply to him is in the comments section. Scroll way down (to JReid, whom I think someone there thinks is a boy... sigh. That seems to happen a lot...)

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posted by JReid @ 3:27 PM  
In case you were hiding under a rock and missed it
Here's Keith Olbermann's September 11 special comment.

posted by JReid @ 9:38 AM  
Nabbing Bin Laden: not such a high priority
Forget Bush's 9/11 anniversary speech. Catching Bin Laden is just not a priority for the administartion.

Tags: , Al Qaeda, Terrorism, Iraq, War On Terror, Politics, Bush, Terrorists, Osama, Afghanistan, Bin Laden
posted by JReid @ 9:24 AM  
Sean Penn on Bush
He proves that the left can play the Fascism card, too. Funny how wingers don't like it when it's used on them... Here's the ironic comment post of the day, from a winger called "donsaliman":
I just don't understand where looney's like Penn, think the way they think. They use scare tatics like dictatorship,fascism,bigot etc and yet I do not see them being carried away or shot for expressing their views.
... yeah, sillyman, that doesn't sound familiar at all...

By the way, let us walk through, for a moment, the essential ingredients of fascism. (Hint, it doesn't involve stateless fighters using religious ideology to rally themselves against powerful states...)

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posted by JReid @ 9:12 AM  
Do you trust Diebold?
You know, Diebold ... the voting machine company ... well, you shouldn't. More on the Princeton study of how easy it is to rig the machines that could decide elections in Maryland and Ohio here and here.

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posted by JReid @ 9:05 AM  
Around the world in 30 seconds
Dubai's got slaves in the horse pit...

Gaza is being strangled to death...

The U.N. says the Israel-Hezbollah ceasefire is holding ... some Lebanese disagree... And there's there's this in diplomacy news:

The US is trying to block attempts by Arab countries to turn the UN Security Council into a key player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during the upcoming General Assembly opening next week.

In discussions among Israeli and US officials over the past few days, it was agreed that the US will use its diplomatic power to sideline the Arab League initiative, which intends to use the Security Council as the main vehicle for convening an international peace conference to deal with the conflict.

Instead, US diplomats are working to convince the Arab members of the UN to agree to a presidential statement instead of a UN resolution. The wording of such a statement is now in the works and it will be finalized in a meeting of the Quartet next Wednesday, a day before the Security Council takes on the issue.

US President George W. Bush, who will address the UN General Assembly next week, is expected to repeat in his speech the US commitment for the idea of a two-state solution for the Middle East conflict.

The issue of the new Arab initiative was raised in discussions Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni had in Washington with Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. After the meetings, Livni said that "there is a kind of over-activity lately," referring to the Arab call for an international conference sponsored by the UN. "Israel is not going to cooperate with this kind of a process because this is not the right way to move forward," she added.

Rice stressed on Wednesday, at a joint press conference with Livni, that the US insisted the new Palestinian national unity government live up to the three conditions of the international community before it could be considered a legitimate partner - recognizing Israel's right to exist, renouncing terrorism and accepting previous agreements signed with Israel.
Meanwhile, Kofi Annan is slamming the Bushies afresh over the invasion of Iraq:

"Iraq has really caused a problem, It has radicalised the region," Annan said. "America is in a situation now where it cannot stay, and it cannot leave. Some argue that its presence is a problem, the other side, that if it leaves the situation will get much worse ... So whatever the US has to do, the timing of any withdrawal must be optimal, in the sense that it will do least harm, and will not trigger disintegration of Iraq, when the region and the world will blame the US."
Meanwhile, Israel has taken responsibility for the bombing in Lebanon that killed four U.N. workers.

And the Taliban is back, big time.

Here at home, Ford is cutting a third of its workforce.

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posted by JReid @ 8:47 AM  
What can I say?
Yet another controversy has arisen over free speech, religion, and the centuries-reaching sensitivities of Islam. This time, it's the pope who has waded into the fray.

A statement from the Vatican has failed to dampen growing anger among Muslims around the world at a speech by the Pope in which he discussed the concept of holy war.

The Vatican said last night that Benedict XVI had not intended to offend when he quoted a 14th-century Christian emperor as saying the Prophet Muhammad had introduced only "evil and inhuman" ideas into the world.

"It certainly was not the intention of the Pope to carry out a deep examination of jihad and Muslim thought on it, much less to offend the sensibility of Muslim believers," a Vatican spokesman said after Pope Benedict returned to Rome from his native Germany, where he made the speech.

Pakistan's parliament today unanimously adopted a resolution condemning Benedict for making "derogatory" comments about Islam and seeking an apology from him for hurting the feelings of Muslims.

The Pope's speech was about the historical and philosophical differences between Islam and Christianity, and the relationship between violence and faith.

Stressing that the words were not his own, he quoted from a book according to which, the Pope said, the Byzantine emperor Manuel Paleologos II said: "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."

Clearly aware of the delicacy of the issue, the Pope used the words "I quote" twice before repeating the emperor's reported remarks on Islam, which he described as "brusque".

Since the pontiff's speech on Tuesday, Muslim leaders around the world have criticised his use of the emperor's words.

The resolution in Pakistan, moved by the hardline MP Fazal Karim, was supported by government and opposition members of the National Assembly, or lower house of parliament.

Chaudhry Ameer Hussain, speaker of the National Assembly, allowed Mr Karim to move the resolution after he said the Pope had insulted Islam and the Prophet Muhammad by making "derogatory remarks".

This morning, Britain's Ramadhan Foundation, a youth organisation based in Rochdale, reacted angrily to the comments, comparing the Pope unfavourably with his predecessor John Paul II.

In a statement, it said: "If the Pope wanted to attack Islam and Prophet Muhammad's teachings, he could have been brave enough to say it personally without quoting a 14th-century Byzantine Christian emperor."
The controversy is now impacting the pope's up-coming visit to Turkey, where the highest Muslim religious authority has demanded an apology.

The question raised here is much like the one raised by the Mohammad cartoon controversy. It is: should the Mulsim world be as willing as other religions are to confront modernity, including allowing criticism of its texts and history, without flying into a relious furor. In that case, I sided with those who said that the cartoons, which included various defamatory depictions of Mohammad, crossed the line into intentional offense, and I felt that the Danish newspaper that published them was in the wrong. In this case, however, it's a tougher call. The pope was speaking of a 600 year old treatise. At the same time, he didn't have to quote the passage at all. I'll have to read the entire speech, to understand the context. But the pope is no doubt aware, as many of us have become, that for many Muslims, memories are long, and history is prologue.


Tags: , Religion, ,

posted by JReid @ 8:16 AM  
Paging Mr. Moustache! ... or not
TWN and others note that John Bolton isn't looking so good for keeping his U.N. jobbie. The WaPo's Peter Baker and Dafna Linzer write:

President Bush's nomination of John R. Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations appears increasingly endangered in the Senate, prompting the administration to explore other ways to keep him in the job after his temporary appointment expires in January, officials said yesterday.

The situation represents a sharp turnaround from two weeks ago, when the White House was confident it could finally push through Bolton's long-stalled nomination. But last week's surprise move by Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee (R-R.I.) to delay a vote convinced Republicans on Capitol Hill that the nomination may be doomed, prompting a search for alternatives.

Administration officials said they have not given up. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Chafee yesterday to kick off a lobbying campaign that will continue today when he returns to Washington after his hard-fought Republican primary victory in Rhode Island on Tuesday.

Bush and national Republicans pulled out the stops to help Chafee win the primary, and they expect a payback. But with Chafee now preparing to face a strong Democratic challenger in a Democratic state in November, many Republicans said he has less incentive to support a firebrand figure such as Bolton.

"It's dead as far as the Senate is concerned," said one Republican official at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where Chafee holds the decisive vote. "Chafee made it a 9 to 9 vote, and that's not going to change." A Senate Republican leadership aide added: "Chafee holds Bolton's future in his hands, and people are very worried he's going to squeeze and never let go."

Oh, Moustache, how the mighty have fallen. The White House, of course, says the hold-up on M&M is about politics, not performance. And speaking of politics and performance, the Wizbangers and other blogfriends of the president are doing their bit, Blogging for Bolton. Poor dears. They've only got about 1,300 pro-Bolton calls to support Mr. Moustache so far.


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posted by JReid @ 7:48 AM  
Torture time
How low have we fallen as a country when we're debating in Washington over how far to let our military and CIA go before we have to call it torture? Clearly, the right -- and the White House legal staff -- are now getting nearly all of their policy ideas from watching "24."

Here's the latest, catching up from yesterday:

The Senate Armed Services Committee led by three Republican members with military backgrounds (John McCain, who reportedly will "risk the presidency" to stop torture and secret CIA prisons going forward on his watch, Lindsay Graham, a former JAG officer, and John Warner, the Virginia elder statesman,) voted 15 to 9 to reject the president's plan to reinterpret parts of the Geneva Conventions to allow water boarding and other "creative," Jack Baueresque interrogation techniques at the U.S. secret CIA prisons, which were exposed this year by the New York Times, and which the Supreme Court, in the Hamdan case, ruled outside the president's constitutional authority to create. The military guys led a rejectionist wing that said "no" to the Bush administration's vision of secret trials without evidence presented to the defendants, water boarding and the like, and the disappearing of terror suspects into secret CIA prisons.

The pot got even hotter yesterday, as press reports revealed that none other than newly balsy former Joint Chiefs chair and ex-Secretary of State Collin Powell sent a letter to McCain (reprinted here), urging that the Geneva Conventions not be put aside by the Bushies. Here's the report from AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) - A rebellious Senate committee defied President Bush on Thursday and approved terror-detainee legislation he has vowed to block, deepening Republican conflict over terrorism and national security in the middle of the election season.

Republican Sen. John Warner of Virginia, normally a Bush supporter, pushed the measure through his Armed Services Committee by a 15-9 vote, with Warner and three other GOP lawmakers joining Democrats. The vote set the stage for a showdown on the Senate floor as early as next week.

In an embarrassment to the White House, Colin Powell - Bush's first secretary of state - announced his opposition to his old boss' plan, saying it would hurt the country. Powell's successor, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, jumped to the president's defense in a letter of her own.

All this played out after Bush started his day by journeying to the Capitol to try nailing down support for his own version of the legislation - and by issuing a threat to the maverick Republicans.

"I will resist any bill that does not enable this program to go forward with legal clarity," Bush said at the White House.

The president's measure would go further than the Senate package in allowing classified evidence to be withheld from defendants in terror trials, using coerced testimony and protecting CIA and other U.S. interrogators against prosecution for using methods that may violate the Geneva Conventions.

"The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism," Powell, a retired general who is also a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in his letter.

Powell said Bush's bill, by redefining the kind of treatment the Geneva Conventions allow, "would add to those doubts. Furthermore, it would put our own troops at risk."

And when someone defies the president and his administration on matters of military and national security policy (he and his cabinet having soooo much combat experience between them ... ahem ...) you know what that means:
Now, comes more controversy. This time it's over whether the White House put pressure on top military lawyers to accept their torture plan, even though a preponderance of evidence suggests most military experts believe that allowing the CIA or military to torture terror suspects puts American troops' lives in danger oversease, not to mention the fact that it isn't the most effective way to get information... Here's TPM Muckaraker:
More details emerge about the allegations that the White House pressured top military lawyers to drop their opposition to its favored torture legislation.

It's believed that William J. Haynes II, the Pentagon counsel who wrote the department's infamous 2002 policies endorsing physical and mental duress during interrogation of terror detainees, was the man who applied pressure to top JAGs of the four branches to sign away their disagreements in letters to key senators.

"Jim Haynes, who's the counsel at the Pentagon, convened this meeting and got these guys to write this letter and something they told people they didn't agree with," an unidentified reporter told White House spokesman Tony Snow in this afternoon's briefing.

"It's not the case," Snow replied. "They were asked to write a letter that reflected their views and they edited and signed the letter."

According to one Hill source, the allegation that Haynes pressured the JAGs came up in the Senate Armed Services Committee meeting today, with at least one senator suggesting a hearing devoted to the incident.
According to the muckrakers and the WaPo, John Warner is seeking hearings.

Blogger Willow's headline makes the salient point, and makes it well.

The "Independent Conservative" (another word for Bushbot trying to appear independent), says Collin Powell isn't just confused, the 30-plus year military veteran "isn't equipped to fight the war on terror" ... and AWOL Dubya and five-deferment Cheney, of course, are.

Tags: , Iraq, Politics, Bush, Human Rights, CIA, Guantanamo, War, Abu Ghraib, Terrorism, War On Terror, ,
posted by JReid @ 6:07 AM  
Thursday, September 14, 2006
Ann Richards, R.I.P.
Ann Richards seemed like she would have been a hoot to be around. I only met her once, in 2004, as she stumped for John Kerry, but she was as gracious as could be. Sorry to hear that she has passed.

More on Ms. Richards from Mickeleh and a word on the revenge of the Bushies, from Digby...

posted by JReid @ 7:32 AM  
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
U.S. embassy in Syria attacked
If Syria is part of the terrorist infrastructure, then why is its territory being attacked by terrorists? And if they are run by an America-hating terrorist regime, as the Israelis and their benefactors in the U.S. keep insisting, then why is Condi Rice thanking them for protecting our embassy?

Confused yet?
posted by JReid @ 9:51 AM  
Will the right embrace Oliver Stone?
...if he decides to make his own "Path to 9/11"?

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posted by JReid @ 9:16 AM  
Vote Republican or die
Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy has a new, "non-partisan" television ad about the stakes in Iraq and the Global War on Terror out for the election. The message: hide under your bed, and only venture out to vote Republican on November 7th. Stay the course!

Tags: , , Iraq, Republicans, News, 2006, Bush, Congress,
posted by JReid @ 8:37 AM  
Who is to blame?
Not that it really matters, except to campaign hacks, but polls show more Americans blame Bush for 9/11 than Clinton. And since nobody saw the ABC flick, that probably won't change much.
posted by JReid @ 8:35 AM  
It's coming
"Death of a President" lands a U.S. distribution deal. And guess who with?
Big buzz has turned into big bucks for controversial film "Death of a President," as Newmarket inked a deal Monday in Toronto to release in U.S. theaters the pic about the fictional assassination of President Bush. ...

...The most successful pic Newmarket has distribbed is Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," which grossed $370 million. Most of its ticket buyers were evangelical Christians, many of whom are the political conservatives who have objected vociferously to the fictional depiction of Bush's murder.
The deal, which may have meant around $3 million for the filmmakers, could involve a fall release, to take advantage of the "big buzz."

Now let's see how the wingers who slammed those of us who wanted ABC to pull the "Path to 9/11" mockumentary as haters of free speech will respond. After all, this is about freedom of speech, right? And hm... I wonder if this film would have a shot in hell at gaining TV distribution with ABC...?

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posted by JReid @ 8:19 AM  
Boycott the mouse
If you are as disgusted with ABC/Disney as I am, there are things you can do.

If you own Disney stock, sell it.

If you are a Disney season pass holder, cancel it.

If you planned to take a Disney vacation, make other plans.

If you are a Nielsen family, take ABC off your TV menu and out of your diary.

Disney for me has joined AT&T (which I quit after the news of its complicity in illegal governmetn wiretapping was unearthed) on the list of companies I will not do business with. I'm just one person, and I'm sure they could give a damn about my money, but that's what I'm doing.

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posted by JReid @ 7:53 AM  
ABC's self-immolation, day two
Day two of the ABC miniseries "The Path to 9/11" aired last night, and suffice it to say, it was not an improvement over day one.

The filmmakers' promised equal treatment of the failures of the Bush administration pre-9/11 never materialized. Team Bush is shown holding principals meetings on counter-terror that we know from the historical record never happened in the nine months of their tenure before the 9/11 attacks. President Bush is not shown or referred to as having been on vacation during the entire month of August, 2001. Instead, we're treated to the film's cartoon Condoleezza assuring the National Security Council members that the president was "laser focused" on the bin Laden threat, as is his movie team. Yeah. Meanwhile, in part one, the Clinton team were depicted as dilettentes unable to make a decision to take out Osama.

The fact that the Bush administration launched its secret phone and email surveillance program in February, 2001 -- rather than after the attacks -- and to no avail, apparently, since the attacks went forward ... is not treated.

The infamous PDB entitled "Bin Laden determined to attack inside the United States" is only passingly referred to.

Richard Clarke's alarm is treated, in a brief scene, but the fact that it was Condoleezza Rice who fired FBI agent John O'Neill is not referred to.

And worst of all, it was freaking boring as hell. Poor filmmaking. Atrocious screenwriting. Melodramatic pablum. And pure propaganda.

Now, for the important part.

My question this morning, is whether ABC/Disney may have violated election laws by airing six hours of political propaganda less than 60 days before an election. The film (and I use the term loosely) ... has numerous seedy ties, as journalist Max Blumenthal has thoroughly documented. But ABC's hands aren't exactly clean either. As Media Matters pointed out last week, screenwriter Cyrus Nowratesh appears to have based the film very loosely on aspects of the 9/11 commission report (when he chose to use it and not make things up) but also on a book from a former ABC producer who is now a Bush administration P.R. flak.

Marc Platt, the executive producer of ABC's upcoming two-part miniseries set to air on September 10 and 11, titled The Path to 9/11, has said that "every scene" of the film "is based on information from either the 9/11 [Commission] Report ... or the books The Cell (co-written by the former ABC News correspondent John Miller) and Relentless Pursuit, written by Samuel Katz." However, in addition to co-writing The Cell: Inside the 9/11 Plot, and Why the FBI and CIA Failed to Stop It, Miller is also a member of the Bush administration, serving as the assistant director of public affairs for the FBI, as blogger Digby has noted.
The film has been a ratings clunker... it has been savaged not only by former members of the Clinton adminstration, but also by former Bush terrorism czar Richard Clarke, by nearly every available member of the 9/11 commission (except Thomas Kean, since he's taking money from the project), by historians including Arthur Schlessinger, and even by some conservatives, including John Podhoretz. Hell, even American Airlines is blasting the film.

And while the film may also be a slander against former members of the Clinton adminstration, I'm wondering if it also constitutes unlawful electioneering. And more than a few people would like to know, who put up the $40 million bill?

The Pensito Review takes a stab at figuring it out, and one possible answer has a familiar ring to it for those who followed the "hunting" of President Clinton: Scaife.

Update: Max Blumenthal updates his original story/post on the Cunningham/Horowitz/Scaife connection in the latest issue of the Nation, with these key bites:

On Friday, September 8, just forty-eight hours before ABC planned to air its so-called "docudrama," The Path to 9/11, Robert Iger, CEO of ABC's corporate parent, the Walt Disney Company, was presented with incontrovertible evidence outlining the involvement of that film's screenwriter and director in a concerted right-wing effort to blame former President Bill Clinton for allowing the 9/11 attacks to take place. Iger told a source close to ABC that he was "deeply troubled" by the information and claimed he had no previous knowledge of the institutional right-wing ties of The Path to 9/11's creators. He reportedly said that he has commenced an internal investigation to verify the role of the film's creators in deliberately advancing disinformation through ABC.

After stating that she was "looking into" my questions about the production of The Path to 9/11, ABC Vice President of Media Relations Hope Hartman declined to comment on this story.
And Blumenthal goes in-depth on Mr. Horowitz and his agenda:
In the immediate wake of the 9/11 attacks, Horowitz led the right's campaign to pin the blame for attacks on Clinton. On February 19, 2002, Horowitz's organization mailed 1,500 lengthy pamphlets to major media outlets which claimed to expose how "the left" in general and Clinton in particular had "undermined America's security," thus causing 9/11. Two years later, Horowitz penned a lengthy manifesto for his FrontPageMag blaming Clinton once again for having "accepted defeat" in the fight against Al Qaeda. Horowitz singled out Clinton's National Security Council Director, Samuel "Sandy" Berger, as especially culpable for allowing the terror threat to fester, casting him as "a veteran of the Sixties 'anti-war' movement" who "abetted the Communist victories in Vietnam and Cambodia."
... um ... David Horowitz is a veteran of the Sixties anti-war movement...

More from Blumenthal:
Like Iger, Horowitz has pleaded ignorance about the sectarian agenda of the film's creators. Responding to an article I wrote for the Huffington Post exposing Horowitz's involvement in The Path to 9/11 (on which this article is adapted), he claimed in a blog post, "In fact, I never heard of David Cunningham or his group before reading about them in Max's hilarious column."

However, Horowitz's public relations blitz on behalf of the film began at least a month ago with an August 16 interview with Nowrasteh on his FrontPageMag webzine In the interview, Nowrasteh described how The Path to 9/11 was filmed "under the very able direction of David L. Cunningham." (Doesn't Horowitz read his own magazine?)

Nowrasteh also foreshadowed the film's assault on Clinton's record on fighting terror. "The 9/11 report details the Clinton's administration's response--or lack of response--to Al Qaida and how this emboldened Bin Laden to keep attacking American interests," Nowrasteh told FrontPageMag's Jamie Glazov. "There simply was no response. Nothing."

A week later, ABC hosted LFF co-founder Murty and several other conservative operatives at an advance screening of The Path to 9/11. (While ABC provided 900 DVDs of the film to conservatives, Clinton Administration officials and reviewers from mainstream outlets were denied them.) Murty returned with a glowing review published by FrontPageMag that emphasized the film's partisan nature. "The Path to 9/11 is one of the best, most intelligent, most pro-American miniseries I've ever seen on TV, and conservatives should support it and promote it as vigorously as possible," Murty wrote. As a result of the special access granted by ABC, Murty's article was the first published review of The Path to 9/11, preceding those by the New York Times and Los Angeles Times by more than a week. ...

...When a group of leading Senate Democrats sent a letter to Iger urging him to cancel The Path to 9/11 because of its glaring factual errors and distortions, Apuzzo launched a retaliatory campaign to paint the Democrats as foes of free speech. "Here at LIBERTAS we urge the public to make noise over this, and to demand that Democrats back down," he wrote on September 7. "What is at stake is nothing short of the 1st Amendment."

At FrontPageMag, Horowitz singled out Nowrasteh as the victim of an unconstitutional crime. "The attacks by former president Bill Clinton, former Clinton Administration officials and Democratic US senators on Cyrus Nowrasteh's ABC mini-series The Path to 9/11 "are easily the gravest and most brazen and damaging governmental attacks on the civil liberties of ordinary Americans since 9/11," Horowitz declared. The next day, Horowitz reposted his 2004 manifesto holding Clinton responsible for 9/11, explaining that, "With tonight's premiere of the ABC-TV movie The Path to 9/11, the truth [sic] impact of the Left's policies in bringing about the nation's worst terrorist attack is finally coming to light."

Although Iger and ABC trimmed as much as thirty minutes of deceptive footage from Sunday's episode of The Path to 9/11, it appeared nonetheless as a mostly faithful adaptation of Horowitz's anti-Clinton essay. Indeed, The Path to 9/11 still contained its most egregiously false scene, in which Sandy Berger refuses to authorize a CIA officer's request to capture bin Laden, who is completely surrounded by rival Northern Alliance soldiers. After the halted (and totally fictional) operation, "Kirk," the (completely imaginary) CIA op played by Donny Wahlberg of New Kids on the Block fame, stands on a hilltop beside the Northern Alliance's quixotic warlord, Ahmed Shah Massoud.

"Are there any men left in Washington?" the script has a frustrated Massoud asking "Kirk." "Or just cowards?"
Cowards is an awful word. But today, I'd say the men in Washington are something worse: cowards without conscience.


Tags: , TV, Programming, , , ,

posted by JReid @ 6:08 AM  
Monday, September 11, 2006
The failure report
Don't know how I missed this one this weekend:
FORT EUSTIS -- Months before the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld forbade military strategists from developing plans for securing a post-war Iraq, the retiring commander of the Army Transportation Corps said Thursday.

In fact, said Brig. Gen. Mark Scheid, Rumsfeld said "he would fire the next person" who talked about the need for a post-war plan.

Rumsfeld did replace Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army chief of staff in 2003, after Shinseki told Congress that hundreds of thousands of troops would be needed to secure post-war Iraq.

Scheid, who is also the commander of Fort Eustis in Newport News, made his comments in an interview with the Daily Press. He retires in about three weeks.

Scheid doesn't go so far as calling for Rumsfeld to resign. He's listened as other retired generals have done so.

"Everybody has a right to their opinion," he said. "But what good did it do?"

Scheid's comments are further confirmation of the version of events reported in "Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq," the book by New York Times reporter Michael R. Gordon and retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Bernard E. Trainor.

In 2001, Scheid was a colonel with the Central Command, the unit that oversees U.S. military operations in the Mideast.
Hat tip to TruthDig.

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posted by JReid @ 4:25 PM  
Remembering the day
TVNewser has a great roundup of morning show coverage of the 9/11 five-year anniversary here, here, here and here (boy, do I miss Aaron Brown...)

Meanwhile, al-Qaida won't let us forget they're still standing. And it cannot be said enough, that on this somber day, our troops are fighting, being maimed, and dying in an out of control war that has nothing to do with the attacks on our country on this day in 2001.

I remember where I was when I heard about the first plane hitting the towers. My husband and I were still asleep, when my brother, who was visiting us from Denver, yells out "oh, shit!" We ran downstairs, to see the smoldering first Trade Tower. We all assumed, as did the television reporters, that it was an accident. Then the second plane hit, and there was no doubt. We watched the rest of the coverage stunned, witnessing what looked like nothing less than the start of World War III.

This morning, one of Jason's closest friends, Joe, who still lives in New York, called in to the radio show and recounted his front row seat to the strike of the second plane into the World Trade Center, which he witnessed from a picture window at his job in downtown Manhattan.

Truly, this was a dark day, both for what it did to the national psyche, and for the way it was used by our employees in government to empower themselves, and in so doing, to weaken us as a nation.

posted by JReid @ 11:21 AM  
Katie bar the door
According to TV Newser, Katie may have had more up-front appeal than staying power as the new voice and face of CBS News:

Katie's First Week: Third Place On Friday

FLASH--World News and Nightly News beat Katie on Friday, a tipster says...

Update: 9:19am: "Katie crashes," an e-mailer says. "Friday overnights show CBS back to pre-Katie ratings..."

Update: 9:24am: She averaged a 4.9 in metered market households on Friday, Drudge says, putting her in third place for the day...

> Update: 10:02am: "In all the East Coast and central time zones, the Evening News was preceded by tennis," an e-mailer says. "That hurt her lead-in by a lot, so any number she DID have was tune-in, not people already watching CBS..."
And if that's not enough:

The Hollywood Reporter's Barry Garron revisits the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric and still doesn't like what he sees:"More and more, it looks as if Couric has not so much left NBC's Today but instead brought it with her. True, there are no celebrity interviews, shots of people holding up signs or weatherman-anchor banter -- at least, not yet -- but there is a new format, attitude and array of features that have more in common with morning news shows than the traditional evening shows."He suggests this sign-off for Couric: "In case you're not sure, you've been watching CBS News..."

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posted by JReid @ 11:17 AM  
The numbers are in
ABC decided, despite more than 200,000 petitioners and endless questions raised about the accuracy and integrity of its "dramatization" of the years leading up to the 9/11 attacks, to go forward. The results, from a dramatic standpoint, were in my opinion, flat. Part one of the Christian-directed, Bush-bot written "Path to 9/11" was as dull as dishwater, and for that reason, was hard to watch. The canned dialogue sounded like it was coming out of Rush Limbaugh's show script, with winners like "this administration sees terrorism as a law enforcement problem, Jim..." "But damnit, man! We're at WAR!!!" (Love the scene where the female agant bursts into a meeting of the national security principals ... President Clinton doesn't attend any of these meetings in the film, although presidents always do, in real life, and hell, even in The West Wing... and screams, "we should have taken out Bin Laden when we had the chance, boys!!! Weeping and the whole nine. Mad corny, and soooo poorly written and directed...)

The film was slightly ... and I do mean slightly ... edited, but the network chose to leave the fictionalized scenes, including the pretend "gotcha" moment when CIA agents and Afghan fighter Massoud had their sights on Osama, only to have the Clinton administration lose its nerve (and not act on the STANDING capture or kill order that in reality was in place...)

But more important is the question, did anyone other than hardened Bush-bots (and people like me, who had to for work) watch the thing? The answer, for the most part, is no. Drudge has the scoop on the overnights:
Are you ready for some football?


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posted by JReid @ 11:00 AM  
New boss, same as the old, old boss
The Telegraph has the latest out of Abu Ghraib:

The notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad is at the centre of fresh abuse allegations just a week after it was handed over to Iraqi authorities, with claims that inmates are being tortured by their new captors.

Staff at the jail say the Iraqi authorities have moved dozens of terrorist suspects into Abu Ghraib from the controversial Interior Ministry detention centre in Jadriyah, where United States troops last year discovered 169 prisoners who had been tortured and starved.

An independent witness who went into Abu Ghraib this week told The Sunday Telegraph that screams were coming from the cell blocks housing the terrorist suspects. Prisoners released from the jail this week spoke of routine torture of terrorism suspects and on Wednesday, 27 prisoners were hanged in the first mass execution since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime.
And lest you think the worst occurred under the Americans, think again. We've apparently gone back to the bad old days of Saddam Hussein:

Conditions in the rest of the jail were grim, with an overwhelming stench of excrement, prisoners crammed into cells for all but 20 minutes a day, food rations cut to just rice and water and no air conditioning.

Some of the small number of prisoners who remained in the jail after the Americans left said they had pleaded to go with their departing captors, rather than be left in the hands of Iraqi guards.

"The Americans were better than the Iraqis. They treated us better," said Khalid Alaani, who was held on suspicion of involvement in Sunni terrorism.

Abu Ghraib became synonymous with abuse after shocking pictures were published in 2004 showing prisoners being tortured and humiliated, galvanising opposition to the US presence in Iraq.

The witness gained access to the prison just days after the Americans formally handed over control to the Iraqi authorities on Sept 1.

Inside the 100-yard long cell block the smell of excrement was overpowering. Four to six prisoners shared each of the 12ft by 15ft cells along either side and the walls were smeared with filth. The cell block was patrolled by guards who carried long batons and shouted angrily at the prisoners to stand up.

Access to the part of the prison containing terrorism suspects was denied, but from that block came the sound of screaming. The screaming continued for a long time.

"I am sure someone was being beaten, they were screaming like they were being hit," the witness reported. "I felt scared, I was asking what was happening in the terrorist section.

"I heard shouting, like someone had a hot iron on their body, screams. The officer said they were just screaming by themselves. I was hearing the screams throughout the visit."

The witness said that even in the thieves' section prisoners were being treated badly. "Someone was shouting 'Please help us, we want the human rights officers, we want the Americans to come back'," he said.
Kind of makes you wonder what our troops are dying for over there.


Tags: Politics, Republicans, GOP, Republican, , ,

posted by JReid @ 10:45 AM  
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Fear and smear
When you've got nothing to offer, and the majority of the country is disgusted with your leadership, how do you fight to stay in power? By getting personal and dirty. That will be the GOP's strategy for November. That, and a healthy dose of "terroists under hte bed" fear tactics. Don't you just love politics?
posted by JReid @ 2:43 AM  
Stone cold
Happy anniversary, September 11, 2001!

Love, the Bush administration.
The clandestine U.S. commandos whose job is to capture or kill Osama bin Laden have not received a credible lead in more than two years. Nothing from the vast U.S. intelligence world -- no tips from informants, no snippets from electronic intercepts, no points on any satellite image -- has led them anywhere near the al-Qaeda leader, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials.

"The handful of assets we have have given us nothing close to real-time intelligence" that could have led to his capture, said one counterterrorism official, who said the trail, despite the most extensive manhunt in U.S. history, has gone "stone cold."

But in the last three months, following a request from President Bush to "flood the zone," the CIA has sharply increased the number of intelligence officers and assets devoted to the pursuit of bin Laden. The intelligence officers will team with the military's secretive Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) and with more resources from the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies.

The problem, former and current counterterrorism officials say, is that no one is certain where the "zone" is.

Hm... three months ago, eh? I wonder why... could it be the upcoming election? Let's continue...
"Here you've got a guy who's gone off the net and is hiding in some of the most formidable terrain in one of the most remote parts of the world surrounded by people he trusts implicitly," said T. McCreary, spokesman for the National Counterterrorism Center. "And he stays off the net and is probably not mobile. That's an extremely difficult problem."

Intelligence officials think that bin Laden is hiding in the northern reaches of the autonomous tribal region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. 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.

Many factors have combined in the five years since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to make the pursuit more difficult. They include the lack of CIA access to people close to al-Qaeda's inner circle; Pakistan's unwillingness to pursue him; the reemergence of the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan; the strength of the Iraqi insurgency, which has depleted U.S. military and intelligence resources; and the U.S. government's own disorganization.
This sounds like a job for ... Cyrus Nowrasteh! Where is our intrepid writer and his Jesus-centered director friend when we need him to pen a tiresome, overly long and boring epic???

More material for Sir Cyrus' next opus:
On the videotape obtained by the CIA, bin Laden is seen confidently instructing his party how to dig holes in the ground to lie in undetected at night. A bomb dropped by a U.S. aircraft can be seen exploding in the distance. "We were there last night," bin Laden says without much concern in his voice. He was in or headed toward Pakistan, counterterrorism officials think.

That was December 2001. Only two months later, Bush decided to pull out most of the special operations troops and their CIA counterparts in the paramilitary division that were leading the hunt for bin Laden in Afghanistan to prepare for war in Iraq, said Flynt L. Leverett, then an expert on the Middle East at the National Security Council.

"I was appalled when I learned about it," said Leverett, who has become an outspoken critic of the administration's counterterrorism policy. "I don't know of anyone who thought it was a good idea. It's very likely that bin Laden would be dead or in American custody if we hadn't done that."

Several officers confirmed that the number of special operations troops was reduced in March 2001.

White House spokeswoman Michele Davis said she would not comment on the specific allegation. "Military and intelligence units move routinely in and out," she said. "The intelligence and military community's hunt for bin Laden has been aggressive and constant since the attacks."

The Pakistani intelligence service, notoriously difficult to trust but also the service with the best access to al-Qaeda circles, is convinced bin Laden is alive because no one has ever intercepted or heard a message mourning his death. "Al-Qaeda will mourn his death and will retaliate in a big way. We are pretty sure Osama is alive," Pakistan's interior minister, Aftab Khan Sherpao, said in a recent interview with The Washington Post.

Oh, almost forgot ... Cyrus only does made up stories about Clinton failing to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. ... real ones about his beloved Bush failing utterly to do so, even after the attacks of 9/11, wouldn't go over so well with his winger buddies at FrontPage Magazine and the Michael Medved Show...

Too bad. The WaPo provides yet ANOTHER great scene for a potential Cyrus/Cunningham terrorism blockbuster:
Bureaucratic battles slowed down the hunt for bin Laden for the first two or three years, according to officials in several agencies, with both the Pentagon and the CIA accusing each other of withholding information. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's sense of territoriality has become legendary, according to these officials.

In early November 2002, for example, a CIA drone armed with a Hellfire missile killed a top al-Qaeda leader traveling through the Yemeni desert. About a week later, Rumsfeld expressed anger that it was the CIA, not the Defense Department, that had carried out the successful strike.

"How did they get the intel?" he demanded of the intelligence and other military personnel in a high-level meeting, recalled one person knowledgeable about the meeting.

Gen. Michael V. Hayden, then director of the National Security Agency and technically part of the Defense Department, said he had given it to them.

"Why aren't you giving it to us?" Rumsfeld wanted to know.

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.

A CIA spokesman said Hayden, now the CIA director, does not recall this conversation. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said, "The notion that the department would do anything that would jeopardize the success of an operation to kill or capture bin Laden is ridiculous." The NSA continues to share intelligence with the CIA and the Defense Department.

At that time, Rumsfeld was putting in place his own aggressive plan, led by the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), to dominate the hunt for bin Laden and other terrorists. The overall special operations budget has grown by 60 percent since 2003 to $8 billion in fiscal year 2007.

Rows and rows of temporary buildings sprang up on SOCOM's parking lots in Tampa as Rumsfeld refocused the mission of a small group of counterterrorism experts from long-term planning for the war on terrorism to manhunting. The group "went from 20 years to 24-hour crisis-mode operations," one former special operations officer said. "It went from planning to manhunting."

In 2004, Rumsfeld finally won the president's approval to put SOCOM in charge of the "Global War on Terrorism."

Today, however, no one person is in charge of the overall hunt for bin Laden with the authority to direct covert CIA operations to collect intelligence and to dispatch JSOC units. Some counterterrorism officials find this absurd. "There's nobody in the United States government whose job it is to find Osama bin Laden!" one frustrated counterterrorism official shouted. "Nobody!"

Go figure. Bureaucratic infighting ... turf battles ... lack of information sharing ... sounds a hell of a lot like pre-9/11 thinking to me! And this, post-9/11! Geez.

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posted by JReid @ 2:21 AM  
The ticking clock... the sucking film
TPM Cafe has the latest letter from Camp Clinton to the bosses at ABC, not to mention one hell of a good cat fight in the comment section, between the TPMers and some trolls from Drudgeland. Poor trolly dears. They still believe Clinton caused 9/11 and Dubya is a god.

In previous TPM scoopola, they also pubbed a letter from Mad Albright and Sandy Berger to their fellow former commissioner and current money-grubbying Hollywood wiesel Tom Kean.

Meanwhile, the Hollywood Reporter has a good summary of what's happening so far:
NEW YORK -- ABC faced growing pressure Friday about its planned miniseries on the buildup to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Former Clinton administration officials, historians and a Democratic petition with nearly 200,000 signatures urged the network to scrap the five-hour drama. The network said the movie, scheduled to air commercial-free on Sunday and Monday, is being edited to deal with concerns that it distorts history. ABC had no response to the calls to abandon it. A group of historians, including Arthur Schlesinger Jr. and Princeton University's Sean Wilentz, wrote to ABC parent Walt Disney Co. CEO Robert Iger, urging him to scrap the series. They said that permitting inaccuracies to heighten drama is "disingenuous and dangerous." The Democratic National Committee said it delivered a petition with nearly 200,000 signatures to ABC's Washington office urging the network drop its "right-wing factually inaccurate mocudrama." Harvey Keitel, one of the actors in "The Path to 9/11." also said he had questions about whether some of the material was accurate.
Read the full story here.

And while evangelical Hollywood crusader for Christ David Cunningham tries to salvage the film's battered reputation by giving interviews to his hometown paper in Kona, Hawaii, without taking a single question about his ties to the red state right, the reviews for his opus are in: not only is the "Path to 9/11" inaccurate ... it also sucks as a movie. Here's the Chicago Sun-Times' David Elfman:
Controversy could boost viewership, except "Path" is the dullest, worst-shot TV movie since ABC's disastrous "Ten Commandments" remake. It substitutes shaky handheld cameras and dumb dialogue for craftsmanship. It could not be more amateurish or poorly constructed unless someone had forgotten to light the sets.

An appalling secondary concern is the tone makes almost every pre-9/11 American look like a fool.

Look, there's a security guard yawning while terrorists plant the 1993 bomb at the World Trade Center. How dare a security guard work while tired.

Oh, hey, there's an airline agent checking in a 9/11 terrorist even though he has a carry-on bag. Stupid airline agents.

Excuse us all, writer Cyrus Nowrasteh and director David L. Cunningham, for not acting like Hitler Youth in the glory days before ordinary Americans knew commercial planes could be turned into missiles. ...

Other reviews: The WaPo's Tom Shales says:
Factually shaky, politically inflammatory and photographically a mess, "The Path to 9/11" -- ABC's two-part, five-hour miniseries tracing events leading up to the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon -- has something not just to offend everyone but also to depress them.

The docudrama -- allegedly produced as a warning to the United States that the attacks, or something like them, could happen again -- falls clumsily into traps that await all those who make fictional films claiming to be factual. Except this time, the event being dramatized is one of the most tragic and monstrous in the nation's history, not something to be trifled with.

And hows about the Boston Globe:
With all the ado about ABC's new docudrama ``The Path to 9/11," one point has gotten lost. While Clinton administration alums such as Madeleine Albright protest its perceived inaccuracies, and conservatives defend its bias, and many curious viewers plan to tune in to see for themselves, it's still not a very good piece of dramatic storytelling.

At this point, football is looking like a better and better bet, although I'll probably try and watch some of it just for the comedic value of the horrendous script -- from the little I've heard so far, it sounds like it was written by Eddie Haskell...

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posted by JReid @ 12:09 AM  
Friday, September 08, 2006
Take one giant step away from the miniseries
Harvey Keitel may be nursing some regrets over his participation in ABC's Christian activist fakudrama "The Path to 9/11" ... but if he felt uncomfortable during the filming, he could have done what this former FBI agent, who had been a consultant on the film, did, weeks into the production: quit.

Update: Michael Medved, Sean Hannity, Neil Boortz and Rush Limbaugh aside, Alternet reports on the creeping doubts about the credibility of the Nowratesh Project -- and those who continue to shill for it -- among conservatives... and that includes Bill Bennett, of all people. I'll just sample one:
Dean Barnett, conservative commentator posting on Hugh Hewitt’s blog:

One can (if one so chooses) give the filmmakers artistic license to [fabricate a scene]. But if that is what they have done, conservative analysts who back this movie as a historical document will mortgage their credibility doing so.
But then, the radio hacks mentioned above don't have much credibility to mortgage.

Also courtesy of Alternet: top historians weigh in. Their missive to ABC concludes as follows:
Whatever ABC's motivations might be, broadcasting these falsehoods, connected to the most traumatic historical event of our times, would be a gross disservice to the public. A responsible broadcast network should have nothing to do with the falsification of history, except to expose it. We strongly urge you to halt the show's broadcast and prevent misinforming Americans about their history.


Tags: , TV, Programming, , , ,

posted by JReid @ 9:12 PM  
Restating the obvious ... again
Thanks to Olympia Snowe and Chuck Hagel, administration bum pillow Pat Robers of Kansas couldn't suppress the minimal offering of the Senate Intelligence Committee on the Bush adminstration's pre-war fabrications about Iraq and al-Qaida's supposed relationship. In short:
WASHINGTON - There’s no evidence Saddam Hussein had ties with al-Qaida, according to a Senate report issued Friday on prewar intelligence that Democrats say undercuts President Bush’s justification for invading Iraq.

Bush administration officials have insisted on a link between the Iraqi regime and terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Intelligence agencies, however, concluded there was none.
End of story. Although somehow I doubt the Bushbot faithful will accept the facts. They're too invested in the fantasy.
posted by JReid @ 9:04 PM  
The smoking gun
ThinkProgress has done it again (and thanks to Nico for being on the radio show yesterday!) The crew from the Center for American Progress have uncovered the smoking gun in the Cunningham-Nowratesh axis of weasel. By the way, our boy Cyrus is proving just how apolitical his project is, by doing his movie promotion, today alone, on Michael Medved's and Sean Hannity's radio shows. In other words, ABC's writer/producer extraordinaire is only promoting the film on the winger chitlin circuit.

Now about that smoking gun, the real credit for which actually goes to a reader at Democratic Underground:
Path to 9/11 Produced By Evangelical Activists Who Sought To ‘Transform Hollywood’

The Path to 9/11 is a movie rife with historical inaccuracies that blames President Clinton while heaping praise on President Bush. The docudrama was written by avowed conservative Cyrus Nowrasteh, who once spoke on a panel entitled: “Rebels With A Cause: How Conservatives Can Lead Hollywood’s Next Paradigm Shift.” But the ideological slant behind this movie goes far deeper than Nowrasteh. Research conducted by a reader at Democratic Underground has revealed that the Path to 9/11 was the result of a project hatched out by a small group of evangelical activists who sought to “transform Hollywood from the inside out.” Here is what we know:
Cunningham Linked To YWAM. David Cunningham was contracted by ABC to direct Path to 9/11. Cunningham is the son of Loren and Darlene Cunningham, the founders of Youth With a Mission (YWAM), a Christian evangelical group that actively tries to get “youth into short-term mission work and to give them opportunities to reach out in Jesus’ name.”

YWAM Sponsored the Film Institute To Change Hollywood. YWAM created an “auxillary” group called the Film Institute, which was explicitly aimed at achieving a “Godly transformation and revolution TO and THROUGH the Film and Television industry.”

Film Institute Began the “Untitled History Project.” The Film Institute’s first project was simply referred to as the “Untitled History Project” (UHP). In July 2005, Fox News reported that filming had begun on an ABC miniseries about 9/11 that ABC officials and producers were referring to it as the “Untitled History Project.” A production company entitled “UHP Productions,” which was co-founded with Disney began filming Path to 9/11 in late 2005.

UHP Became Path to 9/11. UHP Productions has only produced one movie. Harvey Keitel, who stars as FBI special agent John O’Neill in the movie, said that when he received the original script, “it said ABC History Project.”
Read the entire post to get all of the links.

And here's more on the right-wingery behind "The Path to 9/11" from Max Blumenthal at the Huffpo. An exerpt:
Now, ABC claims to be is editing those false sequences to satisfy critics so the show can go on -- even if it still remains a gross distortion of history. And as it does so, ABC advances the illusion that the deceptive nature of "The Path to 9/11" is an honest mistake committed by a hardworking but admittedly fumbling team of well-intentioned Hollywood professionals who wanted nothing less than to entertain America. But this is another Big Lie.
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.

Before The Path to 9/11 entered the production stage, Disney/ABC contracted David Cunningham as the film's director. Cunningham is no ordinary Hollywood journeyman. He is in fact the son of Loren Cunningham, founder of the right-wing evangelical group Youth With A Mission (YWAM). The young Cunningham helped found an auxiliary of his father's group called The Film Institute (TFI), which, according to its mission statement, is "dedicated to a Godly transformation and revolution TO and THROUGH the Film and Televisionindustry." As part of TFI's long-term strategy, Cunningham helped place interns from Youth With A Mission's in film industry jobs "so that they can begin to impact and transform Hollywood from the inside out," according to a YWAM report.

Last June, Cunningham's TFI announced it was producing its first film, mysteriously titled "Untitled History Project." "TFI's first project is a doozy," a newsletter to YWAM members read. "Simply being referred to as: The Untitled History Project, it is already being called the television event of the decade and not one second has been put to film yet. Talk about great expectations!" (A web edition of the newsletter was mysteriously deleted yesterday but has been cached on Google at the link above).

The following month, on July 28, the New York Post reported that ABC was filming a mini-series "under a shroud of secrecy" about the 9/11 attacks. "At the moment, ABC officials are calling the miniseries 'Untitled Commission Report' and producers refer to it as the 'Untitled History Project,'" the Post noted.

Early on, Cunningham had recruited a young Iranian-American screenwriter named Cyrus Nowrasteh to
write the script of his secretive "Untitled" film. Not only is Nowrasteh an outspoken conservative, he is also a fervent member of the emerging network of right-wing people burrowing into the film industry with ulterior sectarian political and religious agendas, like Cunningham.

Nowrasteh's conservatism was on display when he appeared as a featured speaker at the Liberty Film Festival (LFF), an annual event founded in 2004 to premier and promote conservative-themed films supposedly too "politically incorrect" to gain acceptance at mainstream film festivals. This June, while The Path to 9/11 was being filmed, LFF founders Govindini Murty and Jason Apuzzo -- both friends of Nowrasteh -- announced they were "partnering" with right-wing activist David Horowitz. Indeed, the 2006 LFF is listed as "A Program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center."
Again, read the entire post to get the links. There are dozens of them, including an explanation of the glowing FrontPage Mag review of the film which I linked to in an earlier post. Blumenthal's conclusion is priceless:
While this network claims its success and postures as the true victims, the ABC network suffers a PR catastrophe. It's almost as though it was complacent about an attack on its reputation by a band of political terrorists.

Indeed. Too bad the Disney folks are either too complicit, or to stupid, to do the most obvious thing they can do to save themselves: pull the plug, re-do the movie (or don't), and let the country mourn our dead in peace.


Tags: , TV, Programming, , , ,

posted by JReid @ 8:49 PM  
Walk the plank
Curt Weldon tosses a Hail Mary:

The second-ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, who is a strong supporter of the U.S. military mission in Iraq, has drafted a resolution that would give military commanders — instead of President Bush or Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld — decision-making authority over when American troops should return home.

Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.), the vice chairman of the Armed Services panel and chairman of the Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee, told Speaker Dennis Hastert (Ill.) Monday of his plans to introduce the resolution shortly.

The resolution would express the sense of the House that military commanders should put in place a system of criteria to assess the capability of Iraqi security forces. Once those criteria are met, the mission in Iraq would be considered complete and the president could begin withdrawing troops.

Weldon is one of the foremost Republican military experts in the House, and he is considered to have a good chance of succeeding Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) as chairman of the Armed Services Committee at the end of 2008 should Republicans keep control of the lower chamber.

But Weldon is also in the midst of a difficult reelection campaign because of voters’ generally sour view of the war in Iraq. His race is considered among the most competitive in the nation, and Weldon recently cited Bush’s low poll numbers as the reason.

Weldon initially introduced his proposal to the White House about a year ago, and has worked quietly behind the scenes to reach an agreement. But after 10 months of negotiations, Weldon is going forward on his own.

“I’ve tried to do this quietly with the administration over the last nine or 10 months,” he said. “I’ve had meeting after meeting, phone call after phone call, so now it’s time for me to do my job. I’m a legislator and I’ve put this in a legislative format.”

Yet Weldon is adamant that he is in no way undermining the president. He said he supports Bush and the war in Iraq. In Weldon’s view, his legislation is necessary to assure voters that the decision on when to pull out of Iraq will not be driven by political considerations.
TNR reports that AJ blew a gasket at that one, to which AJ replies that he didn't blow no stinking gasket. Although he DID say this:

That basically removes the military from civilian rule. And it means the generals could place as many soldiers in Iraq as well, (since troops are rotated through the theatre). This is just a hair’s breadth away from a military coup that I am surprised Weldon is seriously considering the idea.
Well, maybe not a gasket...

Tags: Politics, Republicans, GOP, Republican, , ,
posted by JReid @ 9:45 AM  
The mouse that blinked?
According to the NY Post via the LATimes:
Facing heavy pressure from Bill Clinton and backlash from an educational publisher, ABC is revising its controversial miniseries, "The Path to 9/11" - including altering a key scene about the effort to kill Osama bin Laden.

The network has toned down - but not eliminated - a fictional scene involving Clinton's national security adviser, Sandy Berger, that the former president had protested in a letter to ABC, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Berger was portrayed in the original version as declining to give the order to kill bin Laden just before hanging up the phone on CIA operatives in the field.

An unidentified ABC executive told The Washington Post "adjustments and refinements" are "intended to make clearer that it was general indecisiveness" of White House officials that left the country vulnerable.

Clinton, Berger and the 9/11 commission have said that no such phone call ever occurred and that Berger had previously given his OK to assassinate bin Laden.

Clinton, speaking with reporters after a Democratic fund-raiser in Arkansas last night, said he hadn't seen the ABC film.

"But I think they ought to tell the truth, particularly if they are going to claim it is based on the 9/11 commission report," he said. "They shouldn't have scenes that are directly contradicted by the findings of the 9/11 report."

Tom Kean, the 9/11 commission chairman and a co-executive producer on the movie, told The Washington Post that changes - coming after the cascade of complaints from Clinton aides - are being made at his recommendation and that he'll donate his fees to charity.

As part of the new changes, ABC will call the miniseries a "docu-drama" and the network will run a disclaimer at the beginning saying portions are fictionalized.

They will also say the movie - long hyped as the filmed version of the 9/11 commission findings - is based only "in part" on the best-selling report.
Not a yanking, at least not yet, but I think ABC is scrambling for salvation...


Tags: , TV, Programming, , , ,

posted by JReid @ 9:09 AM  
Crazy not included
Jebbie and the Florida GOP snub Lady Katherine again:

Katherine Harris couldn't even sit back, relax and enjoy the Republican ''unity'' flight Thursday.

She wasn't invited.

Harris, who often has complained that she has run afoul of the ''party elite,'' had to stay home just two days after she won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate as the GOP nominees for governor and Cabinet criss-crossed the state with Gov. Jeb Bush.

And it wasn't just nominees along for the GOP-paid trip. Tom Gallagher, who lost Tuesday, joined the team.

A state party spokesman, Jeff Sadosky, said there was no intentional snubbing. He said the flyaround was for the candidates seeking Tallahassee-based statewide office. That's the same reason given when state GOP chairwoman Carole Jean Jordan issued a public statement after the election congratulating all of the party victors -- except for Harris.

Asked if Bush would fly with Harris on a similar tour, Sadosky said, ``It's to be determined. We're working on the schedules.''
Don't hold your breath, Katherine.



posted by JReid @ 7:41 AM  
ABC's disgrace
If "The Path to 9/11" is not political, then why has the following happened:

In addition, ABC has reportedly provided preview copies of The Path to 9/11 to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and a number of right-wing bloggers, while reportedly refusing to make it available to President Clinton and other Clinton administration officials.
Awaiting an explanation.

Tags: , TV, Programming, , , ,
posted by JReid @ 7:38 AM  
Armitage mans up
Dick Armitage comes clean. His involvement as the original leaker explains why there was no prosecution for law violations in revealing Ms. Plame's identity (he clearly didn't violate that law). And he proves himself a better and a more honorable man than any of the Bushies who then moved that information around to reporters in an effort to discredit Joe Wilson.


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posted by JReid @ 7:20 AM  
Congressional Democrats are now directly confronting Disney over its political hit piece, "The Path to 9/11". Here's the Democrats' letter to Disney CEO Robert Iger, with a major hat tip to AmericaBlog (although I'm not sure I see the veiled threats repleat throughout...)

September 7, 2006

Mr. Robert A. Iger
President and CEO
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank CA 91521

Dear Mr. Iger,

We write with serious concerns about the planned upcoming broadcast of The Path to 9/11 mini-series on September 10 and 11. Countless reports from experts on 9/11 who have viewed the program indicate numerous and serious inaccuracies that will undoubtedly serve to misinform the American people about the tragic events surrounding the terrible attacks of that day. Furthermore, the manner in which this program has been developed, funded, and advertised suggests a partisan bent unbecoming of a major company like Disney and a major and well respected news organization like ABC. We therefore urge you to cancel this broadcast to cease Disney’s plans to use it as a teaching tool in schools across America through Scholastic. 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.

The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.

Disney and ABC claim this program to be based on the 9/11 Commission Report and are using that assertion as part of the promotional campaign for it. The 9/11 Commission is the most respected American authority on the 9/11 attacks, and association with it carries a special responsibility. Indeed, the very events themselves on 9/11, so tragic as they were, demand extreme care by any who attempt to use those events as part of an entertainment or educational program. To quote Steve McPhereson, president of ABC Entertainment, “When you take on the responsibility of telling the story behind such an important event, it is absolutely critical that you get it right.”

Unfortunately, it appears Disney and ABC got it totally wrong.

Despite claims by your network’s representatives that The Path to 9/11 is based on the report of the 9/11 Commission, 9/11 Commissioners themselves, as well as other experts on the issues, disagree.

Richard Ben-Veniste, speaking for himself and fellow 9/11 Commissioners who recently viewed the program, said, “As we were watching, we were trying to think how they could have misinterpreted the 9/11 Commission’s findings the way that they had.” [“9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased,” New York Times, September 6, 2006]

Richard Clarke, the former counter-terrorism czar, and a national security advisor to ABC has described the program as “deeply flawed” and said of the program’s depiction of a Clinton official hanging up on an intelligence agent, “It’s 180 degrees from what happened.” [“9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased,” New York Times, September 6, 2006]

Reports suggest that an FBI agent who worked on 9/11 and served as a consultant to ABC on this program quit halfway through because, “he thought they were making things up.” [MSNBC, September 7, 2006]

Even Thomas Kean, who serves as a paid consultant to the miniseries, has admitted that scenes in the film are fictionalized. [“9/11 Miniseries Is Criticized as Inaccurate and Biased,” New York Times, September 6, 2006]

That Disney would seek to broadcast an admittedly and proven false recounting of the events of 9/11 raises serious questions about the motivations of its creators and those who approved the deeply flawed program. Finally, that Disney plans to air commercial-free a program that reportedly cost it $40 million to produce serves to add fuel to these concerns.

These concerns are made all the more pressing by the political leaning of and the public statements made by the writer/producer of this miniseries, Mr. Cyrus Nowrasteh, in promoting this miniseries across conservative blogs and talk shows.

Frankly, that ABC and Disney would consider airing a program that could be construed as right-wing political propaganda on such a grave and important event involving the security of our nation is a discredit both to the Disney brand and to the legacy of honesty built at ABC by honorable individuals from David Brinkley to Peter Jennings. Furthermore, that Disney would seek to use Scholastic to promote this misguided programming to American children as a substitute for factual information is a disgrace.

As 9/11 Commission member Jamie Gorelick said, “It is critically important to the safety of our nation that our citizens, and particularly our school children, understand what actually happened and why – so that we can proceed from a common understanding of what went wrong and act with unity to make our country safer.”

Should Disney allow this programming to proceed as planned, the factual record, millions of viewers, countless schoolchildren, and the reputation of Disney as a corporation worthy of the trust of the American people and the United States Congress will be deeply damaged. We urge you, after full consideration of the facts, to uphold your responsibilities as a respected member of American society and as a beneficiary of the free use of the public airwaves to cancel this factually inaccurate and deeply misguided program. We look forward to hearing back from you soon.


Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid
Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin
Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senator Charles Schumer
Senator Byron Dorgan

The FBI agent mentioned in the letter

And the producer of the movie is waxing sad over the "divisiveness" and "nastiness" of the battle over the film. Ya think? You create a $40 million propaganda piece designed to lay blame for the worst terror attack in U.S. history on Bill Clinton's dalliance with Monica Lewinsky, invent slanderous scenes in which named Clinton officials REFUSE to capture Osama Bin Laden (if I'm Sandy Berger or Madeleine Albright, or hell, if I'm Bill Clinton, I'm talking to an attorney right now... ) and then plan to distribute the hit piece to America's school children, in order to indoctrinate them with right wing talking points written by one of Druggie Limbaugh's "24" pals? Yeah. Nasty is exactly the word for it. The real news out of Variety Mag, however, is this:

Bill Clinton loyalists are demanding wholesale changes to the upcoming miniseries -- and while ABC is making some snips, the alterations, insiders say, may not please the Dems.

But a bombshell decision may happen anyway: Sources close to the project say the network, which has been in a media maelstrom over the pic, is mulling the idea of yanking the mini altogether.

One piece of good news: Scholastic has backed down on its plans to present the Mouse's GOP wet dream to millions of American high school students. According the Hollywood Reporter:

Separately, children's media company Scholastic said Thursday that it was removing an online classroom guide related to "Path to 9/11" intended for high school students. The original materials, which concerned the subject matter of the film, will be replaced with content that addresses more general subjects, including media literacy and critical thinking.

"After a thorough review of the original guide that we offered online to about 25,000 high school teachers, we determined that the materials did not meet our high standards for dealing with controversial issues," Scholastic chairman, president and CEO Dick Robinson said.

Why is this controversy happening? And why did Scholastic do the right thing? Let's go to ABC's own statement for the answer:

"For dramatic and narrative purposes, the movie contains fictionalized scenes, composite and representative characters and dialogue, and time compression." (read the entire ABC statement here. Their "point person" in corporate communications for the miniseries did not return my calls for comment yesterday, on behalf of the radio station...)
Not acceptable for something purporting to be a faithful rendering of such a sober history. Particularly one being aired without commercials, purportedly as some sort of public service. And then there's this:

...left-wing bloggers point out that Nowrateh has described himself as a conservative and that Disney has a history of trying not to offend the Bush administration, notably by barring its Miramax division from releasing Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11.
And let's review: "Fahrenheit 9/11" WAS a fictionalized docudrama with clear political intent. It wasn't shrouded in some sort of phony higher purpose.

Update: Even Brent Bozell says: correct the inaccuracies, ABC.

Flashback: Cyris Nowrasteh doesn't just want to be the conservative Michael Moore. Sorry, fella. You're not funny enough to be the conservative Michael Moore. However, he does want to lead the next conservative revolution in Hollywood.

And you need no more proof that this film is a political do-rag than this glowing review from ultra-right wing FrontPage Magazine:

Let me start by saying that "The Path to 9/11" is one of the best, most intelligent, most pro-American miniseries I've ever seen on TV, and conservatives should support it and promote it as vigorously as possible.

This is the first Hollywood production I’ve seen that honestly depicts how the Clinton administration repeatedly bungled the capture of Osama Bin Laden. One astonishing sequence in "The Path to 9/11" shows the CIA and the Northern Alliance surrounding Bin Laden’s house in Afghanistan. They're on the verge of capturing Bin Laden, but they need final approval from the Clinton administration in order to go ahead. They phone Clinton, but he and his senior staff refuse to give authorization for the capture of Bin Laden, for fear of political fall-out if the mission should go wrong and civilians are harmed. National Security Adviser Sandy Berger in essence tells the team in Afghanistan that if they want to capture Bin Laden, they'll have to go ahead and do it on their own without any official authorization. That way, their necks will be on the line - and not his. The astonished CIA agent on the ground in Afghanistan repeatedly asks Berger if this is really what the administration wants. Berger refuses to answer, and then finally just hangs up on the agent. The CIA team and the Northern Alliance, just a few feet from capturing Bin Laden, have to abandon the entire mission. Bin Laden and Al Qaeda shortly thereafter bomb the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, killing over 225 men, women, and children, and wounding over 4000. The episode is a perfect example of Clinton-era irresponsibility and incompetence.
And of course, the entire above scene is a fiction, cooked up in the Limbaugh-esque mind of Mr. Nowrasteh. But that won't stop idiotic right wingers from believing ... and repeating it.

Update: Tom Kean continues to discredit himself:

"These are people of integrity," Kean said of the filmmakers. "I know there are some scenes where words are put in characters' mouths. But the whole thing is true to the spirit of 9/11."
Oh, so it's the spirit that counts, not the facts...

Bruce R. Lindsey, who runs Clinton's foundation, wrote Kean last night that he was "shocked" by the former New Jersey governor's role, saying: "Your defense of the outright lies in this film is destroying the bipartisan aura of the 9/11 Commission and tarnishing the hard work of your fellow commissioners."

Update: TPM has Bruce Lindsey's letter to ABC.

Tags: , TV, Programming, , , ,
posted by JReid @ 5:46 AM  
Thursday, September 07, 2006
No wonder they're so confused...
Breaking news: George W. Bush and Joe Lieberman share more than just a pathological inability to admit that the invasion of Iraq was a foreign policy clunker... they also share one very bad pollster...
BRIDGEPORT — A polling company owner admitted participating in a conspiracy to falsify data in order to meet deadlines for clients, which included the campaigns of President Bush, U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Mayor John M. Fabrizi.
Tracy Costin, 46, of Madison, admitted to U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall that she participated in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Costin, who owned and operated DataUSA, a survey and polling firm with offices in West Haven and Guilford, faces up to five years in prison when she is sentenced Nov. 30. ...

...Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Chang said the firm's employees conducted telephone interviews using a scripted questionnaire.

But Chang said on several occasions when the company was running up against a deadline to complete a job, results were falsified. Sometimes, the respondent's gender or political affiliation were changed to meet a quota, other times all survey answers were fabricated.

FBI Special Agent Jeff Rovelli said 50 percent of information compiled by DataUSA and transmitted to Bush's campaign was falsified. ...
However, prosecutors added that the idiotic stuff about planting democracy in Iraq? Don't blame the pollster. That was all Dubya.


Tags: , , Senate, Joe Lieberman, Ned Lamont, Politics, 2006, Lieberman, Lamont, , , ,

posted by JReid @ 3:13 PM  
House of Lies
The House of Mouse is taking fire from all sides for its ABC "docu-drama" on the September 11 terror attacks, and it's not just from Clinton sympathisers. It has become crystal clear in the past several days that "The Path to 9/11" is little more than a right wing smear-fest designed to absolve the Bush administration of blame by pinning the 2001 terror attacks on Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Imagine that.

ABC isn't even trying to hide its leanings on the film, promoting it on Fox News, of all places, while "insiders" at the network commune with right wing bloggers to assure them that, as far as edits are concerned:

The Disney execs met all through the weekend - unheard of in this business - debating what changes would be made and what concessions should be given. Here is what looks to be the conclusion:

- There will be a handful of tweaks made to a few scenes.- They are minor, and nuance in most cases - a line lift here, a tweak to the edit there.- There are 900 screeners out there. When this airs this weekend, there will be a number of people who will spend their free evenings looking for these changes and will be hard pressed to identify them. They are that minor.- The average viewer would not be able to tell the difference between the two versions.- The message of the Clinton Admin failures remains fully intact.

Meanwhile, rightie Hugh Hewitt gets the context ass backwards (surprise, surprise):

The scramble caused by this backlash was so all consuming that the execs spent their holiday weekend behind closed door meetings and revamped their ad campaign. But at the end of their mad scramble, they found only a handful of changes they could make and still be true to the events. The changes are done only to appease the Clinton team - to be able to say they made changes. But the blame on the Clinton team is in the DNA of the project and could not be eradicated without pulling the entire show. A $40 million investment on the part of ABC is enough to stem even Bill Clinton's influence.

More updates on the P.R. disaster in the making:

John Aravosis rightly hails normally rightie Howard Kurtz's deconstruction of the flim-flam film. And he adds:
The tide has turned. This is now a full-fledged public relations disaster for Disney.

I know that sometimes I enjoy a little hyperbole on this blog, but this time I'm not just posturing to scare Disney. PR disasters are my business. I can smell 'em. I was worried about this campaign a few days ago. I was even worried this morning. But no more. The thing just exploded in the past few hours. The Democrats are now piping mad and fully engaged. The media is on the story and it most certainly won't let go. This is the most exciting 9/11-related story they've got as the 5-year anniversary of the attacks approaches. What's worse for Disney, the spin in these articles and TV shows is decidedly anti-Disney/ABC - Disney/ABC has lost control of the story and the message, and that's when the meltdown begins.

Just look at the past few hours:

- More former Clinton administration officials have weighed in, including Bruce Lindsey. That's a sign that while Bill Clinton may not be saying much publicly about this matter, behind the scenes he's piping mad and has set the dogs loose.

- Editor and Publisher magazine has found even more significant errors in the tv show.

- The Democratic Party issued a vicious letter attacking Disney for interfering with the national elections, and implying quite strongly that Disney may pay a price with their broadcast licenses.

- A Disney/ABC insider's email leaks proving that the intent behind this show is to blame Clinton for everything, and causing Disney/ABC a major embarrassment.

9/11 Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste goes on national TV to blast the show.
A top former Bush counterterrorism official goes on national TV to blast the show.

The Washington Post writes a damning front-section story on the entire affair for tomorrow's paper.
As for me, I'm with Chris Floyd:
Perhaps in one strange way, it's a good sign: the Bush Faction's position is getting so desperate that acts of ommission will no longer do the job; they need naked, frenzied propaganda pumped out nationwide in order to cling to power.
Meanwhile, ABC has other matters to attend to, like the question of whether angry wingers would rather watch anti-Clnton propaganda or them Manning boyz...

Update: Former President Clinton is demanding that ABC either correct the outrageous lies in the miniseries or pull the plug:
WASHINGTON - A furious Bill Clinton is warning ABC that its mini-series "The Path to 9/11" grossly misrepresents his pursuit of Osama bin Laden - and he is demanding the network "pull the drama" if changes aren't made.
Clinton pointedly refuted several fictionalized scenes that he claims insinuate he was too distracted by the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal to care about bin Laden and that a top adviser pulled the plug on CIA operatives who were just moments away from bagging the terror master, according to a letter to ABC boss Bob Iger obtained by The Post.

The former president also disputed the portrayal of then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright as having tipped off Pakistani officials that a strike was coming, giving bin Laden a chance to flee.

"The content of this drama is factually and incontrovertibly inaccurate and ABC has the duty to fully correct all errors or pull the drama entirely," the four-page letter said.

Based on the 9/11 commission's report, the miniseries is also being provided to high schools as a teaching aid - although ABC admits key scenes are dramatizations.

The letter, written by Bruce Lindsey, head of the Clinton Foundation, and Douglas Bond, a top lawyer in Clinton's office, accuses the ABC drama of "bias" and a "fictitious rewriting of history that will be misinterpreted by millions of Americans."

Clinton, whose aides first learned from a TV trailer about a week ago that the miniseries would slam his administration, was "surprised" and "incredulous" when told about the film's slant, sources said.

Albright and former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger also dashed off letters to Iger, accusing the network of lying in the miniseries and demanding changes.

ABC spokesman Jonathan Hogan last night defended the miniseries as a "dramatization, not a documentary, drawn from a variety of sources, including the 9/11 commission report, other published materials and personal interviews."

"Many of the people who have expressed opinions about the film have yet to see it in its entirety or in its final broadcast form," he said. "We hope viewers will watch the entire broadcast before forming their own opinion."

Executive producer Marc Platt told The Washington Post that he worked "very hard to be fair. If individuals feel they're wrongly portrayed, that's obviously of concern. We've portrayed the essence of the truth of these events. Our intention was not in any way to be political or present a point of view."

The miniseries' creator and the 9/11 panel's former co-chairman, Tom Kean, who was a paid adviser on the film, said some scenes are made up and plan to include a statement at the show's beginning.

ABC is furiously blogging in defense of the movie. You can read the defenses, including some claptrap from Rush Limbuddy Cyrus Nowrasteh, and the miniseries' director David Cunningham, here.

And nah, Newsbusters, Mr. Nowrasteh isn't at all biased ... that's why he does his interviewin' with FrontPage Magazine...

Tags: , TV, Programming, , , ,
posted by JReid @ 7:37 AM  
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
The pretend 9/11
E&P summarizes ABC's Clinton-bashing ficto-drama on the 9/11 attacks, while the NYT fleshes out the objections to the film's inaccuracies and partisan taint. More on the inaccuracies from ThinkP.

I wonder if the goodly folk at ABC are going to include anything about the lingering illnesses among NYC firefighters and rescue workers?

Meanwhile, a chastened ABC reinstates the blog.

And what of the writer? The partisan Mr. Nowratesh?
Online commentators seized on remarks made last week by Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio host, who said “The Path to 9/11” had been written and produced by a “friend of mine out in California” named Cyrus. “From what I’ve been told,” Mr. Limbaugh said, according to a transcript on, “the film really zeros in on the shortcomings of the Clinton administration.”

Reached Tuesday, Cyrus Nowrasteh, the film’s screenwriter and one of its producers, said he had met Mr. Limbaugh on the set of “24,” the serialized thriller on Fox.

“I met him briefly,” Mr. Nowrasteh said, declining to say if the two men were close. “And that’s it.”
I wonder if that passing meeting took place during a certain Viagra run to the Dominican Republic...?

Tags: , TV, Programming, , , ,
posted by JReid @ 9:34 AM  
The right wing likes to dismiss the outing of Valerie Plame as a non-event. Well, the latest scoop from David Corn's new book suggests they may want to refresh their talking points:
By revealing her identity, Armitage, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby harmed her career and put vital intelligence at risk, suggests co-author David Corn of The Nation. The book is also written by Newsweek's Michael Isikoff.

Here is how Corn describes the latest revelation in an e-mail:

"She was operations chief of the Joint Task Force on Iraq, a unit of the Counterproliferation Division of the clandestine Directorate of Operations. For the two years prior to her outing, Valerie Wilson worked to gather intelligence that would support the Bush White House's assertion that Saddam Hussein's Iraq was loaded with WMDs.

"This means that Armitage--as well as Karl Rove and Scooter Libby--leaked classified information about a CIA officer whose job it had been to look for evidence of Saddam's WMD programs. During this part of her career, Valerie Wilson traveled overseas to monitor operations she and her staff at JTFI were mounting. She was no analyst, no desk-jockey, no paper-pusher. She was in charge of running critical covert operations.

"Some Bush-backers have dismissed the CIA/Plame leak as unimportant and claimed that Valerie Wilson was an analyst and not truly an undercover CIA officer. In an October 1, 2003 column, Novak reported she was 'an analyst, not in covert operations.'

"'Hubris' and The Nation article, citing CIA sources, disclose that she was in covert operations and that--ironically--she had spent two years trying to find proof of the administration's claims that Iraq posed a WMD threat. She and the Joint Task Force on Iraq, of course, came up empty-handed. 'Hubris' and The Nation piece also report new revelations that undermine the charge that Valerie Wilson sent her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, on his trip to Niger."
You can read the entire Nation article here.


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posted by JReid @ 9:18 AM  
Who's funding you?
...Joe Lieberman?
The White House funneled millions of dollars through major Republican Party contributors to Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s primary campaign in a failed effort to ensure the support of the former Democrat for the Bush administration.

A senior GOP source said the money was part of Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove's strategy to maintain a Republican majority in the Senate in November. The source said Mr. Rove, together with Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, directed leading pro-Bush contributors to donate millions of dollars to Mr. Lieberman's campaign for re-election in Connecticut in an attempt that he would be a "Republican-leaning" senator.

"Joe [Lieberman] took the money but said he would not play ball," the source said. "That doesn't mean that this was a wasted investment."

Mr. Rove has been responsible for the White House’s effort to ensure a GOP majority in Congress for the last two years of Bush's presidency. Internal party polls show the GOP could lose between 30 and 40 seats in the House as well as its majority in the Senate. A Democratic majority in the Senate would require the GOP to lose at least six seats.

The source said that under Mr. Rove's direction, the GOP has abandoned its Senate candidate in Connecticut, Alan Schlesinger, who has dropped to about five percent in the polls. Mr. Schlesinger has failed to win the support of any national Republican and has virtually no contact with the White House.

In contrast, Mr. Lieberman, who has called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, was deemed a major component of the GOP strategy in November. Mr. Lieberman is expected to win the general election after losing the Democratic primary to anti-war challenger Ned Lamont. However, the race with Mr. Lamont has been tightening considerably.

"The more he [Lieberman] spits, the more that he [Bush] kisses," Mr. Schlesinger said. "I don't understand that. I guess a kiss is not just a kiss." ...
So what does the GOP expect to get for its money?
Mr. Lieberman has raised most of his money from outside Connecticut. The veteran senator has turned his re-election campaign into a test of patriotism and support for the U.S. military presence in Iraq.

The source said that under Mr. Rove's plan, Mr. Lieberman would vote with the GOP on national security issues and help provide the party with a 50-50 split on major legislation. The deciding vote would then be cast by Vice President Dick Cheney.



Tags: , , Senate, Joe Lieberman, Ned Lamont, Politics, 2006, Lieberman, Lamont, , , ,

posted by JReid @ 8:00 AM  
Well, it's in the can. Florida's primaries are history. And the winners are...

Katherine Harris: she brought the crazy, and weak opponents, plus a failure by the state party to woo Joe Scarborough... put crazy over the top.

Jim Davis: He survived a $5 million race-baiting attack funded on behalf of his opponent, State Senator Rod Smith, by GOP-leaning Big Sugar, plus radio attacks and robo-calls from a handful of Black elected officials, plus the Rev. Al Sharpton. Now he'll limp, bloodied but still bland, into the November general election to face the GOP's easy winning, very tan...

Charlie Crist: He survived a blitzkrieg from his primary opponent, state CFO Tom Gallagher, that included thinly veiled attacks on his sexuality (he supports civil unions and is both single, and very, very tan...) and accusations that he's just not conservative enough. Crist won the day be out Jeb Bush-pal-ing Gallagher, while at the same time stepping away from the Guv'nah on Terry Schiavo. He goes into November with far fewer bruises than Davis, and a final vote total: 625,788 votes ... that dwarfs the Democrat Davis' 402,514 vote take.

Big Sugar: They poured millions of dollars into the campaign on two fronts -- for Rod Smith and for Charlie Crist. So they stood to win, no matter what. If Smith pulled it off (and he nearly did, getting 41 percent of the vote to Davis' 47) they'd have two horses in the final stretch. And in the process, they so bloodied Davis with the Pitts and Lee attack (which was so sleazy, even Mr. Pitts called it dirty...) they may have driven a wedge between the Democratic candidate and a portion of the Black community, including some of the churchy set, that he will limp into the November race with Crist.

... and now for the losers:

Democrats: low turnout was particularly accute in the two largest and most Democratic counties in the state: Miami-Dade and Broward. That smells like apathy among a key constituency that also is heavily represented in South Florida: Black voters. The reasons could be anything from the rain that soaked the southern counties, to Black voter turn-off from the nasty Smith-Davis campaign, or the sheer dullness of that campaign right up until they started race-baiting, or their lack of media spending, compared to the GOP. Not to mention the fact that only one of the two Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls can make a dent in North Florida, and it's not the guy who won.

Jim Davis: Yes, the dull Mr. Davis makes the cut as both a winner and a loser. Sure, he won the primary, but chances are, he'll lose the November election, particularly now that a percentage of Black voters have convinced themselves that he's a racist who robbed the equally AWOL Rob Smith of his rightful chance to "win." And he got fewer votes than Katherine Harris. How big a loser move is that?

Jeb Bush: Sure, the two GOP candidates for governor were showing him lots of love, but his attempts to take out a fellow Republican -- Alex Villalobos -- who committed the sin of independence on the issues of school vouchers (Jeb's unconstitutional pet project) and smaller class sizes (Jeb Bush wanted them killed) failed. Villalobos survived, and Jeb's hand-picked hit man was left quizzling for unity during his concession speech. Not a good look for the man who would be the next Bush king.

Crazy: Yes, Katherine Harris won, but she won't beat Bill Nelson -- particularly since she won't get a thimble full of support from either the state GOP or the RSCC. And Randall Terry, the guy who went from anti-abortion goon squad leader to Terry Schiavo afficianado to Republican candidate for State Senate (targeting an apostate incumbent Republican), lost his bid for elective office, too.

Tags: , , ,
posted by JReid @ 7:13 AM  
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
The Bin Laden two-step
Step one: shake off this Orwellian claptrap from the president's speech yesterday, which reads like a page from the collected writings of Fidel Castro or Karl Marx, rather than a speech by an American president:
"...along with his campaign of terror, the enemy has a propaganda strategy.

Osama bin Laden laid out this strategy in a letter to the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar, that coalition forces uncovered in Afghanistan in 2002.

In it, bin Laden says that Al Qaida intends to launch, in his words, a media campaign to create a wedge between the American people and their government.

This media campaign, bin Laden says, will send the American people a number of messages, including that their government will bring them more losses in finances and casualties.

And he goes on to say that they are being sacrificed to serve the big investors, especially the Jews.

Bin Laden says that, by delivering these messages, Al Qaida aims at creating pressure from the American people on the American government to stop their campaign against Afghanistan.

Bin Laden and his allies are absolutely convinced they can succeed in forcing America to retreat and causing our economic collapse. They believe our nation is weak and decadent and lacking in patience and resolve, and they're wrong.
In other words, cleave closer to your government, comrades. Otherwise, the enemy will kill you. Now have a nice night!

I figured this night couldn't get any weirder after that. Well ... it did. Cue the right wing blathersphere calls for Brian Ross' immediate deportation. He reports the following, tonight for ABC News:
Osama bin Laden, America's most wanted man, will not face capture in Pakistan if he agrees to lead a "peaceful life," Pakistani officials tell ABC News.

The surprising announcement comes as Pakistani army officials announced they were pulling their troops out of the North Waziristan region as part of a "peace deal" with the Taliban.
Peace deal??? I thought you couldn't sign treaties with "the terr'rists..." Please go on...

If he is in Pakistan, bin Laden "would not be taken into custody," Major General Shaukat Sultan Khan told ABC News in a telephone interview, "as long as one is being like a peaceful citizen." ...

... In addition to the pullout of Pakistani troops, the "peace agreement" between Pakistan and the Taliban also provides for the Pakistani army to return captured Taliban weapons and prisoners.

"What this means is that the Taliban and al Qaeda leadership have effectively carved out a sanctuary inside Pakistan," said ABC News consultant Richard Clarke, the former White House counter-terrorism director.
Well isn't that special. I suppose the Bush administration got ample warning of this bombshell from our ally Mr. Musharraf. ... Right?

The agreement was signed on the same day President Bush said the United States was working with its allies "to deny terrorists the enclaves they seek to establish in ungoverned areas across the world."
Doh! ...

The Pakistani Army had gone into Waziristan, under heavy pressure from the United States, but faced a series of humiliating defeats at the hands of the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters.

"They're throwing the towel," said Alexis Debat, who is a Senior Fellow at the Nixon Center and an ABC News consultant. "They're giving al Qaeda and the Taliban a blank check and saying essentially make yourselves at home in the tribal areas," Debat said.
Well that clears that up.

Tags: , Politics, Iraq, News, Al Qaida, War, Democrats, Terrorism, Bin Laden
posted by JReid @ 9:49 PM  
Israel's latest headache
Fear of war crimes tribunals, stemming from its unfortunate conduct of its war on Lebanon.

Tags: , , , Politics, Israel, Terrorism, War, News, Lebanon
posted by JReid @ 5:20 PM  
The ministry of silly comparisons

Signs of Bushian desperation are everywhere these days. With each speech, the war in Iraq ... er ... the war on terror ... er ... Islamofascistnazikhmerrougesovietistic terror becomes bigger, more dramatic, more rhetorically camp. Whether it's Don Rumsfeld comparing 60 percent of the fed up American public with 1930s Hitler appeasers in Great Britain, Dubya remaking his lousy Iraq adventure into the seminal struggle of World War II (the poor dear even thinks he's Winston Churchill...) or the latest box seat ticket to the theater of the absurd: Condi Rice comparing the disastrous Iraq conflict to, of all things, the Civil War... life inside the Bush bubble must seem more and more like a sequal to "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest." Witness Condi's latest bender:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is drawing a parallel between the Iraq war and the Civil War. Both had their critics but both were justified, she says.

In both cases, it was the right decision to fight and see the wars through, Rice, who is black and is from Alabama, said in an interview with Essence Magazine.

Asked if she still thought the decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 was right, considering the cost in lives and treasure, Rice said, "Absolutely."

Rice then offered a parallel between critics of the administration's Iraq policies and "people who thought it was a mistake to fight the Civil War (in this country) to its end and to insist that the emancipation of slaves would hold."

"I'm sure that there were people who said, "why don't we get out of this now, take a peace with the South, but leave the South with slaves."

"Just because things are difficult, it does't mean that they are wrong or that you turn back," Rice told the magazine, which has a large audience among African-Americans.

Rice, a former academic, said she spent the summer reading biographies of the Founding Fathers and said she was certain "there were people who thought the Declaration of Independence was a mistake" as well.
Yes, and surely there are those out there who hate rainbows, puppies, and tow-headed children as well. Damn them all the hell.

Surely, even the grim Ms. Rice cannot possibly believe this stuff. Perhaps she has simply gone insane.

It's certainly too bad we don't have a press corps that might press Ms. Rice about how, exactly, Iraq equates to the U.S. war between the states, the latter having lacked certain Iraqi-war-type elements: like an invasion by a foreign power, a protracted occupation by that formerly supportive power, and sectarian bloodletting based not on a dispute over the right of some states to retain both slavery and a permanent fix on its share of Congress through the creation of new slave states, but rather on an age-old religious schism and a fight over finite, unequally geograhpically distributed oil resources... but then, that doesn't fit as neatly on a bumper sticker as "fight 'em over there so we don't have to fight 'em over here," now does it...?

Previous: Thank you, Keith Olbermann"

Tags: Politics, Republicans, GOP, Republican, , , , ,
posted by JReid @ 4:54 PM  
Death of an adventurer
Krikey. Steve Irwin's death is still shocking. The story is becoming more and more strange every time it's told (what wee the chances of his being killed by a stingray? What were the chances of its barb directly piercing his heart? ...) And now, apparently, there is video (only a matter of time before THAT surfaces online...) and a back story, involving a rash of incredibly bad luck:
A local marine biologist yesterday told of how a run of poor weather and bad luck in finding the fish led Irwin to pursue deadly stingrays.

Irwin's body was yesterday taken from the morgue at Cairns Hospital to the airport in a dark blue hearse.

It was then loaded on to a Cessna seaplane owned by his friend and former ironman Grant Kenny and flown to his distraught wife and children on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Terri Irwin remained with children Bindi, 8, and Bob, 2, at their home in the family's Australia Zoo yesterday, too upset to speak about her husband's freak accident that was caught on film as he snorkelled on the Great Barrier Reef on Monday.

Irwin's zoo remained open yesterday as hundreds of mourners placed flowers at the entrance in an almost "Diana-esque" tribute.

Queensland Police yesterday ruled out any suspicious circumstances in relation to Irwin's death, confirming he died from the barb of the stringray to his chest rather than the powerful poison the bull ray would have released into his blood system.

It emerged the crocodile hunter's final act was to pull from his chest the jagged knife-like barb that pierced his heart.

Friends yesterday said Irwin had spent Sunday, Fathers' Day, missing his children and that he had also missed a phone call from his family.

On Saturday, a local marine biologist offered to show Irwin, 44, a place on an outer reef where the pair of stonefish lived, after learning that Irwin had been unsuccessfully searching for adult specimens.

"So I took a dive and for the first time in living memory, they weren't there, I couldn't believe it," he said yesterday.

"If I found them, Steve would have concentrated on them and not gone after the rays."

The next day Irwin's quest was dealt another blow by bad weather and they stayed on the boat discussing their plans, including a report of "a lot of stingrays" in the shallows of Batt Reef, about 32 nautical miles offshore from Port Douglas, north Queensland.

According to cinematographer and captain of Irwin's support boat, Peter West, Irwin was the consumate entertainer on Fathers' Day, his last full day alive, sharing tales with his crew to lift them from a despondency about being away from their families.

Mr West, who was working with the famed Crocodile Hunter for the first time, said Irwin only ever had two topics of conversation: "Work and family."

"We were on the boat and discussing how filming was proceeding and listening to Steve's stories," Mr West said.

"It just went into family and he knew I had my first baby at home and that I was missing my first Fathers' Day.

"He was saying how he missed, like all of us, his family and we started trading stories, including how my little girl (10 months old) couldn't yet say dad.

"We all had a great laugh when he said, 'Well, that's better than me because I got called mum, mum for the first month'."

Unknown to Irwin was that his wife, Terri and two children - Bindi, 8 and Bob, 2 - were trying to call him for Fathers' Day.

Irwin did not receive the message sent before his death. Friend John Stainton yesterday said he last spoke to Terri and the children about a week ago.

"We missed a phone call on the boat because communication on the boat was very patchy," he said. "We missed a phone call from her and the children."

However, on the afternoon following Irwin's death, Mr Stainton discovered a text message on his mobile from Terri. "I had an SMS on my phone from her saying that the children send their love, that was all," he said. Irwin had just spent a month with his children in central Cape York's Lakefield National Park catching crodiles for research. Mr Stainton said that Irwin had captured 32 crocodiles in five weeks and was doing "mind-blowing research" on tracking their movements.

"Steve said to me on the boat, on Croc One, at the end of the Lakefield research trip, as we were leaving to go out for this doco, 'John, I've had the best month of my life'. I said, 'Gee, that's a big statement, Steve' and he said, 'No, it's the best month of my life' and that's great."

A spokesman for Quicksilver, owners of a charter boat company whose employees tried to resusitate Irwin after he was taken to Low Isle, said there was little that could be done for the star.

Cairns Superintendent Mike Keating said yesterday the death could not be blamed on Irwin. "There is no evidence that Mr Irwin was threatening or intimidating the stingray," he said.

"My advice is that he was observing the stingray."

Mr Stainton said he had watched the "shocking" footage of his friend's death.

"It's a very hard thing to watch because you're actually witnessing somebody die and it's terrible," he said.

Truly awful. R.I.P. mate.
posted by JReid @ 4:13 PM  
In a word, no
RedState waxes hopeful. Bus sorry, fellas, Russell Simmons is not a stand-in for all of "Black America." Remember how much you hate it when liberals generalize like that about Black people?
posted by JReid @ 12:57 PM  
Feels like we're all going with them...
Book blurb newsflash: Dubya snarks Mel Gibsonly to Texas paper: the Jews? Apparently they're all going to hell:
In The Architect: Karl Rove and the Master Plan for Absolute Power, Austin-based journalist James Moore and Wayne Slater, senior political reporter for the Dallas Morning News, will allege that Bush once made anti-semitic comments to a reporter.

"You know what I'm gonna tell those Jews when I get to Israel, don't you Herman?" a then Governor George W. Bush allegedly asked a reporter for the Austin American-Statesman.

When the journalist, Ken Herman, replied that he did not know, Bush reportedly delivered the punch line: "I'm telling 'em they're all going to hell."

Bush's thoughts on the fate of non-Christian souls became a minor source of controversy after he told the Houston Post in 1993 that only those who "accept Jesus Christ" go to Heaven. However, the future president was also earlier briefly engaged to a half-Jewish woman.

The quip never received wider media attention, even though the Austin American-Statesman reported it in December of 1998.

"As he gazed out a hotel hallway at the Superdome and waited for an elevator, Bush -- clearly going for a laugh at his own expense -- said the first thing he was going to say to Israeli Jews was that they were all 'going to hell,'" Herman had reported. "Bush, who has both a quick wit and generally good judgment on when to use it, made the comment to the same Austin American-Statesman reporter who had reported his 1993 comments about his religious beliefs."
The book comes out Thursday.

Tags: , , News, News and politics, Politics, Religion
posted by JReid @ 12:46 PM  
Blame Clinton first
ABC is going ahead with it's right-wing-penned Clinton hit piece on September 10 and 11. They have, however, taken down the blog where sentient beings were criticizing it. Way to pimp it for the Party, House of Mouse!

Meanwhile, I somehow doubt that ABC will include information of this kind (courtesy of Americablog):
CNN, July 30, 1996
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, emerged from the meeting and said, "These are very controversial provisions that the [Clinton] White House wants. Some they're not going to get." ....[Hatch] also said he had some problems with the president's proposals to expand wiretapping.
So Bill Clinton, rather than just breaking the law as Bush did (then again, perhaps this is why Bush broke the law - he knew from history that the Republicans controlling the congress would oppose his efforts to expand wiretapping), decided to go to the Republican congress in 1996 and ask them for increased authority to do more eavesdropping in order to stop the terrorists - stop September 11. Senior Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, one of the GOP's top picks for the Supreme Court and a GOP committee chair, objected.

The Republicans stopped President Clinton from getting all the tools he needed to stop the next September 11 - well, no, actually they opposed giving President Clinton all the tools he needed to stop the actual September 11. Could September 11 have been stopped if the GOP had given President Clinton the tools he requested to stop Osama and Mohammad Atta from killing 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington?

Maybe we need to ask the Republicans up for re-election why they wanted to appease the terrorists?
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.
The result? Well ... I guess you'll have to watch the ABC special on the 10th with one half of your brain tied behind your back to find out.

Tags: , TV, Programming, , ,
posted by JReid @ 6:39 AM  
Friday, September 01, 2006
The Friday funnies
Lots going on in this crazy world today...

...and speaking of crazy, Katherine Harris was on with Norah O'Donnell yesterday!

On to the next nut ... Sean Hannity says, preventing Nancy Pelosi from becoming Speaker of the House isn't just a good idea ... it's "worth fighting and dying for!" Can right wing nutjob suicide bombers at the DNC be far off?

Meanwhile, on the Hill, Bill Frist isn't a proper doctor, though he diagnoses Terry Schiavos on TV...

On the issue of Iraq, I love Pat Buchanan. And Pat Buchanan: he really loves white people.

There's a movie that posits the assassination of President Bush. ... though the Wizbangers remind us that the result of such a scenario would be truly horrific: President Dick Cheney. ... (shudder). Although I would be interested to see the film, just for the sake of curiosity ... and I'm dying (no pun intended) to check out the other film making waves across the pond: The Trial of Tony Blair. ...

And wrapping it up: the top ten reasons I don't care about the Kyra Phillips potty story anymore:

10. Kyra Phillips is a mindless Bush-bot, and therefore I ignore her.
9. There's got to be more to talk about. I mean, the JonBenet murder remains unsolved!
8. I only watch CNN when Jack Cafferty is on, anyway.
7. Now if they had Anderson Cooper in the loo ... we'd have something...
6. I prefer to let Kyra's sister-in-law handle her own business. (Kick that ass, girlfriend!)
5. I heard a zip, but no hand wash on that tape, and that's just disgusting.
4. What's the big deal? The potty audio made more sense than what Bush was saying anyhow.
3. This isn't the worst thing CNN has done, by a long shot. Two words: Aaron Brown.
2. I'm actually grateful to the CNN boo-boo for stopping Dubya from stealing another 40 seconds of my life...
1. Kyra Phillips bores me, but Wolf Blitzer is a total control FREAK!!!

Tags: , , Politics, Current Affairs, Bush, Current Events, Republicans,
crazies, , , , ,
posted by JReid @ 7:22 AM  
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