Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Sunday, March 01, 2009 irrelevant, but scary
More proof that as they become more irrelevant, right wingers are also becoming angrier, and scarier. Case in point: over at RedState, which used to be home to the less extreme wingers (compared with the truly sick people at Free Republic or LGF, or this crazy lady, for example,) they're saying things like this (and not getting banned):

At a press conference announcing the arrests, Holder also suggested that re-instituting a U.S. ban on the sale of assault weapons would help reduce the bloodshed in Mexico, where last year 6,000 people were killed in drug-related violence.

U.S. officials have a responsibility to make sure Mexican police “are not fighting substantial numbers of weapons, or fighting against AK-47’s or other similar kinds of weapons that have been flowing to Mexico,” Holder said.

This man and the rest of the un-American and anti-American people in power need to be legally stopped in their tracks before they incite an armed insurrection that will get thousands upon thousands of Americans jailed and/or killed.

Before WHO incites an "armed insurrection?" You??? Right wingers have shrunk in number in this country, but increased in rage and disconnectedness from either reason or reality. They are already on record supporting totalitarian "solutions" like domestic spying, pre-emptive war, mass deportation and torture. Now, they want unrestricted access to assault weapons and are threatening "armed insurrection?" These people are just plain scary... and dangerous.

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posted by JReid @ 12:57 PM  
Thursday, February 05, 2009
The madness of Dick Cheney
He has been described as a comic book villain, a character out of a Kafka novel, and even Darth Vader, but who would have thought he was also Punxtatawney Dick, rearing his ugly head on a chilly day in February and seeing the shadow of fear ... yes, lovely, beautiful, marvelous fear...!!! Cheney, who many former colleagues say they don't even recognize as the guy they knew from the Ford administration, jumps straight off the deep end in an interview with Politico, accusing the Obama administration of caring more about the comfort of terrorists than the safety of the country, and warning of dire consequences (yes, he means terror attacks) if Team Obama stops renditioning, torturing and spying on people. Watch, listen, and DESPAIR!

And enjoy some prime Cheney quotes:
“When we get people who are more concerned about reading the rights to an Al Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry,” Cheney said.

Protecting the country’s security is “a tough, mean, dirty, nasty business,” he said. “These are evil people. And we’re not going to win this fight by turning the other cheek.”

And who can forget this gem:
“The United States needs to be not so much loved as it needs to be respected. Sometimes, that requires us to take actions that generate controversy. I’m not at all sure that that’s what the Obama administration believes.”

Oh, and Politico's team, which apparently emerged from the interview surprisingly unscarred by primordial ooze, reports:
He expressed confidence that files will some day be publicly accessible offering specific evidence that waterboarding and other policies he promoted — over sharp internal dissent from colleagues and harsh public criticism — were directly responsible for averting new Sept. 11-style attacks.

Not content to wait for a historical verdict, Cheney said he is set to plunge into his own memoirs, feeling liberated to describe behind-the-scenes roles over several decades in government now that the “statute of limitations has expired” on many of the most sensitive episodes.

I think I have a title for the book: "Burn Before Reading..."

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posted by JReid @ 12:34 AM  
Friday, January 16, 2009
Yes Virginia, waterboarding IS torture
Eric Holder offers a breath of fresh, non-war crime-filled air during his confirmation hearing:

Meanwhile, the Palinites have given up on reality altogether, clinging to a fictional American hero, Jack Bauer, for comfort in a scary, scary world, especially as their Hollywood crafted mentor takes on a pretend Congress on torture... Perhaps in 2009, someone can tell these poor rubes that "24" is just a television show. On second thought, maybe we shouldn't. The let down might make them

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posted by JReid @ 1:50 AM  
Monday, December 22, 2008
Cheney and the football

Dick Cheney works on his own legacy tour, with an exit interview with Chris Wallace that features an interesting discussion of the president's powers, and a certain "football":
Cheney defended the administration's aggressive prosecution of the War on Terror, which he said was a major reason the nation hasn't been attacked in seven years. He said the 1973 War Powers Act is a violation of the Constitution because Congress does not have the right by statute to alter presidential constitutional power.

"That it is an infringement on the president's authority as the commander-in-chief," Cheney said. "It has never been resolved, but I think it's a very good example of a way in which Congress has tried to limit the president's authority and, frankly, can't.

"The president of the United States now for 50 years is followed at all times, 24 hours a day, by a military aide carrying a football that contains the nuclear codes that he would use and be authorized to use in the event of a nuclear attack on the United States," Cheney said. "He could launch the kind of devastating attack the world has never seen.

"He doesn't have to check with anybody. He doesn't have to call the Congress. He doesn't have to check with the courts. He has that authority because of the nature of the world we live in."
Cheney also told Wallace he tried to talk Bush out of firing Donald Rumsfeld in 2006:
"I did disagree with the decision," Cheney said. "The president doesn't always take my advice."

Cheney said he supports Rumsfeld's successor, Robert Gates, "but I was a Rumsfeld man. I'd helped recruit him and I thought he did a good job for us."
And he defended cursing at Pat Leahy. But that's not the news, I think, in the interview. It's that football bit. Cheney just declared that the president can start a global, thermonuclear war at his own discretion, without even checking in with Congress! Could that possibly be true? Let's go back in time, to 2002, when the folks at FindLaw were trying to talk sense to the Congress of the United States:

The decision to go to war is exclusively that of Congress

Sadly, it seems we've reached the point where the Constitution is no longer relevant on matters of a president's war-making powers. Presidents, the Congress and the courts have made going to war, once a serious constitutional issue, and a purely political question.

As a result, in the last half century, the war powers clause of the Constitution has become a nullity, if not a quaint relic. While conservatives often insist on following the letter of the Constitution on most issues, on matters of war they ignore it.

That's a disgrace, because the Framers of the Constitution carefully laid out the decision-making process for war. Pursuant to the document, war is a decision to be made exclusively by the representatives of the people -- the Congress. Only Congress is authorized to declare war, raise and support armies, provide and maintain a navy, and make the rules for these armed forces. There is nothing vague or unclear about the language in Article I, ¤ 8, clauses 11-16.

And Dick, (who ironically, also spent part of his latest interview mocking Joe Biden's understanding of the Constitution) I think that includes the football... Congress could have stepped in at any time to stop the Bush administration from waging war in Iraq, and had it come to that, they could also stop the president from launching a nuclear strike against, say, Iran. It's within their power to do, Dick. They simply have failed, in recent history, to exercise it.

But the fact that Cheney believes that a president is free to do almost anything ... and yes, he said that too ... in a "time of war," including launch a nuclear war, is truly frightening.

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posted by JReid @ 1:17 AM  
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Skinheads plot on Obama
Oh yeah, these guys look reeeeeal superior...

Unfortunately, this is some of what has come out of the woodwork during this campaign. Big up to the feds for catching these guys before they bungled their way into something awful.

Good coverage at Hot Air. The Smoking Gun has the criminal complaint against the two men, Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman. Their apparent plan:
Daniel Cowart, 20, and Paul Schlesselman, 18, began discussing the murder plot after meeting online about a month ago. In the ATF affidavit, a copy of which you'll find below, Cowart and Schlesselman "discussed the killing spree to include targeting a predominately African-American school, going state to state while robbing individuals and continuing to kill people." The pair's "final act of violence" would be an attempt to kill Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee. In separate interviews with investigators, the men said that they planned to speed their vehicle toward Obama while "shooting at him from the windows." Apparently befitting the historic assault, Cowart and Schlesselman "stated they would dress in all white tuxedos and wear top hats during the assassination attempt." Cowart and Schlesselman were arrested last Wednesday night by Tennessee sheriff's deputies soon after the pair used chalk to write "numerous racially motivated words and symbols," including a swastika, on the exterior of Cowart's automobile.
Luckily, they'll be wearing their tails behind bars.

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posted by JReid @ 10:11 AM  
Friday, October 10, 2008
Too late? McCain tries to put the pin back in the grenade
At a rally today, John McCain demonstrates that he does read the newspapers (and that he has heard the words of sober, serious people like David Gergen.) He tries to pull back his team's vicious crowds (and gets booed for his trouble.) Watch:

I think McCain's internal polling shows he's losing this thing, and he's trying, at long last, to save what he can of his reputation (not that he won't be bodysnatched again tomorrow by the crazed wingers running his campaign...) The problem is, the right wing doesn't listen to John McCain, and he has unleashed a two-headed monster, one head being these scary crowds, and the other being the pit bull with lipstick.


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posted by JReid @ 6:46 PM  
Sunday, September 07, 2008
The Apprentice: Sarah Palin training to lead God's army to Washington
My parents came to America sometime in the early 1960s, to further their educations by earning master's degrees. When I was growing up, my mother (my African father quit us, much like Barack Obama's...) taught us that education was the most important credential you could have. Sure, we went to church on Sundays, but religious fervor didn't rank close to the value of being an intelligent, well-read, educated citizen.

That, I'm sad to say, is not a typical American experience. It is for immigrants. The Hmong and Vietnamese kids at my various elementary, middle and high schools were high achievers, routinely pulling in top grades and spending hours and hours studying. In my AP classes, most of the students were white or Asian, even though my town was about 80 percent black. Anti-intellectualism was then, and is now, a prominent feature of "real Americanness." You saw it in 2000 and 2004 when Americans who voted for George W. Bush seemed to revel in his apparent ignorance, and spit on the "effete" snobbery of "smart kids in class" Al Gore and John Kerry. It's clear that many, if not most Americans, look to a president not to govern, but to ratify their completely phony image of "small town America" -- hyper-Christian, war-like, "traditional", gun-loving, freedom loving (except for the domestic spying and indefinite detention,) falsely chaste and full of government dole-funded "frontier spirit."

And then there's stuff like this. Not nearly enough people have seen the following video, (the accompanying article is here) which shows exactly who John McCain picked to put a heartbeat away from the presidency. The video documents the churches with which Sarah Palin is affliated, which include ties to the "Jesus Camp" ministries, a Kenyan sect that believes it expelled demons from an entire town, Pastor Hagee and other extremist Christian movements. Watch, and if you're like me, cringe...

The more I look at the Sarah Palin spectacle, the more dispirited I become with the state of this country my parents chose for me. Yes, Ms. Palin is "George W. Bush with lipstick," in more ways than one (thin resume, anti-intellectual, fundamentalist bent, questionable gubernatorial record...) but she's also the next best hope of the truly radical Christian fundamentalist movement in this country -- our version of the Taliban in Afghanistan -- of literally taking control of this country, and of succeeding where Dubya ultimately failed them. (Earth to fundies: he's a Methodist. As a former Methodist I can tell you, they're not the "Jesus Camp" type...)

If you think for a moment that the American Taliban are going to be voting for John McCain in November, think again. In essence, John McCain has promised to make Sarah Palin his "apprentice," training her to rule in four short years. And I suspect that the wack-jobs won't exactly be praying for his good health, should he and the Queen of the Undamned get elected... (and make no mistake, "my friends," they very damned well might get elected.)

May God help us all.


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posted by JReid @ 11:31 PM  
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Desperate times, part 2 (or, 'Damn you, reasonable Obama!')
The Righties are already arming themselves for the fight against Barack Obama, as evidenced by odd posts like this one, which I think is attempting to scare you AWAY from Barack:
Obama and Gun Control:

His record isn't likely to win back the rural "pro-gun" voters who've fled to the Republicans in recent years, likely costing Gore the election in 2000. From the Chicago Defender, Dec. 13, 1999:
Sweeping federal gun control legislation proposed by Sen. Barack Obama (D-13th) would increase the penalties on gun runners who are flooding Chicago's streets with illegal weapons.

At an anti-gun rally held at the Park Manor Christian Church, 600 E. 73rd St., headed by the Rev. James Demus, Obama also said he's backing a resolution being introduced into the City Council by Alds. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), Ted Thomas (15th), Leslie Hairston (5th) to call for a "shot-free" millennium celebration.

Obama outlined his anti-gun plan that includes increased penalties for the interstate transportation of firearms. The maximum penalty now for bringing a gun across the border is 10 years in prison. Obama is proposing to make it a felony for a gun owner whose firearm was stolen from his residence which causes harm to another person if that weapon was not securely stored in that home. [!!!]

He's proposing restricting gun purchases to one weapon a month and banning the sale of firearms at gun shows except for "antique" weapons. Obama is also proposing increasing the licensing fee to obtain a federal firearms license.

He's also seeking a ban on police agencies from reselling their used weapons even if those funds are used to buy more state-of-the-art weapons for their agencies. Obama wants only those over 21 who've passed a basic course to be able to buy or own a firearm.

He's proposing that all federally licensed gun dealers sell firearms in a storefront and not from their homes while banning their business from being within five miles of a school or a park. He's also banning the sale of 'junk" handguns like the popular Saturday Night Specials.

Obama is requiring that all people working at a gun dealer undergo a criminal background check. He's also asking that gun manufacturers be required to develop safety measures that permit only the original owner of the firearm to operate the weapon purchased.

Additionally, he wants an increase of the funds for schools to teach anger management skills for youth between the ages of 5-13. Obama is also seeking to increase the federal taxes by 500 percent on the sale of firearm, ammunition [sic] -- weapons he says are most commonly used in firearm deaths.
Well we wouldn't want to piss off the Saturday Night Special, bulk automatic weapon-buying campus shooter, flood the streets with former police weaponry for the gangs to purchase, selling sawed offs next to the school building electorate... (gulp)

That pearl of wisdom came from the good folks at RedState, in a post that led with this:
Now that more attention is being paid to the possibility of Obama as the nominee, perhaps we could also pay attention to radical proposals that have been part and parcel of his political positions.
Radical? You mean radical positions like this?
"In an environment of scarcity, where the cost of living is rising, folks begin to get angry and bitter and look for scapegoats. Historically, instead of looking at the top 5% of this country that controls all the wealth, we turn towards each other, and the Republicans have added to the fire." [Hyde Park Citizen, 1995]
Oh yeah, he's stark raving mad, all right! No NORMAL person could possibly believe that in bad economic times people tend to look for scapegoats among other people who don't have anything. I mean COME ON!


Good thing we have John McCain to straighten us out. What we need in these times of scarcity -- ahem -- are big corporate tax cuts, even BIGGER tax cuts for high net worth individuals, looser gun laws and same year depreciation... oh and 100 years of WAR, WAR, GLORIOUS WAR!!!!!

Yep. That's the ticket.


Part one: Desperate Times

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posted by JReid @ 1:03 AM  
Monday, February 04, 2008
From the desk of: Bill Kristol
William Kristol, one of the few remaining dregs of the neoconservative flotsam, issues a plea to actual conservatives, radio flunkie conservatives, "brown scare" conservatives (a/k/a "deportistas,") social conservatives (a/k/a non-believers in "eevolootion"), GWOT jihadi conservatives (a/k/a "light brown scare" conservatives) and tax cut junkies (a/k/a "actual conservatives"):

Don't turn your back on John McCain, or the terrorists win in Iraq
... again ...

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posted by JReid @ 11:21 PM  
Saturday, November 03, 2007
The company you keep
Rudy with his pal and supporter Sean Hannity on Fox News, the network
run by Roger Ailes -- who is also an advisor to ... Rudy's campaign
They say you're known by the company you keep. Here's a bit of the company Rudy Giuliani has been keeping:

1. "Vulture" capitalists:

As ABC News' Brian Ross reports, leaders of the Congo are blasting a key financial backer of the Giuliani presidential campaign for his rape of African economies.
The African Republic of Congo has launched a lobbying and PR blitz in Washington, D.C., targeting "vulture" investors who buy up third-world debt cheaply and then apply legal muscle to force them to pay, according to the Washington, D.C. newspaper The Hill.

One such investor is Paul Singer, they say, whose $8 billion hedge fund controls an investment group which owns $118 million in Congolese debt -- and wants to collect.

Singer and his employees have given more than $180,000 to Giuliani's campaign this year, according to the Los Angeles Times. And as chairman of Giuliani's fundraising in the Northeast, Singer has helped raise over $10 million for the former New York mayor's presidential bid, the paper reported in September.
More on Singer in this previous post.

2. Pedophile priests:

ABC News has been hitting it out of the park, and this time they've dropped the bomb on Giuliani's latest hire for his disreputable consulting firm (which he's still working for, despite a pledge to walk away to avoid conflicts of interest during his campaign): a defrocked priest accused of molesting teenage boys. The former priest, Alan Placa (pictured with Rudy and his mistress third wife Judith here, was the best man at Rudy's marriage to his first cousin, and performed Rudy's second marriage, to Donna Hanover (the woman Rudy later dumped via TV press conference so he could marry the mistress.) Wonder if Tim Russert will ever get all red faced and ask Rudy about Placa in a presidential debate...?

3. Hugo Chavez

Through another of his business interests, Bracewell & Giuliani, Rudy has been a paid lobbyist for Citgo Petroleum Corp., the oil and gas company that's wholly owned by the government of Venezuela, which is of course, run by dictator in training Hugo Chavez. (Note to Dick Cheney, Chavez hasn't gotten around to running Peru...)

4. Bernard Kerik

The Giuliani campaign would like you to forge about Bernard Kerik, Rudy's longtime pal (whom Rudy tried to get installed as Homeland Security secretary back int he day.) But Rudy-Bernie is the relationship that just won't go away, as the NYTimes reminds us in a 3,000 word article today (print version here).

Rudy is officially no longer standing by his crimie friend, former New York police chief Bernard Kerik, ... but he definitely is keeping an eye on him. From a recent story in the New York Post:
October 22, 2007 -- Rudy Giuliani's law partner has been told to monitor the criminal probe of disgraced ex-NYPD boss Bernard Kerik, which threatens to muddy up the former mayor's bid to become president.

As part of his sensitive assignment, Marc Mukasey has thwarted Kerik's lawyer from interviewing witnesses who might help his defense, sources told The Post yesterday.

5. Michael Mukasey

The probable next attorney general of the United States, who like Rudy is ambivalent on torture (no, actually not like Rudy. Rudy is pretty definitely pro-torture...) is an old Giuliani pal. From the same New York Post article:
Mukasey is the son of former federal Judge Michael Mukasey, a longtime Giuliani friend nominated by President Bush to become the next U.S. attorney general. Michael Mukasey is awaiting Senate confirmation.

Marc Mukasey's task to keep an eye on Kerik's criminal investigation shows Giuliani's concern with how the legal fate of his former NYPD and correction commissioner could affect his presidential campaign, sources said.

A source familiar with the Kerik probe said Mukasey's role in monitoring the Kerik case is "obviously trying to distance Giuliani from all [the allegations about Kerik], although obviously it all occurred on Giuliani's watch."

And the refusal to make witnesses linked to Giuliani and his consulting firm available to Kerik's lawyer underscores the frayed relationship between the once-close friends. Those witnesses are people who have spoken to prosecutors and a grand jury investigating Kerik.

"Once there was this sense [in the Giuliani camp] of 'Bernie's a great guy,' even after he became embroiled in scandal," a source said. "Now, Mukasey's taking a different approach with him."
6. The Neocons

Rudy is being advised by the same cadre of crackpot neocons who bedazzled George W. Bush, including neocon don Norman Podhoretz, who today, is probably somewhere praying to God for a U.S. war with Iran. Even some right wingers are raising the alarm on Rudy's neoconservative leanings, which appear to be deep:

...what's left of the neocon movement does seem to be converging around the Giuliani campaign, to some degree, because he embraces their common themes: a willingness to use military power, a tendency to group all radical Islamist groups together as a common enemy, strong support for Israel and an aggressive posture toward Iran. "He's positioning himself as the neo-neocon," jokes Richard Holbrooke, a top foreign-policy adviser to Hillary Clinton.

Among the core consultants surrounding Giuliani: Martin Kramer, who has led an attack on U.S. Middle Eastern scholars since 9/11 for being soft on terrorism; Stephen Rosen, a hawkish professor at Harvard who advocates major new spending on defense and is close to prominent neoconservative Bill Kristol; former Wisconsin senator Bob Kasten, who often sided with the neocons during the Reagan era and was an untiring supporter of aid to Israel, and Daniel Pipes, who has advocated for the racial profiling of Muslim Americans. (He's argued that the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II was not the moral offense it's been portrayed as, though he doesn't say Muslims should suffer the same.)

Some traditional conservatives are wary of the Giuliani team. "Clearly it is a rather one-sided group of people," says Dimitri Simes of the Nixon Center, a Washington think tank. "Their foreign-policy manifesto seems to be 'We're right, we're powerful, and just make my day.' He's out-Bushing Bush." ...

7. Roger Ailes

Roger Ailes used to make a living as an advisor to Republican politicians, including candidates named Nixon, Reagan and Bush, but theoretically, he is now busy being a "news man," running the "news" network he founded -- the Fox "News" Channel. He and Rudy have been friends for decades, with Rudy having presided over Ailes' wedding (not to a cousin, or to my knowledge, to a mistress...) and Giuliani is the name of another former candidate that Ailes has advised. So far, Rudy has benefited from the friendship with more face time on Fox than any other candidate.

8. NAFTA truckers

Among Rudy's questionable business ventures is his law firm Bracewell & Giuliani's exclusive deal to represent a company called Cintra, the Spanish firm providing the financial backing to build party of the infamous NAFTA superhighway.

9. Race baiters

Giuliani's media team (the official part, not Roger Ailes,) includes the consulting firm Scott Howell & Company -- the same folks who made the race-baiting "Call me!" ad against African-American Senate candidate Harold Ford of Tennessee. This one's a no-brainer for Rudy, who has, shall we say, issues with Black people.

and last but not least...

10. Dick Cheney

Asked recently what he'd look for in a vice president, Rudy had an especially disturbing answer:

I would want a vice president who was a partner. Someone who was in on everything that was going on, so that that person could take over if, God forbid, something happened. […]

How do you pick a vice president? … I think Vice President Cheney and President Bush’s pick of Vice President Cheney is a good example of picking someone who is qualified to be president of the United States. That is number one — it’s paramount.

Memo to Rudy: Dubya didn't pick Dick Cheney. Dick Cheney did.

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posted by JReid @ 11:16 AM  
ReidBlog: The Obama Interview
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"I am for enhanced interrogation. I don't believe waterboarding is torture... I'll do it. I'll do it for charity." -- Sean Hannity
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