07 April 2006

Two days in the life of BushCo

[Libby] further testified that he at first advised the Vice President that he could not have this conversation with reporter Miller because of the classified nature of the NIE. [Libby] testified that the Vice President later advised him that the President had authorized defendant to disclose the relevant portions of the NIE. [Libby] testified that he also spoke to David Addington, then Counsel to the Vice President, whom defendant considered to be an expert in national security law, and Mr. Addington opined that Presidential authorization to publicly disclose a document amounted to a declassification of the document.
WASHINGTON -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told lawmakers Thursday that warrantless spying on purely domestic phone calls between Americans on U.S. soil is an option in the war against terror.

"I'm not going to rule it out," he said in a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.
Seriously, what explanation is necessary, at this point? Intelligence can be leaked to reporters for purely political reasons, and the Executive Branch believes it has the inherent right to ignore the Constitution.


File under "G"

For "Gee, y'think?"
"I am sorry that this misunderstanding happened at all, and I regret its escalation, and I apologize...there should not have been any physical contact in this incident.'' -- Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), 04.06.06
And only a week after the fact. Smashing.

For future reference, Cindy, an apology's worth is inversely proportional to the amount of finger-pointing and recrimination that preceeded it. You do the math.

05 April 2006

Journalists finally do their duty for the soldiers who did the same

Almost 6,700 Britons have needed hospital treatment in Iraq since the invasion three years ago - almost as many as the total number of British troops still stationed there. About 4,000 were sufficiently injured or ill to be sent home to Britain.

The figures include soldiers and civilians injured in accidents or taken ill, or who have suffered psychological problems, as well as those injured in fighting. They were posted on the Ministry of Defence website yesterday, on the day that MPs dispersed for their Easter break, after months of criticism directed at the Government for refusing to give details about the "forgotten" British casualties.
After The Independent printed this story last week, I was once again impressed at how the U.K. outlets continue to set an example of a press that does its job instead of wringing its hands over it. In the U.S., the press--along with most everyone else--has forgotten that "casualties" refers to both the dead and the wounded. With all the stories about soldiers surviving catastrophic injuries in greater numbers than ever before, it stands to reason that the ranks of the injured were also growing appreciably. Not surprisingly, like his British lapdog counterpart, El Presidente has also managed to hide those numbers numbers from wide release.

Unlike Britain, however, if our media outlets demanded details about the "forgotten casualties" they--not the government--would be the ones facing criticism. For not reporting the so-called good news, for undermining morale...or for whatever other excuse of the week the administration and its apologists use to put the media in bed with the enemy.

In short order, however, the L.A. Times helped redeem the press on this side of the pond with this must-read series on the servicemen and women wounded in Iraq and the amazing medical personnel who treat them. Whether tragic or inspiring, every story is powerful and, most importantly, long-overdue for the telling. For each one of these 17,400+ soldiers, the sacrifice is life changing and, as such, deserves--demands--to be remembered, not quietly shuffled aside specifically to avoid doing so.

Be forewarned, the articles are accompanied by some graphic images, which, in my opinion, is only appropriate. For these troops, the "cost of the war" isn't an abstract concept, but a painful, human it should be for us all.

04 April 2006

Quote of the day

"This whole incident was instigated by the inappropriate touching and stopping of me, a female black congresswoman." -- Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) after striking the Capitol Police officer who stopped her for bypassing security without showing identification

"That's right. I prefer to judge people, not by the color of their skin, but on the content of their character...and you seem bat-shit insane." -- Jon Stewart on Cynthia McKinney
I applaud the Dems for "keeping their distance" from McKinney, but they really ought to go further and openly stress the need for an apology. It's an obvious step and one that needs to be taken as soon as possible. That might be embarrassing for McKinney, but that's exactly what she should be.

Embarrassed by her astonishing sense of entitlement.

Embarrassed by her inexcusably childish behavior.

And, most of all, embarrassed by the disservice she has done to legitimate victims of racism everywhere, by falling over herself to immediatle play the race card and blame others for her own mistake(s).

Contrary to McKinney's (and her attorney's) claims, this has nothing to do with being black, female, and a congresswoman. To the contrary, "this whole incident," is traceable, not to sex, color, or creed, but to a more universal condition that transcends all of the above:


It's the most egalitarian standing in the world. Anyone can be one and, last week, McKinney seemed quite eager to prove it. Hopefully she'll be just as eager to put aside the hubris that got her into this and exhibit some of the remorse that will get her out. If not, the rest of the Dems--and, more importantly, her constituents--need to make her "distance" permanent.

03 April 2006

Schooled in journalism

The freed American hostage Jill Carroll arrived home after 83 days of captivity in Iraq yesterday - to a barrage of criticism from Right-wingers who accused her of showing too much sympathy for her kidnappers.

...Miss Carroll has been under sustained assault from some on the pro-war Right. Bloggers and hosts on the country's influential talk radio stations have attacked her for stating that she had not been threatened during her confinement.

Others attacked her for wearing Muslim dress and the news channel CNN carried an interview suggesting that she was suffering from "Stockholm Syndrome", in which victims begin to sympathise with their captors. One blogger called for Miss Carroll to be arrested for treason.

The terrorists holding her brought members of the Iraqi Islamic Party, a Sunni group, to see her. The Sunnis persuaded her to give a taped interview, which Miss Carroll said she was afraid to refuse.

"Fearing retribution from my captors, I did not speak freely," she said. "Out of fear, I said I had not been threatened. In fact I was threatened many times."

Miss Carroll's captivity has been more widely reported than that of any other American hostage but received considerably less attention than comparable dramas in Britain or Italy. Unlike most Europeans, Americans are convinced that they are at war with a relentless and inhumane enemy.

Miss Carroll's first videotape appeared to contradict that widely-held view and provoked much of the criticism. The attacks were also stoked by a widespread suspicion among supporters of the war, from the White House downwards, that reporters from "the liberal media" are effectively allying itself with the insurgents.

President George W Bush and his senior officials have strongly implied that, by reporting terrorist "spectaculars" in Iraq while ignoring progress elsewhere in the country, the media have undermined public support at home.

Finally. Not only is the far-right deservedly called out for their indefensible attacks on Jill Carroll, but the dots are connected back to the source: the White House-supported obsession with blaming the media for the public's objection to the disasterous mismanagement of the Iraq War. Of course, such startling directness comes with a catch.

It's from The Daily London.

Is there any more fitting testament to the pathetic state of the American media, than seeing a newspaper on the other side of the ocean show more concern for the reprehensible abuse heaped onto an American reporter--than any news outlet on these shores? Aside from a handful of editorials, when domestic stories even bother to address the issue, they simply mention Carroll's disavowal of some of the statements she made. As for the accusations of her complicity with her kidnappers, being paid, or "carrying Habib's baby?"

Like they never even happened.

So frightened are they of being labeled "liberal," or "biased," traditional media outlets are now giving a free pass to treatment as abhorrent as this. Consider that: it now takes a flaming, Bush-hating liberal to object to the suggestion a hostage was willingly sexually servicing her captors. The press has so completely internalized the radical right's GOP's (same difference, these days) claim that all criticism is partisan, that they're incapable of taking a stand even for the sake of what used to be common decency.

Yet another one of BushCo's gifts to public discourse in "America."

Wonder if Kafka ever thought about sequels?

How does it feel to wake up and discover you're an albatross?
Exclusive: Tom DeLay Says He Will Give Up His Seat

Posted Monday, Apr. 03, 2006

Rep. Tom DeLay, whose iron hold on the House Republicans melted as a lobbying corruption scandal engulfed the Capitol, told TIME that he will not seek reelection and will leave Congress within months. Taking defiant swipes at "the left" and the press, he said he feels "liberated" and vowed to pursue an aggressive speaking and organizing campaign aimed at promoting foster care, Republican candidates and a closer connection between religion and government.

"I'm going to announce tomorrow that I'm not running for reelection and that I'm going to leave Congress," DeLay, who turns 59 on Saturday, said during a 90-minute interview on Monday. "I'm very much at peace with it." "...This had become a referendum on me," he said. "So it's better for me to step aside and let it be a referendum on ideas, Republican values and what's important for this district."

DeLay's fall has been stunningly swift, one of the most brutal and decisive in American history. He had to give up his title of Majority Leader, the No. 2 spot in the House Republican leadership, in September when a Texas grand jury indicted him on charges of trying to evade the state's election law.

...The surprise decision was based on the sort of ruthless calculation that had once given him unchallenged dominance of House Republicans and their wealthy friends in Washington's lobbying community: he realized he might lose in this November's election. DeLay got a scare in a Republican primary last month, and a recent poll taken by his campaign gave him a roughly 50-50 shot of winning, in an election season when Republicans need every seat they can hang onto to avoid a Democratic takeover of the House.
As much as I've enjoyed watching karma catch up with this well-scrubbed thug, it's too bad his arrogance couldn't have held out another few months. However entertaining his pathetic attempt to play the martyr has been, he really deserved to get run out a rail by the people.

As he nailed himself to the cross for the cameras, my favorite part was the bit where he lamented the fact that the campaign had become about him. Unclear on the concept much, Hammer?

The election had become a referendum on you? No kidding. Last time I checked, that's precisely what an election is: the people's opportunity to voice their support for, or opposition to how an official has done his job. Apparently in DeLay-land, the electorate should be more concerned with empty pontification about alleged "values" than with how their representative conducted himself in the office they entrusted to him.

Good luck to you, Tom. Maybe if you spend enough of your new-found free time letting the Freepers, Little Green Fascists, and RedHaters fellate you over your "noble" withdrawal in the face of the leftist consipracy, you might actually start to believe your own bullshit.
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