Best line from last night's Daily Show was from Stephen Colbert:
Second best, also Colbert's:
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Best line from last night's Daily Show was from Stephen Colbert:
Second best, also Colbert's:
Do you think that Rush Limbaugh should be the only political talk show carried on Armed Forces Radio for the servicement in Iraq? I don't. I hope you don't either.
So sign this petition that David Brock, the one time Anita Hill basher turned Rightwing Media lie exposer, is sending to Donald Rumsfeld.
It really would be nice if the boys out there had a real idea of what they were being asked to do --- and why --- instead of the bullshit Rush puts into their ears as they head out to die. Hasn't Rush done enough damage in this country?
20,000+ have signed so far as of the time I signed it. Keep it going. Dittos, bitch.
You've likely heard from O'Reilly and the rest of the dutiful DittoHeads how Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 has already been debunked as pure fiction. Before any of them have even seen it, of course.
The most frequent charge that I've heard is how ridiculous Moore is to suggest that the US Government helped hustle members of the Bin Laden family and other Saudi nationals out of the country on a few airplanes during the days following 9/11 when all US air traffic had --- otherwise --- been grounded.
Even the always believable, and close personal friend of the Bush's, Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar played along on Meet the Press:
Yes, your highness, I believe we are in a Banana Republic. And of course, Michael Moore has been trying to tell us that for years now (see best-sellers "Stupid White Men" and "Dude, Where's my Country?")
The St. Petersberg Times reported yesterday that Tampa International Airport now confirms that the rumors are true:
The men, one of them thought to be a member of the Saudi royal family, were accompanied by a former FBI agent and a former Tampa police officer on the flight to Lexington, Ky.
The Saudis then took another flight out of the country. The two ex-officers returned to TIA a few hours later on the same plane.
For nearly three years, White House, aviation and law enforcement officials have insisted the flight never took place and have denied published reports and widespread Internet speculation about its purpose.
But now, at the request of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks, TIA officials have confirmed that the flight did take place and have supplied details.
Here's what the former Tampa Police Department official, Dan Grossi, who was asked to escort the flight had to say about it:
Stunning. Welcome to your Banana Republic.
Here's more that you likely missed while the "Liberal" media was spending 7 days of expensive air time --- during a time of war, mind you --- to televise the one flag-draped coffin we've been allowed to photograph for the last year.
The insidious John Aschcroft was layed out by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday for, amongst other things, refusing to turn over a 100 page memo, uncovered by The Wall Street Journal describing how the US could justify the torture of prisoners and somehow work around both US laws and Geneva Convention rules against such behavior. They could do this, according to the memo, "since authority to set aside the laws is inherent in the president."
Yikes. There goes the few bad apples theory if it wasn't already long gone.
Anyway, Aschroft refused to either turn over the memo or answer any questions about it --- or most of the other things the Senators, (who are Constitutionally mandated to oversee the Justice Department, ya know, Rule of Law and all) wanted him to explain.
All the while, Ashcroft arrogantly and outrageously insisted he just wasn't talkin'! And, he also wasn't invoking the 5th or Executive Privilege. He just didn't wanna talk, cuz...well...he didn't want to.
Senator Joe Biden, didn't much care for that...
Now, one of the questions I have --- and if you don't have an answer, I understand. If you could just let me know. So seldom we get to see it. You know, I mean, when you were on the committee, Janet Reno was up 12, 13 times, 22 times in her tenure. You've been up three times. We miss you, John. We'd like to see you more.
It got pretty hot in there as Biden concluded with a useful reminder for both the Attorney General, and all of the jackasses out there in Bushland and Rushville who'd like to minimize what went on at Abu Ghraib:
But it was was ranking minority member, Patrick Leahy who put into perspective just how this Administration has failed the people of the United States of America by failing in their fight against terror. Here's the full brutal and spot-on indictment:
As National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice acknowledged in her testimony before the 9/11 commission, the terrorist threat to our nation did not begin in September 2001. But the preliminary findings of the 9/11 commission suggest that counterterrorism simply was not a priority of your Justice Department prior to September 11th.
Problems ranged in your department from an understaffed foreign translation program, woefully inadequate information systems, cultural attitudes that frustrated information sharing across agencies. Just one day before the attacks, on September 10th, you rejected the FBIs request to include more money for counterterrorism in your budget proposal.
And while you have recently been critical of the so-called wall between criminal investigators and intelligence agencies, you did nothing to lower it during your first seven full months in office.
In fact, you put up exactly the same wall in your administration.
The president is fond of saying that September 11th changed everything, as if to wipe out all missteps and misplaced priorities of the first year of this administration. After the attacks, you promised a stunned nation that its government would expend every effort and devote all necessary resources to bring the people responsible for these crimes to justice. Certainly the American people would expect no less.
So a thousand days later and it is time to ask for the fulfillment of the promise you made.
Mr. Attorney General, your statement lists accomplishments of the Department of Justice since 9/11, but you leave out a number of things.
For example, of course the obvious, Osama bin Laden remains at large.
At least three senior Al Qaida operatives who helped plan the 9/11 attacks are in U.S. custody, but there has been no attempt to bring them to justice.
The Moussaoui prosecution has bogged down before any trial.
A German court acquitted two 9/11 co-conspirators, in part because the U.S. government and Justice Department and others refused to provide evidence to them.
Three defendants who you said had knowledge of the 9/11 attacks did not have such knowledge. The department retracted your statement and then you had to apologize to the court because you violated a gag order in the case.
The man you claimed was about to explode a dirty bomb in the U.S. had no such intention or capability, and because he's been held for two years without access to counsel, any crimes he did commit might never be prosecuted.
Terrorist attacks on Capitol Hill and elsewhere involving the deadly bioterror agent anthrax have yet to be solved, and the department is defending itself in a civil rights action brought by a man who you probably identified as a person of interest in the anthrax investigation.
U.S. citizens with no connection to terrorism have been in prison as material witnesses for chunks of time, and then, "Oops, I'm sorry," when what the Justice Department announced was a 100 percent positive fingerprint match turned out to be 100 percent wrong.
Non-citizens with no connection to terrorism have been rounded up seemingly on the basis of their religion or ethnicity, held for months without charges, and in some cases physically abused.
Interrogation techniques approved by the Department of Justice have led to abuses that have tarnished our nation's reputation and driven hundreds, if not thousands, of new recruits to our enemies to terrorism.
Your department turned a Canadian citizen over to Syria to be tortured. And then your department deported another individual to Syria over the objection of experienced prosecutors and agents who thought he was a terrorist and wanted to prosecute him.
And one of the most amazing things, your department, under your direction, has worked to deny compensation to American victims of terrorism, including former POWs tortured by Saddam Hussein's regime. You have tried to stop former POWs tortured by Saddam Hussein --- Americans --- you tried to stop them from getting compensation.
And documents have been classified, unclassified, reclassified, to score political points rather than for legitimate national security reasons.
Statistics have been manipulated to exaggerate the department's success in fighting terrorism. The threat of another attack on U.S. soil remains high, although how high depends primarily on who within the administration is talking.
Mr. Attorney General, you spent much of the past two years increasing secrecy, lessening accountability and touting the government's intelligence-gathering powers.
The threshold issue, of course, is --- and I believe you would agree with me on this --- what good is having intelligence if we can't use it intelligently. Identifying suspected terrorist is only a first step. To be safer we have to follow through.
Instead of declining tough prosecutions, we need to bring the people who are seeking to harm us to justice. That's how our system works. Instead, your practices seem to be built on secret detentions and overblown press releases.
Our country is made no safer through the self-congratulatory press conferences when we're facing serious security threats.
The government agency that bears the name of justice has yet to deliver the justice for the victims of the worst mass murder in this nation's history.
The 9/11 commission is working hard to answer important questions about the attacks and how the vulnerabilities in our system that allowed them to occur, but it can't mete out justice to those involved. Neither the 9/11 commission nor this committee can do the work of your Department of Justice.
Mr. Attorney General, since September 11th, you blamed former administration officials for intelligence failures that happened on your watch. You've used a tar brush to attack the patriotism of the Americans who dared to express legitimate concerns about constitutional freedoms. You refused to acknowledge serious problems, even after the Justice Department's own inspector general exposed widespread violations of the civil liberties of immigrants caught up in your post-September 11th dragnets.
Secretary Rumsfeld recently went before the Armed Services Committee to say that he, he Secretary Rumsfeld, should be held responsible for the abuses of Iraqi prisoners on his watch.
Director Tenet is resigning from the Central Intelligence Agency. Richard Clark went before the 9/11 commission and began with his admission of the failure that this administration bears for the tragedy that consumed us on 9/11.
And I'm reminded this week, as we mourn the passing of President Reagan, that one of the acts for which he will be remembered is that he conceded, that while his heart told him that the weapons for hostages and unlawful funding of insurgent forces in Nicaragua should not have been acts of his administration, his head convinced him that they were, and he took personal responsibility.
We need checks and balances. As much as gone wrong that you stubbornly refuse to admit. For this democratic republic to work, we need openness and accountability.
Now, Mr. Attorney General, your style is often to come to attack. You came before this committee shortly after 9/11 to question our patriotism when we sought to conduct a congressional oversight and ask questions.
You went before the 9/11 commission to attack a commissioner by brandishing a conveniently declassified memo and so unfairly slanted a presentation that President Bush himself disavowed your actions.
So I challenge you today to abandon any such plans for the session. Begin it instead by doing that which you have yet to do: talk plainly with us and with the American people, about not only what's going right in the war on terrorism --- and there are those things that are going right --- but also about the growing list of things that are going wrong, so we can work together to fix them.
Let's get about the business of working together to do our job, a better job of protecting the American people and making sure that the wrongdoers are brought to justice, are brought to trial and are given the justice that this country can mete out.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Hopeful signs that I someday may be able to support the Democratic Party again.
According to an exhaustive new report from the Pew Research Center released Tuesday on partisanship and news reading habits, Americans of both major political parties have lost confidence in "all or most" of the reporting from every major news outlet over the last four years.
Good. They should.
The only exception to that four year trend covering the two major politcal parties and twelve major media outlets?
Who else?...Republicans who watch the Fox News Channel.
Take a look at www.GeorgeWBush.com - "The Official Re-Election Site for George W. Bush" as of this moment.
Tacky? Extremely. Surprising? Not anymore.
If Bush thought all the books published by Administration Insiders were rough now, it should be amazing to watch what happens once he's out of office.
An amazing report from Doug Thompson in Capitol Hill Blue speaks of a President simply coming unhinged in the Whitehouse as the situation continues to deteriorate for him and as he berates staffers perceived as disloyal as "fucking assholes", "unpatriotic" and "un-American".
It also gives an interesting picture of how George Tenet was invited to not let the door hit him on the ass on the way out. You've got to read the whole thing.
It relies only on several unnamed "top" Whitehouse insiders --- understandably so, given the nature of the article --- so it's credibility is worth holding with a grain of salt. But if Thompson has it even half right, it's an amazing tale of what's going on over there beyond the Looking Glass...
Just the first few grafs...:
In meetings with top aides and administration officials, the President goes from quoting the Bible in one breath to obscene tantrums against the media, Democrats and others that he classifies as “enemies of the state.”
Worried White House aides paint a portrait of a man on the edge, increasingly wary of those who disagree with him and paranoid of a public that no longer trusts his policies in Iraq or at home.
“It reminds me of the Nixon days,” says a longtime GOP political consultant with contacts in the White House. “Everybody is an enemy; everybody is out to get him. That's the mood over there.”
In interviews with a number of White House staffers who were willing to talk off the record, a picture of an administration under siege has emerged, led by a man who declares his decisions to be “God's will” and then tells aides to “fuck over” anyone they consider to be an opponent of the administration.
“We're at war, there's no doubt about it. What I don't know anymore is just who the enemy might be,” says one troubled White House aide. “We seem to spend more time trying to destroy John Kerry than al Qaeda and our enemies list just keeps growing and growing.”
(Thanks to Brenda V. for the heads up!)
A few items you may have missed so far while the nation desperately seizes the opportunity to avoid our woes for a few days...And the "Liberal Media" helps to play along...
For the record, so far, at least 7 US Troops in Iraq have died in the 3 days since Ronald Reagan did...
From the AP, Rumsfeld in Singapore last Saturday, on losing the "War on Terror":
The troubling unknown, he said, is whether the extremists --- whom he termed "zealots and despots" bent on destroying the global system of nation-states --- are turning out newly trained terrorists faster than the United States can capture or kill them.
"It's quite clear to me that we do not have a coherent approach to this," Rumsfeld said at an international security conference. [emphasis added]
(Now it occurs to you!)
From AP, Former Chief Weapons Inspector David Kay on the WMD Dead-Enders:
From The Wall Street Journal on the Administration's classified 100-page report on how they might avoid US Law and the Geneva Convention in order to use torture:
(And you thought Clinton had no respect for "The Rule of Law"?! Little did he know he actually had the "inherent authority" to set it aside!)
For more fun ways in which God was at work to help the Bushies understand that "The infliction of pain or suffering per se, whether it is physical or mental, is insufficient to amount to torture." And "must be of such a high level of intensity that the pain is difficult for the subject to endure." - see Billmon's alarming and excellent side-by-side comparison of The Report and the Women of God who put it all together.
Now back to your previously scheduled week-long period of mourning.
Some fine satire by James A. Bartlett over at The Democratic Underground today where, incidentally, they've also run my "Mourning in America" piece. Self-serving plug not withstanding, here's just a few of the highlights from Bartlett's well done satirical look at the life and times of Reagan, as seen through the dutifully partisan "fair and balanced" hagiography of Fox News...
Reagan enlisted in the Army during World War II. On D-Day, he led the American column ashore at Omaha Beach, carrying one machine gun in each arm and a dagger in his mouth, even though his poor eyesight made him technically ineligible for combat.
He gained the Republican presidential nomination in 1980. Every American who was alive then recalls where he was on the night God himself pre-empted The Love Boat to announce that the November election would be canceled. Reagan was inaugurated the next afternoon.
Reagan's presidency was nearly short-circuited in 1981 when a gunman attempted to assassinate him outside a Washington hotel. When the shots rang out, Reagan deftly ditched his Secret Service agents and chased the assailant into an alley, where he used kung fu to disarm him and turn him over to D.C. police. Due to the meddling of activist judges, however, Reagan's true assailant was allowed to go free and another man, John Hinckley, was incarcerated in his place. (Fox News recently revealed that Reagan's real assailant was Bill Clinton.)
When prayer was restored to the public schools in 1984, the Soviet Union dissolved, the nations of Eastern Europe were liberated from Communism, the Cold War came to an end, and Reagan's beloved Chicago Cubs won their first pennant in 39 years. (Reagan pitched seven shutout innings in the pennant-clinching win over Pittsburgh.)
Reagan was working on a new translation of the Bible from the original Greek and Hebrew when God called him home on Saturday. God was unavailable for comment, but his son, Jesus, told the Washington Post, "We're thrilled to have Mr. Reagan up here with us. I've been waiting for somebody to take my seat next to Dad for quite a while now."
The above might be even funnier, if it wasn't so close to what you'll actually find out there right now in "Reagan's America" where it seems his greatest legacy is a lock-step marching band of rightwing sycophants hell-bent on slinging fistfulls of shit at political opponents while cowardly hiding behind the flag-draped coffin of their fallen hero.
Something tells me Reagan wouldn't much approve of their kind of less-than-positive divisive hatred disguised as "patriotism". But unlike them, I'll not ascribe my own words and ideas onto a dead man. His legacy will speak for itself, unless Fox News and the Freepers have anything to say about.
(I tried to find a representative thread of the bile being spewed forth from the Freepers at FreeRepublic.com - but there was so much of it, I couldn't choose between any one thread. Stop by and browse for yourself instead. You may wanna bring a bucket).
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