Monday link dump…
- Cheney: Waterboarding should have been an option for underbomber – “I was a big supporter of waterboarding. I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques,” he said. Of course, for years the CIA has maintained that torture does not produce actionable intel. And, of course, the public practice of torture (they went public with this remember) is more PR than anything. I am of the opinion that Cheney understands that torture does not create actionable intel. But, the propaganda value is simply too great in his view. This is the discussion we should be having…
- Cheney Struggles To Explain Terror Contradictions – Dick Cheney has never been one for consistency of message, nor of adhering to the established facts. It’s unfortunate that he now feels comfortable undermining a sitting president (no matter his political affiliation) in order to secure his own personal legacy and save his ass.
- Biden: Cheney ‘not entitled to re-write history’ – See above.
- A Terrorist Tried In Federal Court: The Case Of Aafia Siddiqui – When we examine the facts, it becomes clear that the GOP is using terrorism as political fodder. So, facts such as this get brushed under the carpet. It’s bad for the coutnry and it’s bad politics. But, they are a party in decline after all…I am for trying terrorists in civilian courts. So is the Pentagon.
- Critical Mass: Dem Agenda Opens Right-Wing Doors – Mandatory reading…
…the purpose of the [Olympics] attack on July 27 was to confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government.
President George W. Bush in January 2008 on bringing the 2016 Olympics to Chicago:
They say that the Olympics will come to Chicago if we’re fortunate enough to be selected, but really it’s coming to America, and I can’t think of a better city to represent the United States than Chicago… This country supports your bid, strongly.
Conservative blogger Erik Erickson on the failed bid to bring the Olympics to Chicago which President Obama (like Bush) supported and lobbied heavily for: (via Washington Monthly)
Hahahahaha. I thought the world would love us more now that Bush was gone. I thought if we whored ourselves out to our enemies, great things would happen. Apparently not.
So Obama’s pimped us to every two bit thug and dictator in the world, made promises to half the Olympic committee, and they did not even kiss him. So much for improving America’s standing in the world, Barry O.
Karl Rove today via Twitter:
Instead of serving as pitchman for Chicago, Obama should focus on crafting a winning strategy in Afghanistan.
(One can safely assume that Rove is referring to creating a winning strategy in Afghanistan to replace the losing one he and the Bush Admin created.)
And, last but not least… upon news that the 2016 Olympics was not coming to Chicago, they cheered in the offices of the Weekly Standard and then felt the need to delete that fact from the official record.
Conservative Charles Johnson – who has of late seen that extremist lunatics run the conservative movement – has this to say:
This is where the rhetoric of “FAIL” leads — they’re openly celebrating when America loses, just because Barack Obama is President. And even though this Olympic bid was also promoted by George W. Bush.
This completely puts the lie to the excuse that those who say they want Obama to fail really mean they want his policies to fail.
No, they want Obama himself to fail, and if that means America fails too, they’re just fine with that.
In other words, conservatives, like Eric Rudolph, want to “confound, anger and embarrass the Washington government.”
Links of the day:
- Why So Scared of a Public Plan?
- Miranda On The Battlefield
- So… Now It’s A Pandemic?
- Bill O’Reilly wonders why Dr. Tiller’s supporters want to protect their anonymity
“Gandhi famously said: First, they ignore you. Then, they ridicule you. Then, they fight you. Then, you win.”
Sara at Ornicus breaks down the Christianist killers killing “baby killers” issue…
Real world ramfications….
Digby spells it out for us…
It’s important to rmember that the person who killed Tiller is playing G-d. Literally sees himself as having the power of life and death, and righteously weilds that power. He’s shit house Charles Manson variety crazy. Guaranteed.
So, why would anyone want to actually make excuses for such behavior?
I’ll give Bill O’Reilly the benefit of the doubt. We’ll see what he says. But, I’d lay good money that he’s going to obfuscate and back pedal and make excuses without ever actually admitting that he may actually be responsible for helping to foster the hatred that killed Tiller.Read More
The Conservative media icon is leading his brethren to their demise.
Last week on Campbell Brown’s show on CNN, Republican Strategist Ed Rollins was asked about Rush Limbaugh and the perception by the public that the GOP is a “bunch of white guys”, and that Obama won, according to Limbaugh, because he was black, and Rollins replied:
“The reality is Rush is an entertainer. “
It’s a point that is overlooked and needs to be brought to the fore, most especially since Limbaugh (by the weight of his ego and because a huge power vacuum exists in the Conservative movement at the moment), is the de facto leader of the GOP. But, he’s only a media visage. Not a policy maker.
Rush Limbaugh is an entertainer, a clown, an angry white guy with an axe to grind. There is no delicate way to put it. And, like Sarah Palin, he is only a partisan media image, an anti-intellectual icon created in order to stir anger and hatred amongst the GOP base. Limbaugh is not interested in actually solving problems or offering any workable solutions. He is a propagandist, and a symbol of a power structure and media tactic that is on the decline and inherently detrimental to the work of restoring public confidence.
Take for example Limbaugh’s recent Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal. His importance to the current debate on the economic crisis is non-existent and ill-informed. Limbaugh’s “economic proposal” is nothing of the sort, it is only more of the same policies that have already failed. As neo-con pundit David Frum presciently noted last fall when assessing the reaction that most Conservatives would embark upon after an Obama election victory:
One thing that will certainly happen is a fundamentalist response…”‘If only we had been more consistently conservative, none of this would have happened; there’s still a conservative voting majority out there, and Bush alienated them with his too-centrist policies and various deviations from conservative orthodoxy; McCain was obviously unacceptable and if the voters turned down ham and eggs, it’s because they wanted double ham and double eggs.” (emphasis added)
Rush Limbaugh has shown Frum’s prediction to be true. And, one has to ask: given Limbaugh’s obvious hatred for all things Liberal, and his public statement that since Obama’s policies are “socialist” he wants Obama to fail, if Limbaugh’s Op-Ed is even on the up and up. Is Limbuagh to be believed? Who is to say his ultimate goal isn’t to sacrifice economic recovery for an Obama slide in popularity and the return of GOP dominance once again? His partisan goals have to be considered. He is obviously more interested in his ideological pals getting back into power than seeing the country regain it’s economic footing. The question for Limbaugh is: If economic recovery meant implementing policies you did not agree with, could you see beyond your ideological blinders? Because as it stands, not even Nobel Laureate’s in Economics have any clear answers as to how to solve the economic crisis. And, it’s hard to believe that Rush Limbaugh is the one who figured it all out.
Beyond this, there’s the sheer ridiculousness of an entertainer like Limbaugh hoisting himself into the economic debate and the political process. Via Skippy, John Cole over at Balloon Juice puts it quite succinctly:
to put this into perspective, imagine the reaction if rhandi rhodes was penning editorials in the ny times dictating the course of policy for the democrats, and the democrats were embracing her pearls of wisdom. i can’t believe the republicans are going to gamble their future like this, but then again, nothing they do surprises me. and, in fairness, considering i voted for bush twice, i am not really in any position to say the country won’t be stupid enough to fall for this. i am living breathing proof that yes, we are that dumb.
And, I have to think it’s more than that. Is political sabotage in the works? Digby writes it seems more than plausible, and I have to agree. A quote from Limbaugh that shows his inner thoughts on Democrats:
I mean, if there is a party that’s soulless, it’s the Democratic Party. If there are people by definition who are soulless, it is liberals — by definition. You know, souls come from God. You know? No. No. You can’t go there.
That sure sounds like your garden variety unhinged terrorist to me.Sirota reminds us why it’s not a good idea to negotiate with terrorists, especially one with little power. It tends to do the opposite of what you want it to do.
And, the zeal to see Obama fail apparently extends to GOP House members. From the David Sirota post that Digby refers to:
How do you know House Republicans aren’t negotiating in good faith and are acting as legislative terrorists? Because their rantings are verifiably crazy (h/t Steve Benen):
Representative Virginia Foxx, Republican of North Carolina, said that former President George Bush’s signature tax cuts in 2001 had created years of growth but that the nation’s problems started when Democrats regained majorities in Congress in the 2006 elections.
Again, only legislative terrorists desperate to sabotage the economy would make such deliberately insane statements. Only legislative terrorists would insist that the economy was Teh Awesome under George W. Bush. Only legislative terrorists would ignore the basic facts that most Americans innately know, and that were perfectly summarized by Washington Post.
As I’ve said previously: extremists (or legislative terrorists) need to be marginalized and kicked to the curb with cogent policy and intellectual integrity. Non-partisan exchanging of ideas is democracy. Holding the process of government hostage and working for failure of policy that could work when you have no alternatives goes by another name.
Go sign the petition and let Rush Limbaugh know that his voice is heard but if he chooses to place ideology before the real debate and the process of implementation of policy that could work (while offering no viable alternatives) then he will be met with ridicule and contempt.
Entertainers and charlatans have a role, but when they become obstructionalists purely to ensure that their ideological power structure (that has been proven to be devoid of any further role) remains in power, then they’ve crossed a line. How we deal with it properly within the rule of law and our democracy will be the test of our mettle.Read More
One hundred years from now the great lesson of the past 60 years of violence between Palestinian’s and Israeli’s will be brutally simple: violence begets violence. For when that simple truth is forgotten (or ignored), violence becomes the only language that is understood. Violence becomes the dialogue and thus the reason for fighting at all. The original reason for the conflict fades away, seemingly unimportant. History is fraught with similar examples. Chris Hedges refers to it as “the language of death“.
It has reached the point where the hypocrisy of both sides claiming the moral high ground while also killing each other at the drop of a hat has become both glaringly obvious and appalling. It’s also obvious after 60 years that war is not going to bring about peace in the region.
Sadly, it’s very hard to not look at Israel as the more powerful aggressor and the Palestinian’s and Hamas as the underdog and oppressed, simply by virtue of the circumstances. Israel holds most of the face cards. (Please bare in mind that I”m in no way stating that the actions of Hamas are justified, but rather, that the line between the two sides has become blurred and, history will show, moot at this juncture.) As Glenn Greenwald points out responding to Israel’s comments that the military campaign in Gaza may be escalated and the dropping of leaflets “warning” the Gazan population of impending military actions:
It’s hard to imagine, short of full-on indiscriminate civilian bombing, how this attack can be “escalated.” Is there any limit at all to the number of civilian deaths that Israel is willing to cause? And, given that Palestinians are not allowed to leave Gaza and have no safe haven within the Gaza Strip, what is the point of dropping leaflets warning the civilian population of “escalation” other than, as Moyers put it, to sow further terror?
They can’t leave, even if they wanted to leave. And, there is a higher and much more historically unkind reality at work here: children are dying. Trapped like fish in a barrel. There’s no other atrocity that is higher on the historical scale than the murder of innocent children. Alas, it’s an atrocity that due to it’s horrific nature, for some reason often goes undiscussed and unnoticed until years later. It’s as if the horror is too difficult to deal with at the moment of it’s occurrence. Often our moral clarity on these matters is shrouded in apathy and economic and political hubris. As Mark at motormanmark.com notes:
On the eve of World War II, perhaps what we consider to be our most virtuous endeavor, when Nazi values first reached our shores, they were celebrated by many of our citizens. It wasn’t the moral crisis of German anti-Semitism that brought us into the war, but the threat that our power would be eclipsed.
As we participated in more wars, the killing of civilians became more and more acceptable, taking a larger and larger share of the civilian-to-soldier-deaths ratio.
Revisit the calm resolve with which we carpet-bombed Vietnamese civilians.Four million civilians died during that 12-year war, our attempt to pre-empt the feared (but still as yet unfound) domino affect of communism.
After the Mai-Lai massacres, President Nixon can be heard on his Oval Office tapes discussing the matter with Kissinger. The deed they are referring to is Mai-Lai. The person they are referring to is Maj. Wm. Calley, murderer of 109 civilians:
Kissinger: That’s right. What they (the anti-war protesters) wanted (as a reaction from the public to the Mai-Lai revelations) was a feeling of revulsion against the deed. In fact, the deed itself didn’t bother anybody.
President Nixon: No, they, matter of fact, the people said, “Sure, he was guilty, but by God, why not?” (Both laugh.)
We don’t know what Bush said in private about the US slaughter of civilians at Haditha, but we do know he and his military did not find the lives of the children killed by their invasion of Iraq worthy of even being counted.
When Israel bombed Lebanon pre-emptively during the summer of 2006 (purposely targeting civilian areas) with US-made cluster bombs–sort of a mini-Iraq invasion—which they excused as a response to the Hezbollah kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers–UNICEF counted the children who died in the murderous hail. The number was 357.
How obvious has it become that real atrocities are underway in Gaza? The conservative Wall Street Journal feels strongly enough about it to publish an Op-Ed with the very unambiguous title: Israel Is Committing War Crimes … Hamas’s violations are no justification for Israel’s actions. Not very subtle.
News of the deaths of children in Gaza is slow to emerge, so public outrage and awareness is at a low level. Full censorship is being enforced in Gaza by the IDF, as is intimidation of the few journalists who are there. And, the United Nations is looking into alleged war crimes in regard to pecific incidents in Gaza.
The moral ground is very shaky here for Israel, if it exists at all any more. They have become that which they fought against. Has Israel come full circle in it’s zeal and passion to defend itself from all those who would do them harm? How far can a society go in fighting terror until it becomes a terrorist itself?
Over at Truth Dig, in an article titled “Why Do So Few Speak Up for Gaza?”, Robert Sheer writes:
The high moral claim of the Israeli occupation rests not on the objective reality of a Palestinian threat to Israel’s survival, but rather on the non sequitur cry that “never again” should harm come to Jews as it did in Central Europe seven decades ago.
The basic argument is that Palestinian terrorists represented by Hamas are given to an irrational hatred of Jews so profound that it invalidates their movement, even when they win elections. That was not the view of the Israeli security service when it earlier supported Hamas as the alternative to the then dreaded PLO. Also, history is replete with examples of terrorists becoming statesmen, even within the early ranks of Jews fighting to establish the state of Israel.
One of those was Menachem Begin, who went on to be an elected leader of the new state. But before Begin attained that respectability, back in 1948 when he visited the United States, a group of prominent Jewish intellectuals including Albert Einstein, Sidney Hook and Hannah Arendt wrote a letter to The New York Times warning that Begin was a former leader of the “Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.” The letter urged Jews to shun Begin, arguing, “It is inconceivable that those who oppose fascism throughout the world, if correctly informed as to Mr. Begin’s political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents.”
Begin’s new party was then participating in the Israeli election, and Einstein and his colleagues, many of whom like the physicist had been victims of German fascism, stated, “Today they speak of freedom, democracy and anti-imperialism, whereas until recently they openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state. It is in its actions that the terrorist party betrays its real character.”
Those actions were then detailed in the letter. They included the systematic terrorizing of innocent Palestinian men, women and children in an effort to force them to flee the territory that Begin’s party claimed for the new state of Israel.
Clearly Begin and his political heirs, who include Benjamin Netanyahu, the most likely victor in the next Israeli election, evolved in their behavior. But I bring it up now to highlight the one-sided reporting of the current phase of this interminable conflict and to wonder: Where are the voices that reflect the uncompromising morality of Einstein’s generation of Jewish intellectuals willing to acknowledge fault and humanity on both sides of the political equation?
Unfortunately, those voices and the discussion have been threatened into silence by the great fallacious tactic: If you criticize Israel for it’s policy, you are antisemitic. It’s rubbish of course, but it works quite well to deflect any and all criticism of Israeli policy. It also chokes off all too needed discussion and basic diplomatic process. And, the unlimited power of hatred should never be underestimated. It allows for an entire spectrum of rationalization of inhumane ideas and practices that one would not wish upon themselves.
In many ways, it was inevitable. When Israel headed down the path of military dominance, the only end result of such a paradigm is alienation, condemnation and eventually destruction. In the history of the entire world there has never been a military power that has not collapsed, either from within by its own weight, or from outside by defeat. This isn’t to say that Israel should not defend itself. But the manner in which they do so needs to change.
Hard and strident diplomacy and economic reform needs to be put into place. The military solution simply isn’t going to produce a peaceful result. That money would be better spent on social needs in Gaza. Why is Hamas left to be the only one building schools and roads and water supply in Gaza and elsewhere? (This applies to Hezbollah in Lebanon as well.) As steadfastly committed as the Israeli’s are to their safety, liberty and right to exist, (rightfully so) the Palestinian’s are equally steadfast in their desire for the same, as well as to obtain what the Israeli’s fought for and already have: a free state. A homeland.
The Palestinian’s are not going to give up, ever, just as the Israeli’s are not going to give up. And, the idea of one side destroying the other is ridiculous and obscene, of course.
The era of arrogant posturing and bully pulpit politics has been proven to be a rousing failure. It only enables others in the Middle East to step in and take control. And, one has to ask: Is it in any one of the major players financial interests to end such a lucrative military standoff? Unlikely.
“This war needs to move immediately to the diplomatic track and agreements that will end the fantasies and delusions of both sides.”
Let’s hope sanity prevails.Read More
At the time, it seemed to me odd timing that the government was so willing to consider the case closed against Bruce Ivins who had just died days before. Those close to him felt the same. Prudence would suggest, nay demand, that investigators act otherwise. But, as we’ve all learned, this administration knows not the meaning of that word, and shit flows downhill… It’s just easier to control the flow of information that way. And, that’s what is happening. Obviously, something is amiss… what… who knows. But, the bottom line is that American made anthrax was used in a terrorist attack that took lives, and that attack was more than likely planned and conducted by an American/s. And, that should put a lump in your throat.
Tom Dashle seems to have doubts as well… This is one of those cases that five years from now the internet will be full of conspiracy theorists proporting to prove that Dick Cheney poisoned Ivins with a blow dart gun, complete with blurry 8×10 glossies and red arrows pointing to blotches.Read More
Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, Matt Drudge has had “Scott the Snitch” on his propaganda site all day, an attempt to paint former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, who has a new book coming out that is not kind to his former employer, as a turncoat. It’s rather interesting for a couple of reasons.
The word “snitch” is a pejorative that means “informant”, and in it’s most popular usage is associated with criminals and mobsters who break with their masters and turn. So, in a sense, Drudge is implying that the White House is mob like. It’s an appellation that isn’t really used in any other context other than refering to informing on others where a crime has been committed to denigrate that person. The appropriate term here would be “whistle blower”. But that doesn’t serve Drudge nor his masters.
And, of course, the White House are following the party attack line, calling McClellan “disgruntled“, or “out of the loop” or insert ad hominem here. No doubt he’ll be “insane” by the end of the media cycle. Look for the Freepers and extremist wing nut blogs to fill that hole with bile.
Keep in mind, the only news here is that it’s a former loyalist saying that the Bush White House chose propaganda over policy. We’ve heard this accusation before. The propaganda over policy issue, and why is was implemented, was a topic on this blog nearly FOUR YEARS AGO, and the facts bare this out. It was an attempt to polarize the public with fear and solidify and maintain power in that manner.
Ultimately, history will tell the story of whether George W. Bush was simply over his head, or a willing puppet who stood by playing golf and spouting propaganda while Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld implemented disastrous policy. Personally, I think Dubya is an ideological tool of Cheney. Not smart enough to engage policy in any meaningful manner, he simply agrees with whatever Dick says and catapults the propaganda like a good doggy.
Not a bad job if you can get it. Alas, the real world is a bit more serious than this piss ant approach to to governing and policy. And, we will pay the price for the insipid, emotional playground politics of this White House.Read More
Remember those words above, spoken by George W. Bush, on May 1, 2003.
What does his paid lap dog PR person have to say about the “mission accomplished” debacle?
“President Bush is well aware that the banner should have been much more specific and said `mission accomplished’ for these sailors who are on this ship on their mission,” White House press secretary Dana Perino said Wednesday. “And we have certainly paid a price for not being more specific on that banner. And I recognize that the media is going to play this up again tomorrow, as they do every single year.”
Ah, yes. The banner was not specific enough. Of course, the preznit still said: “in the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” So, I guess it’s safe to assume that the preznit’s PR dupe is either an idiot or a liar or both.
Well, let’s look at the specific facts and see how accomplished this mission has been. (Courtesy of Iraq Campaign)
The Cost of War Since ‘Mission Accomplished’— May 1, 2003 — April 24, 2008
US TROOPS KILLED IN IRAQ ————————- 139 ————- 4,051
(as of 4/21/08)
US TROOPS WOUNDED IN IRAQ ——————–524 ————- 29,780
(as of 4/15/08)
IRAQI CIVILIANS KILLED IN THE WAR ———– N/A ———— 150,000
(World Health Organization)
RAQI CIVILIANS FORCED FROM THEIR HOMES —N/A ——- 4.7 mil
US TROOPS DEPLOYED IN IRAQ —————– 150,000 —–155,000
(Brookings Institute, Iraq Index)
FOREIGN TROOPS IN
“COALITION OF THE WILLING” —————— 23,000 —– 9,852
(Brookings Institute, Iraq Index)
COST OF IRAQ WAR TO THE AVERAGE
AMERICAN FAMILY ——————————– N/A ——– $16,500
(Congressional Joint Economic Committee Report)
AMERICANS WHO APPROVE OF BUSH’S
HANDLING OF THE IRAQ WAR —————-72% ———— 33%
Yes, even a good fiction writer couldn’t make this stuff up.
The simple fact of the matter is: we are better than torture. We are, or at least we once were… The country that held the moral high ground during the Nuremburg trials would not condone torture of enemies. Torture was the tactic of savages, of the evil Japanese Empire, the Nazi’s, the Soviets, the Red Army, the Khymer Rouge…
Not the USA.
Robert Greenwald has a new video, which is directly below.
This shall not stand. Our failure of a president supports torture. We do not. Write to your local press or nearest media outlet and let them know.
Then, get thee over to Condi Must Go and sign the petition.
Syncronicity is the oddest thing… this morning a friend sends me a link to a clip from a classic Simpson’s episode. The one where Homer eats fugu, poisonous blowfish at a sushi restaurant. Just an hour ago, I went and got my haircut and the young Japanese stylist and I were talking and (without any prompting) she told me that her father was a chef in Tokyo and his specialty was fugu. If it were anything but fugu, I’d toss it off as coincidence… funny. Order amongst the chaos…
Anyway, here’s the clip. Enjoy:
Privacy International conducted a survey of the top surveillance societies in the EU and the World, and guess who ranked at the top as “endemic”?
Russia, China and the United States.
Woohoo! At least we’re good at something.Read More