Filtered news 8/9

Obama is the first to be right, so he's attacked for it   I'm always interested to try to tease apart and find the meta-debates operating beneath the surface of campaign debates. As I wrote a few years ago in what I called the , the whole swift-boat saga was less about the specifics of Kerry's injuries 40 years ago than whether he could defend himself from the charges today. Someone who can't defend himself is weak; and if a guy can't defend himself he can't defend you.  That's what that whole song-and-dance was about.

So what is this back and forth about Obama and Pakistan about?  What this has boiled down to -- and this became even more clear after Tuesday night's labor-hosted debate, when Biden and Dodd acted as Hillary's proxies -- is Hillary, in league with the party's foreign policy establishment, trying to make Obama, implicitly or explicitly, concede an error, that he misspoke.

Precisely what he misspoke about is largely beside the point. The key is that they get him to concede that in the complex and serious world of foreign policy big-think, where words have consequences, he made an error. Of course, it's almost good enough if most observers decide that Obama screwed up. But once he concedes it himself, if he does, he stipulates from now through the end of the Democratic primary campaign that his inexperience in foreign policy is a basic premise of the campaign upon which the battle between him and Hillary will be waged. He can learn, improve, make progress, whatever, but his inexperience compared to Hillary will continue to be the reference point throughout.

But I think he's done a pretty good job so far refusing to get put in that box. And the truth is that I think are so clearly unobjectionable that this is all Kabuki theater of a particularly strained and disingenuous sort (perfromed by Clinton, Biden and Dodd). All Obama said was that if we have actionable intelligence about the whereabouts of high-value al Qaeda targets in Pakistan, and Pakistan won't act, we will act.

Clearly, no Republican can quibble with this. They're on the record for invading countries because they might become dangers to us at some point in the future. They're hardly in a position to disagree with Obama if he says we'll hunt down people who committed mass casualty terror attacks within our borders. And I'm not sure Democrats are in much of a position to do so either.

The unspoken truth here, I suspect, is that Obama has struck on the central folly of our post-9/11 counter-terrorism defense policy -- strike hard where they aren't and go easy where they are. I think everyone can see this. But Obama got there first. So they need to attack him for saying it.

“One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I’d be a great president.” – Mitt Romney, OK that none of his five sons enlisted in the military.

FISA ripped on CSPAN  Glenn Greenwald is an expert on the NSA program. He hammers Dave Rivkin () on the pitfalls of this immoral program and the civil rights violations the Bushies have carried out against this great country. I made two clips to highlight his points…   (3800) |  (5179)    (2689) |  (2851) (10 minutes )

GG: You admit that this new law does not require them to say that the person they are listening in on has anything to do with terrorism. That requirement has been eliminated with this new law. You admit that, right? There’s no requirement at all…

Rivkin: That is correct…

The Aussie view of Fox Noose  is an Australian show, apparently similar to our The Daily Show. Having never seen it, I’m just guessing based on tooling around their website. But based on this clip that Scarce found, I’d really like to see it. Look how quickly they decimate the “biggest name in cable news.” If only more Americans could be this discerning.   (6816) |  (9475)   (3187) |  (5466) Oh by the way, Bill and Michelle? They’re laughing at you, not with you…

It's Groundhog Day in Iraq    The Bush administration and its supporters have pledged to Americans time and again during the past four years that the “next few months” in Iraq will be the “decisive, critical period” of the war. The implication has always been that U.S. forces just need to hold on a little while longer for things to get better. Using an , the Center for American Progress has of false claims we’ve been hearing. :

TOM FRIEDMAN: It might be over in a week, it might be over in a month, it might be over in six months, but what’s the rush? Can we let this play out, please?” [NPR, 6/3/04]

DICK CHENEY: I think they’re in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency. [Larry King Live, 5/30/05]

JOE LIEBERMAN (I-CT): By the end of this year, we will begin to draw down significant numbers of American troops. [Washington Post, 7/7/06]

JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): If you talk to most military experts, we’re in a critical and crucial time. We’re either going to lose this thing or win this thing within the next several months.” [Meet The Press, 11/12/06]

ZALMAY KHALILZAD: Iraq Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki “has a window of a couple months. … If the perception is that this unity government is not able to deal with this issue, then a big opportunity would have been lost.” [Washington Post, 9/30/06]

Four years later, Iraq is still plagued with violence and political instability. Since the beginning of the invasion, U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians have died. “August has begun with a ,” and Iraq’s remains in disarray.

The United States has no good options given the strategic and tactical mistakes made in Iraq since 2002, but simply staying the course with an indefinite military presence is not advancing U.S. interests.

For a progressive strategy on the way forward in Iraq, read “,” the Center for American Progress’s plan for reclaiming control of U.S. security in the Middle East.

Stupid Dem: Pork trumps peace Loretta Sanchez is my mother's representative in Congress. Here's what she told some protestors who

Tuesday night Sanchez said she could not support the protesters because the $145 billion in Iraq war funding was in the same bill that would provide money to build the C-17 aircraft in California.  "I never voted for this war," she said. But "I'm not going to vote against $2.1 billion for C-17 production, which is in California. That is just not going to happen."

That's a real profile in courage. With anti-war Dems like this, I guess we're going to be in Iraq for a lo-o-o-o-ng time.

Stupid Dem: Protect the designers!   First hedge funds,

At a news conference yesterday at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, talked about a bill proposing to extend copyright protection to fashion...."Designers spend countless hours doing and redoing, testing, creating, thinking, and then some counterfeiter comes along and just takes it away," said Mr. Schumer. "It's stealing, plain and simple."

The idea of copyright is not that creators deserve your money, but that you, the citizen, deserve a world in which creators have incentives to create. The fashion industry is perfectly vibrant as is. The world is full of high-end fashion designers, low-end ripoffs, national and global middlebrow chains, endlessly shifting whims, stores and boutiques of all sort -- everything a person could want. Absolutely nobody is sitting around the house saying "I have all this money to spend on clothing, but there's just nothing new out there to buy."

We're doing fine. I'm tempted to say "what's next, licensing fees for recipes we use at home" but I'm afraid congress will pass a law mandating licensing fees for recipes we use at home. I call copyright on the idea of "scrambling" eggs.

Stupid Dem: Heart of ice cold stone    Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA) thinks the $250 million bill Congress passed to rebuild the collapsed bridge in Minneapolis was a because it exceeded the normal $100 million limit for emergency relief projects. Said Kanjorski: Minnesotans “discovered they were going to get all the money from the federal government and they were taking all they could get,” he said. They took the opportunity “,” he said. Congress stipulated that the funds be used for .

The accountability president   On Scooter Libby: "Lewis Libby was held accountable."  On Al Gonzales: "I haven't seen Congress say he's done anything wrong ... Why would I hold someone accountable who has done nothing wrong?"

Enterainment  Bush vows to protect us from zombies

   During President Bush’s press conference this morning, The Washington Post’s Peter Baker asked him if he “had read” a highly confidential report by the International Committee of the Red Cross that “has found an interrogation program in CIA detention facilities, [that] used interrogation techniques that were ‘.’” Details of the Red Cross report were revealed recently by the New Yorker.

“Haven’t seen it; we don’t torture,” Bush bluntly responded before moving on to another question. Bush’s ignorant denial of torture is hardly convincing, considering he is apparently unaware of the allegations coming from the Red Cross, “which is known for its .” The report alleges “that American officials responsible for the abusive treatment” at CIA “black sites” may have committed include “” of the Geneva Conventions:

One of the sources said that the Red Cross described the agency’s detention and interrogation methods as tantamount to torture, and declared that American officials responsible for the abusive treatment could have committed serious crimes. The source said the report warned that these officials may have committed “grave breaches” of the Geneva Conventions, and may have violated the U.S. Torture Act, which Congress passed in 1994. The conclusions of the Red Cross, which is known for its credibility and caution, could have potentially devastating legal ramifications.

Though Bush claims to have not “seen” the report, others in his administration have. According to the New Yorker, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, Rice’s legal adviser John Bellinger III, CIA director Michael Hayden and his acting general counsel John Rizzo are all “believed to have seen it.”

Given , President Bush would be wise to actually read reports like the Red Cross’s before definitively declaring “we don’t torture.”

OK, sort of thin gruel for Romney-bashing. Today he's there are in the state of which he was allegedly governor.

Nation's service or self service?  Asked why none of his sons are serving in Iraq, Mitt Romney says they're serving in another way: .  OK, so now we've listened to this to rebut the AP story which quoted him saying that his sons had chosen to work for his presidential campaign as opposed to fighting in Iraq as a way to serve their country. I'd say that listening to it in the context of his rather lengthy gee-golly explanation takes a bit of the edge off the remark. But not that much. Basically instead of shooting right from the hip with his sons' campaign work as a form of national service, this point comes at the end of a much lengthier silly response. But, hey, you decide.

Reading about Mitt's claim that his five sons are serving the nation by driving the Winnebago through Iowa, I was put in mind of the once-famous Sulllivan Brothers, five Iowa boys who were all in the navy during WWII, were all serving on the same ship, and were all killed at the same time. I hadn't thought of the Sullivan Brothers in years. After their deaths, the military put in a rule that blood relatives could not all serve in the same unit. So the Romney boys should not all be riding around in the same Winnebago.

Torture, American style I know I should be stunned, but I’m not. :

“The C.I.A.’s interrogation program is remarkable for its mechanistic aura. ‘It’s one of the most sophisticated, refined programs of torture ever,’ an outside expert familiar with the protocol said. ‘At every stage, there was a rigid attention to detail. Procedure was adhered to almost to the letter. There was top-down quality control, and such a set routine that you get to the point where you know what each detainee is going to say, because you’ve heard it before. It was almost automated. People were utterly dehumanized. People fell apart. It was the intentional and systematic infliction of great suffering masquerading as a legal process. It is just chilling.’..

There’s much more, so

Truth from the grassroots  Retired steel worker, Steve Skvara, who told his of how he lost his health care last night at the AFL-CIO Democratic candidate forum, appeared on “Hardball” today. Skvara, despite being asked a few dumb questions and being talked over by Chris Matthews, does a fine job of explaining his current situation and the direction our country needs to go with health care. Steve handily takes the Republicans and one Democrat to task for wanting the corporations to continue to control health care in America.   (368) |  (377)   (272) |  (217)

Skvara: “Well, they’re talking the talk, but they’re not walking the walk, if you know what I mean. I mean, their answer is well, let the corporations take care of it. I mean, even one of the Democratic candidates had made the statement we have to invite them to the table, the insurance companies. They’ve been at the table for the last 35 years and they’ve been eating our lunch.”

Entertainment with an edge  First , then , now Florida lawmaker (and St. McCain state campaign manager) Bob Allen has been snagged in a gay prostitution scandal. What’s more, just like Foley, Allen authored legislation that would ban the very same lewd and lascivious public acts in which he was caught red-handed. I think it’s time to , Johnny. After learning that Allen blamed a for his $20 offer, Jon Oliver comes up with some better (and more clever) excuses.   (115) |  (151)   (44) |  (64)

Tax cuts are all we need 

President Bush said yesterday that he is considering a fresh plan to cut tax rates for U.S. corporations to make them more competitive around the world, an initiative that could further inflame a battle with the Democratic Congress over spending and taxes and help define the remainder of his tenure.....The focus on economic issues on Bush's last day in Washington before leaving town today for most of the rest of the month reflected a White House strategy to confront Democrats on tax and spending issues. With most of his second-term domestic legislative agenda in tatters and his strategy in Iraq under bipartisan fire, Bush appears eager to return to familiar issues that animated the beginning of his presidency and might rally disaffected Republicans behind him again.

He really is like a windup doll, isn't he? No matter what's going on in the outside world, no matter what problems we're facing, no matter what the political situation is, you pull the cord and he says "Tax cuts!" It's like he's the Manchurian President.

I don't want to rush anyone. But are we ready to say that Fred Thompson's proto-incipient campaign for president might not be quite ready to sweep the current crop of goofballs from the field?  Or, isn't there a serious possibility now that this guy may never actually get into the race? If for no other reason than to salvage some of the aura of dignity upon which the lucrative acting career is based?

Today Thompson his third campaign manager. Which means he's now operating at a ratio of 3 managers to 0 campaigns. And I guess that means a ratio of like infinity or something like that. But let's not get distracted by that.  In any case, I need to ask you a favor. Can you send me links to quotes of glitz columnists and yakkers gushing about Fred's gravitas, Reaganosity and generally inevitable waltz to the Republican nomination?

Entertainment  Echoing his “Papa Bear” , Stephen Colbert slams the hateful, vile, Nazi-esque Markos Moulitsas and his despicable smear site.   (5365) |  (8081)   (2125) |  (4341)

Top GOP youth leader goes down (yeah, pun intended)  Via :

Former Clark County GOP Chair and newly elected Young Republican National Federation Chair Glenn Murphy is under investigation for criminal deviate conduct, a Class B felony, for allegedly engaging in oral sex with a sleeping victim. This is not his first run-in with the law for this kind of offense.Read the investigative report and a prior arrest for sexual battery in 1998 here:

WARNING: This is some pretty graphic stuff. Don’t let the kiddies read it.

Murphy recently sent an telling friends in Florida about his decision to resign from the YRNF position for business reasons.

According to the the alleged victim is a man. The warning above should definitely be heeded, the report is extremely graphic. Murphy (no relation to me) was considered to be a rising star in the Indiana GOP…

It’s like writing the test, and then getting to grade it yourself.  I’d be remiss if I neglected to mention from Tuesday’s WaPo.

The Bush administration plans to leave oversight of its expanded foreign eavesdropping program to the same government officials who supervise the surveillance activities and to the intelligence personnel who carry them out, senior government officials said yesterday.

The law, which permits intercepting Americans’ calls and e-mails without a warrant if the communications involve overseas transmission, gives Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales responsibility for creating the broad procedures determining whose telephone calls and e-mails are collected. It also gives McConnell and Gonzales the role of assessing compliance with those procedures.

In the Bush administration, this is what passes for accountability. Gonzales and McConnell will have the responsibility for designing the surveillance system (determining who gets spied on) and the responsibility for determining whether they’re meeting their own criteria.

Big Brother at work During their performance at Lollapalooza on Sunday, fans at the venue heard grunge rockers Pearl Jam insert the words “George Bush, leave this world alone” and “George Bush find yourself another home” into their song “Daughter.” Fans watching AT&T’s “Blue Room” Live Lollapalooza Webcast, however, did not, as :

When asked about the missing performance, AT&T informed Lollapalooza that portions of the show were in fact missing from the webcast. […] This, of course, troubles us as artists but also as citizens concerned with the issue of censorship and the increasingly consolidated control of the media. AT&T’s actions strike at the heart of the public’s concerns over the power that corporations have when it comes to determining what the public sees and hears through communications media.

More on AT&T and other telecoms power to “mute” voices

Don't you dare speak up “A soft-spoken teacher [who] posted the words in a public garden” has been “cast as an outlaw.” The Plain-Dealer reports “the case is emerging as a free-speech issue of interest well beyond the boundaries of placid Portage County.”

   “A US withdrawal from Iraq may be ‘‘ unless violence against civilians falls substantially,” a new study funded by the Air Force warns. “The US commitment to Iraq should not be open ended. … If US forces cannot reduce the violence in Iraq, their continued presence and the further expenditure of US treasure and lives , even if their presence is achieving other objectives,” the study said. 

Are you a feminist?  Apparently, I am:  You Are 100% Feminist

You are a total feminist. This doesn't mean you're a man hater (in fact, you may be a man).
You just think that men and women should be treated equally. It's a simple idea but somehow

Of course a quiz is just a quiz and doesn't account for the possibility that I'm also a huge hypocrite. Unfeminist quizzes from the same source: and

Facts?  In the lede?  Oh my...   Brian Beutler, the AFP tries a in writing their story in such a way as to make readers better informed about the issue at hand rather than more familiar with the president's propaganda. Here's the lede:

US President George W. Bush charged Monday that Iran has openly declared that it seeks nuclear weapons -- an inaccurate accusation at a time of sharp tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Oh, my! Imagine the world we might live in if this were the standard way to open a newspaper story about the president making a false or misleading claim.


August 11, 2007 - 8:02am