Filtered news 3/2

"I've heard the call. I believe God wants me to run for president."
-- George W. Bush, quoted in George Magazine, September, 2000

"I would like to thank Providence and the Almighty for choosing me
of all people to be allowed to wage this battle for Germany."
-- Adolf

"A person who is guided by God will never be misguided by anyone."
-- Osama

My senator: Correct again Earlier in the week, the Senate decided to “.” Now, it will not debate the war for at least two weeks. Today on MSNBC, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI), a from Iraq, urged the Senate to “use the power of the purse” to end the war. He added, “You know what? If the Democrats don’t use their power, when we’re in the majority in both houses, we’re going to start owning this war. It is George Bush’s war, but if we don’t get serious we’re going to start owning this war.”

In January, insurgents launched 230 attacks on Iraqi civilians and U.S. and Iraqi soldiers .

Gotta have peace, y'all.

Plain old fashioned bigot On Feb. 13, Rush Limbaugh derided Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) — who is biracial — for saying, “If you look African-American in this society, you’re treated as an African-American.” Limbaugh claimed that this statement meant Obama didn’t want to be black and should “renounce it”: “If it’s not something you want to be, if you didn’t decide it, !” Yesterday on his radio show, Limbaugh claimed that Obama has become more popular among African-Americans in recent polls because “.” He added, “Well, I might have helped because I pointed out he was black, since he hasn’t renounced it. He’s obviously being perceived here as becoming more black or blacker, black enough for African-Americans to get on board. Something has happened here, and, look it, when you have the Drive-By Media saying he’s not black enough and you have me saying, ‘But he is black,’ who do you think might be influencing the shift to Obama away from Hillary?” As Too Sense notes, “That’s right Rush, the . White people, like Rush, never consider race a factor in politics or public life.

The , which houses military outpatients.

VERSUS

The “stately homes” of Walter Reed Commander George W. Weightman and top Army medical officer Kevin C. Kiley, who knew for years about . Their homes are right across the street from Building 18.

Walter Reed officials have known of the deplorable conditions for at least 3 years. Joyce Rumsfeld, the wife of then-Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, was taken to Walter Reed last October “.” Mrs. Rumsfeld was told that her husband was being given a rosy picture of the hospital. Walter Reed officials proceeded to ban the friend who brought Mrs. Rumsfeld in.

Quick! Shut him up! Amb. Tim Carney, a U.S. coordinator for Iraq’s reconstruction, said on yesterday, said the post-war decision to exclude Iraqis from governing the country was “ in all of its aspects.” Carney was recently flown to Baghdad by the administration to before a congressional committee.

To sooth the troubled soul:

I refuse to make nice with these nuts Just in case anyone wondered how hard it would be for progressives to forge common cause with some conservative evangelicals, :

...[T]here's a lesson to be learned from nations that have seen a moral decline rooted in the country's drift toward multiculturalism and tolerance. Social battles of the '70s, '80s and early '90s were lost, because they were fought feebly.

"In a book called 'Londonistan,' " he told the group, "author Melanie Phillips, a columnist for the London Daily Mail, discusses the reasons why the terrorists responsible for attacks such as the ones that occurred on 9/11 are comfortable living in London. It is because the courts have determined that all moral judgments between lifestyles are nothing more than discrimination. All minorities over the years have become victim groups."

Ah yes. The real enemies of the US are, in descending order: multiculturalism, tolerance, and Muslims. Good to know. Oh, but there's more:

Phillips writes that America has been spared from the same fate, not because of Homeland Security or the CIA or FBI, but because of evangelical Christians and independent organizations that stand up for family values.

Right: the "libislamunistofascists" (as says) hate us because of our corrupt liberal values. Hence, only hating on the Gay and Abortion will keep us safe.

You think I'm kidding you? Read it and weep:

Cathi Herrod, president of The Center for Arizona Policy, said her organization took on the issue of marriage in a state that's largely libertarian and leaning more and more liberal.

"Our goal was to protect the institution of marriage, not simply the name of marriage," she said. "That was the fight worth fighting."

Twenty-seven states have voted overwhelmingly to constitutionally define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Arizona voters were the first to reject such an amendment.

"We came up four percentage points short, but the battle is far from over," Herrod said. "This was one battle in a long-term war."

Minnery said such battles are not fought in isolation.

"When you stand up for the rights of the unborn, when you stand up for the definition of marriage, when you stand up for the rights of parents to control the education of their children," he said, "you're maintaining the social fabric, because behind these issues are very important principles. And you prevent disaster down the road."

And that's leaving out the crazy-ass object lessons and the overt endorsement of theocracy. Yes, theocracy:

Jeff Laszloffy, president of the Montana Family Foundation, said the key is to link the issues to Biblical principles.

"If we can link issues to principles, the church will find relevance in society again," he said. "Right now the church believes there's a difference between public policy and theological issues. And I see no difference."

But you know, I can find at least a little agreement with this article. Its headline says, "Principles Protect the Fabric of Society". I'll go along with that.

 

  1. The principle of the separation of church and state keeps both strong and effective.

     

  2. Civil liberties are for everybody, not just white men.

     

  3. Melanie Phillips is nuts.

     

  4. I don't have enough in common with people who hate multiculturalism and tolerance to make much coalition with them, if any at all.

What's a few poisoned kids? Bush administration regulators approved children’s lunch boxes that were laden with more than 10 times hazardous levels of lead, then lied about it and refused to release details of their tests, an AP investigation revealed. The administration’s excuse: food in the lunch boxes “, so there isn’t direct exposure.”

Out of 300 million Americans, can't we find better than this?

Schlesinger on Bush I came across of Arthur's last book. In it, he's quoted saying:

Now, "the imperial presidency is born again" -- in its most dangerous incarnation yet, thanks to a threat perceived as uniquely dangerous and a war on terror that by definition has no end. "The impact of 9/11 and of the overhanging terrorist threat," Schlesinger argues, "gives more power than ever to the imperial presidency and places the separation of powers ordained by the Constitution under unprecedented, and at times unbearable, strain." [...] Our response, if it is to do more good than harm, must be forged by democratic deliberation, not presidential diktat. And thus, Schlesinger tells us, "history illuminates the true meaning of patriotism in wartime."

Truckin! (the latest Fox poll )

"The only thing I can tell you is that when I speak,
I'm very conscience about the audiences that are listening to my words."
-- Too stupid to be president,

bin Laden doesn't head al Qaeda? On Sunday, it will have been 2,000 days since the 9/11 terror attacks — 2,000 days that Osama bin Laden has spent on the loose, living in freedom. Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow was asked about showing that bin Laden is in Pakistan actively re-establishing al Qaeda training camps. At first Snow claimed that this was “an intelligence matter that I’m not going to be able to go into,” despite the fact that the new National Intelligence Director had testified about this topic the day before. He then suggested that bin Laden may now be “marginalized.” A reporter responded, “Isn’t he the leader of al Qaeda?” Snow answered, “Well, I don’t know. It’s a real question about who assumes operational command.” Last month, Vice President Cheney referenced the leader of al Qaeda “.” In December, Snow himself referred to al Qaeda as “.” Moreover, , , and other White House officials frequently quote bin Laden as proof that al Qaeda considers Iraq “the central battlefield in the war on terror.” Only when the Bush administration is asked to face the truth about the threat that bin Laden poses do they pretend he might be a bit player. Otherwise, they’re happy to use his propaganda to justify their failing policies.

What liberal media? Two candidates: Barack Obama and John McCain. Same mistake: Saying lost American lives in Iraq are "wasted." Media coverage of both: .

Who supports our troops? Excerpt: When the Marine Corps pathologist said up to 70 percent of our casualties in Iraq were preventable, this means they were not killed or wounded only by enemy attack, but by negligence in Washington that could have prevented these wounds and deaths, but did not.

"I hear from commanders that the place where there is concern is with the family members,
that our troops, who have volunteered to serve the country, are willing to go into combat
multiple times, but that the concern is with the people on the home front. I understand that.
And that's one reason I go out of my way to constantly thank the family members."
-- The Giggler-in-Chief, who has convinced himself that the soldiers who have endured
2, 3 or even 4 terms don't want to come home, it's just the families whining,

Aborting the aborted position on abortion Another from Rudy on abortion. That makes Rudy abortion reversals and counting.

Fitting Gonzales for the orange jumpsuit Last I checked, So this stuff about the fired prosecutors has likely moved On January 18, 2007, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales :

. . . Gonzales acknowledged . . . that some U.S. attorneys have been asked to resign their posts in recent weeks because of performance issues, but he denied any political motives and vowed to quickly submit new nominees for the jobs to the Senate for confirmation.

"What we're trying to do is ensure that for the people in each of these respective districts, we have the very best possible representative for the Department of Justice," Gonzales testified, adding later: "I would never, ever make a change in a United States attorney for political reasons or if it would in any way jeopardize an ongoing serious investigation. I just would not do it."

And yet, according to Internal Justice Department reports for six of the ousted prosecutors obtained by the , the prosecutors had all received positive job performance reviews.

Internal Justice Department performance reports for six of the eight United States attorneys who have been dismissed in recent months rated them "well regarded," "capable" or "very competent," a review of the evaluations shows.

The performance reviews, known as Evaluations and Review Staff Reports, show that the ousted prosecutors were routinely praised for playing a leadership role with other law enforcement agencies in their jurisdictions.

The reviews, each of them 6 to 12 pages long, were carried out by Justice Department officials from 2003 to 2006. Each report was based on extensive interviews, conducted over several days with judges, other federal law enforcement agencies and staff members in each office.

Now this makes next week's hearings that much more interesting.

Religious Reich Cult Once again, "people of faith" has

Remarkable stupidity. Just remarkable. The Houston Chronicle’s Julie Mason provides some insight into how the White House advance team prepared for Bush’s : "One thing Bush likes to do in the Gulf Coast is hand out American flags to families rebuilding their houses. Long before he shows up, Bush’s advance team scouts the non-hostile property owners in a neighborhood, and later, the president drops by and gives the family a flag. The White House thinks this makes for good pictures — and maybe it did, a month after the storm. But a year and half later, with the region still a mess and so many people displaced, it seems a little tone-deaf to be handing out flags — politically, it does invite comparisons to what Bush isn’t doing in the region."

As American intelligence officials back away from key charges about North Korea's nuclear program, there also new questions about whether the Bush administration may have made unverified or exaggerated claims to force a bank in tiny Macau to freeze North Korean financial assets. Ernst & Young, a global accounting firm, found no evidence that the family-owned Macau bank had facilitated North Korean money-laundering, either by circulating counterfeit U.S. banknotes or by knowingly sheltering illicit earnings of the North Korean government, according to a filing by the bank's American lawyers....

I don't think that cuts it as a denial. That roving band of reporters finally caught up with Sen. Domenici (R-NM) regarding the Iglesias firing matter. So was he one of the guys who called? According to the AP he , "I don't have any comment. I have no idea what he's [i.e., Iglesias] talking about." The AP called that a denial. But I'm sorry. That's not a denial. Each of the other members of the New Mexico congressional delegation had little trouble making a clear denial. 'I don't know what he's talking about' is almost the definition of a non-denial-denial. And Heather Wilson (R-NM), the other probable caller? Heck, she wouldn't even get that close to the flame. "You should contact the Department of Justice on that personnel matter," Wilson told the AP. The House has now a subpoena for Iglesias to come and testify about what he knows. The senate seems certain to do the same. There are only five members of the New Mexico delegation. Iglesias says two pressured him with calls. Three of them have categorically denied it. The leaves Wilson and Domenici. Someone's lying. There are only six players involved. It shouldn't be hard to find out who.

What liberal media? Part II Time Political Columnist Statistics, March 12 edition:

Columnists:

  • William Kristol of The Weekly Standard
  • Richard Brookheiser of National Review
  • Walter Isaacson of The Aspen Institute
  • Charles Krauthammer of The Weekly Standard

Number of Time political columnists in the March 12 edition who had the good sense to oppose the Iraq war: 0 (unless Walter did and I'm unaware of it, which is possible since Walter's a pretty sensible fellow)

Number of Time political columnists in the March 12 edition who not only did not have the good sense to oppose the Iraq war but have impugned the intelligence and integrity of those who did: 2 (Kristol, Krauthammer)

Number of Time political columnists in the March 12 edition who did not have the good sense to oppose the Iraq war but have not, insofar as I am aware, impugned the intelligence and integrity of those who did: 2 (Brookheiser, Isaacson(?))

Number of liberal columnists in the March 12 edition: 0

"Now, let me step back on Iran, itself.
We have a comprehensive strategy
to deal with Iraq. There's a variety
of issues that we have with Iraq."
-- Dubya, Our idiot president is so eager to kill he can't remember which country holds the people who deserve to die. I need a drink.

What liberal media? Part III :

Anonymous: Michelle Malkin has been loud, rude and wrong on just about any topic she has ever opined upon. Any chance you will ever profile any of the bloggers who have been serious, thoughtful and correct? Also, as the right-wing already dominates AM talk radio, cable news and other media, right-wing bloggers are seemingly marginalized. In contrast, real liberal points of view (Krugman and Dionne excepted) mostly are confined to the Internet. It seems as if these "new" voices are a far more interesting phenomena.

washingtonpost.com: (Post, Feb. 16)

The Straight Talk Express continues to drive in circles.

An apology.

"Last evening, I referred to American casualties in Iraq as wasted. I should have used the word, sacrificed, as I have in the past. No one appreciates and honors more than I do the selfless patriotism of American servicemen and women in the Iraq War. We owe them a debt we can never fully repay. And America’s leaders owe them, as well as the American people, our best judgment and honest appraisal of the progress of the war, in which they continue to sacrifice."

No, wait!

McCain's Senate office released a statement from the senator that did not contain an apology, but suggested that he "should have used the word, sacrificed, as I have in the past."

And the professional victims of the right have had not a word to say on The Latest OutrageTM. Perhaps coincidentally, I'm told overnight lows in Hell are expected to dip into the low-to-mid 20s.

Supporting the troops, Bush style After the latest of the Bush administration's version of supporting the troops:

Rushed by President Bush's decision to reinforce Baghdad with thousands more U.S. troops, two Army combat brigades are skipping their usual session at the Army's premier training range in California and instead are making final preparations at their home bases.

Some in Congress and others outside the Army are beginning to question the switch, which is not widely known. They wonder whether it means the Army is cutting corners in preparing soldiers for combat, since they are forgoing training in a desert setting that was designed specially to prepare them for the challenges of Iraq.

...White House spokesman Tony Snow was asked for an explanation. His will amaze you:

Q There was also a report this morning that two Army combat brigades are being sent to Iraq without desert training -- the Associated Press has a story out today -- and that it's because they're being rushed to Iraq to help get the surge in place.

MR. SNOW: Again, let me stress, what happens is, a lot of times you will also do training in theaters, as well as equipping in theater. The generals have made it very clear, and military commanders have made it clear, nobody is going to go into combat activity without proper equipment and training. Period. So if things --

Q But the story flatly says that two brigades are going in without desert training in California. So that doesn't sound like --

MR. SNOW: All right, I understand.

Q -- they're getting the training.

MR. SNOW: Well, but they can get desert training elsewhere, like in Iraq.

Now that's supporting the troops. After all, where better to get on-the-job training than in the middle of a civil war?

Secret straight talk! Huh? McCain wants to deliver some "straight talk" to conservatives -- but only .

Giving N. Korea the Bomb This New York Times article on North Korea nuclear program intelligence is a but written in such a way as to obscure the significance of the scoop. I'm going to try bullet points:

  • The 1994 Agreed Framework froze the DPRK efforts to build a nuclear weapon using plutonium.
  • In 2002, the Bush administration pulled out of the Agreed Framework, arguing that the DPRK was cheating by running a secret parallel uranium program.
  • In the intervening years, the DPRK has succeeded in using its now-unfrozen plutonium program to build some bombs.
  • They have not, however, had any success in building uranium bombs.
  • This looked like pretty shitty policymaking for the Bush administration.
  • It looks much worse, however, after we learn today that the uranium program may never have existed.

The odds look decent, in other words, that the administration effectively let the DPRK build nuclear weapons for absolutely no reason at all other than its generally bad attitude toward diplomatic agreements and "stuff Bill Clinton did."

You call that news? What’s news? Well, it depends who you ask. According to both the networks and the cable stations last week, it was a spat between the press people for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama over who was responsible for David Geffen’s words about a presidential election almost two years away. And that was the high-minded variety. Even newsier—at least judging by the amount of attention devoted to them—were developments relating to Britney Spears’ shave-and-detox, and the apparently difficult to bury body of ex-porn star Anna Nicole Smith.

The celebrity madness led NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams to on his Daily Nightly blog: “Viewer warning: There will be no mention of Britney Spears’ baldness or rehab in tonight’s broadcast, nor will there be any mention of Anna Nicole’s ‘body possession’ hearing.” That it needed saying at all is kinda’ sad.

But nobody else was saying it—or at least no one in the television news business. Over at Fox News, the war is apparently considered an issue for elitist snobs. Or so says my old friend John Gibson, mocking Anderson Cooper’s criticism of the media’s over-coverage of Anna Nicole: “Oh, there’s a war on, there’s a war on. Maybe, just maybe, people are a little weary, Mr. Cooper, of your war coverage, and they’d like a little something else. Maybe that’s why they all thundered to this story.” that Gibson referenced Anna Nicole than Iraq during his show, and that he featured stories about her for 19 straight days after her death.

Gibson knows of what he speaks. According to an Anna Nicole Smith News edged out “events in Iraq” across the entire spectrum of media and positively murdered it on Cable TV.

Still, a People and Us Weekly driven cable media is not exactly news. More depressing is when the fancy-pants press dives down into the same gutter and acts as if it is the important stuff. That’s what happened when Maureen Dowd got Hollywood mogul David Geffen to in anticipation of a fundraiser he was giving for Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign. As Mark Jurkowitz of Project for Excellence in Journalism noted, “The press played on the dynamics of story lines it had already laid down—was Hillary going to be too tough? Was Obama ready for the big time?”

The Geffen-gate was annoying on many levels simultaneously, not least of which was that, despite the enormous attention it engendered, it was based on an entirely false premise. David Geffen held a fundraiser for Barack Obama and agreed to give an interview to Dowd, where he apparently spoke candidly in response to her questions about his feelings about the Clintons. Yet the entire press pack treated these comments as if they had come from the “Obama camp.” And if you think that because Obama’s getting a fundraiser from one of the half-dozen most powerful men in Hollywood, that means he gets to tell him what to say and do about anything, you understand nothing whatsoever about politics and power. Everyone who either covered or attempted to exploit this story should have understood this, and if they genuinely did not, then their judgment can’t really be trusted on anything much having to do with politics.

But leave the “truthiness” of the story aside, and look at the cost of focusing on this nonsense. As in The Washington Post, “Oh, but health care is so boring compared with a Hollywood big shot who drops hints about Bill Clinton’s love life. Yeah? Tell that to the family of someone who died of cancer because she had no insurance and couldn’t afford a screening test.”

What else wasn’t covered last week in between Brittney’s thighs, Anna-Nicole’s boobs, and David Geffen’s canapés on thin wafers? Let’s take 10 examples of stories that are unarguably more important to the future of the republic—and to virtually all Americans’ lives—than the cotton-candied crapola that dominated news coverage:

And now back to your regularly scheduled broadcast....This just in: Anna Nicole Smith is...still dead.

Published

March 2, 2007 - 7:24am

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