Monday morning's filtered news

And he's not the devil?    as “” in history. 

GOP's gotta hate this   “A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.” 

Soldiers don't like torture I don't know if it's because maybe fewer journalists these days are ex-military or what the reason, but not nearly enough attention has been paid to the degree to which our torture policy runs counter to decades of U.S. military doctrine and training.  So go read this about the views of retired brass on Bush's torture program, based in part on their first-hand combat experiences.

"American Airlines flight almost diverted a flight over gay kiss.
 Their statement said their actions were justified because of 9-11.
 Yes, we must stop men from kissing there so we don't have to stop them from kissing here."
       -- buzzflash  

Ask a pro  Former CIA senior official,

Muslims with gills?  GOP Senate leader Bill Frist refuses to give his opinion on whether or not waterboarding is torture because it might help the enemy. Like Jon Stewart says, ?

Do something In a world filled with hunger we are called to offer hope.


is a nationwide Christian movement that seeks justice for the world's hungry people by lobbying our nation's decision makers. In October 1972, a small group of Catholics and Protestants met to reflect on how persons of faith could be mobilized to influence U.S. policies that address the causes of hunger. Under the leadership of the Reverend Arthur Simon, the group began to test the idea in the spring of 1974. By year's end, more than 500 people had joined the ranks of Bread for the World as citizen advocates for hungry people. This small group has grown to a nationwide movement of more than 56,000 members. In September 1991, the Reverend David Beckmann succeeded Simon as president.

and become a of this important organization.

Bush torture 'worse than Saddam'  

   Excerpt: Torture may be worse now in Iraq than under Saddam, the UN's chief anti-torture expert says.  Manfred Nowak said the situation in Iraq was "out of control", with abuses being committed by security forces, militia groups and anti-US insurgents.  Bodies found in the Baghdad morgue "often bear signs of severe Gonzales", said the human rights office of the UN in a report.

Words of profound wisdom  :

Bush, Cheney, and those around them remind me of Nietzsche's line about staring too long into the abyss. They've become transfixed, hypnotized almost, by the evils they believe themselves to be fighting. Obsessed to the point where they've clearly developed an admiration for the brutal methods, ruthless dishonesty, and utter secrecy with which the enemies of liberalism conduct themselves.

Liberal democracy isn't a fluke occurrence that just so happens to have survived despite its drawbacks. It's actually a superior method of organizing a state. The idea that the country is being run by people who don't understand that is sad and frightening. The idea that the very same people claim to be embarked upon a grand mission to spread our system of government around the world is like a horrible tawdry joke . . .

To keep you awake: lays out what seems to me like a plausible scenario for pre-election military action.

Shocked, right?  ...

Three former college football teammates of Sen. George Allen say that the Virginia Republican repeatedly used an inflammatory racial epithet and demonstrated racist attitudes toward blacks during the early 1970s.

"Allen said he came to Virginia because he wanted to play football in a place where 'blacks knew their place,'" said Dr. Ken Shelton, a white radiologist in North Carolina who played tight end for the University of Virginia football team when Allen was quarterback. "He used the N-word on a regular basis back then."

A second white teammate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared retribution from the Allen campaign, separately claimed that Allen used the word "nigger" to describe blacks. "It was so common with George when he was among his white friends. This is the terminology he used," the teammate said.

A third white teammate contacted separately, who also spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of being attacked by the Virginia senator, said he too remembers Allen using the word "nigger," though he said he could not recall a specific conversation in which Allen used the term. "My impression of him was that he was a racist," the third teammate said.

You really ought to go watch this clip. Clinton is simply the most gifted politician of our times. I have my issues with Clinton, but I sometimes forget not just what a tremendously effective communicator he is but how much he just plain gets it. He understands politics at a level no one else does. He intuitively knows the subtext to questions and so not only answers the expressed question but in a very analytical way picks apart the subtext and answers the implied question, too. If you're a little younger and missed most of the Clinton years, it's something to watch.  This is the first 20 minutes of Bill Clinton’s interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. In this clip, Wallace asks Clinton why he didn’t do more to capture or kill Osama bin Laden while he was in office. (We fact-check Wallace’s claim that he asked Bush administration officials tough questions about their pre-9/11 efforts to combat terrorism , and .) Clinton clearly feels like he has been set up and doesn’t hold back in telling Wallace just how he feels.  - WMP     - QT  Rice admits that the Bush administration didn’t want to retaliate for the Cole bombing,   -10485">(Read the rest of this story…)

Really, really sad  I was all ready to have some fun with David Broder when he had to take stock of the torture cave-in by the senators he was so last week. But before I do that, take a look at his . It's like he's lost his mind. He's become almost messianic in his adulation of this 'independence movement' that as far as I can tell doesn't even exist. I know that sounds like trash talk, insult over analysis. But seriously, read the and tell me whether you think I'm so far off the mark.

Falwell and Chavez?  Seems like everyone is getting into the swing of demonizing. This time, though, it's coming from a  :


The Rev. Jerry Falwell acknowledged on Sunday saying that if Hillary Rodham Clinton were the Democrats' presidential nominee in 2008, it would motivate conservative evangelical Christians to oppose her more than if the devil himself were running. Falwell said in a telephone interview that his comments to several hundred pastors and religious activists at the "Value Voter Summit" conference were "totally tongue-in-cheek." "I certainly hope that Hillary is the candidate," Falwell said at a breakfast session Friday in Washington. "I hope she's the candidate, because nothing will energize my (constituency) like Hillary Clinton," he said. "If Lucifer ran, he wouldn't."

So he says Hillary Clinton is worse than Satan, in public, but doesn't really mean it. Right. And the American media goes wild reporting the hate-filled remarks of an extremist religious leader.

We're engaged in this utterly surreal dance where the morally blind are leading the ignorant. We still don't know what has been done in our names. Were it up to them, we would never know. But trust us, they say, we did what we had to protect you. We won't tell you what. And, oh, by the way, please pardon us for our misdeeds, if any.

So many layers to the torture debate, but for me this is the icing. In an , former Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman writes:

Under cover of the controversy involving the military tribunals and whether they could use hearsay or coerced evidence, the administration is trying to pardon itself, hoping that no one will notice. The urgent timetable has to do more than anything with the possibility that the next Congress may be controlled by Democrats, who will not permit such a provision to be adopted.

Creating immunity retroactively for violating the law sets a terrible precedent. The president takes an oath of office to uphold the Constitution; that document requires him to obey the laws, not violate them. A president who knowingly and deliberately violates U.S. criminal laws should not be able to use stealth tactics to immunize himself from liability, and Congress should not go along.

The President would have us believe that he would do anything, bear any burden, to protect this country, even strap on the flight suit himself and land on an aircraft carrier. But in a day and age when the Commander in Chief is not required to literally stand in harm's way, the only burden he must actually bear is to uphold the Constitution and see that the laws are faithfully executed.

It is a significant burden--not the burden of a soldier in Anbar, to be sure--yet a real burden nonetheless. But much as he did in the National Guard as a callow young man, the President, having failed in his duty, is trying to wriggle out of any accountability for his failure.

We will prosecute the lowly reservist at Abu Ghraib, who when outmanned and under regular mortar attack, snaps and commits depravities that are strikingly similar to the "interrogation techniques" authorized by the President. But for the President and his entourage, we offer the equivalent of a tax break for the rich, a pardon for all their sins.

The sinner, in most Christian tradition, must first acknowledge his sins before he may atone for them. This President, I expect, will never regain the moral high ground, if he ever held it. And if he insists on and is given a pardon for himself, then this country will miss its best opportunity for a complete accounting of what we did and to whom. The longer we put off that accounting, the longer it will take to regain the moral high ground.

Jesus Camp On last night’s episode of , Bill said he’s received an advance copy of and was very "disturbed" by it. After playing a short clip from the movie, Bill Maher and his panel — which included a Muslim (Reza Aslan), a conservative Christian (Sandy Rios), and a liberal Episcopalian (Bradley Whitford) — discussed the underlying issues of the film and the notion of raising and teaching to fight in God’s army. -WMP -QT

Secret 'October Surprise' Files   by Robert Parry      Excerpt: The Russian 'October Surprise' Report: Click here for the text of the secret Russian report to the U.S. House of Representatives about the October Surprise controversy or click here for the full cable from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, including the embassy's preamble; for stories explaining the significance, go to "The Russian Report" (the first article ever posted at this Web site) or "Russia's Prime Minister & the October Surprise." Richard Allen's Notes on Poppy Bush's Phone Call: Click; for stories on its significance, go to "Bush & a CIA Power Play" or "Richard Allen's Notes on Bush 'October Surprise' Call."

Authoritarianism....Since 1992, the National Election Study has asked respondents four questions that collectively make up an "authoritarian index." The four questions ask you to specify which of two attributes you value more in children:

  1. Independence vs respect for elders

  2. Self-reliance vs. obedience

  3. Curiosity vs. good manners

  4. Being considerate vs. being well behaved

The first item in each pair marks you as less authoritarian and the second item marks you as more authoritarian. After you've answered all four, the scores are added up and normalized on a scale from 0 to 1, with 1 being the most authoritarian.

It will come as no surprise that authoritarians tend to vote Republican. What may surprise you, though, is that this has only become true in recent years. Over at the Democratic Strategist,

In 1992, authoritarianism barely had an effect on partisanship. Other things being equal, authoritarians tended to score about 7 percentage points toward the Republican end of the seven-point partisanship scale. By 2004, however, that 7 percentage point difference between authoritarians and non-authoritarians had ballooned to more than 20 percentage points.....Authoritarianism's effect in 2004 was also strong relative to other variables. Its effect was substantially smaller than that of income in 1992. By 2004, its effect was twice that of income. In 1992, its effect was less than one-fifth as strong as the effect of government spending preferences. By 2004, the effects were much closer. It is not that the traditional left-right dimension in American politics is unimportant. What has changed is how relevant authoritarianism has become.

Weiler and Hetherington also report another interesting trend: in the past, strong authoritarians were alienated individuals who tended not to vote. Today's Republican Party, however, has succeeded in mobilizing them in greater numbers. You can read the article to get the stats, but the bottom line is this:

Appeals to authoritarian issues are mobilizing non-voters into the Republican camp, making non-voters and Republican voters nearly indistinguishable in their authoritarianism. This formerly disaffected group has found a political home.....Republicans always benefit from increasing public fears, whether about gays, terrorism, illegal immigration, or anything that activates authoritarianism. It makes people who only have a little authoritarianism share the preferences of those who have a lot. The political implications of this fact for Republican fortunes are clear.

It makes people who only have a little authoritarianism share the preferences of those who have a lot. Appeals to fear move even moderates toward the authoritarian end of the scale. Fear is the conservative's friend, never the liberal's.

Corruption watch over .... phonics?  Social conservatives believe a lot of things: school prayer is good, abortion is bad, homosexuality is a sin, evolution never happened, and phonics is the only proper way to teach children to read.

Do you notice one thing in that list that seems like a bit of an odd fit? And yet, conservatives have long fought for phonics with the same revolutionary zeal that they bring to the rest of their agenda. And they don't merely argue that phonics should be a substantial part of any good reading program — which it should — but that phonics should be the exclusive method of teaching reading to kids. "Whole language" meets with about the same reaction as a cry to arms against "secular humanism." I've never quite understood how phonics came to occupy the same pedestal as the Lord's Prayer, but there you have it.

What's more, in the same way that evolution has become "intelligent design" among the cleverer of the anti-Darwinists, the code phrase for phonics these days is "scientifically based reading research." For example, this is the requirement of the popular Reading First program, part of the the No Child Left Behind Act. But make no mistake. If your textbook company is considered an insufficiently fervent ally in the phonics wars, the zealots in charge of Reading First will strike you down where you stand. here is the reaction of Reading First's director, Chris Doherty, to the news that some states had received funding approval for their reading programs despite their adoption of textbooks from the Wright Group, a publisher that's been a social conservative bête noire for a long time:

Beat the [expletive deleted] out of them in a way that will stand up to any level of legal and [whole language] apologist scrutiny. Hit them over and over with definitive evidence that they are not SBRR, never have been and never will be. They are trying to crash our party and we need to beat the [expletive deleted] out of them in front of all the other would-be party crashers who are standing on the front lawn waiting to see how we welcome these dirtbags.

In later emails, Doherty more-or-less admits that he doesn't have any particular evidence that Wright Group books fail the SBRR requirement, and follows this up with an admonition: "This is for your FYI, as I think this program-bashing is best done off or under the major radar screens."

Indeed. When you're rather clearly violating the law by allowing funding only for specific textbooks that you have a personal fondness for, it's probably best not to let anyone know.

which notes that Doherty chose to announce his resignation from the Department of Education the day before the IG report was made public. Seems like a wise move.


September 25, 2006 - 7:44am