Via Mark W Adams
You're out of luck and the reason that you had to care,
The traffic is stuck and you're not moving anywhere.
You thought you’d found a friend to take you out of this place
Someone you could lend a hand in return for grace
ZOMG!! John Harwood is name-calling!!
Somebody tell the wingnuts. This is so not fair!!
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) finally explained yesterday why Democrats don't want her in office: They're scared she'll become the first female president.
"They want to make sure no women, no woman becomes president before a Democrat woman," Bachmann said, "and so they're doing everything they can to, I think, sabotage women like Sarah Palin, perhaps women like myself, or similarly situated women, to make sure that we don't have a prominent national voice."
Bachmann was speaking on Mike Gallagher's radio show.
Bachmann recently said she would run for president, but only if God told her to.
I got to witness something really special. About a dozen tea party activists had staked out Franken's booth, and confronted him loudly when he arrived. But within minutes, he'd turned an unruly crowd into a productive conversation on health care. The discussion went from insurance reform, to the public option, to veterans benefits, to cap and trade. He made a few laugh and even told a touching story that moved a few to tears. A whole lot of common ground was found.
Here's the biography of Van Jones: he was a bookish black kid from Tennessee who went to Yale Law and moved to San Francisco and became a radical. Then he decided to use his law degree and smarts to clean up and make things better from inside the establishment.
He was, he openly acknowledges, a "full-on Marxist" in early '90s California. He joined a revolutionary Marxist group and protested police brutality. Then he founded the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, which combats over-incarceration, police brutality, and urban poverty and violence.
Running a civil rights group dedicated to producing real and immediate improvements in urban life will make a revolutionary Marxist a bit more pragmatic. Jones began focusing on job creation, and, with a bit of prognostic intuition that ought to put Thomas Friedman to shame, he decided, in the late-'90s, to focus on "Green Jobs." This is, you know, capitalism—he wants to create wealth, and use market forces to make the world and black communities better places!
And in 2008 he wrote a book called The Green Collar Economy, and it made the Times best-seller list, making him as much of a figure of the mainstream as Sean Hannity or Malcolm Gladwell.
So here we have a radical youth turned respectable liberal. Respectable enough to be on Time magazine listicles and win World Economic Forum prizes and everything. Respectable enough for Tom Friedman to profile him. And The New Yorker. Respectable enough for Meg Whitman, as in former eBay CEO and wealthy Republican California gubernatorial candidate and John McCain advisor Meg Whitman, to proclaim herself "a huge fan of Van Jones."
And for both his activism and his charm he was rewarded with a White House job with the Council on Environmental Quality. He was tasked with making sure stimulus money for green jobs actually went to green jobs. And he's a great person to have in this administration—he is a genuine environmentalist and the only special interest he's beholden to is poor people. He is the sort of person we were all praying Obama would bring with him to DC, instead of Larry Summers.
And that is one of the reasons he is now being ritually and savagely demonized.
To understand why and how he's being demonized, we have to look at the way information and misinformation makes it way from crazy blogs to crazy pundits to crazy citizens to, suddenly, the non-crazy regular media.
The "why" is simple: he is a genuine left-wing liberal with a White House job. He is black. He used to be radical, and probably still has radical sympathies (you know, caring about poor black people and all that). He is, in other words, fucking terrifying, if you frame his story right.
World Net Daily is an old and hugely popular far-right conspiracy "news" website. We've discussed their promotion and popularization of the birther conspiracy but both their influence and insanity cannot be understated. They have a huge email list. The people on that list click on ads and spend money. WND is almost as profitable as Gawker Media. The RNC needs access to that list. So they humor them. And they sponsor them.
And these are the people who insist that there will be FEMA concentration camps and a NAFTA superhighway and a single North American currency and, yes, it is birther central.
WND discovered Jones in April. They took publicly available information about Jones' civil rights past, his arrest at a Rodney King protest (he was not charged with anything because it was one of those illegal but common mass arrests) and his own statements about his youthful radicalism and made a scary, scary story called "Will a 'red' help blacks go green?" Wow, right? And, yes, these were not secrets—remember the Friedman and New Yorker profiles?
Dave Weigel explains how this all snowballed in The Washington Independent: On July 23, Glenn Beck talked about this "self-avowed communist" he discovered in the Obama administration. He brought him up again and again and again over the next month, until his amazing late-August week-long series almost entirely about how Van Jones and Van Jones alone is proof that Obama has a goon squad of violent leftists looking to remake the country as some sort of collectivist Soviet Republic.
Here is the message machine in its platonic form: Glenn Beck introduces his audience to a group Jones once belonged to called "The Apollo Alliance" on August 24th. 72 hours later a constituent is asking his (Republican) representative if this Apollo Alliance wrote the health care bill. The Rep has no idea what the guy is talking about, but the rest of the audience certainly does ("Van Jones!" they shout).
And now, here we are. His name on an old 9/11 truther petition is dredged up. An amusing clip in which he calls Republicans assholes (but explains that he, too, is an asshole) is on CBS News. Jake Tapper and Politico are on the case.
That is how a smear becomes a meme. Schoolhouse Rock, 2009 style.
Via C&L Video Cafe
When even Joe Scarborough is calling you out for fear mongering, you've got a problem.
From Think Progress:
Earlier today, ThinkProgress noted that conservatives are freaking out over President Obama’s upcoming speech to schoolchildren about “persisting and succeeding in school,” claiming that it is actually aimed at political indoctrination. On MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, host Joe Scarborough ripped into the hyperventilating conservatives. “Seriously, why don’t we want the president of the United States, any president of the United States, delivering the message to kids: work hard, stay in school, succeed,” said Scarborough, adding, “get your ratings if you want, you’re just screwing your political party.”
President Obama announced that he will give a speech welcoming America's young students into the new school year. Conservatives, happy to fight about anything this man does, came out swinging against the President's "socialist" intentions. And they're winning!
Basically, the speech amounts to nothing more than our nation's Commander-in-Chief urging kids to stay in school, for, if they do, perhaps one day they'll be president. Floridian Republican Jim Greer was one of the first to seize up over the news, and called Obama's September 8th an attempt to "spread" his "socialist ideology." Greer then got into nitty-gritty politics, and warned that the President would simply be indoctrinating guppies with his liberal politics.
Conservatives are easily swayed, almost collective organism, so their calls for prohibition only grew more voracious. They took particular offense over the announcement that students would be encouraged to "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president."
Rush Limbaugh was soon on board. So was Glenn Beck. And then Greer reared his head on Hardball this evening. Though he and his knows Presidents often address students, this is different, because Obama's a proselytizer of anti-American madness.
The debate has become so heated, in fact, that school districts in six states are refusing to show the video, for, it would seem, they believe Greer's worries that anti-Obama kids will be "ostracized." This couldn't be further from the truth.
First of all, kids are kids and, if our increasingly dim childhood memory serves, don't care much for nitty-gritty policy. They care about recess and juice boxes. By folding to conservative pressure, schools and parents both are tacitly vilifying the President when, in fact, even if he were to discuss policy, most kids wouldn't care or would forget about it after cartoons.
Perhaps the most worrisome aspect of this outrage is that the kids are being denied an opportunity to hear directly from the President, a man to whom some civics classes — if such things still exist — encourage. Democracy goes both ways, we're taught, so wouldn't hearing a generic message about the importance of education be an important lesson in and of itself?
If you ask us, America's children would definitely benefit from hearing the President, particularly the nation's first black president, discuss the necessity of reading, writing and arithmetic. Especially since a Florida school distract just now, in 2009, removed the term "negro" from its racial background form.
Meanwhile, the White House has caved and agreed to release the speech's text ahead of the event. They also changed the announcement letter's language about "helping the president" to "write letters to themselves about how they can achieve their short-term and long-term education goals." Both moves only give validity to these inane, unnecessary protests.
At least the kids learned one valuable lesson: bitch loudly and often enough and you can bring the White House to its knees.
Anyway, Bill Rice is happy to answer your questions about his finger and the man who is currently digesting it! Let’s summarize these important points, together.
Q. Where is the cannibal? Is he at large?
A. He is at large and probably getting hungry again.
Q. Who started it?
A. The nine-fingered guy started punching the finger-eater because the latter called the former an “idiot,” an antiquated slur directed towards people with ten-fingers.
Q. Couldn’t the doctors just re-attach the pinky?
A. No. The bacteria from the finger-eater’s mouth had compromised the health of the digit.
Q. Bill Rice, man of nine-fingers, you will sue the flesh demon, yes? For such is the American way!
Here is the 20 point essay question: It is entirely incidental, is it not, that the finger-biter and the former finger-haver happen to disagree on issues of health care policy? In no way is this a WIN for any side, because it is a BIG LOSE for all humans everywhere? Please use complete sentences and six of the seven vocabulary words from lesson four.
Via HuffPo Comedy
Last night, Letterman addressed the rumors swirling that Dick Cheney will run for president in 2012 with Sarah Palin as his VP candidate. "Talk about your dream ticket...Oh, buddy, the comedy recession is over," he said.
Dave went on to discuss the recently released "Vanity Fair" article on Levi Johnston, in which the father of Bristol Palin's baby claims Sarah wanted to keep her daughter's pregnancy a secret:
Sarah told me she had a great idea: we would keep it a secret--nobody would know that Bristol was pregnant. She told me that once Bristol had the baby she and Todd would adopt him...She was nagging--she wouldn't give up. She would say, 'So, are you gonna let me adopt him?' We both kept telling her we were definitely not going to let her adopt the baby. I think Sarah wanted to make Bristol look good, and she didn't want people to know that her 17-year-old daughter was going to have a kid.
"Oh yeah, like I'm gonna make a joke about this. None of my business. Whatever you want. Live and let live, that's my motto," said Letterman to waves of applause. This obvious reference to the trouble he had with Palin supporters after joking about her family a few months back didn't stop Dave from taking shots at the ex-Governor for her hunting skills and Russia-watching.
Via Jason Linkins
Oooh, boy! I know what Glenn Beck is going to be talking about on his Fox News Comedy Cavalcade today! The Hill reports that a video of White House green jobs adviser Van Jones is rocketing around the internet today, in which Jones, appearing at a lecture at the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative, refers to Republicans -- and himself -- as "assholes."
The incident occurred last February, before Jones joined the administration and at a time when the battle to get the stimulus package passed was ongoing. A questioner asked Jones why it was that the Republicans were so successful at getting measures passed in the Senate without supermajorities, while the Democrats were hamstrung with 58 votes of their own. Jones short answer: "Well...they're assholes." The larger point being: sometimes it takes an asshole to get things done.
QUESTIONER: When [President George W. Bush] was in office, [Republicans] had a majority; it wasn't 60, it wasn't more than 60, but they pushed through all of these bills," the questioner began. "But when we have, you know, 58, we seem to not be able to move things as progressively as many of us here would want, as Obama wants. I know that he has a strong interest in bipartisanship, but when no Republicans are voting with him, ... how were they Republicans able to push things through when they had less than 60 senators, but somehow we cant?
JONES: Well the answer to that is, they're assholes.
QUESTIONER: I was afraid that was the answer.
JONES: As a technical, political kind of term. And Barack Obama is not an asshole. Now, I will say this: I can be an asshole, and some of us who are not Barack Hussein Obama, are going to have to start getting a little bit uppity.
Fox News is already totally LOLcatting this! This makes sense. It has everything that Fox could possibly want: Van Jones! Intemperate remarks! Someone besides Dick Cheney swearing! Berkeley! A black person using the word "uppity!" The word "collaborative!"
Going to the candidates' debate
Laugh about it
Shout about it
When you've got to choose
Every way you look at it, you lose
The White House has released a pair of public service announcements on the importance of education, tying into President Obama's upcoming back-to-school message next week -- the one that right-wingers are attacking as an example of socialist indoctrination.
Here's the first one, with Obama saying he wouldn't have been at his inauguration ceremony, if he hadn't been at his graduation ceremony first:
There's also another PSA featuring a bunch of popular NASCAR drivers, a sport we usually associate with the Republican-leaning parts of America. Check it out after the jump.
Via The Ed Show
Roy Sekoff appeared on MSNBC's "The Ed Show" with former GOP congressman Tom Tancredo to debate whether Republican senators are spreading lies and fear with their comments about President Obama. Sekoff said, "The fringe has become the mainstream. It's one thing when the lunatics are running the asylum. But now the lunatics are running the GOP. And that's what we're seeing right now. It's a concerted effort to make a cartoon caricature called President Obama, who is untethered from reality, this image they're creating, someone who wants to set terrorists free."
The PR push for Johnston's article in Vanity Fair started yesterday and people are already hating America's babydaddy and rooting for Sarah Palin. But her reality-television-turned-politics spectacle was getting stale and nothing reinvigorates an aging soap like a good rivalry.
In today's NY Times Gail Collins writes she feels sympathy for Palin because of Levi's story, where he calls Palin a bad mother who was never around and claims that she tried to adopt his and Bristol's child to pass it off as her own.
But even if he were an Eagle Scout with a scholarship to Harvard, can you imagine anything worse than discovering your daughter's teenage ex-boyfriend has been given a national platform to discuss his impressions of her mom's parenting skills?
Yes, we can. How about being an 18-year-old boy who is trotted out by a conservative succubus and an unqualified, ambitious woman in some lame attempt to appease voters who believe that abstinence exists and that abortion and adoption are bad? Yes, Levi is shamelessly cashing in on his brief moment in the sun, but if it weren't for the GOP and their collective delusion about the realities of teenage life, he never would have had a platform to begin with.
And really, how harmful is Levi? He's only riding Sarah Palin's coattails — VF gave her top billing — thus keeping her in the spotlight. Besides, what is this distracting America from? Palin's in-depth explorations of American foreign policy with Russia. Yeah, he's a not-very-bright, opportunistic burgeoning gay icon who is making the most of his very limited shelf life. He's Kato Kaelin with a hunting license, and he seems to know it. Seriously, when is a dim bulb from Wasilla ever going to get a chance to burn so bright again?
And a fun flame-out it has been. Aside from being courted by Graydon Carter with trips to the Monkey Bar and an appearance as Kathy Griffin's date to the Teen Choice Awards, there was also a bidding war by gay porn companies to get the kid to show off his magical impregnating device. His next step is an underwear shoot for Playgirl! Does it get any more wonderfully ridiculous?
If anything, Sarah Palin and the Republican ideologues are being outsmarted by their pawn. They dragged this kid away from hockey practice to try to save their asses and now he's using the same public-profile-as-theater-of-the-absurd tactics to stay in the spotlight. Besides, Sarah Palin needs a way to stay in the headlines somehow. And for that, Levi Johnston, we salute you.
Via US Health Crisis
As our health care debate has overheated, myths about the Canadian health care system abound. The Republicans and the media are using the Canadian system to criticize everything from the public option to breast cancer treatment as they continue to stonewall any reform. This video, and more like it, might finally change the debate by forcing the American media to get off their arses and go tell the truth about Healthcare around the world, and how it towers over the wretched mess we have in the United States. Too many lives are running out of time.
Why this video? Why now?
In the spirit of truth, my friend Matte Black (@Shoq on Twitter) and his brother took their video camera to Canada on vacation to interview Canadians about their health care system. When we talked about it, I asked him to try to get negative views with specifics for balance. Here is the result. It has been edited for brevity, but the negative views were not removed, because there were none. He could not find one Canadian who thought they should kill the system. These are everyday people. They have no agenda at all other than being patriotic Canadians.
Please watch it and share it with as many people as you can.
I've been North, I've been East to the California beach
There's only one place I know where to find you
And all you Southern girls got a way with your words
And you show it
I guess the other thing that offends the hell out of me, frankly, Chris, is we had a track record now of eight years of defending the nation against any further mass casualty attacks from Al Qaida.
The approach of the Obama administration should be to come to those people who were involved in that policy and say, "How did you do it? What were the keys to keeping this country safe over that period of time?"
You know which other two-term administrations had "eight year track records defending the nation against any further mass casualty attacks from Al Qaida?"
All of them.
Every two-term administration ever can boast the same thing.
And they achieved it without selling out our values and breaking international law. Sorry, Dick, but you're a liar, a coward and a war criminal.
Such awesome crazy.
Oh by the way, these are the same people who several years ago were repeating in lockstep, "You can't have a Constitution if you're dead," and, "Undermining the commander-in-chief during a war emboldens the enemy." Of course the president was white at the time.
And you wonder why people are confused about the health care debate.
What's particularly striking about this exchange is that, when offered the most clear and concise possible explanation for why 44-year old Anthony Weiner isn't on a government plan that's only open to people aged 65 and over, she just whoops it up as if she's caught him in some sort of damning contradiction.
Obviously, the real punchline is that many of the people criticizing the Democrats' health care plan don't have the foggiest idea how any of it works. And Bartiromo in particular reveals--however inadvertently--that she thinks elements of the proposal make perfect sense. Yes, she's wrong to assume Weiner could buy into Medicare, and she's wrong to assume that he chooses not to because the coverage is sub-par. But ironically, the idea that Weiner should be able to buy into Medicare seems totally uncontroversial to her. And that, of course, is the whole point of the public option.
The secessionist losers in Texas held a major rally (like 2 people) in front of the state Capitol this past weekend, but whither be leader Rick Perry and his 70 pretend-secessionist allies from the state legislature? Apparently they were all busy doing… let’s see… anything else. But the Texas Observer was there to cover the madness and met some interesting “Real Americans,” who at one point very patriotically shouted, “we hate the United States.”
Our favorite is the second speaker — a Paultard lady — saying, “We are aware that stepping off into secession may in fact be a bloody war.” Yes, there will be much blood when a few F-18s utterly obliterate your new country’s infrastructure and murder most of its population before lunchtime.
Well I drunk a lot of wine
And Im feeling fine
Gonna race some cat to bed
Is there concrete all around
Or is it all in my head
Via John Cole
Morale has sagged at the CIA following the release of additional portions of an inspector general’s review of the agency’s interrogation program and the announcement that the Justice Department would investigate possible abuses by interrogators, according to former intelligence officials, especially those associated with the program.
A. B. “Buzzy” Krongard, the third-ranking CIA official at the time of the use of harsh interrogation practices, said that although vigorous oversight is crucial, the public airing of once-classified internal assessments and the prospect of further investigation are damaging the agency. “Morale at the agency is down to minus 50,” he said.
At the same time, former inspector general John L. Helgerson, whose review of the program was largely declassified Monday, said that the release, though painful, would ensure that the agency confronts difficult issues head on, instead of ignoring or trying to bury them.
Unlike virtually everything else in Fred Hiatt’s fishwrap, I tend to trust Pincus and his body of work, so I have no doubt that morale might be low.
What astounds me, though, is that morale might be low at the CIA because the Justice department might prosecute people who- get this- BROKE THE LAW. Imagine that- the Justice department has duties other than politically motivated prosecutions, micromanaging US Attorneys, and stocking the department with religious nuts and gay-bashers.
And what I find even more astounding is that the Republicans and Dick Cheney are, so far, successfully pivoting and presenting themselves as the defenders of the CIA, when it has been Dick Cheney and the neocon establishment that has spent the last four decades undermining, attacking, and debasing the CIA. It wasn’t the liberals who cooked up Team B- that would be George Herbert Walker Bush who approved it, Paul Wolfowitz who was part of the team, and Richard Perle who was instrumental in making it happen. It wasn’t Ted Kennedy and the liberals who spent the entire last decade undermining the CIA and basically making George Tenet say whatever the hell Dick Cheney wanted them to say, that would be the Republicans. It wasn’t Dennis Kucinich who ignored the August 6th CIA memo about bin Laden, setting the stage for the largest intelligence failure since Pearl Harbor. It wasn’t the dirty hippies at the DNC who created the Office of Special Plans to create an excuse to attack Iraq and directly undermine the intelligence from the CIA, that was Dick Cheney and Doug Feith and company.
And let’s not forget that it wasn’t Russ Feingold and Barbara Boxer who outed a covert CIA agent and then conducted a full-on media jihad against her and her husband. No, again the honors for that go to Dick Cheney, Scooter Libby, and Bob Novak.
So if morale is low at the CIA and they are feeling a little butthurt, they might want to think about how things have happened the last few decades. They aren’t in the position they are in because of Eric Holder. Far from it. And if they can’t figure this out on their own, and need me to point this crap out, then quite frankly, I don’t think they are smart enough to be handling classified intelligence in the first damned place.
Via The Public Record
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that former Vice President Dick Cheney has his facts wrong on the Obama administration’s policies for terror detainee interrogations.
How far out there is right-wing website WorldNetDaily? So far out that most of its fellow conservatives are not only disassociating themselves from it as fast as it can, but are actively figuring out how to boycott it. From an Aug. 31 post by Jon Henke at The Next Right noting WND's embrace of the claim that the federal government is building concentration camps for U.S. political dissidents:
The Birthers are the Birchers of our time, and WorldNetDaily is their pamphlet. The Right has mostly ignored these embarrassing people and organizations, but some people and organizations inexplicably choose to support WND through advertising and email list rental or other collaboration. For instance, I have been told that F.I.R.E (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) -- an otherwise respectable group that does important work -- uses the WND email list. They should stop.
No respectable organization should support the kind of fringe idiocy that WND peddles. Those who do are not respectable.
I think it's time to find out what conservative/libertarian organizations support WND through advertising, list rental or other commercial collaboration (email me if you know of any), and boycott any of those organizations that will not renounce any further support for WorldNetDaily.
Ouch. That's gonna leave a mark -- well, it would if Joseph Farah, Jerome Corsi and crew had any sense of shame.
Oh, and one of the organizations that has rented WND's mailing list is ... the Republican National Committee. Here's a screenshot from an RNC email sent out August 27 on the WND list:
Via The Nation
The upcoming film, Revealing Hate takes an in-depth look at the chilling history and present of America's white supremacist organizations. From the Klan to modern skinheads and neo-nazis, right-wing extremists have used not just violent rhetoric but actual bloodshed to make their points.
Check out more great Nation videos on our YouTube channel.
Journalism continues staggering pushes forward on an otherwise ordinary Sunday! In the great "tradition" of mixing up people like Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera with public drunks like Hoda and Kathy Lee, The Today Show's newest hire? Jenna Bush. Whee!
Absolutely, completely, 100% true. Here's looking at you, NBC, via the AP report:
...a 27-year-old teacher in Baltimore, [Bush] will contribute stories about once a month on issues like education to television's top-rated morning news show, said Jim Bell, its executive producer.
"It wasn't something I'd always dreamed to do," she said. "But I think one of the most important things in life is to be open-minded and to be open-minded for change."
Hopefully, she'll end up hanging around post-segment, get shitty with Kathy Lee and Hoda, and enlighten them with the story of Chandarella. Must See TV, right there. Jim Bell, Today's executive producer is already giving quotes about how he's not using it as political grease for a future shot at trying to Frost/Nixon old Daddy Dubya. Watch that D:
Bell said Hager won't be covering politics. He said he didn't consider the job as a down payment for a future interview with her father, who has been living quietly in Texas since leaving office earlier this year. Attacks on NBC News by conservatives for the liberal bent of MSNBC also had nothing to do with it, he said. "I hope to focus on what I'm passionate about because I think I'd do them best job on them - education, urban education, women and children's issues and literacy," Hager said.
Jenna Bush is nice, and fun! And know what? This is actually somewhat likable in its complete and utter boldfaced stunt-casting nature. And while this might not exactly be a ratings boon—at all—educational it shall be: all you aspiring TV anchors, look to the stars! You apparently have a better chance of getting there than on Today.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said on “Face the Nation” Sunday that — like most Republicans and even some Democrats, including some in the president’s cabinet — he thinks President Obama was right when he said “we ought to go forward, not back.”
But then he went on to say, as Glenn Greenwald tweeted yesterday, that “I think the interrogations were in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture that we ratified under President Reagan.”
Now, once you acknowledge that the CIA, at the direction of senior cabinet officials, violated international humanitarian law that requires the United States to prosecute the perpetrators, the only way to justify not investigating is to say that the executive branch of government is above the law — or, put more pragmatically, that it’s politically too messy to investigate senior leaders in the U.S. government.
Republicans didn’t hesitate to investigate when it involved Democratic President Bill Clinton, however, or to bring charges against him for lying about a personal matter. And Congress didn’t turn its backs on the Iran-Contra scandal during the Reagan administration, which led to 14 senior officials charged with crimes, and 11 convictions. And of course the Watergate affair led to the indictment and conviction of senior Nixon administration officials, and impeachment charges against the president. Congressional investigations of sitting and past administrations are far from unprecedented.
So how does McCain explain why we ought to forget the whole torture problem — which led to the deaths of a still-unknown number of detainees in custody, some of whom the CIA still can’t account for — even as he acknowledges that it violated international treaties that legally obligate us to prosecute?
“I think these interrogations helped al-Qaeda recruit,” McCain said yesterday, adding: “the damage that it did to America’s reputation in the world we’re still on the way to repairing.”
Even setting aside the legal requirements, as a practical matter, a public acknowledgment and investigation would seem to be the only way to repair that damages.
As McCain put it: “This is an ideological struggle as well as a physical one.”
Via Andrew Sullivan
Here are the tough and penetrating questions asked by Chris Wallace of a man whose critics accuse of war crimes, and whose administration presided over the death of over a hundred prisoners in interrogation, who authorized torture techniques once trade-marked by the Khmer Rouge:
Why are you so concerned about the idea of one administration reviewing, investigating the actions of another one?
The attorney general says this is a preliminary review, not a criminal investigation. It is just about CIA officers who went beyond their legal authorization. Why don't you think it's going to stop there?
The inspector general's report which was just released from 2004 details some specific interrogations -- mock executions, one of the detainees threatened with a handgun and with an electric drill, waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed 183 times. First of all, did you know that was going on?
So even these cases where they went beyond the specific legal authorization, you're OK with it?
President Obama has also decided to move interrogations from the CIA to the FBI that's under the supervision of the National Security Council, and the FBI will have to act within the boundaries of the Army Field Manual.
What do you think that does for the nation's security? And will we now have the tools if we catch another high-value target?
Republicans have made the charge before, do you think Democrats are soft on National Security?
Do you think that it was a mistake, while you were in power, while your administration was in power, not to go after the nuclear infrastructure of Iran?
Was it a mistake for Bill Clinton, with the blessing of the Administration, to go to North Korea to bring back those two reporters?
Now look: there are softball interviews; and then there are interviews like this. It cannot be described as journalism in any fashion. Even as propaganda, which is its point, it doesn't work - because it's far too cloying and supportive of Cheney to be convincing to anyone outside the true-believers. When it comes to Cheney, one of the most incompetent vice-presidents in the country's history, with a record of two grotesquely botched wars, war crimes and a crippling debt, Chris Wallace sounds like a teenage girl interviewing the Jonas Brothers.
My two favorite moments:
CHENEY: I am going to -- if I address that, I will address it in my book, Chris.
WALLACE: It is going to be a hell of a book.
CHENEY: It is going to be a great book.
And then the apology for asking the questions Cheney wanted asked:
WALLACE: Well, we want to thank you for talking with us and including in your private life putting up with an interview from the likes of me.
CHENEY: It's all right. I enjoy your show, Chris.
WALLACE: Thank you very much, and all the best sir.
When future historians ask how the United States came not only to practice torture but to celebrate it and treat torturers as heroes, a special place in hell among the journalists who embraced and justified it should be reserved for Chris Wallace.
Serial misinformer Fox & Friends devotes 5-minute segment urging rejection of Dem health reform.
From the August 31 edition:
Her weapons were her crystal eyes
Making every man a man
Black as the dark night she was
Got what no-one else had
Via Jason Linkins
I don't have any idea if the ongoing flight of sponsors from the Glenn Beck Show is having any effect on its bottom line, but it sure isn't tempering its content! Yesterday's Glenn Beck show was MAGICAL. I really hope you watched it, and I really hope you watched it in the same way I did: yelling across the room repeatedly at an intern, "What's he saying now? That stuff sounds BONKERS! Is it burning your retinae to look at it? Do you need a hug?" Here's what you missed:
Glenn Beck took to his whiteboard to demonstrate how various words revealed a disturbing hidden secret about the Obama administration. It sort of went something like this: Gimme an "Obama!" Gimme a "left!" Gimme the word, "international!" Gimme some "graft!" Here's the reference to "ACORN" that I am contractually obligated to mention once a show! Gimme a "revolutionaries!" Followed by "hidden agendas!" And now, give me a "Y," because surely, the world is staring at Glenn Beck and asking themselves, "Why? Dear God in Heaven, why?" What do you get when you take the first letters of those words and spin them through your Little Orphan Annie decoder rings? "OLIGARHY!" This is NOT A WORD, in any language on the planet Earth.
OMGZ! Have you heard that Obama is fashioning himself a private Army, made up of Americorps volunteers? It's true! And who hasn't gazed upon the average gaggle of Americorps volunteers, fresh and clueless from college, and thought to themselves: "From this raw material, I could surely fashion a brutal cadre of fearsome shock troops that will finally bring Western civilization to its knees!" The mere prospect of such a thing happening led Beck to compare President Obama to Saddam Hussein, underscoring the way Hussein attempted to tyrannically "adopt" all of Kuwait's highways.
First, Americorps came for the seniors, and I SAID NOTHING, because it turns out Americorps was just bringing them food, listening to them tell stories about their childhoods, and promising to visit them and stuff.
BECK GETS EMO
Nothing really beats Glenn Beck when he goes on a full-tilt victimization binge. Here's how he ended his show, or so our intern tells me:
BECK: I'm tired of being a sheep. I'm tired of being a victim. I'm tired of being pushed around. You know what? The gloves come off.
I have no idea who is pushing Glenn Beck around! He gets his very own television show and radio show and book deals and he gets to say whatever in the world he feels like saying and people give him millions and millions of dollars for it. He can have, if he wants, his very own pony at his gigantic and secluded manse to ride on whenever he wants and can hire someone to bake him delicious funnel cakes any time he likes! These are the hard won perks of being a celebrity, earned from having a dedicated fan base.
Nevertheless, today, the gloves come off! A preview: the hands underneath those gloves will be free of callouses and as soft as an infant's tush!
Can you smell the cross burning yet? This is for sale at the AK state fair...I'm not proud. http://twitpic.com/fwld6
But taken as a whole, the attitudes seniors express on health care are arguably the greatest vote of confidence anyone has offered reform. Seniors live in America’s version of Canada. They have single-payer health care. And they love it. They love it so much that they’ve got the chairman of the RNC swearing to protect it.
And according to the latest polls, seniors are the least enthused about healthcare reform. Clearly because their system is excellent and they know it, so they don't want any young black whippersnappers messing with it. Consequently, they're kneejerking into this ass backwards Republican contradiction: Medicare rules, but socialism sucks.
Adding... I've mentioned this before but it bears repeating. Whenever you hear a wingnut or a senior citizen suggest that seniors have earned their Medicare, your reply ought to be: So not only is socialism acceptable, but socialism is also a reward for a job well done. Good to know.