Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Opening The Files: 10/31/07

The Not So Thrilla in Phila.

The Democrats held a debate last night in Philadelphia, yet another in the seemingly endless pre-pre-season horse race. For some live blogging of the main event check in with native Philadelphian Will Bunch, with more observations at Josh's and Kevin's.

Pretty much all day yesterday, the inside the Beltway media was breathless with speculation about whether Barack Obama would begin to poke some sharpened elbows at his front runner rival Hillary Clinton. But aside from a few jabs at her wishy washy record and a dated Rocky reference, the Thrilla from Illa(nois) failed to land any knock out blows.

That is not to say that Clinton wasn't the proverbial punching bag in the debate. She took a bruising for her waffling on driver licenses for illegal immigrants. Was pelted for her votes on Iraq and Iran. But despite the barrage, I have a feeling that Hilla will come through this, especially considering that the GOPers seem to have already singled her out as the opponent to beat. And really, as harsh as some of the things said about Clinton were last night, they are nothing compared to what has been and no doubt will be said about her by the Repubs.

Some other notable moments: Joe Biden got the biggest applause for a dig at Rescue Rudy for his limited vocabulary. Dennis Kucinich once again made calls for impeachment but because he also claims to have seen a UFO, that means no one should take him seriously. At least MSNBC had the good sense to forgo any overly long cutaway shots of Mrs. Kucinich.

Hunter lists reasons to be freaking sick of pre-primary season.

Michael Roston says that some of the digs at Hillary seemed more befitting of a Three Stooges routine.

Booman tells us some of the new things he learned.

And Walter Shapiro says that some of the dueling Dems appear to have sharpened their rapiers and are looking to draw some primary colors out of Hillary.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)


Monday, October 29, 2007

Phony Patrol

Over the weekend, The Washington Post interviewed an Army unit on the last leg of a fifteen month deployment in Iraq. That it was the same unit from which a soldier whose less than truthful New Republic diaries caused a weeks long jihad by the righties was from was no doubt coincidental. Their similarly dejected outlook of the situation is sure to cause another bout any day now of what I will henceforth refer to as "shitizen journaljism".

But at least that unit, who feel that they have only assisted in what one called "a slow, somewhat government-supported sectarian cleansing" actually patrolled their little area of Surgeland, unlike some.
Iraq war veterans now stationed at a base here in upstate New York say that morale among US soldiers in the country is so poor, many are simply parking their Humvees and pretending to be on patrol, a practice dubbed "search and avoid" missions.

Phil Aliff is an active duty soldier with the 10th Mountain Division stationed at Fort Drum. He served nearly one year in Iraq from August 2005 to July 2006, in the areas of Abu Ghraib and Fallujah, both west of Baghdad...

Aliff said he participated in roughly 300 patrols. "We were hit by so many roadside bombs we became incredibly demoralized, so we decided the only way we wouldn't be blown up was to avoid driving around all the time."

"So we would go find an open field and park, and call our base every hour to tell them we were searching for weapons caches in the fields and doing weapons patrols and everything was going fine," he said, adding, "All our enlisted people became very disenchanted with our chain of command."

Looks like more phony soldiers to sacrifice on the pyre of pony pursuance. Only then will we be able to make real progress.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Fear Itself

As is usual with the vaunted NY Times columnist, Paul Krugman's latest is a must read. The lede alone is enough to whet one's outrage appetite.
In America’s darkest hour, Franklin Delano Roosevelt urged the nation not to succumb to “nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror.” But that was then.

Today, many of the men who hope to be the next president — including all of the candidates with a significant chance of receiving the Republican nomination — have made unreasoning, unjustified terror the centerpiece of their campaigns.

Krugman also points out that despite all the need for Islamofascism "awareness", few are aware that there is nothing to be aware of.
For one thing, there isn’t actually any such thing as Islamofascism — it’s not an ideology; it’s a figment of the neocon imagination. The term came into vogue only because it was a way for Iraq hawks to gloss over the awkward transition from pursuing Osama bin Laden, who attacked America, to Saddam Hussein, who didn’t. And Iran had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11 — in fact, the Iranian regime was quite helpful to the United States when it went after Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies in Afghanistan.

This tactic of constantly creating enemies were none existed to further a preconceived agenda has of course been one of the defining attributes of the Bush administration. That so many in the GOP field seem willing to keep that tradition going is just another sign of how worse things can still become.

Blog Thanks: Salon's Blog Report and The Heretik for linking to the ASZ of this post.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Of Head Scarves and Head Cases

Back in April, newly-minted Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi drew the ire of the White House and denizens of Right Blogtopia when she dared make a visit to Syria to meeting with their leaders. Much of the condemnation was directed at her temerity to meet with those they deemed "the enemy" but a few chose to focus on her choice of attire. For you see like previous female representatives of the US visiting predominantly Muslim countries, Pelosi chose to wear a veil in the style of the traditional Muslim "hijab" or headscarf as a way to honor their customs. Righties were outraged that not only was she kowtowing to their leaders by meeting with them but she also confirmed the continued subjugation of women under Islam. It was a silly issue to bring to the discussion but then again these are the same folks who went into fits over lack of sufficient lapel flare.

But I'll give them one thing, at least they've learned to be consistent. They've now directed their Islamo-fashion sense at First Lady Laura Bush who also donned the veil of surrender on a recent trip to the Middle East. Among other things, claims that the First Lady was a "butt kisser" were lobbed about with ever increasing veracity.

Of course, when it comes to kissing up, some cheeks are more equal than others.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Opening The Files: 10/26/07

Setting the World Ablaze

Apologies again for being delinquent in my blogging duties but I have been inundated with all sorts of trials and troubles, resulting in a delay in this week's OTF. I have been trying to catch up on all the news and views, much of it devoted to the goings on in Southern California. It is not at all surprising given the human interest angle of the disaster but there are others fires threatening the illuminate the horizon as well.

The embers of war with Iran have smoldered for some time, flaring up and subsiding at irregular intervals. Last week, the Bushies began the last effort to fan the flames once more. President Bush's off-hand remark about preventing Iran from starting "World War III" perturbed many. Equal distressing was Vice President Cheney's follow-up, invoking language eerily similar to that in the run-up to the war in Iraq. Now if only Cheney can stay awake long enough to watch his handiwork.

For this week saw them up the ante, not only officially designating a part of Iran's military as a terrorist organization but also imposing some of the harshest unilateral sanctions against their government. And despite protestations from the Bush administration that these sanctions are in no way meant to force a military confrontation, few remain convinced. Bush's ever increasing trips to the Congressional ATM and hidden budget requests have some worried we may soon be looking at a conflagration that can not be extinguished.

But hey, just as we can't let those young whippersnappers in Iraq beat us, we certainly can't let all those Islamofascists in Iran do it.

The estimated costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have now been pegged at over two trillion dollars. That's trillion with a T. But the Bushies aren't worried about the numbers. Perhaps they're more interested in the dividends.

Arianna says its time for the Dems to play hardball.

Maureen Dowd says the there is no method to Cheney's madness. Rosa Brooks, meanwhile, posits another route to rout the "crazies" in the White House.

The Washington Post reports that bombing Iran would send oil prices skyrocketing (as if they aren't already breaking records). Kevin Drum says they obviously didn't get that memo about how great bombing Iran would be.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)


Thursday, October 25, 2007

MOPping Up

Back in September, the supposedly accidental transport via B-52 bomber of missiles tipped with nuclear warheads across the US cause quite a stir. That the ordnances landed at an airbase used for sorties in the Middle East only fueled further speculation that the weapons may have been meant for an attack on Iran. The story soon died away.

But hearing about how the Bush administration has requested funds to modify some B-2 stealth bombers to carry bunker busting bombs, I can't help but wonder if we might be in for another "accidental" nuke trip.

More from Meme.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

We Didn't Start the Fire

Note: Sorry I've been off the grid the last couple of days but my computer was fried during a power outage. Thankfully I've managed to salvage all the files from my hard drive.

Salvaging Fox News' reputation, such as it is, as a "news" organization will be a far more difficult endeavor.

As one would expect, the wildfires in California have been the top news story for most of the week. Speculation has run rampant about the cause of the blazes, with reports of possible arsonists having been apprehended adding fuel the flames (no pun intended).

But the flame throwers at Fox News added their own bit of fearmongering accelerant when on yesterday's Fox & Friends broadcast, they discussed an FBI memo stating interest of the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization in setting these sorts of massively destructive wild fires like those playing out in California. They cited an article about the memo as having been revealed this past week. Turns out the article in question is from 2003 and the particulars of the supposed plot were filled with so many discrepancies that the FBI didn't even feel the need to follow up on the claims. Of course that never stopped Fox when their was fearmongering to foment.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Southern California is in the grip of crisis. Wildfires have ravaged hundreds of acres of land, leaving hundreds of homes burnt to the ground. Thousands have been forced to evacuate in the onslaught of what could become the worse wildfires in the state's history. Thankfully thus far the loss of life has been minimal. This is no doubt due in no small part to the outpouring of aid. Hundreds of firefighters from all over the state have come to battle the blazes. Complete strangers have opened their homes up to evacuees and donated time and money to helping those in need. It is times like these that test our humanity and we should all look on in pride as that humanity shines through in abundance.

Then there are people like Glenn Beck.
On the October 22 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, host Glenn Beck stated, "I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today." Beck continued: "There are a few people that hate America. But I don't think the Democrats are those. I think there are those posing as Democrats that are like that." Beck's comment came as forest fires ravaged parts of Southern California, leaving one person dead, four firefighters wounded, and forcing about 1,500 people from their homes, according to The New York Times.

Beck's comment immediately followed his statement that "we're all one America" and "just because I disagree with you doesn't mean you hate America, and I love America. We all love America. We just disagree on how we should function."

This isn't the first time Beck has disparaged the victims of natural disasters. Beck once referred to the victims of Hurricane Katrina left to fend for themselves in New Orleans as "scumbags". But Beck has taken partisan rancor to a new low. While it is odious enough to seek to cast aside the hardships of victims of tragedy because of their economic standing, it is far worse to question their patriotism in doing so.

Just like hurricanes, tornadoes and floods, the wildfires in California do not discriminate based on ones political views. The fires that arsonists like Beck seek to ignite, however, do. And if we allow them to burn, we will all find ourselves equally consumed by the conflagration.

More reactions via Meme.

Blog Thanks: The Reaction and The Democratic Daily for linking to the SotD of this post.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fair Game, Fair Plame

Valerie Plame Wilson, whose covert status with the CIA was revealed in 2003 by members of the Bush administration, has a new memoir out today. In the heavily redacted tome, Plame reveals some details of her life with the agency, her efforts to cultivate sources in operations to thwart the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the threats put upon her and her family by her outing. Finally, she says, she is able to tell her side of the story.

But that is not to say that there are no longer those still willing to peddle the various claims made against her and her husband, Joe Wilson. Plame sat down with CBS' Katie Couric in advance of the book's release and we are once again treated to examples of why the Beltway media has become so worthy of derision. Here's a brief exchange from the interview (video here).
COURIC: You never for a moment thought this could potentially jeopardize my career?

PLAME: It’s called ‘living your cover.’ This had nothing to do with what I was doing. He was part of the debate.

COURIC: But admit it, it comes awfully close to what you were doing, even covertly. I mean, you were trying to ascertain if Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. He’s writing an article saying ‘it’s really not valid, this one assertion.’ I mean, can’t you see how those two things might collide and in a very dangerous way?

Couric seems to be suggesting that Plame should have assumed her status with the CIA would be brought into the debate and because she did not heed this bit of conventional Beltway wisdom, is deserving of what she got. Of course in any place other than BushWorld, revealing Plame's status still remains a crime, one which is considered so egregious that it is punishable by death.

But for the likes of Couric, being outed at the expense of political expediency is to be expected.

Katie, do us a favor. The next time you get that memo from Karl with the subject line "Please read on air", how's about you just toss it in the garbage, a place I'm sure you are all too familiar with.

See also Tristero and Christy.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Torture, Sexy, Uncool

It didn't garner much attention last week, what with the latest episode of mindless turpitude from the mindfreaks on the right, but a former Guantanamo prosecutor made some pretty startling revelations in the wake of his resignation earlier this month. He alleged that the Bush administration sought to push high profile terrorism cases in lieu of those backed up by more solid evidence. He claims that he felt pressured to push cases deemed "sexy" and that could be milked for their "strategic political value". Given the scandal that ensued over the politicization of US Attorneys (one that may yet still net a few scalps), you would think the Bushies would shy away from anything but the utmost transparency when it comes to prosecutions. Then again, transparency went the way of "compassionate conservative" a long time ago.

But there is another problem the Bushies now face in their overzealous search for the "sexy". The LA Times reports that the FBI is in a mad dash to bolster some of the cases against terrorism detainees. Their main concern is that the CIA's interrogation practices may have rendered (no pun intended) some of the evidence inadmissible even to the highly scripted show trials at Gitmo.
By mid-2002, several former agents and senior bureau officials said, they had begun complaining that the CIA-run interrogation program amounted to torture and was going to create significant problems down the road — particularly if the Bush administration was ever forced to allow the Al Qaeda suspects to face their accusers in court.

[..]"Those guys were using techniques that we didn't even want to be in the room for," one senior federal law enforcement official said. "The CIA determined they were going to torture people, and we made the decision not to be involved."

A senior FBI official who since has retired said he also complained about the lack of usable evidence and admissible statements being gathered. "We knew there were going to be problems back then. But nobody was listening," he said. "Now they have to live with the policy that they have adopted. I don't know if anyone thought of the consequences."

Never was there a more apt description for how the Bush administration chooses to operate.

See also Carpetbagger and Steve Soto.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Shootin' Thru The 'Tubes

Another lazy Sunday, perfect for the "Panderers on Parade Edition" of Shootin' Thru The 'Tubes:

There sure was a whole lotta pandering to the pious populace going on at the "Values Voters" summit this weekend. Here are just some of the things we learned from the fidelity festivities:

1. Despite unease about his Mormonism, Mitt Romney was able to read just enough of the script to win the top place in the straw poll.

2. Runner-up Mike Huckabee likens legalized abortion to the Holocaust. No word on whether he agrees that abstinence should be termed "genocide prevention".

3. Rudy Giuliani was down on bended knee and not in a sign of worship. Forget his past stances on gay marriage, Rudy's now all for a marriage amendment to the Constitution. Thankfully the thrice marriage candidate forewent the usual mid-speech phone call from the wifey this time.

3. John McCain. Yea he's still in the race.

4. Fred Thompson is more effective than Lunesta.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bush Bemusement

The righties have once again gone into pearl-clutch mode, this time over a heated comment from Rep. Pete Stark during the SCHIP veto debate. Stark made comments to the effect that Republicans won't vote for funds for children's health care but will appropriate funds to send soldiers to Iraq to quote "get their heads blown off for the president's amusement". The GOPers are outraged, I tell you, outraged and demand that Stark apologize for his comments.

Now I will admit that some of what he said was a bit over the top, but setting that aside for the moment, I want to focus on Stark's claim that soldiers are being sent to Iraq for Bush's amusement. Because I think he's on to something there.

Bob Cesca at Huffington Post has been documenting for some time the President's cringe inducing habit of flashing his taxpayer subsidized pearly whites at some really inappropriate moments. He's grinned and giggled on all sort of subjects but when it comes to discussions of war, nothing gets the giggle fest going more than that. Just the other day at his press conference, Bush was chuckling like a 10 year having just heard the word "poop" while discussing the oh so jocular subject of World War III.

And anyone else remember the laughs Bush got at the Corespondent's Dinner a few years ago?

Perhaps I'd be more inclined to scold Stark for his comments if they didn't seem so spot on.

More from Digby.

Update: Great post on the disparity of rhetoric in presidencies past by Maha.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Still a Law Unto Themselves

Many were heartened by Attorney General nominee Mike Muskasey's responses at his confirmation hearings, particularly his answers regarding torture. And while some worry about his equivocating about whether or not waterboarding constitutes torture, it was his response on the issue of surveillance that I think is far more telling. In an exchange with Sen. Russ Feingold, Mukasey argued that there would be insistences in which President Bush's Article II authority would trump any laws that he says attempt to limit that authority. Now Mukasey did hedge a bit in saying he would ensure "push doesn't come to shove" but that he would even leave the door open to the possibility is a glaring example of why Congress needs to stand strong in the FISA fracas.

Leaving aside the possible monetary improprieties of Sens. Rockefeller and Reid (who has now said a vote on the FISA bill would proceed despite Dodd's call to hold it), there has always been an underlaying claim that has never been addressed. And that is that the Bush administration continues to insist that it has the authority to conduct any sort of activity regardless of any laws making such activity a crime. I've harped and harped on this issue in the past. That the Dems still refuse to confront it is a sure sign that they too may be aware that all of this haranguing about the rule of law is just so much hot air. It would make their fecklessness all the more appalling.

So long as Bush claims the authority to circumvent the law and Congress does not confront him on this, the law and Congress are essentially meaningless.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Feckless on FISA

Despite his anemic approval ratings, President Bush has once again shown that all he need do is call a press conference and scold the Democrats to get them to submit to his will. The Dems have made a "deal" with the White House regarding telecom immunity. You would have thought they would have learned their lesson the last time they made such a deal but then they are more concerned that the Repubs will say they weak on terror. That the GOPers will do so no matter what only shows how easily cowed the Dems are, even with their majority status.

Forget fixing FISA, or ending the war in Iraq or overriding any vetoes. So long as the Dems refuse to truly stand up to Bush, they are the ones in need of proving they remain relevent. Until then, the Constitution and the rule of law will continue to suffer for their timidity.

Reactions via Meme.

Update: Seems there are still some willing to stand up for the Constitution. Sen. Chris Dodd announced he's going to place a hold on the FISA bill.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Turkey or Baloney?

WASHINGTON (XF) - The overwhelming passage of a resolution by the Turkish parliament allowing so-called "hot pursuit" incursions into northern Iraq to hunt down Kurdish rebels has prompted an unusual response from Washington. According to sources familiar with the deliberations, White House officials are strategizing to determine whether or not US President George W. Bush has the authority to veto the Turkish resolution.

"The President wishes to stay relevent in the process," the source, speaking on condition of anonymity said, "So naturally we want to have a say with regards to any measures that would affect our efforts in Iraq". When asked how President Bush would have the authority to override a law passed by another country, the source is quoted as saying "Al-Maliki knows how that works", a reference to Iraq's Prime Minister.

Critics claim that Bush would be overstepping his authority should he choose void the Turkish law. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is quoted as saying "It's bad enough that he vetoes popular resolutions passed by our legislature, now he thinks he can do so with other country's governing bodies" Others claim that Bush would be alienating an ally in the war on terror, something which he has accused Congress of doing in considering passing a resolution condemning the 1915 Armenian genocide.

"If he [Bush] thinks Turkey would be upset by symbolic resolution condemning a ninety year old genocide, imagine how upset they'd be about having some other country's ruler negating their laws," one prominent critic said.

"The irony of course is that Bush is considering doing just what the Ottoman Empire use to do back in the day. Then again, he probably thinks Ottomans are those things you put your feet up on," a Congress aide is quoted as saying.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Colbert Declares!

For those of you who may be bummed out that Al Gore is once again tamping down on rumors of an late entry bid for the White House, take heart. Someone else of prestigious stature has decided it was time.
Stephen Colbert announced his candidacy for president on "The Colbert Report," tossing his satirical hat into the ring of an already crowded race.

"I shall seek the office of the President of the United States," announced Colbert on his Comedy Central show Tuesday, as red, white and blue balloons fell around him...

Unsolicited campaign slogan: Vote for Colbert. He's the anti-Nader.

(Filed at State of the Day)

SCHIPs and Dips

Okay, so I stole the title for this post from Dale in the comments over at Carpetbagger's place but it really is an apt description is it not? I know I'm falling into my one trick pony habit again but it really just can't be helped. Seems having survived mostly intact from Operation Frostbite, the righties set their sights on a new target: Bethany Wilkerson, a 2 year old who thanks to SCHIP was able to receive life saving surgeries to correct a serious heart defect. If only there were surgeries available to correct the heart irregularities amongst some right.

As with the Frosts, they've settled on calling the Wilkersons bad parents for the choices they've made, such as Dana Wilkerson's decision to quit a job that provided health insurance some six years before having Bethany. But National Review's Mark Hemingway takes that critique one step further, suggesting the Wilkersons are bad parents for well, choosing to be parents in the first place.

Digby puts it so succinctly:
[U]nderlying this destructive sniping is a serious idea, and it is that children are a privilege that only those with means should be allowed to have. (This translates to the idea that sex is a privilege as well, since they don't believe in abortion and birth control.) This is a very old trope and one which conflicts directly with one of conservatism's most important arguments: family values.

For the right, it all boils down to choices which, in the end, aren't really choices at all.

More from Meme. See also A.L.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Past Tense Much?

Way back in August, the New York Times ran an op-ed by seven soldiers serving in Iraq that criticized the surge strategy. The righties pounced on the authors, some going so far as to question whether they were capable of comprehending the glorious vision of Saint Petraeus' grand plan. They were just a bunch of low level grunts after all. Even the deaths of two of those soldiers a fortnight later did not squelch the characterizations of these troops as wholly misinformed about how great the surge was.

Now the Washington Post as run a similar op-ed, this time by a contingent of former captains, disparaging the foolhardiness of continuing the occupation of Iraq. They place great emphasis on the deep seated corruption amongst the Iraqi leadership and military, a topic which the Bushies still refuse to even fully acknowledge as having a detrimental effect.

So how do the righties choose to combat this second wave of phony soldiers? Why by noting that none of them are currently serving in Iraq! You really have to be there to see how swimmingly things are going! Man, don't they know we're like this close to declaring Mission Accomplisheded!

Yea I know, does make a lot of sense but since when did that ever stop them?

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Poster Childrens: Theirs and Ours

The GOP is in quite a bind. They have found themselves on the losing side of the argument regarding Bush's SCHIP veto. And though there may be some discrepancies amongst the electorate, by and large Americans simply trust Democrats better on the issue. Thus far the GOPers has relied on surrogates like Stalkin' n' Balkin' Malkin to help muddy the debate (though it looks as though the Defrost Diva won't be doing any slinging anywhere near the Fear O'Reilly Factor).

But the GOPers think they may have found an issue where they have the advantage, even if only a marginal one. Via Carpetbagger:
[U]nlike Bush’s veto of the SCHIP bill — which was supported by a number of Republicans in the House and Senate and subsequently has caused significant heartburn for in-cycle GOP incumbents — Republicans are much more comfortable backing Bush on national security. […]

Specifically, Republicans are planning to use the kidnapping and subsequent murder of three U.S. soldiers in Iraq earlier this year to put a “human face” on the issue, the House staffer explained. According to this aide, while Democrats’ arguments about privacy may resonate with some voters, Republicans believe using real-world examples of how a weak FISA has put U.S. troops in danger will help galvanize public support for their position.

“We’re content to have the Democrats make these abstract and obtuse privacy arguments,” the aide said. “As long as we make this debate … about real world, human examples,” Republicans believe they can maintain party discipline on Bush’s veto and effectively fight Democrats in the public arena.

The Murdoch owned media was soon propagating the meme with gusto. The gist of it is that due to the need to gather those peaky FISA warrants, precious time was wasted that could have been spent trying to find those kidnapped soldiers. But when one delves into the details, we find that it wasn't any problems with FISA that resulted in delays but rather bureaucratic bumbling on the part of the Bushies. A cynical ploy to be sure, yet the righties work themselves into a froth over a 12 year old advocating expanding health care.

Thus we have the disparity of the right wing mind. When Democrats attempt to put a "human face" on a worthy cause, it is decried as cheap partisan politics. When Republicans do it for no other reason then to heap ever more authority unto an already lawless Unitary Executive, it is considered a winning argument.

Monday, October 15, 2007

What's the Frequency, Rudy?

The next installment of The Real Rudy is out and it is even more damning than the first. For it highlights the failure of the Giuliani administration to address an issue that had persisted for nearly a decade: inadequate radios for first responders.

Ever since the first World Trade Center attack in 1993, Giuliani knew that the radios used by police and firemen were not up to the task of responding to large scale emergencies. It wasn't until 2001 that they finally got around to correcting the problem. Unfortunately, the natural Republican inclination toward cheap fixes and cronyism resulted in a sweetheart no-bid contract deal that provided untested equipment that later had to be recalled. First responders were forced to go back to using the old radios which again failed them on 9/11.

You can view the video here. For me, the most telling part is the scene in which Giuliani, testifying before Congress, praised the police and firemen who died that day for "standing their ground." Of course the "ground" to which he alluded was the tons of steel and concrete which eventually collapsed beneath their feet. Not surprisingly such a callous remark elicited howls from the audience, many of whom were loved ones of said responders.

The moment is telling because it shows that even back then, Giuliani's authoritarian complex was evident. Throughout his bid for the presidency, Rudy has sought to position himself as the only one capable of responding to the terrorist threat, as the only one with true leadership abilities. He envisions himself a general in this "war" and thus the first responders who died on 9/11 were merely the first casualties in the "terrorist's war on us" as he likes to call it.

But these were not a brigade of Marines or Army troops. They were not trained to kill but save lives and they did so admirably that day. That more of them may have died because Rudy failed to properly provide them with adequate equipment only makes his words all the more egregious because to a true general, the welfare of those he commands is paramount. That Rudy would not see the blatantly obvious is only evidence of how out of touch he really is.

In other words, he's perfect to carry on the Bush legacy.

More from Digby and Jane Hamsher.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Shootin' Thru The 'Tubes

Let's call this the "Felled Firewall Flood Edition" of Shootin' Thru The 'Tubes:

Godwin's law was in full effect yesterday as righties bemoaned Frank Rich for equating American's complacency with some of the Bush administration's most nefarious practices with that of a similar mentality amongst the general German populace during the Nazi era. Whether the metaphor was apt or not, some say Rich sidestepped the issue of his own efforts at being a member of the complacent sect. But one consolation is he's taken up linkfesting like the rest of us lowly bloggers.

Paul Krugman says that the reason the righties have been going after Gore so vehemently is because he has succeeded in spite of their efforts to discredit him.

And Maureen Dowd's column was hijacked by some guy with a television show.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)


Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Qwest for the Truth

A recent appellate court filing by a former Qwest Communications CEO reveals something that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has been extensively following the NSA spying scandal.
A former Qwest Communications International executive, appealing a conviction for insider trading, has alleged that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency program that the company thought might be illegal.

Now this isn't the part that's interesting. It is well documented how the Bushies choose to handle those who refuse to go along with their dictates. Just ask any of the US Attorneys who received their walking papers. No, the bigger issue is when the NSA approached Qwest to browbeat them ask for their assistance.
Former chief executive Joseph P. Nacchio, convicted in April of 19 counts of insider trading, said the NSA approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to court documents unsealed in Denver this week.

Details about the alleged NSA program have been redacted from the documents, but Nacchio’s lawyer said last year that the NSA had approached the company about participating in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about Americans’ phone records.

This isn't the first time that such allegations have been made. And given it is being used as a defense to stave off a prison sentence, its validity remains suspect. But one would think, given all we have come to learn about how the Bushies operate, that it would at minimum warrant an inquiry from Congress. Especially since they are currently considering granting immunity to those telecoms who did choose to cooperate with the Bush administration. President Bush has been adamant that he will not sign any bill that does not contain an immunity clause. Perhaps it is time Congress ask an appropriate question: if they did nothing wrong, why do you they need immunity?

In a larger context, if these allegations prove to be true, it will only illustrate once and for all that the claim that "9/11 change everything" was mere bunk. Indeed, a far more apt characterization would that "Election 2000 changed everything". Because with that first act of being installed by like-minded ideologues in the judiciary, it has been evident that the Bushies have continued that legacy of utter disdain for every aspect of governance that could not be used to further their goals and agendas.

And if they were so averse to following the law from the start of their reign, who is to say they will abide by it at the end?

More from Meme. See also Steve Soto.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Opening The Files: 10/13/07

An Assault on Nobel Reason

Depending on ones political slant, yesterday you were either suffering from Goremania or Gore-aphobia with the news that Al Gore had won the Nobel Peace Prize. Righties immediately sought to downplay the significance of the award. They were joined by the always obliging Fox News who, though a little slow on the uptake, were soon smearing in style.

With this cap to a year of awards, naturally the topic soon turned to the heated speculation (pun intended) of whether Al would seek out the most coveted prize of all: the Presidency. It's not all that surprising that in the wake of this award, the thirst for a Gore candidacy would only become more parched. After all, it is but another example of how were it not for the decision of nine Supreme Court justices seven years ago to award Bush the presidency, we may not find ourselves in such dire straits regarding a multitude of problems facing humanity.

In light of that, it's not surprising there are those pondering what might have been.

Noam Scheiber wonders what effect all the gaga over Gore is having on Bush. Al probably shouldn't wait up for that congratulatory call.

Gotta love Fox News' suggestion about who should have been awarded a "peace" prize. Then again, "peace" has been a pretty relative term with them for a while. Hunter, meanwhile, has some other suggestions.

Bob Franken ponders what a head to head with fellow Tennessean Fred Thompson would look like should Al run. For Fred's stake, lets hope it doesn't come down to giving short, concise answers.

And some wonder what Gore's advocacy of confronting climate change has to go with a world peace. My bloghost at ASZ Richard Blair connects the dots for us.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)


Friday, October 12, 2007


Apparently Ann Coultergeist was envious of all the attention that Stalkin', Balkin' Malkin was getting from the Frost fracas. She hasn't really had much in the way of attention of late and her desperation was showing in spades. Her insufferable comment about womens suffrage didn't make waves. Nor did her titillating tabloid tattling about a possible John Edwards extramarital affair meet with anything but giggles.

But now she has finally found a way to elbow her way back into the limelight. Unfortunately, the vampiric she-demon might have wished to avoid the harsh light of bigotry she chose to espouse this time 'round.
Appearing on Donny Deutsch's CNBC show, "The Big Idea," on Monday night, columnist/author Ann Coulter suggested that the U.S. would be a better place if there weren't any Jewish people and that they needed to "perfect" themselves into -- Christians.

It led Deutsch to suggest that surely she couldn't mean that, and when she insisted she did, he said this sounded "anti-Semitic."

Asked by Deutsch whether she wanted to be like "the head of Iran" and "wipe Israel off the Earth," Coulter stated: "No, we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say. ... That's what Christianity is. We believe the Old Testament."

I'm not sure why everyone is getting upset about this. Indeed this isn't the first time Coultergeist has suggested that those of a particular religion should be "perfected". Then again, she was only talking about those Islamofascist, Jew hatin' ragheads at the time. But now that she's taken on the Jewish community, suddenly everyone is rushing to denounce her comments.

I'd like to think it is because we've gotten to the point that we as a society have chosen to repudiate bigotry in all it's forms but the selectiveness of outrage leaves me to wonder. I know such a suggestion will no doubt earn me the ostracizing label of "anti-Semite" but then so should it be in Coulter's case as well. That there are many still willing to stick up for her even now only seems to suggest there is literally nothing a conservative can say to warrant true pariah status.

Blog Thanks: Salon's Blog Report for linking to the SotD of this post.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Good Faith and the Defrost Diva

Yesterday, health care wonk Ezra Klein issued a challenge.
Let's have a good faith argument. I will debate Michelle Malkin anytime, anywhere, in any forum (save HotAir TV, which she controls), on the particulars of S-CHIP. We can set the debate at a think tank, on BloggingHeads, over IM. Hell, we can set up the podiums in the shrubbery outside my house, since that seems to be the sort of venue she naturally seeks out. And then if Malkin wants an argument, she can have one. We'll talk S-CHIP and nothing but -- nothing of the Frosts, or Congress, or her blog.

This seemed like exactly what Malkin was asking for. She keeps alleging that "leftists" refuse to debate the issue of SCHIP, instead choosing to hide behind children rather than defend their arguments. Here was a chance for her to have some face time with someone well versed on the subject.

Naturally, the Defrost Diva melted.
“Debate” Ezra Klein? What a perverse distraction and a laughable waste of time that would be. And that’s what they really want, isn’t it? To distract and waste time so they can foist their agenda on the country unimpeded.

Yes, can't be having these petty "debates" distracting us from the far more important issue of slandering and destroying a family already struggling to make ends meet who were lucky enough to have been eligible for help from the government when a life altering event could have easily forced them into true destitution.

Now if you'll excuse her, Ms. Malkin needs to go dig through her sources for the next installment of her investigative "reporting".

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Melting Frost

It's day two of "Flame the Frosts" in Right Blogtopia. Still leading the charge is Defrost Diva Stalkin' Malkin. Seems the erstwhile heir to BillO has taken to staking out the family Frost in an effort to determine whether they live in a cardboard box, which is now apparently a prerequisite for SCHIP eligibility. That they do not only proves the program is a scam to bailout the undeserving. Tax cuts for the wealthy on the other hand...

But even with their infinite skill from years spent following ex-lovers and the unrequited, there is only so much a Freeper peeper can do on their own. Thankfully they may have gotten by with a little help from their friends.
According to Senate Democratic aides, some bloggers have made repeated phone calls to the home of 12-year-old Graeme Frost, demanding information about his family's private life. On Monday, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused GOP leadership aides of "pushing falsehood" in an effort to distract from the political battle over S-CHIP.

"This is a perverse distraction from the issue at hand," said Jim Manley, a spokesman for Reid, D-Nev. "Instead of debating the merits of providing health care to children, some in GOP leadership and their right-wing friends would rather attack a 12-year-old boy and his sister who were in a horrific car accident."

Manley cited an e-mail sent to reporters by a Senate Republican leadership aide, summing up recent blog traffic about the boy's family. A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., declined to comment on Manley's charge that GOP aides were complicit in spreading disparaging information about Frosts.

The NY Times adds more details that suggest the GOPers were perhaps more intimately involved in stoking the fauxtage than originally thought.
Republicans on Capitol Hill, who were gearing up to use Graeme as evidence that Democrats have overexpanded the health program to include families wealthy enough to afford private insurance, have backed off, glad to let bloggers take the heat for attacking a family with injured children.

An aide to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, expressed relief that his office had not issued a press release criticizing the Frosts.

The GOPers may not wish to get their hands dirty. But they certainly are more than willing to reap the benefits from other's mud-slinging. Too bad the Ragin' Righties have only managed to hit a sewer main in their attempts to dig up more dirt for the flinging.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Surge Dirge: The Final Chapter

Lost in the din of righteous rightie indignation in their attempts to scuttle the good ship SCHIP was news that another cruise liner these ship of fools frequent had hit the proverbial iceberg.

For months we have been told that the reason for the surge was to create enough stability to allow the various Iraqi factions in the government time to reconcile. The euphemistic "breathing room" was batted about quite at bit.

Well looks like you might not want to hold your breath. Because the Iraqis certainly aren't.
For much of this year, the U.S. military strategy in Iraq has sought to reduce violence so that politicians could bring about national reconciliation, but several top Iraqi leaders say they have lost faith in that broad goal.

Iraqi leaders argue that sectarian animosity is entrenched in the structure of their government. Instead of reconciliation, they now stress alternative and perhaps more attainable goals: streamlining the government bureaucracy, placing experienced technocrats in positions of authority and improving the dismal record of providing basic services.

"I don't think there is something called reconciliation, and there will be no reconciliation as such," said Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih, a Kurd. "To me, it is a very inaccurate term. This is a struggle about power."

This was soon followed by word that the British are halving their presence and that the Iraqis are requesting that Blackwater be given their walking papers. All this puts the Bushies in a precarious position of having to continue to justify a strategy that has been a complete failure (not that that has ever stopped them before). And while it may sound good to those wishing to force a change in Iraq policy, the drawbacks are that this could also forces the Bushies to further ratchet up their scapegoating of Iran and drive us further toward confrontation.

If that happens, you can sure the surge won't be the only thing that is pushing up daisies.

More from Meme. See also PM Carpenter, Cernig and Steve Soto.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

From Soldiers to Sick Kids

Good to see I'm not the only one appalled by the tactics of the righties to smear the family of a 12-yr old recipient of SCHIP. That they would resort to such a thing only proves how desperate they are to prove their arguments against what any reasonable person would see as a worthy cause. What's more appalling is their choice of targets. It's one thing to go after able bodied adults who can defend themselves, such as these gentlemen. But it's another to go after a child whose only crime was being born to a family who has to struggle to make ends meet. That they would deny them aid and then slime them for having the temerity to speak out shows that there just isn't any bar low enough that the righties won't shinny under.

(Filed at State of the Day)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Halos and Halo?

Back in August, plans by a Pentagon backed group to send copies of a Christian themed video game in which the player goes around killing unbelievers in a post-Rapture apocalyptic world, were scrapped over the furor generated by the idea. Critics, in addition to claiming it violated the separation of church and state, also claimed it was unseemly to peddle a video game that demonized those not of a particular faith.

And now the church has usurped the idea for themselves, this time utilizing the mass appeal of video games to lure younger patrons to the pews.
First the percussive sounds of sniper fire and the thrill of the kill. Then the gospel of peace.

Across the country, hundreds of ministers and pastors desperate to reach young congregants have drawn concern and criticism through their use of an unusual recruiting tool: the immersive and violent video game Halo.

The latest iteration of the immensely popular space epic, Halo 3, was released nearly two weeks ago by Microsoft and has already passed $300 million in sales.

Those buying it must be 17 years old, given it is rated M for mature audiences. But that has not prevented leaders at churches and youth centers across Protestant denominations, including evangelical churches that have cautioned against violent entertainment, from holding heavily attended Halo nights and stocking their centers with multiple game consoles so dozens of teenagers can flock around big-screen televisions and shoot it out.

Though I'm not to up on what the exact statistics are regarding religious youth, from what little I have heard about the subject, the need to bring more wee lambs into the fold as it were has become more paramount as the aging elders have fewer and fewer successors to their legacies. Given this dynamic, its not surprising churches would turn to whatever hook was able to bring in the most parishioners. But what I do find surprising is the chosen medium of Halo.

I know that it can probably be brushed off as merely the obvious choice given the popularity of the game but I can't help but wonder if the religious overtones of the game itself also play a role. Was Halo chosen not because you get to kill a bunch of invading aliens but because said aliens practice a different faith, as evidenced by the heavy emphasis of religion in the second game? In that sense, is the appeal of a game like Halo to the church going sect any different than the appeal of a game in which you get to kill a bunch of unbelieving hordes?

The idea of killing anyone, be they human or alien, should be abhorrent. Because in real life, there is no reset button.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Opening The Files: 10/08/07

Of Symbolism and Sophistry

There was a lot of news to choose from for this weeks OTF. But there was a reoccurring theme I noticed throughout. Whether it was Bush's veto of expanding health care for kids, his administration's endorsement of torture, the phony flap over Obama's lack of patriotic pins or the righties rushing to Rush's side in the phony soldier faux pas, the underlying theme may well have been:

We don't play by the same rules you do.

Indeed that theme has become prevalent within the current state of political discourse and governance. Keen observers will of course know this has been present for some time. But the casual observer, sadly a large chunk of the general electorate, can be easily taken in by a particular slant on any given story or the lack of in depth coverage for that matter. We hear all about the latest news on Britney Spears or dieting tips but when it comes to such things as the war in Iraq, the drumbeat for war with Iran or the slow dismantlement of the Constitution, the media has been failing in their role as conduits to truth.

And if nothing else, the righties have become very deft at manipulating this phenomenon. They have honed the skill of emphasizing symbolism over substance to a fine art. And unfortunately for the rest of us, far too few in the media have been willing to cast a skeptical eye at the various wares that are forever being pawned off as the genuine article.

It should be noted that some media figures like Chris Matthews and Katie Couric are speaking up. Better late than never I suppose.

The Washington Post, meanwhile, offered up their fluffer services to help some soul-searching ex-loyal Bushies get a restful nights sleep. Carpetbagger noticed that Bush's Brain wasn't likely to be amongst those whose sleep, perchance, would be interrupted by his conscience.

A study finds the GOP has a problem with their religious base who say that the Bush years may well come to be seen as an anomaly. It's hard to see why since, as Paul Krugman reports, Bush is far more of a modern conservative than you might think.

But there are those still willing to pray for Bush and Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears to be one of them. Predictably, Fox News has to ask if they are the right kinds of prayers.

I've noticed something about what the media chooses to focus on. First it was John Edwards' haircut, then it was Clinton's cleavage and now it's the missing flare on Obama's chest. If they keep working their way south, will we be eventually be wondering whether boxers or briefs is more befitting of a Commander-in-Chief? Perhaps codpieces will be back in vogue by then.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Lessons from the Quiet Men

When the NY Times revealed the other day that the Bush administration had secretly issued new memos condoning some of the harshest interrogation tactics ever used against terrorism suspects, the Bushies went into full spin mode. President Bush stuck to the script that the US does not torture and went on to praise the "highly trained professionals" who conduct these interrogations to keep America safe from terrorism.

I don't know about you, but these "highly trained professionals" could probably stand to learn a thing or two from their elders. (h/t Libby)
For six decades, they held their silence.

The group of World War II veterans kept a military code and the decorum of their generation, telling virtually no one of their top-secret work interrogating Nazi prisoners of war at Fort Hunt.

When about two dozen veterans got together yesterday for the first time since the 1940s, many of the proud men lamented the chasm between the way they conducted interrogations during the war and the harsh measures used today in questioning terrorism suspects.

Back then, they and their commanders wrestled with the morality of bugging prisoners' cells with listening devices. They felt bad about censoring letters. They took prisoners out for steak dinners to soften them up. They played games with them.

"We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or Ping-Pong than they do today, with their torture," said Henry Kolm, 90, an MIT physicist who had been assigned to play chess in Germany with Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess.

The saying "You can catch more flies with honey" was no doubt well known to these men. That they would apply it even in the face of the truly existential threat of Nazi Germany is a testament to how far we have been lead astray by our leaders. Frankly, it leaves an acidic taste in my mouth that no amount of sugarcoated fluff we are force fed could ever remove.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Pins and Needling

Well it seems that the righties finally decided to move on from MoveOn. Unfortunately, their current outrage de jour is even sillier than the snit they worked themselves into over a newspaper ad.

The current top story this Saturday morning is the flap over Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama's flagless lapel. The uber-patriotic righties naturally have flaggged and flogged this story to within an inch of is perilously short shelf life. With the response his decision to forgo wearing his patriotism on his sleeve - er- lapel, you'd swear he had vowed to don an "I Heart Osama" button instead.

Perhaps the most vapid response to the fauxtage came from Mr. Hanctimony himself, Sean Hannity, whose excuse for why it is so vitally important that we sport these nifty little trinkets is the same as every other excuse Hannity ever utilizes: Because the terrorists are out to get us!

One wonders how the tiny bit of metal will somehow prevent a terrorist attack. Heck, it doesn't even suffice as effective body armor. Though it is probably considerably more than what our troops are getting in Iraq and Afghanistan...

But for all the bloviating on the part of Hannity, he apparently hasn't been doing his part for the war effort. So this dog-with-a-red-white-and-blue-bone shtick suggests the question: why does Sean Hannity hate America?

Hey, if the pin fits...

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Shootin' Thru The 'Tubes

TGIF and here's what's Shootin' Thru The 'Tubes:

Ann Coultergeist, who no one can ever accuse of being good at political strategery, thinks it'd be a good idea to repeal the 19th amendment. You know the one giving women the right to vote. She says its a personal dream of hers that if women aren't allowed to vote anymore, there will never be another Democratic president elected. According to her, single women vote "stupidly" and thus shouldn't be given the chance. Take it from Coultergeist, she knows all about voting stupidly.

The Republican National Convention released their official logo for next year's event and promptly broke the innuendo-o-meter. The gifted snark was too good to pass up for some in the blogosphere and given my own fetish for Photoshop, I couldn't resist adding my own contribution to the fun.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Tortured Shame

During his confirmation hearing in January of 2005, then-Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales was asked by Sen. Russ Feingold his stance on memos which had been circulating that suggested that the Bush administration could disregard long standing laws governing the use of torture. In response, Gonzales stated categorically that those memos had been withdrawn and rejected by the executive branch.

After the scandal at Abu Ghraib, the issue of torture was thrust into the limelight and this "categorical rejection" was seen as a way to assuage critic's concerns. Disavowing the infamous torture memos went along way toward backing up the Bush administration's claims that the US does not condone torture.

Of course as has become customary with the Bushies, while they were running away from one memo, they issued another that was even worse.
When the Justice Department publicly declared torture "abhorrent" in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.

But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

More via Meme. I'd have to agree with resigned Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey who is quoting as saying that the Justice Department would be "ashamed" when the world learned of these overreaching legal opinions. We should all be ashamed that an issue as "abhorrent" as torture is even subject to debate. And given the lack of any contrition on the part of the Bushies thus far, the only shame likely to ever be evident will be history's.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Hitting Below the Belt

As much as I am loathe to being a one trick pony and continuing to flog the Limbaugh phony flap, there are times when it becomes necessary. Besides, ignoring the likes of Limbaugh is the worst thing to do, because it only encourages this sort of behavior to continue. And really, who is more deserving of being knocked down a few pegs than the exalted grand master of the Dittoheads?

Rush should have put down the shovel when the trowel hit bedrock. Instead, he asked for a jackhammer and kept on digging. released an ad featuring veteran Brian McGough, chastising Limbaugh for spreading lies about his service and that of so many other soldiers. The Big Giant Head responded to VoteVets in a way reminiscent of his slur of Michael J. Fox: he questioned McGough's competency and even worse, suggested that VoteVets was "strapping those lies to his belt, sending him out via the media and a TV ad to walk into as many people as he can".

Rush's comment was clearly a not-so-subtle allusion to McGough being akin to a suicide bomber (only armed with lies) but it may have been wise to have an intern do a little research prior to making this statement since McGough, who received a severe head injury in Iraq, was the victim of a real suicide bomber.

Keeping digging, Rush. With any luck you won't need anyone else's help to bury yourself.

As always, Meme has the Rush reactions.

Update: Fellow ASZer Steven weighs in with a call to action.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Opening The Files: 10/02/07

Another Tour for the Phony Brigade

The "Rush Mad Rush" continues, this time with Senate Dems condemning his remarks about soldiers against the war. Majority Leader Harry Reid called his remarks "unpatriotic" and asked Senate Republicans to act with "equal fervor" in denouncing them. If by "equal fervor" you mean offering a resolution that praises Rush for his "ongoing public support of American troops serving both here and abroad" then yea, I guess you could say the Repubs are on board. No word yet on whether that "support" extends to the phony ones. Perhaps Rush wasn't the only one in need of a drug test.

Rush of course fired back at the charge in the only way he knew how: he dissembled more than Gonzo giving a committee testimony. Only in RushWorld could accusations that his words were taken out of context be "proven" by providing audio that completely removes the context. Then again, perhaps it is this contextlessness that has made him the darling of the right and why they are so willing to go to the mat for him.

Jane Hamsher says Rush should be booted from the Armed Forces Radio Network. Might as well since they aren't getting the whole story anyway.

Sen. Reid demanded that Rush apologize. Digby thinks such calls won't last long given how ineffectual they are when someone like Limbaugh is the one giving the "apology".

And Anonymous Liberal says that who the rightie blogs picked for their favorite people explains a lot.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)


Monday, October 01, 2007

The Shifting Road to Tehran

Fed up with the inability to scare Americans with visions of mushroom clouds courtesy of Iran, the Bush administration has "shifted" the casus belli for military confrontation to one of that country's supposed meddling in Iraq, thus reports Sy Hersh in his latest for The New Yorker. According to Hersh, the Bushies have given up the WMD angle and are now focusing on the alleged involvement of Iran's Revolutionary Guard in supporting attacks on coalition forces in Iraq. They believe the idea of "surgical strikes" against RG garrisons inside Iran will be an easier sell and and thus there has been a "significant increase in the tempo of attack planning". They're even coming up with a "Clinton did it too!" excuse to justify their actions. As always, the main impetus for this push to war comes mainly from the Vice President's office.

And while Hersh took pains to note that Bush has yet to issue an executive order, given that last week the Congress largely agreed with this "shift", one is certainly already on the drafting table.

More from Meme. See also A.L. who examines how an attack on Iran might affect the race to the White House.

(Filed at State of the Day and All Spin Zone)