Saturday, November 19, 2005

Rewriting History

Talking Points

There is a new right-wing talking point going around about yesterday's vote in the House- that the Democrats are being hypocrites of democracy because of their outrage that the Republicans put withdrawal up for a vote. I have seen this in a few places, the latest of which is a blog post by conservative commentator Carol Platt Liebau. She states, "Having lied for months, if not years, about the President and the way the war in Iraq began, Democrats are now outraged -- outraged! -- that the Republicans actually forced them to do what elected representatives are supposed to do, i.e. vote on whether the USA should withdraw from Iraq."

Like all recent right-wing critiques against those against the war (ie. those coming from the White House), this one is big on hysteria and short on facts. Liebau's point would actually be a very valid one... if they were debating/voting on Murtha's withdrawal resolution. As I stated earlier today, they were not. The Republicans ignored Murtha's resolution and introduced their own BS resolution with completely different language (ignoring his 'earliest practical date' stuff and just making it as insensible as possible so everyone would have to vote no). Now that is not what I call democracy. This was not a real vote. If it had been, yes the Democrats would be wrong to cry foul. But this is merely a cheap political stunt meant to discredit those in the House in favor of withdrawal. I would hope, for their sake, that the Republicans can do better than this. The President and his administration, having lied for months, if not years, about the way the war in Iraq began, will need all the allies they can get.

I await Ms. Liebau's new column insulting the whiny General Casey.


This is an actual Reuters headline:

"Car bombs kill 48 in Iraq; Bush says war on track"

Says it all, no?

Rumsfeld given Iraq withdrawal plan to ignore

Sec. Rumsfeld has been given a workable plan for withdrawal from Iraq by the top U.S. commander there. Rumsfeld hasn't commented on this, but my sources tell me he is looking forward to sitting down and ignoring the plan as soon as possible and called Gen. Casey a 'cut and run guy'.

Defense official: Rumsfeld given Iraq withdrawal plan

The top U.S. commander in Iraq has submitted a plan to the Pentagon for withdrawing troops in Iraq, according to a senior defense official.

Gen. George Casey submitted the plan to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. It includes numerous options and recommends that brigades -- usually made up of about 2,000 soldiers each -- begin pulling out of Iraq early next year...

Murtha's House Speech

See video footage of John Murtha's speech on the House floor:

Murtha's House Speech

It is a really good speech, very geniune and sincere. Rep. Murtha has long been a big supporter of the military, and military spending, throughout his entire career in the Congress. So, unfortunately for the Fox News types, they cannot slam him by casting him off as just another Ted Kennedy/Michael Moore type, or whoever it is that they're comparing their enemies to these days. This guy is the real deal. Plus, he has the service record to back it up. Unlike, of course, the screaming Jean Schmidts (who won her seat barely by defeating a veteran of the very war she wants to continue) of Congress. He has always supported the military and the war on terror, but if this war has any connection to the war on terror, that is the doing of the President first and foremost. Murtha's concerns with the war have been growing for some time. Given the current state of it, he believes it is not merely unwinnable, but it is more dangerous to keep our troops there than to remove them. Whether you agree with him or not, it is unfortunate that Murtha's resolution asking for a redeployment of troops 'at the earliest practical date' (his language) was bastardized with a BS resolution in a stunt (as I stated this morning) I believe was meant to embarrass and discredit him. Unfortunately for the Republicans, I don't think it worked. If they wanted to debate Murtha, they should've debated his resolution instead of creating their own to pick a fight. They did not win this round. And so we move on.

Whatever the immediate outcome, I hope the debate over the war will continue.

Only Cowards Attack A Veteran On The Floors Of Congress

Earlier this week, Rep. John Murtha set off a firestorm of debate when he changed course and called for a withdrawal of troops in Iraq. He stated that the war "is not going as advertised. It is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion." Those in favor of the war immediately called out Murtha, criticizing the idea of 'cutting and running'.

Still Murtha's words were creating quite a buzz. Not wanting to bother with the time to smear him, the Republican Congress decided a quicker method- to call his bluff and start a vote in the House on immediate withdrawal, a political stunt meant to (knowing everyone would vote no) embarrass and discredit Murtha's argument. The point was, according to Speaker Hastert, "send a message to our American troops that we believe in their mission of fighting terrorists and we must not retreat and defeat". The real reason, of course, was that Republicans wanted to take back control on the debate over the war. As expected, the withdrawal resolution was voted down 403-3. Democrats decried the stunt. Minority leader Nancy Pelosi called it "The rankest of politics and the absence of any sense of shame".

The real drama occurred in the middle of the debate on the floor over the vote. Rep. Jean Schmidt of Ohio took the floor and decided to get personal. (You may remember that Ms. Schmidt is new to Congress, having narrowly defeated Iraq war veteran Paul Hackett- you know the types she cares so much about- in a special election last August) Rep. Schmidt told of a phone call she received from a Marine colonel. She said "He asked me to send Congress a message — stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message — that cowards cut and run, Marines never do".

The remark was obviously directed at Rep. Murtha (who, just by the way, served 37 years in the Marines, won Purple Hearts, and recently received the Semper Fidelis Award of the Marine Corps Foundation), though she later stated it wasn't directed at anyone in particular (even though you used his name, Jean?) and asked that the remark be removed from the record. As she first stated it, though, the nasty remark caused the floor to erupt in screams of outrage from Democrats. Rep. Marty Meehan probably said it best- "You guys are pathetic! Pathetic!".

I'm not entirely sure that this was the way that Republicans wanted to reframe the debate on the war.

You can watch video of all of this here:
All Hell Breaks Loose

Friday, November 18, 2005

Torture's Terrible Toll

In his great new Newsweek article on why torture is wrong (and why the White House just doesn't get it), Senator McCain shares a story from his past to illustrate why torture is not only morally wrong, it just doesn't work either.

Cheney would counter with a Vietnam story of his own, but... you know.

"In my experience, abuse of prisoners often produces bad intelligence because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear—whether it is true or false—if he believes it will relieve his suffering. I was once physically coerced to provide my enemies with the names of the members of my flight squadron, information that had little if any value to my enemies as actionable intelligence. But I did not refuse, or repeat my insistence that I was required under the Geneva Conventions to provide my captors only with my name, rank and serial number. Instead, I gave them the names of the Green Bay Packers' offensive line, knowing that providing them false information was sufficient to suspend the abuse. It seems probable to me that the terrorists we interrogate under less than humane standards of treatment are also likely to resort to deceptive answers that are perhaps less provably false than that which I once offered."

Intelligent Design: Phony Theory, False Conflict

Charles Krauthammer may be a total tool, but at least he has intelligent design's number right-

Phony Theory, False Conflict:
'Intelligent Design' Foolishly Pits Evolution Against Faith

Intelligent design may be interesting as theology, but as science it is a fraud. It is a self-enclosed, tautological "theory" whose only holding is that when there are gaps in some area of scientific knowledge -- in this case, evolution -- they are to be filled by God. It is a "theory" that admits that evolution and natural selection explain such things as the development of drug resistance in bacteria and other such evolutionary changes within species but also says that every once in a while God steps into this world of constant and accumulating change and says, "I think I'll make me a lemur today."...

...In order to justify the farce that intelligent design is science, Kansas had to corrupt the very definition of science, dropping the phrase " natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us," thus unmistakably implying -- by fiat of definition, no less -- that the supernatural is an integral part of science. This is an insult both to religion and science.

Fitzgerald Comes Back For Seconds

Bad news for the White House... he ain't done yet!

So Scott McClellan was right on one thing- it is an ongoing investigation.

Fitzgerald sees new grand jury proceedings

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said in court filings that the ongoing CIA leak investigation will involve proceedings before a new grand jury, a possible sign he could seek new charges in the case...

Also, my favorite passage from the article:

Earlier this week Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward disclosed that he testified under oath to Fitzgerald that a senior Bush administration official had casually told him in mid-June 2003 about CIA operative Valerie Plame's position at the agency.

Ohhh, okay. So the official just casually outed a CIA operative. Well that's fine then.

And who was this official? Is it National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley? The speculation continues:
Hadley Coy on Whether He's Woodward Source

Cartoon of the Day

Related article: Repairing Journalism

Vice President For Torture

Former CIA director Stansfield Turner on Cheney's continuing defense of torture:

"I'm embarrassed the United States has a vice president for torture."

Me too, sir.

Join Bill O'Reilly's Blacklist

As you may know, in response to critics of his San Francisco/terrorism rant, Bill O'Reilly made an empty threat on Monday's 'Factor' against the "far-left smear sites" who had been saying bad things about him. These "guttersnipes" were on notice! O'Reilly said to stay tuned to because he was going to "name names" with a full list of these sites who dared to imply his statements against the city (which he didn't play on the show) were somehow inappropriate so that "we can all know who is with the anti-military internet crowd". Take THAT! The blogosphere lit up with excitement and anticipation as to which sites would wind up on O'Reilly's who's-who list... Sadly, O'Reilly never published the list.

Regardless, Arianna Huffington wants to help.

She is collecting names on her website: Join Bill O'Reilly's Blacklist. If you want the honor of being on O'Reilly's enemies list, you can sign up there. The next time Ms. Huffington is on the 'Factor' (or at the Fox News studio), she will hand-deliver the list to him. Fellow guttersnipes- sign up today!

The saddest part.

Jon Stewart played parts of Dick Cheney's recent 'war critics suck' speech on last night's Daily Show. In the speech, the Vice President said the saddest part about all of this to him is that our soldiers are subjected to... ummm, hearing him criticized. Yea. Jon Stewart did an impression of Cheney continuing the speech...

"I mean do you know how hard it is for the troops to hear the President and I criticized? I mean, it's one thing for the soldiers to be literally attacked with bombs and bullets, but to see us figuratively attacked with words... well, I mean people, there's only so much they can [*mumbles off insanely*]."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bush Was Right!

There's a new hit single making people laugh tearing up the charts! It's called "Bush Is Right" and is by a group of super patriots called the Right Brothers. They know this is needed. They state that this will finally convince deluded Americans of the "FACT that WMDs were found in Iraq ... or the FACT of clear, uncontested, proven links between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Al Qaeda". Yes, these are facts. Only a liar would insinuate otherwise.

This groundbreaking song will break through the liberal bias at MTV and will send a real message to the America-hating libs out there! The song sings the praises of the successes of Bush's tax cuts for suffering wealthy Americans and the amazing success that is Iraq. It also sends a much needed 'fuck you' to evil libs like that whiny bitch, Cindy Sheehan. If only she was more like the honorable Zell Miller! If you love America, you will tell your friends all about Right Brothers and their great music. If you don't like America, Bill O'Reilly will sic Al Quaeda on you. Posted below is a link to the mp3 and the lyrics.... God bless America!

Download: Sample mp3

Freedom in Afghanistan, say goodbye Taliban
Free elections in Iraq, Saddam Hussein locked up
Osama’s staying underground, Al Qaida now is finding out
America won’t turn and run once the fighting has begun
Libya turns over nukes, Lebanese want freedom, too
Syria is forced to leave, don’t you know that all this means

Bush was right!
Bush was right!
Bush was right!

Democracy is on the way, hitting like a tidal wave
All over the middle east, dictators walk with shaky knees
Don’t know what they’re gonna do, their worst nightmare is coming true
They fear the domino effect, they’re all wondering who’s next

Bush was right!
Bush was right!
Bush was right!

Ted Kennedy - wrong!
Cindy Sheehan - wrong!
France - WRONG!
Zell Miller - right!

Economy is on the rise kicking into overdrive
Angry liberals can’t believe it’s cause of W’s policies
Unemployment’s staying down, Democrats are wondering how
Revenue is going up, can you say “Tax Cuts”

Bush was right!
Bush was right!
Bush was right!

Cheney was right, Condi was right,
Rummy was right, Blair was right
You were right, We were right, “The Right” was right
and Bush was right…
Bush was right!
Bush was right!
What We’re About
What We’re Fighting For

Bonus!- Keith Olbermann was kind enough to make them a music video...

Right, Bros.

Goofus and Gallant

If It Does Not Fit, You Must Acquit

There is a new anti-Plamegate talking point making the rounds, aided by Scooter Libby's lawyers (fine folks, all), that tries to imply that the revelations about Bob Woodward's role in the scandal (that he early on learned about Plame from an administration official) somehow contradicts or invalidates Fitzgerald's indictment of Libby. This, like all good talking points, is of course untrue and planned to distract an easily-distractable media.

Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo debunks this:
(November 17, 2005 -- 12:04 AM EST

...Fitzgerald chose his words carefully. He didn't state as a fact that Libby was the first government official to leak Plame's identity. Nor did he hang any of his indictment on Libby's having been the first.

What he said is that Libby's was the earliest instance he'd found of an official leaking Plame's identity.

In truth, this whole point seems like a tempest in a teapot. For better or worse, I doubt that precisely what Fitzgerald said about who was first will play any role at Libby's trial. But it seems worth running this bit of imprecision to ground before it becomes a 'fact' by endless repetition.

White Phosphorus In Iraq?

There is a big new report making the rounds this week that the U.S. military used white phosphorus, a chemical weapon, in Iraq last year during our raid on Fallujah. The Pentagon (quite reluctantly) admitted to using it this week, but said it wasn't used against civilians, just enemy combatants. Well, that's good. There are also videos making the rounds that paint a more disturbing view of the situation.

Not making any statements, per se, on this discovery (don't want to be accused of being a far-left, anti-military, terrorist sympathizing smear 'guttersnipe')- just sort of throwing it out there. Because it is an important story. I mean, I know it's not as important of a topic as the story of the overtaking of the internet by machines that Matt Drudge is leading with today, but hey it's close.

Freedom Is Untidy

In my list of quotes last night, I forgot a fave I wanted to include:

"Stuff happens."
-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on the looting in post-war Iraq on April 12, 2003.

The earlier part of that speech: "Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things. They're also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that's what's going to happen here."

Freedom is on the march.

Senate Urges Bush to Outline Iraq Plan

Congress... demanding the President answer to them and keep them informed?

Ohhhh, somebody reread their Constitution this weekend.

Senate Urges Bush to Outline Iraq Plan

The GOP-controlled Senate rejected a Democratic call Tuesday for a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq but urged President Bush to outline his plan for "the successful completion of the mission" in a bill reflecting a growing bipartisan unease with his Iraq policies.

The overall measure, adopted 98-0, shows a willingness to defy the president in several ways despite a threatened veto. It would restrict the techniques used to interrogate terrorism suspects, ban their inhuman treatment and call for the administration to provide lawmakers with quarterly reports on the status of operations in Iraq.

In challenging war's critics, administration tinkers with truth

Knight Ridder reporters take a look at the recent statements by Bush, Cheney, and others to attack/discredit critics of the war. The report looks at the many assertions the White House is making (that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure, that Congress had access to the same intelligence, that other countries shared his assessment on Saddam, and that President Clinton had come to the same conclusions on Iraq as they had) and the corresponding truth. The article concludes that the White House might be doing some history rewriting of their own.

Great read, great resource.

In challenging war's critics, administration tinkers with truth

Rewriting History

Bush/Cheney say war critics are rewriting history.

Puts me in the mood for... another History Lesson!

*"Fuck Saddam, we're taking him out."
–President Bush to three U.S. Senators in March 2002, a full year before the Iraq invasion

*"I hope this Iraq situation will be resolved peacefully... I want to remind people that, Saddam Hussein, the choice is his to make as to whether or not the Iraqi situation is resolved peacefully. You said we're headed to war in Iraq -I don't know why you say that. I hope we're not headed to war in Iraq. I'm the person who gets to decide, not you."
-President Bush to reporters, December 31, 2002
(2 months after the Iraq resolution they now claim was a declaration of war)

*"There's a lot of money there [in Iraq]. To assume we're going to pay for it all is just wrong."
-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz to Congress on February 27, 2003

*"What is, I think, reasonably certain is the idea that it would take several hundred thousand U.S. forces is far from the mark."
-Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld on March 3, 2003

*"My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators."
-Vice President on Meet The Press on March 16, 2003

*"The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy, we settled on the one issue that everyone could agree on, which was weapons of mass destruction, as the core reason."
-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, "Vanity Fair" interview, May 28, 2003

*"Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed."
-President Bush under a giant Mission Accomplished banner on May 1, 2003

*"But the fact of the matter is that when we were attacked on September 11, we had a choice to make. We could decide that the proximate cause was al-Qaeda and the people who flew those planes into buildings and, therefore, we would go after al-Qaeda and perhaps after the Taliban and then our work would be done and we would try to defend ourselves.

Or we could take a bolder approach, which was to say that we had to go after the root causes of the kind of terrorism that was produced there, and that meant a different kind of Middle East."
-Condoleeza Rice on Meet The Press on June 16, 2005

*"Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
-Text from the Downing Street Memos, July 2002

Poor, poor Bush administration, Their credibility appears to be in its last throes.

Cheney: Bush Is Right, War Critics "Irresponsible"

The White House continues to spread its talking point that critics of the war in Congress are "dishonest" and "irresponsible". Two words which, of course, come to mind when I think of the deadly and incompetent way this administration has managed this war.

This time, the threatening talking point was delivered by Vice President Dick "I won't come out of my bunker for hurricanes or when my Chief of Staff is indicted, but I will to defend torture" Cheney in a speech today:

Cheney Joins GOP Criticism of Democrats

That [manipulated intelligence] accusation, he said, "one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city."

"Some of the most irresponsible comments have, of course, come from politicians who actually voted in favor of authorizing force against Saddam Hussein," Cheney told the Frontiers of Freedom Institute, a conservative policy group.

And then there is all the "Well John Kerry voted for it!" cries and the "Clinton thought Iraq was a threat too!" cries. John Kerry? The guy the Republicans said was an untrustworthy flip-flopper? Bill Clinton? The man they had impeached because they felt he was an immoral liar who betrayed his country? They trashed these two men every chance they got and now all of the sudden they point to them to bolster the credibility of their Iraq argument. It's all a bit tiresome.

Yes, the Democrats did go along with the whole thing in many ways and they should hold themselves accountable to their actions, but the buck stops with George W. Bush and the way he and his administration sold a war they'd been planning for a very long time. He's the President. He's the leader. It's his war and he has to deal with all of it, including the Democrats who want to ask the questions they were supposed to ask 3 years ago.

Ugh. I need something to wipe the taste of this out of my mouth...

Hey, let's hear from Republican senator Chuck Hagel again!-

"[T]he Bush administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them...

[Vietnam] was a national tragedy partly because members of Congress failed their country, remained silent and lacked the courage to challenge the administrations in power until it was too late...

...To question your government is not unpatriotic -- to not question your government is unpatriotic. America owes its men and women in uniform a policy worthy of their sacrifices."


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bush Social Security Plan Laid to Rest

Rest in peace.

If passed, you truly would've been one of the great government scams of all-time.

Bush Social Security Plan Laid to Rest

The Senate staged sparsely attended burial services Tuesday for President Bush's long-dead plan to remake Social Security through creation of personal accounts. Metaphors outnumbered mourners...

Oil Execs Lie Under (Not) Oath

Last week, the extremely nasty-looking (<-- editorial comment) heads of the nation's top oil corporations testified before Congress so that... well I'm not sure what the point was. They pretty much run the country, so not sure what Congress thought they could do. Anyway, you will remember that some on the panel had asked there be a vote on whether the execs be sworn in. The Republicans insisted that they did not need to be sworn in, and that there would be no vote. And so they were not. Among the many questions the oil execs were asked was whether or not they had met with Vice President Cheney's secret energy task force in 2001. They all claimed they did not. New evidence suggests that was, ummm, not so much the truth.

Personally, I am shocked.

I had expected more ethical behavior from powerful oil executives and our Vice President.

Document Says Oil Chiefs Met With Cheney Task Force

A White House document shows that executives from big oil companies met with Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001 -- something long suspected by environmentalists but denied as recently as last week by industry officials testifying before Congress.

The document, obtained this week by The Washington Post, shows that officials from Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco (before its merger with Phillips), Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc. met in the White House complex with the Cheney aides who were developing a national energy policy, parts of which became law and parts of which are still being debated.

PS- Watch video of them not being sworn in.

The 9/11 Party Takes Back Aid Money

Republican Party- Summer 2004 (Republican convention in NYC): "9/11! 9/11! 9/11! 9/11!"

Republican Party- Now: "Give us back that money, NY!"

'Promise Broken': N.Y. to Lose 9/11 Aid

Congressional budget negotiators have decided to take back $125 million in Sept. 11 aid from New York, which had fought to keep the money to treat sick and injured ground zero workers, lawmakers said Tuesday.

New York officials had sought for months to hold onto the funding, originally meant to cover increased worker compensation costs stemming from the 2001 terror attacks.

But a massive labor and health spending bill moving fitfully through House-Senate negotiations would take back that funding, lawmakers said.

Thanks for whoring out our tragedy, Republicans! Enjoy having the money back!!

New Orleans, only a few more years before they take your money back!

Bob Woodward Involved in Plamegate... What the...?

In a bit of shocking news, Washington Post reporter, and Watergate hero, Bob Woodward has been involved in the Plame case from the very beginning.

He'd previously hidden his role, but now shocking facts are coming to light...

Woodward Was Told of Plame More Than Two Years Ago

Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward testified under oath Monday in the CIA leak case that a senior administration official told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame and her position at the agency nearly a month before her identity was disclosed.

In a more than two-hour deposition, Woodward told Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald that the official casually told him in mid-June 2003 that Plame worked as a CIA analyst on weapons of mass destruction, and that he did not believe the information to be classified or sensitive, according to a statement Woodward released yesterday....

More talk/speculation from the blogs, etc:
-Woodward Had Recently Denied He Had 'Bombshell' and Downplayed Plame Probe
-Bob Woodward Deposed by Fitzgerald
-Talking Points Memo
-Atrios- The Booby Files

Stupid Or Lying?

[click thumbnail for larger image]

Honorable Republican Quote of the Day, Pt. II

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel on Bush's recent attacks on critics of the war:

"The Bush Administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them. Suggesting that to challenge or criticize policy is undermining and hurting our troops is not democracy nor what this country has stood for, for over 200 years."

Honorable Republican Quote of the Day, Pt. I

John McCain speaks on torture and the U.S.'s image on Sunday's 'Face The Nation':

"[L]iterally everybody who's been involved in combat, in conflict and understands that--and others who understand that we've got two wars going on--one, a military one in Iraq and then we've got a war for public opinion, for the hearts and minds of all the people in the world...

...I'm very worried about the image of the United States of America engaging in this kind of activity. It's not--I hold no grief for the terrorists. They are the quintessence of evil. I hope they never get out of prison, the evil ones, but it's not about them. It's about us."

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

O'Reilly Does New Satirical Riff On McCarthyism

Last night was a particularly awesome episode of the O'Reilly Factor.

Bill O'Reilly opened up the show, in his Talking Points segment, by addressing the San Francisco controversy. Or rather, his particular spin on it. O'Reilly's summary of the situation: The San Francisco vote was disrespectful to the military, which is a big no-no, so military veteran super-patriot (?) Bill O'Reilly was honor-bound to call them on their Communist actions on his radio show. At this point, he cuts to the clip that started the controversy... sort of. Bill actually only played the first part of his rant, in which he said that if he were President, the city would no longer get federal funding. O'Reilly cuts the clip off there and states:
"And then I went on to do a satirical riff with a serious point."

Since O'Reilly does not elaborate after that, play the rest of the clip, or mention it again, I though I'd refresh everyone's memory as to what that serious, satirical riff was:
“If Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, ‘look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead."

You know, just riffing and making some serious points.

He then moves on to his main topic- The "far-left smear sites" that have launched a vicious campaign against him. He says our statements that he encouraged terrorist attacks (which his viewers would think was baseless, since he never played or acknowledged that quote) was stupid, even for these "guttersnipes".

He says that he is glad the "smear sites" have made a big deal out of this, because now he is going to, according to his Talking Point screen, 'name names'. He says that "now we can all know who is with the anti-military internet crowd". Did you see how he turned it around back onto his critics? Instead of him being the bad guy for saying it's terrorist open season on the Coit Tower, the blogs are the bad guys, because (somehow by finding his statements odious) they are anti-military. He shoots, he scores!!! Fascism wins the game! O'Reilly says a full list of these anti-American websites will be up soon at Stay tuned!

He ends by stating those who want to deny recruiters access to schools are "working against their own country"... "PERIOD".

I can see myself being called to Fox News headquarters to testify before O'Reilly, head of the Roger Ailes Un-American Activities Committee- "Mr. Wilcox, are you now or have you ever been a member of the anti-military, far-left smear conspiracy?".

Ohh, I'm getting tingly just thinking about it.

Crooks and Liars has video:
Bill O'Reilly's Hit List

NewsHounds has a transcript: O'Reilly: It Was Just a "Satirical Riff" And, Oh Yeah, Just to Set the Record Straight, San Franciscans Who Voted Against Recruiting Are Traitors

Cheney Goes Out In Public, Americans Say Hello

Vice President Cheney was giving a speech today and got heckled.

Crooks and Liars has video:
Cheney heckled in Tenn.

Boy he doesn't have much luck with public speeches, does he? It's probably best that he stays in his bunker from now on.

Naked Cowboy Elected Mayor, Puts On Clothes

This is now officially my favorite picture of Mayor Bloomberg ever:

Note: The Country Music Awards are in town tonight.

(PS- My old favorite Bloomberg pic- here)

Blog Recommendations

Two recommended blog reads I came across today...

First- Arianna Huffington's dreams come true as she lunches with Ahmad Chalabi:
Chillin' with Chalabi: My Journey into the Surreal

And John Cusack (yes, that John Cusack) muses on politics:
On Bush, the Dems, Jon Stewart, Hunter Thompson, Bill Moyers, and King (not Don)

The Funny Pages

Two funny strips today looking at the Washington DC legal woes...



Non Sequitur:

Bill O'Reilly: The Left-Wing Conspiracy Is After Me, Waaaahhh!

Bill O'Reilly spinned like a goddamn dreidel on Hanukkah yesterday on the No Spin Zone.

O'Reilly ignored his pro-terrorism comments and turned the controversy into an attempt by the far-left "smear machine" to destroy him because of his 'satirical riff' on the city of San Francisco. Ignoring what he actually said on the TV show, he made it seem like Bill'O did nothing and people want to hurt him. Why don't people understand that the USA should leave San Francisco open to attack because of their controversial decision?!! Love it or leave it, San Francisco. Anyway, back to the left-wing conspiracy. As his website states:

"A well-organized, well-funded effort to slime the Radio Factor has begun over comments made about the disgraceful vote in San Francisco that sought to prohibit military recruitment in public schools."

Yea, Bill'O, a bunch of bloggers and an admittingly half-assed boycott attempt is a "well-organized, well-funded effort". My check from Soros is in the mail. Afraid of the blogs, Bill'O? I mean it's not like we're an influential media pundit with the power of the News Corporation empire behind us, but hey, we try.

More on this later, including Bill'O's Cold War-esque list of evil websites!

White House Refreshes Their Ethics

People have fun with the White House's ethics refresher courses...

This NY Times Op-Ed imagining one class:
Remedial Ethics

And today's Doonesbury:

President Bush: War Critics "Irresponsible"

President Bush once again lashed out at Iraq war critics.

Remember Americans, everytime you question the war, you kill a troop.

(Just like in 1999 when Clinton's war failed because of opposition)

Bush Escalates Bitter Iraq War Debate

President Bush escalated the bitter debate over the Iraq war on Monday, hurling back at Democratic critics the worries they once expressed that Saddam Hussein was a grave threat to the world.

"They spoke the truth then and they're speaking politics now," Bush charged...

..."Some Democrats who voted to authorize the use of force are now rewriting the past," Bush said. "They're playing politics with this issue and they are sending mixed signals to our troops and the enemy. That is irresponsible."

They spoke the truth then? But if we know that the intelligence was... ahh nevermind.

I guess it all depends on what the definition of "truth" is.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Santorum Actually Voted For Intelligent Design Before He Voted Against It

Senator Santorum = FLIP FLOPPER!!!

And you know how dangerous those are to our government...

Santorum: Don't put intelligent design in classroom

U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said Saturday that he doesn't believe that intelligent design belongs in the science classroom.

Santorum's comments to The Times are a shift from his position of several years ago, when he wrote in a Washington Times editorial that intelligent design is a "legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in the classroom."...

Guess ol' Ricky Santorum is worried about his '06 reelection chances.

Corporate Sponsor <3 O'Reilly

On Saturday, I sent some emails to sponsors of The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly.

Today I got a response from one of them- Tempur-Pedic:

"Dear Mr. Wilcox:

Thank you for contacting us about our radio advertisements!

Tempur-Pedic® is an advertiser of the O’Reilly Factor featuring Bill O’Reilly, but we do not in any way endorse the beliefs aired on the show. Tempur-Pedic® advertises on various radio and television programs to communicate to the public regarding our products and the benefits they provide.

I have forwarded your email to our Marketing Department.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

We appreciate your interest in Tempur-Pedic® products!

Eric J.
Customer Service Representative

800-821-6621 Toll Free "

How nice.

OPERATION: FALAFEL will continue! Yes, you too can get a non-committal form letter response!

Meanwhile, At The NY Post...

An editorial in today's New York Post shares Bill O'Reilly sentiments on San Francisco... minus the thumbs-up for a terrorist attack on Coit Tower. Not surprising, of course, since the Post editorial writers and O'Reilly collect their paycheck from the same company.


Lost amid the discussion of whether last week's election results portend a dis mal future for Republicans has been a more interesting question: Does San Francisco's balloting this year foreshadow its eventual withdrawal from the United States of America?

We ask simply because voters there are acting as if the city's already seceded...

Yes, anarchy and chaos are right around the corner for the Bay City.

Liberality And Injustice For All

I first wrote about this comic on my old blog last summer...

There is a new comic book miniseries out called "Liberality For All" (check the independent section of your local comic book store). The original description advertising it this summer stated:
It is 2021, tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of 9/11 It is up to an underground group of bio-mechanically enhanced conservatives led by Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North to thwart Ambassador Usama Bin Laden's plans to nuke New York City ...And wake the world from an Orwellian nightmare of United Nations- dominated ultra-liberalism.

Needless to say, one question was on everyone's mind- Is this satire? A joke? It's a joke, right? Well, having read it, it's hilarious, but I don't think it's meant as a joke. I believe the author is very serious about this work and means it as a cautionary tale of out-of-control liberalism [assuming of course all the talking points and smears about liberals are true]. After O'Reilly's recent rant, can anyone doubt many conservatives think in these extreme terms? Yes, just like during WWII when that out-of-control liberal FDR failed to save us from the Great Depression and lost the war, surely liberalism will result in America's destruction.

The author in fact defends the seriousness of his work in the letters page. Oddly enough, his comments in this page were the only things that made me think maybe it was satire. For instance, in response to a question about why the comic hasn't received more coverage, the author responds with a rant about the "liberal bias in the comic industry". I just couldn't imagine a serious person writing that with a straight face.

Onto the book itself-

The book's premise is that Ralph Nader died in October 2000 in a car crash after swerving to miss a dog. What a leftie. So naturally, Al Gore became President. And after 9/11, President Gore (being a wimpy liberal) chose to negotiate with terrorists, rather than confront them. We see in 2002 Sean Hannity on the radio ranting about how Gore has done nothing to stop terrorims [note: unlike, of course, Bush's massive successes in the war on terror]. Because of President Gore's weak policies terrorists grew bolder, Iraq forged an alliance with Al Quaeda, and America became a dystopian nightmare of out of control liberalism.

Flash forward to 2021. America has recently merged with the United Nations, which years ago was given control over all world governments. Conservativism has been outlawed and those who speak out against the U.N. government (controlled by Secretary General Jacques Chirac) are rounded up by the U.N. police. A series of UN-enforced "Coulter laws" enforce these anti-conservative 'hate crime' laws, leading to the capture of fugitive Michelle Malkin and making Matt Drudge the FBI's most wanted criminal. Chelsea Clinton is president, Michael Moore is Vice President. The big story is that Osama bin Laden, UN ambassador for Afghanistan, is in town for a summit. He has renounced his past and has been embraced by the U.N. as an agent of peace. But secretly he plans to blow up the Freedom Tower on the 20th anniversary of 9/11!!!

Luckily for America, a secret underground network of patriotic conservatives are on the run from the U.N. and fighting for our freedom. Lead by the exiled Sean Hannity, they transmit a pirated broadcast radio show everyday to let the patriotic citizens know they are fighting. Hannity is joined by his fellow F.O.I.L. (Freedom of Information League) members, Watergate crook G. Gordon Liddy and Iran-Contra villian Oliver North. This group of ass-kicking patriots are all that stand between us... and total destruction.

Best line- G. Gordon Liddy to Hannity as they battle U.N. police with a laser gun:
"I evaluated the XM-8 model for the NRA, before the organization was officially disbanded... so many cold, dead hands. It shoots fine, but I hate all this electronic gun control junk. I have always found the best gun control was... BY USING TWO HANDS!!!!"

In the story, the narrator (a young patriot named Reagan McGee) rants about how Americans take their freedom for granted and won't fight for it... ignoring, of course, that chickenhawks like Hannity and his ilk have never served their country and would never fight when they could send others to do it for them.

Let's also ignore the obvious storytelling liberty that Democrats would have managed to stay in power from 1993-2021. No party ever stays in power for too long and does the author believe that Gore would've been reelected in 2004 after he ignored bin Laden? Well, George Bush was, so I suppose Gore would have been too. Also, the likelihood of a successful Chelsea Clinton/Michael Moore Democratic ticket is even less plausible than a Jenna Bush/Rush Limbaugh ticket. I doubt/hope neither would get pass the primaries... but again somehow George Bush smeared his way past John McCain in 2000, so I suppose anything is possible in the wacky world of politics.

The other thing that struck me as BS about this conservative wet dream is the idea (which the Hannitys always spout) that a President Gore would not have retaliated military for 9/11. They truly believe he would have done nothing. Yet Gore has said himself that he would've invaded Afghanistan immediately and not left until we had bin Laden (you know, that guy George Bush is not that concerned about). Gore would not have invaded Iraq, of course, and gee what a shame that would have been. The idea of Al Gore as a clueless, anti-war, negotiating peacenik is so stupid. Remember back in the 2000 campaign (can you?) that Bush/Cheney attacked the Clinton-Gore administration for being too trigger happy with the military. Bush/Cheney promised a more 'humble' (their word, not mine) foreign policy. They said that Clinton-Gore did not use the armed forces respectfully and were guilty of nation-building. Now they portray them as military-hating hippies! Holy revisionist history, Batman!

This is a must-have comic for fans of right-wing paranoia.

Issue #2 will be out in December, by the way.

[If you enjoy this, see also- Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed!]

White House declines to totally rule out torture

Whoa dude, you totally don't wanna rule out torture! It's radical, man!

White House declines to totally rule out torture

In an important clarification of President George W. Bush's earlier statement, a top White House official refused to unequivocally rule out the use of torture, arguing the US administration was duty-bound to protect Americans from terrorist attack.

The comment, by US national security adviser Stephen Hadley, came amid heated national debate about whether the CIA and other US intelligence agencies should be authorized to use what is being referred to as "enhanced interrogation techniques" to extract from terror suspects information that may help prevent future assaults.

We have a new buzzword- "enhanced interrogation techniques"!

Clear skies = more pollution
No child left behind = Children left behind (and/or recruited into the military)
Enhanced interrogation techniques = torture

"We do not torture"
-President George W. Bush (November 7, 2005)

And what does John "Boo hoo, I was tortured for 6 years in Vietnam" McCain have to say on this...

McCain: Torture Ban Needed for U.S. Image

Sen. John McCain argued Sunday that America's image abroad could be ruined if Congress doesn't ban the torture of prisoners in U.S. custody....

Stop aiding our enemies, Senator.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Equal Opportunity Terrorists

She couldn't expose her ankles in public, but apparently she was allowed to commit terrorism. An Iraqi woman, who failed in an attempt to join her husband in a suicide bombing, has been arrested in connection to the recent attacks in Jordan:

Iraqi Woman Confesses on Jordan TV

An Iraqi woman confessed on Jordanian state television Sunday that she tried to blow herself up along with her husband during a hotel wedding reception last week, saying that the explosives concealed under her denim dress failed to detonate....

Pffttt. Notice that it was the woman who couldn't get the job done? Typical. Never leave it up to a woman to do a man's job. [*shakes head in shame*]

The Hypocrisy Of Bill O'Reilly, Pt. II

Another day passes after Bill O'Reilly said it was terrorist open season on San Francisco and he still has a job. Unbelievable. O'Reilly defends his statements (as do some of his colleagues) but at the same time his website's transcript removes the remarks. Would Wolf Blitzer or Keith Olbermann still have a job today if they had the same exact, word-for-word, remarks about a red-state city? Would the right-wing allow it? No.

Remember back in 2001 that Bill Maher got fired from ABC for making controversial remarks about terrorists in the wake of 9/11. This lead then-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer to remark: "all Americans ... need to watch what they say, watch what they do. This is not a time for remarks like that; there never is..." (a comment they at one point tried to deny was said). Note that Mr. Maher's comments, while controversial, did not endorse a terrorist attack on an American city.

Remember just last year that Dan Rather, one of the most respected journalists on the 20th century, was shamed into retirement because of a story on the President's National Guard service that was poorly researched. Right-wing bloggers exposed the story and continue to use it as an example of liberal media bias. Several CBS executives lost their jobs over the story. Dan Rather retired early. Note that no one died because of the story and, again, no one endorsed a terrorist attack on an American city.

Note that, even in non-political news, Infinity Broadcasting had Howard Stern suspended just for discussing his move to satellite radio. I didn't hear the show that lead to the suspension, but I'm fairly sure Howard didn't endorse a terrorist attack on an American city.

And do I even need to discuss the backlash to Michael Moore's works?

But O'Reilly appears to be untouchable. Why? Because he's O'Reilly. Because he's one of the Fox News guys. No one takes them seriously. When I told some of my friends this, they laughed as if it to say 'Well what else do you expect from one of them?'. The journalist expectations people have for the O'Reillys and Hannitys and Limbaughs are so low that when one of them makes remarks like this, everyone blows this off as if a cartoon character had said it. And yet, simultaneously, we are meant to look up at the Fox crew as the top journalists of their game- #1 cable news network. But I don't see why it should be blown off. No one blew off Bill Maher. O'Reilly has a huge audience on both radio and TV and, sadly, is watched by millions of people everyday who trust him to be a sane voice of the average American. Remember- Bill O'Reilly is looking out for you.

Despite that image he created for himself, he is not just a moral hypocrite who sexually harassed an employee, he is one of the most guilty of the hate speech he accuses his enemies of. I admit to being amused by his blustery ways and his pure partisan anger, but his remarks about San Francisco have crossed a line. Unless he is willing to apologize to not only the city, but his listeners and viewers, it is my belief that he deserves to be removed from the airwaves where he is so influential.

Some examples of his hypocrisy (I'm sure others can come up with more)...

This past August, and since then, O'Reilly has been one of the biggest attackers of anti-war Gold Star mom Cindy Sheehan. Ms. Sheehan has received great criticism (some justified, some not) for many inflammatory remarks made about the war on terror. Because of these remarks, Sheehan's profile in the anti-war movement has diminished. As recently as late September, O'Reilly has ranted about Sheehan on his program, stating she is "radical" and her statements aid terrorists.... I wonder what Mr. O'Reilly would say in his Talking Points segment if Ms. Sheehan had made the comments he made.

Earlier in the year, Bill O'Reilly and others demanded the firing of Ward Churchill, a college professor who wrote an extremely controversial essay on 9/11 which stated that many of those workers who died deserved their fate for their role as 'little Eichmanns' in the capitalist machine. Those like O'Reilly called Churchill and a traitor and all-around horrible person. Yet, as a Slate editorial on the matter noted: Churchill's 9/11 comments were patently offensive. But they were not hate speech, they were not treason, and they were not in any sense a call to imminent violence on the part of his listeners.... Many might not remember it now, but the Churchill remarks were a HUGE story at the time. Yet, Mr. O'Reilly hypocritically has done worse than Churchill and stated that an entire city deserves a terrorist attack simply because they voted in a way he disagreed with. And yet not a peep from anyone, except some bloggers like myself.

Conservatives, where is your anger now?

In airports you can get arrested for joking about terrorism. It's an understandable law. Yet one of the nation's most listened-to pundits can endorse an act of terrorism (and defend the remark) and apparently it's no big deal. O'Reilly states his remarks were justified because San Francisco barring military recruiters from schools hurts and endangers our country. Hurts the country? You mean like Scooter Libby and other White House officials did by outing a CIA agent who dealt with weapons of mass destruction? Like the White House did by rushing to war (leading O'Reilly to not trust them anymore, wink wink)? If terrorists did attack San Francisco, would that hurt the country? Would O'Reilly care if he doesn't consider it a part of the country anymore?

I wish Bill Maher were on this week; I'd like to know how he feels about this.

This goes beyond punditry as usual and should not be dismissed.

Make your voice heard. Help boycott O'Reilly and his radical message.

Lights In A Box

In Stephen King's newest column in Entertainment Weekly, he discusses George Clooney's new film "Good Night, And Good Luck", which explores not only Edward R. Murrow's conflict with Joseph McCarthy, but also the downfall of the news media itself- that journalism has moved from a civic duty to just another entertainment field. Here's a good passage from the article that stuck out to me:

"Nobody really likes watching the news, since so little worth reporting is good news-- thus the tendency is still to kill the messenger for the message. Lefties today think the news media have gotten soft and scared; they point to the gloves-on way TV handled the Bush administration's run-up to the war in Iraq as an example. The righties think the media are just a tool of the left wing (of guys like Clooney... and let's throw in Alec Baldwin for good measure), and the anchors won't be happy until anarchy rules Iraq and abortion clinics are as common as ATMs...

...Even more dismaying is the last decade's 'news-flation', with its unforgiveable shoot-from-the-lip scare journalism. Thus, we are told that there may be 10,000 dead in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, that doctors euthanized patients at the height of the chaos (allegations that are still unproven), and that bird flu may soon depopulate the earth. Not to mention nightly updates on the Natalee Holloway 'story' - BREAKING NEWS!- while Africa starves and the Mideast burns."

Goin' Back to New Orleans

Just a heads up, in case anyone wanted to do some Sunday reading with their coffee. Harry Shearer has a regular feature on the Huffington Post called 'Eat The Press'- his unique coverage of and commentary on the media itself. This past week, he traveled to New Orleans to explore the city two months in the wake of Katrina. I have enjoyed his posts on the trip and though I'd share them with both all my readers...

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 3.5

Part 4

Part 4.5

Part 5

Part 6

Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument

Did Congress have the same intelligence as the White House? Probably not.

Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument

President Bush and his national security adviser have answered critics of the Iraq war in recent days with a two-pronged argument: that Congress saw the same intelligence the administration did before the war, and that independent commissions have determined that the administration did not misrepresent the intelligence.

Neither assertion is wholly accurate...

Directions For Bill O'Reilly.

I decided instead of ranting about Mr. O'Reilly, I should be helpful.

I want to help Bill O'Reilly, our military, and the war on terror. I know how. Mr. O'Reilly says we are in World War III. He says that subsequently the ability of the military to recruit unabated is the highest priority and that anyone who impedes that is an enemy of the state. He states to stand in the way of the military getting as many soldiers as possible is fascist.

I could not agree more.

We are fighting WWIII and if we don't actively help the military recruit every available citizen (high school kids, etc), then we are no longer Americans. And we should be destroyed. I would enlist myself, but I am gay and am not allowed to serve my country (thanks, Bill Clinton!). However, Mr. O'Reilly is super all-the-way heterosexual and in great physical shape (have you heard the strength in his voice when tells people to 'shut up'... that's power!!). Therefore, I am sure that Mr. O'Reilly wants to be immediately signed up for the U.S. military so that he can help our soldiers win this war sooner and come home to their families. So why hasn't Mr. O'Reilly signed up yet? That's a stupid question! He hasn't had the chance! Oddly enough, the unabated military recruiters in New York don't ever go to the patriotic Fox News headquarters to seek recruits. Very odd. So Mr. O'Reilly likely thinks he has no access to recruiters.

Well, I have good news for him! Mr. O'Reilly may not be aware, but there is an Armed Forces Recruiting Station right in the middle of Times Square, just a few blocks away from the Fox News headquarters in midtown!!! Because I am being so helpful, I thought I would show Mr. O'Reilly exactly where to go. I looked up the directions online for him and saved them for him and his coworkers to head over and make their country proud!

Don't thank me, Bill, your service to your country is thanks enough! :-)