Archive for April 23rd, 2007

Billshit

Bill O’Reilly continues to be a lying bastard:

On April 13, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly appeared on RTE One’s The Late Late Show, a talk show based in Dublin, Ireland. During the interview, host Pat Kenny asked O’Reilly about his previous references to the poor as “irresponsible and lazy” and the Iraqi people as “prehistoric.” When Kenny said that he found both remarks on Media Matters for America‘s website, O’Reilly responded by attacking Media Matters as “an assassination website” and a “far-left propaganda thing.” O’Reilly further claimed that he didn’t “remember saying” either of the statements pointed out by Kenny and added that Media Matters takes him “out of context.” However, Media Matters provided documentation of O’Reilly referring to the poor as “irresponsible and lazy” and the Iraqi people as “prehistoric.”

During the April 13 interview, Kenny asked O’Reilly about what Kenny called O’Reilly’s “advice to the poor”: “It’s hard to do it because you’ve got to look people in the eye and tell them they’re irresponsible and lazy, and who’s going to do that?” When O’Reilly asked, “Well, where did you get that? Because I don’t remember saying that.” Kenny responded, “We got it off the website.” O’Reilly quickly lashed out, saying, “OK. The website you got it off is called Media Matters, which is an assassination website. It’s a far-left propaganda thing. … They’ll take two, three sentences; they’ll put it on out of context.” O’Reilly added: “[B]e very careful when buying into the American website factory, because they’re set up to assassinate people with whom they disagree. That’s where you got it, and we know that game. They play it all the time.”

The thing is, regardless of their political leanings, Media Matters is never anything less than completely factual when they make these “attacks.” They provide ample context (if you follow the link, you will see that O’Reilly quotes are actually even worse in context), and they even provide audio or video clips. So unless Bill wants to make the claim that Media Matters is actually doctoring the clips and transcripts (only a matter of time, I suppose), then he really doesn’t have a leg to stand on.

Media Matters being liberal does not make their facts any less true than anyone else’s, and every right-wing freaks like O’Reilly or Melanie Morgan or Michael Savage get caught being the twisted monsters they are, all they can do is wail about how they were taken “out of context” (like there’s a context in which calling poor people “irresponsible and lazy” and Iraqis “prehistoric” is perfectly okay) and how Media Matters has a vendetta against them. But even if MM does have a vendetta against them (and I really couldn’t blame them if they did), it doesn’t change the fact that these professional hatemongers say vile, awful things all the time.

If you don’t want Media Matters to make you look like a bigoted asshole, then don’t act like one on the air. If you’re supposedly members of the party of personal responsibility (ha), then you should be prepared to take responsibility for all your public utterances, for which you are well compensated, and which, I might add, go out over publicly-owned airwaves.

Oh, and it’s so lovely to see that Bill is picking up right where the equally charming Melanie Morgan left off in terms of making this sound like some kind of life-or-death struggle, like Media Matters literally has a gun to their heads. I dunno, maybe this is really the only language they know how to speak. But if they want to dwell in that idiom where having their own words thrown back at them is the same as having a gun pointed at them, then I have to ask: Who loaded it?

8 comments April 23rd, 2007 at 07:42pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Republicans,Wankers

Two More Reasons Why Gonzo Must Go

Arlen Specter:

Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the top Republican on the committee, said Monday that keeping Gonzales as attorney general will be ”harmful to the Justice Department because he has lost his credibility.”

”When he said that he wasn’t involved in discussions or deliberations, and then is contradicted by his three top aides and also by documentary evidence, … his credibility has been substantially undermined,” Specter said in Harrisburg, Pa. ”And I think it does hurt the administration, and inevitably it hurts the (Republican) party.”

Specter added: ”As long as (Gonzales is) the attorney general, I will continue to deal with him, but whatever he has to say I will take with more than a grain of salt.”

When Arlen Specter says you’re a shifty, untrustworthy weasel, your credibility is actually below zero, and well into negative territory.

George W. Bush:

”The attorney general went up and gave a very candid assessment, and answered every question he could possibly answer — honestly answer — in a way that increased my confidence in his ability to do the job,” Bush said.

If Gonzo’s testimony increased Dubya’s confidence in Gonzo’s ability to do the job, then we need to seriously ask ourselves just what job it is that Gonzo is supposedly doing.

2 comments April 23rd, 2007 at 06:28pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Republicans,Specter

Reiding The Riot Act

I think Harry Reid just hit Dubya with the whole sofa:

Defying a fresh veto threat, the Democratic-controlled Congress will pass legislation within days requiring the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq beginning Oct. 1, with a goal of completing the pullout in six months, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Monday.

The word “goal” is problematic to say the least, but Reid definitely talks a good game.

The Nevada Democrat outlined the elements of the legislation in a speech a few hours after Bush said he will reject any legislation along the lines of what Democrats intend to pass. ”I will strongly reject an artificial timetable (for) withdrawal and/or Washington politicians trying to tell those who wear the uniform how to do their job,” the president said.

This is a dishonest frame (would you expect anything less?). The Democrats are not meddling in military strategy; they are pointing out that the war is already lost and it’s time to get out. Telling the doctor the patient is gone is not the same as telling him how to use the defibrillator paddles.

Okay, back to Harry:

Reid said Bush was in ”a state of denial” over the war, and likened him to another commander in chief four decades ago. ”I remember when President Johnson, trying to save his political legacy, initiated the first of many surges into Vietnam in 1965,” he said.

Reid said thousands more U.S. troops died in Vietnam in the years that followed. Now, he said, Bush ”is the only person who fails to face this war’s reality – and that failure is devastating not just for Iraq’s future, but for ours.”

(…)

”The military mission has long since been accomplished. The failure has been political. It has been policy. It has been presidential.”

(…)

”I understand the restlessness that some feel. Many who voted for change in November anticipated dramatic and immediate results in January,” he said.

”But like it or not, George W. Bush is still the commander in chief — and this is his war,” Reid said.

Reid said Democrats have sought Republican support for their attempts to force Bush to change course. ”Only the president is the odd man out, and he is making the task even harder by demanding absolute fidelity from his party.”

Looking beyond Bush’s expected veto, he said, ”If the president disagrees, let him come to us with an alternative. Instead of sending us back to square one with a veto, some tough talk and nothing more, let him come to the table in the spirit of bipartisanship that Americans demand and deserve.”

I particularly love that last bit, since Dubya loved to make the same demand every time the Democrats declared the war a disaster. Now Reid is painting Bush as the carping obstructionist without a plan.

Hrmf. AP appears to have cut one of Harry’s lines since I came back to the story. Fortunately, I still have the original version open…

Reid noted disapprovingly that in a speech last week, Bush repeatedly said there were signs of progress in Iraq in the wake of a troop increase he ordered last winter.

“The White House transcript says the president made those remarks in the state of Michigan. I believe he made them in the state of denial.”

Ouch. There also used to be a paragraph in there about the Democrats adding a minimum wage increase to the supplemental.

1 comment April 23rd, 2007 at 05:53pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Iraq,Politics

“Overlook” Does Not Equal “Oversee”

Oh my. By way of The All-Seeing Eye Of Froomkin, it looks like Henry Waxman is preparing some more Must-See-C-Span-TV for us:

Dear Mr. Card:

Since I first wrote you on March 30, 2007, I have received new information that suggests there may have been a systemic failure to safeguard classified information at the White House during and after your tenure as White House Chief of Staff. Multiple current and former White House security personnel have informed my staff that White House practices have been dangerously inadequate with respect to investigating security violations, taking corrective action following breaches, and physically securing classified information. I urge you to cooperate with the Oversight Committee’s investigation into these security lapses by testifying voluntarily before the Committee.

On March 16, 2007, the Oversight Committee held a hearing to examine the disclosure by White House officials of the covert status of CIA Officer Valerie Plame Wilson. At this hearing, the current Chief Security Officer at the White House, James Knodell, testified that the White House Security Office (1) did not conduct any internal investigation to identify the source of the leak, (2) did not initiate corrective actions to prevent future security breaches, and (3) did not consider administrative sanctions or reprimands for the officials involved. The failure of the White House to take these actions appears to be a violation of Executive Order 12958, which establishes minimum requirements for safeguarding classified information and responding to breaches.

Following the hearing, my staff heard from multiple current and former security officials who work or worked at the White House Security Office. These security officials described a systemic breakdown in security procedures at the White House. The statements of of these officials, if true, indicate that the security lapses that characterized the White House response to the leak of Ms. Wilson’s identity were not an isolated occurrence, but part of a pattern of disregard for the basic requirements for protecting our national security secrets.

Waxman then goes into greater detail on the three main categories of violation:

1) Failure to react to security breaches, even after they were reported to the WH Security Office by the Secret Service. “Several of the security violations involved mishandling of ‘Sensitive Compartmentalized Information’ (SCI), the highest level of classified information, such as leaving SCI materials unattended in a hotel room.”

2) Obstructing lawful inspections by the Information Security Office of the National Archives.

3) Lax management by Knodell and his deputy, who regularly ignored WH security procedures and allowed other WH officials to do the same.

Feel safe yet? On the bright side, maybe we don’t need to subpoena the RNC’s mail servers to find out who chose the USAs to be fired – maybe the info will just turn up in a hotel room someday.

Nah, on second thought, they’re pretty careful about keeping the important stuff secret.

1 comment April 23rd, 2007 at 04:25pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans

Like A Millipede Needs More Legs

Because the Republicans have such a hard time getting their message out:

The Majority Accountability Project (MAP), an independent, internet-based news and research service, will make its debut on April 23 at www.majorityap.com. Founded by two Capitol Hill veterans, MAP will be an on-line clearinghouse of information on the House Majority, and conduct its own investigative stories available to the public, on-line community and the mainstream media.

“Last year, dozens of organizations, blogs and internet-based groups were engaged in comprehensive research on the Republican House majority – poring over legislation, travel vouchers, FEC statements, and financial disclosures – disseminating that information and, quite often, driving a great deal of the mainstream media coverage,” said Michael Brady, MAP President and co-founder. “We think this majority needs that same level of scrutiny.”

MAP will be an on-line clearinghouse of information on the House Majority, and conduct its own investigative stories not being done by the mainstream media, or the liberal-dominated internet news services. MAP will compile and maintain comprehensive records on members of the Majority, such as house votes, campaign financing, district activities, policy positions and public statements.

If I had to list all the ways in which the mainstream media has failed us, I’m sure that “not enough negative stories about Democrats” would be right up there at the top…

1 comment April 23rd, 2007 at 11:39am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Mookie Consternation

Well, this is certainly ironic…

MOKTADA AL-SADR’S power is felt from Baghdad to the Beltway even when he has vanished from sight.

For the last month, from a secret location, the young Shiite cleric has fanned the flames of Iraqi nationalism and anti-American sentiment, a sure path to popularity in his frightened, frustrated land.

He organized a protest that drew tens of thousands of people to the Shiite holy city of Najaf to demand an end to the American military presence. They burned American flags and chanted, “Death to America!” Then, last week, he withdrew his six cabinet ministers from the government, complaining that it was not doing enough to rid the country of the Americans.

But press his aides for concrete details of a timetable to present to the Americans, and the picture becomes murkier. They say they want the Americans out. But not just yet.

“In order to drive out the occupation, we need to build up the security forces; then we can have a timetable,” said Abdul Mehdi Mutairi, one of Mr. Sadr’s top political officials…. He was referring to the Iraqi government’s largely Shiite army and police, which by all accounts could not yet control Iraqi violence on their own.

So, in other words… “As the Iraqis stand up, we will demand that the Americans stand down”? It kinda sounds like Bush and Sadr might actually be on the same page. I wonder how Sadr intends to deal with the fact that the US has basically given up on training Iraqi forces, which is not mentioned in the story.

I’m not sure which is more surprising, that, or this:

“The Sadrists, I’ve said all along, operate on a Hezbollah model,” [a senior secular Iraqi] official said, referring to the nationalist Lebanese Shiite group that has successfully fought Israel. “But Hassan Nasrallah is much more sophisticated than Moktada al-Sadr. Mookie is a reflection of the rough world of Iraqi Shia, and Hassan Nasrallah is a reflection of the sophisticated world of Lebanese Shia.”

Mookie??? The Scary Islamist Boogeyman is nicknamed Mookie? As a Mets fan, I find this very disturbing – it’s like a Red Sox fan discovering that Osama’s nickname is “Big Papi.”

2 comments April 23rd, 2007 at 11:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Iraq,War

Krugman Concurs

Looks like Krugman’s been reading FDL, or Kos, or (heh) Multi Medium:

There are two ways to describe the confrontation between Congress and the Bush administration over funding for the Iraq surge. You can pretend that it’s a normal political dispute. Or you can see it for what it really is: a hostage situation, in which a beleaguered President Bush, barricaded in the White House, is threatening dire consequences for innocent bystanders — the troops — if his demands aren’t met.

If this were a normal political dispute, Democrats in Congress would clearly hold the upper hand: by a huge margin, Americans say they want a timetable for withdrawal, and by a large margin they also say they trust Congress, not Mr. Bush, to do a better job handling the situation in Iraq.

But this isn’t a normal political dispute. Mr. Bush isn’t really trying to win the argument on the merits. He’s just betting that the people outside the barricade care more than he does about the fate of those innocent bystanders.

What’s at stake right now is the latest Iraq “supplemental.” Since the beginning, the administration has refused to put funding for the war in its regular budgets. Instead, it keeps saying, in effect: “Whoops! Whaddya know, we’re running out of money. Give us another $87 billion.”

At one level, this is like the behavior of an irresponsible adolescent who repeatedly runs through his allowance, each time calling his parents to tell them he’s broke and needs extra cash.

(…)

So how should Congress respond to Mr. Bush’s threats?

Everyone talks about the political risks of confrontation, recalling the backlash when Newt Gingrich shut down the federal government in 1995. But there’s a big difference between trying to force a fairly popular president to accept deep cuts in Medicare — which is what the 1995 confrontation was about — and trying to get a deeply unpopular, distrusted president to set some limits on an immensely unpopular war.

Meanwhile, there are big political risks on the other side. If Congress responds to a presidential veto by offering an even weaker bill, voters may well react with disgust, concluding that the whole debate over the war was nothing but political theater.

Anyway, never mind the political calculations. Confronting Mr. Bush on Iraq has become a patriotic duty.

The fact is that Mr. Bush’s refusal to face up to the failure of his Iraq adventure, his apparent determination to spend the rest of his term in denial, has become a clear and present danger to national security. Thanks to the demands of the Iraq war, we’re already a superpower without a strategic reserve, unable to respond to crises that might erupt elsewhere in the world. And more and more military experts warn that repeated deployments in Iraq — now extended to 15 months — are breaking the back of our volunteer military.

If nothing is done to wind down this war during the 21 months — 21 months! — Mr. Bush has left, the damage may be irreparable.

Exactly. The Democrats will only pay a political price for failure to oppose.

April 23rd, 2007 at 07:24am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Iraq,Politics,Republicans,War

Monday Galileo Blogging

This week’s Monday Media Blogging is a video/photo hybrid, but with a Common Unifying Theme.


Probably my favorite Indigo Girls video – very playful and cute.

* WPG2 Plugin Not Validated *
The resting sole of Galileo.

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Galileo looking pensive.

* WPG2 Plugin Not Validated *
I think Atlas wants Galileo to get on with it already…

April 23rd, 2007 at 06:59am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Monday Media Blogging,Photoblogging,Pittsburgh


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