Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Olbermann's Special Comment regarding the Clinton Interview- 9/25/06

Keith Olbermann reminds us what the truth sounds like.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Long long long

How long has it been since Bush said he wanted justice and bin Laden captured Old West style -- dead or alive?

About this long.

Meet Gary Weddle. About a week after the 9/11 attacks, this Washington state middle school teacher vowed not to shave until bin Laden was captured. I'm not sure he intended to become a walking monument to failure, but ...


Sunday, September 10, 2006

There must be an election coming up

On this, the eve of the fifth anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we'd like to pause to remind you how important it is to the Bush administration and the Republican Party that you remain scared shitless.

To that end, citizens in the Pacific Northwest and, thanks to the wires, countless others around the country were treated to this steamy pile this morning:

It could be a bomb stuffed in a car or truck or strapped around the waist of a suicide bomber. It could be a small boat filled with explosives approaching, like the one that attacked the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole in Yemen six years ago. Or it could be a small plane packed with explosives diving out of the sky.

Or terrorists might simply hijack one of Washington state's jumbo ferries with 2,500 people on board and aim it at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton, which overhauls nuclear aircraft carriers and Trident nuclear submarines.

Although security has improved dramatically since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the ferries plying the waters of Puget Sound remain vulnerable, and intelligence suggests that terrorists are conducting surveillance and the ferries could be targets.
Scary? You bet. Alarming? Sure is. Bullshit? Oh yeah.

The opening paragraphs are designed to scare the shit out of you, and do a pretty good job. You have to hang in until the 11th paragraph to get to this little nugget:

"We do not posses any specific or credible information indicating any threat to the Washington state ferry system," said Kirk Whitworth, of the Homeland Security Department.
Hmmm, in a story about the threat to the Puget Sound ferry system, that seems like a fairly important piece of information.

But a good fear campaign isn't going to be derailed by something as insignificant as facts. And neither is this story. It goes on to describe the number of people who ride the ferries and are at risk. Or would be. If there were any credible reason to believe a threat to the ferry system exists. Which there isn't. No matter, just follow that up with this quote:

"The worst-case scenario is a large truck bomb," Washington State Patrol Lt. Travis Matheson said. But he said attacks could come from the air, the sea or a passenger with a homemade bomb. "The ferries are considered very high risk and they are difficult to protect."
and you're sure to have passengers eyeing each other suspiciously and wasting officers' time with calls about "suspicious activity."

Suspicious activity sometimes might involve a tourist taking pictures or asking out-of-the-ordinary questions, but the incidents that attracted attention from the FBI and other investigators "involved behavior out of the mainstream for either tourists or commuters," Turner said. He wouldn't elaborate.
I bet pissing over the side of the ferry would qualify as "behavior out of the mainstream for either tourists or commuters." That probably doesn't happen often, but tourists photographing picturesque Puget Sound during a ferry ride probably happens every couple of seconds. So we might as well fear it.

With the election just a few weeks away, I suspect we can expect a 2004-style rise in the terror alert level, more alarmist bullshit like this article and, of course, an October Surprise that'll probably keep the Bushies laughing at the country club for years.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Oh, black sites

By the way, those secret CIA prisons the administration would never acknowledge? They're real. As for the details, we're going to have to take the word of George Bush, who avoided acknowledging the prisons' existence for nearly a year and who has lied to the American people repeatedly.

President Bush on Wednesday acknowledged the existence of previously secret CIA prisons around the world and said 14 high-value terrorism suspects — including the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks — have been transferred from the system to Guantanamo Bay for trials.

He said the "small number" of detainees that have been kept in CIA custody include people responsible for the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 in Yemen and the 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in addition to the 2001 attacks.
Small number? Because detainees at black sites "have no recognized legal rights, and no one outside the CIA is allowed to talk with or even see them, or to otherwise verify their well-being," we're going to have to take his word for it. People who are so certainly guilty of bombings that the United States government can't bring charges against them? We're going to have to take his word for it.

The announcement from Bush is the first time the administration has acknowledged the existence of CIA prisons, which have been a source of friction between Washington and some allies in Europe. The administration has come under criticism for its treatment of terrorism detainees. European Union lawmakers said the CIA was conducting clandestine flights in Europe to take terror suspects to countries where they could face torture.

Defending the program, the president said the questioning of these detainees has provided critical intelligence information about terrorist activities that have enabled officials to prevent attacks not only in the United States, but Europe and other countries. He said the program has been reviewed by administration lawyers and been the subject of strict oversight from within the CIA.
But this critical intelligence information may never be revealed, even on the off chance a detainee comes to trial, becuase the administration is trying to keep evidence against defendants that happens to be classified secret from defendants:

Pushing a hard line with legislation he promoting [sic] for Capitol Hill consideration later Wednesday, Bush was insisting on military tribunals in which evidence would be withheld from a defendant if necessary to protect classified information.
So, once again, we're going to have to take his word for it.

Bush would not detail the type of interrogation techniques that are used through the program, saying they are tough but do not constitute torture.
No reason that claim should be scrutinized, right? Oh yeah, Gitmo. Oh yeah, Abu Grahib. Oh yeah, extraordinary renditions. Oh yeah, Dilawar.

But I guess we're going to have to take his word for it.

"This program has helped us to take potential mass murderers off the streets before they have a chance to kill," the president said. "It is invaluable to America and our allies."
Perhaps this is a window into why the administration is in no particular hurry to try any of its detainees: They're only "potential" criminals. Meaning they haven't done anything yet. But Sherlock Bush knows that it's just a matter of time. The real problem seems to be that the legal system in this country hasn't caught up with George Bush's ability to anticipate future crimes. So, once again, we're going to have to take his word for it.

The president's announcement, which the White House touted beforehand and asked to be televised live on the networks, comes as Bush has sought with a series of speeches to sharpen the focus on national security two months before high-stakes congressional elections.
Right before these high-stakes elections, the administration admits that it sidesteps due process by operating secret prisons that it filled with suspects who have never been charged with anything. And the Democrats are still playing defense. Maybe the reason they never win an election is because they don't want to. That and Diebold.

It doesn't exactly fill one with confidence to take the word of a guy who ostensibly wrote this letter:

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

Consistent with section 3(b) of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), and based on information available to me, including that in the enclosed document, I determine that:

(1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither (A) adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor (B) likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq; and

(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.


but now says

Q What did Iraq have to do with that?

THE PRESIDENT: What did Iraq have to do with what?

Q The attack on the World Trade Center?


Cluster fuck

After all, what's the point of having these awful weapons unless you can use them whenever, wherever you want?

The Senate on Wednesday rejected a move by Democrats to stop the Pentagon from using cluster bombs near civilian targets and to cut off sales unless purchasers abide by the same rules.

On a 70-30 vote, the Senate defeated an amendment to a Pentagon budget bill to block use of the deadly munitions near populated areas. The vote came after the State Department announced last month that it is investigating whether Israel misused American-made cluster bombs in civilian areas of Lebanon.

Unexploded cluster bombs — anti-personnel weapons that spray bomblets over a wide area — litter homes, gardens and highways in south Lebanon after Israel's 34-day war with Hezbollah militants.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., have long sought to keep cluster bombs from being used near concentrated areas of civilians. They say that as many as 40 percent of the munitions fail to detonate on impact — they can still can explode later — leaving innocent civilians and children vulnerable to injury or death long after hostilities have ceased.
These children wouldn't be in such danger if they had the good sense not to be born where we drop bombs.

By the way, NOT ONE Republican senator voted in favor of this measure. (Click here to see how your "representative" voted.) When people say Republicans are amoral swine -- and they say it a lot -- votes like this are the reason why.

Attention Pennsylvanians: Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum voted against this measure. Santorum is trailing Bob Casey in a contentious race that could be key to helping the Democrats regain control of Congress. If you're in Pennsylvania, register to vote and treat Santorum the way he treated this amendment.