Friday, June 30, 2006

Memories of Bernie

Bernie Kerik has admitted being a corrupt asshole.
Bernard B. Kerik, the former New York City police commissioner, pleaded guilty today to two misdemeanor charges as the result of accepting tens of thousands of dollars of gifts and a loan while a city official in the late 1990's.

The former New York City police commissioner entered the pleas in a Bronx courtroom and was sentenced to a total of $221,000 in fines.

He entered the pleas in a Bronx courtroom and was sentenced to a total of $221,000 in fines. He was accompanied by three lawyers and three supporters for the proceeding, which lasted about 10 minutes.
Shall we recall Sean Hannity's take on this issue? He used to think it was that darn media smearing the guy.
KERIK: Well, I think that was his message, you know? And also Andy Card told me earlier. He said, "you know, I will tell you I think the president is going to support you either way. If you want to go through with this or if you want to withdraw, you know, it's going to be up to you. But I think the president will be there for you."

HANNITY: I assume you thought that would be the end of the negative press, and then it became a whirlwind.

KERIK: Well, you know, Sean, under normal circumstances, I guess I would have. But Andy Card made a statement to me before I hung up with him that night. He said, you know, "There's a lot of people out there. He says, you know, people will come out from under rocks.”

HANNITY: And they did.

KERIK: Or something to that effect. Maybe not those same words. But I kind of — you know, I was pretty distraught, and I was upset and I was — you know I was sort of out of it at the time. And I guess I wasn't paying attention.


KERIK: But I paid attention when there were about 150 reporters on the end of my driveway.

HANNITY: They went after your personal life. They went after your work as commissioner. They even accused you at one point of, quote, "organized crime," which you spent your whole life fighting crime.

I mean that's got to hurt, every tabloid, front pages, New York, people knew you as a hero with 9/11. How hard was that?

KERIK: It was difficult. One of the things that bothered me the most was the organized crime stuff. You know the Daily News ran a headline story that I was connected to organized crime. I know today what I didn't know then, was that that reporter knew the story was false. So the reporter knew all of this when me wrote the story. That stuff is hurtful.

Poor Bernie.

Poor Sean.

But what did other assholes have to say?
The two-faced nature of Democrats has come through again. Senate Dems, especially Florida's own Bill Nelson (who will be defeated in 2006 by Jeb Bush), have taken a sick pleasure in this development. We're talking about the man who will run an agency that is dedicated to our republic's preservation, yet these sickos see nothing but political opportunity. And they wonder why they keep losing elections?

By the way, the hypocritical nature of it comes into play when you consider that both of New York's Senators, Hillary Clinton and Chuckie Schumer (noth Democrats), gave glowing endorsements of Kerik. Those outside of NY have been the vocal critics, thus undermining the credibility of those two...especially telling, since Shrillary likely plans on running for President in '08.
Ha! "Shrillary." Good one, Dumbass.

A "Fighting Dem" - Class of '68

Nitpicker congratulates Representative Jim Marshall (D-GA), who was inducted into the Army's Ranger Hall of Fame.

He's a pretty hawkish, conservative Democrat, so I don't agree with his take on the war or a lot of other things, but I salute his service.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

If Brian Kilmeade got what he wanted...

...he'd be off the air.

You see, Kilmeade said the other day that we should bring back the WWII-era "Office of Censorship." Hey, Bri? Bring it On. The first people to go would be the Foxholes.

Not only did the government ask reporters to limit their ad-libbing, broadcasters themselves went to the government and came up with these suggestions, from the N.A.B. Wartime Guide, released December 18, 1941, after "careful consultation with the military branches of the government as well as other agencies":
In general accept the fact this is likely to be a long war--with both reverses and triumphs. Avoid broadcasting the news in a manner that is likely to cause exaggerated optimism. Likewise avoid creating an atmosphere of defeatism and despair. At all times practice moderation in the writing, delivering and scheduling of news broadcasts.

The writing should be calm, accurate, factual.

There should be a minimum of production trappings surrounding news broadcasts. The news of America at war is sufficiently exciting; do not try to make it more so by presenting it with sound effects...

DO NOT overestimate American power nor underestimate the enemy strength and thereby tend to creat complacent confidence...
And, lest we forget, James Rainey reminds us that, in 1943, "President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the War Department and the Office of War Information decided Americans needed a less-sanitized view to understand the true risks and costs of the war..."

Crazy lady

Firedoglake says thanks to Pammy Nutjob (via Atrios).

Katherine Harris is right!

As Republicans have made moves to kill minimum wage hikes recently, they've used the same old sorry tactics: Saying it will destroy businesses and that Democrats just want more big government.
Business groups fiercely oppose a federally mandated wage increase, saying it would drive up the cost of employing low-skilled workers, resulting in less job creation.

"This is a classic debate between two different philosophies. One philosophy believes in the marketplace, competition and entrepreneurship, and the second is a philosophy that says government knows best," said Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.
The problem is, this isn't an issue of what "government" thinks. This is an issue in which the people believe. And I mean all people.
An April survey by the Pew Research Center shows 83 percent of the public favors raising the minimum wage by $2. That figure includes 72 percent of Republicans, and 76 percent of people with household incomes of $75,000 or higher.
But, is there anything to their argument that businesses hurt when wages go up, after all, Katherine Harris is running for Senate on the idea that her Republican-led home state of Florida is doing very well, economically.
According to Harris, Florida is a state on the right track.

"We are the envy of every state in the nation," Harris said. "We have the lowest unemployment rate and the highest job creation."
Harris is right. Florida is kicking economic ass.

What Harris won't mention is that this fact proves Republicans wrong. In November 2004, the citizens of Florida banded together and passed an amendment to the state's consitution, drafted by fellow blogger Nathan Newman, raising the minimum wage and pegging future increases to the Consumer Price Index.

This amendment didn't just pass. It passed by more than 71 percent. The people—not just Democrats—had spoken and, by God, the people were right. (PDF link)
The Florida Retail Federation claimed that "Jobs will be lost – devastating our strong economy." Rick McAllister of the Retail Federation claimed a state minimum wage "could have a billion-dollar inflationary effect on the state of Florida." The Orlando Chamber of Commerce predicted that the new minimum wage would lead to outsourcing, "many good Florida jobs will be shipped over seas", and even cautioned that more "lawsuits will result. The amendment will create new opportunities for trial lawyers to make money by suing businesses."

Some public officials actively opposed the measure. Senator Mel Martinez claimed the law would cause job loss, and Governor Jeb Bush also opposed it. Darrell Kelley, president of Enterprise Florida, claimed the raise could result in a decline in health benefits coverage. Finally, national opponents chimed in. Grover Norquist claimed that "Florida cannot afford the economic pain of job losses compounded with the inevitable increases in the costs of essential goods and services."

[snip]…One year after the Florida state minimum wage took effect, there is no evidence to support the dire predictions levied by critics of the measure. Far from having a devastated economy, Florida continues to experience record job growth. Instead of businesses leaving the state, the number of private employers in Florida has grown substantially in the past year, and the state is a national leader in the insourcing of jobs from overseas. Far from workers losing their jobs and being worse off, more of them are working and wages across the state have risen. However, far from wages rising sharply across the pay scale, Florida continues to be a low-wage state, and many workers have a hard time supporting their families on what they earn, even with the new state minimum wage. All available data suggest that the critics of the state minimum wage were wrong about the law's effects.
So, remember to point out to Republicans that when they try to override the vast majority of Americans' wishes, they are acting as if they know better and they are the government. And the people have proven them wrong.

They keep pulling me back in

Blame Clarence Thomas.

Today he wrote that, if the United States had to actually give due process to alleged terrorists, it would "sorely hamper the president's ability to confront and defeat a new and deadly enemy."

This, in a nutshell, is the Republican take on this war: It should be easy.

First, they told us the war was going to be a "cakewalk." Then we turned a corner. And another. And another. And another, ad infinitum. Now, Republicans bitch any time someone points out that their little schemes to avoid oversight are illegal or that they can't just disappear someone because they have a pretty good feeling he might be a bad guy.

Let me tell you Republicans something: War, you stupid fuckers, is never easy.

Being upright in a war is even harder.

Imagine how much "easier" it would be to simply shoot wounded or captured enemy fighters on the battlefield and, as one Fox contributor would have it, "leave their dead bodies on the street." That would be a lot easier than, say, following the Law of Land Warfare, but it's wrong.

And not only is it wrong, it's anti-American. But that's par for the course for these cowards. "I'd rather lose our civil liberties than lose the war," said James Pinkerton recently.

"Amen," said Cal Thomas.

But that's both a false choice and the coward's way out. If we lose our civil liberties, then we have lost the war. If we are not free to live without fear of a government which can deprive us "of the benefits of Trial by Jury," try us for "pretended offences" and is under the power of a single "Tyrant...unfit to be the ruler of a free people," then we are no longer American in any sense of the word. If life is all that matters to Republicans, then they must think that all them men who died for their right to freely spout televised nonsense are the worst kind of suckers.

Some time ago, I felt that I needed to give up blogging for a while, but, in the end, that seems like just another form of cowardice. I may not change many minds, but I have to do what I can to push back against those people.

Clarence Thomas proved to me that we need as many voices out there as possible, hollering, fighting, bitching and begging to convince our fellow Americans that we've won nothing if we cannot recognize ourselves at the end of this war.

Just when I got out...

Update: No wonder Clarence Thomas doesn't get it.