Friday, September 29, 2006

On Foley's embarrassment

Me, I'm actually kind of surprised that ABC News released Mark Foley's gross IM chat with an underage boy (PDF link), but, in case he cries over it, remember that Foley was for releasing things before he was, presumably, against them:
Author(s): Larry Lipman Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Section: A SECTION
Publication title: Palm Beach Post. West Palm Beach, Fla.: Sep 18, 1998. pg. 4.A

Local lawmakers split along party lines Thursday over whether the House Judiciary Committee should release President Clinton's videotaped testimony regarding his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Republican Reps. E. Clay Shaw Jr. of Fort Lauderdale and Mark Foley of West Palm Beach, said the committee should follow the bipartisan decision made by the full House last week to release pertinent information so long as it did not adversely affect people not involved in the scandal.

But Democratic Reps. Alcee Hastings of Miramar and Robert Wexler of Boca Raton - both of whom voted against last week's resolution to release material before impeachment proceedings are considered - said all of the evidence should be released simultaneously rather than in stages.

Wexler, the only local member who serves on the Judiciary Committee, said the panel's rules prohibited him from characterizing Thursday's debate or commenting on any of the evidence he has seen - including the tape.

But Wexler noted he has taken the position that all the material should be released together because "a piecemeal release suggests to me that it was not a fair and objective process but one designed for public relations."

Wexler said he would now support the release of any material except that which was "sexually explicit or any material that is irrelevant." He said he could not discuss whether there was any such material on the tape.

Shaw said House Republicans need to be careful that their actions are not perceived by the public as piling on an already humiliated Clinton, but he supported the tape's release.

"It appears that the people who are trying to keep the tape from being released want to prevent the public from seeing a side of the president they're concerned about," Shaw said. "There is no better way to weigh the truth and veracity of any witness than to see them on tape or in person."

Hastings said the public should ask why the tape would be released now, rather than after all the material has been assessed by the committee and a decision is made on whether to seek impeachment.

"It's very obvious that this whole process is out of hand," Hastings said, adding that the release of the tape would be clearly aimed at "embarrassment and humiliation, and that is not what impeachment is supposed to be about."

Foley said Clinton and his allies should welcome the release of the tape as a "forum for them to get the facts out. If, in fact, he told the truth to the grand jury, that will be apparent to everybody."

Despite White House efforts to call release of the tape unfair and unexpected, Foley said Clinton was responsible for its being made in the first place by refusing to testify before the grand jury in the courthouse.

"He, himself, agreed to the rules of engagement on how he would testify, and that it would be on tape. I would assume he'd be happy" with its release.
And then there's this...
Author(s): Larry Lipman Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Section: A SECTION
Publication title: Palm Beach Post. West Palm Beach, Fla.: Dec 11, 1998. pg. 14.A

For Rep. Mark Foley, a Republican leaning toward voting for impeachment, this week's parade of witnesses defending President Clinton had virtually no effect.

"It gave me a chance to look further and more deeply into the case," said Foley, of West Palm Beach, but "it hasn't done much to convince me at this point."

Foley, who has not declared how he would vote on impeachment, said he is leaning toward supporting the perjury articles prepared by the House Judiciary Committee and is also seriously weighing the obstruction of justice article.

While many House members have not declared their intentions, surveys by several news organizations indicate that Clinton would have to win the votes of up to 20 Republicans to avoid impeachment, while no more than half a dozen have said they would vote in his favor.


Noting that many of the issues turn on complex legal arguments, Foley quipped: "This is probably the only time in my life I wish I had legal training."
Anyone want to bet this is probably time two?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

TV on the Radio on the Internet

I have been amazingly busy for the past week. Sorry about the light posting.

Enjoy TV on the Radio performing "Wolf Like Me" and then get the whole album. It kicks ass.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Feeling safer yet?

Bruce Schneier points us to this report on how Bush's Justice Department is doing in its attempts to prosecute terrorists. Get this:
The typical sentences recently imposed on individuals considered to be international terrorists are not impressive. For all those convicted as a result of cases initiated in the two years after 9//11, for example, the median sentence -- half got more and half got less-- was 28 days. For those referrals that came in more recently -- through May 31, 2006 -- the median sentence was 20 days. For cases started in the two year period before the 9/11 attack, the typical sentence was much longer, 41 months.
International Terrorism
Ultimate Outcome of Referrals/Criminal Prosecutions
1999 - 2006

As Scheier says, "Put aside the rhetoric and the posturing; this is what is actually happening."

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

It's a world of tears all right...

So ABC has told Hugh Hewitt not to worry, the movie "Path to 9/11" is still full of the lies he loves so much. Think Progress has the full story.

You know, I used to think of Disney--the company which owns ABC--as a pretty good company. They made good family movies and that was all I knew.

But when I found out a few years ago they loved to sell stuff to well-to-do American and European kids that had been made by children in sweatshops in Bangladesh (where children have been beaten, fired and imprisoned for simply asking to be paid on time [pdf link]), I knew I had been wrong all along. It turns out they've got some more properties in Thailand, China, Honduras, El Salvadorand Haiti--none of which could be confused with the "Happiest Place on Earth." Behind all the cutesy fluff, they're just another company outsourcing misery.

It's no wonder, I guess, that they've decided to side with the Republican party. In fact, I wonder if they ran any of the sweatshops Abramoff protected in the Marianas Islands? You know, the place Tom DeLay called "a perfect petri dish of capitalism" and his "Galapagos"?

Clearly, helping Republicans lie to the American public about the worst attack on American soil isn't the worst thing the Disney corporation has ever done. Hell, it's not even the worst thing they'll do next week! But, honestly, I never thought they'd be so willing to shit on their Disney/ABC brands, which had served so long as a happy face sticker covering the horrors of their blatantly evil labor standards. I guess I just didn't realize how much the company must need Republicans in order to keep acting how they act.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

You damn obstructionist Demo--Wait. Never mind...

Frist blogs just like his supporters do. Lamely and with a poor grasp of the facts.
I also had the chance to speak with my Republican colleagues about S. 2590, the Federal Funding Transparency and Accountability Act, legislation which the blogosphere helped to highlight and move forward during the August recess. I can confirm that Senator Stevens has lifted his hold and that no Republican Senator will stand in the way of the up or down vote that this legislation deserves.

My Democrat [sic] colleagues have not yet cleared this legislation ... but I'm confident that they will do so promptly or pay the consequences of continued obstruction.
Tough talk. But soon...
Update from Senator Frist: As soon as I blogged this, I received word that a Republican Senator has not cleared the bill. Let me be clear, hold or no hold, I will bring this legislation to the floor for a vote in September.
Now look, it's one thing when right wing enablers distort the facts or simply make shit up, but shouldn't the Senate majority leader know where members of his party stand on an issue to avoid making an ass of himself?


Tony Snow: Who said "cut and run"?

Today's White House press gaggle:
Q: Tony, isn't it a little contradictory to say the President wants Republicans and Democrats to return to that spirit post-September 11th, in the days immediately afterwards and then have the administration officials continue to try to paint the Democrats as the "cut and run" party?

MR. SNOW: You haven't heard it from this podium.
Maybe not, Tony, but you're boss said
The war on terror is fought in many theaters, and the central front in the war on terror now is Iraq. I say it's the central front because that's what the enemy, themselves, have said, that they want to drive us from the region; that they view it as the central front, as well. They've got objectives in Iraq. They want the United States to suffer a defeat in Iraq. They want us to retreat from Iraq. They want to create such havoc on our TV screens by killing innocent people that the American people finally say, we've had enough -- leaving Iraq before the mission is complete.

And the mission is to have a country, a free country that can sustain itself, and govern itself, and defend itself, and serve as an ally in the war on terror in the heart of the Middle East. That's the mission. And they want us to leave -- (applause.) They want us to cut and run. And there's some good people in our country who believe we should cut and run. They're not bad people when they say that, they're decent people. I just happen to believe they're wrong.
Get that? Democrats and the majority of Americans who don't support the war aren't bad people, they just happen to want us to "cut and run"--and thereby "suffer a defeat"--just like the terrorists do.

Bonus Tony Snow bullshit:
SNOW: ...(T)he idea that somehow we're staying the course is just wrong. It is absolutely wrong.
Bush, six days ago:
Iraq is the central front in this war on terror. If we leave the streets of Baghdad before the job is done, we will have to face the terrorists in our own cities. We will stay the course...

Bad timing for Bush, bad news for America

Bush, today:
...we're determined to deny terrorists the support of outlaw regimes. After September the 11th, I laid out a clear doctrine: America makes no distinction between those who commit acts of terror, and those that harbor and support them, because they're equally guilty of murder.
Pakistani officals, today:
Osama bin Laden, America's most wanted man, will not face capture in Pakistan if he agrees to lead a "peaceful life," Pakistani officials tell ABC News.

The surprising announcement comes as Pakistani army officials announced they were pulling their troops out of the North Waziristan region as part of a "peace deal" with the Taliban.

If he is in Pakistan, bin Laden "would not be taken into custody," Major General Shaukat Sultan Khan told ABC News in a telephone interview, "as long as one is being like a peaceful citizen."
How now, Georgie? You ticked off the allies we needed and threw your arms around those who, you probably should have guessed, wouldn't stick with us in the long run. After all, why would a military dictator with a tenuous grasp on power support your "democratization" platform?

This is terrible news because it proves the Bush administration's incompetence in the "War on Terror" has convinced the world we are too weak to back up his cowboy rhetoric. Nobody takes us seriously anymore. Consistent failure diminishes the ability to inspire fear.

Update: Crooks and Liars has the story from ABC News.

Update: Needlenose had this over the weekend. Sorry. It was news to me.

Update: Now the Pakistani official says he was misquoted, so ABC says "here's the transcript of our recorded conversation." I gotta say I hope this is b.s. That would mean Bush had screwed us up worse than I though.

George Allen: Plagiarist? Thief? Idiot?

Along with everyone else, I have noted that the fig leaf covering George Allen's racism has begun to slip. So, how do you make people change the subject and make people think of you differently when your Klan robes are showing? Well, Allen seems to think it would be better to be thought of as an idiotic thief:
--At 2:30 PM this afternoon the U.S. Senate began debate of the Department of Defense appropriations for FY 2007.

--Already on the docket was Senator Dick Durbin, who was scheduled to introduce an amendment to the bill providing $19 million in additional funding for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center program, which provides treatment care and research for veterans suffering from traumatic brain injuries. That meant that Durbin’s amendment had already been written, printed and prepared for introduction by Durbin.

--Yet, before Durbin could take the floor to introduce his amendment, George Allen entered the Senate Chamber and asked for permission to speak before Durbin. When permission was granted ahead of Durbin, lo and behold, Allen introduced an amendment to the DOD appropriations bill that, how could this be, was identical in language to Durbin’s bill with the exception of one word – the word “will” was changed in Allen’s amendment and replaced with the word “shall.” Other than that, the amendments were identical – Durbin’s amendment had been printed and set to be formally introduced, Allen’s bill had not been written or been placed on the docket to be introduced.

When asked by Senators Stevens and Durbin if his amendment was the same as Senator Durbin’s, George Allen agreed the bills were identical.

So, what are the odds that George Allen had the exact same idea as Durbin, the exact same dollar figure as Durbin, the exact same language as Durbin (save one word)? And why did Allen seek special permission to speak before Durbin unless Allen was seeking to take credit for an amendment to which Durbin had already prepared and written?
Remember what George Allen said right before he decided to belittle a Jim Webb campaign worker by slinging a racial slur? He said, "My friends, we're going to run this campaign on positive, constructive ideas." Unfortunately, he couldn't think of any and decided to steal Democratic ideas.

Well, at least he's proven his Republican credentials.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Putting out the call

I want to hear from others who wrote to the Washington Post about their editorial declaring the Valerie Plame issue dead. Here's the letter I wrote that the Washington Post won't run.
Dear editors,

I don't understand why your paper feels the need to join with war supporters in attempting to confuse the American public about the statements of Ambassador Joseph Wilson ("End of an Affair, Sept. 1). He did not, as your editorial board wrote, claim that "he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger..." What Joseph Wilson wrote in his now famous--though, apparently, seldom read--op-ed is that he called a friend at the State Department and "suggested that if the president had been referring to Niger, then his conclusion was not borne out by the facts as I understood them."

The truth is any obfuscation on this issue can clearly be placed at the feet of this administration. President Bush said the "British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa," but failed to mention that the CIA called these claims "overblown" and "exaggerated." This is but one of many times in the lead-up to the Iraq War where the president and his administration told the American people a scary story about Iraq, without mentioning those facts which might diminish the fear they were attempting to instill in populace still shaken by 9/11.

Your article also said that Wilson should have known that "journalists such as Mr. Novak" would question why a "retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission." How willing your editorial board seems to forget that Wilson was not simply an ambassador, but an ambassador who had served courageously in Iraq (according to George H.W. Bush) and in western Africa. He was also an advisor to the National Security Council on Africa policy under President Clinton. His experience more than qualified him for this mission and that, according to high-ranking CIA officials, was why he was asked to go to Niger. The recently reported role of Richard Armitage aside, it is still true that the vice president, Mr. Libby and Mr. Rove were "accutely focused" on Wilson and evidence points to "White House efforts to 'punish'" the ambassador, according to a filing by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald.

According to your own Pentagon correspondent Thomas Ricks, the attitude your paper exhibited regarding evidence which contradicted or mitigated the administration's claims about the danger presented by Saddam Hussein was "Look, we're going to war, why do we even worry about all this contrary stuff?" Would it be presumptuous of me to suggest that your paper's willingness to misrepresent the facts about Ambassador Wilson seems part of an ex post facto attempt to cleanse your paper of the taint of blind followership on Iraq? Certainly. However, if that were the intent, your paper has achieved the opposite effect. Once again, the paper is following administration and Republican talking points while ignoring the truth.
What did you write that they won't publish?

Post it in comments or email me at