Saturday, March 08, 2003
Serge the Russian Spy is speaking to Art:
"I used to be in charge of all Communist subversive activity in the United States," he said.
"You were?" I asked in amazement.
Yes. Perhaps you have heard of the Orlov Plan?"
I admitted I hadn't, though I explained it was because I hadn't kept up much on subversive activities in the United States recently.
The Orlov Plan," he said, swigging down another vodka, "was the most masterful subversive plan ever devised in the cold war. I received the Fourth Order of the Lenin Cross for it."
"What was it?" I asked.
"I was in charge of all internal subversion in the United States from 1950 to just a few months ago. For years we had been trying to infiltrate the unions and the liberal groups, but we made little headway. We were wasting our money. The U.S. was stronger than ever, its policy towards the Soviets had toughened, and little damage was being done to American morale.
"I realized something had to be done. Then I hit upon it- the Orlov Plan.
The only people willing to wreck the United States government, I discovered, were the extreme right-wing groups. They were being ignored, and yet they were the key to all internal subversion. I laid out a plan. I would have my agents organize a program working through the extreme right wing which would stand the United States on it's head.
First I would get the right wing to accuse President Eisenhower of being a Communist. Then I would get them to call their own high government officials traitors. Then I would see that the right wing attacked American United Nations representatives. I also would convince the right wing that Russia didn't have atomic weapons.
Then I would encourage rumors that everyone in the State Department was either a Communist or a homosexual. I gave order to wreak havoc in the armed services by turning military officers against civilians. I even proposed they impeach Chief Justice Warren of the Supreme Court. I laid out different attacks on anyone who advocated better education or health facilities in the United States. And the topper was that anyhone who disagreed with this would be accused of being a card-holding Communist.
"When I proposed the plan in Moscow, the Kremlin thought I was crazy. But they figured they had nothing to lose. Well, you can see the results for yourself. The seeds of doubt about America are being planted by their own people, and we've been making more progress in wrecking the U.S. Constitution in the last few years than my predecessors have been able to do since the revolution."
Then you mean all these extreme right-wing groups are really Communist dupes?" I asked in surprise.
"Exactly, they're doing the Lord's work for the Soviet Union, and most of them don't even know it."
If it comes down to a question of yes or no to invasion without broad international support, our answer is no.
I am only going to say this once. Those of us who don't want our troops in harm's way are far more supportive of them than those who would send them to their possible death. Anyone who accuses me of wanting American soldiers to die is a twisted fuck of a human being. Period.
I hate to say it, but...what took you so long? Not bashing Kevin, really, but I've just been absolutely confused by the fact that so many intelligent reasonable people were unable to see this for the cynical deceptive enterprise that it was from the beginning.
Remember, back in the summer when the Iraq chatter started heating up in the media we would have Rumsfeld saying things like "why is everyone talking about Iraq? There are no plans for Iraq!" Then Andy Card mentioned the post-labor day marketing rollout. Suddenly we had the patriotism of people like Max Cleland being questioned. At every step, explosive new exciting evidence of Just How Dangerous Saddam Really Is was just around the corner. At each new unveiling, it was always conjecture at best and more generally lies and deception.
The worst part of all of this were the deliberate attempts to link Saddam Hussein to the events of 9/11. Nice way to exploit the deaths of 3000 people. I've been informed by readers that Republican congressmen have been telling their constituents during town hall meetings that there is "secret evidence" that Hussein was behind 9/11. Well, if Hussein was behind 9/11 why the hell is it secret and more importantly why the hell haven't we fired a missle up his ass yet?
Each step deception. Each step cynical exploitation. Each step complete incompetence. How the hell could ANYONE be on board with this?
North Korea would launch a ballistic missile attack on the United States if Washington made a pre-emptive strike against the communist state's nuclear facility, the man described as Pyongyang's "unofficial spokesman" claimed yesterday.
Kim Myong-chol, who has links to the Stalinist regime, told reporters in Tokyo that a US strike on the nuclear facility at Yongbyon "means nuclear war".
"If American forces carry out a pre-emptive strike on the Yongbyon facility, North Korea will immediately target, carry the war to the US mainland," he said, adding that New York, Washington and Chicago would be "aflame".
A pre-emptive strike on Yongbyon is one of the strategic options in the crisis over North Korea's nuclear arms program. The US has deployed 24 long-range bombers to the Pacific base of Guam capable of launching such a strike.
Mr Kim, who has written a text studied by North Korean military leaders, predicted North Korea would restart its reprocessing plant to make weapons-grade plutonium this month.
A nuclear weapon would be produced by the end of next month, with another five by the end of the year, he said. This was on top of a suspected nuclear arsenal of 100 weapons.
The pros and cons of handling Iraq have never been separable from how you do it, the costs you rack up in the doing of it, calculated against the gains you'll get in having accomplished it. At this point, we have truly the worst case scenario on the international stage. And I think the those costs now outweigh those gains.
One less "even the liberal...."
The forgeries were sold to an Italian intelligence agent by a con man some time ago and passed on to French authorities, but the scam was uncovered by the IAEA only recently, according to United Nations sources familiar with the investigation. The documents were turned over to the IAEA several weeks ago...
There is no evidence that the forgeries were part of a dirty tricks operation by the United States or any other government to discredit Iraq, even though U.S. and British officials said the documents supported their case against the Baghdad regime.
A British intelligence report made public last month by Prime Minister Tony Blair's government, supposedly documenting Iraqi efforts to build weapons of mass destruction, later proved to be plagiarized in large part from an academic paper written by a scholar in California.
The forged nuclear documents were a "clever cut-and-paste job" that on the face of it indicate Iraq was trying to buy uranium ore from Niger between 1999 and 2001, one of the sources said.
The new details of the incident emerged during a day in which North Korea declared a three-day maritime exclusion zone in the Sea of Japan, signaling its intention to test fire a missile. Pentagon officials said it was virtually the same area in which North Korea tested an anti-ship missile on February 25.
Details about the intercept, which came to light after military officials interviewed the flight crew, suggest that the more than 15 Americans aboard faced greater peril than was previously known. Ignoring a fighter pilot's order to land, even in international airspace, could have led to the plane's downing, military officials said today.
"Clearly, it appears their intention was to divert the aircraft to North Korea, and take it hostage," the official said.
The disclosure of what appeared to have been a plan to force down the aircraft came during a broad-ranging interview about the North Korean nuclear crisis with the senior Defense Department official.
In April 2001, a United States Navy surveillance plane collided with a Chinese fighter that was closely tailing it. The plane, an American EP-3E, was forced to make an emergency landing on Hainan island in China. The 24-member crew was detained for 11 days.
Pentagon officials have acknowledged they were caught off guard by the intercept on Saturday night Sunday morning in Korea and did not scramble American fighters during the 22 minutes the North Korean jets tailed the four-engine Air Force reconnaissance plane. North Korea's air force is so strapped for fuel and spare parts, its pilots fly only about 13 hours of training missions a year, and rarely stray from their home skies.
Despite the growing tensions over North Korea's push to build a nuclear arsenal, there has not been a serious aerial confrontation between the two countries since North Korea shot down an unarmed American EC-121 reconnaissance plane in 1969, killing 31 American airmen.
For these reasons, Pentagon officials say there is little doubt that the North Korean mission was a well-planned operation that used its top pilots flying two MIG-29's and two MIG-23's.
Political Strikes said it best a couple of days ago.
A key piece of evidence linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons program appears to have been fabricated, the United Nations' chief nuclear inspector said yesterday in a report that called into question U.S. and British claims about Iraq's secret nuclear ambitions.
Documents that purportedly showed Iraqi officials shopping for uranium in Africa two years ago were deemed "not authentic" after careful scrutiny by U.N. and independent experts, Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the U.N. Security Council.
ElBaradei also rejected a key Bush administration claim -- made twice by the president in major speeches and repeated by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell yesterday -- that Iraq had tried to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes to use in centrifuges for uranium enrichment. Also, ElBaradei reported finding no evidence of banned weapons or nuclear material in an extensive sweep of Iraq using advanced radiation detectors.
"There is no indication of resumed nuclear activities," ElBaradei said.
Knowledgeable sources familiar with the forgery investigation described the faked evidence as a series of letters between Iraqi agents and officials in the central African nation of Niger. The documents had been given to the U.N. inspectors by Britain and reviewed extensively by U.S. intelligence. The forgers had made relatively crude errors that eventually gave them away -- including names and titles that did not match up with the individuals who held office at the time the letters were purportedly written, the officials said.
"We fell for it," said one U.S. official who reviewed the documents.
Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa said Thursday that if Congress were voting now on its resolution authorizing the president to take military action against Iraq, he would oppose it.
"I'm not going to be fooled twice," said Harkin, who backed President Bush on the resolution last year.
Harkin said he did so because the language required the administration to seek diplomatic solutions to the standoff with Iraq and to make full reports to Congress on the progress of diplomacy.
Instead, "In my adult life, with the exception of Vietnam, this has been the biggest failure of diplomacy we've had," said Harkin.
(Washington, D.C.) US Secretary of State Colin Powell says gays and lesbians do not belong in the military. In an interview with the online teen magazine TeenInk.com Powel defended 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'.
While denouncing homophobia and acknowledging the work of lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans at the State Department, the former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff noted that ". . . I think it's a different matter with respect to the military, because you're essentially told who you're going to live with, who you're going to sleep next to."
His remarks to the teenage readers was in direct conflict with a recent study that shows that lifting the ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members would not compromise the privacy of heterosexual troops. The study, by Professor Aaron Belkin of the University of California-Santa Barbara and Melissa S. Embser-Herbert appears in the current issue of International Security.
Powell's defense of 'Don't Ask' also comes as the number of calls increase to an organization providing legal help to gay soldiers.
Same arguments that were used against integrating the military.
Friday, March 07, 2003
Two weeks ago, a group of senior intelligence officials in the Defense Department sat for an hour listening to a briefing by a writer who claims — I am not making this up — that messages encoded in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament provide clues to the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. One of the officials told me that they had agreed to meet the writer, Michael Drosnin, author of a Nostradamus-style best seller, without understanding that he was promoting Biblical prophecy. Still, rather than shoo him away, they listened politely as he consumed several man-hours of valuable intelligence-crunching time. Apparently he has given similar briefings to top officials of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency.
Maybe Kristoff should give his colleague a lecture about being more respectful of others' religions.
David's book is also really a "must-read." It's also a much "bigger" book than it appears on the surface, perhaps a bigger book than he realized when he first wrote it. It's nominally about the Patriot/Militia/White Supremacist movements, but it's also about much more than that. One of the unarguable media biases which exists is the "coastal bias" or "urban-rural bias." Remember, for example, David Brooks' hilarious journey into "Red State" territory. Such biases have meant that much rural right wing terrorism - both violent and economic - was largely uncovered by Big Media. It's an underbelly of American society. I don't want to overstate its power and influence, but it has been generally understated and undercovered, and was so even in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing.
The 90s was a strange as of yet not entirely understood decade. I'm quite sure that years from now David's book will be for historians a critical document for understanding American culture and politics of the time.
CNN is canceling the afternoon show, possibly evidence of a renewed focus on hard news.
The show, most recently hosted by longtime entertainment reporter Arthel Neville, will be replaced by an extra hour of "Live From," which previously ended at 3 p.m. Both shows are produced in Atlanta.
"Live From" anchor Kyra Phillips relies on the network's correspondents, domestically and around the world, for reporting on news of the day. As part of the change, CNN reporter and anchor Miles O'Brien will join Phillips as a co-host.
I wonder how long O'Brien will last before he sticks a pencil in Kyra's eye. She's horrible.
Excuse me, but did I hear correctly what Mohammed El-Baradei said this morning? According to Reuters, I did: The chairman of the International Atomic Energy Authority told the UN Security Council that the documentary evidence of Iraqi attempts to buy uranium from Niger in 1999 is "not authentic." Or to use a ruder term, the proof of this allegation provided by British intelligence last fall – and repeated by the US State Department last December -- was faked.
As El-Baradei continued his polite but thorough debunking of alarms about Iraqi nuclear capability spread by the Bush and Blair governments, he quickly passed over that little bombshell. (He dwelled longer on the question of those aluminum tubes and magnets supposedly intended for uranium enrichment centrifuges, stating again, with near-certainty after additional probing, that those items were obtained for other purposes.) What the IAEA apparently established is that letters or other documents purporting to show an Iraqi bid for uranium from Niger were forged. Among other things, he noted that handwriting on those documents had been checked by "outside" experts.
So much for the vaunted Iraqi bomb (a topic conspicuously omitted by President Bush from his war-preview press conference last night). Assuming that El-Baradei's accusation about the Niger uranium hoax is correct, what remains to be discovered is where the phony documents originated and why it was created. Like the plagiarized "intelligence report" put out by the British and cited by Secretary of State Powell at the UN last month, this is a matter for investigation by the appropriate committees of Parliament and Congress. Or it would be, if those honorable legislatures possessed the necessary independence for intelligence oversight.
My emphasis. Go to it Our Free and Independent Media!
And, according to Dan Bartlett:
In this case, we know what the questions are going to be, and those are the ones we want to answer. We think the public will see the thought and care and attention he's given to a lot of the different questions that are being asked about the diplomatic side and the military side and the potential post-Iraq issue. These are all legitimate questions that he has answers for and wants to talk about.
Kaptur was making a point which all of the warbloggers would presumably agree with - that we ignore religious zealots with political causes at our peril. Her comments were more Little Green Footballs than Robert Fisk. Her comparison to the American Revolutionary War was not a comparison of the rightness of the causes or tactics, but rather a warning about the dangers.
One can say A is like B for some reasons without saying A is like B for all reasons. The meaning of Kaptur's words is plain. One can disagree with her point, but she is not making the point her detractors claim she did.
As Kaptur said:
"It appears my statement has been purposefully taken out of context. Partisan political maneuvers, at this serious moment in history, serve neither America nor our quest to conquer this dangerous enemy of free people.
"My comments were intended to point out that what faces us is a rising revolution being felt across repressive regimes of the Arab and Islamic world. That revolution is aimed at casting off the existing order. Not to recognize the magnitude of the fervor that is being turned against America is to ignore the real enemy.
"The American people understand the power of revolution. It is in that context that I referred to the American Revolution. World powers have been born out of revolution. Terrorism in the name of revolution is not acceptable. Ever."
Reynolds is now the Limbaugh of the Blogosphere. Congrats, Glenn.
UPDATE: Problem fixed. Not sure which solution worked, as I tried a bunch all at once...
Thursday, March 06, 2003
that's a karen hughes special I bet. Be sure, starting tomorrow, that Fox News will update their style guide accordingly.
So much for years of tradition of calling on Helen Thomas first...
what the hell was that 'this is scripted' remark...
All I have to say is if these questions are pre-approved, the fucking press has an obligation to tell us.
Just now my cat curled up in the fetal position and put both of his paws over his eyes. I understand.
State Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, is proposing more strident language: "Resolved that the General Assembly rejects those judicial interpretations of the 14th Amendment that unreasonably restrict state governments from promoting the free exercise of religion, defending the sanctity of unborn life and ensuring the equitable distribution of education dollars to aid students enrolled in schools sponsored by religious institutions."
Of the war protesters, Dornan said, "They were wrong during Vietnam, and they're wrong today." He also called Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), a candidate for president who fought in Vietnam and then led protests against it, "a Judas Catholic." Kerry has criticized Bush's handling of Iraq.
Given the pope's opinion of the war, there is only one interpretation of this - that Bob Dornan is as obsessed with, and repulsed by, Kerry's "blood" as is the Boston Globe.
(via Tbogg and reader JI)
"There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns - that is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know but there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don't know," Mr Rumsfeld said.
"So when we do the best we can and we pull all this information together, and we then say well that's basically what we see as the situation, that is really only the known knowns and the known unknowns.
"And each year we discover a few more of those unknown unknowns."
Tristan Tzara - From "Dada Manifesto"  and "Lecture on Dada" 
“I admit that my friends do not approve this point of view. But the *Nothing* can be uttered only as the reflection of an individual. And that is why it will be valid for everyone, since everyone is important only for the individual who is expressing himself.--I am speaking of myself. Even that is too much for me. How can I be expected to speak of all men at once, and satisfy them too?
Nothing is more delightful than to confuse and upset people.”
(sent in by JQ)
By a 48 -- 44 percent margin, American voters say they would vote for the as yet unnamed Democratic party candidate for President over Republican incumbent George W. Bush, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
Hampered by Americans' dissatisfaction with life in the U.S. and concerns about war and the economy, President Bush has a 53 -- 39 percent approval rating, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds.
Look, 44% re-elect against a non-existent candidate and a 53% approval rating does not make you a 'popular president.' Now, arguably it doesn't make you an 'unpopular president' either, but clearly Bush is in the middle ground where neither adjective is appropriate.
So, STOP SAYING THAT.
UPDATE: Here's an AP story.
Burr goes onto say:
"If John Edwards spent less time pontificating about who should serve as chairman of a House subcommittee and more time focusing on the qualifications of a judicial nominee, perhaps Hispanics in this country could have something to cheer about with Miguel Estrada," Burr said.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday that the Immigration and Naturalization Service cannot hold illegal immigrants with questionable pasts as it does now, indefinitely.
The ruling by the court in Cincinnati stems from a Lexington case: Mario Rosales Garcia, a Cuban with a criminal record who was detained at the Federal Medical Center on Leestown Road, had argued it was unconstitutional for the INS to hold him for deportation while knowing Cuba would never accept him back.
In essence, the decision grants everyone in the United States, even those who are illegal aliens and criminals such as Rosales, the same rights all U.S. citizens have guaranteeing due process: Foreigners cannot be imprisoned indefinitely while awaiting deportation unless they are serving time for a crime or have charges pending against them.
Ah well. SCLM strikes again.
I don't think there is any good argument that including 'under God' can in any way be constitutional. It shouldn't be. Period.
The secondary argument, therefore, seems to be that this is a fairly trivial issue so why is anyone pursuing it?
I can sympathize a bit with that argument. There are more important issues out there. But, who is really taking this argument that seriously? I mean, sure, I think it's serious and I agree with it. But, the religious right is apoplectic about this. They're the ones taking it seriously. They're the ones, in their incarnation as the Knights of Columbus, who injected those two words back in 1954.
Coerced religious indoctrination in public institutions, including 'under god' in the pledge, has no place in a secular government. Period.
Wednesday, March 05, 2003
Hey, I tried to alert some journalists to this but nobody ran with it...
Okay warbloggers, just go ahead and post about how you're sure they were bad people so it's okay. We can count on any of our POWs in the upcoming war to be treated exactly the same way.
UPDATE: I guess we must hold open the possibility that even if they were murdered, it didn't happen by "our" hand.
Wednesday March 5, 2003 7:40 PM
GUILDERLAND, N.Y. (AP) - About 100 anti-war demonstrators marched through a mall Wednesday to protest the arrest of a shopper who wore a T-shirt that read ``Peace on Earth'' and ``Give Peace a Chance.''
``We just want to know what the policy is and why it's being randomly enforced,'' said Erin O'Brien, an organizer of the noontime rally at the Crossgates Mall.
Protest leaders were scheduled to meet with the mall's manager after the rally. Calls to mall officials were not immediately returned.
Al Gore and Bill Clinton were the most devoutly Christian men to be elected president since, well, Jimmy Carter.
Anyway, I wrote a longer post about this earlier but it got eaten. Here's the punchline:
Liberals have contempt for people who try and mandate the teaching of creationism. We have contempt for people that have built an entire political movement by demonizing gays and lesbians. We have contempt for people who wish to install a theocracy. We have contempt for people who think a good use of government money is funding abstinence programs set up by the Moonies. We have contempt for people don't respect OUR religion. We have contempt for supposedly devout people like George Bush who upon travelling to the Middle East "joked" that he was going to inform Israelis that they were all going to hell. We have contempt for high ranking public officials like James Watt whose belief in impending armageddon drove his environmental policy. We have contempt for the fact that the media have turned Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell into the public faces of religion in this country. We have contempt for people who wish to ban contraception and prevent women from getting adequate medical care.
Christians are great. Devout Christians are great. Devout fundamentalist Christians are great. Devout evangelical Christians who are light on the evangelical are fine. Theocrats are not. People shoving their religious beliefs down my throat, giving me no respect for mine, and wishing to put religion into the public schools are not fine. People who would rather violate federal anti-dscrimination regulations than receive federal funding are not fine. People whose sick beliefs make them want to inflict torture on others by attempting to "cure" young gay and lesbian kids in "conversion camps" are not fine.
Most devoutly Christian black churches aren't involved with any of this stuff, so if liberal contempt for theocrats is mostly directed at white theocrats, that's why.
end of rant.
After years of pleading for tolerance of themselves, even though they are by far the nation's leading spreaders of HIV, AIDS and now syphilis, those homosexual militants, the Sodomy Lobby, are now again launching into censorship of those who dare to criticize them.
My WCBM Baltimore and Talk Radio Network colleague, Michael Savage, has dared to say: "The gay and lesbian mafia wants our children."
He is therefore the target of a protest scheduled for Wednesday by an organization called the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
Tuesday, March 04, 2003
Most shocking was that the bill suspended what was known in the law as habeas corpus—which gave anyone detained on American soil the right to demand a court hearing to challenge the authority of those holding them. Lincoln had suspended habeas corpus for a time during the Civil War. Now Ashcroft was proposing that it just plain be eliminated during this undefined emergency that had no designated end date.
(via Jack Balkin who has a few words)
That wasn't the case overseas. "It's a big story in Russia and it led the French news today," said Martin Bright, the Observer's home affairs editor. Bright, who helped write the story, was reached on his cellphone as he drove home from an interview with Canadian TV. Bright said that he had agreed to interviews with NBC, CNN, and Fox News Channel -- and that all three had called and canceled. But the report that the U.S. is spying on U.N. Security Council members -- and seeking allied intelligence agencies to do the same -- has quickly spread throughout the world. "U.S. Spying on U.N. Delegates to Win Vote on Iraq War: Paper," headlined a newswire in Japan; "Uncle Sam Spies on U.N. Delegations," said the Australian; "U.S. in 'Dirty Tricks' Battle to Win Vote on Iraq War: Report," said Agence France Presse.
ALBANY, N.Y., March 4 - An Selkirk man says he was arrested Monday for expressing his objection to possible war with Iraq at Crossgates Mall. He says all he did was wear a T-shirt bearing a message of peace, which he actually purchased in the mall.
STEPHEN DOWNS AND his son, Roger, Downs, each had a pro-peace shirt made Monday night. One shirt simply said "Let Inspections Work" on one side and "No War With Iraq" on the other. The other shirt said "Give Peace A Chance" on the front and "Peace On Earth" on the back. The men each paid $23 for their shirts and then wore them in the mall.
"We were just shopping. We were wearing these T-shirts. We weren't handing out leaflets, we weren't saying anything," Roger Downs recalled.
They may not have been saying anything, but they were creating enough of a disturbance to one employee, who called security.
Security asked Downs and his son to remove their shirts. Roger Downs complied, but when Stephen Downs wouldn't, he told to leave the mall. When he refused, he was arrested.
From the Reverend Moon's recent speech:
To recreate Israel, the church and the state must become one as Cain and Abel. Instead they became one with Rome and captured and killed Jesus. They united with Rome. Who are the Jewish members here, raise your hands! Jewish people, you have to repent. Jesus was the King of Israel. Through the principle of indemnity Hitler killed 6 million Jews. That is why. God could not prevent Satan from doing that because Israel killed the True Parents. Even now, you have to determine that you will repent and follow and become one with Christianity through Rev. Moon.
Just wanted to add that you'd think all of the many organizations that accept money from Moon, including the Washington Times, the employees of which are essentially paid out of Moon's pocket because the thing doesn't make any money, would refuse the money on principle.
One Wonders what Tom Brokaw and NBC News—not to mention some of the suits up at parent company GE—think about getting in bed with a guy who rails against "the degenerates on the left who want to sell Americans on the idea that homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality, even sex with animals is normal" and thinks that America "is being taken over by the freaks, the cripples, the perverts and the mental defectives."
Those are the words of Michael Savage—right-wing San Francisco talk-radio assassin and author of the New York Times number-one bestseller The Savage Nation—who will soon begin his own show on MSNBC. I connect him so closely to Brokaw and NBC because NBC recently announced that it was rebranding MSNBC, making the ties between the two news networks closer. (NBC News’ publicist, Barbara Levin, offered a "no comment" when I inquired about what Brokaw thinks of Savage’s controversial arrival.) The same desperation that led to that move—trying to make the cable news channel even remotely competitive with number-one Fox News—led MSNBC to give Savage his own Saturday afternoon show.
Savage makes Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, to quote Cathy Renna at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, "look like the next grand marshal of the Gay Pride parade." Renna believes Savage is such far-right gutter trash that even Fox’s Roger Ailes would have passed on him. That may or may not be true, but Savage does cast Sean Hannity as a moderate, spewing the kind of hate-filled rants that sound, literally, like white supremacist screeds.
"You open the door to them," he has said about immigrants, for example, "and the next thing you know, they are defecating on your country and breeding out of control."
There’s lots more where that came from.
MSNBC fired Phil Donohue last week—though his ratings were higher than Chris Matthews’—and hired Savage as well as former right-wing Republican House members Joe Scarborough and Dick Armey. You may recall that Armey had a supposed slip of the tongue and called openly gay Congressman Barney Frank "Barney Fag." (I can’t wait to hear the slips of the tongue he has on live television.)
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask them if they're happy that Michael Savage is joning the NBC news team.
Leaders of a coalition of black religious and rights organizations announced Friday they would mobilize their membership to support a Sept. 10 referendum to repeal protections in the Miami-Dade County code for gay men and lesbians.
'We are urging all citizens and Christians to vote `yes' for the repeal of this ordinance, especially the clergy,'' said the Rev. Joe Silas, president of People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality, or PULSE.
The group's executive director, Nathaniel Wilcox, is co-chairman of Take Back Miami-Dade, the group fighting for the repeal of a 1998 amendment to the county's human rights ordinance extending protections to gay men and lesbians.
''Biologically it's wrong, spiritually it's wrong and with regard to civil rights it's wrong,'' Silas said. 'If my orientation is, `I like animals,' then I have a right to have animals, though that may be taking it to an extreme.''
UPDATE: Oy, this is "Old news"....my bad, just switch to past tense.
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Two lawmakers left the floor of the Washington House of Representatives during a prayer by a Muslim religious leader this week, citing patriotism and a lack of interest.
Republicans Lois McMahan of Gig Harbor and Cary Condotta of East Wenatchee walked to the back of the chamber during Monday's invocation by Mohamad Joban, imam of the Islamic Center of Olympia.
McMahan said she did not oppose having a Muslim deliver the prayer but left because ``the religion is the focal point of the hate-America sentiment in the world.''
``It's an issue of patriotism,'' she said. ``Even though the mainstream Islamic religion doesn't profess to hate America, nonetheless it spawns the groups that hate America.''
Now, the Atrios solution is simple - get rid of all prayer in government.
On Iraq and the war against terror, Bush cast himself in a similar light, acknowledging but dismissing the worldwide protests recently made against America’s seemingly inexorable march toward war against Iraq.
“If they tried to do that in Iraq they’d have their tongues cut out,” he said of American protesters, adding, “I haven’t seen many protests on behalf of the Iraqi people who suffer and are tortured. This guy is a cold-blooded ... dictator.”
But he insisted that he has paid attention to the protesters.
“Of course, I care what they believe. And I’ve listened carefully. I’ve thought long and hard about what needs to be done,” he said. “And obviously some people in Northern California do not see there’s a true risk to the United States posed by Saddam Hussein. And we just have a difference of opinion.”
Of course, as Hesiod tells us this is much ado about nothing. But, shouldn't the Moonie Times be a bit more worried about those who are openly advocating for the country to be divided into two, as its Assistant National Editor is?
UPDATE: This provides a bit more nuance to Kristoff's numbers.
Calls for the media to do more coverage of religion have been the trendy thing lately. Someone pointed out in a letter to Romanesko's medianews that it is rather difficult for the media to cover religion, because for journalists to do so would mean covering it objectively and critically.
From J. SHARKEY:
Re David Shaw's column on journalism and the lax coverage of religion: Does adequately covering religion mean that the subject may be treated with skepticism, as any other subject? May its various claims and its record be questioned? Or is genuflection still required in all instances?
UPDATE 2: Tbogg has a few words.
Monday, March 03, 2003
Bush is a man who has never shown much curiosity about the world. When he met with Makiya and two other Iraqis in January, I was told by someone not present, the exiles spent a good portion of the time explaining to the president that there are two kinds of Arabs in Iraq, Sunnis and Shiites.
On a completely unrelated note, Ted also Gets His Rant On with a few more 4 letter words than we're accustomed to. All I can say is - fuck yeah!
Sacramento -- California officials said Sunday they have proof that 85 percent of the state's energy costs during the 18-month power crisis were influenced by illegal market behavior by dozens of power providers.
A 1,000-page report to be filed today with federal regulators accuses the traders -- including some of the nation's largest power companies and the utility run by the city of Los Angeles -- of darkening power plants, using illegal energy trading schemes and conspiring together to drive up electricity prices and rip off consumers.
In a final push for refunds, Gov. Gray Davis, Attorney General Bill Lockyer and state regulators also allege that some companies destroyed documents to hide unscrupulous business practices that led to at least $7.5 billion in excess costs that California ratepayers are still paying for.
"We finally have put together thousands of documents that make a very strong case," Davis said. "The massive coverup by the generators is unraveling.
The evidence of market manipulation is so overwhelming even the FERC can't hide from it."
She said Reliant Resources, Williams/AES, Dynegy, Mirant Corp. and Duke Energy all deliberately shut power plants they ran in California in order to create scarcity and earn higher profits.
She said Sempra Energy, Mirant, Dynegy, Reliant, Williams and Canadian- based PowerEx all used a trading strategy similar to an Enron scheme called "Fat Boy," in which the companies knowingly submitted false data to the state's power grid operators.
Lawyers culled through thousands of internal company documents, listened to hundreds of hours of tape-recorded conversations among traders and deposed energy executives to build their case.
Now, I'm always for innocent until proven guilty, even for terrorists, but the press, along with our government, has been slipping on that standard recently. Unless they're activists and not terrorists.
For those of you who say I'm never wrong, I never admit I'm wrong, well, you're wrong, because I was wrong when I said that Americans who continue demonstrating against the war once the shooting begins are being un-American. I'm taking that back.
The word un-American implies some kind of lasting stigma and is a word of intimidation. Thus it is the wrong word to use in this scenario.
People who lawfully dissent should never be labeled un-American. Instead, I will call those who publicly criticize our country in a time of military crisis, which this is, bad Americans and it is my constitutional right to make that judgment and you are free to agree or disagree. You can call me a bad American for making the judgment.
Warning - if you click the link you'll see a giant picture of the hideous Brit Hume.
Sunday, March 02, 2003
I don't mean to knock Josh, but the media debate on this subject has run essentially from Josh Marshall on the Left to Richard Perle on the Right. Now, that isn't Josh's fault, but when "even liberal Josh Marshall..." gives the administration the benefit of the doubt, the media happily frames the issue as a battle between slightly nervous hawks and maniacal hawks.
And, while even liberal Josh Marshall is entitled to his views, which I believe are genuine, for whatever reason he's unnecessarily used his soapbox not to moderate the maniacal hawks but to chastize the doves. There was no need to chastize us, as they for the most part we didn't have our own soapbox, except to the extent that Sully and his ilk would paint us as treasonous Saddam-lovers.
UPDATE: Just wanted to add I'm being a bit too hard on Marshall here. He's been quite valuable in shining some light on the lunacy of the maniacal hawks. Nonetheless, much of his schtick has been about drawing more people into the "Pollack Liberal" camp.
Graham says he became “outraged” by the intelligence and law-enforcement failures discovered by the inquiry—most of which, he charges, are still being suppressed by the Bush administration. The inquiry’s 400-page report can’t be publicly released because the administration won’t declassify key portions. Graham says the report documents far more miscues by the FBI and CIA than have been publicly revealed, as well as still unpursued leads pointing to “facilitation” of the hijackers by a “sovereign nation.” (Sources say the country is Saudi Arabia.) “There’s been a cover-up of this,” Graham said.
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey prosecutors say they handled 62 "international terrorism" indictments last year - but of those, all but two involved Middle Eastern students accused of paying impostors to take English tests for them, according to a newspaper analysis.
Nearly all of the accused students are free on bond. Nine have already been convicted, and most of those have been fined between $250 and $1,000 and sent back to their own countries, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday.
"There is not one whit of evidence that connects any of these people to terrorism," said Lawrence S. Lustberg, who represents 25 Saudi students charged with hiring others to take their tests.
I'm happy that they looked at these students, but comeon - there's no evidence they're terrorists.
And, they should all just go read Digby.
Is there a creepy part that takes the edge off the joy? Alas, yes:
A U.S. official said Mohammed was expected to be interrogated in an undisclosed foreign country.
Mike Kinsley tells us a bit more about why process matters.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Reuters) - A federal judge ruled on Saturday night that US Airways Group Inc. (UAWGQ) could terminate its pilots' pension plan, saying it was a disheartening option to help save the bankrupt carrier.
Judge Stephen Mitchell of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia cleared the way for the company to seek federal government approval of its proposal to replace the pension plan with a cheaper one.
The pension plan covers 3,600 active and 1,100 retired pilots, some of whom could lose up to 75 percent of their benefits under the proposal.
The government is the only entity that can be expected to (maybe) honor contracts lasting 50 years or more. Ditto for medicare.