Saturday, June 19, 2004

Matt Lauer Has Delusions of Impartiality 

From SoonerThought:

I watched the pathetic Dateline NBC show, where chat show host (the Today Show is a talk show, you know) Matt Lauer beat up on Michael Moore about his new film.

Lauer must have thought he looked like a tough, impartial journalist. I think he was just sucking up to his corporate masters. Just pathetic.

Moore gave as good as he got, telling Lauer "You know I've been sitting here for like the last 20 minutes thinking, man, if he would have only asked Bush administration officials these kind of hard questions in the weeks leading up to the war, and then when the war started, maybe there wouldn't be a war. Because the American people, once given the truth, you know the old saying from Abraham Lincoln, give the people the facts and the Republic will be safe."


Friday, June 18, 2004

Oh, puh-leeze! 

The Associated Press has gotten hold of a copy of Bill Clinton's autobiography My Life, which isn't due out in bookstores until next Tuesday. As you might expect, they start the story with l'affaire Lewinsky, breathlessly informing us in the first paragraph of the review that Clinton "slept on the couch for at least two months" after telling Hillary about the affair.

But buried in the sixth paragraph is this interesting bit of news:

On other topics in the book, Clinton said he met with President-elect George W. Bush and told him that the biggest threat to the nation's security was Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida. According to Clinton, Bush said little in response, and then switched subjects.

Now, let me see. What could possibly be more important or more relevant at this particular moment in American history than the fact that the Sock Puppet was warned, well in advance of 11 September 2001, that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda were considered major threats to U.S. national security, and that said preznit basically brushed off the warning? Oh, yeah. How stupid of me. Of course, it must be the sordid details of how Bill Clinton got a hummer in the Oval Office and how his wife reacted to the news.

Every one of the Founding Fathers must be whirling in their respective sarcophagi and weeping bitter tears to see the Republic for which they gave so much descend to this level of utter banality. "Liberal media," my arse!

(Cross-posted from Musing's musings.)

Thursday, June 17, 2004

My Meager Contribution 

Yeah, I haven't been the most productive of the LC members lately...but I have been busy! I've been working on quite a few things actually. In addition to taking some vacation. That would be, a vacation from the city and a vacation from the news.

Now that I'm back, somewhat, I thought I would start off with a miniscule contribution of a newslink. I know, it's kind of cheap, but it is what it is.

'Abu Ghraib, USA'

When I first saw the photo, taken at the Abu Ghraib prison, of a hooded and robed figure strung with electrical wiring, I thought of the Sacramento, California, city jail.

When I heard that dogs had been used to intimidate and bite at least one detainee at Abu Ghraib, I thought of the training video shown at the Brazoria County Detention Center in Texas.

When I learned that the male inmates at Abu Ghraib were forced to wear women's underwear, I thought of the Maricopa County jails in Phoenix, Arizona.

And when I saw the photos of the naked bodies restrained in grotesque and clearly uncomfortable positions, I thought of the Utah prison system.

Donald Rumsfeld said of the abuse when he visited Abu Ghraib on May 13, "It doesn't represent American values."

But the images from Iraq looked all too American to me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Where is the Line? 

In a post for my late night readers at The Fulcrum, I asked:

At what point does a church cross the line in advocating for a particular candidate and become liable to lose its tax exempt status? Or is there a point? I'm not going to give you choices and I'm not interested in what the law literally says; I'm hoping to start a true discussion. In comments to my post below on Bush asking the Pope to interfere in the upcoming elections, there are those who say it's almost impossible to cross that line without actually uttering the words "vote for [fill in the blank]." I have my own opinion on the subject, but am very much interested in what you all think.
Please drop by The Fulcrum and add your voice to the discussion.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Release Saddam! 

The Guardian:

Saddam Hussein must either be released from custody by June 30 or charged if the US and the new Iraqi government are to conform to international law, the International Committee of the Red Cross said last night.

Surely there must be some crime to charge Hussein with but why hasn't the US Government done so?

According to the New York Times, last year White House lawyers concluded that President Bush could legally order interrogators to torture and even kill people in the interest of national security – so if that's legal, what the hell are we charging Saddam Hussein with? –Jay Leno

There has been some speculation that the reason Hussein hasn't been charged is that if he goes to trial, he will remind everyone that it was the recently deceased saint of the Neocons, Ronald Reagan and his then-flunkies, Rumsfeld and Chenney who sold him the chemical weapons that he used against the Kurds in the 1980's (these same chemical weapons were flaunted a year ago as just te tip of the evil iceberg in regards to Saddam's WMDs, if you remember). This is a speculation, of course. But it adds to the growing controversy over the rights of Combatants/POWs and the increasingly flimsy excuses given for holding them. It would be a travesty if Hussein were released on a technicality on July 1st, just because everyone in the DOJ was too busy writing torture memos and just plum forgot to put together a case against him.

Of course, another angle on this is that the US hasn't charged Hussein with anything because he hasn't broken any US laws. Despite all Bush's attempts to link the two in the mind sof the American People, Hussein had nothing to do with the WTC attacks or any other terrorist acts against the US. So he may not be subject to American law and since Bush has made it plain that he thinks international law is OK for the French but need not apply to the US, there may be nothing we can do with Hussein except:

  1. Let him go

  2. Turn him over to a third party who could then arrest him under international law

  3. Turn him over to the Iraqi Government (which is full of Baathists who might either let him go or put him back in power)

Scenario 1 is simply unexceptable. too many people have died trying to put that man behind bars to simply let him walk away on July 1st. Scenario 2 would rob Bush of his one paper thin sliver of glory, and the last remaining pretext for invading Iraq. Scenario 3 would be even worse than scenario 1. So unless the US finds a convenient legal loophole by the end of the month and can charge Hussein with something, anything, maybe even failure to pay parking tickets, George Bush might just loose his only chance at Reelection American Justice.

Posted also at The Invisible Library

Support the Release of Fahrenheit 911 

A right-wingnut site called Move America Forward is asking its readers to call on the movie chains that plan to show Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 911 and complain. They have posted a page with contact information for executives for the major movie houses for that purpose.

I propose that we subvert their own resources: Please go to this page and pick one, two or all of the contacts listed there and e-mail them with support for their decision to screen this film.

Mention the First Amendment. Mention a couple of groups known for wanting to suppress dissenting views; Communists, Fascists, Dictators of all stripes. Throw in a few of your own. Then mention the fact that you can influence a group of people not to patronize their businesses; how many people read your blog? how many people do you speak to daily? Let them know there are consequences for backing down from these fascist tactics. Be polite, don't use any profanity. But be firm in your conviction.

Go. And please, pass this around - post it on your blog.

Cross posted from The Fulcrum.