Saturday, July 05, 2008

Reminder; What This Country Is, Or Was Before Our Leaders, About

The wingnuts with their perverse representation of patriotism: this puts the lie to them all and shows what they really are: Anti-American.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America
hen in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

— John Hancock

New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton

John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery

Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott

New York:
William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark

Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross

Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean

Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton

George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

North Carolina:
William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn

South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton

Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton



Last year, New York police officers were seen dancing in the streets just before arresting four men in a city nightclub on charges of selling $100 worth of cocaine. It took six months and the men's life savings, but their names were finally cleared when prosecutors took the unusual step of announcing in court that the men had committed no crime.

That's because club surveillance video shows that the undercover cops had no contact with the accused men in the two hours they were in the club.

Now, club owner Eduardo Espinoza says the police are retaliating against him.

Espinoza said he thinks police are retaliating against him because of a strange phone call he received shortly before the harassment began.

A man who identified himself as the officer who made the drug arrest in his club demanded to know if Espinoza had taped the events of that night.

"I said I already gave it to the defendants," Espinoza said, "He said, 'Oh s--t.' He hung up."

Espinoza had received just two summonses in the two-and-a-half years he owned the club prior to turning over the videotapes. He has received more than a dozen since.

"I been harassed so much, I'm selling my business," said Espinoza, owner of Delicias de Mi Tierra on 91st Place in Elmhurst.

"Every two to three weeks, there's cops in here, searching the bar. If there's no violation, they'll make it up. I lost all my clients - everybody's scared to come in my place right now."


Losing two Bozos back to back, as it were: Bozo's "guardian" and Jesse Helms.

And as to the latter, we shall no longer hear wisdom like this from him:
"To rob the Negro of his reputation of thinking through a problem in his own fashion is about the same as trying to pretend that he doesn't have a natural instinct for rhythm and for singing and dancing."

Lies Our Leaders Tell Us

In response to public interest in solar energy development, the Bureau of Land Management is announcing that it plans to continue accepting applications for future potential solar development on the public lands. The BLM will process these applications, while continuing to identify issues during public scoping currently underway for the programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS).

“We heard the concerns expressed during the scoping period about waiting to consider new applications,” said BLM Director James Caswell, “and we are taking action. By continuing to accept and process new applications for solar energy projects, we will aggressively help meet growing interest in renewable energy sources, while ensuring environmental protections.”

The BLM had previously advised that it was temporarily suspending acceptance of new solar applications pending completion of the PEIS, while the agency processed the 125 applications previously received. With today’s announcement, the BLM will now accept additional applications for solar energy projects and process them with the 125 already submitted.

Sounds good, huh?

Yeah, yeah:
BLM has yet to approve a solar project on federal land; the solar projects already built or under way in this country are on private property.


Old trick, prettily done....

July 4th Music Viddie

How They Did It

Vote-rigging in Zimbabwe. Me, I was underwhelmed by the nation since independence, which is o say, since Mugabe took power. None of these countries were ever prepared for independence Western-style, and God knows it shows here. That majority rule was a proper goal, as it were, goes without saying; cutting the nation loose without any long-term preparation, really, was inexcusable.

Friday, July 04, 2008


Happy 4th... whenever...

President McCain Is Loved

In the most vivid example to date of media describing any criticism of McCain as criticism of his military service, MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell described a television ad that made not a single mention of McCain's service as being a part of "an organized campaign against John McCain's military service."

Here's the ad; watch for yourself. It's an ad about McCain's Iraq policies. It doesn't make any mention of McCain's military record. Doesn't even hint at anything having anything to do with McCain's service. Yet Mitchell suggested it was part of "an organized campaign against John McCain's military service." She may as well have said a giant purple unicorn had called McCain a traitor, for all the truth there was to her statement.

Mitchell's description was deeply dishonest, but what's really remarkable is how well it fit in among the rest of the media's political coverage this week.

Viddie Of The Day


Funny Of The Day

Happy 4th, Fellow Americans! Here's to our liberation!

Bigger, better, easier to read here.

Really, Who's Dumber? Beloved Leader Or President McCain?

Joe Conason shows that Johnny Mac is pretty stupid. (Being fair and balanced, I must point out the obvious: there's a remote possibility that the next president does know better and is just knowingly pandering.)

Leadership In Action: President McCain Distances Himself From Beloved Leader By Taking On More Of B.L.'s Campaign People; The Pandering Never Stops...


The Inevitable: The Christofascists Finally Do The Faux Christian Thing And Throw Their Support To President McCain

Read it and feel free to puke.

Their Latest Lies

Link with links.

And the full story is here (as opposed to links to examples above).

May We Recommend For Your Holiday Weekend Dining Pleasure... iJam

What it is.

Our Pathetic State: Beloved Leader's Military Delusions Get Slapped By Reality

Rudy And Another Crazy BS Artist

It's soooo great to have him back -- and in a way that he can cause no trouble, just be an entertaining clown .

Thursday, July 03, 2008


I worship Jessica Biel. And she wants you to see this (no joke):


Texas exonerates man 9 years after death in prison. And must make victim feel good knowing her attacker's been out there free....

But that's justice, Texas-style: every conviction is perfectly, inarguably correct.

President McCain's Supports Breaking His Campaign Finance Law; That's Leadership!

Allies of Sen. John McCain have found new loopholes in the campaign-finance law he helped write....

Great Art!


Yaaaay! Hitchens Tortures Self, Discovers Waterboarding Actually Is Torture




Still thinks he's better than President McCain. His thinking so proves it! 9/11!

Speaking of 9/11, the Faux Bidness Journal agrees me (more or less) that the rebuilding farce (or "failure") that is not quite occurring at Ground Zero is something of a disgrace:

Who Our Leaders Learn From And What They Learn

The 40s/50s Communist Chinese leadership. Unsuccessful torture techniques which succeed at eliciting nearly only false -- which is to say all unreliable -- information. Link.

Presidential Round-Up

President McCain's been pulling so much crap, gotta dump it into a single post....

Straight talk:
McCain became visibly angry when I asked him to explain how his Vietnam experience prepared him for the Presidency.
"Please," he said, recoiling back in his seat in distaste at the very question.
Soon after, McCain "collected himself" and apologized for losing his cool. "I kind of reacted the way I did because I have a reluctance to talk about my experiences," he said, adding, "I am always reluctant to talk about these things."

First, the question was pretty straightforward: How did McCain's service in the war prepare him for the presidency? For a candidate who emphasizes his military service all the time, this shouldn't have been especially difficult to answer, and it certainly shouldn't have left him "visibly angry."

Second, it's curious that McCain explained his incensed reaction by pointing to his reluctance to "talk about my experiences." Whether McCain talks about his service or not is entirely up to him, but he really doesn't seem especially reluctant at all. In fact, McCain talks about his Vietnam service all the time, and his campaign has made it the basis for multiple campaign ads. Indeed, in one commercial, the McCain campaign literally included interrogation footage from McCain's days as a prisoner of war.

Given this, it seems odd that a question about how this service prepared him for the presidency would set him off like this. Indeed, by constantly talking about his service, McCain has been making the implicit case that his military background necessarily prepared him for the presidency.

Is no one supposed to ask why?

Where's the straight talking answer? Me, I never knew torture and imprisonment were per se proof of leadership skills although after eight years of Our Leaders, victimhood may in fact, in some manner, be a qualification of sorts....

President McCain distances himself from Beloved Leader by replacing his top campaign staff with Beloved Leader's. I'm sure there's a very good, straight talking explanation.


Music Viddie Of The Day

Music Viddie Of The Day


Flip, Flop, Flip, Flop, Flip, Flop, Flip, Flop....

Reader, I Have Sent You A Card From!

View card:

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Our Leaders, Making The World Safer By Taking Their Eyes Off The Target

Bush's Failed Bin Laden Hunt
An article in yesterday's New York Times criticized the Bush administration for failing "to develop a comprehensive plan to address the militant problem" along the Afghan-Pakistan border, where Osama bin Laden is reportedly rebuilding the al Qaeda terror network. After expressing enthusiasm for capturing bin Laden shortly after the Sept.11 attacks, the Bush administration has since indicated that "bin Laden doesn’t fit" with its "strategy for combating terrorism" and is "not a top priority use of American resources." Beginning in 2002, the administration "shifted its sights...from counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan to preparations for the war in Iraq" and outsourced the hunt for bin Laden to Pakistan. As a result, "the Bush administration will leave office with Al Qaeda having successfully relocated its base from Afghanistan to Pakistan's tribal areas, where it has rebuilt much of its ability to attack from the region and broadcast its messages to militants across the world."

SHIFTED RESOURCES TO IRAQ: According to "current and former military and intelligence officials" interviewed by the Times, "the war in Iraq diverted resources and high-level attention from the tribal areas" on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan and "drained away most of the CIA officers with field experience in the Islamic world." Intelligence officials have long warned the administration of the dangers of shifting resources prematurely. On Feb.19, 2002, Gen. Tommy Franks reportedly told then-Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), "We are not engaged in a war in Afghanistan" because "military and intelligence personnel are being redeployed to prepare for an action in Iraq." Similarly, an Army War College report published in December 2003 concluded that the Iraq war "diverted attention and resources away from securing the American homeland against further assault by an undeterrable Al Qaeda." Where the specialists went, the equipment followed. Officials told the New York Times, for instance, that when they "requested additional Predator drones to survey the tribal areas, they were told no drones were available because they had been sent to Iraq." As Graham pointed out, the removal of Predator drones from Afghanistan is "a clear case of how the Bush administration's focus on Iraq undermined the war against al Qaeda in Afghanistan."

UNRELIABLE ALLY: The Iraq war also bolstered the view "among Pakistanis that American forces in the tribal areas would be a prelude to an eventual American occupation" and made it difficult for the administration "to have insisted that American forces be allowed to cross from Afghanistan into Pakistan." In fact, the Pakistani government "flatly refused" American proposals to allow Special Operations forces to establish operational bases along the border, and in 2003, "under pressure from Pakistan, the Bush administration decided…to end the American military presence on the ground." With the hunt for bin Laden virtually outsourced to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and the administration distracted by the "spiraling violence in Iraq," Bush backed Pakistan’s failed strategy of signing cease-fire agreements "with the Taliban inside Afghanistan." But rather than reducing "cross-border incursions," the agreements allowed al Qaeda to establish an even stronger foot hold in the Pakistan tribal regions. Thus while the Bush administration has propped up "the Muslim world’s most powerful military dictator as an essential ally," Pakistan has shown little commitment to capturing bin Laden. In fact, in January 2008, Musharraf admitted that "the 100,000 troops that we are using...are not going around trying to locate Osama bin Laden and Zawahri, frankly."

BOLSTERED AL QAEDA: The war in Iraq and Bush's over-reliance on Pakistan have allowed al Qaeda to regroup along the Pakistan-Afghan border. Intelligence sources interviewed by the Times suggest that "the makeshift training compounds" in Pakistan's tribal areas "now have as many as 2,000 local and foreign militants, up from several hundred three years ago." The build-up of members has reshaped al Qaeda into a threat that is "comparable" to what the United States faced on Sept. 11, 2001. Similarly, according to the 2006 National Intelligence Estimate, "Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives." Rather than reducing the terror threat, the Iraq conflict has become the "cause célèbre for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement," the report concluded.

Viddie Of The Day

Let's dance -- around the world!

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Let's Trip! It's Healthy!


E-Voting Bombs In London


Our Leaders: Nelson Mandela Is A Terrorist

Our Leaders ever make us more proud to be Americans....

Link (of course, it's not from the US press).

Mac Widget Of The Day

Know how many days before we, um, lose... no, before the end of Beloved Leader's reign. Link.

President McCain Demonstrates His Inability For Straight Talk, Unable To Answer Question Directly

"Ventilating"? Isn't that what the Mob does to competitors? Ah, the president's from Phoenix and his wife is in the "beverage" delivery business so....

There He Goes Again; All About President McCain's Flip-Flopping



Crazy Dogs

The General Is Clear, The Big Media Journos, Defending Their BFF, Are Not

Again, to keep things in a proper perspective: President McCain has never evinced leadership. Ever. Simple fact.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Another Thing That Almost Made Me Laugh

The Top 15 Outsourced Newspaper Headlines From India

Green Houses in Sky Making Temperatures Too Warm

New York Mets Losing So Often, Manager Is Set on Fire

The headline queue is full; there is an approximate 30-minute wait time until a new headline will be available.

Midwest Sissies Petulantly Whine About Non-Annual Flooding

Telecoms to Receive Vaccinations

Cleveland Punjabis Defeat San Diego Fathers 3-2 as Water Vessels Fight to the Death

Studies Show Men Taking Viagra Have Longer, Firmer Lives

Driver Loses Arm and Leg in Oil Amputation

Famous Comedian Executed for Saying Forbidden Words on TV

Clothings Experts Say What You Should Wear This Summer Is Much, Much Different From What You Wore Last Summer

Boston Clerics Win 17th NAMBLA Championship in Sex Games

Bear Attacks Wall Street!

Court Allows Married California Couples to Be Happy

Strange Singer Amy Winehouse Is Sikh!

Britney Spears Shows Hairless Kitten to Photographers

This Almost Made Me Laugh


Our Leaders Give Us Just What We Need: Greater Dependence On Oil!

Leaders in the U.S. solar energy industry blasted the U.S. government on Monday for a freeze on applications for new solar projects on public land in six Western states.

The Bureau of Land Management announced the freeze a month ago, saying it would conduct an extensive study looking at the environmental, social and economic impacts of solar energy development.

During the 22-month study, the agency will not consider any new proposals for solar energy developments on public land in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico or Utah.

A Step Towards Greater Freedom -- 50 Years Ago

Guilherme sez, "June 30th is the 50th birthday of NAACP v. Alabama, a landmark case protecting the right of association. Alabama's efforts to expel the NAACP from its state included its demand of the NAACP's membership list. The Supreme Court struck down this demand, noting the importance of associational privacy for dissent: "Inviolability of privacy in group association may in many circumstances be indispensable to preservation of freedom of association, particularly where a group espouses dissident beliefs""
The full story.

Today, it's the freedom of energy czars to meet privately with the veep....

Flip-Flopping Pandering

But yes, how does being imprison exactly correlate with global leadership knowledge and abilities?
The McCain campaign wants to manufacture a controversy over Wesley Clark's comments about McCain's qualifications. Fine. McCain and his allies want to feign outrage. Fine. They want to spend the day whining about the Obama campaign being insufficiently sycophantic about McCain's military record. Fine.

But did these guys really have to give us Bud Day?
One of the members of John McCain's new Truth Squad -- which his campaign says was launched to respond to unfair attacks on his record of military service –- was a member of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, and appeared in an attack ad for the group in 2004.

The group was created to attack 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry's military service record.

"How can you expect our sons and daughters to follow you when you condemned their fathers and grandfathers?" asked former Air Force Col. Bud Day, who was a prisoner of war with McCain in Vietnam, in a 2004 Swift Boat Vets spot.
The Politico's Ben Smith asked Day this morning if he sees a similarity between the lies spread by the Swift Boat group in 2004 and Clark's questions about McCain's qualifications Sunday. In an apparent attempt to bury the needle on the irony meter, Day rejected the comparison, saying, "The Swift Boat 'attacks' were simply revelation of the truth. The similarity does not exist here."

Sometimes, the irony is so overwhelming, I have to wonder if the political scene is some kind of satirical performance art and I'm just not in on the joke.

And let's not brush past the point too quickly that McCain, four years ago, expressed a fair amount of disgust for the vicious smear campaign that Day was involved in. In August 2004, McCain called the Swift Boat group "dishonest and dishonorable," and the kind of politics he "deplores."

With that in mind, why, pray tell, is McCain encouraging one of the people responsible for the "dishonest and dishonorable" smear to speak on behalf of his campaign, in order to distort the words of a four-star general?

I think I'm getting bored by the next prez's complete lack of any principle. Here's dishonesty on his on again/off again #1 issue.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Today's Competition: Spot The Idiot

What do you see as the gravest long-term threat to the U.S. economy?

Obama: If we don’t get a handle on our energy policy, it is possible that the kinds of trends we’ve seen over the last year will just continue. Demand is clearly outstripping supply. It’s not a problem we can drill our way out of. It can be a drag on our economy for a very long time unless we take steps to innovate and invest in the research and development that’s required to find alternative fuels. I think it’s very important for the federal government to have a role in that process.

McCain: Well, I would think that the absolute gravest threat is the struggle that we’re in against Islamic extremism, which can affect, if they prevail, our very existence. Another successful attack on the United States of America could have devastating consequences. You’ve been a supporter of climate-change legislation that would essentially impose a penalty on the use of fossil fuel.

How Are Leaders Are Bringing Success To Iraq And The Middle East

Isn't lovely.... This is presumably what we want four more years of.

Listen: No matter how inept O would be -- and I'm not sure he could be better than Slick Willie -- there is virtually no way he can e as bad as what we had for the last eight years -- and there's no reason to believe that Saint John will offer any significant deviation. The campaign season is the time for him to break away from Our Leaders, and he isn't.

Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the U.S. government has spent nearly $500 million on an Arabic language television and radio station.

Now an investigation finds that the project has not only been poorly run and hemorrhaged taxpayer money but is also airing bizarrely anti-American and anti-semitic coverage despite repeated complaints from the State Department and Congress.

ProPublica, in a joint investigation with 60 Minutes, finds that the al-Hurra network -- "the Free One" in Arabic -- has completely failed in its initial mission to counter the influence of the Qatar-based al-Jazeera news network in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East.

For starters, there are problems with the staff, which often does not have any Arabic language skills or a background in broadcast journalism:
Alhurra's president, Brian Conniff, does not speak Arabic and is unable to understand anything broadcast on the radio and television networks he is paid to manage. Conniff has no journalism experience and worked previously as a government auditor. His news director, Daniel Nassif, grew up in Lebanon and has no background in television. Before coming to the network, he helped promote the political aspirations in Washington of a Lebanese Christian former general.
Then there is the accounting, which has failed to track millions in taxpayer dollars:
Financial accountability also appears to be lacking. In its four years, the network has been unable to provide full documentation to auditors to account for its spending, according to two people familiar with the records and a 2006 report by the Government Accountability Office.
(The GAO report is here.)

Meanwhile, the station may have been doing more harm that good for America's image in the Middle East. Along with the story, ProPublica also publishes a series of documents showing the complaints about al-Hurra filtering into the State Department and Congress in recent years.

One incident that seems to summarize the station's problems came when a reporter last year provided credulous coverage of a Holocaust deniers' conference in Tehran. "The reporter who covered the conference told viewers that Jews had provided no scientific evidence of the Holocaust," ProPublica reports.

As word of this report got back to Washington, Congress demanded that the station fire the reporter, Ahmad Amin. Top executives assured lawmakers that he was gone. But the ProPublica investigation found that Amin remained on staff until just a few weeks ago.

There's also evidence that the station was exacerbating the sectarian tensions in Iraq last year as death squads roamed the streets of Baghdad and American troop casualties reached their peak:
Alberto Fernandez, an Arabic speaker who served as the top public diplomacy officer for the Middle East until recently, wrote [Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen] Hughes in May 2007 that Alhurra's Baghdad operation was stocked "with radical Shi'a Islamists who favored their political brethren and discriminated against and intimidated members of other parties ... especially during the Iraqi electoral season."
Beyond Iraq, anti-American sentiments were given prominent voice:
When Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah railed against the U.S. government and threatened Israel, Alhurra carried it live and unedited. When U.S. combat deaths in Iraq surpassed 4,000 in March, Radio Sawa interviewed an anonymous militant who told listeners: "Occupation is occupation. We need to resist them and kill more than 4,000." In March, Alhurra aired a documentary on the "The Crusades" -- a series of military campaigns that Christian Europe waged against the Muslim world during the Middle Ages. Muslim staffers saw the program as an unfortunate reprise of Bush's 2001 comment that the coming "war on terrorism," would be a "crusade."
The Washington Post also has a story about al-Hurra in today's paper that comes to a similar conclusion about the station's success.
James Martone, a former CNN Middle East correspondent, was hired by al-Hurra as a producer in early 2007. Fluent in Arabic, he acted as an unofficial watchdog, cataloguing errors and reporting them to senior management. He said he had to teach many al-Hurra staffers the basics of what they could or could not say on the air.
"There were a lot of people working for the organization who weren't really journalists," said Martone, who resigned after several months. "When I started pointing out what was actually on the air, it became my full-time job. . . . The people upstairs, the Americans, I don't think they knew what was going on."
Late Update: Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) fired off a letter this morning asking that House foreign relations committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA) "hold immediate oversight hearings and initiate an investigation" of al-Hurra.

The Genius Of President McCain

In May of 2006, as Iraq spiraled down into an orgy of sectarian bloodletting, John McCain had a solution. "One of the things I would do if I were president," McCain told a group of wealthy contributors, "would be to sit the Shiites and the Sunnis down and say, 'Stop the bullshit.'"

If only someone had thought of that before. This is the man Brian Williams of NBC News recently referred to as having "vast foreign-policy expertise and credibility on national security."
And I guess a little insight why Big Journalism is suffering so: who wants or needs crap instead of news? Fewer and fewer care to wate their time....

A Warning From The Past

Saw a quote online the other day about we (obviously) don't live in the future nor, really, in the present. What we're doing is constantly reliving the past.

Apropos that, from Salon:
'50s America seem somehow justified. If American Communists held a misguided faith in the Stalinist Soviet state, the thinking goes, and if some tiny percentage of them were Soviet agents or spies (and let's stipulate that those things are true) then all 80,000 or so were, prima facie, seditious revolutionaries and threats to democracy -- and the Hollywood 10 really were trying to pervert healthy Americans with Red propaganda concealed as entertainment. Not all versions of the neocon rehabilitation of McCarthyism are quite so baldly ludicrous, but all must make the imaginative leap that a tiny, ineffective and consistently persecuted political movement, which throughout its brief heyday attempted to reassure the public that "Communism is 20th century Americanism," was in fact an immensely powerful and sinister force.

All disputes about history are really arguments about the present, and that goes double in this case. Contemporary right-wingers don't care about the real story of Dalton Trumbo, his nine original co-defendants or the dozens of other blacklistees that followed. (A random assortment: John Garfield, Dashiell Hammett, Judy Holliday, Langston Hughes, Gypsy Rose Lee, Arthur Miller, Zero Mostel, Dorothy Parker, Edward G. Robinson, Artie Shaw, Orson Welles, Josh White.) In fact, as Askin's film makes clear, Trumbo was a witty, irascible, mule-stubborn individualist who grew up on Colorado rangeland and was a poor candidate for Marxist-Leninist groupthink. He was a Communist Party member for, at most, four or five years, and like most other American Reds of the period -- like, say, my mother -- he was more attracted to the excitement, the sense of action and heady adventure, than to the core ideology. (No, I'm not a neutral observer of this issue, if that's even possible.)

What the more intelligent neocons see in the 1950s crackdown on Communism is both an underlying pattern and an instructive example, having to do with power and how to wield it. The real target of the Red Scare was not the handful of prominent lefties like Trumbo who had their livelihoods destroyed and their reputations ruined but rather the rest of society, which proved by and large to be craven, suggestible, and downright eager to hew to a new standard of patriotic conformity. Whether this was accidental or intentional, pursuing a highly unpopular minority provided authoritarian elements in this country with a test case: How far could constitutional rights and liberties be eroded by government-sponsored fear-mongering? The answer was pretty far, and would-be dictators from J. Edgar Hoover to Dick Cheney have been renovating and repeating the pattern ever since, with a different half-imaginary enemy in the gunsight.

In one devastating letter read in the film, Trumbo observes that the liberal producer who doesn't believe in the blacklist but apologetically tells him he can't hire a known Communist because "that's the country these days" is more oppressive than any congressional blowhard. His eloquent anger toward the country that he believes betrayed freedom, principle and basic human decency in its moment of postwar crisis is matched by his confidence that if he could poll the entire American population on one question -- "Would you like a man who informs on his friend?" -- the universal answer would be no.

But the lesson of "Trumbo" that clearly resonates in 2008 is that even in an increasingly pluralistic society, public tolerance can readily be turned against those who hold troubling ideologies or alien beliefs, and in that situation terrible things become acceptable. Some of those things are small, like the cruelty and ostracism Trumbo's daughter endured in elementary school, and some are larger. One of the anti-Communist movement's darkest triumphs was the Emergency Detention Act of 1950, which envisioned the suspension of constitutional rights in a national emergency, and funded the creation of six concentration camps for American civilians who "probably will engage in, or probably will conspire with others to engage in, acts of espionage or sabotage." It was passed by Congress over Harry Truman's veto, but without much public debate.

Not much about this act is easily available online, a startling fact in this age of information overload. Congress repealed it in 1971, and the six camps -- some of them formerly used as Japanese-American internment camps during World War II -- fell into disrepair. But it obviously struck some people as a good idea, and so today our secret prisons are in other countries and governed by no law, and so far they have not housed any cantankerous Hollywood screenwriters. No one, as Trumbo said, who lived through the blacklist years emerged from them unscathed by evil, and now that evil has been visited on later generations. His wife and kids loved him, and he finally got his Oscars. Surely that counts for something.

In San Francisco, You Soon May Be Able To Literally Give A Crap For Beloved Leader

Reagan has his highways. Lincoln has his memorial. Washington has the capital (and a state, too). But President Bush may soon be the sole president to have a memorial named after him that you can contribute to from the bathroom.

From the Department of Damned-With-Faint-Praise, a group going by the regal-sounding name of the Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco is planning to ask voters here to change the name of a prize-winning water treatment plant on the shoreline to the George W. Bush Sewage Plant.

From The Wayback Machine, The Genius Of The Modern Punditocracy

Friedman in 2003.

Really, one must ask: Are these guys stupid? Ignorant? Know better but believe there's some good reason to lie? And who watches these guys and take any guidance from them?

A Little Music

The Genius Of Beloved Leader

A Message

Onward To Victory -- In Iran! A THird Front For President McCain

Si Hersh says so (more or less).

If it was anyone less than Our Leaders, you'd think they might be smart enough to keep at a covert level and destabilize the crap out the nation (assuming the people are sufficiently dissatisfied with Islamofascism). But Our Leaders? We know they're not so swift.

And if a covert war, as it were, the plan, it's worrisome that it's leaked.