The Nattering Nabob <$BlogRSDUrl$>
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Friday, June 30, 2006


 

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Albert was a Rollin Stone.
 
From an interview of Al Gore with Rolling Stone

RS: What did you think during the 2000 campaign on the day that Bush announced he would limit CO2 emissions if he were elected? Did you think, "That's bullshit"?

AL:I thought it was fraudulent.........

RS: Did it seem like a smart move, strategically, at that point?

AL: Well, if you define the word "smart" in an antiseptic and clinical way that excludes any ethical dimension, then, yeah, I guess it was smart. Smart, if you're willing to say things that you know are not true. But that's what Karl Rove is known for. Bush's whole pose as a compassionate conservative was fraudulent. His budget was fraudulent. Even the idea that he would be staunchly opposed to nation building was fraudulent. I don't mean that he actually knew at the time of the campaign that he was going to invade Iraq -- because I don't think Cheney had told him yet Smart, if you're willing to say things that you know are not true. But that's what Karl Rove is known for. Bush's whole pose as a compassio He was completely fraudulent from head to toe.

RS: Do you still consider yourself a Democrat?

AL: Oh, yeah. I mean, I still consider myself a Baptist too, even though the denomination has tried to run me off with their attitude toward women and so forth! Oh, yeah.


Love it. If he had just talked like this 6 years ago, none of this would have happened, and he knows it. It's why he's so intense.

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Zing.
 
Oliver Willis says:

I admit that as a black man, the likes of Clarence Thomas embarasses the hell out of me. But he made it even worse by attacking Justice Stevens for supposed unfamiliarity with military combat when in fact Stevens served in WWII while the closest Thomas has probably gotten is a rental of some porn knockoff of Saving Private Ryan.

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Why does the Army hate America?
 
It appears that the military itself has been arguing and fighting against the Bush administration's attempt to change the rules of war.

The MILITARY has opposed the crap that has been going on in Guantanamo. The civilians in the Bush administration - who have never seen combat in their lives - tried to rewrite the rules of war, and fought the American Military to do so.

Can't you just here the right-wingers yelling "Why does the Army hate America?"

WASHINGTON — For four years, they waged what may have been the loneliest fight in the war on terrorism. Facing Bush administration hard-liners intent on finding novel ways to deal with enemy combatants, the armed services' own lawyers fought attempts to rewrite the rules of war.

"We argued that this would come back to haunt us and it would taint the military justice system," said retired Rear Adm. Donald Guter, the Navy's top uniformed lawyer when "military commission" trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees were first proposed in 2001. "We were warning that you would have to be careful to provide basic protections."

In meeting rooms and internal debates, the military lawyers again and again challenged the Defense Department's civilian leaders, insisting that the fight against terrorism was best waged under the recognized rules: the Geneva Convention and the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Judge advocates general, or JAGs, the uniformed lawyers of the Defense Department, first found themselves at odds with the Pentagon's civilian leaders in the weeks after Sept. 11, when some within the administration began arguing that terrorism detainees should not be entitled to the same protections as traditional prisoners of war.

Guter, the Navy's chief JAG until June 2002, was one of the first flag officers to argue against the commission plan, saying it was a mistake to ignore the long traditions of military justice when trying terrorism suspects.

Senior administration officials told Guter and the other JAGs that the urgency to extract intelligence meant the traditional military justice system could not be used. But there was, Guter detected, more to the administration's maneuvering.

"There was another motive," he said. "This was seen as an opportunity, a vehicle to restore presidential power and authority. It was a very convenient vehicle. It was perfect. Fear tends to drive power to authority and to the executive branch."

Air Force Maj. John Carr, then a captain, and Maj. Robert Preston quit the prosecution team in March 2004 after saying the commissions were unfair. Marine Maj. Michael Mori, a defense lawyer representing Australian detainee David Hicks, has argued that the commissions were unfair by design.

"The people who created this have too much of a vested interest in obtaining only convictions," Mori said. "They were involved in the campaign of the war. They were involved in detention policy. They were involved in the interrogation policy."

Mori argues that officials who worked in Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's office failed to listen to the criticism of the system from the military lawyers, because they wanted to ensure the prisoners at Guantanamo were convicted.

"They could not afford the first four military commissions to result in acquittals," Mori said. "That would undermine the public relations statements that these [detainees] were the worst of the worst."

"The rules were constantly being changed. The rules were being made up after the game was already begun," said Marine Col. Dwight Sullivan, chief defense counsel for the military commissions. "It was extremely difficult to litigate in that system. The rules could change from day to day."

Lawyers within the department were fighting not only against the commissions, but against the administration's broader campaign to circumvent the Geneva Convention.

Until Bush's 2002 order, the military had long followed Common Article 3. The provision prohibits torture, cruel and inhumane treatment and requires a fair trial for all detainees. Under international custom, Common Article 3 has applied in wars in which the other rules of military engagement did not apply, such as civil wars.

After the detainee abuse scandal at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and questions about interrogations techniques at Guantanamo, other military lawyers began arguing that the Pentagon and administration should revisit guidelines on questioning prisoners.

The JAGs believed the military was bound by international law, said an official familiar with the debate who spoke on condition of anonymity when discussing the internal debates.

"Part of it was a concern that it eroded the doctrine the military had developed over decades working within the Geneva system," the official said.

"Irregular interrogation polices are illegal in the wake of this opinion — illegal, illegal, illegal," said Derek P. Jinks, a law professor at the University of Texas and coauthor of a Supreme Court brief on the history of the Geneva Convention. "The crucial finding is that Common Article 3 applies."

Although Defense officials said they were still studying the opinion, some in the administration believed that Jinks' view was probably correct, and that the Hamdan decision would mean the architects of the war on terrorism would have to give new weight to the views of the military's lawyers.

"The opinion seems to provide strong support for the position that even interrogation of terrorists must comply with the Geneva conventions," the administration lawyer said.

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bushie went a -Courtin' and he got slapped. Mmm-Hmm.
 
My, my. The Supreme Court bitch-slapped Georgie, and I've been too busy to blog.

In the first place, you can read the entire decision (pdf file) here. I've tried, but Lord, is it slow reading. So be forewarned before you plow through the legalese.

It appear that the papers (worthless as ever) have missed the real story. According to Think Progress the Court just undermined Bush's case for wiretapping:

The impact of today’s Supreme Court decision on military commissions goes well beyond Guantanamo. The Supreme Court has ruled that the Authorization for the Use of Military Force – issued by Congress in the days after 9/11 – is not a blank check for the administration. From the syllabus:

Neither the AUMF [Authorization for the Use of Military Force] nor the DTA [Detainee Treatment Act] can be read to provide specific, overriding authorization for the commission convened to try Hamdan. Assuming the AUMF activated the President’s war powers, see Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U. S. 507, and that those powers include authority to convene military commissions in appropriate circumstances, see, e.g., id., at 518, there is nothing in the AUMF’s text or legislative history even hinting that Congress intended to expand or alter the authorization set forth in UCMJ Art. 21.

The point here is that the AUMF does not authorize activity that was not specifically contemplated in the text or legislative history. This is incredibly significant. The administration is relying on the AUMF to justify its warrantless wiretapping program. Here’s Alberto Gonzales on 12/19/05:

Our position is, is that the authorization to use force, which was passed by the Congress in the days following September 11th, constitutes that other authorization, that other statute by Congress, to engage in this kind of signals intelligence.

The Bush administration doesn’t argue that warrantless wiretapping was something specifically contemplated in the text or by Congress. Rather, the administration argues that it is implied as part of a broad authorization to “use all necessary and appropriate force.”

The Supreme Court has rejected that expansive interpretation. It’s a huge blow to the administration’s legal rationale for warrantless wiretapping.



And Scotusblog has an analysis that says that the court just blew a giant hole in Bush's mad desire to torture prisoners:

Even more importantly for present purposes, the Court held that Common Article 3 of Geneva aplies as a matter of treaty obligation to the conflict against Al Qaeda. That is the HUGE part of today's ruling. The commissions are the least of it. This basically resolves the debate about interrogation techniques, because Common Article 3 provides that detained persons "shall in all circumstances be treated humanely," and that "[t]o this end," certain specified acts "are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever"—including "cruel treatment and torture," and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." This standard, not limited to the restrictions of the due process clause, is much more restrictive than even the McCain Amendment. See my further discussion here.

This almost certainly means that the CIA's interrogation regime is unlawful, and indeed, that many techniques the Administation has been using, such as waterboarding and hypothermia (and others) violate the War Crimes Act (because violations of Common Article 3 are deemed war crimes).

Of course, it's disgraceful to think that Bush has pushed this nation to the point where we are even HAVING this argument. Did you EVER think that Americans would even have a DISCUSSION about whether it was ok to torture a prisoner? I grew up being taught that in America, the answer to that was "no" as surely as 2+2=4. Not debateable.

But as things stand, the most conservative court in American History has ruled that Bush is even too extreme for THEM. Now watch the right-wingers start declaring that the Supreme Court hates America too. According to them, everybody hates America unless they walk lockstep with a total maniac. It never occurs to them that maybe THEY are the lunatics. They think it must be everybody else. It couldn't POSSIBLY be that their 25% of the population - which just HAPPENS to be the DUMBEST and most IGNORANT 25% - is just way the hell out there, and has no idea what they are talking about.

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Jenna is leaving us.
 
(Visitors: Check out the rest of the site while you're here)

For a teaching job in Latin America.

First daughter Jenna Bush, who for the past year and a half taught third grade at Washington's Mount Pleasant charter school, is going to leave the nation's capital and continue her teaching career in Latin America, reports The Washington Post.


Now I've always said that Jenna Bush may be the only member of the family I LIKE. I thought of her as a pretty teenager, running all over Austin getting shit-faced. How could you not like that? If GWB was MY father, I'd be hitting the bottle pretty hard, too.

I like to think that she's heading to Latin America to get the hell out of HERE, because she knows better than anybody what sort of frigging lunatic her old man is.

So, here's to Jenna:







Lots of good material.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Define "desecration"
 
The United States Flag Code contains guidelenes for the proper use and display of the flag.

Here's one such guideline:

"No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform."

The flag "should not be embroidered on such articles as cushions or handkerchiefs and the like, printed or otherwise impressed on paper
".

Hmmmm. I wonder how carefully the Republicans adhere to that one?

Why, look! Here's a whole website of stuff for sale called (appropriately) "Republican Market."


Republican Market: Flag Fanny Pack

Republican Market: Stars and Stripes Shoulder Bag

Republican Market: Flag Tote Bag

Republican Market: Elephant with Flag Polo Shirt

Republican Market: Crossed Flags Silk Tie


Why, imagine that.

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Glory, Glory, Harry Lewis
 
Actually, Harry REID, but that doesn't sound nearly as good.

Harry Reid is vowing to block all Congressional pay raises until Congress votes to raise the minimum wage.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A week after the GOP-led Senate rejected an increase to the minimum wage, Senate Democrats on Tuesday vowed to block pay raises for members of Congress until the minimum wage is increased.

"We're going to do anything it takes to stop the congressional pay raise this year, and we're not going to settle for this year alone," Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said at a Capitol news conference.


Good. Stick it right in their asses.

Now if only the rest of the party would learn how to fight.

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006


 
There is some behavior which is questionable but acceptable, and some which is unacceptable.

And when Congress passes a "veto-proof" bill outlawing torture by the US military, and Bush signs it, while quietly adding a "signing statement" saying he will ignore the law any time he feels like it, then the will of the people is being bypassed, Constitutional intent is being circumvented, the Law of the Land is being shredded, and the son-of-a-bitch doing it is a traitor to the Constitution.

Just my opinion.

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Source

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Jon Stewart on the Miami Seven
 
heh.

Alberto Gonzales: "These individuals wish to wage a quote: 'full ground war against the United States.'

Stewart: "Seven guys? I’m not a general. I am not anyway affiliated with the military academy, but I believe if you were going to wage a full ground war against the United States, you need to field at least as many people as, say, a softball team."

Alberto Gonzales: "One of the individuals was familiar with the Sears Tower- had worked in Chicago and had been there - so was familiar with the tower, but in terms of the plans it was more aspirational rather than operational."

Stewart: "No weapons, no actual contact with al-Qaeda, but one of them had been to Chicago…"

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Buffett
 
"I would hate to see the estate tax gutted. It's a very equitable tax. It's in keeping with the idea of equality of opportunity in this country, not giving incredible head starts to certain people who were very selective about the womb from which they emerged." - Warren Buffett


I have enormous respect for wealthy people who keep their head on straight, and still insist of equity and fairness, even though the lack of equity would be greatly to their personal benefit.

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UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
 
Left End of the Dial has the full story on this and several links. And I think he's right: the lack of empathy is the root of all evil. What is the Golden Rule, after all, but a call for empathy?

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Flag-burning
 
The Senate is actually believed to be just one vote short of passing a flag-burning amendment.

The wind would be taken right out of sails of this one if some Democrat would just say, "This is obvious political grandstanding, and anyone who isn't a total idiot knows it. Apparently, the Republicans believe that most Americans are total idiots."

How about we propose an Amendment banning the burning of the Constitution?

Or insist on a rider to the Amendment declaring that wearing the American Flag as clothing, or its use in advertising constitute "desecration"?

But they won't.

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He's actually not kidding.
 
Bush Calls Leak of Bank Surveillance a Disgrace

President defends program as a legal and effective tool for hunting down terrorists, says the media's disclosure does "great harm" to the nation.


I'm waiting for ONE major media outlet to point out that his campaign manager is a known leaker, and still has National Security Clearance.

How pathetic are the current media. George W. Bush, of all people, waxes indignant about leaking, and the statement ISN'T greeted with derisive, mocking laughter.

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Limbaugh caught with viagra.
 
There is a God.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Rush Limbaugh was detained for more than three hours Monday at Palm Beach International Airport after authorities said they found a bottle of Viagra in his possession without a prescription.

No charges. Just lots and lots of embarrassment. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

Heh.

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Sheesh
 
I suppose this should gratify me, but I think it's frigging chilling. Who the hell are the 25% who think you SHOULD be allowed to hold someone indefinitly without charges?

Don't people understand that without a trial, without a lawyer, and without an opportunity to even speak for themselves, you don't know that they're guilty of ANYTHING? Are we supposed to just take Bush's word for it? Because he has such a good track record with such things?

Given pro-and-con arguments — letting the detainees defend themselves at trial vs. risking further terrorism if they're released — 71 percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll say they should either be given POW status or charged with a crime. Just 25 percent back current administration policy, holding these detainees indefinitely without charges.

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Troop Reductions
 
WASHINGTON (June 24) - The top American commander in Iraq has drafted a plan that projects sharp reductions in the United States military presence there by the end of 2007, with the first cuts coming this September, American officials say.


While I consider this good news (and find it beautfully ironic and hypocritical that if a Democrat proposed the EXACT SAME THING, they'd be screaming "cut and run"). I have little question that it's political, and intended to affect the 2006 election (first reducations in September). Which means that it isn't real. Bush is a strong believer in bait and switch. It they withdraw some troops in September, and the Republicans take control, watch how "circumstances" necessitate the troops returning. Guaranteed.

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

School of thought
 
Regarding Spiringsteen's interview with Soledad O'Brien yesterday:

Don't you love the way "interviewers" from "the liberal media" repeat the STUPIDEST of right-wing talking points as though they were valid, and seem impatient when someone with some sense points out their stupidity?

O’BRIEN: There is a whole school of thought, as you well know, that says that musicians – I mean you see it with the Dixie Chicks - you know, go play your music and stop.


A "whole school of thought." I'll bet you never thought you'd hear something as THOUGHTLESS and IDIOTIC as "shut up and sing" referred to as a "whole school of thought." As though it was a branch of philosophy. Only in the "liberal media."

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Friday, June 23, 2006

Thank you, Bruce
 
SOLEDAD O’BRIEN (CNN): In 2004 you came out very strongly in support of John Kerry and performed with him - your fellow guitarist, I think is how you introduced him to the crowd. And some people gave you a lot of flack for being a musician who took a political stand. I remember…

SPRINGSTEEN: Yeah, they should let Ann Coulter do it instead.

O’BRIEN: There is a whole school of thought, as you well know, that says that musicians – I mean you see it with the Dixie Chicks - you know, go play your music and stop.

SPRINGSTEEN: Well, if you turn it on, present company included, the idiots rambling on on cable television on any given night of the week, and you’re saying that musicians shouldn’t speak up? It’s insane. It’s funny.

O’BRIEN: As a musician though, I’d be curious to know if there is a concern that you start talking about politics, you came out at one point and said, I think in USA Today listen, the country would be better off if George Bush were replaced as President. Is there a worry where you start getting political and you could alienate your audience?

SPRINGSTEEN: Well that’s called common sense. I don’t even see that as politics at this point. So I mean that’s, you know, you can get me started, I’ll be glad to go. […] You don’t take a country like the United States into a major war on circumstantial evidence. You lose your job for that. That’s my opinion, and I have no problem voicing it. And some people like it and some people boo ya, you know?


Think progress has the video.

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Scum
 
The Republicans don't even try to pretend that they have America's best interest at heart.

They are downright open about the fact that we are staying in Iraq because it's an election year.

Thousands will have to die.

Because it's an election year.

I honestly don't know how such people live with themselves.

But people who attended a series of high-level meetings this month between White House and Congressional officials say President Bush's aides argued that it could be a politically fatal mistake for Republicans to walk away from the war in an election year.

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Specter pretends he has balls
 
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration will have to explain why it thinks it can ignore or overrule laws passed by Congress in a hearing next week, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter said on Wednesday.

Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, said he hoped to force the Bush administration to reduce its use of "signing statements" -- memos that reserve the right to ignore laws if the president thinks they impinge on his authority.

"Our legislation doesn't amount to anything if the president can say, 'My constitutional authority supersedes the statute.' And I think we've got to lay down the gauntlet and challenge him on it," Specter said in a telephone interview.


I don't expect much. Specter has a long history of talking like an independent, and then handing Bush whatever he wants when push comes to shove. Hope I'm wrong.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Gilbert & Sullivan updated
 
Found in my email. The author is Phil Alexander.


Sung to the tune of "I am the very model of a modern major general," from Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Pirates of Penzance."

PRESIDENT:
I am the very model of a bible-bound creationist
A blinkered, blind, and narrow-minded dumb-ass revelationist
I find it hard distinguishing religious from political
And so I make decisions that are highly hypocritical.

I try and change the law to save the life of someone comatose
While ordering a war and killing anyone who comes too close.
The latest body count was twenty-thousand-plus civilians
But I've got policies that could cause carnage by the milli-ons.

ALL:
But he's got policies that could cause carnage by the milli-ons
But he's got policies that could cause carnage by the mili-ons
But he's got policies that could cause carnage by the milli-ons

PRESIDENT:
I know the world was made for us, and has been since it first begun
It says so there in Genesis, and God knows I'm a Christ-ee-yun
In short, in matters biblical, a congre-gaggin-nationist
I am the very model of a bible-bound creationist

ALL:
In short, in matters biblical, a congre-gaggin-nationist
He is the very model of a bible-bound creationist

PRESIDENT:
My country's use of gasoline is profligate and decadent
It's harming our economy and the whole world's environment
Global warming morons warn of crises so hysteric and
It makes me thank the Lord that I was born to be American

Like anyone in power who wants to show their adherence
I pick and choose the bits I use from both Old and New Testaments
The Satanic secular types show how much they fear me
When I announce that evolution's no more than a theory

ALL:
When he announces evolution's no more than a theory
When he announces evolution's no more than a theory
When he announces evolution's no more than a theory

PRESIDENT:
Then I can draft a scary bill that's more than taking liberties
But arguing impugns your patriotic sensitivities
In short, in matters patriotic, criminal or terrorist
I am the very model of a bible-bound creationist

ALL:
In short, in matters patriotic, criminal or terrorist
He is the very model of a bible-bound creationist

PRESIDENT:
In fact, when I know what is meant by true religious parity
When I don't think the West is under threat from secularity
When my lack of brain-power's not undermined by literacy
And when my foreign policy's less gunboat, more diplomacy

When I have learnt the difference 'tween sandwiches and sand wedges
When I can use with confidence the whole damn English lang-u-wedge
In short, when I can state a statement oh, so very statedly
You'll say no president's ever misunderestimatedly

ALL:
You'll say no president's ever misunderestimatedly
You'll say no president's ever misunderestimatedly
You'll say no president's ever misunderestimatedly

PRESIDENT:
I know there ain't much knowledge that's contained within my cranium
I went to see the Wizard, but he can't give me a brainium
But still, in things political or educa-ca-cationist
I am the very model of a Bible-bound creationist

ALL:
But still, in things political or educa-ca-cationist
He is the very model of a Bible-bound creationist .

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Steve Colbert
 
On the difference between Small Government and Big Government:

"Being able to say the name Jesus in a speech is small government; actually doing what Jesus told us to do would be big government."

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Josh Marshall is right. The Republicans claim that the Democrats have no plan. But it's the REPUBLICANS who have no plan. Bush's "plan" is to stay in Iraq until it's somebody else's problem.

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Dueling Quotes
 
If we’re going to invade, we need to prepare for a worst-case scenario involving street-to-street fighting, with farmers taking potshots at our troops. Is America prepared for hundreds of casualties, even thousands, in an invasion and subsequent occupation that could last many years?" - Nicholas Kristof, New York Times, Sept. 2002

"I don't think anybody anticipated the level of violence that we've encountered." - Dick Cheney

Nick Kristof did, Dick, and it isn't HIS job. Who exactly do you mean by "anybody"?

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Scumbags
 
BAGDHAD - Two US soldiers, missing for three days since their abduction in an insurgent stronghold south of Baghdad, were found dead, a military spokesman said yesterday. An Iraqi official said the Americans had been tortured and killed in a ``barbaric" way.


I guess they think the Geneva Conventions are "quaint," too, just like our President.

Seriously, can Bush go to the international community now, and condemn torture?

Scumbags. All of them.

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Monumental Courage
 
The modern Republican Party: All high dudgeon without an ounce of actual principle.

Washington Post - In a move that could bury President Bush's high-profile effort to overhaul immigration law until after the midterm elections, House GOP leaders yesterday announced a series of field hearings during the August recess, pushing off final negotiations on a bill until fall at the earliest.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Hitler Cats
 
Here.

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Where have we heard this before?
 
"I don't think anybody anticipated the level of violence that we've encountered." - Dick Cheney


"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees" - George W. Bush

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Murtha on Rove
 
"He's in New Hampshire. He's making a political speech. He’s sitting in his air-conditioned office on his big, fat backside - saying stay the course. That’s not a plan!" - John Murtha on Meet the Press.


Crroks and Liars has the video.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

Amnesty for terrorists
 
IMAGINE if a Democrat pulled this horseshit?


The following is a compilation of Senate Republicans defending the proposal to give amnesty to terrorists who have killed or wounded US troops. These statements were made on the Senate floor this afternoon.

TED STEVENS - “IF THAT’S AMNESTY, I’M FOR IT:” “I really believe we ought to try to find some way to encourage that country to demonstrate to those people who have been opposed to what we're trying to do, that it's worthwhile for them and their children to come forward and support this democracy. And if that's amnesty, I'm for it. I'd be for it. And if those people who are, come forward… if they bore arms against our people, what's the difference between those people that bore arms against the Union in the War between the States? What’s the difference between the Germans and Japanese and all the people we’ve forgiven?” – Sen. Ted Stevens

MCCONNELL SUGGESTED A RESOLUTION COMMENDING IRAQIS FOR GIVING TERRORISTS AMNESTY. “…might it not just be as useful an exercise to be trying to pass a resolution commending the Iraqi government for the position that they’ve taken today with regard to this discussion of Amnesty?” – Sen. Mitch McConnell

ALEXANDER COMPARED IRAQI AMNESTY FOR TERRORISTS TO NELSON MANDELA’S PEACE EFFORTS. “Is it not true that Nelson Mandela's courage and his ability to create a process of reconciliation and forgiveness was a major factor in what has been a political miracle in Africa…Did not Nelson Mandela, win a - the co-winner of - a noble Nobel Peace Prize just for this sort of gesture?” – Sen. Lamar Alexander

CORNYN: IRAQI AMNESTY DEBATE IS “A DISTRACTION.” “It makes no sense for the United States Senate to shake its finger at the new government of Iraq and to criticize them… it really is a distraction from the debate that I think the American people would want us to have.” - Sen. John Cornyn

CHAMBLISS: AMNESTY IS OK FOR EX-INSURGENTS AS LONG AS THEY ARE ON OUR SIDE NOW. “Is it not true today that we have Iraqis who are fighting the war against the insurgents, who at one time fought against American troops and other coalition troops as they were marching to Baghdad, who have now come over to our side and are doing one heck of a job of fighting along, side by side, with Americans and coalition forces, attacking and killing insurgents on a daily basis?” - Sen. Saxby Chambliss

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This is priceless
 
One of the idiot Congressmen who co-sponsors the bill on the Ten Commandments DOESN'T KNOW THE TEN COMMANDMENTS.

Crooks and Liars has the video, and I love Steve Colbert.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Gitmo
 
WASHINGTON
President George W. Bush acknowledged on Wednesday that the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where three detainees committed suicide, has damaged the U.S. image abroad and said it should be shut down.


Gee, the right-wingers have been calling people filthy names for months for saying the same thing.

Now that Bush says that he agrees with us, let's watch all the right-wingers suddenly start swearing that it's a wonderful idea.

It must be tough having no mind of your own.

Needless to say, it's just whitewash - Bush intends to MOVE the problem, not fix it.

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Let's recap
 
Zarqawi is dead. That's good.

Rove is either getting away with it or agreed to cooperate and finger someone else. That's PROBABLY bad, although it MAY be good. But probably bad.

Bush tried the same old dumb PR stunt by making a surprise visit to Iraq. Nobody but his worshippers paid any attention this time, though, since sane people have had enough of photo-ops with no results. That one is a wash.

The American People have woken up, and Bush is still one of the most unpopular Presidents ever. That's good.

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Buffoon
 
Note: Updated from actual transcript.

The following exchange took place today at a press conference between Bush and a reporter:

Bush: Yes, Peter. Are you going to ask that question with shades on?
Wallsten: I can take them off.
Bush: I’m interested in the shade look, seriously.
Wallsten:All right, I’ll keep it, then.
Bush: For the viewers, there’s no sun. (Laughter.)
Wallsten:I guess it depends on your perspective. (Laughter.)
Bush: Touché. (Laughter.)


Peter Wallsten is blind.

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Rogue Nation
 
Who is the biggest threat to stability in the Middle East? Iraq?

According to most Europeans, it's us.


WASHINGTON (AP) — The presence of U.S. troops in Iraq is a greater threat to Mideast stability than the government in Iran, according to a poll of European and Muslim countries.

People in Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Russia rated America's continuing involvement in Iraq a worse problem than Iran and its nuclear ambitions, according to polling by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. Views of U.S. troops in Iraq were even more negative in countries like Indonesia, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey and Pakistan.


Remember when America was respected?

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Westchester County to recognize same-sex marriage
 
WHITE PLAINS — Westchester County will recognize same-sex marriages performed in states and countries where they are legal, making it the eighth municipality in New York — and the first county — to recognize the same-sex unions, County Executive Andrew Spano said Wednesday.


For those who don't know, Westchester County is one of the largest counties in New York State, and one of the wealthiest in the whole country. It borders New York City on the north.

The thing that I find weirdest about this is that the story - which you would think would be pretty big news around here - doesn't seem to be mentioned in any major publication in Westchester County. I read about it in a tiny little alternative paper aimed at Westchester's black community in a small article on the inside, and when I searched online for an internet article, I got three hits - every single one from OUTSIDE Westchester County. The clip linked above is from the Poughkeepsie Journal, which is in nearby Dutchess County. I guess they don't want the Westchesterites to know.

As an example of how bizarre the press is, for the "anti" side, they decided to turn some clown into a spokesman who has no actual credentials or following whatsoever, and who probably didn't want to be a spokesman. Some dude that they found on the street, or something. Who doesn't even live in Westchester:


The extension of marriage benefits to same-sex couples is deeply offensive to many Christians, like Tom Malone Jr., a devout Catholic....

"Marriage and the family are under attack and we ought to do everything we can to support the Christian definition of marriage," the Poughkeepsie man said. "I don't find any form of gay union valid."


Easy solution, Tom: Don't marry a guy. Nobody is forcing you to.

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Rover gets out of the dog house
 
It looks like Rove won't be indicted.

It's not over though.

Check out firedoglake

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Separated at birth
 
Ann Coulter,


and Lee Harvey Oswald.

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It's official
 
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Training Iraqis
 
"President Bush said Friday that it's not clear that Iraqi forces will be able to take control of their country's security within 18 months as the new leader there has said." - AP


How long have we been there? 4 years?

We aren't sure that SIX YEARS is long enough to train Iraqi soldiers?

American Boot Camp is TWO MONTHS. Followed by maybe another year before deployment. Iraqis need six years?

Odd, isn't it, that Iraqis are such HORRIBLE soldiers that we can't get them trained in six years, but the Iraqis who are soldiers on the OTHER side seem good enough to fight US. How strange. How come the Iraqis who are AGAINST us seem to be trained just fine?

I don't think Bush WANTS these guys trained, He'd have to stop his precious little war, which is the only thing that makes him feel like a man.

Either that or he's the most incompetent Commander-In-Chief EVER.

Or both.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

President Scumbag
 
Michael Brown, FEMA sadsack and scapegoat, has an email: (warning: pdf file)

Somebody wrote the following to Brown:

Wednesday, September 7, 2005
To: Michael Brown

'I did hear of one reference to you, at the Cabinet meeting yesterday. I wasn't there but I heard someone commented that the press was sure beating up on Mike Brown, to which the President replied, "I'd rather they beat up on him than me or Chertoff." Congratulations on doing a great job of diverting hostile fire away from the leader.'


What a guy.

Here's the whole article on CNN.

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Sanfranciscophobia
 
By Garrison Keillor


NOTE TO REPUBLICANS: THE PARTY'S OVER

People who live in mud huts should not throw mud, especially if it comes from their own roofs. As Scripture says, don't point to the speck in your neighbor's eye when you have a piece of kindling in your own.

I see by the papers that the Republicans want to make an issue of Nancy Pelosi in the congressional races this fall: Would you want a San Francisco woman to be Speaker of the House? Will the podium be repainted in lavender stripes with a disco ball overhead? Will she be borne into the chamber by male dancers with glistening torsos and wearing pink tutus? After all, in the unique worldview of old elephants, San Francisco is a code word for g-a-y, and after assembling a record of government lies, incompetence and disaster, the party in power hopes that the fear of g-a-y-s will pull it through in November.

Running against Nancy Pelosi, a woman who comes from a district where there are known gay persons, is a nice trick, but it does draw attention to the large shambling galoot who is Speaker now, Tom DeLay's enabler for years, a man who, judging by his public mutterances, is about as smart as most high school wrestling coaches. For the past year, Dennis Hastert has been two heartbeats from the presidency. He is a man who seems content just to have a car and driver and three square meals a day. He has no apparent vision beyond the urge to hang onto power. He has succeeded in turning Congress into a branch of the executive branch. If Mr. Hastert becomes the poster boy for the Republican Party, this does not speak well for them as the Party of Ideas.

People who want to take a swing at San Francisco should think twice. Yes, the Irish coffee at Fisherman's Wharf is overpriced, and the bus tour of Haight-Ashbury is disappointing (where are the hippies?), but the Bay Area is the cradle of the computer and software industry, which continues to create jobs for our children. The iPod was not developed by Baptists in Waco. There may be a reason for this. Creative people thrive in a climate of openness and tolerance, since some great ideas start out sounding ridiculous. Creativity is a key to economic progress. Authoritarianism is stifling. I don't believe that Mr. Hewlett and Mr. Packard were gay, but what's important is: In San Francisco, it doesn't matter so much. When the cultural Sturmbannfuhrers try to marshal everyone into straight lines, it has consequences for the economic future of this country.

Meanwhile, the Current Occupant goes on impersonating a president. Somewhere in the quiet leafy recesses of the Bush family, somebody is thinking, "Wrong son. Should've tried the smart one." This one's eyes don't quite focus. Five years in office and he doesn't have a grip on it yet. You stand him up next to Tony Blair at a press conference and the comparison is not kind to Our Guy. Historians are starting to place him at or near the bottom of the list. And one of the basic assumptions of American culture is falling apart: the competence of Republicans.

You might not have always liked Republicans, but you could count on them to manage the bank. They might be lousy tippers, act snooty, talk through their noses, wear spats and splash mud on you as they race their Pierce-Arrows through the village, but you knew they could do the math. To see them produce a ninny and then follow him loyally into the swamp for five years is disconcerting, like seeing the Rolling Stones take up lite jazz. So here we are at an uneasy point in our history, mired in a costly war and getting nowhere, a supine Congress granting absolute power to a president who seems to get smaller and dimmer, and the best the Republicans can offer is San Franciscophobia? This is beyond pitiful. This is violently stupid.

It is painful to look at your father and realize the old man should not be allowed to manage his own money anymore. This is the discovery the country has made about the party in power. They are inept. The checkbook needs to be taken away. They will rant, they will screech, they will wave their canes at you and call you all sorts of names, but you have to do what you have to do.

(Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" can be heard Saturday nights on public radio stations across the country.)

(c) 2006 by Garrison Keillor. All rights reserved.

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China Bans 'Code' After Warning From Catholics
 
I know a lot of Roman Catholics who must find this terribly embarrassing:

BEIJING, June 9 — Chinese authorities ordered theaters nationwide to stop showing "The Da Vinci Code" today after Chinese Catholics warned that the film could threaten social stability.


Great: Communist China agrees with the Catholics about censoring something.

I have no intention of seeing the thing: the movie is supposed to suck, and I had a low opinion of it before that. But what total stupidity.

UPDATE: An online friend has told me the following about the above:

"As to its being embarrassing to Catholics, you do know there is an official Chinese "Catholic" church, which they cite whenever it's convenient, and which has nothing to do with the Roman Catholic church which real Chinese Catholics belong to.

Genuine Catholics in China, BTW, are exceedingly careful not to agitate about anything as long as they're allowed to practice their religion in peace. The persecutions of the past are still too fresh in their minds for them to protest anything unless it's vital. I suspect the official "Catholics" are the ones being referred to." - D.M.


No, actually, I did not know that, and, if accurate, completely changes the statement I made above.

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Ann Coulter - Republican Spokesperson
 
This is a point that everyone should be making about the nutjob.

There are lots of nuts on the left side of the political spectrum. However, they are babbling on streetcorners where they belong.

The right, on the other hand, takes its lunatics, they turn the lunatics into pundits and they make the lunatics wealthy.

As long as they keep buying her book, and placing her on talk shows, she represents them, and that IS the face of the Republican Party.


Rahm Emmanuel (D-Illinois) to the Republicans:

Emmanuel: "Mr. Speaker, as United States citizens, we are blessed with many freedoms, among those is the right to freely speak our minds. While Freedom of Speech is one of the things that makes our country great, it also means we have to endure the words of a hatemonger like Ann Coulter. In her new book, the goddess of the Right slanders the 9/11 widows, writing, and I quote, "these broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by griefarazzies. I have never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much." Lest Mrs—Lest Ms. Coulter forget, more than 3,000 Americans were killed simply because they lived in the United States.

"That doesn't matter to Ms. Coulter because she's doing it to enrich herself. But there is something more sinister in Ms. Coulter's words: The hate she spews is the same kind of hatred we're battling in the war on terror. As a country of thought and reason, I urge all of us to reject it. I must ask my colleagues on the other side of the aisle: Does Ann Coulter speak for you when she suggests poisoning [..] Supreme Court Justices or slanders the 9/11 windows—widows? If not, speak now. Your silence allows her to be your spokesman."


Crooks and Liars has the video.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006


 
I DO find it savagely amusing when some right-winger says something along the lines of "If they let gay people marry, more people will become gay." And it amazes me that people who say stuff like that don't realize that they just told us more about themselves than we wanted to know.

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“51 percent of Americans disapprove of gay marriage, but 70 percent disapprove of the president, so gay marriage is actually more popular than Bush." - Jay Leno

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Zarqawi reported dead.
 
Couldn't happen to a nicer son of a bitch. I doubt it will make much difference in Iraq, though.

UPDATE: The Generals appear to agree:

U.S. Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, told reporters there the development would not end the insurgency and an official in Washington, who requested anonymity while details of al-Zarqawi's death were still unfolding, said it should not cause anyone to have unrealistic expectations.

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Great point.
 

Jon Stewart (sadly, the best commentator in America is actually a comedian) beat Bill Bennett soundly about the head and shoulders when Bennet tried to attack gays. Stewart's first point is one that I've made any number of times, and I wish others would point it out. But his last sentence is new, and perfect. Crooks and Liars has the video. Below is a rough transcript.


Stewart: So why not encourage gay people to join in in that family arrangement if that is what provides stability to a society?

Bennett: Well I think if gay..gay people are already members of families...

Stewart: What? (almost spitting out his drink)

Bennett: They're sons and they're daughters..

Stewart: So that's where the buck stops, that's the gay ceiling.

Bennett: Look, it's a debate about whether you think marriage is between a man and a women.

Stewart: I disagree, I think it's a debate about whether you think gay people are part of the human condition or just a random fetish.


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A rush to coherence
 
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The lawyer for a Navy corpsman held with seven Marines over the death of an Iraqi civilian criticized military detention tactics on Tuesday and what he called a "rush to justice" by U.S. politicians.

"There's been this rush to justice. It just is not right," he [Jeremiah Sullivan] said.


No, guy, a rush to judgment is not right. You should rush to justice.

A lawyer said that.

"Rush to justice." Sheesh.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Goobers on Parade
 
There is a fine rant over at Empire Burlesque. Read the whole thing.

Can I just say, as a Southerner, from a long line of Southerners going back to the 17th century, that these people are a bunch of ignorant goobers? Back in my youth, growing up in the most conservative, traditional, church-going, Bible-believing, flag-waving, rural Heartland community imaginable, these people would have been considered freaks on the fringe, best kept under the slimy rocks they occasionally crawled out from under.

Now they are enthroned on high, in Texas, in Washington, in the White House, in the greasy-money media empires that belch their filth and their perversions of faith over the airwaves and in print in a relentless, unending stream. These people aren't Christians – imagine using the Bible, with its constant refrain of taking in the stranger, caring for the alien, the commonality of the human predictment (rain falling on the just and unjust alike) as a cudgel to beat immigrants! No, they aren't Christians, they are primitive nationalists, proto-fascists who despise democracy and human freedom, preening in self-regard, imbuing their own willfully ignorant, lovingly cultivated prejudices and fears (and their squirmy, creepy sexual obsessions) with divine sanction. They are blind guides, whited sepulchres, exalters of the self, haters of women and traitors to the God they profess to worship
.

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I refuse to mention that today is 6-6-6.

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Monday, June 05, 2006

Action Alert
 
John Aravosis is pissed that the Marriage Amendment and is doing something about it.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Paging Mr. Orwell
 
Bill O'Reilly made a damned fool out of himself yesterday by saying this, in a pathetic attempt to excuse the atrocities at Haditha (video of Keith Olbermann ripping O'Reilly a new one) :

Bill O'Reilly: But I, in, in Mal-, in, in Malmedy, as you know, US forces captured SS forces who had their hands in the air, and they were unarmed, and they shot them down. You know that. That's on the record, been documented. In Iwo Jima, the same thing occurred. Japanese attempted to surrender, and they were burned in their caves.


No, O'Reilly, you buffoon, it was the other way around. SS forces massacred US forces. The Nazis committed the crimes at Malmedy, not the Americans, and it's BIZARRE that someone would make that mistake.

But what's equally bizarre is that Fox News scrubbed the transcript, and changed "Malmedy" to "Normandy":

O'REILLY: And in Normandy, as you know, U.S. forces captured S.S. forces, who had their hands in the air. And they were unarmed. And they shot them down. You know that. That's on the record. Been documented.


Down the Memory Hole.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Even the Post
 


With the latest move of slashing terrorism funding for New York, the Bushites have even lost the rabidly right-wing New York Post, who have been their ass-licking sycophants for 6 years.

How extreme is it? Check out the article:
D.C.'S STUPID SCROOGES SLASH NYC TERROR AID AND SPLURGE ON THE STICKS

June 1, 2006 -- WASHINGTON - Less than five years after the murder of 2,749 people in the Twin Towers on 9/11, the feds yesterday shockingly slashed anti-terror funds needed to protect New York City against future attacks.

The Homeland Security Department announced it was hacking funds distributed to the city by 40 percent compared with last year, while pouring hundreds of millions into unlikely terror targets like Kentucky and Wyoming.

The shocking stinginess from Washington comes just one week after a Pakistani national was convicted of a plot to blow up the Herald Square subway station.

New York City will get its vital anti-terror funding chain-sawed from $208 million this year to $124 million next year - even though security experts agree it is vastly more threatened than any other city in the country.

The unexpected move set New York lawmakers in both parties fuming - especially since Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, a native of the region, vowed to dole out money based on risk.

Two cities in Chertoff's home state, New Jersey, made out like bandits - Jersey City and Newark will receive a total of $34.3 million, a 79 percent increase from the previous year.

"As far as I'm concerned, the Department of Homeland Security and the administration have declared war on New York," said Rep. Peter King (R-L.I.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

"It's a knife in the back to New York and I'm going to do everything I can to make them very sorry they made this decision."


King said he would launch "rigorous investigations" of the Homeland Security Department - including a $21 million DHS contract with a Virginia limousine service accused of arranging hotel trysts between lawmakers and prostitutes.

"They have cut $80 million in funding to New York City," King said. "Meanwhile, they gave a $21 million limousine contract to the company that was driving pimps and prostitutes around."

Sen. Charles Schumer had a more personal message for President Bush.

"I don't think the president should come back to New York and stand in solidarity with us without changing this formula," said Schumer (D-N.Y.).

"This is unfair. This is wrong. This is an outrage. This is basically abandoning New York."


Poor George. He's ugly and he's stupid and nobody likes him.

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The Tyranny of Balance
 
One of the problems with the modern news media is that they simply don't believe that facts exist. They think EVERYthing is a political debate between two sides. So if they have a holocaust survivor on a show, they feel the need to have a holocaust denier on, too, for "balance." As though the two had equal validity.

Al Gore has figured that out. From CBS Early Show:


GORE: And the debate among the scientists is over, there is no more debate. We face a planetary emergency, and the phrase sounds shrill, but it is an accurate description of the climate crisis that we have to confront and solve.

SMITH: But if I look at more elements, the more conservative elements of the press, I would say there is a debate going on because, you know, they say that you’re just trying to create this kind of bogeyman to help slow down the economy and everything else. How do you respond to that?

GORE: Well, I guess in some quarters there’s still a debate over whether the moon landing was staged in a movie lot in Arizona or whether the earth is flat instead of round. And there may be some media reports that are constructed in a way that says, “On the one hand, on the other hand.” But really and truly, global warming is in that category – there is no more scientific debate among serious people who’ve looked at the evidence.


"I guess there's still some debate over whether the earth is flat, too."

Yep.

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Terrorism funding slashed
 
What the matter, scumbag? They didn't vote for you anyway?

Washington Post
- The Department of Homeland Security yesterday slashed anti-terrorism money for Washington and New York, part of an immediately controversial decision to reduce grant funds for major urban areas in the Northeast while providing more to mid-size cities from Jacksonville to Sacramento.


Words fail in attempting to describe the sheer mendacity and incompetence of these idiots. They spend TRILLIONS on fat contracts for cronies, and on every stupid piece of shit that crosses through their diseased brains - stuff that has nothing to do with terrorism -while cutting funds that ARE used to fight terrorism. And, no offense to Sacramento or Jacksonville, but I dounbt that they're all the high on the target list.

ITMFA.

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