Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Clinton on Faux: How could Roger Ailes be so confused?

There's been so much whine coming from the direction of the "Fair & Balanced" network that you'd think they were based in Napa. "Boo hoo, Bill Clinton raised his voice! Waaaah, Bill Clinton looked at me angry! Mommy! Mommy! Mommmmyyyyyy!" Today, Fox even tried to portray Clinton's forceful response to their interviewer as an attack upon all of journalism. Why Ailes confused Fox News with journalism, I have no idea.

To hear them tell it, Clinton ripped off his shirt, turned lime green and feasted on poor Chris Wallace's intestines before relieving himself on the First Amendment. That's not exactly how it happened.

Meanwhile Keith Olberman has a different take on it:

Monday, September 25, 2006

Calling all spinners -- explain how Bush has "made us safer."

There are times when being right makes you the happiest person in the world, and then there are the times it makes you crap your pants. Guess which one of those times this is. I want every angry, slogan-spouting flag-waiver who's ever written in ordering me to "leave the President alone, he's making us safer" to take a second, put down your copy of the National Review (the one with the Sean Hannity centerfold), and write to me again. Write to me and explain why our intelligence agencies now say the Iraq occupation has increased the threat of terror.

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.

The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology.

The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.

More than a dozen United States government officials and outside experts were interviewed for this article, and all spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a classified intelligence document. The officials included employees of several government agencies, and both supporters and critics of the Bush administration. All of those interviewed had either seen the final version of the document or participated in the creation of earlier drafts. These officials discussed some of the document’s general conclusions but not details, which remain highly classified.

Officials with knowledge of the intelligence estimate said it avoided specific judgments about the likelihood that terrorists would once again strike on United States soil. The relationship between the Iraq war and terrorism, and the question of whether the United States is safer, have been subjects of persistent debate since the war began in 2003.

National Intelligence Estimates are the most authoritative documents that the intelligence community produces on a specific national security issue, and are approved by John D. Negroponte, director of national intelligence. Their conclusions are based on analysis of raw intelligence collected by all of the spy agencies.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Clinton Unloads on Faux News

As anyone who's seen a brilliant trailer and then gone to find out that the movie was total crap knows, it's easy to give a false impression with a few simple editing tricks. For the past couple days, the Drudge Report and other right-wing sites have been downright orgasmic over a 50-second clip that they claimed showed Clinton coming unhinged and being forced by Fox News to admit he failed to prevent 9-11. Watch a longer version of that interview, which has just a little bit more substance following the "I failed" part than the Fox promo would suggest.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Is the Boogeyman dead?

First the crocodiles are denied their chance to bring Steve Irwin to justice, and now this...

The information purporting the death of the world's most sought after terrorist is based on what the newspaper calls "a usually reliable source," stating that Saudi intelligence sources "are convinced" of bin Laden's death.

The French intelligence report goes on to say, still according to the French daily, that bin Laden died in Pakistan on August 23 after suffering "from a severe bout of typhoid fever," and a bacterial infection provoked a paralysis of his lower body.

The Saudi intelligence report states that bin Laden's geographic isolation "rendered all medical assistance impossible. Indeed, U.S. intelligence sources have long believed bin Laden was hiding in remote parts of Pakistan, close to the border with Afghanistan, areas where sophisticated medical help would be difficult to obtain.

The news of bin Laden's death reached the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Sept. 4. If confirmed, that, in part, might explain the complete absence of Osama bin Laden from making any appearances on the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon just outside Washington, DC.

The U.S. is skeptical, of course, as this wouldn't be the first time OBL has been reported to have gone to find his 72 virgins in the sky.

Friday, September 22, 2006

What a surprise...

This is all over the conservative blogosphere. Can someone explain to me how a person can actually be nonchalant - if not downright proud - of using divisive wedge issues to drum up support they otherwise wouldn't earn?

Staffers in the White House have been talking up the possibilities of an "October Surprise" or two leading into the mid-term elections. They say the President feels confident he can still play a role in the election, that he intends to campaign hard for Republicans, and that on the policy front, there are a couple of issues that can be used as wedges along the way.
-from the conservative mag, The American Spectator

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Islamists to Pope: Stop saying we're violent or we'll kill you.

So the Pope's been taking quite a bit of heat for quoting a Medieval text that described Mohammed as "inhuman" and evil (according to the Koran itself, he was a brutal warrior and assassin). The Pope didn't mention the brutality of the early Catholic Church. I guess he forgot about that. But what do we expect... he's the Pope. Neglecting to mention the Church's own brutal history is disappointing, but not exactly surprising.

Here's what bugs me more:

Is it just me, or are killings, fire-bombing of churches and wanton destruction a piss-poor way of responding to someone who quotes a statement about your religion being violent?

Now, the man who tried to kill the last Pope warns of a potential assassination should Pope Benedict visit Turkey. From London's Evening Standard:

Pope Benedict faces a growing chorus of demands to make an unequivocal apology for remarks seen as portraying Islam as a violent faith, despite attempts by Western leaders and churchmen to defuse the crisis.The calls came as it emerged papal hitman Mehmet Ali Agca, who is serving a life sentence for the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II in May 1981, has written to Pope Benedict XVI from jail, warning him not to go to Turkey as planned in November in the light of his remarks.

Agca, a Turk gave his ominous warning in a letter to an Italian daily newspaper. For many Muslims, the Pope's attempt to explain himself on Sunday did not go far enough and observers were waiting to see if he would speak about it again at his general audience at the Vatican.

The Pope enraged Muslims in a speech a week ago in Germany quoting 14th century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus, who said everything the Prophet Mohammad brought was evil "such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached".

The leader of the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics said on Sunday he was 'deeply sorry' for the reaction caused - but stopped short of apologising for his words or retracting them. In a telegram to the order of an Italian nun killed in Somalia who may be the crisis' first victim...
Read the rest...
Most Muslims in the world haven't responded to the Pope's predictably one-sided comments by being total whack-jobs (and some have denounced the violence) -- but as usual when it comes to organized religion, the few morons out there are doing everything they can to validate the negative stereotypes.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Democrats on Bush on Osama

The Democrats have created yet another simple, effective advertisement. I wonder how long it'll take them to apologize for it.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Fox News finally notices the Diebold voting machine scandal

Now that the Democratic Party seems poised to retake the House, Fox News gets concerned about the voting machines. Where were they in 2002 and 2004, when the polls were nearly dead-even and every single Diebold "error" miraculously ended up favoring the Republican Party?

...and, a 10 minute video summarizing the Princeton study (which is one of many studies & tests showing how our votes are being stolen):

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Reader mailbag - "But Lieberman IS 'moderate!' the Media says so!"

This is representative of the feedback to today's cartoon about Joe Lieberman and the mainstream media:

By candor do you mean your opinion?---no humor?

Most people do not want a time table to pull out of Iraq.The people who are against privitization of SS don't have an alternative solution.Most people don't want to raise taxes to supprt universal health care.I'm sure the people you surround yourself with don't think Lieberman is a moderate,but most Americans do,based on facts,not the"mass media".--Is your comic ever humorous?--it so one sided.

-Steve N.

...And my response...

1. As recently as last month, 57 percent of Americans supported a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

2. The people who are against privatization of Social Security DO have an alternative solution: it's called Social Security. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. A plurality of the country believed in 2005 that the system wasn't broken, and modest changes to the system, along the lines of the changes made in the '80s, would keep it solvent for generations.

3. Most people do want universal health care, even if it meant raising taxes.

In short, you're wrong on every count -- which leads me to believe that your assessment of the humor in Candorville is probably equally faulty. Thanks for taking the time to write!