You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man’s freedom. You can only be free if I am free

Michael O’Hare writes more eloquently then me about the extent of punishment for those that trade in inflammatory speech, Acts and traits, rights and duties

We need to stop shortchanging analysis of public figures by inferring traits from acts, and pay attention to the acts. In particular, we need to cut everyone some slack for blurting and careless speech. Atom-bomb sanctions for rudeness just make everyone afraid, because we know we’re only human and that we almost certainly can’t dissemble an angelic nature all the time. In a world where one careless utterance can ruin your life, the wise will just shut up, perhaps more quickly than the clueless, and that’s not good for anyone. Of course, Imus didn’t just blurt out something once; it’s a large part of his shtick. But his story is getting mixed up with cases that were slips and the kind of barely meaningful errors humans are prone to, especially when they’re tired, stressed, or scared.

It is not that Imus or plenty of others shouldn’t be called out and verbally hammered, but the extent of that punishment is a two edged sword. Inevitably your day will come, the day when something slips out from that otherwise temperate, maybe even angelic facade. You’ll be sorry the moment it leaves your lips or keyboard, but its too late then. I do disagree with O’Hare on one point. When the reaction got to the point where there was pressure on Imus not to apologize or make some sought of contrition, but to be fired that was censorship even if not the text book definition. Government censorship is the classic definition of same, but not the only kind or route that can be used to silence people. O’Hare then ends with a point that many, especially the mainstream media are missing that Imus and the seemingly endless number of right-wing shock pundits wouldn’t exist without a base of listeners and advertisers that are more then willing to give them a base of support.

By way of introduction to the next story Lee Iacocca writes, Excerpt: Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

Had Enough? Am I the only guy in this country who’s fed up with what’s happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We’ve got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we’ve got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can’t even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, “Stay the course.” Stay the course? You’ve got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I’ll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out! You might think I’m getting senile, that I’ve gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore. The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to war on a pack of lies.Congress responds to record deficits by passing a huge tax cut for the wealthy (thanks, but I don’t need it). The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we’re fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving pom-poms instead of asking hard questions. That’s not the promise of America my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for.

Clueless bozos? Sounds like inflammatory name calling or hitting the nail on the head. They are not clueless in the classic sense of not knowing what they’re doing. It is more a case of having an agenda that is predicated on treachery and sticking to it regardless of how it hurts America. They don’t listen to the voice of the people or respect the law, they listen to the little voices rattling around inside their little pointed heads, Bush Administration: Breakdown

Is this is a metaphor for something?

Congressional oversight committees and reporters covering the U.S. attorneys firing scandal waited with bated breath Thursday night for yet another huge document drop revealing more details in the Bush administration’s plan to fire eight U.S. attorneys.

They waited, and waited. But the documents weren’t delivered to the House and Senate Judiciary committees until this morning because — no joke — the Justice Department’s copy machine broke.

As if the broken copier weren’t enough, something even worse happened: the DOJ’s computer server went down this morning just as agency officials were trying to email around 2,000 pages worth of documents to Capitol Hill.

But wait, that’s not all! After the server went down, the car transporting hard copies of the documents to the Hill got a flat tire.

Or at least that’s the dog-ate-my-homework excuse the Justice Department provided to the committees, according to Judiciary committee aides who asked to remain anonymous.

No this is not an excerpt from a comedy skit from SNL, Bill Mahr or the Daily Show. This is the alternate universe of conservatives and how they govern. Conservative confidence in the Big Lie has served them somewhat well in terms of power, abet at the expense of morality and respect for our nation’s values. It does tend to weave a tangled web. After a while you forget how to properly time the lie and what to lie about and why. Then there is coordinating the lie with all the underlings White House Claims Bush Was In The Dark About Iraq Troop Extensions, Fueling Speculation

On Tuesday, President Bush addressed the American Legion and accused Congress of forcing U.S. troops to extend their deployments in Iraq:

The bottom line is this: Congress’s failure to fund our troops will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines.

The very next day, his own Pentagon announced that all U.S. Army soldiers in Iraq would have their 12-month tours in Iraq extended by 3 additional months.

What explains the strange timing? As Atrios noted, when the Pentagon announced its new policy on Wednesday, Defense Secretary Gates said he was angry that the news had been leaked to the press. That has sparked suspicion that the deployment extension was actually supposed to be announced after Bush had vetoed Congress’ Iraq legislation “so that he could try to claim it was their fault.” In that scenario, Bush’s remarks on Tuesday were just meant to prime the pump.

More here There’s a big job opening in Washington, but nobody seems to want it

Translation: The deputy press secretary is unaware of whether Bush was aware that a decision had been made by a key subordinate to extend the tours of soldiers in Iraq….But wait a minute, isn’t Bush supposed to be the Decider?

Record of Iraq War Lies to Air April 25 on PBS

Video shows Richard Perle claiming that Saddam Hussein worked with al Qaeda and that Iraqis would greet American occupiers as liberators. Here are the Weekly Standard, The Wall Street Journal, William Safire from The New York Times, Charles Krauthammer and Jim Hoagland from The Washington Post, all demanding an overthrow of Iraq’s government. George Will is seen saying that Hussein “has anthrax, he loves biological weapons, he has terrorist training camps, including 747s to practice on.”

But was that even plausible? Bob Simon of “60 Minutes” tells Moyers he wasn’t buying it. He says he saw the idea of a connection between Hussein and al Qaeda as an absurdity: “Saddam, as most tyrants, was a total control freak. He wanted total control of his regime. Total control of the country. And to introduce a wild card like al Qaeda in any sense was just something he would not do. So I just didn’t believe it for an instant.”

Knight Ridder Bureau Chief John Walcott didn’t buy it either. He assigned Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay to do the reporting and they found the Bush claims to be quite apparently false. For example, when the Iraqi National Congress (INC) fed The New York Times’s Judith Miller a story through an Iraqi defector claiming that Hussein had chemical and biological weapons labs under his house, Landay noticed that the source was a Kurd, making it very unlikely he would have learned such secrets. But Landay also noticed that it was absurd to imagine someone putting a biological weapons lab under his house.

“You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man’s freedom. You can only be free if I am free.” – Clarence Darrow

“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy