“Ah, we did the best that we could, I’m dreadfully sorry.” And people like us live with your mistakes the rest of our lives

Judge Orders Police Department Files on Preconvention Surveillance Opened

The Times reported in March that the Police Department had conducted wide-ranging surveillance of political groups and activists who were planning to attend the convention. While a small number appeared to be bent on creating trouble, the authorities said that most of those who came apparently had no plans to break the law. The surveillance was necessary, police officials have said, to head off possible terrorism or violent protests.

[ ]…A sampling of those unfiltered reports reviewed by The Times shows that they include more detailed information about the groups and individuals that were watched and in some cases disclose how the undercover officers conducted the surveillance.

I think there is some merit to the argument this ain’t the sixties or seventies and that large protests might be a waste of energy. That is not to say that protesters are wrong in their ideals, only that the energy might be put to better use in other ways. Still the fact remains that people have a right to peaceful protest;

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

When you have agents of a city or federal government infiltrating organizations and compiling dossiers there is an intrusion on those rights by intimidation – just think Soviet Union and the KGB . Those whose personal information has been documented have not been arrested – as they haven’t done anything illegal yet the records compiled have become part of the the state’s criminal investigations. The authoritarians have thus pulled a kind of preemptive strike on civil liberties. That a few people might use protest as cover for criminal activity shouldn’t be used as an excuse to assume that everyone is guilty until they prove otherwise. Imagine if there were a power shift in American political thought and progressive Americans controlled the reins of government power and those progressives abused their government power to compile records on those people that hold the most extremists convoluted views of executive power such as John Yoo, Michael Ledeen or Bill Kristol. To keep these dangerous right-wing ideologues under surveillance in order that their unhinged ideas be kept in some kind of check. Wouldn’t that violate their rights to free speech and freedom to assemble and have something of an intimating effect on them as individuals and on neocons as a group. The neocons, unlike some rag tag protesters have a clear history of deeply detrimental effects on government policy, civil liberties and quality of life of the American people. At the very least while progressives would be wrong to compile such records using the strong arm of government,  they would have the probable cause to do so. Probable cause seems to to the the major factor missing in the N.Y. city surveillance and intelligence gathering. The major qualification for making their hot list seems to have simply been that you disagreed with Republican policy – that one finds Republican policies range from the illegal to the morally repugnant is a very patriotic point of view and hardly warrants being lumped in with the minority of people who might well be radical trouble makers. This is one of the defining characteristic of the current social and political climate, to spread the net of who is a genuine danger to society so far that it also includes people that dissent from radical right-wing policies.

Manufacturing Indifference: Searching for a New ‘Propaganda Model’

Of course, media outlets have an ideological orientation that usually conforms with the interests of their governments. Journalists who challenge it are often marginalized, ignored or fired. I have documented that in my books and film WMD about the deplorable media coverage of the Iraq war. I am not the only one to argue that there was complicity and collaboration between a servile press corps and the Bush Administration that we both cheerleading for war.

[ ]…Even more distressing is the tend towards the depoliticalization of politics through the merger of showbiz and newsbiz to assure that much of the media agenda is noisy and negative, stripped of all meaning: superficial, often celebrity-dominated with little in-depth explanatory or investigative journalism. They would rather market American Idol as the American Ideology. To them, the only “hegemony” in Canada is its beer and hockey.

The people who run our media are, after all, in the end, promoting a culture of consumption, not of engaged citizenship. They want eyeballs for advertisers, not activists to promote change. The sound-bytes presented as substance are there for entertainment, not illumination. It’s heat, not light, all the way

So truth be told, the real propaganda in an era where with more pundits than journalists, is less real coverage. It is pervasive and invisible at the same time-omission more than commission. They want to dumb us down, not smarten us up. They foster passivity, skepticism and resignation. Forget beliefs of any kind-just buy, buy, buy. Why even use deception when distraction works just as well?

This has been true for as long as I can remember. The media or the broadcast media in particular is far more concerned with selling cars then informing people. If you inform people they might get angry, if they get angry they might not watch your commercials or buy your advertisers products. For five or more hours a week CNN has made the conscience decision to have Glenn Beck misinform people. We could have those same hours filled with genuine thoughtful experts on Constitutional law, national security or economics talk about Bush’s signing statements, or warrantless domestic data mining, or tax cuts and the effect on the middle-class . No instead we get a grown man show how much ideological drivel he can spew in one hour – well 35 minutes plus 25 minutes of commercials. Should we even mention Fox where the droll runs in rivers or CBS where they have been so intimidated by years of right-wing hostility that you will literally get more news from ten minutes of John Stewart then CBS’s entire two hour morning news show.

Kevin Doneghy: You guys… you guys are all the same! The doctors at the hospital, you… it’s always what I’m going to do for you. And then you screw up, and it’s, “Ah, we did the best that we could, I’m dreadfully sorry.” And people like us live with your mistakes the rest of our lives.

from the movie The Verdict (1982)

The key to change… is to let go of fear

Talks, but No Breakthrough, on Iraq War Spending Measure

Democrats said the White House chief of staff, Joshua B. Bolten, rejected their offer to eliminate non-Pentagon spending and give President Bush the authority to waive a timeline for withdrawal of troops from Iraq in return for their approval of about $95 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through Sept. 30.

Grading on a scale Democrats deserve credit for their overall performance, but Iraq is here to stay. One of the reasons might be that they are after all not immune to the kind of school yard level logic and insults that saturates Washington. Iraq is a failed state even if some professional political scientists are hedging their reputations by saying that Iraq is merely on the verge of being a failed state, British study says Iraq near ‘failed state’ status

A report released Thursday by Chatham House, a British think tank, challenged the notion that violence in Iraq has subsided since the buildup of U.S. troops — saying, for instance, that car bombings had not diminished and arguing that radical groups were simply laying low.

“It can be argued that Iraq is on the verge of being a failed state which faces the distinct possibility of collapse and fragmentation,” the report said.

U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker replied to this report by invoking a partial Friedman crying that just around the corner benchmarks were imminent ” constitutional reforms, the sharing of oil revenue and allowing former members of Saddam Hussein’s Baath political party to get government and other public jobs.” These political-economic concerns were raised years ago. If they are the metrics by which the Bushies are measuring progress now then what exactly have the grand visionaries of Iraq policy been looking at the last four plus years. The only people that are capable of sorting those things out are the Iraqis themselves, shoving it down their throats hasn’t worked so far. Mcjoan posting at Daily Kos sights this report from a Democratic leadership aide and states as clearly as I have read anywhere what Democratic goals should be in dealing with the Whitehouse, Dems, Don’t Cave on Iraq

There’s another option, one that we know now is supported by a majority (albeit slim) of Democrats in the House and Senate. Give the President his money now for the remainder of FY 2007, or for the next 9 months. Without benchmarks, without goals, waivable or otherwise. And, when offering this legislation, advise the President that this money should be used to plan the redeployment of troops out of Iraq, because after March 31, 2008 (in accordance with the Iraq Study Group) he won’t get any more money.

This means that Democrats don’t have to cater to Republicans, ninety-nine percent of whom are still acting like well trained Bush lap dogs. It also puts the responsibility for how things go in Iraq for the next 9 months on Bush and Republicans. Remember the famous quote from Colin Powell and Tom Friedman, The Pottery Barn Rule – “you break it, you own it.” Well the neocons and America own Iraq for the foreseeable future – is Iraq a good example of Republican management style – if Iraq were a corporate endeavor should the Board of Directors – or  in this case the Congress, let the CEO continue to run the company into the ground. In the time that we’ve been in Iraq added to Bush’s non-existent timetable we’ll have almost a generation of Americans that have reached adulthood barely remembering a time when America wasn’t spending around 8 billion dollars a month to maintain a presence in a country that can barely keep the electricity going for air-conditioning much less follow us to our shores and attack us. It is a little discouraging that while America voted for a redeployment in the last election that they have not shown more outrage. Iraq isn’t the only thing on the agenda, but it seemed awfully important to the electorate just a few months ago or have Democrats forgotten that. Democrats don’t have to fight dirty or make more speeches they just need to take a clear united stand unless they want President Democrat in 2008 holding the bag. Those Dems that are playing it safe, playing politician instead of statesman might want to remember in 2008 Iraq becomes the Democrats quagmire and who they gonna blame then.

Doolittle Elaborates on Conspiracy Theory

But it wasn’t Republicans trying to do the rehabilitating, Doolittle said. It was embedded Democratic staffers in the Justice Department who were responsible because of the party’s “Republican culture of corruption” campaign.

The FBI recently raided Doolittle’s home as part of a corruption investigation. Doo-man might want to seat down with his freshman English prof and study the construction and logic of what he said, Doolittle Blames Corruption Probe On Partisan Democrats At Bush Justice Department

Doolittle apparently didn’t explain why partisan Democrats would be interested in “rehabilitating” Alberto Gonzales’ image, or how these liberal Bush officials managed to convince FBI agents to seek a warrant for the raid and then convince a judge to approve the warrant. We’re sure there’s a perfectly good explanation.

As Calitics asked, are there any Democrats at the DOJ. If so they give a whole new meaning to the term low profile. And how did they escape the Alberto Apperatchik Purge.

In this old post by Glenn Greenwald at Unclaimed Territory, Peggy Noonan’s poetic love of dissent, civility and grace – Glenn posted an inadvertently hilarious passage from a Noonan column,

This–listening to the other person with respect and forbearance, and with an acceptance of human diversity–is the price we pay for living in a great democracy.

and this one,

What is most missing from the left in America is an element of grace–of civic grace, democratic grace, the kind that assumes disagreements are part of the fabric, but we can make the fabric hold together.

Today we have a very civil exchange between two pure as the driven sludge Republicans, McCain, Cornyn Engage in Heated Exchange

Things got really heated when Cornyn accused McCain of being too busy campaigning for president to take part in the negotiations, which have gone on for months behind closed doors. “Wait a second here,” Cornyn said to McCain. “I’ve been sitting in here for all of these negotiations and you just parachute in here on the last day. You’re out of line.”

McCain, a former Navy pilot, then used language more accustomed to sailors (not to mention the current vice president, who made news a few years back after a verbal encounter with Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont).

“[Expletive] you! I know more about this than anyone else in the room,”

Bush Love or a nice excerpt from a recent Krugman column called Don’t Blame Bush

I’ve been looking at the race for the Republican presidential nomination, and I’ve come to a disturbing conclusion: maybe we’ve all been too hard on President Bush.

No, I haven’t lost my mind. Mr. Bush has degraded our government and undermined the rule of law; he has led us into strategic disaster and moral squalor.

But the leading contenders for the Republican nomination have given us little reason to believe they would behave differently. Why should they? The principles Mr. Bush has betrayed are principles today’s G.O.P., dominated by movement conservatives, no longer honors. In fact, rank-and-file Republicans continue to approve strongly of Mr. Bush’s policies — and the more un-American the policy, the more they support it.

[…]

There was a telling moment during the second Republican presidential debate, when Brit Hume of Fox News confronted the contenders with a hypothetical “24”-style situation in which torturing suspects is the only way to stop a terrorist attack.

Bear in mind that such situations basically never happen in real life, that the U.S. military has asked the producers of “24” to cut down on the torture scenes. Last week Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, circulated an open letter to our forces warning that using torture or “other expedient methods to obtain information” is both wrong and ineffective, and that it is important to keep the “moral high ground.”

But aside from John McCain, who to his credit echoed Gen. Petraeus (and was met with stony silence), the candidates spoke enthusiastically in favor of torture and against the rule of law. Rudy Giuliani endorsed waterboarding. Mitt Romney declared that he wants accused terrorists at Guantánamo, “where they don’t get the access to lawyers they get when they’re on our soil … My view is, we ought to double Guantánamo.” His remarks were greeted with wild applause.

Whenever you hear a Republican saying anything that is remotely critical of Dubya just ignore it. It means next to nothing. They all drink the same kool-aid and pull the levers they’re trained to pull. They are all part of the movement of ideological purity and no genuine deviation from the party generals will be tolerated. They like torture whether it is effective or not, or whether it actually endangers our troops doesn’t matter. They think habeas corpus is for loyal party members like Scooter Libbey not for everyone else. And they abhor thinking, thus the giant sweeping we must kill and destroy “them” mentality. If them includes one actual terrorists and a hundred innocent people then so be it, you have to have that kind of heartlessness to win against the great enemy “them”.

“The key to change… is to let go of fear.” – Rosanne Cash

“He turned now with a lover’s thirst to images of tranquil skies, fresh meadows, cool brooks,—an existence of soft and eternal peace.” (Ch. 24, p. 149.)
from The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

People say satire is dead. It’s not dead; it’s alive and living in the White House

Media Matters notes that as of the date and time of their post Thu, May 17, 2007 3:53pm EST ABC, CBS still have not reported on Comey’s revelation of wiretapping “hospital drama”. While television as the major source of news has declined that two major networks ignored this story on their nightly news casts is remarkable for its betrayal of the public interest. ABC is carrying this story on their web site, Mounting Pressure: Fifth GOP Senator Calls For Gonzales to Resign; Dems Call For No-Confidence Vote

Gonzales and Card stormed into Ashcroft’s sick room in the intensive care unit at George Washington University Hospital. Ashcroft refused to go along with them, saying Comey was the acting attorney general. The move infuriated Comey.

“I was angry,” Comey said. “I thought I had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man who did not have the powers of the attorney general.”

And CBS has a similar article on their site, Dems Seek No-Confidence Vote On Gonzales

Asked twice during a news conference Thursday if he personally ordered Gonzales and then-White House chief of staff Andrew Card to Ashcroft’s hospital room, Mr. Bush refused to answer.

The story has so many dimensions: once the DOJ got around to a genuine legal analysis of at least one spying program even Ashcroft couldn’t find a legal justification for it, Alberto Gonzales, Bush’s lapdog speeds through traffic to snatch the rule of law from the jaws of justice ( the acting attorney general) to plead to the sick AG to please give them a note excusing them from having anything resembling a conscience regardless of the law. So for these two major news organs to not feel that an audience that can number in the tens of millions of viewers deserve to see this story is astounding. Since they have fairly well written accounts of events on their respective web sites it is not like they haven’t been able to get a handle on the story.

One endnote short of a diagnosis? Bay Buchanan suggests possible psych disorder in Sen. Clinton, but purported support missing . Bay Buchanan’s best qualities are her shrillness and completely irrelevant contributions to modern political thought. Still there are probably two or three people in America that love to read stuff that is a dash of Arrow Cross Party fascism and a sprinkling of Orwellian Big Brother. If you want to read what she actually wrote click on the link. This is my version:

As I studied Bush from his early years through his days as The Decider, it became more and more evident that extreme insecurity is a dominant personality trait. Not being a medical professional, I decided to look more deeply into the condition. After days of research, I was led to a fascinating field of study involving narcissistic personality style. The symptoms of the related disorder were intriguing. I have included them in an endnote. [cite 74] I pass no judgment as to whether this shoe fits the frat boy, serial business failure and alcoholic George W. Bush.

Deep insecurity and its related symptoms, in and of itself, in no way precludes George from consideration as competent to lead America forward or to try to obtain some kind of success in this life without being propped up by his families power and money. It is not the insecurity that is the problem. For example, John Adams had difficulty with this condition and others and surely proved himself to be a remarkable leader. [cite 75]

So, you might ask, why raise it in the case of George? Because he has allowed a chronic lack of confidence and self-esteem – his arrogance is simply a mask, to define him — rather than rise above the challenge, George has been consumed by it. One simply cannot study George without understanding how debilitating this trait has been to his development as a human being. That being said, it is no excuse for his behavior, rather it is an explanation.

Whether it is a pathology that makes George do what he does or just good ol’ God-given free will, matters little. What is important, however, is how his pattern of behavior offers a window to his heart or lack thereof. That is what should be on the minds of Americans as George has 18 months left to make even more disastrous decisions that will have a profound and deleterious effect on America and the world. I’m not calling for his impeachment or calling him utterly insane, those are simply decisions for the American public to make. [Pages 42-43]

Buchanan is a senior adviser for Conservative presidential candidate Rep. Tom Tancredo (CO) and a frequent contributor on the liberal? media.

The Anonymous Liberal has done some research into what is known so far about the possible involvement of the FBI in domestic spying and FBI Director Mueller seemed to have been in the Comey camp as far as pushing back against administration zeal on domestic warrantless spying, Robert Mueller’s Role in the NSA Controversy

The surviving program, which was eventually reauthorized by Comey, likely included new controls designed to prevent the use, whether inadvertent or otherwise, of information obtained via warrantless surveillance in a court of law. While this move likely reduced the risk of abuse by giving government officials some incentive to seek FISA warrants instead of simply bypassing the court (because only evidence obtained by FISA warrant would be admissible), it also had the somewhat perverse (and perhaps intended) effect of reducing the odds that any court would ever have the opportunity to rule on the legality of the program. As the official quoted in the article says, the self-imposed prohibition against using this evidence in court is essentially a concession that the surveillance itself is illegal.

At any rate, while Mueller certainly could have done more, it appears that his conduct throughout this affair was relatively admirable. Like Comey and Goldsmith, he pushed back in the ways that he could. History will likely judge him more kindly than most high-ranking Bush administration officials.

This blind vehemence by the Bushies to spin the wheels of executive power and jeopardize the prosecution of actual wrong doing when and if discovered lends yet more weight to the argument that many liberals have been making for years – that BushCo and by proxy their supporters are dreadful at national security.

“Satire is a sort of glass, wherein beholders do generally discover everybody’s face but their own.” – Jonathan Swift

“People say satire is dead. It’s not dead; it’s alive and living in the White House.” – Robin Williams

Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of man will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint

Bushies Behaving Badly – A guide to GOP scandals
Paul Wolfowitz, Federallly appointed officials in the Department of Education With Corporate Ties, Bushies in the Election Assistance Commission With Fraud, Media hacks putting out fake news for the Conservative cause, Karl Rove plus e-mail plus blister from pushing delete, Lester Crawford in the Food and Drug Administration, Bushies in NASA getting creative with science, Eavesdroppers at the National Security Agency With the Wiretaps, Alberto Gonzales in the Justice Department With the Pink Slips, Rick Renzi in Congress With the Land Deal. Some old some new and some that are still being investigated and because their are so many investigations and the Whitehouse feels that it does not have to supply documents such as e-mails or answer supeonas from Congress ( no surprise that a president that doesn’t believe that we live in a democracy with three co-equal branches of government thinks he and his staff are above the law).

Alberto Gonzales browbeats the critically ill.

Next day, crisis averted. Comey and Mueller each met one-on-one with the president and persuaded him to “do the right thing, and put the program on a footing that we could certify its legality,” Comey says. We don’t learn exactly how long the program went on operating illegally while the Justice Department made its fixes, but it was around three weeks. We really know only that the president was quite willing to forge ahead with an illegal program.

[ ]…But Comey gets one more chance to launch his main zinger: “They went ahead and reauthorized the program without my signature.” And that’s about all he needs to say. The White House went ahead and reauthorized a controversial, presidential-power-grabbing program deemed illegal by the Justice Department, after trying to extract permission from a critically sick John Ashcroft who didn’t quite know what day it was.

I’m not sure after reading the facts how Hindrocket at the right-wing Powerline blog can justify stating this, May 15, 2007- Making Sense of Comey – Posted by John at 09:37 PM

Senator Schumer made a prolonged attempt to get Comey to say that it was illegal for the administration to continue, briefly, the NSA program without DOJ certification of legality. Democrats and others on the left will undoubtedly claim that they now have proof of the program’s “illegality.” But Comey refused to go along with this theory. He pointed out that DOJ certification was not a legal requirement. Rather, the DOJ process was part of the procedure that President Bush established by executive order. Thus, it was perfectly legal for the program to continue in the brief absence of DOJ certification, pursuant to the order of that same executive. (brief absense)

What was established by executive order is irrelevant if it violated FISA law. The important part here and really a bit of a red-herring is Hindrocket’s assertion that hey they only maybe violated the law for a few weeks. Its the same as saying you only robbed banks for a few days what the big deal – everyone knows that if you want to rob banks you have to go to college first and be like Jeb or Neil Bush. Then there are the dramatic aspects of the situation which many people are pointing to. The Whitehouse, which would have included Gonzales at the time asked Comey to certify the program as legal, that is when Comey said no and Gonzales made a mad dash to Ashcroft’s sick bed. Powerline doesn’t see that as at all unusual. If that is the case some Bush dead enders really are from another planet.

No Dissent on Spying, Says Justice Dept

The Justice Department said yesterday that it will not retract a sworn statement in 2006 by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales that the Terrorist Surveillance Program had aroused no controversy inside the Bush administration, despite congressional testimony Tuesday that senior departmental officials nearly resigned in 2004 to protest such a program.

The department’s affirmation of Gonzales’s remarks raised fresh questions about the nature of the classified dispute, which former U.S. officials say led then-Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey and as many as eight colleagues to discuss resigning.

Testifying Tuesday on Capitol Hill, Comey declined to describe the program. He said it “was renewed on a regular basis” and required the attorney general’s signature.

He said a review by the Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel in spring 2004 had concluded the program was not legal.

Comey said he and the others were prepared to resign when the White House renewed the program after failing to get a certification of its legality — first from him and later from then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, while Ashcroft was ill and heavily sedated at George Washington University Hospital.

Gonzales, testifying for the first time in February 2006 about the Terrorist Surveillance Program, which involved eavesdropping on phone calls between the United States and places overseas, told two congressional committees that the program had not provoked serious disagreement involving Comey or others.

“None of the reservations dealt with the program that we are talking about today,” Gonzales said then.

As many others have noticed Gonzales through his original testimony kept saying “this program” which raises the question of exactly how many programs are there that involve domestic spying – Why were FBI director Mueller and the FBI so involved in Comey’s decision

Update: Did Gonzales lie under oath, when he said Comey did not object to the NSA domestic spying program whose existence the president confirmed? Or was he in fact suggesting that Comey’s problem was with a second covert warrantless domestic spying program, one perhaps run by the FBI, such as I outline above?

The major problem with getting to the bottom of who knew what and when in every scandal related to the Whitehouse is the singular lack of integrity and forthcoming when it comes to who knew what, what was their legal justification for what they did and why does so much of the documentation that Congress requests seem to disappear or fall under the huge catch-all of executive privledge. Gonzales used to work for the Whitehouse and his while his physical place of employment has changed he still works for the Whitehouse and the Republican National Committee too, Justice Weighed Firing 1 in 4

The Justice Department considered dismissing many more U.S. attorneys than officials have previously acknowledged, with at least 26 prosecutors suggested for termination between February 2005 and December 2006, according to sources familiar with documents withheld from the public.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales testified last week that the effort was limited to eight U.S. attorneys fired since last June, and other administration officials have said that only a few others were suggested for removal.

In fact, D. Kyle Sampson, then Gonzales’s chief of staff, considered more than two dozen U.S. attorneys for termination, according to lists compiled by him and his colleagues, the sources said.

“Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of man will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice without constraint.” – Alexander Hamilton

I got a disinterested witness here, my neighbor and best friend Barney Rubble

Maybe Ted Stevens sees not just the internets, but the entire world as tubes. A future utopia of tubes to nowhere. Well not exactly nowhere and not exactly tubes but bridges to property that is owned by the Senator’s Alaskan mafia, Another Bridge, Another Part of Nowhere

If the area is successfully developed, that could mean a significant windfall for a number of people close to the Congressional delegation — including Young’s daughter, Joni, Stevens’ chief of staff and campaign manager and Murkowski’s state director — some of whom purchased land in the area just a few months before then-Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Young began substantive work on a massive highway bill in early 2003.

[ ]…Former Stevens aide Lisa Sutherland also stands to see significant financial gain from the development of Knik Arm. Sutherland, a close confidante of Stevens, worked for the lawmaker from 1977 until this March in a variety of capacities, including deputy staff director on the Appropriations Committee and then staff director on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Sutherland left the Senate payroll in March to work full time on Stevens’ re-election campaign.

Senator Ted the Don and good fellas of the Alaska bridge rackets. Another fine example of Republican free market philosophy at work.

There is a way to make the media parrot the Conservative narrative on Iraq. Don’t supply any statistics on civilian casualties or any deaths they were a result of bombs – if you died by bomb it doesn’t count everyone knows that so the the liberal media should not be given those numbers. By reporting the deaths of your father, sister, or brother the media is losing the wonderful little optional war that had nothing to do with 9-11, but will through the use of positive thinking and comparisons to WW II stop all jihadist’s terrorism forever, amen. Saving Our Beautiful Minds

Voter-Fraud Complaints by GOP Drove Dismissals

Nearly half the U.S. attorneys slated for removal by the administration last year were targets of Republican complaints that they were lax on voter fraud, including efforts by presidential adviser Karl Rove to encourage more prosecutions of election- law violations, according to new documents and interviews.

Of the 12 U.S. attorneys known to have been dismissed or considered for removal last year, five were identified by Rove or other administration officials as working in districts that were trouble spots for voter fraud — Kansas City, Mo.; Milwaukee; New Mexico; Nevada; and Washington state. Four of the five prosecutors in those districts were dismissed.

It has been clear for months that the administration’s eagerness to launch voter-fraud prosecutions played a role in some of the firings, but recent testimony, documents and interviews show the issue was more central than previously known. The new details include the names of additional prosecutors who were targeted and other districts that were of concern, as well as previously unknown information about the White House’s role.

Gonzales, a another good fella for the cause said, “[T]his notion that somehow voter fraud is a dirty word, I don’t understand it, because you’re talking about people stealing votes, canceling out legitimate votes,” – It just happened that the voter fraud that Al was so concerned about was in battleground states and was alleged Democratic fraud, not Republican. The U.S. Attorney Scandal, in a Nutshell (Upshot — It’s Actually A “Voter Fraud” Scandal)

1. There is little, if any, reliable evidence of any serious problem of voter fraud in the United States.

2. After the 2000 election, if not before, Karl Rove and other Republican operatives decided that Republican political prospects would be immeasurably improved if they would only repeat, as often as possible, the unsupported claim that voter fraud is rampant, and take substantial steps to stem such nonexistent voter “fraud” — all in an attempt to suppress Democratic votes.

4. Karl Rove and others went further: They decided to use the levers of federal governmental power — the prosecution power, in particular — to go after nonexistent voter fraud, and thereby to further suppress voter turn-out in closely contested elections, all in order to enhance Republican electoral prospects.

Marty Lederman has more at the link.Remember this, Karl Rove, White House adviser

I’m looking at all of these [races] and adding them up. I add up to a Republican Senate and Republican House. You may end up with a different math but you are entitled to your math and I’m entitled to the math. [10/24/06]

The first part of this is boiler plate nonsense about some Republicans pressuring Bush – the average waitress is under more pressure then The Decider. But the last part contains the observation that the Commander Guy might have abdicated his throne, Bush Shifts Iraq Burden Onto General

“Decisions about the posture in Iraq need to be based upon conditions on the ground,” Bush said recently. “And (there’s) no better person to report about the conditions on the ground than somebody who is there, and that would be General Petraeus.”

Bush will be president and commander in chief for another 20 months. But in effect, he has surrendered his self-bestowed title of The Decider.

As of last week, Petraeus has become The Decider. If the general reports in September that the surge is making progress — and if that claim can be seen as legitimate by the public — he could convince a reluctant Congress to fund military operations through one more budget cycle.

However, if Petraeus decides he cannot legitimately claim progress, including concrete steps by the Iraqi government to live up to its obligations, he will force a dramatic change of course that politically, the president will be helpless to prevent.

That’s a huge burden for an unelected official to bear. Petraeus is not only free to be frank with the American people in a way that military officers never are, he is now obliged to be so.

It is an extraordinary situation in American history. A weak president and paralyzed Congress have in essence defaulted their roles, dumping that responsibility on a four-star general.

It is no reflection on Petraeus to note that is a deeply troubling development.

BushCo may let this gaff hang out there. After all it does absolve them of something that they are especially allergic to, responsibility.

“Fred Flintstone: Look buster you’re at fault and I can prove it. I got a disinterested witness here, my neighbor and best friend Barney Rubble. Go ahead Barney, tell him just how it happened.” – “The Flintstones” (1960)

Arbitrary power is like most other things which are very hard, very liable to be broken

Public’s Grasp of Current Issues Unchanged Despite Internet, Cable TV

WASHINGTON, Apr 16 (IPS) – Despite the emergence of 24-hour cable television news and fast-growing use of internet news sources, the U.S. public’s knowledge of national and international personalities and issues is little changed from nearly 20 years ago, according to a new survey released by the Pew Research Centre for the People and the Press.

Indeed, the survey, which was conducted in early February, found that in some areas public knowledge may actually have declined somewhat.

[ ]…Those respondents with the least correct answers, on the other hand, were more likely to watch the right-wing Fox News cable channel, local television news, or the major television network morning news programmes.

The survey, which posed 23 core questions to measure knowledge of current events, found that correct answers correlated most strongly with education, income levels, voter registration, and gender. There was virtually no difference, on the other hand, between respondents who identified themselves as Republican, Democrats, or independents.

This doesn’t surprise , but it is still disappointing. One of the things that liberals who make comments on any kind of community forum might keep in mind that many of the right-wing participants who have a High School education and tend to watch Fox for their news are sometimes genuinely shocked that Ronald Reagan was probably America’s most corrupt and least honest president until Dubya came along. Sure some Republicans embrace the falsehoods and distortions and would rather crawl over broken glass and hot coals then admit that they are not just wrong on the particulars, but their political ideology is many things, but patriotic it is not. On the other hand according to this poll it isn’t all that difficult to live in a bubble. For many working class O’Reilly watches/Limbaugh listeners they would never consider for a moment that they were being fed a load of garbage

In case you’ve never heard of them Media Research Center to bills itself as media watchdogs constantly exposing the liberal bias of the media which no one there ever seems to be able to find. NBC, sited in this story is part of the media, aren’t they? The 2,369th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996, 6:55am EST, Tuesday March 6, 2007 (Vol. Twelve; No. 41), 1. NBC: Iraqis Want U.S. to Stay, Anti-War Effort Helping Insurgents

Visiting Iraq, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams learned from Army officers that Iraqis want U.S. forces to remain in their country, from NBC News Baghdad reporter Richard Engel that Al-Sadr’s insurgents have stepped down and are counting on pressure from anti-war opponents to provide them with victory, and from retired General and NBC News military analyst Wayne Downey that U.S. troops are proud of their mission.

I don’t see the liberal bias in this report. On the contrary it seems lacking in balance. Majority of Iraqi lawmakers call for timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops, lawmaker says

BAGHDAD – Radical Shiite politicians pressed Thursday for legislation demanding a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led troops and a freeze on the number of foreign forces already in the country – even as the U.S. Congress debates the fate of the troubled mission.

The proposed Iraqi legislation, drafted by the parliamentary bloc loyal to anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, was signed by 144 members of the 275-member house, according to parliamentary officials.

The Sadrist bloc, which holds 30 parliamentary seats and sees the U.S.-led forces as an occupying army, has pushed similar bills before, but this would be the first time it persuaded a majority of lawmakers to sign on.

The measure has not yet been introduced in parliament and was unlikely to be passed in its present form. But the signatures reflected growing disenchantment among the lawmakers over U.S. involvement in Iraq and the government’s failure to curb the violence in the country.

The NBC report that most of the troops take pride in their mission is suspect, but it is beside the point now and always has been. When the U.S. decides to invade a country we don’t go to military installations across the nation and get a show of hands of who wants to go to war and who doesn’t. The contrary should be true, that when the most audacious distortions have been made and the mission never did and never will serve the best security interests of the United States then we should no longer maintain that mission. Still if we’re going to site military support it behooves us to not rely on a few anecdotal snippets from Brian William’s report, Military Times Poll finds high morale, but less support for Bush, war effort

Approval of the president’s Iraq policy fell 9 percentage points from 2004; a bare majority, 54 percent, now say they view his performance on Iraq as favorable. Support for his overall performance fell 11 points, to 60 percent, among active-duty readers
of the Military Times newspapers. Though support both for President Bush and for the war in Iraq remains significantly higher than in the public as a whole, the drop is likely to add further fuel to the heated debate over Iraq policy.

Contrary to that quint old adage about soldiers hating war, most military personnel tend to rank war high on the options list for dealing with international problems. They are in the war business. They’re not war mongers as much as people that tend to regard combat highly as an option. So for many career military and especially the officer corps to have such a deem view of Bush and the Republican agenda in Iraq would tend to give credence to the opinion that NBC, at least in Media Research Center’s example has leaned Right in their reportage. Still a quick read of the right-wing blogs today will likely bring the inevitable almost copy and paste condemnation of the media for not reporting how great things are going in Iraq. Furthermore it is the media that is losing the war by exaggerating public discontent, which in turn makes the Iraqis who don’t want us in their country “saving” them encouraged to commit more violence. A rather nice circle of interdependent self serving logic where the Right will as usual never have to be held accountable for anything.

If I was to hunt for a recent example of the Beltway mentality in reporting, not just punditry I couldn’t have found a better example then this story from WaPo Bush’s Relations With Capitol Hill Chilly

The trouble for the White House is that increasingly, the mistrust may not be not limited to Democrats. As evidenced by a contentious Bush meeting last week with House moderates complaining about Iraq policy, Republican lawmakers are increasingly leery of a president whose war policies many believe are leading the party to ruin in the 2008 elections. The result is that the president finds himself in an uphill struggle not only to win a few domestic victories on his way out of the Oval Office but also to maintain necessary GOP support for continuing the war in Iraq.

Michael Abramowitz wrote the story. With all respect to Mike he is wrong in his general take on the current environment in Washington. Bush’s relations with Republicans are just fine. It doesn’t matter what Republicans say in these little meetings or in public statements afterwards, it is their votes that tell the story. With their votes Republicans support Bush 110% period. When the criticisms words turn into votes then Bush will have problems. The cynical side of it is that as of now and the foreseeable future because Republicans are all hot air and no action many of them can look forward to their retirement in 2008.

“Arbitrary power is like most other things which are very hard, very liable to be broken.” – Abigail Adams

He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her

Thomas Sowell wrote this opinion column a few days ago at National Review, Barack Obama, Control Freak, Fresh face, same old fallacies. The following are some snips from the article. Enough to give one an idea of his Sowell’s POV and his less then factual grasp of reality,

Senator Barack Obama recently said, “let’s allow our unions and their organizers to lift up this country’s middle class again.”

Ironically, he said it at a time when Detroit automakers have been laying off unionized workers by the tens of thousands, while Toyota has been hiring tens of thousands of non-union American automobile workers.

It is not that people don’t want automobiles. Toyota is selling plenty of cars made in its American factories with non-union labor.

Detroit is laying off workers because GM and Ford have been shown a remarkable ability not to adjust to market demands not because union workers are paid too much – though one could make the argument the continuing tie between workers/employers and health care is a factor – versus some kind of public health care. Mr Sowell, being an expert and all does know that unionized companies can and have negotiated for lower wages and benefits. Toyota is hiring workers because they make a higher quality product then Detroit and they don’t hire union workers because they have a policy against it. According to this NPR report from 2005 the reason that Detroit is losing market share and money is not because of union wages versus Toyota’s non-union wages, well because they are about the same, Toyota Powers Ahead at Kentucky Plant

The United Auto Workers have tried to crack the Toyota plant since before it opened. Last spring, they opened their own organizing office just down the road.

But Brown says that Toyota’s wages are so close to the union’s, she doesn’t see the advantage.

That workers like Brown aren’t interested in unions is no accident. Manufacturers like Toyota locate their plants in regions hungry for jobs with good salaries. It’s the result of a strategy foreign car companies have used for years to avoid unionization.

Gary Chaison, who teaches industrial relations at Clark University in Masachussetts, says Toyota and its peers also try to treat workers well, take their opinions into account and give them a stake in the plant’s success.

Despite the wages, some Toyota workers say they need a union. They complain the company drives them so hard that people get injured, and when they can’t work anymore, Toyota pays them off to leave

Leonard Habermehl is a skilled repairman and makes up to $85,000 per year. When he came to Toyota in 1990, he didn’t see why he needed a union. But after years of service in which he says he has seen people injured and forced out of their jobs, he now believes the plant should unionize.

It should also be pointed that union wages are a driving force behind Toyota’s wages. If union wages go up the wages at non-union plants at Toyota and Honda do also. If unions are the reason that American car companies are tanking then why are Japanese car and electronics companies which do have unions in Japan doing well. The disparity between American companies and Japanese companies cannot be simply because of the mere presence of unions.
Mr. Sowell is pushing the same tired hypocrisy that Republicans have been pushing for years that they honestly believe that salaries should be tied to productivity. Conservatives like Sowell only believe that when the productivity  has a blue collar. When it comes to executives it is a whole other story – Why Are American Executives Paid So Much?

CEOs and CFOs in the U.S. make 400 times what the average worker earns. In 1965, it was more like a factor of 20.

A commenter at MyDD left this snip from a report called Executive Excess 2006,

“In 2005, average total compensation for CEOs of 350 leading U.S. corporations was $11.6 million.” A CEO making $10 million/year makes as much money in a month as someone working at the minimum wage makes in her lifetime. There is no reasonable justification for one person to make as much money in a month as another earns in a lifetime. No matter how smart, beautiful, refined, charismatic, brave, clever, educated, experienced, or hard working, no human being deserves to receive a thousand times as much money as another.

While I wouldn’t have worded My objections to executive pay structure quite that way the point is well made. Executives and I have meet a few are not supermen. They are not blessed with any special gifts in the way of management skills, marketing, sales, quality control or any other kind of business skills or acumen that warrants that kind of pay disparity. I hate wage and price controls. What people like me want to rely on is a sense of ethics and moral responsibility by executives and their boards. To see their place not just as morally detached business people who only see the economy in quarterly profit reports, but as caretakers for hundreds and sometimes thousands of people and their jobs and families. These business pros and the corporate board members that are supposed to set reasonable standards for compensation – such as linking pay to performance ( and ethics too for that matter). Sowell and other conservatives say they worship the gods of pay for merit, but like so many of the other fine sound bites that slip so easily from conservative forked tongues, on close examination they always seem to fall short of the mark, unless being huge hypocrites was what they were aiming for. This is the PDF link to that executive pay report.

From a Republican blog called STR : THE FREEDOM BLOG, Athiest troublemakers not O.K. in OK, August 26th, 2006 | Category: Liberal Democ-Rats, Christian America, STR Action Alerts, Atheism

Can somebody tell me why Athiests have to be so disruptive? Why do they have to break all the rules cause so much harm? I know a minority of STR.com readers believe that we should “live and let live” with athiests, but the simple fact is that an Athiest is nothing more than an intellectual terrorist. Some terrorists attack America using bombs and guns. Athiests attack America with their evil words and ideas.

For the the parents of kids at Hardesty School, Texas County (Not far from my own dear Tuttle City), a local athiest family is becoming a serious threat. Please read on for an example of just how much damage an athiest can cause. I am sure after reading this article you will agree that something has to be done about the Athiest problem:

It all started when Nicole Smalkowski refused to say the Lords Prayer before a basketball match.

The United States of America is so fragile an institution that objecting to being coerced into prayer before a game of b-ball will surely mean the end of the Republic. There is nothing worse then those basketball prayer hating atheists is there?
Minister Arrested Charged With Cocaine Possession

Sandy-area pastor charged with 23 counts of fraud

Marin City pastor arrested in drug case in Novato

Church pastor charged with child rape

Prosecutors charged the pastor of a church here with four counts of first-degree child rape and two counts of child molestation.

Clay County Pastor Charged With Sexually Assaulting Girl

Those are just a few of the news stories about Christians that have run in the past 14 hours of doing this post. Which reminds me of this from John 8:7, “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (KJV) The young woman that writes that blog might want to take off the blinders. The atheists did nothing to her or her family – they didn’t steal, commit adultery, murder or commit any other serious moral violation unlike some of her fellow holier-then-thou brethren. The atheists just think that public school events should be, as in accordance with the Constitution a neutral grounds not a place or time to turn into an improvised tent meeting. If actual crime, harm, wrong doing consisted solely of those committed by atheists you could walk down any alleyway or street in America 24/7 relatively confident that you will not be sexually assaulted or defrauded. On the other hand if you feel that not being able to coerce people into praying is one of the biggest crimes one can commit and one of the biggest challenges facing the nation maybe its time for some careful reflection and reordering of priorities.

Confidence… thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live

Exposed: Glenn Beck’s Climate of Distortion

But Beck’s depiction of the supposed “difference” between Gore’s statements and the IPCC’s relied on a false comparison. While the IPCC projected a maximum 23-inch sea-level rise before 2100 as a result of rising temperatures, Gore’s statement predicted a 20-foot rise in sea levels if the Greenland or West Antarctic ice sheets were to melt or collapse at an indefinite point in the future. Indeed, while Beck purported to contrast the two scenarios, “when spread out over a century,” even New York Times science writer William J. Broad — who, as Media Matters noted, also set up this false comparison — acknowledged that Gore cited “no particular time frame,” in which the seas could rise by 20 feet.

Beck’s experts included Marlo Lewis and Chris Horner from an astro-turf outfit financed by the far-Right Competitive Enterprise Institute. Beck uses the typically low standards for what passes for facts on the Right, misquotes Vice-President Gore, assigns nefarious motives to VP Gore yet offers no proof, and Beck’s “slam-dunk”, his ultimate gotcha is from a Canadian right-winger Tim Ball who states emphatically that,

“We now know for certain that the temperature changes before the CO2. And one of the fundamental assumptions that Gore doesn’t understand is that in the theory of global warming due to humans is, as the CO2 goes up, the temperature will go up. Well, the ice-core records show it’s exactly the opposite.”

Mr. Ball is wrong, but Beck didn’t say anything, because what would Beck know about science. Ball gave Beck the pablum he wants to feed everyone else and that is all that matters.
Ball and Beck have decided to cling to a flimsy myth that might sound like solid science to a layman, but it is nothing else but the flying unicorn of the fringe anti-environment crowd,

The bottom line is that temperature and CO2 concentrations are linked. In recent ice ages, natural changes in the climate (due to orbit changes for example) led to cooling of the climate system. This caused a fall in CO2 concentrations which weakened the greenhouse effect and amplified the cooling. Now the link between temperature and CO2 is working in the opposite direction. Human-induced increases in CO2 is [sic] enhancing the greenhouse effect and amplifying the recent warming.

America needs to send a nice polite e-mail or fax to CNN and ask them why someone who day after day proves that he knows nothing about the environment, international politics, or anything else for that matter has a show that is broadcast to millions of people. Beck POV is not a matter of hearing some reasoned arguments from a knowledgeable political adversary he’s the modern day version of a flat earther who believe the voices of the little faeries that dance around his head. These are the public airwaves, CNN does have an obligation to inform its viewers, to give them the best information available, not to give a nightly soapbox to a nut case. If Beck is what passes for informed punditry then why not a nightly show on how gravity is a hoax we’re all being held down by a beam from the mother ship, or how about a nightly report on how the whole moon landing was a hoax – both of these shows would be just as informative and fact based as anything Beck does.

One obvious aspect of the Fort Dix gang and their arrests was so obvious that I didn’t even think it worth mentioning. Unfortunately Michelle Malkin and the Right can’t see the forests for the trees. The reason that the Dix bunch was caught so easily, besides being incredibly deem bulbs is because of… dare we say it, police work. They were caught and stopped without making up lies about WMD ( the jury is still out on the entrapment aspect) , That law-enforcement approach

Malkin provides a nice, clear example. In previous posts, she has complained about “the limitations of the law enforcement approach to terrorism”, and sneered at Democrats for supposedly adopting “the Clinton law enforcement approach to terrorism” (a sneer repeated here). She also has approvingly cited NRO’s Andrew McCarthy saying that

the law enforcement approach to terrorism, where terrorists get the advantage of our generous due process standards (including discovery about informants), is nuts — we have to tell the bad guys too much

.

If its not all out war killing both the terrorists and their inncent neighbors then what is it good for – that is the Malkin-Bush poistion on fighting terror; as long as Muslims are dying en mass then they’re serious and those that think they’re being both cruel and counter productive are not.
The Bush approach has been to treat terrorism as though it were a phenomenon mostly related to unrest in the Middle East, the product of brown-skinned fanatics for whom the only adequate response is the full force of American military might. This approach largely treats terrorism as though it exists only in conjunction with a handful of states — the “Axis of Evil” — that support it, and containing it means bombing and killing its supporters out of existence.

This was, in essence, the rationale for invading both Afghanistan and Iraq. In the case of Afghanistan, certainly a military response is fully justified, since the state connection to terrorism is clear and unmistakable. In the case of Iraq, however, that connection remains far from clear; though at one time I thought evidence existed to suggest such a connection, it has become painfully clear since that any Iraqi sponsorship of terrorism, particularly al Qaeda, was thin at best.

More to the point, however, is the fact that by making the “War on Terror” primarily a military operation and only secondarily (at best) a matter for law enforcement and intelligence, the Bush administration is focusing on only a rather narrow part of the terrorism spectrum. (Even on those terms, as Matt Yglesias has ably demonstrated, Bush’s execution of the “war on terror” has in fact largely consisted of smoke, mirrors, shock and awe.)

Another example of Republican ideas about free enterprise, they’re as screwy as Glenn Beck’s grasp of climate science, Amid FBI Probes, Senator Drops Controversial Project

Amid expanding FBI probes into public corruption in Alaska, the state’s senior U.S. senator confirmed he is dropping support for a controversial program that is receiving scrutiny by federal investigators and prosecutors.

The decision not to push for millions in funding for the Alaska Fisheries Marketing Board “was made months ago, and it has nothing to do with the ongoing investigations in Alaska,” a spokesman for Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, told ABC News.

Stevens was instrumental in founding the Alaska Fisheries Marketing Board in 2003 and has helped secure it more than $100 million in taxpayer funding since then, which the group has passed on to a handful of companies and industry organizations with ties to Stevens.

Digby on the sorry state of some of the press. I stipulate some, because they ain’t all bums, though too many of them are more concerned with money and prestige then the truth, Who Do They Think They Are?

Of course political reporters should go out and interview Americans and write stories about what those Americans have to say about the issues of the day. But those interviews are not any more representative of what “the people” as a whole think than are the liberal blogs or Sally Quinn’s fictitious “small town” or the fans at a NASCAR race. This is especially true when it’s filtered through the phony bourgeois posturings of a bunch of highly paid reporters and insiders who have contrived a self-serving little passion play in which they are regular blue collar guys from Buffalo and corn fed farmers from the Midwest (Real Americans!) who just happen to summer on Nantucket and get invitations to white tie state dinners with the Queen of England.

Small snippet from a long piece that includes some short history on how a large swath of our press corps embraced the Beltway mentality.

“Confidence… thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“Humility makes great men twice honorable”

Gen. John Batiste, a veteran of the Iraq invasion and consultant to CBS has been fired from his consultant position because he made a video for Vote Vets that was critical of Bush. The ad that the general made is at YouTube, here.

Retired two-star Army Gen. John Batiste is lashing out at the Bush war in Iraq in ads targeting key Republicans up for re-election in 2008.

Batiste retired and almost immediately became a vocal critic, something he felt he couldn’t do while still in uniform. He admits that his participation in the ad is breaking new ground. “I don’t think there is a precedent for it,” he says. “I wish there were more [generals speaking out against continuing the war]. Where are the other guys?” Since he first came out with his opposition to former Defense secretary Rumsfeld last spring, calling for his resignation, “I’ve had nothing but absolute support” from his colleagues inside the military, Batiste says. “No one has objected.”

Every time a conservative blog or pundit thinks they own the military just refer to Gen. Batiste, General Paul Eaton and even years ago from General Anthony Zinni.
Democrats could learn something from Batiste and Eaton. Batiste just straightforwardly calls Bush a liar. Bush and his dead end supporters lie all the time about everything. As a serial liar, Bush who just can’t seem to control of the garbage that flows out of his mouth is not entitled to any respect. He hasn’t respected America, our laws, or institutions and it is way past time for the media to stop letting let him and his cheerleaders hide behind the old respect the office canard.

Former ‘LA Times’ Baghdad Chief Says Iraqis Are ‘Humiliated’

Iraq right now, for foreigners living there, for Western journalists living there, it is a really – it’s like, you know, “Road Warrior,” the movie “Road Warrior” with Mel Gibson.

It’s a real nightmare state to some extent, where there’s basically little in the way of rule of law. Your personal security is constantly threatened.

There’s constant tragedies, a constant flow of tragedies that you hear about that touch you, in terms of things happening to Iraqis you know and even things happening to Westerners that you know. So, it’s unlike anything that is out there in the world.

The Role of an F.B.I. Informer Draws Praise as Well as Questions About Legitimacy

Indeed, over the months that followed, as the targets of the investigation spoke with a sometimes unfocused zeal about waging holy war, the informer, one of two used in the investigation, would tell them that he could get them the sophisticated weapons they wanted. He would accompany them on surveillance missions to military installations, debating the risks, and when the men looked ready to purchase the weapons, it was the informer who seemed to be pushing the idea of buying the deadliest items, startling at least one of the suspects.

Since 9/11, law enforcement officials have praised the work of such informers, saying they have been doing exactly what they should be doing — gaining access to the world of a possible threat, playing along to see just how far suspects were willing to go, and allowing the authorities to act before the potential terrorists did.

In the case of the men arrested this week, the authorities have been emphatic: The men were prepared to kill, and to die in the effort, and the informer was vital to preventing any loss of life.

These guys were obviously on the road to doing something at sometime, but the way that informants insinuated themselves into the group and obviously encouraged them at least flirts with entrapment. Entrapment isn’t as black and white as they would or would not have committed a crime without being somewhat encouraged by law enforcement officials. If the informants hadn’t been there how would the conspiators actions have been different,

Legal scholars argue that “the American legal system views entrapments as morally odious. Law enforcement officials cross the acceptable line, the courts have held, when they prey upon human vulnerabilities and “implant in the mind of innocent persons the disposition to commit the alleged offense and induce its commission in order that they may prosecute.” American courts have often dismissed criminal cases involving entrapments and let the defendants go.

The Fort Dix group did appear to be set on doing something, but in taking what some defense attorney could describe as the FBI taking a leadership role their is a least the chance of diminishing the severity of the charges. When actual terrorists are found society should want them to feel the full force of the law and the penalties that go with it, not reduced charges and shorter sentences because FBI agents may have lead the perpetrators down a path that might not have gone.
Hate from Within: America’s Home-Grown Terrorism

* The arrest and indictment of six members of the Alabama Free Militia who, according to federal authorities, were allegedly preparing to attack Mexican immigrants near Birmingham, Ala. with grenades, semi-automatic weapons and 2,500 rounds of ammunition confiscated during a recent raid by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

* Washington, D.C., area police arrested Tyler J. Froatz Jr., a 24 year-old man wielding a gun as he allegedly attacked marchers at a local immigration rally last Tuesday. U.S. Park police say Froatz had two knives, a hammer, a flare gun, a taser stun gun and pepper spray when they captured him. A subsequent police search of Froatz’s apartment yielded 15 guns, a Molotov cocktail, a grenade and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, according to authorities.

* An early morning fire last Thursday at Casa de Maryland, a day-labor center near Gaithersburg, Md. was declared an arson incident by Montgomery County fire investigators. Representatives of Casa de Maryland, which received regular hate phone calls and emails prior to the incident, were reported in The Washington Post as calling the incident a hate crime and a “natural consequence to the ongoing debate over immigration.” County executive Isaiah Leggett called it “shameful and despicable.”

The immigration issue seems to bring out the worse in some people. There are millions of illegals, no red-neck with a cache of weapons is going to make the problem go away. That it seems in some ways to have gotten to a boiling point one can just look toward the Whitehouse and Congressional conservatives who had six years to find even a half baked solution. Unless you call a wall between the U.S. and Mexico doing something, pathetic.

NJ: Withheld Emails Show White House Signed Off on False Statements

But Fratto also says that “We have no record of that letter ever leaving the White House counsel’s office.” In other words, they never bothered to ask Karl Rove or any one in his office to check whether the statement was true. And they just forgot that Sampson earlier had boasted about Rove’s interest. Huh.

The original story here Administration Withheld E-Mails About Rove

The withheld records show that D. Kyle Sampson, who was then-chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, consulted with White House officials in drafting two letters to Congress that appear to have misrepresented the circumstances of Griffin’s appointment as U.S. attorney and of Rove’s role in supporting Griffin.

“Humility makes great men twice honorable” – Benjamin Franklin