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Just got done watching Keith Olbermann’s latest Special Comment. (The video is already up on Crooks and Liars, as is the transcript.) Once again, Keith showed what a strong voice he has been against the many outrages of this administration.

This Special Comment was about Bush’s insistence that any extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) include immunity for the major telecom companies “believed to have assisted” the administration in its illegal spying on American citizens (though of course, that’s not how Bush described it).

He raised a number of excellent points in the course of his commentary. Chief among these: if, as Bush claims, the extension of FISA is critical to our national security, then why is the alleged president threatening to veto any such extension that doesn’t include telecom immunity?

Here’s how he opened tonight’s Special Comment (excerpt courtesy of The News Hole):

In a Presidency of hypocrisy, an Administration of exploitation, a labyrinth of leadership, in which every vital fact is a puzzle inside a riddle wrapped in an enigma hidden under a claim of executive privilege supervised by an idiot, this one is surprisingly easy.

President Bush has put protecting the Telecom giants from the laws…ahead of protecting you from the terrorists.

He has demanded an extension of the FISA law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, but only an extension that includes retroactive immunity for the Telecoms who helped him spy on you.

Another quote, this one focusing on some equivocating language from Bush’s SOTU speech earlier this week:

If you, sir, are asking Congress and us to join you in this shameless, breathless, literally textbook example of fascism – the merged actions of government and corporations who answer to no government – you still don’t have the guts to even say that the telecom companies did assist you in your efforts? Will you and the equivocators who surround you like a cocoon never go on the record about anything? Even the stuff you claim to believe in?

I could go on and on here, quoting gems from his diatribe, but since the entire text is already posted elsewhere, that seems like unnecessary effort on my part.

On the whole, I would say that this Special Comment was very good, though probably not his best one to date. Nevertheless, it is well worth checking out online if you missed Countdown this evening (or don’t get MSNBC).

And it points up one more reason why Bush and Cheney really ought to be impeached.

jane doe

I guess the ever-dwindling slate of Republican presidential candidates is having another debate tonight, which is being trumpeted as the “last Republican debate before Super Tuesday.” And if I were a good political blogger, I would be watching it. But frankly, I’m already feeling less than healthy, so I see no reason to subject myself to any upchuck-inducing displays of political…umm…well, not sure what the word I want here is. Acumen? Prowess? Oh, no, I remember, I mean bullshit. Yeah, that’s the term. Plus, I just sat through most of a Republican debate six days ago, and see no reason to repeat the experience. It’s not like any of the Republican candidates has a hope in hell of getting my vote.

Can we please just go ahead and impeach Bush and Cheney? Do we really have to wait until 1/20/09 to get rid of these constitution-destroying, power-hungry, warmongering bastards?

jane doe

I was going to try to put together a post that really fact-checked Bush’s speech from last night. Fortunately, Think Progress has already done the work there, putting together an excellent, well-referenced piece that debunks some of the major…well, let’s be charitable and call them distortions, shall we?

It all adds up to just another reason why Bush and Cheney ought to be impeached.

jane doe

Okay, listening to the MSNBC coverage of the speech. And Olbermann starts out with calling Bush on distortions and outright lies about terrorist plots the government has allegedly stopped. Also compares Bush’s words about Iran with the stuff he was saying in the run-up to the war with Iraq — which, as we know, turned out to be almost entirely false or inaccurate. Thank you, Keith!

– jane doe

Okay, going to try to stomach the alleged president long enough to watch the SOTU this evening. As usual, here are my thoughts in more or less chronological order:

  • Okay, first, I’m watching the coverage on MSNBC, of course, even though that means listening to Chris Matthews. Because, hey, it also means listening to Keith Olbermann, who, as I have noted before, is a god.
  • WTF? Did the Republicans import busloads of frat boys to cheer for the shrub?
  • We believe…blah blah blah.
  • “Trust people with their own money” = “Let’s privatize Social Security”
  • He’s tackling the economy first, and talking up his stimulus package.
  • “This Congress MUST pass it as soon as possible.” Yeah, like you’re in a position to demand anything.
  • Ooh, shot of the chamber there. Sure is easy to see which side of the room the Republicans are sitting on. One side just gave him a standing ovation (over making the tax cuts from earlier in his administration permanent), while the other side is sitting on their hands.
  • $18 billion in budget cuts in the budget. He says they are from “bloated” programs. Like what? Would be really nice to know where these cuts are coming from.
  • Oh my god, did you see that smirk? (at 9:16pm EST)
  • “We share a common goal, making healthcare affordable and accessible for all Americans.” Yeah, which is why you vetoed SCHIP.
  • Eliminating “tax penalties” for those who don’t get their insurance at work. Well, that helps some people, but many of the people who most need insurance are in the lowest tax brackets.
  • Oh, jeez, now he is going on about No Child Left Behind. “And today, no one can doubt its results.” Well, newsflash: its results are terrible in urban schools. Jeez, and he wants to strengthen NCLB?
  • $300 million “Pell Grants for Kids” to allow inner city kids to attend parochial (sorry, “faith-based”) schools? Rather than fixing the public schools? Yeah, that makes sense.
  • “Purveyors of false populism” — which would mean, what, people in developing nations who are trying to make things better for the little guys?
  • Chertoff is one scary looking dude. Just a thought.
  • NEW-CLEE-ARR. Not nucular. Moron. (I refuse to believe he can’t get that right, and that no one on his staff has tried to correct him by now. He just continues to pronounce it incorrectly to be obnoxious.)
  • Wow, lots of “empowering” in this speech.
  • Ooh, “ethical medical research”
  • Legislation that “bans unethical practice such as the buying, selling, patenting, or cloning of human life.”
  • Whining about judges not being approved fast enough. Of course, we won’t mention how the Republican Congress did that to Clinton (to a much higher degree than the Dems are doing to Bush).
  • Mentions “armies of compassion” which sounds positively ominous, even if he is talking about volunteerism.
  • Ooh, foreign policy stuff, now. “Advancing liberty” — well, I suppose that’s one creative euphemism for our little war of aggression in Iraq (and the one certain administration officials want to start in Iran). Hey, we’re not invading, we’re advancing liberty!
  • Wow, that’s some gross oversimplification of terrorism he is perpetrating there.
  • Hey, we’re so successful in Afghanistan that we have to send more troops! Hooray for us!
  • Wow, I am suddenly reminded of that classic book, How to Lie with Statistics. He is qualifying the hell out of his assertions that violence is down in Iraq — e.g., “high profile terrorist attacks” are down. But WTF is a “high profile” attack, as opposed to a low profile one? Are fewer people actually dying?
  • And again and again, only half the chamber — the Republican half — is applauding.

Sorry, folks, that’s all I can stomach. I just can’t sit through the last fifteen minutes of the speech. The hypocrisy and the doublespeak is just making me gag.

jane doe

  • Oops, had to add something, because he is saber rattling on Iran again. “We will defend our vital interests in the Persian Gulf.” Okay, but what does that actually mean?
  • Plus, he’s going on about terror again. Ah, here it is. He’s finally getting around to FISA now. We must pass FISA or we’re all going to die.
  • And BTW, how is stopping terrorists on par with providing immunity for the telcos for laws that they have clearly broken with respect to American citizens? Can someone please explain that for me?
  • Wait, I missed that — what is he saying about a “new war”??? I’m sorry Mr. President, but you can’t start any new wars until you finish the ones you’ve already got going.

Seriously, how many debates have the political parties had at this point?

At least they’re getting down to a semi-manageable number of participants at this point. Tonight we have Romney, McCain, Huckabee, Giuliani, and Ron Paul. The real nutjobs have mostly dropped out of the race, with one or perhaps two exceptions. Which is kind of a shame, because the nutjobs keep the debate entertaining, but whatever.

Anyway, I’m going to watch this for as long as I can stomach. Past experience suggests this will be somewhere around seven and a half minutes. Here in more or less chronological order are my thoughts as I watch this fiasco:

  • Ooh, Brian Williams’ tie is certainly purple.
  • Romney makes me very nervous, but I can’t pinpoint what it is that makes me think that. Maybe it’s just residual nausea induced by big business types in general.
  • On the economy questions McCain only seems to want to talk about the “bridge to nowhere” and making the Bush tax cuts permanent.
  • Giuliani looks like he spent a little too much time at Mystic Tan. McCain, on the other hand, looks like he needs to schedule a visit (at least on my TV screen).
  • Giuliani is talking about major reductions in spending on the “civilian” side. Translation: social programs will be cut, but the military will still get a blank check.
  • McCain also looks like he has too much concealer below his eyes.
  • Dammit, Huckabee is actually making sense on the economic issues. He points out that money for the stimulus package is probably going to be borrowed from China, and to the extent that the package puts money back into consumers’ pockets will be spent on products that were made in China. So whose economy is being stimulated by it? (I say dammit about Huckabee, by the way, because he actually kind of scares me on some of the religious issues.)
  • Romney is talking about his experience in business, again. Because we’ve done so well with the current president, who ran on a campaign of bringing business expertise to the White House.
  • McCain, here’s a clue: the Republicans didn’t lose in 2006 because of a few pork projects. You lost because of Iraq and other Bush administration misdeeds. (It would be nice if a few Democratic politicians remembered that as well.)
  • Ron Paul is speaking the Libertarian party line. As usual. (And out come the Ron Paul supporters to leave me nasty comments about how he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. Forget it, guys, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, you aren’t going to change my mind about the man.)
  • Giuliani is asked about the big bankers going abroad to get cash to stay afloat, so naturally, he turns the discussion to 9/11.
  • Russert just asked a killer question on the economy — pointing out where we were in 2000 as opposed to where we are now, then asking the candidates why the voters should trust the Republicans on economic matters going forward?
  • McCain just mentioned the famous “bridge to nowhere” for the second time so far in this debate.
  • Romney again touts his expertise in the private sector. Of course, he obviously did pretty well there, since he can apparently afford to run for president largely out of petty cash.
  • Romney just claimed that Republicans “ARE the party of fiscal responsibility” (or words to that effect). He also mentions the bridge to nowhere.

Sorry, folks, that’s as much as I can handle for now – though I’ve set a personal record by sitting through nearly 30 minutes of Republican posing. I can’t take anymore, though — McCain is going on about how we are succeeding in Iraq. If I want my television to be in working order tomorrow, I’m going to have to turn it off right now, before I’m forced to throw something through the screen.

Of course, it goes without saying that nothing I saw tonight changes my belief that Bush and Cheney really ought to be impeached.

jane doe

Paging George Orwell!

Wired blog Danger Room is reporting that Donald Rumsfeld is proposing creating an agency within the government for the purpose of promulgating propaganda. Sharon Weinberger, the author of the article, quotes Rummy as follows:

“We need someone in the United States government, some entity, not like the old USIA . . . I think this agency, a new agency has to be something that would take advantage of the wonderful opportunities that exist today. There are multiple channels for information . . . The Internet is there, pods are there, talk radio is there, e-mails are there. There are all kinds of opportunities. We do not with any systematic organized way attempt to engage the battle of ideas and talk about the idea of beheading, and what’s it’s about and what it means. And talk about the fact that people are killing more Muslims than they are non-Muslims, these extremists. They’re doing it with suicide bombs and the like. We need to engage and not simply be passive and allow that battle of competition of ideas.”

* * *

In Rumsfeld’s view, the free press can co-exist with government sponsored/produced/paid news. “It doesn’t mean we have to infringe on the role of the free press, they can go do what they do, and that’s fine,” says Rumsfeld. “Well, it’s not fine, but it’s what it is, let’s put it that way.”

Frankly, I am astounded that anyone who has ever been associated with the Orwellian nightmare that is our current administration would have the nerve to suggest a plan so blatantly ripped from the pages of Nineteen Eighty-Four. It screams to be called Minitrue, and should probably be referred to as such should this plan ever go anywhere.

Now I know, some of you are saying, “Well, shouldn’t the government be able to get its message out there to the masses?” And of course, the government has numerous ways of doing so: White House press briefings, photo ops, appearances by representatives of the administration on the Sunday morning talk shows, et cetera. That is kind of the point: if the government wants to get its side of the story out there, it has numerous legitimate means of doing so. Planting stories in the media — including alternative media like blogs and podcasts — without making clear that the story was written by some government agency instead of an at least nominally neutral reporter is just disturbing.

Hey, I know! The administration could start its own newspaper and blog, in order to get its unfiltered story out to the people. They could call it The Truth. Better yet, they could use that phrase’s Russian equivalent:


jane doe

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January 2008