Saturday, August 25

Tim Robbins Clowns the Punditocracy on Bill Maher



Robbins: Before we got into this War there were countless Military Experts - Intelligence Analysts - that said that this was a good idea, and they were all so terribly wrong. Shouldn't there be a rule or a law that says if you fuck things up this badly, you shouldn't be considered an "expert"? You should have a chyron under you name that says "Shameless Propagandist"


Say it again Tim, say it again.

Vyan

Nugent Calls for Violence Against Democrats



Nugent: I was in Chicago last week I said, "Hey Obama, you might want to suck on one of these, you punk?" Obama, he’s a piece of shit and I told him to suck on one of my machine guns. Let’s hear it for them. I was in New York and I said, "Hey Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset you worthless bitch." Since I’m in California, I’m gonna find Barbara Boxer she might wanna suck on my machine guns. Hey, Dianne Feinstein, ride one of these you worthless whore.



I had to go back and check, yes he did say "Obama" and not "Osama"!

Now, I happen to be a musician and guitarist - so I'm more than passingly familiary with "The Nudge" and I have to point out that although this commentary is really amazingly bad, it's 1) Made while Ted is Wearing a Machine-Gun Shaped Guitar (Yes, he's that thick!), 2) "Suck on this" is clearly a single-sexual-entendre not neccesarily a call to real violence or harm and 3) Ted isn't really bright enough to have an informed political opinion.

Still... the scary part isn't what Ted says, or what he may have really meant, it's the crowd's howling reaction of support that should get everyone's attention.

Also it's probably fair to look at in comparison to what happened when the Dixie Chicks merely said they were "Embarrised that George Bush was from Texas", which resulted in their songs being pulled from radio, being crushed in public displays, boycotts, demonstrations and death threats.

Somehow, I doubt that Ted's threatening two Presidential Candidates - just like some posters on Bill O'Reilly.com - is going to get the attention of the Secret Service.

But it should.

Vyan

Why a U.S. Withdrawal would bring Peace to Iraq

This week Senator John Warner timidly spoke out on the issue of troop reductions in Iraq by the end of year only to be savagely attacked by a White House front group.

(Warner's Comments) Hurt the Cause of Freedom

But a careful reading of the latest NIE indicates that not only is Warner right, pulling back out troops and letting the Iraqis regain control of their own country just might be the best thing for them, and for us.


Those who support the escalation say it's "Too soon to judge" , or that we should "Stretch out the Surge for another year" like say - Bill "When have I ever been right?" Kristol - and we shouldn't get too far ahead of the Patreaus President's Report in September, but we have had several months of Surge now and it seems that various trends our emerging that can give us a fair indication of the future.

Point One: There has been some decreased violence in the al-Anbar province, and most of us on either side of the surge issue hope that such progress can be repeated - but the one thing that is clear is that has occured in Anbar isn't the result of "the Surge"

Until only a few months ago, the Central Street bazaar was enemy territory, watched over by U.S. machine-gunners in sandbagged bunkers on the roof of the governor's building across the road. Ramadi was the most dangerous city in Iraq, and the area around the building the deadliest place in Ramadi.

Now, a pact between local tribal sheiks and U.S. commanders has sent thousands of young Iraqis from Anbar Province into the fight against extremists linked to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. The deal has all but ended the fighting in Ramadi and recast the city as a symbol of hope that the tide of the war may yet be reversed to favor the Americans and their Iraqi allies.

Anbar has been a success, but not because or an increase in U.S. Forces in the area of because the Iraqi Military has finally at long last "stood up", it's been because the U.S. has begun to use -- gasp --- diplomacy with the local leaders and used the Sunni Militia to route out Al Qeaeda.

Point Two: Some of the Anbar Success, beside actually being the result of an American De-escalation in the region, may also be the result of some other rather grim factors.

Large Numbers of Iraqis have Fled their homes.

BAGHDAD, Aug. 23 — The number of Iraqis fleeing their homes has soared since the American troop increase began in February, according to data from two humanitarian groups, accelerating the partition of the country into sectarian enclaves.

The data track what are known as internally displaced Iraqis: those who have been driven from their neighborhoods and seek refuge elsewhere in the country rather than fleeing across the border. The effect of this vast migration is to drain religiously mixed areas in the center of Iraq, sending Shiite refugees toward the overwhelmingly Shiite areas to the south and Sunnis toward majority Sunni regions to the west and north.

Though most displaced Iraqis say they would like to return, there is little prospect of their doing so. One Sunni Arab who had been driven out of the Baghdad neighborhood of southern Dora by Shiite snipers said she doubted that her family would ever return, buildup or no buildup.

Sectarian Cleansing.

The polarization of communities is most evident in Baghdad, where the Shia are a clear majority in more than half of all neighborhoods and Sunni areas have become surrounded by predominately Shia districts. Where population displacements have led to significant sectarian separation, conflict levels have diminished to some extent because warring communities find it more difficult to penetrate communal enclaves.

In short, Shia Militia who the Sunnis may want to battle with have moved away and vice versa. They have self-segregated and essentially broken themselves up into neutral corners in a practice that is somewhat similar to the Joe Biden partition plan (which was most successful in Bosnia), but rather than artificially carving up the country like a Turkey, the residents have been gradually finding and creating their own (relatively) safe sectarian havens.

Again, the process may ultimately be inevitable and has not much to do with us - other than the fact that our presense slows it down and our leaving an area just might spur it forward.

"[F]earing a Coalition withdrawal, some tribal elements and Sunni groups probably will continue to seek accommodation with the Coalition to strengthen themselves for a post- Coalition security environment" [...]

"The IC assesses that the emergence of ‘bottom-up’ security initiatives, principally among Sunni Arabs and focused on combating AQI, represent the best prospect for improved security over the next six to 12 months, but we judge these initiatives will only translate into widespread political accommodation and enduring stability if the Iraqi Government accepts and supports them."

Just as John Murtha has stated for well over a year and a half, what Anbar has shown is that the Iraqis won't stand up until they see they have no choice, and ultimately it's not up to their government to decide that they want peace and they don't al-Qeada - it's up to the people.

There is some strong possibility that heavily Shia influenced Maliki government may resist greater and greater areas of Iraq becoming controlled by Sunni Militias, but ultimately they have to be shown that they have no choice.

Eventually the Reality of their Surroundings will come crashing in and the Surge/Delaying Tactic of the Bush Administration will gradually come to an end.

And another segment of that reality is that rank and file Iraqis have had it up to here with Al Qeada in Iraq.

Many Sunnis, for their part, are less inclined to see the soldiers as occupiers now that it is clear that American troop reductions are all but inevitable, and they are more concerned with strengthening their ability to fend off threats from Sunni jihadists and Shiite militias. In a surprising twist, the jihadists — the Americans’ most ardent foes — made the new strategy possible. Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a predominantly Iraqi organization with a small but significant foreign component, severely overplayed its hand, spawning resentment by many residents and other insurgent groups.

Imposing a severe version of Islamic law, the group installed its own clerics, established an Islamic court and banned the sale of cigarettes, which even this week were nowhere to be found in the humble shops in western Baquba to the consternation of patrolling Iraqi troops.

The fighters raised funds by kidnapping local Iraqis, found accommodations by evicting some residents from their homes and killed with abandon when anyone got in their way, residents say. A small group of bearded black-clad militants took down the Iraqi flag and raised the banner of their self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq.

"They used religion as a ploy to get in and exploit people’s passions," said one member of the Kit Carson scouts, who gave his name as Haidar. "They were Iraqis and other Arabs from Syria, Afghanistan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. They started kicking people out of their houses and getting ransom from rich people. They would shoot people in front of their houses to scare the others."

After attempting to draw incorrect comparisons to World War II and Neville Chamberlain, to the occupation of Japan, our continuing troop presense on the North/South Korean border and most recently to the Boat People and Killing Fields of Vietnam and Cambodia (both of which have already occured in Iraq wear upwards of 600,000 people have effectively "disappeared" and another 1.5 Million have fled the country during our occupation) the Bush Administration has now run out bad similes.

Iraq has already had their "Killing Fields" Mr. Bush, now they're literally starting to run out of people to kill - except of course, us.

Instead of claiming we need to stay in Iraq in order to help facilitate a political reconcilation between the waring factions - they now say that reconcilation doesn't matter and that the goal of the surge was simply to bring security to Iraq.

Yeah, right.

All indications are that over the next six months we will have to begin drawing down forces simply becuase - we've run out of forces.

Administration and military officials say Marine Gen. Peter Pace is likely to convey concerns by the Joint Chiefs that keeping well in excess of 100,000 troops in Iraq through 2008 will severely strain the military. This assessment could collide with one being prepared by the U.S. commander in Iraq, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, calling for the U.S. to maintain higher troop levels for 2008 and beyond.

...

According to administration and military officials, the Joint Chiefs believe it is of crucial strategic importance to reduce the size of the U.S. force in Iraq in order to bolster the military's ability to respond to other threats, a view that is shared by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.

According to a senior administration official, the Joint Chiefs in recent weeks have pressed concerns that the Iraq war has degraded the U.S. military's ability to respond, if needed, to other threats, such as Iran.

My expectations are that rather than recognizing that the success in Anbar has been because our forces left and put a bullseye on their own backs in Baghdad, rather than implementing a draft to relieve and replenish our troops, rather than paying attention to the joint chiefs who are clearly echoeing Senator Warner (not to mention Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi) that we must draw down our troops in Iraq for the sake of our military readiness - or for that matter to actually listening to General Patreaus and continuing to implement the Anbar Strategy - the White House is going to do what they always do, which is bury their head deeper into their continuing paranoid mass delusion and order a further extension of troops tours from 15 months to 18 months.

Because that will really do wonders for the Suicides and rampant PTSD our troops are already suffering from in record numbers.

It could be wrong of course, but if there's anyone who you can count on to do the stupid thing in a bad situation when all reasonable roads lead elsewhere - it's George W. Bush.

On thing is for certain, Democrats and Republicans alike who no longer support this War or this Escalation need to stop letting themselves be painted as weak, traitors, losers, cutters, runners and cowards. They need to argue from a position of strength, from of position of courage. The reality and the facts are one their side - they need to point out that sometimes the most courageous thing you can do - sometimes what you just have to do - is to simply walk away.

Vyan

Thursday, August 23

Christ-elyzing the Troops aka Operation Eternal MindF*ck



Hey, I don't mind anyones specific relationship with their own Personal Jesus - but this LA Times Op-ed which describes how the Department of Defense has been openly proselytizing our troops to become the Army of God ™ should scare the Bejeezus out of just about everyone.

Last week, after an investigation spurred by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the Pentagon abruptly announced that it would not be delivering "freedom packages" to our soldiers in Iraq, as it had originally intended.

What were the packages to contain? Not body armor or home-baked cookies. Rather, they held Bibles, proselytizing material in English and Arabic and the apocalyptic computer game "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" (derived from the series of post-Rapture novels), in which "soldiers for Christ" hunt down enemies who look suspiciously like U.N. peacekeepers.


It's not like we haven't already seen this taking place on the grounds and surrounding area of the U.S. Air Force Academy (near which Rev. Ted I-was-Gay-until-I-wasn't Haggard's church resides). From the WaPo.

A military study of the religious climate at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs found several examples of religious intolerance, insensitivity and inappropriate proselytizing on the part of Air Force officers and cadets, but a report issued yesterday at the Pentagon concluded that the school is not overtly discriminatory and has made improvements in recent months.

...

The report came after allegations that officers at the academy promoted evangelical Christian beliefs and were insensitive to cadets who were of a different religion or chose not to practice a faith. The allegations spurred a heated debate about the separation of church and state at the federally funded military school and caused a backlash among the chaplain community there.

...

Examples of questionable behavior highlighted in the report included the school's head football coach hanging a "Team Jesus" banner in the locker room in November 2004; the academy's commandant sending out a schoolwide message on the National Day of Prayer and encouraging cadets to use the "J for Jesus" hand signal; and senior school personnel signing on to a Christian advertisement citing scripture in the base newspaper.


These even extended to a full-court press by various Cadets promotion the Mel Gibsom movie "The Passion of the Christ", as well as harrasment against Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians for not taking part in "voluantary" prayer meetings.

Isn't that special?

For those of you not yet familiar with Left Behind: Eternal Forces here's a refresher from a post I made in response to Newt Gingrich's claim that the VA Tech shooters were the result of Liberalism and Violent Video Games.

That is of course unless they're too busy playing "LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces" where they act as members of the Tribulation Force intent on either converting or using paramilitary equipment and tactics to kill all non-believers (y'know Catholics and Jews and Muslims and Buddhists and Gays and stuff) who refuse to accept the teachings of the one and only true JEEZus CHrisT into their hearts and join their brethen in the glory of the Rapture ™ .


The game revolves around New Yorkers who are "left behind" after the rapture. Players scour the streets for converts, training them into a work force to feed, shelter and join a paramilitary resistance against the growing forces of the Antichrist.


Left Behind Games CEO Troy Lyndon, whose company went public in February, says the game’s Christian themes will grab the audience that didn’t mind gore in "The Passion of the Christ." "We’ve thought through how the Christian right and the liberal left will slam us," says Lyndon. "But megachurches are very likely to embrace this game." Though it will be marketed directly to congregations, Forces will also have a secular ad campaign in gaming magazines.



According to Gingrich, violent video games are desensitizing our youth to inhumane cruelty and are driving them away from the lessons of God. Hm... Really?

I think the the fact is, when you look at the amount of violence we have in games that young people play at 7, 8 , 10, 12, 15 years of age, if you look at the dehumanization, if you look at the fact that we refuse to say that we are infact endowed with (sic) our creator, that our rights come from God - if you kill somebody you're committing and act of evil.


So just what is behind distributing a game like Eternal forces to our troops? Is the idea that between firefights in Mosul and Al-Anbar the 82nd Airborne guys are going to get some quality relaxing time pretending to join a group of paramility evangelists crusaders to kill or convert all non-believers in New York City?

Might not these solders gradually become "desensitized" to the idea of randomly killing like - Muslims? Sunni and Shia alike?

Is that the kind of "evil" Gingrich was thinking of?

Anyway, just where did these little care-packages come from?

The packages were put together by a fundamentalist Christian ministry called Operation Straight Up, or OSU. Headed by former kickboxer Jonathan Spinks, OSU is an official member of the Defense Department's "America Supports You" program. The group has staged a number of Christian-themed shows at military bases, featuring athletes, strongmen and actor-turned-evangelist Stephen Baldwin. But thanks in part to the support of the Pentagon, Operation Straight Up has now begun focusing on Iraq, where, according to its website (on pages taken down last week), it planned an entertainment tour called the "Military Crusade.


Thanks to the magic of the Google Cache we an still see what used to be on their site, but even in the cache "Eternal Forces" seems to have gotten to boot.

We send care packages to soldiers on the front lines of the war in Iraq. We call them “Freedom Packets” because the truth will set you free. Included in each “Freedom Packet” is:

* Greeting card
* 75 Minute Phone Card
* White Socks
* Baby Wipes (suggested by Col Oliver North)
* Gideon’s pocket size New Testament
* Extreme Sports “Livin It” DVD
* and an assortment of snacks.

We ship them to Iraq free of charge to soldiers. The approximate cost per package is $50. Two items – phone cards and shipping cost – account for approximately half that total amount. Most of the items were donated at no cost to support our troops. Your donation helps us send a clear message that God cares, including their mind, body and soul.


Apparently the DoD has severed ties with "Operation Straight Up" - Thank God/Jehova/Vishnu/Buddha for small favors - but that isn't their only problem with excessive Christ-y-ness.

Take, for instance, the recent scandal involving Christian Embassy, a group whose expressed purpose is to proselytize to military personnel, diplomats, Capitol Hill staffers and political appointees. In a shocking breach of security, Defense Department officials allowed a Christian Embassy film crew to roam the corridors of the Pentagon unescorted while making a promotional video featuring high-ranking officers and political appointees. (Christian Embassy, which holds prayer meetings weekly at the Pentagon, is so entrenched that Air Force Maj. Gen. John J. Catton Jr. said he'd assumed the organization was a "quasi-federal entity.")


News of the links between Christian Embassy and the Pentagon have alrady reached as far as Turkey and caused some considerable stir where the organization was described as a "radical fundamentalist sect," and irreparably damaging the reputation of Air Force Maj. Gen. Peter Sutton, who is the liason to the Turkish Military.

But wait, it gets worse as it appears the Pentagon's top
"Bin Laden hunter" rather than actually do his job instead decided to do on a revival tour - In Uniform.

The Pentagon (Army Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin, deputy undersecretary of Defense for intelligence) in charge of the hunt for Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda in 2003. The same year, Boykin was found to be touring American churches, where he gave speeches -- in uniform -- casting the Iraq war in end-times terms. "We're in is a spiritual battle," he told one congregation in Oregon. "Satan wants to destroy this nation . . . and he wants to destroy us as a Christian army." The story wound up in newspapers, magazines and on "60 Minutes." And, of course, it was reported all over the Muslim world. The Pentagon reacted with a collective shrug.


Praise Geezus and Pass the Ammunition?

God, I hope not.

Once America's armed forces become to be seen as a military extension of the Christian Church, all bets are completely off when it comes to "winning hearts and minds" not just in an Iraq, but with the Billions of Muslims, Jews and Hindus in the world many of whom have armed forces of their own, up to and including nuclear weapons.

Is this an ideological battle we really want to get into, and/or is such a lose-lose confrontation in itself the not so hidden goal of the "end timers"?

Look, I don't begrudge anyone their own personal beliefs, but the point is and has been since the founding of this country that people's right to believe - or not believe - is supposed to be protected. Once the government, particularly the armed portion of the government, begins to show blatant favoritism toward any particularly religion it becomes a clear and present danger to all those who believe differently.


Amen.

Vyan

Wednesday, August 22

Tom Morello - Alone Without You

Tom Morello - "Alone Without You"



Tom wrote "Alone Without You" after seeing an early screening of 'SiCKO' before it was released. He was so inspired that he went back to his hotel and wrote the song that night. It ended up being featured in the closing credits.

Tuesday, August 21

MSNBC's Tucker Carlson Attacks Troops (82nd Airborne Op-ed)

In an exchange with an MSNBC Military Analyst Tfucker Carlson proceeded to toss a bucket-full of salt onto the tale of 7 members of the 82nd Airborne who published an Op-ed in the New York Times this week that completely eviscerated the claims of dog and pony pundits such as Micheal O'Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack.

Watch Video

Showing just how much he respects the troops opinion on how well the surge is working and how most Iraqis feel about it, Tfucker claimed - "How the hell would (they) know?"

Before I get into the meat of this particular story, I just want to remind my gentle readers of why I call Carlson - Tfucker. Besides the fact that it's funny, Carlson happens to be the son of one of the managers of the Scooter Libby defense fund and has stated - from his highly neutral position - that "the Plame Controversy is Bullshit".

MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson, whose father, Richard Carlson, is on the advisory committee of Scooter Libby’s legal defense fund, spoke to Salon today about Valerie Plame’s covert status: “CIA clearly didn’t really give a sh*t about keeping her identity secret if she’s going to work at f*cking Langley.” Carlson then added “I call bullsh*t on that, I don’t care what they say,”


So it doesn't matter that Gen Hayden said she was covert, and that Patrick Fitzgerald said she was covert - and that Valerie herself testified under oath that she was covert. Carlson simply doesn't believe it. It's right there in front of his eyes - but he simply refuses to see it.

Yeah, so we now know how much we can trust his judgment and how much he respects the statements of those who have dedicated themselves to serving our country.

And of course, Tucker is now very concerned - like many of right-wing have suddenly become - that our military is becoming "politicized.

Tfucker: I'm uncomfortable with it since there has been this separation between active duty military and politics. That the service members kind of act out the policy of the U.S. Government - right or wrong - but they don't comment on it because you want civilian control of the military and that has always been our tradition and 2: I wonder if weighing in on a political question such as this doesn't squander the awesome moral authority that these guys already have.


When Sgt Aguina came to Yearlykos in full dress uniform and attempted to make statements that "The Surge is Working" - the right-wing was all in his corner.

Rick Moran on The Factor: He's a very earnest, very honest young man who takes the idea that "the surge is working" seriously.

Pajamas Media : He didn't say anything political.

So Aguina says the surge is working and he's not being political - but when 7 others point of the fact that it's not (which most of us who realized that Baghdad isn't in Al-Anbar province already knew) - they've crossed the line into politics?

Yeah, right - sure they did. Flip-Flop much?

Naturally Col Jacobs offered some "balance" to Carlson's statements.


Col. Jack Jacobs: I do think there is some detriment to the moral authority you're talking about. I think that these soldiers thought were performing a public service by making the public aware of what they see is happening at the lowest possible levels, but of course we only see a broad brush of the strategy, we don't see what happens tactically. So I think they thought they were performing a public service - and in a certain respect they are - don't forget now, that we're in an environment that you can get information in a wide variety of ways. No longer do you have to watch the news, or to you and me. (THANK GOD!) There are soldiers all the time, sending back dispatches from the forward edge of the battle area - on the net. Now it's difficult to police.


Jacob's doesn't make a ton of sense here unless you feel that those who gripe from the front-lines don't have valid points and even if they did, and they did, that it's a good thing censor them because it might "hurt morale" if people kinda like - knew the facts and stuff.

But actually, the military has been cracking down on military blogs for quite some time under the pretext that it has put operational security at risk even though an audit by the Army Web Risk Assessment Cell between January 2006 and January 2007 “suggests that official Defense Department websites post material far more potentially harmful than anything found on a individual’s blog.”

Jacobs: The attitudes that we see in this op-ed piece may have been the same kinds of attitudes we might have had 40 years ago in Vietnam.


Ya think?

But you didn't hear about them 40-years ago, you're hearing them today because of the new methods of disseminating information.

Tfucker: Yeah, I'm not sure what to think - you see - like most Americans I instinctively respect those who are currently serving in a war zone, absolutely,


The way you've "respected" those working undercover on our national security? Yeah, ok.

Tfucker: and I'm not sure whether the surge is working or not. I honestly don't know and I'm not taking a position on that, I don't have the information,


Let me point out the when Tfucker had Kenneth Pollack on his program to discuss How well the surge is working he spent most of the program defending him from "all those hysterical bloggers" who had viciously attacked Pollack for being - well - full of shit. Particularly some crazy guy by the name of Glenn Greenwald, who writes for that rag - y'know - Salon.com!

Being as sharp as a dull tack, O'Hanlon stated today that he thinks the 82nd Airborne Soldiers might have been taking a slight poke at him".

Hmm... like I said before - Ya think?

Personally I think it's more like a sharp stick in the eye, particular when O'Hanlon continues to claim that Iraqi civilian casualties are down - except that they're like - Not.

Oh, and how's that political reconciliation - which is just the reason we're staging the surge in the first place - coming along?

But I digress - back to Tfuckerhead.

I instinctively distrust sentences like this - and this is from the Op-ed.

A vast majority of Iraqi's feel insecure and view us as an occupation force.


When the President uses phrases like that - "the vast majority of Iraqis (want this or don't want that)" - my first question is How the hell does he know, and that's my first thought here. These guys may be fighting the war but they don't have access to the "vast majority" of anybody in Iraq.

Jacobs: That's absolutely correct, they see the world through a straw - they see only what they see. You raise an important point, to what extent are we supposed to listen to anybodies estimate of what's going on?

Tfucker: Right


"They only see what they see" - as opposed to those who only see what they want, eh?

When the President says just about anything - most of us are wondering "How the Hell Does HE Know?" too. But when it comes to our troops on the ground, those like these 7 who've just spent 15 months in Iraq - fighting the insurgents, fighting the Shia, fighting the Sunni, occasionally fighting a lone al-Qaeda straggler - who've worked side-by-side by side with Iraqi forces, and face-to-face with the Iraqi people day in and day out - call me crazy - but I tend to trust their judgment just a tad more than I'd trust Tfucker's - or the Presidents.

What these 7 soldiers have done has been to catapult the propaganda and possibly give a little more perspective on the Patreaus President's upcoming report puff piece on the Surge, which is supposed to be delivered to Congress on September 11th No Less.

These people truly have no shame. None. AT. ALL.

Vyan

Monday, August 20

John Gibson thinks Jon Stewart "Purposefully" Misunderstood being mocked over 9/11?

Last week Fox News Host John Gibson decided that he's going to get into the "comedy" game and decided to make fun of Jon Stewart's viceral emotional reaction to the death, tragedy and loss of 9/11 - arguing in support of the notion that we need another 9/11 (Audio)

To which Stewart responded with.

Some idiot from Fox" was "playing the tape of me after September 11th" and "calling me a phony because, apparently, my grief didn't mean acquiescence"

But now he says Stewart has "purposefully misunderstood" him, and that Jon think's...

that he is a sacred cow and cannot, you know, be subject to an elbow now and then.

Really now? I wonder just whose "purposefully" misunderstood whom?


Let us use the magic way-back machine (aka the Internets) to point out that what Gibson and his producer actually did on Aug 10th...

ANGRY RICH: Do you remember what the media was like shortly after 9-11?

GIBSON: Oh, Jon Stewart sobbing.

STEWART: The view from my apartment --

GIBSON: Sobbing.

STEWART: -- was the World Trade Center.

GIBSON: Oh, God, Jon. Just tell me it's not true.

STEWART: And now it's gone.

GIBSON: It's gone.

STEWART: And they attacked it.

GIBSON: They attacked it.

STEWART: This symbol --

GIBSON: This symbol.

STEWART: -- of American ingenuity --

GIBSON: American ingenuity.

STEWART: -- and strength --

GIBSON: And strength.

STEWART: -- and --

GIBSON: Determination.

STEWART: -- and labor and imagination and commerce, and it is gone.

GIBSON: Gone.

STEWART: But you know what the view is now?

ANGRY RICH: What is it, Jon?

GIBSON: What is it, Jon?

STEWART: The Statue of Liberty.

GIBSON: Oh! That's great. I'm -- God, I'm touched.

STEWART: The view from the south of Manhattan is now the Statue of Liberty.

GIBSON: I'm touched.

ANGRY RICH: Let me bash Bush for the next six years.

STEWART: You can't beat that.

GIBSON: You can't beat that. Well --

ANGRY RICH: Phony.

So Stewart says he was called a phony, and low and behold - He was called a "Phony".

    "What? You just lost your best friend in a horrible tragedy that killed thousands of others? Here - how 'bout a shake with a hand buzzer? ZZZZZzzzzTTTT Oh, and that chair you're in has a whoppee cushion -- Wheeeeeee!!!!

    Phony!"

When exactly does cheap crap like that get funny?

Let me point out two other things, Jon Stewart isn't The Media - he's a comedian who actually broke character for moment and had an honest and real emotional response to what happened to the city in which he lives. There was no punchline in his crying jag. There was no setup. No zinger - that was it.

His work actually has nothing to do with being Liberal or being Conservative, it has to do with being FUNNY. He was pretty vicious (and hilarious) with President Clinton while he was in office - so exactly why shouldn't he go after Bush the same way that Jay Leno does? Or Conan O'Brien? Or Jimmy Kimmel (except for y'know - being funny when he does it?)

But the true arguement is really about Gibson's next statement.

GIBSON: Actually, you could. If you wait a little while, you'll say, just as Steve Martin used to say, "Should I fight the terrorists? Should I listen to their phone calls? Should I follow them everywhere on the planet to keep America safe? Nah, let's kick the hell out of Bush."

Ok, here's the thing, when exactly has Jon Stewart - or for that matter any Democrat or Liberal - said we shouldn't listen to Al Qaeda's phone calls? Who has said we shouldn't follow them everywhere on the planet?

Some would say this is a constructing a Straw Man Arguement - I myself tend to call it what it is - Bullshitting!.

The real arguement that many have made isn't about whether should listen to terrorists - it's about whether you should also listen to honest, innocent Americans without a probable cause and a warrant and independant judicial oversight!

And it's not just the media who has complained, the judges on the FISA Court have ruled that Bush's spying program is illegal - twice. 30 Members of the Bush Administrations' own Justice department - including John Ashcroft, James Comey and FBI Director James Meuller - all threated to resign in protest over the program. Federal Judge Ann Diggs Taylor ruled the program illegal and unconstitutional. None of them said "we shouldn't be listening" - they all said there should be proper oversight to avoid abuse of the program, the kind of abuse that has already occured with the FBI's National Security Letters.

The issue isn't whether we should or shouldn't fight terrorists - it's about how, and whether we should shred our own Constitutional in the process.

Most of us on this side of the arguement understand this - and not all of us are "one the left" or even close to it - but apparently John Gibson ("Purposefully") doesn't understand.

GIBSON: This is Stephen Hayes.

STEWART: No. They keep saying we don't understand the nature of this war. And critics keep saying, we understand the nature of it. You've been doing it wrong.

HAYES: Right, so why is that -- what's the -- what's the quality of difference there?

STEWART: Well, no -- the difference there is, we're not calling them traitors.

GIBSON: Yeah, you are.

HAYES: I don't -- yeah, but I don't think that the administration has called anyone a traitor. When has it happened? I mean, I'm serious. When has that happened? When has that happened?

STEWART: Let me say this. I -- I think that there's a real feeling in this country that your patriotism has been questioned by, by people in -- in very high-level positions. Not fringe people. You know, I myself had some idiot from Fox --

GIBSON: Uh-oh.

STEWART: -- playing the tape of me after September 11th --

GIBSON: Oh, well -- [audio clip of punching noises] ooh, ouch, geez, ooh. That was me he's talking about. You know, my problem with this is that I think there's a purposeful misunderstanding. We did -- we did tease him about his grief, but it was to compare it with what he's been saying lately.

Pardon me while I pull a Gibson:
That was a tease? Since when is it funny to tease someone for their grief?

Yeah, he thinks -- Jon Stewart thinks the war has been fought wrong.

Yeah, well - so do the soldiers (more of whom have been killed in this fruitless war in Iraq than died on 9/11).

The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. [...]

In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.

And the Iraq Study Group who argued that escalating the conflict wouldn't help.

And 68% of Foreign Policy Experts.

And the American People.

CBS Poll Aug 2007

-69% Disapprove of how George Bush is handling Iraq.

-48% Disapprove of how George Bush is handling terrorism (44% approve)

-60% Would Disapprove of Mass Detention of Muslims even if there was another 9/11 attack

-63% Feel that most Muslims do not condone violence

Back to Gibson.

to say that the liberal side hasn't called people traitors is absurd. It certainly has. Bloggers who idolize Jon Stewart have been trashing me for mocking Stewart do precisely that.

They probably do - but that's not what Stewart said which was "I think that there's a real feeling in this country that your patriotism has been questioned by, by people in -- in very high-level positions. Not fringe people."

People like these, as I posted in detail last week...

  • Dennis Hastert: liberals want to take "the 130 most treacherous people, probably in the world...and release them out in the public eventually."
  • Tom Delay : Pelosi and Reid are getting "very, very close to treason" by opposing the Iraq war.
  • Donald Rumsfeld : War Critics are like Hitler Appeasers
  • John Ashcroft : "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty; my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists - for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends." [Washington Post, 12/7/01;]
  • Dick Cheney : "It’s absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on November 2nd, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we’ll get hit again,"
  • George Bush : "However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses."

These people aren't Bloggers, John.

More from Gibby.

Stewart's funny. He's a -- he's a comedian doing the news. He should expect some shots once in a while.

Frankly, he probably does expect them. There are few people more self-depecriating that Jon Stewart on TV. The difference is that a "shot" is one thing, but ridiculing the man's legitimate grief and calling it "phony" isn't a shot, it's accusing him of being a liar - it's not comedy - it's Defamation.

I want to know, where is the Jon Stewart that was so grief-stricken, and why does he think what I think are reasonable measures to fight the war on terror like wiretapping, like going after Iraq, like Guantánamo Bay -- I think those are reasonable measures.

Wiretapping without a warrant is a violation of the 4th Amendment. Invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and nothing to do with terrorism - was just plain stupid. Even Dick Cheney said so way back before he became a member of the "Fourthbranch" as was like - still relatively sane.

Watch Video

Using Guantánamo Bay as an oasis for torture is in direct violation of International Law and is a War Crime.

Just ask Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch or for that matter - Colin Powell.

"[E]very morning I pick up a paper and some authoritarian figure, some person somewhere, is using Guantanamo to hide their own misdeeds," Powell said. "[W]e have shaken the belief that the world had in America’s justice system by keeping a place like Guantanamo open... We don’t need it, and it’s causing us far more damage than any good we get for it."

The Gibster.

He thinks they're absurd. He thinks they're almost beneath argument, and he thinks he's right without having to engage in an argument. And I guess he's come to think, and a lot of other people have come to think, that he is a sacred cow and cannot, you know, be subject to an elbow now and then. And I'm sorry he thinks that way 'cause I think he's funny and I like him and I think he's one of the most dangerous guys on TV. He certainly was when I was there.

John, I certainly wouldn't trust your opinion of what Jon Stewart thinks since you haven't gotten anything right so far. Sorry, that's how I feel.

The idea that Stewart's tears of grief are cannon fodder for bad.. really bad... so-called comedy on your part, that they were somehow illegitimate or "phony" simply because Stewart has not acquiesced to each and every crime that the Bush Administration has perpurtrated against the American people and the world under the pretext of their failed War on Terror is just. plain. preposterous.

The Latest Nation Intelligence Estimate says that our efforts in Iraq have made Al Qaeda as strong as it was before 9/11. You don't think that track record deserves - no, DEMANDS - more than a bit a criticism and ridicule?

But then again, since you want another 9/11 why should you care right?

Here's a "reasonable" measure for you John, instead of invading the wrong country then refusing to leave like a spoiled child, surveiling, rendering and torturing innocent people like Maher Arar, Abu Omar and as many as 14,000 others - how 'bout we actually GET BIN LADEN?!

Why does your American IDLE Bush stand by while Pakistan signs a Peace Treaty with the Taliban - and then the Taliban announce a Merger With Al Qaeda? Why doesn't he focus on that instead of Iraq? Why doesn't he stop the people who actually attacked us?

How bout that, eh? That sound "reasonable enough" for you?

Or would actually succeding in the War on Terror get in the way of your ongoing War on Common Sense and the Constitution? Do you really want to Win the War on Terror or simply use it to continue terrorizing and manipulating the American people?

Just wondering.

Vyan

Sunday, August 19

Melanie Morgan threatens Jon Soltz with Violence

Topping Keith Olbermann's Worst Person Totem Poll for the second time in a week - KSFO Radio Host Melanie Morgan continues her attack on Votevots.org Chairman Jon Soltz.

Watch Video

The worst part isn't that, as Keith points out again and I diaried earlier this week, she's completely wrong about reservists being able to participate in politics - she threatens Soltz.

Morgan: Jon Soltz is still a hypocritical cockroach. He needs to be stomped on and neutralized before he and his ilk can silence military support for the mission in Iraq.

I'm just asking but, exactly how many different ways do you know of to "neutralize a cockroach"? How many ways do you stop someone from speaking out politically? Think about it for a second and what do you come up with?

Yeah, I thought so.

And just what does the DoD have to say about Morgan accusations about Soltz's political activity? (Via Media Matters)

Today, [Steve] Epstein [director of the Department of Defense (DoD) General Counsel's Standards of Conduct Office] said two sets of rules help protect the integrity of the political process: a DoD directive for active-duty service members and the Hatch Act for federal civilians. These rules keep the military out of partisan politics and ensure that the workplace remains politically neutral, he said.

That's not to imply that military members and civilian employees can't participate in politics. Epstein said DoD encourages both groups to register to vote and vote as they choose, and to urge others to vote. Both groups can sign nominating petitions for candidates and express their personal opinions about candidates and issues but only if they don't do so as representatives of the armed forces. Also, all federal employees can make contributions to political organizations or candidates.

Beyond that, the list of dos and don'ts differs widely, depending on whether the employee is an active-duty service member, a rank-and-file Civil Service employee, a political appointee or member of the career Senior Executive Service, Epstein said.

Capt. Jon Soltz is not currently on active duty, he's in the reserves and as such these rules and limitations don't apply to him.

You wanna talk about political hypocracy?

Where was Morgan when it was revealed that Lorita Doan at the GSA was violating the Hatch Act and using her position to participate in so blatant partisanship for the Republican party that the Inspector General recommended that she be fired?

Where was Morgan when Tim Griffin was illegally caging the votes of African-American Soldiers in Iraq as a member of the RNC?

Where was Morgan when Monica Goodling and Brad Schlozman admitted under oath to illegally administering political litmus tests to DOJ employees?

If active duty members of the military can't appear at political rallies in uniform then how do you explain this?

Or this?

Or this?

Or...

The fact is that there loopholes in the uniform/politics rule besides the fact that it is largely directed at active duty members of the military it says that uniforms are prohibited ...

(2) When participating in public speeches, interviews, picket lines, marches, rallies, or public demonstrations, except as authorized by competent authority.

Obviously since the President consider himself to be a "competant authority" - hey, quick snickering - he can have uniformed active duty officers appear anytime and anywhere he feels like, even at a completely political event like when he declared Mission Accomlished four years ago.

But that's the kind of ridiculous double-standard we've grown to expect from Repubs isn't it?

In recent days Dailykos has taken flack for random comments about gassing Joe Lieberman even though the comment clearly wasn't meant to be taken literally and had nothing to do with Jews or the Holocaust and it was heavily criticized and troll-rated by other commenters long before O'Reilly got wind of it, it has been used repeatedly to argue that DKos is a "Hate Site."

Meanwhile as Jon Stewart pointed out, it has become common practice to accuse critics of the war of being traitors.

So let's really talk about Hate Speech, ok?

Guess what Melanie free speech really isn't absolute, and you've just stepped into the deep end since there is something that limits it called the Fighting Words Doctrine.

The fighting words doctrine, in United States constitutional law, is a limitation to freedom of speech as granted in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. In its 9-0 decision, Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire (1942), the U.S. Supreme Court established the doctrine and held that "insulting or 'fighting words', those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace" are among the "well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech [which] the prevention and punishment of...have never been thought to raise any constitutional problem."

Though that decision has been subsequently narrowed it still stands.

Any reasonable person would (and many here already have) vehemently oppose physical threats against Joe Lieberman for his political views - but just what do you say about someone who says that one of our veterans should be stomped like a cockroach!??

What would she say about the active duty soldiers who just spoke out in the New York Times about the Surge?

The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. [...]

In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.

Would she follow Ann Coulter's lead and suggest he should be fragged?

Would she suggest that this soldier should be added to the kind of hit list that right-wing extremists have put out against doctors they disagree with?

The identities of three of the seven doctors murdered in the past 10 years were listed on websites; there have been a further 17 attempted murders. Many such doctors now wear disguises and bullet-proof vests, live in fortified houses and vary their journeys to work.

One of those websites happened to belong to one of the right-wings recent media darlings - Randall Terry - but I certainly didn't see Morgan or Hannity distance themselves from him, did you?

Would Morgan similarly agree with real hate groups who gloated when a left-wing Judge was murdered?

"Well, I for one hope this was the work of some 'lone wolf' targeting those who aid or support or have connections with someone involved in acting against our race, or someone who has acted against those -- like Matt Hale -- who have stood up for our race."

The message concludes, "Let's hope it's only the beginning."

How about the actions of rabid right-wing anti-abortionist Eric Robert Rudolph who bombed the Atlanta Olympics, killed two people and injured 110?

Is this the kind of "Coachroach Stomping" you were talking about Melanie?

You know what these people are? They're Terrorists!

They use fear, intimidation, the threat of violence and actual violence to influence the coarse of political events.

If you have a disagreement with Soltz or VoteVets you and everyone else has every right to express that disagreement, no matter how fact-challenged it might be, but to talk of "silencing him" is crossing the line. IMO Those are Fighting Words.

Suggesting that he should watch his mouth or he might get hurt - is Terrorism. It's what was done to Salman Rushdie for daring to write his book The Satanic Versus - it's what was done to Keith Olbermann when some nutball sent him fake Anthrax - it's what was done to left-wing talk show host Alan Berg when he was murdered in 1984 for "talking too much" by a group of neo-nazi's who called themselves "The Order" in emulation of a group described in the infamous racist right-wing novel The Turner Diaries. A book, which not so coincidentally was Timothy McVeigh's favorite and which he too emulated faithfully in Oklahoma City.

Do you, Melanie, have fans that are this wacked-out? Would any of them really follow your lead and start to do some cockroach stomping with some mouthy liberal war protester? I don't know, but that's exactly the point - no one does, yet - and this is why endorsing violence isn't protected by the First Amendment.

If you agree with and endorse these types of actions (as your own comments and actions would tend to indicate) you - Melanie Morgan - are a Terrorist. You are inciting violence against American citizens.

And if you continue to use Fighting Words like these, you can expect that many of us will be Fighting Right Back by shining your hypocracy under a heat lamp!

Count on it.

Vyan