Saturday, September 29

Real Time w/Rahm Emmanuel & Michael Eric Dyson

Rahm Emmanuael gets scolded on the Dems failures to end the Iraq War.

Friday, September 28

Leave Bill O'Reilly Alone!!

Ah, yes the great ability of YouTube to allow Freepers to rant and rave.

Ladies and Gentlemen we have just had our "Leave Bill O'Reilly Alooonnneeee!" moment.

Today I want to talk about Keith Olberman, I hardly watch the guy but when I do I get sick to my stomach. That guy is a just a lying peice of shit. And what's wrong with him? Why is he mentally ill? Why is he so obsessed with Bill O'Reilly. MSNBC should fire this asshole, or they should put him into therapy

Y'see Bill O'Reilly is the victim here. His comments have been distorted by the Olbermann and the press. Billy is just trying to help black America by showing that their are alternatives to Gangsta Rap like Snoop Dogg.

Yeah, ok - that's like a newsflash isn't it?

As I've written in detail here, O'Reilly's core arguement is that the real problem with Black America is their missing fathers, it's not racism, it's not discrimination, it's not the ongoing legacy of racial profiling that keeps able bodied black men from finding keeping jobs and from being railroaded into our jails the way that the Jena 6 have been, the No Child Left Behind Act which has shoved thousands of minority kids out of school, or abstinence only programs which don't work. - y'know as Jesse Jackson pointed out on The Factor last night.

Jackson: 70 percent of all drug users in Illinois are white and 13 percent are black. But prison is 66 percent black and less than 10 percent white.

O'REILLY: 'Cause it's easier to catch them. They don't have lawyers. They -- you know. You know that poverty drives this and if you don't have enough money to pay a lawyer, you're going to get convicted. You know all of that.

JACKSON: Well, I guess, but most Americans don't know. They've assumed those in jailed are the most guilty, and those who are out are the most innocent.


O'REILLY: Reverend, let's get down to this, all right? Let's stop all this stuff. Here's what's driving the expulsion, the crime, and the poverty in the black community. You want to know what's driving it? No fathers in the home. Seventy percent of black babies are born out of wedlock in this country -- 70 percent, as opposed to 25 percent for whites. That's what's behind it, Reverend. That's what's behind all of these problems. And that's what has to be addressed.

No, Jesse. Y'see the big problem with Black people is that their addicted to playing the "Victim Card" according to O'Reilly and his buddy Juan Williams. This he says while crying and whining that the news media has - wait for it - made him a Victim!!

O'REILLY: Many white Americans fear blacks. That's the truth. And that's why things don't get done faster than they should get done -- because many whites won't say what they feel to blacks, won't ask blacks questions, won't try to understand blacks because they're afraid to be demonized --

JACKSON: But, Bill --

O'REILLY: -- if they say something wrong.

JACKSON: But, Bill, blacks have more reason to fear whites than the other way around.

O'REILLY: Maybe so, but we are all Americans.

JACKSON: Yeah, because --

O'REILLY: We are all Americans.

JACKSON: -- whites have never been enslaved by blacks. Whites have never been locked out in Jim Crow laws. So, this is an unfounded fear of blacks.

O'REILLY: I agree. It's unfounded. And then I tried --

JACKSON: But -- but --

O'REILLY: I tried to allay that fear, and I got smashed unfairly for doing it. I'm on your side. I want the white Americans to understand that the mainstream black American is no different than they are.

Geez, now you know how we Black Folk feel Bill - how's it taste? What's the matter, kind of bitter?

Suck it up, punk ass. That's what you say black people should do, right?

But here's America's real dirty little secret. The innocent (and the poor) got to prison, while the guilty (and the rich) go free. We use our prisons as a form of human traffiking where the prohibitions against slave labor do not apply. Slavery didn't end, it just gained a judicial stamp of approval. Just look at the 208 people who've been exonerated via the Innocence Project. Over 200 juries thought they were all guilty too, but they weren't. If we had DNA evidence for all 2 Million people in our prisons - thousands of them would go free. Call me crazy, but I think this tends to kind of Fuck up the Family. I'm just saying.

But No - no, it's not any of that stuff. It's all gotta be Black peoples own fault, and no one else has any responsibility it. None. See, now Rich White Conservative people whose families have all benefited from the legacy of sweat and pain of black people's work for over 400 years are now absolved of all guilt and the need to lift a finger to help out. Poof. Problem solved.

Yeah, sure - that makes sense.

Doesn't it just make you want to laugh until you cry?


Thursday, September 27

Master P Testifies before Congress

Master P who is a major artist and entrepranaur in Hip Hop spoke out and said that he wanted to take some responsibility having made a great deal of money on so-called Gangsta. He argues that Hip Hop is a $4 billion business, and that many of the artists are being used as puppets.

I have to admit I was in it for the money. I had no person in my life to pat me on the back and tell me I could do something different with my life. I had the music playing in the car with my kids and I had to turn it town.

He does suggest that Hip Hop should be changed into a system like the NBA, which doesn't have free speech, that when people put forth the "wrong message" they can be fined and punished by the industry. I think that's an amazingly dangerous idea because one of those "wrong" ideas could be what the Dixie Chicks said about President Bush, or Pink's song "Dear Mr. President."

I do agree that many artists are in unique position to have the attention of the youth and that from that position they have the ability to affect positive change, but the problem is that when you try and make these kinds of statements it's common that this isn't what the "kids" really want to hear. Tupac struggled with the problem have being controversial and "hip" in order to make money and keep people attention and also make some statements with some clarity depth and meaning. Ultimately he lost his ilfe, possibly because of his becoming so enmeshed in his vaunted "Thug Life."

The solution to this isn't easy, it's something that goes back at least 50 years if not 500 years - but there is a solution.


CBS Investigators finding confirm Rather's Killian Story

Writing in Salon today, Sydney Blumenthal reports that according to the documentation in the $70 Million lawsuit filed by Dan Rather against CBS news for his treatment prior to his (forced) retirement, CBS had hired an independent investigator on the infamous "Killian Memo" story who had found confirmation of claims made by Rather and producer Mary Mapes.

After allegations of forgery in the memo's by Col. Killian which proclaimed:

"I ordered that 1st Lt. Bush be suspended not just for failing to take a physical ... but for failing to perform to U.S. Air Force/Texas Air National Guard standards. The officer [then Lt. Bush] has made no attempt to meet his training certification or flight physical"

Rather and Mapes were placed before a CBS review panel.

Rather believed that the panel would conduct a fair-minded inquiry. But he
learned that neither he nor Mapes would be allowed to cross-examine witnesses. They heard from some researchers on the "60 Minutes II" staff that
before they had been questioned, a CBS executive had told them that they should feel free to pin all blame on Rather and Mapes.

But in his suit Rather alleges that, besides scapegoating himself and Mapes finding the truth was far from the panel's purpose.
CBS had told Rather to cease investigating the story and had even hired a
private investigator of its own, Erik Rigler. Rather and Mapes
discovered that Rigler's investigation had uncovered corroboration for their story
. Rather's complaint states that "after following all the
leads given to him by Ms. Mapes, he [Rigler] was of the opinion that the Killian
Documents were most likely authentic, and that the underlying story was
certainly accurate.
" But rather than probing Rigler on his findings, the
panel, to the extent its lawyers questioned him in a single telephone call,
"appeared more interested whether Mr. Rigler had uncovered derogatory
information concerning Mr. Rather or Ms. Mapes, as to which he had no
information," according to the Rather complaint. Rigler's report was suppressed,
never presented to the panel, and remains suppressed by CBS. Nor did the
panel fully question James Pierce, the handwriting expert consulted by "60 Minutes" who insisted that the signature on the documents was surely Killian's.

Not withstanding the facts, including the interview with Killian's secretary who confirmed everything in the allegedly false memo was true - CBS surged forward with their plan throw Rather and Mapes from the train.
When it came to the merits of the facts the panel elided them. It never
addressed the facts at all.
Instead it criticized the "60 Minutes" team for
failing to "obtain clear authentication" of the Killian documents, among other
"errors," though it admitted it could not prove one way or another whether they
were inauthentic. Mapes and three other producers were dismissed. "60 Minutes
II" was abolished. And on the day after Bush's reelection, Rather was
unceremoniously fired. His contract had called for him to continue as anchor for
an additional year and then to serve as a correspondent for "60 Minutes" and "60
Minutes II," but that promise was not honored. CBS believed that by severing its link with Rather it could put the whole incident behind it and begin a new happy relationship with the ascendant Republicans.


O'Reilly screams he's just "sooo misunderstood..."

O'Reilly is now completely blaming Media Matters and CNN for blowing his comments with Sylvia completely out of proportion and out of context and discusses the subject with Al Sharpton.

O'Reilly claims that Media Matters has somehow distorted and/or edited his comments but that unfortunately for him, that simply isn't true.

There are a ton of misconceptions in O'Reilly's arguments.

O"REILLY: Now, how do we get to this point? Black people in this country understand that they've had a very, very tough go of it, and some of them can get past that, and some of them cannot. I don't think there's a black American who hasn't had a personal insult that they've had to deal with because of the color of their skin. I don't think there's one in the country. So you've got to accept that as being the truth. People deal with that stuff in a variety of ways. Some get bitter. Some say, "You call me that, I'm gonna be more successful." OK, it depends on the personality.

So it's there. It's there, and I think it's getting better. I think black Americans are starting to think more and more for themselves. They're getting away from the Sharptons and the Jacksons and the people trying to lead them into a race-based culture. They're just trying to figure it out: "Look, I can make it. If I work hard and get educated, I can make it."

Ok, the point here is his argument against blacks having a so-called "Race-Based" culture as if the problems that black's face in America are the result of their being not White enough. Of course he wouldn't say that - he'd say it's not "American enough" as if Black culture in America isn't already completely and totally "American culture" to start with. Blacks who were brought to this country against their will had their native language and native cultures forcibly stripped from them, while at the same time they were denied access into the mainstream culture - so they've made their own thing. From the way they worship, to music, food, slang - in every shape and way they had to remake themselves. Now people like O'Reilly apparently would like us to simply toss all (or most) of that away - because it's not the fact that you're black that might hold you back, it's the fact that you might ACT TOO Black that will.

You know, I was up in Harlem a few weeks ago, and I actually had dinner with Al Sharpton, who is a very, very interesting guy. And he comes on The Factor a lot, and then I treated him to dinner, because he's made himself available to us, and I felt that I wanted to take him up there. And we went to Sylvia's, a very famous restaurant in Harlem. I had a great time, and all the people up there are tremendously respectful. They all watch The Factor. You know, when Sharpton and I walked in, it was like a big commotion and everything, but everybody was very nice.

"They all watch The Factor" is the part I'm having difficulty believing.
And I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship. It was the same, and that's really what this society's all about now here in the U.S.A. There's no difference. There's no difference. There may be a cultural entertainment -- people may gravitate toward different cultural entertainment, but you go down to Little Italy, and you're gonna have that. It has nothing to do with the color of anybody's skin.
So yeah, they may have been black, but he was really surprised they didn't "Act Black".

This is where Juan Williams jumps in and validates O'Reilly's view.

WILLIAMS: Well, let me just tell you, the one thing I would say is this. And we're talking about the kids who still like this gangsta rap, this vile poison that I think is absolutely, you know, literally a corruption of culture. I think that what you've got to take into account that it's still a majority white audience -- young, white people who think they're into rebelling against their parents who buy this stuff and think it's just a kick. You know, it's just a way of expressing their anti-authoritarianism.
Ok, for white kids gangsta rap is about being anti-authoritarian - which Williams opposes so I guess that makes him an authoritarian doesn't it? Well, he is a frequent guest on Fox News so I guess that question answers itself doesn't it?

O'REILLY: But it's a different -- it's a different dynamic, though.

WILLIAMS: Exactly right --

O'REILLY: Because the young, white kids don't have to struggle out of the ghetto.

WILLIAMS: Right, and also, I think they can have that as one phase of their lives.


WILLIAMS: I think too many of the black kids take it as, "Oh, that's what it means to be authentically black. That's how you make money. That's how you become rich and famous and get on TV and get music videos." And you either get the boys or the girls. The girls think they have to, you know, be half-naked and spinning around like they're on meth in order to get any attention. It really corrupts people, and I think it adds, Bill, to some serious sociological problems, like the high out-of-wedlock birth rate because of this hypersexual imagery that then the kids adapt to some kind of reality. I mean, it's inauthentic.

Frankly to this argument I would also add the myth of becoming successful as a sports athlete, just as much as I would argue about becoming a rap superstar. Yes. some people can get lucky enough to hit the freaking lottery and become a major star, but that's literally one in a hundred million chances against it. But again, just because it's difficult doesn't mean people shouldn't even try - right?

Everyone has a right to their dreams.

Second off, not everyone in rap is doing the gangsta rap. You could easily point to artists such as P-Diddy, Jay-Z and Kanye West as defying that stereotype right there. Sean Combs especially has shown that he's accomplished everything he's done with hard work and dedication - and he stayed "authentically black" the entire time without being a "gangsta".

William's argument that the music is to blame for the drugs and out-of-wedlock birth is just as ridiculous sounding as Elvis being censored on the Ed Sullivan show. Are you kidding me? This really is the "It's that damn Rap-n-Roll making the kids all crazy with the drugs and the sex" argument? Guys, the kids have always been crazy for the drugs and the sex - the music is an afterthought. They've having the drugs & sex anyway - the music is just a convenient soundtrack, it's not why there are drug problems and babies being born without fathers.

Williams seems to ignore the solid fact that a lot of young black men haven't prospered and built families in modern America because they are still a major target for law enforcement. According to Human Rights Watch:

    · In twelve states, between 10 and 15 percent of adult black men are incarcerated.

    · In ten states, between 5 and 10 percent of black adults are incarcerated.

    · In twelve states, black men are incarcerated at rates between twelve and sixteen times greater than those of white men.

    · In fifteen states, black women are incarcerated at rates between ten and thirty-five times greater than those of white women.

    · In six states, black youth under age eighteen are incarcerated in adult facilities at rates between twelve and twenty-five times greater than those of white youth.

    Because blacks constitute a large percentage among those arrested for violent crimes (45 percent-a proportion that has not changed significantly over the years), they are disproportionately affected by the longer sentences.6

Blacks have also been disproportionately affected by the national "war on drugs", carried out primarily through the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of street level drug offenders from inner city communities. In 1996, for example, blacks constituted 62.6 percent of all drug offenders admitted to state prisons. In at least fifteen states, black men were sent to prison on drug charges at rates ranging from twenty to fifty-seven times those of white men.7 Blacks are prosecuted in federal courts more frequently than whites for crack cocaine offenses, and thus as a group have felt the effects of the longer sentences for crack versus powder cocaine mandated in federal law. Racial profiling and other forms of unequal treatment of minorities by the criminal justice system have further contributed to the overrepresentation of minorities in the incarcerated population. Minority youth are treated far more harshly compared to similarly situated white counterparts within the juvenile criminal justice system

The Recent Jena 6 case is a perfect example who what I'm describing.

But Williams like O'Reilly doesn't seem to acknowledge any of this as being a factor as to why young black men may have difficulty finding employment or keeping a family together. No to him, it's all that "devil music."

It's not in keeping with great black traditions of struggle and excellence, from Willie Mays to Aretha Franklin, but even in terms of academics, you know, going back to people like Charles Drew or Ben Carson here, the neurosurgeon at Hopkins . That stuff, all of a sudden, is pushed aside. That's treated as, "You're a nerd, you're acting white," if you try to be excellent and black.

I grew up in South Central (Yeah, I'm black for the record) right during the middle and tail end of the Civil Rights movement and went to a elementary school that spent a significant portion of it's time and energy making sure everyone was well aware of Benjamin Franklin Carver and every black inventor there every was. How many different things can you make out of peanut? We practically knew them all by heart. We really did sing "We Shall Overcome, Someday" at our school assemblies.

But this didn't actually translate into the teachers really believing that their students had that capability and frankly it showed. Their entire "Rah Rah Kumbai-ya" act felt like a charade the entire time. I happened to be one of those students who "talked white" and yeah I was a nerd and got harassed all the time for it usually by the footballer and basketballers - y'know - the athletes (although I was an athlete too, I was a gymnast and I'll tell you a twisting double-back off high bar is way scarier, way more difficult and way more MACHO than a slam-dunk - anyday) and it really didn't make that much difference.

My point here is that there is an inkling of truth to Williams claims - yes the "nerds" will get picked on by the "jocks", it happens everywhere and it always will - but he's missing the larger point. What he's describing here is a generational argument between older blacks who have the perspective of having struggled through the civil rights movement, fought against what seemed like insurmountable odds and an impenetrable wall of ongoing racism and Jim Crow before them and those who've had to deal with the aftermath of that wall being torn down, but not all the pieces being removed.

My mother's generation focused on education like a laser-beam. They figured that what you needed to do was remove each and every possible excuse that someone might have for discriminating against you by being super-excellent. This is the tradition of where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a minister but also a PHD., comes from. This is why there are so many traditionally black colleges, such Brown University, Howard University and Tuskegee University, in America. It's partly because Jim Crow wouldn't let black people attend Harvard or Princeton - but also because there's value and pride in doing it on your own despite what anyone else thinks or does.

The thing is that Hip Hop is indeed part of the exact same "do it yourself" tradition that brought us Soulfood, Blues, Jazz, Dixie-land, and even Rock-N-Roll (Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Hendrix) and Tuskegee. The kids have to find their own way now just as they did then. We may not like every direction they go as we get older and look back, but that doesn't mean every choice they make which might be different from our traditions is necessarily wrong. The difficulty for young blacks growing up in the post-civil rights era is the fact that although walls of Jim Crow have been brought down - the bricks of bigotry are still there and can easily trip us up. Today you have to be far more agile than the previous generations, you have be far more perceptive and recognize that although not everything has racial overtones and not everyone is a hidden racist - neither is everything entirely free of all bias. We all have a responsibility both to point out potential bias, but also to make certain that we have legitimate cause before we make those accusations public as the failure of the Duke Rape case has shown.

It used to be you could see racists or a racist situation coming from miles away. Now it's hidden, because being openly racist will send you straight into court, do not pass go. Generally that's a good thing, but it has also made the continued progress forward in this nation far more difficult since you simply can't easily see where the problems are. People who may be or feel racist certainly aren't going to broadcast that fact now are they? Did person a) get arrested because they did a crime or because they fit a profile? Did person b) Loss their job because they didn't do it well or was their some hidden racial factor? We are all now in the midst of a permanent guessing game. Did Don Imus really mean what he said about "Ho's" or was he just emulating black culture?

Is Bill O'Reilly a racist or just a fucking dumb-ass?

O'REILLY: You know, and I went to the concert by Anita Baker at Radio City Music Hall, and the crowd was 50/50, black/white, and the blacks were well-dressed. And she came out -- Anita Baker came out on the stage and said, "Look, this is a show for the family. We're not gonna have any profanity here. We're not gonna do any rapping here." The band was excellent, but they were dressed in tuxedos, and this is what white America doesn't know, particularly people who don't have a lot of interaction with black Americans. They think that the culture is dominated by Twista, Ludacris, and Snoop Dogg.

WILLIAMS: Oh, and it's just so awful. It's just so awful because, I mean, it's literally the sewer come to the surface, and now people take it that the sewer is the whole story -
What a pair of total squares. "Look black people in tuxedos - they should all dress like that." What? Are we living in the freaking 50's? These guys sound like they would have been bagging on Kurt Cobain for wearing a ratty sweater on stage. It's like praising Pat Boone for doing "Tootie Fruity" in suite while ignoring Little Richard and his crazy hair (Which isn't a hypothetical, it's what literally happened during the 60's) As I pointed out with over the attempted use of the Hip-Hop Hate Myth to justify Don Imus comments, what we have here is a very similar situation.

What Williams and O'Reilly are truly saying here is that Black people, particularly the young, don't have the right of cultural self-determination, unless that culture meets the approval of the mainstream/white culture as being legitimate and appropriate.

They are simply trying to shift blame and responsibility from White's for having created the situation that Black's have been in, and continue to be in, to Blacks themselves for the current state of Black culture .

For them it's...
"If blacks wouldn't simply stop, cussin' and fightin', listening to all that "devil rap music", pull up their pants, turn their hats around forward and wear shirts that were the correct size - everything would be fine."
Except for y'know that lack of jobs, the crime, the drugs, the despair and the desperation - y'know the stuff that the average "Gangsta Rap" Song is reporting to us all since CNN Won't.

And just for the record, yes, that is Racism (in the New Post-Jim Crow you must CONFIRM to be accepted Style) on both Williams and O'Reilly's part - and my response to both of them is - "Mutha-Fuck both you Punk-asses!"

I plan to have both my Marvin Gaye and my Tupac (And I do, plus a bunch of that "evil" Marilyn Manson, NIN and Rage Against the Machine on my Live365 Radio Station broadcasting in Live in rotation right now) Suck on that.


The Big Dog Bites

Bill Clinton of the MoveOn Ad Kerfuffle.

It was just bait and switch. It was just, oh thank goodness, I can take this little word here and ignore what we’ve done in Iraq and what we’re gonna do — and the outrageous way we gained political power by smearing John Kerry.

That's right, it's just smoke and mirrors getting our eyes misty while the right-wing robs our rights and treasury blind. $190 Billion more for Iraq, and yet another phony evisceration to FISA - while the Repubs play "Hey, LOOK OVER THERE" and like Lucy pulling the ball out from under Charlie Brown the Dems go for and land flat on their back time and time again. This time it was the Houses turn as they voted to condemn a newspaper ad that happens to embarris one political party with the truth, while ignoring a string of lies that same party has purportrated against our military veterans for years.

"Bait and Switch" just about covers it.


Wednesday, September 26

Harman Shows how they play the "Fear Card" and win - only if we let them!

Yesterday on Countdown, Congresswoman Jane Harman boldly stated that the Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell lied to Congress by claiming that there was an imminent threat against the Capital in order to pass the new FISA Law last month. But just as we've seen so many times before, the truth was far from obvious. In fact it was (deliberately?) buried beneath layer after layer of security and only after digging through these layers did Harman find that "the informant wasn't considered credible" by the very analysts that McConnel had sited.

If the informant wasn't credible why was McConnell spreading an unsubstantiated rumor around the halls of Congress?

To steal their power, that's why.

The day before Harman's appearance (which isn't yet available via transcript or video), Olbermann discussed her revelations with Bruce Fein.


Congresswoman Harman made her charge at a forum on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, FISA, conducted in Washington by the Center For American Progress. She says that on August 2nd, hours before lawmakers were to leave for a month long recess, word of specific intelligence led to increased security around the Capitol. Republican Congressman Zach Wamp of Tennessee said at the time, quote, the leaders of the committees of jurisdiction have been briefed on threats to the Capitol."

And in urging Congress to give Mr. Bush the extra spying powers he wanted, Senator Trent Lott said on that date that, quote, "the disaster could be on our doorstep." Congresswoman Harman said the unreliability of the so-called intelligence about the attack on the Capitol before the 9/11 anniversary was only made clear the very day lawmakers approved the temporary expansion of Bush‘s spy powers. "That specific intelligence claim, it turned out, was bogus," said Representative Harman. "The intelligence agencies knew that."

She added that the administration was guilty of a "Rovian strategy of using terrorism as a wedge political issue." Talk about the nexus of politics and terror.

After Judge Ann Digg Taylor struck down the Administration circumvention of the FISA Law as being both unconstitutional and illegal, the Bushies managed to actually scare up a single FISA judge (whom many suspect may have been the ulta-neo-conservative John D. Bates) who was willing to authorize the program under FISA. Yet just a few months later the veritable rubber-stamp court had ruled twice against the Bush Administration program forcing them to seek a warrant for each and every wiretap.

To which of course the Administration cried and screamed "foul" at the top of their lungs like a NBA Coach in the Playoffs!

In May, a judge on the same court went further, telling the administration flatly that the law's wording required the government to get a warrant whenever a fixed wire is involved.

The rulings — which were not disclosed publicly until the congressional debate this month — represented an unusual rift between the court and the U.S. intelligence community. They led top intelligence officials to conclude, a senior official said, that "you can’t tell what this court is going to do" and helped provoke the White House to insist that Congress essentially strip the court of any jurisdiction over U.S. surveillance of communications between foreigners.

"All of a sudden, the world flipped upside down," said a senior administration official familiar with the rulings.

So naturally their solution is simply to remove the umpire and instead have the HOME TEAM make all the calls. Yeah, that's certain to ensure a fair and "just" result. And they did it by trying to scare the bejeezus out of Congress by claiming they were about be attacked at the Capital. Their own lives were supposedly "on the line."

Yeah, sure.

More from Harman's via Thinkprogress.

"I think [Congress] made a mistake," Harman said of Congress’s passage of FISA changes shortly before the August recess. Highlighting the need to rein in the recent unchecked expansion of power, Harman issued a challenge to her colleagues in Congress:

Congress must act. Congress is on trial here. I think we did the wrong thing in August. We have to correct it this fall.

Watch it:

Harman urged the need to restore "the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, which prevents searches and seizures of Americans without probable cause."

We've seen this strategery so many times before. This is how the Iraq War was started in the first place, when Congress was given a National Intelligence whose classified section included a vigourous dissent on the veracity of the Niger Uranium and Aluminum Tube claims.

Who would've expected that you could trust what Colin Powell would say before the U.N.? Who could have predicted that each and every allegation would turn out to be bogus - and that long before his presentation there was ample information providing doubt (such the fact that al-Libi and Curveball couldn't be trust) which were known to analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency and field CIA people such as Tyler Drumheller but where either bullheadedly ignored or deliberally hidden by those at the head of the Administration.

Yet again with General Petreaus we've seen the exact same Powell strategy replayed, the facts that fit their view of the world are those they Administration lackeys like Petreaus - impervious to criticism (or common frickin sense) in his finest Military dress green - spout pseudo "fact" after "fact" to make the case for doing exactly what they're going to be doing anyway. It doesn't matter what the GAO, the most recent NIE and the Congressional Research Service says - just like it didn't matter what Tyler Drumheller tried to tell Deputy DCI McLaughlin about Curveball.

But it matters to Jane Harman, she's done here what she should have done. Dig hard until you find the facts.

Unfortunately Harman's efforts were too little and too late at the time, Congress did shift the ability to decided "fair and foul" from the independant court judicial referees to the Department of Justice's Home Team Lawyers - at least for the next six months.

Yet McConnell is already back before Congress with his hand out for more power, claiming that simply discussing FISA in public could Kill Americans (even after he was caught in yet another lie when he claimed that the new law helped stop the recent german terrorist plot), still playing the fear card like some magic ace of spades that can trump anything, even fact and reality.

It's high time that we stopped letting these cheap confidence artists get away with it and finally call "Bullshit" on that noise as Harman has done. Maybe we should let her know we appreciate her efforts?

Phone Numbers to Office of Jane Harman:
Phone: (202) 225 8220
Fax: (202) 226 7290

El Segundo
2321 E. Rosecrans Avenue, Suite 3270
El Segundo, CA 90245
Phone: (310) 643 3636
Fax: (310) 643 6445

Send Jane Harman an Email through her Site.

(In full disclosure, I am not a constituant of Ms. Harman's but her El Segundo Offices are literally right down the street from my home just about 4 miles away)

Update: Harman's appearance on Countdown.


Fox News Bashes Couric for the Unforgivable Crime of Telling the Truth

Last week speaking at the National Press Club (hey who invited her anyway, isn't that for "Journalists?") CBS News Katie Couric announced that the Iraq War was a "Mistake?"

Really now? Y'think? (Video)

Now the right-wing via Fux News is punching back, and not every swing is above the belt!

Via Thinkprogress

"Everyone in this room would agree that people in this country were misled in terms of the rationale of this war," said Couric, adding that it is "pretty much accepted" that the war in Iraq was a mistake.

"I’ve never understood why [invading Iraq] was so high on the administration’s agenda when terrorism was going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan and that [Iraq] had no true connection with al Qaeda." [...]

Couric [criticized] "the feeling that we’d be welcomed as liberators and didn’t need to focus as much on security." She added, "I’d feel totally comfortable saying any of that at some point, if required, on television."

It's interesting that when she had a chance to make all these points to David Petreaus while intervieing him in Iraq just recently, she didn't even bother. She was so nice to Ole' Betreaus that the right-wing has dubbed her their Sweatheart.

Maybe not so much after this.

Particularly not from from Hannity & Colmes who ironically found it inappropriate for a network anchor to mix News and Commentary even though her comments were not made on a News cast.

Now what's really amazing here, besides the fact that they decided to talk with conservative media shill Brent Bozell about Couric, is that the ultimate conclusions drawn are that a) The fact that we we're "Mislead" into this war is just and "Opinion" b) Somehow the Clinton Administration has as much to do with this War as Bush c) The Surge is Working and Couric was right to say so and d) her comments at the Press Club were an attempt to "Genuflect at the Altar of those George Soros Funded Crazies Media Matters - just look what their doing to "poor Bill O'Reilly".

Except that we really were Misled into this War, the Clinton Administration ended long before we invaded Iraq, The Surge isn't working and George Soros has nothing to do with Media Matters and even if he did - So-F-ing-What!?

Truly stunning no?


O'Reilly and the Sylvia's Surprise

Over the past week a simmering bruhaha has been bubbling over comments made by Billy O'Reilly regarding the Harlem restaurant Sylvia's which he visited with Al Sharpton.
I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City. I mean, it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship... There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, "M-Fer, I want more iced tea."
Now, there's cluesless and then there's Fucking Clueless. Hey, look Black people eat with knives and forks, just like White People - and they chew with mouth's closed. Wow - Black People have manners and shit, just like White people. Motherfuck! Who knew?

This entire thing is getting play all over the place, Joe Scarborough has tried - with great difficulty - to talk about on his show Morning Joe.


SCARBOROUGH: He could not --


SCARBOROUGH: -- get over the fact that -- his words -- he could not get over the fact that there was no difference between that black restaurant and any other restaurant despite the fact -- his words -- despite the fact it was run by black people --


SCARBOROUGH: -- and the primary patrons --

BREZEZINSKI: That's attractive.

SCARBOROUGH: -- were black people.

GEIST: Sounds like Bill doesn't get up to Harlem a whole lot.

SCARBOROUGH: I don't think he does.

BRZEZINSKI: It sounds like a lot of things are going on there, that I, I, I --

GEIST: Also using the term 'blacks." I don't think anybody's said that since like 1973.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, that, you know, it's just -- it's very surprising that, that Bill O'Reilly would be stunned that you could go to a restaurant that is run by African Americans, and that it would be, his words again, "I couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between a black restaurant and a white restaurant."

GEIST: What, what was he expecting? You walk in, and they throw the food in the middle of the room and everybody just -- it's a free for all. What did he think was going to happen?

SCARBOROUGH: I don't know, he also was surprised that they were quote "tremendously respectful."

BRZEZINSKI: Oh great, here we go.


BRZEZINSKI: I believe, whatever, it seems a little bit --

SCARBOROUGH: That's just strange. That's all I'm gonna say. Listen, O'Reilly is the king of cable, he's been number one for six years. That is fascinating, by the way, and I'm sure we're going to be hearing more about that throughout the day.

Needless to say the people that actually work and eat at Sylvio's were less than amused - and what's even worse they said so on The Today Show.

On NBC’s Today Show this morning, patrons of the famous Harlem restaurant Sylvia’s expressed their shock over recent comments by Fox News’ host Bill O’Reilly, who said on his radio show that he was surprised that the service at Sylvia’s was like that of “any other restaurant…even though it’s run by blacks.” “It wasn’t appropriate,” said one patron. “Does he expect anything different from black folk than from white folk?,” asked another. Watch it:

Responding to Bill O’Reilly’s complaint that he’s been taken out of context, Media Matters’ Paul Waldman said, “[I]f Bill O’Reilly got caught robbing a bank he would say he was taken out of context.
Though some have said this is a "Imus Level" event, I would argue that it's not nearly that serious. He didn't call the patrons of Sylvio's "Nappy Headed Ho's", but what he did do was damn them with the soft bigotry of low-expectations. It's the same as when Joe Biden called Barrack Obama "Clean and Articulate", neither he nor O'Reilly seem to realize how powerful the stereotype and expectation of black people being dirty, stupid and unruly actually is. It's something that's been cultivated for the past 500 years in this society as an after-the-fact justifiction for their economic exploitation first via Slavery, then via Open Jim Crow and now through the ongoing legacy of closet bigotry.

O'Reilly just accidently gave us a peak into his closet, and even though what he said was less directly insulting than Imus - it was far more revealing. And what it shows isn't at all pretty.


Tuesday, September 25

Who Supports the Troops? (Marsha Blackburn doesn't!)

Yesterday on MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson show, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) repeatedly condemned the recent ad about Gen. Petraeus. But when host David Shuster asked her for the name of the last soldier from her district killed in Iraq, Blackburn faltered. Schuster informed her of the soldier’s name and added, “When was the last time a New York Times ad ever killed somebody?” Watch it:

Monday, September 24

20 Retired Generals speak out against Iraq War

Breaking centuries of tradition where retired General reserve comment regarding ongoing conflicts over the past months 20 military leaders have come forward to point out the the Iraq War and how it is being persued has been a mistake and a failure and that they feel betrayed by Bush and his advisors.

The generals acted independently, coming in their own ways to the agonizing decision to defy military tradition and publicly criticize the Bush administration over its conduct of the war in Iraq.

What might be called The Revolt of the Generals has rarely happened in the nation's history.

In op-ed pieces, interviews and TV ads, more than 20 retired U.S. generals have broken ranks with the culture of salute and keep it in the family. Instead, they are criticizing the commander in chief and other top civilian leaders who led the nation into what the generals believe is a misbegotten and tragic war.

General Eaton.
“The ethos is: Give your advice to those in a position to make changes, not the media,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, now retired. “But this administration is immune to good advice.”

General Batiste
The self-described arch-conservative and lifelong Republican made the “gut-wrenching” decision to end his 31-year military career in order to “speak out on behalf of soldiers and their families.”

“I had a moral obligation and a duty to do so,” Batiste wrote. “I have been speaking out for the past 17 months and there is no turning back.”

Brig. General John Johns

“My wife lost her first husband in Vietnam,” said Johns, who taught leadership and ethics at West Point.

“To learn later that President Lyndon Johnson and (then-Secretary of Defense) Robert McNamara knew as early as 1965 that we could not win there, that hurts her deeply to this day.”

Six months before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Johns, who retired in 1978, agonized over whether to go public with a paper calling the impending war “one of the great blunders of history.”

But it's not as if these Generals have gone uncriticized for speaking out. Ret. Navy Vice-Admiral David Richardson:

“They may sound off as they please, but I don't approve of that,” said Richardson, 93, who served in World War II, Korea, and commanded an aircraft-carrier task force during the Vietnam War. He now lives in North Park and remains active in military circles.

“When we are at war, voices that may give aid and comfort to the enemy can cost American blood,” Richardson said. “I would not want what I said to in any way affect our troops' morale and effectiveness.”

In contrast I think these Generals have been pointing out that a failed policy and failed strategy is what has been costing American Blood for four years now - and at some point, that policy has to change. It's high time someone began listening to what they have to say.


Sunday, September 23

BlackWater Shooting Caught on Tape, Criminal Charges to be Filed

Based on witness statements and video which had been shot from the nearby headquarters of Iraq's national police command Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, an Iraqi interior ministry spokesman, has told the Associated Press that they have completed their investigation into the Blackwater Shooting at Nisoor Square this past Thursday and determined that the BlackwaterUSA guards were "unprovoked, and not under attack as they had claimed."

Uh oh.

Mirroring other unprovoked shootings which have occured in Iraq with private military services such as Triple Canopy whose employees have allegedly shot at Iraqi Civilians for Sport, the attack by Blackwater last week left
11 Iraqis dead as many as another dozen wounded. Although Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki initially ordered Blackwater to be expelled from the country effectively pulling their license the U.S. State Dept which employs BlackWater to protect their employees intervened and attempted to dispelled the Iraqi account claiming "the basic fact is that there was an attack on the convoy." A claim which has now been countered not only by numerous eye-witness accounts, but also on video!.

No more "He Said/She Said", now we're ready for Spike TV.

Indications of problems with Blackwater have been long coming and had been completely ignored by U.S. Officials.

BAGHDAD, Sept. 22 -- Senior Iraqi officials repeatedly complained to U.S. officials about Blackwater USA's alleged involvement in the deaths of numerous Iraqis, but the Americans took little action to regulate the private security firm until 11 Iraqis were shot dead last Sunday, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials.

Before that episode, U.S. officials were made aware in high-level meetings and formal memorandums of Blackwater's alleged transgressions. They included six violent incidents this year allegedly involving the North Carolina firm that left a total of 10 Iraqis dead, the officials said.

It's little wonder that the U.S. State Dept. has done little to curb these excesses when you note that former CIA Counter-terrorism Chief Cofer Black (he of "bring back Bin Laden's head in a box of dry ice" fame) is Blackwater's Vice-Chairman (as well as being a campaign manager for Mitt Romney!)

Complaints about Blackwater have not just been about security concerns but also a blatant disregard and lack of respect for Iraqis in general, even those in positions of authority.

[Deputy Interior Minister Lt. Gen. Hussein] Kamal said addressing Blackwater’s alleged actions was also a matter of preserving Iraq’s dignity and honor. Seated in his spacious office, he recalled an incident two months ago when Blackwater guards threw a water bottle at a traffic policeman. The officer was so furious that he submitted his resignation, but his superiors turned it down, Kamal said.

"This is a flagrant violation of the law," Kamal said. "This guy is an officer with a rank of a brigadier general. He was standing in the street doing his job, regulating traffic. He represents the state and the law, and yet this happened."

Khalaf also intends to investigate all six other fatal Blackwater shootings in order to paint a more broad picture of habitual Blackwater wrongdoing.

"These six cases will support the case against Blackwater, because they show that it has a criminal record," Khalaf said.

Khalaf said the report had been "sent to the judiciary," although he would not specify whether that amounted to filing of criminal charges. Under Iraqi law, an investigating judge reviews criminal complaints and decides whether there is enough evidence for a trial.

The AP report did not mention whether Khalaf would also be investigating allegations of Blackwater's involvement in weapons smuggling to suspected terrorists which U.S. Officials have begun to investigate.

UPDATE: On Sunday the Iraqi judiciary announced that they will be pursuing criminal charges against Blackwater.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The Iraqi government will file criminal charges against employees of U.S. security firm Blackwater who are blamed for a gun battle in Baghdad in which civilians were killed, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said Sunday.

Under to original Coalition Provisional Authority headed by U.S. envoy Paul Bremer, contractors mercenaries such as Blackwater had been rendered immune from Iraqi law, but with the establishment of the new Iraqi Constitution and Government superceding the CPA - that immunity has apparently been rendered moot, but considering how effectively the Iraqis rendered "Justice" for Saddam Hussein, this could get very very serious, very quickly.


Cent Uygar on the Wapo 'Fact Check" of General Betrayus Ad

Cenk Uygar of the Young Turks takes the WaPo "Fact Check" of MoveOn's Betreayus Ad apart piece by piece - then burns the pieces.