Saturday, October 27

Mukasey must be Blocked!

During the past weeks the confirmation hearing for Attorney General nominee Micheal Mukasey have shed important light on exactly what kind of job he just might do in protecting the American people and defending the Constitution of the United States. Unfortunately, the answer to that question has not been very comforting.

From Human Rights Watch:

(Washington, DC, October 18, 2007) – Attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey mischaracterized US obligations on torture, wrongly suggesting that so-called “unlawful combatants” in US custody are not entitled to the humane treatment protections of the Geneva Conventions, Human Rights Watch said today. This view has been squarely rejected by the Supreme Court and should be disavowed by Mukasey as well.

During confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) asked whether Mukasey agreed with the US government’s top military lawyers, who have stated that interrogation techniques such as “waterboarding” (mock drowning), the use of dogs, painful stress positions, and mock executions all violate the humane treatment requirements of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. Mukasey replied that the military lawyers’ opinions, while relevant for conflicts “in the past,” carry less weight when dealing with “unlawful combatants” today. He then went on to suggest that the humane treatment standards of Common Article 3 do not apply to interrogations of “unlawful combatants.”

In reaction to Mukasey's testimony several Democratic Congressmen have expressed their willingness to block the nomination until Mukasey's gives them a definitive (and correct) answer.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Judge Michael Mukasey's nomination for attorney general ran into trouble Thursday when two top Senate Democrats said their votes hinge on whether he will say on the record that an interrogation technique that simulates drowning is torture.


``It's fair to say my vote would depend on him answering that question,'' Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., told reporters late Thursday.


``This to me is the seminal issue,'' said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, another member of Leahy's panel. Asked if his vote depends on whether Mukasey equates waterboarding with torture, Durbin answered: ``It does.''

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said his support could be in doubt over the same issue.

``I think if he doesn't change his direction in that regard, he could have at least one concern and that's me,'' Reid told reporters.

Leahy has refused to set a date for a vote on Mukasey's nomination until he clarifies his answer to that question

This morning Senator John McCain also stated his strong disappointment with Mukasey's testimony although he stopped short of being willing to block the nomination based on this question.

McCain: Anyone who says they don't if waterboarding is torture or not has no experience in the conduct of warefare or national security. This is a fundamental about America. Isn't isn't about an interrogation technique, it isn't about whether someone is harmed or not - it's about what kind of a nation we are.

Stephanapolous: Will Mr. Mukasey have to say clearly that he believes waterboarding is torture in order to get your vote?

I can’t be that absolute. But I want to know his answer. I want to know his answer. Obviously, you judge a candidate for office or nominee for office on the entire record. But this is a very important issue to me.

The fact is that Mr. Mukasey's statements to Congress on the issue of the Geneva Conventions are grossly incorrect. Last year in a 5-3 decision the Supreme Court established that Geneva does apply to so-called "Enemy Combatants." In making this statement Mukasey betrays a common deceit of the right in their argument that "Geneva doesn't apply" simply because al Qeada does not wear uniforms or insignia - they simultaneously admit that America may very well have commited "grave breaches" of Geneva in their treatment. Breaches severe enough to subject Administration Officials to War Crimes prosecution.

Further the Geneva Conventions, which under the establishment clause is considered equal to our Constitution and Laws, contains a catch-all clause which states that any combatant whose status remains "undetermined" is to be treated as fully covered by the conventions until a tribunal to determine their status has been completed.

Geneva Article 5:
Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal

The question of whether such breaches have or hadn't occured was answered succintly when it was revealed that the CIA had finally banned Waterboarding last year - in the process admitting that they'd been doing it all along.

The controversial interrogation technique known as water-boarding, in which a suspect has water poured over his mouth and nose to stimulate a drowning reflex, has been banned by CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden, current and former CIA officials tell ABCNews.com.

The officials say Hayden made the decision at the recommendation of his deputy, Steve Kappes, and received approval from the White House to remove water-boarding from the list of approved interrogation techniques first authorized by a presidential finding in 2002.

Since 2002 this practice has been standard operation proceedure for the CIA Detention program, and although it has been since halted - several other "techniques" which were specifically authorized by the President which may be similarly egregious apparently remain in use. The question of weather any of this is "torture" or not is rather easy to determine, all we have to do is look at who has been historically using these techniques.

Waterboarding Table used by the Khmer Rouge

Artist Rendition of Waterboarding techniques used in the Chad.

This kind of practice continues to the day around the globe, and not just to "enemy combatants" but to political dissenters and dissidents.

Across the globe, men and women are pushing for greater personal and political freedom and for the adoption of democratic institutions. They are striving to secure what President Bush calls "the non-negotiable demands of human dignity."

Despite personal risk and against great odds, courageous individuals and nongovernmental groups expose human rights abuses. They seek to protect the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, workers, and women, and to stop the trafficking in human beings. They work to build vibrant civil societies, ensure free and fair elections, and establish accountable, law-based democracies.

These impatient patriots are redefining the limitations of what was previously thought to be possible. Indeed, in the span of a few generations freedom has spread across the developing world, communist dictatorships have collapsed, and new democracies have risen. The rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are protected more fully and by more countries than ever before.

This noble work continues - but it is not yet complete and it faces determined opponents. Not surprisingly, those who feel threatened by democratic change resist those who advocate and act for reform. Over the past year, we have seen attempts to harass and intimidate human rights defenders and civil society organizations and to restrict or shut down their activities. Unjust laws have been wielded as political weapons against those with independent views. There also have been attempts to silence dissenting voices by extralegal means.

Whenever non-governmental organizations and other human rights defenders are under siege, freedom and democracy are undermined. The world's democracies must defend the defenders. That is one of the primary missions of our diplomacy today, and we hope that the Department of State's County Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2006 will help to further this effort. With these thoughts, I hereby submit these reports to the United States Congress.

Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State 2007

Would that our own Department of State were to employ such high standards of Human Rights in our own country?Instead we hear the oft repeated, and well debunked, refain that "America does not Torture." Amnesty International certainly isn't convinced.

(Washington, DC) - Larry Cox, Amnesty International USA's executive director, issued the following statement in response to President Bush's statement earlier today that the United States does not torture people:

"The Bush administration continues to astonish. Its own State Department has labeled waterboarding torture when it applies to other countries. Yet in President Bush's legal wonderland, waterboarding is renamed an enhanced interrogation technique. President Bush continues to assert that his administration is complying with U.S. and international law, yet every available fact has proven the contrary. Torture by any other name is still torture - a new name does not make the practice acceptable or even palatable."

Contrast what Amnesty International says about other forms of Mock Execution - which is what Waterboard truly is - when it's in used in countries such as Montenego.

In May, following a 2005 visit to Serbia and Montenegro, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture reported that it had received numerous allegations of torture and ill-treatment of detainees by police officers. The majority of cases reportedly occurred at the time of arrest or during the first hours of detention at police stations, apparently to extract confessions.

Abuses reported included a mock execution in which a gun was placed in a detainee's mouth. Baseball bats and garden tools associated with reports of ill-treatment were found in Bar and Budva police stations.

• On 9 September, 17 men of ethnic Albanian origin, including three US citizens, were arrested and reportedly racially abused, ill-treated and, in some cases, tortured by police officers, during arrest, in court and at Podgorica police station. The men were transferred to Spuû prison on 12 September and 14 of them remained in detention at the end of the year. On 7 December, 18 men, including five US citizens, were indicted for conspiracy, "terrorism" and armed insurrection. An internal investigation was opened into complaints of ill-treatment by the police lodged on behalf of seven of the men.

And the U.S. State Deptartment's view of these incidents?

According to some of those involved, police beat citizens and foreigners whom they detained in the course of a September 9 raid in Tuzi. An internal police investigation ended inconclusively. Authorities stated that the raid, which took place a day before Assembly elections, foiled a terrorist plot and reported they had found a large weapons stash and plans to attack government buildings. Some opponents of the government asserted that the raid was politically motivated (those apprehended were associated with an Albanian nationalist organization).

The investigation by the minister of interior and supreme state prosecutor into police beatings of prisoners in the main penitentiary in September 2005 concluded that police did not exceed their authority. There was no public reaction to the report's conclusion, although after the raid several prisoners were sent to the hospital with severe injuries.

Interesting that the Rice State Dept seems to take the police side of the argument completely at face value, even when the "foreigners" allegedly detaineed were American. People went to the hospital, but there weren't any "beatings". Right.

What about in Angola? Amnesty International's version of events.

The government said that fighting had ended in Cabinda, an Angolan enclave situated between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Republic of the Congo. However, an estimated 30,000 government soldiers reportedly maintained a repressive presence, detaining and assaulting people suspected of supporting the Front for the Liberation of the Cabinda Enclave (Frente de Libertação do Enclave de Cabinda, FLEC), looting goods and crops, and causing villagers to flee to other areas.

Human rights workers reported that soldiers based in Nkuto, Buco-Zau municipality, frequently detained people suspected of supporting FLEC. More than 60 women were reportedly briefly held in January and accused of taking food to FLEC. Some were beaten. Mateus Bulo, aged 66, and his daughter were among a group of people arrested in May. Mateus Bulo was subjected to a mock execution, then he and his daughter were both beaten with sticks before being allowed to return to their fields.

And State's?

Domestic media and local human rights activists reported cases of police resorting to excessive force, including unlawful killings. In February the independent press reported that a youth suspected of gang activity was killed in a Luanda precinct. Police largely viewed extrajudicial killings as an alternative to relying on the country's ineffective judicial system. In May citizens reported that the body of a pregnant woman was discovered after her arrest by national police in Luanda Norte. These cases were reportedly still under investigation at year's end; however, national authorities were generally reluctant to disclose investigation results. In June human rights activists reported that police "accidentally killed" a disabled man during an abusive interrogation; the responsible officers were dismissed from the national police the same month.

A Memorandum of Understanding for Peace and Reconciliation for Cabinda province, signed on August 1, largely brought an end to the insurgency in the province. As a result of this and an FAA policy of cooperation rather than repression, there was only one report during the year, in November, of an unlawful killing in Cabinda that may be linked to FAA soldiers. The case remained under investigation by both military and civil authorities. There were also confirmed reports of 12 small clashes in the enclave between the FAA and the Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC) in the period immediately surrounding the signing of the memorandum. Four civilians were reportedly killed in these clashes between FLEC soldiers and FAA forces. Since early September there were no confirmed reports of armed conflict.

Again, this report is similar but again downplays the level and intensity of human rights violations taking place as a result of authoritarian abuse, and belies all of Rice's flowery rhetoric about our enduring support for those allegedly "non-negotiable demands of human dignity."

These are clearly extreme examples, but honestly they aren't all that more extreme than similar events which have occured in the U.S. for decades on the streets of L.A., Detroit, Philadelphia and during Rudy Giuliani's stint as mayor of New York.

The naked duplicity and failure of the United States to lead in this area sends a very wrong message to those who would chose to hold on to the reins of power by force, intimidation and oppression. It tells them not that their time is drawing to close - but rather, that the time for brutality is truly at hand. The one nation with the greatest claim as a supporter of democracy and freedom has apparently joined the other team.

We can not set an example for the world, while playing semantic games with who is or isn't protected by the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION of Human Rights. If Universal doesn't mean Universal, if all doesn't mean ALL, then no one is truly covered.

And if the man who would seek to become the Top Law Enforcement Officer of the most powerful nation on the earth doesn't know the law, then he certainly should not be handed the reins of power.

Vyan

House will seek Contempt Charges against Bolten & Miers

According to reports from the Politico, the House could vote on Contempt of Congress Charges against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former Counsel Harriet Miers as soon as next week.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) are surveying the House Democratic caucus to determine whether it will support holding White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers in contempt for ducking subpoenas in the continuing investigation into the firing of nine US attorneys.

According to Bresnahan of Politico, Conyers said the contempt motion could be brought "as early as next week," but that Pelosi had not made a final decision on the vote, saying it would be more likely in two weeks.

Democrats believe they have the votes to hold Miers and Bolten in contempt, Bresnahan says. If a criminal contempt resolution passes, it would light new fires in a White House already struggling to stave off additional controversy. The House Judiciary Committee approved a contempt resolution after both failed to show up for a July hearing, but it was not brought to the House floor for a vote.

Although the Justice Dept under Alberto Gonzales has already indicated that they will not seek to prosecute such charges such they be voted on by the Congress there is still the possibility that Congress may persue the option of Inherent Contempt against Bolten and Miers for their refusal to honor congressional subpeona's in the U.S. Attorney Firing matter.

Charges against Bolten and Miers were originally voted on by Conyer's judiciary committee this past July, but since the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales the issue has remained on the back-burner. What remains to be learned from Bolten and Miers is exactly how far into the White House did efforts to use the power of the Justice Dept to support Republican electoral success extend. In the process clear violations of the Hatch Act and the Voting Rights Act may have occured. Contrary to claims that these charges are merely a partisan attack by the Democrats, the seriousness of these claims has been underscored by the DOJ's Inspector General who has been reported to be looking into criminal charges against former AG Alberto Gonzales for lying to Congress about his involvement.
At a speech on Friday, ousted U.S. attorney John McKay revealed that the “U.S. Inspector General may recommend criminal prosecution of departed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at the conclusion of an investigation, possibly as early as next month.”
Vyan

Plame calls it Treason

From Raw Story

Disclosure of her covert identity for political purposes was nothing short of "treason," outed former CIA agent Valerie Plame told Hardball host Chris Matthews Thursday on MSNBC.

Plame, whose classified status as an undercover agent was exposed in 2003, said she couldn't possibly have known that a New York Times column disputing White House rationale for war -- penned by her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson -- would prompt what she views as a vicious attempt by the White House to ruin her career.

"When your husband filed that story," Matthews said, "he must have known, didn't he, that he was gonna light a match that was going to lead all the way to you?"

Plame responded that her outing was not only unexpected, it was also treasonous.

"You cannot possibly be suggesting that with Joe's credentials, my airtight cover, that we actually anticipated that senior government officials would commit treason by blowing my covert identity," she said.

Matthews asked Plame how, if she believed the Bush administration had covered up a "false case for war," that she didn't also anticipate that the White House would strike back at her personally.

"Call me naive," she said, "but that wasn't on our list of options...we didn't actually consider they would betray our country's national security to get at me."


Friday, October 26

O'Reilly and the Hard Right's Naked Intolerance

Just last month Bill O'Reilly was livid that he had come under fire over his Sylvia's comments. He claimed he ment no disrespect when he said "No one was asking for their M-Fing Ice Tea." He claimed his comments were misquoted and taken out of context by the "far left" who simply wanted to smear him.

In fairness to O'Reilly when you do take all of his and Juan William's comments in context one could argue that he wasn't saying what many claimed he was saying. He wasn't surprised by Sylvia's, he was praising it. But underneath even that view is the truth that what he was saying is that the problem with Black America - is that it isn't just like White America

Y'see Black Americans just haven't been perfected yet, that's all.

But in his more recent statements specifically endorsing intolerance toward gays, O'Reilly can no longer claim to have been misquoted or taken out of context.

His own words are damnation enough.

For O'Reilly, Sylvia's should be lauded because it's an example of "Good Black's" who behave "the same as (white) people in any other restaurant." and aren't culturally "dominated by Twista, Ludacris, and Snoop Dogg." Yay, for them. What a revelation that is for "some people", somewhere...

But not O'Reilly. He claims he knew this was "possible" all along and was simply happy to share this information with his audience - which I suppose he felt couldn't conceive of such a thing.

But when responding to the revelation by Harry Potter Author J.K. Rowling that one of his her lead characters, Albus Dumbledore is gay old Billo displayed something completely different.

Video from MediaMatters.

From The Fact with guest Dennis Miller"
O’REILLY: Here’s — you can talk about this on your radio show tomorrow. There are millions of Americans who feel that the media and the educational system is trying to indoctrinate their children to a certain way of life, and that includes parity for homosexuals with heterosexuals.

And that’s what this Rowling thing is all about, because she sells so many books. So many kids read it, that she comes out and says, “Oh, Dumbledore is gay, and that’s great.” And this — it’s another in the indoctrination thing. That’s what the belief system is among some Americans.

MILLER: I’ll be honest with you. I don’t think you can indoctrinate a kid into being gay. You might indoctrinate him into trying it once and him going, “I guess I’m not gay.”

[crosstalk]

O’REILLY: No, but tolerance. It’s — you know, he’s not going to be gay, but it’s tolerance of it.


It's not the problem that this character is gay (and this wasn't even mentioned or discussed in any of the books), it's the idea that this might promote the Tolerance of people who are gay simply because Dumbledore is a highy respected and admired character.

The view is that Homosexuals should not be on parity with Heterosexuals. Our children are being indoctrinated into this idea.

Pardon me but I thought that particular form of indoctrination began with All Men are Created Equal and are endowed by their creator with certain Inalienable Rights - which included Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

I may be a bit old fashioned but I tend to think that explicitly endorsing intolerace tends to impede someones Liberty, their Pursuit of Happiness and sometimes their Life.

Now Dumbledore is admittedly just a fictional character and nothing to really get up in arms about - but this type of view as expressed by O'Reilly isn't rare. Just last week he stated he would do if he were to witness any gay (or someone in drag) attempting to accept communion.

TalkPoints Memo October 12th.

O'Reilly: Two Gay Militants in bizarre dress took communion in a effort to demean the proceedings.


During a later segment on this subject O'Reilly claimed that if he had been a witness to this proceeding he would have staged an "Intervention".

O'Reilly: I'd be like Jesus with the money changers - you understand what I'm saying?


Two years ago a similar situation occured in Minnesota, only the parishioners in that case weren't gay, they were simply showing their solidarity with gays as oppressed people.

A Minnesota priest “denied communion to more than 100 people Sunday, saying they could not receive the sacrament because they wore rainbow-colored sashes to church to show support for gay Catholics...Ann McComas-Bussa did not wear a sash, but she and her husband and three children all wore rainbow-colored ribbons and were denied communion. ‘As a Catholic, I just need to stand in solidarity with those that are being oppressed,’ she said...Last year, some conservative groups in St. Paul kneeled in church aisles to block sash-wearers from receiving communion.”


Catholics being not only "tolerant" of gays, but standing in solidarity with them? I'll bet if Big Bad Bill had been on hand, there would have been a Beatdown!!

"Don't Tase Me Bro!!"

WWJP: Who would Jesus Pummel?

O'Reilly on Gay Pride at a Padre's game, because we really can't afford to have our kids exposed to The Ghey Tolerance!. It might make them flinch during the ritual beatings.



All kidding aside endorsing the idea of gay intolerance is no joking matter, it's dangerous according to the 2005 FBI Hate Crime Stats.

Sexual-Orientation Bias
In 2005, law enforcement agencies reported 1,171 hate crime offenses based on sexual- orientation bias.

* 60.9 percent were anti-male homosexual.
* 19.5 percent were anti-homosexual.
* 15.4 percent were anti-female homosexual.
* 2.3 percent were anti-bisexual.
* 2.0 percent were anti-heterosexual


By comparison, heterosexuals have very little to fear physically from gays - yet people like BillO feel little impedements to literally threatening the health and safety of Gays and/or Gay supporters.

Many on the Hard Right like to argue that being Gay is merely a choice (although this seems to fly directly in the face of The Science - that hasn't stopped them before has it?), and since it's a "Choice" they are under no obligation to be respectful of a choice they disagree with. But here's a newsflash - being Religious is a Choice Too. Religious Intolerance, because it has shown to be detrimental to people's life and health, is prohibited in this country by law and under the 14th Amendment which states...

All Persons within the Jurisidiction of the State, will be granted the equal protection of the Laws


Clearly, Gay people are in far greater need of protection than heterosexuals - but still the Bush Administration has threatened to Veto Hate Crimes legislation that would protect gay people from abuse and intolerance.

The White House has even helped draft exceptions in the latest version of the ENDA which allow Religious Organizations, Small Business and the Military to effectively discriminate against gays at will.

Could you imagine if the Voting Rights Act had an exception in it for any elections which used a church as a polling place? Could have imagine if the Diners which used to be for "Whites Only" in the 50's and 60's would have had an exception to the Public Accomodations Act on the basis that they were a "Small Business?"

The law would literally be meaningless, just as the 14th Amendment had been for nearly 100 years.

It's long past time that we put a stop to this. We have to realize that endorsing Tolerance does not mean that you agree with someone elses choice. You don't have to agree, but even assuming that it is "merely" a choice, frankly if it's not your CHOICE you have no dog in the hunt. "Live and Let Live", isn't that what Jesus preached?

Just as Religious people can worship at the altar of their preference, and are granted protection to do so, GBLT people deserve - no need - to be granted the same protections.

It's the Christian and Human thing to do.

Vyan

Wednesday, October 24

Rohrabacher *Hearts* Torture

In a hearing with Canadian national Maher Arar who was mistakenly apprehended at JFK airport and rendered to Syria where he was tortured for months until it was finally discovered that he was an innocent man - Dana Rohrabacher attempts to justify what was done to Arar. To him arresting people and deporting them to countries besides their own which participate in barbaric practices is a "reasonable" response to the "slaughter" of 9-11. Y'see the only thing they did wrong was that Arar was innocent, not that kidnapping and torturing people is wrong. Always!



Rohrabacher attempts to make the arguement that what happened to Arar must have been simply "A mistake" similar to that a "Friendly Fire" incident, and then continues to justify the U.S. action by saying that such incidents may be unfortunate - but they are a natural result of committing out troops to military action, and that if we failed to do this others would suffer. He then states that "No innocent person" should have to suffer through what Arar describes, and then likens the state as "gruesome a the tyranny" of communist political prisoners.

Never does he consider the irony that he himself has just admitted that America has sunk to the level of communist tyranny. We have become the Iron Curtain and the Banana Republic where innocent people can literally be "Disappeared".

Yet, Arar is far from the only innocent person to have been caught in this "Terror Net", many of whom have confessed to anything they were told to say after weeks and months of torture - one of those people was Ibn Sheik al-Libi, another was Curveball, both of whom contributed to creating the false impression that Iraq was maintaining WMD's and WMD programs which has so far led to the death of far more Americans than were killed on 9-11.

Another irony that Rohrabacher never acknowledges.

Vyan

John Edwards knocks it out of the Park on Real Time

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgHT4cj0tF4

Olbermann interviews Valerie Plame Wilson

View Video

Fox Thinks Al Qeada Set the CA Fires

Just like preverbial boogey man of Myth, Fox News sees Al Qeada under every rock. Al Qeada is responsible for the Sunni Insurgency in Iraq. Al Qeada is responsible for Shia Death Squads. Al Qeada in Iraq has been "defeated", except when they haven't. And now, Al Qeada has allegedly set the California Wildfires which have displaced nearly 1 Million people - at least that's what Fox "Newsman" Steve Doocy thinks.

Via Thinkprogress:


This morning on Fox News, hosts of the show Fox and Friends blamed the wildfires in California on a new culprit: al Qaeda. They pointed to a 2003 FBI memo, which raised the possibility that al Qaeda may try to set wildfires around the western United States. They also noted that men in a "hovering helicopter" saw "a guy starting one of these fires."

And, oh yeah, in that reported memo - California wasn't even mentioned.

DOOCY: You’re looking live at pictures from San Diego — Santiago, CA, where the wildfires continue. We were talking earlier in today’s telecast with Adam Housley and apparently police officers in a hovering helicopter saw a guy starting one of these fires. And Allison Allison Camerota, an FBI memo from late in June of this year is popping up this morning and it is ominous.

CAMEROTA: This actually has happened for many years in the past as well. An FBI sent out to local law-enforcement said that an al Qaeda detainee had given them some information that the next wave of terrorism could be in the form of setting wild fires. Adam Housley said lots of people on his block were asking him about it. Obviously this is something the FBI has looked into. They will continue to investigate it.

Oh, a Detainee said so? Well, geez, we know we can certainly take that one to the bank. I mean, Curveball was just so SPOT. ON. with the mobile labs wasn't he?

CARLSON: If they have this person in custody it probably won’t take long to be able to develop a link if there is one.

KILMEADE: A June 25 memo from the FBI’s Denver offices reported three days ago, excuse me, five days ago, by the Arizona Republic, that is a newspaper, they have been carrying the story and they continue to expand upon it.

DOOCY: Brian, the plot they say, according to this detainee, and they don’t know if the detainee is telling the truth. The plot was to set three or four wildfires. But they don’t mention California. They mention Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming. We do know for a fact that a number of the fires in southern California are of a suspicious nature and they are investigating arson.

It's fair to argue that there has been some evidence of arson in the California Wildires. This has been a situation that has gone back for generations, year in and year out - since as a matter of fact - most of Southern Calfornia is a mild desert! But to state that their might be active al-Qeada cells and sympathizers in HelL-A is going a bit far.

Not that CNN'S Glen Beck hasn't already been circling that block with his claim that it's...

"unfortunate that a handful of people who hate America ... are losing their homes in a forest fire today".

Is it "unfortunate" that they lost their homes or "unfortunate" that the supposedly "Hate America" by becoming successful in the entertainment industry? Which one is it Glen?

Of course now he's claiming that this was just a joke and is now playing the well worn right-wing victim card. Y'see it's all those lefty liberal bloggers who are really the mean people.

BECK: Let me get to your phone calls here in a second. I want to have a -- I want to have a frank and open conversation with you here for a second. Apparently, I have upset a few liberal bloggers. Woe is me. And I need to be extraordinarily clear on one thing. Not with you. And I'll explain in a second.

These people -- they're amazing. They're incredible. They claim that I'm serious when I'm joking and try to cause trouble, and then they say I'm joking when I'm serious and try to cause trouble. There's no way -- if you disagree with any of these people -- there's no way that you can ever win. And here's the interesting thing: Even if you agree with these people, there's no way you can ever win.

If you've listened to me for years, you know wildfires are deeply personal to me. Wildfires make blood shoot out of my eyes. But for the bloggers, it doesn't matter what I really think. It doesn't -- they're not trying to convince you I'm a bad guy. You know. You know who I am. What they're trying to do is convince people who don't watch the TV show, who don't listen to the show. They're trying to convince them that I'm an evil supervillain.

Because those people can be convinced. So let me just -- let me tell you, so you know, so you can tell those who want to make me into an evil supervillain. Who do you have to be to think that it's a good thing that anybody's house burns down? Who do you have to be?

Who do you have to be Glenn? Maybe you have to be a guy That thinks it's FUNNY that people's homes have burned down when you disagree with (some of) them politically??

How could we ever think anyone on the right-wing would stoop so low as to make fun of people who've lost every possession in the worst firestorm in history, after they've been so kind in their responses to people like Graeme Frost, Bethany Wilkerson, The 82nd Air Borne, Capt Jon Soltz, Micheal J. Fox, John Edwards, Cindy Sheehan and the 9-11 Widows?

After they've attacked sick kids, why exactly would anyone think twice about Beck and his ilk attacking the victims of a massive fire?

But not to worry, it was just a joke - minus the funny part.

And who knew that the right-wing hated the rich people who live in expensive houses on the hill so much? Maybe they can get them some fresh juicy new tax cuts to help buy a new house somewhere else as long as it isn't already flooded with the other kinds of people - y'know the middle-class and the poor? And while they're at it how about a few man-made Islands or something for the looming construction boom of new Luxury Condos far away from anyone who can't afford them? That outta be Posh, like totally Paris and Nicole.

One big problem with Glenn's entire view is that so much of these fires have affected Orange County and San Diego, both of whom are giant Red Swaths in an otherwise Blue State. Orange County was so gracious that they've bought us both Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan not to mention B-1 Bob Dornan, Dana Rorbacher (sic) and from San Diego we've have had Duke Cunningham, Jerry Lewis and Darrell Issa.

If you subscribe to the Fixed News view of things on the other hand, the ones who "Hate America" are apparently the enormous enclave of Islamo Fascists who've decided their best weapon against the Imperialism of the West is to Flick a Bic. In that case, trying to burn down John Wayne's house almost makes sense.

And all this time while Fox and Beck are keeping us distracted with their pathological nuttiness - the real issues raised by these fires goes ignored while the White House Censors the head of CDC on the issue of the human impacts of Climate Change.

Today, Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the "Human Impacts of Global Warming." Gerberding told the committee that global warming "is anticipated to have a broad range of impacts on the health of Americans," but gave few specifics, instead focusing on CDC’s current preparation plans.

CDC officials are now revealing that the White House heavily edited Gerberding’s testimony, which originally was longer and had more "information on health risks":

"It was eviscerated," said a CDC official, familiar with both versions, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the review process.

The official said that while it is customary for testimony to be changed in a White House review, these changes were particularly "heavy-handed," with the document cut from its original 14 pages to four. It was six pages as presented to the Senate committee.

The White House’s deletions included "details on how many people might be adversely affected because of increased warming and the scientific basis for some of the CDC’s analysis on what kinds of diseases might be spread in a warmer climate and rising sea levels."

I'm thinking right now that one particular risk happens to be trying to breath in a smoke cloud so large you can See it from Space!

So while Fox is chasing phantom al Qeada in the hills of Malibu (just as they've been chasing phantom AQI through the streets of Najaf and Fallujah for four years now) the impacts of gradual and steady planetary warming, which can clearly contribute to the types of dry conditions that help facilitate the tragedy that hit Southern California, remain ignored and forgotten by an Administration that has a long history of denying fact and science.

Vyan