Thursday, June 7, 2007

What Happened to Dennis Miller?

Just watch... and be prepared to pick your jaw up off the floor.

He still believes that weapons of mass destruction are out there... in Iraq.... really. Even BILL O'REILLY doesn't believe that there were ever WMD. And you gotta love the title under Miller: "Comedian - Dennis Miller". As if he's gotten a paycheck for being a comedian or actually said anything funny over the last 5 years.

The Plot Thins

I must admit, when I first heard of the foiled plot to bomb New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, with calls coming from different parts of the country to "see if I was alright", I thought to myself, "You've got to be kidding." I didn't even know about said plot until those calls actually came. But being the cynic that the Bush administration has made me, my first response was, "Thank God... the Republicans saved our lives..."

So imagine my complete expectation just four days after the announcement of the supposed plot, word that the credibility of the terror case was suspect in the first place. Really? Nah...

This from New York Newsday on June 6th:

When U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf described the alleged terror plot to blow up Kennedy Airport as "one of the most chilling plots imaginable," which might have caused "unthinkable" devastation, one law enforcement official said he cringed. The plot, he knew, was never operational. The public had never been at risk. And the notion of blowing up the airport, let alone the borough of Queens, by exploding a fuel tank was in all likelihood a technical impossibility.

And now, with a portrait emerging of alleged mastermind Russell Defreitas as hapless and episodically homeless, and of co-conspirator Abdel Nur as a drug addict, Mauskopf's initial characterizations seem more questionable -- some go so far as to say hyped.

"I think her comments were over the top," said Michael Greenberger, director of the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland. "It was a totally overstated characterization that doesn't comport with the facts."

Greenberger said he has no argument with police pursuing and stopping the alleged plotters."I think they were correct to take this seriously," he said. "... But there's a pattern here of Justice Department attorneys overstating what they have. I think they feel under tremendous pressure to vindicate the elaborate counterterrorism structure they've created since 9/11, including the Patriot Act."

Here is fear mongering at its best. Gone are the days of orange terror alerts. Remember those halcion days? Color coded terror alerts went the way of the circular file when people figured out that anytime Republicans were slipping in the polls during the 2004 election campaign, all they had to do was circle the wagons and tell the country we were at "high alert" orange. This way, everyone would hide in their shells and thank whoever they needed to for those "strong on defense" Republicans.

Don't misunderstand me. Anyone stupid enough to even begin thinking of something as ludicrous as plotting to blow up JFK should be arrested. At the very least it strengthens the gene pool.

But must we stop the presses every time we get a couple of wackos that amount to nothing in the "war of terror"? Do we have to cut to a live press conference to announce to the world that we were able to apprehend a homeless man from Trinidad and a drug addict from Guyana because they hatred of our freedom, and now we're all the safer because of it? Is the government that desperate that they must hold these pathetic souls up as proof to try and convince us that the war of terror is working? Don't answer that last question, it was rhetorical.

But it doesn't end there. Rudy Giuliani, in his zeal to show he's the saviour of our time, gloms on to this plot at the latest Republican Debate and uses it as an example that we "have to fight them over there so we don't fight them here."

Earth to Rudy: Are we to start wars against Guyana and Trinidad as well? I'll bring the tequila. How about the Timothy McVeighs of the country, Rudy? Where do we fight them?

And then there's poor (billionaire) and current New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who took my attitude about the whole JFK fiasco:
"There are lots of threats to you in the world. There's the threat of a heart attack for genetic reasons. You can't sit there and worry about everything. Get a life," he said. "You have a much greater danger of being hit by lightning than being struck by a terrorist," he added.

Good for Mike! I'm sure he's going to receive tons of criticism, but at least he spoke out and didn't follow the rest of the sheeple. Of course, with talk like that, I don't know how much longer he'll be a Republican.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Court to FCC: Your Policy is Sh*t So F**k Off

We all know that the holier than thou Federal Communications Commission has been a little stringent in their policies regarding profanity on the airwaves. They've even gone as far as raising the fine ten fold, to $325,000 per offense.

But here's the ruling laid down by the New York Appeals Court:

"We find the FCC's new policy sanctioning 'fleeting expletives' is arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedures Act for failing to articulate a reasoned basis for its change in policy," the court wrote in a 2-1 opinion.

"We are doubtful that by merely proffering a reasoned analysis for its new approach to indecency and profanity, the commission can adequately respond to the constitutional and statutory challenges raised by the networks," Judge Rosemary Pooler wrote. "Nevertheless, because we can decide this case on this narrow ground, we vacate and remand so that the commission can set forth an analysis. While we fully expect the networks to raise the same arguments they have raised to this court if the commission does nothing more on remand than provide additional explanation for its departure from prior precedent, we can go not further than this opinion."

The kicker is this: If President Bush and Vice President Cheney can blurt out vulgar language, then the government cannot punish broadcast television stations for broadcasting the same words in similarly fleeting contexts.

So if Bush can tell Blair to "get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit" and Cheney can tell Sen. Patrick Leahy to "Go fuck yourself", then why should a government agency be able fine a broadcasting company for an expletive that isn't previously planned? They can't.

Score one for the First Amendment.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Libby Sentenced to 30 Months

New York Times:

WASHINGTON, June 5 - I. Lewis Libby Jr., once one of the most powerful men in government as Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, was sentenced today to two and a half years in prison for lying to a grand jury and F.B.I. agents who were investigating the unmasking of a C.I.A. operative during a fierce debate over the war in Iraq.

...Judge Walton did not set a date for Mr. Libby to report to prison. The judge said at first that he saw no reason for the defendant to remain free pending appeal, but he later agreed to accept briefs on that issue and rule later.

How soon before the pardon? My guess is that it will take a good long while before Libby is to report to prison... just long enough for the house of cards to fall and Chimpy to sign the pardon.

Am I being too cynical?

More Attacks in US Will Help People Appreciate Bush

How do idiots like this get elected to political office?

Dennis Milligan, Chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party, offered this little tidbit of wisdom in his first interview since being elected chariman two weeks ago:

“At the end of the day, I believe fully the president is doing the right thing, and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [Sept. 11, 2001 ], and the naysayers will come around very quickly to appreciate not only the commitment for President Bush, but the sacrifice that has been made by men and women to protect this country,” Milligan said.

Milligan is the owner of a water treatment plant. His office is obviously too close to the sewage fumes.

In his acceptance speech on May 19th, Milligan told his fellow Republicans that it was "time for a rediscovery of our values and our common sense."

Common sense?! What manner of common sense makes it possible for someone to believe that another attack on US soil will make people realize that Bush was right all along? I happen to think that if we were attacked again, people would blame this corrupt administration for doing nothing to prevent yet another said attack. What a moron!

Remind me never to live in or even visit Arkansas.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Surge Smurge

David Cloud and Damien Cave's NY Times article reveals that the "surge" isn't working at the rate the military would have hoped for by this point. This is partly due to the fact that they are relying on Iraqi Security Forces (an oxymoron if ever there was one) to do their part.

In an interview, [Brig. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, the deputy commander of the First Cavalry Division,] said that while military planners had expected to make greater gains by now, that has not been possible in large part because Iraqi police and army units, which were expected to handle basic security tasks, like manning checkpoints and conducting patrols, have not provided all the forces promised, and in some cases have performed poorly.

...When planners devised the Baghdad security plan late last year, they had assumed most Baghdad neighborhoods would be under control around July, according to a senior American military officer, so the emphasis could shift into restoring services and rebuilding the neighborhoods as the summer progressed.

“We were way too optimistic,” said the officer, adding that September is now the goal for establishing basic security in most neighborhoods, the same month that Bush administration officials have said they plan to review the progress of the plan.

At this point, only about one-third of Iraqi neighborhoods are under American and Iraqi control, because troops have either not begun operations aimed at rooting out insurgents or still face resistance in the remaining 311 out of 457 neighborhoods.

You know what that means: come September, when General Petraeus delivers his assessment, and when the revolting Republicans (take that meaning either way) had said that September was their deadline for their support, Chimpy will once again demand more time... and in all probability will get it from Congressional Republican sheep and spineless Democrats.

Dick Cheney Rules

From Sunday's New York Times Editorial:

Published: June 3, 2007

Americans are accustomed to Vice President Dick Cheney’s waiting out a terrorist threat in a “secure undisclosed location.” Now it seems that Mr. Cheney wears the cloak of invisibility in secure disclosed locations.

The Associated Press reported that Mr. Cheney’s office ordered the Secret Service last September to destroy all records of visitors to the official vice presidential mansion — right after The Washington Post sued for access to the logs. That move was made in secret, naturally. It came out only because of another lawsuit, filed by a private group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, seeking the names of conservative religious figures who visited the vice president’s residence.

This disdain for accountability is distressing, but not surprising. Mr. Cheney has had it on display from his first days in office, when he refused to name the energy-industry executives who met with him behind closed doors to draft an energy policy.

In a similar way, Mr. Cheney seems unconcerned about little things like checks and balances and traditional American notions of judicial process. At one point, he gave himself the power to selectively declassify documents and selectively leak them to reporters. In a recent commencement address, he declaimed against prisoners who had the gall to “demand the protections of the Geneva Convention and the Constitution of the United States.”

Mr. Cheney is the driving force behind the Bush administration’s theory of the “unitary executive,” which holds that no one, including Congress and the courts, has the power to supervise or regulate the actions of the president. Just as he pays little attention to old-fangled notions of the separation of powers, Mr. Cheney does not overly bother himself about the bright line that should exist between his last job as chief of the energy giant Halliburton and his current one on the public payroll.

From 2001 to 2005, Mr. Cheney received “deferred salary payments” from Halliburton that far exceeded what taxpayers gave him. Mr. Cheney still holds hundreds of thousands of stock options that have ballooned by millions of dollars as Halliburton profited handsomely from the war in Iraq.

Reviewing this record — secrecy, impatience with government regulations, backroom dealings, handsome paydays — it dawned on us that Mr. Cheney is in step with the times. He has privatized the job of vice president of the United States.