Saturday, November 14, 2009

American Hero

posted by Armadillo Joe

This woman is an American hero.  I put her on the same pedestal as the Dixie Chicks as someone incredibly brave, who had the courage to speak her convictions at great risk to her personal well-being at a time when people were routinely punished severely for speaking out.
Recall, if you will, the dark days of early 2003.  We were ramping up to W-A-R (shock and awe) and the retarded chimpanzee in the White House along with his Evil Uncle Dick(head) had so twisted the public's imagination into pretzel knots of illogic and abject fear -- hellbent as they were on some good old-fashioned 'Murrican score settlin' against some random brown-skinned folks to hit the four-for-the-price-of-one bonus of 1.) gettin' even for our most holy of holies 9/11 (Ah-men) 2.) settling a blood-feud between the Bush and Hussein clans with American taxpayer-funded blood and iron 3.) making an example of some ragheads before the rest of them get anymore uppity ideas (I'm looking at you Tom "Suck on this" Friedman) and 4.) making up for having skipped Vietnam by collecting machismo points by proxy via the deaths of other people's sons and daughters -- that anyone anywhere at any time who ever whispered the slightest hint of dissent that maybe, perhaps just maybe, our glorious war in the Middle East wasn't quite the photogenic Greatest Clash of Civilizations since Cecil B. DeMille shod a cast of 10,000 extras in swords and sandals... was roundly persecuted, punished and plowed-under.
I was already living in the sodom of New York City during that time -- easily the place in America most immune to Mr. Bush's "charms" and machinations, amid the assorted degenerates and pinko-lib'ruhl-islamo-fascist-America-hating Lefty terrorist-sympathizers of the entertainment industry -- and even correcting for the emotional distortion field surrounding the smoldering pit at the southern end of Manhattan island, working as I did in the so-called "red zone" below 14th Street hardly ten blocks from Ground Zero, we spoke in dissenting voices rarely and even then in the hushed tones usually reserved for snarky comments during church.
It was a dark time, indeed.  And, other than social ostracization, we actually had very little to fear from saying something negative about the general drift of current events.  Imagine someone who did, who understood that they had a great deal to lose, and spoke anyway.
Ashleigh Banfield is that person.  I used to just think of her (when I thought of her at all) as just another vapid, pretty "news" model -- more famous for her stylish choices of eyewear than anything she might have accomplished as a journalist -- and when she disappeared from the Tee-Vee in early 2003, I hadn't even noticed.  It wasn't until her story finally came out in 2005 that I understood what became of her.  The ramifications of it break my heart in empathy for her struggle and in sadness for what America became, or was revealed to have already become, in the events of the first four years of the Cheney Administration.
She gave a speech to some journalism students at Kansas State University on April 24th, 2003 where she said stuff like this:
You didn't see where those bullets landed. You didn't see what happened when the mortar landed. A puff of smoke is not what a mortar looks like when it explodes, believe me. There are horrors that were completely left out of this war. So was this journalism or was this coverage? There is a grand difference between journalism and coverage, and getting access does not mean you're getting the story, it just means you're getting one more arm or leg of the story. And that's what we got, and it was a glorious, wonderful picture that had a lot of people watching and a lot of advertisers excited about cable news. But it wasn't journalism, because I'm not so sure that we in America are hesitant to do this again, to fight another war, because it looked like a glorious and courageous and so successful terrific endeavor, and we got rid of a horrible leader: We got rid of a dictator, we got rid of a monster, but we didn't see what it took to do that.
the message before we went in was actually weapons of mass destruction and eliminating the weapons of mass destruction from this regime and eliminating this regime. Conveniently in the week or two that we were in there it became very strongly a message of freeing the Iraqi people.
If we had paid more attention to Afghanistan in the '80s we might not have had 9-11. If we hadn't left it in such a mess, we might not have had 9-11 and three thousand people would be alive to talk to you today.
This TV show (the Iraq War - ed.) that we just gave you was extraordinarily entertaining, and I really hope that the legacy that it leaves behind is not one that shows war as glorious, because there's nothing more dangerous than a democracy that thinks this is a glorious thing to do.

War is ugly and it's dangerous, and in this world the way we are discussed on the Arab street, it feeds and fuels their hatred and their desire to kill themselves to take out Americans. It's a dangerous thing to propagate.

the Fox effect, the Fox news effect. I know everyone of you has watched it. It's not a dirty little secret. A lot of people describe Fox as having streamers and banners coming out of the television as you're watching it cover a war. But the Fox effect is very concerning to me.

I'm a journalist and I like to be able to tell the story as I see it, and I hate it when someone tells me I'm one-sided. It's the worst I can hear. Fox has taken so many viewers away from CNN and MSNBC because of their agenda and because of their targeting the market of cable news viewership, that I'm afraid there's not a really big place in cable for news. Cable is for entertainment, as it's turning out, but not news.

I'm hoping that I will have a future in news in cable, but not the way some cable news operators wrap themselves in the American flag and patriotism and go after a certain target demographic, which is very lucrative. You can already see the effects, you can already see the big hires on other networks, right wing hires to chase after this effect, and you can already see that flag waving in the corners of those cable news stations where they have exciting American music to go along with their war coverage.

And when her corporate masters at MSNBC found out, they did this to her:
I was office-less for ten months....No phone, no computer. For ten months I had to report to work every day and ask where I could sit. If somebody was away I could use their desk. Eventually, after ten months of this, I was given an office that was a tape closet. They cleared the tapes out and put a desk and a TV in there, and a computer and phone. It was pretty blatant. The message was crystal clear. Yet they wouldn't let me leave. I begged for seventeen months to be let out of my contract. If they had no use for me, let's just part ways amicably -- no need for payouts, just a clean break. And [NBC News President Neal Shapiro] wouldn't allow it. I don't know what his rationale was -- perhaps he thought I would take what I felt was a very strong brand, and others felt was a very strong brand, to another network and make a success of it. Maybe that's why he chose to keep me in a warehouse. I will never forgive him for his cruelty and the manner in which he decided to dispose of me.
But "Bloody Bill" Kristol, Tom Friedman and a slew of other Big Media war cheerleaders were all richly rewarded for advocating Bush's Folly, while Ms. Banfield, after her contract finally, mercifully expired, was banished to the hinterlands of cable news on Court TV for having the courage of her convictions.
A promising career stopped dead in its tracks.
Until now.  She has been hired by ABC News.  I hope this is a new beginning for her.  I celebrate it and even sent her a congratulatory note. You should, too, at this link:
But first, you should go read her entire speech.

Must Reads

The Rude Pundit: Understanding Why Nidal Hasan Did It Makes Us Stronger

Joel Achenbach: Feeling the weight of war

James Gordon Meek: My solemn meeting on Veterans Day with President Obama at my friend's resting place in Arlington

Sam Stein: Anita Dunn Takes Parting Shot At Fox, Hannity And Beck

Daniel Tencer: Liberals cry ‘unfair’ after Fox orders unbalanced YouTube purge

David Michael Green: Twenty Years From Now, You Will Lie To Your Children

President Obama's Weekly Address - November 14, 2009

Veterans Day and Fort Hood

Friday, November 13, 2009

D.O.J. Decides to Try K.S.M. in N.Y.C. and G.O.P. Loses Their S.H.I.T.

What a bunch of quivering, diaper soiling pussies these GOP and wingnut mouthpieces be. Today, the Department of Justice announced that 9/11 alleged mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed would stand trial in New York City  for the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center along with four other suspected terrorists currently being detained in Guantanamo Bay.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said he would seek the death penalty against the five defendants if they are found guilty in federal court.
He announced those decisions in a news conference Friday at the Department of Justice. The arrangements would mean that civilian prosecutors would handle those detainees accused of the 2001 terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, northern Virginia and Pennsylvania, while the 2000 attack against the Cole would remain within the military system.
Holder went on to add that despite the possibility of certain evidence being thrown out of court due to the way it was obtained (damn, that waterboarding!) there was no way he would let these trials go to Federal court had he not been "confident that the outcome would be a successful one."

But the puzzling thing that I want to know is, why do these bed wetting Republicans opposed to this move have such little faith in the United States Justice system? Why do they insist on, at the the very least, a continuation of their fear mongering?
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey: "It shows a willingness to disclose how our intelligence process works and offer [the suspects] a platform in our legal system to gather intelligence for themselves," Mukasey said before an audience of conservative lawyers at the national Federalist Society's annual legal convention in Washington.
Holder's plan "creates a cornucopia of intelligence for those still at large and a circus for those being tried," Mukasey said."
House Minority Leader John Boehner: "The Obama Administration’s irresponsible decision to prosecute the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks in New York City puts the interests of liberal special interest groups before the safety and security of the American people. The possibility that Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his co-conspirators could be found ‘not guilty’ due to some legal technicality just blocks from Ground Zero should give every American pause."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: “Nobody in America wants these people tried in their local community,” McConnell said, adding that getting a conviction in a civilian court will be “much tougher” and that once the U.S. Justice Department “hands these people over to the court system, they have no more control.

“If they are acquitted, a judge could simply let them go,” McConnell said. “There is no rational basis for bringing these foreigners into the U.S. court system.”
Joe Lieberman: "The terrorists who planned, participated in, and aided the September 11, 2001 attacks are war criminals, not common criminals. Not only are these individuals not common criminals but war criminals, they are also not American citizens entitled to all the constitutional rights American citizens have in our federal courts. The individuals accused of committing these heinous, cowardly acts of intentionally targeting unsuspecting, defenseless civilians should therefore be tried by military commission rather than in civilian courts in the United States...
...It is inconceivable that we would bring these alleged terrorists back to New York for trial, to the scene of the carnage they created eight years ago, and give them a platform to mock the suffering of their victims and the victims' families, and rally their followers to continue waging jihad against America."

These are our intrepid leaders, pissing in their pants at the thought of a fair trial.  Moaning about how our Justice system shouldn't be used for "non-citizens" while (as the Rude Pundit notes), "the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution says, 'In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial' and then talks about the rights that entails. That really doesn't distinguish between citizen and non-citizen and, indeed, there have been many decisions that allow for fair and speedy trial for immigrants both legal and illegal, as well as for non-Americans extradited to the United States for trial."

Speedy and public trial. Does speedy mean being held for six years without charges?

What are these chickenhawks frightened of?  Do they seriously believe that our supermax prisons, which hold  our most dangerous criminals, can't contain a terrorist? Do they have such little faith in our national security apparatus that even the idea of Gitmo detainees setting a physical foot on precious US soil would undermine our safety? Is McConnell really that dense to think that if by some infinitesimally slim chance KSM is somehow acquitted, he'd be able to walk out the front doors of the courthouse and disappear into the New York City streets?  Of course not.  It's all fear mongering and political posturing for his brainless base. Why would former AG Mukasey think that having Mohammed inside a federal courtroom "discloses our intelligence process" to terrorists?  How is it possible that a former prosecutor like Rudy Giuliani now thinks that the federal courts he worked in as a district attorney now can't handle terrorist cases?  Has he forgotten the name "Zacarias Moussaoui" so quickly?

All which leads to the question: why do these elected officials hate the Constitution (save Boehner who doesn't know the difference between the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence)?   These war mongering, pants soiling chickenhawks should have a little more faith in the system they claim to defend than throwing out the Constitution whenever it suits them.


Read Meek's article here.

The Non-Existent Double Standard

The more I think about these last few Carrie Prejean meltdown interviews, the more it pisses me off. It may be that the ladies on The View actually gave her her most challenging interview to date. And without fail, Prejean brings up liberal media double standard. Or should I say the non-existent liberal media double standard.

I suppose it feels real to her after participating in softball interviews on Hannity or some other Fox show. But as she appears on other shows, as evidenced on Larry King, I think she thinks she can dictate how the interview goes. Sure, you're going to get uncomfortable questions when not surrounded by supporters, but that's how these things work. If you write a book about yourself and start publicizing it at the same time that it's revealed that you made a sex tape, lied about the age at which you made it, then the fact comes out that there could be a couple of dozen of them at a LEGAL age, which you also lied about, you might wind up being in a couple of situations that don't feel so homey.

And her accusations continue to have the mainstream media by the balls. For any criticism by talking heads or news outlets about a Republican or Conservative, especially when that criticism is truly warranted, they are all accused of the "double standard" that Carrie Prejean was whining about. How many times has that idiot already said, "If Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly said some of the things about Michelle Obama or Sonia Sotomayor that Keith Olbermann has said about me, they would be off. The. Air." They know it's coming. They've seen previous interviews. And they know that that pretty, little vacuous head of hers can't hold too much information except for the usual talking points, but do they prepare for a rebuttal?

Something like, "Well, actually, Hannity has constantly taken quotes from Michelle Obama's Princeton thesis completely out of context to make it sound like some racial views she was quoting were her own. Did you know that? Did you watch Fox News Channel at all during the election when pretty much every program was characterizing Michelle Obama as a bitter, militant, angry black woman?" But nothing. Prejean, and every other Republican or Conservative frankly, attacks the non-existent "liberal" media bias and the talking heads walk to the corner with their tails between their legs and don't bother challenging that lie for fear of being labeled "liberal."

But fine. Let them keep propping up Prejean's tome, the life of a 22 year-old beauty pageant queen. Riveting reading. Let Oprah hawk Sarah Palin's new, five chapter book. Then let's see Palin run in 2012. It's a win-win, and you know the GOP is quaking in its shit-kicking boots. If she runs on a Conservative ticket she'll fracture the party and the Democrats win just like NY-23. If the Republicans are stupid enough to nominate her, they'll lose the Independents and the Democrats win. Sit back and think for a minute on a debate between President Obama and Sarah Palin. Oh. My. God.

Do you think he'll have to bone up on some winking and some fancy pageant walkin'?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What A Way To Promote Your Book

With role models like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann, it's no wonder why Carrie Prejean thinks her behavior is "appropriate."

South Park Rocks!

Last night's episode shows us an Eric Cartman run amok when he is chosen to be the daily announcement reader over the school's PA system. He soon becomes... wait for it... GLENN BECK! A must see!

Hannity: Jon Stewart Was Right

Of course, he still has to admit his mistake in that slimy, condescending Hannity way.

"It was an inadverdent mistake, but a mistake none the less."

Inadvertent? Sure it was.

UPDATE (4pm): Chez Pazienza: Sean Hannity's Act of Neo-Contrition


This story has to be seen to be believed. And then filed in the annals of the WHAT THE FUCK?! Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Obama Rejects Afghanistan Plans

Breaking news on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow show via the AP that President Obama has rejected all the plans recommended to him for our next step in Afghanistan and sent his national security staff back to the drawing board with the intention of forming a plan that transfers security to the Afghan military.

President Barack Obama does not plan to accept any of the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, pushing instead for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government, a senior administration official said Wednesday.
That push follows strong reservations about a possible troop buildup expressed by the U.S. ambassador in Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, according to a second top administration official. In strongly worded classified cables to Washington, Eikenberry said he had misgivings about sending in new troops while there are still so many questions about the leadership of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Adding... This is huge considering the sketchy at best and fraudulent at worst election process that Karzai "won." In public, of course the White House has to say that Karzai was legitimately re-elected, but behind the scenes I'm sure it's a completely different story regarding the clusterfuck the whole situation has become.

Lou Dobbs Quits CNN

NY Times: Lou Dobbs, the longtime CNN anchor whose anti-immigration views have made him a TV lightning rod, said Wednesday that he is leaving the cable news channel effective immediately.
And Dobbs' new Fox News show starts in 5... 4... 3...

Veteran's Day

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

Fox Fact Checks Palin!

As I posted yesterday, while speaking to some fringey, meaningless group, Sarah Palin inferred that the current White House could be suspect in taking The Religion off our currency, when the actual legislation to commemorate US Presidents on the $1 coin laid at the feet of the Bush administration. Well, when you get fact checked by Fox News, you know you're in trouble.

Jon Stewart Busts Hannity

Fox News' coverage of the Michele Bachmann Monkey Circus last Thursday included some suspect footage, as Jon Stewart shows and calls out Sean Hannity in the process. Awesome.

So the next time you see "Earlier" in the top left corner of your screen on Fox News, just remember you could be looking at footage that is TWO MONTHS earlier. Every once in a while I have to ask, "Why is it that a comedian makes for a better reporter than most other talking heads on TV?"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Anita Dunn Stepping Down - UPDATED

As planned, Anita Dunn will leave at the end of the month as interim White House Communications Director.

Dunn, a longtime Democratic media consultant, took over the job on an interim basis earlier this year when Ellen Moran abruptly left the post to take a job at the Commerce Department. Dunn will return to Squier Knapp Dunn, the consulting firm where she is a partner, but will remain as a consultant to the White House on the communications and strategic matters.
...The passing of the baton from Dunn to [Deputy Communications Director Dan] Pfeiffer had long been expected within White House circles as she had made clear when she took the job that the "interim" in her title was meant to be taken literally.
How soon before Fox News calls this a victory on their end in the war of Reality vs. Fiction?

UPDATE (11/11/09 10:30am): I called it. It was a matter of a couple of hours. What took so long?

Fox Nation Claims Victory

Palin Just Can't Help Herself

Now I know why Sarah Palin quit her Governorship. She wanted the extra time to attend Michele Bachmann's Wingnut Conspiracies 101 class. I wonder if she'll get a graduation lei? Judging by her track record, she probably won't even complete the course.

While speaking to a fund-raising banquet of Wisconsin Right to Life in which no press or recording devices were allowed to document her ever continuing idiocy,

"...she began her remarks with a puzzling commentary on the design of newly minted dollar coins.

Noting that there had been a lot of “change” of late, Palin recalled a recent conversation with a friend about how the phrase “In God We Trust” had been moved to the edge of the new coins.

“Who calls a shot like that?” she demanded. “Who makes a decision like that?”

She added: “It’s a disturbing trend.”

Unsaid but implied was that the new Democratic White House was behind such a move to secularize the nation’s currency.

But the new coins – concerns over which apparently stemmed from an email chain letter widely circulated among conservatives – were commissioned by the Republican-led Congress in 2005 and approved by President Bush.

But Palin doesn't let facts stop her from a good anti-Obama smear, whether it's "palling around with terorists" or ridding US currency of it's national motto. Of course, we'll never know if Palin realizes the little factoid that a Republican led Congress unanimously voted for the coin and The Shrub approved it, because she's either A) duplicitous enough to lead the current group of lemmings she's speaking to over a cliff, or B) just fucking stupid. I think she's both.

I don't believe the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005 specifically answers any design "trends," like putting "In God We Trust" on the edge of the coin instead of front or back (which I think is pretty cool from a design standpoint). I'm guessing it was just a decision based on esthetics. But no matter where the national motto is, when was the last time you "read" your coin currency other than to check out the new designs of quarters or to see if you come across a wheat cent? And by the way, has anybody seen these coins in circulation? I think I remember having the Washington coin in my hand at one point, but I haven't seen the other presidential coins yet. If I come across one, it's usually good ol' Sacagawea.

All of Palin's yammering is moot anyway because God fearing men like Senators Sam Brownback and Robert Byrd introduced legislation to praise the Lord by putting His name back in prominence on US minted coins in 2007. Nothing like worshipping idols on your money, huh? So not only was Ms. Wasilla wrong on where this affront to God started, she is also completely unaware that it is no longer an issue. She's at least two years late on the "controversy." Maybe she was too busy trying to get a state trooper fired or something. It must be bliss going through life so incredibly stupid.

And speaking of stupid while we're on the subject of currency, after doing some traveling in Canada and Europe over the years, when are we going to finally quit the US dollar bill? Sure, polls overwhelmingly favor the continuation of the dollar bill. No one likes change, no pun intended. But when it comes to situations like this, I don't care what the public thinks. It costs more to make a US penny and nickel than they are monetarily worth. The Treasury could save over $200 million per year just by the discontinuation of printing the dollar bill. It would take a little getting used to, but don't you think the cost savings alone would be worth it?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Cartoon of the Day

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Dealing With Children

Yesterday, Rep. John Dingell and the Women's Democratic Caucus in the House were no more than frustrated baby sitters dealing with incorrigible, bratty seven years olds playing the "I'm not touching you" game while wiggling their fingers in their opponents' faces.

These are elected officials whose sole purpose was to delay the proceedings and derail the vote for House health care bill on the day it passed. Absolutely stunning and appalling behavior. This went on for an hour and yet these imbeciles want to be taken seriously? Think Progress has a compilation of video here.