Monday, May 24, 2004

Putzapalooza

Featuring the worst of Howard Kurtz's idiotic statements in his weekly online chat, Media Jackoff.

Err Howie

Washigton [sic], D.C.: Will Air America ever get to DC? I hear Al Franken is very funny on the radio.

Howard Kurtz: That's one of their goals, but not at the present rate. They're having trouble staying on in the half-dozen cities that already carry Air America.

And by "half-dozen," Putzbag obviously means fourteen.

Tim Job

Pomona, N.Y.: Howard, just want to tell you I've been watching your Sunday show and reading your daily columns for a very long time and I was very proud of the tough questions you asked Russert Sunday. Nobody else has, and while I like him I think you did Russert and the rest of us a service. Thanks.

washingtonpost.com: In the Hot Seat (Post Magazine, May 23)

Howard Kurtz: Many thanks. I figured that Tim Russert, of all people, would understand that an interview with a major public figure is supposed to be tough.

Right. Some of the tough questions Howie failed to ask Pumpkinhead were: Why were you subpoenaed by the grand jury in the Plame investigation, and what do you know about the leaks? Why did you throw a tantrum when you ran overtime in the Powell interview? Why haven't you, in your coverage of the Iraq War, ever mentioned the NBC stringer who claims he was physically beaten by American soldiers? How do you justify NBC promoting your lame-ass book in its news programs? And why I am allowing you to use me to promote your lame-ass book?

Intrepid Howie did manage to get to the bottom of how Russert chalked the word "shit" on the sidewalk as a lad, and how he buys his own bottled water, just like the common folk do.

About A Hack

Philadelphia, Pa.: What's with all the attention to Tim Russert's book? Does anyone outside the incestuous media/pundit circle even care about "Big Russ"? There are so many important (and interesting) things to talk about -- doesn't the media have better things to do than interview one of their own?

Howard Kurtz: Well, the book is on the best-seller list, so somebody much care. It's the first book written by NBC's Washington bureau chief and the host of the top-rated Sunday talk show, which draws an audience of 5 million and which recently scored an Oval Office interview with Bush. And it's not really about Big Russ (though Father's Day is approaching). It's about the younger Russ's upbringing in Buffalo, his work for Moynihan and Cuomo, his jump to NBC, his handling of Meet the Press and so on. I'm not surprised that would get a lot of publicity. (Emphasis added)

[Howard Kurtz, May 23:] "Now the anchor has written a book, Big Russ & Me, about his father's role in his life."

Sunday, May 23, 2004

The Gospel According To Ben

Future law school dropout Ben Shapiro needs to brush up on the concept of "the hypothetical" before September. Opining on the attempt of right-wing Catholics to excommunicate pro-choice pols -- but only those who've committed the mortal sin of Democratism -- Father O'Shapiro writes:

The purpose of religion is to set a standard for values and actions undertaken by that religion's adherents. If a religion ceases to punish breaches of its moral system, that religion loses all credibility.

Take Judaism, for example. Let's say that Sen. Joe Lieberman decides to endorse abortion on demand. Now, Joe decides that he doesn't want his rabbi condemning him for contravening Jewish law. "Hey, rabbi," he says. "Let's just forget about my little abortion problem. I don't want to get excommunicated. And if you excommunicate me, and I revise my abortion ideas, all those Jew haters will say: 'Look at those Jews in Congress. They don't care about America, just about their rabbi.'"

Let's say, my spotted Irish ass. Lieberman already has endorsed "abortion on demand." And he's said his position is consistent with his faith.

In fact, Shapiro has already written about that fact. Last year, the V.B. characterized Lieberman as "saying that on-demand abortion is permitted by the Torah." So what the fuck is Shapiro talking about now?

Why doesn't Shapiro just come out for the excommunication of Lieberman instead of kibitzing on the Catholics' little fish fry? Be a man, Benny. Don't you lose all credibility by failing to demand Lieberman's bare-assed spanking, rabbinical-style?

Update (5/24): J. Shawn Landres at Religion & Society provides some clarifying details about Judaism and excommunication.

What's The Connection?

mw has sent a link to this article about Abu Ghraib civilian translator Adel Nakhla:

WASHINGTON, May 22 -- Adel L. Nakhla, an Egyptian-American computer technician, found himself at Abu Ghraib prison last fall, working as a translator for the first time in his life. ...

Interviewed by Army investigators in January, and reported in documents obtained by The New York Times, Mr. Nakhla at first said he was embarrassed for the prisoners, adding, "I tried to help them." But when investigators reinterviewed him a few days later, Mr. Nakhla amended his story and admitted that he had helped. He acknowledged holding down a prisoner who was lying on the floor during one session "so he would not run away."

Mr. Nahkla [sic] is one of several thousand Arabic translators hired in a great rush last year, under a contract the Army awarded to the Titan Corporation, a San Diego company. On Friday, the company said it had fired him.

...
Mr. Nakhla's resume, posted on a Web site for the Unification Church, does not show that he held any sort of previous job that would have given him a security clearance, although his job in Iraq was to translate as interrogators tried to extract sensitive information from detainees.

...

His resume shows that, before Titan hired him, Mr. Nakhla held at least four jobs over the previous seven years, all as a salesman or a computer technician or both. Officers from the last two companies listed declined to discuss him.

The resume shows that he held his last job, with Abacus Enterprises, a computer networking company, for 17 months, until May 2001. Whether he was unemployed after that or failed to update his online resume could not be determined.

The Army report lists Mr. Nakhla as a suspect, the same designation it gives to several of the soldiers who have been charged in the case. But the Army has no legal jurisdiction over private contractors.

Mr. Nakhla has hired a lawyer, but he has not been charged with any crime. The lawyer, Francis Q. Hoang, an associate with the Williams & Connolly firm, did not return phone calls.

Hoang was a Platoon Leader for a U.S. Army M.P. Company in the former Yugoslavia just a few years ago. Even with the good money Nakhla must have made in Iraq, it seems unlikely he can afford a Williams & Connolly mouthpiece (even a first-year associate). I haven't found any connections between Titan and W&C and the Moonies. But there's got to be a story in there somewhere.

Update (5/24): John Gorenfeld tracks down the Nakhla resume which was disappeared from the Moonie website.

Ungrateful Bastards!

"This is always the way the United States does things," Chalabi tells Time. "One of the first things they do when they come into a place is turn their backs on their friends who were instrumental in bringing them there."

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Chalabi Seconds

Will Pumpkinhead Russert put this 1998 Chalabi quote (from Senate testimony) up on the screen tomorrow morning?

"Give the Iraqi National Congress a base protected from Saddam's tanks, give us the temporary support we need to feed and house and care for the liberated population, and we will give you a free Iraq, an Iraq free of weapons of mass destruction, and a free-market Iraq. Best of all, the INC will do this all for free."
(Quote from "The Rollback Fantasy," by Daniel Byman, Kenneth Pollack, and Gideon Rose, January/February 1999 Foreign Affairs, behind the money wall.)
Eh, what the fuck is this?

"President Plans Drive to Rescue Iraq Policy
"Speeches, U.N. Action Will Focus on Future

"U.S. officials said....

"...said a senior State Department official who would speak only on condition of anonymity.

"... U.S. officials said.

"...said a White House official who insisted on anonymity.

"... U.S. officials said.

"...said the White House official.

"...U.S. officials said.

"... the officials said.

"... U.S. officials said.

"... U.S. officials said.

"... said the senior State Department official...."

Final Fantasy XXXI: Bozell vs. The Silicone Sisters

Uh oh, kids, it looks like Brent Bozell has put down the remote, whipped out his joystick and fired off a few rounds in the direction of his teevee screen. Says the bearded git:

But video-game manufacturers wouldn't mind if our kids imagined themselves as role-playing ultra-violent killers -- and now pornographers.

"Playboy: The Mansion" could be in stores before the kids crack a book again. You, too, can be a sleazy pornographer like Hugh Hefner, who in this game's vision is about 30 years younger and resembles Superman more than the dirty old man he is.

Exactly what goes on in this video game which hasn't even come out yet? According to the game's creators, there are several levels of play. First, you, the horny teenage boy, must answer the hard question -- do I want a tennis court or a bird sanctuary?

Construct the Mansion - The Playboy lifestyle begins at home. Will your home be a stately manor built for entertaining or a gadget lover's paradise? As your fame and wealth increase you'll be able to add tennis courts, game houses, aviaries, even the world-famous Grotto to your estate. Just make sure to build enough bedrooms for your girlfriends.

Then you decide which washed-up slobs you want to freeload off you -- do you prefer old schoolers: the Dick Van Pattens and Chuck McCanns, or the new breed of parasites: the Fred Dursts, Mark McGraths and Sisqos?

Live the Playboy Lifestyle - What use is a stylish pad if you can't share it with hundreds of celebrity friends? Spend the afternoon poolside with a bevy of beautiful women, and then change into your finest pajamas for an evening of decadent dancing with chart toppers, industry moguls and all-star athletes. Will you watch a movie in the Theatre Room or the Playmates on the trampoline? Life can be so cruel.

Finally (and somewhat questionably, in chronological terms), you must:

Build Your Empire - Fame and fortune don't come easy. Manage a crack editorial staff, hustle celebrity interviews and mold the magazine in response to a fickle market. Are readers suddenly interested in sports? Maybe it's time to host a tennis tournament and schmooze Boris McEngroe. And remember, people don't just read Playboy for the articles. Each month you'll invite women to stay at the Mansion, manage their Playmate training and oversee their sexy photo-shoots.
Yes, you get to decide whether showing pubic hair will lure Penthouse readers or cause established advertisers to flee. You get to write your own "philosophy" that no one will ever bother to read, and personally select the Party Jokes and cartoons.

And, finally, here's the sex part: you get to "schmooze Boris McEngroe."

Okay, I admit that is pretty sick.

The game's features include:

Hundreds of "Celebrities," including actors, athletes, authors, business executives, comedians, fashion designers, models, musicians, politicians, racecar drivers and scientists.

What spotty 12-year old wouldn't want to interact with Norman Naylor, Ronald Crump and Dr. Enrico Einsteen.

The game also teaches the rewards of long-term planning and a realistic business model:

Empire Mode - Select your own goals (fame, circulation, guests, etc) and then work over a series of months or years to achieve them.

Not to mention the benefits of having good p.r. flacks:

The Playboy Philosophy - You're rewarded for living the good life, having a positive sexual attitude and promoting tolerance and individual freedom.

No wonder Hef looks so old and tired. Wouldn't it be easier for kids just to steal a Playboy?

Perhaps the answer to this disturbing trend, Brent, is not pissing and moaning, but a counterexample which wins over young minds with persuasive reasoning. How about National Review: The Corner?

The Daily Cakewalk

The Los Angeles Times:

WASHINGTON -- Pentagon officials on Friday increased to 37 the number of detainee deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan that have prompted investigations, including at least eight unresolved homicides that may have involved assaults before or during interrogation.

Newsday:

WASHINGTON - The Defense Intelligence Agency has concluded that a U.S.-funded arm of Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress has been used for years by Iranian intelligence to pass disinformation to the United States and to collect highly sensitive American secrets, according to intelligence sources.

"Iranian intelligence has been manipulating the United States through Chalabi by furnishing through his Information Collection Program information to provoke the United States into getting rid of Saddam Hussein," said an intelligence source Friday who was briefed on the Defense Intelligence Agency's conclusions, which were based on a review of thousands of internal documents.

The Washington Post:

Also Saturday, the Associated Press reported that military authorities said a U.S. soldier was killed and three others from the U.S. Army's 1st Armored Division were wounded in an attack on their vehicle south of Baghdad, and a Marine died in a non-hostile incident Friday near Camp Fallujah.

The New York Times:

Fighting over the last week had been edging closer and closer to the blue-tiled Shrine of Hussein and Shrine of Abbas, dedicated to two of the most revered Shiite Muslim martyrs. But early Friday morning, American forces suddenly withdrew from the Mukhaiyam Mosque, a building they had occupied on May 12 after a pitched battle with insurgents in the area.

The mosque had become a foothold for the Americans in the dense urban landscape of downtown Karbala, and the Army had lost three men just trying to defend it from snipers and mortar teams.

...

The retreat came at a time when the American military was being forced to defend itself in light of the prison scandal at Abu Ghraib and of an air attack on Wednesday near in the Syrian border in which 41 people were killed. On Friday, tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Beirut and Bahrain against the American presence in the Shiite holy areas.
Clownhall.com's Steve "Word of The Day" Fantina, in an undated review of Laurie Mylroie's latest tome, wrote:
A few of the leftist's whipping boys are shown to be truly courageous and insightful, and their efforts to see a liberated Iraq have now met fruition. The Iraqi National Congress (INC), headed by brilliant defector Ahmad Chalabi, is regularly denounced in elitist media organs as a rabble rousing group, but the author shows how diligently these expatriates have worked to emancipate their entrapped fellow countrymen. Many observers will recall Donald Rumsfeld's Defense Department butting heads with State Department administrators in trying to fund this heroic dissident organization. The author adumbrates many INC efforts and the U.S. government-sponsored red tape it encountered. Similarly Paul Wolfowitz, whose name has become a progressive's pejorative, is recognized as one diplomat who truly understood the benefits that the INC offered.

Here's a word for you, Steve: chump.

Purina's Response: We're Friggin' Idiots

The full text of Nestle Purina PetCare Company's response to my e-mail (see below):

Thank you for contacting the Nestle Purina PetCare Company regarding WRKO radio personality, Howie Carr.

Please know that we do not sponsor Howie Carr or advertise on his program. We are sorry you apparently received some incorrect information regarding our affiliation with Howie Carr. We have shared your comments with management and are fully investigating this matter to determine how this misunderstanding occurred.

Nestle Purina PetCare Company has family friendly programming guidelines in place that are monitored and nforced.

Again, thank you for bringing this to our attention, and we appreciate the opportunity to clarify the situation.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Glad To Be Of Assistance

Readers have e-mailed with Purina's response to criticism of its sponsorship of the WRKO website, which promotes bigoted WRKO broadcaster Howie Carr. Here's an excerpt from one:

Please know that we do not sponsor Howie Carr or advertise on his program. We are sorry you apparently received some incorrect information regarding our affiliation with Howie Carr. We have shared your comments with management and are fully investigating this matter to determine how this misunderstanding occurred.

Nestle Purina PetCare Company has family friendly programming guidelines in place that are monitored and enforced.

Nice guy that I am, I have endeavored to assist Purina with its enquiries.

Dear Purina,

I am advised that you are investigating how people came to understand that Purina sponsors Howie Carr, a Boston-based newspaper columnist and radio personality who expresses hate-filled views toward gay men and lesbians. I am pleased to assist you with your enquiries.

A few days ago, I posted on my weblog excerpts of Mr. Carr's Sunday May 16 Boston Herald, which included the following statements by Carr:

[Bigoted statements from Carr, quoted below.]

I also mentioned that Purina ONE is advertised through banner ads on the website of WRKO, a station on which Mr. Carr has a daily radio program.

Since that date and as recently as 7:15 p.m. today, a banner ad for Purina ONE reading "Take the Purina ONE 30-day Challenge" appears on WRKO's webpage for Howie Carr, as well as on a separate page entitled "Mug Shots" which includes photographs of Mr. Carr with various persons, and another of a young man -- apparently a subordinate of Mr. Carr -- dressed as a penis. (The man appears directly beneath Mr. Carr and Chris Matthews of MSNBC.)

I am not offended by Mr. Carr's juvenile photograph, but I am offended by his intolerant statements based on hateful stereotypes. I would imagine that a large portion of your customers -- of all sexual orientations -- likewise find those statements offensive and non-family friendly. Purina is free to spend its advertising dollars as it chooses. My only intention is to allow Purina to make an informed decisions re: spending, and to give the same opportunity to present and potential Purina customers.

I would be happy to publish, with your consent, any response you have regarding Mr. Carr and Purina's advertising on his employer's website.

Sincerely....

Thanks to the readers who sent the responses from Purina.

Bob Dole Is Fucked

"A lightly classified intelligence bulletin headlined 'Possible suicide bomber indicators' was sent electronically to 18,000 law enforcement agencies Thursday warning police to look out for people wearing heavy, bulky jackets on warm days, smelling of chemicals, trailing wires from their jackets or tightly clenching their fists to hide a detonator, the Times reported." -- Bloomberg News, May 20

Thursday, May 20, 2004

The Last Empty Measure

"Many of us are committed to winning this war, whatever it takes."

The Bermuda Rectangle

The NR cruiseship arrived back in New York yesterday. The only thing better than being in Bermuda, is being there with Jim Woolsey, Richard Perle, Midge Decter, John O'Sullivan, John Hillen, Radek Sikorski, and various luminaries from the NR crew. You still have time to sign up for the November trip.

Yes, someone actually wrote that -- it's attributed to Rich "Cabin Girly Boy" Lowry.

Funny, the last time I saw Lowry, he appeared to be under 80. And conscious.

I picture Rich wandering the decks with a bottle of suntan lotion, trying to convince passengers to include him in their wills.

Memories
Light the corners of my mind

Misty water-colored memories
Of the way we were

Scattered pictures
Of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were

Can it be that it was all so simple then?
Or has time re-written every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me, would we? Could we?"

Memories, may be beautiful and yet
What's too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget

So it's the laughter
We will remember
Whenever we remember...
The way we were...
The way we were...

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Meet Another Fraud

A certain 'Cracker states that freedom of the press "is unlikely to survive if a majority -- or even a large and angry minority -- of Americans comes to conclude that the press is untrustworthy and unpatriotic." He then asks, "[h]ow far are we from that point?"

Well, if the large and angry minority is made up of flatulent lardasses who can't remove themselves from their electronic teat for any length of time and are, directly or indirectly, dependent on the press for 98 percent of what they blog about, I'd say, very, very far.

(No link, you've already read this 12 other places.)

Meet The Fraud

Here's Pumpkinhead Russert expressing his outrage when a press aide to Colin Powell tried to wrap up Powell's interview with Fat Tim:

"Now, this is someone paid by the U.S. taxpayers, trying to cut off an interview with an American journalist and the American secretary of state[.]" ... "I've been in countries where staffers pull the plug on people. This is the United States of America. It really is unacceptable."

Here's Pumpkinhead Russert when Ali Muhammed Hussein Ali al-Badrani, an NBC stringer in Iraq, reported he was detained by U.S. troops, "a hood was placed over his head for hours, and that he was forced to perform physically debilitating exercises, prevented from sleeping and struck and kicked several times."














Well, I'm sure he'll get around to it, after he makes a few dozen more appearances flogging that "Big Russ and Me" book.

Update (5/20): More on the Republican fraud here.

Flaming Moe-ron

Pimping his old "new" book on gay marrige, Sully says:

One small note about media bias: it seems, sadly, that Fox News Channel won't have me on at all. They like their gays, as Homer did: easily characterized as left-wing and flaming. Oh well.

Sully has reached a new low -- misquoting a cartoon. What Homer actually said was "I like my beer cold ... my TV loud ... and my homosexuals flaming." Unlike Sully, Homer does not discriminate based on political leanings.

And, according to this column by Kevin Naff, Fox News Channel likes its gays, as Roy Cohn did: closeted and right-wing.

I hate to break it to you, Sully, but Fox News thinks you are flaming and left-wing.

(Links via Sully Watch and Eschaton.)

Reader Participation

Big Pharma, Sean Hannity, Michelle Malkin, Donnie Foreskin and hairless troll doll Mark Levin all have recorded audio clips for NRO's fundraising drive which, according to the Jonah B. Goldberg Memorial Rectal Thermometer, has raised about $13K for those nitwits so far.

Rather than listening to the clips -- does anyone need to hear Levin's grating whine? -- I'm going to ask readers to provide their transcripts of the endorsements in the Comments box below. You can speak in the voice of those listed above, or choose your own favorite wingnut. Fun for the entire family, and cheap as chips (cheaper even!)

(In case it isn't clear, I mean make them up. I don't want you to have to listen to the audio clips either.)

Meanwhile, as the unflushables in The Corner continue to dun the dumbfucks, Bigotsboy Batson gets a whole column out of Pumpkinhead Russert's tantrum about the Powell interruption. Am I the last person in America who doesn't get paid to write stupid things?

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Letter to the Editor of the Boston Herald

To the editors:

Your columnist, Howie Carr, describes gay men and lesbians who choose to marry as persons engaging in the "perversion du jour," and embarassments to the Commonwealth of Masschusetts. ("Can't Take This Gay State," May 16, 2004.)

This is the same Mr. Carr who dresses his subordinate as a penis and refers to the young man as the "son [he] never had." Mr. Carr proudly displays this photograph on the website of his other employer, making it available for viewing on the Internet by young boys and girls.

Help me out here.

Sincerely,


Roger Ailes

An Oxford Ass

On Scarborough Country, Chris Snitchens just asserted that the Vietnamese did not engage in torture during the Vietnam War.

Senator McCain will be relieved to hear that.

Update (5/19): The pertinent excerpt of the transcript, courtesy of Seb at Sadly, No!:

[Hitchens:] I think my quarrel with the media would be different from yours. I think what isn't conveyed enough is the sheer evil and ruthlessness and indeed brilliant organization of the enemy. The media cliche about the war is that it's like Vietnam. The Vietnamese were a very civilized foe and if they had had weapons of mass destruction, for example, wouldn't have used them and didn't target civilians, did use women as fighters and organizers, were not torturers and mass murderers and so forth.

The liberal reluctance I find is the unwillingness to admit how entirely hateful and unnegotiable with our enemy is and how necessary it is to defeat them not just in Iraq, but everywhere else.

Bug Chaser And Friends

Turn on the lights and watch the roaches and vermin scurry:

A Senate committee investigating millions of dollars in fees paid to powerful Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff and public relations executive Michael Scanlon also plans to examine $500,000 in contributions from Scanlon's firm to the Republican Governors Association.

The money was paid by Scanlon's firm, Capitol Campaign Strategies, to the RGA in the closing months of the 2002 election. But it was not disclosed until the association filed "amended" financial reports on April 27 of this year.

RGA officials said the failure to report the donation and thousands of dollars of other contributions was an accounting error. The two contributions to Capitol Campaign Strategies, which totaled $500,000, were the single largest contributions that went unreported.

...

Scanlon, a former aide to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), and Abramoff, a top Republican lobbyist and adviser to DeLay, are both under investigation by the Senate Commerce Committee. The panel, under the direction of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), is seeking to determine the legality of $45 million paid by Indian tribes to the pair for lobbying and public affairs work.

The FBI is also conducting a public corruption investigation of Scanlon's and Abramoff's work for the tribes to determine whether tribal leaders or staff members were provided inducements in return for signing lobbying and public relations contracts, according to government and tribal sources.

Accounting error? Well, then. Get that accountant under oath.

Howie Carr, Bigot

Howie Carr is a bigot, pure and simple. Dan Kennedy quotes Carr's filth:

Gay marriage, another mega-embarrassment for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but what else is new? Imagine the circus this evening out on Mass. Ave. in front of Cambridge City Hall - one shudders to think of what sort of XXX-rated products the hawkers will be trying to peddle to those who once were referred to in simpler times as "brides" and "grooms."

"Hey, get your amyl nitrites here. Poppers here, poppers!"

This is the liberal credo: If it happens in Abu Ghraib prison, it's a war crime. If it happens at a rest stop on I-495, it's true love.

...

And everyone has to pretend that this will be the end of it. You will be hounded by the PC Police if you state the obvious, that if the perversion du jour is "gay marriage," then tomorrow it will be polygamy, and the day after tomorrow incest, and then the final frontier ... bestiality.

Carr's stereotypes are not only inaccurate, they're moronic. And we have yet another right-wing fuckwit who can't distinguish between rape and consensual sex.

If you want to see the depth of Carr's conviction on matters of sexual morality and public decency, click here and take a look at the third photograph down.

Lower down, Carr demonstrates his deeply-held abhorrence of "XXX-rated products" and performance-enhancing drugs.

Perhaps some of WRKO's sponsors, such as Purina ONE, would be interested your thoughts as to both Carr's opinions and the content of the site where they spend their ad dollars.

Via Ezra Klein at Pandagon, we learn that Ahmad Chalabi's gravy train has been derailed:
Mr. Chalabi's group has received at least $27 million in United States financing in the past four years, the Iraqi National Congress official said. This includes $335,000 a month as part of a classified program through the Defense Intelligence Agency, since the summer of 2002, to help gather intelligence in Iraq. The official said his group had been told that financing will cease June 30, when occupation authorities are scheduled to turn over sovereignty to Iraqis.

At least he's got embezzlement to fall back on.

Philadelphia

There are a lot of theories concerning the death of Nick Berg and the identities of his killers, and a lot of unanswered questions about Berg's time in Iraq. Sometimes the speculation gets far ahead of the available information, which makes it more important that the questions be answered.

At The Rittenhouse Review, Jim Capozzola proposes a theory about the meaning of Berg's last words, one which I would like to believe is true.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Then: Steno Sue allegedly reported illegal leaks from the special prosecutor's office.

Now: Steno Sue reports on the special prosecutor's investigation of alleged illegal leaks.

It appears that this special prosecutor is at least ethical (or smart) enough not to leak to Steno Sue. But does he have enough integrity to prosecute the leakers?

Mickey Kaus is concerned that Vanessa Kerry will tarnish the honor and dignity of the First Family that Jenna Bush worked so hard to restore.

Frankly, I'm concerned that Kaus, having seen female breasts for the first time in his life, will have an uncontrollable urge to drive to Lompoc and assault some inmates. Or at least make an ineffectual grab for Cathy Siepp.

Grand Old Police Blotter: A Killer Smile Edition

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Reuters) -- Former South Dakota Rep. Bill Janklow was released from jail on Monday after serving 100 days on a manslaughter conviction for speeding through a stop sign and killing a motorcyclist.

Janklow looked noticeably thinner as he left the Minnehaha County Jail in Sioux Falls, S.D., accompanied by his son Russell Janklow, flashing a broad smile to the throng of media covering his release.

Janklow, 64, a Republican who also served four terms as governor of the Midwestern state from 1979 to 1985 and again from 1995 to 2003, did not speak as he entered a silver sport utility vehicle driven by a long-time friend. His future plans were not known.

...

Jail warden and Assistant Sheriff Michelle Boyd said Janklow was housed separately in his own cellblock for his protection because he was a former governor, congressman and state attorney general.

Solitary confinement has a slightly different meaning when you're a Republican.

In a related story, Randy Scott is still dead.

Another Plug

Atrios is holding a pledge week. He certainly deserves support for all his fine efforts. Not only does his blog inform and entertain, but Atrios also promotes worthy candidates, causes and non-profit organizations. And he has been most generous in linking to this site's mediocre content.

Most of all, it would be nice to see him kick The Corner's ass (and asses) in fundraising efforts, as he does every day, content-wise.

Update: Another reason to contribute to Atrios -- You avoid the dinner party with Kate O'Verbite and "ALL of NRO's editors and contributers [sic]."

Ship of Tools

It's time for another National Review cruise, on the luxury liner MS We Hate Muslims and Foreigners Who Aren't Christian:

Mega-influential author and NRO Contributor Victor Davis Hanson, world-renowned Islam authority Bernard Lewis, RNC chairman Ed Gillespie, Club for Growth president Steve Moore, acclaimed author Dinesh D'Souza, syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin, NRO favorite John Derbyshire, and NR editorial stars Rich Lowry, John O'Sullivan, Ramesh Ponnuru, and Jay Nordlinger.

Prices start at just $1,549 per person (which includes port fees, taxes, and gratuities), and $1,899 for "singles." Heck --even a stateroom with a private verandah can be yours for only $2,399 p/p! How can you not come?!

Don't expect to see much of Dinesh and Ramesh, as Michelle will have them locked in the ship's brig and refuse to apologize for it.

Meanwhile, heterosexual family man John Derbyshire will leave the brats at home, after locking up his Ann Coulter doll collection.

Update: Somehow the text got garbled during the cut-and-paste process. It is now correct. Bernard Lewis is not the "NRO favorite John authority." That would be Neil Bush. My sincere apologies to Neil.

Water Is Wet

TBogg discovers that the deep thoughts of The Cornerites are even less accurate than Brainwashed, the Virgin Ben's first novel. Scandalous!

But how can The Corner be so wrong, so often? Particularly with dedication to scholarship and research such as this:

FRIDAY BOOK BLEGS [Jonah Goldberg]

1) I am in constant, longterm, search for examples of the following premise: Politicians on both sides of the aisle are unwilling or incapable of arguing that an idea is good even though it's not supported by the American people. If they propose a policy they insist that it be phrased to the public in such a way that polls show it is favorable. If social security reform is a good idea, it should be regardless of whether or not Americans support it, right? Unfortunately, we have a chicken-or-egg situation where reforms cannot be sold until they are popular and they cannot be popular until they are sold.

2) Serious critiques of Pragmatism, John Dewey, William James etc. preferably from avowed philosophical approaches, i.e. Libertarians on pragmatism, conservatives on it, Marxists, etc.

3) Any good essays that actually define, programmatically, ideologically or philosophically the American "Old Right" by which I mean the pre-WWII right. I've read quite a bit on the subject and the group still seems like a grab-bag of different personalities.

4) Contemporary and historic examples of "lying for justice" -- be it environmentalists exaggerating environmental threats, racial hoaxes on campus, etc.

5) And, as always, examples of absurd arguments ad hitlerum, i.e. arguments where the Nazis, Fascists or the Holocaust are compared to minor budget cuts, opposition to affirmative action etc.

As always, please send book-bleg responses (with appropriate subject headers) to JonahResearch [sic]@aol.com.

It's always nice to see someone arrive at a conclusion and then beg people for proof of the same. And if your work is acceptable to Bigotsboy, he may even tell you about his trip to London.

Radio Free San Francisco

Air America Radio's planned San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose stations are missing from the network's website. I guess they discovered there's not much of a market for progressive programming in the Bay Area.

The Cakewalk Report

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The head of the Iraqi Governing Council was killed in a suicide car bombing near a checkpoint outside the coalition headquarters in central Baghdad on Monday, dealing a blow to U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq ahead of a handover of sovereignty on June 30.

Abdel-Zahraa Othman, also known as Izzadine Saleem, was the second and highest-ranking member of the U.S.-appointed council to be assassinated. He was among nine Iraqis, including the bomber, who were killed, Iraqi officials said.

A suicide bomber was responsible, the military said.

L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator of Iraq, called the killing a "shocking and tragic loss."

....

"The U.S. government has told us that it needs to select some U.S. troops in South Korea and send them to Iraq to cope with the worsening situation in Iraq," said Kim Sook, head of the South Korean Foreign Ministry's North American Bureau.

A senior U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said any shift in troops from South Korea would be part of the next rotation of American troops in Iraq, set to begin this summer.

Tapping into the U.S. military force in Korea would be an historic move by the Pentagon, underscoring the degree to which the military is stretched while trying to provide enough forces for Iraq and meet its other commitments.

U.S. officials promptly resolved the crisis by calling Saleem's killer a "terrorist."

Sunday, May 16, 2004

History Of A Cakewalk

Neoconman Ken Adelman, February 2002:

I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk. Let me give simple, responsible reasons: (1) It was a cakewalk last time; (2) they've become much weaker; (3) we've become much stronger; and (4) now we're playing for keeps.

Neoconman Ken Adelman, April 2003:

Predicting that the next war in Iraq would be a "cw" -- for my sake, now think "crushing win" -- my early 2002 article established the baseline: "It was a cakewalk last time," during the first Gulf War. Granted, I'm an incurable optimist, but even I could never have envisioned the coalition controlling the enemy capital within three weeks -- less than half the time, with less than half the U.S. casualties, of the first Gulf War. And with none of the above disasters happening.

Neoconman Dick Cheney, April 2003 (per Bob Woodward):

On April 10, 2003, Ken Adelman, a Reagan administration official and supporter of the Iraq war, published an op-ed article in The Washington Post headlined, " 'Cakewalk' Revisited," more or less gloating over what appeared to be the quick victory there, and reminding readers that 14 months earlier he had written that war would be a "cakewalk." He chastised those who had predicted disaster. "Taking first prize among the many frightful forecasters" was Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser in the first Bush administration. Adelman wrote that his own confidence came from having worked for Donald H. Rumsfeld three times and "from knowing Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz for so many years."

Vice President Cheney phoned Adelman, who was in Paris with his wife, Carol. What a clever column, the vice president said. You really demolished them. He said he and his wife, Lynne, were having a small private dinner Sunday night, April 13, to talk and celebrate. The only other guests would be his chief adviser, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, and Wolfowitz, now deputy secretary of defense. Adelman realized it was Cheney's way of saying thank you, and he and his wife came back from Paris a day early to attend the dinner.

Neoconman Paul D. Wolfowitz, May 2004:

But no one should have expected a cakewalk and that's no reason to go wobbly now. I spend most of my time with officers and soldiers, and they're not defeatists -- not even the ones who suffered terrible wounds in Iraq.

More Lies From The Pentagon

Time magazine is reporting more Pentagon lies -- and an attempted cover-up -- about Abu Ghraib:

Meanwhile, lawmakers who last week felt blindsided by the prison abuses are beginning to feel misled as well. Knowledgeable government sources told Time that House Intelligence Committee Democrats asked the Pentagon last January about an internal Army report on dangerous conditions and poor management at the Abu Ghraib prison. The sources said Pentagon aides told the panel that no such report existed -- though it had been finished for months. A Pentagon spokesman had no immediate response.

Maybe the Pukes will have Jean Lewis look into this one.

Forget scandal fatigue, we're into scandal backlog. But there won't be accountability unless Kerry is elected (and probably not even then, if the Republicans retain control of Congress).

Saturday, May 15, 2004

A Plug

Book lovers in the North Georgia area should check out the Mountain Scholar Bookshop in Blue Ridge, GA.

Mountain Scholar Bookshop
679A E. Main Street
Blue Ridge, GA, 30513
Phone: (706) 632-1993
Fax: (706)632-7758
Email: mtscholar AT tds.net

Directions here.

Tell them that Roger Ailes, the blog, sent you and get uncomfortable stares from the store staff.

Roger's Random Notes

Seb is back and blogging at Sadly, No!. Let's hope he has better luck staying off the Hillbilly Heroin than Rush did.

Benjamin Shapiro, self-proclaimed victim of discrimination at the hands of the radical leftists who control higher education, will be attending Harvard Law School this fall. Let's hope Harvard Law is as willing to overlook shoddy and inaccurate scholarship as is WND Books. I'm sure it is.

At the recent American Conservative Union dinner, the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre gave ACU President (and former NRA board member) David A. Keene a photograph of a gun. This is good news, because it means David Keene Jnr. will only be able to throw wadded up photographs at other motorists, instead of trying to blow their heads off, as he did during his last drive-by temper tantrum.

Friday, May 14, 2004

Grand Old Police Blotter: It's A Family Affair Edition

When I first read this story, I didn't remember Joe Waldholtz. But soon it all came back.

Joseph P. Waldholtz, a former Republican strategist already on parole for embezzling nearly $4 million from his former father-in-law, was sentenced yesterday to three to 15 years in prison for forging insurance and Veterans Affairs checks from his stepmother and his late father.

After a nonjury trial before Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey A. Manning, Waldholtz was found guilty Nov. 10 of three counts of theft and receiving stolen property, and four of 23 counts of forgery.

...

In November 1996, Waldholtz was sentenced to federal prison for election, tax and bank fraud. He was released in early 1999. He had been convicted in U.S. District Court of embezzling almost $4 million from the father of his wife, former U.S. Rep. Enid Greene, R-Utah, and putting much of it into her 1994 campaign for Congress.

Enid Greene Waldholtz was one of Newt Gingrich's Contract on America Pukes, who spent $1.8 million to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives:

Utah Congresswoman Enid Greene Waldholtz was considered a rising star in the Republican revolution that began in the fall elections of 1994. She was chosen by House Speaker Newt Gingrich for a seat on the House Rules Committee, the first time in seventy years that a freshman had been picked for that highly influential committee. She came to even greater national prominence when a scandal broke regarding the financing of her $1.8 million 1994 campaign, the most expensive House race in the country that year. One month ago, shortly after a federal investigation began, her husband and campaign treasurer, Joe Waldholtz, disappeared.

In other words, Greene made a name for herself in politics based on stolen campaign funds.

Greene did not run for reelection in 1996. But she has turned up again, like 180,000,000 bad pennies. Just last week, Utah Puke gubenatorial candidate Nolan Karras named Greene as his running mate:

Karras took a gamble, a smart one as it turned out Saturday, by picking former U.S. Rep. Enid Greene as his partner. Greene is popular among delegates who last year elected her party vice chairwoman. She is remembered by the general public for the campaign finance scandal involving her ex-husband, Joe Waldholtz in 1995. The debacle drove her from office after a single term and led to the best line of Saturday's convention: "I chose the wrong man once and I'm not about to do it again," she said to laughter and cheers from the crowd.

But will Utahn Pukes choose Greene, whose defense essentially was that she was too stupid to know that her campaign was being funded with stolen cash?

Headline from an idiot:

An Open Letter to Internet Connected People on the Occassion of Nick Berg Bringing Me an Unusual Number of Hits
No link. No comment.



Abuse and Self-Abuse

Mickey Kaus endorses this reasoning from bigot and WorldNutDaily commentator Robert Knight:

We have been flooded with porn imagery on mainstream television and in magazine ads. Where did those soldiers get the idea to engage in sadomasochistic activity and to videotape it in voyeuristic fashion? Easy. It's found on thousands of Internet porn sites and in the pages of "gay" publications, where S&M events are advertised alongside ads for Subarus, liquor and drugs to treat HIV and hepatitis.

Says Kaus, "Doesn't Mr. Knight have a point?"

Well, except for the one on the top of his hood, No.

I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that convicted wife beater Charles Graner Jr., divorced mother-to-be Lynndie England, married men Davis and Frederick, et al. aren't regular consumers of Out and The Advocate or regulars at Mr. Leather competitions. Just a hunch.

Let me also propose an alternative inspiration for the soldiers' cruelty: Finding they couldn't access internet porn sites without credit cards, the members of the 327th M.P. Company found their way to Slate, where they read a glowing endorsement of a politician known for physically humiliating subordinate men and groping and belittling women. The endorser wrote that the candidate's defects include "enjoy[ment in] toying with and humiliating others," and that "[w]ith women, there's a sexual component" to the abuse. Yet the endorser said that the candidate's "flaws are the very things that might actually help him perform better in office." Wanting to be successful and respected, like the endorser's hero, they believed that abusing and humiliating the less powerful would win them similar acclaim and respect.

It's just as plausible.

Of course, if the endorser in question is a huge-ass porn addict, Kaus could be vindicated.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Don't Look Back, Scotty Mac

You might just see your replacement.

At a certain stage, Kelley agreed to talk with the panel. Kovach: "Jack agreed to sit down with three of us, and we spent 27 hours face-to-face with him. The most gut-wrenching and depressing thing I've ever done, just taking a human being apart. But we just did an amazing process. Even when confronted with reams of data, of fraud and lying, he couldn't bring himself to admit it. He just couldn't do it, and he was very convincing in the denials. I've never run into anything quite like that."

So there was no breaking point?

"He never broke. Never broke. To the last day, when we confronted him with messages he was sending to people all over the world, asking them to lie for him. We confronted him with photographs of people who were alive, whom he had 'killed' - you know, said were dead. Confronted him with all of these things. He said, 'I'm on overload, all I can say is I never told any lies.'"
Damn, that World Journalism Institute is good! As WJI's Bob Case says, with no false modesty, "In our post-modern world, language is used not to reveal and enlighten but to conceal and deceive."
Of course, despite my hopes, people are using the Berg decapitation video to push their own agenda. The most revolting variation on the theme involves blog triumphalism: The Big Media sucks because it refuses to show the video of Nicholas Berg’s decapitation, even though many people are searching for the video on the internet.

Interestingly, the fuckwit leading the charge on this theme doesn't have video stills of the decapitation on his own blog, only a link to a link to the video. Which is precisely the same thing as a television station or newspaper reporting that the video is available on the internet -- "we're not going to show it; here's where to find it." If viewing the decapitation is so crucial, why not display the most important frames on your site? Isn't the story as newsworthy as photos of a courthouse, a signboard and a Pakistani truck? Do you lack the courage of your pretensions?

Fuckwit says that "[t]he Berg video wasn't shown on TV [sic], and ... the big media leaders seem almost desperate to keep the story on Abu Ghraib," and "[b]ut on the Internet, where users set the agenda, not Big Media editors and producers, it's different ... Nick Berg is the story that people care about[.]" Of course, parts of the video were shown repeatedly on television last night, along with reports about Berg's grieving family, why he was in Iraq, and the disputed matter of whether he was in U.S. or Iraq custody shortly before his death. And even as this statement appears on fuckwit's site, the Big Media editors of the NYT, WP, LAT, ChiTrib, Newsday, USA Today, CNN, ABC, MSNBC and CBS all have the Berg story featured prominently on their news sites. On almost all, it's either the first or second story, alternating with Rummy's visit to Iraq and/or the request for an additional $50 billion for Iraq.

But it's a lot more fun to pretend.

Sure, a lot of people want to see a beheading. And they can only see it on the 'net. Which says zero about blogs or the "new media" -- unless fuckwit is lauding al-Zarqawi as a content provider.

I'm sure those who knew and cared about Mr. Berg will be comforted to know he died so that others may crow that they're more virtuous than the big, bad editors of teevee news.

A Poepish Plot

World O' Crap reports that Hillary Clinton had Sandy Hume killed, because he had excellent G.O.P. sources on Captiol Hill.

Update: Somehow Blogger republished part of a previous post. Blogger's the one on Hillbilly Heroin, not me.

Tony or Tacky?

Remember when it was unspeakably offensive to criticize 9/11 widows?

Now it's an act of patriotism, says Dotty Rabinowitz.

A class act, that Dotty. And bright, too!

A Poepish Plot

World O' Crap reports that Hillary Clinton had Sandy Hume killed, because he had excellent G.O.P. sources on Captiol Hill. That's according to Dick Poe, in an "interview" published by his former employers, Crazy Davy Horowitz and FrontPage Magazine. Also revealed by Poe: Hillary is now trying to frame Big Pharma on drug charges. And Ken Starr was on the payroll of Communist Chinese companies.

And Random House refused to publish Poe's book for some reason.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Atrios (link bloggered, see 5/12, 6:11 p.m.) has throughly destroyed Barbara Bradley Hagerty's response to the apt criticism of her "Kerry is a bad Catholic" piece on NPR.

One additional point worth mentioning: Hagerty apparently* e-mailed the following response to one person who complained about her story:

"....And I must say that [Atrios] misrepresented one person who works at the Ethics and Public Policy Center as 'right wing' -- the Center is highly respected and follows policy issues from a Catholic, Protestant and Jewish standpoint [sic]."

Presumably, Hagerty means that Atrios "misrepresented the EPPC" rather than its employee, since she claims she never met or saw the EPPC employee before. And note the bogus assumption of Hagerty's claim, namely, that a center which follows policy issues from "a Catholic, Protestant and Jewish standpoint" can't be right-wing.

To me, this is the assertion that destroys Hagerty's credibility. As others have pointed out, EPPC's major funders are wingnut foundations. And the Center's Catholic Studies Project boasts of its ties with right-wing "world-renowned Catholic scholars and writers like William J. Bennett, Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., Robert P. George, Mary Ann Glendon, Russell Hittinger, Richard John Neuhaus, and Michael Novak." The Queen of Coincidence's claim the EPPC is not right-wing reveals an intentional bias, and demonstrates that Hagerty is not an objective observer of the groups that she is charged with covering.

You'd also think that if someone identified herself to Hagerty as a "policy analyst," due diligence would require that she confirm the woman wasn't a policy analyst for, say, the Bush Administration or the RNC. Which would lead to the disclosure that the woman was an EPPC employee.

* I do not know for a fact that the e-mail is legitimate, but it certainly reads like the later-published response by Hagerty on the NPR website.

Republican funnyman Mickey Kaus argues for the cover-up of the visual evidence of prisoner abuses with the following rationale:

"I wouldn't print the identities of CIA agents."

Oh really?

Let's see.

Why look:

"Is it an accident the Bush administration held a press conference announcing a ban on ephedra on the same day the Justice Department announced Attorney General Ashcroft's recusal in the Plame case--so that the coverage the former heavily diluted coverage of the latter? I think not! ... I deny I'm being paranoid here, or if I am it's what General Motors' marketers might call 'acceptable paranoia.' After all, the administration apparently controlled the timing of both press conferences--they'd be sort of crazy not to think about countering a vote-losing story (Plame) with a story that makes them look good, no?"

And this:

"Where is Mrs. [sic] Plame? Here she is!"

So Kaus would print the names of CIA agents, at least if someone printed them first. And then he'd just snigger about it, like it was all a fucking joke.

Kaus also says he wouldn't "wouldn't print private information (e.g. outing someone as gay, or twisted), even if it were relevant to a non-private story, if it would cause them to commit suicide." So Kaus is both highly moral and psychic -- in the fantasy world where he is also a journalist.

Update (5/13): For what it's worth, Kaus uses the word "identities" instead of "names," so I've corrected the quote above. There's no substantive difference, but I want to be accurate.

Should the additional photographs of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners of war be disclosed to the public?

I say no.

Everyone understands what they depict.

Unless ...

Limbaugh and his cohorts continue to lie about the nature and extent of the mistreatment.

If so, release one photograph for each lie.

And don't stop until they stop lying.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Atrocities And Images

I don't plan to view the images of Nick Berg, the American who was beheaded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or one of his followers as the event was recorded on videotape. This morning, I viewed an old photograph of Emmett Till, horrifically disfigured and lying in his coffin, which had been linked to by Hesiod at Counterspin Central. I can't stand to see another victim of an atrocity now. My sympathies are with Mr. Berg's family and friends, and I hope that Mr. Berg's killers will be brought to justice.

It's also sad to see the murder of Mr. Berg is being used to bash the media for supposed bias, to condemn by associations entire races and faiths, and to minimize the American abuses of Iraqi prisoners of war, just as Mr. Berg's killers used the abuse of Iraqi prisoners to justify the killing of a man who had no connection to those events. Neither event can justify or mitigate the other.

A few years ago, someone with intense pro-gun views took a photograph from the 1930s or 40s showing naked female prisoners being led into a pit by armed SS troopers and captioned the image "The Original Million Mom March" (or something very similar). No doubt the creator thought this was a clever and effective way to make his point, but he (or she) either didn't understand or didn't care about the meaning of his act. He took an image that was created by the women's killers, without their consent, and used it to advance his political argument. The women weren't harmed by the stunt, because they were no longer alive, and possibly none of their surviving relatives or loved ones saw the photograph used in this manner. But the use of the photograph in that manner was, to me, utter profanity.

Perhaps the images of Mr. Berg's death will serve a useful purpose, such as to help identify or locate his killers. I hope they are not used in a way that devalues his life, or the lives of anyone else who is not responsible for his death.

War Porn

WASHINGTON -- President Bush, making an unusual visit to the Pentagon on Monday, viewed still-secret photographs of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners and said Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was doing "a superb job" for which the nation owes him "a debt of gratitude."

...

The president viewed about a dozen images, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said, including photographs and still images taken from video footage, most of which have not been made public.

...

Before viewing the images in Rumsfeld's office, Bush read a 12-minute statement to a small group of reporters that praised the secretary of Defense for "courageously leading our nation in the war against terror."

...

A military official who has seen the photos said that one depicts soldiers sodomizing prisoners with chemical lights and another depicts sex between two U.S. soldiers. The official could not confirm a CNN report that said a video exists that shows guards fondling and kissing a female detainee.

"They apparently show some fooling around and some horseplay. There are some that show detainee abuse," the official said. He added that of the more than 1,200 images being reviewed by Pentagon investigators, fewer than 400 are "bad."

The hard part is deciding how to best express my gratitude to Rummy.

An Announcement of the Utmost Importance

The date/time feature on Blogger is currently malfunctioning, so I am having to manually "re-time" the entries in order to keep them in chronological order. For yesterday's and today's entries the times listed are not accurate. That is all.

Con Job

Now this is the type of guy we want investigating the events of September 11, 2001.

The New York-based investment firm [Tweedy, Browne & Co.], which owns 18 percent of Hollinger's stock, said Monday that Hollinger's independent directors, including former Illinois Gov. James R. Thompson, should be held accountable for approving hundreds of millions of dollars in controversial fees to [Conrad] Black and other former executives.

Partner Christopher Browne said he made his case to the special committee of Hollinger's board that has been investigating the payments to Black, Radler and others.

...

In its amended lawsuit, Hollinger says Black and Radler engineered deals in which companies they controlled acquired newspapers from Hollinger for as little as $1 apiece--in some cases despite six-figure offers from competing companies.

The lawsuit acknowledges that Hollinger's audit committee, led by Thompson, approved millions of dollars in management fees paid annually to Black's Ravelston Corp. But the suit says Black, Radler and others "did not reveal what was going on behind the curtain at Ravelston since they had learned how to manipulate and dominate the audit committee."

That didn't assuage Browne, who said Thompson should have more aggressively scrutinized the payment requests.

"This board didn't know how to say no," Browne said. "There's no excuse for it. Jim Thompson is not an Isuzu salesman from Peoria."

But he is a fertilizer salesman for the Bush Administration.

The first casualty of war is the fanboys.

Military Intelligence

This is not a satire:

-----Original Message-----
From: Information Services Customer Liaison, ISD
Sent: Thursday, May 06, 2004 12:45 PM
To: MLA dd - USD(I) - ALL; MLA dd - NII ALL
Subject: URGENT IT BULLETIN: Tugabe Report (FOUO)
Importance: High

FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY


AUDIENCE
All ISD Customers

SUMMARY
Fox News and other media outlets are distributing the Tugabe report (spelling is approximate for reasons which will become obvious momentarily). Someone has given the news media classified information and they are distributing it. THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS REPORT IS CLASSIFIED. ALL ISD CUSTOMERS SHOULD:

1) NOT GO TO FOX NEWS TO READ OR OBTAIN A COPY
2) NOT comment on this to anyone, friends, family etc.
3) NOT delete the file if you receive it via e-mail, but
4) CALL THE ISD HELPDESK AT 602-2627 IMMEDIATELY

This leakage will be investigated for criminal prosecution. If you don't have the document and have never had legitimate access, please do not complicate the investigative processes by seeking information. Again, THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS REPORT IS CLASSIFIED; DO NOT GO TO FOX NEWS TO READ OR OBTAIN A COPY.

Do not look upon the Gubata Report, or thou shalt surely turn to stone. Because we take criminal offenses seriously. Starting .... now! No, really. For the love of Zeus, do not go to the Fox News website, click on the link marked Butaga Report on Prisoner Abuses, having previously installed the free Adobe Reader (available here), and open the linked .pdf file.

P.S. We didn't say anything about reading the report elsewhere. And please feel free to forward this e-mail to the press.

My favorite bit, of course, "please do not complicate the investigative process by seeking information."

What was that again about openness and accountability in a democracy?

Monday, May 10, 2004

The Accountability Administration

The following bit is true, even if it is part of a bogus apology for Rummy:

The first axiom is: When there is no penalty for failure, failures proliferate. Leave aside the question of who or what failed before Sept. 11, 2001. But who lost his or her job because the president's 2003 State of the Union address gave currency to a fraud -- the story of Iraq's attempting to buy uranium in Niger? Or because the primary and only sufficient reason for waging preemptive war -- weapons of mass destruction -- was largely spurious? Or because postwar planning, from failure to anticipate the initial looting to today's insufficient force levels, has been botched? Failures are multiplying because of choices for which no one seems accountable.

...

Americans are almost certainly going to die in violence made worse in Iraq, and not only there, by the substantial aid some Americans, in their torture of Iraqi prisoners, have given to our enemies in this war. And by the appallingly dilatory response to the certain torture and probable murder committed in that prison.

BloggerCon

No, not that pompous dork-fest at Harvard, run by Dave Winer. I'm speaking of the Democratic National Committee's decision to offer press credentials to bloggers. The Boston Globe reports that bloggers such as Jesse Taylor and Ezra Klein of Pandagon.net have already been issued credentials for the convention. Whatever these bloggers report, it will have to be an improvement over network and local television coverage of the event.

Who knew that when I proposed this idea three weeks ago it would catch on like wildfire? (Yeah, right.)

Torture Tips From A Hairless Hack

Moral midget and brutality technique kibitzer Mickey Kaus criticizes the U.S. military -- not for allowing prisoners of war to be tortured, but for allowing the abuse to be photographed. Kaus says:

Not that it would have made everything all right, or even partially right, but why didn't our generals or their subordinates ban photographs,to forestall the propaganda debacle that has now taken place? That would have shown some understanding of how modern information technology can help fuel global Al Qaeda-like hatred. It's been been suggested that the photographs were a part of the intended humiliation and "softening up." But even if you wanted to humiliate--which I'm not advocating!--surely there are ways to do that that don't also risk humiliating the U.S. around the world. How much incremental benefit did the photos add? (You could have had flash bulbs pop without actually taking pictures, even.) ...
Those idiot generals! They never should have allowed the abuse of prisoners ... to be recorded. Kaus never would have made that rookie mistake.

By Kaus's reasoning, the abused prisoners should have been executed rather than released, to forestall to propaganda debacle that has now taken place since they gave interviews to the New York Times, Time, etc.

When Is Fat Tony's Deposition?

Nino Scalia's enforcers have been sued for their thug tactics:

The Hattiesburg American and The Associated Press filed a lawsuit this morning in federal district court that accuses the U.S. Marshals Service of violating reporters' constitutional rights.

The lawsuit stems from an April 7 speech at Presbyterian Christian High School in Hattiesburg by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

Hattiesburg American reporter Antoinette Konz and The Associated Press' Denise Grones were assigned to cover the Scalia speech. The reporters said their recordings of the speech were seized by U.S. Deputy Marshal Melanie Rube.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Jackson, seeks an order to prohibit the Marshals Service from seizing recording devices from reporters involved in the gathering of news. It also asks for guarantees to keep the federal agency from erasing tapes regardless of whether the seizure is lawful or not.

Surely Deputy U.S. Marshals don't violate the law unless they've received authorization to do so. Scalia may deny it, but he hasn't been examined under oath. Yet.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Everything They've Told You Is A Lie

From Time magazine, May 17 issue.

The Administration knew nothing abut it:

For months Bremer's authority had been hearing complaints from released prisoners and families of those still in detention. The State Department knew enough to realize, says a senior official, "this was going to be a problem." Aides to Bremer and Secretary of State Colin Powell say that as early as last fall, both men raised the issue in meetings with the rest of the Administration's national-security team.

It only occurred from October to December 2003:

Amnesty International raised questions back in July, but coalition forces blamed any trouble on the general disorganization of the occupation's early months. Officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) brought serious allegations of abuse -- hich they are bound to keep confidential -- to U.S. attention beginning in October. Pierre Gassman, head of the ICRC delegation in charge of Iraq, told Time that his team found credible, disturbing evidence of mistreatment after interviewing virtually all the prisoners during that visit.

Nabil Shakar Abdul Razaq al-Taiee, 54, a retired electrical worker who was arrested last December, told Time that as recently as March, he witnessed soldiers beating prisoners, including a mentally unstable man who was thrown in a shipping container and pummeled and taunted for days.

It was an isolated incident, committed by 6-7 people on the night shift:

Taguba's report supports the contention of MPs like Frederick that the soldiers were told that inflicting such indignities would "set the conditions" for favorable interrogation by military-intelligence officers, cia officers and private contractors. Taguba concluded that a quartet of military-intelligence officers and civilian contractors "were either directly or indirectly responsible for the abuse at Abu Ghraib." According to testimony from another accused abuser, Sergeant Javal Davis, military-intelligence officers essentially egged the guards on: "Loosen this guy up for us. Make sure he gets the treatment."....

This is not how our military acts:

One U.S. official says that some fbi agents were well aware that the military was using "very aggressive" interrogation methods that would not be condoned in the U.S. An Army officer seems to confirm that.

"Nobody got hurt. No one was physically injured":

Another former prisoner, Mohammed Unis Hassan, was arrested by U.S. forces for looting a bank last July. .... At the Baghdad airport holding pen, he laughed at interrogators who asked if he knew which terrorists were exploding bombs. When he failed to provide information, they beat him with a cable or a riot stick on the back of the legs.

The problem is women and homosexuals in the military:

Testifying before the Senate last Friday, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the Pentagon has obtained more photos and video footage that show U.S. troops engaged in even worse behavior. "We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience," Senator Lindsey Graham said. "We're talking about rape and murder and some very serious charges."

[Mohammed Unis Hassan] says he saw an American guard having regular sex with an Iraqi woman prisoner on the floor above and across the hall from his cell.

American soldiers in Iraq have been endangered by the disclosure of the information to the American public, not by the acts themselves.

Reports of scandalous U.S. behavior inside Abu Ghraib have circulated in Iraq since the day it reopened.

Don't worry, we swear it's not happening elsewhere. Honest to God:

In September 2003, Major General Geoffrey Miller, commander of the secret U.S. detention center for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, visited Iraq to straighten out the prison. He recommended that the MPs should act not just as guards but as "enablers for interrogation."

Friday, May 07, 2004

Lower, Lower, Lower

Quiddity at uggabugga alerts us to a charming bit of hate from Yale graduate, intellectual and man of faith Michael Medved.

We are listening to Michael Medved in his first hour proclaiming that the abu Ghraib torture stories show why women and gays should not be in the military. Women? They have urges and when you put them in positions of power over men, what can you expect? Medved is tapping into the woman-as-temptress theme. Gays? Medved asserts that the activities in the prison clearly show that they were "closeted gays". (Sorry, no audio available. Our technical set-up is inoperative at the moment.)

Medved is beneath contempt.

NYT To Rummy: SoD Off

And they finally realized Iraq is a quagmire, too.

Here's the wingnut game plan on the U.S. military's abuse of Iraqi prisoners: Focus on the photos. If it's not in the photos, pretend it didn't happen. And the prisoners belong to an uncivilized, subhuman race.

For Peggy Nooners, "[T]he most distressing of the scandal photos" is the one showing a female soldier looking "coarse." A good finishing school would have taught that woman the appropriate ladylike for a photograph with a hooded, naked prisoner of war. I guess that's why Nooners was so thrilled when she wrote two years ago that the right kind of people were finally joining the armed forces.

Big Pharma claims: "Nobody got hurt. Nobody got physically injured." Nobody except for the prisoners who died, were beaten or raped. It is impossible for Limbaugh to actually believe this if he's read anything about the Tagbua report. He must be counting on the fact that his listeners can't read.

And Klansboy Wesley Pruden seems upset that the abuses have given wearing hoods a bad name. Pruden's only sorry that "our Arab friends" are uncivilized savages, and that America is forced to beat them for their own good.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Grand Old Police Blotter: Convicted Manslaughterers For Bush Edition

Who says the G.O.P. doesn't believe in rehabilitation?

From the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON -- President Bush helped the GOP raise at least $38.5 million Wednesday at its annual gala -- all of it in donations limited in size -- and smash a one-night record set when political parties could still rake in large corporate contributions.

The Republican National Committee can spend the money as it chooses, from general party get-out-the-vote efforts to direct support for Bush's re-election campaign and GOP candidates down the ticket.

Bush, the keynote speaker, took the stage and shook the hands of several major RNC fund-raisers, including boxing promoter Don King, who waved two American flags. Bush thanked the crowd for setting a record.

From GOP.com aka rnc.org:

Friday, March 26, 2004
Voice of Boxing Great Don King Now Narrates Kerry vs Kerry


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Christine Iverson
202-863-8614

Washington, DC-The RNC's popular Kerry vs Kerry Web game now has a new feature, the voice of boxing great Don King on http://www.gop.com/kerryvskerry.

Kerry vs Kerry players will now hear Don King's voice when they log on to go a few rounds with Senator Kerry. A transcript of King on Kerry Vs Kerry is featured below.

From wikipedia:

In Cleveland, Ohio in 1954, King shot and killed a man attempting to rob one of his gambling houses; the death was ruled a "justifiable homicide". King served time for killing a man in 1966 who allegedly owed him money, whom he beat to death. Although convicted of second degree murder, the judge reduced the conviction to nonnegligent manslaughter. King has been investigated for possible connections with organized crime. During a 1992 Senate investigation King took the Fifth Amendment when questioned about his connection to mobster John Gotti. He has responded to these acts by calling them racist.

We can see why King is such an effective fundraiser.

I'll just sit here and wait for the furor from the pro-lifers, the law-and-order types and the manufactured-outrage crowd.

(Inspired by an item on Wonkette.)

Mickey Kaus Demands A Cover Up

Mickey Kaus is the new Oliver North. Without the hair and the service in Vietnam. (The running around his home naked, waiving a revolver, we don't want to know.) To Kaus, the real scandal of the U.S. military's abuse of prisoners of war is not the mistreatment itself, but congressional demands for information and oversight.

Senator Daschle's Outrage: Leave it to a U.S. Senator to confront shameful acts of inhumanity that endanger the nation and get all outraged over ... a disregard of Congressional prerogatives! "Why were we not told in a classified briefing why this happened, and that it happened at all?" asked Senator Daschle, in a complaint echoed by Senators McCain and Warner. "That is inexcusable; it's an outrage." (Why, they had to hear it on CBS! They were unprepared!) Leave it to our get-a-new-angle media culture to play up these self-serving institutional complaints as if they were in the same universe as the abuse itself. No wonder politicians succeed by running against Washington. ....

How, exactly, would briefing senators have helped the situation? It wouldn't have stopped the abuse, which had already transpired. Mainly, it would have multiplied the number of potentially talkative people who knew, increasing the chance that the news would get out and do the damage to America's reputation that it has done, no? Daschle's complaint is a traditional means by which Senators and Congresspersons protect their careers by distancing themselves from a scandal. ('We didn't know!') It's also part of the routinization of horror, in which a jarring and morally charged event gets sucked into a more familiar and arid Washington dispute, losing its valence. Too bad that while America starts to yawn at Daschle's "outrage," the rest of the world is still sputtering with rage at the original offense. ...

Predictably, the Republican Kaus targets his attack on a Democrat, Daschle, though the article to which Kaus links makes clear that Republicans on the Senate Armed Services committee were equally outraged at the Administration's nondisclosure.

Kaus also complains that briefing the Senate would result in the disclosure of the information, increasing the chance that the news would harm the reputation of America (read: the Bush Administration). Does anyone believe for a second that the Iraqi people don't know what is happening in Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere in their own country?

Not to mention the linked article states this: "Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) complained that when Rumsfeld and other senior Pentagon officials came to Capitol Hill last week -- hours before CBS's '60 Minutes II' first aired photographs of Iraqi prisoners being physically abused and sexually humiliated -- they neglected to mention the coming disclosure." How exactly would disclosure to Daschle hours before the 60 Minutes II program -- which the Administration knew was coming -- "increase[] the chance that the news would get out?"

But the most telling point of Kaus's poorly-written diatribe is his refusal to acknowledge a Congressional role in the prosecution of the War against Iraq. He suggests the Senate Armed Services Committee has no need, or right, to know what the military is doing in Iraq. Congress's demand for information about the war, why, that's just "self-serving institutional complaints." And to Kaus, it would be just fine if the American public never learned of the abuse of war prisoners. (We must consider our rep!)

How would have disclosure to senators helped the situation? Well, any disclosure makes it less likely the same abuses happen again (or, less likely to be photographed again). It makes it more likely that the perpetrators, and those who ordered or permitted those soliders to act, are given appropriate punishments. And it makes it more difficult for the Administration to sell their next brutal venture to the American people.

New Moon Jobless Day

As Atrios points out, Thursday is new jobless day. But not every lost job this week is a matter for concern or sorrow.

Take this feel-good story:

Several dozen employees at Insight, a biweekly news magazine, and the World & I, a monthly educational journal, sister publications of the Washington Times, are out of work today as both publications wind down operations.

On April16, the magazines' owner, News World Communications Inc., a subsidiary of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, announced it would no longer print Insight and the World & I, as well as Noticias del Mundo, a Spanish-language newspaper in New York City, as of April 30, said News World spokeswoman Diana Banister. A total of 86 people are out of a job, out of 1,200 employees worldwide. A small staff is to stay on to maintain the Insight and World & I Web sites, editors said.

"These are the first significant layoffs in the history of News World Communications," Banister wrote in an e-mail.

Closing the three publications will save News World "millions of dollars," said Banister, and allow News World to "reposition" its other media assets.

...

News of the layoffs surprised many employees. "It's a difficult time," said World & I Associate Executive Editor Eric Olsen, who declined to comment further.

Several top managers of Insight and the World & I are looking into whether a relaunch is feasible, said Banister. The staff of Insight is also searching for a different publisher.

"I'm optimistic about finding new investors," said Insight Managing Editor Paul Rodriguez.

News World's reorganization would not affect any of its other outlets, which include the Washington Times, the Washington Times National Weekly Edition and United Press International. News World also plans to keep publishing Noticias del Mundo in 15 Latin American countries, as well as in Washington and Miami.

...

In its heyday, Insight was a training ground for many of today's top conservative journalists. Among the magazine's notable alumni are Weekly Standard Managing Editor Richard Starr, New York Post columnist John Podhoretz and author David Brock.

Paul Rodriguez shittcanned! Is nothing sacred? This is the biggest loss to journalism since Jack Kelley turned in his last expense report.

Perhaps the Father will consider a lateral hire and tap Paul for a position at one of his handerkerchief dry cleaning stores.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Not The CinC

"Karl Rove, the president's chief political adviser, has told one Bush adviser that he believes that it will take a generation for the United States to live this scandal down in the Arab world, and that one of the dangers of basing a campaign on national security and foreign policy is that events can be beyond the president's control."

Beyond his control? Did Cheney and Rumsfeld invade Iraq without Bush's permission?

Bush needs to get his sorry ass off the Winning The War on Terror campaign tour and start leading.

It's Here

It's the eve of the literary event of the season. Yes, tomorrow is the release discharge of Private Benjamin Shapiro's expose of academia, The Virgin Wore Tennis Shoes. Or Brainwashed In A Thimble. From A Mighty WND Books.

If I had a laptop, I'd review the book in real time at Barnes & Noble. But, compassionate liberal that I am, I refuse to enable Shapiro's idiocy. Besides, I'm saving up for Dick Morris's latest. So you'll have to not read it for yourself.

P.S. Who the hell buys Dick Morris's books?

"Let's kill all Muslims."

"I think we should kill them [Muslims]."

See the difference?

In an appalling, but not surprising, display of dishonesty, Michelle Malkin defends Jay Severin because he said the latter rather than the former. Of course, Malkin doesn't tell you what Severin did say, but rather says that it "wasn't true" that Severin said "kill all Muslims." That charge, she asserts, is "a fabrication." So anyone stupid enough to take Malkin seriously would think that Severin had been slandered rather than accurately paraphrased. And, from all appearances, Malkin is fine with what Severin did say.

There's no denying that Malkin has contempt for the truth. But why does Creator's Syndicate have such contempt for its readers?

(Link via World 'O Crap)

Exterminator With Extreme Prejudice

Tom "The Cockroach" DeLay doesn't like investigations, maybe because he's been the target of so many of them.

But while condemnation of the reported abuses [of Iraqi prisoners] came from both sides of the political aisle, members split along party lines over the question of whether Congress should conduct special hearings into the allegations. Several Democrats urged such a move, but Republicans DeLay and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee opposed the idea, saying regular congressional committees could provide sufficient oversight.

"I'm sure that our committees are going to be asking the right questions," DeLay said. "But a full-fledged congressional investigation -- that's like saying we need an investigation every time there's police brutality on the street."

Spoken like a true Texan Republican. There's no need to investigate police brutality every time it happens. Maybe every third off-year, or when we can blame on the Democrats. But there's no need to get carried away.

Anyway, the Texan bug chaser has his own investigation to worry about -- call it Fumigate.