Your Liberal Media
Saturday, April 29, 2006
The War On Freedom
Posted by neros_fiddle at 8:34 PM
While you're getting riled up over fake outrages like a Spanish version of the national anthem, here comes a doozy slipped under the door:
A long-running effort by the Bush administration to send home many of the terror suspects held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has been stymied in part because of concern among United States officials that the prisoners may not be treated humanely by their own governments, officials said.
And that's not all. While we're protecting the terrorists (who not long ago were so dangerous we couldn't even put them on trial) from harm, an even greater threat is being confronted here at home:
Earlier administrations have fired and prosecuted government officials who provided classified information to the press. They have also tried to force reporters to identify their sources.
But the Bush administration is exploring a more radical measure to protect information it says is vital to national security: the criminal prosecution of reporters under the espionage laws.
Sometimes, what emanates from the White House defies all attempts to mock it.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Net neutrality update
Posted by neros_fiddle at 9:50 AM
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Posted by neros_fiddle at 5:03 PM
Today's Washington Post reports:
Anger over gas prices is gaining traction in many midterm races around the nation as Democrats attack Republicans for being too close to oil companies. With many in the GOP growing uneasy, President Bush this week called for price-fixing investigations. Political analysts say the rising prices could dovetail with growing public concern over the war in Iraq to give Democrats an opening in several key races.
The connections that we make among disparate events are often confusing and random, with the deeper meaning not immediately apparent. When I read that paragraph, I thought of Michael Moore's infamous Oscar acceptance speech from 2003:
I have invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage with us, and we would like to - they're here in solidarity with me because we like non-fiction.
We like non-fiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons.
Whether it's the fiction of duct tape or fiction of orange alerts we are against this war, Mr Bush. Shame on you, Mr Bush, shame on you.
It's a sign that the universe indeed has a nasty but healthy sense of humor that while all the strenuous efforts of the so-called "Reality-Based Community" to discredit the fictitious President and his fantasy-based agenda using facts and reasoned analysis have met with at best mixed success, the Republican majority in Congress may hinge on an issue that is... fictitious.
The government can't put the genie of high gas prices back in the bottle. Democrats will have no better luck than Republicans. You can't legislate away the growing demand from China and India combined with a global production peak. Congress and the President are along for the ride on this, just like the rest of us.
But if high gas prices prove to be the undoing of the Republicans, there's a certain pleasing symmetry in it. They will leave power much as they gained it -- in a noxious cloud of obfuscation and misdirected popular angst.
3 comments on this post
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
One step closer to the source
Posted by neros_fiddle at 1:16 PM
Congratulations to former Fox News "analyst" Tony Snow, who has been promoted from parroting administration talking points to issuing them.
Posted by neros_fiddle at 12:55 PM
Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher, reeling from scandals and low poll numbers and facing a tough re-election campaign, reached into the GOP Toolbox this month and pulled out the Gay-Bashin' Hammer.
On April 11, Fletcher celebrated "Diversity Day in Kentucky" by removing any mention of sexual orientation from the state's anti-discrimination policy.
Then, while announcing $370 million in cuts to state projects, including $312 million in university projects, Fletcher awarded $11 million to the University of the Cumberlands, a Baptist college that had recently made headlines by expelling a gay student because the student was, well, gay. The money is contingent on a favorable outcome in a pending court case, but both the Fletcher administration and Senate President David Williams -- whose district includes the university -- are pushing hard in favor of the funding.
The fact that Fletcher is an ordained Baptist minister surely has nothing to do with his decision in this matter.
I think I can speak for all my gay friends when I implore the governor not to celebrate any further "diversity days," or we won't have any diversity left to celebrate.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Posted by neros_fiddle at 7:41 PM
When you can get Glenn Reynolds and MoveOn.org to unite in common cause, you figure it's got to be a slam-dunk issue. And this one is. With almost no noise in the media, the government is mulling ceding control of the Internet to the major ISPs, allowing them to selectively throttle bandwidth or block sites and services as they see fit. It doesn't take much imagination to see the damage this could do to (what people of any ideological stripe can see as) the communications miracle of the Internet.
So check out savetheinternet.com, and drop some stamps to your Congresscritters.
Here's a short video that explains what's going on.
There's no excuse for losing this one.
Friday, April 21, 2006
Posted by neros_fiddle at 9:05 PM
Griz likes to lurk.
Scott Ritter Kicking Your Ass
Posted by neros_fiddle at 5:31 PM
After a career as a Marine officer, a top aide to Stormin' Norman, and a UN weapons inspector, Scott Ritter, lifelong Republican, sounded the alarm before the Iraq invasion that there were no WMDs, no matter what the US government (Republican or Democrat) said.
It was a gutsy stand, but he has been proven right. Now in an interview with San Diego CityBEAT, he takes on Bush, the CIA, Clinton, Rumsfeld, the media, military fetishism, the peace movement, and (most compellingly) the American citizen. It's a breathtaking interview, and an absolute must-read.
Found on Uncharted Territory. Glenn doesn't have funny pictures or discussions of music piracy, so I'm not totally redundant. Yet.
The Nero's Fiddle 200th Post Spectacular
Posted by neros_fiddle at 3:35 PM
Time for a party!
You know it's gone too far when someone shaves the cats...
I'm proud to report that this blog has gone on approximately 198 posts longer than I expected it would, given my inherent laziness. For that I thank my loyal readers and commenters (who are threatening to break into double digits any day now) and, of course, the world, which never fails to serve up an endless parade of worthy topics.
Special thanx to Tyrone for agreeing to join me in this lunacy and TBogg for linking to it. (He's a national treasure, you know.)
Look forward to the return of catblogging later today, as well as yet another fantastic article torn from the pages of Glenn Greenwald's blog. It'll be worth it.
No, no! Put down the cable modI*N #o97y(O Y3v8o o8473yO 75oviu
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Posted by neros_fiddle at 5:00 PM
Excuse me while I fix up a big bowl of popcorn and settle in to watch the theological smackdown between the Christian right and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. A member of the Kansas state school board, after voting in an anti-evolution curriculum, asked a skeptical science teacher to remove a picture of the FSM from his door:
The monster's picture has hung on the door since September or October and was put up there as a joke, Mousley said.
"It's a parody," he said. "It's just making fun of anti-evolution."
Mousley said he doesn't teach students about the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Also on the door is a Doonesbury comic strip about science, said board member Carol Rupe, who represents Wichita. She also voted against the new standards.
"It was two little pieces of paper on the door," she said. "It was poking good fun."
Gamble said she told the principal that it was his decision whether the monster could stick around.
"I advised the principal that Morris has no authority," she said. "I told him to deal with his staff as he saw fit, not by what a state board member says."
Board chairman Steve Abrams, who voted for the new standards, didn't see the picture but said he thinks that the Flying Spaghetti Monster is silly.
"Personally, I think it's juvenile," he said.
The picture was still on the door at the end of the school day Wednesday.
Learn more about the revealed truth of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and be touched by His Noodly Appendage.
Posted by neros_fiddle at 4:09 PM
Rolling Stone, for those few who still pay attention, has been slowly descending into a lad-magazine morass for quite a while now. Happily, though, they have continued to produce some fine current-events reports and analysis.
The new issue features what is perhaps the most comprehensive indictment of the Bush administration committed to paper. Nothing new, but it's like a comprehensive CD box set, covering all the familiar material in detail and creating a greater whole.
Also worth a read is Matt Taibbi's report from the Gulf Coast, which is the clearest (and clearest-headed) summary I've read of the issues facing the poor in the cities levelled by Katrina. While the ADD-afflicted national eye has already turned away from this issue, the real tragedy is still unfolding.
As long as stories like these continue to appear, I can forgive the ever-expanding coverage of celebrity gossip and People-caliber record reviews.
Have the little children sing about me
Posted by neros_fiddle at 3:37 PM
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the festivities at the White House Easter Egg Roll included kids from the Gulf Coast singing the praises of the government:
Our country’s stood beside us
People have sent us aid.
Katrina could not stop us, our hopes will never fade.
Congress, Bush and FEMA
People across our land
Together have come to rebuild us and we join them hand-in-hand!
Is this true? Has the President reached the point where he needs small children to sing his praises at public events? Especially on the issue that has probably damaged him more than any other?
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Posted by neros_fiddle at 10:37 AM
On an issue that no one can accuse him of bandwagon-jumping, Al Gore is making people notice his film on climate change.
Meanwhile, oil prices continue to soar as demand increases and supplies continue to become more uncertain.
At this point, one could be forgiven for not wondering if the world's coming to an end, but instead which end it will come to.
2 comments on this post
Timeless American values
Posted by neros_fiddle at 9:49 AM
Here's one for all the struggling grant writers out there (you know who you are).
The Department of Health and Human Services wants you to know that federal dough is available for programs telling kids to keep it in their pants until safely in the protective bubble of a government-sanctioned heterosexual marriage, at which time their judgement will become infallible.
Since we wouldn't want this valuable money spent on programs that don't reflect our American values, HHS helpfully provides the following mandates:
Additional Guidance Regarding Curriculum Content:
So, no "stimulation" at all until marriage, no matter how old you are. No contraceptives (unless you talk about how unreliable they are). And since gays can't get married, they must remain celibate. Forever.
Sounds like a can't-fail plan to me.
The President speaks from a position of moral authority on this issue, since he notoriously enjoyed a lot of women (among other things) as a younger man before his marriage at age 31. Since that clearly impeded his "best life outcomes" (why, he might be President today if he'd only abstained), who better to tell unmarried people today to keep their hands to themselves?
6 comments on this post
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Oh, dear, they seem angry
Posted by neros_fiddle at 12:25 PM
The "liberal" Washington Post has a bizarre hit piece on lefty blogs today that seems straight out of the "Dean Scream" school.
It all starts with the photo:
and gets better in the copy:
The front door opens and in comes her 6-year-old son, Terry, home from school, who starts batting around a blue balloon at the other end of the living room, batting it closer to her, closer, closer. She searches through her iTunes library until she finds one of her favorite downloads -- not music, but a speech by a character named Howard Beale in the movie "Network." She presses "play" and turns up the volume. "I want you to get mad!" Beale shouts at one point. "I want you to get mad!" she shouts along, startling Terry. "What?" he says, backing away with his balloon.
Meanwhile, over on Eschaton, Dave is writing, "As a matter of fact -- I do hate Bush!"
On Rude Pundit: "George W. Bush is the anti-Midas. Everything he touches turns to [expletive]."
On the Smirking Chimp: "I. Despise. These. [Expletive]!"
And on Daily Kos and My Left Wing, the responses keep rolling in.
"Thank you, Maryscott."
"Thank you for the kick in the [expletive]."
"I wrote to my [expletive] so-called representatives."
"I also wrote to my [expletive] congressman to get off his [expletive] [expletive] and do the right [expletive] thing."
Get it? Lefty bloggers are borderline insane people so consumed with rage that they ignore their kids and sit around at their computers all day, faces contorted with unending hate, composing profanity-laced, barely grammatical screeds. (And probably twisted by childhood trauma for good measure, as the piece makes sure to talk at length about O'Connor's father getting killed in Vietnam before she was born.) Because, you know, you can't oppose the administration without being stupid, crazy or both.
Michelle Malkin must be beside herself with glee this morning.
Pardon me if this is obvious, but you can cherry-pick comments from any semi-popular blog or message forum to prove that the inhabitants are deranged. (Except this one, of course. We aren't even semi-popular, and all our posters and commenters are intelligent, reasonable and unusually attractive.) The Post doesn't care about the impassioned, provocative writing at Whiskey Bar or the expert commentary at Unclaimed Territory or the unending parade of incriminating evidence at Crook and Liars. No, they primly gasp in shock as they point at The Rude Pundit, totally missing the whole point of his blog (or the idea that the Internet is big enough to contain all different styles of commentary). They grab comments from the baying mob over at Eschaton -- gosh, the Internet is full of hasty, angry message postings? Who knew?
And all this is portrayed as somehow confined to the left. Where's the blockbuster expose of the genocidal racism of Little Green Footballs? The fact-free bizarro world of WorldNetDaily? They're probably too busy trawling those places for the next Ben Domenech.
More importantly, how can I get distorted by the WaPo? I need the hits.
UPDATE: Here's how Maryscott O'Connor would rather we see her:
I like the fact that it's on the Fox News set.
Her side of the story is on her blog (linked above).
After reading a bit over there, it struck me how much the writer missed the "gallows humor" aspect of so much of the "angry" commentary he talked about. The fact that he never read a blog before starting on the piece says volumes. It's sort of like someone who's never heard rap before writing a big article on it and never getting past the fact that there's no melody.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Iran's bomb? Mickey Mouse.
Posted by Tyrone at 6:17 AM
According to Juan Cole, all Iran is currently capable of, nuke-wise, is illuminating the face of your Mickey Mouse watch. Bomb-grade uranium must be enriched to 80%, requiring 16,000 centrifuges hooked up to cascade. Iran's currently at a whopping 3.5% using 180 centrifuges, a pace that will require another 10 years 'till blast off. So why all the sabre rattling? Iran hard liners are polling at 15% while Bush is in the 30s, leading one to believe that this international game of Chicken is all about boosting respective popularity. Stay tuned as this ratings race heats up.
7 comments on this post
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Nuclear war: pro and con
Posted by neros_fiddle at 3:44 PM
Billmon cuts through the fog and asks the fundamental question:
Is America really deranged enough to become a nuclear aggressor?
In the process, he conjures the image of the conservative media establishment spinning a nuke strike as a good thing and turning it into yet another "blame game," which I for one have no trouble imagining. Honestly, would it surprise you to read something along the lines of, "If Iran had complied with our demands to cease its nuclear program, we wouldn't have been forced to nuke them. It's their fault. Don't blame Bush."?
Check it out. Real content soon. (Really.)
UPDATE: Slate also has an interesting take on this question.
Sunday, April 09, 2006
The good old days
Posted by neros_fiddle at 3:18 PM
Apropos of nothing, here (via Wikipedia) are some choice highlights from the original 1954 version of the Comics Code.
No wonder all the boomers freaked out in the Sixties.
Posted by neros_fiddle at 11:26 AM
My headline below might be better worded as "Bush told Cheney to use discredited classified information to attack war critics in any way he pleased, so Cheney instructed Libby to leak to Miller."
My apologies for the error.
"Something bad is going to happen."
Posted by neros_fiddle at 11:17 AM
Seymour Hersh has written an extensive piece for The New Yorker on the possible outcomes of the standoff with Iran. It's not pretty.
There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community, that President Bush’s ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change. Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has challenged the reality of the Holocaust and said that Israel must be “wiped off the map.” Bush and others in the White House view him as a potential Adolf Hitler, a former senior intelligence official said. “That’s the name they’re using. They say, ‘Will Iran get a strategic weapon and threaten another world war?’ ”
A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was “absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb” if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do “what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,” and “that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.”
One former defense official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the Bush Administration, told me that the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.” He added, “I was shocked when I heard it, and asked myself, ‘What are they smoking?’ ”
And if that wasn't enough:
The lack of reliable intelligence leaves military planners, given the goal of totally destroying the sites, little choice but to consider the use of tactical nuclear weapons. “Every other option, in the view of the nuclear weaponeers, would leave a gap,” the former senior intelligence official said. “ ‘Decisive’ is the key word of the Air Force’s planning. It’s a tough decision. But we made it in Japan.”
He went on, “Nuclear planners go through extensive training and learn the technical details of damage and fallout—we’re talking about mushroom clouds, radiation, mass casualties, and contamination over years. This is not an underground nuclear test, where all you see is the earth raised a little bit. These politicians don’t have a clue, and whenever anybody tries to get it out”—remove the nuclear option—“they’re shouted down.”
The attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the offices of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he added, and some officers have talked about resigning. Late this winter, the Joint Chiefs of Staff sought to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans for Iran—without success, the former intelligence official said. “The White House said, ‘Why are you challenging this? The option came from you.’ ”
As with any article with so much deep background, the veracity is whatever you want it to be. But I see nothing in the administration's behavior over the last five-plus years that casts doubt on any of this.
2 comments on this post
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Bush instructed Libby to leak to Miller
Posted by neros_fiddle at 2:20 PM
Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide told prosecutors President Bush authorized the leak of sensitive intelligence information about Iraq, according to court papers filed by prosecutors in the CIA leak case.
Before his indictment, I. Lewis Libby testified to the grand jury investigating the CIA leak that Cheney told him to pass on information and that it was Bush who authorized the disclosure, the court papers say. According to the documents, the authorization led to the July 8, 2003, conversation between Libby and New York Times reporter Judith Miller.
There was no indication in the filing that either Bush or Cheney authorized Libby to disclose Valerie Plame's CIA identity.
But the disclosure in documents filed Wednesday means that the president and the vice president put Libby in play as a secret provider of information to reporters about prewar intelligence on Iraq.
Libby's testimony also puts the president and the vice president in the awkward position of authorizing leaks - a practice both men have long said they abhor, so much so that the administration has put in motion criminal investigations to hunt down leakers.
The most recent instance is the administration's launching of a probe into who disclosed to The New York Times the existence of the warrantless domestic surveillance program authorized by Bush shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Bush in February 2004:
If there's a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is...If the person has violated law, that person will be taken care of. I welcome the investigation. I am absolutely confident the Justice Department will do a good job. I want to know the truth...Leaks of classified information are bad things.
Not that this is a surprise. We've known for some time that all "national security" means to the White House is a bludgeon to attack their domestic enemies and control the narrative in the media. We've also known that Judith Miller was used by both Chalabi and the administration to cheerlead for the war.
All this we know, but the Democrats are still scared to challenge him on national security.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
In which the picture speaks for itself (Part III)
Posted by neros_fiddle at 1:15 PM
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
We're either with them or against them
Posted by neros_fiddle at 3:14 PM
My life is consumed at the moment with matters that I'm sure you would find exceedingly dull, but I couldn't in good conscience let my loyal readers (all three of you) go any longer without fresh outrage to consider. So, in time-honored Internet tradition, I'll steal an idea from somewhere.
Over at Glenn Greenwald's excellent blog, Anonymous Liberal dissects a recent column by Mark Steyn, in which Steyn argues that if we just stop saying nice things about Islam, success in Iraq will follow.
In the comments, a fascinating contradiction in the neocon agenda is teased out. On the one hand, we're reminded often that we're helping the Iraqis, and the Muslims in general, by invading and/or threatening their governments into granting them greater "freedom." Over and over, Bush says something like, "Some people believe Muslims can't be free. I disagree, and that's why I invaded Iraq."
And then, of course, the reason we were given *before* the invasion was all about the evil Muslims wanting to nuke us, about striking against "terrorism" in its "geographical base". It's as if people like Cheney (quoted in the previous link) wanted people to think that as long as we bombed things in the general vicinity of bin Laden and killed people who looked like him, we were fighting terror.
And so, at its core, the case for war is dissonant. We're trying to liberate people that we're being told to fear for their irrationality and violence. Eventually, that mindset must collapse in on itself.
And as if on cue, we read Andy McCarthy at National Review Online:
I think it's possible Americans could be persuaded that we must step it up and achieve an unambiguous military victory in Iraq to prevent terrorists from winning a share of power in an outcome that would be a humiliating defeat of the U.S. (which would be seen as confirming bin Laden's claims that we lack resolve). That is a national interest that people can support, ardently, if the case can be made convincingly.
But that case would have to be made. And making it would be an uphill battle at a time when (a) the debate at home has become about drawing down our presence, (b) the public case for why military victory in Iraq is crucial to success in the overall war on terror has long been neglected, (c) the administration has told the country that major combat operations are over and establishing a democratic Iraqi government is what matters, (d) the American people have understandably come to view Iraqis as not nearly grateful enough for all we have sacrificed on their behalf, and (e) Iraq is looming so large in the coming mid-term elections.
Catch that? The American people have understandably come to view Iraqis as not nearly grateful enough for all we have sacrificed on their behalf.
So what's your view? Is the best way to fight terror to demonize Muslims as angry, violent people who freak out over cartoons, or to "liberate" them and spend billions rebuilding their countries after we blow them up? How long can those exist simultaneously in the American brain?