Not Even Feingold Stuck Around
One of the biggest giggles these past weeks across the political spectrum is Russ Feingold's attempt to boost his 2008 presidential campaign by offering a suggestion to censure the president for the NSA wiretaps.
An act for which the American populace offers a collective ho-hum because, silly Americans, they have no problem with intercepting phone calls between so-called American citizens and terrorists abroad.
Now Feingold is a Democrat and I watched his boring and politically expedient speech with my own eyes the day he suggested the president be censured. The most galling, the most despicable of all, even beyond the silly actions described below by the WAPO, has to be how Feingold didn't even stick around after his speech! Indeed he ran like the dickens because the beloved cameras were waiting.
Democratic senators, filing in for their weekly caucus lunch yesterday, looked as if they'd seen a ghost.
"I haven't read it," demurred Barack Obama (Ill.).
"I just don't have enough information," protested Ben Nelson (Neb.). "I really can't right now," John Kerry (Mass.) said as he hurried past a knot of reporters -- an excuse that fell apart when Kerry was forced into an awkward wait as Capitol Police stopped an aide at the magnetometer. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) brushed past the press pack, shaking her head and waving her hand over her shoulder. When an errant food cart blocked her entrance to the meeting room, she tried to hide from reporters behind the 4-foot-11 Barbara Mikulski (Md.).
Hillary hid by my own former Senator Barbara Mikulski? Mikulski's what, maybe four and a half feet tall! What a bunch of cowards.
How About Those Saddam Documents?
The government, under pressure from the Blogosphere and congress, has begun putting non-classified documents on a web site available to the public.Government Site for Iraqi Document Release.
Already bloggers have circled the wagons and mind-boggling revelations are pouring forth.
Like this, from Laura Mansfield.com:
March 17, 2006: Documents confirm Saddam Hussein government knew Zarqawi headed Al Qaeda cell in Iraq in August 2002
Documents released Thursday by the US government show that less than a year after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, Saddam Hussein's government had identified at least one active Al Qaeda cell in his country.
Among the Iraqi documents collected by U.S. intelligence during the Iraq war amd released Thursday is a document, released only in Arabic, which the US government describes as follows:
2002 Iraqi Intelligence Correspondence concerning the presence of al-Qaida Members in Iraq. Correspondence between IRS members on a suspicion, later confirmed, of the presence of an Al-Qaeda terrorist group. Moreover, it includes photos and names.
A translation of the document shows that the Al Qaeda terrorist that Saddam Hussein's government had identified was none other than Abu Mus'ab al Zarqawi, who emerged as one of the leading terrorists in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq.
The document, dated August 17, 2002, identifies the Al Qaeda member as Ahmed Fadil Nizal Al Khalaylah, the real name of Zarqawi, and includes a series of photos of Zarqawi.
But it gets better.
FreeRepublic has an Arab translator, delightful fellow who was quoted in the Boston Globe, who is working diligently to translate the documents. The site has compiled all of these translations for easy access and major media are checking it out.
So far translated documents reveal that Iraqi intelligence officials met with Osama bin Laden in Sudan, that Saddam did have weapons of mass destruction with details on a meeting on how to hide them from U.N. inspectors, and that Russia was passing U.S. intelligence on to Saddam.
Isn't it about time we look deep into what Saddam was up to via these documents and stop the teeth-gnashing over a war the vast majority of our elected representatives voted for?
These translations are currently flying under the national radar but give it time. The truth simply cannot be ignored. Especially truth recorded, videotaped and scribed by the enemy.
Bloggers in the Cross Hairs of Campaign Finance Reform
I cannot stomach John McCain. Ever since the man stomped all over my free speech rights with that ridiculous campaign finance reform act. In conjunction with that great American patriot, Russ Feingold, I might add.
Now McCain, aligned with Joseph Lieberman, is trying to quash so-called "grass roots" organizations. This would include bloggers.
Oh. But only if your blog is read by over 500 people. So my personal blog would be exempt from whatever ridiculous rules the congress critters want to use to cripple ordinary citizens from internet discourse. But Blogcritics, where I also post, will have to shut down political talk one month before an election. This is if the new law follows the pattern of that unconstitutional campaign finance reform nonsense.
The Senate is scheduled to debate lobbying reform shortly after it returns from this week's recess. While most congressional attention has focused on measures aimed at traditional lobbyists and lawmakers, there also have been attempts to impose restrictive new rules on grass-roots lobbying organizations.
Senators John McCain, R-Ariz., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., are pushing a proposal to require these organizations to register and to report to Congress on their activities. Failure to comply would result in civil or criminal penalties.
The proposal has grass-roots organizations understandably nervous. Using direct mail, phone banks and the Internet, these groups hail from all points on the political compass and portray themselves, not always accurately, as outsiders to the Washington scene.
The underlying goal for every grass-roots operation is to mobilize an army of citizen activists to support their pet issues. Typically, they encourage the bombardment of congressional offices with constituent communications. Alerted and prodded, citizen activists daily send thousands of letters, e-mails, faxes and phone calls to Congress.
Occasionally, these efforts make life exceedingly difficult for congressional interns and lowly staffers charged with responding to each communication.
However, they also inform lawmakers about issues which engage their constituents' support and opposition - if by no other measure than the sheer volume of constituent contacts.
McCain's proposal defines grass-roots lobbying broadly. He wants to regulate "any attempt to influence the general public ... to engage in lobbying contacts, whether or not those contacts were made on behalf of a client." In a rare bit of leniency, he exempts attempts to influence fewer than 500 people.
Goodness we can't be bothering the vaunted congress critters with our emails and faxes. So they'll pass a law to shut us down.
The California Lodi Trial
It's anybody's guess why the mainstream media is ignoring this ongoing trial of terrorists living within the U.S. Maybe these "American citizens" got caught via the NSA intercept program planning their treachery and goodness can't report about terrorists actually being caught by this program.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A prosecutor says publications promoting jihad and a Pakistani militant group were found in the home of a Lodi father and son who are standing trial on terror-related charges.
Hamid Hayat (hah-MEED' HY'-et) is being tried on charges of providing material support to terrorists by attending an al-Qaida training camp and separate charges of lying to the F-B-I. His father, Umer (OO'-mer) Hayat is also charged with lying to the F-B-I.
The prosecutor told jurors yesterday that F-B-I agents found the items while searching the family home two days after the men were arrested last June.
The Sound of Silence
Donald Rumsfeld penned his own op-ed recently and it appeared in the Washington Post on St. Patrick's day. So far, well how can anyone argue with the man?
By Donald H. Rumsfeld
Sunday, March 19, 2006; B07
Some have described the situation in Iraq as a tightening noose, noting that "time is not on our side"and that "morale is down." Others have described a "very dangerous" turn of events and are "extremely concerned."
Who are they that have expressed these concerns? In fact, these are the exact words of terrorists discussing Iraq -- Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his associates -- who are describing their own situation and must be watching with fear the progress that Iraq has made over the past three years.
The terrorists seem to recognize that they are losing in Iraq. I believe that history will show that to be the case.
Fortunately, history is not made up of daily headlines, blogs on Web sites or the latest sensational attack. History is a bigger picture, and it takes some time and perspective to measure accurately.
Democrat to Plead Guilty
Scooter Libby lost his job over essentially nothing and this chick from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pleads guilty to illegally obtaining Maryland’s Lt. Governor Michael Steele’s credit report.
And Chuck Schumer, alleged champion of privacy rights, finds time to comment on everything but has no comment on this?
From the Washington Times:
A former Democratic operative will plead guilty to a federal charge of illegally obtaining Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele's credit report, the woman's attorney said yesterday.
Lauren Weiner, who was a researcher for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) last year when she accessed the credit data, will plead guilty to the misdemeanor offense in coming weeks, said her attorney, Whitney C. Ellerman.
She will likely be sentenced to 150 hours of community service with no jail time or fines, and her criminal record will be erased after one year of probation.
Mr. Steele, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, said he would be disappointed if the DSCC is not held accountable for the actions of its operatives.
"It is a stain on the entire organization and the operations of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee," Mr. Steele said yesterday. "It's the kind of politics that turns people off and demeans the electoral process."
The lieutenant governor said he is consulting attorneys about legal recourses to pursue.
"What is the point of the law if you are not going to feel the pinch of it?" Mr. Steele said.
Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, DSCC chairman and a champion of laws that combat identity theft, declined to comment on Miss Weiner's plea.
Selling Ocean Front Property in the Desert to the NY Times
If the story pleases them, the NY Times prints it. Doesn’t have to be true or anything and if it makes America look bad, well there you have it.
In this case they loved the story about the prisoner at Abu Ghraib pictured with arms extended while standing on a block. During the Abu Ghraib fizzle this picture was featured widely by the mainstream media.
Below, heh, the raw and tragic story by this poor soul.
The Lie Story
Almost two years later, Ali Shalal Qaissi's wounds are still raw.
There is the mangled hand, an old injury that became infected by the shackles chafing his skin.
There is the slight limp, made worse by days tied in uncomfortable positions. And most of all, there are the nightmares of his nearly six-month ordeal at Abu Ghraib prison in 2003 and 2004.
Such prose. This poor fellow has a limp and a mangled hand. All due to the mean American soldiers who so tormented him.
The True Story
A front-page article last Saturday profiled Ali Shalal Qaissi, identifying him as the hooded man forced to stand on a box, attached to wires, in a photograph from the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal of 2003 and 2004. He was shown holding such a photograph. As an article on Page A1 today makes clear, Mr. Qaissi was not that man.
The Times did not adequately research Mr. Qaissi's insistence that he was the man in the photograph. Mr. Qaissi's account had already been broadcast and printed by other outlets, including PBS and Vanity Fair, without challenge. Lawyers for former prisoners at Abu Ghraib vouched for him. Human rights workers seemed to support his account. The Pentagon, asked for verification, declined to confirm or deny it.
More Political Tidbits HERE
TV News Personalities-A Critique from a News Junkee
When one watches the news almost 24/7 one cannot help but glean the personality of the one reporting and/or editorializing about the day's current events.
Another Blogcritic, Scott Butki, has written some excellent articles on Larry King and Art Buchwald. Thus I was inspired to take keyboard in hand, toothpick in teeth and tongue in cheek. For the mighty news anchors/commentators cause me fury, laughter, disdain and anger, sometimes all within a one-minute time span.
Let us begin with John Gibson of Fox news. John can be seen hosting Fox's 5 p.m. The Big Story. I often ponder that this news show was titled after Gibson's hair. This fellow has the biggest hair of any of the news anchors. Indeed a Fox viewer found a vegetable shaped like Gibson, big hair and all. It was a tomato I think, so go figure.
Gibson does a passable job of reporting the day's events but he is by no means impartial. I'd argue that Fox is known far and wide for its conservative slant on the news so this should come as no surprise. Every day John presents what he calls "My Word" and it's a bit of biased editorializing and most times I agree with "John's Word".
In fact, beginning or ending a show with personal editorials is not at all unusual for Fox but I appreciate the effort to stipulate the commentary as personal opinion only. Bill O'Reilly is the anchor of The O'Reilly Factor seen nightly on Fox in the coveted 8 p.m. slot.
I cannot stand Bill O'Reilly. Period. And that bit about talking dirty over the telephone that was all the embarrassment last year for good old Bill doesn't help my dislike a bit. O'Reilly too features a segment called "Talking Points", usually at the beginning of his show. I am so glad that O'Reilly doesn't write the talking points for the Republican party as I've never heard such a ridiculous mish-mash of nothing.
Although O'Reilly is featured on the Fox News Network, he is anything but a conservative. In fact, O'Reilly is a traitor to conservatives, frankly, and will suck up to any Hollywood loon who would guest on his show. O'Reilly is also a terrible interviewer. He tends to cut people off in mid-sentence and although he often promises to give his guest "the last word", he seldom does.
We move on to another Fox News personality and the object of my unbridled passion for many years. I speak specifically of Brit Hume of the high forehead and firm but kind demeanor.
If Brit Hume were to ask for my hand in marriage I would leave my husband today and rush to Brit's side. Alas, Brit is married and has suffered great personal tragedy in the suicide of his son. Which only makes me love him more but I'm also fond of how he shoots down Juan Williams every Sunday. It's a sight to behold as Juan- also a Fox personality, very liberal though Fox news critics often shout that Fox is not fair and balanced- spouts the Democratic talking points as Brit sighs and holds out his benevolent hand that would bring peace to the world if given a chance.
Brit hosts Fox News' Special Report during the 6 p.m. time slot cherished by news organizations in this country. Generally the first half hour is a reporting of the news of the day. Brit also does a small vignette at the half hour called "The Grapevine" and often his tidbits are on politics flying below the radar.
Brit then moves on to his panel. News as reported earlier is then discussed with various and sundry pundits as Brit poses the questions and artfully steers the discussion.
But it is not all about Fox News. Any certified news junkee would not be caught dead not watching NBC's Meet the Press. Unless, of course, said news junkee is dead, which could be an excuse. This brings me to Tim Russert, a handsome fellow who is also the object of my news junkee obsessions.
Conservatives tend to bash Russert as being too liberal but I think Tim does a fine job hosting what is the mostly widely watched of all the Sunday talk shows. The broadcast media does not have, at least on paper, as much editorial freedom as the cable media. Sure Russert often asks some tough questions that could be considered anti-conservative. But he asks the tough anti-liberal questions too.
Recently Russert engaged in a stunt where he promoted his son's fledgling sports broadcasting career in a rather sneaky manner that smelled to high-heaven of blatant nepotism. I lost a little respect for Tim because of this incident.
And now there’s the object of my total derision, who can be found at MSNBC. I speak of MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. Chris does a nightly show on MSNBC called Hardball. Depending on the guest of the night, one could easily change “Hardball” to “Softball”. What’s especially annoying, Chris will often launch into a personal vignette during which he will frame the discussion based on assumptions he formed from memories of his glory days back during the Tip O’Neill era. Matthews will continue on with his personal observations right over the discussion then upon, totally disrupting the flow of thought and to the annoyance, one must assume, of his guests.
Matthews also hosts a Sunday afternoon talk show with one very refreshing feature. It’s called “tell me something I don’t know”. Each guest is charged with providing an intriguing tidbit, either based on rumor, fact or speculation, that Chris- and the audience- has not heard before.
Chris Matthews lives in the insular inside-the-beltway world of Washington D.C. He tends to get excited over anything he thinks will become big news. The problem being, Chris often gets the notion of “big news” wrong. He was all over the place over the Valerie Plame thing, even going on NBC’s Today show, declaring that the Fitzgerald investigation was bigger than Watergate and would bring down Dick Cheney’s entire staff if not the VP himself. See, in the elite world of Chris Matthews, the Plame/Fitzgerald thing is probably a big deal. Out here in the land of mere mortals, that entire joke of a case is regarded with a collective ho-hum.
In spite of my rancor and derision, I regularly flip over to Hardball during the 7:00 p.m. time slot. It’s refreshing to listen to someone so not a part of my world, so out of tune, just for the humor of it. Oh, and Chris really needs to get rid of his semi-regular guest, Ronald Reagan jr. Here’s a fellow who is an expert on dog shows but hey, he’s just as out of touch with the world of middle class minions as Chris Matthews himself.
The world of the news and commentary shows is not entirely populated by the males of the species. True crime aficionados have to love Nancy Grace. Not that she’s especially lovable during her self-named show on CNN during the 10:00 p.m. time slot. Nancy tends to growl at her guests and she’s especially hateful to defense attorneys. A trait I find a bit endearing in that lawyers are generally not all that sympathetic. She tends to talk right over her guests at times and there are moments when insults fly right over the air to viewer amusement.
We return to Fox for their 9:00 p.m. time slot and tune into Hannity and Colmes. Sean Hannity is the conservative of the team; Colmes the liberal. While Sean is cuter than a teddy bear I can’t bear to listen to him do an interview and indeed had to tune out on his radio show for his embarrassing rudeness.
An example would be the evening that a prostitute was a guest on Hannity and Colmes. It’s not often that an admitted “sex worker” agrees to go on television and here was a lady with a lot to tell. Sean gets on his high horse where he begins to pontificate with all the righteous of the always-righteous and if he was close by I’d smack him alongside the head like his mother I am old enough to be.
“Would you want your daughter to be a sex worker,” Sean asked this woman, over and over and over. Now obviously she didn’t want to get into that. Yet no matter how the woman tried to re-direct the conversation Sean kept on with this very rude question. This kind of behavior denies the viewer a chance to hear what this strangely fascinating person has to say. This while King Hannity continues to try and wow the audience with his “point”- to whit-being a sex worker is not something you want your daughters to be. We get it already, Sean, now let the lady talk!
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer has been a darling of mine from the early nineties when he was a battle-hardened field reporter during the first Gulf War. Wolf hosts The Situation Room during the 4:00 p.m. time period on CNN. Wolf is soft-spoken and a good interviewer. Although there are times when Wolf lets his guests off entirely too easy. Recently he had Clinton Secretary of State Madeline Albright on for his Late Edition Sunday talk show. To my astonishment this woman declared the recent Iraq offensive dubbed “the swarm” as an attempt by the Bush administration to deflect attention away from Bush’s falling polling numbers.
Come on, folks. What an outlandish assertion that any president would risk the lives of American soldiers for low poll numbers. Wolf did jump right on this and pressed Albright on it. She then backtracked and mumbled her way out of it. Blitzer, being the gentleman that he is, let it drop. He did assert, as forcefully as Wolf is capable, that such a statement was big news and if true, could be grounds for impeachment. This was a time when the “hardball” version of Chris Matthews would have been helpful. Although since the inside-the-beltway crowd thinks of Iraq as a nasty war in a far, far galaxy, Chris would not have had a clue.
Anderson Cooper is alleged to be part of the Vanderbilt clan, continuing on with the tradition of nepotism in the world of news commentary and reporting. Cooper hosts Anderson Cooper 360 during CNN’s 10:00 p.m. time slot.
Think boiled cauliflower with no salt. Think vanilla ice cream on an expansive white plate. Think of whatever boring icon that passes your mind. This sums up Anderson Cooper.
Finally, there’s Lou Dobbs, host of CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight during CNN’s 7:00 p.m. time slot.
There is no more partisan news anchor than Lou Dobbs save perhaps CBS’ Dan Rather. In a recent “Notable/Quotable” column, I feature a treacherously biased quote by Dobbs.
Can’t stomach the man.
There’s plenty more news and commentary hosts and hostesses who either endear, enrage or anger. Perhaps another day and another missive. For now, those who end up broadcasting across the cable or airwaves to arrive regularly into my home cause me to form opinions and excellent analysis for yon reader.
Your mileage, of course, may vary.
More TV Reviews HERE