‘Tea Party 2.0’ today. Even More Nuts.

GOP govs plan Tea Party sequel

Hoping to recapture the grassroots energy of last month’s “tea parties,” Republican Govs. Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Rick Perry of Texas will host a tele-town hall Thursday that’s being dubbed “Tea Party 2.0.”

The Republican Governors Association said it is expecting 30,000 people to participate in the town hall, which will take place roughly one month after the much-publicized anti-tax tea party rallies held in hundreds of locations across the country on April 15, the tax filing deadline…

RGA Executive Director Nick Ayers said that while the effort Thursday will be on a smaller scale than the April tea party rallies, it still represents “a great opportunity to mobilize that support.”




Pigeon-Brain Propaganda: Lindsey Graham and the time-tested technique of Torture

Time for yet another episode of the seldom-seen but entertaining game of…

Pigeon-Brain Propaganda!

Today’s contestant: Lindsey Graham! Never a doubt he would show up at some point, he’s eaten a lot of bird seed. Today’s topic……TORTURE…

Quote: “I mean, one of the reasons these techniques have survived for about 500 years is apparently they work.”

Mmm, no. For example Hirudotherapy, the use of leeches to cure illness – to restore the body’s ‘balance’ of ‘vital humors’ – was used for well over a thousand years. So it must work really well, right Lindsey? Puzzling that the flu is no longer cured by such a well-understood practice.

And for the purpose of softening up enemy soldiers, you know what else has been a time-tested tool? Sodomy. But we don’t choose to do that either, Senator. Because it’s wrong.

Sadly ‘time’ is not a particularly good, or moral, metric for the appropriateness of certain interrogation techniques. And a certain senator is a flying rat.

…screw you Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. But thanks for playing!


Tiny Parasites Turn Texans Into Zombies

FORT WORTH, Texas – Researchers in Texas are trying an unusual approach to combat fire ants — deploying parasitic flies that turn the pesky and economically costly insects into zombies whose heads fall off…

..the researchers are trying a tiny phorid fly, native to a region of South America where the fire ants originated. Researchers have learned that fire ants in their home region are kept under control by as many as 23 phorid species.

The flies lay eggs on the fire ants, and the eggs hatch into maggots inside the ant and eat away at the pest’s tiny brain.

The ant will get up and wander for about two weeks while the maggot feeds, said Rob Plowes, a research associate at the University of Texas at Austin.

“There is no brain left in the ant, and the ant just starts wandering aimlessly,” he said.


White Evangelicals: ‘Christian’ In Name Only?

Torture debate prompts evangelical soul-searching

Among evangelical leaders, debate over the use of harsh interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists has prompted introspection about faith, ethics, the Golden Rule, just wars, Jack Bauer and Jesus…

“I have said before that torture is like a bone caught in our throat — we can’t swallow it and we can’t spit it out,” said David Gushee, a professor of Christian ethics at Mercer University in Atlanta and president of Evangelicals for Human Rights. “I think we’re still there.”

White evangelicals are more likely to approve of the torture of prisoners, a poll from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently found.

On the opposite end of the approval spectrum are people who are ‘unaffiliated’ with any church. The poll also seems to indicate a disturbing trend: the more you go to church, the more likely you are to approve of torturing prisoners.

This is not surprising at all, at least if you’ve ever noted Americans’ different attitudes towards the invasion of Iraq. Then, too, the more you went to church and the more you likely self-identified as an evangelical, the more likely you were to cheer the invasion.

One powerful group went so far as to write an open letter to President Bush stating that starting a war in Iraq was just, was good. It was from Richard Land, so it’s (now) known as the ‘Land Letter’. It spelled out seven justifications for the invasion, and this was the very first one, right off the top:

First, [Mr. President,] your stated policy concerning using military force if necessary to disarm Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction is a just cause. In just war theory only defensive war is defensible; and if military force is used against Saddam Hussein it will be because he has attacked his neighbors, used weapons of mass destruction against his own people, and harbored terrorists from the Al Qaeda terrorist network that attacked our nation so viciously and violently on September 11, 2001…

Disarming and neutralizing Saddam Hussein is to defend freedom and freedom-loving people from state-sponsored terror and death.

Without the WMDs, the letter’s whole justification for ‘just war’ completely falls apart. The additional mistake of asserting the Al Qaeda link makes it clear how shallowly they undertook what should have been a serious debate. Has Richard Land ever apologized for steering the ‘Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention’, and all the good people that listened to him, wrong? Has he ever admitted that invading and taking over Iraq ended up killing thousands of children and women? Has he ever publicly wondered how the hell his large group of devout Christians got into a position where they’d actually be championing monstrous evil?

You know the answers to those questions. Why are the most proudly, most publicly Christian people often the least ‘Christian’?

Christian, adj.

1. Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.
2. Relating to or derived from Jesus or Jesus’s teachings.
3. Manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus; Christlike.
4. Relating to or characteristic of Christianity or its adherents.
5. Showing a loving concern for others; humane.

It’s a huge mystery to me, really perplexing.


The President’s ‘Animal Farm’ is Chris Matthews, Jim Jones and the Manson Family

Poor kid, it’s not like he’s had plenty of time to think about Orwell’s little classic. Or has he never read it, and he just wants to point out that he’s not talking about crops? I don’t know, I’m confused by this thing–he doesn’t seem to understand in the least how to make one thing or idea stand in for another for more than a couple of seconds.

The kid actually writes better than his pal Warner Todd Huston, but takes a foolhardy stab at a ‘metaphor’ in starting with the idea that the mainstream media are Obama’s ‘animal farm’.

Feel free to argue with me, but wasn’t the famous book an allegory of how the power-hungry use ‘utopian’ politics to their own greedy ends? AKA ‘Stalinism is Bad’?

Aw, nevermind–Hartsock just seems to think that the media are a bunch of animals, and the president’s a farmer. Get it?

The Obama animal farm

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews once vented to Don Imus his cumulative frustration with presidents who own ranches, huffing: “I want a guy to run for President who doesn’t have a f**king — I’m sorry, a ranch. Wouldn’t that be good, Don, a guy who wasn’t on the ranch during Katrina, he was on the street corner answering questions?” To which Imus replied, “Why are you swearing?”

To Matthews’ credit, virtually every modern president has laid claim to a ranch — even including the current guy who was on the street corner begging for “change.” There was the Reagan Ranch in Santa Barbara, Bush’s Crawford Ranch in West Texas, and Barack Obama’s relatively new, more sprawling cattle ranch — most commonly referred to as the “mainstream media.”

Now why couldn’t he have just called it ‘The Obama cattle ranch’? With the dumb media as cows, right?

One would think Matthews’ irritations would have doubled rather than subsided — if only he weren’t himself one of the ranch hands delivering the Kool-Aid-flavored milk to a mouth-watered public via the airwaves of the establishment news media.

Matthews is not one of Obama’s cows but a ranch hand? The ‘public’ are now the animals, and they drink ‘Kool-Aid flavored milk’? It’s a Fellini farm apparently. Ooookay.

Moreover, Obama’s ranch bears less resemblance to the aforementioned presidential ranches, and is more reminiscent of the Jonestown farm or the Spahn Movie Ranch.

Jonestown did have a farm (“Peoples Temple Agricultural Project”), but that was pretty boring. The Temple, however, was a dangerous and psychotic place, with the megalomaniac Jim Jones the center of the show, eventually urging his cultists to kill themselves. In your ever-nebulous morphing metaphor, it’s now unclear whether the administration or the media are the Kool-Aid cows.

And hay-zeus the Spahn Movie Ranch–really? Another cool metaphor eh, Christian? The ‘animals’ being the Manson Family I presume who lived there while one of the members acted as a sex-slave for the owner. What’s your point? Quick – Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theater, which MSNBC anchor is the bullet in Booth’s gun? Which trumped-up issue is ‘Our American Cousin‘?

In addition, the winged creatures of Obama’s farm are mostly tropical — bearing stark resemblance to the exotic parrot what with their impulsive, redundant utterances of rhetorical talking points that are conveniently proportionate to the standard 3.5″ x 11″ bumper sticker format…

Next: The dark prescience of the Brothers Grimm.


Dick Cheney is a lying sonuvabitch

…as if you didn’t already know:

Cheney: Interrogations saved ‘hundreds of thousands’ of lives

Former vice president Dick Cheney insisted Sunday that intelligence extracted from tough interrogations of suspected Al-Qaeda militants had saved “perhaps hundreds of thousands” of US lives.

Defending anew the former administration’s controversial policies, Cheney accused President Barack Obama’s team of sitting on memoranda that he said would justify his claim about the value of the intelligence produced.

“No regrets. I think it was absolutely the right thing to do,” he said on CBS television, adamant that techniques decried by critics as torture were essential to break the resistance of captured extremists…

While Bush has kept a low profile since leaving office, Cheney has repeatedly gone on the airwaves to defend his own legacy as probably the most powerful US vice president ever.

“If I don’t speak out, then where do we find ourselves? Then the critics have free run and there isn’t anybody there on the other side to tell the truth,” he said, adding he was prepared to testify in Congress if necessary.

‘To tell the truth’–that is rich. Hundreds of thousands of lives? The calls for torture investigations must feel like a noose to the guy because he’s fucking losing it. Two hundred thousand lives would be about sixty-six 9-11 style attacks.


Suicide: Good riddance Bush Administration Operative Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi

Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi Has Died In A Libyan Prison

The Arabic media is ablaze with the news that Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the emir of an Afghan training camp — whose claim that Saddam Hussein had been involved in training al-Qaeda operatives in the use of chemical and biological weapons was used to justify the invasion of Iraq — has died in a Libyan jail. So far, however, the only English language report is on the Algerian website Ennahar Online, which reported that the Libyan newspaper Oea stated that al-Libi (aka Ali Abdul Hamid al-Fakheri) “was found dead of suicide in his cell,” and noted that the newspaper had reported the story “without specifying the date or method of suicide.”

Leading to War: A Film and Website That Chronicle the Path to War in Iraq.

January 4, 2002
NBC Nightly News reports that Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, an al-Qaeda paramilitary trainer in Afghanistan, has been captured by U.S. forces
[link to source]

“The U.S. military is also taking custody of more prisoners, now 273. NBC News has learned that one of them is a top al-Qaeda official, Ibn Al-Shaykh al-Libi, who was in charge of military training at bin Laden’s terrorist camps and could provide valuable information about how the terrorists were trained and what other American targets they intend to attack.”

February 22, 2002
From the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Defense Intelligence Terrorism Summary (DITSUM No. 044-02, issued on February 22, 2002; declassified and made public on November 18, 2005 by Congress)
SSCI “Phaseiiaccuracy.pdf”  (page 77)  [link to source]

“This is the first report from Ibn al-Shaykh in which he claims Iraq assisted al-Qaida’s CBRN [chemical, biological, radiological & nuclear] efforts. However, he lacks specific details on the Iraqis involved, the CBRN materials associated with the assistance, and the location where training occurred. It is possible he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers. Ibn al-Shaykh has been undergoing debriefs for several weeks and may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest.

“Saddam’s regime is intensely secular and is wary of Islamic revolutionary movements. Moreover, Baghdad is unlikely to provide assistance to a group it cannot control.”

June 21, 2002
A CIA report, titled Iraq and al-Qa’ida: Interpreting a Murky Relationship (issued on June 21, 2002 and publicly declassified on April 15, 2005 by Congress) states [link to source]

“In the past several years, Iraq reportedly has provided specialized training to al-Qa‘ida in explosives and assistance to the group’s chemical and biological weapons program, although the level and extent of this assistance is not clear…

“Our knowledge of Iraqi links to Al-Qa‘ida still contains many critical gaps because of limited reporting [deleted] and the questionable reliability of many of our sources…

“Some analysts concur with the assessment that intelligence reporting provides ‘no conclusive evidence of cooperation on specific terrorist operations’… These analysts would contend that mistrust and conflicting ideologies and goals probably tempered these contacts and severely limited the opportunities for cooperation.”

September 25, 2002
National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice appears on PBS’ News Hour and states
[link to source]

“We know too that several of the (al Qaeda) detainees, in particular, some high-ranking detainees, have said that Iraq provided some training to al Qaeda in chemical weapons development.”

September 26, 2002
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld holds a Department of Defense news briefing
[link to source]

“We have what we consider to be very reliable reporting of senior level contacts going back a decade, and of possible chemical and biological agent training. And when I say contacts, I mean between Iraq and al Qaeda…  We do have– I believe it’s one report indicating that Iraq provided unspecified training relating to chemical and/or biological matters for al Qaeda members.”

October 7, 2002
President George W. Bush outlines the Iraqi threat in Cincinnati
[link to source]

“We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases.”

November 4, 2002
Remarks by President George W. Bush at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport
[link to source]

“ [Hussein’s] had contacts with al Qaeda. Imagine a scenario where an al Qaeda-type organization uses Iraq as an arsenal, a place to get weapons, a place to be trained to use the weapons.”