Tag Archives: new york times

Eli Lake’s hackstorm inflames the wingnuts

SO. The New York Times sends David Kirkpatrick to Benghazi for a very long time to investigate what really happened in the September eleventh embassy attacks. It’s about time. The president’s political opposition have threatened to impeach him over it for more than a year. We might like to know some facts about the tragedy. Any facts. Journalism, please? For example the truth about the Beirut bombing of 1983 was that terrorists blew up one of our barracks, killing 200 Marines. That’s why everybody felt real bad for Ronald Reagan, poor guy. It wasn’t his fault, he’s a moron.

After months of talking to the Benghazi locals what Kirkpatrick concluded was that the violence was a product of a number of things. Long simmering hatred of the West. Angry young men who join militias. The Innocence of Muslims video that ignited the Arab world. An opportunistic proto-warlord named Ahmed Abu Khattala. Read the piece here, it’s great reporting. It’s what we expect the New York Times to do (finally).

The wingnuts at first didn’t know how to respond. The piece was a bombshell. It softened every hardline allegation they offered about Obama being unprepared, being weak, being a liar, being a secret Muslim. The ‘heads’ of their intelligence committees, et. al., basically responded by saying ‘Is too!’

But then The Daily Beast weighed in with the worst blog of the year. I don’t know who Eli Lake is or why he calls himself a “senior national-security correspondent” when he really prefers to write about how kewl Grand Theft Auto is, and that’s not quite a national-security issue, is it? Also why the-dashes, douche?

But Eli Lake has today given the compass-less Impeach! crowd wandering the desert a cool drink of water. Because he thinks all of Kirkpatrick’s work, staying in Benghazi all that time, interviewing hundreds of people, including the militia leaders, and the people who participated in the attack, and then not finding anyone with any Al Qaeda affiliations, the whole thing can be debunked by just sitting at a computer. And doing a little routine typing.

Yes, There IS Evidence Linking al Qaeda to Benghazi
By Eli Lake December 29th 20133:27 pm The Daily Beast

But there IS evidence. Al Qaeda MAYBE killed your ambassador. You BETTER read this.

Libyan militants tell the New York Times that al Qaeda is not behind the 2012 Benghazi attack. Some members of Congress have intelligence that says otherwise.

This is journalism? Before even reading the piece, friends, did you think Kirkpatrick claimed that no one in congress said they had ‘evidence’ Al Qaeda was behind the killings? Haven’t the impeachers been using this ‘evidence’ to beat the president like a junkyard dog? For months? Didn’t we just have Christmas a couple days ago? Wouldn’t the allegations provide reasons to do some reporting and check the claims? Thank God Eli is here to deliver the shattering news that Republicans still think Al Qaeda could have, maybe, been behind the Benghazi attacks.

AND HE HAS FOUR POINTS. Four devastating acts of investigative journalism. Four brickbats that destroy any pretension that Kirkpatrick had of having any clue to what really happened. Let’s look at Lake’s startling investigation, shall we? NUMBER ONE:

Abu Khattala: The Times focuses its reporting on Ahmed Abu Khattala, a militia leader who spoke to reporter David Kirkpatrick, last year and claimed to be at the scene of the Benghazi assault with no apparent worry that he would be abducted or killed by U.S. authorities. In his piece Sunday, Kirkpatrick fills in the rest of Abu Khattala’s story, revealing that he was a part-time construction worker who was publicly associated with the abduction and murder of a rival militia commander supported by NATO. In interviews with the Times, Abu Khattala denies any connection to al Qaeda. He does however say he admires the group’s vision. The Times also discloses that Abu Khattala was close to a leader of the militia the U.S. had entrusted to protect its facilities in Benghazi in light of an attack. But Abu Khattala was by no means the only person who participated in the attack.

Abu Khattala was the man who Kirkpatrick found. The CIA missed him. The after-incident reports missed him. Lake takes a long look at him and concludes: “Abu Khattala was by no means the only person who participated in the attack.” Yes, there were hundreds of people involved in the attacks. Kirkpatrick will not dispute this. Boom. TWO:

The Jamal network: Some fighters who attacked the U.S. diplomatic compound and CIA annex in Benghazi are believed to be from a group headed by a former top lieutenant to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current leader of al Qaeda. When Egyptian authorities raided the home of Mohammed al-Jamal, who was an operational commander under al-Zawahiri’s terrorist group in the 1990s known as Egyptian Islamic Jihad, it found messages to al Qaeda leadership asking for support and plans to establish training camps and cells in the Sinai, creating a group now known as the Jamal Network. In October, the State Department designated Jamal Network as a terrorist group tied to al Qaeda. The Wall Street Journal was the first to report the participation of the network in the Benghazi attacks, and the group’s participation in the attacks has also been acknowledged in the Times. The New York Times Benghazi investigation makes no mention of the Jamal Network in their piece.

Kirkpatrick’s reporting makes clear that the attack was more like a riot, or melee. The participants were young men from a number of militias. These people are usually jobless, angry at the West and prone to violence. The ‘Innocence of Muslims’ video, tinged with rumors of ‘protesters’ being shot by American security forces, sparked a deadly rampage. But The Jamal Network was run by a guy who hung out with Ayman al-Zawahiri back when The Cosby Show was a big deal! And they wanted to be pals with Al Qaeda! That by no means proves they are Al Qaeda. No one claims that this network planned or carried out the attacks any more than Ansar Al Shariah did, because Kirkpatrick’s reporting finds no evidence of the attack being planned or carried out. It was more like spontaneous violence sparked by the video and then exploited and inflamed by Khattal. Nonetheless, like all Republicans, Lake believes the sound of ‘Al Qaeda’ is enough to buoy both a rigorous investigation and proof of conspiracy. THREE:

What militants say when they think no one is listening. On Fox News Sunday, Schiff, a Democratic member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said the intelligence indicated that al Qaeda did play a role in the attack. The intelligence community knows this, he said, from insights gleaned from eavesdropping on the night of the attack. Speaking of the Times report, Schiff said “they did not have the same access to people who were not aware they were being listened to. They were heavily reliant obviously on people they interviewed who had a reason to provide the story they did.” But Schiff also said sometimes eavesdropping has its limits as well. “Sometimes though the intelligence which has the advantage of hearing to people when they don’t know they are being listening to, that can be misleading as well, when people make claims, they boast of things they were not involved in for various purposes,” he said. The Daily Beast first reported that an intercepted phone conversation from one of the attackers to a person connected to al Qaeda’s north Africa affiliates boasting of the attack. The Times says this intercept was the “only intelligence connecting al Qaeda to the attack,” a claim disputed this weekend by two U.S. intelligence officials. The Times reports the phone call showed the person connected to al Qaeda sounded “astonished,” suggesting he had no prior knowledge of the assault.

The smoking-gun phone call, a feature of Kirkpatrick’s reporting:

But the Republican arguments appear to conflate purely local extremist organizations like Ansar al-Shariah with Al Qaeda’s international terrorist network. The only intelligence connecting Al Qaeda to the attack was an intercepted phone call that night from a participant in the first wave of the attack to a friend in another African country who had ties to members of Al Qaeda, according to several officials briefed on the call. But when the friend heard the attacker’s boasts, he sounded astonished, the officials said, suggesting he had no prior knowledge of the assault.

Lake’s rebuttal? Adam Schiff knows about a phone call on the night of the attack. The type of call where neither of the two people knows they’re being listened to. Somebody said something that was suspicious. But, to be honest, it’s a call that just maybe could have been misleading. The key to the argument here is “What militants say when they think no one is listening,” though Schiff deflates that a bit. Why didn’t the Times report any of that? I don’t know, did you bother with the part below the headline? Yes, lots and lots of words, I know. FOUR:

Ansar al-Sharia: No one has disputed the participation of a local Islamist militia known as Ansar al-Sharia. The Times describes Ansar al-Sharia in Libya as a group formed in 2012 to protest the support other militias had for elections but an organization separate and distinct from al Qaeda. An August 2012 report commissioned by a Pentagon terrorism research organization found that Ansar al-Sharia “has increasingly embodied al Qaeda’s presence in Libya, as indicated by its active social-media propaganda, extremist discourse, and hatred of the West, especially the United States.” Not everyone however agreed. As The Daily Beast reported last year, Ansar al-Sharia was not a priority for U.S. intelligence collection in Libya [sic] The Times also drew a distinction between the Benghazi branch of Ansar al-Sharia and the Dernaa branch of the group that was led by a former Guantanamo detainee Sufian Ben Qhumu. Others however see Ansar al-Sharia’s activities in Libya more coordinated with al-Qaeda’s regional affiliates. In October, Tunisia’s Prime Minister told Reuters that “there is a relation between leaders of Ansar al-Sharia, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Ansar al-Sharia in Libya.” The Times also states, “the Republican arguments appear to conflate purely local extremist organizations like Ansar al-Shariah with al Qaeda’s international terrorist network.” On Fox News Sunday Rogers stuck to his guns. “Do they have differences of opinions with al Qaeda core? Yes,” he said. “Do they have affiliations with al Qaeda core? Definitely.”

This paragraph? The Times says Ansar al-Shariah is not Al Qaeda. The Daily Beast agrees. Mike Rogers disagrees. Thanks everyone and this has been Eli Lake, for The Daily Beast.

Journalism? The entire American right-wing stands atop this ‘report’ and screams at the political world about the vicious lying of David Kirkpatrick and the New York Times. There are no retractions or apologies for this craven hack-job, nor will there be. In a less sophisticated America, Eli Lake would get run out of town on a rail.

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Noonan tsk-tsks Putin. Putin would now prefer to die.

Peggy Noonan reads some Vlad Putin and then concern trolls.

He twisted the knife and gloated, which was an odd and self-indulgent thing to do when he was winning.

Normally it’s the losers who are all “Look at me!” while stabbing you in the liver.

In any case, the steely-eyed geopolitical strategist has reminded us that he’s also the media-obsessed operator who plays to his base back home by tranquilizing bears, wrestling alligators and riding horses shirtless, like Yul Brynner in “Taras Bulba.”

I’d like to see Peggy riding a horse shirtless. With her hand under her chin and her head tilted in a thoughtful way, the thundering stallion in full gallop across the plains of Stolichnaya, with the sounds of drunken bongos…

Mr. Putin’s challenge to the idea to American exceptionalism was ignorant and tone-deaf. The president had thrown in a reference to it at the end of his speech. Mr. Putin, in his essay, responded: “It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.” After all, he said, God made us all equal.

My goodness, that argument won’t get you very far in America…

Duck.

…America is not exceptional because it has long attempted to be a force for good in the world, it attempts to be a force for good because it is exceptional.

There’s the epigram you’ll find calligraphy’d in pubescent sans on a slice of stationery in Peggy’s locket.

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515 days since the Iraq War ended

Jesus Christ.

Again?

The Korean crisis has now become a strategic threat to America’s core national interests. The best option is to destroy the North Korean missile on the ground before it is launched. The United States should use a precise airstrike to render the missile and its mobile launcher inoperable.

Again with the trembling. But instead of plotzing over scared-up A-bombs, this time we’re scared of actual words. Maybe, too, a missile, targeted for the ocean. Our national interests being constructed of butterfly tears, it’s time for you to die. Sorry. When you’re a citizen of the planet’s pre-eminent superpower, you can’t expect to live for too long.

President Obama should state clearly and forthrightly that this is an act of self-defense in response to explicit threats from North Korea and clear evidence of a prepared weapon. . . And he should explain that this is a limited defensive strike on a military target — an operation that poses no threat to civilians.

Shorter: They’re a nuclear power with a missile, so let’s attack them. Lord.

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Social Security will go on as long as the jerks pay for it

Nuzzleglance Pocketorbs, son of Alley Oop, doesn’t much care for government programs whereby you pay for retirement, then you get old and get your money back.

Our Enemy, the Payroll Tax
By ROSS DOUTHAT | New York Times

. . Payroll taxes are a relic of New Deal Machiavellianism: by taking a bite of every worker’s paycheck and promising postretirement returns, Franklin Roosevelt effectively disguised Social Security as a pay-as-you-go system, even though the program actually redistributes from rich to poor and young to old. That disguise has helped keep Social Security sacrosanct — hailed by Democrats because it protects the poor and backed by Republicans as a reward for steady work.

By “taking a bite of every worker’s paycheck and promising postretirement returns,” everyone is assured a minimal income in old age. Don’t know how this confuses.

For the Douthats, the human bulldozers mechanized under the philosophical tents of conservatism, they find it annoyingly hard to push the poor back into the Victorian dregs as long as the feds have provided a retirement program, and financed it with the poors’ own money. So this post provides no wonder.

Ross would love to see direct-pay Social Security savaged because its finances would get bounced into the nebulous world of appropriation foofery and budgets renoberation. After that, t’would be game on.

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New York Times admits it assassinated George W. Bush

Arthur S. Brisbane, New York Times Ombudsman. He reminds us that the political competitors have been chosen, the 2012 campaign is about to gear up, and the Times will do their job. Barack Obama may be the president but that doesn’t mean he’ll get favorable treatment:

Eight years ago, The Times offered comparably scant campaign coverage of the incumbent, George W. Bush, even as it blanketed readers with articles about Senator John Kerry and others competing for the Democratic nomination.

Now, though, the general election season is on, and The Times needs to offer an aggressive look at the president’s record, policy promises and campaign operation to answer the question: Who is the real Barack Obama?

Why is he saying this? Because people think the paper is the Kenyan’s sex partner. Arthur admits that in Obama’s first year they went a little easy on him:

Many critics view The Times as constitutionally unable to address the election in an unbiased fashion. Like a lot of America, it basked a bit in the warm glow of Mr. Obama’s election in 2008 . .

According to a study by the media scholars Stephen J. Farnsworth and S. Robert Lichter, The Times’s coverage of the president’s first year in office was significantly more favorable than its first-year coverage of three predecessors who also brought a new party to power in the White House: George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

Our bad. Brisbane adds a couple readers’ complaints to his post to prove that the Tines is aware of the perception on the right and that these things matter. But we’re on the ball now, he’s saying.

Also, no, that’s not what he’s saying. He’s saying, “You geniuses are right we suck balls.” Business Insider:

NEW YORK TIMES PUBLIC EDITOR: Yes, Our Paper Is Totally In The Tank For Obama

Arthur Brisbane is the public-editor of the New York Times, it is his job to be an internal critic of how the Times covers its stories.

And his column today really slaps the Times for being so Obama-friendly . .

Right-blogger Hennessy:

New York Times Admits It’s Basically Obama’s Campaign Newsletter

The only surprise here is that the NYT’s own ombudsman admits that the paper is Obama’s best friend . .

The “Many critics view” phrase is killing them. This is the best, though — Fox News. Here’s the real New York Times . .

1.) We were too nice to Bush after 9/11.
2.) We were too harsh on him during the War in Iraq.
3.) We destroyed his presidency.
4.) We chose Obama in the 2008 campaign.

Watch:



English comprehension: the political divide. Have fun everybody.

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David Brooks asks you to please die

I suppose I could’ve come up with a better title, but David Brooks doesn’t earn anything more sophisticated. His New York Times op-ed on ‘end of life’ care and its costs to society is a dismal attempt at meaningful thoughts.

Rather than composing something insightful and provocative, seeing as we’re dealing with our deaths, in Death and Budgets he writes a cliche. It’s what you’d expect from a Conservative sharp enough to earn the routine praise of “He’s not that bad.”

It was a post from the wittier and far more engaging Dudley Clendinen that inspired Brooks to his latest humdrum. Dudley is dying from one of the most awful, most cruel afflictions, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Lou Gehrig’s disease. It will rob him of all his fundamental neurological functions: movement, speaking, eating, crapping and breathing. Dudley knows his future, and he’s made his plans:

When the music stops — when I can’t tie my bow tie, tell a funny story, walk my dog, talk with Whitney, kiss someone special, or tap out lines like this — I’ll know that Life is over.

It’s time to be gone.

That is awesome courage. It’s humbling to be aware of what he faces and how he’s chosen to die. Dudley will kill himself. I thank the stars for my having avoided challenges even half as terrifying, so far. I hope my luck continues.

Reflecting upon the life and approaching death of Dudley, David Brooks appreciated something else; he was struck by the appropriateness of it all. Why don’t more people do this? If only they knew.

Clendinen’s article is worth reading for the way he defines what life is. Life is not just breathing and existing as a self-enclosed skin bag. It’s doing the activities with others you were put on earth to do.

Ugh. I’d like to apologize for Brooks. I immediately recall the quadriplegics in the world who go on living difficult but meaningful lives, each an apparent “self-enclosed skin bag.” I think of the brilliant and productive Stephen Hawking, now 69. Brooks won’t sniff the edges of the boundless idea “What makes life worth living?” An over-simplification of Clendinen’s idea suffices totally for Brooks. Dreadfully lazy.

Lumbering forward, Brooks adds that our elder society aren’t really getting any better. They’re merely lingering in an enfeebled state.

Years ago, people hoped that science could delay the onset of morbidity. We would live longer, healthier lives and then die quickly. This is not happening. Most of us will still suffer from chronic diseases for years near the end of life, and then die slowly.

Huh? From where did Brooks conjure a “die quickly” objective? I don’t work in research any more, but I used to, in molecular biology. And in all my days, I never heard any rational person say that old people dying suddenly was either a likely or worthwhile development. It’s a senseless claim.

Brooks made this up, I think. If anything is the hallmark of poor medical care, it’s sudden death. This is what goes on in Third World countries, with their lacks of doctors and drugs and hospitals and research. Lingering death is what you get when you have good medical care, period. This is a good sign, David, and you should hail its arrival.

Knowing this, yes, it’s time to have some serious discussions. We are likely to end up in a chronic, debilitating condition. We should be thankful for the many years we had before we got there. But it is not incumbent upon us to bow out in a manner convenient to David Brooks . .

. . it is hard to see us reducing health care inflation seriously unless people and their families are willing to do what Clendinen is doing — confront death and their obligations to the living.

. . especially when you see what a dreadful animal of convenience he is. Clendinen, in choosing suicide, obliges no one but himself. He chooses to die, in the face of any and all of Brooks’ societal obligations, because that’s what’s best for him. Brooks comes close to lessening Clendinen’s wholly personal courage by tossing him into a utilitarian hopper. It’s clumsy and ugly, frankly.

And I can imagine someone else facing the same fate who’d write from the opposite perspective: that he or she would reject any other way out, that they would fight on, with all the indignities, to the bitter end. I promise you, I would be moved by that. And I don’t particularly care to think of what it means to society.

Accepting death in a manner appropriate to you is a daunting thing to ponder, awesome in its size and consequence. If we’re to take ‘end of life’ issues seriously, let’s avoid lazy parables. Let’s avoid lauding suicides as practical and good medical care as problematic.

Let’s also affirm that the growing tendency of the dying to be capable of hanging on is a positive development. This is a choice mankind never had before. Let’s agree lack of medical care prevented millions of people from getting the opportunity to say ‘yes’ to this particular fate. Let’s admit that David’s friends, the insurance companies, have been sentencing people to premature death for decades, and this is not a solution. It has been an anti-societal abomination. Let’s call out David’s buddies for their war on science and scientists in the form of Bible-based Creationism and head-banging Global Warming denials. When a medical ‘scientist’ tells you your condition will deteriorate and result in death, you’ve got to be able to accept his prognosis. Given the most important decision of your life, you’ve got to know he isn’t lying.

When everyone has the right to hang on long after perhaps we’d predict, then we can have a robust discussion about what’s best for all of society. After.

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The gorgeous stupidty of a petty Donald Trump

Well, he certainly fits in with the Republican hopefuls. What a remarkably uneducated, arrogant fool.

The New York Times’ Gail Collins wrote a piece, “Donald Trump Gets Weirder,” where she mocked The Donald for his bizarre descent into Birtherism. “You are not allowed to be a president if you’re not born in this country. Right now, I have real doubts” he says. Like the rest of us, Gail finds this laughable.

In a potential Republican field that includes Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, it’s hard to come up with a line of attack loopy enough to stand out from the pack. But darned if Trump didn’t manage to find one . .

Vote for Donald Trump, the man who can make Bill O’Reilly look like the most sensible guy in the room.

Yes, he’s dumb, okay. But to prove he could descend further, little furious Donald wrote the New York Times to rip Gail Collins personally for poking fun. Donald would like you to know: stupid Gail is a no-talent stupidhead.

I like Gail’s pieces, and she’s clearly bright and accomplished. It says here on the Intertron that she was the first woman to serve as Editorial Page Editor at the NYT. She also teaches journalism at Columbia. Can we say Donald is way out of his league? We can: Donald would be foolish to belittle Gail Collins.

But, more obviously, Trump’s too big for anybody’s league, so you get comedy like this. Oh, how I would have loved to hear the bales of laughter in the Times’ meeting as they discussed whether to print this letter.

Donald Trump Responds
Published: April 8, 2011

To the Editor:

Re “Donald Trump Gets Weirder,” by Gail Collins (column, April 2):

Even before Gail Collins was with the New York Times, she has written nasty and derogatory articles about me.

One sentence, that’s all it took. Unless he jumped in a time machine right about the time he found the comma key, he’s laughably dumber than your local sixth graders. They are familiar with both time and verb tenses. In the past, is Donald smarter than this? No, he was/is not. It gets better.

Actually, I have great respect for Ms. Collins in that she has survived so long with so little talent. Her storytelling ability and word usage (coming from me, who has written many bestsellers), is not at a very high level.

His word usage and his storytelling is way higher than Gail’s. Both the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes is waiting for him back in Syrupskull, Palookaville.

Well, money and fame isn’t everything. But a blunderbuss that shoots backwards are a good start. If only Don hadn’t satted down at his computer box and writs him a essay. Heavens do bets, he.

Incidentally, Obama sucks –

He has not been able to produce a “birth certificate” but merely a totally unsigned “certificate of live birth”-which is totally different and of very little significance.

He has not been able to produce what, again? This: a birth certificate but merely a totally unsigned certificate of live birth. Yes, we know what Donald was trying to say. No, I didn’t order the word salad, I had the cipher nachos. Oh, and if only the certificate had been partially unsigned. That would very merely a totally, or something.

The term used by Ms. Collins-“birther”-is very derogatory and is meant in a derogatory way. Had this been George Bush or almost any other President or Presidential aspirant, they would never have been allowed to attain office, or would have been thrown out of office very quickly.

Damn that Gail Collins! She, using words that mean vaguely specifically what she meant. She incited a Donaldian brain-rage when her intention and her word split, and then both collided with him. “That was no coincidence,” he thought. “She meant it.”

And “George Bush or almost any other President,” if he had done like Obama, no matter how many Presidents he had become, Don swears “they would never have been allowed to attain office.” A couple other Presidents, though, would have been allowed. Because once there’s, like, a billion of them, totally, what was the Secret Service gonna do?

It’s a surprisingly psychedelic work for a U.S. President. You’re thinking “He really wrote this to the New York Times?” He did.

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It’s already hard enough for Wisconsin union folks without the New York Times lying

Are you a little sad? Carrying some amount of dread? Do you sense that the union stand-off in Wisconsin will likely end badly?

I feel that way. The new Governor, Scott Walker, simply holds more power and influence than our union friends. He’s got the momentum, and he’s got the media, so he’s got the advantage.

Of course, when the New York Times acts professionally inept and dishonest in your favor, it sure makes union-busting easier. Six days ago, this was the hottest story in politics:

This thing:

Union Bonds in Wisconsin Begin to Fray
By A. G. SULZBERGER and MONICA DAVEY | February 21, 2011

JANESVILLE, Wis. — Rich Hahan worked at the General Motors plant here until it closed about two years ago. He moved to Detroit to take another G.M. job while his wife and children stayed here, but then the automaker cut more jobs. So Mr. Hahan, 50, found himself back in Janesville, collecting unemployment for a time, and watching as the city’s industrial base seemed to crumble away.

Among the top five employers here are the county, the schools and the city. And that was enough to make Mr. Hahan, a union man from a union town, a supporter of Gov. Scott Walker’s sweeping proposal to cut the benefits and collective-bargaining rights of public workers in Wisconsin, a plan that has set off a firestorm of debate and protests at the state Capitol. He says he still believes in unions, but thinks those in the public sector lead to wasteful spending because of what he sees as lavish benefits and endless negotiations.

“Something needs to be done,” he said, “and quickly.”

Gosh, something needs to be done. Sure, I’ll throw my good ol’ union and all my mates overboard. Got no choice. Why? Something needs to be DONE! This can’t go on! Jobs! Recession! Debt! Something! Everything!

How about . . lies! Turns out the story was bullshit before it hit 10 letters. Rich Hahan is actually Rich Hahn. And he’s not in a union. Nope, not, never was. Brand spanking new blogger Keith Olbermann writes:

Except the source, Rick Hahn, now admits that while he worked in union factories, he was never, you know, in a union per se. So why did the Diogenes of the Times, Mr. Sulzberger, believe he had found his honest union man? Because Hahn “described himself to a reporter as a ‘union guy.’”

And yes, Hahan/Hahn’s deception, intentional or accidental (and if you noticed the multiple spelling, yes, Mr. Sulzberger of the Times also got the guy’s name wrong) sat out there in the alleged newspaper of record for four days, during which nobody bothered to correct the sloppy, destructive reporting of the Family Heir. When they finally did, editors buried it inside.

And Sulzberger is the son of the publisher? Yep. Niiiiice. Let’s take a look at yer liberal media, shall we? Let’s look at all the workers Sulzberger interviewed for “Union Bonds in Wisconsin Begin to Fray”, the biggest story in politics a few days ago.

Rich Hahn wasn’t a union guy, we now know. Cindy Kuehn? “It’s about time the buck stops.” Not a union member. Crystal Watkins? “I don’t have any of that,” she said. Nope. Mary Kay Horter? “I don’t get to bargain in my job, either . . ” Definitely not: “. . her husband’s Chevy dealership had teetered on the brink of closing after General Motors declared bankruptcy, for which she blamed unions.” Dave Bergman? “There are a lot of people out of work right now that would take a job without a union . .” Self-employed bartender, working seven days a week, no way.

But wait — here we go, it finally gets a little better, just before the end of the piece:

In Whitewater, Ben Penwell, a lawyer whose wife is a public employee, said he saw no reason to strip away workers’ bargaining rights if they had agreed to benefit cuts.

“They’re willing to do what’s necessary fiscally without giving up rights in the future,” he said.

And Pat Wellnitz, working in his accounting office on Sunday, wondered why such bargaining provisions were needed if the real problem was simply saving money.

“That’s pretty drastic even for a staunch Republican,” he said.

But, then, the end:

. . others suggested that unions had perhaps had outlived their usefulness. Carrie Fox, who works at a billboard advertising company, said she hoped that the battle would encourage other governors to rein in public- and private-sector unions.

“I know there was a point for unions back in the day because people were being abused,” she said. “But now there’s workers’ rights; there’s laws that protect us.”

Not much in the way of pro-union anything. And none of those last couple union-tolerant folks is in a union that Governor Walker is stripping of powers. Actually, nowhere in Sulzberger’s piece is there anyone belonging to any union, anywhere. And yet, the New York Times heir apparent had the nerve to call it “Union Bonds in Wisconsin Begin to Fray.” Fox News only wishes it could be this deceptive and damning.

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No post-shooting kudos for you, Mr. President, while Byron York is on the job

Here, let’s let Byron set the slippery scene:

Pundits and politicians alike praised President Obama’s speech at the Tucson memorial service last Wednesday. “A wonderful speech,” wrote the New York Times’ David Brooks. “A magnificent performance,” wrote National Review’s Rich Lowry. “A terrific speech,” wrote Sen. John McCain.

And those were just the voices on the right.

Oh no! ‘Mr. Hitler is a strong and energetic leader whose resurgent nation appreciates his firm hand’ — AND THOSE WERE JUST THE BRITISH! I’m inventing all this, so I’m no better than York. But I think you get my drift: ‘Black Flag is my favorite soft rock band‘ — THOSE WERE JUST THE APHIDS!

Byron obviously has taken it upon himself to prevent this cynical President from cackling while he spikes the tragedy football in America’s end zone. Someone with a modicum of genius and a teh-TINY-yum backbone might envision Obama doing backflips through victims memorials, or taking the podium to freestyle about that faggot, Boehner:

Rethinking Obama’s political performance in Tucson
Byron York | Washington Examiner | 1/15/11

. . By the time Obama spoke, there was irrefutable evidence that shooting suspect Jared Loughner was deeply mentally ill and acted out of no recognizable political agenda. Obama simply could not have made the case that Loughner’s acts were in any way the product of political rhetoric from right or left.

. . So even as he conceded that rhetoric did not cause the violence, Obama argued that it should be muted anyway. And he cloaked his appeal in so much emotionalism, in so many tear-jerking references to the recently departed, that some in his audience might not have noticed he was making the political point he wanted to make all along.

Sonuvabitch! BASTARD! Backed into a corner, Barack gave the only speech he could have ever given! There were no other speeches to give! But he used it to wangle political points! Wangle is a word!

In Tucson, Obama played good cop to their bad cop by assuring everyone that rhetoric had not motivated the violence. But he still brought up the topic because, he said, it had “been discussed in recent days.” Of course, it would not have been discussed in recent days had his supporters not made so many unfair accusations.

They fell right in his trap!

Some Democratic strategists hope Obama can capitalize on Tucson the way Bill Clinton capitalized on Oklahoma City. Perhaps he’ll be able to, and perhaps he won’t. But he’s already trying.

By pretending not to! The nuclear option!

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Just as we predicted, torture has destroyed our ability to prosecute detainees

New York Times:

Legacy of Torture
EDITORIAL | Published: August 26, 2010

. . Because federal judges cannot trust the confessions of prisoners obtained by intense coercion, they are regularly throwing out the government’s cases against Guantánamo Bay prisoners.

A new report prepared jointly by ProPublica and the National Law Journal showed that the government has lost more than half the cases where Guantánamo prisoners have challenged their detention because they were forcibly interrogated.

The report details how the use of torture abroad, with the silence or assent of the U.S., and the use of George W. Bush’s ‘Enhanced Interrogation Techniques’ in American facilities have produced a multi-tentacled legal monster, gumming up or destroying case after case against detainees, some of whom are probably legally responsible for crimes against Americans.

Judges have found it impossible to be sure of the detainees’ confessions given the circumstances under which they were obtained.

The government’s case for keeping the Guantánamo Bay prisoner locked away seemed airtight. He had confessed to overseeing the distribution of supplies to al-Qaida fighters battling U.S. forces in Afghanistan, even describing the routes where pack mules hauled the packages.

But a federal judge rejected Fouad Mahmoud Al Rabiah’s confessions, concluding that he had concocted them under intense coercion.

So insidious and long-lasting are the effects of torture that virtually all subsequent confessions become suspect as well:

Al Rabiah

Even statements that the government insisted Al Rabiah had made under noncoercive, or “clean,” questioning were tainted, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled, and she ordered that Al Rabiah be released.

The government has lost eight of 15 cases in which Guantánamo inmates have said they or witnesses against them were forcibly interrogated . .

To wit:

Government lawyers didn’t contest that [Saeed Mohammed Saleh] Hatim, while held for six months at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan, had been beaten repeatedly, kicked and “threatened with rape if he did not confess to being a member of the Taliban or al-Qaida,” according to U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina’s opinion. Instead, they submitted confessions he gave after arriving at Guantánamo, under cleaner questioning. But Urbina found that Hatim’s confession was “tainted by torture” and ordered that he be released. The government is appealing the decision.

Does any of this surprise anybody? I doubt it. And the negative legal reach of torture isn’t trivial, moving well beyond the cases of the victims:

Last year, Justice Department lawyers tried to show that Farhi Saeed bin Mohammed was an al-Qaida fighter by using statements from another detainee, Binyam Mohamed, whose “harrowing” interrogation ordeal was described in an 81-page opinion by Senior Judge Gladys Kessler.

Binyam Mohamed, now free

For two years, beginning with his capture in April 2002, foreign interrogators holding him “at the behest of the United States” beat and kicked him, chained him to a wall, kept him half-standing for long stretches and cut him with a blade, including on his genitals. He was “fed information” and “told to verify it.” During that time, he was also interrogated by the FBI and CIA.

The government’s lawyers didn’t contest the allegations of mistreatment but instead argued that the treatment of the informant didn’t undermine the evidence he gave later . .

But Kessler didn’t buy that better treatment had done the trick. Given that, “throughout his detention, a constant barrage of physical and psychological abuse was employed in order to manipulate him and program him into telling investigators what they wanted to hear,” she wrote, it was “more than plausible” that he had also manufactured details in nonabusive questioning.

So, even with American handlers, under reasonable treatment, making statements against somebody else, the evidence is still junk.

Didn’t we all know we’d end up here? I think so.

If you’re considering the use of torture, you’re going to have to change completely the character and habits of a nation in order to be honestly successful. Good nations produce good legal systems. When the use of torture becomes apparent, the system rejects the ‘evidence,’ and the cases die. It’s predictable. Otherwise, you’d have to become Saudi Arabia or Egypt to rack up many wins. It looks bad now, but the tossing of so many cases is actually good news.

Oh, and haven’t the predicted verdicts come in against shortsighted Dick Cheney and his boss, George W. Bush, as well? Losers.

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Bizarre Kenneth Blackwell: Contrast a foul abortion facility with the loving touches of NBA teammates

‘WTF?’ whackjob Ken Blackwell carves another gem.

Perhaps this mess can be read, only for a moment or two, — don’t waste your precious time — as a way to try to understand how the Simon & Garfunkelstrange-brained right wingers manage to think themselves in knots.

Because I certainly don’t understand how giving people healthcare is in any way a Third Reich Tactic!, or how stimulating the economy with government spending is Unconstitutional!, so I certainly wouldn’t mind knowing how the discussions ever got there. Anywhere near there, really. I’m mystified as to how these people figure the world out.

Anyhoo, let’s listen in on excerpts of the careening Ken and his rangy diatribe . .

Do Liberal Editors Read Their Newspapers?

Circulation for the New York Times is way down. Some people are seriously speculating that the days of America’s great newspapers are over. They may be replaced by Kindle, or iPad, or some other newer technology . .

Liberalism, media and technology? Odd. Not exactly the usual ‘Liberals and their stupid evil stupidity.’

. . Recall these lines from a tender Simon & Garfunkle song of the 1960s. This poignant story of a mother’s anguish and her son’s lethal leap might not have been considered part of “all the news that’s fit to print” by the editors of the great Gray Lady, the Times.

– “Good God! Don’t jump!”
– A boy sat on the ledge.
– An old man who had fainted was revived.
– And everyone agreed it would be a miracle indeed
– If the boy survived.

– “Save the life of my child!”
– Cried the desperate mother

WOW. Where the hell is he going?

– The woman from the supermarket
– Ran to call the cops.
– “He must be high on something,” someone said.
– Though it never made The New York Times.
– In The Daily News, the caption read,
– “Save the life of my child!”
– Cried the desperate mother.

In a recent Philadelphia Inquirer comes a horrific story of a dirty, dangerous, and deadly abortion center. The abortionist Kermit Baron Gosnell has been killing unborn children for almost forty years . .

Media and technology, Simon and Garfunkle . . “deadly abortion center”? Okay.

Why was this foul Philadelphia facility allowed to operate at all for so many years with an abortionist in charge whose record was so horrible? Before his abortion center was shut down, Gosnell had been pushing devices and practices for years that led to “punctured uterus, hemorrhage, infections, and retained fetal remains.”

meaningful touchesContrast this with a beautiful story this week from the New York Times by Benedict Carey. “Evidence That Little Touches Do Mean So Much.”

. . and now beautiful and touches and meaning. This should be good:

This article describes touching as “the first language we learn.” The piece reviews the work of Berkeley psychology professor, Dacher Keltner. The touch of the human hand remains “our richest means of emotional expression” throughout life.

The article outlines how important touch is. In professional basketball, for instance, researchers studied the “touchiest” players–Kevin Garnett of the Celtics, Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors, and Carlos Boozer of the Utah Jazz. They could be found to reach out and touch their teammates with a supportive gesture . .

. . OOOH of NBA All Stars. Sure, that makes sense. Well, you don’t see those in dirty abortion clinics, do you? And why not, you might ask? Yeah, you would ask, wouldn’t you?

Reach out and touch someone, we used to hear in ads for the phone company. It appears there’s more to it than we thought. Scripture tells us that Jesus’ touch could raise the dead restore hearing to the deaf and sight to the blind.

Compare all this with the Philadelphia Inquirer story. What are the young women who have been driven to such a place and such a dire strait learning about human touch? . .

. . errr, that perhaps they should have something something ball handling? Something something something dribblers? Ken’s not going to tell me, is he?

I hope the editors of the New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer will actually read their own papers and seriously reflect on their meaning before they editorialize in such antiseptic terms about abstractions like “a woman’s freedom to choose.” Would they choose to have their own loved ones touched by hands that kill or by the touch that shares the load?

Well, then I choose “touched . . by the touch that shares the load.” Not the “hands that kill.” Okay. Whew. Which one’s Garfunkle?

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