Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for December 4th, 2007

The Terrorists Have Won

Posted by MEC on December 4, 2007

A Wisconsin teacher has been arrested for, basically, being sarcastic to rightwingers.

The terrorists have succeeded in frightening people so much that they can’t distinguish between irony and a real threat, and they have encouraged law enforcement officials to punish free speech and thereby suppress freedom of thought.

And by terrorists, I don’t mean the al Qaida bogeyman.

Posted in abuse of power, First Amendment, rightwing moral cripples, wrong way to go about it | 2 Comments »

Dog Bites Man. Sun Rises In East. Bush Lies And Media Ignores It.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 4, 2007

Bush is now saying, without being seriously corrected in real time, that he wasn’t told about the NIE or its contents until last week.

He’s lying, of course.

The opening grafs of The Consortium’s story by Ray McGovern on this read as follows:

With redraft after redraft, it was what the Germans call “eine schwere Geburt”—a difficult birth, ten months in gestation.

I do not know how often Vice President Dick Cheney visited CIA Headquarters during the gestation period, but I am told he voiced his displeasure as soon as he saw the first sonogram/draft very early this year, and is so displeased with what issued that he has refused to be the godfather.

This time Cheney and his neo-con colleagues were unable to abort the process. And after delivery to the press, this child is going to be very hard to explain—the more so since it is legitimate.

In other words, Cheney certainly knew, and we all know that he’s the real Decider. He not only knew, he was actively trying to kill the NIE before it could be released to the public!

Even better: AmericaBlog found this WaPo story showing that Bush was originally briefed months ago:

Hadley said Bush was first told in August or September about intelligence indicating Iran had halted its weapons program, but was advised it would take time to evaluate. Vice President Cheney, Hadley and other top officials were briefed the week before last. Intelligence officials formalized their conclusions on Tuesday and briefed Bush the next day.

So Bush lied. Again.

Posted in Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, corruption, cronies, eedjits, evil, GOP/Media Complex, government malfeasance, Iran, media, Media machine, mediawhores | 1 Comment »

Chavez’s speech

Posted by Charles II on December 4, 2007

One can listen to it here in Spanish. The full text is not yet available:

“To those who voted for my proposal and to those who voted against my proposal, I thank you and congratulate you, because you have proven that this is the path. I hope we forget forever the leaps into the void, the roads of violence, of destabilization.” He did little bows as he thanked people, with a perhaps unintentionally comic but very agreeable effect.

He told a homely, but touching anecdote of an election in 1978. He was in a small town. It was raining heavily, so he asked for his soldiers to be allowed to stand indoors, in the “sala” (lit.: living room) where they happened to be counting votes. The symbol on the ballot for the Communist Party was a red rooster, and their slogan was “cock-a-doodle-doo!”. In this little town, there were a handful of votes for the Communists, maybe eight or ten. But every time the guy counting the ballots saw one, he’d say. “Cock-a-doodle do! This one’s for me!” and he’d toss it out. Chavez said he almost got arrested because he got visibly upset with the blatant dishonesty of it all. It was in this context that he explained why he did not prolong the vote counting in hopes of extracting the result he wanted: more important than the result is the confidence of people in their elections.

He reminded them that in 1992, February 4, as he was engaged in a coup against the government, a coup which had the outright support of half the population, he had ended the attempt and submitted himself to imprisonment, joking, “For now, we can’t.” The implication is that people need to be patient and wait for circumstances to emerge where the objectives can be attained peacefully.

He did a very cute short skit in Spanglish of his conversation with Fidel Castro: “Jau arr yuu?” “Ayam veri guell.” In the context of the political speech regarding a major political defeat, it was truly funny.

And he pointed out to his followers the reason they had lost. Paraphrasing: “A year ago, they voted for me, how many? 7,300,000 And for the oppposition, 4,100,000. The opposition increased votes 400,000. We fell to 4,300,000.” We have to look at the reasons. I think, I feel confident that the three million we lost remain with us, but they had doubts or fears. We need to pay attention to why.”

He said his party needs to broaden, deepen, and widen their perspective. He quoted Bolivar 1896 to the effect that everything is “subject to error and seduction,” but for the “judgment of the people which is pure.”

I especially like that last point. As each of our flawed perceptions are together refracted through the lens of debate and choice, they are somehow improved and purified of error. It is by accepting the worth of one another that we transcend our limited selves.

Like all political speeches, it contained a fair amount of gas. But one could see the character of the man in a way that press accounts, even favorable ones, obscure. This is a man who understands his own limitations and can laugh at them. The last time I saw that humility in American elections was in 1992, when Bush the First in one of his yipping poodle moments called Clinton “Bozo.” Clinton’s response–Big Dog, we miss you– was to the effect that, “It’s ok if I make people laugh. I’ll never make them cry.”

Posted in Venezuela | 9 Comments »

And Another Scam Bites The Dust

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 4, 2007

Watergate enforcer Chuck Colson’s taxpayer-financed wingnut-welfare scam just got dealt a crippling blow:

A federal appeals court today ruled that tax funding of an evangelical Christian rehabilitation program at an Iowa state prison violates the separation of church and state and must end.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that government support for the InnerChange Freedom Initiative at Newton Correctional Facility — a program operated by Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship Ministries — advances religious indoctrination at state expense.  Americans United brought the litigation against InnerChange on behalf of inmates, their families and taxpayers.

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, hailed the ruling.

“This is an extremely important decision,” said Lynn. “Government officials have no business paying for religious indoctrination and awarding special treatment and benefits to those willing to embrace one religious perspective. 

“Government should not single out a particular religion for special treatment,” Lynn continued. “You simply cannot give government funds to a religious group for its evangelism program.”

The irony is that while the program claimed to be ace at keeping cons from reoffending, once legitimate, un-“creamed” statistics were used it was revealed that persons participating in Colson’s project were more likely to reoffend:

Despite President Bush’s oft-repeated mantra that results matter, the jury is still out on faith-based programs. On August 5, 2003, Mark A.R. Kleinman published a piece in Slate that closely examined the much ballyhooed results of a University of Pennsylvania study that had concluded that Charles Colson’s InnerChange Freedom Initiative — a Christian-centered prison reform project sponsored by Colson’s Prison Justice Ministries — reduced recidivist rates amongst former prisoners.

Kleinman, who teaches public policy at UCLA, found that contrary to the University of Pennsylvania’s upbeat conclusion, the participants in InnerChange’s project actually performed somewhat worse than the control group, and were slightly more apt to be re-arrested and re-imprisoned. Apparently, in order to attain its findings, the Pennsylvania study employed a device Kleinman called “selection bias,” also known as “creaming.” That factor, Kleinman explained, allowed InnerChange to ignore participants that dropped out or were kicked out of the program or that for some other reasons, never finished the program.

Posted in big money, capitalism as cancer, corruption, evil, false prophets, Flying Monkey Right, Fundies, gravy train, rightwing moral cripples | 4 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: