Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for December 11th, 2007

That man!

Posted by Charles II on December 11, 2007

Krishna Guha, Saskia Scholtes and Gillian Tett, FT:

A little-known network of government-sponsored bank co-operatives founded during the Great Depression is playing a critical role keeping the private sector US mortgage industry open for business – and some mortgage lenders out of financial trouble – in spite of the brutal slump in the housing sector.

The Federal Home Loan Banks are pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into the mortgage industry in the form of loans against mortgage collateral at a time when purely private sources of finance are offered only at punitive terms for many lenders. ...

Indeed some officials privately admit that the FHLBs have, in effect, replaced the US central bank as the lender of last resort for the financial system in the credit crisis.

So Marc Antony’s comment that “The good men do is oft interred with their bones, while the evil lives after them” proves untrue. Roosevelt– that man!— is still saving our bacon.

Posted in economy | 2 Comments »

Are the Kiriakou revelations disinformation?

Posted by Charles II on December 11, 2007

ABC News interviewed a CIA interrogator, John Kiriakou, who said up front that waterboarding is torture. That admission led many on the center-left to conclude that Kiriakou was a whistleblower stepping forward with great new revelations. But the interview left me uneasy. As I commented at No Quarter:

There were elements of Kiriakou’s story that gave me pause.
1. He waffled on whether the school about to be bombed was British or American, the kind of detail that tends to stick.
2. Why was a very high level operative being used to run a solder gun?
3. Kiriakou claims that only two people were waterboarded, but we know that it was done at Abu Ghraib (and, in fact, has been done since Vietnam), suggesting it was a common practice.
4. Minor: Kiriakou isn’t sure if Abu Zubaydah was telling the truth about how long he had been at the hideout.

Here’s another issue. Kiriakou gives the Administration two important points: the claim that waterboarding was rare and the claim that it saved lives. The ABC report could, it seems to me, just as easily be a true story or disinformation put out by the Administration.

Today, both Larry Johnson and Damozel at BuckNakedPolitics gave me reason to lean toward the tentative conclusion that this is disinformation. Larry Johnson agreed that the media spin that this showed that torture worked was propaganda and pointed out that Kiriakou never witnessed the waterboarding, a point I had not picked up. Damozel pointed out three more things:

  • According to Ron Suskind, Zubaydah’s information was of limited value (via KDrum here)
  • Zubaydah was of questionable mental health and in no way fit Kiriakou’s characterization of him as a top level operative (ibid).
  • Kiriakou knew that waterboarding would result in false confessions, but believed that it was successful for Zubaydah

More and more, I wonder whether the reason Kiriakou is not under arrest is because he was dispatched to do a job: to concede the obvious (that waterboarding is torture) but sell the American people on the idea that it works and saved lives.

Update: Laura Rosen has an interesting take. Her first impression was that Kiriakou was a CIA surrogate, but her contacts at the Agency say no.

Posted in Media machine, torture | 3 Comments »

The War on Christmas

Posted by MEC on December 11, 2007

Bill O’Reilly might be surprised to learn it’s not just liberals and atheists who are attacking Christmas.

The “Christmas card” from State Senator John Pappageorge depicts not the Nativity, not even a harmlessly secular symbol of Christmas like a decorated tree or a wreath or even a poinsettia, but the Veterans Memorial on the grounds of state capitol.

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© MP Quillinan

As far as I’m concerned, not even the snow in the scene makes a war memorial an appropriate symbol of “the reason for the season”.

Neither is there any mention of Christmas inside: “May the spirit of the holiday season remind you of the strength and perseverance of our great Nation and fellow citizens”.

I dunno. Maybe I’m overreacting because I’ve despised John Pappageorge ever since he said, “If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we’re going to have a tough time in this election.” But this just does not seem appropriate for even the most generic of holiday cards.

It is, however, all too appropriate as an expression of the Republican Party’s priorities.

Posted in Republicans acting badly, Silly Republicans, WTF? | 13 Comments »

What Mark Brunswick Won’t Tell You

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 11, 2007

What Mark Brunswick, StarTribune reporter and smear conduit for the Minnesota state GOP, won’t tell you (thanks, Wege) about his latest Mark Ritchie story is that he himself did the same stuff for which his articles have been dinging Ritchie:

The Strib’s Mark Brunswick scrapes up just enough new comments to justify yet another story on Mark Ritchie’s mailing list. And, repeating a link from yesterday, Phoenix Woman explains how Brunswick’s been doing exactly the same thing as Ritchie while trying to get more dirt.

The horrible crime? Using a public record for private purpose — which is (drum roll please) legal.

By the way, if you wonder who gave Brunswick the idea to go after Ritchie this way (and to go sending out unsolicited mail to the Sesquecentennial Commission), wonder no more. From Brunswick’s latest Strib piece:

McClung, [Minnesota Repulican Governor Tim] Pawlenty’s spokesman, said he believes Carey’s e-mail may have been harvested from a mailing list sent to representatives of offices and agencies planning for the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission.

But a Star Tribune inquiry to others on the commission’s mailing list found no one else reporting being solicited from the Ritchie campaign.

So Brunswick’s attempt to follow up a GOP tip not only pissed off the Sesquecentennial Commissioneers, but was a dry socket.

Bear in mind that the real crime of Mark Ritchie’s is beating Crazy Mary Kiffmeyer in the November 2006 elections.

Posted in GOP/Media Complex, media, Media machine, mediawhores, StarTribune | 1 Comment »

More Like This, Please

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 11, 2007

David Obey shows how it’s done:

While the Democrats seemed willing to appease Bush by funding his war in return for increased domestic spending, they’ve now pulled their compromise offer.

Instead, they will push a spending bill with no money for Iraq or Afghanistan.

Wonder of wonders, Harry Reid’s concurring:

Reid would not comment directly on Obey’s plan, but later his spokesman hinted leaders would have no choice but to concur if there is no deal soon.

“When Americans wonder why there are fewer police on their street, fewer agents on our borders and fewer teachers in their children’s classrooms, the answer will be painfully clear: The president and Bush Republicans are unreasonable and unwilling to negotiate in good faith,” said Reid spokesman Jim Manley.

And Obey says:

“In my view, it’s time to fish or cut bait. I’m tired of debating table scraps, and it’s clear to me that the White House does not intend to compromise; they intend to sit back like Buddha and keep expecting us to compromise with ourselves. I’m done with navel-gazing,” Obey said. “I’m not going to sit here and enable them to chisel domestic money down, down, down, down, so you wind up getting $5 billion bucks in return for $50 [billion] or $90 [billion] or whatever the hell it is they want for the war.”

Posted in budget, Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Democrats, Democrats with spines, infrastructure, Iraq war | Comments Off on More Like This, Please

The Colorado Shootings

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 11, 2007

Box Turtle Bulletin has the best stuff on this sad series of events, all in one place.

Posted in paranoia, Sad things, WTF? | Comments Off on The Colorado Shootings

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