{ An Autopsy of Democracy }

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

U.S. Troops in Iraq: 72% Say End War in 2006

U.S. Troops in Iraq: 72% Say End War in 2006

See also: The Troops Want to End Iraq Occupation in 2006


Friday, February 24, 2006

what jesus would have said

just some humble contributions to ungeziefer's "mock jesus" idea.



Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Month without posting. Time for a recap . . .

My posts have become increasingly sparse of late (no time to keep up on things, it seems). So how about a brief summary/re-cap of some recent (depending on how you define the term) news . . .

Firstly (yeah, I know this is about a month old now, but I've been meaning to post it for some time), hear General Michael Hayden, deputy director of National Intelligence and former national director of the National Security Agency, display his complete and utter ignorance of the U.S. Constitution for all to see, at a press conference defending the illegal and unconstitutional warrantless domestic spying program. (Click here for the whole segment.)


According to Scooter Libby, he was authorized by his superiors (namely Dick Cheney, most sources say) to release classified information to the press in attempt to discredit Joe Wilson. Oh well. Who really cares? It's just lying the nation into a reckless war -- aren't we over that yet for christ's sake? I mean, come on, people. That's SOOOO 2003.

By the way, what the fuck ever happened to that investigation that was promised examining the misuse of intelligence? Hmm? Hmmmmm??? The 2004 election is over, you won, you fucking bastards (well, not really); now hold the fucking hearings. (Last I recall Harry Reid forced the Senate into "closed session" and then . . . nothing . . .)


"THE GUY SAW ME IN ALMOST A DOZEN SETTINGS, AND JOKED WITH ME ABOUT A BUNCH OF THINGS, INCLUDING DETAILS OF MY KIDS. PERHAPS HE HAS FORGOTTEN EVERYTHING. WHO KNOWS." -- Jack Abramoff, speaking of Bush. "I don't know him." -- Bush, speaking of Abramoff. Despite approximately 200 contacts in the first 8 months of Bush's presidency between Abramoff or his associates and Bush, and 12 known pictures of the two together, and a personal invitation to the Crawford Ranch, . . . Bush claims now he doesn't even know this fundraising "Pioneer."

Abramoff Associates Say He Bragged of Ties to Rove:

the Associated Press is reporting three former associates of indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff say he frequently told them he had strong ties to the White House through senior Presidential advisor Karl Rove. On Monday, the White House said Rove considers Abramoff to be a “casual acquaintance.” New questions concerning Abramoff’s ties to the White House have arisen with the publication of an e-mail in which Abramoff said he had met with President Bush in “almost a dozen settings.” On Saturday, Time magazine published a photograph on its website of Abramoff attending a White House gathering hosted by President Bush in May 2001. The White House had previously said there was no record of Abramoff attending the event. They’ve also refused to release several other photos reportedly showing Abramoff with the President.

And, even in this day and age, it's still pretty easy to revise history.

Also see ThinkProgress


Remember those journalists from CBS (Dan Rather, Mary Mapes) who got fired for reporting on those "forged" documents dealing with Bush's military service (or lack thereof)? Well, if you get your news from the mainstream, I'm guessing you probably assume that they were indeed forged, even if we don't know by whom, correct? (That's what I had been led to believe, too . . .) Turns out, not the case. No one has ever been able to show that the documents were not authentic; and Mapes has debunked all that debunking (all the stuff about the typeface and letter spacing, etc.), and verified that the typeface in the documents can be found in countless other government and National Guard documents from that period. It's noteworthy that no one in the Bush administration ever called for an investigation into the authenticity of the documents -- probably because such an investigation would only prove that they were indeed authentic. Nor did anyone deny the substance of the story. Why? Well, because it's true. (Click here for part II of the recent DN! interview with Mapes. [.mp3, 2.6MB] She also discusses the Abu Ghraib scandal.)


Republicans are doing their utmost to block any serious investigation into the illegal and unconstitutional warrantless domestic spying scandal. Surprise, surprise. And good ol' Karl Rove is doing more of his legendary arm-twisting and threatening to "black list" any Republicans who vote against the president. (Why is he so concerned? Well, because "the defection of even a handful of Republican committee members could result in a determination that the president violated the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Such a determination could lead to impeachment proceedings.")


Katrina victims got kicked out of their federally-subsidized trailers. There's "Compassionate Conservatism" for you. And "Browny" has threatened to release all communications between himself and his superiors (including Bush) in order to prove that he is being scape-goated for the incompetent FEMA response. Also, turns out the Bush Crime Family (think I might start adopting Mike Malloy's term from now on . . .) lied about when they first knew the levies were breached. (What? Bush? Lying? He doesn't do that, that's just a Democratic talking point . . .)

See White House Knew of Levee's Failure on Night of Storm


The response by Muslims to some stupid cartoons makes it REALLY hard to sympathize with them, and reminds me once again why I fucking hate religion. However, despite all the coverage of this every bloody day (how many news stories on this did YOU hear before they actually told you what the cartoon actually portrayed?), unless you listen to DemocracyNow! you probably didn't know that this has nothing to do with Free Speech or Freedom of the Press. Why do I say that? Because apparently there were similar cartoons lampooning Jesus submitted for publication previously, and the editor of this Danish paper decided not to print them -- because it would just upset people. Hmm . . . So this fucker made a conscious, deliberate choice to publish cartoons portraying the Prophet Muhammed as a suicide bomber and NOT to publish the cartoons making fun of Jesus. In other words, "I don't care if we upset Muslims, cause I don't like them anyway." And while of course the leader of Iran is an antisemetic psychopath, I think his call for a cartoon competition about the Holocaust makes an excellent point about the double standard in place and the clear racism involved. For my part, I hereby invite you to participate in a Cartoons About Jesus contest; send me images and I will post them. Kari has already started us off; and also here.


Back on the topic of Cheney's reckless endangerment (or "hunting" accident), some have pointed out an interesting detail about the manner in which the VP goes "hunting"; that is, it's no so much "hunting" as "shooting fish in a barrel" -- or, slaughtering. The birds are raised in captivity (often deliberately crippled at birth so they can't fly well) and then released all at once in a confined area, at which time the massacre can commence.

[Mike Malloy has a thing or two to say about this . . .]


And the Bush administration spent $1.6 Billion on PR (a.k.a. propaganda) since 2003, according to the Government Accountability Office.


To conclude, I just want to say this: if you don't already, you need to watch or listen to DemocracyNow! every single day. One hour. That's it. You get more information -- important information -- in ONE HOUR than in an ENTIRE DAY of watching CNN, MSNBC, FOX, etc. etc.



Friday, February 17, 2006

ShoutWire - Why is the USA resented around the world?

ShoutWire - Why is the USA resented around the world?


This section attempts to answer the question: why is the USA so frequently the victim of resentment around the world?

The USA government blames hatred of democracy and envy at the American way of life for this resentment. Many people in the USA and a majority around the world look towards USA foreign policy for the answers. Much of this policy, its history and consequences is under-reported by the American media.

The American people are generally a friendly, kindly and compassionate people. If they knew one tenth of what their governments get up to around the world and in their dealings with foreign governments and people, there would be an enormous outcry. For this reason much is hidden or obscurred. Since the terrible events on 11 September 2001, many Americans have taken to the internet to find out more about the world beyond their borders.

. . . . . . . .

Tables and Lists of USA Actions Since 1945

USA Backed Coups
Military coups and changes of government, planned, organised or backed by the USA. The reasons given (Communism, terrorism, drugs, fundamentalism) are compared with the actual reasons (oil, minerals, political influence, business interests, military bases).

USA Interventions
Military or political interventions, invasions, bombings, military aid, sanctions, and terrorist activity by the USA against countries and popular movements. As with coups, the reasons given for the interventions are usually very different from the actual reasons. Many of these actions remain secret for many years.

USA UN Vetos
In the United Nations (UN), there are five countries that can veto a UN resolution. These five are the permanent members of the Security Council: USA, UK, France, Russia, and China. The USA has used its veto more times than all the other countries put together. This is a list of UN resolutions vetoed by the USA. The record of the USA voting patterns is generally under reported in the Western media.

USA Companies
This is the involvement of USA owned companies in activities around the world. Often undemocratic regimes are favoured because of their harsh or non-existant labour laws, lax pollution controls, low taxations and lack of human rights.

USA Nuclear, Biological and Chemical
The USA military budget is higher than the combined total of the next fifteen countries. The USA possesses nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. This is a listing of their use and testing around the world.

USA Victims of Foreign Policy
Victims of terrorism who are American or Western are publicised around the world's media. Their lives are commemorated and their deaths mourned. This is a conservative estimation of the numbers of victims of USA foreign policy (direct and indirect). Most of these figues are available in the public domain but are not publicised.

. . . . . . . .


"Liberal Media" myth debunked yet one more time

Media Matters -
If It's Sunday, It's Conservative: An analysis of the Sunday talk show guests on ABC, CBS, and NBC, 1997 - 2005

"In 2002, there were more than three conservative journalists for every progressive journalist on Meet the Press, and in 2003, there were more than five conservative journalists for every progressive journalist. . . ."
. . . . . . . .

"Video of Clinton's lie about sex was broadcast nearly five times as often as video of Bush's lie about warrantless domestic spying." . . .

(Do we REALLY need a study here? Must we have think tanks to simply point out the obvious? . . . The answer is YES. Because the baseless, idiotic, self-delusional myth -- no, I think we should just call it a LIE, because mythology as least requires some cleverness and specific detail to come up with -- remains alive and well. God knows why. [I must ask Him some time.])

Media Matters study finds Sunday show guest lists favor conservatives

This week, Media Matters released the results of an exhaustive study of the guests who have appeared on the three major Sunday morning political shows since 1997. The study, covering former President Clinton's second term, President Bush's first term, and 2005, shows classified nearly 7,000 guests by political party and ideology and found that Republicans and conservatives have far outnumbered Democrats and progressives on the Sunday shows.

The study, "If It's Sunday, It's Conservative: An Analysis of the Sunday Talk Show Guests on ABC, CBS, and NBC, 1997-2005," was supervised by Media Matters Senior Fellow Paul Waldman, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and the author of, among other books, The Press Effect: Politicians, Journalists, and the Stories that Shape the Political World (Oxford University Press, 2002), which he co-wrote with media researcher Kathleen Hall Jamieson. Among the key findings:

The balance between Democrats/progressives and Republicans/conservatives was roughly equal during Clinton's second term, with a slight edge toward Republicans/conservatives: 52 percent of the ideologically identifiable guests were from the right, and 48 percent were from the left. But in Bush's first term, Republicans/ conservatives held a dramatic advantage, outnumbering Democrats/progressives by 58 percent to 42 percent. In 2005, the figures were an identical 58 percent to 42 percent.

Counting only elected officials and administration representatives, Democrats had a small advantage during Clinton's second term: 53 percent to 45 percent. In Bush's first term, however, the Republican advantage was 61 percent to 39 percent -- nearly three times as large.

In both the Clinton and Bush administrations, conservative journalists were far more likely to appear on the Sunday shows than were progressive journalists. In Clinton's second term, 61 percent of the ideologically identifiable journalists were conservative; in Bush's first term, that figure rose to 69 percent.

The study also provides new evidence of the unprecedented positive media coverage from which Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) benefits. Media Matters found that McCain has been by far the most frequent Sunday show guest over the past nine years, making 124 appearances -- 50 percent more appearances than the runner-up, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-DE). McCain has been granted 86 solo interviews -- more than Biden's total appearances, and nearly twice as many solo interviews as anyone else during the past nine years.

Media Matters' report drew an immediate response from NBC and CBS.

NBC responded by challenging our methodology and calling the study "intellectually dishonest," suggesting that we cherry-picked the time frame included in the study (nine consecutive years) in order to skew the results. Setting aside the question of why one would consider Meet the Press' guest list "balanced" if you have to go back more than nine years to find data supporting that conclusion, it's worth noting that NBC's own data confirms our findings.

NBC's claim that we cherry-picked data is simply amusing in light of the fact that, as Media Matters explained, it pulled a bait-and-switch in its response to our report:

In addition, you write of your figure of 56 percent Democrats to 44 percent Republicans during Clinton's first term: "How different is that from the first term of President Bush? Well, it's basically the same -- according to Media Matters' own findings -- Republicans accounted for 58 percent of all guests on Sunday shows in President Bush's first term and Democrats accounted for 42% of appearances." But here you are comparing not just apples to oranges, but Granny Smiths to Clementines. Those figures -- 58 percent Republicans/conservatives to 42 percent Democrats/progressives during Bush's first term -- represent all guests on all shows, not simply Democrats and Republicans on Meet the Press. The figure for Republicans and Democrats on Meet the Press during Bush's first term, to repeat, was 62 percent Republicans to 38 percent Democrats, a difference of 24 percentage points, twice as large as the figure you offered for Meet the Press during Clinton's first term.

So, NBC argued that Meet the Press' guest list during the first Clinton term was tilted towards Democrats to the same degree that it tilted towards Republicans during Bush's first term. But in so arguing, NBC used data for all Sunday show guests during Bush's first term, not for Meet the Press guests, thus minimizing the actual disparity.

The response by CBS News Public Eye weblog editor Vaughn Ververs was even more curious. Ververs took issue with the entire premise of Media Matters' study, arguing that "the most obvious and troubling" problem with the study is the "intra-party dynamic." Ververs explained:

For example, while Media Matters says it classified former Democratic Senator Zell Miller as a "conservative" for his role as an outspoken critic of his own party, the study also makes much of the fact that Republican Senator John McCain has appeared 174 times in the period covered. There's no doubt whatsoever that Miller supported President Bush's re-election and appeared on these programs as an advocate of his policies, particularly on the war. There's also no doubt that John McCain has built his career largely on being a "maverick" within his own party and someone the media traditionally turns to for Republican-on-Republican criticism.

In other words, in challenging Media Matters' conclusion that the Sunday show guest lists skew to the right, Ververs points to the frequency with which McCain appears on the programs.

The notion of McCain as "independent" and a "maverick" is so deeply ingrained in the minds of many reporters, they actually point to his frequent appearances on the Sunday shows as evidence there is not a rightward tilt to those programs. Never mind that McCain has run for president as a Republican, that he campaigned for George Bush, that he supports the Iraq war. Never mind that NARAL-Pro Choice America has given him a zero rating for the last decade. Never mind that he hasn't received a rating higher than 50 percent from the National Education Association in this century. Never mind that the right-wing John Birch Society gave him a rating of 90 in 2004, or that the Christian Coalition gave him an 83. Never mind his support for diverting taxpayer funds to religious schools, or his support for Social Security privatization. To Ververs, none of that seems to matter; John McCain is the Republican equivalent of Zell Miller.

Ververs went on:

And when it comes to categorizing journalists on the panels, I'm not sure how that works. I'll certainly buy columnist Bob Novak as a conservative, but I think you'd get some real arguments from Republicans by classifying David Broder as a "centrist."

We have no doubt some Republicans would really argue that Broder is a progressive rather than a "centrist" -- but those arguments could hardly be described as "real."

Media Matters' full response to Ververs can be found here; Ververs' response to our response is available here.

Media critic Eric Alterman had a more favorable reaction to Media Matters' study -- and effectively, though indirectly, refuted Ververs' complaints about our classifications:

What's more, despite its having been produced by a liberal think thank, the study's grading of the guests--where the rubber hits the road -- is extremely generous to the right-wing side, and therefore precludes any credible complaints that it's a product of liberal bias. For instance, liberal-hater Joe Klein, together with war-supporters Peter Beinart and George Packer, are coded "progressive," and Cokie Roberts and David Broder, who openly detest both Clinton and Gore while frequently apologizing for Bush--together with former GE chairman Jack Welch and Mrs. Alan Greenspan, Andrea Mitchell--were classified as "neutral." (Remember how quick Mitchell was during the 2004 debates to accuse Kerry of "demagoguery" for daring to criticize her husband?)

Indeed, as far as critical commentary goes, with the occasional exception of E.J. Dionne, there's not a single unapologetic liberal on any of these shows, save perhaps an annual appearance as a kind of anthropological curiosity. Tune in to every show every week for a year, and you are unlikely to see Frank Rich, Paul Krugman, Rick Hertzberg, Harold Meyerson or anyone associated with The Nation, The American Prospect, The Washington Monthly, The New York Review of Books, Salon, In These Times, Mother Jones or even the liberal remnant inside The New Republic.

When you think about it, it is a tribute to the American people that they remain as receptive to liberal arguments as they do, given how infrequently they hear them.

Media Matters' Sunday show study also drew the attention of conservative attack organizations. Desperate to maintain the imbalance in Sunday show guests that serves them so well, RightMarch.com -- a conservative activist organization with ties to Randall Terry and Lou Sheldon -- and other groups have lashed out at the Media Matters study. The well-funded RightMarch.com, which reportedly sent millions of emails to its list during the Terri Schiavo debate, has sent an email to its subscribers urging them to write letters to newspapers complaining about "how liberally biased the mainstream media is." The RightMarch.com email denounced Media Matters' study as "totally skewed" and "obviously WRONG" -- though not only did it offer no specific criticism of the study or its methodology, another study it touted as "a SERIOUS study on media bias" has been discredited.

Click here to counter this desperate and baseless attempt by RightMarch.com to undermine our study.


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Horrific New Torture Pictures Released

Horrific New Torture Pictures Released

(Yes, I know Dick Cheney shot some guy in the face -- but this struck me as a bit more important.)


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Sane Republican Award goes to . . .


(Who would have thought?)

I will post audio and video clips of this [the NSA domestic spying hearing] soon. But for now, check out CSPAN. (You'll be surpirsed, trust me.)

There may just be hope for our country yet.

And hats off to Arlen Specter. (Despite the stupid bitch-fest spat with Kennedy about the mail during the Alito nomination -- though, incidentally, Specter was lying, just for the record. He's still O.K. in my book, at this point.)

The only question now is . . .

Given his lies and refusal to answer important questions, should Alberto Gonzalez have his testicles squeezed in a vice in order to extract the necessary information?

You decide . . .

(O.K., you're right -- that would be "torture," and we, of course, don't do that. So we'll just strip him naked and shackle him and place panties over his head and smear menstrual blood on his face and beat him and sodomize him a bit and make him masturbate on another prisoner while having his hands stomped on and then lock him up in solitary confinement for a couple of years in complete darkness with a bag over his head and conduct mock executions on him and starve him and water board him and sick vicious attack dogs at his testicles and freeze his toes off and pull him around on a leash and piss on him and drag him around by the hair, etc. (You know: just "degrading and inhumane," not "torture" for God's sake. This is America, after all.)

I think we can get him to talk . . .



Friday, February 03, 2006

Quote of the week

''He's a person who was elected legally -- just as Adolf Hitler was elected legally."

--Donald Rumsfeld, speaking about Hugo Chavez

(He also said that elections like those of Evo Morales in Bolivia are "clearly worrisome.")

Just in case there was any doubt that this lying hypocritical government despises democracy and always has. Doesn't leave much doubt, either, that the U.S. government was indeed behind the attempted coup plot against Chavez.

"We saw dictatorships there [in Latin America]," Rumsfeld says. "Saw"?? How about "supported, trained, armed and funded"? Any Reaganite talking about "democracy" should simply be drowned out with angry laughter -- but, alas, this is America. We listen with a straight face.



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