To better serve you, the reader, truth > lies has now merged blogs with Someone Took In These Pants. You can still see JohnnyCougar dismantle the most egregious and insidious of Republican propaganda at this new location. In the wake of increased schoolwork, truth > lies editor JohnnyCougar feels unable to singlehandedly keep up with correcting the sheer volume of Republican misinformation that abounds, and has now partnered up with Robola. This blog merger will allow us to discern more truth from the morass of Republican lies to better serve the reader. JohnnyCougar thanks you for your readership, and invites you to the next level of blogging:
The latest information has leaked out about Bush’s vastly illegal domestic spying program. Apparently, stats from a leak from the NSA show about 5,000 US citizens were wiretapped. And that’s only to this person’s knowledge. Only about ten per year have been judged legitimate to investigate further. This, of course, means (other than Fascism is at your doorstep) that 99% of those Americans that are spied on are innocent. According to one government official:
The minimum legal definition of probable cause, said a government official who has studied the program closely, is that evidence used to support eavesdropping ought to turn out to be “right for one out of every two guys at least.”
Ouch…that’s gotta hurt Bush’s case. The big revelation here is that it clearly reveals that totally innocent Americans are being searched. This applies to everyone. It’s not just about terrorists anymore. The fact that only 10 calls per year through this method are even taken to the next step in survellance shows that we have a problem. We don’t even know if anyone has been arrested via this proceedure yet.
This could possibly explain why Bush didn’t even bother to get FISA warrants. But if they are only getting a 1% hit rate, who else are they spying on? Without a court (or anyone else, for that matter) reviewing who Bush is wiretapping, this program could conceivably be used to spy on political opponents. If Bush really thought this was necessary, he could have just changed the law, and implemented some sort of checks and balances or oversight to this program. In fact, if he were using the spying program for legitimate purposes, there is no reason to believe that he wouldn’t have done this. The fact that he did this against the law and tried to keep it a secret suggests other motives.
It turns out that a bunch of people close to the Fedralist Society had a plan all along to get people like Alito on to the Supreme court. They hired PR firms to cultivate and manage public opinion to favorably suit potential justices like Alito.
The NY Times article Kennedy is waving about is here. It may require a subscription, so here are some excerpts…
The team recruited conservative lawyers to study the records of 18 potential nominees — including Judges John G. Roberts Jr. and Samuel A. Alito Jr. — and trained more than three dozen lawyers across the country to respond to news reports on the president’s eventual pick.
“We boxed them in,” one lawyer present during the strategy meetings said with pride in an interview over the weekend. This lawyer and others present who described the meeting were granted anonymity because the meetings were confidential and because the team had told its allies not to exult publicly until the confirmation vote was cast.
Now, on the eve of what is expected to be the Senate confirmation of Judge Alito to the Supreme Court, coming four months after Chief Justice Roberts was installed, those planners stand on the brink of a watershed for the conservative movement.
In 1982, the year after Mr. Alito first joined the Reagan administration, that movement was little more than the handful of legal scholars who gathered at Yale for the first meeting of the Federalist Society, a newly formed conservative legal group.
Judge Alito’s ascent to join Chief Justice Roberts on the court “would have been beyond our best expectations,” said Spencer Abraham, one of the society’s founders, a former secretary of energy under President Bush and now the chairman of the Committee for Justice, one of many conservative organizations set up to support judicial nominees.
He added, “I don’t think we would have put a lot of money on it in a friendly wager.”
Judge Alito’s confirmation is also the culmination of a disciplined campaign begun by the Reagan administration to seed the lower federal judiciary with like-minded jurists who could reorient the federal courts toward a view of the Constitution much closer to its 18th-century authors’ intent, including a much less expansive view of its application to individual rights and federal power. It was a philosophy promulgated by Edwin Meese III, attorney general in the Reagan administration, that became the gospel of the Federalist Society and the nascent conservative legal movement.
So they are trying to attack an individual’s rights after all. Well, I should have guessed as much. Bush’s whole presidency has been about expanding his powers well past where they were, and way past where they should be.
Just yesterday, Katie Couric interrupted Howard Dean on the Today Show when Dean said “not one dime of Abramoff money went to Democrats.” Couric used the often repeated Republican falsehood that Indian tribe donations from tribes that Abramoff at one time worked for are equivalent to Abramoff money. With this logic, and politician that took money from Microsoft took Abramoff money, since Abramoff once worked for Microsoft. The first truth > lies letter to the Today Show can be seen below.
Today, NBC brought Tim Russert on to claim that while Dean was “technically” correct according to Lauer, the issue is “broad and wide.” The Today Show can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please help me explain to Russert and Lauer how not one Democrat is involved in this investigation and how Abramoff client donations are not equivalent to Abramoff money. Let them know that the issue is not “broad and wide.” Also, explain to them that the tribes that hired Abramoff started giving less money to Democrats once they hired Abramoff.
Update: Media Matters now has the video
On the Today Show, Howard Dean correctly insisted that Democrats did not get “one dime” of Abramoff money. Unfortunately, Couric interrupted him to interject the Republican falsehood that has been circulating around saying Democrats took Abramoff money. In fact, Couric was citing a wholly misleading report grouping donations to politicians from the tribes that Abramoff once worked for together with Abramoff’s personal donations. Media Matters has the video.
After Dean corrected the misleading claim that Couric recited, Couric promised to look into it and clarify it to viewers at a later date. Help Couric look into this issue by sending her an e-mail (email@example.com) explaining the facts to her. Here is the truth > lies letter:
To clarify the dispute between Katie and Howard Dean on your show this morning, the FEC website has recorded zero Abramoff contributions to Democrats, and scores of Abramoff contributions to Republicans. Dean was absolutely correct in his assertion that Democrats have not taken one dime from Jack Abramoff.
The misleading report that Couric was citing on the show deceptively groups donations from every tribe Abramoff ever worked for together and calls it Abramoff money. The fact is, many of those tribes were making perfectly legal contributions to Democrats before Abramoff even was hired by the tribes. And Abramoff was by far not the only lobbyist employed by the tribes.
Abramoff also once worked for Microsoft. With the logic used in the report Couric cited, any politician who has also taken a donation from Microsoft has also received “Abramoff money.”
I am sure Couric’s confusion was not ill intended, but I ask her and the Today Show staff to keep their eyes open to prevent repeating false and misleading Republican propaganda in the future. It is unreasonable to assume, today, that documents and information coming from right-wing sources have any basis in fact at all.
Thank you for your understanding,
Use this letter as inspiration and write your own! 🙂
Hopefully, educating our highest elected and appointed officials about the law is something we aren’t going to have to keep doing. I’m not holding out much hope, though.
Colonel (Ret.) Larry Wilkerson, a former policy director for the Bush Administration (and long time Republican), has been voicing his concerns over the lack a realistic method of governing coming from the Bush Administration.
The Washington Post had this story buried in the “Style” section. I love Wilkerson, and he reminds me of why I once liked the Republican party. But the article has this to say about Bush:
“This is not a Republican administration, not in my view. This is a radical administration.”
Wilkerson calls Bush an unsophisticated leader who has been easily swayed by “messianic” neoconservatives and power-hungry, secretive schemers in the administration. In a landmark speech in October, Wilkerson said: “What I saw was a cabal between the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made.”
He is particularly appalled by U.S. treatment of enemy detainees, counting at least 100 deaths in custody during the course of the war on terrorism — 27 of them ruled homicides. “Murder is torture,” he says. “It’s not torture lite.”
As for the invasion of Iraq? A blunder of historic proportions, he believes.
“This is really a very inept administration,” says Wilkerson, who has credentials not only as an insider in the Bush I, Clinton and Bush II presidencies but also as a former professor at two of the nation’s war colleges. “As a teacher who’s studied every administration since 1945, I think this is probably the worst ineptitude in governance, decision-making and leadership I’ve seen in 50-plus years. You’ve got to go back and think about that. That includes the Bay of Pigs, that includes — oh my God, Vietnam. That includes Iran-contra, Watergate.”
Wilkerson, as it turned out, became the point man for making the case for preemptive war against Hussein. He put together the task force that, during a week at CIA headquarters, vetted all the intelligence reports used for Powell’s famous pro-war presentation in February 2003 to the Security Council, where he brandished a vial of fake anthrax, played excerpts of intercepted Iraqi military chatter, and warned of mobile bioweapon “factories” and other doomsday machines, none of which actually existed.
How did it happen?
“Larry thought they had cleaned out the obvious garbage, but it turned out there was more,” says James A. Kelly, a former assistant secretary of state who’s known Wilkerson for 20 years. “Larry felt that he let down the secretary, but the job was so big in cleaning out the misinformation.”
Wilkerson won’t say outright that he and Powell were deliberately snowed by intelligence reports tailored to fit a political push for war, but he has edged closer to that view, noting, “I’ve begun to wonder.” It turns out that the administration relied on fabricators’ claims about Hussein’s illusory WMD programs and, in one case, an al Qaeda suspect whom the CIA turned over to alleged torturers in Egypt.
Wilkerson is saying is exactly right, IMHO. It was painfully obvious even before this war started that Bush is an easily manipulated President by some circles, most notably the neoconservative lunatic fringe that wants to take over the entire Middle East step by step, damn the consequences. Our contry is being run by radicals that have no respect for any particular political philosophy except that of achieving more power for themselves.
It looks like his competition is serious, too. Serves him right for supporting the lies of George W. Bush and his false war.
The challenger is Ned Lamont, friend of the Kennedys and wealthy businessman. The entire grassroots is against Lieberman, so this should be interesting. Details are here on this diary on Kos.
The Globe is misleading its readers when it states “Known as a top Washington lobbyist, Abramoff had vast influence and gave generously to Democrats and Republicans alike…” This excerpt goes on to imply that Harry Reid is somehow involved in wrongdoing as well. If the Globe writer Michael Kranish would have bothered to check the FEC’s own website, he would have realized that Abramoff did not donate a dime to Democrats. But apparently backing up baseless claims with reality and fact is beyond the scope of a journalist these days.
You can contact Kranish at: firstname.lastname@example.org