Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Beckoning: An On-Site Report

Glenn Beck gave his "I Have A Scheme" speech at the Lincoln Memorial today, with 50,000-75,000 people attending.  The event did live up to its promise to be non-political.  Sister Sarah, the queen of the Teabaggers, told the crowd that she was appearing as the mother of a veteran-- speaking at length on how Americans should show appreciation and respect for how the military has served the country.
 

 Indeed, the crowd had a definite "Memorial Day" feel to it-- just replace the POW activists with a heavy dose of libertarians.  Demographically, the crowd most certainly skewed older, and was overwhelmingly white.


Beck's remarks were so bland, I can't imagine anyone having an real objections to what he said.  Unlike his radio and TV performances, there was no fear-mongering, no race-baiting, no hateful invectives, no shilling to either buy or sell gold.


Beck's remarks had strong religious themes-- though carefully avoiding any denomination-specific code words or phrases.  "For too long, this country has wandered in darkness, and we have wandered in darkness in periods from the beginning," Beck said, at times pacing at the memorial. "We have had moments of brilliance and moments of darkness. But this country has spent far too long worried about scars and thinking about the scars and concentrating on the scars.

"Today," he continued, "we are going to concentrate on the good things in America, the things that we have accomplished - and the things that we can do tomorrow. The story of America is the story of humankind."

That's it-- nothing specific, nothing controversial.  Just an over-sized "live" infomercial for Beck Incorporated.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wonkette Previews BeckPalooza

You can count on Wonkette to take the piss out of any GOP event . . .

Oh, ye Armies of the Night! Rise up … or, hell, just remain seated. Remain seated, ye lardbottoms, and also stick to daylight hours, so you don’t run into each other, on those ridiculous scooters paid for by Socialist Medicare. Wonkette’s photographic war correspondent Dana Ryan is already just cold shooting pictures of the most historical/miraculous event ever, which starts tomorrow we think?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Stoking Racist Fears

A wingnut website promoting Glenn Beck's upcoming rally at the Lincoln Memorial (to commemorate the anniversary of MLK's historic August 28, 1963) has some interesting tidbits on how to ride the DC metro system:
If you are on the subway stay on the Red line between Union Station and Shady Grove, Maryland. If you are on the Blue or Orange line do not go past Eastern Market (Capitol Hill) toward the Potomac Avenue stop and beyond; stay in NW DC and points in Virginia. Do not use the Green line or the Yellow line. These rules are even more important at night. There is of course nothing wrong with many other areas; but you don't know where you are, so you should not explore them.

Following this advice, you would not be able to visit the U.S. Archives (where the constitution is displayed), see a DC United soccer game, visit Catholic University, go to the Convention center or attend mass at the nation's largest basilica (the Shrine to the Immaculate conception).  Coincidentally or not-- you be the judge-- you would also not be able to go to Alexandria, Howard University, Anacostia, Landover, and Prince George's County-- some of the largest population centers of Metro DC's African American community.  Be afraid, teabaggers, be afraid!

Friday, August 20, 2010

North Korea Joins Facebook & Comes Out Of The Closet At The Same Time

According to South Korea (who is in the habit of stalking its ex), North Korea has joined Facebook. One unexpected development, however-- North Korea is apparently gay. It lists itself as "male" as well as "interested in men".   You go girl!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

4415

That's how many American lives a lie can cost-- just ask George Bush.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Another Stain In The Bush-Gitmo Legacy

A federal judge has ordered the release of a Guantanamo Bay detainee imprisoned at the island facility for more than 8 1/2 years.

In a his ruling, U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy said the Government failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the Yemeni man was part of al-Qaeda or an associated force. The government alleged that an al-Qaeda recruiter encouraged the man to go to Afghanistan to receive military training.

The detainee, Adnan Farhan Abd Al Latif, says he went to the region after being promised free medical care for head injuries suffered in a car accident in his home country.

"The evidence shows that Latif did have an injury that continued to affect him in 2001 and for which he might therefore have sought treatment," wrote the judge. The detainee "has presented a plausible alternative story to explain his travel," the judge added.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Little Benny Quayle Running For Office

Remember how little boys often parade around the house in their fathers' over-sized shoes?  Well, it seems that Benny Quayle is doing a grown-up version of that-- only his dad's shoes aren't that big to begin with.  Anyway . . . he got a lot of shit on the net about his lame-ass political ad, so a new version hit the tubes this weekend that toughens up the message a bit. 


Friday, August 6, 2010

More Evidence That Bush Thumbed His Nose At The Judiciary

Not that this should surprise anyone, but the Associated Press has established how sneaky and despicable the Bush administration was in thwarting the efforts of the courts to continue its illegal practices of torture and renditioning.   According to the report, President Bush brought four of the most highly wanted al Qaeda terrorists to Guantanamo Bay years earlier than reported, in 2003—and then quickly sent them back overseas to CIA black sites when his administration began to fear that the Supreme Court would give them access to lawyers. Overseas, the men were subject to torture for two more years-- had they stayed at Gitmo, the court would have given them access to lawyers just three months later. "There was obviously a fear that everything that had been done to them might come out," says one of the alleged terrorist’s lawyers. Another law professor who has represented detainees says, "This was all just a shell game to hide detainees from the courts.”

If They Can Do It To Any Citizen, They Can Do It To You

And you thought things would get better post-Bush.  Think again.  Obama's Director of National Intelligence says that it can kill an American citizen at will, and his Treasury Department can punish your lawyer for trying to protect you.  Earlier this year, the New York Times reported:

The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is believed to have shifted from encouraging attacks on the United States to directly participating in them, intelligence and counter-terrorism officials said.

Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico and spent years in the United States as an imam, is in hiding in Yemen. . . . A former senior legal official in the administration of George W. Bush said he did not know of any American who was approved for targeted killing under the former president.

The director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, told a House hearing in February that such a step was possible. “We take direct actions against terrorists in the intelligence community,” he said. “If we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that.”

Obama approved Awlaki's assassination back in April, which was rubber-stamped by the National Security Council.  As for the Treasury Department angle, here's Glenn Greenwald from Salon.com:

Early last month, the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights were retained by Nasser al-Awlaki, the father of Obama assassination target  (and U.S. citizen) Anwar al-Awlaki, to seek a federal court order restraining the Obama administration from killing his son (an American citizen) without due process of law.  But then, a significant and extraordinary problem arose: regulations promulgated several years ago by the Treasury Department prohibit U.S. persons from engaging in any transactions with individuals labeled by the Government as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist," and those regulations specifically bar lawyers from providing legal services to such individuals without a special "license" from the Treasury Department specifically allowing such representation.

In what is surely a coincidence, on July 16 -- two weeks after Awlaki's father retained ACLU lawyers for his son -- the Treasury Department slapped that label on Awlaki.  That action instantly made it a criminal offense for anyone to file suit on behalf of Awlaki or otherwise provide legal representation to him without express permission from the U.S. Government.  In effect, a U.S. citizen now has to ask permission from a bureaucrat to obtain his constitutional right to due process under the law.

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