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Archive for July 1st, 2008

Rasmussen: McCain Holds Wide Lead in Georgia

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2008 4:43 am by HL

Rasmussen: McCain Holds Wide Lead in Georgia
A new Rasmussen Reports survey in Georgia finds Sen. John McCain well ahead of Sen. Barack Obama, 53% to 43%.

The only real surprise is that Libertarian candidate Bob Barr gets only 1% of the vote in his home state, suggesting he’s not likely to be much of a factor.

McCain’s Truth Squad
Political Insider: What John Kerry taught John McCain about presidential politics. Plus, a postscript on how he might have messed it up.


And I Don’t Need No Hook For This Shit: How To Read Sy Hersh

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2008 4:42 am by HL

And I Don’t Need No Hook For This Shit: How To Read Sy Hersh
As a rule, I don’t criticize Sy Hersh pieces. Reporters do not have the right to fuck with Hersh until they’ve run through a Georgia barracks trying to find Calley or learned about an entirely secret war that Congress never dreamed of or published excerpts of the Taguba report. You do this, you can criticize.

[CHS notes: While you are at it, Spencer has a fantastic piece on how utterly different the contractor prep for Iraq is from the public spin from the Bush WH and Pentagon. Take a peek here…]

As a rule, I don’t criticize Sy Hersh pieces. Reporters do not have the right to fuck with Hersh until they’ve run through a Georgia barracks trying to find Calley or learned about an entirely secret war that Congress never dreamed of or published excerpts of the Taguba report. You do this, you can criticize. Me, I shut up and watch the journalistic version of Nas do his thing.

There are, however, those who believe that with his Iran reporting, Hersh is going through a Nastradamus phase. Every six months Hersh writes another piece that says there’s going to be an attack on Iran in six months! they say. LOL he’s fallen off! Well, look. Here’s how you read a Hersh piece. Editors need a hook. They need what’s known in the biz as a Strong Lede. In other words, they want to be able to answer the question: What’s This Piece About? It’s a journalistic convention that your answer can’t be Well, shit, Hersh is the best in the game, let’s just let him spill his notebook into print. But that’s the actual answer! So there has to be this veneer, this patina, this glossy sheen put atop the piece. It’s like an R&B hook grafted into a really hot freestyle. Unfortunately, people judge the product by the hook, not by the freestyle. So read deep into the piece, because you find its real rationale there — not that we’re definitely going to attack Iran, but an on-the-record interview last month that Hersh did with Fox Fallon, for instance:

Admiral Fallon acknowledged, when I spoke to him in June, that he had heard that there were people in the White House who were upset by his public statements. “Too many people believe you have to be either for or against the Iranians,” he told me. “Let’s get serious. Eighty million people live there, and everyone’s an individual. The idea that they’re only one way or another is nonsense.”

When it came to the Iraq war, Fallon said, “Did I bitch about some of the things that were being proposed? You bet. Some of them were very stupid.”

Hot fire. Or CIA Director Michael Hayden telling Congressional Democrats, who acquiesced to some fateful changes of language in last year’s defense bill viz. Iran, not to worry about never knowing precisely what sort of covert operations that Special Ops forces will be doing (never mind that until Rumsfeld, they did clandestine operations, not covert shit):

“The agency says we’re not going to get in the position of helping to kill people without a Finding,” the former senior intelligence official told me. He was referring to the legal threat confronting some agency operatives for their involvement in the rendition and alleged torture of suspects in the war on terror. “This drove the military people up the wall,” he said. As far as the C.I.A. was concerned, the former senior intelligence official said, “the over-all authorization includes killing, but it’s not as though that’s what they’re setting out to do. It’s about gathering information, enlisting support.” The Finding sent to Congress was a compromise, providing legal cover for the C.I.A. while referring to the use of lethal force in ambiguous terms.

The defensive-lethal language led some Democrats, according to congressional sources familiar with their views, to call in the director of the C.I.A., Air Force General Michael V. Hayden, for a special briefing. Hayden reassured the legislators that the language did nothing more than provide authority for Special Forces operatives on the ground in Iran to shoot their way out if they faced capture or harm.

If you need any more convincing about the value of Hersh’s Iran stuff, consider that people are most likely telling Hersh this stuff in order to forestall an attack by making the administration’s conniving a matter of public record. (For a mostly-skeptical take on an Iran attack, check out this roundtable Laura Rozen assembled for MoJo.) His pieces — or at least their toplines — are self-refuting! It’s all very Derridean.

One day, journalistic convention will decide that placing reporters like Hersh within the box of a lede for a piece that needs no lede is a silly idea. Then, my friends, we will finally have the free play of notebook material. But until then, we have to read Hersh with a bit of a knowing eye. You can hate all you like, but GOD’S SON is across the belly and he’ll prove you lost already.

Update: More on the latest Hersh piece from Marcy here and here.



Another Waterboarded Guantanamo Detainee to Face Death Penalty

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2008 4:41 am by HL

Another Waterboarded Guantanamo Detainee to Face Death Penalty

Update: ACLU response is here.

The U.S. announced today it will seek to file charges that carry the death penalty against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi of Yemeni descent captured in 2002 and tranferred to Guantanamo in 2006, who has claimed he confessed because he was tortured during interrogation.

The charges are related to the 2000 USS Cole bombing.

The allegations include conspiracy to violate laws of war, murder, treachery, terrorism, destruction of property and intentionally causing serious bodily injury.

Al-Nashiri was held in an overseas secret prison before being shipped to Gitmo. [More…]

CIA Director Michael Hayden said early this year that al-Nashiri was among terrorist suspects subjected to waterboarding in 2002 and 2003 while being interrogated in secret CIA prisons.

…[Al-Nashiri] said he confessed to involvement in several other terror plots in order to get the torture to stop — including the 2002 bombing of the French oil tanker Limburg, plans to bomb American ships in the Gulf, a plan to hijack a plane and crash it into a ship and that bin Laden had a nuclear bomb.

The Defense Department’s press release is here. The summary of evidence against him presented at his 2007 enemy combatant status review hearing is here. (pdf)


The Hissy Fit Horror Show

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2008 4:40 am by HL

The Hissy Fit Horror Show
It’s all just so predictable.

MITTENS!!!
OHPLEASEOHPLEASEOHPLEASEOHPLEASEOHPLEASEOHPLEASE


Why We Need to Put Science Back in Government

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2008 4:39 am by HL

Why We Need to Put Science Back in Government
The Bush administration has been widely criticized for placing politics over science. The next president must act to reverse that trend.

Revisiting the Execution of Willie Francis: Race, Murder and the Search for Justice
It took two trips to the electric chair to kill murder suspect Francis, whose unfair trial catapulted racial justice into public consciousness.


Cindy’s Illiquid Assets?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2008 4:38 am by HL

Cindy’s Illiquid Assets?
The news that Cindy McCain defaulted for four years on the property taxes from one of her 7 houses, along with the $500K in Amex Platinum debt, leads me to believe that Cindy McCain may be having liquidity problems. Her…


DC Press Lords Lay Down Fire for McCain

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2008 4:37 am by HL

DC Press Lords Lay Down Fire for McCain
It’s not surprising. But it is an example of the fatuous McCain worship that is the bread and butter of the Washington press corps that Wes Clark’s comments this weekend on Face the Nation are being called ‘swift-boating’. It’s almost…


Oil prices surge, US gas hits new high

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2008 4:36 am by HL

Oil prices surge, US gas hits new high
Oil prices surged past $143 a barrel for the first time ever Monday, and the price for a gallon of gas hit an all-time high in the United States…


Iraq contractor reports consistent level of violence despite troop surge.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2008 4:35 am by HL

Iraq contractor reports consistent level of violence despite troop surge.
Last week, the Pentagon reported that improvements in security in Iraq have been “substantial over the past nine months.” But an Iraqi contractor does not see such improvement. Spencer Ackerman reports that GardaWorld, a private intelligence firm doing business in Iraq, finds that since October, levels of violence are largely unchanged throughout Iraq:

Last week, the Pentagon reported that improvements in security in Iraq have been “substantial over the past nine months.” But an Iraqi contractor does not see such improvement. Spencer Ackerman reports that GardaWorld, a private intelligence firm doing business in Iraq, finds that since October, levels of violence are largely unchanged throughout Iraq:

iraq-wide-daily-incidenet-frequency.jpg


President Bush Delivers Speech After Signing Appropriations Bill

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 1st, 2008 4:34 am by HL

President Bush Delivers Speech After Signing Appropriations Bill
SPEAKER: PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH [*] BUSH: Good morning. A few moments ago, I signed legislation that funds our troops who are in harm’s way. Our nation has no greater responsibility than supporting our men and women in uniform, especially since we’re at war. This is a responsibility all of …