Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Seen and Heard

Stuff you might've missed between the tinsel and wrapping paper...

Keith Olbermann tears into Bill O'Reilly and John Gibson for their lying during this fake War on Christmas.

As always, when Olbermann tells it like it is, he does so with the facts on his side. The result? A thing of truth and beauty, lovely to behold.

Very telling that O'Reilly - unable to counter with facts and rebuttal of his own - prefers instead to compare member size. And by that, I mean demographics for both shows. As if having more viewers (despite the fact research has shown Daily Show viewers were better informed than their Fox News counterparts) somehow allows for O'Reilly to lather and froth over his own created lies.

Speaking of The Daily Show - and its brother, The Colbert Report: are you missing it during the holiday break? I am. Even repeats don't suffice. However, I have caught some great stuff previously missed. If you'd like to watch a bit of Daily Show 2005 for Auld Lang Syne, here it is.

My personal fave? "Until Hell Freezes Dover." Samantha Bee's deadpan delivery and implicit acceptance of wacky Pat Robertson's premise that God has forsaken Dover for voting out the "Intelligent Design" school board proponents is just hilarious.

Juan Cole takes on the current Iraq war mythology. Not comedic, at all. But full of Cole's usual insights, like Myth 4:

4. Iraqis are grateful for the US presence and want US forces there to help them build their country.

"Opinion polls show that between 66% and 80% of Iraqis want the US out of Iraq on a short timetable. Already in the last parliament, some 120 parliamentarians out of 275 supported a resolution demanding a timetable for US withdrawal, and that sentiment will be much stronger in the newly elected parliament."

Especially since they elected religious fundamentalists. Not quite the plan Bush had in mind.

Say, maybe Anna Nicole Smith's been doing a little spying on her own?

What besides blackmail could possibly incite Bush to support her claims on her dear, dead hubby's estate?

Speaking of myths, and spying, Media Matters gives the skinny on the media promulgating misconceptions about the Bush/NSA warrantless spying program.

Among them?

4: Clinton, Carter also authorized warrantless searches of U.S. citizens

Another tactic conservatives have used to defend the Bush administration has been to claim that it is not unusual for a president to authorize secret surveillance of U.S. citizens without a court order, asserting that Democratic presidents have also done so. For example, on the December 21 edition of Fox News's Special Report, host Brit Hume claimed that former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton issued executive orders "to perform wiretaps and searches of American citizens without a warrant."

But as the ThinkProgress weblog noted on December 20, executive orders on the topic by Clinton and Carter were merely explaining the rules established by FISA, which do not allow for warrantless searches on "United States persons." Subsequent reports by NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell and The Washington Post also debunked the conservative talking point while noting that the claim was highlighted in the December 21 RNC press release.

From ThinkProgress, which documented how internet gossip Matt Drudge selectively cited from the Clinton and Carter executive orders to falsely suggest they authorized secret surveillance of U.S. citizens without court-obtained warrants:

What Drudge says:

Clinton, February 9, 1995: "The Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order"

What Clinton actually signed:

Section 1. Pursuant to section 302(a)(1) [50 U.S.C. 1822(a)] of the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance] Act, the Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order, to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year, if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that section.

That section requires the Attorney General to certify is the search will not involve "the premises, information, material, or property of a United States person." That means U.S. citizens or anyone inside of the United States.

The entire controversy about Bush's program is that, for the first time ever, allows warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens and other people inside of the United States. Clinton's 1995 executive order did not authorize that.

Drudge pulls the same trick with Carter.

What else did I miss between turkey and breakdowns?
Ah, the great liberal lie. Clinton and Carter both approved wiretapping and Clinton had 500 FBI files he wasn't supposed to have in the Whitehouse.

The investigation started by the DOJ today will show that congress was indeed briefed and approved.

Sad really, you all will lose on this one too as you have when you backed Kerry, Gore and the others.

The country is on to you guys, you want bad things to occur in Iraq because that's where you think you'll gain.

What a pathetic existence that must be, living in a world where you hope bad things will happen to America so that you may garner political gain. Get used to it.
If you choose to label it a lie, it's incumbent upon you to actually, you know, prove Media Matters wrong.

Slinging insults and ad hominem is fun and all, but without any proof, it's an utter waste of your time and an insult to the intelligence of anyone who might read it.

As to who "you guys" are that "want" bad things to happen in Iraq, given that you don't know me at all, you assume much. And you know what people say about those who assume. Don't you, Scott?

I needn't wish for bad things to happen to America, if that was my aim. It's not my aim, but it's certainly what's happening. In the style of your post (sound and fury, signifying nothing), if you'd step away from Fox News and actually read a variety of news sources from all over the globe, you'd know that already.

Save your talking points. They weren't clever coming from O'Reilly the first 20 times, or Rush the first fifty - and they're not clever or precocious coming from you.
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