Monthly Archives: March 2004

When We Practice To Deceive (Needs More Practice Dept.)

I suppose it is not news anymore that the White House has no shame, that its first reaction to any bad news it to tell the sort of lies you expect from a naughty six-year-old—“Did not.” Maybe I'm naive, but it's still a shock when the White House lies about trivialities, and especially when it does it so very, very badly.

Today's weirdness—the word barely does it justice—is about a video shown on the David Letterman show Monday evening. George W. Bush Invigorating America's Youth showed excerpts from a long fundraising stump speech with a boy standing in the front row behind the President, clearly bored out of his gourd while dad robotically cheers away next to the carefully posed front-row black people. It's really funny.

Then CNN picked it up, and the White House spun into Lie Mode, accusing Letterman of doctoring the tape. This made Dave mad (actually, less furious than it would make me). And making late-night comedians mad is not, one would think, an especially clever thing to do in an election year. (found via Atrios)

Update: Alternate links for original item and followup

Posted in Politics: US | 2 Comments

Abuse of Process

$170 million in the bank and they have to steal workers from the public? Kautilyan: Treasury Used to Attack Kerry.

Posted in Politics: US: GW Bush Scandals | Leave a comment

Shorter William Safire

Shorter William Safire, The Bond Across the Pond

Even though the quality of this column is in decline, I have absolutely no intention of retiring. Any editor thinking of firing me better understand that it would kill me.

Posted in Readings | Leave a comment

AP Suggests Bush is a Flip-Flopper

AP moved a story this afternoon that suggests GW Bush is a flip-flopper. Of course, they don't come right out and say so, and the story carries no byline (someone feeling endangered?), but it just begs to be in the papers as a little sidebar with the right headline.

President Bush's decision Tuesday to allow his national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, to testify publicly before the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks reversed earlier White House insistence that she would only appear privately.

Some previous Bush reversals in the face of criticism:

_He argued a federal Department of Homeland Security wasn't needed, then devised a plan to create one.

_He resisted a commission to investigate Iraq (news – web sites) intelligence failures, but then relented.

_He also initially opposed the creation of the independent commission to examine if the 2001 attacks could have been prevented, before getting behind the idea under pressure from victims' families.

_He opposed, and then supported, a two-month extension of the commission's work, after the panel said protracted disputes over access to White House documents left too little time.

_He at first said any access to the president by the commission would be limited to just one hour but relaxed the limit earlier this month.

Posted in Politics: US: 2004 Election, Politics: US: GW Bush Scandals | 4 Comments

Accounting for Accountability

Dang, but Jim Henley is good sometimes,

UNworkable – Stupid unaccountable bureaucracy! Ineffectual talking shop on the Hudson! It took the UN seven months to fire the staffer the leadership considered most responsible for allowing the August 19 bombing of its Baghdad headquarters to occur. Seven months! You'll note that when the the government of, by and for the people suffered an even bigger atrocity in September 2001 it only took the government – um. Um.

Posted in Blogs | Leave a comment

Anomalous Prosecution

Generally speaking, I am against laws that prohibit 'victimless' crimes, although my idea of what constitutes 'victimless' may be quite different from yours, especially if you are a particular kind of libertarian. I am, for example, perfectly prepared to entertain supporting laws banning activities in which the only immediate victim is the perpetrator, so long as a likely consequence of the activity is something that might harm the rest of us — or cost the rest of us money. Thus, for example, I support motorcycle helmet laws because the accident victims end up in public emergency rooms…and sometimes become public charges for years if the injuries are serious.

And I support laws against child pornography produced with real children. Not because I am convinced by the evidence that the material harms the people who acquire it or that it encourages to go out and hurt children (although the latter, if proved, would be a good reason for the law)—from what I've read, it seems at least possible that as many folks sublimate with the virtual stuff and leave the real kids alone. Rather, it seems pretty clear to me that the production of the stuff hurts the children used to make it in all sorts of ways, and that this alone suffices to ban its manufacture. It follows that one bans sale and perhaps also exchange and even possession in order to reduce demand. (Note that this means that the case for banning virtual child porn (i.e. the fake stuff) seems less strong to me.)

What then to make of the latest child porn case reported in Pittsburgh? (Updated)

Continue reading

Posted in Law: Criminal Law | 16 Comments

Could 9/11 Have Been Prevented?

It seems heretical to even suggest it, but could it be that 9/11 was preventable?

Posted in 9/11 & Aftermath, National Security | 1 Comment