Secret Memos Finally Released

Back in April of 2008, I wrote a post about the Bush Cabinet creating the torture policy for the United States, and about how the Office of Legal Counsel authorized the use of torture on enemy combatants. I also talked about the John Yoo memo that said the Fourth Amendment did not apply to actions of the US military within the United States. This memo was not released by the Bush administration, it was only referenced in a footnote of another memo.

This week the Obama administration released a handful of these “secret memos,” over many objections by various government agencies. Glenn Greenwald over at Salon dissects the whole mess very well, and you can get copies of the memos from his links.

It’s amazing how suddenly there’s all this talk in the press about the radical measures the Bush administration took in order to “win’ the “war on terror.” Our rights! Our rights! Oh my god! What hath they done?

I’m reminded how little notice this got in the mainstream press at the time. Meanwhile, the liberal blogs were screaming about how rights given to us by the Constitution were actually being TAKEN AWAY. You’d think this would have gotten a little more attention WHILE it was happening. But no, we were just Bush haters who wanted the US to wave the white flag of surrender in the war on terror.

While I’m unhappy that President Obama seems to want to “stay the course” as it were with many aspects of Bush’s policies on Iraq and Afghanistan and so-called “enemy combatants,” I’m encouraged that he is finally allowing some of the more outrageous DOJ/Office of Legal Cousel opinion pieces to see the light of day.

Not that I think most people are paying attention.

If It Sounds Good, Say It!

A former co-worker of mine who has turned into something of a right-wing nut since he came into some money posted this quote on his Facebook page: “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.” He attributed it to Thomas Jefferson. I read it and for some reason decided to look it up, and sure enough it wasn’t Jefferson who said it at all. Gerald Ford uttered those words in an address to Congress on August 12, 1974.

My “friend” posted the quote as a continuation of an earlier discussion we had on political issues — a discussion that included some pointed criticisms of each others’ sources. As such, I decided to let him know that the quote was attributed incorrectly, and that he might want to do some fact-checking in the future before posting things.

He took the quote down, along with my comments, and re-posted the quote with the attribution, “a very smart person.”

I then asked why wouldn’t he correctly attribute the quote if I had told him exactly who said it, and added I guess Gerald Ford wasn’t sexy enough.

He removed the quotes and my comments again, and reposted it as “the smartest thing Gerald Ford ever said.”

Personally, I’m partial to this one, from Ford’s swearing-in speech on August 9, 1974: “…there is no way we can go forward except together and no way anybody can win except by serving the people’s urgent needs. We cannot stand still or slip backwards. We must go forward now together.”

The reason I bring this up is because it’s typical of the right-wing echo chamber. No need to look up sources. If you’ve heard it before, or if someone has sent it to you over the internets, just reprint it or say it to others.

I’ve been listening to Joe Lyles’ Limbaugh Lie of the Day (podcast available through iTunes and Zune) quite a bit recently and one of his shows from a few days ago focused on how the right-wing plays fast and loose with its hypotheticals and faulty statistics. Eventually the incorrect or inaccurate stories first heard on right-wing radio shows like Limbaugh’s get picked up by other talk shows or even network shows and repeated as truth and used as talking points against progressive causes.

Sites like Media Matters have been debunking the easily-told lies of right-wing hatemongers for a few years now, and it’s why they are so hated by so-called conservatives. It was so much easier to hoodwink the American public when there was no record of the initial lie, wasn’t it?

Lyles brings up the story about the woman who called 911 because her local McDonalds had run out of Chicken McNuggets and how Rush turned that into a hypothetical about how this could turn into a lawsuit and this is why tort reform is necessary. When the right-wing gets all frothed up, these stories that begin as hypotheticals become circulated as truth — as in “Next thing you know, the courts are cluttered up with lawsuits about McDonalds that don’t have enough chicken nuggets! Is that right? We need tort reform!!”

So on the LLotD titled “Limbaugh Engages in Hogwash Inflation,” Lyles goes on to play clips of Rush stating on December 22nd that $7-8 trillion has already been transferred from producers to non-producers since 1964. Then on January 15th, Rush notes that the amount of money transferred from producers to non-producers in the Great Society is “over $7 trillion.” OK, so that slight difference is perhaps innocent and forgivable. However, by the time Rush speaks at CPAC in February, he has this to say: “We have transferred something like $10 trillion, maybe close to $11 trillion from producers and earners to non-producers.”

So according to Limbaugh, it took us about 45 years to spend $7-8 trillion, then we spent another $3-4 trillion in just a few months. Wow. I guess things are worse out there than I thought!

It will be interesting to find out where these numbers appear next. Will it be on Hannity’s show? Savage’s? Will Limbaugh repeat them? Ingraham? Your next family barbeque? These easily-tossed figures start to make the rounds and there’s little to stop them once they’re out there. This is why it’s so frustrating talking to those brainwashed by Rush, and its perhaps why his listeners get so mad when you try to set them straight. They think they know the figures because they trust Rush implicitly, true facts be damned.

Hopefully, folks like Joe Lyles and his Limbaugh Lie of the Day will just keep hammering away, and eventually the truth will out. If we progressives can show that the de-facto leader of the GOP lies with regularity, it will be easier to reveal the whole party for the hypocrites and liars they truly are.

The Limbaugh Lie of the Day is available through feedburner or directly from its home at Conceptual Guerilla.

GOP Hypocrisy

Looks like Bristol Palin will be raising her baby, Tripp, as a single parent. According to Star magazine (OK, yeah, I know it’s only a tabloid), Palin and her boyfriend Levi are no longer an item and the wedding is most likely off.

Now, I don’t have any problem with that (and in fact it’s probably not such a bad thing after Levi proclaimed on his MySpace page that he’s a “f–king redneck” who “don’t want kids”), but I wonder if the 13% of respondents at CPAC who voted for Bristol’s mom to be the leader of the party going into 2012 will have a problem with it? My guess is they won’t. We’ll hear stuff like, “leave her kids’ personal life out of it,” even though quite famously, the new GOP leader, Rush Limbaugh, once made it very clear that kids of political figures are not off limits.

Gotta love the hypocrisy.

Well, perhaps I should give these Palin supporters the benefit of the doubt. I mean, the GOP leadership seems a little confused these days. Does Limbaugh *really* lead the party? Or does GOP Chairman Michael Steele? Or perhaps Gingrich? And then there’s all the confusion about the party platform. When Steele says that “abortion is an individual choice,” is he speaking for himself or for the party? It must be really tough to be a good Republican these days, especially when you’re getting different talking points from all these different leaders.

Either With Us or Against Us

Didn’t George W. Bush say something about how you’re either with us or against us in the war on terror?

It’s interesting in light of the recent quote by GOP Rep. Patrick McHenry, where he says “Our goal is to bring down approval numbers for [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi and for House Democrats.”

Gee, you’d think House Republicans would have other goals — like trying to act in the best interests of America by coming up with creative and viable alternatives to Democratic proposals on the economy.

The fact that the Republicans sent to the House and Senate by their constituents to work in their best interests are instead so obviously playing politics and trying merely to be obstructionists should be the final nail in the coffin for this party to any thinking, red-blooded American.

How could anyone vote for these people? Aren’t they supposed to be delivering alternatives instead of just obstructing those who are trying to do something about the dramatic crises facing this nation? There hasn’t been something this potentially disasterous for America since 9/11 and when George W. Bush called on us to pull together to get through the tough times, Americans got behind him.

President Obama didn’t even get 30 days before Rush Limbaugh was saying he hoped the President failed.

These people are truly anti-American. There’s just no other way to say it.

Dems Strategy? Keep Rush Talking!

Who needs the fairness doctrine? Are you kidding, Rush? THEY WANT YOU TO KEEP TALKING!! As long as you keep talking, the Democrats keep winning. You’re eating up the attention since it brings you ratings, but perhaps somewhere inside that drug-addled mind of yours you think you’ll somehow convince those who aren’t already dittoheads that your arguments make any kind of sense at all? If the polls in this article are correct, it’s just not going to happen. People under 40 don’t like you. They know what you are, who you are, and they are not buying that “this is Obama’s economy — he owns it.” No, this is Bush’s economy and Obama inherited it, and Americans know that.

The brilliance of the Democratic strategy is just amazing though. You need to read this article at Politico, no matter if it reveals the magician behind the curtain.

James Carville, I owe you an apology. You, sir, are still brilliant.

This Is Your Brain On Drugs?

Rush Limbaugh.

Need I say more?

Perhaps I will. Surely someone as patriotic and conservative and all-knowing about our country’s history as Rush Limbaugh knows the difference between the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution?

Apparently not.

Here is a partial transcript from his CPAC speech:

We want every American to be the best he or she chooses to be. We recognize that we are all individuals. We love and revere our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. [Applause] We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life. [Applause] Liberty, Freedom. [Applause] And the pursuit of happiness. [Applause] Those of you watching at home may wonder why this is being applauded. We conservatives think all three are under assault. [Applause] Thank you. Thank you.

Now, I know Rush loves this country. I know he knows what the Declaration of Independence is. With so many errors and so much confusion apparent in the previous passage, I really hope Limbaugh hasn’t relapsed. Perhaps it’s a lot of pressure to have just been promoted to spokesperson for the Republican Party, but perhaps he should get into some Yoga classes or something?