Category Archives: Hypocrites and Liars

Hannity Afraid of Himself

I’m always fascinated when the neoconservative talking heads in the mass media (I’m talking about Hannity, Limbaugh, Coulter, Savage, Ingraham…) are confronted by their own words. It’s like watching a train wreck about to happen. How will they shake their way out of this one? What will they do?

I’ve posted a couple examples on this here blog over the years. There was the time that Tony Snow challenged the executive power grabbing of the Clinton administration (yet went right along with it when it suited Bush). There was the time when someone called up Rush on the air and asked him how he managed to dodge the draft because of an ingrown hair on his backside. And then there was this post about Republican Texas Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchinson talking about how she didn’t think it would really be a good idea to indict someone (e.g., Scooter Libby) on something as minor as a perjury charge, when only several years earlier she was calling for Bill Clinton’s head and claiming “[S]omething needs to be said that is a clear message that our rule of law is intact and the standards for perjury and obstruction of justice are not gray.”

My fondest Xmas wish was always to have Hannity confronted with his own hypocrisy by a caller. You know, like back on April 5, 1999 when Sean Hannity on FOX News said about the war in Kosovo, “No goal, no objective, not until we have those things and a compelling case is made, then I say, back out of it, because innocent people are going to die for nothing. That’s why I’m against it.”

Yet he supports military action against Iran, and he is a big supporter of the Iraq occupation.

So why do I love to see Hannity put in his place? It’s because I think he’s the most dangerous commentator on the radio today. It is easy for most people to dismiss Rush as a druggie or as a “fringe” neo-con. I mean, he’s almost a caricature of himself at this point. His hypocrisy is well known, well documented. He is a cartoon.

Hannity, on the other hand, presents like a well buttoned-down Irish Catholic conservative. The only way you’d know he’s out of his mind is if you actually do any research on your own and don’t take his hateful rhetoric and outright lies as honorable truth.

Hannity is not big on facts. Listen to his show any day and what you’ll hear is just pure fear… “You know what Hillary wants to do with this country? You know what she’ll do if she and the people have their way…” It’s all opinion. He is paid very well to entertain and to spin. He goes to great lengths to convince his audience that “liberals” are out to get them, that they want to do X and Y and they’re going to ruin the country, that they have wanted us to lose in Iraq since the very beginning (not true), and that they will settle for nothing but the complete dismantling of our way of life. Ugh.

He cloaks this message in the flag, and you’ll hear almost every caller ring in and tell him what a “great American” he is, even though he is doing his very best to keep us all divided. He’s dangerous because he cultivates this “normal conservative” appearance, when he is actually nothing like a true conservative. He claims he’s a Reagan conservative, but he’s not. He’s a fearmongering, Kristol-type neo-con. You can hear it every day on the radio, and it’s there for all to hear. Trouble is, he has a lot of people drinking the kool-aid.

So on Friday, November 30th, I’m driving a rental car because my car was in the shop. I don’t have my MP3 player, and I can’t get Air America all the way out on the Island at night (the NY station lowers its wattage at sundown). So I tune into 770AM (the big NY “conservative talk” station) Some crazy guy has gone into Hillary Clinton’s headquarters in Rochester, NH and has taken a bunch of people hostage. He has strapped what ended up being road flares onto his chest with duct tape and said he had a bomb. The situation was still going on when a caller got through to Sean’s show. I’ve been trying to find a transcript to get the exact wording of the conversation that ensued, but I can’t seem to find one. Perhaps I’ll pay to download it off Hannity’s site, but I suspect it will be edited out because it really seemed to rattle Hannity and it took him a while to recover.

The caller said he had been waiting forever, and Sean apologized. He said Sean really needed to tone down the rhetoric on his show. Sean argued (of course), saying that he is very careful about what he says. The caller said what would happen if, hypothetically, the hostage taker in NH turned out to be a rabid member of the “Stop Hillary Express?”

The “Stop Hillary Express” is Sean’s cute little name for the campaign to prompt people to show up at her rallyes and heckle her, dog her, make her uncomfortable, do anything they can to shake her up.

Sean said he had NEVER said anything that would prompt ANYONE to threaten Hillary or any of her campaigners, and that the caller should name ONE instance where Sean did so.

The caller said that every day Sean does this, and that he shouldn’t be surprised if one of his listeners did something like this. Sean again argued and said again to name ONE time, “and you need to be specific,” where he said anything that was inflammatory.

The caller was ready for this.

He began… “On March [I can’t remember the date he said, but it was a specific date] 2006, you and Ann Coulter were sharing the stage and you said…”

And suddenly the call was dropped.

Sean was obviously rattled.

He went on for the next five minutes about how he didn’t need to entertain these types of calls, that liberals were ruining the country, etc. etc. etc.

I was livid. Sean ALWAYS asks for a “specific example.” It’s the neo-con talking head standard response… “Name one time…” And they don’t expect people to have an answer. But this time, someone did. And what did Sean do? He DROPPED THE CALL right before the caller got a chance to repeat Sean’s own words to him. What was he going to say? What words of Sean’s could’ve been so inflammatory that he couldn’t stand to hear them back?

Truth is, he says stuff every day that he doesn’t want repeated. This is why Media Matters has been such a thorn in the side of the neo-con talking heads. No longer do their words escape out into the ether. Now they’re preserved for all time, so that everyone can see that their words change depending on the situation. Democrat in the White House? War is bad. Republican in the White House? War is good… It’s sickening, and I was looking forward to hearing what the guy had to say. But Sean would have none of it.

And when he got back from break, guess what the VERY NEXT CALL was? “Hello Sean, I’m a liberal democrat and I have to commend you for not giving that guy a platform to spout…” and the call continued. Amazing. A liberal democrat just happened to call in to tell Sean, “good job on that last caller.”

Yeah. That wasn’t a fake call, right?

Sean is a coward who is terrified to face his own words. You want a specific date to back up that statement? You got it. November 30, 2007. Cowardice on display.

More Republican Values

A while back I wrote this piece on the difference between what some Republicans preach, and how they act. Well, it looks like they’re at it again. By now you’ve probably heard the story of Louisiana Senator David Vitter, who admitted to being a client of the ‘D.C. Madam’, and who (prior to this admission) was one of the true ‘moral crusaders’ of the GOP. He now says that god has forgiven him, and any further discussion to be had will take place between he and his family, not with the media.

Although Vitter’s moral values crusade has lost some of its credibility in light of this, perhaps the most classic “do as I say, not as I do,” comes not from Senator Vitter, but from his wife, Wendy.

Here’s a quote from another blog. If I can find the original article, I’ll update the link.

Wendy Vitter joked in a 2000 interview with Newhouse News Service that she would be less understanding than either Bonnie Livingston, the wife of former Rep. Livingston, or Hillary Clinton, the wife of President Clinton, if her husband cheated.

“I’m a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary,” said Wendy Vitter, an attorney. “If he does something like that, I’m walking away with one thing, and it’s not alimony, trust me.”

Wendy Vitter later said the comment was tongue-in-cheek and that she and her husband have great trust in each other.

I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning.

U.S. Attorney Saga Order of Events

A couple friends and I have been discussing the U.S. Attorney firing scandal, only the latest of the many scandals that have plagued the corrupt Bush administration. One of them mentioned something that I heard echoed today on Air America 2.0‘s new morning program, The Lionel Show. U.S. Attorneys supposedly serve at the pleasure of the President. So why didn’t Alberto Gonzales just say this instead of hemming and hawing, saying he couldn’t remember stuff, etc.?

If you look at the actual statue mentioned in the Joe Conason article linked above (Title 28, Part II, Chapter 35, Section 541 of the U.S. Code), it reads as follows:

§ 541. United States attorneys

  1. The President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, a United States attorney for each judicial district.
  2. Each United States attorney shall be appointed for a term of four years. On the expiration of his term, a United States attorney shall continue to perform the duties of his office until his successor is appointed and qualifies.
  3. Each United States attorney is subject to removal by the President.

So U.S. Attorneys, after being appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, generally serve four-year terms, after which the incoming President usually swaps them all out (as the right-wing hatemongers correctly state Bill Clinton did when he came into office). But, the President can remove any U.S. Attorney he chooses, at any time. So what happens then? Before March 6, 2006, Title 28, Part II, Chapter 35, Section 546 of the U.S. Code stated the following:

§ 546. Vacancies

  1. Except as provided in subsection (b), the Attorney General may appoint a United States attorney for the district in which the office of United States attorney is vacant.
  2. The Attorney General shall not appoint as United States attorney a person to whose appointment by the President to that office the Senate refused to give advice and consent.
  3. A person appointed as United States attorney under this section may serve until the earlier of–
    1. the qualification of a United States attorney for such district appointed by the President under section 541 of this title;or
    2. the expiration of 120 days after appointment by the Attorney General under this section.
  4. If an appointment expires under subsection (c)(2), the district court for such district may appoint a United States attorney to serve until the vacancy is filled. The order of appointment by the court shall be filed with the clerk of the court.

As Conason notes in his article, an aide in Senator Arlen Specter’s office, at the request of the Justice Department, had an amendment to this statue slipped into the 2005 Patriot Act renewal signed by George W. Bush. This amendment took effect on March 6, 2006, and replaced sections (c) and (d) above with the following:

(c) A person appointed as United States attorney under this section may serve until the qualification of a United States Attorney for such district appointed by the President under section 541 of this title.

Not only was Specter himself not aware of this amendment, but it looks like most of the Senate wasn’t either. Essentially, this was a request by the Justice Department for elimination of any oversight in the President’s appointment of interim U.S. Attorneys so that any new appointments made by the President could serve indefinitely. This administration doesn’t trust anyone, even its own appointees to the Courts. So as soon as the Senate realized what they had missed in the Patriot Act renewal, it voted to overturn the amendment, but of course, George Dubya hasn’t felt like signing it yet.

So basically, what we have here is a case of the Bush Administration actually doing something they were legally entitled to do (since they changed the rules) and, typical of the completely dysfunctional nature of this administration, they manage to completely bungle answering charges brought by the Senate that they did something wrong.

I could be wrong, but here’s how I see this case broken down in very simple terms:

  1. Bush and friends are afraid of potential prosecution (at the hands of judges they, themselves, appointed) for crimes high and low, far and wide.
  2. Gonzales requests from a friend in Specter’s office that an amendment be slipped into the pending Patriot Act renewal of 2005 stating that new appointees to the U.S. Courts can serve indefinitely and aren’t subject to the “120-day” rule.
  3. Senate doesn’t notice, and passes bill, President signs.
  4. Justice Department fires Attorneys, proposes others for firing. Democrats cry foul.
  5. Justice Department and President acted legally, because they changed the law.
  6. Democrats (and some Republicans) sign legislation that will repeal the amendment.
  7. President has not yet signed this, so the law is still on the side of the Justice Department.
  8. The only scandal is that Bush/Gonzales changed the law to avoid cronies’ prosecution and the Senate didn’t catch them until it was too late, and now the Senate Democrats feel they have found something they can latch on to in order to bring down this administration (because Iraq, Katrina, etc. weren’t enough apparently).
  9. Totally un-surprisingly, and actually quite predictably, this administration is so completely and totally inept, they even bungle any attempt at answering a charge of which they are not actually even guilty.
  10. Former aide to Gonzales, Monica Goodling, in sworn testimony, admits that she “crossed the line of the civil service rules” by asking political questions of candidates interviewing for civil service jobs and “took political considerations into account on some occasions,” and was “surprised to learn that the deputy had blamed [her] for the incomplete or inaccurate information provided to the Senate.”
  11. And the saga continues…

Mission Still Accomplished?

Four years ago today, George W. Bush slipped on a military flight suit (something he had apparently been averse to doing when he was actually enlisted) and swooped down onto the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln in the co-pilot seat of a Navy S-3B Viking. According to CNN, it was the first time a president (sic) had ever arrived on the deck of an aircraft carrier by plane.

Greeted by cheers, he approached the podium and began to speak…

“Thank you all very much. Admiral Kelly, Captain Card, officers and sailors of the USS Abraham Lincoln, my fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.”

It Was Bad Then, but It’s All Good Now!

Over at Talking Points Memo, a few bloggers have found out that there’s an 18-day gap in the 3000 pages of documents that the Justice Department dumped surrounding the US Attorney firing scandal. And then Bush said he’s going to fight any attempts to have his people testify under oath, and asserts this right through executive privilege. Certainly sounds like this administration is hiding a few things, huh?

I wouldn’t worry though. Bush will cave on this because White House Press Secretary seems to know what’s going on and has written an op-ed piece about it. Here are his exact words from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (the headline of the article is “Executive Privilege is a Dodge”):

Evidently, Mr. Bush wants to shield virtually any communications that take place within the White House compound on the theory that all such talk contributes in some way, shape or form to the continuing success and harmony of an administration. Taken to its logical extreme, that position would make it impossible for citizens to hold a chief executive accountable for anything. He would have a constitutional right to cover up.

Chances are that the courts will hurl such a claim out, but it will take time.

One gets the impression that Team Bush values its survival more than most people want justice and thus will delay without qualm. But as the clock ticks, the public’s faith in Mr. Bush will ebb away for a simple reason: Most of us want no part of a president who is cynical enough to use the majesty of his office to evade the one thing he is sworn to uphold — the rule of law.

OK, so I changed “Clinton” to “Bush,” but those are Tony Snow’s own words almost nine years ago to the day. All credit to a most excellent piece from Glenn Greenwald in yesterday’s I believe the emphasis on the quote above is Greenwald’s. Gotta love the brash arrogance and hypocrisy.

Stacking the Deck

Man, oh man… The GOP just can’t stand a fair fight, can it. Even when it comes to the matter of law, it needs to make sure the judges are “on the right side” so to speak. The emails tell the tale of the latest White House (and/or GOP) scandal, the decision to fire a slew of U.S. Attorneys solely on the basis of their political leanings. Check out the PDF document at that link. The boldness of this plan would’ve astonished me a few years ago. Now, with scandal upon scandal under its collective belt, the Bush Administration isn’t surprising anyone.

It was courteous though, that the Department of Justice noted it wouldn’t be talking to the press about the firings, but that the justices were free to announce their resignations themselves. Gotta keep this quiet, right?