Instead of Service in Iraq, Blair’s Son Opts for Internship with Closeted Gay GOP Congressman

Here in the States, we have Operation Yellow Elephant, a netroots effort to encourage young conservatives to put their patriotic fervor for President Bush, the military and the USofA into action by volunteering for service in Iraq.

I’m not sure if there is an equivalent organization in the U.K., where the prime minister, Tony Blair, served as our president’s chief enabler in misleading the public about the reasons for going to war in Iraq. If there is, they have surely taken notice that Blair’s oldest son Euan is not heading for Iraq this year. Instead, he will be thousands of miles from the war zone, in Washington, serving as an intern in the office of a leading Republican congressman.


What Would Jesus Do at Gitmo?

An American prisoner claims to recognize the behavior at Abu Ghraib and other detention facilities. It’s just like home, he said in a column published in the Northeast Florida independent, Folio Weekly. (Articles from Folio are not available online.)

Louis Templeman, who occupies Bunk E2207-L at Baker Correctional Institution in Sanderson, Florida said while it hasn’t been that bad for him, it isn’t that good either.

I have not personally seen the same level of abuse as depicted in recent news from Iraq because I have kept out of trouble. Never “gone to jail” or “to the box,” which speaks of internal punishment for prisoners who are caught breaking the rules. I have never been in a “close management” camp… 8-foot-by-12-foot cells to which prisoners are restricted for all but one hour a week…

I have, however, seen and endured what amounts to psychological torment. While being processed into the prison system at one of the four reception centers, a short, mean-faced female officer…approached me.

“Inmate,…get your hands out of your pockets. You wanna play with your pathetic, tiny dick? Go find yourself a boy to do it with. Do you hear me?”

…This aggressive speech became part of the aural wallpaper that surrounded me.”

It’s not just mean guards that are the problem, Templeman said, but the whole screwed-up system.

I have sympathy for the men and women who will be blamed and punished for the abuse of the Iraqi prisoners. America is incensed and outraged by the unseemly images that tell the world America is not really one of the good guys. Somehow, we all know that our true moral value is revealed by the way we treat our prisoners.

When Jesus said, “I was in prison and you visited me,” he made clear his wish for humane treatment of prisoners. Perhaps we, as a nation, should hear him say, “I was in Abu Ghraib, and you abused and sexually humiliated me.”

We need to remember that unless they’re on death row, prisoners get out someday. They rejoin us in our communities, or in the case of Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, their own homelands. If someone had entered these places without grudges, it doesn’t seem likely they’d leave that way.

Katherine Harris vs. The Bushes

When feminist leaders are discussed, it’s not likely the name Katherine Harris crops up. But Harris wants to be a role model for women in her upcoming campaign. And I have to admit I’ve wondered if the Bushes would treat a man who laid facedown in the mud for them to walk over the way they treat Harris.

St. Petersburg Times political columnist Adam Smith says the Bush machine is moving as fast as it can in any direction but Harris’.

Will Katherine Harris blink?

That’s what a lot of prominent Florida Republicans are asking as they see an extraordinary political drama emerging: the Bush family political machine trying to derail the U.S. Senate campaign of the Republican superstar who helped put George W. Bush in the White House.

“I can’t recall a time when the party felt so strongly that a particular candidate was going to create problems up and down the ballot,” state Senate President Tom Lee said of Harris’ campaign for U.S. Senate.

Lee, who went from virtual obscurity to successful statewide Republican leadership last Florida legislative session, himself decided not to run against U.S. Senator Bill Nelson in 2006. When it became clear that he did not have the support of Jeb or W., he opted to go for the post of state Chief Financial Officer.

His forthright style is one reason Lee, despite his GOP-ness, and Jeb didn’t exactly stroll the halls of the capitol arm in arm this past session. Jeb’s initiatives were underwhelmingly endorsed by the legislature and vice-versa. In fact, the governor is now earning the nickname, “Veto Corleone,” as he systematically decimates the House and Senate’s work.

“Without the backing of the White House, of the governor and the Bush machine, you’re dreaming in Technicolor to think you can take on someone like Katherine Harris,” said Lee. “I’m a businessman, not a suicide bomber.”

W. also refuses to sit next to Harris on the bus, citing cooties as well as B.O. Bush/Rove support is vital, since Florida saw in 2004 what White House backing can do for a candidate with no character, personality, or brains.

The White House last year made clear its preference for Mel Martinez over former U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum in the Republican U.S. Senate primary, in subtle and unsubtle ways…Ultimately Martinez won handily after a contentious primary against McCollum.

“But Bill McCollum was no Katherine Harris,” said Pinellas Republican state committee member Paul Bedinghaus. “She’s really an icon.”

We all agree Harris is a symbol, but not of what. Her supporters say she is a strong woman of principle.

“She serves as a role model for all the women who have been told they can’t do something,” [Harris supporter Adam] Goodman said of the Sarasota Republican. “She believes there should be no glass ceiling.”

And no glass walls, either. Read on to see how Harris accepted money from MZM Inc., a defense contractor under investigation for payola to a California state representative.

Katherine Harris Also on the MZM Payroll

Katherine Harris, who claims a nationwide fundraising base after her starring role in the 2000 general election, might be right. The defense contractor that’s being investigated for disguising – through a home sale – a $700,000 illegal campaign contribution to a Republican California legislator wrote big checks to Harris too.

St. Petersburg Times:

A defense contractor under federal investigation gave Rep. Katherine Harris, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, about $42,000 during the 2003-04 election cycle.

MZM Inc., a Washington company that does millions of dollars of work for the federal government, has been in the news for its role in a deal with Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, R-Calif. Cunningham sold a house to MZM founder Mitchell Wade, who lost money on it after putting it back on the market almost immediately.

Harris, R-Sarasota, got $10,000 from the MZM political action committee, and another $32,000 from MZM employees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign money.

The $32,000 came in 16 checks for $2,000 each – 14 of them written on one day, March 23, 2004.

But Are We Sure We Want Them Armed?

“Motherfucker, if being a soldier is so goddamn great, you can sign up at any recruiter you fucking choose. I see a bunch of healthy young men and women here. So why the fuck are they here and not at MCRD Parris Island or Ft. Jackson. If you love soldiers so goddamn much, go fucking be one. Take the oath. Your time doesn’t mean dick. Not to the 11B’s or the truck drivers or the ER nurses or surgeons or the orthopedics nurses. Your time? Fuck your time.

“Tell that to the families of five women marines. They have to bury their barely out of high school daughters, and you want to talk about your goddamn time? Time. Let’s talk about your service. You love this war so goddamn much, go fucking be part of it. They can have their families cheerlead. Fucking cowards. Hiding behind people whose asses they aren’t fit to wipe.”

Steve Gilliard, The News Blog – via Left Coaster

Cheney Hospitalized in Colorado

Arianna Huffington had the scoop yesterday:

Vice President Dick Cheney was taken to the cardiac unit of the Vail Valley Medical Center Friday. Contrary to Associated Press reports that he went to see orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Steadman, at the Steadman Hawkins clinic for a knee injury, Vice President Cheney passed through the Steadman Hawkins clinic and the Colorado Mountain Medical Center to get to the cardiac unit to see Dr. Jack Eck and his team. The Vice President checked into the hospital under the name of Dr. Hoffman.

Now all they have to do is deal with Columba and Jeb is in.

Bush Negotiates with Terrorists

Wow! Now George W. Bush really is like Ronald Reagan. Both presidents swore they would not negotiate with terrorists. Reagan sent the Iranian hostage-takers Ollie North, a cake and a bunch of bombs. Now Bush has sent his military brass to have a pow-wow with Iraqi insurgents:

U.S. officials held secret talks in Iraq with the commanders of several Iraqi insurgent groups recently in an attempt to open a dialogue with them, a British newspaper reported Sunday.

The commanders “apparently came face to face” with four American officials during meetings on June 3 and June 13 at a summer villa near Balad, about 25 miles north of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, according to The Sunday Times.

The Sunday Times said neither the Iraqi government nor U.S. officials in Baghdad would confirm its report about the talks.

Military officials in Baghdad did not immediately respond to a request by The Associated Press for comment on the Times article early Sunday morning.

The story, which quoted unidentified Iraqis whose groups were purportedly involved in the talks, said those at the first meeting included Ansar al-Sunnah Army, which has claimed responsibility for suicide bombings in Iraq and an attack that killed 22 people in the dining hall of a U.S. base at Mosul last Christmas.

Two others were Jaish Mohammed, or Mohammed’s Army, and the Islamic Army in Iraq, which in August reportedly killed Italian journalist Enzo Baldoni, the newspaper said.

One of the Americans at the talks introduced himself as a Pentagon representative and declared himself ready to “find ways of stopping the bloodshed on both sides and to listen to demands and grievances,” The Sunday Times said.