Pattern of Deception Revealed

Molly Ivins — you gotta love her:

Now it’s getting funnier and funnier. There is an elephant in the living room and we’re sitting around having a conversation about whether there’s an elephant in the living room.

“I think there’s an elephant in the living room.”

“Well, there’s a lot of elephant poop around, but that doesn’t prove there’s an elephant in the living room.”

The entire Republican Party is shocked (!) anyone would think that Karl Rove (!!) would leak a story to damage a political opponent. Oh, the horror. And Karl has always been such a sweet guy. Just to give you an idea, one time Rove was displeased with the job done by a political advance man and said, “We will f— him. Do you hear me? We will f— him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever f—ed him!” (From an article by Ron Suskind). And that was a guy who was on his side.

Read the rest on AlterNet.

How to Create Your Own Political Blog

After recently learning that an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 weblogs are being created every day, I figured that some of those people probably know even less than I do about how to create an effective political blog. And let’s face it, what other kind of weblog matters?

Sure, there are other kinds — baby blogs, sports blogs, swingers’ blogs — but if you eliminate those from the mix, you’ve probably got only 10,000 to 20,000 new political blogs coming on line daily.

I still figure I know more about the topic than some of those wannabe bloggers. Therefore, in the interest of fostering intelligent political discourse for the good of the country, I offer the following guide for how to create your own political blog.

If you follow these simple steps, I cannot guarantee that you will create a blog that is as pertinent, insightful and well-read as Pensito Review.

But so what if only your mom and her new boyfriend from the bowling alley read your weblog, you’re trying and doing your best, and that’s what matters.

Step 1. Stake your place on the political spectrum and stick to it.

If you’re a liberal-hating, queer-baiting, fornicating Repug wingnut, then say so, and don’t go flippy-floppy when someone turns up the rhetorical heat and exposes your biases and prejudices for what they are — the result of ignorance, malevolence and an utter lack of humanity.

Step 2. Come up with a name for your blog that says something about you and your views.

This is a very important step because it is by your blogger “handle” that you shall be known. Choose something descriptive yet clever, such as Right-Wing Asshat, Jerk for Jesus or NeoNaziNews.

Step 3. Set your journalistic standards.

Decide early on if you are going to take your cues from those paragons of journalistic integrity among our great newspapers, such as … oh well, let your conscience be your guide. Or, if you want to take your cue from the Bush administration, then you can lie, obfuscate, spin, twist, create and ignore the truth to your heart’s content.

Step 4. Set forth your positions on the issues with a bit of wit, to maintain reader interest.

For example, you could encapsulate your argument simply by writing: Liberals suck! That may express your opinion perfectly, but it doesn’t give the reader much incentive to read on. Try injecting a little wit into your expression: Liberals suck — and they blow, too! See? That’s much better. You’ve used the rhetorical device of balancing two opposites (suck, blow) to create cognitive dissonance in your reader’s mind, which is what all blog readers want.

Step 5. Accentuate the positive; don’t tolerate the negative.

Finally, only allow the posting of comments that concur with your views (Example: I think liberals blow more than they suck.), and delete the other ones (Example: These are clearly the views of an immature, babbling, subhuman cretin.) Hey, it’s your blog. If someone wants to disagree with you, tell her to get her own weblog.

Now, blog on, brother!

Pensito Review About to Break Into Top Million Web Sites

WORLD WIDE WEB — Pensito Review continues its meteoric rise in popularity among intelligent, thoughtful readers, according to a recent Alexa assessment of Web sites that use the Alexa toolbar, coming in with a three-month average traffic ranking of 1,113,337 among all Web sites. That rank reflects both the number of users who visit the site and the number of pages on the site viewed by those users.

On a one-week average, Pensito Review scored a traffic ranking of 871,280, attributable to its increasing popularity. The three-month average ranking is lower, but the site has only been operational for four months, noted a well-known expert who commented on condition of anonymity.

Alexa also found that on a weekly average, Pensito Review’s reach (expressed as a percentage of all Web users) was 1.5 per million.

According to World Internet Stats, there are currently 889 million Internet users worldwide. Given that, the Alexa reach measurement gives Pensito Review 1,335 readers based on the weekly average reach. That compares favorably with site traffic, as monitored by the Pensito Review editorial/IT staff.

“Yesterday, we had 815 individual sessions (unique visits) so the spam bots aren’t really having that much effect on our numbers,” said Editor-In-Chief/IT Czar Jon Pensito. “Nonetheless, our daily average visits are up over last month — 1,456 so far in July as opposed to 1,299 in June.”

To put this rapid rise in traffic in context, Technorati counted 7.8 million weblogs as of March 2005, which places Pensito Review in the 86th percentile among all blogs.

Technorati also found that the number of blogs is doubling every five months, and 30,000 to 40,000 blogs are created each day.

“Despite this incredible daily rise in competition, we remain committed to making Pensito Review the best danged weblog on the Internet,” said Editor/Jeb Stalker Trish Pensito. “We are dedicated to remaining spiteful, insightful and oh, so delightful.”

DoD: Gitmo Treatment Not ‘Inhumane’

It sometimes amazes me what the Department of Defense releases through its American Forces Press Service. Take, for instance, the story it just released on Congressional hearings where the Army claimed that only a small number of the allegations of detainee abuse at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, violated DoD policies.

Even those actions were not severe enough to be called “inhumane,” however, according to what a general investigating the allegations told Congress Wednesday. Note that the allegations of inhumane abuse came from FBI agents on the scene.

A U.S. Southern Command investigation into allegations FBI agents made that detainees at Guantanamo were being treated inhumanely found that one particular high-value detainee was subjected to up to 20 hours of intense interrogations on most days over a period of nearly two months. An unclassified summary of the reports findings stated that long interrogations and other techniques used were not violations of DoD policy in themselves but that the cumulative effect was “degrading and abuse” to this individual.

“I do not, however, consider this treatment to have crossed the threshold of being inhumane,” Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt, the senior investigating officer, told members of Senate Armed Services Committee. Schmidt commands the Air Force component of U.S. Southern Command. SOUTHCOM chief Army Gen. Bantz Craddock appointed him as senior investigating officer in February.

If interrogating someone for 20 hours a day for two months ain’t inhumane, I’ll eat your yellowcake plutonium.
[…]

Pew: Even Muslims Fear Islamic Extremism

According to a new survey from the Pew Global Attitudes Project, concerns about Islamic extremism, already widespread in the West before last week’s terrorist attacks in London, are shared to a perhaps surprising degree by the publics in several predominantly Muslim nations, notably Morocco, Pakistan, Turkey and Indonesia. Most Muslim publics also express less support for acts of terrorism allegedly committed in defense of Islam and less confidence in Osama bin Laden.

The survey, conducted in the spring among more than 17,000 people in 17 countries, found that Muslim and non-Muslim publics have very different attitudes toward the impact of Islam on their countries.

Publics in predominantly Muslim countries expressed concerns that Islamic extremism leads to violence, reduces personal freedoms, creates internal divisions and impedes economic growth. However, a majority are of the opinion that Islam is playing a more significant — and welcome — political role in their nations. Turkey is an exception; its public is divided over whether a larger political role for Islam is a good thing.

In non-Muslim countries, concern toward Islamic extremism is closely associated with worries that Muslims living in those countries resist adopting their nation’s customs and way of life. There also is a widespread perception — including among Americans — that resident Muslims have a strong and growing sense of Islamic identity, a development viewed particularly negatively in France, Germany and the Netherlands.
[…]

Woodward Wants to Be the Sweetheart of Cellblock C

On “Larry King Live” Monday night, intrepid reporter Bob Woodward (on the air to tout his Me ‘N’ Deepthroat book, “The Secret Man”) offered to serve some of Judy Miller’s four months of jail time for the principle of the thing. He urged others who believe in a free press to serve her time, as well.

Why? Because Miller is gallantly fighting for all reporters’ rights. Yeah, right, Bob, and Robert Novak has just been named the Edward R. Murrow Professor of Journalistic Ethics at the Poynter Institute.

Here is the transcript from the portion of the show:

WOODWARD: No. Clearly, we’re not above the law. But frequently, people disobey the law. And when you do so, you have to be willing to accept the consequences. And in this case, the consequences, I guess, are a four-month jail sentence, and Judy Miller’s willing to do that, to stand on this principle of trust. You know, I…

KING: You said you would have done it, too?

WOODWARD: I would have done it, too. And in fact, you know, maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I will …

KING: Go ahead.

WOODWARD: … because it came to mind: If the judge would permit it, I would go serve some of her jail time, because I think the principle is that important, and it should be underscored. It’s not a casual idea that we have confidential sources. It is absolutely vital. And I’ll bet there are all kinds of reporters out there, if we could divvy up this four-month jail sentence — I suspect the judge would not permit that, but if he would, I’ll be first in line. It’s that important to our business.

And this book and Watergate demonstrated, the daily reporting in any newspaper or on CNN illustrates that. And what are you going to do? Are you going to interview all of the public relations people, all of the spokespeople, and that’s it? No one else can talk? Imagine, you know, the varnished pablum that would come out.

KING: We do need our Woodwards.

I agree, Larry. We do need our Woodwards — in jail!

Like Miller, who’s serving time to protect Karl Rove, Woodward (whose previous book on the Bush mis-administration was hailed for the “inprecedented access” Bobby was given to interview top Bush officials for “Bush at War”) is too dumb to see he’s been “Roved,” too. “Varnished pablum” indeed!

Trump Offers to Fire Rove

Entrepreneur, impresario and unsuccessful casino owner Donald Trump has offered to go to Capitol Hill to personally tell Karl Rove “You’re fired!”

“If that’s what it will take to get Rove out of the White House, I’m more than glad, as a true patriot and CEO, to do the job,” Trump told the Associated Press. “I’ll even do it on camera.”

Republican Senate leaders are seriously considering the curiously coiffed exec’s offer as a way to end the ongoing embarrassment over Rove’s “outing” of CIA agent Valerie Plame. Sen. John McCain expressed frustration over Rove’s continued employment, as it appears no one else at the cabinet level or above has shown any interest in firing him.

“It’s time for someone to go up the Potomac River and terminate Rove’s employment with extreme prejudice,” McCain said in arcane Viet Nam-speak.

Democratic leaders applauded Trump’s offer.

Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont spoke for the Democratic leadership: “If it took the evisceration of our cherished First Amendment right to free speech, the trampling of the long-standing practice of protection of journalists’ confidential sources, the journalistic integrity of Time Inc. and a four-month jail sentence for Judy Miller to get rid of Rove, it was well worth it.”

In other news, White House physicians expressed alarm at the idea of Rove being separated from President Bush, saying the president would then likely be declared legally brain dead and forced onto life-support with a feeding tube.

Hey Terrorists, Hack Our Homeland Defense System

In a General Accounting Office report just released, the GAO found that the Department of Homeland Defense had not implemented a security program to protect its information systems and the sensitive information it gathers.

Perhaps DHS should start putting its security system in order by firing Trusted Agent FISMA and buying Norton Utilities for $49.95. Then it could use the rest of the $28 billion to really start protecting Americans.

Indeed, from the litany of undones and incompletes the report lists, it would seem that one of the most important bulwarks in our country’s vaunted war on terrorism is subject to hacking from virtually any kid with an IBM and a grudge:

DHS has not fully implemented a comprehensive, departmentwide information security program to protect the information and information systems that support its operations and assets. It has developed and documented departmental policies and procedures that could provide a framework for implementing such a program; however, certain departmental components have not yet fully implemented key information security practices and controls. For example, risk assessments—needed to determine what controls are necessary and what level of resources should be expended on them—were incomplete. Elements required for information system security plans—which would provide a full understanding of existing and planned information security requirements—were missing. Testing and evaluation of security controls—which are needed to determine the effectiveness of information security policies and procedures—were incomplete or not performed. Elements required for remedial action plans— which would identify the resources needed to correct or mitigate known information security weaknesses—were missing, as were elements required for continuity of operations plans to restore critical systems in case of unexpected events.

Let’s see, that includes the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Technology, or US-VISIT, which is supposed to identify and stop terrorists at our borders; Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE; the Transportation Security Administration — you know, the guys with the wands at the airport; and Emergency Preparedness and Response.

Sounds like the department should be renamed Homeland INSECURITY.
[…]

Repug G8 Spin Repugnant

Some thing called the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (CREA) issued a press release today commending George W. Bush for “his leadership in steering the G-8 nations onto the right track in addressing climate change.”

Well, that’s a bit overstated. If Bush steered anything, he steered the G8 toward agreeing on a toothless, actionless, goalless agreement that sounds good, but means little, and away from real progress.

Claude Mandil, executive director of the Paris-based International Energy Agency, told Reuters that given the refusal of the United States to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on curbing air pollution, the G8 “plan” was the best that could be achieved: “Nobody could seriously expect the Kyoto Protocol would be ratified by those who had not ratified Kyoto. No one could seriously expect targets would be set,” Mandil said.

But do the Repugs see it that way? According to the press release, nope:

“President Bush has shown real leadership in steering the G-8 nations onto a path that will protect the environment while boosting the global economy,” said CREA President Italia Federici. “Development of new technologies and new energy sources will create jobs while potentially slowing and eventually reversing global climate trends,” continued Federici.

It has become increasingly apparent that many nations that signed onto the Kyoto Protocol will miss their emission target deadlines. Most, including France, Canada, and Japan, experienced emission increases after adopting the treaty. Some nations, such as Germany, have only been able to reduce emissions by shuttering power plants. While closing facilities may be a way to reduce emissions, it is not good for a nation’s economy.

Yeah, well ALL of the nations that didn’t sign Kyoto missed their non-targets.

All the G8 leaders agreed to last week at their summit in Gleneagles in Scotland was that they recognize climate change requires urgent action, but they set no targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases that cause it.

Not content with such an empty agreement, the wingnuts seized the opportunity to take their rhetoric over the top:

In recent months, more and more scientists have cast doubts on whether or not climate change is man-made. Russian scientists have called the Kyoto Protocol ‘scientifically-ungrounded,’ while the British House of Lords questioned whether scientific reports supporting the Kyoto Protocol were politically motivated.

Decide for yourself here.

Time Spent On Pensito Review Good, Not Bad

According to a survey released today, U.S. workers say they squander over two hours a day at the workplace — twice as much as employers had estimated. Among the top time-wasting activities were surfing the Web, socializing with co-workers and “spacing out.”

Some time-wasting activities — such as personal use of the Internet — can be positive, resulting in new business ideas or a happier work environment. “There is such a thing as creative waste,” said one expert. “Not all wasted time is bad.”

All that wasted time comes at a cost of $759 billion in annual salary paid for nothing, found the on-line survey conducted by America Online and Salary.com. (Of course, since it was AOL, half of the wasted time could be attributed to logging on and waiting for AOL to access Web pages, etc.)

Bill Coleman, senior vice president at Salary.com, said some time-wasting activities — such as personal use of the Internet — can be positive, resulting in new business ideas or a happier work environment. “There is such a thing as creative waste,” said Coleman. “Not all wasted time is bad.”

Which brings us to Pensito Review. Time spent on PR — especially time taken out of your busy work day — is good time, not wasted time. Here are some reasons why you should spend more of your “wasted” time on the job on Pensito Review:

10. Gain insights into complex political issues through PR’s oversimplified and distorted articles.
9. Experience cool graphic effects and doctored news photos.
8. Post your own comments on articles, thereby making the editors appear more intelligent by comparison.
7. Read enlightening quotations, complete with expletives.
6. Expand your vocabulary with rad neologisms like “wingnut” and “Repug.”
5. See the most unflattering photos of politicians available on the Internet.
4. Follow the whacky antics of George, Dick, Jeb, Arnold and all the other wingnut Repugs as they send our great nation to hell in a handbasket.
3. Respond viscerally to incendiary headlines that make your blood boil, which improves circulation and can prevent stroke, heart attacks and the heartbreak of psoriasis.
2. PR is easier to read with fewer typographical errors than other, less erudite blogs.

And the number-one reason to read Pensito Review while you’re on the clock:

1. It’s the next best thing to “spacing out.”