January 25, 2005

I'm hiding in Honduras I'm a desperate man

* "In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true....Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow. The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness." - Hannah Arendt, The Origins Of Totalitarianism

* The Washington Times' Tony Blankley believes Seymour Hersh should be tried as a spy. excerpt:

"Tony Blankley, editorial page editor of the Washington Times, is a walking museum. His syndicated column regularly retails Soviet-style hymns to the majesty of the state and its Dear Leader, thoughtfully published in pedestrian English prose so as to avoid the necessity of translation.

"In his most recent offering, Commissar Blankley opines that investigative reporter Seymour Hersh committed 'espionage' by publishing a detailed expose of the Bush administration’s plans and preparations for war with Iran. According to Hersh, the administration has been conducting pre-war covert operations inside Iran. Those operations allegedly are being carried out through the Pentagon, rather than by the CIA, in order to avoid congressional oversight. Citing anonymous defense and intelligence sources, Hersh predicts that as many as ten nations might be on the list of possible U.S. military targets."
"Before assuming his august post at the Washington Times, Blankley was an attorney and a top aide to disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Thus it’s a touch disingenuous for him to affect mystification over the language of the U.S. Code. But even granting that he finds the statute in question ambiguous, there four key words that should clarify the matter: 'In time of war.'"
"Simply put, our nation is not legally at war. Congress did not declare war on Iraq, and hasn’t taken action of any kind regarding military action against Iran. The Bush administration, like Blankley, affects to find some ambiguity in the constitutional assignment of war powers, but the meaning of the language is utterly plain to honest people of even modest intelligence."
"Were the Bush administration to act on Blankley’s recommendation that Hersh be tried as a spy, that decision would involve presumptive Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, who has been at the forefront of defending the administration’s expansive claims of unaccountable executive power. And the Hersh investigation – were it to happen – would probably divert important resources from the much more pressing inquiry into the Valerie Plame leak, in which an administration official leaked the name of a CIA field operative to the press, thereby blowing her cover and possibly jeopardizing her life.

"Odd, isn’t it, that Blankley’s zeal to prosecute spies doesn’t extend to the Plame case?

"Blankley’s suggestion fits perfectly into his long-established Soviet-style worldview, in which the people are accountable to the state, rather than the reverse. If what Hersh wrote is accurate – and Blankley appears to believe that it is – then trying him for espionage would tacitly recognize that the Bush administration regards the U.S. people as the enemy from whom such information must be hidden."

* David Blaine makes an empty beer full. [via screenhead]


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