At the White House Press briefing today regarding the resignation of the Lebanese Government Helen Thomas goes waaayy off topic: (Q is Helen Thomas):
Q Has the President ever issued an order against torture of prisoners? And do we still send prisoners to Syria to be tortured?
MR. McCLELLAN: The President has stated publicly that we do not condone torture and that he would never authorize the use of torture. He has made that —
Q But has he issued an order?
MR. McCLELLAN: — statement very publicly, and he’s made it clear to everybody in the government that we do not torture.
Q Well, why do we still hear these stories then?
MR. McCLELLAN: If there are allegations of wrongdoing, then the President expects those allegations to be fully investigated and if there is actual wrongdoing that occurs, then people need to be held to account. The President has made that very clear.
Q Well, do you deny that we still send prisoners to other countries to be tortured? Is that a denial?
MR. McCLELLAN: Judge Gonzales testified previously that we have an obligation not to render people to countries that we know would torture them.
Q He did not rule out torture.
Transcript and link to video available here. Why is this woman still attending press briefings? And look at the second part of the first question… Did we ever “send prisoners to Syria to be tortured?” – Do you still beat your wife?
Via Fox News: Lebanon’s Prime Minister says whole government to resign. The Lebanese are rising against the Syrian forces.
Prime Minister Omar Karami:
“I am keen that the government will not be a hurdle in front of those who want the good for this country. I declare the resignation of the government that I had the honor to head. May God preserve Lebanon,”
More from Reuter’s:
“The people have won,” main opposition leader Walid Jumblatt told LBC television after Karami announced the resignation of the cabinet to a parliament session debating Hariri’s killing.
Ecstatic protesters, having got their wish for the government’s resignation, chanted “Syria out” and “Freedom, sovereignty, independence.” Syria has wielded political and military power in its smaller neighbor for decades.
They also chanted “Lahoud, your turn is next,” in reference to pro-Syrian President Emile Lahoud.
Martyrs Square, by Hariri’s grave, was a sea of Lebanese flags — red and white with a cedar tree in the center.
Thousands of protesters watched the debate live on large screens while loudspeakers blared patriotic songs.
Cheers and applause erupted when Karami resigned. In parliament, opposition MPs wearing the red-and-white scarves that have come to symbolize their movement, gave a standing ovation.
I’ve been posting lightly because I received my new laptop on Friday and have been getting it up to speed with all my old software. I also have a paper due tomorrow for my current class, so posting on my part will still be fairly light.
I have a brand new Dell Inspiron 6000 with a very nice 15-1/2 screen. It’s like an HDTV screen wider than tall, so it’s very nice for spreadsheet viewing. I’m getting used to the new Office 2003 software too.
From the International Herald Tribune:
As the International Atomic Energy Agency prepared to open a meeting in Vienna on Monday to review Tehran’s nuclear program, Iranian officials reluctantly turned over new evidence that strongly suggests it discussed acquiring technologies central to making nuclear weapons and hid that fact for 18 years, U.S. and European officials say.
More importantly, Iran’s admission came only after it was confronted with the evidence. I’m no expert, but 18 years seems like a long time to develop weapons systems. Awhile ago I wrote about the Left’s failure to appreciate the dangers of a false negative in such circumstances. Hard choices are approaching. The Left can await the outcome of this one and then preach about errors made in hindsight, but it would be nice for them to actually constructively enter the debate for the good of the country.
Even after raising the bar, Rall concedes that his ridiculous challenge has been met:
Believe it or not, no, I did NOT know that any of this stuff was out there. I’d read references by Republican bloggers to such things, but no one ever provided a link and I could never find it. Suffice it to say, this stuff pisses me off and should not be tolerated by anyone who purports to be a law-abiding American. And again: mainstream blogs like Kos should delete this shit as soon as it appears–as should the nasty right-wing sites like Little Green Footballs.
Has the challenge been met? Yes.
He has the nerve to express surprise, as if his ignorance wasn’t based on his own blinding bias, but on some blogosphere wide conspiracy to keep the truth from him.
Blindingly biased left wing media expresses bewilderment at their ignorance after being force fed the facts by conservative bloggers – pretty much an average day in the blogosphere. (Update: scroll up to get Rall’s admission, he doesn’t seem to have links for each posting.)
As usual Mark Steyn hits the nail on the head. His latest is an article entitled “U.S. can sit back and watch Europe implode.” He writes:
Europe’s problems — its unaffordable social programs, its deathbed demographics, its dependence on immigration numbers that no stable nation (not even America in the Ellis Island era) has ever successfully absorbed — are all of Europe’s making. By some projections, the EU’s population will be 40 percent Muslim by 2025. Already, more people each week attend Friday prayers at British mosques than Sunday service at Christian churches — and in a country where Anglican bishops have permanent seats in the national legislature.
Some of us think an Islamic Europe will be easier for America to deal with than the present Europe of cynical, wily, duplicitous pseudo-allies. But getting there is certain to be messy, and violent.
I seem to recall two previous implosions in Europe that were pretty messy and violent.
Update: Welcome Modern Tribalist readers.
Mubarak is calling for a change to the constitution to allow for multi-party presidential elections.
I guess the left will have to stroke off “what about Egypt” from the list of canned responses to the success of democracy in the region.
You all probably know about Rall’s challenge to conservative bloggers. Well take a look at his original challenge:
Several Bushist blogger types have written to assert that there are as many violent and threatening remarks and insults coming from liberals online as there are from conservatives against liberals. I’ve spent many sadly-lost hours online, and I say: no way.
So here’s my challenge: Please email your worst, most vicious examples of liberal/leftie blogger vitriol (with links, natch), and I’ll post ’em right here. If they exist, obviously.
Note he’s asking for violent and threatening remarks and insults. The most vicious vitriol we could find.
Remains totally unanswered. Come on, righties–show us these supposed death threats against conservative pundits and politicians written by leftie bloggers.Remember the standard: we’re talking threats of death, dismemberment, etc.–the kind of stuff I wrote about in my column this week as well as on my blog.
OK death threats, and dismemberment. Note he asks us to remember what he posted before, but it gets better.
Remember, we’re looking for specific threats of violence and/or murder against specific media and political personalities on the right, authored by lefties. “I hope Ann Coulter dies painfully” qualifies. Generic threats, like “I hope Republicans die,” do not.
Specific threats of violence and/or murder. Again, he asks us to remember. Do you think Ted realizes how foolish he looks? Not a chance.
UPDATE: PoliPundit has a great reply.
Here’s a few quotes from the Guardian:
Welcome though these assurances on Iran are, they do not go to the heart of the matter, which remains the neocons’ agenda for the Arab world and their support for the most hardline elements in Israel. Europe needs to be highly wary.
But it is Syria’s support for Hizbullah guerrillas in Lebanon and the Hamas movement in the Palestinian territories which irritates Sharon most.
Hizbullah’s reputation within the Arab world as the only group which has forced the Israeli army to retreat is a constant source of annoyance….
As the US campaign developed last year, Damascus reacted in confusion. It made the mistake of pressing the Lebanese parliament to extend the pro-Syrian president’s term. On the other hand it accepted several Washington demands. It agreed to joint US-Iraqi-Syrian controls over its border to stop insurgents passing into Iraq.
Europe has to resist the Bush-Sharon agenda of wanting Abbas to “crack down on terrorism” in advance of Israel’s Gaza withdrawal… (emphasis mine)
Get that folks. The problem isn’t Syria. They’re simply confused and mistaken. The problem isn’t Hizbulla, who by the way are not terrorists but “guerrillas”, as they are merely a source of irritation and “annoyance”to Sharon ( those bloody body parts all over the street after a car bomb sure are an eye sore). No, Europe should be wary of the “Neocon agenda” and the “hardline elements in Israel.” There’s also no legitimate terrorism in Gaza on which to crack down, only a “Bush-Sharon agenda.”
What’s sad is that this kind of thinking is the norm in Europe.
The judge has ruled that Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube can be removed in three weeks, stating “The court is no longer comfortable granting stays simply upon the filings of new motions…”
How could a court make such a callous statement, as if it wasn’t a human life at stake, but rather a house deal gone bad, or a contested will? The problem isn’t the judge, though his statements seemed to be grotesquely insensitive. The problem is the fact that courts determine legal issues and nothing more. The same courts, the same judges and the same legal procedures that were developed to determine the validity of a will, or a house sale, are now determining the existence of someone’s life.
This is why the court coldly stated that “there will always be new issues” in refusing to allow further stays. In a court of law, a life is no longer a life, but a mere legal issue. This is what it has come to.