When The Cafferty File starts off with Jack saying "the following story comes from the land of make believe or believe-it-or-not", you know what follows is going to be ridiculous and todays 4 o'clock question was no exception. The Department of Justice has suddenly decided (surprise surprise) to investigate the legality of the controversial NSA domestic spying program. Jack surmises that it may have something to do with the incoming Democratic majority -- led by Judiciary Chairman Sen. Pat Leahy -- which is sure to ask the tough question the GOP has avoided. Gee, ya think?
Charlie Savage has a great article over at the Boston Globe detailing Cheneys feverish pursuit of Presidential power and his ultra-secretive nature. Savage traces his roots back to the Ford administration and warns that the Democrats are in for a tough fight and should expect to hear the words "executive privilege" repeatedly over the next two years.
The Iran-contra scandal was not the first time the future vice president articulated a philosophy of unfettered executive power -- nor would it be the last. The Constitution empowers Congress to pass laws regulating the executive branch, but over the course of his career, Cheney came to believe that the modern world is too dangerous and complex for a president's hands to be tied. He embraced a belief that presidents have vast "inherent" powers, not spelled out in the Constitution, that allow them to defy Congress.
A close look at key moments in Cheney's career -- from his political apprenticeship in the Nixon and Ford administrations to his decade in Congress and his tenure as secretary of defense under the first President Bush -- suggests that the newly empowered Democrats in Congress should not expect the White House to cooperate when they demand classified information or attempt to exert oversight in areas such as domestic surveillance or the treatment of terrorism suspects. Read more...
During his annual TiVo cleanout, Colbert frantically tries to erase the history of the Iraq War/World War II analogies rejected by Cheney but promoted by Hannity, Condi and "Talking Points" Mehlman. If only it were that easy.
Check out ComedyCentral.com for more videos.
The situation in Iraq: Is it a "civil war" or a "a minor linguistic flareup between two parties of different terminological points of view"? Jon Stewart and Senior Middle East Correspondent John Oliver debate and agree to "agree to disagree on how they state their agreements."
Stewart: 3,000 Iraqis died just this month. To argue over what to call it seems like semantic quibbling.
Oliver: Semantic quibbling? Oh, well, I wouldn't call it that.
Stewart: What would you call it?
Oliver: A minor linguistic flareup between two parties of different terminological points of view.
Stewart: It's really the same thing.
Oliver: It's "same-ey." For now let's agree to disagree on how we state our agreements. Agreed?
As usual, CNN's Michael Ware paints a stark and depressing picture of the deteriorating security situation in Iraq. He details the never-ending (and escalating) violence and calls it what it is -- a brutal civil war with no end in sight. For all the parsing of the term "civil war", Ware explains exactly why NBC is right in now officially characterizing it as one .
Ware: If this is not a civil war, Wolf, I don't want to see one when it comes.
Following President Clinton's lead, Barney Frank criticized Chris Wallace yesterday of having an "odd view of balance" after asking questions about pressure from liberal activists, tax increases on the rich, abortion, gay rights, the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and the whole Pelosi-Hoyer-Murtha "controversy" -- issues that rank low on the Democratic agenda.
"I've got to say, Chris, you have an odd view of balance. [...] I am struck by the tenor of your questions. You advertise this as giving us a chance to talk about what we're going to do, but everything is aimed at trying to put us in a kind of a bad light and look at the most controversial and not very representative things that we plan to do."
Chris Wallace didn't complain---so was he admitting his bias? "Let me see if I can do better."
From the UK Independent:
A team of suspected terrorists involved in an alleged UK plot to blow up trans-atlantic airliners escaped capture because of interference by the United States, The Independent has been told by counter-terrorism sources.
An investigation by MI5 and Scotland Yard into an alleged plan to smuggle explosive devices on up to 10 passenger jets was jeopardised in August, when the US put pressure on authorities in Pakistan to arrest a suspect allegedly linked to the airliner plot.
As a direct result of the surprise detention of the suspect, British police and MI5 were forced to rush forward plans to arrest an alleged UK gang accused of plotting to destroy the airliners. But a second group of suspected terrorists allegedly linked to the first evaded capture and is still at large, according to security sources. Read more...
In one of the most bizarre and delusional segments I've ever seen on FOX News, Laura Ingraham and a vacationing Bill O'Reilly (the Caribbean, perhaps?) claimed victory last night over the cancellation of the OJ Simpson special.
This is unequivocally the mother of all straw-men: In O'Reilly's mind, News Corp and FOX broadcasting -- who he reiterated have "nothing to do with FOX News" (which is true as long as you don't count the whole corporate ownership and Roger Ailes connection nonsense; not to mention the fact that HarperCollins is also owned by News Corp.) -- had the audacity...
Jon Stewart and The Daily Show team tackled just a few of the more interesting stories that came along our C&L news desk. From General Abizaid's testimony about General Shinseki being correct about the need for more troops in post-Saddam Iraq to Glenn Becks despicable interview with incoming Congressman Keith Ellison, Jon puts a hysterical spin on things we really shouldn't be laughing at.
On Beck: "Finally a guy who says what people who aren't thinking are thinking. [...] Just like as a conservative white guy, the burden is on me to prove to you I've neither blown up a federal building with a fertilizer bomb nor sucked off a gay hooker in the mens room at a Denny's"
Check out Motherload at ComedyCentral.com for more hilarious clips of The Daily Show & Colbert Report.
Last night Colbert was furious at Rush Limbaugh's critics who accuse him of being intellectually dishonest about "carrying the water for people who don't deserve having their water carried" all these years. Al Franken joins Stephen to do an election victory dance and to talk about his potential 2008 Senate run and Rush's mea culpa.
Colbert: It's true. He has carried a lot of water -- and not just to help him swallow all those pills. Do you have any idea how hard it is to convince the American public to believe in things that you don't? And all he gets in return is $35 million a year?!