Adm. Dennis Blair: FAIL

Guh. Apparently, Obama’s national intelligence director is not all that smart. Adm. Dennis Blair wrote in a memo last week — on the very same day that Obama made public for the first time the Bush “torture memos” — that harsh interrogation techniques (I’m pretty sure Blair was talking about, um, torture) actually yielded results!?

“The information gained from these techniques was valuable in some instances, but there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means,” Admiral Blair said in a written statement issued last night. “The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security.”

“Hurt our image around the world?” Well, yes, obviously. Second only to Ayman al-Zawahiri, George W. Bush did more to radicalize Islamists during the last decade, because he was such a stupid, despicable man, but it seems that Blair has forgotten the simple fact about torture: it’s a morally bankrupt and evil thing to do on any level.

Beyond Adm. Blair’s inability to speak intelligently about the subject, and his inability to sufficiently cover his ass, let’s now look to the fact that he put his idiotic statements in writing in a goddammed memo. Did someone not tell this guy about leaks? What the shit was this guy thinking?

Rep. Jane Harman LOVES Spying

Um, this is real awkward. California Democrat Jane Harman is said to have promised to help two AIPAC employees who were accused of spying for Israel some time before March 2005. We know this because Harman said so on a secret NSA wiretap, and because the CQ Politics had this story today.

Harman’s agreement to “waddle into” the thrilling espionage mess as a quid pro quo that AIPAC lobby hard for her to become house speaker in 2006 instead of Nancy Pelosi. Um, again, we know this because Harman was caught on tape saying so…

From the CQ story:

It’s true that allegations of pro-Israel lobbyists trying to help Harman get the chairmanship of the intelligence panel by lobbying and raising money for Pelosi aren’t new.

They were widely reported in 2006, along with allegations that the FBI launched an investigation of Harman that was eventually dropped for a “lack of evidence.” What is new is that Harman is said to have been picked up on a court-approved NSA tap directed at alleged Israel covert action operations in Washington.

And that, contrary to reports that the Harman investigation was dropped for “lack of evidence,” it was Alberto R. Gonzales, President Bush’s top counsel and then attorney general, who intervened to stop the Harman probe.

Why? Because, according to three top former national security officials, Gonzales wanted Harman to be able to help defend the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about break in The New York Times and engulf the White House.

This item is particularly awkward for The New York Times, because the CQ story alleges that Harman effectively lobbied the paper’s Executive Editor, Bill Keller, to stop The Times’ famously delayed story about the Bush Administration’s illegal surveillance tactics, which the paper held for an entire year between 2004 and 2005.

Keller, not surprisingly, denies this outright in The Times story about Harman, which makes you wonder a little about the CQ story’s claim. Still, not good news for anyone involved. Also, is it just me, or does Harman look slightly terrifying? (Not to mention a lot like Cloris Leachman).

Obama = Bush on Habeus Corpus

This is exceptionally disappointing.

With his decisions to eventually close GitMo and, you know, ban torture, you’d think that he’d go for the hat trick and offer habeus corpus to foreign detainees. But, alas, he’s no better than his predecessor on this.

Hat tip to JP Fellows for keeping me honest.

Obama to Increase Taxes on Himself

Fair is fair.

He and First Lady Michelle Obama paid $855,323 in federal taxes, while making $172,050 in charitable contributions to 37 different charities. The largest reported gifts were $25,000 to both the United Negro College Fund and the relief organization CARE.

“The president sold a lot of books last year, no doubt, and paid a hefty amount in federal income tax,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. As president, Obama now is paid $400,000 a year.

At least he’s putting his money where his mouth is…or something.

CNN Reporter Gets Tea Bagged

I don’t know this reporter’s name, and I hope I never do. This is embarrassing for all parties involved, with the weird tall guy holding the baby and shouting about Lincoln and the fat guy trying to awkwardly stretch a timely pirate metaphor. But the reporter here takes the stupid cake.

This is why the media shouldn’t have covered these things in the first place.

More On Tea Bags and Parties

This is hilarious.

And I thought tax-hating white people were supposed to be the party of the moral majority, not the party of shoving your balls in someone else’s….wait a second….never mind.

Tea Bagging Party in Norwich

The last time I analyzed a story from The Day, I caught some shit for being a bully, but I’m going to give it another whirl.

New London’s favorite daily has bought the FOX News bridge of the Tea Party movement that’s taking the country by storm. The fact that some wingnuts are getting together on April 15 to protest the fact that they’re being taxed to death is noteworthy. People who have time enough on their hands to take a day off of work to protest taxes as part of a faux-grass roots movement deserves all the news coverage in the world.

Here’s Rich Curtis, one of the organizers of the Norwich Tea Bag Party:

“Regular working people and small-business owners are fed up with the overtaxation, poor representation, pork spending and bailouts,” said Rich Curtis, an organizer of the Norwich tax day tea party.

“We’re the silent majority, and finally we’re standing up and standing together,” he said.

Curtis’ invocation of Richard Nixon‘s famous ‘Silent Majority’ is an interesting decision. When Nixon used that phrase, he was referring to the supposed large number of Americans who weren’t protesting the Vietnam War as proof that his policies weren’t as unpopular as the loudmouthed protesters were making them out to be.

I want you to think about that. This man, Rich Curtis, is organizing a tax protest. There’s nothing silent about this, and given the fact that Obama carried the nation and Connecticut by the largest margin in recent memory and is twice as popular as George W. Bush, the man who actually ruined the country, there sure doesn’t seem anything majority-ish about it either. It’s easy to find 400 people to join a Facebook group that is against taxes, but a grass movement it does not make.

This is a fake story fueled by anti-populist dick-bag swine like Rick Santelli and Neil Cavuto. I’m glad to see The Day is catching the Tea Bagging Party fever.