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Bushed

Bushed is a new segment on Countdown where Keith Olbermann is reviewing the many Bush Administration scandals all 46, 47 ... of them, with the Bushies it's a work in progress. Here are the first nine.

  • Fired Attorneys
  • Missing Body Armor
  • Plame Gate
  • Habeus Corpus-Gate
  • Air-Gate
  • NIE-Gate
  • Blackwater-Gate
  • Commutation-Gate
  • Gonzo-Gate




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Countdown w/Keith Olbermann

 

Comments

Ive been lurkin your here for some time time. good job! PLEASE post all 47. gotta collect them all!

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Did he pronounce Stalin as 'SHtalin'? Or was I imagining?

That made me feel ill.

They're all in jail now right? Disenfranchised, exiled in disgrace, maybe? I just missed it in the news?

...No?

I think I may vomit now... All those people who are dead, because of... of...

only 289? seems like it woulda been higher than that by now.

Hugh's list of Bush Scandals has 289.

Wow ... let's see, we're almost 7 years into the Bush "presidency"... that's about 350 weeks, but he's been on vacation for more than 420 days and that knocks off 60 weeks. So that's a scandal for every 7 days, give or take. Another superlative for the Decider - that vacation time must really help recharge his sphincter.

While I understand the primary goal of these postings is just to hogpile on an easy target (what is Bush's approval rating anyway? Does the meter go that low?), it seems a bit ridiculous to lump some of these things in as 'Bush scandals'. For example, how is Blackwater a Bush scandal? That's a Blackwater scandal. Which, by the way, our own monitoring and reporting uncovered, investigated, and punished.

It's also rather tiresome that everything is 'gate'. 'Gate' isn't a suffix. It's part of the name of the hotel where Watergate happened. Unless Valerie Plame was outed at Plamegate Inn & Suites, it really doesn't make sense.

Meanwhile there are actual events still occurring in this country, many of them idiotic, and not all of them fomented by the Bush administration. For example, NJ just abolished the death penalty. This is after a scientific report just established that it is a crime deterrent. It's also important to note that this action goes against the wishes of the majority of the constituents who want to keep the death penalty an option.

Among other convicted capital criminals this will spare the life of the recidivist rapist and killer who was released to rape and murder 7-year-old Megan Kanka. Her parents certainly weren't for this change.

This was pushed through by an agenda-driven Democratic majority. While I'll undoubtedly be called a 'neocon' again for pointing out a failing of the Democratic party, it's really just another indication of how partisanship is ruining this country. Why are politicians not listening to the people, rather than deciding for us what is good and bad?

"how is Blackwater a Bush scandal? That's a Blackwater scandal."

well if youre that picky, then the only thing that would qualify as a bush scandal is if he got his d sucked by someone other than his wife. how is watergate a nixon scandal?

"It's also rather tiresome that everything is 'gate'" what's that got to do with anything?

"NJ just abolished the death penalty. This is after a scientific report just established that it is a crime deterrent." and how did that report go? 95 out of a hundred criminals said they feel less trigger happy when theres a death penalty around? or just by the fact that those who went through death penalty do not re-offend?

"Why are politicians not listening to the people, rather than deciding for us what is good and bad?" cause people dont know what the eff is good or bad, especially in a big crowd, public executions anyone? you really think we changed that much?

but i do hope american prisons have a good information system amongst the prisoners and guards to know whos the child rapist and might need some raping himself. thats how i justify no death penatly in those cases - that prison is life long hell compared to a shot of poison.

I agree with calligraph's comment on the never-ending "gates." It's as if scandals aren't important enough, that they have to be made hip and given a "gate" suffix. Olbermann's smart enough to not fall for that.

Kind of like all of the meaningless Clinton "gates?" Were you tired of it then? Some of the Bush scandals dwarf Watergate.

Bush and Co created Blackwater and the privatization of America's military which has been a disaster and will soon be an even greater problem for this country.

Lots and lots of civilized countries think that the death penalty is barbaric and have outlawed it for years. So should we. One scientific report does not science make (unless you happen to agree with it I suppose).

Turn off Rush, read some real journalism.

Yeah, let's link to this study that says Death Penalty is a deterrent. 'Cuz I can link to one that says it isn't:

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/article.php?&did=1705#crimi

I feel like "Gate"ing everything is at this point just a satire of all the Clinton "gates." Travelgate? Filegate? These were clearly used at the time to up the scandal tone. Now I feel like it's just a joke but... you know, there's still scandals. That's how I take it in anyway. Maybe it's just me.

Blackwater is a Bush scandal because if he wanted to he could stop it. Or better reform it. And maybe once all the bargaining took place, maybe the head of Blackwater would say "Nope. You don't have the power to reform us. Take us as we are or we're leaving." But I've been given no impression that's been the case. Bush may not be, but he seems fairly complicit in the Blackwater affairs. And complicity is a scandal.

When did we punish Blackwater? How are they a good organization now?

Calligraph, I hope you don't find the idea of a "neocon" label enough to put you off. While I don't agree with your viewpoints, I feel we all would admit you've generated a lively discussion.

Although for invoking the parents of the victims in a death penalty case (never let the victims set the punishment, otherwise people would want him sentenced to rape too) you will be investigated (see: onegoodmovegate).

Just what America needs: more executions! That will put her back on the right moral track. What is it with Christians and their love for capital punishment? It´s so Old Testament.

"Kind of like all of the meaningless Clinton "gates?" Were you tired of it then? Some of the Bush scandals dwarf Watergate."

I wasn't just targeting the Bush scandals, so to answer your question: yes.

Lets make a deal, presidential scandals will stop receiving the suffix -gate when republicans stop saying that supporting the troops means supporting the war. Okay? Deal.

The Pound
When did we punish Blackwater? How are they a good organization now?
Their operations were suspended until the matter could be investigated, and their operatives were in fact found guilty of shooting innocent people. I believe the FBI is still reviewing the case:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/14/world/middleeast/14blackwater.html?_r=2&hp&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Justice is, unfortunately, not swift. It's also incredibly complicated by the type of work these people do and the place where they do it. But I don't feel this qualifies as a 'scandal' as much as a truly horrible thing done by a private company, to which our nation is trying to correctly respond.

The Pound
Yeah, let's link to this study that says Death Penalty is a deterrent

Sure. It was a big headline recently, and then curiously just vanished from the public eye. Here's a link to a summary:

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/06/10/studiessaydeathpenaltydeters_crime/

This is an actual scientific study that evaluated real data. On the other hand I followed your link and immediately found this:

A survey of experts from the American Society of Criminology, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the Law and Society Association showed that the overwhelming majority did not believe that the death penalty is a proven deterrent to homicide.

Emphasis is, of course, mine. But that's the key issue: there has never been an actual study that proved the death penalty did not deter crime. There was what 'experts believe' (curiously those experts were usually against the death penalty to begin with) and some direct stats-to-stats comparisons of places that have the death penalty and places that don't, which is not real science. That's like taking two people randomly from the populace, giving one a cup of coffee and if he later develops cancer claiming the coffee caused it.

The deterrence issue is important because it was the only real, objective argument against the practice. That argument is now provably false. Which leaves us with stuff like:

ed
Just what America needs: more executions! That will put her back on the right moral track.

The problem is that morality is subjective, which makes it a terrible barometer for determining policy. You think it's immoral to execute people who have been convicted of horrible crimes. I think it's immoral to continue our revolving-door system which puts recidivist criminals back onto the streets, claims they are reformed, and then has to mop up mess after mess when those people offend again.

It seems to me that when people say the death penalty is immoral they completely forget about everybody but the convicted felon. What about the lives that are saved and the crimes that are deterred by executing that felon? Are they not relevant?

The Pound
Although for invoking the parents of the victims in a death penalty case

Well, those are the people who matter the most in the case, right?

When we surrender the concept of natural justice and allow society to assume the burden, we are entrusting society with the role of catching and punishing those who commit offenses against us. If society does not respond adequately to protect us or provide a sense of justice for such offenses, the contract has been broken.

My problem with the anti-death-penalty crowd is that they seem willfully obtuse. They only see the execution, and they try to evaluate it in a bubble: killing is wrong! Well, no, killing is not always wrong. Killing in self-defense is something we all accept, and capital punishment is nothing more than societal self defense.

Something very strange happened to our society. We stopped looking at crime from the point of view of the victim, and started looking at it through the eyes of the criminal. Everything is run through a filter to see how 'fair' it is to the rapist and murderer. That's backwards. That is the brutality.

Your link doesn't work.

"capital punishment is nothing more than societal self defense."

That's quite a stretch. And the alternative to the death penalty is life imprisonment, not "back on the streets". Unless you wish to execute everyone who's committed a felony? Stop me when I run into a strawman.

Am I the only one who sees the irony in how the Right holds up this one study as conclusive proof that the death penalty deters murders yet they turn a blind eye to the avalanche of studies and the views held by most of the world’s scientists concerning global climate change? As I said, one study does not science make. There has been a range of criticism against these recent conclusions.

Does anyone really think that the death penalty will solve America’s desperate problem with violent crime? I think that it is our culture of violence that lies at the root of this issue. As an American living abroad I can’t help but notice the violence attached to so much of the pop culture we export. How many movies and TV shows don’t include gun violence? I think that the death penalty has added to this culture of violence in America, from hangings, lynchings, the barbaric electric chair, and whatever other method we may dream up to kill folks (I hope we can all at least agree that capital punishment is violent).

Something very strange happened to our society. We stopped looking at crime from the point of view of the victim, and started looking at it through the eyes of the criminal.

Well said, Archie Bunker! You need to find some new rhetoric because this bit is as tired as it gets. We have jailed millions of Americans for drug violations yet drugs are more readily available than ever (and cheap, too!). How about if we try to get to the root causes of crime? Why is there so much less violent crime in other societies that place much less emphasis on punishment? How is the death penalty going to stop whack-jobs who shoot up shopping malls and schools and then kill themselves?

I oppose the death penalty for the same reasons I oppose torture: I think this sort of behavior degrades us as a society. Like people with an opposing view, nothing will change my mind.

Opposing the death penalty has nothing to do with looking at crime through the eyes of the criminal. It has to do with not wanting to be a barbaric country which engages in barbaric practices.

If someone rapes a person, we don't punish them by raping them with baseball bat. Why? Because that would be barbaric. Killing someone is even more barbaric.

Listen Columbo, the problem with the death penalty comes from the margin of error inevitably stemming from the error-prone level of proof needed for a criminal conviction: beyond a reasonable doubt. Because the level of proof is not absolute certainty, errors creep in from all sides and as a result we’ve been seeing many individuals in this country put to death to only later find out that we’ve executed an innocent person. In fact, the Innocence Project exists to provide legal justice and relief for individuals who have been wrongfully convicted of heinous crimes, are poor and misrepresented, and have been unfortunately sentenced to death despite their innocence.

While a person may also be confined unjustly due to the standard of proof they have at least the opportunity to be exonerated. When you’re dead what chance do you have of being found innocent and subsequently released? Though we cannot escape the problems the standard of proof we have in our criminal justice system, we certainly have ways we can square such troubles by subtracting this system of state sanctioned murder and still have a fully functioning system to bring the criminal to justice. Many countries have now adopted such philosophy and we remain one of the few that still adhere to such barbarism and archaic adjudication siding ourselves with the likes of Middle Eastern backward thinking nations. It should be noted that it is a false dichotomy—as anon pointed out—that we only have a choice between executing criminals and letting them loose (your revolving door theory).

As for the deterrence factor, it seems your studies fall flat on their face. It might not be all that possible to determine a true statistical relationship between homicides and executions because the number of executions is so small compared to the number of homicides. For example, the Emory Universtiy study that is in the article you referenced has been disputed by multiple law professors and research associates which is why you probably haven’t heard much of these studies emerge again in recent news. A law professor, John Donohue, from Yale School of Law and Justine Wolfers also a professor at Wharton School of Business and a Research Affiliate at the National Bureau of Economic Research studied the 2003 Emory study (the one that claimed 18 deaths were prevented) and found that the reduction or increase in murders was actually more dependent on other factors used in the study than whether or not the states had the death penalty. They also studied the 2006 Emory study using non-death penalty states as a control group—which wasn’t used by the Emory researchers—and found that when comparing death penalty to non-death penalty states, they found no evidence to suggest that there is an effect, either up or down, on murder rates.

Look, I’m even going to do your homework for you and provide the sources of these studies I just referenced(in APA format no less!).

Works Referenced:

Fagan, J., Zimring, F.E., & Geller, A. (2006). Capital punishment and capital murder: Market share and the deterrent effects of the death penalty. Texas Law Review. 84(7), 1803-1867.

Donohue, J., & Wolfers, J. (2006). Does the death penalty deter? Wilson Quarterly. 30(3), 77-78.

Donohue, J., & Wolfers, J. (2005). Uses and abuses of empirical evidence in the death penalty debate. Stanford Law Review. 58(3), 791-845.

Well said, Archie Bunker!

Listen Columbo

hee hee

the problem with the death penalty comes from the margin of error

Putting aside the "margin of error", this is so clearly such a barbaric act for the supposed 'greatest country in the world' to be engaging in, no?

But that was my point: the margin of error allows for the possibility of innocent people to be put to death since we don’t have absolute certainty! And not just the possibility, there HAVE been deaths of innocents, that's the even sadder part of all this—that we know of them—and for what? To satisfy a bloodlust of retribution?.

And, yes, I do have to agree that the killing in and of itself is barbaric and only places us in the same position as the criminals themselves. Even lethal injection, which is said by many to be our most "humane" form of execution, involves three injections: one that is supposedly used to render the inmate unconscious (though the effects wear off after about 5 minutes when it redistributes throughout the body), one that paralyzes the muscles (except the heart), and the other that finally stops the heart. While this is taking place, though, you are basically conscious yet unable to show signs of discomfort and agony. Your brain still has enough oxygen to keep itself from collapsing and therefore you’re asphyxiating slowly before the last shot is ever administered. The veins are also a problem to find for many people and so as a result we've seen botched cases where the execution process lasts for hours (see this case and this more recent one as well). This country was also, until 2003, executing juveniles. I heard of one case in 1830 of a 10 year old boy who was to be hanged for stealing. Because he weighed 60 lbs. his weight wasn't sufficient enough to snap his neck and was merely asphyxiating to death. They finally decided to place sand bags on his feet to add to his weight and it took about two tries before his neck finally gave out and snapped. USA! USA!

Yes, USA! Me too, I'm so damned proud!

I'm sad to say that I have to go along for the ride with calligraph on this one. I once was proud to consider myself a democrat, but those days are gone. With "leaders like Nancy P. stating that there's no interest in impeachment (sorry to not have the exact quote, but that's the crux of it), I have to ask "Sez who?". The only thing higher on my list of preferences would be tar and feathers, or perhaps a return to the good old drawn and quartered days. The democrats have forgotten the basic reason for the very dramatic turn around during the mid-terms, stop the war now, bring them home now. The only democrat I'd vote for is Dennis Kucinich,or perhaps General Wesley Clark, the guy that could have kicked Shrub's ass up and down the street if only the democrats had not been locked in the death dance with the cabal that calls the shots. http://boskolives.wordpress.com/

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