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Purification and Threats

Monday, Mar. 06, 2006 1:06 AM

As the saying goes, "The best defense is a good offense."

But somehow, I don't think this is what they had in mind.

Hindu priests held a purification ceremony after President Bush's visit to a shrine honoring Mohandas Gandhi.

It wasn't so much Mr. Bush's presence that offended as it was the bomb-sniffing dogs that were taken around the site prior to his arrival.

The priests, Hindu politicians, and Gandhi's great-grandson, Tushar, all voiced their disapproval.

Did you know mentioning Keith Olbermann's name is a crime?

Well, at least if you're a caller on Bill O'Reilly's nationally-syndicated radio show.

As soon as a caller mentioned Olbermann, O'Reilly killed the call and informed his other listeners, ""Mike is -- he's a gone guy. You know, we have his -- we have your phone numbers, by the way. So, if you're listening, Mike, we have your phone number, and we're going to turn it over to Fox Security, and you'll be getting a little visit."

O'Reilly warned the audience that if callers, "... say anything untoward, obscene, or anything like that, Fox security will then contact your local authorities, and you will be held accountable. Fair?"

Excuse me, Officer? I'd like to arrest Bill O'Reilly for encouraging terrorist activity and making specific threats against a San Francisco landmark.

It's untoward, if not obscene, and he should be held accountable. Fair?

(Speaking of fair, "Mike" is Mike Stark of Calling All Wingnuts, an equal-opportunity tormentor of conservative talk show hosts like O'Reilly.)

Speaking of calling the police, the White House is cracking the whip on government employees, and the Justice Department has warned reporters that they could be prosecuted under espionage laws.

However, the Justice Department added, "A prosecution under the espionage laws of an actual member of the press for publishing classified information leaked to it by a government source would raise legitimate and serious issues and would not be undertaken lightly, indeed, the fact that there has never been such a prosecution speaks for itself."

In other words, we'd like very much for you to be scared shitless and not question the supreme wisdom of our divinely-chosen president (I mean, come on, couldn't we at least put Katharine Harris in a smock, handed her a toy sword, and tossed her in a pond?), 'cause we know we couldn't possibly win a case, but if we can get you to cower in fear like the rest of the populace ("Terrorism! Terrorism! TERRORISM! *click* *click* *click* Darn it, why isn't this working?!?!), it will make it easier for us to carry out illegal wiretaps and operate clandestine prisons.

Note that apparently, reporters should be bound by the law, but that whole FISA/USA-PATRIOT thing is just too damned inconvenient when it comes to fighting terrorism.

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