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"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." Theodore Roosevelt


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Saturday, July 30, 2005

Iran Woos Iraq



Learn more about the new romance...

Carter Condemns Gitmo

Former president, Jimmy Carter condemns the Guantanamo detainee abuse, at the Baptist World Alliance’s centenary conference in Birmingham, England:
"I think what's going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the USA. I wouldn't say it's the cause of terrorism, but it has given impetus and excuses to potential terrorists to lash out at our country and justify their despicable acts."

"What has happened at Guantanamo Bay ... does not represent the will of the American people. I'm embarrassed about it, I think its wrong. I think it does give terrorists an unwarranted excuse to use the despicable means to hurt innocent people."
Meanwhile, the sitting president, is busy clearing brush back at the Crawford ranch... detached from reality as ever.

Next Stop, Iran

A moment of clarity from the American Conservative...
In Washington it is hardly a secret that the same people in and around the administration who brought you Iraq are preparing to do the same for Iran. The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States.

[snip]

As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing that, Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack, but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.
A well established conservative publication blows the whistle on Iran, and denounces the legitimacy of the Iraq War, in one swoop. Interesting. It appears The Party as we know it, may be over.

Brawl

Live from Baghdad! In this corner, former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein...
Lawyers for Saddam Hussein said on Saturday their client was attacked by an unidentified man during a court appearance in Baghdad this week, but U.S. forces guarding him denied any such incident took place.
Why the denial? Who is the unidentified man?

Legislating Strategy

I knew the Democrats would figure out how to work the system eventually...
The U.S. Senate on Friday approved $1.5 billion in additional spending for veterans' health care programs strained by seriously wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan combat. By a vote of 99-1, the Senate approved the emergency funds that were passed by the House of Representatives on Thursday. The legislation, attached to an unrelated spending bill for environmental programs, now goes to the White House for President Bush's signature.
Better late, than never. How about slipping in some provisions for increased spending on education in the next round?

It's Hard Work



George leaves Washington on Tuesday for a five-week working vacation at his Texas ranch.. Here's a little perspective from Truth Out's William Rivers Pitt...

Friday, July 29, 2005

Endangering Species Act

For over 30 years, the Endangered Species Act, enacted by Richard Nixon, has helped protect our most vulnerable fish, plants, and wildlife. Now, attacks by the White House to undermine the effectiveness of this legislation are under way:
"Instead of taking the Endangered Species Act head on, the administration is working to destroy the effectiveness of it through executive rule changes," said Brian Nowicki, a conservation biologist at the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, which promotes species conservation. "They can't just attack it outright, so they try to stop it out of the spotlight."

Federal officials have added an average of 9.5 species a year to the endangered list under President Bush, compared with 65 a year under President Bill Clinton and 59 a year under President George H.W. Bush. They have designated as "critical habitat" only half the acreage recommended by federal biologists. And they are transferring key decision-making powers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to other agencies with different priorities.

This shift comes at a time when congressional critics are reviving plans to seek changes in the act to make it harder to list endangered species and declare habitat off-limits. House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-Calif.) plans to bring two Endangered Species Act revision bills up for a vote by the month's end.
Do our children not deserve the chance to live in a world where the wild still runs wild? Is it not our responsibility to show our dissent to the powers that be? Write your Congressmen. Write your Senators. We cannot allow the greed of the few, to continue in it's path toward the destruction of all.

The New Camelot

King George no longer needs to follow the advice and consent of the Senate...
President Bush plans to bypass the U.S. Senate and install John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, officials said. Bush can go around the Senate and give Bolton a "recess appointment" when the Senate begins its August recess this weekend. Bolton would be able to serve until January 2007, when a new Congress is sworn in.
Welcome to the New Camelot, where the Royal King always gets his way.

Speak Up

Do you remember the Denver Three? The media, as well as most of the masses appears to have forgotten. This is too important of an issue to let go unchecked. We need to turn up the volume on this blatant violation of free speech, because no one else will...
Federal prosecutors have declined to file charges against a man who removed three people from an appearance by President Bush earlier this year because they arrived in a car with a bumper sticker reading "No more blood for oil," and wearing T-shirts saying "stop the lies" under other clothes.

U.S. Attorney William Leone said he believed the Secret Service's investigation was thorough and complete, but said there was not enough evidence to prosecute the man. "Criminal law is not an appropriate tool to resolve this dispute," he said. "The normal give and take of the political system is the appropriate venue for a resolution."
Not criminal? I beg to differ. The First Amendment:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Here's a copy of the letter from the Department of Homeland Security.

Our First Amendment is arguably our most sacred of rights, we need to protect it, by speaking out while we still can. If you think that the freedom of speech could not be taken away in America, think again; it's already started...

Flush with Cash

Earlier this week, Congress passed an energy bill that would provide 14.5 billion in tax cuts... Meet one of the beneficiaries...
Baker Hughes Inc., the world's third largest oilfield services company by sales, said second-quarter profit rose 87 percent as oil companies spent more on exploration and production. Net income increased to $218.8 million, or 64 cents a share, from $116.9 million, or 35 cents, a year earlier, the Houston based company said today in a statement. Sales rose 18 percent to $1.8 billion.

"Oil and gas companies are flush with cash, and they're definitely willing to go out and pay higher rates" for exploration and production services, said Conley Turner, senior research analyst at Wall Street Strategies, Inc. in New York. He has a "buy rating on Baker Hughes shares and doesn't own them. "A lot of companies are deciding to go out and do the exploration because of the strength in the price of oil."
Nothing new, just the same old rape and pillage of our Nation by the Grand Old Party... Just don't forget who is taking care of who, in '06.

The Most Powerful Dangerous Woman

Forbes has named Condoleezza Rice number 1 on their list of the 100 Most Powerful Women; here's my edited version:
She is the first African-American woman to become the U.S. secretary of state. She advises the leader of the world's largest superpower and has an unparalleled level of trust with and access to the president. And she has served two other U.S. presidents, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. For all of these reasons, and more, Rice, 50, is the most powerful dangerous woman in the world.

After a four-year role as national security adviser, Rice assumed the mantle of secretary of state in January. Rice has played a key, behind-the-scenes role in all of President George W. Bush's major decisions deceptions. "During the last four years, I've relied on her counsel treachery, benefited from her great experience blithering incompetence and appreciated her sound lies and steady judgment deceit," the president said when announcing Rice's promotion.
If you feel any more edits are necessary, please make your suggestions in the comments...

A Marked Man

Can you imagine the feigned outrage from the right, if the Democrats tried to pull something like this?

Moved by the Spirit

The New York Times reports:
In a break with President Bush, the Senate Republican leader, Bill Frist, has decided to support a bill to expand federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, a move that could push it closer to passage and force a confrontation with the White House, which is threatening to veto the measure.
Either the baby Jesus opened Bill's eyes, or this is some kind of twisted political charade. Can you say... Flip-flop?

Crazy Like a Fox

In a sea of stupidity, this is one mighty wave:
"It wouldn't be out of the question for them to have singled out and sponsored an obscure Austrian Corporal to appear as a German. Say someone with some dislike for say, the Jews and Slaves, and say claim you know, that they caused us to lose the last war, so we're gonna win the next one and kill off those people to get public opinion on their side. Let's dress this guy up, tell him to act completely nuts and if he can, have him almost win that war, and then he appears so guilty of stuff that we let his victims start their own nation than we let the British and American's support, all of which will allow Islam to build up anger, enabling us to start a movement to defeat them and then fly airplanes into their corporate symbolic edifices. It is truly a subtle, yet brilliant, plan that they have laid out over the past seventy years."
Reporting live, from the rightwing lunatic fringe.

F is for Freedom

The Associated Press requests more F in FOIA...

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Bolton Lied to Congress

As if we needed another reason not to nominate this thug. He is a liar as well:
John Bolton, President Bush's nominee for U.N. ambassador, mistakenly told Congress he had not been interviewed or testified in any investigation over the past five years, the State Department said Thursday. Bolton was interviewed by the State Department inspector general in 2003 as part of a joint investigation with the Central Intelligence Agency into prewar Iraqi attempts to buy nuclear materials from Niger, State Department spokesman Noel Clay said.

The admission came hours after another State Department official said Bolton had correctly answered a Senate questionnaire when he wrote that he has not testified to a grand jury or been interviewed by investigators in any inquiry over the past five years.
Is there anybody that George Bush nominates, who isn't a thief or a liar?

Ultimatums

Apparently, George has more passion for the continued abuse of our prisoners, than he does for supporting the troops...
President Bush, who bills himself as a "compassionate conservative," refuses to rule out cruel, abusive treatment of prisoners of war and detainees. He has gone so far as to threaten to veto the vital $491 billion defense bill if an amendment barring mistreatment of prisoners is attached.
Not only is the President promoting the use of torture on our detainees, but he is threatening to stall financial support to the troops. This gives "playing politics" a whole new meaning... Disgusting.

Hillary Woos India

The Asia Times reports:
Hillary Clinton made it apparent where she stood on outsourcing during her India visit, in an attempt perhaps to clear the Indian misgivings received during the Kerry campaign. "There is no way to legislate against reality. Outsourcing will continue," she told an audience of Indian big-wigs. She pointed out that there were 3 billion people who feel left behind and are trying to attack the modern world in the hope of turning the clock back on globalization. "It is not far-fetched to imagine ... if the Indian miracle would be the one of choice of those who feel left behind," said Hillary.

Hillary has been at the forefront in defending free trade and outsourcing. During the height of the anti-outsourcing backlash in the US last year, she faced considerable flak for defending Indian software giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for opening a center in Buffalo, New York. "We are not against all outsourcing; we are not in favor of putting up fences," Hillary said firmly, despite inevitably invoking the ire of the anti-free trade brigade.
Thanks for clearing that up Hillary, it's good to know where you stand on this issue...

A Madlib

Fill in the blanks:
It must be very strange to be _________________. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.
Thanks to Daily Kos for the tip.

Four Million Children

The Guardian reports:
Nearly 4 million children live with parents who had no jobs in the previous year, an increase of 1 million since the beginning of the decade, a national charity says. That's 5 percent of all 72.5 million children living in the United States.
Millions of our children live in poverty, yet our elected officials continue to provide billions in corporate welfare... Shameful.

Sell Outs

The final vote on CAFTA was 217-215 in favor of the deal, the closest margin possible, as a tie vote would have prevented approval...
The Democrats who supported Bush's agenda faced little or no pressure from the White House. Nor did they show anything akin to courage or consistency. They simply voted with the White House because, either they agree with the president's misguided approach to global trade or they thought they could trade their votes for big contributions from the corporate interests that see the NAFTA/CAFTA model of free trade as an opportunity to improve business bottom lines at the expense of workers, the environment and communities in the U.S. and Latin America.
Meet the Democrats who voted in the interest of corporate welfare, and sold out the American people:

Melissa Bean of Illinois
Jim Cooper of Tennessee
Henry Cuellar of Texas
Norm Dicks of Washington
Ruben Hinojosa of Texas

William Jefferson of Louisiana
Jim Matheson of Utah
Gregory Meeks of New York
Dennis Moore of Kansas
Jim Moran of Virginia

Solomon Ortiz of Texas
Ike Skelton of Missouri
Vic Snyder of Arkansas
John Tanner of Tennessee
Edolphus Towns of New York

Remember who voted in your best interest, when you go to the polls in November of '06.

Corporate Welfare

Once again, the Republican controlled House leaves no corporation behind:
The House on Thursday easily approved an energy bill packed with $14.5 billion in tax breaks and incentives and hailed by Republicans as a major change in energy policy. Environmental and consumer groups criticized the legislation as a giveaway to an industry enjoying record profits with crude oil prices near $60 a barrel, while spending little on ways to curb demand or encourage renewable energy.

Activists Judges

The AP reports:
The sentence itself was fairly straightforward: An Algerian man received 22 years for plotting to bomb the Los Angeles airport on the eve of the millennium. It was what the judge said in imposing the term that raised eyebrows.

"We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant or deny the defendant the right to counsel," he said Wednesday. "The message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart." He added that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have made Americans realize they are vulnerable to terrorism and that some believe "this threat renders our Constitution obsolete... If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won."
Perhaps, in America, the hope of freedom remains?

Right to Vote?

Wow. A quick check on the illegal electronic control of the voting process has just frightened me pretty badly. We have more unauditable software, protected by the courts; we have bribery; we have observers being arrested; what we have here is a basic big-time scandal and in my mind possible treason. It's clearly an attempt to take over the government of the country by hi-jacking the voting process. I think that would be treason...

There is so much going on that I won't even link to a story - there are too many. As you might expect, I haven't found one yet with Democrats taking illegal contributions or bribes, but there are plenty of Republicans and corporations named. Some of the stories even describe how they do the deals to avoid prosecution. Very interesting reading, and probably the next necessary battle after we clean the traitors out of the White House. But then, manipulating the voting process is definitely a violation of civil and constitutional rights, and could be construed as treason as well, couldn't it?

F is for Failure

The NY Daily News reports:
President Bush's job-approval ratings have dropped to their lowest level ever, a new poll revealed yesterday. The Quinnipiac University poll found 53% of voters disapprove of the job Bush is doing, while just 41% approve.

Voting Irregularities

Why is the Press reporting:
The vote was 217-215 in favor of Cafta, in an hour-long vote held just after midnight in Washington. With only a minor procedural step in the Senate ahead, today's vote effectively completes a yearlong battle for U.S. ratification of Cafta.

Only 15 of the 202 Democrats in the House voted for the measure, a record low for a trade agreement. While Democrats objected to Cafta because of what they characterized as weak labor provisions, many in the party used the legislation to show dissatisfaction with President George W. Bush's trade policies.
When the House is publishing:

H RES 386 YEA-AND-NAY 27-Jul-2005 8:15 PM
QUESTION: On Agreeing to the Resolution
BILL TITLE: Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 3045) to implement the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement

YeasNays
Republican2270
Democratic0200
Independent01
Totals227201

Betrayal

The Guardian reports:
The United States and Australia have been working in secret for 12 months on an alternative to the Kyoto protocol and will reveal today a joint pact with China, India and South Korea to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The deal, which will be formally announced by the US deputy secretary of state Robert Zoellick in Laos today when the five "partners" hold a press conference, comes a month after Tony Blair struggled at the G8 summit to get George Bush to commit to any action on climate change.

Oliver Letwin, the Conservative environment spokesman, said it was "odd" that the pact had not figured in the Gleneagles discussions but added: "I hope that it means Bush at last accepts the need to move in a sensible direction."

Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, described Mr Bush's failure to disclose the deal at Gleneagles as "a poke in the eye for Tony Blair".
The wife is always the last to know...

Condi?

The New York Times reports:
Mr. Pincus has not identified his source to the public. But a review of Mr. Pincus's own accounts and those of other people with detailed knowledge of the case strongly suggest that his source was neither Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's top political adviser, nor I. Lewis Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, and was in fact a third administration official whose identity has not yet been publicly disclosed.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Civilian Body Count in Iraq

The U.K. based, IBC and Oxford Research Group, have compiled a count of civilian casualties in Iraq:
A Dossier on Civilian Casualties in Iraq, 2003-2005 - provides a grim catalogue of death and injury. A total of 24,865 civilians were reported killed in the first two years of the conflict, beginning with the invasion, almost 20% of them women or children. ...children made up almost half the victims of air attacks, but only 6% of those from small-arms fire.

More War Profiteering Stealing

A 1.5 billion dollar provision benefiting Halliburton was mysteriously inserted without the consent of the committee. Representative Henry Waxman writes:
I am writing to draw to your attention a provision in the Energy Conference Report that raises serious procedural and substantive concerns. At its essence, this provision is a $1.5 billion giveaway to the oil industry, Halliburton, and Sugar Land, Texas. The provision was inserted into the energy legislation after the conference was closed, so members of the conference committee had no opportunity to consider or reject this measure. Before the final energy legislation is brought to the House floor, this provision should be deleted.
Is this not forgery, how can this be valid?

Write Your Own Caption

67 Days

Judiciary Democrats seek investigation into why it took sixty-seven days for a probe to be ordered:
Perhaps more significantly, however, Judiciary Democrats point to the 67 day gap between the time the CIA called the Justice Department to investigate the CIA outing and the time that the Justice Department directed the FBI to investigate the matter.

"It appears the now infamous 12 hour delay the Justice Department granted the White House before issuing an order to preserve documents was not an isolated instance," Conyers remarked. "I received information from the Central Intelligence Agency indicating a pattern of foot dragging by the Justice Department before it would commence a criminal investigation, or even respond to CIA requests."
Read the rest at Raw Story.

Absolutes

They may exists in George Bush's mind, but that does not change reality...

Hypocrisy

Flip... Flop.

Gonzales Opens the Door to Segregation

In an unbelievable slam against the rule of law concept in society:
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said a Supreme Court justice does not have to follow a previous ruling "if you believe it's wrong."
Now, this was said in the context of a woman's control of her own reproductive activities. But it does open the door to a return of segregation and a host of other horrors. If a few justices believe that whites are superior, what is to stop them from overturning Brown v. Board of Education, for example? We could easily go back to a segregated society and voting literacy tests. Hey, we can take the vote away from women again!

It is the Rule of Law concept upon which our Constitution is predicated. THAT concept includes the concept of obedience to precedent, one of the most sacred tenets of common law (our kind of law). It has provided stability and freedom to US citizens for over 200 years.

It has worked because in the past we had judges and government officials who were committed to the rule of law over the rule of, say, emotion or gut level beliefs. Those were people who were able and willing to put their own beliefs in abeyance in order to make decisions that were for the benefit of the entire society. The separation of state and church was written into the Constitution to make that requirement clear.

Apparently, there is nobody in the Bush machine capable or willing to do that today, or maybe not intelligent enough. It is a sad day for America when the Attorney General of the United States is playing fast and loose with the founding precepts of the very law he is supposed to be enforcing. Gonzales is willing to gut the separation of church and state in order to override precedent in law - two offenses. The Inquisitor returneth. Hide your daughters.

Torture Allegations Dogging Bush

The AP reports:
Maj. David Dinenna testified at the end of a preliminary hearing for two Army dog handlers accused of abusing Iraqi detainees. Dinenna said at a September 2003 meeting, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, the Guantanamo Bay commander, talked about the effectiveness of using the dogs.

"We understood that he was sent over by the secretary of defense," Dinenna testified. He said teams of trainers were sent to Abu Ghraib "to take these interrogation techniques, other techniques they learned at Guantanamo Bay and try to incorporate them in Iraq.
On your watch, Commander in Chief. Ranking officers, on your watch. What will you do about it? Support your officers and take the heat yourself, or chicken out again and let someone else take the fall like you always do?

Shameless

Donald Rumsfeld jumps at the opportunity to improve his image, by publicly giving his condolences to the families of the four Boy Scout leaders who died at the jamboree in Virginia:
"I offer my condolences to the families of the victims of Monday's accident at the Boy Scout Jamboree. Scouting has a special place in American society, and the Defense Department's relationship with the scouts is long-standing and enduring. The jamboree is a wonderful celebration of that tradition and of that relationship. My thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by this terrible accident, and with the Boy Scouts of America at this time of loss."
What about apologizing to the 1700-plus families who have lost their sons and daughters in a needless war? Too busy?

Censorship on Downing Street

Comcast and Symantec are suspected of blocking emails pertaining to the Downing Street Memos:
American online activist David Swanson says the provider, Comcast, and security services company Symantec, blocked emails drawing attention to the so-called Downing Street memo, which activists have seized on as further proof that the Iraq war was planned well in advance. The leaked memo was first published in Britain's The Times newspaper.

Swanson, the founder of the AfterDowningStreet.org website, claims emails sent to and from his subscribers were blocked for a week as he tried to co-ordinate events around the United States. He said the events would have had a far bigger turn-out had the block not been in place.

"We didn't know it, but for the past week, anyone using Comcast has been unable to receive any Email with "www.afterdowningstreet.org" in the body of the Email," Swanson wrote on his website.

"Comcast said that ... Symantec refused to lift the block, because they had supposedly received 46,000 complaints about Emails with our URL in them. Forty-six thousand! ...Could we see two or three, or even one, of those 46,000 complaints? No..."
Looks the like the freedom of online information may be in it's last days... Get it while you can.

Priorities

Apparently, pandering to the NRA is more important than taking care of the troops:
The Republican-led Senate brought up the gun legislation as the Senate stalled on a war-time defense bill, prompting Democratic complaints about national priorities.

"I support the gun liability legislation, but for heaven's sakes, what is more important to this country [than] taking care of our troops, our veterans, their dependents? Should the gun liability legislation trump this? The obvious answer is no, but it did", said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Veterans Demand Accountability

Veterans for Common Sense, an organization with 12,000 members, calls for a commission to investigate torture allegations, in response to the Pentagon's refusal to release photos and videos from Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay:
In an open letter, signed by more than 2,000 veterans and supporters (including 5 flag-rank officers and more than 200 commissioned officers), the veterans urged Congress and the President to "commit - immediately and publicly - to support the creation of an independent commission to investigate and report on the detention and interrogation practices of U.S. military and intelligence agencies deployed in the war on terror."

Charles Sheehan-Miles, a 1991 Gulf War veteran and the group's executive director, said, "Once again the administration is fighting to prevent any possible public accountability for its policies, instead choosing to blame it all on the troops. To court-martial privates while high ranking officials get promoted is damaging to the very principle of command responsibility and undermines the U.S. military."
Hey George, support the troops... What do you have to hide?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Same Game, New Name

BBC's Matthew Davis has noticed a change in terminology coming from the White House:
"The Bush administration is abandoning the phrase "war on terror" to better express the fight against al-Qaeda and other groups as an ideological struggle as much as a military mission.

[snip]

In recent days, senior administration figures have been speaking publicly of "a global struggle against the enemies of freedom", and of the need to use all "tools of statecraft" to defeat them. The shift in terms comes at a time when the US public is increasingly pessimistic about the war in Iraq - and sceptical about its links to the fight against terrorism.

One White House official told the BBC the move did not mark a change of approach, but was intended to give a broader perspective to the "evolving nature" of the struggle.
So it's not a change in approach, just a change of name. "What is in a name? Would a rose by any other name, not smell as sweet?" And doesn't this one smell sweet.

When I first saw this story, I hoped that maybe Bush was admitting a mistake, even if not publically admitting it. But naw, rest assured fearful ones, it's not a change of heart, only of words. I guess it's supposed to fool us. Or comfort us. Gosh, I don't feel fooled or comforted. Wonder why?

Bolton's Back

Right out of the Machiavellian Handbook, if you can't get what you want playing by the rules, you break them:
Frustrated by Senate Democrats, the White House hinted Monday that President Bush may act soon to sidestep Congress and install embattled nominee John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations on a temporary basis.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Bush has used his power for temporary appointments when "he has to get people in place that have waited far too long to get about doing their business." He said that "sometimes there's come a point" when Bush has decided he needs to act.
Temporary basis. Could you please define "temporary basis".

Over There

Tomorrow night on FX... Is it primetime propaganda? Most likely, but I'll give it a shot.

America Joins the Reality Based Community

Well, at least the majority...
For the first time, a majority of Americans, 51%, say the Bush administration deliberately misled the public about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction — the central justification given for invading. The administration's credibility on the issue has been steadily eroding since 2003 after stores of the weapons weren't found.
It's about time. Now, what's wrong with the rest of you?

National Security

From today's White House Briefing:
Q Do you consider Iran-Contra a national security issue?

MR. McCLELLAN: I haven't even thought about that, Dana, to tell you the truth.
Doesn't that just say it all?

Kansas: No Turd Blossoms Allowed

Do you think this is obscene?



Apparently, the Kansas Press does:
Kansas City, About a dozen newspapers have objected to the use of toilet humor in Tuesday's and Wednesday's "Doonesbury" comic strip, and some either pulled or edited the strip. Kansas City-based Universal Press Syndicate, which distributes the strip to around 1,400 newspapers, said it had received some complaints from editors about a reference to presidential aide Karl Rove.
The only thing obscene here are the actions of the Bush Administration, and their legions who shill for them...

Smear Campaign

The Right takes a swing at former CIA officer, Larry Johnson:
Well, it's good to see that the former CIA employee is now worried about the war on terror. But it's a bit late. On July 10, 2001, two months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Johnson wrote an op-ed for the New York Times "The Declining Terrorist Threat", in which he argued that Americans were "bedeviled by fantasies about terrorism" and, in truth, had "little to fear" from terrorism. And, in turn, he rebuked his former colleagues in the national security bureaucracy for using the "fiction" of the terrorist threat to pump up theibudgets.
Larry responds to the Right's slander:
With the rightwing smear machine gearing up to try to draw attention from the treasonous behavior of prominent White House officials who participated in the outting of CIA undercover officer, Valerie Plame, it is time to look back and determine who was right on Iraq? Me or the President?

The rightwing is resurrecting an op-ed I wrote in July 2001. I stand by the full article. It is still relevant today. I am accused, incorrectly, of ignoring the threat of terrorism. In fact, I correctly noted that the real threat emanated from Bin Laden and Islamic extremism.

President Bush, for his part, ignored the CIA warning in August of 2001 that Al Qaeda was posed to strike inside the United States.
Read the rest here.

Traitorgate by the Numbers

From the Democratic Leadership:
Number of days after the article outing Ambassador Wilson's wife appeared that the White House required its staff to turn over evidence relating to the leak: 85

Approximate hours between then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez's advance notification to White House Chief of Staff Andy Card that he would require staff to turn over evidence relating to the case and formal notification to staff of that requirement: 12

Minimum number of times an Administration official leaked classified information about the identity of Ambassador Wilson's wife: 11

Minimum number of times after the beginning of the Justice Department's investigation that White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan claimed Karl Rove was not involved: 5

Number of press conferences since evidence linking Karl Rove to the leak was made public where Press Secretary McClellan has refused to comment on the case, citing an ongoing criminal investigation: 7

Minimum number of hearings held by Senate Republicans to investigate accusations against President Clinton involving the "Whitewater" case: 20

Total hearings held by Senate Republicans to investigate the leak of the covert identity of Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife: 0
Thanks for the link, Ilex Opaca.

Summer of 1959

More progress on the Iraqi Consitution, and guess what, they're still turning back the clock on women's rights:
A chapter of Iraq's draft constitution obtained by The Associated Press gives Islam a major role in Iraqi civil law, raising concerns that women could lose rights in marriage, divorce and inheritance.

Most worrying for women's groups has been the section on civil rights in the draft constitution, which some feel would significantly roll back women's rights under a 1959 civil law enacted by a secular regime.

Shiite Muslim leaders have pushed for a stronger role for Islam in civil law but women's groups argue that could base legal interpretations on stricter religious lines that are less favorable toward women.
No ties to 9-11, no weapons of mass destruction, and now, no Democracy...

What's the reason Mr. President? For what great cause, have we spent thousands of lives and billions of dollars? We the people deserve to know... the truth.

Wheels of Change

Cadillac releases their first alternative fuel vehicle...

Embarrassing

The BBC News reports that the Iraqi police forces are recruiting insurgents due to "poor vetting procedures", citing a report released by the U.S. Defense Department:
Many new recruits are illiterate, have criminal records or are physically disabled. "Inducting criminals into the [Iraqi police] is a continual concern," the report says, quoted by AP news agency. "Even more troubling is infiltration by intending terrorists or insurgents. There is sufficient evidence to conclude that such persons indeed are among the ranks of the [police]." The report adds that coalition personnel are ineffective as recruiters, and focus on quantity rather than quality.
It baffles the mind... How much worse could the state of Iraq get?

Thanks to Terrorism News for the tip.

Monday, July 25, 2005

In the Heart of the Heartland

There is a wisper of dissent:
An owner of a small shop that sells horse gear, worries about criticizing a president whose openness about his faith has made him popular here. "They think it's un-American to say anything bad about Bush," he says. "Religion and politics have become too mixed, and that's not healthy."
It may be quiet, but if you listen it's there.

Perspective

Crusading for Support

With his approval ratings at an all time low, and daily coverage of his administration's CIA leak, George Bush plays the Jesus Card in hopes of firing up his base...
President Bush said Monday that he will hold a White House summit next spring to encourage corporations and foundations to give more money to churches and religious charities.
So much for the seperation of Church and State, but Hell, that's the least of my worries these days...

Means, Opportunity, and Motive

Thom Hartmann raises an interesting point, regarding the outing of Valerie Plame and the flight to Niger in 2003:
It's unlikely that Colin Powell would have called Rove and Cheney (to give instructions to Libby) with the information in the memo - that was above his pay grade. Ditto for Ari Fleischer. And it's extremely doubtful that the pilots on the plane even knew about the explosive information they were carrying as they flew across the Atlantic.

Which leaves George W. Bush, as the only other person on that plane with the means, opportunity, and motive. Thus, perhaps, the reports that Patrick Fitzgerald has now subpoenaed the phone logs of Air Force One.
George, I think we have a "slam dunk" case here... What do you think?

Blair Apologizes

for the shooting of an innocent. Watch the BBC clip here.

George, did you see how easy that was.

Thanks to Terrorism News for the link.

Pop

The Housing Bubble Facts, from The Center for Economic and Policy Research:
Over 2 million housing units are being built annually, while the number of households is only growing by 1.4 million a year.

Some regions of the U.S. have experienced a 60 percent increase in real home prices, while the average for the country as a whole is 45 percent. Historically, real home prices have not increased, as house prices have just kept pace with the overall rate of inflation.

The collapse of the housing bubble will have a larger impact than the collapse of the stock bubble, since housing wealth is far more evenly distributed than stock wealth.

The collapse of the housing bubble will likely throw the economy into a recession and require a federal bailout of the mortgage market. It could lead to a loss of 3.6 to 4.5 percentage points of GDP.
Maybe it's a good time to cash out and rent an apartment for a while...

Better Late Than Never

The Washington Post asks: What did the President know?
So does that mean Fitzgerald might call Bush and Cheney to testify before the grand jury, under oath? Might he even have done so already? We have no idea, of course, because the White House isn't saying anything at all about the investigation anymore.

Either way, the CIA leak story is taking on more and more of the trappings of the classic Washington political scandal, the saving grace for Bush being that his party controls Congress, and that thus far, Republicans have closed ranks behind him.

But get ready for more and more talk about the parallels between this story and the Clinton intern scandal, and of course, Watergate.

We're already hearing some of the prototypical questions being raised. Here's former presidential adviser David Gergen, on ABC's "This Week" yesterday: "What did the president know and when did he know it?"
Thank you Mr. Froomkin, it's about time someone in the mainstream press raises that question.

Breach of Contract

Just when will the Bush Administration start to protect citizens against corporate rapaciousness?
Companies looking to cool their pension problems are freezing benefits for the workers least likely to complain.

This means cutting off new employees, or a combination of new employees and workers of a certain age — often those under 40. Only people ages 40 and over are covered by federal age-discrimination labor laws, an area of growing concern to employers who are still reeling from age-discrimination lawsuits over so-called cash-balance plans.
If you're commenting on a blog, this probably means you are going to get hurt. Pensions and other benefits are an implied contract in which you, the employee, trade a portion of your salary in return for a benefit that the company can buy for you more cheaply than you can. So you take a cut in pay for like, say, 50 years (remember, Social Security won't kick in at 62 any more), and then you get a retirement income. At least that is the theory.

So just why are Bush and Co permitting these companies to breach that contract? Same reason they're letting your health insurance go to hell. Corporate profits for the fat cat election contributors and the stock dividends into their personal portfolios. The cash ravers just keep on partying.

Recuse Me?

Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum, states that Mrs. Roberts' work is not relevant:
The fact that Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' wife does free legal work for an anti-abortion group should not be relevant to his confirmation hearing, a Senate Republican leader said Monday.

Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said Jane Roberts' work for Feminists for Life should have no influence on her husband's decisions as a justice. Santorum is one of the Senate's most outspoken abortion opponents.
Pardon me, but if a judge is literally sleeping with someone on one side of the argument, we should be able to expect that he/she would recuse themselves from any case involving that subject right? So, Mr. Roberts? What will you do? Will you recuse yourself, or can we predict your decision already?

Hell Freezes Over

Jeff Gannon's GOP USA delivers honest, unspun coverage of Friday's CIA Hearings:
The leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity is the result of "partisan madness" that is undermining U.S. security during a time of war, a panel of former CIA operatives told a group of congressional Democrats on Friday.

"For the first time in the history of the United States, by any administration, a political operative [Bush adviser Karl Rove] went after an active intelligence officer and leaked her name for petty, trivial political reasons, and at the end of the day, has caused terrific damage to the United States," former CIA analyst Larry Johnson said at the forum on Capitol Hill.

Johnson was one of five men to speak at the meeting, which was entitled "National Security Consequences on Disclosing the Identity of a Covert Intelligence Officer" and hosted by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee and the Democratic Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee.
I searched for the punch-line, a torturing of facts intent on debunking the traitorous nature of the crime, but surprisingly it's not there. I'm speechless.

12 Hours

The AP reports:
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Sunday that he notified White House chief of staff Andy Card after the Justice Department opened an investigation into who revealed a covert CIA officer's identity, but waited 12 hours to tell anyone else in the executive mansion."
Well, I guess if you want the evidence destroyed, you have to tell somebody, don't you? And this way Bush and Rove are protected from the charge of destroying evidence. So do we have a U.S. Attorney General who is guilty of obstruction of justice? You tell me.

Censorship

It's no laughing matter...
A scathing parody that likens President Bush to the "idiot" in William Faulkner's novel "The Sound and the Fury" has won this year's Faulkner write-alike contest, and touched off a literary spat.

Organizers of the Faux Faulkner competition are accusing Hemispheres, the United Airlines magazine that has sponsored the contest for six years, of playing politics by not putting Sam Apple's "The Administration and the Fury" in its print edition, only on its Web site.
Read the Faulkner parody here.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Military Propaganda

The use of propaganda by the military should be of no surprise to anyone, but it is shocking that CNN actually reported it:
Following a car bombing in Baghdad on Sunday, the U.S. military issued a statement with a quotation attributed to an unidentified Iraqi that was virtually identical to a quote reacting to an attack on July 13. After questioning by news media, the military released the statement without the quotation. Lt. Col. Clifford Kent, spokesman for the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division, said use of the quote was an "administrative error." He said the military was looking into the matter.

Partners in Treason

Apparently, the leaking of information through Robert Novak is nothing new for Karl Rove:
When Karl Rove was little known outside Texas political circles, he was fired from George H.W. Bush's 1992 reelection campaign for leaking information to syndicated columnist Robert Novak. According to newspaper reports at the time, Rove was terminated for passing information to Novak from a meeting of the president's chief advisors. Rove denied he was the leaker.

George Herbert Walker Bush

in a speech to the CIA on April 26th, 1999:
"Even though I'm a tranquil guy, now at this stage of my life, I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the name of our sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors."

Horrible

More last throes in Iraq...

Shooting to Kill and Missing the Point

The Canadian Press reports:
London's police commissioner expressed regret Sunday for the slaying of a Brazilian electrician by officers who mistook him for a suspect in the recent terror bombings, but he defended a police shoot-to-kill policy as "the only way" to stop would-be suicide bombers.
The press and the authorities are missing, or avoiding the point of contention. While detaining a terrorist rather than killing one, is debatable in itself; the tragedy here, is the fact that the suspect was not a terrorist. The debate on the table should be whether or not the police officer's actions were justifiable based on the circumstances of the events, not the "shoot to kill" policy.

Last Throes of Credibility

John Conyers has done an outstanding job of documenting the last five years of lies and deception, read up...

Thanks to H for the tip.

Sunday Morning Comics



Brought to you by Newsie at Daily Kos.

Stop CAFTA

From the Union Voice:
If approved, CAFTA would eliminate tariffs from the United States, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. It would extend to Central America the disastrous job loss and environmental damage caused by 10 years of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). During the 10 years that NAFTA has been in effect, the United States has lost almost 880,000 jobs according to the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute, and real wages in Mexico have declined. A recent report by Human Rights Watch has highlighted how workers in Central America are often denied such basic rights as the right to organize and bargain collectively. Yet, the Bush administration has refused to include workers' rights in CAFTA.

The Elephants in the Room

It's about time these questions are raised:
For starters, did Mr. Bush know in the fall of 2003, when he was telling the public that no one wanted to get to the bottom of the case more than he did, that Mr. Rove, his longtime strategist and senior adviser, and I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, had touched on the C.I.A. officer's identity in conversations with journalists before the officer's name became public? If not, when did they tell him, and what would the delay say in particular about his relationship with Mr. Rove, whose career and Mr. Bush's have been intertwined for decades?

Then there is the broader issue of whether Mr. Bush was aware of any effort by his aides to use the C.I.A. officer's identity to undermine the standing of her husband, a former diplomat who had publicly accused the administration of twisting its prewar intelligence about Iraq's nuclear program.
Does the Administration really expect the public to believe that the President is so detached from the White House activity, that he was unaware that the Vice President's Chief of Staff, and his own political advisor / Deputy Chief of Staff, were conspiring to retaliate against a diplomat who was debunking the WMD propaganda, by outing his CIA wife? Of course he knew, and for that matter Cheney too.

Write Your Own Caption

The CIA Leak Hearing

transcript is now available.







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