Bush: Pleased by Progress in Iraq

Excuse me?

The progress of what exactly? Halliburton profits?

Polls: Up, Down, and All Around

I haven't commented much about the various polls that have, alternately:

    * Bush way ahead
    * Kerry somewhat ahead
    * Both in a dead heat
Why, should seem almost obvious, just from what you see here.

But there's more to it than that. I tend to suspect the people at home to answer the phone and willing to take a survey probably tend toward the Republican side of things (my bias: I avoid the phone like the plague, and most polls I get called on tend to be these long catch-all affairs). I also know a lot of people who would not answer a question like, "Who will you vote for?"

Right now, I'm not worried about the polls. I'm worried about people who are going to vote for Bush when it is NOT in their best interests, when they're being scammed. Yet there are people with a legitimate reason to vote for Bush: military industrial complex folks, million-and billionaires, people who feel challenged by civil rights and freedom of both religion and speech.

And if he gets re-elected, I'll be profoundly worried about all of us. As it is, I don't think life is going to marvelously and suddenly improve if Kerry is voted in. It's all a matter of degree.

Shield Your Eyes

I heard this joke over dinner (and liked it):

Why do they call it Dick Armey if there's only one of him?"
Tough. I warned you.

With All the Hurricane Disaster Talk...

Let's not lose sight of Hurricane Bush, which has been causing disaster and misery for nearly four years. While the media wants to talk about gusts, think the economy that's only getting better for a few, the public school problems, the end of the assault weapon ban, the tax cuts that reward the wealthy, and the number of Americans without health care.

They Don't Like Ashcroft Either

From Mark A.R.Kleiman:

Have you ever wondered how intelligent conservatives could stand having John Ashcroft as Attorney General?

One possible answer -- one tht I hadn't considered -- is that they can't. I was just told by a smart, well-plugged-in Washington conservative that there is to be a meeting next month where he and "others of my ilk" will discuss a candidate to replace Ashcroft. My source reports that the President is "very disappointed" with his Attorney General, and that the White House Counsel's office regards him as "a boob."
Nah, a boob is occasionally useful (or at least enjoyable).

DeLay Buys End to Investigation Into His Skank?

From Daily Kos - and thanks to Skippy for the lead:

No they didn't! The House ethics committee has just voted to postpont the DeLay ethics complaint filed by Rep. Chris Bell. From the Richard Morrison press release:
    In another show of the power of money in Washington, the House Ethics Committee resorted to an option that has never been used before that could, in effect, kill the ethics investigation into Tom DeLay?s illegal fundraising and his role in Texas redistricting. After nearly three months of reviewing the charges against DeLay, the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Ethics committee postponed today?s hearing and have decided to put before the committee the question of whether to proceed with the investigation. This unprecedented move could result in a deadlock among the ten member committee resulting in no further action in this Congress.
    ?I?m outraged that the Committee is giving DeLay a pass,? said Morrison. ?Soliciting funds for legislative favors, funneling corporate contributions to state races and personally redrawing districts to ensure his power in Washington---these are serious charges and they merit investigation. But when four of the five Republicans on the committee have accepted thousands of dollars from DeLay how can they be trusted to judge him impartially? If DeLay is innocent of these violations he should demand the investigation proceed so his name can be cleared.?

    Of the five Republican members of the committee all but Chairman Hefley have accepted contributions from DeLay?s PACs. The Committee refused to turn over the investigation to an independent counsel despite precedents set by ethics investigations into two other powerful members of Congress?former Speakers of the House Newt Gingrich and Jim Wright.
This is yet another DeLay power gambit, plain and simple, and true to DeLay's form. Four of the five Republicans on the ethics committee are bought and paid for by DeLay, and we are seeing that money and power go hand in hand in the Republican House.

We have three options, people. One, is to pressure your local media outlets to cover the story and your congressperson to reverse this travesty of justice. The second is to help Richard Morrison get rid of DeLay on November 2nd. And the third is to help Democrats retake the House, and replace DeLay's corrupt ass with Nancy Pelosi.

And I'm not just talking money, but time, energy, expertise, know-how, advocacy, etc.

In the "Katherine Harris' Evil Twin" OR "Glenda Ain't the Good Witch" Department

Skippy points us to this column in Thursday's Times that makes it sound like Kathy-Babe Harris in Florida in 2000 was just an aging ingenue amateur:

Every state has an obligation to run elections that are not only fair, but also appear fair to the average voter. After the debacle of 2000, Florida's officials should understand this better than anyone. But its top elections officer, Glenda Hood, is acting in ways that create a strong impression that she is manipulating the rules to help re-elect her boss's brother. After her maneuvers this week to try to put Ralph Nader on the ballot, she cannot be trusted to run an impartial election.

In Florida's 2000 election mess, Katherine Harris served simultaneously as Florida's secretary of state and as co-chairwoman of the state's Bush-Cheney campaign committee. In her official capacity, she repeatedly took actions that favored the campaign. This year has turned out to be more of the same. When Gov. Jeb Bush appointed Ms. Hood as secretary of state, he chose someone with a history of partisanship, as a Republican officeholder and as a Bush-Cheney elector in 2000. Now Ms. Hood's politics appear to be influencing her election duties.

She recently conducted a highly suspect voting-roll purge of felons. The voters who were to be taken off the list included more than 22,000 African-Americans, who generally vote heavily Democratic, but just 61 Hispanics, who tend to favor Republicans in Florida. She was forced to scrap the list.

In last month's primary, some people without photo identification were turned away without being told that they could vote if they signed affidavits affirming their identities. After the same thing happened in South Dakota this year, the Board of Elections there told every polling place to post signs advising people of their rights. Ms. Hood's office insists that voters need not be told of the affidavit option. Voter ID is often a partisan issue because poor people and members of other groups that are less likely to have identification often vote Democratic.

Most recently, Ms. Hood has played a suspect role in helping Mr. Nader get on Florida's ballot, where he would be likely to weaken John Kerry. A court has ruled against Mr. Nader's claim to have met the requirements to be on the ballot.

Last night, the state was again involved in suits and countersuits over a presidential election in Florida. Ms. Hood's role has been a disturbing one. Instead of waiting as an impartial bystander for the court's direction, she seems to be trying to thwart any ruling that would take Mr. Nader off the ballot. At one point, while the court ruling eliminating Mr. Nader was under appeal, Ms. Hood's office hurriedly directed every county to add Mr. Nader's name to the ballots that will soon be sent to overseas voters.

Granting legitimate candidates access to ballots is important, but officials should obey the law. Ms. Hood had no right to try to proceed with her own preferred outcome. It is hard to believe that she would have done the same thing if the candidate had been one likely to hurt President Bush.

The nation cannot afford another tainted election. Governor Bush should quickly find an elections professional or academic of unquestioned neutrality to run Florida's elections.


Church, State, and the Oh So Pious "Chosen" People

Karlo's got a thoughtful post up on this issue at Swerve Left. Go forth and think.

Let me put it this way: if Bush and DeLay are examples of the Chosen, I'll be happy to sit this one out. But the God I worship doesn't seem to mention being "Chosen" much (another difference from the Chosen and me: God doesn't have me on his cellular speed dial); the impression I get is that we succeed or fail based on our own actions and being.

Rick James, A Pharmacy Within

I'm sorry to hear that Rick died with so damned many drugs in his system (Wellbutrin, Celexa, Valium, Vicodin, Digoxin, plus methamphetamines and cocaine). I doubt it eased the heart attack they say ultimately killed him.

I have no idea what meth does; never tried it and I don't think I know anyone who has. But I've seen friends do coke, and it always seemed like a single snort was like a descent into hell. That's no way to die (or to live).

I've always been grateful that I had no interest in coke or anything like that - and there was a time in my 20s when I was a lot more experimental than I've been anytime since. Watching perfectly great smart people do coke and turn into nasty skunks just didn't pique my interest.

Now, even up here in the tiny towns of bucolic Vermont where it can be hard enough sometimes just finding a quart of milk and loaf of bread, we're seeing terrible things happen with heroin. For a lot of them, hopefully, it's just experimentation that will disappear. It's the ones who don't see this as a phase that I worry about.

Forced Callup of More Reservists and Guardsmen Immediately After Election?

That's what John Murtha (D-PA) says is the scuttlebutt going around among both parties in Washington; that they don't want to announce it aloud because it might sound back for our dear leader. Little do they know that the Supreme Court would never let that happen.

They don't want to call a draft because the word upset people even back when they mistakenly believed Saddam was a particular threat to us. A draft before the election now that so many do realize (or are incapable of thought, I guess) that Iraq was a sham that Bush turned into an unholy mess, would indeed not do much for big bad Bush.

But forced reenlistments (sign up for 3 years or you're on the next shuttle to Baghdad), keeping "weekend" warriors in combat 20/7 for more than a year at a time and then forcing more reservists and guardsmen into service just after the election sure sounds like a draft.

Fat Old White Men on Abortion and Blackmailing GIs

Jesse at Pandagon brings up two items today very much worth noting.

The first is about a new law passed by the House and barely mentioned anywhere else:

The Well-Timed Period leads us to a little-noticed House action discussed in a CNN.com article. Namely, that the House passed a provision which would not allow any local, state or federal authority to require that any institution or health care professionals perform abortions.

What worries me isn't so much conscience as it relates to the particular act, although if you're a pharmacist who may have to dispense birth control or a doctor who might have to perform an abortion and you're opposed to it, maybe you should find a different line of work, or a different specialty. What worries me is doctors and a medical industry who are increasingly allowed to provide only the medical care they want, regardless of the larger legal and medical principles to which they are bound.
The other involves blackmailing soldiers to join up for 3 more years OR get shipped to Iraq post haste (or as Jesse entitled it, "Fuck You, Serve Me"):
A generally recognized "good thing" about the aftermath of the Vietnam War was the move from a draftee military to an all-volunteer military. The soldiers are motivated to be there, and are serving because they want to, not because they have to.

Well, perhaps not so much anymore.
    Soldiers from a Fort Carson combat unit say they have been issued an ultimatum - re-enlist for three more years or be transferred to other units expected to deploy to Iraq.

    Hundreds of soldiers from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team were presented with that message and a re-enlistment form in a series of assemblies last Thursday, said two soldiers who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Dan Rather on the Bush Fog Machine

From the NY Observer, where Dan Rather talks about the brouhaha surrounding their story about Bush's Air National Guard service and the questions about it:

"I think the public, even decent people who may be well-disposed toward President Bush, understand that powerful and extremely well-financed forces are concentrating on questions about the documents because they can’t deny the fundamental truth of the story," he said. "If you can’t deny the information, then attack and seek to destroy the credibility of the messenger, the bearer of the information. And in this case, it’s change the subject from the truth of the information to the truth of the documents.

"This is your basic fogging machine, which is set up to cloud the issue, to obscure the truth," he said.

Mr. Rather said that he and his longtime CBS producer, Mary Mapes, had investigated the story for nearly five years, finally convincing a source to give them the National Guard documents. He did not reveal the name of the source, but Mr. Rather said he was a man who had been reluctant to come forth with them because he’d been harassed by political operatives. "Whether one believes it or not, this person believed that he and his family had been harassed and even threatened," he said. "We were not able to confirm that, but his fear was that what had already been threats, intimidation, if he gave up the documents, could get worse—maybe a lot worse."

On the Monday, Sept. 13, CBS Evening News, however, Mr. Rather said that not all of his critics were politically motivated. But CBS News, he said, "believed" the memos were real based on a new set of document experts who said "the documents could have been created in the 70’s."
Thanks to Buzzflash for the lead.

People Not Buying the Spin?

CNN's had a poll up this morning (which more than 130K respondents) asking which you consider more credible on Bush's military record: CBS or George. Nearly 60% right now say CBS.

The Wall Street Journal (a happy horseshit kind of right-wing rag dressed up in a natty banker suit) reported yesterday that a strong, clear majority feel Mr. Bush does not deserve re-election.

I'd like to think the tide is finally turning. But even I am not that naive.

Sue Niederer, Her Dead Son, and the Right to Speak

Here's CNN's spin of the story I posted last night. Scroll down; I'm on s-l-o-w dialup and I'm not going to go back and link.

I kept waking up last night thinking of Mrs. Niederer, all the talk about how our soldiers risk their lives for our freedoms and liberties (usually uttered by politicians who are trying to restrict them), and the way this mother of a dead soldier was treated. Her face and her words were there waiting for me when I awoke this morning, too.

Sure, everyone who dissents from the official spin is being treated this way. But that sanctimonious crowd in Hamiltown yesterday kept trying to drown out this woman, whose son paid for the right to her to speak, with chants of "Four more years!"

How many of the folks in the audience had given their sons and daughters in Afghanistan and Iraq? Certainly not Laura Bush, whose 22-year-old twins can't keep off the booze and drugs while on the campaign trail for their dad. Your 18-year-old may be fighting and dying, while the Bushes' children are swilling $4500 of designer drinks in a single pop (according to the NY newspapers during the RNC) and making sure their schedules are free during Fashion Week.

Why are Jenna and Barbara Bush more precious than Mrs. Niederer's son? How can men like Mr. Bush start and then mismanage wars that the children of the Mrs. Niederer's must fight? And how can these politicians have the sheer nerve to get their GI photo ops and praise these men and women for what they give us, only to have this mother arrested for daring to say the war is wrong?

In the "Oh, My, Don't We All Feel Safer?" Department

General JC Christian brings us a humdinger (emphasis on hum) of a story:

Last week, agents of the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force launched a manhunt for Ari Cowan. After struggling for many long minutes with the Seattle phone book, they found his telephone number and gave him a call.

They had three questions:
    Was Cowan Irish? Was he connected to the Irish Republican Army? And why did his business card have a rented mailbox for an address?

    Cowan answered yes to the first question and no to the second. He said his card had a mailbox because his office was moving.
The FBI became suspicious of Cowan when San Juan County sheriff's deputies reported that he had been seen using a video camera on a Washington State Ferry.
    Cowan says he was told a detective had been watching him, had been concerned about suspicious pictures he was taking of the ferry and the dock. Not that the any of the officers could really know what was on the video. They never asked to see the tape, says Cowan, who offered it to them -- to no avail.

    Cowan wasn't arrested. He says the deputies were courteous when they took down his name, license info and noted the Irish sticker on the back of his Subaru.
FBI spokesman, Ray Lauer, a no-nonsense kind of agent who harkens back to the glory days of law enforcement when J. Edgar Hoover and Joe Friday were kings, explained the task force's concerns:
    When the sheriff's deputies approached Cowan on the ferry, he [Cowan] says, they lightheartedly asked him why he was taking pictures.

    Not realizing the gravity of the situation -- the officers, after all, were jocular and not in uniform -- Cowan said, "They are for my long-lost relatives in Ireland, so they can come and take over America."


    "Was this guy joking? How would we know unless we talk to him?" asks FBI spokesman Ray Lauer.
Yes, it seems that Mr. Cowan was unaware of the IRA's first rule, "When approached by law enforcement officers, immediately tell them that you're a terrorist."


Sue Niederer

That's the name of the mother of the soldier who gave his life - so says Mr. Bush, for freedom and liberty - who was arrested today (AFTER she had left the auditorium where Laura was stumping for the campaign) in Hamilton, NJ because she had the nerve to question the war.

The cops who arrested her should be just very proud of themselves. I'm sure we'll hear that they had to (the Secret Service made us phenomenon), but this is pure Bush and any person in uniform who would have followed those orders should be ashamed.

Three Marines Killed in Iraq Thursday

With it comes word that a number of Iraqi cities have become far too dangerous for US forces to enter. Sorta like Afghanistan, where Hamad Karzai survived yet another attack on his life for trying to venture outside Kabul. Not that Kabul is any quiet country roadside either.

Dead GI's Mother Pulled Out, Handcuffed, from Laura Bush Campaign Speech

Oh. Nice. Really nice. I didn't catch the woman's name, but it was detailed by Keith Olbermann on MSNBC Countdown tonight:

The mother of a GI who was killed in Iraq appeared at a Bush campaign speech today. She wore a t-shirt stating that Mr. Bush had killed her son. When Laura smiled and tried to make everything everywhere seem just so perfect because of George, the woman shouted out.

The grieving mother was then pulled out of the group, handcuffed, dragged out, arrested. She asked why as she was being forced out by a phalanx of security people (and mind you, the woman looked fairly small) but they had no need to answer her.

Gee, Laura. When do you think we might get free speech and democracy here? Your hubby thinks it's a good idea for Iraq so it should be good enough for us.

I think this mother's son died for that cause. No?

Teachers Lose Tax Help for Buying Class Supplies

Gee, I'm sure this will just save us a bundle over doing something odd like expecting extremely rich people to be taxed.

If Doreen Seelig pocketed all the money she has spent on classroom supplies over 35 years as a teacher — the printer cartridges, the paper, the pencils and the paperback books lent to her Venice High School students — she figures she would have a new car by now.

Now, as the new school year gets under way, the burden on Seelig and other teachers around the country is even heavier.

Because of a budget crunch, California has suspended a tax credit that reimbursed teachers up to $1,500 for classroom supplies. Meanwhile, a $250 federal tax deduction for teachers that helped defray out-of-pocket spending expired this year.

Seelig said she will still buy hundreds of dollars worth of basic materials that districts do not provide. And she will still drive her 1991 Acura.

"What are we going to do, tell the kids, `Sorry, there's no paper today,' or tell them they can't print because there's no ink?" Seelig asked. "I know I couldn't do it."

Lester DoltHolt on Iraq War Situation

Lester on MSNBC is asking two people about the reports that the War is going badly. First person is retired Gen Wesley Clark. When Clark said it was going badly, Holt stopped him to say, "Well, isn't that just partisanship because you're supporting Mr. Kerry?"

Next person interviewed is Rep. Joe Wilson (R, SC), who insisted the war is going very well and this is just defeatism brought about by the Dems. Holt countered, saying the Republicans like Chuck Hagel have said the war isn't winnable. Suddenly, Wilson announced they were being taken out of context. And then he went into a long harangue (he got 3x Clark's speaking time) about how Mr. Bush is the only man who can lead us to victory, that Bush is a great president, and that Mr. Kerry should be demonized because the Dems are questioning Mr. Bush's "perfect" military record because of "forged documents".

No time did Lester suggest, however, that Wilson was partisan or that his comments were there to support Mr. Bush's reelection as he had with Clark on Kerry.


Handcuffeed Body Found in Tigris

Apparently the victim is dead and there's a question of whether there's a head still attached (oy!). Other beheaded bodies have been found in the Tigris before after the victims - usually hostages - were executed (and sometimes after videos of their beheadings or deaths appear on so-called Islamic Web sites).

Repubs Voice Concern, Too

From the Indy Star:

WASHINGTON -- Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Wednesday that the Bush administration's request to divert more than $3 billion from reconstruction work in Iraq to security measures was a sign that the American campaign in Iraq is in serious trouble.

The criticism came as the existence of a highly classified -- and pessimistic -- National Intelligence Estimate about the future security and stability of Iraq was revealed.

The report, assembled by senior analysts this summer, determined that the war-torn country's stability would be tenuous at best, a U.S. official said late Wednesday, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Not good news on the war as run by our Commander in Pieces.

Thanks to Buzzflash for the heads-up.

"We're Achieving Bin Laden's Ends"

That's not left-wing rhetoric; that's from some leading military officials.

From a story by Sidney Blumenthal in The (UK) Guardian:

'Bring them on!" President Bush challenged the early Iraqi insurgency in July of last year. Since then, 812 American soldiers have been killed and 6,290 wounded, according to the Pentagon. Almost every day, in campaign speeches, Bush speaks with bravado about how he is "winning" in Iraq. "Our strategy is succeeding," he boasted to the National Guard convention on Tuesday.

But, according to the US military's leading strategists and prominent retired generals, Bush's war is already lost. Retired general William Odom, former head of the National Security Agency, told me: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaida, it's worse, he's lost on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." He adds: "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving Bin Laden's ends."

Retired general Joseph Hoare, the former marine commandant and head of US Central Command, told me: "The idea that this is going to go the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong."

Jeffrey Record, professor of strategy at the Air War College, said: "I see no ray of light on the horizon at all. The worst case has become true. There's no analogy whatsoever between the situation in Iraq and the advantages we had after the second world war in Germany and Japan."
Emphasis mine. Should be yours, too.

Billions More into Florida

Doesn't matter that Florida wasn't in the full path this time, the president rushed announcement that he's sending another $5 billion into Florida for hurricane aid. Gee, I hope less politically important states to Mr. Bush find any funds left to help.

Iraqi Hostages

Two of three hostages taken in Baghdad early today (from a garden where they stood talking) were Americans working for Gulf Services.

But a lot of hostages are now in the hands of perhaps not just insurgents. There is speculation some have been taken as political prisoners by Iraqi PM (and Washington's man) Allawi.

Democracy Now points us to a blog just about this: Free Our Friends. Go look at the faces. It's very painful.

46 US Soldiers Dead in Iraq Just So Far This Month?

This site has some illuminating... and chilling...statistics.

Content of Killian Memos True Even if Presentation May Not Be

That was the word last night from at least three people who knew or worked with Col. Jerry Killian regarding those Bush performance notes. All report Killian was quite upset about Bush's failure to serve or honor commitments.

But hey, the typeface is really more important. Smirk.

Time Screwiness

I notice most posts are appearing with odd times. I think I fixed.

But whoever really knows?

Cannabis to the Cure?

Venomous Kate (her, not me - I'm more Vitriolic and vituperative) points us to new studies on cannabis that indicate it may slow or halt the spread of cancer.


Forget the Killian Memo Details and Pay Attention

Ezra at Pandagon (and thanks to David Anderson for reminding me it's been way too long since I visited there) sums it up well. Forget the memos, the font, the other nonsense and pay attention to what looks like irrefutable evidence (mostly presented by Greg Palast but unheeded) of what went down with W because it matters:

Now, I don't know if Palast's reporting is true, but if it is, then that's it for George. Again, I can't confirm it so you should all go read it yourselves, but here's the outline:
    • Barnes, as he now admits, pulled strings to get a young George W. Bush into the Guard.
    • Barnes, a former Lt. Governor of Texas, was a corporate lobbyist when Bush ran for governor in 1994.
    • Barnes' client, GTech, was accused of corruption (and were being investigated by the FBI for attempting to influence lawmakers) and about to lose its license to run the Texas state lottery.
    • Barnes made a deal with Bush, under which he kept silent about Bush's Guard connections if Bush got Gtech the deal again.
    • Bush spoke to the head of the lottery commission and the commission reversed itself, giving GTech a no-bid contract.
    • Barnes got paid $23 million, Bush took the governor's mansion.
Except, of course, that this won't be it for W. He's had an amazing life of getting away with things that anyone else would have been creamed over (multiple failed businesses, screwy behavior on the Carlisle Group's board, failed political runs before he hooked up with Rove, the drugs and the drinking) and then he's managed to even get the Supreme Court to make things right for him. The leadup to the Iraq War was just a sham? Hey, that's fine, the country said. The National Guard convention pissed all over itself yesterday making him feel like he was a legitimate member of their own.

I am now thoroughly convinced that we have reached the stage of insanity ruling that someone who's had his record could walk onto the floor of the Senate or the EU governing board in a drunken, doped stupor, shoot someone in a stupid rage, and no one would do more than debate it... lightly. And we'd hear that somehow, really, it was Bill Clinton's fault and that CSPAN (that huge liberal extremist terrorist group, as Rush and a few others might present it) had doctored the live video feed.

The pundit debate would be dominated by whether he was a hero for doing so and no one would raise pesky details like murder being an abomination (the Bible doesn't have to tell you "thou shalt not kill" for you to not do it) or whether a) people with guns should be allowed in public places b)people who are drunk and stoned should have a gun and c)whether someone lacking full mental resources should have control of the country.

Resisting the Urge

I'm tempted to go full bore here today, but I really, really, really need to get some chapters finished for one publisher and started for another. I'll be back.

Dr. Phil

Why is it that I wouldn't trust Dr. Phil to treat my cat (and I don't even have a cat)? Why the heck do folks pay any attention to him?

But then, white lower-to-middle class married women witj kids just love Oprah. When asked why, they state reasons like "she understands what we go through", she helps us be better parents, she helps us find bargains.

Let's see, Oprah's never been married. Never had a kid (she raised). She probably hasn't cooked a meal in most of two decades or needed to look at a single pricetag before she purchased something in those same two decades.

So yeah, I can certainly see where Oprah would be the authority on parenting, housekeeping, marriage, and bargain shopping. And that "you go, girl!" must mean so very much.


Health Care Proposals ala Bush and Kerry

Max Sawicky at MaxSpeak offers a thoughtful analysis of both presidential candidates' health care proposals, a better one that I've seen through most other venues. Read it, please.


Flip Flops Indeed

From the dynamic Diana at Democracy for California:

The difference between Republican flipflops and Democrat flipflops is that theirs are deadly.

Powell before the invasion:
    "There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more."
Powell after the invasion:
    "I think it's unlikely that we will find any stockpiles.
Powell conceded the possibility Iraq might not have had any when the war began, in answer to questions by lawmakers about the intelligence behind his Feb. 5, 2003, U.N. Security Council speech laying out U.S. arguments for the war with Iraq that began six weeks later. Reuters

People died. That's the bottom line.

More than 57 Dead and the Power Grid Shutdown

That's life in Iraq today. And the 57 are just the ones in the bigger attacks. Who knows how many people really died today? They don't even tell us real figures on American GI deaths.

Lots of hostages are unaccounted for, as well.

Want Your Social Security Check Cut to Pay Big Pharma?

That's what I read through Failed Policies, which reports that up to 37% of Social Security checks could get eaten up with Bush's Medicare plan (passed and in effect) where the profits to Big Pharma go way up and we promise not to fight big price leaps.


Recommended Reading: "Chain of Command"

Seymour Hersh's book, "Chain of Command", is coming out detailing the background on the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. I think we must - as a representative democracy who sends its young men and women to war - read this book.

Sure, you can disagree with what he's written once you read it. But read it. Do something the Rapid Right (which is not the entire right; you'd be amazed at some of the similarities between my views and a conservative righter's) would not do because they love to criticize and try to shield you from reading or viewing that which they would never bother to read.

The Rabid Right hates thought and hates your thought most of all.


Er... I notice all the typos.

But it's like this. I have two chapters to write tonight and four on hand for tomorrow. Somewhere between those, I need to revise about 12 more to go into production. Oh yeah, and movie tutorials I need to record.

I can get my manuscript right or I can run the spell checker here. The manuscript will - someday - pay me for my work. Cough (although my sinus whatever from hell is improving finally so I really can't get away with this much longer).

Do You Want to Prove We're Cowboy Lunatics?

Chris Matthews on Hardball (of ALL PPEOPLE), talking to Seymour Hersch just now, raises an interesting point.

Right now, the rest of the world feels like America is going down a really, really, really bad road, but it's not so much that the American people are wrong, it's just that they have a cowboy lunatic meglomaniac as president and he's the real horror.

BUT, if we re-elect Bush, we prove they're wrong. In other words, prove we're all just as blind, brutish, and callow as our president.

I happen to agree with a lot of the rest of the world (I know, some of you will want to stone me. I'm sorry you feel that way, because I don't want to stone you even though I disagree with you). I do not want to re-elect Mr. Bush or prove them wrong. The America I thought I lived in is better than the last four years have devolved us into. We need change. Fast. Not through anarchy. Through free elections where vote are cast by informed people.

Laura Bush, Marijuana User and Seller?

That's what I'm hearing in Hardball where Kitty Kelley says Laura not only smoked it (and it sounds like with regularity) but she also sold it to friends.

Now, I'm not going to sound pious about this. I tried pot in college. Hated it (made me depressed rather than spacy happy). Had much more necessary things I needed to spend money on (like the brother I had to raise at the time the "compassionate" Reagan Admin was making it very tough for poor kids to continue college).

It was actually more widely available when I was in high school (late 70s), but I had no problem resisting peer pressure on that issue. I wanted to get out of my current situation and the folks I saw smoking dope in high school just didn't seem particularly motivated. In college, I waited until my senior year when I had enough credits to graduate. See, I had to work a lot harder to get to that diploma, so I didn't want to risk losing it. As it happened, pot proved no risk. After the first time or two, I don't think I was even in a room with the stuff again until my mid-20s. I was fortunate because most of my friends were neither alcohol nor drug users.

Selling it is slightly different. I would not own a liquor store because I would have problems selling ethically to people I knew had a life in chaos because of it. Selling - especially when you're a privileged little priscilla like Laura - is a whole drive across the bridge beyond simple use. But I'd say that pot selling is also a great deal different than selling heroin or cocaine.

And you know what bothers me most about Laura's story, if true? Laura had already run over a schoolmate, killing him or her, while in high school. There has always been rumors that she was drinking when it happened (but variations on this story are fierce). If you have that kind of history, that experience, why would you choose to use a drug? And why the hell would you sell one?

Or, let me put it this way. I'm a real caffeine addict (albeit one who used to be a caffeine and nicotine addict). Cigarettes are in my past to stay. But as much as I love caffeine and feel I can't live without it, were I to have an accident tomorrow where someone was hurt or killed, and I knew that somehow, my coffee use added to that accident, I doubt I'd ever touch another cup of my precious coffee. I certainly would not sell it to friends!

Robert Novak, Douchebag of Liberty

As may be obvious to some, I just now caught last night's "The Daily Show". To others, that's the award Robert got for saying Dan Rather should reveal his source when Robert (re: the outing and complete endangerment of Valerie Plame and those working with/for her) sniffed patricianly and said he would not.

As someone who worked as a journalist, let me say I'm very sympathetic to the issue of the revealing of one's sources. But I'm less sympathetic to double standards.

Go Jersey Girls

The 9/11 widows so active in speerheading an investigation into 9/11 and known as "The Jersey Girls" announced they were throwing their support behind Kerry even though some had voted for Bush in 2000.

There's (of course) a Bush-popular group, too.

Is Iran Next Up?

Skippy reports that the folks at Left is Right think so.

Why not? We went into Iraq with little proof and with Afghanistan a horrible mess. So why not Iran? And just before the election, perhaps, to bump up W's image.

Anti-Bush Signs Get You Arrested and Fired

Karlo at Swerveleft brings us the latest story of this, while Corrente talks about another case where a woman was fired because her car - which had nothing to do with her job - had an anti-Bush bumper sticker.

Let's see... the terrorists hate us for our freedom, so we showed them by taking away all U.S. freedoms and replacing it with buildings and sites named Freedom and Liberty. I don't like the trade-off, folks.

Like Kerry or hate him, he doesn't require people to sign a loyalty oath before they enter his speaking events.

Ten Thousand Iraqis Dead As Counted by Just One Baghdad Clinic

That's the message from the Toronto Star, linked to by Flipsidedown. The latter has really been working on blog design, too. Go visit.

Iraqi Violence Rises Exponentially

With more than 47 dead in a single car bomb and many police officers killed in a drive-by shooting, the U.S. is continuing to bomb locations and deny that they're striking markets and other places with a high civilian mortality count.

National Guard Addressed By Man Who Refused to Serve As They Do

Bush is speaking to the National Guard today. This is ball-buster stuff. And the audience will be hand-picked to cheer. Disgusting.

The Kitty Kelley Book

MSNBC has ethicist Bruce Weinstein on telling us it's unethical to write, publish, or buy the book on the Bush family author Kitty Kelley has coming out through Doubleday today.

Will I buy it? Nah. I've never bought any books like it and I'm not likely to change that policy because I don't like the Bushes. The story about W. snorting coke and doing drugs during Poppy's inauguration, et al, have been around since before we knew who W. was. Frankly, I tend to believe them. This is a man who displays little self control.

But this ethicist seems to have an agenda, too. In fact, I'd question anyone who labels himself an ethicist.

Notably, Kelley has never been successfully sued by any of her topics such as Sinatra, Kennedy-Onassis or others.

Where's the Free Speech Candidate?

The good folks at Corrente point us to this LA Times Op/Ed piece by Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller:

Where is the god**** "freedom of speech" candidate? Isn't it about time someone running for president said, "I'll work to get the government out of the censorship business. My fellow Americans, I just read the Bill of Rights again, and I'm going to remind Congress of the 'Congress shall make no law' thang"? He or she would have my vote.

Anti-freedom of speech is on a roll... How did everyone get sucked into wanting the government to control what the people can say about the people who are the government? And I thought bottled water was a scam.

There is no reason for the government... to be involved in showbiz. No reason at all. The unconstitutional-from-the-get-go and now-completely-outdated Federal Communications Commission, which has been fighting against profanity on the networks, is now yapping about going after pay TV — and the anyone-but-Bush candidate hasn't said that's a bad idea. They all love the FCC.

Investigating Themselves

I have no doubt they'll thoroughly investigate themselves and then conclude that they are not guilty. It's Justice in the Bush Years, baby!

The Justice Department's watchdog office has opened an investigation into the arrest of an Oregon lawyer that was based on what turned out to be faulty FBI analysis of a fingerprint linked to the deadly terrorist attack in Spain last March.

Glenn A. Fine, the department's inspector general, said the antiterrorism Patriot Act may have been improperly used in the arrest of attorney Brandon Mayfield.

Mayfield, a Muslim convert, was arrested May 6 on a material witness warrant after an FBI analysis concluded he was a match for a fingerprint found on a bag containing detonators like those used in the attacks on trains in Madrid that killed nearly 200 people and wounded 2,000.

A few weeks later, Mayfield was released after the FBI admitted it had made a mistake and that the fingerprint did not match Mayfield's.

More Web Broadcast Beheadings

This time, it's a Turkish hostage being executed by his Iraqi captors, broadcast via an Islamic faction Web site.

Huge Questions About Bush's Service Remains

This time, it's not "60 Minutes" but that great leftwing magazine (ha!), US News and World Report.

review of the regulations governing Bush's Guard service during the Vietnam War shows that the White House used an inappropriate--and less stringent--Air Force standard in determining that he had fulfilled his duty. Because Bush signed a six-year "military service obligation," he was required to attend at least 44 inactive-duty training drills each fiscal year beginning July 1. But Bush's own records show that he fell short of that requirement, attending only 36 drills in the 1972-73 period, and only 12 in the 1973-74 period. The White House has said that Bush's service should be calculated using 12-month periods beginning on his induction date in May 1968. Using this time frame, however, Bush still fails the Air Force obligation standard.

The Iraq Clusterfuck

With violence rising in Iraq each and everyday, it's amazing how Mr. Bush can always make it sound like Mr. Kerry is to blame. It's particularly ironic when accountability is a word of which Mr. Bush has no personal experience.

The Killian Memos

I can't even begin to follow the latest developments about the Killian Memos, Bush's (cough) service, and some smarmy GOP operative attorney )who may or may not have deliberately created these memos so they could be discredited) who's already vowed to be sure they can again overrule the vote of the American people if Bush again fails to win the popular vote this November.

All I know is the nut quotient is running around saying "60 Minutes" and Dan Rather are about to be cancelled, in every sense of the word. I dunno.

Uzi, Anyone?

So we have no protection against the purchase of uzis and other assault weapons because Tom DeLay and the president felt that it was much more important to appease the gun lobby than it is to protect people from weapons that have no purpose except to kill a large number of people in a single session.


Have You Seen This Young Woman?


Hurricane Madness

The president, unhappy that the new trajectory for Hurricane Ivan may largely miss Florida, has asked Don Rumsfeld and Condi Rice to investigate what can be done to FORCE the hurricane to strike Florida to give him a third photo op there in as many weeks and allow him to spend another several billion we don't have replacing the homes of rich folks who will vote for him.

Rumor has it that they're gonna try to use the Star Wars missile defense system. No doubt it will be as useful on a hurricane as it will be for its intended purpose, meaning not at all.

The Green Party Platform

Karlo at SwerveLeft discusses the Green Party platform.

I actually like their platform for the most part. I'm glad that the Greenies are hanging in there, trying to become a viable third party.

New blog

Hope this one gets updated; it looks promising: LeftWingArt.

Of Course, Condi Has LOTS of Company in the "Cannot Tell a Truth" Department

As Atrios points out, it's probably no accident that Don Rumsfeld, Secretary of the Indefensible, kept confusing Osama with Saddam in a speech on Friday, since Mr. Bush indicated we can't distinguish between them.

Well, let's see. Saddam is caught. Osama is NOT. How's that?

The Ghost Detainees and Condi

Wolf Blitzer actually tried to get Condi Rice to take responsibility for the 100+ ghost detainees kept by the US without any paperwork to keep them from the Red Cross, articles of the Geneva Convention, etc.... but Condi cannot tell the truth.

Want four more years of deceit? Vote Bush/Cheney 2004.

John Kerry's Apocalypse Now

Frank Rich has a good piece about Vietnam from both perspectives, an upcoming film debut about Kerry and the war, and why Vietnam has strong ties to Iraq.

The Times is Not Amused

Neither are we, but this and $3 will get you a napkin at Starbuck's. From The Times:

If facts mattered in American politics, the Bush-Cheney ticket would not be basing its re-election campaign on the fear-mongering contention that the surest defense against future terrorist attacks lies in the badly discredited doctrine of preventive war. Vice President Dick Cheney took this argument to a disgraceful low last week when he implied that electing John Kerry and returning to traditional American foreign policy values would invite a devastating new strike.

So far, the preventive war doctrine has had one real test: the invasion of Iraq. Mr. Bush terrified millions of Americans into believing that forcibly changing the regime in Baghdad was the only way to keep Iraq's supposed stockpiles of unconventional weapons out of the hands of Al Qaeda. Then it turned out that there were no stockpiles and no operational links between Saddam Hussein's regime and Al Qaeda's anti-American terrorism. Meanwhile, America's longstanding defensive alliances were weakened and the bulk of America's ground combat troops tied down in Iraq for what now appears to be many years to come. If that is making this country safer, it is hard to see how. The real lesson is that America dangerously erodes its military and diplomatic defenses when it charges off unwisely after hypothetical enemies.
Emphasis mine.

Bush Gaps

From today's Washington Post:

President Bush's military records, including personal flight logs just released by the Pentagon, paint a picture of a solid, if hardly outstanding, pilot who energetically performed his duties for much of a six-year stint with the Air National Guard. Then, in the spring of 1972, the picture changes.

After initially expressing his intention to make flying "a lifetime pursuit," Bush checked out an F-102 interceptor jet for an 80-minute spin on April 6, 1972, in Texas , and never piloted a military plane again.

Why Bush stopped flying and failed to take an annual physical necessary for him to remain a pilot have become the object of much speculation and reporting that spiked in intensity last week, as it did during the 2000 campaign.
Just one question.

Did that F-102 come back in one piece? Were all planes there accounted for?

There's a story told by a Bush friend that surfaced in 1999, I believe, in which Bush (preparing to run for office) laughs about this expensive plane he took for a test drive and, drunk and stoned, crashed (I assume he bailed). His comments as reported by the friend indicated that the plane wreck was disappeared from records because it was an embarrassment to Poppy.

This isn't about Bush's mental condition or even about his crappy flying skills. It's about accountability and how he's never taken any for anything. It seems to be a family tradition (waving to Neil Bush, Marvin Bush, and the dopey twins). Everything today points to the same thing that is implied by his record then.

Al Qaeda

All day, CNN has had a poll up asking if Al Qaeda is less of a threat on this third anniversary of 9-11. And all day, 70% have said NO!

The War on Terror, brought to you by those same success-challenged folks that brought you the War on Drugs, the War on Castro, and the War on Stupidity.

Hurricane Ivan Goes Category 5

This is bad. I mean, I'm sure there are actual people living in the Cayman Islands and not just mail drops for Halliburton, et al (although I'd love to see the corporate tax dodgers blown down).

I Hurt Myself

You know, General JC Christian (aka Patriot Boy) is personally responsible for making me laugh hard enough to reinjure my left ribs. If you haven't caught the site lately, do.

For example, in a tribute to Mr. Bush on the anniversary of 9-11, he (He?) writes:

I'm going to sit on this chair for the next seven minutes doing nothing. Then, I'll hide out in a motel for a few days.
If I knew which hotel, I'd send him a pizza and a copy of "My Pet Goat".