Meet the Man Who Paints Most of America as the Dreaded Enemy of the Right Wing

Bill Berkowitz paints a fascinating - and scary - picture of William Greene, the man responsible for the right wing's Rapid Response Team, who regularly authors alerts that cast most other Christians and Americans as the "enemy" of a moral America.

Lobbyists Grumble About GOP's Increasing "Sense of Entitlement", Always Wanting Lobbyists to Pick up Their Tabs

From The Hill:

An alleged sense of entitlement among some lawmakers and aides is raising hackles on K Street.

Speaking to The Hill on condition of anonymity, more than a dozen lobbyists said there are some on Capitol Hill who actively solicit lunches, drinks and other favors from K Street and seem to regard it as their personal expense account.

“The arrogance that brought Republicans into power is arrogance that will take them out of power, and that’s what you see more of on the Hill,” said a former GOP aide-turned-corporate lobbyist.


Afghan Soldiers Flee Over Taliban and Other Concerns

Apparently they don't quite believe Bush's bull hockey about the Taliban all being wiped out. Gee, wonder why.

Thousands of soldiers are deserting Afghanistan's new British- and American-trained national army, their morale undermined by poor conditions and the threat from the Taliban.
Since the 205th Afghan National Army corps became the first unit of the new national army to be deployed outside Kabul, joining US forces fighting the Taliban in the south of the country, half of its strength has deserted.

"Between 1,200 and 1,500 have run away since September," said one officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, at the 205th corps base near Kandahar. "Morale is going down fast. Four to six hundred soldiers have deserted in the last two months." The ANA has surprised many Afghans by successfully integrating the country's diverse ethnic factions, all of which were responsible for reciprocal human rights violations in the civil war of the 1990s.

Blow by Blow Account of GOP Hearing Meltdown

Bradblog has it - weird moment by even stranger moment. I didn't hear about this at all on the MSN today. You?

You can also read there what some of the witnesses noted about the debacle.

Marines Abused Contractors?

That's the story in the (UK) Mail and Guardian:

group of American security guards in Iraq have alleged they were beaten, stripped and threatened with a snarling dog by United States marines when they were detained after an alleged shooting incident outside Fallujah last month.

"I never in my career have treated anybody so inhumane," one of the contractors, Rick Blanchard, a former Florida state trooper, wrote in an e-mail quoted in the Los Angeles Times. "They treated us like insurgents, roughed us up, took photos, hazed [bullied] us, called us names."

A Marine Corps spokesperson denied that abuse had taken place and said an investigation was continuing. According to the marines, 19 employees of Zapata Engineering, including 16 Americans, were detained after a marine patrol in Fallujah reported being fired on by a convoy of trucks and sports utility vehicles. The marines also claim to have seen gunmen in the convoy fire at civilians.

This is believed to be the first time that private military contractors have been detained in Iraq by the US military, and it has reignited debate about their status and accountability.

The security guards claim the shooting incident was a case of mistaken identity. A spokesperson for the company told the LA Times that the guards had fired warning shots into the air when an unidentified vehicle approached their vehicle as it passed through Fallujah, but had not fired at any marines.

Mark Schopper, a lawyer for two of the contractors, told the newspaper that his clients, both former marines, were subjected to "physical and psychological abuse". He said they had told him that marines had "slammed around" several contractors, stripped them to their underwear and placed a loaded weapon near their heads.

"How does it feel to be a big, rich contractor now?" one of the marines is alleged to have shouted at the men, in an apparent reference to the large sums of money private contractors can make in Iraq.
So how do we think the civilians are faring?

Amnesty International Fundraising Blog-a-thon

Amanda and Jesse at Pandagon are holding a blog-a-thon with donations requested to support the important work of Amnesty International. With Bush in office, you never know when you will be the political prisoner being held somewhere secret.

Support, if you're in a position to do so.

Why Bush's "Downing Street Memo" Response Raises More Questions Rather Than Answers One

From Think Progress (and there's more at the link):

Thanks to the activity of the many bloggers who have argued strenuously that President Bush be asked about the Downing Street Memo, a question finally got asked this afternoon. Blair jumped to answer the question before Bush could get a chance. And he proceeded to deliver the talking point of the day: the Downing Street Memo was written before the U.S. went to the U.N. Your first question might be: what does that have to do with anything? Answer: nothing. Either the intelligence was being fixed or it wasn’t.

President Bush, for his part, never rejects the idea that the intelligence was being fixed around his policy of attacking Iraq. (Wouldn’t that be the most damaging claim you’d want to rebut?) Instead, Bush takes the same tact as Blair and emphasized that he hadn’t gone to the U.N. at the time the memo was written. Bush’s argument appears to be that, because the administration had not yet gone to the U.N., there’s no way he could have already decided to attack Iraq.

Upon closer examination, however, the U.N. process itself strongly indicated that Bush had already made up his mind.

Video of Sensenbrenner's Temper Tantrum That Ended Hearings Today

Stranger at Blah3 points us to this:

DemBloggers has video of the chair of the Judiciary Committee deciding that he didn't like the tone of the testimony against renewing the more objectionable provisions of the Patriot Act, adjourning the meeting, and turning off the mics of those who stayed to dispute his little tantrum.

Republicans - if things aren't going their way, they take their ball and go home. Shame on Sensenbrenner.

Dean Was Right: The GOP is Pale

AmericaBlog points out something from 2004 that - to many - is rather bleeping obvious: GOP bigwigs are, with little exception, extremely white. Their idea of diversity and color is when a red state Rep dyes her hair brown instead of the prerequisite bottle blonde.

Seems that big tent looks more like a big white hood.

And, why does Howard Dean insist on telling the truth?
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Jessica Smith or Brendan McCarthy,
    Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2004 Fenton Communications


    One Percent of Republican Legislators in the States And Washington are African-American or Hispanic

    The uninformed viewer watching TV coverage of this week's Republican national convention in New York might come away thinking that the President's party is built upon a solid commitment to inclusion of racial minorities. Once again, as it does every four years, the Republican Party is trying to portray itself as a 'big tent,' with room for every American.

    But a new book about America's political divisions notes that the 99 percent of all Republican legislators across the country and in Congress are white. The national Republican Party, whose base is in the South, the Plains and the Mountain states, looks to white men as its power base and source of leadership. Even when Republican states have significant minority populations, the elected Republican representatives rarely are drawn from those communities.

    The Great Divide: Retro vs. Metro America, a new look at political divisions in America by educator-entrepreneur Dr. John Sperling, calls those states 'Retro America,' and notes: 'Its whiteness and maleness are mirrored in the Republican Party.'

    Of 3,643 Republicans serving in the state legislatures, only 44 are minorities, or 1.2 percent. In the Congress, with 274 of the 535 elected senators and representatives Republican, only five are minorities - three Cuban Americans from Florida, a Mexican American from Texas and a Native American senator originally elected as a Democrat. [NOTE FROM JOHN: That means the GOP has elected ZERO blacks to Congress.]

    'President Bush's home state leads the way. Texas, with a minority population of 47 percent, has 106 Republicans in the state legislature, but there are 0 blacks and 0 Hispanics among them,' Sperling writes. 'No major corporation doing business with the government could be so white without being subject to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) action!'

Ohio's CoingateGovernor Knew About the Problem and Didn't Tell and the Folks Behind it Funneled Big Money to Bush

From the Toledo Blade who has been doing excellent reporting on this matter throughout. Go read the whole thing. It's fascinating.

"The governor of our state has permitted millions and millions of dollars of workers' money from the Ohio Worker's Compensation Fund to be invested in high-risk investments," Miss Kaptur said in a statement that was placed on the congressional record.

Her accusations came just hours after the bureau acknowledged that it lost $215 million in a high-risk fund run by Pittsburgh businessman Mark D. Lay, who has contributed to Gov. Bob Taft's campaign, and other candidates, including some Democrats. The governor's office was notified of the loss last October, but a spokesman for Mr. Taft said yesterday he was not made aware of the concerns.

The $215 million loss - coupled with a failed $50 million rare-coin investment with Tom Noe, a prominent Republican campaign contributor - have given Democrats political ammunition against the GOP, which has dominated state government for years.


Mr. Noe, whose attorneys told authorities two weeks ago that $10 million to $12 million of the state's assets were missing from the coin fund, is facing multiple investigations, including a federal probe into whether he laundered money into President Bush's re-election campaign. The Republican contributor was considered a Bush "pioneer" because he raised at least $100,000 for Mr. Bush's campaign.


"I think the George Bush campaign raised a lot of illegal money in Ohio," Mr. Brown said. "That puts the election in some question. I know these people stop at nothing and I know their incompetence kept a significant number of people from getting to vote."

Government Kills Budget for Educational Programming

Reported by the great folks at Corrente:

The Washington Post reports that yesterday the House Subcommittee on labor, health and human services, and "education", expressed its dedication to early learning and equal educational access for all economic classes by voting to slash 25% of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's budget, a quarter of which will be aimed at children's educational programming, like Sesame Street and that Margaret Spelling bete noire, Postcards From Buster. As WaPo says, this will be the most drastic cut in the CPB budget since it was created by Congress in 1967. It could result in the death of the programs many of us grew up with, and learned from. Even Nixon couldn't kill it. But Nixon was no 2005 Republican yahoo with control of all 3 branches of government and a propaganda arm any totalitarian regime would die for. But not to worry. It should only affect liberals, minorities, the rural, and the poor:
    "Small public radio stations, particularly those in rural areas and those serving minority audiences, may be the most vulnerable to federal cuts because they currently operate on shoestring budgets.
    "This could literally put us out of business," said Paul Stankavich, president and general manager of the Alaska Public Radio Network, an alliance of 26 stations in the state that create and share news programming. "Almost all of us are down to the bone right now. If we lost 5 or 10 percent of our budgets in one fell swoop, we could end up being just a repeater service" for national news, with no funds to produce local content.
    Stankavich, who also runs a public radio and TV station in Anchorage, said public radio is "an important source of news in urban areas, but it's life-critical in rural areas," especially in far-flung parts of Alaska unserved by any other broadcast medium."
No, this has nothing at all to do with Republican hatchetman Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, who has been making murderous noises about the agency put under his watchful eye. Nothing to do with a bloated budget that can make room for a bridge in Alaska to nowhere that no one will use, but needs to hack kids' programs that help them learn to read.

Who's Obstructing Whom? GOP Head Shuts Down Hearing Rather than Let the Truth Be Heard

Dreadful. Heinous.

Here's the analysis on today's events from Buzzflash:

This morning, House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI) unilaterally and arbitrarily shut down committee hearings on the reauthorization of the Patriot Act without comment or issuing a statement. Sensenbrenner gaveled the committee hearings in the middle of witnesses testifying about human and civil rights abuses at Guantanamo Bay, racial profiling of individuals of Middle Eastern descent, prolonged detentions of Americans after September 11th and other abuses.

The suppression of free speech and testimony in the congressional committee in charge of protecting our civil liberties shows the Republican’s power grab has no limits and no decency. The irony was not lost on anyone.

The witnesses appearing before the House Judiciary Committee included, Chip Pitts, Chair of the Board of Amnesty International USA; Dr. James J. Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute; Deborah Pearlstein, Director of the U.S. Law and Security Program “Human Rights First”; and Carlina Tapia Ruano of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

The witnesses were called by the indomitable Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) who continues to stand up to the right-wing’s attempt to eviscerate American Constitutional liberties.

“There are few issues that are more important to this Committee or this Congress than the Patriot Act and the war against terror. This not only affects the rights and privacy of every American, but impacts the extent to which our nation is able to hold itself out as a beacon of liberty as we advocate for democracy around the world,” said Congressman Conyers as he opened the committee hearings.

Salon: "Bush Lied? Nope, No News There!"

From Salon about the Downing Street Memo:

The memo was leaked this year to the Times of London, which printed it on May 1. The story, coming on the eve of Blair's reelection, generated extensive press coverage in Britain. In setting up his question to Mehlman on Sunday, Russert said, "Let me turn to the now famous Downing Street memo" (emphasis added).

Famous? It would be famous in America if the D.C. press corps functioned the way it's supposed to. Russert's June 5 reference, five weeks after the story broke, represented the first time NBC News had even mentioned the document or the controversy surrounding it. In fact, Russert's query was the first time any of the network news divisions addressed the issue seriously. In an age of instant communications, the American mainstream media has taken an exceedingly long time -- as if news of the memo had traveled by vessel across the Atlantic Ocean -- to report on the leaked document. Nor has it considered its grave implications -- namely, that President Bush lied to the American people and Congress during the run-up to the war with Iraq when he insisted over and over again that war was his administration's last option.


And yet, as Russert's weeks-late inquiry illustrates, the Downing Street memo story has also refused to simply fade away. Championed by progressive activists, media advocates, nearly 100 Democratic members of Congress, liberal radio hosts and bloggers, ombudsmen, a handful of columnists and an army of newspaper readers -- who have flooded editors with letters demanding that the story be reported -- the British memo continues to enjoy a peculiar afterlife. A small band of protesters, led by a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, even held a sidewalk vigil outside a Tampa, Fla., television station over the weekend, demanding that it "Air the truth!" about the memo.

At Tuesday's joint White House press briefing, Bush and Blair were finally asked about the memo in public, an event that the press dutifully chronicled. But the two leaders, not accepting follow-up questions, simply denied the accuracy of the memo's contents, while circumventing the central question of why Blair's most senior intelligence officer believed the White House had already decided on war in the summer of 2002. (Bush finished his response to the memo question with his well-worn catchphrase, "The world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power.")

The fact that it took five weeks for more than a handful of Washington reporters to focus on the memo highlights a striking disconnect between some news consumers and mainstream news producers. The memo story epitomizes a mainstream press corps that is genuinely afraid to ask tough questions and write tough stories about the Bush administration. Worse, in the case of the Downing Street memo, it simply refuses to report on the existence of a plainly newsworthy document.

"This is where all the work conservatives and the administration have done in terms of bullying the press, making it less willing to write confrontational pieces -- this is where it's paid off," says David Brock, CEO of Media Matters for America, a liberal media advocacy group. "It's a glaring example of omission."

Why Does Faux News Hate Our Soldiers Who Make the Ultimate Sacrifice?

From Atrios:

Apparently Fox News has just said "aw, fuck it" when it comes to covering the deaths of American soldiers. They stopped updating their fatality list almost a month ago.
Any facts that are inconvenient or unpopular are simply forgotten.

Remember the huge-o stink the right raised last year when Ted Koppel spent Memorial Day reading the names of those who died in Iraq? Any mention that men and women are dying unnecessarily is considered traitor-speak, against-people-of-faith rhetoric against the president instead of a rather blatant fact of war, especially one ill-conceived, and where the soldiers are overfunded while the Dept of Defense takes in more money every year than all other government programs rolled together.

FBI Failures and 9/11

OK, I buy this (from CNN/AP):

The FBI missed at least five opportunities before the September 11 attacks to uncover vital intelligence information about the terrorists, and the bureau didn't aggressively pursue the information it did have, the Justice Department's inspector general says in a newly released critique of government missteps.

The IG faulted the FBI for not knowing about the presence of two of the September 11 terrorists in the United States and for not following up on an agent's theory that Osama bin Laden was sending students to U.S. flight training schools. The agent's theory turned out to be precisely what bin Laden did.

"The way the FBI handled these matters was a significant failure that hindered the FBI's chances of being able to detect and prevent the September 11 attacks," Inspector General Glenn Fine said.

When the bureau did discover the presence of hijackers Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar in the United States shortly before the attacks, "the FBI's investigation then was conducted without much urgency or priority," the report concluded.
What isn't explained - or ever covered comprehensively - is that the FBI was just one of MANY, MANY, MANY extremely well-funded organizations charged with protecting this country from harm who all managed to suffer catastrophic failures to pick up on clues both on and before 9/11. I daresay they're not in much better shape (and perhaps far worse) today when they've had money thrown at them every which way.

I read somewhere that something like 232 agencies and policies and protocols all failed here allowing 9/11 to occur. Stop and think. 232! Not just one or two screw-ups, but so systematic a breakdown that moved across agencies, across people on a day when the president sat reading My Pet Goat to a class while buildings went down in New York. 232. No wonder conspiracy theories abound - even without the Bushies pull behind the scenese since 9/11. Not one damned thing set in place to protect us worked on that day to do so, almost as if it were a coordinated effort to make certain 9/11 happened - which I'm still not ready to say is the case but damn.

In your heart of hearts, do you ever wonder as well?

Conyers Schedules Congressional Hearing on Downing Street Memo

That's the word from Shakespeare's Sister. She also points us to this Raw Story article.

Go John!

Mr. Bush: Tell the truth.

In Afghanistan

Another U.S. soldier has been killed in combat.

Where's Osama again?


After MSNBC kept saying a verdict was in, apparently the Jackson jury is still deliberating. (yawn)

Jackson Circus About to End?

They say there's a verdict.

But in a case of the pot calling the kettle black, the Jackson supporters out in front of the court - sporting all types of Jackson memorabilia and signs of support - are yelling at the media for "turning the case into a freak show".

This is one time when I'm not sure you can entirely blame the media. Yes, they have paid way undue attention to the Jackson case - an interest that has not been reflected by the majority of the TV news watching audience - but to have all these fans camped outside the court saying the media is the one turning this into a circus is rather laughable. I've seen a few of these supporters sporting signs like "Michael, I'd let my kids go to Neverland with you!"

Man. Again, while I'm not sure I buy that Jackson molested the kid whose case this is about, it's sad to have parents with dollar signs in their eyes ready to offer up their kids for Michael's strange sense of "beautiful".

Five Marines Killed in Iraq Roadside Bomb

That's what CNN is reporting.

There was a strange story the other day that I am still trying to piece together: where a group of US company contractors opened fire on US soldiers and Iraqi civilians, perhaps killing 2-4 soldiers and untold number of civilians. But the contractors were questioned and then let go.

Sound like there are some missing puzzle pieces here? One would hate to think that both soldiers and civilians would be ok targets for US companies trying to get rich over there. If anyone sees anything specific on this matter, I'd appreciate a link. Thanks.

Krugman: Losing Our Country

He's got another important column out. Here's a bit but go read the rest:

Above all, the partisans engage in name-calling. To suggest that sustaining programs like Social Security, which protects working Americans from economic risk, should have priority over tax cuts for the rich is to practice "class warfare." To show concern over the growing inequality is to engage in the "politics of envy."

But the real reasons to worry about the explosion of inequality since the 1970's have nothing to do with envy. The fact is that working families aren't sharing in the economy's growth, and face growing economic insecurity. And there's good reason to believe that a society in which most people can reasonably be considered middle class is a better society - and more likely to be a functioning democracy - than one in which there are great extremes of wealth and poverty.

Reversing the rise in inequality and economic insecurity won't be easy: the middle-class society we have lost emerged only after the country was shaken by depression and war. But we can make a start by calling attention to the politicians who systematically make things worse in catering to their contributors. Never mind that straw man, the politics of envy. Let's try to do something about the politics of greed.

Bolton: A Fight About Politics or Principles?

That's the question being asked by the main CNN poll right now, and for me, and a majority of those responding (so far), the fight is and should be about principles.

There's more here than the fact that John Bolton is an outlandishly, outrageously bad choice for our face at the U.N. (but an excellent selection if your goal, as the Bushies' seems to be, to give the finger to the rest of the world), which in itself is a huge issue.

Much of the paperwork on Bolton has not been released to the senators who must confirm him, and specifically, to the Dem senators. This is reflective of how the Bushies do business: they shut anyone but Bush loyalists out of discussions, meetings, documentation.

We've already seen with Iraq what happens if we simply take the Bush rhetoric for truth. You would think that Washington and the rest of the country would have learned. But the Bushies still proclaim that they don't have to tell us, don't have to back up their claims with proof, don't have to behave like there is anyone else in the world.


Why is the Family Research Council Doing Business with the Klan?

The freaking Klan!

From AmericaBlog:

The Family Research Council's executive director, Tony Perkins, reportedly paid former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke over $80,000 for his who's-who-of-racist-America mailing list in 1996. This should be the death of the Family Research Council, one of the religoius right's lead organizations, and the end of Tony Perkins career.

Who on the left is smart enough to plunk down some money to organize the campaign destroying the FRC and their executive director because of his dealings with the Ku Klux Klan?

This was 1996, people. That is well beyond, years beyond, the date that the entire nation knew Duke to be a rabid KKK-loving racist. But our pinnacle of family values, Tony Perkins, had no problem enriching black-hater David Duke to the tune of $82,000. And what's more, Tony Perkins had no problem trying to woo David Duke's avowed racist following.

With the religious right trying to reach out to black folk, and more generally trying to lecture the rest of us on morality, I want to know why Tony Perkins hasn't been forced to resign, or, why the Family Research Council hasn't been ostracized from the entire religious right community.

Bob Knight and the rest of the Concerned Women for America, and the American Family Association and Lou Sheldon and all the rest of you supposed Christians, are you concerned that your good buddy Tony Perkins appears peppered with racism?
Well, LaShawn Barber will still like them. ::cough::

Our Military Budget Accounts for the Same Spent for ALL Other Countries Around the World

    With expenditure of $455 billion, the United States accounted for almost half the global figure, more than the combined total of the 32 next most powerful nations, said SIPRI, which is widely recognized for the reliability of its data.
And are we safer?

Hell, no.

Crumbs to Africa, Indeed

Do you know that at least one county in Florida for one of the hurricanes last year - storms that killed very few - got more in election-happy rebuilding money to secure the Bush vote than Mr. Bush is proposing to help ALL of Africa? Now, I realize, the plastic pink flamingoes are costly buy... damn it...

From The Times:

President Bush kept a remarkably straight face yesterday when he strode to the microphones with Britain's prime minister, Tony Blair, and told the world that the United States would now get around to spending $674 million in emergency aid that Congress had already approved for needy countries. That's it. Not a penny more to buy treated mosquito nets to help save the thousands of children in Sierra Leone who die every year of preventable malaria. Nothing more to train and pay teachers so 11-year-old girls in Kenya may go to school. And not a cent more to help Ghana develop the programs it needs to get legions of young boys off the streets.

Mr. Blair, who will be the host when the G-8, the club of eight leading economic powers, holds its annual meeting next month, is trying to line up pledges to double overall aid for Africa over the next 10 years. That extra $25 billion a year would do all those things, and much more, to raise the continent from dire poverty. Before getting to Washington, Mr. Blair had done very well, securing pledges of large increases from European Union members.

According to a poll, most Americans believe that the United States spends 24 percent of its budget on aid to poor countries; it actually spends well under a quarter of 1 percent. As Jeffrey Sachs, the Columbia University economist in charge of the United Nations' Millennium Project, put it so well, the notion that there is a flood of American aid going to Africa "is one of our great national myths."

The United States currently gives just 0.16 percent of its national income to help poor countries, despite signing a United Nations declaration three years ago in which rich countries agreed to increase their aid to 0.7 percent by 2015. Since then, Britain, France and Germany have all announced plans for how to get to 0.7 percent; America has not. The piddling amount Mr. Bush announced yesterday is not even 0.007 percent.

What is 0.7 percent of the American economy? About $80 billion. That is about the amount the Senate just approved for additional military spending, mostly in Iraq. It's not remotely close to the $140 billion corporate tax cut last year.

Rmphasis mine - and the rest of the world's.

So What are the Bushies Doing with the Anti-Smoking Money Instead?


A federal judge on Wednesday questioned what was behind the government's decision to dramatically reduce the proposed size of a nationwide stop-smoking program, one of the penalties recommended in a racketeering suit against cigarette makers.

The government asked U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler on Tuesday to require the companies to fund a five-year, $10 billion program, a fraction of the 25-year, $130 billion program suggested by government witness Michael C. Fiore, a University of Wisconsin medical professor.

The Justice Department called the $10 billion program an ''initial request'' that could be expanded. But Kessler said Wednesday, ''There may be some additional influences being brought to bear'' on the government's decision.

Democratic lawmakers sent letters on Wednesday to Glenn A. Fine, the Justice Department's inspector general, asking him to look into what prompted the reduction in the request.

''The Justice Department's approach to tobacco litigation should be based on the facts of the case and not political favors to the tobacco industry,'' wrote Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Martin Meehan of Massachusetts.

Nixon's Empire Strikes Back

Great Blumenthal piece in The Guardian. Here's a snippet:

But now George Bush is building a leviathan beyond Nixon's imagining. The Bush presidency is the highest stage of Nixonism. The commander-in-chief has declared himself by executive order above international law, the CIA is being purged, the justice department deploying its resources to break down thewall of separation between church and state, the Environmental Protection Agency being ordered to suppress scientific studies and the Pentagon subsuming intelligence and diplomacy, leaving the US with blunt military force as its chief foreign policy.

The three main architects of Bush's imperial presidency gained their formative experience amid Nixon's downfall. Donald Rumsfeld, Nixon's counsellor, and his deputy, Dick Cheney, one after the other, served as chief of staff to Nixon's successor, Gerald Ford, both opposing congressional efforts for more transparency in the executive.

With perfect Nixonian pitch, Cheney remarked in 1976: "Principle is OK up to a certain point, but principle doesn't do any good if you lose." During the Iran-contrascandal Cheney, a republican leader in the House of Representatives, argued that the congressional report denouncing "secrecy, deception and disdain for the law" was an encroachment on executive authority.

The other architect, Karl Rove, Bush's senior political aide, began his career as an agent of Nixon's dirty trickster Donald Segretti - "ratfuckers" as Segretti called his boys. At the height of the Watergate scandal, Rove operated through a phoney front group to denounce the lynch-mob atmosphere created in this city by the Washington Post and other parts of the Nixon-hating media".

Under Bush, the Republican Congress has abdicated its responsibilities of executive oversight and investigation. When Republican senator John Warner, chairman of the armed services committee, held hearings on Bush's torture policy in the aftermath of the Abu Ghraib revelations, the White House set rabid House Republicans to attack him. There have been no more such hearings. Meanwhile, Bush insists that the Senate votes to confirm John Bolton as US ambassador to the UN while refusing to release essential information requested by the Senate foreign relations committee.

One of the chief lessons learned from Nixon's demise was the necessity of muzzling the press. The Bush WhiteHouse has neutralised the press corps and even turned some reporters into its own assets. The disinformation WMD in the rush to war in Iraq, funnelled into the news pages of the New York Times, is the most dramatic case in point. By manipulation and intimidation, encouraging atmosphere of self-censorship, the Bush White House has distanced the press from dissenting professionals inside the government.

"The Catholic Church Would Never Repress Women"

This from a female Opus Dei member on Hardball tonight.

Since she's been with the organization for sometime, she must be aware of the fact that she is not permitted many of the same rights and privileges in Opus Dei as a male OD member. In fact, she has to enter their buildings through a separate door from men.

But no, of course, the Catholic Church and Opus Dei are very supportive of women, especially if those women are submitting to their male betters.

For Such a Half-Baked Administration, They Cook Everything

Posted on Corrente by Riggsveda:

What were we saying about the Bush regime's manipulation of scientific evidence? Oh, yes, the Union of Concerned Scientists had a problem with the rigorousness of their scientific method. You can imagine, then, how they must feel about this latest revelation:
    "A White House official who once led the oil industry's fight against limits on greenhouse gases has repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that play down links between such emissions and global warming, according to internal documents.
    In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In many cases, the changes appeared in the final reports.

    The dozens of changes, while sometimes as subtle as the insertion of the phrase "significant and fundamental" before the word "uncertainties," tend to produce an air of doubt about findings that most climate experts say are robust.

    Mr. Cooney is chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the office that helps devise and promote administration policies on environmental issues.

    Before going to the White House in 2001, he was the "climate team leader" and a lobbyist at the American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade group representing the interests of the oil industry. A lawyer with a bachelor's degree in economics, he has no scientific training."
Nor would he need any, in a political climate as fogged by ambition, greed, and lies as this one.

Justice DeLayed Again

Raw Story reports that Congress may put off any probe of Tom DeLay's (dramatic absence of anything approaching even a rudimentary description of what might be considered) ethics for months, if not more than a year.

Let me guess: after the 2006 mid-term election. This gives Tom time to funnel money at the "judges" of his case and won't embarrass the investigators by raising his name frequently during mid-term campaigns.

Note, too, in this story - as you see everywhere these days - that the only concern is about Republicans and then, parenthetically, Democrats. But no concern voiced about what's best for the American people, the dangers of this systematic corruption of government, or yes, even what's "right".

Who But the Bushies Would Constantly Assign Foxes to the Job of Guarding Our Chicken Coops

From Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo:

I don't think the Bush administration needed a lot of convincing not to sign the Kyoto global warming treaty. But this is the lede in a piece just out from The Guardian: "President's George Bush's decision not to sign the United States up to the Kyoto global warming treaty was partly a result of pressure from ExxonMobil, the world's most powerful oil company, and other industries, according to US State Department papers seen by the Guardian."
Sitting in an attorney's office this afternoon, the secretary and I were discussing a nice, safe topic like the weather. But when she raised global warming, I said, "What? You weren't impressed by the president's words that - six years after he said the same thing - the verdict is still out on the subject?"

"Don't get me started about that man", she replied, going from cool and composed to almost shaking with rage.

Just last night, on some of the mighty righty sites, I was reading their insistence that the rapture will occur before they have to turn off their air conditioners. Man, I hope they roast first.

Boeing Bailout?

Read here. You can weep if you want, but some of us are running out of tears for how this country is being run into the earth's core by the Bushies.

The Horrific Bush Poll Numbers


Turning Point on the War

From Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell:

This past week, widely scattered newspaper editorialists roused themselves from seeming acceptance of the continuing slaughter in Iraq to voice, for the first time in many cases, outright condemnation of the war.

(June 06, 2005) -- Suddenly there seems to be something in the air -- the smell of death? Or something in the water -- blood? In any case, this past week, widely scattered newspaper editorialists roused themselves from seeming acceptance of the continuing slaughter in Iraq to voice, for the first time in many cases, outright condemnation of the war.

While still refusing to use the "W" word in offering advice to Dubya -- that is, "withdrawal" -- some at least are finally using the "L" word, for lies.

Memorial Day seemed to bring out the anger in some editorial writers, who at that time are normally afraid to say anything about a current conflict that might seem to slight the brave sacrifices of men and women, past and present. Maybe it was the steadily growing Iraqi and American death count, or the increasing examples of White House "disassembling" (to quote the president this week), or the horror stories emerging from Gitmo.

Or perhaps it's a hidden trend that might have even more impact than the rest: the writing on the wall spelled out by plunging military recruitment rates. That only adds to the sense that, overall, the Iraq adventure has made America far less safe in this world.

For whatever reason, it's possible that more than a few editorial pages may finally be on the verge of saying "enough is enough." Perhaps they might even catch up with their readers, as the latest Gallup polls find that 57% feel the war is "not worth it," and nearly as many want us to start pulling out troops, not sending more of them.

There were numerous signs of editorial unrest in the past week, too many to cite. The Sun of Baltimore, in its Memorial Day editorial, declared: "If the president truly wished to honor their memory, he would demonstrate to the nation that the government that has botched so much of the war at least has some inkling as to how to draw it to a successful conclusion -- so that the dead will not have died in vain." The Minneapolis Star-Tribune called Iraq "an unnecessary war based on contrived concerns. ... President Bush and those around him lied, and the rest of us let them. Harsh? Yes. True? Also yes."


Speaking of Sean Hannity and Bitch Slapping

...watch Rosie O'Donnell make puppy kibble out of Sean Hannity on The View.

Speaking of Dim Bulbs

Noting something at Crooks and Liars:

La Shawn Barber says in her post: Janice Rogers Brown : "Since I’ve been blogging, I’ve discovered just how overtly bigoted white liberals can be, while paying lip service to “equality” and “diversity.” Because they hear what black liberals say about me, they suddenly feel bold enough cross the line as far as race is concerned."

Gee, no, LaShawn. (As always), you miss the point and spin every situation around to being about you who uh.. isn't quite as famous as you think you are. You do this ALL the time. Is that why MSNBC isn't using you much anymore? Anyway...

See, when I call Janice Brown an extremely poor choice for the federal bench, it's based upon documents from her own colleagues saying Brown's dissenting views tend to be ludicrous and a rather blatant attempt to make corporations and the people she kowtows to happy. Likewise, when I say you're a narcissistic pinhead with delusions of grandeur, it has nothing to do with your race and everything to do with your blog.

And, LaShawn, not just black liberals make fun of you. As a matter of fact, the only people who seem to pretend to like you are people like Hannity and Company who are rather blatantly racist. You know, people who know they can buy you far more cheaply than Armstrong Williams was had. But it's hardly your race that makes you sell out since many whites and Hispanics and others sell out, too.

You're even buying the mad "white" right's pretend argument that Brown was opposed because of her race (and you love to make the white right happy, for reasons that escape most thinking people). I didn't notice Pryor or Owen being of color and they were opposed at least as vehemently.

Anyway, you let us know when Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity and Bill Bennett and Bill O'Reilly start having you over to the house for dinner. These civil rights trailblazers are just so open-armed.

Patriot Act Expands

Right. It's done so much, like track down bootleg copies of the new Star Wars movie and track Michael Jackson.

WASHINGTON - The FBI would get expanded powers to subpoena records without the approval of a judge or grand jury in terrorism investigations under Patriot Act revisions approved Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Some senators who voted 11-4 to move the bill forward said they would push for limits on the new powers the measure would grant to law enforcement agencies.

"This bill must be amended on the floor to protect national security while protecting Constitutional rights," said Sen. Barbara Mikulski (news, bio, voting record), D-Md.

Ranking Democrat Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., supported the bill overall but said he would push for limits that would allow such administrative subpoenas "only if immediacy dictates."

Rockefeller and other committee members, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (news, bio, voting record), D-Calif., also are concerned that the bill would grant powers to federal law enforcement agencies that could be used in criminal inquiries rather than intelligence-gathering ones.

Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said the bill places new checks and balances on the powers it would grant, such as new procedures that would allow people to challenge such administrative orders. He called the Patriot Act "a vital tool in the war on terror" and lauded the Democrats who voted for it in spite of misgivings.

And Remember the Taliban We Defeated, Completely Wiped Out?

Ah-yup. Them.

Afghanistan - A mosque suicide bombing and an attempt to down a U.S. aircraft signaled the start of attempts by al-Qaida and the Taliban to destabilize legislative elections, the presidential spokesman said Tuesday.

The warning by President Hamid Karzai's spokesman, Jawed Ludin, of efforts to derail the Sept. 18 elections follows a surge in violence, with more than 200 suspected rebels killed in three months, according to U.S. and Afghan officials.

Ludin said a June 1 suicide bombing at a mosque in the southern city of Kandahar that killed 20 people, and the attempt to shoot down an American aircraft with a shoulder-launched missile on the same day were aimed "to create maximum effect ... maximum shock among the people."

"The remnants of the Taliban, al-Qaida elements ... have chosen this time to obviously set a plot in motion," he said. "They may have gathered all their resources."

Remnants, eh? Just 3-4 left, like the Iraqi insurgents. Right?

Just Remember the Unprecedented Amount of Money Going into Homeland Security

Then read this (nod to Buzzflash):

BOSTON - On April 25, Gregory Despres arrived at the U.S.-Canadian border crossing at Calais, Maine, carrying a homemade sword, a hatchet, a knife, brass knuckles and a chain saw stained with what appeared to be blood. U.S. customs agents confiscated the weapons and fingerprinted Despres. Then they let him into the United States.

Discovered in Despres' hometown of Minto, New Brunswick: The decapitated body of a 74-year-old country musician named Frederick Fulton was found on Fulton's kitchen floor. His head was in a pillowcase under a kitchen table. His common-law wife was discovered stabbed to death in a bedroom.

Despres, 22, immediately became a suspect because of a history of violence between him and his neighbors, and he was arrested April 27 after police in Massachusetts saw him wandering down a highway in a sweat shirt with red and brown stains. He is now in jail in Massachusetts on murder charges, awaiting an extradition hearing next month.

At a time when the United States is tightening its borders, how could a man toting what appeared to be a bloody chain saw be allowed into the country?

Bill Anthony, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said the Canada-born Despres could not be detained because he is a naturalized U.S. citizen and was not wanted on any criminal charges on the day in question.

Now look at his picture. See anything that might make you wonder?

Cops, Baghdad Style

Doug at Comments from Left Field brings us this:

For those of you who say, "There's nothing good on TV anymore" (and you know who you are), perhaps you should move to Baghdad, where the Al Iraqiya television network, run by an American contractor as the official propaganda organ of the new Iraqi government, airs a wildly popular program that gives new meaning to the term "hit".

"Terrorism in the Hands of Justice" picks up where "Cops" leaves off.

Six nights a week, folks, you can be treated to an endless parade of lowlife scumbags as they confess their crimes against humanity and Islam freely and without reservation.

Murderers. Rapists! Pedophiles!! Homosexuals!!! All on videotaped display for your collective revulsion and humiliation.

What better way to spend an evening at home with the family? Assuming of course, that the electricity doesn't go out.

So when you hear the terrorists claim to be "patriotic, faithful Jihadists fighting the infidel occupiers and all their collaborators", just remember that they are actually bloodthirsty criminals who will do anything for the money they are paid by their Saudi patrons.

When you hear endless reports of endless bombings and wild speculation about religious and tribal vendettas dragging the nation ever closer to the brink of civil war, just look and see how the despicable ones are truly at our mercy.
Our tax dollars at... propagandizing (if you call that work).

Go, Look

You want to see Pissed on Politics' Bush-trix and Bush-trix Reloaded.

You must!

Perhaps We Could Get Michael Jackson Interested in Tom Cruise and Get Rid of Two Strange Birds with One Event

If only the Downing Street Memo got a tenth - hell, a hundredth - of the attention being paid to a) the Michael Jackson trial and Michael's fondness for spending days every week in the hospital and then bringing the hospital staff in tow to court with him and b) Tom Cruise's desperate attempts to prove he's heterosexual by dating Hollywood's self proclaimed only virgin who's half Cruise's age.

Here are two men so deeply mired in their own egos, their own psychopathology, and yet they're also two of the richest men in this country while contributing very little to the society.

Michael's just pathetic: a man child who is clearly still stuck in his childhood and hiding behind some pretention that it's beautiful to sleep with a child. I have no idea whether the charges against him are true or not but the facts of the whole case as presented and the lengths to which Orange County is going with it (months for a trial like this?) leave the matter ripe with speculation that it's a vendetta. How about trying the parents who allow their kids to go there on sleepovers? At what point is the problem star-crazed parents who see dollar signs with Jackson? Prostituting your children is, I believe, a punishable offense.

And Tom? Almost as pathetic. Somewhere along the line, Tom decided he was Mr. Charisma, Mr. Consummate Actor, Mr. Macho. Remember his role as the weird self-help guru in Magnolia? Well, that's Tom's version of reality. Is it really going to hurt his career that badly if he finally acknowledges he's a gay man? Because it doesn't matter to many, I don't think.

Last week, I heard that Cruise had gone on the offensive against anyone who takes prescription drugs. They're a crutch, he insists; it's against his religion and he wants it against everyone else's too. He attacked another nearly talentless actor, Brooke Shields, who said she had gotten help from antidepressants.

Wow, I want a Scientologist preaching to me as much as I want a nutso fundamentalist. Tom has little knowledge of medicine and probably isn't wildly bright in most other areas either.

But if Tom wants to crusade, perhaps he could choose to crusade against people who are so obsessed with lying to themselves that they have to push out in front of cameras so others can validate the lie.

Just please, please, please, media: spare us more Tommy and Michael. There are so many more important issues and these little boys are so unimportant.

Bush's Response to Downing Street Memo Questions

You know, if I didn't hear him misstate or outright lie at least 5-6 times otherwise in his little press gaggle with Tony Blair today, I might have been a hint more likely to believe what he said when he completely discounted the possibility he decided to attack Iraq and find a reason later. That's the problem with someone who lies with almost every breath: you reach the point where if he tells you the sky is blue, you begin to assume it's purple or green instead since you know the likelihood of it being blue with his "truth" track record is nil.

But his attitude of "Well, what's the problem with you that you even think I have to waste my life accounting for what I choose to do? What the fuck do you think this is, a democracy or somethin'" is really too rich. The smirks, the cockiness, the winks... sort of like Bush's personal impression of Tony Soprano.

I noticed some of the press was actually using the discussion of his weak response to Downing Street docs - his first, btw - to point out that the president is doing the worst in polls ever. But the press is also still not confronting the Downing Street Memo directly; they discuss it parenthetically or just to have someone dismiss it as a story with "no legs". I did notice that a couple of folks both online and in person have been asking, "So what's this about some memo?" It's not like they can't find out, but the press is going out of it's way not to identify or explain it.

Anne Bancroft

I was deeply saddened - as I'm sure so many others were - at the news that Ms. Bancroft had died yesterday.

She was a national treasure, a woman with a sharp mind, great talent, and an incredibly expressive and handsome face. No matter how rough talking or neurotic her character might be, she always brought great elegance to her roles.

The first time I saw her in a comic role after knowing her for drama, I was a bit dubious at how well she could pull it off. What a dolt I was for wondering! Add all the Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolies, Gwyneth Paltrows, Carmen Diazes, and Nicole Kidmans together - and mind you, all except for Julia, these women aren't talentless), and you have nothing compared to Bancroft's capability even in a smaller supporting role.

We've lost someone great. But she gave us so very much while she was here.

And as she goes wizzing at 120 mph down Tangent Road...

My friend Rusty (waving!) sent me this in email today and yes, I had to share it. I'm afraid I can't credit the creator because I don't know him or her. But whoever did it, you have my hearty appreciation.

Subject: Revamped SAT questions

Revamped SAT questions
Fox Schools Presents
In association with the Kansas and Texas public schools:

The 2015 SATs

PART A: Science

1. A strain of bacteria, after repeated exposure to an antibiotic, develops
a resistance to that antibiotic. This is an example of:

a. Microevolution
b. Microintelligent design
c. How the liberal media lies
d. Why faith healing is better than secular medicine

2. Global temperatures have risen 1 degree F since 2004. This is due to:
a. The greenhouse effect
b. Unsound science
c. The Clinton administration
d. Gays

3. Scientific theories are:
a. Ones which make predictions one can test against experimental data
b. Only theories
c. Used by out-of-the-mainstream liberal eggheads to oppress white people
d. Tricks of Satan

PART B: Mathematics

1. Pi is:
a. The ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter
b. Three
c. I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that my dad makes a lot of money
d. Something Greek homosexuals invented to turn you gay

2. If dinosaurs first appeared 250 million years ago, and became extinct 185
million years later, how long ago did they become extinct?
a. 65 million years ago
b. There is no paleontological consensus that dinosaurs ever existed
c. 3500 years ago, during the Flood
d. However long ago it was that they turned gay and lost their moral values

3. If you make $50,000 a year, and the flat income tax rate is 10%, how much money do you pay the IRS each year?
a. $5,000
b. Too much.
c. $0. The federal government has no Constitutional right to inconvenience me.
d. The IRS is part of the gay mafia.

PART C: History

1. The US lost the Vietnam War because:
a. We miscalculated the determination of the enemy.
b. Liberals and the media wouldn't let Rambo do his job.
d. Clinton made everyone in the Army get gay married.

2. Who led the American army during the Revolutionary War?
a. George Washington
b. George W. Bush
c. Ronald Reagan
d. Jesus

3. Who betrayed the American army during the Revolutionary War?
a. Benedict Arnold
b. Bill Clinton
c. Hillary Clinton
d. The Jews

PART D: Literature

1. What is the greatest book ever written by an American?
a. The Great Gatsby
b. A Charge to Keep
3. Left Behind 2: Tribulation Force
d. The Bible

2. In Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar", Caesar is betrayed by:
a. Brutus
b. Clinton
c. The liberal media
d. The Jews

3. In 1609, Galileo looked through a telescope and saw four small bodies orbiting Jupiter. This showed:
a. That not all celestial bodies orbit the Earth, and that the Earth is not necessarily at the center of the Universe
b. There is no astronomical consensus that anything orbits Jupiter
c. Galileo was a biased liberal
d. The telescope was gay

Scoring is at the discretion of your local school board.


Folks, can anyone tell me if they're using an RSS feed to check this site?

I ask because while I use one, and usually see my site updated, others are seeing listings from a year ago.

Now, Blogger has done some odd things and I'm not sure if the feed issue is related to the same mess that has Technorati reporting I haven't updated the site in months (and no one at Technorati has deigned to answer a single ONE of my nine letters in two months asking about it) or not.

If my RSS feed is consistently breaking under Blogger, it may be time to move this to my own domain.

Who's Behind Americans for Prosperity?

Josh Marshall does his usual excellent job in getting to the facts, here taking on the group, Americans for Prosperity (undoubtedly more gibberish for "give us what we want and screw everyone else), a group apparently designed to go after any and all who oppose the killing of Social Security.

First, Josh offers this:

Who or what is Americans for Prosperity?

According to this page at the Center for Media and Democracy's Source Watch website, it was essentially set up as a pet 501c3 of Koch Industries and then 'colocated' with the Independent Women's Forum, with which it also seems to share a rather substantial number of staffers. (They share a president and a COO, for starters.)

In any case, this is the long march phase of the battle to end Social Security. They'll dig in and tear away at the defenders of the program, figuring they can outlast them.

Now, politics is a contact sport, as they say. So I don't think anyone's complaining. But, to my eyes, this group has all the earmarks of a classic 'astroturf' outfit. And I suspect we'd find all the usual suspects involved -- of course, along with a gaggle of twenty-something ne'er-do-wells ready to make a couple bucks in rent-a-crowds and probably more than a few operatives looking to get their ticket stamped in the DC machine so they can move up a couple rungs on the ladder.

Then Josh follows up with this:

For now, they also seem to be the ones who were behind this apparently-now-abandoned anti-AARP site from earlier this year.

And just how does former House Majority Leader and arch-phase-out man Dick Armey fit in to the picture?

In 2003, the last year for which records are available, AfP paid Armey $429,583 for 'consulting' services.

Some consulting ...

The Attacks on Dean

For the last several years, we've been treated to:

    * Dems are Godless whores
    * Democrats want to destroy the Bible and keep it away from you
    * Democrats hate freedom and democracy
    * Democrats spend, spend, spend
    * Democrats are racist
    * Democrats love Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda
    * Democrats are more concerned with what's good for the terrorists than what's right for the American people
    * Democrats are in a war against God and all that is holy
    * Democrats are shiftless and elitist
And those are the nice things we've heard.

So color me... oh, not exactly amused that even the Democrats are hopping all over Howard Dean because he's made a few comments back at the GOP. How many times has just someone like Tom DeLay come out with these nasty statements about Dems - even going so far as to tell them to "go home" so he can run Washington and America because Dems were "no longer needed"?

Dems need to decide: is the GOP running the whole show, defining everything, and speaking for all of America? If so, then Tom DeLay's right and I guess Dems should go home.

But if they decide that - as at least 50% of the American population says - that the GOP is running this country into the ground, that Tom DeLay is bad for America, and that we need a real opposition party, then perhaps Dems should stop fighting Howard Dean and stop worrying about calling a mean-spirited dickless wonder like DeLay a couple of choice names, and worry instead about fighting the good fight FOR America.

I'm sick to death of so-called Dems like Ben Nelson almost apologizing for being a Democrat - not to mention that really dreadful "red state" toupee of his - jumping on Dean. And Harry Reid apologizing to Bush for being a liar when Mr. Bush's lies are legendary. Howard Dean is NOT the problem. And even before the Dems should worry about name calling back, how about acting not just only as an opposition party but making that opposition intelligent, rooted in the needs of the American public as a whole, and not letting the GOP define who they are and what they can do.

Whistleblower Savagely Beaten

From CNN:

SANTA FE, New Mexico (AP) -- A Los Alamos lab whistle-blower scheduled to testify before Congress was badly beaten in an attack outside a Santa Fe bar.

Tommy Hook was in a hospital recovering from a fractured jaw and other injuries, his wife, Susan Hook, said Monday.

Hook's wife and his lawyer believe the attack was designed to keep him quiet.

Susan Hook said the assailants told her husband during the attack early Sunday that "if you know what's good for you, you'll keep your mouth shut."

Tommy Hook has a pending lawsuit against the University of California alleging whistle-blower retaliation. He had been scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee later this month about alleged financial irregularities at the nuclear weapons lab.

Police and the FBI said they are investigating.

Stop and think about how whistle blowers have been treated under Bush II. Colleen Rowley. Paul O'Neill. Richard Clarke. Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson whose CIA wife's cover was deliberately blown by a ranking White House operative. Then just dismiss this as an isolated incident.

GM Job Cuts

They've already dumped a lot of plants and jobs, but news out today that they'll cut nearly 20% more of the existing work force over the next three years or 25,000 jobs and close more plants.

In the "Gee, I Wouldn't Want to Cruise with O'Reilly Either" Department

From Skippy:

from sweet jesus i hate bill o'reilly comes news that the "battle for american values" cruise with our favorite loofah man has been cancelled due to...wait for it...lack of interest!
O'Reilly's ratings are slipping in most markets, too. Rush, as I recall, went through a similar dropoff after one two many years of Reagan-Bush I.

Sea change?

We can hope.

Or these "good Christians" were afraid Bill might attack them with a falafel after inviting multiple people into a shower stall. I wonder if the cruise company had to pick up the cost of fresh batteries for his assortment of "marital aids".

A horny O'Reilly is a terrible thing.

Is it Time to End the War on Drugs? Is That the Same as Legalization?

Seriously, what are your thoughts?

Libertarians and many old-style conservatives do not want the War on Drugs to continue. It's been a financial disaster and it's done little but give us worse drugs. For example, methamphetamines are a toxic brew largely developed in rural areas by people who felt they could cook it themselves rather than take the risks of buying other drugs on the street.

I used to believe that drug legalization was a bad idea because it basically would say, "We give up." I believed it was society's responsibility to limit the availability of substances that could damage its citizens.

Now, I happen to come from a family of alcoholics. It's rather amazing I got through my teenage and early adult years without developing dependence on drugs or the liquid one: alcohol. But the older I get, the more I realize that it was the overall availability of drugs and alcohol to me that - strangely enough - kept me from pursuing them. I was probably offered pot a slew of times over 4-5 years before I ever tried any and was pretty disappointed in the results. Likewise with alcohol. On my 18th birthday, my mother - who became an alcoholic for a short time just before I was born following the infant death of the son born before me - went out and bought me a bottle of cheap wine as my "rite of passage" into adulthood. A couple of sips, and yuck. To this day, I can take no more than a sip off a beer and only rarely get through a small glass of wine.

But if pot and alcohol had not been around, had I not been able to try them and be disappointed by them, I wonder if I would have been so fortunate. As humans, we tend to want what we can't have. If it's illegal or expensive, hey, that makes us want it all that much more.

I find myself now not just wanting to end the failed failed failed War on Drugs, but also considering fighting for legalization. We've tried prohibition for decades now and it has not worked. We've demonized pot - which is many things, good and bad, but a demon drug it's not - only to have it more sought after.

If we legalize, what do we legalize? I feel that pot could be treated like alcohol and cigarettes, meaning not available legally to minors. But I don't think I'd be willing to legalize heroin, meth, or cocaine, which are an order of magnitude much worse than marijuana. But is that a prescription for disaster?

A Flooding Sea Change: Small Government GOPers Who Want to Control Everything

Remember the old stereotype of the GOP? Get government out of our lives! The government has no right to tell me what to do with my life and family! Damned taxes.

But with the GOP in reigning control now for several years, government spending is drastically up and along with it, incredible pork barrel spending that usually goes right back to red states. And there's nothing the extreme right wants more than to have the government leave them alone while controlling the lives of everyone else.

These folks want government to only finance religion based social programs so their religious beliefs can decide who gets helped and not. Welfare for the poor is bad while welfare for the very rich and for corporations is good.

You can have someone like a Rick Santorum who, at around 50, needs checks from his parents to support his family (despite the roughly $200K/yr he pockets from his job and the perks that come with it), and then pushes a bankruptcy reform bill that helps wealthy cheats escape payment but will severely hurt individuals who are in legitimate financial distress.

I bring this up because of the Supremes ruling on marijuana yesterday. I got angry last night thinking of the Freeper/GOPers I've known who went against the law to have pot themselves (one in Connecticut used to grow it in his tobacco fields where the big tobacco plants would ring the outside of the field and the pot deep within), but want to be sure that someone with a serious illness who benefits from marijuana can't have it without risking prison time.

I don't quite understand how people can deliberately create double standards. I realize they often get created subconsciously. But we have a GOP now hell bent on deliberately exacting of such double standards and that I don't understand.

Judge: Drug Prohibition and Not the Drugs Themselves the Bigger Problem

Cookie Jill posting at Skippy brings us this about a brave Connecticut judge:

wonder if the judge will have a knock-knock-knock on his door in the middle of the night.
    with remarks to a civic group in enfield recently, superior court judge howard scheinblum engaged in what is seldom forgiven in connecticut's public life: candor.

    the judge asserted what can neither be denied nor acknowledged -- that public policy on drugs doesn't work. speaking from his 15 years of experience on the bench, scheinblum estimated 90 percent of criminal cases in connecticut are connected in some way to the pursuit of illegal drugs, and he asserted that society would be far better off to let users of such drugs obtain them by prescription and to be charged for them according to their ability to pay.

    that is, the judge said, drugs are not the problem, not the cause of thievery, robbery, and violence; drug prohibition is.

    if now-illegal drugs were available to addicts by prescription, many addicts would waste their lives away, but at least they wouldn't be robbing and killing others for money for drugs, and drug dealers would not be killing others over drug sales territory. most violent crime would disappear.

    sensible as this might seem -- after all, despite drug criminalization, illegal drugs are
    more prevalent than ever; the legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco, claim so many more lives than illegal drugs; and who really cares how people waste their lives as long as they don't hurt others?-- the judge said any departure from futile drug policy would be blocked by "vested interests." for if drug prohibition crime ended, the judge said, connecticut wouldn't need as many police, courts, prisons, drug programs and so forth. - norwichbulletin.com
some wars are meant to be simply waged...not won.
Yes, indeedy.


Jennifer Wilbanks, Runaway Bride or Candidate for One of the Lousiest Excuses for a Human Being

I just heard - not willingly - the tape of her confession to FBI agents. She wasn't even pretending to be upset as she said, "Oh, it was so difficult. See, I'm anal and I had to get a manicure and a pedicure and I had to have the most perfect wedding because that's what everyone thought I should have because I'm so special. And then I had to shop for gifts but the store didn't have a really good selection and I couldn't get these gifts after the wedding because I'm anal like that."

I wish her fiance would turn the Runaway Bride into the Runover Bride. I'm sure that for Jennifer, 9/11 didn't happen because, you know, it wasn't all about her and what she could have.

Her family must be just oh so proud of her. Mid 30s with the depth of a nine-year-old and the boobs of.. a woman who needs to work on something other than her bust line. Yes, she's been so upset and repentant over her behavior that she couldn't pay all the costs of the search for her because she needed more plastic surgery. And she still looks like a dipshit Fruit Loop.

Want to bet she's Republican? I'll bet my Necco wafers on it.

And You Thought Moon Unit and Dweezil Zappa Were Unique Names

Try Moxie Crimefighter Jillette, the new baby daughter of magician Penn Jillette.

The General Calls Upon Bush's Loyal "Protest Warriors" to Enlist

And they didn't even deign to respond!

Can you imagine? The General, a man who is not only 167% heterosexual and not only the proud owner of a wife, but the man who brings us the sage wisdom of Republican Jesus (who doesn't seem to like people of color or poor people, for that matter - tells you Jesus really is a Republican).

1358 Days Ago and Counting, the President Said We'll Catch bin Laden Dead or Alive

1358 days

And - believe it or not - Mr. Bush wasn't on vacation for a few of those days.

Story from Ted Rall.

Excellent Piece on Responsibility and Lies in This Administration

Many thanks to Buzzflash for pointing out this piece in the McCook Gazette by Mike Hendricks. It's worthy of read in total, but here are some snip-snips:

When anyone lies to you, even once, how can you ever know in the future when they're telling the truth? One lie puts a thought in our mind that the next story or alibi or explanation might be a lie as well. And when we find ourselves in that situation, trust is gone.

Lies damage personal relationships, often beyond repair, because we find ourselves questioning everything the other person says to us. It works the same way when our government does it too. How can we believe anything they say when it's apparently so easy for them to lie?

Do the American people understand what's going on or are they oblivious? Or worse, do they not even care? A recent Gallup poll suggests we do know and we do care.

Even though the public perception, because of the news media primarily, is that the President is a "popular" leader or even a "very popular" leader. The most recent poll, however, suggests otherwise. His approval rating has plunged to the lowest level of any president since World War II at this particular point in his second term.

All other presidents who served a second term had approval ratings well above 50 percent in the months following their election. Bush's current approval rating is 45 percent, well below the next lowest rating of 56 percent with Ronald Reagan in 1985.

These people are our leaders. We expect the truth from them. We all know that there is secret information they can't tell us about or that they need to color a certain way.

But when they use elective and appointive office to run nothing more than a public relations campaign that puts them in the best light and they only way they can do that is by lying to the American people, then that goes beyond the pale. Americans deserve better from their leaders.

Pat Tillman's dad said that the path to true patriotism is confronting your government when it lies
Oh wait. Did I mention Downing Street Memo? No?

Oh dear. Then, please.. visit Downing Street Memo.

I know, I know. I'm just freakin' adorable when I'm being subversive. ::smirk::

Blogging The Supremes


Does Bush's Energy Bill Give Millions of Your Tax Dollars to Former Enron Officials?

Unbleepingbelievable (and yet so like the Bushies). From David Sirota:

This is truly unbelievable. Public Citizen has discovered provisions buried in President Bush's energy bill "that provides hundreds of millions of dollars worth of federal loan guarantees for a power project apparently to be built by four former Enron executives." In fact, "one of the former executives is Thomas White, former head of Enron’s retail and energy trading in California during the energy crisis who later served as President Bush’s Secretary of the Army."

See the full report.

Who put this provision in there? Was it the White House? Or was it one of the White House's allies in Congress? The American people deserve to know before this bill is passed.

Bangor (Maine) News: "These Are Impeachable Offenses"

Democracy, like any sound relationship between people, is built on trust. We trust our leaders to tell the truth so that the consent that we give them is honestly informed. If the consent is won through manipulation, propaganda, fear, or lies, the basis of our democracy has been subverted. It is no longer democracy at all, but we continue to call it that because we have not the courage or stamina to demand its overhaul.

We live a lie when we fail to hold leaders accountable for their lies. By not calling now for impeachment, we are saying that we condone hypocrisy, pseudo-democracy, and murdering thousands of Americans and Iraqis for strategic control of energy resources that we have no right to. Patriotism demands that we insist on the ideals of democracy, not that we support the "leaders" who cynically destroy them.

What's curious is why anyone like me should have to even point this out. Don't our senators and congressmen feel betrayed? Are they content to continue the murdering rather than do what truth demands? Do they think they can lie to history, too. Do they think that this little Iraq problem will somehow just go away, that the courageous resistance to the United States occupation will give up and hand Bush the keys to the oil wells? Do they think that any of the grave crises facing the world now - energy consumption, global warming, species extinction - can be solved by lying about them?

We are living in an age of no accountability. It's also an age upon which may hang the survival of human life on this earth. One should not bet one's future on people who abjure responsibility. The first courageous step is to come to terms with what we know is true: America's president lied to America's people to create an unnecessary war. I ask Sens. Snowe and Collins, Reps. Allen and Michaud to take that step. Begin impeachment proceedings. It's really no more or less than their duty. It's also the first step toward restoring America's integrity.

Say it, New England! Loud, proud, and never bowed, New England gave us the original American patriots, the ones who said NO! to King George, and many of the founders of this nation.

(OK. Maybe I'm just a little biased toward my region, a region as steeped in tradition and independent thinking as it is in mildew and black flies!)

Oh yeah, and all but the first of the dozen links I added to that news story go back to Downing Street Memo, George and Tony's hit bestselling fiction in 2002 and 2003 - and it's still on the New York Times' book list, too.. although no longer as a top seller. ::cough::

Guess Who Likes Mr. Bush?

The nutcase, power hungry, nuke-loving megalomaniacal despot who runs North Korea: Kim Jong-Il.

It's about the equivalent of someone contacting me to say, "Gee, J. Edgar Hoover and Joe McCarthy really enjoy your work!"

Ask yourself if having a president admired by the likes of Dim Kim - who consumes expensive delicacies every minute while his people starve to death en mass - is oh, what we want for America.

"The War to Spin Guantanamo"

From the Christian Science Monitor:

The Bush administration appears to have opened a whole new front in its war on terror: a forceful, full-scale defense of the morality of its detention-camp policies.

First came harsh criticism of Newsweek magazine for its since-retracted charge of Koran abuse at the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. More recently top officials have pushed back - hard - against Amnesty International's use of "gulag" to describe Guantánamo's conditions.

The intensity and coordination of administration remarks on this issue may reflect a belated recognition of the stakes involved. Rightly or not, to much of the world the abuse of prisoners in US custody may now be emblematic of American foreign policy as a whole.

Problems at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and elsewhere "raise profoundly the US valuation on justice," says George Perkovich, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

In its latest attempt to minimize the impact of revelations about detention conditions, Bush officials over the weekend played down a new military report on mishandling of the Koran at Guantánamo.

The report, released June 3, detailed five incidents during which the Islamic holy book was either kicked, stepped on, or soaked in water.

The military said that the incidents were unusual, considering that interrogators have conducted over 28,000 interviews at the prison, and that official policy emphasizes sensitivity towards detainees' religious faith.
Read the rest. Then remember our country was not founded on documents that limit rights and protections to U.S. citizens. And remember that how we treat others will factor in how other countries treat our soldiers, our contractors, our citizens visiting elsewhere.

Did Billionaires' Donations to Bush Get Laundered to Avoid Detection?

The Manhattan District Attorney, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) are jointly probing a tax-shelter plan run out of the Isle of Man.

The scheme, devised by one of America's biggest banks and used by two billionaire donors to George Bush's election campaign among others, is being probed for possible breaches of securities and anti-money-laundering rules.

The investigating bodies believed that up to $100m (£55m) of tax was saved through one scheme alone, and as much as $700m in taxes may have been avoided over an 11-year period. The scheme involved executives and corporations handing over stock to trusts that they declared they neither owned nor controlled. When the options were cashed in, no tax was payable.
This story - appearing in the Brit "The Independent" but which could not be found just now in the American press - arrives on the heels of a Times article indicating that the gap between the rich and the poor in the U.S. has increased exponentially under Mr. Bush, and that the very rich are leaving the merely rich behind in the dust.

Are you better now than you were before Bush?

I didn't think so.

One in 20 Hospitalized Patients Develop Infection from Poor Hospital Hygiene

Read this and weep.

Fire Maria Shriver's Ass and NOW!

The Times brings us a really interesting - and sadly, not surprising at all - story about how NBC - and specifically, The Today Show - has to ask Maria Shriver's opinion before they book guests to discuss topics like... well.. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria's hubby.

The blurring of politics and celebrity, governance and journalism, has made it difficult to discern exactly which agendas are at work here. Government officials become commentators, reporters marry politicians and actors run for office. You might expect Ms. Shriver, a longtime, well-respected member of the NBC family, to get a heads-up about Mr. Leamer's appearance, but giving the wife of a governor the right to approve a guest on its network, whether out of personal loyalty or the desire to maintain access, would be a remarkably bad move for a major news organization.
I suppose this would explain part of why the MSM has spent so little time covering the quite large and ever-growing anti-Arnold protests in California.

Five People Detained at Guantanamo Bay Have Been Charged


Out of hundreds who've been detained there for months and years.


None of those five have gone to trial.


More have died at Gitmo from questionable causes than have been charged with any crime.


What are we accomplishing?


Just five.

The Left and Putting the Poor in Poor Mouthing

DC Media Girl raised an issue about how the left tends to put undue reliance on non paid workers to "get the message out". And she's absolutely correct.

Think of organizations like "Concerned Women for America" and "Focus on the Family" and the Family Research Council. They have extremely well-paid - and dramatically underinformed and blatantly misinformed and misinforming - sources out there all the time. When the MSM even bothers to feature a dissenting opinion, they grab someone who isn't in the know.

Dean during his campaign was smart enough to form a strategic alliance with a fairly small number of centrist and left of center bloggers. But except for the nice things tossed at the same group of people all the time - a fairly small group that you often note because these same bloggers suddenly seem to being doing European tours and flying around to meet with this person or that one - there is no centralized effort. Too much reliance goes on unpaid people who also aren't terribly well informed.

Now mind you, that does NOT mean I want to see blogs become solely the domain of paid shills by any political party. But there are ways to do this that don't turn bloggers into paid guns, while supporting efforts to get the word out. For example, outside of blogdom, I've often been hired as a consultant and analyst where I was a) privy to insider information that helped consolidate information b) could report that out as needed and c) still not let the relationship interfere with my other work. Adults can do things like that. Really!

As it currently operates, the Right is far better funded, gets an immediate bias within the media toward their point of view, and they've got the paid voices out there.