A Happy Dream to Sleep On

Borrowed shamelessly from AttaTurk at Rising Hegemon.

Will White House Change its Tune on the Plame Exposer?

AmericaBlog points out that this is what the White House had to say (not that they said anymore than they possibly could on the subject, just wasn't important, you know) about PlameGate:

CNN.com, September 29, 2003:
    McClellan said that if anyone at the White House leaked Plame's identity, he should be fired, and pursued to the "fullest extent.""No one was authorized to do this. That is simply not the way this White House operates and if someone leaked classified information it is a very serious matter," he said.
Watch Scott try to spin his way away from this words.

Dueling Wars of the World

Frank Rich tackles this topic this week. Read the entire thing, but here's a snip-snip:

As we saw on Tuesday night, doomsday isn't the surefire hit it used to be for Mr. Bush. Now that the rhetorical arsenal of W.M.D.'s and mushroom clouds is bare, he had little choice but to bring back that oldie but goodie, 9/11, as the specter of the doom that awaits us if we don't stay the course - his course - in Iraq. By the fifth time he did so, it was hard not to think of that legendary National Lampoon cover: "If you don't buy this magazine, we'll kill this dog."

Another Bushie Lie Exposed

Also from Think Progress who reminds us the White House insisted Karl Rove had nothing to do with the deliberate outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame:

White House Press Briefing, 10/10/03:

Q Scott, earlier this week you told us that neither Karl Rove, Elliot Abrams nor Lewis Libby disclosed any classified information with regard to the leak. I wondered if you could tell us more specifically whether any of them told any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA?

MR. McCLELLAN: Those individuals — I talked — I spoke with those individuals, as I pointed out, and those individuals assured me they were not involved in this. And that’s where it stands.

TownHall Toons

Think Progress raises yet more insanity from the TownHall denizens:

TownHall.com mass-mailed their readers this morning, urging them to celebrate July 4th by donating to a cause they said would “show our troops that you appreciate their work to promote freedom and democracy” and that you “value their outstanding service to our country.”

You’ll never guess the noble cause that TownHall is supporting. It isn’t helping our soldiers pay for armor and supplies. It’s not sending troops in Iraq spare clothing or phone cards or even toys for them to hand out. No, TownHall.com is raising $25,000 for the vital cause of mailing U.S. forces thousands of copies of Confronting Iraq, a deceptive film produced by the right-wing watchdog group Accuracy in Media.

According to its website, Confronting Iraq apparently shows that the Iraq war was “just and necessary,” part of the larger war “against the unrelenting forces of radical Islam” (wasn’t Saddam a committed secularist?), and that Iraq had “ongoing relations with Osama bin Laden’s terrorist organization, al Qaeda, among others.” It features upstanding luminaries like Bernie Kerik, who loved Iraq so much he decided to leave 9 months early.

Design of Dissent

See some of the examples here.

Thanks to Dialogic for the link.

Katherine Harris: Getting Stabbed in the Back by the Bushies She Subverted Democracy to Get Elected

Read the story here while I belt out a sad tune on my violin. ::wiping tear::

The Stranger: James Dobson's Latest Pet Project

Special sessions designed to allow Christians to "feel good" about espousing hatred toward gays and others.

News America Now

Say hello to the new News-kid on the block: News America Now.

Madison Capital Times: Bush Set Out to Deceive in Tuesday Speech As He's Done Before

From the paper:

The invasion and occupation of Iraq did not stem the spread of terrorist activity in the Middle East. It handed the terrorists new opportunities for recruitment, and it gave them new territory in which to operate. Until the president acknowledges these fundamental realities - and his own responsibility for making things worse - it will be impossible to undo the damage.

George Bush set out to deceive the American people Tuesday. That was morally wrong, and tactically foolish.

But Bush also deceived himself, by engaging in the fantasy that some new spin will allow him to avoid taking responsibility for making the world a more dangerous place. Ultimately, that is the bigger, and far more dangerous, lie.

GOP Head Demands from Bush Phase-Out of Social Security This Year

From Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo:

In a mass email sent out today, RNC chieftan Ken Mehlman calls out to the faithful: phone Congress and demand phase-out this year!

"Since his State of the Union speech in February," says the Mehlman, "President Bush has shown remarkable leadership by traveling the country, talking to Americans about the challenges facing Social Security and the need for personal accounts to be a part of that solution. Simply put, personal accounts will help secure Social Security for future generations and allow younger Americans to grow a nest egg they own and can pass on to whomever they want."
Now, impeachment might make this a little more difficult (hint hint).

Remember BatBoy?

From Weekly World News?

Well, strangely enough, here, you can see what happens when Bill Frist and George Bush meet BatBoy at the occasion of the first recent opening on the Supreme Court. ::cough::

While I Was Surfing...

Say hello to Across the Great Divide. Intelligent discourse to be had.

And Now

I need to go pretend to be a worthwhile member of society by going to work.

Toodles! You'll find plenty to read below, including links to many finer blogs than mine (although mine's not too bad for a cranky white woman living 40 miles beyond the boondocks where broadband does not reach).

Feds to Seize California's Prison Health Care System to Stop Large Number of Prisoner Deaths from Maltreatment

Gee, where's The Arnold who was going to save Cally-for-knee-ah from 'dis stuff'?

A federal judge said Thursday that he would seize control of prison healthcare from the state and place it under a receiver, declaring that "extreme measures" were needed to fix a system that kills one inmate each week through medical incompetence or neglect.

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson said that despite repeated warnings from his court and the "good intentions" of some state officials, the Department of Corrections continues to allow sick prisoners to die "for no acceptable reason." The judge said he would soon issue a written order outlining details of the receivership and begin discussing potential receivers with lawyers in the case.

Attorneys on both sides called the decision historic, saying they believed it marks the first time in the nation that a government operation the size of California's prison medical care system is to be placed under a federal receiver.

Do Our Tax Dollars Pay a Traitor? Karl Rove Outed by 2nd Source as Man Who Revealed Valerie Plame as CIA Operative

According to Editor and Publisher, a second source as joined MSNBC analyst Lawrence O'Donnell in revealing that Time Magazine's Matt Cooper's notes turned over this week expose none other than Bush's "brain", Karl Rove, a taxpayer-paid sr White House advisor, as the man who deliberately outed CIA operative Valerie Plame to get back at her husband, Amb. Joe Wilson, for calling attention to the fact that this administration lied about the Niger "yellow cake" to help cook up reasons for war in Iraq.

Other Good Blog Pieces to Check Out

So instead of doing what I should be doing today - namely, writing 7 chapters on one book, editing eight chapters on another, and taking photographs for a third book while I change the oil in the car, flush the radiator, and clamp the tailpipe (a writer's life is just so incredibly glamourous HA!) - I've been checking the words of my blogleagues (the closest way I can say blogging colleagues).

Offered here for your edification, amusement, and consternation:

Xavier at Pibbshow points us to a blog with quite a different view than Mr. Bush of what we've lost in Iraq.

BradBlog tells us how the Dept of (In)Justice whitewashed (and that's a wholly appropriate term, I might add) the election improprieties in Ohio for the presidential vote in November 2004.

Steve Gilliard has several good pieces up, but one in particular caught my eye: a reality TV show called The Neighborhood that ABC has pulled largely because it shows how close-minded, bigoted, and nasty some Americans can be toward anyone is slightly different from who these people think they are. Go read.

Reprised at Skippy is this:

srewy hoolie, over at scrutiny hooligans, to sandra day o'connor:
    but, damn woman, why couldn't you hold out until '09? when your great-granddaughter is getting a back-alley abortion, you'll wish you had.
Vince at Spazzzdic Musings shares a story he related to me about a recent incident that I'm so glad he posted. Makes you think!

At the same time, Vince points us via link to a blog I had not read before, Today in Iraq. Go see for yourself.

And finally, entitled "The Jew Without a Clue", Morbo posts this at The Carpetbagger Report:
One of the things I've enjoyed most about the Jack Abramoff/Indian casino scandal is seeing Ralph Reed's name dragged through the mud on a regular basis. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Many bigwigs active in the Religious Right, I am convinced, really are religious fanatics. They believe what they say and are absolutely convinced the Bible backs them up. That's what makes a guy like James Dobson so scary.

Others are just in it for all the money and power they can grab. They have no ethics or principles and their real god is Mammon. That's what makes Reed so scary.
But not everyone who plays this game becomes as famous or wealthy as Reed. Several notches below him rests a cast of minor players who move in the orbit of the Religious Right the way seagulls hang around the fringes of a garbage dump, always looking for a tasty morsel they can walk away with.

A guy named Daniel Lapin, the Religious Right's favorite rabbi, plays this important role for the theocrats among us. Whenever the Religious Right needs to claim Jewish support, Lapin is there. It's a lucrative job, because only a handful of rabbis in the country are willing to humiliate themselves by doing things like publicly exonerating TV preacher Pat Robertson after he has written an entire book based on post-World War I anti-Semitic conspiracy theory tracts. Yet Lapin did it.

Paying the Military to Spy on Us

Karlo at SwerveLeft has a good compendium piece on all the domestic spying going on, addressing a subject I've barely touched on because - God - there's so MUCH crap happening right now. I encourage you to read it.

A Letter from Pat Leahy

Leahy, my US senator in Vermont, sent this note out yesterday and it's worth reading.

Dear Kate,

This morning, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement from the United States Supreme Court.

This is a momentous time in our nation's history. The next justice will have enormous influence on a woman's medical decisions, the rights of workers and consumers, the civil and privacy rights of us all, the enforcement of our environmental laws, how our elections are conducted, and nearly every other aspect of our lives.

We cannot allow the independence of our courts to be threatened by a judicial activist who places personal ideology above the law. The Supreme Court is no place for fringe judges. And the Senate is not a rubber stamp for any president's nominations.

Join me in calling for inclusive, thoughtful deliberations during this process:


The Constitution requires that the President seek the Senate's advice and consent in making appointments to the federal courts. As a Senator and as the Democratic leader of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I take this responsibility very seriously.

America must maintain separate but equal branches of government. Neither the legislature, nor the judiciary, should be subjugated to the will of any president - or to the loudest wing of any political party.


In recent years, the President has chosen a path of confrontation rather than consultation with the Senate.

I voted against Janice Rogers Brown, a judge quoted telling conservative audiences that the New Deal "mark[ed] the triumph of our own socialist revolution," and that elderly Americans who depend on Social Security "blithely cannibalize their grandchildren."

I voted against Priscilla Owen, a judge who inserts her opinions into the law so freely that President Bush's own attorney general once called her behavior "unconscionable ... judicial activism."

Once again, the power to avoid political warfare over a judicial nominee -- this time to the Supreme Court -- is in the hands of the President. The process begins with him.

President Bush will decide whether there will be a divisive or unifying process and nomination. If consensus is a goal, bipartisan consultation will help achieve it. I believe that is what the American people want and what they deserve. The President can unite the nation and the Senate with his choice, or he can once again divide us.

Join me in calling for meaningful consultation between the President and Senators on both sides of the aisle at:


If the President chooses a Supreme Court nominee because of that nominee's ideological fervor or record of activism in the hope that he or she will deliver political victories, the President will have done so knowing that he is again choosing the path of confrontation. He will do so knowing that we will once again be forced to defend our belief that the Supreme Court should not be an arm of either political party. It belongs to all Americans.

If the right-wing activists who were disappointed that their nuclear option was averted convince the President to choose a divisive nominee, they will not prevail without a difficult Senate battle. And if they do, what will they have wrought? The American people will be the losers: The independence of and respect for the judiciary will have suffered a damaging blow from which the judiciary may not soon recover.

We need to send a message that the Supreme Court should be above such partisan politics at:


The President and Republican leaders have a choice: choose a battle that divides America, or seek a middle ground with a nominee we all can trust to fairly interpret and uphold the Constitution and the law. Let the Senators who will make this important decision know that America doesn't want us to rubber stamp the President's nominee. Tell them now:


I will be working with Democracy for America during this historic period to keep you up to date on the Senate's deliberations. If you would like to send me your thoughts during this debate, please do so at:


Thank you,

Senator Patrick Leahy
Ranking Democratic Member, Senate Judiciary Committee

For MissM

Just a response to something you wrote.

Please Read: On This Independence Day Weekend

The media is completely awash with coverage of finding the 8-year-old girl missing from a multiple murder in Idaho six weeks ago.

But - as happy as I am that the little girl has been found alive and well - there are much more important things to consider.

My family - both on the Native American and English sides - was here when the United States was founded. My ancestors fought and died, served in early government, watched for Tory attacks, and one served in the first Contintental Congress. So you could say I have a vested interest in keeping that legacy alive - but more than the legacy: the actual intent and vision of this nation's founders who were marvelously insightful in how government and religion could corrupt.

Yet I don't think I have a concession here. Whether you arrived here in this country yourself as a child, or whether your parents were first, second, or fifth generation in calling America home, you too have a vested interest in protecting what our founders designed.

The Bush Administration isn't new in subverting the democracy the founders laid out, but they've been - BY FAR - the most vicious and aggressive corrupters. Yet, even if you don't dislike the Bushies, you likely hate what they've done.

On this Independence Day, I ask you to stop and think about what's being done to take one-person-one-vote away from the people. To consider how much liberty has been taken away from us in the guise of non-working "homeland security". To deliberate on what it means for us to be forcing "Christian nation" status on America when our founders knew that this would be used against rather than for the people - and to understand how "Christian" as its being used today is a very limited term: you must be fundamentalist Christian and you must practice extreme intolerance toward everyone else to fit.

Even more importantly, I'd like you to engage in a dialog with yourself and others about whether this president's lies, distortions, and actions meet the criteria for "high crimes and misdemeanors" and whether it is time for the people to demand a full inquiry into Downing Street and to begin impeachment proceedings against NOT JUST Mr. Bush, but his ENTIRE administration.

I'm not telling you to believe me when I say I think Mr. Bush's actions should have removed him from office years ago, despite the outcome of another cooked election in 2004. Instead, I'm asking you to do your own research, search your own mind and soul, talk with your friends and family members, and reach your own conclusions. If you find, like me, that Mr. Bush has committed high crimes, then you have the responsibility given to all of us 229 years ago by our founders to demand an inquiry and impeachment proceedings.

Must See Political Cartoon by Pat Oliphant

Skippy has it here.

USA Today's Founder Has Strong Words for Bush on Iraq

From Al Neuharth here:

President Bush went on the air this week to pretend again that things are OK in Iraq. Shades of President Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam nearly 40 years ago.

The most important similarity between Iraq and Vietnam is that both Democratic and Republican presidents lied to us in wartime. To refresh your memory, here's how we got out of the Vietnam quagmire:

• Walter Cronkite, CBS-TV news anchor known as "the most trusted man in America," after a combat tour of Vietnam in 1968 declared, "There is no way this war can be justified any longer."

• Johnson lamented to aides, "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America." He announced he would not run for re-election.

The crucial difference between Vietnam and Iraq is that there is no Cronkite to call Bush's bluff. Without a strong, trusted, non-political voice, too many of us remain Bush-blinded. Bush tried keeping the wool over our eyes again Tuesday on national TV by repeatedly tying Iraq to 9/11. That charge is as phony as his discredited prewar claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

UN Iraq Ambassador Says Marines Kill Unarmed Iraqi Man in Cold Blood

UNITED NATIONS - Iraq's U.N. ambassador accused U.S. Marines of killing his unarmed young cousin in what appeared to be "cold blood" and demanded an investigation and punishment for the perpetrators.

In an e-mail to friends obtained Friday by The Associated Press, Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie said the killing took place in his ancestral village in western Anbar province, where U.S.-led forces have been conducting a counterinsurgency sweep aimed at disrupting the flow of foreign militants into Iraq.

His cousin Mohammed Al-Sumaidaie, 21, a university student, was killed June 25 when he took Marines doing house-to-house searches to a bedroom to show them where a rifle which had no live ammuntion was kept, the ambassador said. When the Marines left, he was found in the bedroom with a bullet in his neck.

Now an Elite Military Team is Also Missing in Afghanistan

Rumsfeld must be so proud of himself, too.

U.S. forces desperately scoured rugged Afghan mountains Friday for an elite American military team missing in the same area where a U.S. helicopter was shot down.

A purported Taliban spokesman claimed militants captured one of the men.

In central Afghanistan, Taliban rebels kidnapped and killed Afghan nine tribal leaders and sent a boy to offer to exchange the bodies for those of dead militants, an official said. The tribal leaders were among 25 people killed in three days of fighting in Uruzgan province — yet another troubling sign for a nation hit by an upswing in violence as September elections near.

The loss of the American military team in the remote eastern mountains worsened the already stinging blow suffered by the U.S. military after 16 troops were killed Tuesday aboard the MH-47 Chinook chopper.

Afghanistan: Bad and Getting Much, Much Worse

If you wanted evidence of it, all you had to do was look at the downed chopper this week. Days later, we don't have the area secured, the bodies recovered. That's how dangerous and how little control we have over the country.

Now here's this from AP:

KABUL, Afghanistan -
Afghanistan was held up as an example of U.S.-led nation-building just three months ago. But that optimism has succumbed to near-daily ambushes, bombings, execution-style killings and this week's downing of a U.S. military helicopter.

From U.S. and U.N. officials to Afghan villagers, fear is growing that this country may be at a seminal moment — with the barrage of violence in danger of overwhelming three years of state-building.

"After the presidential elections last year, everyone was optimistic that we were heading toward a stable, peaceful democracy. But it no longer seems that way," said Malalai Juya, a female candidate in September's upcoming elections. "Everyone is scared now. Security has been getting worse and worse by the day."

The resurgence of the Taliban insurgency could not have come at a worse time — with just 10 weeks remaining before key legislative elections that are the next step toward democracy after a generation of war.

Rightwing Nut Job Gray Says it's Fox News' Job to Shield Bush's Supreme Court Nominee from Dems

Gee, I wouldn't think that's the role of a supposedly news channel, no.

From Media Matters:

On Fox News' Dayside with Linda Vester, Fox News "Supreme Court Analyst" C. Boyden Gray said that it is "our job" to make sure that whomever President Bush chooses to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor on the U.S Supreme Court is not "vilified by the left." Though Vester did not mention it, Gray is the chairman of the Committee for Justice, a group he founded in consultation with White House senior adviser Karl Rove to build public support for the confirmation of Bush's judicial nominations. In addition to Dayside, Gray appeared on Fox News numerous times on July 1, including during the 11 a.m., 12 p.m., and 2 p.m. ET hours of Fox News Live, to discuss O'Connor's retirement.

Do the Time/Cooper Source Notes Reveal That Karl Rove Outed CIA Operative Valerie Plame?

That's what an MSNBC analyst reports.

If true - and it's not exactly unexpected - this is huge. The president's most trusted advisor - the man who runs this country, for all practical purposes - deliberately leaked the name of a major CIA operative for no other reason than to get back at Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, for saying there was no truth to the "yellow cake" story the Bushies used to justify going to war in Iraq.

Read the article and you see some suggest a perjury rap for Rove because he lied and said it was not him. However, the outing of an operative in a time of war IS legally defined as an act of treason. To have this done by the president's top man only serves to make this treason actually worse.


John Thune Tied to Yet More Questionable Behavior

From the Pensito Review (Thune is the one who took Daschle's seat, largely by using dirty tricks organized by people like... cough... Jeff Gannon):

A reversal of fortunes for a used car dealer in the upper Midwest is about to cause serious blowback on South Dakota’s freshman U.S. senator, John Thune.

First, Dan Nelson Automotive was cited by the attorney general in Iowa for consumer fraud, predatory lending and other things that shady used car dealers are known to do. Now the company has filed for bankruptcy, claiming to have debts of about $30 million, with assets of about $6 million.

According to Thunewatch.com and published newspaper reports, the auto dealer’s largest creditor is “Sioux Falls-based Metabank, which is owed more than $28 million.”

Turns out, the dealership’s owner - Dan Nelson - is a friend of Sen. Thune, and has been a contributor to Thune’s various political races over the years.

Also turns out - and here’s the beauty part - prior to running for the senate in 2004, Thune sat on the board of directors for the bank during the period in which it gave the loans to the auto dealer, despite evidence that the company was in financial difficulties. In fact, Thune sat on the Audit Committe for the bank.

So, once again, we find a Republican in the now classic GOP connundrum: Did Sen. Thune tacitly approve loans to bail out a crony - or he was totally incompentent in his role as overseer of the bank’s fiduciary responsibilities?

Blair Confirms Downing Street Memo's Authenticity


The Prime Minister has confirmed the authenticity of a Downing Street memo in which Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6, tells Mr Blair that the Bush administration was "fixing" the intelligence and facts about Saddam Hussein's regime to back up a decision that had been taken to invade Iraq as early as July 2002.
Elsewhere, we're up to 52 members of Congress requesting FOI information on the Downing Street Memo and Bush's credibility related to same.

More and More Americans Ponder Impeachement

From Angus-Reid Consultants (thanks to Buzzflash):

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Some adults in the United States would consider legal charges if it is found that George W. Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, according to a poll by Zogby International. 42 per cent of respondents believe Congress should hold the president accountable through impeachment, while 50 per cent disagree.

In Red States (those carried by Bush in the 2004 presidential election), support for impeachment reaches 36 per cent. In Blue States (those where Democratic nominee John Kerry won in the last election), 48 per cent of respondents believe the president should face charges.
Timing, as they say, is everything.

Mr. Bush is salivating to get his pick of Supreme Court nominees in place and he's already said he doesn't want a lot of flack, even though Americans are saying in poll after poll that they wanted moderates.

But there's a bigger question here: do we want Mr. Bush choosing the next Supreme Court judge when the Supremes will factor into any impeachment proceedings that may be called forth? I mean, it's nice to pick the people who can decide your fate. But do we want that?

To me, it only makes sense to have a full inquiry into the Downing Street Memo's many documents and facts and identified individuals and then, if warranted, go through the impeachment process before Mr. Bush would be allowed to seat a Supreme. Capitol Hill, in the wake of Watergate, responded appropriately, across party lines, with Nixon. Unfortunately, that seems impossible today when Capitol Hill acts as a collective "yes man" to this president.

Michele Malkin, the Global Village Idiot

She doesn't think kids are taught enough violence in schools.

Poor Michele - not being white she feels she has to outdo Ann Coulter and Peggy "Looney" Noonan in outrageousness... and somehow, she succeeds. This posted by Greg at Wonkette:

Recognizing that compassion and civility have no place in Christian America, Michelle Malkin lays down a vicious bitch-slap on NYC public schools and their "clear pacifist agenda" to get kids to treat each other with mutual respect:
    At a time of war, when young Americans should be educated about this nation's resilience and steely resolve, educators are indoctrinating students with saccharine-sticky lessons on "non-violent conflict resolution" and "promoting constructive dialogues."

    Peaceniks are covering our kids from head to toe in emotional bubble wrap. They are creating a nation of namby-pambies...Ostensibly, the program helps kids deal with petty meanness and name-calling from insensitive classmates. Not by instructing them in self-defense, mind you, but by inflating their self-esteem."
You know, I am a pacifist. But give me five minutes in a room with Michele and I'll see if I remember those kick boxing moves I learned a few years ago.

I was raised in a family of older boys who fought dirty and - while I don't use the techniques I learned - I think Michele would start bawling her ass off the first time I pulled her hair or made fun of her pastel attire.

More SCOTUS Activities Other Than Falling into Depression

While we're all reeling from the morning announcement, Brendan at Coadunate also points us to additional suggested courses of action we can engage in posted at MyDD.

Thanks for posting the link, Brendan.

SCOTUS: What We Can Do Now

David in NYC over at Daily Kos suggests some ideas:

Whatever happens with the Supreme Court nomination battle that is about to ensue, it's going to happen fast. Here are some things you can do right now:

Krugman: America Held Hostage

Paul's got an important column today. I'll start you off here but please - take some time between bottle rockets and cheesedogs to read in full:

A majority of Americans now realize that President Bush deliberately misled the nation to promote a war in Iraq. But Mr. Bush's speech on Tuesday contained a chilling message: America has been taken hostage by his martial dreams. According to Mr. Bush, the nation now has no choice except to keep fighting the war he wanted to fight.

Never mind that Iraq posed no threat before we invaded. Now it's a "central front in the war on terror," Mr. Bush says, quoting Osama bin Laden as an authority. And since a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would, Mr. Bush claims, be a victory for Al Qaeda, Americans have to support this war - and that means supporting him. After all, you wage war with the president you have, not the president you want.

But America doesn't have to let itself be taken hostage. The country missed the chance to say no before this war started, but it can still say no to Mr. Bush's open-ended commitment, and demand a timetable for getting out.

I know that this argument will be hard to sell. Despite everything that has happened, many Americans still want to believe that this war can and should be seen through to victory. But it's time to face up to three realities. First, the war is helping, not hurting, the terrorists. Second, the kind of clear victory the hawks promised is no longer possible, if it ever was. Third, a time limit on our commitment will do more good than harm.

Reid Bitch Slaps Santorum in Senate Today Over Veterans Affairs Funding

We all know this administration and their lackeys on Capitol Hill love to be photographed with soldiers and vets before they rush back to cut funding for these folks they call heroes. Well, Reid apparently had enough of it today.

Here's a snippet, but go read AmericaBlog to get the broader context:

Senator Reid eviscerates Santorum on Senate floor This is a big deal for the Senate, this kind of excitement just doesn't happen on the floor. This exchange happened earlier today - this is not an official transcript, so may have some small typos, etc.
    Mr. Reid: Mr. president, I will not be lectured about civility by the junior senator from Pennsylvania who has repeatedly disrespected veterans. Three times he opposed funding for veterans, votes in committee and here on the senate floor. I ask consent that his voting record be submitted in the record. On those issues.

    The presiding officer: Without objection.

    Mr. Reid: Mr. President, now with an election cycle upon us, he supports, under pressure, voting for veterans. Talk about crass politics. The junior senator from Pennsylvania can't run from his record. He owes the veterans more.

Fuck - Sandra Day O'Connor Resigns

Sorry for the language, but there is no other word that applies.

O'Connor, while quite conservative, has sometimes bridged the divide on the court. If Rehnquist steps down, too, we're in even deeper do-do.

They're calling this "the nightmare scenario" on the court (TV news people).

Er.. Um.. Eh

How did I miss placing All Spin Zone in blogroll?

I always thought it was there. Heh. Well, it's there now.

If I'm missing other good ones, shout at me (but not too loudly - I have a headache - thank you).

Zogby Poll: The Impeachment Word Version

All Spin Zone beat me to posting about what I heard and read tonight: that nearly half of all Americans would consider/favor impeachment of President George W. Bush if it's proven that he lied about the Iraq War. This from the most recent Zogby poll.

Of these, 25% of Republicans - Republicans! - say they would favor impeachment.

My God, perhaps Karlo's right (it does happen after all, even among a man with such a strong distaste for catblogging :: grin::) and people actually are waking from their "patriotic" slumber.

Downing Street Memo, I salute whoever leaked you.

The General Writes

General JC Christian, Heterosexual Patriot Extraordinaire (unless that last word is French, of course, because we know Sean Hannity thinks the French are cheese-eating surrender monkeys and - well, I can't say what I think of Sean) has been writing letters again.

With his new logo: Operation Yellow Elephant, Sign Up or Shut Up, the General writes this letter to the chairman of the Young Republicans National Committee who - for reasons which escape me- refuses to enlist in the Great War of an Even Greater Leader.

And while you're there, do peruse his supportive letter to beleagered House Majority LiarLeader, Tom DeLay.


Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep

This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System.

This is just a test.

If this were a real emergency, we'd be high-tailing it out of town and you'd be left on your own with duct tape and prayer just like you were on 9/11/01.

But this, thankfully, was only a test. We now return to our regular programming of Karl Rove authorized propaganda, shark attacks, and missing privileged young women who are largely missing because they broke all the rules.

Once the Bush Administration terrorists strike our country again while you're distracted elsewhere, it won't be a test. Besides, you already failed the test by re-electing NumbNutz.

Time Magazine: How Wrong They Are

There is just no excuse for caving in and turning over their sources to the court.

Of course, few ask the bigger question: who are they protecting? Is his name Karl Rove?

And we're too distracted with Natalee Halloway and sharks to pay attention.

If the New President of Iran was a US Hostage Captor?

Why are we just hearing it now? He's been rather well known for years.

I'm not sure I buy this story except to further demonize this man and use it as yet another misinformed excuse for going after Iran? I think the drumbeat on Syria and Iran are pretty loud now.

That we have no money or troops to possibly win a war waged in either country would certainly not stop the Keystone Kabal - the Bushies - from starting one.

Anyone an Expert on Fluoride?

Several times in recent weeks, I've read (in print, online) references to another big benefit from fluoride-treated water: that it makes people docile and malleable.

Now, I have almost never lived where I was tied into a municipal water supply and those I was part of did not, to my knowledge, add fluoride. Maybe that explains me, eh? ;)

But I'm interested to see if anyone else has read anything substantial and/or authoritative on the subject of the behavioral changes due to fluoride treatment. Do red states treat with massive volumes of fluoride?

Sorry I've Been Light in Posting

But it's unGodly hot, I'm exhausted from circumstances and finishing the manuscripts on a car repair book (yeah, isn't that funny?), a database book, and a booklet on community building (it's amazing where my expertise lies), while also working on a Windows XP guide, a build your own custom PC book, and a Flash video book. Somewhere in there, I wrote two novels in my spare time and, oh yeah, I have a blog. ::grin::

These I should finish just in time to start the round of Office 2006 books and heck, probably a book on "fix your own toilet".

To be truthful, however, I'm also feeling incredibly frustrated. As Daily Read on Trailing Edge Blog noted the other day, you read so much of what's going wrong with this country and your spirit flags.

Yet, the battle isn't won yet, is it? So we must persevere. All of us.

A Note to Vince

Hey Vince-

I loved the story you related in your email (really, you should post it online!) but when I replied, my email came bouncing back. I'll try sending it again later but wanted you to know I wasn't ignoring you.

In fact, if anyone writes and they don't hear back from me (I usually respond within 24 hours), shout. It usually means your ISP doesn't like my ISP. When I get a "will not deliver" message, I resend using a different ISP but not all ISPs are kind about letting you know.

Donald Rumsfeld, Prophet and Comedian

Banality Fair has my all-time favorite Rumsfeldian quote - and really, the man is one of the great convoluted minds of our time:

"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know." -- Donald Rumsfeld, February 12, 2002

A Definition of Government

Posted at Skippy's from Liberty Quotes:

government is the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex.


The BBC on Bush's Speech


US President George Bush has said there is no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 11 September attacks.

The comments - among his most explicit so far on the issue - come after a recent opinion poll found that nearly 70% of Americans believed the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks.

Mr Bush did however repeat his belief that the former Iraqi president had ties to al-Qaeda - the group widely regarded as responsible for the attacks on New York and Washington.

Critics of the war on Iraq have accused the US administration of deliberately encouraging public confusion to generate support for military action.

We have no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with the 11 September attacks
President Bush

Looking back at what the administration said

At a time when the credibility of government intelligence and information is under the spotlight, President Bush probably had little choice but to scotch the confusion, says the BBC's Ian Pannell in Washington.

But if the public believes that they were given the wrong impression by the administration, then there may be a political cost involved with the presidential campaign under way, our correspondent says.

The Chickenhawks Who Send Others to War When They Would Not Go Themselves

Mark Shields at CNN:

What is the definition of silence?

That would be Vice President Dick Cheney, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich getting together to swap war stories, or simply to reminisce about their military service.

Each of these distinguished political leaders -- all three enthusiastic backers of the U.S. war in Vietnam during their youth and forceful advocates of the U.S. war against Iraq in their later years -- had been, as young men, eligible for the nation's military draft, and yet none of them spent a day in uniform.

What brings this up is the news that the U.S. Army has, for four months in a row, failed to reach its recruiting goals.

Recruitment for the Army Reserves and the National Guard, which between them constitute nearly half of U.S. troops now deployed in Iraq, are down, respectively, 21 percent and 24 percent.

Even the Marines, who had met their recruitment goals every month for 11 years, have failed to meet recent monthly enlistment quotas.

Send NC Representative Robin Hayes Home

For all the media bias out there these days, sometimes, a check and balance slips in.

I happened to be watching CNN early this morning when Rep. Robin Hayes - R- Dolt, NC - announced there was a key link between 9/11, Iraq, and al Qaeda.

The host - Carole Costello - stops him and says no, there IS no connection between them.

Hayes, the pompous ass, looks down his nose at her and says, to paraphrase, "No. People in the KNOW have all the facts. 9/11 and Saddam Hussein are tied together as closely as possible. You just don't have the facts."

Even Daryn Kagan - Rush Limbaugh's sweetie - managed to, when replaying the video of Hayes' arrogant stupidity, note that there is no factual connection.

Crooks and Liars has the video of Robin the Dunce.

Howard Dean on Hardball

He's better than 99.89999% of lardass' guests, by far.

Emergency Alerts

Thinking about the "shark" and "missing white female" dominance in the news, like the summer of 2000, let me ask:

Has anyone else noticed that radio and TV networks are going nuts with testing the emergency alert systems? I have been working since early this morning, with little time to hear or listen to TV or radio, and yet I've heard 11 different test signals. Yesterday, I counted 23. Last Saturday, during a single hour of TV surfing, I hit it 9 times on various channels.

The irony here, of course, is that on 9-11, the emergency alert did NOT sound. Why? Because it was in the towers that went Poof!

But I find the frequency of the test alerts disarming. I've asked about a dozen people if they've noticed it lately and all but one said, "Yes, come to think of it..."

Is there a method to this madness? Meaning, did the FCC or someone step on broadcasters to run the alert more, perhaps as a way of unsettling Americans to pipe down their criticism because all these tests might get citizens nervous?

The Holloway Case: Sad On One Score, Pathetic the Rest

Except for snarky comments, you haven't seen me mention this story because it's being so overplayed here. Holloway is the 18-year-old Alabama teen who went missing a month ago in Aruba.

But in a strange way, we're seeing the kind of excess and America's might-is-right politics playing out in this case. Everytime the woman's mother clasped her hands together in pray, some network broadcasts it. This woman gets more air time everyday than Bill Frist, George Bush, and Tom DeLay put together. Diane Sawyer prays with her. We see the woman soliciting prayers from these Aruban citizens.

This is not to say it's not an unfortunate case. It is. But we're going through this because this young woman traveled off American soil and didn't follow the rules for safety.

But stop and consider this: we have news casters announcing that the Dutch father and son involved in the case are guilty. While there's some question whether these folks - and the others - would have been arrested and held for questioning AT all - had the U.S. not bitched about it so. Now we seem just short of launching a nuclear strike on Aruba because it left the Dutch father and son go this week. Silly me, I assume the Aruban officials let them go because they had no case to keep them.

However, because this mother says God told her that the Dutch father lied - and of course, God wouldn't lie and an upset woman wouldn't dream up communication with God - Geraldo, Scarborough, Limbaugh, Nancy Grace(less) et al want the Dutch folks drawn and quartered, preferably for broadcast. So far, the entire case against these people seems to be summed up by "Natalee's mom thinks they're bad people." Doesn't matter that the Dutch father was a respected member of the community and a judge.

The news networks have profilers and law enforcement people saying - authoritatively - that the Dutch father is covering up for his son "who murdered Natalee" in cold blood. Some genius yesterday said we should cut off diplomatic relations with Aruba.

We're now demanding that Holland "do"something to the Dutch father and son. Some politician is making noises about coming up with a law that would prohibit tourism to Aruba UNLESS the Aruban officials shoot the Dutch father and son without benefit of a trial. Texas and other states are sending investigators and dive teams to "take control of the investigation" because - after all - some "brown people" might be in charge in Aruba and we can't trust brown people, right?

Everything about this case is over the top at the same time a number of studies are telling us that unless the missing person is an attractive young white woman - and preferably Christian and blonde - they won't get a blink from the media.

What bothers me most is that we have sharks and a new Chandra Levy, just as we had the summer before 9-11. That summer, the media tried and convicted Gary Condit who apparently had nothing to do with Levy's disappearance; her body was later found in a park with a manner of death that seemed consistent with a serial killer who had taken the lives of other women. But you heard little of that because once Condit- who wasn't too nice a human being, granted - was no longer the villain, no one was interested.

After 9-11, the media said they'd blown it, that they learned their lessons about covering the important stories after they wasted the summer of 2001 covering sharks and Chandra. And yet, here we are, doing it again.

Skippy The Great

Please, please, give a sweet, funny, witty kangaroo - with some great co-bloggers like Cookie Jill, RJ, Pudentilla and more - a chance at hitting the one million visitor mark in about two weeks.

Click a Kangaroo today!

Just remember:

[Ed. note: Yes, I know, I've made this appeal several times over the past week, but - while Skippy doesn't always get all the attention the big boys get, I think his blog is invaluable. It's truth touched with humor and a razor sharp wit.]

"Who is that Masked Greedy, Stinking Hog?"

Why, it's the Porky GOP Avenger!

Kudos to the General for un-unmasking this pork wiener.

In the "We're from the Government and We're Here to Help You by Hunting Liberals Down and Killing Them!" Department


Badtux points us to this post at David Neiwert (Orcinus)and provides us with this nifty image.

MSNBC: 78% of Voters Disagree with Bush That the Sacrifices Have Been Worth it

Yet the media persists in saying only Democrats disagree with the president. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Last night, I had to make a run down to the general store (yes, we have those in Vermont) to get some popsicles for a sore throat. As I stood in line, a few young men came in and began talking to the woman behind me. Two of them said they were home for a few days just before they ship out to Baghdad.

I wheeled around, my mouth open. There was so much I wanted to say. But, not convinced I had any right to intrude on their gungho attidude, I held my tongue. Neither fellow seemed older than 19 or so. When the woman asked if they were going to listen to Bush's speech on Iraq at 8 PM, both laughed and said, "hell, no."

I've been regretting my silence ever since.

What would I have said? Well, I might have offered to drive them to Canada. Or I might have offered - as I've done with others - to check in on their families while they're deployed. But I wanted to tell them not to go.

Vermont Communities Take Back Their Radio Airwaves

From one of my favorite regular reads, The Vermont Guardian.

Read this and think about what might be possible in your neck of the woods.

Bush's Sacrifice for the Troops...

From Think Progress:

This just in from the Hill. On the same day President Bush will use the soldiers at Fort Bragg as a backdrop for his address on Iraq, conservatives in the House have voted to underfund veterans’ health care by at least $1 billion.

The backstory: Last week, the Washington Post revealed that the budget for veterans’ health care was suffering a billion dollar shortfall this year, a fact unearthed “only during lengthy questioning” of a Veterans Affairs undersecretary.

The Bush administration had claimed on multiple occassions that the current budget was enough to provide full care. Back in February, Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson testified that he was “satisfied that we can get the job done with this budget.” Later, when Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) tried to add funds into the VA budget, Nicholson wrote her a letter assuring that the VA did not “need emergency supplemental funds in FY2005 to continue to provide timely, quality service that is always our goal.”

Yet today, even after the administration’s misleading claims had been exposed, and despite brand new data showing that demand for veterans health programs had grown twice as fast as the VA predicted earlier this year, House conservatives still voted to block any additional funding for veterans’ care.

Moments ago, Rep. Chet Edwards (D-TX), the ranking minority member on the House Subcommittee on Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs, proposed making up the shortfall for vets’ care in a foreign aid bill that is still being considered. According to the AP, conservatives shot down the measure on a 217-189 vote.
What the troops themselves need, of course... and to do in on the day of Bush's speech where he used men and women as stage props.


ABC News: White House Advance Team Staged Applause for Bush Speech

AmericaBlog has the story:

ABC's Terry Moran just reported that the only time Bush got applause was in the middle of his speech when a White House advance team member started clapping all on their own in order to cajole the soldiers into clapping, which they dutifully did.

So even the applause was fake
Why, oh why, am I not surprised?

AP: "Bush: Bloodshed in Iraq 'Worth it'"

No joke. Here. It's the headline on their coverage of Bush's speech tonight. Oh, no, I'm not surprised that they used it; it's quite accurate. But the press is so kind to Mr. Bush that they often do not state what is obvious or factual.

It's likely Rove is having the federal marshals strike the AP HQ right now. I'd expect to see the headline change real soon now.

I'm Not Ignoring You, Really

I see that several comments were left today/evening but I can't seem to get them open (it tries and tries and then errs out). So I'll try again in the morning.

Editor & Publisher: Majority of Americans Want Bush to Be Reasonable and Moderate in Supreme Court Nominees

And, of course, the president isn't about to listen.

Novak (Bob the Douchebag) was saying the other night he thinks Bush will nominate Gonzalez, a long-time Bushie and currently the Atty General. But Novak said that he and other conservatives will protest loudly if that happens... leaving the very strong implication it's because Gonzales is well.. you know, brown.

Yes, these are the same folks who insisted the opposition to Condi Rice and Janice Rogers Brown and other candidates is being Dems are so bigoted. This one always make me laugh since many of Novak's and Bush's ilk make a point of screwing up their noses and looking unhappy when they have to be "inclusive" of people of brown, black, yellow or heck, even New England backgrounds (although Bush was born in New Haven).

Karlo on King Bush

Daily Read at Trailing Edge Blog reminds me I'm overdue in visiting Karlo at SwerveLeft and I was glad to the "tickle" when I came upon this. Go read for yourself its entirety.

In the Sunday Times, the American general who commanded allied air forces (Lieutenant-General Michael Moseley) during the Iraq war appears to have admitted in a briefing to American and British officers that coalition aircraft waged a secret air war against Iraq from the middle of 2002 (nine months before the invasion began). Why does this matter? I suppose it doesn't if Bush is King and we are his loyal subjects. The Honorable King has the right to unilaterally make war on whomever he so chooses--in a monarchy. Or in a fascist system.

Fortunately, more Americans are waking up from their patriotic slumber.

The Times' Wasn't Crazy About the Bush Speech Either

(Trust me. I will NOT be quoting from William Safire's great defense of the liar in skirts, Judith Miller.)

From Wednesday's Times:

We did not expect Mr. Bush would apologize for the misinformation that helped lead us into this war, or for the catastrophic mistakes his team made in running the military operation. But we had hoped he would resist the temptation to raise the bloody flag of 9/11 over and over again to justify a war in a country that had nothing whatsoever to do with the terrorist attacks. We had hoped that he would seize the moment to tell the nation how he will define victory, and to give Americans a specific sense of how he intends to reach that goal - beyond repeating the same wishful scenario that he has been describing since the invasion.

Sadly, Mr. Bush wasted his opportunity last night, giving a speech that only answered questions no one was asking. He told the nation, again and again, that a stable and democratic Iraq would be worth American sacrifices, while the nation was wondering whether American sacrifices could actually produce a stable and democratic Iraq.

Given the way this war was planned and executed, the president does not have any good options available, and if American forces were withdrawn, Iraq would probably sink into a civil war that would create large stretches of no man's land where private militias and stateless terrorists could operate with impunity. But if Mr. Bush is intent on staying the course, it will take years before the Iraqi government and its military are able to stand on their own. Most important of all - despite his lofty assurance last night that in the end the insurgents "cannot stop the advance of freedom" - all those years of effort and suffering could still end with the Iraqis turning on each other, or deciding that the American troops were the ultimate enemy after all. The critical challenge is to gauge, with a clear head, exactly when and if the tipping point arrives and the American presence is only making a terrible situation worse.

Our Concern for Children Should Start in American Prisons in Gitmo, Afghanistan and Iraq

Here's a Times guest editorial I can stand behind:

LAST month John Miller, director of the State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, said that half the victims of human trafficking may be children under 18. Children are "at the center" of the problem of trafficking, which, Mr. Miller noted, is one of the great human rights issues of the 21st century. Yes, children should be at the heart of our concern for human rights. But that concern should start with the children detained in American prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantánamo Bay.

Under international law, the line between childhood and maturity is 18. In communications with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the Pentagon has lowered the cutoff to 16. For this reason among others, we don't know exactly how many Iraqi children are in American custody. But before the transfer of sovereignty from the Coalition Provisional Authority to an Iraqi interim government a year ago, the International Committee of the Red Cross reported registering 107 detainees under 18 during visits to six prisons controlled by coalition troops. Some detainees were as young as 8.
Eight years old. Eight.

More on Cheney's Heart (Or Lack Thereof)

Remember the Huffington Post entry I noted where Cheney snuck into a hospital and his folks said it was "orthopedic" in nature?

Gosh, I'm not sure how to break this to you since it's just so difficult to imagine the Bushies telling a little fib (Downing Street Memo), but...

The New York Daily News is reporting today that the gist of Huffington's scoop is true, that the veep went to a Vail, Colo., hospital over the weekend, checked in under a fake name, and got his bum ticker checked out with an EKG.
    But a well-connected Lowdown spy told me that Cheney - whose knees were hurting from climbing stairs - received an EKG after medical personnel noted that his breathing was labored.

    "That's pretty common at this high altitude," said the spy, a Vail resident, noting that the EKG was normal. "We're at 8,500 feet, and the air is pretty thin, which is hard if you're not used to it."

    The spy told me hospital records indicated that the veep, surrounded by heavy security, was logged in as "Dr. Hoffman" (the name of his physician in Washington) and stayed for 2 hours and 41 minutes.

    Cheney's flack insisted: "The vice president had an appointment with a renowned orthopedist in Vail to evaluate an old football injury."

    Why do I feel like someone is pulling my leg?
So kudos to Lloyd Grove, but this has to appear in a gossip column? When is the national news media going to pick up on this case of dishonesty involving an issue that's of the utmost national importance -- the heartbeat of the man who (all W. jokes aside for one fleeting moment) at least constitutionally is a heartbeat away from the presidency?
Yeah. The health of the prez and VP is always an issue. Why has this been hidden (too)?

This Could Be a Mess, Both in Higher Prices and Poorer Service


NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday overturned a prior ruling that required cable operators to open up their high-speed Internet lines to rivals.

At issue in the case, FCC v. Brand X, was whether cable operators should be required under federal law to lease their cable lines to competitors, much the way local phone companies were forced years ago to open up their lines to long-distance phone companies.

The justices overturned the U.S. appeals court ruling by a 6-3 vote.

In a separate case Monday, the court ruled that software companies can be held liable for copyright infringement when individuals use their technology to download songs and movies illegally.

The unanimous decision handed the music and movie industries a crucial victory in their battle to curb Internet piracy but it was a big blow to technology companies. (For more on that case, click here).
But the broadband companies, as I recall, often accept federal subsidies to develop that infrastructure, which was the reason they were being told to share.

No Post-Speech Bump?

CNN was running a poll asking folks if they approved of Bush's handing of the war.

Before the speech, with about 80,000 respondents, the results were running 76% against.

Two hours after the speech, with more than 200,000 respondents, the results are 76% against.

Some Slight uh... Untruths in Tonight's Bush Speech

Think Progress brings us those, too, such as:

Bush: “In this time of testing, our troops can know: The American people are behind you. Next week, our Nation has an opportunity to make sure that support is felt by every soldier, sailor, airman, coast guardsman, and Marine at every outpost across the world.”
Fact: “The Bush administration, already accused by veterans groups of seeking inadequate funds for health care next year, acknowledged yesterday that it is short $1 billion for covering current needs at the Department of Veterans Affairs this year.” [Washington Post, 6/24/05]
and this:
President Bush: “Some Americans ask me, if completing the mission is so important, why don’t you send more troops? If our commanders on the ground say we need more troops, I will send them. But our commanders tel me they have the number of troops they need to do their job.”
Fact: According to the London-based think tank, the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the insurgency in Iraq gains strength from the lawlessness of western Iraq: “Militarily, it’s a security vacuum.” The main reason U.S. military officers have said they are unable to gain control of the west? Not enough troops. (As Maj. Mark Lister, a senior Marine air officer in Al Anbar province, put it, “Basically, we’ve got all the toys, but not enough boys.”) President Bush has insisted he has sent enough troops to Iraq. U.S. military officers in the western Al Anbar province say they’ve repeatedly asked for more troops, but commanders in Baghdad and the Pentagon have denied their requests.
There's more. Go read.


And, related to the previous post about the downed chopper and the allegedly summarily executed crew?

CNN gave more attention today to sharks, the still-missing white girl in Aruba, and the latest missing Boy Scout. Heck, they gave more time to a taped interview with the family of the last missing Boy Scout.. and exciting it was, too. The dad kept saying the kid was eating great now: he had 7 slices of pizza last night and several candy bars.

Yup, that covers ALL the major food groups.

The Taliban We Wiped Out Took Down a Chinook Chopper in Afghanistan Today

The DoD is of course denying the story, but the Taliban - who says our folks did NOT kill 178 of their "already wiped out" crew the other day - says they slit the throats of the chopper crew members who survived the crash.

Nice. I didn't happen to catch the president reference that tonight either.

I Knew Someone Was Counting

And it was Think Progress that live-blogged the president's bamboozlespeechdooza tonight:

References to “September 11″: 5
References to “weapons of mass destruction”: 0
References to “freedom”: 21
References to “exit strategy”: 0
References to “Saddam Hussein”: 2
References to “Osama Bin Laden”: 2
References to “a mistake”: 1 (setting a timetable for withdrawal)
References to “mission”: 11
References to “mission accomplished”: 0

Scalia the Madman

Roger Ailes brings us this re: Supreme Noni Scalia:

Today, Fat Tony Scalia candidly acknowledged his dishonest, undemocratic power grab in the case of Bush v. Gore:
    "What distinguishes the rule of law from the dictatorship of a shifting Supreme Court majority is the absolutely indispensable requirement that judicial opinions be grounded in consistently applied principle."
No, of course not. Il Duce would never be so honest.

Downing Street Memo Day

(Funny... did I miss Mr. Bush discussing the Downing Street Memo tonight? I'm not seeing it in the transcript either.)

Anyhoo, on Saturday, July 23rd, the 3rd anniversary of the meeting, there will be a national day of action to call attention to the memo and the minutes, the questions raised by it, the demand for answers, and a growing desire for accountability. Click the image for information.

Halliburton: Over Charging Us a Fortune to Feed Spoiled Food to the Troops

Did I miss the president apologizing for this tonight?


Wow. I'm sure he feels really bad about it though while he eats his second dinner of the night prepared by his team of taxpayer-paid French chefs. Really.

You'll find this topic covered in some detail in one of the Daily Kos diaries, like this:

Mr. Rory Mayberry, Food Production Manager at Camp Anaconda in Iraq from February to April 2004, testified (via video feed) that KBR regularly and consistently fed expired food (food past its freshness date by up to a year!) to our troops in Iraq. Refrigerated food and frozen food in the refrigeration trucks would be left to spoil when the trucks were turned off. He also said that the KBR management would throw parties for themselves three to four times a week and served perfectly good food at the parties! Added to this, they would feed the troops 10,000 meals and charge the government for 20,000 meals.
as well as this reported by from Byron Dorgan:
Mayberry said he witnessed not only KBR's practice of overcharging for dining hall services, but also efforts by KBR managers to avoid the scrutiny of government auditors. As a result of suspicions he had raised with the auditors, Mayberry said KBR managers sent him to a more dangerous camp in Fallujah during the auditors' visit to Camp Anaconda. He left KBR shortly after, but has since returned to Iraq with another private contractor.

What Mr. Bush Should Have Done Rather than Dish Bullshit

From MSNBC (emphasis mine and the rest of the world's):

With Tuesday’s attacks, Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant with ties to al-Qaida, is now blamed for more than 700 terrorist killings in Iraq.

But NBC News has learned that long before the war the Bush administration had several chances to wipe out his terrorist operation and perhaps kill Zarqawi himself — but never pulled the trigger.

In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had revealed that Zarqawi and members of al-Qaida had set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern Iraq, producing deadly ricin and cyanide.
And... [snapping fingers in remembrance]... it's been more than 1400 days since Mr. Bush said we'd get Osama dead or alive.

But then, of course, Mr. Bush couldn't use bin Laden and Zarqawi as his blame, his excuse for every vile thing he does if we actually caught them.

Did You Count How Many Times...

Mr. Bush invoked 9/11 when talking about Iraq, like there's any link between them when there isn't? Cheney does this constantly.

It's not even good sleight-of-hand. We can all point to the shell that contains the quarter. But they keep shuffling them around and doing the same trick over and over again.

XM Satellite Radio May Get Drafted by Military

Story here. Thanks to Buzzflash for the link.

Public's Doubts Rise

Bush may have a hard sell tonight.

From USA Today:

WASHINGTON — President Bush delivers a prime-time address Tuesday to a public that is increasingly doubtful of his justifications for going to war in Iraq and wants a timetable set for U.S. troops to come home — a step Bush has ruled out.

Just one in three Americans now say the United States and its allies are winning the war, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday. That is a new low, down 9 percentage points since February. Half say neither side is winning.

Bush will try to reassure Americans and rally support in a televised speech at 8 p.m. ET from Fort Bragg in North Carolina, home of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division. He is marking the first anniversary of the transfer of power from the U.S.-led coalition to an Iraqi government.
But from the Washington Post:
a new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that most Americans do not believe the administration's claims that impressive gains are being made against the insurgency, but a clear majority is willing to keep U.S. forces there for an extended time to stabilize the country.

The survey found that only one in eight Americans currently favors an immediate pullout of U.S. forces, while a solid majority continues to agree with Bush that the United States must remain in Iraq until civil order is restored -- a goal that most of those surveyed acknowledge is, at best, several years away.

Amid broad skepticism about Bush's credibility and whether the war was worth the cost, there were some encouraging signs for the president. A narrow majority -- 52 percent -- believes that the war has contributed to the long-term security of the United States, a five-point increase from earlier this month.

Ethics Watchdog Says Bill Frist Failed to Disclose $1.4 Million Loan for His Campaign

See the article at Raw Story.

Miller, Cooper, the Supremes, and Journalism

Yesterday, the Supremes chose not to involve themselves in the court case that threatens to jail Judith ("There are WMDS everywhere and Ahmed Chalabi told me so!") Miller of The Times and Matt Cooper related to the Valerie Plame outing.

Since then, much has been blogged about what it means, as well as whether - in our delight to see Miller, whose Iraq War reporting was so devastatingly spun to the Bushies - we're letting our dislike of Miller cloud our views.

I see Miller and Cooper as an anamoly and almost tangential. Miller certainly learned nothing from giving her heartfelt loyalty to the Bushies by lying to the American public only to watch the Bushies hang her out to dry over failing to reveal her Bush White House source on Plame. And if there was justice, Bob Novak would be sitting in prison right now along with whatever White House operative - hi Karl Rove! - leaked the details to him so he could print it in July 2003.

We can stand behind good journalism without supporting Miller.

The New McCarthyism

Prompted by Armando at Daily Kos, I ventured over to read EJ Dionne's column in yesterday's Washington Post. I agree with Armando: it's an important read and starts out like so:

In the 1950s the right wing attacked liberals as being communists. In 2005 Karl Rove has attacked liberals as being therapists. Thus is born a kinder and gentler form of McCarthyism.

Named after the late Sen. Joe McCarthy, who never let the facts get in the way of his lust to charge liberals with sedition, McCarthyism has come to mean "guilt by association." What gave McCarthyism its power was the fact that the senator from Wisconsin did not invent the danger posed to the United States by Soviet communism. The Soviet Union was a real threat, and there were real communist spies working in America.

What made McCarthy and his allies so insidious was their eagerness to level the "soft on communism" charge against even staunchly anticommunist liberals. One of them was Secretary of State Dean Acheson, an architect of Harry Truman's tough policy of containing Soviet power. In the 1952 presidential campaign, Richard Nixon pounded Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson for earning a "PhD from Dean Acheson's College of Cowardly Communist Containment."

The McCarthyites' real enemies were not communists but the New Deal liberals who had dominated U.S. politics for 20 years. The McCarthy crowd was willing to divide the nation at a time of grave international peril if that's what it took to beat the liberals.

Rove's instantly famous speech last week to the New York State Conservative Party should be read in light of this history and not be written off as a cheap, one-time partisan attack. On the contrary, the address by Rove, President Bush's most important adviser, provides the outlines of a sophisticated strategy aimed at making liberals and Democrats all look soft on terrorism.

Then it ends like this:
That's how guilt by association works. Make a charge and then -- once your attack is out there -- pretend that your words have been misinterpreted. Split your opponents. Put them on the defensive. Force them to say things like: "No, we're not soft on terrorism," or, "I'm not that kind of liberal." Once this happens, the attacker has already won.

Respectable opinion treats Rove's speech as just another partisan flap. It's much more. It's the reincarnation of a style of politics that turns political opponents into traitors or dupes who are soft on the nation's enemies. Welcome back to the '50s.
My only question is whether we are, in fact, already well beyond what McCarthy managed to do to this country.

How do we "un-cross" a threshold?

Bush's Speech Tonight

Let's be very clear what's going to happen tonight.

There are no new events or changes that precipitate his speech. Yet the networks are giving him time.


Because he (Bush) wants to convince you that you're wrong to doubt the war, wrong to scream for a game plan, and that he's been right all along. He gave us the road map last week: the problem isn't with how he's running things but with our perception of his failure.

I don't think he stands a chance in hell of convincing anyone but those already drinking Koolaid that we're in better shape than we think. I'm annoyed as hell that the networks are allowing something that is essentially a propaganda/mind control session. And I'm angry beyond belief that he'll use military folks as his props.

How do you feel about it?

Watching Bloggers on CSPAN

Clearly, I'm watching CSPAN 1 trying to catch any discussion of the Downing Street Memo and investigation, I'm listening to Jerome Armstrong of MyDD.com and another fellow. All I've learned so far is that I'm an anomaly as a blogger:

    * I'm not male (thankfully, considering the boobs I have to carry around)
    * I'm not 20-something (I was not political in my 20s except in passing - Ronald Reagan was the first president elected in my adulthood and frankly, that was rather off-putting)
    * I'm not "undecided about my politics and still working them out" (unlike a Bushie, however, my politics do evolve - remember, I was once a semi-Republican)
    * I'm not looking for an ego boost from my blog (I'm just happy any day the Bush KGB doesn't darken my door)
I don't know who they have on with Jerome but he's a bit of a snorer.


Florida's GOP Under Bush Treats Elections Like an Unnecessary Formality

Read this and weep.

Keep an Ear Out

Today (Tuesday), the Downing Street Minutes hit the House floor as John Conyers and others take the discussion to the full group. I'm sure they'll be marginalized but.. let's hope not.

Back to Sharks and Missing White Girls

Well, just like the summer before 9-11, the media is back with non-stop coverage of rare shark attacks (I liked it when a news person today asked a woman in Ohio if she was worried about sharks - I don't think they have many in Akron) and Chandra Levy's er... Natalee Holloway's disappearance. Apparently Randall Terry called CNN and MSNBC to be sure it was a missing Christian girl this time around.

US Headed for Disaster with Iraq Army Collapse

Ouch. From the Herald-Dispatch:

Red flags flapping sharply in the wind signal our country is on the verge of a major political - and economic - setback.

We may now be only weeks away from a complete collapse of the Iraqi army and the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq in the face of overwhelming public pressure on Tony Blair.

That is a realistic projection based on the reports of two Washington Post reporters, whose dispatches from inside Iraqi Army units and U.S. units assigned to train and work with the Iraqi military have just been published.

What the Post reporters found was massive disenchantment on both sides: American forces bitterly disappointed with the Iraqi government forces, and Iraqi troops harboring similar feelings toward their American counterparts. Only a small percentage of all Iraqi troops are now estimated to be adequately trained to take over the defense of their country. Desertions are widespread.

More than 1,700 American men and women sent to Iraq have returned home in body bags thus far, and more than 7,000 have been critically wounded. War dead in total exceeds 25,000, including "collateral casualties." And the price tag for our military operations tops $200 billion - and counting.

Recent surveys in Iraq have shown that insurgents are overwhelmingly Iraqis, not foreign fighters. Few are associated with al-Qaida.

Since President Bush’s declaration that "major combat operations are over," three weeks or so after the U.S.-British assault on Baghdad, there has been one disingenuous statement after another from the White House, the State Department and the Pentagon.

Remember this when Mr. Bush tries to make you drink a gallon of Koolaid before tomorrow's address to the nation.

How We Started the Iraq War Early; Halliburton Taxpayer Gouging May Be at $1.4 Billion Plus, and Ohio GOP Coingate Scandal Expands

Raw Story is working over time.

Read their exclusive material on how we started the Iraq War well ahead of the official start date.

How Halliburton is gouging us at record levels with their no-bid contracts.

AND more on the Ohio Coingate scandal that may have affected the Presidential vote in Nov. 2004.

Gee, I don't think I've seen any of these stories on TV who keeps bringing me more updates of missing privileged white girls with little common sense.

Makes You Want to Recruit, Doesn't it?

Posted by Cookie Jill at Skippy International:

the recruits of echo company stumbled off the bus for basic training at fort knox to the screams of red-faced drill instructors. that much was expected. but it got worse from there.

echo company's top drill instructor seized a recruit by the back of the neck and threw him to the ground. other soldiers were poked, grabbed or cursed.

...once inside the barracks, pvt. jason steenberger says, he was struck in the chest by the top d.i. and kicked "like a football." andrew soper, who has since left the army, says he was slapped and punched in the chest by another drill instructor. pvt. adam roster says he was hit in the back and slammed into a wall locker.

eventually, four army drill instructors and the company commander would be brought up on charges. four have been convicted so far. - wapo

Sorry, I've Been Reading Our Nation's Founders

In preparation for today's Supreme Court ruling (schizophrenic), I spent part of the weekend and today researching what our country's founders actually did say - well, wrote - about the role of religion and the new world.

What they said isn't anything like Roy Moore, Noni Scalia, and even Bush would tell you they said. They were gravely concerned about bonding a national religion to the U.S. because - given why their families fled England and elsewhere due to religious intolerance - they knew it would divide the country. Prescient folks, too.


We're Losing Out to China in Trustworthiness and Popular Appeal


The United States' image is so tattered overseas two years after the Iraq invasion that communist China is viewed more favorably than the U.S. in many long-time Western European allies, an international poll has found.

The poor image persists even though the Bush administration has been promoting freedom and democracy throughout the world in recent months -- which many viewed favorably -- and has sent hundreds of millions of dollars in relief aid to Indian Ocean nations hit by the devastating December 26 tsunami.

"It's amazing when you see the European public rating the United States so poorly, especially in comparison with China," said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, which surveyed public opinion in 16 countries, including the United States.

In Britain, almost two-thirds of Britons, 65 percent, saw China favorably, compared with 55 percent who held a positive view of the United States.

In France, 58 percent had an upbeat view of China, compared with 43 percent who felt that way about the U.S. The results were nearly the same in Spain and the Netherlands.

The United States' favorability rating was lowest among three Muslim nations which are also U.S. allies -- Turkey, Pakistan and Jordan -- where only about one-fifth of those polled viewed the U.S. in a positive light.

Only India and Poland were more upbeat about the United States, while Canadians were just as likely to see China favorably as they were the U.S.

The poll found suspicion and wariness of the United States in many countries where people question the war in Iraq and are growing wary of the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism.

Consider China for a moment and then think about what it takes to have them score more highly than us. And no, this isn't just sour grapes, folks. This is serious and it's reality-based.

On Pataki's Decision Not to Allow Any Dissenting Views at Ground Zero

Also from The Times:

Gov. George Pataki's decision to side with increasingly vocal critics of the cultural plans for the World Trade Center site is not surprising, but it is alarming. The governor has been deeply and rightly sensitive to the concerns of the families of the victims of 9/11. Like all of us, he honors their loss and their grief. But by bowing to some of the survivors' growing hostility to any version of 9/11 except their own, Mr. Pataki is doing a disservice to history and to the very idea of freedom.


What those lives stand for now is American freedom, in its full implication and all its contradictions. That is what has gone missing in the governor's remarks, in which he demanded that the cultural organizations promise never to display art that might "denigrate" the victims of 9/11 or America in general. Mr. Pataki has accepted at face value the tenor of the protests at ground zero, which are, frankly, a call for censorship, indeed for censorship in advance - for political oversight of an artistic process that has only begun to evolve.

It is no contradiction to hope that ground zero will become a place that commemorates death and reaffirms life at the same time. But it will be the worst of bad beginnings to turn it into a place where only grief is acceptable, where the vital impulses represented by the arts are handcuffed in the name of freedom.
Sure, Pataki welcomes Karl Rove to use an event at the doorstep of Ground Zero to call more than half of the US population traitors to the cause, but God forbid anyone opposing the Bush wars have a voice there, even if the voice is coming from survivors and 9/11 families.

America Giveth and Taketh Away

Nice. Not since Reagan denied the existence of AIDs will an American presidency be responsible for so many new AIDS cases.

...last week, however, the administration was on a moral crusade that could lead to a significant rise in AIDS cases in Russia, China, elsewhere in Asia and in the former East bloc. In these places, drug users who inject are a prime risk group for AIDS, and the gateway through which the epidemic will spread into the general population. As many as a third of new AIDS infections outside sub-Saharan Africa are in drug users; in Russia, Unaids estimates that injecting drug users are 80 percent of the infected. Needle exchange programs can help control this part of the epidemic.

But at a Unaids policy meeting this month, a Bush administration official asked that all references to needle exchange be dropped from the group's governing policy paper.

Unaids doesn't control much money, but it sets world policy on how to fight AIDS, and usually operates by consensus to give its recommendations more force. Although America is virtually alone in its opposition to needle exchange, its clout as the largest Unaids donor means it might be able to win a vote this week in the group's program coordination board. If Unaids could no longer work on needle exchange, nations would lose a valuable source of technical help. And a lack of consensus could keep countries from starting needle exchanges.

American law already forbids United States money from financing needle exchange programs. For Washington to decide that it wants to stop everyone else from doing that as well is a breathtakingly dangerous step.

Another Bright Bushie Idea We'll All Suffer From

From Monday's Times:

The Bush administration's plan to produce plutonium 238 is stirring debate over the risks and benefits of the deadly material.
What haven't the Bushies fucked up? Seriously, it's a much shorter list - almost non-existent - compared to listing what they have screwed the pooch on.

Bush and Cheney May Not Read Them, But You Might

From Wired Online:

A group of volunteers has begun using collaborative wiki software to expedite the process of perusing thousands of pages of complex documents related to detainees held by the U.S. government at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

The group, which has coalesced through the influential liberal blog, Daily Kos, has taken it upon itself to vet documents about Gitmo detainees the American Civil Liberties Union received as a result of a 2003 Freedom of Information Act request. The organization has been slow to review the documents itself due to a lack of manpower.

Earlier this month, Susan Hu, a Daily Kos contributor, commenced the project, in which she and several co-organizers oversee volunteers who have agreed to review a manageable portion of the ACLU documents.

So far, at least 80 people have signed up, each taking responsibility for a specific set of documents and for publicly posting the results of their review. Together, volunteers hope they can make it through the more than 4,000 pages received by the ACLU and root out even the smallest signs of government misconduct which, without this project, they feel might otherwise go undiscovered.

While reviewing 4,000 pages might not sound like the kind of undertaking that requires dozens of volunteers, organizers say the documents frequently contain the kind of minutiae that require advanced degrees to understand and which take a great deal of time to peruse.

I like it! I like it!

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LeftEdgeNorth and then check out this post there:

Science under siege...

The American Civil Liberties Union has issued a new report which charges that the Bush administration is using the war on terror as a pretext to tighten restrictions on information. It states that the administration “has sought to impose growing restrictions on the free flow of scientific information, unreasonable barriers on the use of scientific materials and increased monitoring of and restrictions on foreign university students. ... The government is seeking to graft the values of security agencies – secrecy, control and confinement of information – onto the world of science, where information must be uncontrolled, open to all and distributed as broadly as possible.”

Privacy? Not in England

Yeesh. Unfortunately, this will likely give ol' Tom DeLay and Bill Frist ideas - bad ones.

Personal details of all 44 million adults living in Britain could be sold to private companies as part of government attempts to arrest spiralling costs for the new national identity card scheme, set to get the go-ahead this week.
Nice. The PMs require the ID cards and then they sell them to cover the cost of the requirement, with no doubt a few shillings left to line their own pockets.