Dick Cheney Bangs!

Posted by Dedalus at Blah3:

Dick Cheney took some time out from shooting people in the face in order to set the record straight on what a wonderful job he and Bush are doing in Iraq. Obviously, only certain people are to be allowed to have the keys to the country--all others are second class:
    U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday rejected charges by Democrats that the Bush administration was mishandling Iraq and said: "If they are competent to fight this war, then I ought to be singing on American Idol."
Dick is evidently uninformed about the quality of some of the contestants on that show. Why, I think it's time Dick do a little duet with William Hung:

    Talk to me And I’ll tell you my game
    We blow shit up in America’s name
    We lit the fuse and Iraq’s ticking away
    Like a bomb
    Yeah, Baby
    And we bang! We bang! Oh baby
    We’ll invade, invade
    I go crazy
    'Cause I say we’re leaders
    but it’s really just greed
    I’m the biggest psycho in history
    We bang! we bang!

Foxes Guarding the Hen House: Chinese to Look at Our Cargo Shipments

From Orwell's Grave (good reading):

Is there something someone is not telling us about the Bush administration?

How can an administration that wears the American flag on its sleeve figuratively and on its lapel permanently be the same administration that hires a Middle East country that supported the Taliban and has had ties to Osama bin Laden to administer America's ports?

It's the same American government, the same flag-waving, uber patriotic White House that now proposes, through a no-bid contract, to hire a Hong Kong company, based in Communist China, to direct the use of nuclear inspection equipment for cargo coming to the United States through the Bahamas.

Is there some odd tear in the time-space continuum that I haven't heard about?

How is it that this administration, that has spoken uncountable words about how it is indispensable when it comes to protecting Americans, can so faciley, on two separate occasions, hire foreign corporations to "protect" America, corporations that might reasonably be perceived by many thinking Americans reasonable as somewhat suspect?

Bush Requests and House of Reprehensibles Gives Funding for Initial Phase of Permanent US Bases in Iraq

Stinky, stinky, from the Los Angeles Times:

Even as military planners look to withdraw significant numbers of American troops from Iraq in the coming year, the Bush administration continues to request hundreds of millions of dollars for large bases there, raising concerns over whether they are intended as permanent sites for U.S. forces.

Questions on Capitol Hill about the future of the bases have been prompted by the new emergency spending bill for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives last week with $67.6 billion in funding for the war effort, including the base money.

Although the House approved the measure, lawmakers are demanding that the Pentagon explain its plans for the bases, and they unanimously passed a provision blocking the use of funds for base agreements with the Iraqi government.

"It's the kind of thing that incites terrorism," Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said of long-term or permanent U.S. bases in countries such as Iraq. Paul, a critic of the war, is co-sponsoring a bipartisan bill that would make it official policy not to maintain such bases in Iraq. He noted that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden cited U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia as grounds for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The debate in Congress comes as concerns grow over how long the U.S. intends to keep forces in Iraq, a worry amplified when President Bush earlier this week said that a complete withdrawal of troops from Iraq would not occur during his term.Long-term U.S. bases in Iraq would also be problematic in the Middle East, where they could lend credence to charges that the U.S. motive for the invasion was to seize land and oil. And they could also feed debate about the appropriate U.S. relationship with Iraq after Baghdad's new government fully assumes control.

Corporations Who Cry Poor and Hurt the Even Poorer People

From David Sirota:

Attached is a piece published in today's Philadelphia Daily News about how wealthy corporations that dishonestly plead poverty are leaving towns and workers for dead throughout the American heartland...

East Helena's plant was once a lead smelter, owned by Asarco.In 1999, the company was bought by Grupo Mexico. That international conglomerate is headed by Larrea Mota-Velasco, listed as a billionaire by Forbes magazine's "The World's Richest People" in 2001.

Within two years of the takeover, Grupo Mexico shut the smelter down, costing East Helena more than 200 jobs.If the story ended there, it would be just another tale about the brutal consequences of globalization on blue-collar America. But what happened after is what should instill fear in millions of workers, urban or rural, blue or white collar.

In 2003, the company hiked health-care premiums for retirees. Executives claimed the company was under financial duress and that it thus "reserves the right to amend or terminate the plans at any time for any reason... even after you retire."

Retirees were forced to accept the increases while a lawsuit dragged into 2004. That was the same year Asarco's corporate parent reported more than a quarter-billion in profits in the fourth quarter alone - yet the company refused to back down.

Last year and this year, it has been more of the same. The company began delaying disability checks to retirees, property tax payments to the budget-strapped East Helena schools and cleanup operations at the smelter.

Meanwhile, according to the Associated Press, the company pressed a three-year wage freeze and reductions in pension and medical benefits for its workers in Arizona. These moves came as Grupo Mexico reported profits of more than $1 billion in 2005."

The community worked really hard to understand and deal with the layoffs," said Bob Pyfer, 56, who grew up in East Helena. "But when you hear about those profits and the company's treatment of its retirees, it just makes you angry."Pyfer's grandfather came to East Helena from Slovenia in the 1920s for a job at the smelter, where he worked for 40 years. Pyfer grew up working summers at the smelter, too. Now a lawyer, he sees a disturbing trend that goes way beyond one hamlet."

These workers, like others all over, gave their lives to their company and they incurred serious health risks along the way," he said. "That means, at the very least, these companies shouldn't be able to use bankruptcy or reorganization to get out of what it owes to their workers." Being allowed to do that, he said, is "a serious concern whether you live in East Helena or not."

These reverse Robin Hood tactics are everywhere. At both Delphi and United Airlines, executives have used bankruptcy to enact massive cuts in wages and pensions - while cementing millions of dollars worth of new bonuses for themselves.Similarly, GM and Ford are demanding wage and benefit cuts. But, as BusinessWeek reported in June 2005, "both GM and Ford still pay a dividend, GM CEO G. Richard Wagoner Jr. got a $2.5 million bonus for 2004 on top of his $2.2 million in salary" and "both companies have huge cash hoards - $20 billion at GM and $23 billion at Ford."

True, these companies have problems. But they are using those problems as an excuse to bilk workers and enrich themselves - and our government is doing nothing to stop them.

The Associated Press, Chris Graff, Vermont, and Prez Bush

Those of the Vermont persuasion have undoubtedly heard of Chris Graff and the brouhaha raised here since the AP bureau chief for Vermont, Chris Graff, was canned summarily on Monday. This 30-year veteran is well regarded by politicians and the public of all parties (and non-parties) and his firing prompted politicos like Pat Leahy, Jim Jeffords, Bernie Sanders, and Jim Douglas to ask the AP to reconsider. See the story here.

Why was Graff fired? Really good question and the AP has stayed fairly mum on it. It seems to boil down to Graff's decision to place a column by Leahy that was critical of President Bush on the AP wire as part of Sunshine Week (celebrating the Freedom of Information Act). After he did, the AP pulled the article and told papers NOT to use the article if they already had it. Then Graff was fired on the spot.

This is rather ironic considering Mr. Bush, when not blaming the press for Iraq this week, has been saying how wonderful it is to have a free press... one free to say what it wants so long as it touts what he wants them to say.

But the story obviously has national and even international implications. While the story has been discussed widely on Vermont blogs like Green Mountain Daily and PoliticsVT, it has also appeared nationally. Editor and Publisher, for example, carried the story this week. G

One for Your Book List

Having heard him speak several times now, I think I feel comfortable in recommending Kevin Phillips' "American Theocracy".

For those who don't know him, he's a rather cranky conservative and former GOP strategist. But he's also a rather strong critic of the Bushies with some very good reasons cited. The other day, I heard him say that Bush might make a fairly ok second vice president of a second-rate bank in Amarillo, but certainly not commander in cheat. Phillips is a good example of the many traditional conservations who feel as waylaid by this president as progressives, liberals, and anyone with a brain do.

Buzzflash is offering this book as one of its premiums. If you don't get it there, I highly recommend your local non-chain bookstore (which will make me even more beloved by Amazon, I'm sure). There's also your neighborhood library which is where I'm requesting a copy to read.

Texas Judge Takes Away Tom DeLay's "Right" to Carry Concealed Handgun


Vermont Leads the Charge on Impeachment

From the great Vermont Guardian:

As patriots go, Dan DeWalt looks the part. With his ponytail and winter beard, a pair of breeches and a musket would put him right into character in 1775.

But it was no act earlier this month when DeWalt fired the opening salvo of his revolution. Only this time, the shot heard ’round the world came not from a rebel in Massachusetts but from a selectman in Vermont. And rather than start a shooting war, it was meant to put a stop to one.

DeWalt, 49, is as mystified as anybody at his international star status as the author of a town meeting resolution, which Newfane voters passed 121-29, calling for the impeachment of Pres. George Bush, in part because he “used falsehoods to lead our nation to war unsupported by international law.”

Other cities and towns have passed similar measures, including San Francisco. Newfane was the first of five Vermont towns to do so — Brattleboro was expected to take it up at representative town meeting on Saturday. At least six Vermont Democratic County Committees have also voted in favor of impeachment proceedings.

But it has been DeWalt — a carpenter and musician with no television, who reads history books, trolls international shortwave radio broadcasts for news, and until this month had never seen film footage from 9/11 — who has captured international attention from of the likes of The Economist, the U.K. Guardian and The Toronto Star.

The story of his challenge to Bush has been posted on websites in Australia, South Africa, the Basque region of Spain, and covered throughout the United States, from The Dallas Morning News to CNN and USA Today. By the time the Vermont Guardian caught up with him, he been interviewed 25 times. Reuters had just left and The Boston Globe’s photographer was on the way up.

He has also been lambasted and lampooned. The conservative Washington Times saw fit to report his annual income, his marital status, and even his choice of footwear (Birkenstocks). The Associated Press story was posted on “The Terrorism Knowledge Base,” a self-proclaimed “comprehensive databank of global terrorist incidents and organizations.”

John Dean on Bush's NSA Spying and More

Worthwhile article from John Dean at FindLaw with shades of Nixon:

Bush's position is that he does not need Congressional approval for his measures. Even he does not claim that Congress gave him express power to undertake them, but he does claim that Congress indirectly approved such measures when it authorized the use of force to go after those involved in the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States. He also argues that, in any event, approval was not necessary - for he argues that he has such authority under Article II of the Constitution, as the chief executive, and Commander in Chief, charged with faithfully executing the laws of the land and protecting the Constitution.

These arguments are hauntingly familiar to this observer.

No one can question President Bush's goal: Protecting Americans from further terror attacks. But every American should question his means: Openly defying a longstanding statute that prohibits the very actions he insists on undertaking, when done in the very manner he insists upon doing them.

In some two hundred and seventeen years of the American presidency, there has been only one President who provides a precedent for Bush's stunning, in-your-face, conduct: Richard Nixon. Like Bush, Nixon claimed he was acting to protect the nation's security. Like Bush, Nixon broke the law - authorizing, among other things, illegal wiretaps.

Ironically, a stronger case might be made for Nixon's warrantless wiretaps, than for Bush's. Nixon's were installed to track leaks of national security information relating to the war in Vietnam. (He never found the leaker.) He pursued domestic intelligence by illegal means because he believed - based on information from President Lyndon Johnson - that communists had infiltrated the anti-war movement. (No such evidence was ever found.) In addition, he believed that extreme measures were necessary to deal with domestic terrorists, who were responsible for hundreds of deadly bombings. (This is the same argument Bush makes today.)
Nixon also claimed he was only doing what his predecessors had done. That was not untrue - but what had, in the past, been the exception to the rule became standard operating procedure under Nixon.

Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell Asks Why the Washington Post Doesn't Just Go Ahead and Hire Bush to Blog

Good for Greg! For those of you who haven't paid attention, WaPo insisted on hiring a specifically conservative blogger - no progressives need apply, tyvm - and spent his first week calling Coretta Scott King a commie and plagiarizing before on day four he was fired quit.

From Ed&Pub:

What if 'Wash Post' Hired Bush as Blogger? With Ben Domenech forced to quit his new blog, The Washington Post says it is looking for another conservative to replace him. Obviously, experience as a journalist is not required. Here's what might happen if the paper's Web site went all the way and hired George W. Bush.

The Washington Post announced last night (play along with me here, folks) that President George W. Bush had agreed to replace Ben Domenech as the “Red America” blogger at the newspaper’s popular Web site. Bush contributed his first Web posting today, in which he thanked his old rival, Al Gore, for “inventing the internets.” Domenech had been forced out Friday amid charges of rampant plagiarism. Jim Brady, executive editor of washingtonpost.com, said that he was searching for a conservative to replace Domenech, but the quick Bush hiring still came as a surprise.

A Post spokesman said, "Last time we hired someone for that blog who had worked for the White House. So why not go straight to the top?"

The spokeman said the Post was confident the president had never plagiarized because “he hasn’t written anything himself since college”--but this time, unlike in the Domenech case, “we spent a few minutes googling just to make sure.” He added that the Post does not screen bloggers for “misleading statements or outright lies” in their past.

Asked how the president could blog and govern at the same time, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan explained, “He has promised to stay up late each night, until 10 p.m., to work on it—in his pajamas, as is customary for bloggers, we understand.”

Brady had hoped to hire a real reporter this time, but the Post apparently decided it could not pass up another partisan non-journalist, since it's the president.

Bush, in his opening post today, claimed that he was not really all that partisan, since he “disagrees with the president" on certain issues, citing the Harriett Miers appointment and the Dubai port deal.

Press Secretary McClellan said he was “fairly sure” that Bush, unlike Domenech, had never called Coretta Scott King a “communist” when she died since, “after all, he did attend her funeral,” but “you never know.”He added that the White House had convinced the Post that Bush, contrary to rumor, had not made inflammatory remarks posting under the name “Bluto” at National Review Online. In one post there recently, Bluto accused Helen Thomas of "ripping off" an article by P.J. O’Rourke for her recent Gridiron Dinner routine.

DoJ Basically Says NSA Can Bug Us Anyway They Want


WASHINGTON - The National Security Agency could have legally monitored ordinarily confidential communications between doctors and patients or attorneys and their clients, the Justice Department said Friday of its controversial warrantless surveillance program.

Responding to questions from Congress, the department also said that it sees no prohibition to using information collected under the NSA's program in court.

"Because collecting foreign intelligence information without a warrant does not violate the Fourth Amendment and because the Terrorist Surveillance Program is lawful, there appears to be no legal barrier against introducing this evidence in a criminal prosecution," the department said in responses to questions from lawmakers released Friday evening.
When do we stop these bastards? When?

Where Pat Leahy Stands on Bush Censure Issue

Jack McCullough at Green Mountain Daily brings us up to speed here.


Belated Happy B-Day

to reader "Andrew J. Borden".

One of us is getting pretty old there, Mr. B... and I'd prefer to think it is you. Cough.

Howard Zinn: How Were So Many Americans So Easily Fooled?

Excellent question. And it can't be ascribed totally to Koolaid Konsumption. This is another one I encourage you to read in its entirety; from Howard Zinn:

Now that most Americans no longer believe in the war, now that they no longer trust Bush and his Administration, now that the evidence of deception has become overwhelming (so overwhelming that even the major media, always late, have begun to register indignation), we might ask: How come so many people were so easily fooled?

The question is important because it might help us understand why Americans—members of the media as well as the ordinary citizen—rushed to declare their support as the President was sending troops halfway around the world to Iraq.A small example of the innocence (or obsequiousness, to be more exact) of the press is the way it reacted to Colin Powell’s presentation in February 2003 to the Security Council, a month before the invasion, a speech which may have set a record for the number of falsehoods told in one talk. In it, Powell confidently rattled off his “evidence”: satellite photographs, audio records, reports from informants, with precise statistics on how many gallons of this and that existed for chemical warfare. The New York Times was breathless with admiration. The Washington Post editorial was titled “Irrefutable” and declared that after Powell’s talk “it is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction.”

President Bush's Uncle Bucky Makes a Bundle on Nephew's Iraq War Folly

From the LA Times:

WASHINGTON — As President Bush embarks on a new effort to shore up public support for the war in Iraq, an uncle of the commander in chief is collecting $2.7 million in cash and stock from the recent sale of a company that profited from the war.

A report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission shows that William H.T. Bush collected just under $1.9 million in cash plus stock valued at more than $800,000 from the sale of Engineered Support Systems Inc. to DRS Technologies of New Jersey.

The $1.7-billion deal closed Jan. 31. Both firms have extensive military contracts.William Bush was a director of Engineered Support Systems. Recent SEC filings show he was paid cash and DRS stock in exchange for shares and options he obtained as a director.
Being a Bush is profitable work for very little effort but a lot of deaths... other peoples' deaths.

Is President Bush Just Another Right Wing Talk Radio Show Host?

I (heart) EJ Dionne (but give a rat's patootie for the rest of the Washington Post after the Dommie debacle).

Is President Bush the leader of our government, or is he just a right-wing talk-show host?

The question comes to mind after Bush's news conference this week in which he sounded like someone who has no control over the government he is in charge of. His words were those of a pundit inveighing against the evils of bureaucrats.

"Obviously," said the critic in chief, "there are some times when government bureaucracies haven't responded the way we wanted them to, and like citizens, you know, I don't like that at all." Yes, and if you can't do something about it, who can?

Bush went on: "I mean, I think, for example, of the trailers sitting down in Arkansas. Like many citizens, they're wondering why they're down there, you know. How come we've got 11,000?"
Bush was talking about 10,777 mobile homes ordered up to provide housing for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. As Rep. Mike Ross put it in an interview, most of these "brand-new, fully furnished homes are sitting in a hay meadow in Hope, Arkansas," and are "a symbol of what's wrong with this administration and what's wrong with FEMA."

Bill Moyers: A Time for Heresy

Bill Moyers has an excellent piece up called "A Time for Heresy". I encourage you to read it in full, but here's a bigger-than-average snippet as posted on Tom Paine:

We are witnessing a marked turn of events for a nation whose DNA contains the inherent promise of an equal opportunity at “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” We were not supposed to be a country where the winners take all. The great progressive struggles in our history were waged to make sure ordinary citizens, and not just the rich, share in the benefits of a free society.

Today, however, the majority of Americans may support such broad social goals as affordable medical coverage for all, decent wages for working people, safe working conditions, a good education for every child, and clean air and water, but there’s no government “of, by, and for the people” to deliver on those aspirations. America is no longer working for all Americans.

How did this happen? By design. For a quarter of a century now a ferocious campaign has been conducted to dismantle the political institutions, the legal and statutory canons, and the intellectual, cultural, and religious frameworks that sustained America’s social contract. The corporate, political, and religious right converged in a movement that for a long time only they understood because they are its advocates, its architects, and its beneficiaries.

Their economic strategy was to cut workforces and wages, scour the globe for even cheaper labor, and relieve investors of any responsibility for the cost of society. On the weekend before President Bush’s second inauguration, The New York Times described how his first round of tax cuts had already brought our tax code closer to a system under which income on wealth would not be taxed at all and public expenditures would be raised exclusively from salaries and wages.

Their political strategy was to neutralize the independent media, create their own propaganda machine with a partisan press, and flood their coffers with rivers of money from those who stand to benefit from the transfer of public resources to elite control. Along the way they would burden the nation with structural deficits that will last until our children’s children are ready to retire, systematically stripping government of its capacity, over time, to do little more than wage war and reward privilege.

Their religious strategy was to fuse ideology and theology into a worldview freed of the impurities of compromise, claim for America the status of God’s favored among nations (and therefore beyond political critique or challenge), and demonize their opponents as ungodly and immoral.

At the intersection of these three strategies was money: Big Money.

They found a deep flaw in our political system and zeroed in on it.

Barbara Bush's Beautiful Mind

What is there to possibly say about Barbara Bush giving a donation to Hurricane Katrina victims expressly and solely designed to amount to sales for her other bastard son's (Neil's) educational software company?

Compassion by the Bushies is only for the Bushies. Period.

WHAT? No Maple Syrup in Baghdad? The Infidels!

Jesus' General writes to Vermont's governor. Poor, poor Jim.

Dear Governor Douglas,

I was horrified to learn that there was no genuine maple syrup for breakfast during your trip to Iraq. So, I’ve decided to do something about it. I’ve been on the phone all afternoon, and I am told there are now serious murmurings about a full congressional investigation into this outrage.

Who is to blame? I don’t think we can blame the President. He has made it amply clear that he relies on his Generals in the field to make menu-level decisions. The Secretary of Defense has already said “You go to war with the menu you have, not the menu you might want or wish to have.” Okay…fair enough!

No…the blame lies with the minority party in Congress. When pushed about funding for more maple syrup to support the troops, they change the subject. They rant on…something about body armor and they make silly suggestions about Humvees. They raise stupid ideas that would make the damn things so heavy and slow that the troops would never get back from a night raid in time to enjoy a wholesome breakfast with pure maple syrup.

So, something must be done, Governor. There have been about 22 Vermonters killed in this war. I shudder at the inhumanity of those proud soldiers getting killed without a proper maple syrup-laden Last Breakfast.

And the solution is so simple--syrup just isn’t that expensive!The only bright spot in this, Governor, is that you are physically safe from harm after your horrific maple-syrup-less breakfast in the Gulf. I mean, just imagine the national outrage and collective bereavement if you had met your demise in the Persian Gulf--without a proper Last Breakfast! I submit to you that the backlash would become a serious threat to our War on Terror®.
Vermont happens to have the highest mortality rate per capita among American soldiers in Mr. Bush's Iraqi folly.


Speaking of the President's Press Conference

Did anyone else find it as rambling, incoherent, and stupid as I did?

I don't see how anyone believes him. He did not answer a single question accurately or cogently.

The President and Helen Thomas

God love Helen... I certainly do.

Editor and Publisher presents a transcript of her attempt to ask the president a legitimate question and his dissembling in response.


FARC, the DOJ's Latest Lark

Well, now we've declared war on the war on drugs, I think. Bush's other favorite lapdog, Gonzalez, announced today that we're going after leaders of FARC, the Colombian rebel group which he claims is responsible for more than half of the cocaine available around the globe.

But this is another situation that is only black-and-white to the Bushies. FARC exists largely because of our schizophrenic war on drugs and the devastation we've brought to Colombia in its wake. In fact, we've made a mess here with the war on drugs and brought death and destruction to Mexico and every country south of it because of same.

Now, you won't find me defending anyone who markets cocaine. I think it's one of the most life-destructive drugs out there - and Mr. Bush of all people should know this; rumor is this was his nose candy of choice. But considering that I can't believe a single word that comes out of Gonzalez's pampered mouth and I know we have never taken responsibility for the mess we've created in Colombia, I'm not at all sure FARC is the terrible bad guy here. There is just too much not known.


US Attack on Iran Could Bankrupt U.S. - And That's Just the Start of the Bad

From Australia:

THE updated version of the Bush Administration's 2002 national security strategy, released in Washington last week, identifies Iran as the country that may pose the biggest danger to the United States.

According to Reuters, the strategy document, which reaffirms pre-emptive military action as a central tenet of US security policy, raises fears the Bush Administration will resort to force to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons.

If force is used, it will come in the form of air strikes, as US land forces are already overstretched in the occupation of neighbouring Iraq.

One question still to be confronted is the impact such a strike would have on the US economy and how that would affect the global economy, particularly Australia, which is, after the US, the largest-deficit country in the advanced industrial world.

At the very least, a broadening of the war in the Middle East would be certain to push up interest rates in the US and Australia, because the central banks there would have to protect the currencies' value by increasing yields. How far and fast would depend on judgements about the likely outcome of the military intervention.

An air strike against Iranian nuclear facilities is unlikely to be surgical. There are about 50 sites associated with nuclear development in Iran and they are mainly sited in towns where civilian populations would be at risk. An attack would be certain to inflame the Islamic world against the US, almost certainly lead to a full-scale civil war in Iraq with the support of the predominantly Shiite Iranian people, and the US fleet in the shallow and narrow Persian Gulf would have to withdraw or be vulnerable to Iranian missile attack.

Bushies Wanted Secret Searches of American Homes, Too


In the dark days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a small group of lawyers from the White House and the Justice Department began meeting to debate a number of novel legal strategies to help prevent another attack. Soon after, President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to begin conducting electronic eavesdropping on terrorism suspects in the United States, including American citizens, without court approval. Meeting in the FBI's state-of-the-art command center in the J. Edgar Hoover Building, the lawyers talked with senior FBI officials about using the same legal authority to conduct physical searches of homes and businesses of terrorism suspects--also without court approval, one current and one former government official tell U.S. News. "There was a fair amount of discussion at Justice on the warrantless physical search issue," says a former senior FBI official. "Discussions about--if [the searches] happened--where would the information go, and would it taint cases."

Doolittle Did Much to Break the Rules

Josh and company at Talking Points Memo are all over the story that GOP Congress critter John Doolittle's wife skimmed 15% of all contributions to her husband's campaign. Say what?

Stinky stinky.

Of course, Katherine Harris' own corruption makes it a divided story.

Murder Leading Cause of Death for Iraq-Based Journalists and Media Workers

Also from Ed and Publisher and sadly, not at all surprising:

Dozens of media workers have lost their lives in explosions and crossfire in Iraq, but now murder has overtaken war as the leading killer, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Friday.

In the past 10 days alone, suspected insurgents have murdered three Iraqi journalists and one media support worker, the CPJ said, raising the death toll to 67 journalists and 24 media support workers killed since the war began on March 20, 2003.

"The killings offer a chilling snapshot into recent trends. Iraqis constitute nearly 80 percent of journalists and support staffers killed for their work in Iraq," CPJ said in a statement. "Overall, 60 percent of the journalists and support workers killed in Iraq were targeted for assassination."

12 Americans Face War Crimes Probe

This from Ed and Publisher.

Residents gave new details Monday about the shootings of civilians in a western Iraqi town, where the U.S. military is investigating allegations of potential misconduct by American troops last November.The residents said troops entered homes and shot and killed 15 members of two families, including a 3-year-old girl, after a roadside bomb killed a U.S. Marine.

The military, which announced Friday that a dozen Marines are under investigation for possible war crimes in the Nov. 19 incident, said in a statement Monday that a videotape of the aftermath of the shootings in Haditha, 140 miles northwest of Baghdad, was presented in support of the allegations.

The charges against the Marines were first brought forward by Time magazine, which reported this week that it obtained a videotape two months ago taken by a Haditha journalism student that shows the dead still in their nightclothes.
NBC was also talking tonight of a siege in Western Iraq last year that may end up being worse in revelations than the Abu Ghraib scandal. This may or may not be the same case.

However, as we know, when the military investigates itself, it always rules it acted properly.


Shake Up at the White House? Not Enough

With all the news lately that GOPers are saying it's time for some changes at the White House, the problem is that even if such change comes, it will hardly be enough.

Face it: the biggest need for change is in Bush-Cheney, and they aren't leaving. Everyone else is just window dressing. According to the Bushies, no change is needed. I disagree. But even if they were willing to consider a change, it would be to more lame, Bush I rejects. Everyone there is supposed to just go "rah rah" to whatever Bush says, despite how it flies in the face of reason.

So, unless we can use a can opener to get George and Dick out, forget about it.

Impeachment, Doonesbury Style

Brad Blog has it if you missed it. A nod to the mighty Skippy for the link.

As We Begin Year Four of Mr. Bush's Egg-cellent Folly...

Posted at The Carpetbagger Report:

With a terribly sad three-year anniversary upon us, this Center for American Progress paragraph seemed to summarize the landscape nicely.For that matter, this USA Today poll, published on Friday, helped capture the mood of the nation.
    Three years after the invasion of Iraq, more than half of Americans say the war there has touched their own lives, a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll finds. By nearly 3-to-1, they say that impact has been a negative one. For most, the conflict has hit close to home: Six in 10 say a close friend, family member or co-worker has served in Iraq. More than one in 10 say someone close to them has been killed or wounded there. Six in 10 in the poll, taken Friday through Sunday, say the war has had a negative effect on the nation.

    The confidence when the invasion was launched has been replaced by second-guessing about the wisdom of going to war and dissatisfaction with the way it's been waged. In March 2003, Americans by 3-to-1 said the U.S. action in Iraq was morally justified; now 50% say it's not. A month after the invasion, 85% said the war was going well; now 60% say it's going badly.

    A record 60% say the war hasn't been "worth it."

No Casualties in Operation Swarmer? Think Again

Posted at DailyKos, refuting claims by this administration that Operation Swarmer has caused not a single casualty or problem:

Operation Swarmer has been billed by the government as the "largest air assault" since the invasion of Iraq.

On March 17th, the military said there was "no resistance," and no casualties. So far, only less than 80 "insurgents" have been nabbed, and many of them were immediately released. (Though the Department of Defense in its release refers to the Iraqis as "terrorists" not "insurgents.")

Today, we learn that eight civilians, including a child, were killed in clashes between U.S. troops and gunmen in Duluiyah, part of the area targeted in the air assault campaign. It's unclear what exactly is transpiring; there is a media blackout. However, what little information is trickling out from the operation reveals the true cost of this PR campaign.

Operation Swarmer has caused the displacement of 700 Iraqi families. Most fled the Samara area with nothing but the clothes on their back:
    "When they started to hit our city I didn't take anything. I just took my family and ran like hell. We don't have anything to eat or wear," urged Barakat Muhammad, a resident and father of five in Samarra.

    The displaced families have taken refuge in abandoned buildings in the outskirts of the city. The situation, as described by the Red Crecent, is a humanitarian crisis:

    "We have sent volunteers from the disaster department to monitor the situation and we are preparing ourselves for an emergency," said Ferdous al-Abadi, spokesperson for the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS) in Baghdad. [...]

    "They need urgent help and we call on all organisations to offer them supplies and medical support as soon as possible," Tikrit stressed.
Those supplies include medical supplies. While the U.S. military maintains there have not been any casualties, local doctors tell a different story:
    [L]ocal doctors say that at least 35 civilians including women and children have been treated at the local hospital with injuries caused by the air-strikes. In addition, 18 bodies had been taken to the hospital since 17 March.

    "We have run out of supplies and if the operation continues we need urgent surgical materials and pain killers to offer treatment to the innocent victims," Dr Ibraheem Mahmoud, of the emergency department at the local hospital in Samarra, said.


Former Iraqi PM Says Iraq Is in Civil War Now

From Allad Allawi:

It is unfortunate that we are in civil war. We are losing each day as an average 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more. If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is…We are in a terrible civil conflict now.
Yet today, everyone from the top military leader in Iraq to Bush to Cheney all claimed not only is there not a civil war, but Iraq was nowhere close to one.

Gee, whom to believe? It's not like the Bushies have ever lied to us, right? Gag.

So Much for Capitol Hill Lobby Reform: Lobbyists Yawn and Say it's Big Business as Usual

Read the Washington Post article and weep. No reform. Our politicians will remain on the lucrative payroll of corporations while we pay their lucrative retirement benefits that exceed anything American workers get.

Newfane Draws Vicious Response for Vote to Impeach Bush

Why am I (ever so sadly) not surprised?

From the Boston Globe:

Angry calls and e-mails flooded Newfane, population 1,680, the next day. One critic sent a mock thank-you note, signed ''Usama Bin Ladin," that applauded the town for its help in ''bringing down" America. Some regular guests of the picturesque, 175-year-old Four Columns Inn notified its owners that they would never visit again.

''Shame on you," one caller said on the town clerk's voicemail. ''A little Socialist town like yourself is a disgrace to America."

Three years into the war in Iraq, with the president's approval rating at an all-time low of 34 percent last month, protests against the Bush administration are mostly small and scattered, even in the most liberal outposts.
I've seen much worse, with calls for Vermont to be listed as a terrorist stronghold, for the entire state to be audited, and for black helicopters to be sent in en masse.

Reality Is Just a Concept With the Bushies: Bush's People Pose as Fox Journalists

From Reuters (astounding):

The White House said it would discipline two government employees who impersonated journalists in advance of a trip by U.S. President George W. Bush to the Gulf Coast, The Washington Post said on Saturday.

The Post quoted a Gautier, Mississippi couple whose home was wrecked by Hurricane Katrina as saying two men identified themselves as journalists during a visit to the couple's home.

Elaine Akins told the newspaper she and her husband Jerry were initially told by the two men that they were Fox News journalists, but that they later identified themselves as Secret Service agents.

Bush visited Gautier on March 8.

"They just came up and said they were with the media, and then they said they were with Fox," Akins was quoted as saying.

Does this mean they get promoted to a cabinet position OR do they get a medal of freedom award, like George Tenet?

Compelling Congress

On Impeachment that is... we don't seem to need to force them to give themselves a healthy, wealthy pay hike and more benefits each year while American salaries and perks are dropping like flies in a bug zapper.

Constant shares some thoughts here.

Saturday War Protests

It's been three years, but who's counting? Certainly not Mr. Bush or Mr. Rumsfeld.

Skippy offers a round-up of protests around the nation and the world today.