One of the Reasons I Appreciate Vermont

This weekend, mornings come very early. This is because my partner has been leaving quite early to volunteer with a group from Salvation Farms (an effort to feed Vermont's hungry) who are harvesting the crops of a farmer who died recently in a traffic accident.

Now that we're in our umpteenth hard frost since August (winter comes early here), these crops would soon be lost but for two or three dozen people out there, giving up their weekends to do important - if difficult - work.

I seriously doubt there is another state where volunteerism is anywhere near as high.

Meanwhile, In Bush's Other "Success" Story, Iraq

In Bush's "Stay the Course" in Iraq scenario, U.S. troop casualties are now at a two-year high (and it's far, far, far worse for innocent civilians).

Fourteen are killed in a city Bush just touted as very safe.

A Two-Fer From Glenn Greenwald on Foley, Republicans, and the Existence of God

In post one, Glenn asks if the Mark Foley IM scandal indicates the existence of a God, while post two talks about GOP desperation.

From Post #1:

The Foley scandal is so perfectly tailored -- one could even say artistically designed -- to expose every character flaw of this country's Republican leaders (and their followers), and it has evolved so flawlessly (like the most brilliantly coordinated symphony), that one is almost inclined to believe that it was divinely inspired. It is difficult to believe that human beings (let alone Democrats) could create something so perfect (as Billmon wrote in comments here the other day, the relentless efficiency of this scandal is proof positive that Democrats had nothing to do with it). I agree with John Podhoretz's description:
    This whole Foley business is one of the most dazzling political plays in my or any other lifetime - like watching an unassisted triple play or a running back tossing a 90-yard touchdown pass on a double-reverse.
The perfection of this scandal lies in its substance, not its theatrics. The Foley scandal is not -- as even some Bush opponents have asserted -- an aberrational, isolated, inconsequential melodrama that is unrelated to the substantive and important critiques of the Bush movement and which just coincidentally emerged as a cynical weapon that can be used to defeat the Republicans. The opposite is true. This scandal has resonated so powerfully because it is shining such a powerful light on the towering hubris, utter lack of intellectual and ethical integrity, and deeply engrained corruption that accounts for virtually every other Bush disaster -- from Iraq to law-breaking scandals to torture to Abrahmoff-type corruption schemes and everything in between.
      And Post #2:
      There is a palpable desperation among Republicans as a result of the Foley scandal and related election troubles, which is giving rise to a significant increase in their willingness to peddle blatantly dishonest and irrational claims in order to save themselves. Let us begin with Bill Kristol, who uttered what I think is the single most despicable statement yet in the Foley scandal, when he was asked by Brit Hume on Fox News what Democrats might do if they takeover the House:
        KRISTOL: Well, Democrats care about the children, Brit, and so I think they should pressure states to raise the age of consent from 16 to 18 so that it's clearly illegal for people like Mark Foley to hit on 17-year- old pages. . . . They could certainly pass a resolution supporting the Boy Scouts in their effort to keep people like Mark Foley from becoming scout masters, I think the Democrats could really do a lot of good for our children.
      The controversial Boy Scouts policy to which Kristol is referring, of course, is one which bans gay men generally -- not "people like Mark Foley" -- from being scoutmasters, but Kristol's statement purposely recognizes no such distinction. Kristol is overtly arguing that the Mark Foley case proves that gay men cannot be trusted around young children. Many of the basest right-wing commentators have subtly implied that equivalence, but none has so overtly equated the two as explicitly as Kristol did Thursday night.

      Say Hello to... (Along With Your Heartfelt Thanks to...)

      Thank You, Keith Olbermann, a blog run by Colorado Bob with the mission of showing support and thanks for MSNBC's Keith Olbermann for going out on a limb and speaking far more of the truth than most other MSM sources put together.

      Say your thanks to MSNBC, too, because these boneheads have pulled truth-tellers before only to replace them with people like Michael Savage, Rita Cosby, and Joe Scarbrough (the three of them together have an IQ somewhere in the low double digits ::cough::).

      Building Mr. Bush's Vocabulary Vol.1, Issue 1

      It's quite a shame having a president who knows even fewer words than he can mangle pronounce.

      So, eager to help, everyday between now and the mid-term elections (I hope), I'll offer a few words the president should know although he probably does not!

      Today's words: Ethics, Hegemony, Peace


      A set of core moral beliefs that help dictate how one conduct's themselves in life or in business.

      Ed. note: Ethics are those things you keep true to as certainly when the situation does NOT work in your behalf as you do when the situation DOES turn out in your favor.

      Example: Given Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney's demand for one-sided loyalty, they do not appear to operate with any proper form of ethics.

      Hegemony: (from Dictionary.com)

      he‧gem‧o‧ny  Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[hi-jem-uh-nee, hej-uh-moh-nee] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
      –noun, plural -nies.
      1. leadership or predominant influence exercised by one nation over others, as in a confederation.
      2. leadership; predominance.
      3. (esp. among smaller nations) aggression or expansionism by large nations in an effort to achieve world domination.


      A state of mutual harmony between people, municipalities, and nations in which there is an absence of war or conflict.

      Example: Mr. Bush's many simultaneous wars do NOT, contrary to the White House, make him a good candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.

      Paul Krugman: "The War Against Wages"

      Paul Krugman weighs in on wages, Wal-Mart, and how many workers are getting priced out of economic survival.

      Should we be cheering over the fact that the Dow Jones Industrial Average has finally set a new record? No. The Dow is doing well largely because American employers are waging a successful war against wages. Economic growth since early 2000, when the Dow reached its previous peak, hasn’t been exceptional. But after-tax corporate profits have more than doubled, because workers’ productivity is up, but their wages aren’t — and because companies have dealt with rising health insurance premiums by denying insurance to ever more workers.

      If you want to see how the war against wages is being fought, and what it’s doing to working Americans and their families, consider the latest news from Wal-Mart.Wal-Mart already has a well-deserved reputation for paying low wages and offering few benefits to its employees; last year, an internal Wal-Mart memo conceded that 46 percent of its workers’ children were either on Medicaid or lacked health insurance. Nonetheless, the memo expressed concern that wages and benefits were rising, in part “because we pay an associate more in salary and benefits as his or her tenure increases.”

      The problem from the company’s point of view, then, is that its workers are too loyal; it wants cheap labor that doesn’t hang around too long, but not enough workers quit before acquiring the right to higher wages and benefits. Among the policy changes the memo suggested to deal with this problem was a shift to hiring more part-time workers, which “will lower Wal-Mart’s health care enrollment.”And the strategy is being put into effect. “Investment analysts and store managers,” reports The New York Times, “say Wal-Mart executives have told them the company wants to transform its work force to 40 percent part-time from 20 percent.” Another leaked Wal-Mart memo describes a plan to impose wage caps, so that long-term employees won’t get raises. And the company is taking other steps to keep workers from staying too long: in some stores, according to workers, “managers have suddenly barred older employees with back or leg problems from sitting on stools.”

      ...So what’s keeping paychecks down? Major employers like Wal-Mart have decided that their interests are best served by treating workers as a disposable commodity, paid as little as possible and encouraged to leave after a year or two. And these employers don’t worry that angry workers will respond to their war on wages by forming unions, because they know that government officials, who are supposed to protect workers’ rights, will do everything they can to come down on the side of the wage-cutters.
      Read the rest here.


      Religious Right Republicans Not Happy With Their Elected Officials

      US News indicated that the far right religious types may disappoint the Bush brown nosing Republicans seeking (r)election in November (just 32 days away). Others speculate many of this group will not appear at the polls on election day.

      I guess having the three most important elected officials on Capitol Hill - Dennis Hastert, John Boehner, and Bill Frist - represent ALL of the seven deadly sins really gets to the riled right.

      So What Happened to the 800 lb Gorilla in the Page's Room on Capitol Hill

      The House has announced it will conduct an ethics probe. OK.

      But there are a couple of hinky things here:

      1. The House will investigate "the matter" (exactly what remains to be seen, especially given #2;
      2. The investigation will NOT include a probe into Mark Foley's behavior.
      3. Democrats, of course, are not invited to sit in. In fact, since the GOP took control, Democrats could have stayed at home for all the Republicans let them do.
      See a problem there?

      WaPo's Froomkin on Keith Olbermann, President Bush, and Lies and Traitors

      It's good to see the MSM (mainstream media for those not living in Osama bin Laden's cave) noticing that Keith Olbermann is speaking the truth and the words of the proletariat. Here, Dan Froomkin specifically addresses Olbermann's Special Comment (see this) last night (Thursday, 10-5-06) about Bush and his lies as well as his decision to denounce everyone of his critics as terrorists, as harmful to the country, as no different than an Osama bin Laden or an al-Zawahiri:

      The traditional media has been slow to come to grips with the American public's distrust and dislike of President Bush -- sentiments clearly reflected in opinion polls dating back well over a year.

      Almost alone among the network newscasters, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann is channeling that sensibility. Channeling it -- and amplifying it.

      In fact, the increasingly shrill Olbermann is fast becoming the Howard Beale of the anti-Bush era: He's mad as hell, and he's not going to take it anymore.

      His newscast-ending "special comment" yesterday was a doozy. Here's the text ; here's the video , from the Crooks and Liars blog.

      At issue: The sorts of rhetorical excesses in Bush's campaign speeches recently handled (with kid gloves) by such mainstream journalists as McClatchy's Ron Hutcheson and The Washington Post's Peter Baker -- and on which I've been harping for ages, most recently in my Bush's Imaginary Foes column.

      What apparently set off Olbermann in particular was when Bush recently described a vote against his warrantless wiretapping plan as being the same as saying "we don't think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists" -- and when Bush said of the Democratic leadership: "It sounds like they think the best way to protect the American people is -- wait until we're attacked again."

      Here's Olbermann yesterday: "The president doesn't just hear what he wants. He hears things that only he can hear.

      "It defies belief that this president and his administration could continue to find new unexplored political gutters into which they could wallow. Yet they do.
      Read the rest here.

      When Our President Cannot Distinguish Between Killer Terrorists And Those Simply Dissenting From His Opinion and Acts

      [Update: Crooks and Liars' video of this most recent Olbermann Special Comment (Bush Lies) can be found here.]

      I swear, each time MSNBC's Keith Olbermann presents a Special Comment at the close of his "Countdown" program, it's even better than his last one. Such was the case Thursday night in a long and thoughtful comment in which he said, quite accurately, that Mr. Bush in no way tries to differentiate with terrorists willing to kill thousands of innocent people and those here in this country who disagree with his opinion and actions.

      I'll offer some important snippets here, but go to Countdown for the full text. I also suspect the good folks at Crooks and Liars will supply the video, as they have before. You should also be able to get the video from the Countdown link provided above.

      From Keith on Bush and Lies:

      While the leadership in Congress has self-destructed over the revelations of an unmatched, and unrelieved, march through a cesspool ...

      While the leadership inside the White House has self-destructed over the revelations of a book with a glowing red cover.

      The president of the United States — unbowed, undeterred and unconnected to reality — has continued his extraordinary trek through our country rooting out the enemies of freedom: the Democrats.

      Yesterday at a fundraiser for an Arizona congressman, Mr. Bush claimed, quote, “177 of the opposition party said, ‘You know, we don’t think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists.’”

      The hell they did.

      One hundred seventy-seven Democrats opposed the president’s seizure of another part of the Constitution.

      Not even the White House press office could actually name a single Democrat who had ever said the government shouldn’t be listening to the conversations of terrorists.

      President Bush hears what he wants.

      Tuesday, at another fundraiser in California, he had said, “Democrats take a law enforcement approach to terrorism. That means America will wait until we’re attacked again before we respond.”

      Mr. Bush fabricated that, too.

      And evidently he has begun to fancy himself as a mind reader.

      “If you listen closely to some of the leaders of the Democratic Party,” the president said at another fundraiser Monday in Nevada, “it sounds like they think the best way to protect the American people is — wait until we’re attacked again.”

      The president doesn’t just hear what he wants.

      He hears things that only he can hear.

      It defies belief that this president and his administration could continue to find new unexplored political gutters into which they could wallow.

      Yet they do.

      It is startling enough that such things could be said out loud by any president of this nation.

      Rhetorically, it is about an inch short of Mr. Bush accusing Democratic leaders, Democrats, the majority of Americans who disagree with his policies of treason.

      But it is the context that truly makes the head spin.
      Read the entire piece here.


      While The GOP Has You Focused on Mark Foley/PredatorGate Blaming The Dems and Mickey Mouse

      Iraq is getting much, much, MUCH worse with each passing day.

      GOP Loyalists Blame Everyone But Themselves

      I notice Buzzflash links to one online article about this, but I happened to catch Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill) on "Hardball" tonight and grew quickly enraged when LaHood repeatedly seemed to blame the Congressional page program ("We don't need them") no matter how many times Chris Matthews tried to say, "Well, the page program worked before. This isn't about the pages doing something wrong."

      Now, I spoke with a friend from the Chicago area after I saw this, and she tells me that LaHood, for a Republican (her words, not mine), isn't a real bad guy. OK, I buy that.

      But this is how low the Mark Foley-GOP Leadership folks are willing to sink: blame the teenagers and the Page program (and ABC News and George Soros and Bill Clinton and hell... why not pink socks?), everyone but a) Mark Foley, b) the GOP leadership of Dennis Hastert and John Boehner, c) how the GOP majority has been running Washington for six plus years now.

      Denny Hastert: A Class (As In None) Act

      Didn't you love his press conference both last night and today?

      He as speaker of the house has no responsibility in this. The Republicans have no responsibility.

      No, according to Hastert, the real evil here is George Soros. Oh yeah, and ABC News. Uh huh.

      I guess Soros - and Mickey Mouse, as owner of ABC - poured alcohol down Mark Foley's throat for 11 years (the first "known" act of Foley on underage males in the Congressional page program dates back to 1995) and forced him at gunpoint to make sexual overtures to underage males.

      Priceless. Truly priceless.

      Hastert should think more and perhaps eat a few less meals a day.


      With All This Debt, The Bushies Slip in Funding for Celebration?

      Mind you, the $20 million - which actually sounds like a few dollars, eh? - the Bushies allotted is for a big celebration in downtown Washington D.C. to commemorate the "great success" of the Bush wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. You know, V for victory.

      Uh.. what? ::choke::

      Thanks to Buzzflash for the link

      US Congressional Candidate Martha Rainville (R) and the Vermont National Guard Pornography Story

      Odum fills us in on the story from Peter Freyne's print article.

      A Mark Foley or even a Jeff Gannon, it's not. But it's also not a laughing matter.

      Also, both Odum and Peter Freyne have also weighed in on the Rainville plagiarism scandal that caused the GOP Congressional candidate and former leader of the Vermont National Guard to take down her Web site and blame "lifted" work on a low-level staffer.

      Judge "Noni" Scalia is Just Such a Cut Up!

      And damn, I wish he'd either retire or get caught in the Mark Foley scandal. ::cough:

      Dahlia Lithwick over at Slate details how Associate Justice Antonin (never met a freebie or partisan vote for a friend like Dick Cheney go untaken) Scalia started this year's Supreme Court with a bang rather than a.... a.... whimper?

      Frank Rich On The NIE Documents, Condi Rice, Bob Woodard, and The Bushies "State of Denial"

      "So You Call This Breaking News?" is the latest installment from The New York Times' Frank Rich. A big snip here, but go over there to read it in its entire glory (I just love the French!):

      IF your head hurts from listening to the Washington furor over the latest National Intelligence Estimate, by all means tune it out. The entire debate is meaningless except as a damning election-year indicator of just how madly our leaders are fiddling while Iraq burns.

      The supposedly shocking key finding in the N.I.E. — that the Iraq war is a boon to terrorism — isn’t remotely news. It first turned up in a classified C.I.A. report leaked to the press in June 2005. It’s also long been visible to the naked eye. The latest New York Times/CBS News poll, conducted before any revelations from the N.I.E., found that nearly half the country believes that the Iraq war is increasing the terrorist threat against America and only 12 percent thinks the war is decreasing that threat. Americans don’t have to pore over leaked intelligence documents to learn this. They just have to turn on the television.

      Tonight on “60 Minutes,” Bob Woodward will spill another supposedly shocking intelligence finding revealed in his new book: a secret government prediction that the insurgency will grow worse next year. Who’d have thunk it? Given that the insurgency is growing worse every day right now — last week suicide bombings hit a record high in Baghdad — the real surprise would be if the government predicted an armistice. A poll released last week by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland found that about 6 in 10 Iraqis approved of attacks on American forces. Tardy investigative reporting is hardly needed to figure out that the insurgency is thriving.

      “The insurgents know what they are doing,” Mr. Woodward is to say on CBS, according to an advance excerpt. “They know the level of violence and how effective they are. Who doesn’t know? The American public.” He accuses the administration of keeping such information out of sight by stamping it “secret.” All this, too, apparently comes as eye-opening news to Mr. Woodward three and a half years into the war; his new book’s title, “State of Denial,” has a self-referential ring to it. But the American public does know the level of violence all too well, and it also knows how the administration tries to cover up its failures.

      That’s why long ago a majority of that public judged the war a mistake and Mr. Bush a dissembler. It’s only the variations on the theme that change. When the president declared last month that “the Iraqi government and the Iraqi military is committed to keeping this country together,” reality was once more busily contradicting him. The Los Angeles Times reported that a third of that government wasn’t showing up to parliamentary sessions and that only 1,000 Iraqi soldiers answered the American call for 4,000 reinforcements in the do-or-die battle to secure Baghdad.

      Against this ominous reality, the debate over the N.I.E. is but a sideshow: politics as usual on both sides. The president reluctantly declassified what had already been leaked, somehow hoping he could override the bad headlines with Pavlovian repetition of shopworn slogans. (He said America must “stay on the offense” four times in one speech on Friday alone.) Democrats are huffily demanding that the White House release more than a few scraps of the 30-page-plus N.I.E., a debating point with no payoff. The N.I.E. is already six months out of date, and Americans can guess most of it, classified or not. In this war at this late stage, the devil can be found everywhere, not merely in the details.

      The facts of Iraq are not in dispute. But the truth is that facts don’t matter anyway to this administration, and that’s what makes this whole N.I.E. debate beside the point. From the start, honest information has never figured into the prosecution of this war. The White House doesn’t care about intelligence, good or bad, classified or unclassified, because it believes it knows best, regardless of what anyone else has to say. The debate over the latest N.I.E. or any yet to leak will not alter that fundamental and self-destructive operating principle. That’s the truly bad news.

      How The Extreme Religious Right Is Spinning The Foley Scandal To Its Ridiculous Purposes

      Thank you, thank you, thank you! Since I heard Tony Perkins and other nutcases at the Family Research Council pontificate Monday night, I've waited for someone, anyone in the MSM to call them out. From Bonnie Erbe at US News:

      Of all the reactions to the Foley case, here's my personal favorite: Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, he the leader of the über-right, Onward Christian soldier" league, used the occasion to (what else?) bash gays and promote the "link between homosexuality and child sexual abuse."

      Forget about House Speaker Dennis Hastert's characterization of some of the now disgraced former Representative Foley's E-mails to teen male pages as "overly friendly." Forget about former Representative Foley's admission that he was sexually abused by a priest as a young teen. These were not Perkins's most pressing concerns. In fact, he wrote, the GOP leadership's laissez-faire attitude toward Foley E-mail exchanges with House pages wasn't the real issue.

      The real issue, in Perkins-Land, anyway, is that. Foley's now public E-mail perversions would not have besmirched the Republican Party had Washington not fallen prey to "pro-homosexual activists." Puh-leeze!!!

      It gets worse. The FRC's website quotes President Perkins as saying, "Now that his E-mails and messages to teenage male pages have been revealed, it appears clear that Foley is a homosexual with a particular attraction to underage boys. While pro-homosexual activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two. Although almost all child molesters are male and less than 3 percent of men are homosexual, about a third of all child sex abuse cases involve men molesting boys–and in one study, 86 percent of such men identified themselves as homosexual or bisexual."

      Oh, I get it. If there were no gay men in the world, there would be no pedophilia. Hmm. Does it then follow that since Charles Carl Roberts (who this week slaughtered five Amish schoolgirls and shot five more) was a heterosexual father of three, fewer schoolgirls would be murdered if there were fewer fathers of three children who drove milk trucks for a living? The latter makes as much sense as the former; in other words, neither makes sense. They're both contorted thinking. Mine, on the one hand, is a confabulation. Perkins's, however, is serious.

      Say Hello to

      All Things Democrat (the blog).

      More Soldiers Dead in Iraq - U.S. Trained Iraqi Police Pulled With Charges They're Part of Death Squads Killing Civilians

      [Update: In just these first four days of October, 21 American soldiers - and countless civilians - have died in violence in Iraq. Meanwhile, Iraqi police have been pulled off the streets en masse because many of them are believed to be part of ethnic death squads. Ah, those same ones Bush say will take over from American forces some decade soon.]

      Nine Army soldiers and two Marines in Bush's "Stay the Course."

      American War Crimes Ordered By The Bushies?

      Constant at Constant's Pations has quite a round up, including this:

      Despite insufficient combat forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, to maintain security, the alleged war criminals in the White House want to prevent anyone from assisting them in their illegal plan to invade Iran.
      and this:
      The European Union continues to investigate alleged American Geneva violations. The European commission has expanded the inquiry, and appears on the verge of appointing a war crimes prosecutor to review the alleged American war crimes committed in Eastern Europe.The Vice President and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court have allegedly engaged in a course of conduct of interest to war crimes prosecutors.In light of the Foley accusations, calls to investigate of inhumane treatment of Congressional Pages are hollow without a balanced demand to investigate war crimes.

      Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's Self-Created Cold War at the Pentagon

      Gee, apparently the military doesn't much care for Rummy either.

      Also from the Los Angeles Times, capitol workers and colleagues were very well aware of Mark Foley's specific interest in underage males.

      Salon Shows The New Denny Hastert Wrestling Move, "The Flip Flop"

      From War Room at Salon:

      It turns out that Rep. John Boehner isn't the only one having a hard time keeping his Mark Foley story straight. As ABC News reports, House Speaker Dennis Hastert is flipping and flopping on Foleygate, too.

      Here's Hastert at a press conference Monday: "I think Foley resigned almost immediately upon the outbreak of this information, and so we really didn't have a chance to ask him to resign."

      And here's Hastert in a radio interview today: "We found out about it, asked him to resign. He did resign. He's gone."

      Foley is ndeed gone, but he seems determined not to be forgotten. Foley's lawyer held a press conference this afternoon -- at Foley's request, one would assume -- to announce a) that Foley was molested by a clergyman as a teenager, b) that Foley is gay and c) that Foley is an "acknowledged" alcoholic.

      Asked if Foley ever had physical contact with the pages with whom he communicated, Foley's lawyer said: "Based on all the information that I have, Mark Foley has never ever had an inappropriate sexual contact with a minor in his life." Note the triple hedge there: "Based on all the information that I have," "inappropriate" and "minor." As John Aravosis notes at AMERICAblog, some jurisdictions set the age of consent at 16, meaning Foley's lawyer's use of the word "minor" might mean only that his client hasn't -- at least based on the information he has -- had sex with anyone 15 or under. Congressional pages must be at least 16 years old at the time of their appointment.

      Maureen Dowd Takes On My Former Neighbor, Henry Kissinger

      Here's a snippet from "Don't Pass the Salted Peanuts, Henry", the latest entry from Maureen Dowd. Besides Kissinger, there's a hint of "State of Denial" by Woodward. Go here to read it in its entire glory:

      Tom Lehrer said that political satire was rendered obsolete when Henry Kissinger won a Nobel Peace Prize for prolonging the Vietnam War.

      But even the inventive Lehrer could never have imagined that Dr. Strangelove would get a second chance to contribute to misleading the public about a military catastrophe in a misunderstood land — a do-over in scarring the American psyche and reputation in profound ways.

      Yet, as Bob Woodward reveals in “State of Denial,” the sequel to “Bush is a Genius,” Mr. Kissinger has been one of the few trusted outside advisers that W. has listened to on Iraq. The administration has shaped its policy to hew to the 83-year-old Unwise Man’s belief that the only way to beat an insurgency is to stick it out, no matter how many American kids and foreign civilians die.

      Especially if elections are coming up. As the historian Robert Dallek, who is writing a book on Nixon and Kissinger, notes, “Kissinger was complicit in using foreign policy to try to save Nixon during Watergate.”

      Bob Haldeman wrote in his diary on Dec. 15, 1970, using “K” for Kissinger and “P” for President Nixon: “K came in and the discussion covered some of the general thinking about Vietnam and the P’s big peace plan for next year, which K later told me he does not favor. He thinks that any pullout next year would be a serious mistake because the adverse reaction to it could set in well before the ’72 elections. He favors, instead, a continued winding down and then a pullout right at the fall of ’72 so that if any bad results follow they will be too late to affect the election. It seems to make sense.”

      Thirty-five years later, Mr. Kissinger, the consummate fawner, was once more able to sway a president with faux deference. Dr. K encouraged W. to play the tough guy on the war, even though he’d never gone to war himself.

      In September 2005, Mr. Woodward writes, W.’s head speechwriter, Mike Gerson, visited Mr. Kissinger and received a lecture declaring that the only exit strategy for Iraq was victory and a copy of the diplomat’s “salted peanut memo” from 1969, warning against resisting pressure to withdraw troops from Vietnam: “Withdrawal of U.S. troops will become like salted peanuts to the American public; the more U.S. troops come home, the more will be demanded.”

      Universal Deceit and George Orwell

      TheBHC posting at Anything They Say reminds me of another favorite George Orwell quote (used here in reference to election day):

      In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act.
      -- George Orwell

      Typos galore... and an apology to MissM

      First of all, I notice I'm getting very sloppy about typos. Unfortunately, Blogger lately is so slow when editing that I only sometimes go back to correct. I'll try to be more observant before I post.

      Second, MissM deserves an apology because while her blog was listed, it only said "Word Press." This is fixed. But sowwy (not a typo, just being a ditz).

      Why I Don't Think The Democrats Need to "Play" The Foley Story

      Yesterday, I posted that I didn't want to see games being played with the Mark Foley Congressional page scandal. My remarks seem to have irritated or confused a few people, so let me try to explain better what I mean.

      First and foremost, I think the Democrats along with Independents and third party types running for seats have much better things to do than get involved in the rhetoric of the Foley scandal. Really, I do. And if the others don't have more to discuss, than perhaps they shouldn't be running.

      Second, the Republicans right now are doing an excellent job of eating their own. House Majority leader John Boehner, whose quite the piece of shit anyway, is very busy trying to call himself the innocent darling while pointing all his 10 thumbs at tubby Dennis Hastert, the GOP Speaker of the House while the Bush-Cheney Administration is happy to support Hastert while the focus is off what Bob Woodward's "State of Denial" had to say about the way they do (monkey) business.

      Third, what is far more important that Foley is, as I wrote yesterday, much less of an issue than the cover-up the GOP engaged in to conceal it. As you may recall from the era of an impeachment over a blue dress, Kenneth Starr and the Repugs were famous for saying, "It wasn't so much about the Lewinsky affair but more about the attempts to conceal the truth."

      Well, hell, what got covered up here went much bigger and broader than what Clinton did by initially denying a sexual relationship with Monica.

      Yet, I'm not looking for a tit-for-tat here. We shouldn't go into impeachment mode JUST because the GOP engaged in what appears a much worse coverup of the Foley matter than Clinton did. At it happens, there are dozens and dozens of other reasons to call this administration and the majority on Capitol Hill traitors and ineffective.


      My Left Wing

      There are many very good reasons to regularly read My Left Wing - the blog - yet one of my favorites is their daily selection of some of the best quotes ever, quotes that give you historical perspective, or amuse, or make you think.

      More Skeletons in GOP Closet?

      From Digby on a case other than Mark Foley's:

      I've always thought that Dana Rohrabacher was a nasty piece of work because of his close friendship with the Taliban. But I had no idea he was also pals with one of the many Republican sexual deviants that are coming out of the woodwork:
        Thursday, September 28, 2006 - 3:00 pmNielsen: It's raining boys. Things have been looking up for accused child molester Jeffrey Ray Nielsen, the 36-year-old Christian conservative activist and lawyer with close ties to Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and Scott Baugh, head of the Orange County Republican Party.

        Police say Nielsen took a 14-year-old Westminster boy as his sex partner in 2003 and maintained a huge cache of man-boy pornography.

        But prosecutors have allowed their case against Nielsen, once an intern in the district attorney’s office, to stall for 40 months.Ironically, those delays have provoked new sex-crime allegations. Saying he fears a subversion of justice, a northern Virginia man claims that Nielsen repeatedly molested him when he was an adolescent.

      Say Hello to...

      Media Girl, a good blog I for some reason never got added to my blogroll.

      And Now For Something Completely Different: "Law and Order"

      As a long-time fan of Dick Wolf's Law & Order series, including its spinoffs (the only shows besides Keith Olbermann I usually watch), this season has already been disappointing. I happen to agree with much of what James Wolcott already said about the changes, so let me point you to James.

      Matt Drudge Wins The Scrapping The Very Bottom of the Shit Barrel Contest

      Of all the ridiculous, sad, insulting, salacious things said in this Mark Foley matter, Matt Drudge actually managed to distinguish himself as the lowest of the bottom feeders. This he accomplished by insisting, on TV, that this was not Mark Foley's fault because these teenagers are chasing after him. Fire Dog Lake brings you the story.

      Mind you, this is far lower than the many times I've heard (really!) that Clinton is at fault because no one ever thought of sex in Washington before he had sex with a very young teenager (which is erroneous because Monica Lewinsky, while a much different age than the prez, was certainly over the age of consent).

      Willie Nelson, Bernie Sanders, American Democracy, and Vermont Daily Briefing

      Roll all those together in hemp-based rolling papers and you get Phillip Baruth's fine blog piece - which also appeared in the superb print-based Vermont Guardian - entitled, "Willie Nelson's Covert Plan to Save American Democracy."

      As always, Phillip is well worth the read. Vermont is blessed with some fine bloggers and even better minds.

      For non-Vermonters, Willie Nelson came to the state in August to show his support for family farmers in general and U.S. Senate candidate (I) Bernie Sanders in particular.

      Quickies From The Nation

      Let me toss a few must-reads together into one post since I've posted waaaay too much as it is today.

      First, to make bad matters worse, there is this new information about Mark Foley:

      Foley had IM sex with teen while awaiting Iraq spending vote.
      As well as this about Denny Hastert:
      House Speaker Dennis Hastert's job is on the line and the GOP is enmeshed in a political debacle so volatile that it could eclipse Mark Foley's fall, John Nichols writes. Demands for a top-down housecleaning are fueled by fears that the party's base of conservative 'values voters' will abandon them in November.
      Along with this!
      The House Republican Leadership Scandal
      John Nichols The Mark Foley Scandal is over. The issue now is the cover-up orchestrated by Hastert, Boehner and their compatriots.

      Next up is Cheney's brain:
      David Corn notes that Bob Woodward's new book reveals Dick Cheney was lost without Scooter Libby, and after his aide's indictment, the veep ceased playing a visible role managing the Iraq War.
      Finally, read here to see how Flip-Flop Bill Frist now wants the Taliban in the governing of Afghanistan. WTF? Yeah, my sentiments exactly.

      You should follow up the Nation piece on Frist with Jack McCullough's piece entitled "Flip Flop Frist" at Green Mountain Daily. Jack's a regular both at GMD as well as his own blog, Rational Resistance. I appreciate his commentary.

      One More Personal Note on the Mark Foley Follies and Reaction To It

      While Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House, tries to blame Democrats (on Rush Limbaugh's show) for the Mark Foley scandal (right, they wrote these emails, I guess), let me add that I am also just as disgusted at those who would have the Democrats "use" the Mark Foley PredatorGate matter as a big percentage point for the mid-term elections that occur five weeks from today.

      If Dems do not have anything better to offer than using the Foley matter to their advantage, then we won't be any better off if Democrats regain one or both sides of Capitol Hill. This would make the blues as twisted and sick as the reds currently in office.

      Thankfully, I think some of the Dems running DO offer something of value. Also, frankly, it's more often the Republicans claiming the Dems will use this awful story to their advantage than Dems actually creating talking points ON this matter. I've certainly not see "talking points" for Dems or lefties in my reading or email.

      Let's keep the Dems running on their actual plans, without resorting to this nonsence.

      Interestingly, just before the Foley scandal broke, a new poll with NBC got these results just announced by Tim Russert:

      18% favor Republicans
      51% do NOT favor Republicans

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      San Francisco Phax and Phikshun.

      A Note to Congressman Mark Foley: Shut Up Already!

      I just had a "bulletin" come up on the news just now telling me that Mark Foley, the Republican House of Reprehensible accused of sending sexually oriented messages to a 16-year-old Congressional page, just released an announcement stating that he was molested by a member of the clergy as a child. His lawyer says this is not an excuse, but that's exactly why it was revealed.

      Yesterday, he checked himself into an alcohol treatment center - what Washingtonians always do when in any kind of trouble - because booze made him do it.

      Enough! Foley, you're an asshole. There is no justification for taking the positions you took (protecting kids from Internet predators, keeping Congressional pages safe from Congressional predators), giving all this rhetoric to piousness, and then committing the acts you committed.

      Many of us were molested as very young children. Many of us grew up in families torn apart by drugs and alcohol and many (myself not included thankfully) who went on to become addicted to such substances in their adult life. But most of us don't do what you did.

      Stop making excuses. You did it. Admit it. Get yourself help. In the meantime, shut the fuck up. You're just showing us again what lily-livered, spineless, morally bankrupt pissants you and the rest of the "moral" Republican reds are.

      Say Hello to

      So Much Trouble in The World.

      Edward R. Murrow and America

      Reason and Brimstone, another Vermont blog, happens to feature one of my most favorite Edward R. Murrow quotes:

      "We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men, not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular." --

      Edward R. Murrow

      CBS "Free Speech" Segment Blames Everything on Secularism

      Steve at The Carpet Bagger Report - one of this state's finest, if not the best, blogs - sums up the situation with the ill-intended CBS "Free Speech" segment's most recent offering:

      When CBS News added Katie Couric as the anchor of the CBS Evening News, the network also revamped the entire program, adding a "Free Speech" segment at the end of every broadcast. I've never been entirely clear on the point of the shtick, other than to give random people a minute-long monologue after the news.
      For the first two weeks, viewers were treated to the kind of ideological balance we've come to expect from the major networks: Rush Limbaugh, Rudy Giuliani, and former Bush aide Michael Gerson were featured, but not a single liberal or Democratic voice was included in the mix.

      Yesterday, however, was over the top.

      In introducing the "Free Speech" segment of the October 2 broadcast of the CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric noted that because of the school shooting that day in Paradise, Pennsylvania, "we've decided to hold the 'Free Speech' we had planned to bring you. Instead, we've called on someone who knows all too well the pain the families in Lancaster County are feeling tonight." But, as the weblog Think Progress noted, the segment featured Brian Rohrbough, father of one of the students killed in the 1999 Columbine High School massacre in Colorado, who — rather than talking about "the pain of the families," as Couric indicated — proceeded to blame school shootings on evolutionary theory being taught in public schools and on abortion.

      Now, Rohrbough has my deepest sympathies, and I can't even imagine the tragedy that his family suffered. If he wants to blame modern science and the First Amendment for what he perceives as society's ills, that's his business.

      And I wouldn't even mind if CBS aired Falwell-like rhetoric on occasion, just so long as the network was even-handed about it. But it's not. As Kevin Drum noted, Bill Maher was (irony alert) recently censored before his "Free Speech" segment because the network didn't want him to say something critical of religion.

      In other words, as far as CBS is concerned, "free speech" is fine, so long as you parrot religious-right talking points on one night and don't say anything that might offend a religious-right audience the next. What an impressive celebration of the right to free expression.

      Did Colin Powell Resign as Secretary of State Or Did Bush-Cheney Fire Him?

      Here's the story as written by WaPo; interesting. Very interesting.

      Of course, the Bushies wouldn't mind rumors that Powell was fired because then it would make Powell's comments against tribunals and tortures seem like "sour grapes" from a disgruntled former "employee."

      Where Is The Apology This Tortured (Truly) Man Seeks?

      [Ed. Note: WaPo also has a piece about brave lawyers for "terrorist" detainees who are trying to fight against Bush's expanded torture/tribunal plan. Brave they are because the Bushies have made these lawyers' lives almost as hellish as the detainees'.]

      From WaPo on the plight of Maher Arar, the Canadian the U.S. took to Syria to torture with no cause:

      Maher Arar has received many apologies lately, but not the one he wants most.

      The Canadian computer consultant, detained on suspicion of terrorism in 2002 and sent to Syria where he was tortured and jailed for 10 months, was cleared by a Canadian commission investigating his case last week. The report of Justice Dennis O'Connor found that flawed intelligence about Arar, passed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to U.S. officials, likely contributed to the 2002 decision to deport the Muslim Canadian citizen.

      "There is no evidence to indicate that Mr. Arar has committed any offence or that his activities constitute a threat to the security of Canada," O'Connor concluded in his exhaustive report (PDF).

      Last week, Giuliano Zaccardelli, commissioner of the Mounted Police, offered his apologies to Arar and his family during a parliamentary hearing. His mea culpa followed a unanimous apology from the Canadian House of Commons.

      But Arar says he deserves an apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

      "I understand he needs time to examine other issues," Arar said on Canadian television. "But given that my reputation has been tarnished, I've suffered tremendously, my family has suffered tremendously over the last couple of years, I expected him to apologize without delay."
      Harper declined to issue an apology last week, noting that Arar's ordeal took place under the previous government, headed by the Liberal party.

      "I think it's clear that ... Mr. Arar has been done a tremendous injustice," said Harper, adding that his government intends to "act swiftly" in implementing the recommendations of O'Connor's report.

      Ever-One Sided Bushies: Rice Tells Palestinians To Stop Violence

      It never matters to Washington that some 20 Palestinians die for every Israel death or that while the Palestinians manage to kill a few occasionally with crude bombs, Israel sends in huge gunships provided by the U.S. So Condi now tells the Palestinians (one side) to stop the violence which occurs from BOTH sides.

      Also, some eight are dead in Gaza today in Hamas-Fatah fighting.

      Here We Go Again: Bush Pledges Complete Faith in Dennis Hastert in Foley Scandal

      Here's yet another "You're doing a heluva job there, Brownie" moment from President Bush as he pledges complete confidence in Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert after it becomes painfully obvious that Hastert was part of a conspiracy of silence in Congressman Mark Foley's inability to keep his hands off salacious emails to young boys.

      In response, Hastert says he will NOT resign despite many calls from conservative and other Republican forces for him to do just that.


      Supreme Court Watch: All Eyes on Justice Kennedy

      The Christian Science Monitor yesterday discussed how Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy seems poised to become the new (and much needed since Sandra Day O'Connor's departure) centrist voice on the Supreme Court:

      Abortion regulations and race-based public school enrollment plans are among major national issues at the US Supreme Court this year in a term that offers the first real insight into the constitutional vision of the high court under Chief Justice John Roberts.

      Constitutional scholars and other analysts are watching closely to see if respect for legal precedent - the principle of stare decisis - emerges as a defining approach, or whether the Roberts court will seek to build on the conservative agenda of the Rehnquist court, with sweeping rulings that erode or erase liberal precedents.

      A major factor in the direction of the court, whose 2006-2007 term begins Monday, is Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is emerging as a primary centrist power on the court following the retirement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Analysts say he may provide the swing vote in several key cases.

      "The absence of Justice O'Connor will be one of the most fundamental changes the court has seen," former acting solicitor general and Duke Law School Professor Walter Dellinger told reporters in a recent preterm briefing.

      "It is difficult to overstate the significance of that shift," said former solicitor general and Pepperdine Law School Dean Kenneth Starr, in the same briefing. "All eyes will be on Kennedy."
      Justice Kennedy's new judicial clout will be on full display in both the race and abortion cases. Similar cases were decided by 5-4 majorities in recent years with Justice O'Connor joining the court's four liberal justices. In contrast, Kennedy dissented in both cases.

      Pakistan's Musharraf: "West Will Be Brought To Its Knees"

      Apparently Pakistan's leader Musharraf is getting mighty tired of having George Bush and the Bushies tell him what to do and when:

      Pakistan's president has warned the West would be "brought to its knees" without his country's co-operation in the so-called war on terror.

      "If we were not with you, you won't manage anything," said President Pervez Musharraf in a BBC Radio 4 interview.

      He said the Taleban, not al-Qaeda, was now the focus of the struggle against militancy in the region.

      "The greatest danger today is if the Taleban movement gets converted into a people's movement," he warned.

      Earlier this week Tony Blair assured Gen Musharraf a leaked paper condemning Pakistan's intelligence service did not reflect his government's view.

      In the leaked report, a naval commander at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) claimed Pakistan's intelligence service, ISI, had indirectly helped the Taleban and al-Qaeda.

      In the BBC interview Mr Musharraf rejected these claims and said ISI's support was vital. If we were not with you, you won't manage anything

      The Race to Make the Foley Scandal About "Deviant" Homosexuals

      One thing I find very disquieting about the Mark Foley-tries-to-get-sex-with-underage-Congressional page story is that there is a race to make this about "deviant" homosexuals. To me, that's patently erroneous and just serves the Republican's line about gays as demons.

      Last night, I actually heard some of Foley's so-called friends appear on talk shows saying it was pretty well known Foley was gay even though he never said he was. The LA Times has a piece up about how Foley's homosexuality was one of the worst kept secrets in Washington.

      But being gay does not mean you're a pedophile. It just doesn't.

      I've done a fair amount of research in psychology and I have to say there just isn't any study - not any decently executed study - that shows gay men are much more likely to go after children or be pedophiles than those who consider themselves heterosexuals.

      However, there are studies that suggest that people who feel obligated to "hide" their sexual interests (gay or straight, again, one's sexual orientation here does not matter) are more likely to seek out those who have far less power than they do for sexual gratification. Those with less power include children, prostitutes, drug addicts, the poor, the infirm or mentally ill.

      While the Republicans want to make the Foley thing about being "gay", it's not about that. It's about a man who talked one thing and did another. And it wouldn't matter whether he went after a girl OR a boy page.

      And, even then, the bigger story is NOT what Foley did; it's what the Republicans and Congress specifically did to try to conceal it.

      How Ranking Republicans Go Easy on Pedophiles, Adulterers and Domestic Violence Against Mistresses

      Buzzflash brings you the sordid details that go well beyond the Mark Foley scandal to the Sherwood case and others.

      The Deus Ex Machina Behind the Mark Foley-Page Scandal

      As I said yesterday, the whole Mark Foley scandal as discussed on TV and in newspapers is by itself really not that important. Scandalous and tongue wagging, but not the worst thing that's ever happened in Washington and hell, not even the worst thing to happen this month. No, what matters truly is what went on behind the scenes.

      Glenn Greenwald discusses this in some depth and shows us how both Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and House majority leader John Boehner - the terrible replacement for the terrible Tom DeLay - are among those who need to go. Here's a long snippet but go here to read the entire in-depth article:

      (1) The editorial in The Washington Times calling for Denny Hastert's resignation lays out the case quite persuasively, but it is worth remembering that any criticisms of Denny Hastert in the Foley scandal apply equally, at least, to the next-in-line, Majority Leader John Boehner. If Hastert has to resign, how can Boehner stay?

      Not only does Boehner admit to having known about what the Washington Times calls the "red flags" raised by Foley's "suggestive and wholly inappropriate e-mail messages," Boehner, ever since this scandal emerged, has been at least as dishonest as Hastert has been (which is saying a lot, since Hastert, as the Washington Times notes, "dissembled, to put it charitably"). And it was Boehner who actively and inexcusably blocked the efforts by House Democrats on Friday to instruct the House Ethics Committee to investigate this matter.

      As Brad DeLong documented, Boehner has changed his story multiple times. He first told The Washington Post, definitively, that he talked months ago to Hastert about Foley and "that Hastert assured him 'we're taking care of it.'" But then, when Boehner learned that Hastert had denied knowing about Foley's page problem at all, Beohner "contacted The Post and said he could not remember whether he talked to Hastert." Then, in Roll Call: "Boehner strongly denied media reports late Friday night that he had informed Hastert of the allegations, saying 'That is not true.'" As DeLong emphasized:
        Not "I don't remember." Instead: "That is not true." You cannot read Roll Call and both versions of the Post story without concluding that Boehner was lying to somebody last night: three different stories in quick succession defeats all credulity.
      And now there seems to be still another Boehner version, as The Palm Beach Post reports this morning: "Boehner told the Dayton Daily News he was '99 percent' sure he talked to Hastert about the matter, but also said he did not recall their conversation."

      So: (a) Boehner told Hastert about Foley and Hastert assured him they were "taking care of it"; (b) Boehner does not remember whether he ever talked to Hastert about Foley; (c) Boehner affirmatively claims that it "is not true" that he spoke with Hastert; and now, (d) Boehner is "99 percent" sure he talked to Hastert about Foley but remembers nothing about the converstaion. Does that sound like someone qualified to be Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, let alone Denny Hastert's replacement for Speaker of the House?


      Will Oil Prices Take A Freefall?

      Newsweek on (future) oil prices.

      Paul Krugman: "Things Fall Apart"

      Krugman takes on the Bushies and more in his Monday Times column, "Things Fall Apart." Read the rest here.

      Right after the 2004 election, it seemed as if Thomas Frank had been completely vindicated. In his book “What’s the Matter With Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America,” Mr. Frank argued that America’s right wing had developed a permanent winning strategy based on the use of “values” issues to mobilize white working-class voters against a largely mythical cultural elite, while actually pursuing policies designed to benefit a small economic elite.

      It was and is a brilliant analysis. But the political strategy Mr. Frank described may have less staying power than he feared. In fact, the right-wing coalition that has spent 40 years climbing to its current position of political dominance may be cracking up.

      At its core, the political axis that currently controls Congress and the White House is an alliance between the preachers and the plutocrats — between the religious right, which hates gays, abortion and the theory of evolution, and the economic right, which hates Social Security, Medicare and taxes on rich people. Surrounding this core is a large periphery of politicians and lobbyists who joined the movement not out of conviction, but to share in the spoils.

      Together, these groups formed a seemingly invincible political coalition, in which the religious right supplied the passion and the economic right supplied the money.

      The coalition has, however, always been more vulnerable than it seemed, because it was an alliance based not on shared goals, but on each group’s belief that it could use the other to get what it wants. Bring that belief into question, and the whole thing falls apart.

      Future historians may date the beginning of the right-wing crackup to the days immediately following the 2004 election, when President Bush tried to convert a victory won by portraying John Kerry as weak on defense into a mandate for Social Security privatization. The attempted bait-and-switch failed in the face of overwhelming public opposition. If anything, the Bush plan was even less popular in deep-red states like Montana than in states that voted for Mr. Kerry.

      And the religious and cultural right, which boasted of having supplied the Bush campaign with its “shock troops” and expected a right-wing cultural agenda in return — starting with a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage — was dismayed when the administration put its energy into attacking the welfare state instead. James Dobson, the founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, accused Republicans of “just ignoring those that put them in office.”

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      Welcome to Pottersville!

      Our Soldiers Stationed Outside US May Find Their Votes Defrauded

      American servicemen and women may indeed find their votes in this November's - and 2008's presidential - elections pilfered by fraud. Just as we may fine here at home considering who owns and programs the voting machine equipment.

      In Bush's America: More and More Middle Class Families Go Bellyup

      On the heels of news that more and more of the middle-class are drowning in debt, trying to use credit to buffer insufficient income and rising costs, comes this lovely side of Bush's American economy, where the phenomenon of middle class bankruptcy is way up.

      Dan Froomkin on Woodward's Book and Condi Rice's Denial

      Froomkin talks about the part of Bob Woodward's book "State of Denial" in which Condi Rice is given a strong warning two months before 9-11 except that she paid no attention. For this, she was promoted to Secretary of State.

      In a short excerpt from his book in Sunday's Washington Post, Woodward writes: "On July 10, 2001, two months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, then-CIA Director George J. Tenet met with his counterterrorism chief, J. Cofer Black, at CIA headquarters to review the latest on Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Black laid out the case, consisting of communications intercepts and other top-secret intelligence showing the increasing likelihood that al-Qaeda would soon attack the United States. It was a mass of fragments and dots that nonetheless made a compelling case, so compelling to Tenet that he decided he and Black should go to the White House immediately.

      "Tenet called Condoleezza Rice, then national security adviser, from the car and said he needed to see her right away. . . .

      "He and Black hoped to convey the depth of their anxiety and get Rice to kick-start the government into immediate action. . . .

      "Tenet hoped his abrupt request for an immediate meeting would shake Rice. He and Black, a veteran covert operator, had two main points when they met with her. First, al-Qaeda was going to attack American interests, possibly in the United States itself. Black emphasized that this amounted to a strategic warning, meaning the problem was so serious that it required an overall plan and strategy. Second, this was a major foreign policy problem that needed to be addressed immediately. They needed to take action that moment -- covert, military, whatever -- to thwart bin Laden. . . .

      "Tenet and Black felt they were not getting through to Rice. She was polite, but they felt the brush-off. President Bush had said he didn't want to swat at flies. . . .

      "The July 10 meeting between Tenet, Black and Rice went unmentioned in the various reports of investigations into the Sept. 11 attacks, but it stood out in the minds of Tenet and Black as the starkest warning they had given the White House on bin Laden and al-Qaeda. Though the investigators had access to all the paperwork on the meeting, Black felt there were things the commissions wanted to know about and things they didn't want to know about.

      Is This The GOP's "Perfect Storm"?

      From the San Fracisco Chronicle with links to material and copies on the Mark Foley/IM/email to page scandal as well as the NIE documents.

      One wonders at what point a political edifice starts irredeemably to crumble.

      First this.

      Then this.

      Followed by this.

      While Bush administration defenders say critics are drawing the wrong conclusions from the leaked parts of the NIE report, that Bob Woodward's book is full of "myths" (Condoleeza Rice "vehemently denied" Woodward's assertions that she ignored warnings of an impending attack on the U.S.) and that the Mark Foley affair is no worse than various Democratic congressional and presidential indiscretions, it is hard to see how things won't get worse before they get better (assuming they do) for Republicans, with mid-term elections just four weeks out.

      Apart from the fallout from what some will construe as a GOP leadership coverup in the Mark Foley affair -- one Republican has already said House Speaker Dennis Hastert "lied" about what he knew and Connecticut Republican Chris Shays has said anyone in a leadership comes position who knew about it should step down -- along comes a new book about Colin Powell's experiences in the Bush administration which will only add to the "state of denial" flames.

      Also lurking out there, in what appears to be an increasingly leak-happy atmosphere is another "damning" Iraq intelligence report, which, California Rep. Jane Harman, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, wants released.

      The Washington Post's excerpts of Bob Woodward's book can be found here.

      Bob Woodward interviewed on "60 Minutes".

      The Post's Sunday magazine article on Colin Powell can be found here.

      Emails reportedly between Rep. Mark Foley and a congressional page can be found here.

      IMs (warning: explicit) reportedly between Rep. Foley and the congressional page can be found here.

      More On The Bushies Being In A State of Denial Over Woodward's Book By Same Name

      Newsweek tells us about the White House in damage control mode (meaning attacking everyone and when in doubt, just blame Bill Clinton!) about it.

      But Bob Woodward, author of "State of Denial", is now out with some previously secret documents related to the Bush Administration, the Iraq war, and more. Right now, Woodward has far more veracity than anyone at the White House.

      Tony Snow: Foley Efforts to Bed 16-Year-Old Male Page Just "Naughty Emails"?

      [Ed. note: Glenn Greenwald at Unclaimed Territory has far more depth in the Foley PredatorGate scandal that talks beyond the risque business and more about how the GOP operates in trying to kill a scandal no matter how many lies and coverups it requires.]

      I literally can't believe this. This rises to a whole new height of a Snow job. From Editor&Publisher:

      Appearing on CNN this morning, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow referred to the sexual and graphic emails sent by former Rep. Mark Foley to several teenage pages as "simply naughty e-mails."

      Snow stated, "Look, I hate to tell you, but it's not always pretty up there on Capitol Hill and there have been other scandals as you know that have been more than simply naughty e-mails." He added that a full probe was needed to be "fair to all parties" who are being accused of not taking earlier action against Foley. Snow said to O'Brien, "What you are trying to do is pick fights here."

      Another Huge Surprise: WH Says Woodward's New Book Has Bogus Info

      No surprise here either, that the White House would come out to deny the more critical assessment of the Bush Administration, including strong words about Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, in Bob Woodward's just-released, "State of Denial."

      Funny, they didn't have such objections to the snow job "easy treatment" in Woodward's first two books about the Bushies.

      Wouldn't You Remember If You Just Got a Terrible Warning?

      But Secretary of State Condi Rice - formerly head of NSA (No Such Agency) - claims she can't remember hearing from Clinton's people that the chance of a major attack was very high.

      Mind you, she doesn't deny it, but says here and here that she doesn't recall it. And having her say she doesn't "recall" it just doesn't pass the smell test. It's what liars say when they know they heard or did something but didn't act upon it when they should have.

      And people want to run this dolt for president. Sheesh.

      Rumsfeld: President Bush Loves Me Best!

      Yes, as I mentioned yesterday ("You're Doin' A Helluva Job There, Rummy!"), not only does Mr. Bush tell us he still loves Rummy, but Secretary of the Indefensible Defense says the president tells him he has complete confidence in Rummy.

      Now if only eight billion other people had any faith whatsoever in either Bush or Cheney.

      WaPo: "Don't Try to Censor a Blogger"

      Uh huh... WaPo management should probably read this themselves considering that they've tried at least once to hire a blogger who would only spew rightwing lines.

      Wal-Mart: Give $4 Prescriptions But Saddle Everyone Else With Price of Health Care for Their Employees

      You may recall all the excited blather about Wal-Mart's announcement that it would offer prescriptions at just $4. However, few bothered to notice that the $4 prescription was by far the exception rather than the rule - all Wal-Mart wants to do is kill off smaller pharmacies with a bait-and-switch.

      But here's something I pointed out at the time - and am reminded of with the news that Wal-Mart will use far MORE part-time employees (rather than full-timers who get benefits like health insurance) - Wal-Mart for all its low prices ends up costing just about every taxpayer (except the extremely wealthy whom the Bushies think need to pay less tax than anyone) much more than they save at Wal-Mart because we have to pay for the health care Wal-Mart WON'T provide for its employees. We pay Wal-Mart's share for hospitalizations, for Welfare-Mart and for other support for the poor because Wal-Mart works very hard at keeping everyone but their owners poor.

      Remember too that Wal-Mart is one of those places where their pharmacists are welcome to choose NOT to fill a prescription because it "offends" the delicate moral sensibilities of their pharmacists. Many of these have zero problem filling a Viagra prescription but take moral umbrage as a 'script for birth control. Yeah.

      An Addendum on Mark Foley and So-Called "PredatorGate"

      Blah3 happens to be one of the blogs giving Rep. Mark Foley and PredatorGate more attention than I expect I will.

      Also, Denny Hastert, Speaker - and largest gut- of the House, is busy denying he knew any information about Foley and his exploits that seem rather clear he did in fact know. Hastert is just proving his ass is just as large as his belly.

      Why It's Not Just About Rep. Mark Foley

      A couple of folks reached me over the weekend to ask why I wasn't saying more about the Rep. Mark Foley scandal - the one where this "great" man who happened to serve on a committee charged with "making the Internet safer for children against predators" - where he was e-mailing a 16-year-old Congressional page about getting together for not G-rated fun.

      Yes, it's a big story. Yes, it's a terrible story since it seems to be true.

      And yes, we now have a SLEW of "morally righteous" and "protect the sanctity of marriage" and "keep the world safe from gays" and "promote family values" types - almost entirely from the GOP side of the aisle who turn out to be involved in some pretty serious shit. Shit you would not expect from such pious, righteous types including William Bennett, Dan Burton, the Hutchinson of the Clinton impeachment, Newt Gingrich, et al.

      Or should we not expect it? Traditionally, those who scream the loudest for religion and piety and "family values" and all this happy horseshit are those who actually commit crimes of morality.

      But beyond all of this - and I agree that the White House and Capitol Hill are populated by some of the biggest con artist hypocrites of all time - there are much bigger laws being broken and harm being done. Look at Afghanistan. Look at Iraq. Look at Colombia. Look at the poor of New Orleans. Even the middle class in the U.S. is having some really egregious shit poured down upon them.

      When I weigh this stuff against what Foley did, I still want Foley to go down... but I think we can't get so crazed over Foley that we forget that on any given moment of any given day, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, et al are doing much worse than this fool Foley. If we do give Foley the attention, we're just re-creating the foolishness and evil perpetrated by the GOP on Bill Clinton's little dance with Monica Lewinsky.

      Happy Birthday...

      to my partner, John.

      I'm baking the birthday cake as I type (and a cake from scratch, at that, so God only knows how it will turn out). I'll break out the rest of the pinot noir, too.

      Now The Nigerian Money Scammers Are Using Yassir Arafat's Widow - In Name Only- For a Scam

      I've seen a lot of bad money scams, but this one that just arrived really takes the cake, using the name of the late Yassir Arafat's (Palestinian Authority head) widow to scam money.

      Here's a bit of the scam:

      Good day, This mail may not be surprising to you if you have been following current events in the international media with reference to the Middle East and Palestine in particular. I am Mrs.Suha Arafat, the wife of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader who died recently in Paris France. Since his death and even prior to the announcement, I have been thrown into a state of antagonism, confusion, humiliation, frustration and hopelessness by the present leadership of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the new Prime Minister. I have even been subjected to physical and psychological torture. As a widow that is so traumatized, I have lost confidence with everybody in the country at the moment. You must have heard over the media reports and the Internet on the discovery of some fund in my husband secret bank account and companies and the allegations of some huge sums of money deposited by my husband in my name of which I have refuses to disclose or give up to the corrupt Palestine Government. In fact the total sum allegedly discovered by the Government so far is in the tune of about $6.5 Billion Dollars. And they are not relenting on their effort to make me poor for life.

      As you know, the Moslem community has no regards for woman, hence my desire for a foreign assistance. You can visit the BBC news broadcast below for better understanding of what I am talking about;


      Bob Woodward's "State of Denial" Book

      Has anyone gotten an advance copy of Bob Woodward's new book, "State of Denial", the third in his series, that levels so much-appropriate criticism at how the Bush Administration, including Rumsfeld, have used the many Bush wars for their own political purposes?

      I'd be very interested in comments from anyone who has read it or even read some of the "parts" now available to read online (I think WaPo, for example, is offering a part or two) in excerpt form, although I did not see it on their site this morning.



      My partner turned on Showtime a little while ago and then left the room, leaving me to either a) listen or b) go try to find where he left the remote. But what I just found was... wow.. something else.

      "Master of Horrors" has characters like Bush, a GOP nut like Ann Coulter. As the movie continues, in a bay where all these flag-draped coffins have returned to be buried, a soldier on security watch hears a noise. Before you know it, all the coffins are rocking and thumbing until the death soldiers within break out.

      And why did they break out? To vote. And to vote Republican at that. Then some soldiers say they will vote for any candidate who ends this damned war and that they died for a lie.

      As soon as they cast their Bushie balance


      Bush's "You're Doin' a Heck of a Job There, Rummy!" Moment

      While the rest of the country as well as the world questions what the hell the U.S. is doing in Iraq and elsewhere, as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld insists he won't resign, of course President Bush announces his very strong support for Rummy.

      I dunno.. Anna Nicole Smith is such a fuckup that she would seem like perfect Bush cabinet material.

      Congressman Foley's Little Problem: Why Did Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert Do Nothing?

      While Speaker of the House Denny Hastert has now called for a federal probe into the e-mails sent to a male 16-year-old page by Rep. Foley's actions sure seem a little late.

      According to this, Hastert knew as far back as six months ago, during the spring. Yet Hastert did NOTHING - and this situation certainly warranted it - until the story of Foley's fascination with young teens was made public.

      Ask The Gang at Jesus' General: "Can You Trust Your Children With Republicans?"

      Hmmm... with that question, I would probably need to ask, "Which" Republicans before I could answer it.

      I have to say the GOP has sure gotten some winners, between that guy in Washington last year (the one who wanted to limit marriage to heteros only and wanted to demonize gays) caught in a sting operation after he tried to lure a young boy to have sex with him. Then there's Dan Burton, still in Congress oddly enough, who has two wives. There's also "morality szar" Bill Bennett who was spenting lots of cash for a dominatrix. And Newt Gingrich who pursued very young Congressional interns and pages while shaking a finger at Clinton for doing same; who also served one wife with divorce papers just hours after she underwent surgery to remove a cancerous "female part" and the guy who was supposed to come in after Gingrich who was later found to have numerous affairs.

      Man, these family values represented by today's GOP seem more like Manson or Addams Family.

      Bush and Iran

      President Bush - eager to have a leadup to another war - just signed a bill calling for sanctions against Iran.

      Wow! What's a Big Newsflash: Rumsfeld Refuses To Resign

      When I saw this on MSNBC tonight as breaking news, I laughed so hard my ribs almost came out of my mouth. Now, there is more than humor there, of course. Rumsfeld has done such an amazingly horrendous job that the "funny" here is limited.

      But, like Bush, Rumsfeld simply never sees any reason to re-think any orders he gives or any policies he designed, no matter how bad the results. Admit a mistake? Oh please. Says he's sorry? What planet are you sitting on? Which makes Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld the perfect Bushie.

      Yet, let me say that we are really so far past - at least two or three wars past, in fact - a point where Rummy should resign as head of the military. Get fired, OK... but what he truly deserves is his own little Nuremburg trial, at the very least.

      More Evidence The Bushies Knew Before 9-11 and Did Nothing

      From the Washington Post on the urgent warning that went to then-NSA head, Condi Rice (now flunking out yet again as Secretary of State), who ignored it.