There Simply Is No Excuse: Vote On Tuesday!

Vote your conscience.

Vote for your children.

Vote for your parents because Bush says he will kill Social Security if a Republican majority in Washington remains.

Vote for the middle class Bush-Cheney want to turn poor.

Vote for our military men and women.

Vote for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan who have been so badly "served" by the Bush occupation.

Vote for planet earth.

Vote for mankind; show them we will NOT allow more of this crap to continue.

Vote against more billions for Bechtel, Halliburton and Its Kellogg Brown and Root and UnoCal.

::Cough::Cough:: The Evolution of the Bush-Rove GOP?

I couldn't resist. Visit the site to see more.

Ah, But We're Not Done Yet, Are We?

Doug (All Things Democrat) also points us to Too Stupid to Be President. Some decent stuff that had guffaws from a GOP friend (yes, I have those ; funny, after trying to proselytize me - the former Young Republican in college - for awhile, they are now talking a bit like me).

However, some of my favorites from Doug's list can be found at Wrapped In the Flag like the one below as well as some Vote GOP um... darlings at Evil GOP Bastards.

A Bit of Weekend Levity

Doug at All Things Democrat brings us some of the late night jokes on this pre-vote weekend:

“Halloween is when little kids come to your house looking for candy. Or as Congressman Mark Foley calls it, ’speed dating.’.” –Jay Leno

“”I understand President Bush has his costume all picked out to scare people. He’s going to dress up as Dick Cheney.” –Jay Leno

“Rush Limbaugh recently upset a lot of people because he accused Michael J. Fox of exaggerating his Parkinson’s disease symptoms for political reasons. Then Limbaugh accused Stevie Wonder exaggerating his blindness for free sunglasses.” –Conan O’Brien

“These activist judges are at it again. The New Jersey Supreme Court says homosexuals actually have the same civil rights as straight people, which means they can marry. See, this is the difference between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats want gays to get married. Republicans know congressmen need to be able to play the field.” –Bill Maher


Yeah, well... Anyway, on this most important pre-election weekend, I'm having a dinner for some vegans and won't be around for a good part of the afternoon and evening (yes, I do have a domestic gene but it's a receding rather than a dominant one). But I will be posting as I can around having two PCs disassembled.

If you're a blogger or a blog reader who sees something or writes something you think deserves attention, you'll find my contact email on the sidebar at the right. I'll post anything that looks like information people need to know or want to know before Tuesday's mid-terms (and anything else relevant, since the voting is but one of the many scary things going on at present).

Say Hello to...

Justice for None.


Proof the Republicans Are Not The Party To Support Our Troops

Brought to us by Doug at All Things Democrat (go there to see how our Congress cretins voted:

With all of the phony bullshit coming from the GOP this week in the wake of Kerry’s re-labeled remarks, you’d assume Republicans are the party of the military. Of course, we all know the chickenhawks haven’t served a day in the military and could care less about the troops or veterans.

Now there’s proof.

DK tells us that Bob Geiger and the nonpartisan Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America reviewed the past five years of Senate votes (324 votes in total) regarding the troops and veterans issues. Based on these votes, they assigned a letter grade showing which Senators really support the troops. You’ll see from this chart that…

It’s NOT the Republicans!!!

See the referenced chart here.

Fraud in Defense Contracts - Think Bechtel and Halliburton - IS Treason

Dear lord, I'm actually agreeing with Alec Baldwin (appearing now on Realtime with Bill Maher for a change.

When you have defense companies like Halliburton and Bechtel, to name just a few of the Bush-friendly no-bid contractors who turned FAT on Iraq while our troops suffer, this IS treason. See my previous post on Paul Krugman's latest column.

Say (Another) Hello to

Black Box Voting. 'Tis the season for hacked democracy. ::sigh::

American Health Care And More

My favorite blogging penguin, BadTux, has a post up on the coming crisis and epidemic with Americans and their health care that is well worth a read.

Then, just slightly more snarky, BadTux offers this:

Police twice stunned with a Taser a 120 pound kid armed with a Bible who was shouting "I want Jesus!". His crime: he refused to acknowledge them which of course is a crime in Amerika V. 6.0 -- when a police officer approaches you while you're doing nothing wrong and asks "your papers please", you're required (according to the last dance of the Supremes) to show him your papers. Just like in the good ole' U.S.S.R., yessiree!

Now, you might think being Tasered twice might have something to do with the fact that the kid had to be hospitalized, and died the next day. But nooooo! The county coroner sez he just died of being over-excited. Nosiree, being electrocuted (twice) by the cops had nothing to do with it!

God In The Poll Numbers

While all the emphasis on "what American should do" only seems to address the really radically to the right evangelicals, here's a poll I heard about yesterday (I'm struggling to find the link again but I recall seeing it on news.yahoo.com after I read it elsewhere):

42% of Americans either do not believe in God or seriously question His/Her existence
Now, I happen to believe, although I do not see God as the angry, vengeful, master of slave humans I was raised by Catholics/Episcopals/Evangelicals to envision. No, God is a force and he (my God doesn't require capital letters) expects us to do a lot better with the brains and free will he gave us than most of us do!

Newsweek: Very Popular Support for Congressional Investigations Into U.S. Contracts in Iraq

As Richard Wolfe of Newsweek said just now on MSNBC with Keith Olbermann, those voters who actually realize - I posted about this as reported earlier by Glenn Greenwald - that the Republicans have killed the Special Investigator in charge of researching corruption and abuses of companies (almost entirely American) in the Iraq rebuilding effort, may not be happy.

Wolfe says polling is showing about 70% of American citizens across the board WANT these investigations.

GOP Lawmakers Rushed Nuclear Weapon Plans Onto Net to Suggest Hussein Supposed Stockpile of WMD

but all they actually did was give anyone who wanted details on how to build your own nuclear bomb at home (I'm not sure whether a microwave is required). This from Keith Olbermann and other sources.

The House's Rep. Hoekstra and Senate Pat Roberts - both GOP chairman of intelligence - knew that this information was risky to put up but, in association with the Bush White House, felt it was just more important to try to prove the lie long ago discovered: Saddam had no WMD and was not going to get one anytime soon.

This information was NOT pulled from the Web until yesterday when The New York Times made calls to the Bushies. Sheesh.

From the Moony-owned UPI:

The Web site was established in March to make public Iraqi documents seized following the toppling of the Saddam Hussein regime. According to the Times, its birth was the result of Republican congressional pressure to help make the case that Iran had an active program to develop weapons of mass destruction -- a key rationale for the 2003 invasion, since debunked by a massive and fruitless search.

"This is a classic, textbook example of the dangers of politicizing national intelligence issues," said Joe Cirincione senior vice president for national security and international policy at the left-leaning Center for American Progress in Washington.

"In their zeal to promote the idea Saddam Hussein in fact did have (WMD), congressional proponents of the war ... have put up documents on the internet that could give terrorists and states hostile to the United States the very instructions they need to build nuclear, chemical or biological weapons," he said.

"If Democrats had done that there would be mobs carrying torches in the streets tonight. The Democrats would be accused of treason and there would be calls for resignation," Cirincione told reporters Friday.

The office of the U.S. director of national intelligence pulled the Web site down and is reviewing the documents for sensitive material.Story Tools: -->

Army Times/Air Force Times/Marine Times/Navy Times: Demand Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld Be Fired OR Resign

This is due out in the issue of these military publications on Monday, the day before the election (and no one's ever accused the Army and Air Force of being hugely liberal). In fact, these publications (note all four branches of the military represented here) serve primarily military families which seems to suggest those families aren't too happy that Bush-Cheney this week said they were keeping Rummy until the bitter end (ours, Iraq's... anybody's!).

"War Criminals, Beware!" And That Means You Rumsfeld, You Gonzales, And Other Bushies

From The Nation:

On November 14 a group of lawyers and other experts will come before the German federal prosecutor and ask him to open a criminal investigation targeting Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales and other key Bush Administration figures for war crimes. The recent passage of the Military Commissions Act provides a central argument for the legal action, under the doctrine of universal jurisdiction: It demonstrates the intent of the Bush Administration to immunize itself legally from prosecution in the United States, even for the most serious crimes.

The Rumsfeld action was announced at a conference in New York City in late October titled "Is Universal Jurisdiction an Effective Tool?" The doctrine allows domestic courts to prosecute international crimes regardless of where the crime was committed, the nationality of the perpetrator or the nationality of the victim. It is reserved for only the most heinous offenses: genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, including torture. A number of countries around the world have enacted universal jurisdiction statutes; even the United States allows it for certain terrorist offenses and torture.

Convenient That Saddam Hussein May Be Sentenced To Death Just Before GOP-Scared Mid-Term Elections

As Glenn Greenwald (again) properly asks (to paraphrase), "What are Democrats prepared to do about the November 5th sentencing of Saddam Hussein?" How convenient, eh?

In truth, there's probably little they can do about it except keep pointing it out to the GOP sheep.

Every halfway decent trial lawyer knows that if your adversary has some bombshell document or witness which packs such emotional punch that it can overwhelm all other facts, you don't just sit around and passively wait for them to unleash it. You do the opposite.

Before they can use it, you take the document or witness and talk about it as much as possible, as aggressively as possible, and as early as possible, so that (a) the jury knows it's coming and so you deny your opponent the dramatic shock value of it, (b) it is clear that you are not afraid of its impact, and (c) the jury hears about it from you first, rather than your adversary, so that you're the one who defines it and, from the beginning, they view it from your perspective, not the other side's. In sum, by preemptively seizing on and using the other side's planned dramatic bombshell, it makes it a completely expected non-event when it finally happens.

More subtly -- but perhaps even more importantly -- by seizing upon their greatest strength, it conveys that you actually think the other side's great "secret weapon" actually helps your case, because it demonstrates how weak they are. If something as ineffective as this is what they think is their big, magical weapon that will save them, that is a pretty compelling reflection of their desperation, of their desire to distract from their real issues, and of the lameness of their position on the merits.

Another Desperate, Criminal Move: Republican Congress Kills Agency To Oversee U.S. Corruption In Iraq

Shit, fuck, damn (sorry, it's all I can muster): From the incomparable Glenn Greenwald:

Matt Taibbi's superb cover article in this month's Rolling Stone is entitled "The Worst Congress Ever," and it details the corruption, sleaze, bloated hubris, and undemocratic power structure which drives every crevice of that tragically worthless institution. The article is so well-documented and the abuses it chronicles are so severe that it will astonish even the most cynical and hardened critic of corrupt one-party Republican rule.

As Taibbi documents, even the most significant bills are voted on with no debate or even time to read the bills. Worse, after the bills are approved by both houses, even their most central provisions are drastically changed and agreed to in secret "conference" by a small handful of Republican Congressional leaders, with no input from anyone other than their favored industry lobbyists. They go out of their way to avoid any oversight of any kind of the activities of the executive branch, and most of the time, they literally have no idea what they're voting on. It is difficult to summarize how broken and corrupt the Congress has become.

Anyone who has read Taibbi's exposé will not be surprised in the slightest by this astounding article in The New York Times today, concerning a relatively aggressive fraud-prevention agency in Iraq designed to uncover corruption in how U.S. government contracts are being obtained and how American money is spent over there. The agency, headed by a conscientious Republican lawyer who seems to take his job seriously, has had some real success in uncovering serious fraud:
    Investigations led by a Republican lawyer named Stuart W. Bowen Jr. in Iraq sent American occupation officials to jail on bribery and conspiracy charges, exposed disastrously poor construction work by well-connected companies like Halliburton and Parsons, and discovered that the military did not properly track hundreds of thousands of weapons it shipped to Iraqi security forces.
But unbeknownst to virtually everyone outside of a tiny number of Congressional Republicans, a provision was surreptitiously inserted into the sprawling military authorization bill signed into law two weeks ago by the President that simply abolished Bowen's office
You know, one of the frequently spoken "fears" by the Bushies is that Dems will investigate everything. And this may be the one most legitimate thing the Dems can do.

U.N. and U.S. Criticize Israel For Overflights Over Lebanon

Even though the troops are in place for Israel to stop this crap, Israel won't stop:

The United States has expressed its disappointment during a phone call with Israeli authorities over the fact that Israeli military planes (manned planes not drones) flew over the south of Lebanon and Beirut last Tuesday in violation of UN Resolution 1701.

This is the first time that this happens, showing – according to much of the local press – that there are fractures within the Israeli government, which widened its majority days ago with the entry of the Israel Beitenu party, a far right party led by the controversial Avigdor Lieberman.

The Israeli progressive press also criticized the flight.

‘Haaretz’ described it as a provocation as well as a violation of Lebanese sovereignty and resolution 1701.

The low altitude flight took place largely in the area controlled by UN peacekeepers.
As for the peacekeepers, Spain just completed its deployment as the last 160 troops arrived in southern Lebanon.

The UN was also angry, and through Kofi Annan’s representative for Lebanon, Gier Pedersen, it said that “the UN expresses deep concern” for what has happened. According to a secret document that has recently come to light, the decision to fly over the South of Lebanon and Beirut is tied to an Israeli need to “put pressure on the international community”

"Patriotic Americans Won't Vote For Democrats"?

This, from Spero News.

Patriotic? Patriotism is NOT worn by any political party. REAL patriots speak out and not follow blindly like lobotimized sheep. REAL patriots do more for the troops - like demand they be used carefully and not for oil - than put a damned yellow ribbon sticker or an American flag made by Chinese political prisoners on their bleeping gas guzzling SUVs.

I haven't seen a lot of patriotic Republicans, despite the GOP's efforts to wrap itself in an apparently flammable flag.

If these assholes think Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Santorum, and Frist are somehow patriotic, then maybe they're smoking methamphetamines with Reverend Ted Haggard.

Iraq: Already Four Soldiers, Four Marines Dead in Iraq

This just came through from NBC News with Brian Williams.

And Yet More Ted Haggard: Transcripts of Calls to Buy Drugs (Meth?), Plus Ted Haggard, The Motion Picture

Super Bush Advisor Evangelist Ted Haggard made a movie? Teddie Does Dallas? The Devil In Mr. Jones? Behind The Green Church Door? Eww. Oops, no, Jesus Camp.

And here's the transcripts purporting Ted Haggard soliciting drugs for sex. The male prostitute who says he was "bought" by Haggard on a regular basis for three years says Haggard liked crystal meth (ice or methamphetamines) to enhance his performance and experience during homosexual liaisons.

According to NBC, Haggard now admits he bought meth once from the male prostitute, but never smoked it and ... ::cough:: never inhaled his male slut?

Paul Krugman: "As Bechtel Goes" As In Bechtel, Now Enriched to Nth Power, Flees Iraq

Nice to see Krugman tackle this (and go here for whole thing):

Bechtel, the giant engineering company, is leaving Iraq. Its mission — to rebuild power, water and sewage plants — wasn’t accomplished: Baghdad received less than six hours a day of electricity last month, and much of Iraq’s population lives with untreated sewage and without clean water. But Bechtel, having received $2.3 billion of taxpayers’ money and having lost the lives of 52 employees, has come to the end of its last government contract.

As Bechtel goes, so goes the whole reconstruction effort. Whatever our leaders may say about their determination to stay the course complete the mission, when it comes to rebuilding Iraq they’ve already cut and run. The $21 billion allocated for reconstruction over the last three years has been spent, much of it on security rather than its intended purpose, and there’s no more money in the pipeline.

The failure of reconstruction in Iraq raises three questions. First, how much did that failure contribute to the overall failure of the war? Second, how was it that America, the great can-do nation, in this case couldn’t and didn’t? Finally, if we’ve given up on rebuilding Iraq, what are our troops dying for?

There’s no definitive way to answer the first question. You can make a good case that the invasion of Iraq was doomed no matter what, because we never had enough military manpower to provide security. But the lack of electricity and clean water did a lot to dissipate any initial good will the Iraqis may have felt toward the occupation. And Iraqis are well aware that the billions squandered by American contractors included a lot of Iraqi oil revenue as well as U.S. taxpayers’ dollars.

Consider the symbolism of Iraq’s new police academy, which Stuart Bowen, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, has called “the most essential civil security project in the country.” It was built at a cost of $75 million by Parsons Corporation, which received a total of about $1 billion for Iraq reconstruction projects. But the academy was so badly built that feces and urine leak from the ceilings in the student barracks.

Think about it. We want the Iraqis to stand up so we can stand down. But if they do stand up, we’ll dump excrement on their heads.

As for how this could have happened, that’s easy: major contractors believed, correctly, that their political connections insulated them from accountability. Halliburton and other companies with huge Iraq contracts were basically in the same position as Donald Rumsfeld: they were so closely identified with President Bush and, especially, Vice President Cheney that firing or even disciplining them would have been seen as an admission of personal failure on the part of top elected officials.

As a result, the administration and its allies in Congress fought accountability all the way. Administration officials have made repeated backdoor efforts to close the office of Mr. Bowen, whose job is to oversee the use of reconstruction money.

Just this past May, with the failed reconstruction already winding down, the White House arranged for the last $1.5 billion of reconstruction money to be placed outside Mr. Bowen’s jurisdiction. And now, finally, Congress has passed a bill whose provisions include the complete elimination of his agency next October.

The bottom line is that those charged with rebuilding Iraq had no incentive to do the job right, so they didn’t.
Emphasis (and profanity echoing off the walls of my office), entirely mine.

Top Blogs List Updated

This week's top dog blogs (at right) were a hard pick because we're in the last few days of the so-called "information cycle" before mid-term elections Tuesday. I tried to err on the side of some of the very best, like Brad Blog on the issue of voting and Talking Points Memo and TPM Muckraker that detail latest news, with a touch of Vermont, too.

Military Reservist Wins Big Against Employer In Court

Story here.

Military reservists won a major victory in court on Friday when a federal jury unanimously ruled in favor of an NYPD Captain and experienced U.S. Army pilot who was denied assignment to the NYPD Aviation Unit based on his military reserve status.

"The Police Department, Fire Department and private employers need to make sure reservists' employment rights are not infringed upon," said Margaret Mayo, attorney for Captain John Cardona.

ABC Touts Story of Al-Jazeera Reporter Who Denounces "Western Nations" As Evil?

So... what? You can't pick up three different newspapers or two different "so-called" news channels or go very far on the Web without hearing a so-called journalist here at least inferring the Middle East (except, of course, Israel) and Central Asia evil and run by "radical ideologues".

The people in the Middle and in the East are allowed opinions, too. Really.

As Posted Here, It's All Too True: Republican National Committee Has Gay Porn To Thank For Big, BIG Bucks!

Right. Condemn all this stuff but hold your hand out for a check. The Gay-porn paid for enriched GOP of Cheney, Bush, Mehlman, Rice, Rumsfeld, and Rove is just too, too filthy for words. And, mind you, the gay porn is the cleanest and "most creative" aspect of this whole ABC Blotter story:

Despite running an attack ad accusing a Democratic senatorial candidate of accepting money from "porn movie producers," the Republican National Committee itself has accepted several donations over the past few years from the president of a large pornographic movie distribution company.

Marina Pacific Distributors calls itself "the leader in adult video distribution." Included in the movies for sale on their Web site are videos made by "Active Duty Productions." Active Duty, as their name suggests, has cast active duty soldiers in some of their films but not without serious consequences for the soldiers.

Three Fort Bragg soldiers were found guilty and sentenced to prison in separate courts-martial earlier this year for appearing in pornographic videos made by Active Duty. The charges included sodomy and conduct detrimental to the Army. Four other soldiers accused of appearing in Active Duty videos were also punished outside of the military court system.

Active Duty's films, however, continue to be sold by large pornographic video distributors, including Marina Pacific.

The president of Marina Pacific, Nicholas Boyias, has personally contributed to the Republican party several times over the last few years, six times to the Republican National Committee. The donations range from $200 to $500 and total around $2,000, according to a search of federal election records.

GOP House Rep Heather Wilson

Wait. The people of New Mexico are only now figuring how that their House Rep Republican Heather Wilson is a Bush puppet?

Oh come on! I know a few people in New Mexico; they aren't all dolts by a long shot.

Frank Rich: "Dying To Save The GOP Congress"

OK, see, Rich knows Borat and he'd never get his "official" column picture for The Times done in pearls (sorry, Modo, but pearls are sooooJune Cleaver!). Go here to read more (including the good original JP commentary):

If you happened to be up around dawn on Tuesday, you could witness the death rattle of our adventure in Iraq live on CNN. Zalmay Khalilzad, the American ambassador, and Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the American commander, were making new promises from the bunker of the Green Zone, inspiring about as much confidence as Jackie Gleason and Art Carney hatching a get-rich-quick scheme to sell a kitchen gadget on “The Honeymooners.”

“Success in Iraq is possible and can be achieved on a realistic timetable,” said Mr. Khalilzad. Iraq can be “in a very good place in 12 months,” said General Casey. Even a child could see how much was wrong with this picture.If there really is light at the end of the tunnel, why after three and a half years can’t we yet guarantee light in Baghdad? Symbolically enough, television transmission of the Khalilzad-Casey press conference was interrupted by another of the city’s daily power failures. If Iraq’s leaders had signed on to the 12-month plan of “benchmarks” the Americans advertised, why were those leaders nowhere in sight? We found out one day later, when the prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, mocked the very idea of an America-imposed timetable.

“I am positive that this is not the official policy of the American government, but rather a result of the ongoing election campaign,” he said, adding dismissively, “And that does not concern us much.”

Give the Iraqi leader credit for a Borat-like candor that almost every American in this sorry tale lacks. Of course all the White House’s latest jabberwocky about “benchmarks” and “milestones” and “timetables” (never to be confused with those Defeatocrats’ “timelines”) is nothing more than an election-year P.R. strategy, as is the laughable banishment of “stay the course.” There is no new American plan to counter the apocalypse now playing out in Iraq, only new packaging to pacify American voters between now and Nov. 7. And recycled packaging at that: President Bush had last announced that he and Mr. Maliki were developing “benchmarks” to “measure progress” in Iraq back in June.
The ultimate chutzpah is that Mr. Bush, the man who sold us Saddam’s imminent mushroom clouds and “Mission Accomplished,” is trivializing the chaos in Iraq as propaganda. The enemy’s “sophisticated” strategy, he said in last weekend’s radio address, is to distribute “images of violence” to television networks, Web sites and journalists to “demoralize our country.”

This is a morally repugnant argument. The “images of violence” from Iraq are not fake — like, say, the fiction our government manufactured about the friendly-fire death of Pat Tillman or the upbeat news stories the Pentagon spends millions of dollars planting in Iraqi newspapers today. These images of violence are real.

Maureen Dowd: "Haunted By The Past

Read it all here, but this column points out why I could never write a column for The Times: I just don't use words like "jejune" (I do "emasculated" as any woman of above high school age should ::smirk::) and in any other form of writing, a single sentence paragraph sends the editor smacking you on the head with a 1930 Olivetti typewriter (which has to weigh at least 55 lbs).

Many Republicans have been tut-tutting about the author of “The Audacity of Hope” having the audacity to hope.

“I think people might want a little more experience than that, given the nature of the times we live in,” Dick Cheney told Sean Hannity.Charles Krauthammer wrote that, despite Senator Barack Obama’s charms, he could not win in ’08: “The reason is Sept. 11, 2001. The country will simply not elect a novice in wartime.”

But if there’s one thing W.’s reign proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, it is this: Experience, like affectations, can be dangerous.

They will fill up history books with all the myopic misjudgments made by a war council with a couple of centuries of experience, blunders that undermined America’s security and integrity, wrecked Iraq, loosed Osama, and made the world more dangerous.

Those on the president’s “dream team” of foreign policy advisers were haunted, not strengthened, by their years of past service in top jobs. When they got the chance to run the country again under W., all they wanted to do was finish unfinished business, misapplying old ideas to new crises, like those who sabotage new romances with baggage from old relationships.

On his initial tour as defense secretary, for Gerald Ford, Rummy felt that Vietnam, Watergate and then Jimmy Carter robbed him of his opportunity to rein in the military brass, who were always impudent enough to have opinions about the military. Determined to banish America’s post-Vietnam fears about using force, he ended up creating another Vietnam that spurred more fears about using force.

As Bush 41’s defense secretary, Mr. Cheney prepared the ’92 Defense Planning Guidance draft with his aides Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby. It called for swaggering world domination in the wake of the cold war, asserting that America should intervene to stop any countries — allies or foes — from challenging its supremacy.

A decade later, with a more jejune Bush as president and a more jittery post-9/11 America, Cheney & Co. brought back the loony plan and renamed it the Bush doctrine.

Vice and Rummy corroded the Constitution by using the terrorist attacks as a pretext to correct the past: as Ford administration big shots, they felt emasculated by the post-Watergate reforms; three decades later, they saw a chance to shoot some steroids into executive branch powers.

Condi Rice had been a Russia expert in Poppy Bush’s White House, so she and the older cold warriors like Rummy and Cheney readily saw the red menace under every rock.

Like the “experts” who failed back in the 1960s to see that Red China and the Soviet Union were enemies of each other, not friends, they naïvely assumed that Saddam and Osama were in bed together and that because they were both bad guys, going after one was going after the other.

George Tenet’s experience tracking bin Laden did him no good, because he was so nervous about being the only Clinton holdover that he was overly sycophantish to W., assuring a skeptical president that proving Saddam had W.M.D.s was a “slam dunk.”

Oh Wow - A Link From Sean Hannity's Perniciousness

Here... but luckily, not exactly entirely mouth-breathers.

I like the person who said these folks were "about as honest as a three dollar bill and have the attention span of a crack (or meth) baby."

This One Goes Out to Ted Haggard, James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, And All The Other Demons Dressed As Disciples...

Frank Zappa's "Jesus Thinks You're a Jerk!"

And those who want some Ted Haggard and Idiot Watch, visit JP at Welcome to Pottersville (one of my new faves) with "I Know What You Did For The Last 36 Months".

And btw, the version of Stairway to Heaven I referenced in the last post was Zappa's (not to be confused with Eric Clapton's or anyone else's); Stairway to Heaven was just announced by Radio News as the most frequently requested song on FM Radio (not a first time).

It's Frank Zappa Friday!

[Ed. note: Kate now glows glorified about Zappa, but it took her a long while to appreciate the artist. It's hard to know whether to forgive her for how long it took her or for finally discovering his late great genius. You decide.]

Well, not quite, but I got in the car this morning to discover a CD I hadn't seen or heard in ages, "Broadway the Hard Way" and, just now turning on the stereo to WGDR (Community-Run Radio in Plainfield) behind my head as I blog, the first song was Zappa's "Baby Snakes" followed by "Bigfoot".

Which brings me to my next post. Ooooo... another Zappa is up ("Stairway to Heaven")!

How Come GOP Boehner's Remarks on Military...?

didn't rate the same outrage as John Kerry's? And unlike Boehner (and Bush, for that matter), at least Kerry served.

Hasta La Vista, Hastert?

Could we be done with fat boy wrestler, Dennis Hastert?

Gee, Gas And Other Fuel Prices Will Go Up After The Election?

Oh hell, no. The Bushies and the GOP would never manipulate energy prices to try to make voters not hate gas-energy men in the White House, right? Ha.


Has Anyone Yet Seen "Hacking Democracy"?

With news today it takes less than a minute to break into Diebold machines and to install viruses into it. And to vote as many times as you like by pressing the yellow button at the back of the machine. And with Diebold trying to threaten everyone at HBO willing to show it, I wanna see it.

What Do The Bushies Do When Faced With The Truth of Iraq?

When the New York Times released this item from CentCom on Iraq's "happy pappy of the Bush-and-Rumsfeld-Start-to-Make-Saddam-Hussein-Look-Like-a-Not-So-Bad-Guy" continuum, what do the Bushies do? [See The Agonist for more.]

Why, the Bushies do what they always do when pressed with the truth! They threaten the press that reported it.

A-yup. [No, this is not indicative of living in Vermont too long.]

And Speaking of Mark Foley

It turns out that NY's Rep Tom Reynolds has some 'splaining to do on how he tried to spin the Mark Foley underage page affair (uh... poor choice of words?).

Thanks to Buzzflash for the link.

Well, At Least Bush Repugnicant Don Sherwood Only Beat A Female Partner, Rather Than a Male Prostitute

Well, President Bush and Karl Rove should breathe a sigh of relief that House Reprehensible Don Sherwood (Republican, as you can tell from his odor and particulars) is at least heterosexual, unlike Ted Haggard and Mark Foley (and Ken Mehlman and David Drier and.. oh, I could go on a long while):

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A Republican congressman accused of abusing his ex-mistress agreed to pay her about $500,000 in a settlement last year that contained a powerful incentive for her to keep quiet until after Election Day, a person familiar with the terms of the deal told The Associated Press.

Rep. Don Sherwood is locked in a tight re-election race against a Democratic opponent who has seized on the four-term congressman's relationship with the woman. While Sherwood acknowledged the woman was his mistress, he denied abusing her and said that he had settled her $5.5 million lawsuit on confidential terms.

The settlement, reached in November 2005, called for Cynthia Ore to be paid in installments, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal is confidential. She has received less than half the money so far, and will not get the rest until after the Nov. 7 election, the person said Thursday.

A confidentiality clause requires Ore to forfeit some of the money if she talks publicly about the case, according to this person and two other people familiar with elements of the case.

It is common in settlements for payments to be made in installments and for the parties to be held to confidentiality.

Sherwood admitted no wrongdoing, a standard provision in such agreements, this person said.

Sherwood, a 65-year-old married father of three who is considered a family-values conservative, had one of the safest seats in Congress until Ore sued him in June 2005, alleging he physically abused her throughout their five-year affair.

Reached by telephone Wednesday, the congressman and successful car dealer said: "I can neither confirm nor deny because this was a private settlement. If I'd like to talk to you about it, I can't."

The Associated Press has been trying for months to find out the terms of the settlement.

According to a police report, Ore called 911 on her cell phone from the bathroom of Sherwood's Capitol Hill apartment in 2004 and reported that Sherwood had choked her while giving her a back rub. Sherwood admitted having an affair with the woman, but vehemently denied ever hurting her, and criminal charges were never filed. But Ore, now 30, sued for damages.

Yet Sherwood orginally denied he had a mistress, much less beat her. Oh that Bush-Rove GOP veracity.

Radar Magazine: "Oh That's Rich!"

Radar Magazine channels the excellent Frank Rich, whose book, The Greatest Story Ever Sold, is available here.

Week after week, Frank Rich musters more moral outrage (and more relevant facts) on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times than any other columnist on that paper. His new book, The Greatest Story Ever Sold, is a compelling account of the "decline and fall of truth" during the Bush administration and a runaway bestseller. Next Tuesday, when America goes to the polls, we will finally learn how many of our fellow citizens have absorbed Rich's views on Iraq—and the consequences of Republican control of all three branches of the Federal government. This week, Rich took time out from his cross-country book tour to talk with author Charles Kaiser about everything from Bob Woodward's belated criticism of the Bush administration to Jon Stewart's indispensable role in keeping the record straight.

Belatedly: Keith Olbermann's Special Comments on Wednesday

Crooks and Liars has the latest in a series of fine Special Comments by MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann. See my previous post about Brent Bozell (chairman of his-own Family Research Council designed to spew hatred) about the Bozell calling the Olbermann "hatespeak" against President Bush.

A snip of Keith on Bush and the liars who lie to us and the world:

A brief reminder, Mr. Bush: You are not the United States of America.

You are merely a politician whose entire legacy will have been a willingness to make anything political — to have, in this case, refused to acknowledge that the insult wasn't about the troops, and that the insult was not even truly about you either — that the insult, in fact, is you.

So now John Kerry has apologized to the troops; apologized for the Republicans' deliberate distortions.

Thus the President will now begin the apologies he owes our troops, right?

This President must apologize to the troops — for having suggested, six weeks ago, that the chaos in Iraq, the death and the carnage, the slaughtered Iraqi civilians and the dead American service personnel, will, to history, quote "look like just a comma."

This President must apologize to the troops — because the intelligence he claims led us into Iraq proved to be undeniably and irredeemably wrong.

This President must apologize to the troops — for having laughed about the failure of that intelligence, at a banquet, while our troops were in harm's way.

This President must apologize to the troops — because the streets of Iraq were not strewn with flowers and its residents did not greet them as liberators.

This President must apologize to the troops — because his administration ran out of "plan" after barely two months.

This President must apologize to the troops — for getting 2,815 of them killed.

This President must apologize to the troops — for getting this country into a war without a clue.

And Mr. Bush owes us an apology… for this destructive and omnivorous presidency.

It's Bush's World And No Self Respecting - Or At Least Honest and Decent - Journalist Is Safe There

[Ed. update: Oh, and in the Never-Accuse-David-Brooks-For-Being-A-Journalist-Or-Even-Slightly-Bright Department: Brooks now says Iraq has always been a mess. Thanks, David. You're only three and a half years late and more than $100 Billion short - but hey, what's $100 Billion to your Bush masters?]

First, we have the Iraq freelance journalist found dead two weeks after he was abducted in Mr. Bush's "fine and friendly, flower-greeting" Iraq.

Two arrests are made in Mexico in the Oaxaca killing last Friday of activist and journalist Bradley Will. Last we knew, the killers seemed to be Mexican state police out of uniform in what may have been an "execution." What's the Bush connection? I dunno... maybe the rigged elections there guaranteed to bring a Bush-loyalist into power over the country. Nothing biggie about that, right?

More journalists have been hurt in Afghanistan (another Bush-Rumsfeld wonderland!)

And here at home, Brent Bozell, the asshole whose sphincter hangs to the far right, condemned MSNBC's intrepid Keith Olbermann for his Special Comments on Mr. Bush Wednesday night; Bozell of course called Olbermann a brown shirt while calling Olbermann a purveyor of hate speak (oh yeah... only sugar drips from Brent's dyed blond facial hair rimmed mouth). See next post (up) for more information on Olbermann.

Ooooh, and Speaking of Jon Stewart: Stewart Does Borat Tonight!

Set your TiVos for Borat on Daily News tonight (I'll have to remember to turn on Daily News at 11 however because the idea of having TiVo recording what I watch makes me a little ill).

Up yours, Imus. ::smiley face::

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Political Talk!

Imus And Others Tell Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert to "Shut Up and Be Funny"

Don Imus said this basically today as other right-wingers have said before.

First, Stewart and Colbert's first agenda is to be funny... and they're succeeding royally! They do not only poke right wingers, but no good right winger ever likes a single poking while they want to burn any to the left of Ronald Reagan at the stake.

Second: personal note to Don Imus. Don, first, let me thank you. I was a very small child when you were so coked and stoned on NBC radio out of New York that I thought you were terribly funny. But my thanks is two-fold, because I also need to thank you for helping me manage to go through my adolescence and adulthood pretty much drug free. After all, you were a pukey role model for "better living through chemicals".

Also Don: many people have said for far longer that you should shut up on your claptrap and be funny. But you don't heed that advice and frankly, Stewart and Colbert wipe the floors of both coasts with your ratings.

Tony Snow As White House Spinner In Chief?

Dave Astor at Editor&Publisher has noticed Tony Snow has never allowed facts get in the way of giving "honest" answers to the American press corps.

More Ted Haggard

God forbid anyone wants more of Ted Haggard (and certainly not his wife, one would hope), but some of the details are here in Ed and Pub magazine while my previous post is here.

And here's a surprise (NOT!): good ole Ted is against same sex marriage.

Droll. So droll.

Story of Army Servicewoman Who Reportedly Killed Herself After Objecting to U.S. Interrogation of Iraqis

I wanted to post a story heard on Democracy Now! but see that Greg Mitchell of Editor and Publisher (who has high credibility for me) and Cathy Resmer at Vermont's Seven Days have both discussed it ahead of me. The moment I heard about this soldier, who supposedly used a rifle to commit suicide, it didn't sound right to me (and I've been through forensic re-enactments on other deaths by rifle - hard to do for many, and often impossible while wearing shoes or boots) nor to my partner. So I'm glad to see that some others are asking tough questions.

From Greg at Ed&Pub:

November 01, 2006) -- The true stories of how American troops, killed in Iraq, actually died keep spilling out this week. On Tuesday, we explored the case of Kenny Stanton Jr., murdered last month by our allies, the Iraqi police, though the military didn’t make that known at the time. Now we learn that one of the first female soldiers killed in Iraq died by her own hand after objecting to interrogation techniques used on prisoners.

She was Army specialist Alyssa Peterson, 27, a Flagstaff, Ariz., native serving with C Company, 311th Military Intelligence BN, 101st Airborne. Peterson was an Arabic-speaking interrogator assigned to the prison at our air base in troubled Tal-Afar in northwestern Iraq. According to official records, she died on Sept. 15, 2003, from a “non-hostile weapons discharge.”
Sadly, it is far more likely that a soldier, especially a woman with those "female sensitivies" (as a surgeon once told me during a cancer conference when he said, "Well, we'll go in and lop off her tits and uterus"), might more likely be a victim of a shot from someone else's gun (a gungho type perhaps not liking second guessing) than her own.

Ted Haggard, Great Bush "Top White House Advisor", Called Out By Male Prostitute

Mike Jones, an avowed male prostitute, claims that he's had a three-year running affair with Haggard (and that Haggard used illegal methamphetamines to enhance their sex), a top Bush-Rove White House advisor and, until this story broke, the leader of Association of Evangelicals and his own "New Life" church.

Jones says he has the proof in the form of "pretty damning" and multiple voice mails from Haggard who insists he's stepping down not because he's guilty but just because. As you might imagine, Haggard is a Republican and married to a (female) wife.

There seem to be a lot of Republican men with double standards, eh?


Sorry, I vegetated yesterday (well, not really but I actually didn't get near the computer let alone the 'Net on All Saints Day - no, I won't tell you which Saint I was conversing with but I can tell you it's no one from Washington DC politics except perhaps Benjamin Franklin or one of my ancestors).


Why I Won't Vote For Martha Rainville For U.S. House From Vermont

Frankly, Vermonter here puts most of my reasons down quite accurately. Rainville is certainly not the worst possible choice. But she is not the best choice, not with Peter Welch running.

Welch has fought hard for many of the matters Vermonters - and Americans - hold most dear. He will have my vote a week from today.

Why George Bush and Karl Rover Remind Me of Orson Welles' Great 1939 Halloween Scare

Yesterday was the anniversary of the great 1939 radio broadcast planned and written by Orson Wells which was designed to be great radio theatre and instead, scared so many shitless.

Late last night, while I started the celebrated fourth week of my latest lung infection, it occurred to me how much Karl Rove's orchestrated right-wing Republican organization, with George W. Bush as no more than titular head, has been depending on just the kind of naive scared fear factor in the whole American public (and perhaps well into the world with our bravado) since September 11th, 2001.

Orson Wells, however, really did not intend to cause suicides and homicides and fear of everything different (in fact, Wells went on to warn us of many evils, including a Hearst run American in which media companies can jerry rig wars for circulation boost (substitute Rudolph Murdoch and Rev. Moon today)). However, I'd argue that Mr. Rove and Mr. Bush - AND Mr. Cheney - certainly wanted to see deaths. They have crafted a situation where Americans can and should turn on Americans. The corollary to Wells' Martians is "al Qaeda" (which what we call al Qaeda has never called itself).

Go back and look at what is known of that 1939 radio broadcast. Then tell me there aren't more than a couple of similarities in the right wing's al Qaeda terror fear/post 9-11 apocalypse playbook.

Happy Halloween!

I've already had my trick. (And no, it was not First Lady Laura Bush - a one time regular user and some say seller of marijuana, weighing in on a barely veiled tsk tsk to Michael J. Fox for speaking for stem cell research while major illegal prescription doper Rush Limbaugh makes fun of him, too.)

May I wish the rest of you treats.


The Supremes, A Woman's Right to Choose And The Myth of Late Term Abortions

Doug at All Things Democrat hails our attention to this story; before you read it, understand if you do not already that the anti-woman's life types (those who unabashedly refer to themselves as pro-life and then vote against any of their money helping to pay for the children born to those who did not want them) perpetuate huge lies related to "partial birth" and "late term" abortions.

They would have you believe that doctors rip from the womb a fully developed child who, with the miracle of speech, begs the big, bad abortionist not to pull him apart and dump him in a Dumpster. This is not at all the case. It's just not.

From Doug:

Just one day after the upcoming election, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on two cases challenging the “Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003″. These cases will test the right-wing’s power to limit medical options for women.

From USA Today (via Naral.org)-
    ‘It was just after Mother’s Day in May 2003 when Ilene Jaroslaw, about four months pregnant, learned that the fetus she was carrying had a fatal spinal cord and brain defect.’

    ‘Jaroslaw, then a mother of two, says she was devastated but decided immediately to have an abortion. Because she wanted to have another child — and because she had had two previous cesarean-section deliveries and an unrelated surgery on her uterus — she agreed with her doctor’s recommendation to undergo a procedure that would do as little damage as possible to the uterus.’

    ‘Under a federal law passed by Congress in October 2003 and tied up in the courts ever since, Jaroslaw could not legally have undergone the procedure because her life was not in danger.’
This is another reason Karl Rove cannot be allowed to claim victory on November 7th.

Muslims May Believe U.S. Behind a Pakistani Raid on School That Killed 80

A Pakistani raid on so-called insurgents at a school have killed at least 80. While the Pentagon denies involvement, at least one major Islamic leader says U.S. war planes were used and that retribution to America should be paid.

A Terrible, Terrible Ballot Item Disguised As a Limit to Eminent Domain

Dave Johnson at Seeing the Forest brings us this ballot initiative that is total madness, and hardly a redress to eminent domain since it makes an even greater mockery of property ownership than the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on eminent domain. Note, too, that these are funded by one person only. Here:

There is a law on the ballot in four states that says if I want to open a hog farm or a chemical plant next door to your house and you don't want me to do that, then YOU have to PAY ME not to -- you have to pay me ALL THE MONEY I MIGHT HAVE MADE.

I am not kidding. This new law says that if you want to stop a corporation from dumping toxic waste into the river from which you get your drinking water, or stop them from venting dangerous chemicals into the air, then YOU have to PAY that company not to. I am NOT kidding!

The far right says that a government stopping a company from dumping waste into a river is "taking" money from that company. I am not kidding. And you had better take this seriously or YOU will be PAYING companies to not harm you and your families.

Along with EVERYTHING else going on in this election, the far right has managed to get stealth "takings" initiatives on the ballot in four states. In California it is Proposition 90. In Washington it is Initiative 933. In Idaho it is Proposition 2. In Arizona it is Proposition 207.

This is a "private property" and "takings" amendment disguised as a limit to "eminent domain." This means that it is supposed to be about keeping the government from seizing property so it can be used by commercial interests. But what this really does is prevent the states from ANY regulation of property, including ANY environmental regulations, ANY zoning laws, etc.

These ballot initiatives are all funded by one person - a New York real estate tycoon named Howie Rich. And he did this through front groups - organizations disguised as something else. See if you can guess what he plans to do the day after these laws pass? (Hint -- think "hog farm next door to your house.")

Iran Warns of Unhappy Response to Sanctions

Iran says it will not take sitting down sanctions the U.S.-led effort within the U.N. to impose on Iran for the nuclear production that we provided to the country to prop up the shah we put into office when we took away Iran's democratically elected government.

Mexicans Still Won't Take Questionable Election Results Sitting Down

Five months after the people of Mexico went to the polls and reacted in horror when - with some of the U.S. Republican owned and programmed electronic voting hardware in place - a Bush-friendly right-wing man was named president with a very minimal recoun, Mexicans are still protesting, with violence now an everyday occurrence, especially in Oaxaca.

With October Not Quite Over, U.S. Military Death Toll in Iraq For Month Now at 101

From the wires which, like the rest of the press, always couch it like "those poor hard hit Republicans" and "what poor, poor President Bush must endure":

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The American death toll for October climbed past 100, a grim milestone as a White House envoy turned up unexpectedly in Baghdad on Monday following a rough patch in U.S.-Iraqi ties. At least 81 people were killed across
Iraq, including 33 in a bombing targeting workers.

A member of the 89th Military Police Brigade was killed in east Baghdad on Monday, and a Marine died in fighting in insurgent-plagued Anbar province the day before, raising to 101 the number of U.S. service members killed in a bloody October, the fourth deadliest month of the war. At least 2,814 American forces have died since the war began in March 2003.

According to an Associated Press count, October has also recorded more Iraqi civilian deaths — 1,170 as of Monday — than any other month since the AP began keeping track in May 2005. The next-highest month was March 2006, when 1,038 Iraqi civilians were killed in the aftermath of the Feb. 22 bombing of an important Shiite shrine in Samarra.

The war and the rising American casualties have produced a huge drag on Republican candidates as the U.S. midterm election approaches. The vote is seen in many cases as a referendum on the war, which has stretched into its 44th month. The Bush administration has invested heavy attention on Iraq in recent weeks, trying to put a new face on the conflict with mixed results.

Upon arriving for an unannounced visit, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley went straight into meetings with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his security chief, Mouwafak al-Rubaie, telling them he "wanted to reinforce some of the things you have heard from our president."

When Even George W. Will Admits Cheney and Architects of Iraq War Are Purposely Playing Dumb

[Here's a hoot: President Bush said today Democrats won't bring success in Iraq if they succeed on Election Day - both actual voting and rigged electronic voting programs - which is ironic considering how very, very, very badly Bush and Cheney have handled Iraq. Hell, your grandmother would have more success in Iraq than these megalomaniacs.]

Well, I must admit that Will came around for the first time about a year ago, sometimes writing scathing and usually factually correct commentary (notable for Will who often does not seem to be right in any way except idealogically) about the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld trinity, Iraq, and some hopelessly wrong policies.

In his latest column in Newsweek, Will says Iraq has been in a civil war for more than a year, but the architects of this war, like Cheney and Rumsfeld, simply refuse to acknowledge it.

But he's kinder than I would be with Cheney. Will writes that Cheney doesn't "get it" on Iraq while I think The Dick gets it just fine; he just won't tell the truth, not if everyone else's life depends on it.


Did Israel Dump Enriched Uranium On Lebanon?

Sadly, I imagine so. It's the U.S.'s favorite trick lately, and the Israel military's "hardware catalog" is all American issue:

Did Israel use weapons containing enriched uranium during this summer's Lebanon War?

Update: More here.

Say It Ain't So! Republicans Take Huge Donations From Gay Porn Industry?

Oh, but they're soooo moral, so prude, soooooo double standard setting, those GOP card-carrying sodomites!

From Talking Points Memo:

RNC Chief Ken Mehlman accepted political contributions from gay porn king?

Last week, you'll remember, the RNC, headed by Ken Mehlman, was running that race-baiting 'bimbo' ad against Rep. Harold Ford (D) down in Tennessee. One of the barbs in that ad was the claim that Ford had taken political contributions from "porn movie producers."
But it seems there is plenty of porn movie producer money to go around.

It turns out that the Republican National Committee is a regular recipient of political contributions from Nicholas T. Boyias, the owner and CEO of Marina Pacific Distributors, one of the largest producers and distributors of gay porn in the United States. This recent article on Marina Pacific's new marketing campaign form XBiz, a porn industry trade sheet, notes that, in addition to producing its own material, the "company acts as a distribution house to hundreds of lines, mostly gay, 40 of which can be purchased only through MPD."

The company actually seems to be a trendsetter in the industry. As Boyias recently noted, "We have always modeled ourselves after a Fortune-style company. They are the models of exceptional customer service. We have formed strategic alliances with our vendors and customers alike, offering them tools and marketing to assist them in succeeding with their business models. Our one-on-one interpersonal relationships have never been duplicated in the distribution industry."

Bush's "New" Course? Blame Army Generals Rather Than Him, Cheney, Or Rumsfeld

From Time: President Bush is such a class act. He never accepts blame for anything because he never admits to any mistakes in Iraq or elsewhere.

Rumsfeld Is Watching: Where's The Surprise?

WaPo tells us in a story today that the Army is watching all soldiers' blogs and Web sites.

OK, but where's the surprise? I mean, they spend more time watching our people, citizens as well as armed forces, than they do the so-called enemy.

And as any blogger NOT in the Army will tell you, CentCom and other aspects of the military watch very closely for anything posted on civilian blogs not to their liking. When they spot something, the blogger hears about it. I've noted a few of my run-ins here.

Now, just because I'm not surprised does not mean I approve of what the military does. I don't, either for soldiers or for citizens. I think they're muscling in on everyday life and on constitutionally protected space. From WaPo:

"This is a new media _ Blogging. Podcasting. Online videos," wrote Borda, 32, of Dallas, who kept a blog while he was deployed in Afghanistan with the Virginia National Guard. "The military is doing what it feels necessary to ensure the safety of the troops."

Warnock said the Web risk assessment team has reviewed hundreds of thousands of sites every month, sometimes e-mailing or calling soldiers asking them to take material down. If the blogger doesn't comply with the request, the team can work with the soldier's commanders to fix the problem _ that is, if the blogger doesn't post anonymously.
I argue that much of what they may block has nothing at all to do with actual endangerment or revelation of troop positions and every bit as much about preventing any embarrassment to Rumsfeld, Casey, etc.

With Yet More Death in Bush-Occupied Iraq

Five Iraqi policemen are kidnapped and then killed.

Read what Anthony Shadid (I've enjoyed a book or two of his) has to say in WaPo's "This is Baghdad: What Could Be Worse?":

It had been almost a year since I was in the Iraqi capital, where I worked as a reporter in the days of Saddam Hussein, the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, and the occupation, guerrilla war and religious resurgence that followed. On my return, it was difficult to grasp how atomized and violent the 1,250-year-old city has become. Even on the worst days, I had always found Baghdad's most redeeming quality to be its resilience, a tenacious refusal among people I met over three years to surrender to the chaos unleashed when the Americans arrived. That resilience is gone, overwhelmed by civil war, anarchy or whatever term could possibly fit. Baghdad now is convulsed by hatred, paralyzed by suspicion; fear has forced many to leave. Carnage its rhythm and despair its mantra, the capital, it seems, no longer embraces life.

"A city of ghosts," a friend told me, her tone almost funereal.

The commotion in the streets -- goods spilling across sidewalks, traffic snarled under a searing sun -- once prompted the uninitiated to conclude that Baghdad was reviving. Of course, they were seeing the city through a windshield, the often angry voices on the streets inaudible.

Today, with traffic dwindling, stores shuttered and streets empty by nightfall, that conceit no longer holds.

Even the propaganda, once ubiquitous and often incongruous, is gone. One piece I recalled from two years ago: a map of Iraq divided into three colored bands. In white, it read, "Progress." In red, "Iraq." In white again, "Prosperity." The promises are now more modest: "However strong the wind," reads a new poster of a woman clutching her child, "it will pass." More indicative of the mood, perhaps, was one of the old banners still hanging. Faded and draped over a building scarred with craters from the invasion, it was an ad for the U.S.-funded Iraqi network, al-Iraqiya. In Arabic, its slogan reads, "Prepare your eyes for more."

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Media Transparency, in general, and their story of the Swift Boat war chest specifically.

Democrats, The Mid Term Elections, And What They Say About Assumptions

Do not believe all you hear about how the incredibly righteous reddies will stay away this election because Mark Foley is gay or how the Democrats will easily get a landslide to re-take both sides of Congress on November 7th. And pretend NOT to believe all you read (both here and elsewhere) about how the reddies have bought, sold, and programmed to cheat every electronic voting machine, including the optical scanners that read in paper ballots.

Your best chance to change the Titanic-didn't-go-down-so-badly course the Bushies have us on is to research your candidates, register to vote (in case you aren't) and then to go to the polls on November 7th.

After all, the best way to wipe the smirk off Karl Rove's fat face is to deliver a victory that even those pre-programmed-to-cheat Diebold machines can't deny!

The Carpetbagger Report: "This Week in God"


From another Vermont blog with national and international focus, The Carpetbagger Report:

First up from the God machine is an interesting poll gauging support for "faith-based" funding among the one constituency that's supposed to support it most.
    Half of the nation's evangelical Christians do not support government funding of faith-based organizations, a survey shows.

    New data released Wednesday (Oct. 25) from the Baylor Religion Survey show that 50 percent of evangelicals, and 65 percent of the total population, think federal funding of religious organizations is inappropriate. Twenty-six percent of the total respondents surveyed said they agree with such funding.
That's rather surprising. The conventional wisdom, particularly in the White House, is that evangelicals are anxious to see the government finance ministries' work. Indeed, it's almost a foregone conclusion — whenever Bush speaks before a religious audience, he touts his (alleged) commitment to funding faith-based groups as proof that he's one of them.

But a poll like this one suggests otherwise. It also hints at one of the reasons the president's faith-based scheme struggled to make progress in Congress during Bush's first term — it had plenty of critics, and lacked key allies. After all, if religious minorities didn't like it, and civil libertarians didn't like it, and constitutional scholars said it was legally dubious, and half of the evangelical community rejects the very idea, you start to get the sense the only real supporters of the White House faith-based initiative are actually in the White House.

For that matter, thanks to David Kuo, we know that the Bush gang wasn't all that committed to the project anyway, and simply saw the initiative as a political gimmick. No wonder the whole thing flopped.

Apologies and Admissions

I've been hitting a record number of typos or mis-links lately. Normally, all I would need to do is edit the post.

However, Blogger has been so impossible lately that it can take more than 20 minutes to get to a post to edit, only then to have it fail to post.

Eventually, the way to proceed is to get the [bleep] off Blogger. In the meantime, however, try to join me in the grin and bear it department. While asking for your forbearance, I've not assaulted you with the "stay the course" stupidity the Bushies pull.