At (Wolfo)Witz End: Who's The Next Corrupt Bushie at the World Bank?

The World Bank needs another corrupt, incompetent, crony-loving, misleader to make it even tougher for poor, third world countries to survive.

So who's next, once Paul Wolfowitz resigns while insisting he did NO wrong?

Sadly, the Bush Administration seems to have an endless supply of corrupt incompetents from whom to choose. Keith Olbermann on "Countdown" last night suggested the brain dead Alberto Gonzales. Others have said perhaps Tony Blair for those times when he's not, in retirement, humping his master, George Bush's, leg.



Frank Rich: "Earth to GOP... The Gipper Is Dead"

I love this column! Read it all here:

Of course you didn’t watch the first Republican presidential debate on MSNBC. Even the party’s most loyal base didn’t abandon Fox News, where Bill O’Reilly, interviewing the already overexposed George Tenet, drew far more viewers. Yet the few telling video scraps that entered the 24/7 mediasphere did turn the event into an instant “Saturday Night Live” parody without “SNL” having to lift a finger. The row of 10 middle-aged white candidates, David Letterman said, looked like “guys waiting to tee off at a restricted country club.”

Since then, panicked Republicans have been either blaming the “Let’s Make a Deal” debate format or praying for salvation-by-celebrity in the form of another middle-aged white guy who might enter the race, Fred Thompson. They don’t seem to get that there is not another major brand in the country — not Wal-Mart, not G.E., not even Denny’s nowadays — that would try to sell a mass product with such a demographically homogeneous sales force. And that’s only half the problem. The other half is that the Republicans don’t have a product to sell. Aside from tax cuts and a wall on the Mexican border, the only issue that energized the presidential contenders was Ronald Reagan. The debate’s most animated moments by far came as they clamored to lip-sync his “optimism,” his “morning in America,” his “shining city on the hill” and even, in a bizarre John McCain moment out of a Chucky movie, his grin.

The candidates mentioned Reagan’s name 19 times, the current White House occupant’s once. Much as the Republicans hope that the Gipper can still be a panacea for all their political ills, so they want to believe that if only President Bush would just go away and take his rock-bottom approval rating and equally unpopular war with him, all of their problems would be solved. But it could be argued that the Iraq fiasco, disastrous to American interests as it is, actually masks the magnitude of the destruction this presidency has visited both on the country in general and the G.O.P. in particular.

By my rough, conservative calculation — feel free to add — there have been corruption, incompetence, and contracting or cronyism scandals in these cabinet departments: Defense, Education, Justice, Interior, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development. I am not counting State, whose deputy secretary, a champion of abstinence-based international AIDS funding, resigned last month in a prostitution scandal, or the General Services Administration, now being investigated for possibly steering federal favors to Republican Congressional candidates in 2006. Or the Office of Management and Budget, whose chief procurement officer was sentenced to prison in the Abramoff fallout. I will, however, toss in a figure that reveals the sheer depth of the overall malfeasance: no fewer than four inspectors general, the official watchdogs charged with investigating improprieties in each department, are themselves under investigation simultaneously — an all-time record.

Maureen Dowd: "Labors Love Lost"

MoDo takes on Tony Blair's successor in Great Britain:

Gordon Brown’s smile does not look at home on his face. It sits there uneasily, like an uninvited guest at a party, until his features can resume their comfortably dour grooves.

The brooding Scot ended his decade-long run as a hefty Heathcliff to Tony Blair’s chatty Cathy, stepping out of the shadows Friday with visible relief to begin a campaign for prime minister that he has already won.

Grumpy Gordon is an enigma compared with Captain Showbiz, as the glib Mr. Blair is called by a morning TV host here. The 56-year-old son of a Presbyterian minister, with hooded eyes and frugal charm, will be hard pressed to compete on the European stage with Iron Frau Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, dubbed “Thatcher without petticoats.”

Mr. Brown’s school friends came on TV to say he was more fun than he looked. “He enjoys a good glass of wine,” said his pal Bill Campbell.

The chancellor has been striving to move beyond his reputation as a man so obsessed with the budget that he wouldn’t even share the details in advance with Tony Blair. He traded the green eyeshade for pastel ties. He told a women’s magazine that he liked the rock band Arctic Monkeys, but later couldn’t name any of their songs.

Mr. Brown was considered the uncool half of the Cool Britannia team that swept into power on a wave of Champagne, celebrities and Cherie Blair’s New Age guru. But thanks to his role as W.’s interlocutor and translator, Tony Blair is uncool, too.

The first boomer prime minister got a blazing start in trying to make Britain more modern and tolerant. But he fell in with an American crowd of bullies who were turning back the clock on modernity and tolerance, and Tony abused Britons’ trust.

Dr. Dobson, Don't Let The Door Hit You In The Ass On Your Way Out The Door

It's moments like this when I'm sorry Jerry Falwell didn't take the "Focus on the Family" folks, Pat Robertson, and others when he went (and trust me, their destination will NEVER be heaven).

Religious conservative leader James Dobson will sit out the 2008 presidential election if former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is the Republican presidential nominee, he wrote Thursday in an online column.

In a piece published on the conservative Web site WorldNetDaily, Dobson wrote that Giuliani's support for abortion rights and civil unions for homosexuals, as well as the former mayor's two divorces, were a deal-breaker for him.

"I cannot, and will not, vote for Rudy Giuliani in 2008. It is an irrevocable decision," he wrote.

"If given a Hobson's -- Dobson's? -- choice between him and Senators Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, I will either cast my ballot for an also-ran -- or if worse comes to worst, not vote in a presidential election for the first time in my adult life. My conscience and my moral convictions will allow me to do nothing else."

The Far Right Bleeds Over Immigration Bill's Success

No sooner was it announced that a bill looks set to go that would toughen border security (yeah, sure, right) while at the same time offering to put 12 million immigrants on the track for citizenship status has the far right, especially, bleeding more than a Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequel.

Pat Buchanan tonight - and mind you, Pat used to be the face of the extreme right until they went so far out there that Pat now often seems somewhat moderate - declared this "the end" of the United States while others proclaimed that those who supported this bill, like John McCain, can kiss their presidential bids goodbye since "all law abiding Americans" will strike hard against those who want to "reward" illegal entry into America.

One of the "beauties" of the Bush years: small minds just get smaller ALLLL the time.

Surge in Violence? "Iraq On Verge of Collapse"

Sadly, just seeing this Reuters headline made me ask, "You mean it hasn't been on the verge of collapse almost every single day since Bush forced troops into Iraq to force a war built on lies in March 2003?"

But yes, the situation there is worsening every second it seems. Perhaps "the surge" Bush referred to was the response Iraqis would show in face of his stepped up military response (while at the same time even Bush said the solution is not military... (what?)). From the piece:

Iraq's government has lost control of vast areas to powerful local factions and the country is on the verge of collapse and fragmentation, a leading British think-tank said on Thursday.

Chatham House also said there was not one civil war in Iraq, but "several civil wars" between rival communities, and accused Iraq's main neighbors -- Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- of having reasons "for seeing the instability there continue."

"It can be argued that Iraq is on the verge of being a failed state which faces the distinct possibility of collapse and fragmentation," it said in a report.
Doing a heluva job there, George!

On Eve of Wolfowitz's "Resignation", Bush Says, "Done A Heluva Job, Wolfie!"

NBC News just reported that the resignation deal is complete (which many assume will, as he demanded, will made no admission of wrongdoing) re: Paul Wolfowitz, currently the head of the World Bank, formerly Rumsfeld's assistant at the Pentagon who insisted the Iraq war "would pay for itself."

At the same damned time, President Bush is falling all over himself with praise for "stud" Wolfowitz, whose latest "excuse" for his wrongful deeds at the World Bank is that he was too afraid of his live-in girlfriend whom he gave an unbelievably lucrative salary (with no experience to match it).

Wolfie also had no expertise with money or development or people or.... well, let's just say, President Bush ADORES incompetence and demands all those who work for him (mind you, he thinks he OWNS them although we pay the salary!).

Perverted Justice: Bush Promises Veto of Troop/Combat Widow Pay Raise

Is this sick, or what?

This story would sound like big drama if describing a rapid-fire sere tennis championship or hysterically funny if it were a Firesign Theater bit. But this situation is anything but light-hearted when it involves men and women forced to sacrifice their lives everyday for yet another lied-us-into war.

The way the Bush Administration and top GOP lawmakers and candidates rush for any chance of a photo op with troops (especially when it doesn't put them in the same dangerous situations our soldiers endure) while they hand billions to defense contractors seems pretty sick. But pair it with the grave reality that the Bushies and GOPees simultaneously race to cut services (pay, medical, support) for American service men and women is well past perverted.

Yet right now, President Bush is threatening to veto a bill to provide a troop and combat widow salary increase that passed by an extremely high majority in the House of Representatives. Mind you, it's not even a significant payroll raise being discussed here. But any amount is too much for Bush who would prefer to give the money to Halliburton, Bechtel, Blackwater, and other Republican f(r)iends.

The only irony here is that just in what Donald Rumsfeld - who left the Pentagon as Secretary of the Defense Department but now gets a HUGE paycheck while still there as a "consultant" - makes a year for his services, we could pay for a LOT of soldiers AND proper protection for them.


Gonzo's Greaaaattt Adventure

The one glaring truth to come out of all we've seen and heard from and about U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and his machinations with the Bush White House to turn federal prosecutors into the SS officers AND kangaroo partisan political party courtships is that Gonzo, much like his "bestest" pal George Bush, doesn't have a frickin' clue what his job is, cannot tell the truth even when offering countless versions of the same story.

Also like Bush, Gonzo admits no wrongdoing, uses the U.S. constitution (and other documents and provisions such as the Geneva Conventions) as toilet paper, a spitoon, and quaint and foolish items written by old men long sense dead.

Here's what The Times has to say:

There were many fascinating threads to the testimony on Tuesday by the former deputy attorney general, James Comey, who described the night in March 2004 when two top White House officials tried to pressure an ailing and hospitalized Attorney General John Ashcroft into endorsing President Bush’s illegal wiretapping operation.

But the really big question, an urgent avenue for investigation, is what exactly the National Security Agency was doing before that night, under Mr. Bush’s personal orders. Did Mr. Bush start by authorizing the agency to intercept domestic e-mails and telephone calls without first getting a warrant?

Mr. Bush has acknowledged authorizing surveillance without a court order of communications between people abroad and people in the United States. That alone violates the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Domestic spying without a warrant would be an even more grievous offense.

The question cannot be answered because Mr. Bush is hiding so much about the program. But whatever was going on, it so alarmed Mr. Comey and F.B.I. Director Robert Mueller that they sped to the hospital, roused the barely conscious Mr. Ashcroft and got him ready to fend off the White House chief of staff, Andrew Card, and Mr. Bush’s counsel, Alberto Gonzales. There are clues in Mr. Comey’s testimony and in earlier testimony by Mr. Gonzales, Mr. Ashcroft’s successor, that suggest that Mr. Bush initially ordered broader surveillance than he and his aides have acknowledged.

Mr. Comey said the bizarre events in Mr. Ashcroft’s hospital room were precipitated by a White House request that the Justice Department sign off on a continuation of the eavesdropping, which started in October 2001. Mr. Comey, who was acting attorney general while Mr. Ashcroft was ill, refused. Mr. Comey said his staff had reviewed the program as it was then being run and believed it was illegal.

So someone at the White House (and Americans need to know who) dispatched Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Card to Mr. Ashcroft’s hospital bed. Mr. Ashcroft flatly refused to endorse the program, Mr. Comey said. Later, he said, Mr. Bush agreed to change the wiretapping in ways that enabled Justice to provide a legal rationale. Mr. Comey would not say why he opposed the original program — which remains secret — or how it was changed.
Read the rest here.

Karl Rove, GonzalesGate, And The Plot To Turn Justice Department Into Kangaroo Republican Courts

JP at Welcome to Pottersville has an excellent piece up covering many of the big - and oh so shameful, criminal, and unconstitutional let alone completely unhealthy for the America we like to believe in - issues surrounding Bush's "brain" Karl Rove, US Attorney General Alberto ("Sorry, don't ask me, ask my underlings because I gave all my power to them and cannot be held responsible for what they did.") Gonzales.

Here's a generous bit, but please, visit Pottersville to read the post in its entirety:

What kind of a country do we live in where psychopaths like Ann Coulter get free interference run for them by the FBI and the Department of Justice gets its marching orders from Karl Rove? As Blue Girl puts it in “How Very Soviet of Him?”, “What, in the name of all that is sacred and holy, motivated Karl Rove to turn the Department of Justice into the enforcement arm of the Republican National Committee?”

You have to admit that Rove has yet to exhaust his powers of breathtaking audacity in siccing Alberto’s goons on four US attorneys who’d been accused of being lax in prosecuting cases of alleged voter fraud, at least one of which (David Iglesias in New Mexico) turned out to be bogus or trumped up.

Where was Karl the Krusader when we needed him in the wake of the 2000, 2004 and 2006 elections, in which massive amounts of evidence pointed to voter fraud and attempted voter fraud? Oh, right. That would’ve led the eagle-eyed hounds of the DOJ straight to Rove’s self-bugged office.

Think about it: The Department of Justice have to take its cues from a blubbery-lipped Inner Party hack like Karl fucking Rove in order to catch lazy US attorneys who couldn’t or wouldn’t prosecute ginned-up cases of voter fraud for a massive Aha! moment in time for the mid-term elections. But nary a word or an investigation into the most massive corruption of our electoral system since the good old days of Tammany Hall.

And not a single African American attorney was hired to work in the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department.

Democrats and suspected Democrats were sniffed out like escaped chain gang criminals by Monica Goodling and the other legal beagles milled out of Pat Robertson’s Regent University.

And all under the dead nose of Alberto Gonzales, a man who has done for American jurisprudence what Rush Limbaugh has done for figure skating.

On Wolfowitz and Gonzales: Volunteers To "Resign" Them On The Toes Of Our Boots?

Hey, if we can get rid of the Wolfe at the World Bank and the moronic US Attorney General with just the toes of our (steel-reinforced, please!) boots, I suspect we can find thousands if not millions of volunteers.

First them, then perhaps Rove, Cheney, and Bush!

A Birthday Toast to Studs Terkel

[Ed. note: While I cross-posted this at All Things Democrat, Studs at 95 has MORE on the ball than 95 (or 1,995) men a quarter his age! Happy birthday, Studs!]

Today is Studs Terkel’s 95th birthday. And if you ask, “Studs who?”, get yourself to Wikipedia or other resources, because this man is very well worth knowing about. You can also find a prolonged interview with Studs conducted today by Amy Goodman of “Democracy Now!”

As I wrote yesterday re: the passing of Jerry Falwell, that he was a man for whom the planet was much worse (IMHO) for his influence, I think the exact opposite is true (and an understatement to call it just “exact opposite”) of Studs, a man who has contributed so much, for so long, and so admirably on topics like labor, American culture and society, social justice, McCarthyism, free speech, and much more.

On milestones like this (and 95 is still a milestone!), it makes me think of the recent passing of Kurt Vonnegut as well as those older but ever-so-wise distinctly American minds, voices, and contributors such as Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, Jimmy Carter, Helen Thomas, and (thankfully) countless others who are now much older. I worry that we don’t have the strong minds coming along that the generations that produced these fine minds nurtured.

But please, make me eat my words. Become a fine mind like Studs or Helen or George McGovern, et al. America and the entire world needs you!


And We Need a War Czar Why?

"Czars" in American government are what a president appoints to create a lucrative new position for someone owed a political favor and what amounts to a way to pass the blame of a problem around to more people.

Interestingly enough, among those in the know, almost all said the perfect "war czar" for America, if one had to be apointed at all, is Colin Powell, former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Secretary of State for Bush. However, all these same people acknowledged that Bush couldn't and wouldn't call on Powell because, IF Powell accepted (and this was in doubt), it was likely Powell's first act would be to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq as immediately as possible.

So we get this general instead.

And what are we paying the folks at the Pentagon if we need a war czar, too?

In New York City, A Race of Mayors For President Brings Surprises

While the Washington Times reports that current New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, will run as a third-party 2008 presidential race candidate, a poll in New York shows that in a race between Bloomberg and former NYC mayor, Rudy Giuliani, Bloomberg wins.

If Paris Hilton Really Wants To Be Traumatized...

then the heiress who's a clown ass should try to spell the word, "traumatized."

Likely, this could take longer for her to do than the 45 days she's supposed to spend in prison (my God, imagine pretty-in-pink Paris in a cheap prison jumpsuit!).

Although I was amused that the "big Paris Hilton support rally" in Manhattan only had eight attendees (or just 3 if you count the 5 tourists there taking pictures of the silly Americans participating).

If Arnold "the governator" Schwarzenegger is smart (and he's not always), he will NOT "fix" the punishment for her.

Falwell Dies; Satan and St. Peter Are Already Barring The Gates From His Entrance

[Ed. note: I posted this elsewhere. And, btw God, this was not bad, but I'm still hoping for the birthday gift I requested. Still, thank you.]

As the good folks at Cernig's Newshog point out, most of us have been well-trained to not speak ill of the dead (although, as they suggest, they wonder if the nutcase Fred Phelps will picket the funeral) which can make it damned tough to comment on the death of "moral" majority leader and radical right extremist, Jerry Falwell.

Still, I find it hard to be quiet about a man who talked of love but spewed only hate, who called himself godly but was more like the Judas Iscariot radical right fundamentalist bullshit rather than exhibit any of the best qualities of Jesus. A man (I'll grant him that much) who would smile at you at the same time he stabbed you in the back.

Also, Farwell was the (relatively) rare person for whom the entire world was a much nastier, nightmarish place for his existence. Sadly, he isn't alone there; we still have Dobson, Pat Robertson, Ted Haggard, among others.

Let me end this post by stating my fervent belief that, wherever Jerry's headed, I can assure you that it's NOT heaven. I'm not convinced Hell would take him either (Satan can't hold a candle to Falwell in terms of nasty hellishness).

Five Excuses Against Impeachment

If you thought you had heard ALL the excuses against the impeachment of George Bush, Dick Cheney, and all the lesser Bushies, CounterPunch delivers the whole shebang.


Red Cross: Israel Violates Humanitarian Rights

Sadly, this latest report - the conclusions of which have been echoed elsewhere for years, such as with Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and others - is no surprise. And, as long as Israel continues its inhumane treatment of Palestinians (and the U.S. keeps making certain Israel has the money and military might to do that), there will be no peace in the Middle East.

Thompson Out On Show/In As 2008 Prez Candidate?

With the happy news this week that NBC will continue the long-lived Law & Order TV series (one of my favorites and this from a person who watches damned little TV). there is also some very sad news, but sad for what it bodes.

NBC announced that Fred Dalton Thompson (the same self-important shitbag on the show as he seems to be in real life) will not return as Manhattan D.A. with the series.

Does this mean Dalton will try to run for GOP nomination for President?

The Missing Soldiers and RFID

I posted at All Things Democrat my deep questions about how we can possibly believe what the Pentagon tells us - and believe even less what the Pentagon tells us Al Qaeda/terrorists tell us - given their everlasting love affair with lying through their well-capped teeth.

But it struck me last night that, especially given the Bush Administration's thirst to remove every hint of privacy normal mortal citizens have, it would seem like they would force troops to wear RFID chips if not implant them into the soldiers (which could be done without a G.I.'s knowing).

What am I missing?

"The Danger in Drug Kickbacks"

This op/ed in The Times' today confirms what I've heard and read:

The explosion in the use of three anti-anemia drugs to treat cancer and kidney patients illustrates much that is wrong in the American pharmaceutical marketplace.

Thanks to big payoffs to doctors, and reckless promotional ads permitted by lax regulators, the drugs have reached blockbuster status. Now we learn that the dosage levels routinely injected or given intravenously in doctors’ offices and dialysis centers may be harmful to patients.
As Alex Berenson and Andrew Pollack laid bare in The Times on May 9, wide use of the medicines — Aranesp and Epogen, from Amgen; and Procrit, from Johnson & Johnson — has been propelled by the two companies paying out hundreds of millions of dollars in so-called rebates. Doctors typically buy the drugs from the companies, get reimbursed for much of the cost by Medicare and private insurers, and on top of that get these rebates based on the amount they have purchased.

Although many doctors complain that they barely break even or even lose money on the costly drugs, for high-volume providers the profits can be substantial. One group of six cancer doctors in the Pacific Northwest earned a profit of about $1.8 million last year thanks to rebates from Amgen, while a large chain of dialysis centers gets an estimated 25 percent of its revenue, and a higher percentage of its profits, from the anemia drugs.

It seems likely that these financial incentives have led to wider use and the prescribing of higher doses than medically desirable.

Although the drugs are deemed valuable in fighting severe anemia, there is scant evidence they help much in moderate cases and some evidence that high doses can be dangerous. Half of the dialysis patients in this country are now receiving enough of the drugs to raise their red blood cell counts to levels deemed risky by the Food and Drug Administration. And last week a panel of cancer experts urged the F.D.A. to impose additional restrictions on use of the drugs in patients receiving cancer chemotherapy, based on studies that the drugs might make some cancers worse or hasten the deaths of patients.

Iran, Here We Come?

With Vice President Dick Cheney's nasty rhetoric about Iran delivered while in that part of the world late last week, is it any surprise that the national average per gallon price for gas is now $3? Much of the country is already paying far more than that, with no obvious obstacles to hitting $4/gal prices this summer.

I'm also worried about this report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (or IAEA, the nuke watchdogs of the United Nations), claiming that Iran may have overcome problems which might otherwise slow down their technological work regarding nuclear weaponry. Very recently, the IAEA was saying quite the opposite: that the U.S. was manufacturing propaganda about Iran and its nuclear efforts to perhaps justify an attack there.

While I've read several articles on this matter since last night, it is not immediately apparent to me whether it's "right" to say Iran is well on its way to nuclear weaponry or whether, with the change in U.N. secretaries, the IAEA may be getting pressure from the Bush Administration to make their reports sound scarier re: Iran. Stranger things have happened, and much of them since January, 2001.