Saturday, March 13, 2004

Republican National Convention Planning 

A couple of interesting sites on planning for the upcoming Republican National Convention which by some amazing coincidence—some would call it Providential—will be held in Manhattan just in time for the 9/11 anniversary. (Better make sure everything's nailed down before letting Rummy on the site, though!)

Anyhow, here via Approximately perfect are a couple of sites for the RNC: RNC not welcome, and Counter Convention.

As far as attending the RNC or, well, sharing my feelings about the it:

I feel that dignity and humor are far more effective tools than street theatre or any form of acting out. (See Billionaires for Bush for how to do humor.)

For example, can anyone doubt that the remarkable turnaround in public opinion on gay marriage (back here) happened at least partly because of the dignity with which those seeking marriage comported themselves? Let's take that lesson to heart.

Unitarians continue gay marriages in New Paltz 

Good for them!

Another 25 same-sex couples were married by Unitarian Universalist ministers here Saturday, even as prosecutors consider filing charges against the clergywomen.
(via AP)

DOD developing plan to draft IT professionals and foreign language experts 

Well, looks like Bush is going to be creating some IT jobs after all!

The government is taking the first steps toward a targeted military draft of Americans with special skills in computers and foreign languages.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is adamant that he will not ask Congress to authorize a draft, and officials at the Selective Service System, the independent federal agency that would organize any conscription, stress that the possibility of a so-called "special skills draft" is remote.

Nonetheless, the agency has begun the process of creating the procedures and policies to conduct such a targeted draft in case military officials ask Congress to authorize it and the lawmakers agree to such a request.
(via Seattle Post Intelligencer)

Hey! Maybe I can get paid for blogging!

Spain arrests 5 

Right before an election, oddly enough.

Spain arrested three Moroccans and two Indians on Saturday in connection with the Madrid train bombings, the strongest indication yet of a possible Islamic link to the attack on one of Washington's staunchest allies in Iraq.
cebes, speaking at a news conference, said the five suspects were all arrested around Madrid. A spokesman for the Moroccan government identified the three Moroccans as as Jamal Zougam, 30; Mohamed Bekkali, 31, a mechanic; and Mohamed Chaoui, 34. All three are from northern Morocco, but the government gave no further details about them.

"One might have connections with Moroccan extremist groups. But it is still very early to establish to what degree," Acebes said. He did not name any group.

Asked whether the Basque separatist group ETA is still considered a suspect, Acebes said: "We must not rule anything out."

The five suspects were arrested after a gym bag packed with explosives and a cell phone was discovered on one of the four bombed rush-hour trains, the minister said. The attacks killed 200 people and injured 1,500.

Acebes did not mention al-Qaida. "Police are still investigating all avenues. This opens an important avenue," he said.
(via AP)

"Crooks": Rummy loots 9/11 site, gets free pass, yet Columbia looters prosecuted and fined 

Yes, Rumsfeld and some unnnamed high FBI officials looted the 9/11 site (proof here). And that's against the law (back here).

So why is there one law for Rumsfeld, and another law for ordinary Texans?

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- eBay deleted several items billed as debris from the space shuttle Columbia from the online auction site, warning that anyone attempting to sell fragments from the shuttle could be prosecuted.

eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said customer service representatives received a handful of listings throughout the day from people purporting to have found debris in Texas.

The listings were immediately yanked from the site, and executives may report the sellers to federal authorities.

Taking parts from an aircraft involved in an accident is a federal offense, U.S. attorneys in Texas warned, and a conviction could result in a prison term and a $250,000 fine.

(via Newsday)

So when is Bush going to fire Rumsfeld's ass for breaking the law?

Here's a list of the indictments, fines, guilty pleas, amnesties and other legal pain for looters of the Columbia debris.

Why isn't Rumsfeld's name on a list like that?

Could it be that there's one set of rules for powerful Bush administration officials, and another set of rules for the rest of us?

NOTE Thanks to alert reader Xan for making this connection.

UPDATE Latest up here.

Bush: "I know exactly where I want to lead this country."  

We know it, too. Exactly. Enough said.

(From one of the new Bush campaign ads, via EJ Dionne.)

Excellent advice to the writer 

From Rebecca.

Helen Thomas: Real Reporter 

As opposed to the cubs, scrubs, and whores we're mostly stuck with. CJR interviews her here (via American Politics Journal).

Contrast how Helen Thomas thinks to Elizabeth Bumiller's pathetic thumbsucker in Izvestia on the Hudson.

"Crooks": When Rumsfeld looted the 9/11 site, he broke the law 

Title 49, USC, Section 1155(b):

Criminal Penalty. -

A person that knowingly and without authority removes, conceals, or withholds a part of a civil aircraft involved in an accident, or property on the aircraft at the time of the accident, shall be fined under title 18, imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.
(Thanks to alert reader Rick)

Well, this is really becoming more and more typical Bush, isn't it? (a) they break the law, (b) they act like they own what everyone owns; in this case, the 9/11 tragedy. Oh, and (c), they get a free pass from the SLCM and the MWs.

So when is Bush going to fire Rumsfelds' ass, anyhow? Take a little accountability?

For the looting, see back here.

Boy Emperor's feet must not touch the ground 

I'm not making this up!

For days now, the job at Eisenhower Park in Nassau County has been to follow the order from the White House through the Secret Service and down to the park workers:

"The president's feet are not to touch the dirt."

So all yesterday, large crews drawn from all county parks worked to ensure that, as always in his life, George Bush's feet do not touch the ground when he appears in the big park today.

Yesterday, a big guy, who had been fixing serious pipe leaks in the county executive's building, was on the walkway unrolling wooden storm fencing that would create an alley for Bush to walk down.

"When you get the fence up, what do you do?" he was asked.

"Cover the ground so his feet don't touch it."

"Is that true?"

"My boss told me that. If he says so, it's true."

"That sounds crazy."

"It sounds like I get paid every week," he said.

(via Jimmy Breslin, via Damfacrats)

But hey, let's look on the bright side! Now we have proof that Bush actually created one job!

So tell me again how Iraq is going to be "sovreign"? 

U.S. officials want to make sure American forces are free to continue to kill insurgents, interrogate prisoners and command Iraq's new security forces.

But the rules that troops follow after the June 30 handover have yet to be written, and Iraq's government will have a say.
(via AP)

They're panicking.... 

Which is not good news, since Bush turns vicious when cornered:

A string of glaring missteps by President Bush's economic team has raised alarm among the president's supporters that his economic policymakers may have lost the most basic ability to formulate a persuasive message or anticipate the political consequences of their actions.
(via WaPo)

In fact, it could be even worse news, if they're panicked about something they haven't told us about ...

Then again, it just could be that Acting President Rove is spread to thin with the various criminal investigations and probes.

"Crooks": How the people who own Bush are screwing you over 

Ladies and gentleman, I give you—The Bushogarchy! We won't even use the word "bagmen", but feel free to think it! Bush calls them Rangers and Pioneers and so forth.)

This re-represents a previous post by farmer in tabular form—naming names to incriminate the guilty:

Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim,(Pilgrim's Pride)responsible for a deadly listeria outbreak in 2002 that killed eight people and prompted the biggest meat recall in American history.
Stanley O'Neal(Merrill Lynch)In 2002, an investigation by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer forced the firm to fork over $100 million in penalties for fleecing investors with junk stocks
Charles Cawley(MBNA America Bank)[Wanted] a new law making it harder for families hit by unemployment or huge medical bills to declare bankruptcy, which would add $75 million a year to MBNA's bottom line.
George Zoley(Wackenhut Corrections)In Louisiana, where guards routinely beat and tear-gassed teenage offenders, a Republican judge lambasted GEO for treating children "as if they walked on all fours." In Texas, where male guards molested female inmates, a fourteen-year-old named Sara Lowe committed suicide after her release.
Edward Floyd(a vascular surgeon who treats patients with cancer)And a tobaccao grower!
Maurice "Hank" Greenberg(American International Group)Ten days after the September 11th attacks, George W. convened a meeting of top insurance executives, including Greenberg, who asked for a taxpayer bailout of insurance companies in the event of a similar attack.
Anthony Alexander(FirstEnergy)Illegal emissions, say federal regulators, "have been significant contributors to some of the most severe environmental problems facing the nation today."
Richard Egan(EMC Corp)Egan lasted only fifteen months as ambassador, embarrassing the administration by meeting publicly with a convicted murderer linked to Libyan leader Muammar Al-Qaddafi
Ralph Reed(Christian Coalition)Among his best-known clients was Enron, an account he landed with the help of Bush political strategist Karl Rove. (Reed told the company he could organize pro-family groups to lobby for utility deregulation -- for a fee of $380,000.)
Peter Secchiaself-described "political operative" Secchia calls women "bitches" and "big-breasted devils," and in one speech he announced, "I saw the new Italian Navy. Its boats have glass bottoms, so they can see the old Italian Navy." This time around, Secchia says he's a Pioneer out of affection for the younger Bush. "I love the guy," he says. "He and Laura are models of what the presidency is about."

And Secchia is so right. Man, the times they are a changin' ... Political journalism in Rolling Stone? Who knew?

Yeoman also points to Texans for Public Justice and Public Citizen as sources for the most up-to-date material on Bush's bag-men.

Now, some may object that, really, "Bo" Pilgrim didn't kill personally kill eight people—his company, Pilgrim's Pride, did. But since this is the age of personal responsibility, and all that, why not just say that Bo did, and is paying Bush for the privilege of continuing to do so?

UPDATE Readers, sorry for the formatting issues as I was trying to bend blogger to my will. Tables are so useful to present analytical material it really seems like we ought to find some way of formatting them that works. Is there anyone who DOESN'T think that this table is really narrow? I can revert to making the table in another tool and posting a screen dump of it, but that would make the text not searchable. Help!

Say, if we don't catch OBL, but do catch someone who looks like OBL, won't that be good enough? 

Just asking.

The ol' Bait and Switch routine, eh?

Say, doesn't OBL need a kidney dialysis machine? How many of those are there in Afghanistan, anyhow? 

Just asking.

Say, if we're spending more to catch OBL now, doesn't that mean that we weren't spending enough before? 

And why, I wonder?

Just asking.

Why do the Democrats concede anything to Bush on defense, including 9/11? 

See Atrios on why Democrats shouldn't. Kos shows how to make the case simply ("It takes a village to stomp a weasel").

And here's a little nugget from Kos:

FY 2005 Budget Request for Missile Defense: $10.2 billion

FY 2005 Budget Request for Port Security grants: $46 million

As usual, the numbers tell the story.

The missile "defense," as Kos points out, just doesn't work—which Bush knows, since he isn't even testing it! But the photo op is going to be great: Sometime in September, Bush can prance around under a contrail instead of on a flight deck, and maybe the people who desperately want to believe he's protecting us will be able to continue to do so. I'd say that's easily worth $10 billion!

Meanwhile, the real threat (back) is a dirty bomb or a small nuke in an East or West Coast big city, and for that Bush spends.... Well, a little chump change. No photo ops there! And besides, it's the big cities. They're full of homos that God should be cleansing with fire anyhow, and besides they vote Blue... Fuck 'em.....

Kerry challenges Bush to monthly debates 

And as long as Bush gets to wear his earpiece, I'm sure he'll be fine.

Kerry, already engaged in a running exchange of negative ads with Bush eight months before the November election, planned to deliver the challenge at the site of the historic Abraham Lincoln-Stephen Douglas debates in Quincy, Illinois.

That series of 1858 senatorial debates between Douglas and Lincoln, who lost the Senate election but won the presidency two years later, is legendary in U.S. political history for elevating crucial issues like slavery and states' rights to the front of the U.S. political agenda.

"Surely, if the attack ads can start now at least we can agree to start a real discussion about America's future," Kerry said in remarks prepared for delivery in Quincy, Illinois, later on Saturday.
(via Reuters)

Of course, if Bush's behavior on 9/11 itself is any guide, he'll run and hide.

Republic of Fear 

Remember those stories about how Saddam's government was so riddled with terror, his underlings would simply lie to him rather than bring him unwelcome news that might earn them a trip to the firing squad? Among the many other enjoyable tidbits in this article, I loved this:

Several former administration officials said the debacle over Raimondo illustrated broader weaknesses in Bush's White House as he gears up his reelection campaign. Some Republicans said the situation crystallized their concerns about his weakened political position. These Republicans refused to speak for the record because they said that if they did, they could not be candid about the problems without infuriating Bush and his most powerful aides.

Maybe a new nickname is in order that captures the particular mixture of incompetence, mendacity, vindictiveness, kleptocracy and self-delusion that defines Dear Leader. "Baby Doc"?

Friday, March 12, 2004

The 5:00 Horror: Rumsfeld, FBI Official looted 9/11 site 

Think that little detail's going to go in the Bush campaign ads?

The Justice Department investigation that criticized FBI agents for taking souvenirs from the World Trade Center site also found that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and a high-ranking FBI official kept items from the Sept. 11 attack scenes.

One New York agent who worked on the evidence recovery team "stated it was a ghoulish prospect that anyone would want things from a crime scene where people have died," the report said.

(via AP)

Have they no decency? At long last, have they no decency?

And this really is the point, isn't it: these guys think that 9/11 belongs to them when it belongs to the whole country, as this incident confirms. That's why Bush's 9/11 ads were so offensive.

UPDATE It turns out Rummy was breaking a Federal law (up)

Seems like even capturing OBL won't give Bush's numbers a bounce 

What a shame. CalPundit here.

"Liars": Even Hastert says so 

So why is Bush so upset with Kerry for calling Bush's wise guys liars, when Hastert himself agrees with them?

Speaker Hastert. That is with the President. I don't deal with [the President's] people anymore.

Q Sir, what did you mean by that last comment: That was with the President; I don't deal with his people anymore?

Speaker Hastert. Well, we weren't getting straight numbers from his people, and they changed their mind in the middle of the process. So we are going to do what we feel we need to do.
(from US Newswire, via CalPundit

Hey, that's how we little poeple feel on the WMDs!

Spain blast: Would it have happened if Bush hadn't distracted us with Iraq? 

one38 has it exactly right:

192 Killed, 1400 Injured In Madrid
This is when it stops going from "Bush went after the wrong guy with Saddam, haha" to "Bush went after the wrong guy with Saddam, and 1600 people are the victims of his mistake."
(via one138)

Funny that nobody in the SCLM seems to be mentioning this; the focus is all on AQ and Bush's message of condolence.

Lordy! WaPo's Walter Pincus fact-checks Bush on Kerry—and gets placed on A4 

Instead of being buried on page 100, or something, where most actual WaPo reporting gets placed. And whaddaya know! Bush, well, shall we say compromises the truth a little?

President Bush, in his first major assault on Sen. John F. Kerry's legislative record, said this week that his Democratic opponent proposed a $1.5 billion cut in the intelligence budget, a proposal that would "gut the intelligence services," and one that had no co-sponsors because it was "deeply irresponsible."

In terms of accuracy, the parry by the president is about half right. Bush is correct that Kerry on Sept. 29, 1995, proposed a five-year, $1.5 billion cut to the intelligence budget. But Bush appears to be wrong when he said the proposed Kerry cut -- about 1 percent of the overall intelligence budget for those years -- would have "gutted" intelligence. In fact, the Republican-led Congress that year approved legislation that resulted in $3.8 billion being cut over five years from the budget of the National Reconnaissance Office -- the same program Kerry said he was targeting. (via WaPo)

It's the winger mirror—whenever the wingers look in the mirror, they always see somebody else.

"Liars": Daschle calls for revote on Medicare since Bush lied to Congress on the cost 

Yep, he lied right to their faces. Incredible, but true!

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle took to the Senate floor Friday to call for a revote of the new Medicare law and an investigation into whether the Bush administration violated any laws by allegedly withholding the true cost of the measure from lawmakers.

Daschle (D-S.D.) said he was asking for the investigation based on a Knight Ridder news account that said a top Medicare official had been threatened with being fired if he revealed the real cost before Congress took its crucial vote. Daschle said lawmakers "voted under false pretenses" last fall when they narrowly approved the controversial bill that overhauled Medicare.

"They were called to vote without having the truth," Daschle said. "On an issue with these repercussions, we have no other choice but to revote this issue."

With an estimate of about $400 billion over 10 years, the House passed the measure by five votes. Bush officials said in January the cost would be closer to $530 billion.

Richard Foster, the chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, was warned last summer not to reveal those figures or he would be fired.
(via Newsday)

Oh, it must be an election year! 

"Texas Governor Commutes Death Sentence of Retarded Killer".

In the off years, the Texas Republicans don't care who they execute ...

Republicans starting to flip-flop on importing prescription drugs 

I guess the line that the Canadians were dropping like flies didn't work.

The Bush administration and Republican congressional leaders are being forced to take a hard new look at the idea of importing cheaper prescription drugs from foreign countries as an election-year clamor grows for removing government prohibitions.
(via AP)

Of course, it's putting a bandaid on a cancer that can't be cured without universal health insurance—but maybe it's better to have a bandaid than no bandaid.

Undecided voters reject Bush theft of 9/11 imagery 

People aren't stupid ...

Undecided voters, by a 2-1 margin, feel it was inappropriate for President Bush's re-election campaign to use images from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in a television commercial, according to a poll released Friday.
(via AP)

Of course, Bush will to his level best to get us to accept the unacceptable, as he has throughout his rule.

Stubborn Things 

And that's just off the top of his head:

'No jobs are being created. They did not find weapons of mass destruction' in Iraq, said Eddie Mahe Jr., a veteran GOP strategist. 'That provided the constant stream of attacks a level of credibility and legitimacy they otherwise might not have.' …
(via Salon)

Yeah, having the truth on one's side does help. It must be such a bother, by contrast, having to base one's own attacks on made-up shit. Good thing they can count on the press (and $200 million) to even things out.

ETA denies responsibility for Spain blast 

Two news outlets in the Basque region of northeast Spain traditionally used for communication by the armed group said they received phone calls Friday from someone claiming to represent ETA saying it had "no responsibility whatsoever" for the attack.
(via WaPo)

CalPundit's a contrarian 

And an optimist.

But then, he has a new job—with the Washington Monthly, where I hope he digs up that DD214 (back).

Spain blast: ETA or AQ 

Check out The Beeb for the case for or against.

Nobody seems to mention ETA + AQ, oddly enough. Always either/or. Maybe OBL did some subcontracting?

"What Can 30 Million Evangelicals Do For America? Anything We Want." 

There you have it, folks. That's the slogan for the convention. Need I say more?

And, oh yeah, Dear Leader was there, fluffing them on the Hate Amendment.

Oh, except for a minor copy-editing change; I think "for" should be "to."

Actually, Broder has a point on this one 

FDR wrapped himself in the flag. Granting Bush the same legitimacy as FDR for the moment, the rest of what Broder has to say is interesting:

Far better than criticizing his ads, ask why Bush is not calling on comfortable Americans to make any sacrifices for the war effort and why he refuses to raise the revenue to pay for what he calls a life-and-death struggle.

Those are the legitimate issues.
(via WaPo)

I think Broder's right. And we could start with asking why nothing is said about conserving oil—especially since world production has peaked, according to the Hubbert Curve methodology (back here).

Weird. Secret Service dispatches fighters to follow a small plane 

Weird that we can dispatch fighters to protect Bush, but we couldn't manage to get fighters in the air on 9/11, even though the FAA knew the planes were hijacked, and standard operating procedure is to scramble the fighters.

The Secret Service had to dispatch a military jet Wednesday in northeast Ohio to track a small plane that took off while President Bush was in Cleveland.
(via Ohio News Service)

And I didn't know the Secret Service could dispatch fighters. That seems even weirder. Brings up the picture of fighters strafing the Manhattan streets outside the Republican National Convention ....

He was only telling the truth! 

The Bubble of Our Boy Emperor must never burst!

A state maintenance worker was suspended after he displayed a sign with the word ``traitor'' on a snowplow while helping provide security for President Bush's motorcade, the Ohio Department of Transportation said.

Michael Gerstenslager was asked to park a snowplow on an entrance ramp to block access to a highway that the president's motorcade used to go from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport into downtown Cleveland on Wednesday.
(via AP)

Suspend him? I say promote him!

Funny how Bush keeps wanting dialogue and conversation and all that—except when it comes to seeing things he doesn't want to see, or hearing things he doesn't want to hear. I guess he's just "stubborn." Or something.

As for "traitor"—well, what's your definition? I think stealing an election and lying the country into a war is a good start at one.

Sweating CEOs 

Here's a little gem (OK, the only gem) from MoDo's column on Sunday

Richard Nixon could have used Botox to stop his sweating, as Fortune 500 execs do now.
(via The Times, though not behind the green door)

CEOs?? Botox to stop sweating??? Tell me this isn't a great country!

Seriously, though, what would American CEOs have to sweat about? (Except the forthcoming indictments, of course.)

I mean, they're not the ones whose jobs are being outsourced....

"Crooks": Halliburton follies 

Gee, Cheney left Halliburton in great shape, didn't he?

Pentagon auditors found a Halliburton Co. subsidiary gave faulty cost estimates on a $2.7 billion contract to serve American troops in Iraq and Kuwait, and company officials acknowledged making mistakes, Defense Department documents show.

The estimate problems included a failure to tell contract managers that Halliburton had terminated two subcontracts for feeding troops, which affected costs on $1 billion worth of that work, the Defense Contract Audit Agency found. Halliburton also did not tell contract managers it had already awarded subcontracts worth $141.5 million for work it said would cost $208.8 million, the auditors found.
(via AP)

"Estimate problems"—that's a nice little euphemism, isn't it? Oh, for the days when war profiteering was honest ....

"Doesn't America deserve more from its president than misleading negative ads?" 

Nice line from a Kerry ad. Yep, I'm warming up this Kerry guy....


Consumer sentiment slips 


U.S. consumer sentiment dipped unexpectedly in early March as Americans, worried about a lack of new jobs, grew more cautious about the prospects for the economy, according to a survey released on Friday.
(via Reuters)

Uh, what was unexpected about it?

Die Another Day 

Meanwhile, over in France, there's been another terrorist train drama underway that sounds like a shelved script of a Dennis Hopper film:

France's interior ministry confirmed yesterday [March 3] that the police and security services were on full alert following a series of threats by an unknown group to blow up railway tracks around the country unless it was paid a multimillion-pound ransom.

To prove its threats were serious, the group, which calls itself AZF after a chemical factory which blew up in southern France in September 2001, directed police on February 21 to a time bomb buried under a railway line near Limoges in the south-west.

The story has been simmering for about a month, with the government and AZF playing a cat-and-mouse game involving coded messages in newspapers while trying to maintain a media blackout. So far, mercifully (or ominously, depending on your point of view), additional evidence of bombs has not materialized, despite a massive hunt, and communication from AZF seems to have broken off. One surmises that yesterday's Madrid atrocity has upended the calculus on both sides of this deadly game of chicken.

If the worst happens, I estimate 15 minutes will elapse before wingnut gloating begins.

Krugman straightens out the employment statistics 

As always, the numbers tell the tale.

The establishment survey, which asks businesses how many workers they employ, says that 2.4 million jobs have vanished in the last three years. The household survey, which asks individuals whether they have jobs, says that employment has actually risen by 450,000. The administration's supporters, understandably, prefer the second number.

But the experts disagree. According to Alan Greenspan: "I wish I could say the household survey were the more accurate. Everything we've looked at suggests that it's the payroll data which are the series which you have to follow." You may have heard that the establishment survey doesn't count jobs created by new businesses; not so. The bureau knows what it's doing — conservative commentators are raising objections only because they don't like the facts.

But wait — hasn't the unemployment rate fallen since last summer? Yes, but that's entirely the result of people dropping out of the labor force. Even if you're out of work, you're not counted as unemployed unless you're actively looking for a job.

We don't know why so many people have stopped looking for jobs, but it probably has something to do with the fact that jobs are so hard to find: 40 percent of the unemployed have been out of work more than 15 weeks, a 20-year record. In any case, the administration should feel grateful that so many people have dropped out. As the Economic Policy Institute points out, if they hadn't dropped out, the official unemployment rate would be an eye-popping 7.4 percent, not a politically spinnable 5.6 percent.

In short, things aren't as bad as they seem; they're worse. But should we blame the Bush administration? Yes — because it refuses to learn from experience.

Franklin Roosevelt, in his efforts to combat economic woes, was famously willing to try anything until he found something that worked. George Bush, by contrast, seems determined to try the same thing, over and over again.

No sensible person blames Mr. Bush for the onset of the recession in 2001. But he does deserve blame for the fact that all he has to show for three years of supposed job-creation policies is a mountain of debt.
(via The Times)

That is, he's "stubborn." And we're all paying the price.

Not knowing what they said, they said it 

See, Republicans don't lie all the time. In a useful wrapup of Bush's campaign screw-ups so far, we find this little gem:

"On the Democratic side, you saw pictures of their campaigns busy with guys out in their shirt-sleeves, yelling and screaming and working hard," said a prominent Republican in one swing state. "Our guys were Bush and [Vice President Dick] Cheney going to hotel dining rooms [to raise money]. It was kind of a disconnect."
(via LA Times)

Uh, what disconnect?

Greenspan on the campaign trail 

Supports extending unemployment benefits.

"I think considering the possibility of extending unemployment benefits is not a bad idea," Greenspan said in response to questioning at a hearing of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. He added that he has supported such extensions before "in times like this."

What times would those be? Well..

The average length of unemployment grew to 20.3 weeks in February -- the highest in more than 20 years -- from 19.8 weeks the month before, the Labor Department reported a week ago. Nationally, job growth essentially stalled over the past three months.

More than 80,000 people are exhausting their state jobless benefits each week,
(via WaPo)

Lucky duckies!

What will the 5:00 Horror be today? 

As we know, the malAdministration like to release stuff it would really you rather not notice at 5:00PM on Friday. Then they can spin it on the talk shows before Monday.

What will the 5:00 Horror be today? Readers?

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Evidence points both ways on Spain blast 

The dynamite is an ETA (here) signature. The multiple bombs are an AQ signature. Investigation continues.

The Interior Ministry said tests showed the explosives used in the attacks were a kind of dynamite normally used by ETA.

The bombers used titadine, a kind of compressed dynamite also found in a bomb-laden van intercepted last month as it headed for Madrid, a source at Aznar's office said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Officials blamed ETA then, too.

In a break with past ETA tactics, there were multiple attacks and no advance warning. ETA has usually gone after one target at a time and the largest casualty toll was 21 killed in 1987.
(via AP)

A real testimony to the evils that fundamentalists—whether nationalist or religious—can do. Bastards.

And thank God the bombs were only dynamite (back here).

"Crooks": Halliburton case referred to DOJ 

Gee, Cheney sure left them in good shape, didn't he? Laughing all the way to the bank....

The Pentagon has referred allegations that Halliburton Corp., the largest private contractor in Iraq, overcharged on a fuel contract to the Justice Department for a possible criminal or civil investigation, congressional Democrats said Thursday.

The referral followed a critical December report by Pentagon auditors that found that the KBR division of Halliburton had overcharged $61 million through last September on the contract to provide gasoline in Iraq and a subsequent inspector general probe.

And it comes on the heels of a Jan. 13 Pentagon audit released Thursday that found KBR cost estimates for subcontractors for a $2.7-billion contract were "inadequate," as well as systemic and "significant deficiencies."
(via Newsday)

I wonder if the preznit's turkee dinner was paid for?

"Crooks": Republican theft of Democratic files referred to DOJ 

Via AP.

However.... At least according to one story, the case has already been "accidentally," though fatally, compromised (back here). Interesting, if true. The story is in the Moonie Times, but if I were a winger who wanted to send a message, that might be where I'd place the leak. Eh?

"Crooks": The latest on Republican fund-raiser and accused Chinese double agent Katrina Leung 

She's going on trial in September (LA Times subscription).

But a funny thing: The SCLM never, ever mentions that Katrina Leung is a Republican.

On the other hand, in the stories on the latest fodder for Republican attack ads—nice timing, guys!—accused Iraqi spy Susan Lindauer, the stories all prominently mention that she's a Democrat!

I wonder why?

UPDATE Of course, Lindauer is a distant cousin of Anrew Card—and I'm sure, at this point, very distant, but I'm sure Democrats would never emulate Republican tactics of smearing the entire WhiteWash House staff for the actions of a single individual ...

Republicans: Democrats are traitors 

Gee, that national conversation about the issues sure lasted a long time, didn't it?

"John Kerry's Plan: Weaken Fight Against Terrorism!" (via Kos)

What a dastardly scheme!

Edna! That sumbitch Kerry is actually planning to weaken us!

Damn! Where's my gun?

NOTE If Bush is so good at protecting us against terror, why has he butchered the terrorist threat that's most dangerous of all—loose nukes? (back here)

Thanks to Atrios and to Atrios readers yesterday 

And I hope everything went well for Atrios with the studio.

BushCo's Bundle Boys 

True Belivers, life inside the BushCo bunkhouse. Pioneers, Rangers, and "Big Breasted Devils!"

Bush's Bagmen | ...the president's A-team for campaign cash

Welcome to the most ambitious and best-organized shakedown in the history of American presidential politics. Bush is working to raise a record $200 million -- and so far, at least sixty percent of his campaign donations have come from just 416 elite fund-raisers... [...]

Bush tried out the system in 2000, but this year he has expanded it to unprecedented proportions. He has added more than 250 Pioneers to his fund-raising club and created two new categories: Rangers (those who round up more than $200,000) and Mavericks (young Republicans who lasso $50,000). In essence, these select fund-raisers serve as bagmen for the president. They hit up wealthy friends and colleagues to give the maximum legal donation of $2,000 each, then bundle up those contributions and deliver them to the campaign.

Some Pioneers rely on a sort of pyramid scheme to gather money: [...] "Basically, it's an Amway sort of model," says Kevin Rennie, a former Republican state legislator from Connecticut who has monitored Bush's fund-raising effort. Appropriately, Betsy DeVos, whose husband heads the Amway empire, is a Bush Pioneer.

The Diplomat
Peter Secchia, a timber executive and self-described "political operative," helped Bush's father defeat televangelist Pat Robertson during the 1988 primaries. He was rewarded with the ambassadorship to Italy - despite an astounding lack of diplomatic skills. Secchia calls women "bitches" and "big-breasted devils," and in one speech he announced, "I saw the new Italian Navy. Its boats have glass bottoms, so they can see the old Italian Navy." [...] He abruptly ended an interview with Rolling Stone with a mock threat: "If you do a bad story," he said with a laugh, "I have some friends in Palermo who can take care of your knees."

Nice regul'r folks. Real family values types. Go check out Yeoman's article. There are several more "A-team" profiles included. Needless to say, I think it's pretty plain spoken clear what the "A" in "A-team" stands for.

Continue reading... Bush's Bagmen | Meet the Pioneers and Rangers, the president's A-team for campaign cash. By Barry Yeoman [Rolling Stone]


Why apologize for saying the Emperor has no clothes? 

Why apologize for telling the simple truth?

Yes, I'm starting to warm up to Kerry.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry today rejected demands that he apologize for calling his critics in the Republican Party "the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen."

"I have no intention whatsoever of apologizing for my remarks," Kerry said during a news conference on the Senate side of the Capitol. "I think the Republicans need to start talking about the real issues before the country."

"There is a Republican attack squad that specializes in trying to destroy people and be negative," he said. "I haven't said anything that's incorrect about them. They've said a lot of things that are incorrect."
(via AP)

Maybe we could get an apology from Bush for stealing an election and lying his way into a war. Yeah, right.

OTOH, I'd like to see a lot more of Kerry improvising in front of town meetings. He did that well on his Southern swing. Exactly the kind of thing Bush can't do in his scripted, earpiece-driven, one-way, so-called "conversations."

Oh, The Crocodile Tears 

The SCLM is beside themselves with woe concerning the confrontational nature of current political discoure. On my! - the heated political debate! The partisanship! How did it all become so mean and angry and like totally yucky! How could this happen? What can it all mean for America!

Yeah yeah.....
Maybe they should ask this guy what it all means:

"We are trying to change the tones in the state capitols and turn them toward bitter nastiness and partisanship. ... Bipartisanship is just another name for date rape."
- Grover Norquist. / LINK (quote source - see Molly Ivins, related post, "How Many Fools...")


How Many Fools Can Ya Fit On A Ship? 

Molly Ivins explains how bidness gits done in a whole nuther country.

How to ruin the public schools. Texas, the nation's bad government workshop, provides example for ridding ourselves of pesky public education

Scouring the nation for the finest financial minds of his generation to go along on the retreat, Cap'n Goodhair took two major donors, James Leininger and James Nau, with wives, and Grover Norquist, the anti-tax nut from Washington. And there they sailed on the good ship "Voucher Plan."


So, attention all Americans, the case study beings, right here in Texas, home of so much bad public policy: how to destroy the public schools.

And, for anyone unfamiliar with James Leininger:

Democrats were less impressed by some of Leininger's missives. In 1994 Texans for Governmental Integrity sent out a mail piece in East Texas, illustrated by a photograph of a black man and a white man kissing, which warned voters that Democratic State Board of Education (SBOE) incumbent Mary Knott Perkins had voted to approve textbooks that promoted abortion and homosexuality. Leininger also directly supported conservative SBOE candidates to the unfamiliar tune of tens of thousands of dollars, in races that had previously been low-key. "He single-handedly changed the composition of the State Board of Education," says Samantha Smoot, the executive director of the Texas Freedom Network, an organization founded in 1995 to counter religious-right initiatives. "It went from a body that had been dominated by parents and teachers to a group characterized by a bloc of members who are there simply to push a right-wing ideology."

For more on Leininger and his role in Texas GOP politics see: Texas Freedom Network

State media amplifies RNC flip-flop meme 

Pravda on the Potomac.

Yawn. Discount utterly.

Bush: If you catch him lying, and he knows it, what does he do? Escalate the lies! 

We saw it in the lies on Iraq, now he's doing it on the economy. And who's fault the economy is? The Clenis™

And just as Bush has been asserting that the recession started before his presidency, he is now suggesting that manufacturing jobs loss predates him as well.

"Not long before I took office in January of 2001, I invited business leaders from around our country to come to Austin. They told me that factories and workers were seeing the first signs of recession. That's what they said. They said that the economy was troubled, that things weren't feeling too good. And they were right. In fact, the manufacturing sector had started losing jobs in August of 2000. By January of 2001, orders for equipment and software were falling, the stock market had been declining for several months."

Here's the full text of his speech.

Is that assertion about the manufacturing sector correct? These tables and charts from the Bureau of Labor Statistics do show small job losses in manufacturing starting in July of 2000, but a pretty precipitous decline after January 2001.
(Froomkin, WaPo)

Don't bother Bush with facts! Nice to see the press doing a little fact-checking for him—they must feel (or at least the non-whores must feel) as badly burned by the WMD lies as the rest of us.

And speaking of the Republican National Convention ... 

Well, well. DC's mass arrests of protestors turn out to be unlawful.

D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey and other police officials conspired to deflect blame and cover up evidence of their wrongdoing during the mass arrests of anti-globalization demonstrators in September 2002, according to a D.C. Council committee that investigated the incident.

The investigation found fault with the police department's handling of demonstrations dating back to 2000. The report challenges the force's use of undercover officers to infiltrate protest groups, saying some continued surveillance after organizations were found to be generally law-abiding.
(via WaPo)

And a funny thing! Tom Ridge did the same illegal mass arrest thing for The Republican National Convention in 2000 in Philly when he was governor of Pennsylvania. Now he's heading the Department of Homeland Security! Coincidence? I always wondered what Ridge's qualifications were, and now I know—since in Bush's mind, "Homeland Security" and "re-electing Bush" are one and the same thing.... Look out, Manhattan....

Bush EPA sued for poisoning Manhattanites after 9/11 

And the Republicans have the nerve to hold their convention in Manhattan!

New York -- Residents and workers in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, saying the agency improperly let thousands of people return to their homes and businesses after the World Trade Center collapsed.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan accused the agency of making misleading statements about air quality after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
(via Indianapolis Star)


"We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the bridges and we shall fight at the tunnels. We will never surrender" (after the words of a real conservative, and a real war leader, who didn't need to prance about in a flight suit to prove his credentials).

"Fight" in a nice, and above all media-friendly way, of course. See Billionaires for Bush for one good way.

Say, how's Bush coming on reimbursing the families of Iraqi soldiers for the body armor they had to buy? 

Just asking.

I mean, just because Kerry thought of it doesn't mean it's a bad idea, right?

How to ask the right questions about the "intelligence failures" on Iraqi WMD 

Excellent analysis from George A. Lopez and David Cortright in the Boston Glob.

The senators should stop asking why Washington saw weapons where there weren't any. Rather, they must ask -- and have answered -- why a plethora of publicly available information on the destruction and deterioration of Iraq's weapons capability was not processed into the equation about the scope of Iraqi firepower.

Without question, verifiable "on the plus side" data about the success of economic sanctions and the destruction of WMD materiel supervised by UN inspectors from 1991 to 1998 was consistently neglected by war planners, the press, and politicians. And classified intelligence should have augmented this data. But the inability or unwillingness to properly debit the 1990 estimates of Iraqi weapons with the discount factor of their degradation due to our own successful policies constitutes an intelligence debacle.

No more glaring example of this exists than the failure of analysts to properly prepare Secretary of State Colin Powell for his Feb. 5, 2003, presentation before the Security Council. A number of prohibited materials mentioned by Powell were, in fact, known to have been intercepted before entering Iraq. These materials included specialized aluminum tubes, vacuum tubes, a magnet production line, a large filament winding machine, fluorine gas, and other goods that could have nuclear weapons-related applications. Senators need to examine how and why such flawed testimony was permitted to move forward.
(via Here)

Well, should we make something that's simple seem complicated?

No (by Occam's razor).

Bush wanted to have his war, and was willing to say or do anything to have it. So he lied. Powell was expendable, and so he was lied to. See how simple it can be?

So the Republicans use a 527 to trash Dean and the SCLM yawns. The Democrats use 527s, and it's front page news 

Why would that be, I wonder?

Sauce from the Club for Growth goose is sauce for the MoveOn.Org gander.

Could the real problem be that MoveOn is, well, more effective?

The Wecovery: Jobs numbers go according to Bush plan 

"When people are out of work, unemployment results." -- Calvin Coolidge.

But they called Calvin Coolidge "Silent Cal," and so people didn't have to wade through all the muck and sludge that Bush throws out. Oh, for a little quiet time with these guys.

Anyhow, here's some detail on the latest economic figures (source from the ever-essential Atrios).

A sixth month of payroll gains after a seven month string of declines as the improvement is extraordinarily modest but consistent with stronger underlying economic demand and the offsetting strength of labor productivity. Employment trends lag the overall economy as final demand (in excess of labor productivity) feeds in to labor demand. Employers are squeezing as much production as possible out of existing employees. The unemployment rate has turned sharply lower from a 6.4% June peak as the return of discouraged job hunters to the labor force hasn't yet hit the figures Hourly earnings unexpectedly ...

Uh, what was unexpected about it? See Why Bush wants jobs flatlined, back here.

... turned sharply lower as labor demand and productivity strengthened. The length of the workweek hasn't shown a sustained rise as labor demand remains weak.
(via Here.)

I wish Bush himself were as "extraordinarily modest" as his performance on the economy.

Spain blasts: Spanish say probably Basque Separatists, Bush (surprise!) says AQ 

Not that Bush would ever, ever want to mention "domestic terrorism," even in Spain.

U.S. intelligence agencies believe it is too early to conclude who was behind rush-hour explosions in Madrid that killed at least 180 people, but see the attack as bearing hallmarks of both the Basque separatist group ETA and al Qaeda, a U.S. official said on Thursday.

"It's going to be muddy for a while until the Spanish authorities get in there and start doing some forensics," the U.S. official said.

The only mud is the mud Bush is throwing. No surprise there either.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the 10 simultaneous rush-hour blasts at three railway stations that also injured around 900 people. But Spain blamed ETA [the Basque separatist group].
"There are characteristics of each," the official said, referring to ETA and Osama bin Laden (news - web sites)'s al Qaeda network.

"You have multiple attacks, multiple explosions in different locations in a short period of time which is very al Qaeda-ish," the official told Reuters. Al Qaeda has been blamed for bombing attacks on Western interests, including the Sept. 11, 2001, hijacked plane attacks on America.

"But ETA has long threatened tourists and commuters and they have attacked trains in the past, they have attacked rail stations in the past." ...
(via Reuters)

Hey, what a victory for us! Spain is the new flypaper! But don't tell Spain that....

UPDATE About the ETA.

Bush exploits 9/11 for fundraiser 

Not that this is news, of course.

--Big Yawn.

Greenspan comes out for Bush 

Not really. Or maybe not, not really.

Wading into an election-year issue, Greenspan told a House committee that current anxiety in America over the loss of U.S. jobs to low-wage countries was understandable, given the weak job growth the country has experienced since the 2001 recession and the two years of a jobless recovery since that time.

However, he said the nation had reason to be more optimistic that job growth will rebound in coming months.

"As our economy exhibits increasing signals of recovery, jobs loss continues to diminish," he said in testimony to the House Education and Workforce Committee. "In all likelihood, employment will begin to increase more quickly before long."

Since President Bush took office in January 2001, the country has lost 2.2 million jobs.
(via AP)

I still don't understand why we don't outsource the CEOs. We never see them anyhow, so what does it matter if they're in India?

And let's outsource that toothless old whore Greenspan too, while we're at it. The Fed is supposed to be independent, not an arm of the RNC. He's already aided the ongoing heist of Social Security, and now this.

Military Families Speak Out 

WaPo has the heart-breaking story here.
When the invasion of Iraq began, Dvorin -- a 61-year-old Air Force veteran and a retired cop -- thought the commander in chief deserved his support. "I believed we were destroying part of the axis of evil," he says. "I truly believed that Saddam Hussein was a madman and that he possessed weapons of mass destruction and wouldn't hesitate to use them."

By the time Army 2nd Lt. Seth Dvorin was sent to Iraq last September, however, his father was having doubts. And now that Seth had been killed, at 24, by an "improvised explosive device" south of Baghdad, doubt had turned to anger.

"Where are all the weapons of Mass Destruction?" Richard Dvorin demanded in his letter. "Where are the stockpiles of Chemical and Biological weapons?" His son's life, he wrote, "has been snuffed out in a meaningless war."
It's hard for me to imagine what a sense of betrayal like this feels like. One of the few luxuries of loathing Bush and distrusting every word he utters is that there is never a possibility of disappointment. To have foolishly entrusted the life of my son to an unworthy man, is a burden I hope I never have to carry in life.

Meanwhile, a former co-worker who's shipping out to Iraq writes:
Asked one of my colleagues what he thought of the mission. Surprised me when he said, "It looks like this is turning into a mission where we basically go there just to defend ourselves... kind of pointless."

He's a Mormon and former Bush voter with a wife and newborn daughter. Whatever the wisdom of his Iraq vote, Kerry was speaking for him decades ago when he demanded, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

Let alone a litany of lies.

GOP "irked" at Kerry 

Good! Once again, the Republicans can dish it out, but they can't take it.

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) dueled with President Bush over taxes and the economy yesterday and then, in an offhand comment to factory workers in Chicago, called the Republicans "the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen," triggering an angry denunciation from Bush's campaign.

Last night, Bush campaign chairman Marc Racicot called Kerry's statement "unbecoming of a candidate for the presidency of the United States of America" and called on Kerry to apologize. "On the day that Senator Kerry emerged as his party's presumptive nominee, the president called to congratulate him," Racicot said. "That goodwill gesture has been met by attacks and false statements."
(via WaPo)


Republican surrogates circulating false photos and stories about Kerry as soon as he clinched. That's the "gesture of good will" I remember.

UPDATE TBogg has a great compendium of hair-raising quotes that, if liberals were irk-able, they would be irked about. My favorite is Phil Gramm's "We're going to keep building the party until we're hunting Democrats with dogs."

Their Beauty Is His Protest 

That's Terrence Rafferty's description of the films of Francisco Rossi, an eighty-one year old Italian master who ought to be better known than he is.

Although once a favorite New Yorker movie reviewer, Rafferty disappeared from my radar into the pages of GQ; this article about Rosi I found two Sundays ago in the NYTimes, occasioned by the release on DVD of one of his greatest films, "Salvatore Guilano," reminded me why. (Unfortunately the article has disappeared behind the for cash wall)

Though this tale of an actual Sicilian bandit who aligns himself with the forces of reaction after WW2, (or does he?) is often sighted as the precursor of docudrama, and the progenitor of Costasgravas" "Z" and Oliver Stone's JFK, as Rafferty explains, the film is so much more than docudrama, by being so much less:

"Salvatore Giuliano" was Francesco Rosi's third feature as a director. He was close to 40 and had acquired such command of his medium that he could dare to tell this story without a hero, to pose this mystery without a solution and get away with it. The picture is full of dazzling set pieces — notably the May Day massacre, which is, in its very different style, worthy of comparison with the Odessa steps scene in "Potemkin" — and its shots are so eloquently plain that they seem simply to have composed themselves, out of sheer necessity. And "Salvatore Giuliano" manages to sustain an almost impossible balance of immediacy and reflection: it's such an exciting piece of filmmaking that you might not realize until the end that its dominant tone is contemplative, even melancholy.

Although ''Salvatore Giuliano'' takes the form of an investigation and teases us with the possibility of dire revelations, it appears not to have occurred to Mr. Rosi that the audience might expect an actual solution to the mysteries he unearths, or even that it would require some sort of detective figure to identify with.

Francesco Rosi has a different idea. For him, a film's political (and emotional) power doesn't depend on its ability to provide definite, nailed-down answers; asking the right questions is all that matters. In ''Salvatore Giuliano'' every small mystery breeds another, and then another, until, in the end, the mostly absent title character seems to be no more -- and no less -- than the sum of the questions we have about him: his ambiguity is his truth.

It seemed especially appropriate on that Sunday, when Haiti was ever again being reborn as perpetual tragedy, and/or being betrayed from without for the umpteenth time by powerful others, to remember Rosi, a film-maker whose chosen subject is "this poisonous climate of violence, secrecy and mistrust," and a film, that is "at heart, an epic about political instability and the emotional vertigo it creates."

And in looking for information and opinion about Haiti at Randy Paul's blog, "Beautiful Horizons," which he bills as "An atypical gringo's perspective on Latin America, human rights and other issues," perhaps it shouldn't have seemed as surprising as it felt at the time to find that Randy Paul had posted his own discussion of Franacisco Rosi, provoked by Rafferty's NYTimes piece, along with links that take you where you can purchase the individual films. Aside from Rosi, I discovered that Beautiful Horizons is worth regular visits for its unique point of view about a specialized but no less central slice of the world's humanity.

My favorite Rosi film "Christ Stopped At Eboli" at the center of which is a brilliant performance by the great Gian Maria Volonte, is also Mr. Paul's favorite, and luckily among those few that are available on DVD. Like all Rosi's later films, this one is no less political, and its contemplative style and resolute committment to acknowledging the complex texture of human experience no more an argument against political committment. Rosi's films have always stirred in me a rewnewed committment, while bearing witness to the folly of too great expectations, and too tight a grasp on moral certainty.

If there's not a whole lot of ideology in these films, as Rafferty reminds us, "there is more than a little truth."

Every Thursday is turkey day! 

As in, Let's get that turkey out of office!

Atrios started it, but we want to help.

Farmer has made the button at right where you can give to JFK.

Liberal radio network to start March 31 

From our own Inky:

Air America, the left-leaning radio network anchored by Al Franken, will launch March 31 in the country's four largest markets [ New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco], which leaves out Philadelphia.

Until there's a local [ie, a Philly] station - and company executives say a deal is "imminent" - those in this area who hunger for liberal talk and laughs will have to listen on the network's Web site (airamericaradio.com) or wait until negotiations play out with satellite radio and television.

Franken, speaking to reporters by teleconference from deep in the Republican "red states," somewhere between Baton Rouge, La., and New Orleans, said yesterday that he would call his noon-to-3-p.m. weekday show The O'Franken Factor. The title is a dig at his conservative nemesis, Bill O'Reilly, whose O'Reilly Factor is telecast on cable's Fox News Channel.

Last year, Fox sued Franken unsuccessfully for using its slogan "fair and balanced" in the subtitle to his latest book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.

The liberal network hopes to challenge conservative radio programming, especially in this presidential-election year. "To their credit, the right wing has captured radio, and we're going to go at them, and at them hard," Franken promised.

Hoping to engage young and liberal audiences with political satire, news and comedy, Air America has signed actress Janeane Garafalo for an 8-to-11-p.m. weekday show, and former Public Enemy rapper Chuck D to join Lizz Winstead, cocreator of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, to host a program from 9 a.m. to noon. Environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will have a Saturday show. Shows will air from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. and some will repeat after-hours.

Air America, known as Central Air when it was announced in December, expects to debut in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. It will be available in about 20 percent of U.S. households. Air America has bought some stations and is leasing time on others.

Air America programming will be available on its Web site as it is broadcast, and remain archived for listeners to hear when they want.

Company officials said they had commitments from several national advertisers, but weren't ready to name them. The "tens of millions" raised by private investors so far should allow the network to run "for years, not months" before turning a profit, said Walsh, a former TV anchor and former America Online executive.

Fans of conspiracy theories may find it interesting that the liberal network will be going by the name of the notorious CIA air transport operation of the 1950s-70s.

Franken sought to settle all speculation: "We are funded by the CIA," he said.
(via The Inky)

I just hope they're good on radio... Dunno about RFK, Jr., for example. Readers?

The Wecovery: The market figures out it's an election year Keynsian stimulus 

In other words, it's a YABL. Stocks fall.

investors appear concerned that the economy's growth over the last year has come mainly as a result of short-term stimulus from the federal government and Federal Reserve, not because of increased corporate investment or sustainable increases in consumer spending.

Recent government reports showing that job creation has been weaker than expected have fueled those fears, said Thomas Giovine, a hedge fund manager in Los Angeles.
(via The Times)

Looks like fear is taking over from greed ....

Bush the Changeling 

BushCo's winding labyrinth of crookery.

Given - the Madison Ave cableTV "news" media "Street" walkers will never mention any such bother with respect to BushCo's transpositions on any number of issues, because you know, thats not in the RNC blast fax talking points script.

CNN's American Enterprise Institute potted plant Bill Schneider won't make any honest noise of it, thats for sure, not since the Southern Poverty Law Center labled AEI one to watch with respect to "special interest" think tanks and groups spiking right wing poison into the mainstream vein.


How do ideas that once were denounced as racist, bigoted, unfair, or just plain mean-spirited get transmitted into mainstream discussions and political debates? Through a wide array of political and social networks. Such networks are a robust part of democracy in action, and include media outlets, think tanks, pressure groups, funders and leaders.

What follows are descriptions of a number of these institutions, organized alphabetically, that focus on their roles in spreading bigotry.

Recall here that AEI is the cheery well pressed outfit that helped bankroll Charles Murray's reanimated Nazi eugenics screed The Bell Curve. Which all the bobbleheads in mainstream media looloo-land celebrated until someone actually pointed out to them what it was they were actually celebrating. (anyone wondering why Germany fell victim to the goosestep should just spend forty three minutes with the yes-men of the corporatist fourth estate.) Ay yi yi.

In any event, for instance, when was the last time you heard some clown at MSGOP or CNN (or FOX, hahahaha ) mention Bush's flip-flop on global warming? Or BushCo's reversals on any number of other grand panderings? Eh? Forgit it.


1- Save this APJ page link below for a quick reference to Daily Ko's list of BushCo flip-flop acrobatics. See: Tuesday Morning Memo: American Politics Journal

And, visit Sam Parry at Consortium News. Parry provides details on Bush's reversals on a variety of key positions, from global warming to Social Security.

[Consortium excerpts in blockquote below. Bold emphasis THEN and NOW separation heads are mine.]

A vigorous debate could be arranged by splicing together clips of Bush-2000 with Bush-2004.


Bush made an unequivocal pledge not to raid the Social Security trust fund to pay for deficits in other parts of the federal budget. “We’re going to set aside all the payroll taxes for one thing, Social Security,” Bush said in a stump speech four days before the presidential election. [Nov. 2000]


Now, younger workers - our younger citizens - fully understand - I think the polls - it's more likely to see some of you go to Mars than to receive a check from the Social Security system. -- GW Bush to Jim Lehrer, April 27, 2001


Bush has pulled more than $350 billion out of Social Security surpluses to pay for discretionary government spending.


My p[l]an plays down an unprecedented amount of our national debt. - GW Bush, addressing Congress, February 27, 2001


Even without considering the costs for the Iraq War, the CBO said Bush’s tax and spending plans will add $2.75 trillion to the national debt, a stunning $8.4 trillion turnaround from the projected surpluses at the end of the Clinton administration.

Rather than the fleeting worry of 2000-2001 of how to cope with a debt-free U.S. government, the American people now will be left figuring out how to pay off a federal debt that will have ballooned 67 percent to almost $7 trillion.


Critics have noted other reversals from Bush’s campaign positions. During the campaign, one of Bush’s favorite lines was that under Clinton, the "military is over-deployed, under-trained and underpaid."


Under Bush, however, the military has been stretched even thinner and has faced administration efforts to trim expected pay raises. The Army Times, an independent newspaper that covers military affairs, reported that Bush tried “to significantly cut the 2004 military pay raise” from 3.7 percent to 2 percent. The Bush administration also got into trouble last year when it tried to cut combat pay and family separation pay for the men and women serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan.


In December 2000, activist judges making novel legal arguments to protect Bush's interests were just fine.


Today, however, Bush is outraged that "activist judges" have ruled that the government shouldn't bar homosexuals from getting married. Stopping vote counts apparently is one thing, while stopping weddings is an altogether different matter.


Global warming represented Bush’s first major flip-flop. In a clear campaign promise on September 29, 2000, Bush proposed regulating carbon dioxide as one of "four main pollutants" released into the environment by the burning of fossil fuels at power plants.


But two months after taking office, Bush suddenly jettisoned the carbon-dioxide pledge. Bending to the wishes of the energy industry and its lobbyists, Bush pulled the rug out from under his Environmental Protection Agency director, Christie Whitman.

Continue reading Sam Parry at Consortium News

CNN morning "news" cipher Carol (Chad, oh Chad!) Costello is attempting to commit tv journalism as I speak. Go ahead, just count how many times this vapid showroom dummy says, "Chad". Go ahead, I dare you. If I were "Chad" (who's just a barrel of hilarious yucks hisself -- :-) I'd thrash this abnoxious harpie with a rolled up copy of the USA Today! While on the air! Fortunately, I don't even read the USA today. Which means I gotta get away from the boob tube and all other forms high comminication technology until cable TV morning programming blows over. Otherwise I will surely be arrested for something. God only knows what.


Gravest Challange Facing Iraqis Said To Be Not Enough Privately Held Guns 

They're worriers over at WorldNetDaily. Okay, the Bush administration has wrought a minor miracle in that Biblical land, against all the machinations of liberals and Democrats who did everything they could to see that Saddam stayed triumphantly in power. But now, at the time of their greatest achievement, the signing of an interim constitution, the Bushies have gone and blinked.

Iraq's new interim constitution sounds many of the same themes as the U.S. Constitution in guaranteeing freedom of the people – with one stark difference: There is no right to keep and bear arms in the new charter"


It's a very big mistake," said Erich Pratt, director of communications for Gun Owners of America. "What an interesting contrast to what our Founding Fathers thought."

Pratt emphasized America's founders believed it crucial for citizens to have the right to own arms to prevent what Iraq has endured for decades: tyranny.

"The right of people to keep and bear arms was the best check to tyranny" the Founding Fathers put into place, Pratt told WND.

Angel Shamaya, founder and executive director of Keep and Bear Arms decried what he sees as a lack of religious freedom along with the absence of gun rights.

"They've set up a situation where religious persecution can continue," he said, referring to the fact Islam has been established as the official state religion.

Shamaya says the banning of militias will hinder minority religions.

"Militias have enabled minority religions to defend themselves from the majority religion," he noted.

Maybe George Soros would consider funding a tour of Iraq by these second amendment advocates, including that dude who heads the NRA, and we wouldn't want to leave out John Lott. The purpose of the tour would be to allow Iraqis to get some direct contact with real Americans, who could take the opportunity to explain directly to Iraqis why they would be better off if the streets were filled with even more people who own even more guns. I'm sure their message would be welcomed, unless there happened to be someone who'd lost a loved one to street violence in the audience who also happened to be packing heat.

Oh just go and read the whole thing; it'll brighten up your day no end.

G.W. Hoover Award ~ go figger. 

Stupid leadership in times of cheap labor conservative change!

The Worst Jobs Record Since the Great Depression

Today, as President Bush hands out awards at the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Awards ceremony, we’ve decided to award George Bush the inaugural "Herbert Hoover Awards" for having the worst jobs record since the Great Depression- and President Hoover. Drum roll please…

And.. just for the shameless self serving hell of it: Twilight of the Gods ~ recapitulated / redux

Otherwise, help "dethrone forty3". Go give some $ to the Kerry campaign. Click the graphic link at right to contribute if you can.


Wednesday, March 10, 2004

BushCo and Women 

Echidne of the Snakes covers BushCo's duplicity as it applies globally to women and women's issues.

Rara Avis VI: George and the Girls

The International Women's Day was a good time to meditate on George Walker Bush and women. Not that there's much in this exercize for us prurient minds. George is either very good or very careful, or his minders even more so. Instead, I'm going to look at his attitudes towards women more generally, as human beings, as the objects of his policies and as voters.

...read all about it


So if it's good enough for the Iraqis, why isn't it good enough for us? 

The new Iraqi constitution is here. Here's article 14:

The individual has the right to security, education, health care, and social security.

From Balkin via alert reader Duh.

If I didn't know better, I'd say Bush was rattled 

Was this that jobs czar, or was that another Bush idea that got dropped? Anyhow, Bush pulls back a nominee after Kerry nails him on it.

The Bush administration on Wednesday abruptly postponed the announcement that a Nebraska businessman was its choice for a new post to help the country's beleaguered manufacturing sector.

The postponement came after Democrat John Kerry had derided the job as "too little, too late" for the industry and his presidential campaign noted that the expected nominee had set up a manufacturing operation in China.
(via AP)

And, oh yeah—YABFF ....

"Passion" blooper reel 

Missed this one.

Yogi Was Right: It Feels Like Deja Vu Because It Keeps On Happening 

A returning Iraqi veteran, Lt. Jullian Goodrum, claims he's been denied medical treatment at Fort Knox, where he is stationed, because of his public criticism of inadequate medical care at the fort.

It may sound familiar because Lt. Goodrum's previous complaints, "sparked" congressional hearings. Or, it may sound familiar because there have been so many other similar stories.

This UP article, via Military.com, chronicles the prior story, and, in addition, what's new and worse in the story of Lt. Goodrum.

Fort Knox officials charged that soldier, Lt. Jullian Goodrum, with being absent without leave and cut off his pay after he then went to a private doctor who hospitalized him for serious mental stress from Iraq, Goodrum said.

"They are coming after me pretty bad," said Goodrum, 33, a veteran who has served the military for more than 14 years, including the first Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

He showed United Press International a form from Fort Knox that states that Fort Knox officials "do not want him in medical hold." Some soldiers are kept on medical hold during treatment while the Army determines their status.

Goodrum has now been hospitalized in a locked mental ward at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. after turning himself in there Feb. 9. Doctors there say he has post-traumatic stress disorder from Iraq and major depression, and they worry he could hurt himself. He is not allowed to go down the hall from the inpatient psychiatric clinic for a Coke without an escort.

Goodrum said stress from Iraq, and the way he has been treated by the military since he returned, has made him so depressed he is lucky to be alive. He also has injuries to both wrists, in part from loading 65-pound shells on the USS Missouri when he was in the Navy in the first Gulf War. The ship pounded Iraqi troops in Kuwait and took fire from Iraqi tanks. An Iraqi Silkworm missile missed her bow by 30 yards.


Fort Knox spokeswoman Connie Shaffery said privacy rules prohibit her from commenting on Goodrum's case, unless he signed a waiver saying otherwise. He declined. Shaffery said a soldier who does not show up for duty is absent without leave.

In November of 2003, the Lt. asked for medical care for what he perceived to be a possible breakdown. He was denied such care and went off base to get some help. The doctor he found concurred that the Lt. required care. I suppose the Army might say that he now has that care, at Johns Hopkins, but I can tell you, as a one-time social worker, that a locked mental ward is not usually the first treatment of choice for any patient who is sufficiently in contact with reality to know he's in trouble, nor is simply ignoring such self-diagnosis until the patient tries to commit suicide considered a good treatment plan.

The Army wasn't always so negative about this guy, mind you.

Goodrum, a member of the Army Reserve, was named the 176th Maintenance Battalion's "Soldier of the Year" in 2001. He has received a host of awards, including the combat action ribbon, and positive reviews from superior officers.

"Lt. Goodrum is a truly outstanding junior officer," reads one performance evaluation from 2002. "In addition to his technical competence, he demonstrates great leadership potential. ... Promote to captain and select for advance military schooling."

Isn't this a case for Ann Coulter, manly-girl smear-artist and soldier of fortune?

I don't know about you but I've almost lost track of all the stories about the Bush administration's rampant hypocrisy when it comes to keeping its promises to the men and women of our military, (they volunteer so you won't have to, let's all remember), not only in specific cases like this one, but in its actual politicies, budgetary, logistical, and military. Another example of Eric Alterman's notion of "outrage overload."

Since we can't afford to indulge such overload, especially when it comes to our volunteer military, perhaps I shouldn't link to this article about a returning veteran who remains anonymous, but what he has to say has the ring of authenticity, and one way to fight overload is to consider each new outrage a piece of kindling added to the fire of one's outrage, which can then become the fuel necessary to get something done.

Unfortuantely, there are no links in the article for any of us who might like to do something on behalf of Lt. Goodrum, although I imagine letters to congress, particularly to those who heard his testimony the first time around, would be worth the effort.

One thought about doing something on a broader scale - John Emerson, the mysterious being formerly known as Zizka, has had the bright idea of keeping track of GOP smears against John Kerry, along with the answers that show why they are smears; the page is at his old epinomous site; currently he is one of the excellent crew at Seeing The Forrest.

One of the problems with the otherwise excellent world-wide phenomenon of lefty-blog proliferation is the scattered nature of all the invaluable information that tends to roll away from one's grasp. I've been working on how we might centralize such information, both from the past, and as it happens, at various places (blogs) around "blogtopia," (thank-you Skippy).

The question of Bush's words about his feality to our military compared to the actions of his administration seems like an excellent subject for such record keeping. All thoughts from readers and bloggers are warmly welcomed. (And when I check back here and there are only two and half comments, I am going to feel rejected)

More deja vu to consider:

So Bush has had stayover guests at the White House, and, in particular, in that holiest of holy shrines, the Lincoln bedroom that Lincoln never slept in. Well, remember all the hot hair expended over the trips President Clinton took, not only to places where he was campaigning, or might be campaigning, but complaints about state visits to India, VietNam, etc, visits dismissed as government waste and an example of the Clintons using government resources for their own enrichment. If you don't remember, I'll come up with some examples, but this post is already too long.

As I noted in a previous post, that in the always proper and moral Bush administration, there well might be an ambiguity about who pays for what parts of which trips made by the President in country, when, at night, he breaks bread over $2000 a plate dinners with a few of his best friends, Mike Allen has also noticed that this White House is not intimidated by it's own slashing criticism of the previous administration's rather less egregious record, as it turns out; that last point is mine, not Allen's, although I will admit that had Clinton had the capacity to get as many rich people to as many expensive fund-raisers as does Mr. Bush, Clinton's record might have been as egregious.

The Bush-Cheney campaign reimbursed the government $362,497 for flight services between last summer, when fundraising began, and the end of January, according to Federal Election Commission records. That includes payments for fundraising trips for Vice President Cheney and first lady Laura Bush. The campaign also repaid the government $3,259 for meals, photos and postage.

During that period, the president raised more than $103 million for his primary campaign, even though he had no opponent. The campaign will begin its most visible expenditure Thursday, when the first wave of Bush campaign ads begin airing on national cable television and on network stations in 17 key states, along with some Spanish-language outlets

Anybody wonder just how many trips were made during that period? Might be worth documenting how many, and then centralizing that information for quick access.

Quick access by whom, you may be wondering - to be addressed in another post.

English text of the Iraqi interim Constitution 

Have at it, poli sci majors!


--via Secular Blasphemy

Create your very own official Bush-Cheney poster! 

With the slogan of your choosing, heh heh heh ....


-- via Wonkette

Once more on David "I'm writing as bad as I can" Brooks 

The Howler asks again: Who is scripting Brooks’ column?

(More on Brooks from Farmer in the morning.)

Yep, I'm warming up to this Kerry guy 

Kerry seems to be getting coverage from the SCLM. But then he's had some experience handling the media spotlight. And ultimately, it's going to be important to turn around and give a positive message. I think one of Dean's problems was that the positive feedback from a base starving for red meat was so strong that it detracted from Dean's ability to present his sensible, solid, middle-of-the-road platform. Then again, if this smokes Bush out... And we get those monthly debates....

That said:

Kerry's comments came during a stop at a sheet metal plant in Chicago as he shook hands with workers.

"Tell it like it is," a man at the Hill Mechanical Group told him. "Keep smiling."

"Smile when you say that, stranger ..." Seriously, that's important. Smiling is one thing that makes you electable.

"Oh yeah, don't worry, man," the senator from Massachusetts responded. "We're going to keep pounding, let me tell you. We're just beginning to fight here. These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen," Kerry added. "It's scary."

Now that one's out in the open, as it should be.

The Bush campaign denounced Kerry's remarks as angry rhetoric.

"At every turn, John Kerry has claimed to be the victim of an imaginary smear machine," Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said.
(via LA Times)

Am I alone in thinking that Schmidt's response is laughably, pathetically weak?

Back at ya, turtlenecked one! 

This one's a little old, but it shows how we—by which I mean Atrios and the Atrios community—can make a difference.

UPDATE Alert reader Truss:

The offending article from the Daily Mountain Eagle has been removed from the Website. Too bad hate can't be removed so easily.

UPDATE But you can get it here, thanks to alert reader discord7.

Fun with the blogosphere 


Readers: Useful? Cool? Alternatives?

UPDATE Alert reader Concerned Citizen suggests this site.

Not all Christians are loons 

Thank God. The Right Christian has a nice reading of the "Bel and the Dragon" parable. Here's the moral:

For years, the politicians and their high priests of “free markets” and “free trade” have been telling us that we’d better make sacrifices or our prosperity was in danger. We’ve given up health benefits, wage increases, overtime pay and regulations that protect the environment and our own safety when we’re at work. After all that, now we are being told that it is a “good thing” for us to give up our jobs.

But read the whole thing. At the least, it's a great metaphor.

ATHIEST PROPHYLACTIC: We need to talk to people where they are, not where we would like them to be. It's ridiculous for Democrats to surrendur our discourse on "values" (and religion) to theocons and SICs.

If we want to win the votes of committed Christians—which I would argue should be of right Democratic— then we need to talk to them in language that they respect and understand, and that means having some basic knowledge of their texts. (Personally, I thought the true Dean gaffe—the one where I slapped my forhead and said "That's it!"—was when he said or was reported to say (Deaniacs?) that the book of Job was in the new testament. Even I know it's in the old testament.)


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