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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 

"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.

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.

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? 

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."

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

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...")


State media amplifies RNC flip-flop meme 

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 ( 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. 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 

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, 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 

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 

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.)


People are watching porn in their cars!! 

I know! Let's have a Constitutional Amendment!

Or at least a moral panic! First Janet Jackson's boob, now this. (I think it's all because of The Clenis™)


Department of "Uh, right!" 

Now, faith-based unemployment figures!

[Bush] also explained a recent disappointing employment report, which showed only 21,000 new jobs for January versus an earlier White House forecast of 300,000 new jobs a month in 2004, as a sign that the economy was moving into a new era of high productivity and open markets.
(via Reuters)

Yesp, Bush has got a lot of 'splainin' to do. Let's help him:

Bush explained that not showing up for his flight physical was a sign that he would shortly be handed a new educational opporunity (hey, he was right!)

Bush explained that having Harken fail was a sign that he would shortly be handed a new business (and hey, he was right!)

Bush explained that ... Well, make up your own jokes!

There's optimism, and then there's optimism....

Let's play fill in the blank! 

Any guesses?

"Each of you — and particularly _________ [a] — has a legitimacy problem. As your _____[b] get ____[c] and _____[d], the credibility of your ____[e] in the eyes of the public gets weaker," McCain, an Arizona Republican, said in remarks prepared for a Senate Commerce Committee hearing.
(via LA Times)

Fine word, "legitimate!"

While the investigations of Republican lawbreaking and ethics violations go on in every branch of government... After the whole 537 votes fiasco. Fine word, "legitimate"!

Oh, the answers:

[a] major league baseball
[b] athletes get
[c] bigger
[d] stronger
[e] product

Look, over there! Indecency! No, look, over there! Steroids!

Kerry on fear 

It's always good to call the Republicans on the tactics and techniques they use; the American people are "good strategists"—they'll understand.

"[KERRY] George Bush is running on the same old Republican tactics of fear — and they're already getting tired," he said. "It's clear that this president will fight like hell to keep his own job, but he won't lift a finger to help Americans keep theirs."
(via AP)

On fear, see back here.

On why the Republicans want to keep you in fear, see back here.

Freeper by the Dozens 

Following up on Lambert's post about the Bush sleepovers (which, according to Google, seems to have garnered little attention), I was struck by the following odd lede:
President Bush opened the White House and Camp David to dozens of overnight guests last year, including foreign dignitaries, family friends and at least nine of his biggest campaign fund-raisers, documents show.

In all, Bush and first lady Laura Bush have invited at least 270 people to stay at the White House and at least the same number to overnight at the Camp David retreat since moving to Washington in January 2001, according to lists the White House provided The Associated Press.

So now we know: 270 = "dozens." No wonder the story isn't getting more traction. I guess that means that Bush deficits will soon be summarized as in the "dozens of billions."

You can view a list of the "dirty dozens" here. The list is noteworthy for its airy documentation of the donations involved; all donation figures are capped at "at least $200,000" but many aren't specified at all. (And how cutesy poo is this? "Peter and Laura English: Bush friends, also birdwatchers.") Still based on obviously incomplete data, we have a bare minimum of $1.2M in donations involved here.

Also, can anyone decode the logic behind this sentence?
That [Clinton] scandal and Bush's criticism of it is one of the reasons the White House identifies guests.
Really. The whole brouhaha wasn't about the sleepovers, it was simply that we weren't told about them. And impeachment wasn't about sex. Got it.
Finally, insert your own snark here:
Los Angeles attorney Donald Etra stayed at the Bush White House several times and at Camp David once. Etra, a Yale classmate of President Bush, said he and his wife were invited as friends, not because they each gave Bush $1,000 in 2000.

"Friendship comes first, donations come second," Etra said.
And payoffs bring up the rear. A trifecta!

So when is Krugman going to do the diagram on Social Security? 

Since this one was so excellent and popular.

$5.00 into the front pocket, $10 out of the back pocket 

Nice to see all these memes refined in the blogosphere and the primaries over the last year being used as ammo by JFK.

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush have cost middle-income U.S. residents $3,500 in higher state and local taxes, health care costs and college tuitions.
(via Bloomberg)

Well, it all averages out, right? NOT!

Yes, I'm starting to warm up to Kerry 

A little more picador work from JFK:

"It must be getting lonely for George Bush. It seems he's the last person in America who actually believes his failed policies will ever work," Kerry told the umbrella group of more than 60 unions representing 13 million workers. He spoke by satellite from a factory in Chicago to the meeting in Bal Harbour, Florida.

"Everywhere I've been in this campaign, I've met working Americans who are getting the short end of the stick. Jobs on the run. Wages and salaries dead in the water."

Since Bush took office, Kerry said the country had shed almost three million jobs, families had been taxed more through higher college tuition, higher health costs and higher prices for gasoline and also were paying more in state, local and property taxes.

$5 into your front pocket, $10 out of the back pocket.

He called the president too "stubborn" to admit his policies weren't working and said Bush's economic prescription "begins and ends with tax giveaways."

"When you're the hole, step number one is pretty simple: stop digging."
(via Reuters)

Not bad. "Stubborn," though... That's a little mild. Entirely too polite. I'd say "pig-headed," except that's unfair to the pigs. How about "stiff-necked"? Readers?

Bush's reckless indifference to the nightmare scenario 

Sometimes Kristof gets it more or less right:

10-kiloton nuclear bomb (a pipsqueak in weapons terms) is smuggled into Manhattan and explodes at Grand Central. Some 500,000 people are killed, and the U.S. suffers $1 trillion in direct economic damage.
(via The Times)

So, given that this really is the worst case terrorist scenario, we'd expect Bush to be focusing on it like a laser beam, right?


Are post-state terrorists groups the number one priority? NOT! Iraq is.

Is nation building in the failed states where post-state terrorists collect a priority? NOT! Afghanistan's now run by warlords.

Since all it would take would be one container on a cargo ship, is safeguarding the ports a top priority? NOT!

How about loose nukes? Are we making the program to buy up the Russian ones a priority? NOT! How about guarding Iraqi nuclear sites during the invasion? NOT! How about Pakistan? NOT! Looks like we traded one guy&mdash.OBL, by October 2004—to Musharraf in exchange for letting them off the hook on an entire loose nukes program. And don't get me started on North Korea.

Excellent article from Graham Allison in Foreign Affairs:

President George W. Bush has singled out terrorist nuclear attacks on the United States as the defining threat the nation will face in the foreseeable future. In addressing this specter, he has asserted that Americans' "highest priority is to keep terrorists from acquiring weapons of mass destruction." So far, however, his words have not been matched by deeds. The Bush administration has yet to develop a coherent strategy for combating the threat of nuclear terror. Although it has made progress on some fronts, Washington has failed to take scores of specific actions that would measurably reduce the risk to the country. Unless it changes course -- and fast -- a nuclear terrorist attack on the United States will be more likely than not in the decade ahead.

Same old, same old, eh?

The administration's inaction is hard to understand. Its behavior demonstrates a failure to grasp a fundamental insight: nuclear terrorism is, in fact, preventable. ...

Bush has not made nuclear terrorism a personal priority for himself or those who report directly to him. And he has resisted proposals by Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), former Senator Sam Nunn (D-Ga.), and others to assign responsibility for the issue to a single individual, who could then be held accountable.

Not that Bush ever has a problem with being held accountable...

Then again, Cheney's got his bunker ... And Acting President Rover says Manhattan votes Blue anyhow... Heck with 'em... And there aren't any photo ops in prevention... Heck with it all...

Tell me again why the Republicans are so good on national security? I keep forgetting.

Boy Emperor—or Sun King? 

Imagine! Normally level-header Froomkin of Pravda on the Potomac thinks we care about how the White House offices are laid out. Where does Froomkin think he is? Versailles during the reign of the Louis XIV?

Honestly, who cares? (Well, it's interesting to know the salaries....)


Hello Atrios readers 


On a slow news day, too.

It won't be like last summer, though. This is the summer we nail that slippery little scut's pelt to the barn door, after salting it down. Last summer we were just warming up.

Monthly Bush/Kerry cage match 

Debate, I mean. Bring it on! Otherwise it's going to be a long, long eight months. My only question is: Will Bush get to wear his earpiece?

-- via The Boston Herald

Doesn't the Army have any idea how bad this looks? 

Not releasing stuff that makes you look bad for "intelligence" reasons is the oldest trick in the book.

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - The U.S. military on Wednesday said it would not release the findings of an investigation into an airstrike that killed nine Afghan children last year.

Spokesman Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty said an officer who led the probe concluded that the military followed "appropriate" rules of engagement and rules of war in the botched attack, for which its commanders quickly apologized.

But, he said, the report was classified as 'top secret' because of "the intelligence involved and the targeting involved."
(via AP)

Way to win hearts and minds, guys....

Of course, if a Democratic Attorney General was struck down, the thecons would say it was God's judgment on him 

Not that there's any truth to the rumor it was alchoholism, although alchoholism is the number one cause of pancreatis, which for some reason the SCLM keeps forgetting to mention (back).

We know Ashcroft is mean, we just don't know if he's a mean drunk.

Now a dry drunk.... That would be another story.

IOKIYAR: Surprise! Bush rewards campaign contributors with Lincoln bedroom sleepovers 

My goodness! Remember the SCLM flap about this one under Clinton? It went on for week! Good to see the media all over this one. Oh, wait ....

Some guests spent a night in the Lincoln Bedroom [during President Clinton's term of office], historic quarters that gained new fame in the Clinton administration amid allegations that Democrats rewarded major donors like Hollywood heavyweights Steven Spielberg and Barbra Streisand with accommodations there.

That scandal and Bush's criticism of it is one of the reasons the White House identifies guests. In a debate with Vice President Al Gore in October 2000, Bush said: "I believe they've moved that sign, `The buck stops here,' from the Oval Office desk to `The buck stops here' on the Lincoln Bedroom. And that's not good for the country."

That's rich, Bush accusing others of not taking responsibility. Classic winger projection, eh?

At least nine of Bush's biggest fund-raisers appear on the latest list of White House overnight guests, covering June 2002 through December 2003, and-or on the Camp David list, which covers last year. They include:
(via AP)


UPDATE Alert reader Ed has the latest:

"The Buck Stops Here" has been changed by official fiat. The new iteration is "The Bucks Stop Here."


Noun. A political operative who manipulates the religious impulse to attain personal or organizational power; in the United States, generally a "conservative" SIC.

Prob. back formation from "neocon" (neo-conservative). First seen by this writer in a column by Sidney Blumenthal excerpted back here.

Usage example: The theocons are setting up a madrassa to train staffers for the White House at Patrick Henry University.


What Would David Brooks Do?

Many others have commented on David Brooks recently. Including my co-bloggers here at Corrente. But just in case you don't know who David Brooks is here's a brief backdrop.

Brooks is one of the guys who writes funny comedy stories for the New York Times Op-Ed page. Unfortunately many people (especially snarling viscious leftist liberals) don't understand David and they ruthlessly attack him whenever he writes something really funny. Like the really funny stuff he wrote for the New York Times on Tuesday, March 9th, 2004. These critics are obviously naked unapologetic anti-semites.

In fact, anyone who criticizes David Brooks is clearly a naked unapologetic anti-semite. Even if they say they are Jewish. They are even anti-semites if they leave their clothes on. Any way you look at it.... anti-semites.

Why, you ask? It's simple. The man's name is David Brooks. David is a Jewish name. Ya know, David, the shepherd-king, the second King of Israel!

David, of yore, wrote many funny Psalms for the New York Times many thousands of years ago. (except it was called the Jew York Times back then). He (King David) was also, so I've heard, a pretty decent harp picker. At some point he got himself mixed up with a married woman named Bathsheba who was married to Uriah the Hittite. Uriah also worked for David but was killed in a small commuter plane crash somewhere in Texas while traveling for business purposes. David then married Bathsheba who he'd been screwing silly behind Uriah's back all along. David also had a rap sheet. At some point along the way he'd killed a guy in a rock throwing incident. He also had some father son parenting issues - involving his unruly long-hair third son Absalom - which didn't turn out well. William Faulkner wrote a book about it. There was some other stuff to it all but thats pretty much most of it. There's also a naked statue of him in Italy somewhere. At least that's what a lesbian in an art history class once told me. Unapologetic nudity seems to follow the guy around.

Anyway... somewhere down the road the Jews in Israel slapped together a couple of triangles, called it the Star of David, hoisted the whole graphic design up a flagpole (which has its ups and downs) and called it a day. So there ya have it.

But one of the big problems with having your own symbol on a flagpole is that you become a kind of lightning rod for people who don't like you. (the relatives of Uriah the Hittite for instance.) This is obviously the case with liberals who criticize David Brooks. They are simply venting their dislike for Israel, the Star of David, Jews in general, and naked Italian statuary onto David Brooks. They are obviously all somehow related to that guy he killed in that tragic rock throwing incident. Which isn't fair because that guy had it comin'!

So stop taking your hatred out on David Brooks you anti-semite leftist Nazi bastards!

Now, with respect to DB's latest NYTimes story which I obviously thoroughly enjoyed (otherwise you wouldn't be wasting your time reading this silly-assed crap), and which is titled "Hooked on Heaven Lite".

DB makes the case that our entire culture has been reduced to some kind of jabbering Santeria back yard bacchanalia. Brooks is of course correct. What's more, the entire blame for this careen into vapid riotous spiritual revelry can be deposited squarely in the lap of some giddy anti-christ named Mitch Albom.

I had always thought that Mitch Albom was a disc-jockey (which is bad enough). But no, he is much more that that. Albom is one of the many cheery liberal incubus sprites busily attempting to debase our fragile collective national ethereality -- even as I write this! You heard me right sinner. Mitch Albom and his ilk are attempting to warp our notions of God fearin' Heaven into some kind of post mortal Howard Dean meet-up. Or even worse, some eternal mid-August family reunion aboard a ferry bound for Martha's Vineyard! What will we tell the children!

Listen to prophet Brooks:
All societies construct their own image of heaven. Most imagine a wondrous city or a verdant garden where human beings come face to face with God. But the heaven that is popular with readers these days is nothing more than an excellent therapy session. In Albom's book, God, to the extent that he exists there, is sort of a genial Dr. Phil. When you go to heaven , friends and helpers come and tell you how innately wonderful you are. They help your reach closure.

Gosh. Kind of like having your own big-shot NYTime's editor in the afterlife, or sumpin like that. But seriously, what pastor Brooks is trying to impress upon all of us is that liberals like Alboms (who is more dangerous than the Taliban!) have reduced heaven to some kind of cheap visit to a confessional toll booth! Blasphemy! Stupid Irish scum!

Truly, only God hisself can be directing David Brooks and his vision of God's ultimate mystery get-a-way. I myself am on board with the whole wonderous city thing. I like that idea a lot and would like permission to bring a date. Maybe Jennifer Anniston? Who I've been screwing on a regular basis, beside a verdant pool, while her husband has been away on business in Texas. Talk about coming face to face with God. Haha! -- Oh, forget it.

David Brooks understands that we need to return to some grander notion of Heaven. Heavy cream heaven if you will. Just like the good old days. I'm talking about good old fashioned traditional American heapin' helpings of heavy cream risin' to the top heavin'. Back when men were men and women bounced quietly on your knee!

Case in point: Listen to old time man of God, the Rev. Charles F. Weigle, D.D., speaking from the glowing afterburn of 1926:

Folks, when we go to Heaven, we won't be sitting around like a bunch of ghosts. No! We'll go to school and we'll have our social activities! yes, folks, I'm going calling when I go up yonder. I'll spend some time with Noah, and I'm going to ask him all about the Flood. Next, I'll go over to Daniel and ask him how he felt when he was in the lions' den. I'll ask David to play sweet songs on his golden harp. Friends, I'll see Paul, Mark, Matthew, Luke and all the others. I'll spend about 5,000 years visiting Wesley and Martin Luther. - Rev. Charles F. Weigle, D.D., quoted in the Every Evening, Wilmington Delaware, 1926.

Or how about this:

There is a relation between the Bible and the game of golf which probably never has been explained in this city, and the Rev. Dr. Ellis N. Kremer, veteran clergyman, who for half a century has been pastor of Salem Reformed Church, plans to tell about it next Thursday evening in one of a series of one-hour evangelistic services to be held in the church next week, starting Monday evening. - Church bulletin, Harrisburgh PA, 1927

See what I mean? Now do you understand what David Brooks is trying to tell you? Back before crazy liberal Vatican II backsliders like Mitch Alboms (or whoever) turned Christianity into some kind of mind-bending folk song singing love-in at the Unitarian coffee-house, real God fearing golf-ball loving fundamentalist evangelical true believers delivered a potent portrait of heaven that held our entire society together like so much Duco Cement squirted into the holes of a buckshot riddled barrel of original sin! Praise the Furious Lord!

Uh, sorry. I got a little excited there.

Regardless. David Brooks is clearly a latter day wonder whose sign has been yanked up the mast of the New York Times like some kind of coastal storm warning streamer. We need to heed streamer David's warnings. Alboms, on the other hand, and his ilk, are obviously childish doomed rebellious fools. And if you think about it, Alboms sounds an awful lot like Absalom doesn't it? Weird huh?

Funny how it all comes full circle like that. Someone needs to commission a naked statue of David Brooks and erect it beside some grove in Morningside Park so the pigeons can honor it for all eternity.


Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Don't let ever let a winger on your network since they feel free to steal whatever's there 

Even Orrin Hatch can't stomach disgraced staffer Manuel Miranda, who opened, read, and distributed thousands of Democratic files. Miranda, however, is unrepentant.

"The problem," Miranda said, "is with senators who do not understand that there is nothing unethical with accessing anything on your computer."
(via The Baltimore Sun from AJP)

Including, obviously, whatever you can get to on the network from your computer.

Portrait of a winger not getting it. Wonder where else this is happening? Other places on the Hill and DC? State legislatures? Wherever there's a winger and a network, watch out...

Polls show big shift in favor of gay marriage 

Surprise! Turns out most Americans can't be manipulated the way Bush wanted.

35. On another subject, do you think homosexual couples SHOULD or SHOULD NOT be allowed to form legally recognized civil unions, giving them the legal rights of married couples in areas such as health insurance, inheritance and pension coverage?

-- WaPo

Tenet: Cheney assertions on bioweapons and AQ wrong 

The Cheney assertions were "an external story line." A terminological inexactitude. A truth-unrelated program activity. Uh, a lie.

WASHINGTON - CIA Director George Tenet on Tuesday rejected recent assertions by Vice President Dick Cheney that Iraq cooperated with the al-Qaida terrorist network and that the administration had proof of an illicit Iraqi biological warfare program.

Tenet's comments to the Senate Armed Services Committee are likely to fuel friction between the White House and intelligence agencies over the failure so far to find any of the banned weapons stockpiles that President Bush, in justifying his case for war, charged Saddam Hussein with concealing.

Tenet at first appeared to defend the administration, saying that he didn't believe the White House misrepresented intelligence provided by the CIA.

The administration's statements, he said, reflected a prewar intelligence consensus that Saddam had stockpiled chemical and biological weapons and was pursuing nuclear bombs.

But under sharp questioning by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., Tenet reversed himself, saying there had been instances when he had warned administration officials that they were misstating the threat posed by Iraq.

"I'm not going to sit here and tell you what my interaction was ... and what I did and didn't do, except that you have to have confidence to know that when I believed that somebody was misconstruing intelligence, I said something about it," Tenet said. "I don't stand up publicly and do it."

Tenet admitted to Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the committee's senior Democrat, that he had told Cheney that the vice president was wrong in saying that two truck trailers recovered in Iraq were "conclusive evidence" that Saddam had a biological weapons program.

Cheney made the assertion in a Jan. 22 interview with National Public Radio.
(via Knight_Ridder)

Big Dog still on the leash 

Clinton does not choose to run in 2004.

Former President Clinton said Tuesday he has no plans to seek another elected office, preferring to remain in private life because having one Clinton in politics is "probably more than enough."
(via AP)

Well, he could be right on that one.

Clinton said he's not optimistic that the Bush administration will meet its June 30 deadline for returning control of Iraq to Iraqi authorities. But he urged patience as the process moves forward.

"If this political campaign is about what we were told about weapons of mass destruction, that's a legitimate political issue, but we are where we are," he said. "And if the president cannot keep the timetable that he said, I don't think we ought to give him any grief about it. I think we ought to say, 'Let's just follow through.'"

Translation: Let Kerry and company take the high road. Meanwhile ...

And in other manufactured news ... 

FUX ...

Oh, heck. Make up your own jokes.

Bush flip-flopped on stiffing the 9/11 panel after Kerry called him on it 

What a wuss Bush is!

Kerry issued a statement saying, "It's good to see that the president has finally found time in his schedule to spend more than an hour with the 9-11 commission to investigate the greatest intelligence failure in our nation's history. I think all Americans hope that his cooperation with the commission will lead to real answers instead of more stonewalling."

White House spokesman McClellan fired back at Kerry. "It appears he doesn't want to let the facts get in the way of his campaign," McClellan said.

Pathetically weak, boilerplate response from Scott "Sucker MC" McClellan, wouldn't you agree?

It was the administration's latest change of heart about the commission. [1] Bush originally had opposed the panel's creation. [2] Then he had opposed its request for a two-month extension of its work but [3] eventually relented. Bush is intent on protecting his standing with Americans on the war on terror, which in polls is his best issue with voters.
(via AP)

That's—count 'em—one, two, three Bush flip-flops on the 9/11 commission alone! But hey, who's counting?

I think we've got to stop calling them "media whores" 

It's not fair to the real whores.

And speaking of David "I'm writing as bad as I can" Brooks, the utterly indispensable Howler nails Brooks on where he gets his orders from: winger data thief and Moonie typist David Bossie of Citizens United (check holwler for the link).

Deja Voodoo All Over Again 

By now it's obvious, if it wasn't from his entire life to date, that Bush plans to blame his almost unblemished record of failure on everyone else. And, since the economy's only period of sustained health since 1980 was the one not under Republican stewardship, it's doubly important that that blameshifting be at that Administration's expense.

So that means both pushing back the current recession into the Clinton term, while simultaneously denying him credit for the record-setting expansion that preceded it. That latter effort has taken the form of crediting Bush I for it instead.

The irony is that, if one Bush policy can properly be credited with helping right the economy, it was raising (however modestly) taxes to slow the ballooning deficit. In thanks, Bush I's own base crucified him in 1992, a "lesson" that his son appears to have sworn not to repeat. Yet that doesn't stop his minions from now implicitly crediting the successful policies that cost Poppy his job, while simultaneously clinging to the discredited ones that will likely cost C+ Augustus his.

The mentality of wingnuts is wondrous to behold.

Bush flip flops on "one hour" before the 9/11 commission. 

See? All you have to do is pressure him enough, and he caves. ("one hour," back)

Here. "Steady," my Aunt Fanny. What a wuss!

UPDATE From Scott "Sucker MC" McCLellan:

"Nobody's watching the clock," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said.

Still, he said an hour was "a reasonable period of time to set aside for a sitting president of the United States." The White House and the commission are working on a date for the meeting with Bush.

Right. Of course, if we were investigating a blow job, we'd want to spend a lot more time....

Slamming the oven door on the Texas soufflé 

Man, the RNC is really in "one-a-day" mode, aren't they? Today it's Kerry's supposed wealth. Yesterday it some moldy quote on Arafat. The day before it was some ultra-moldy vote on a budget bill. And it's "flip-flop" all the time.

Those blast-faxers at the RNC must have asbestos gearing....

And gosh, it seems like the SCLM wowsers just repeat all this stuff!

Kerry needs to knock these spitballs down, of course. But point-by-point refutation won't do it—the Bushogarchy has a lot more money to generate this stuff, and they have so many MWs on the payroll it's not possible to count them all.

So. Against smear, the meta-smear. If Kerry can establish that these people will say and do anything to get and keep power then it really doesn't matter what the individual smear is ("there they go again").

And of course, the meta-smear has the advantage of being, well, true. I mean, isn't a really good working definition of "do anything to get and keep power" stealing an election and lying to get into a war? It should be child's play to give this meme some traction.

NOTE I believe I owe this headline to alert reader pansypoo.

Say, why is Janet Jackson's boob indecent, but it's decent to get soldiers killed by helping Bush lie his way into war? 

Fear? It's not in your interest! 

The numbers tell the story.

With 9/11 images etched in their memories and some transatlantic flights canceled, travelers have terrorists on their minds. "I'm going Greyhound rather than fly to California," my Baltimore cousin explains. "Al Qaeda's not so likely to target a bus." Others, also fearing the worst, elect to drive rather than fly.

But the fears are often out of sync with the facts. The National Safety Council reports that in the last half of the 1990s, Americans were, mile for mile, 37 times more likely to die in a vehicle crash than on a commercial flight. In a late-2001 essay for the American Psychological Society, I calculated that if — because of 9/11 — we flew 20% less and instead drove half those unflown miles, about 800 more people would die in traffic accidents in the next year. In an upcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science, German psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer finds that the last three months of 2001 indeed produced 350 more U.S. traffic fatalities than the average for those months in the previous five years.

(David Myers in the LA Times)

Ask yourself—If fear isn't in your interest, then whose interest is it in?

7,000 screwed up votes in Orange Country electronic voting debacle 

And in Florida 2000, it only 537 ....

Poll workers struggling with a new electronic voting system in last week's election gave thousands of Orange County voters the wrong ballots, according to a Times analysis of election records. In 21 precincts where the problem was most acute, there were more ballots cast than registered voters.

Wide margins in most races seem likely to spare the county the need for a costly revote. But the problems, which county officials have blamed on insufficient training for poll workers, are a strong indication of the pitfalls facing officials as they try to bring new election technology online statewide.
(via LA Times)

This is rich. They blame the users! I've heard that from computer companies before.

Shell game 

Royal Dutch/Shell Group came up with an "external story line" (that is, a lie) to conceal a "huge shortfall" of proven oil and gas reserves. Now the truth comes out!

The new head of the Royal Dutch/Shell Group and its current chief financial officer, as well as the chairman ousted last week, were advised of huge shortfalls in proven oil and natural gas reserves in 2002, two years before they were publicly disclosed, according to company memorandums and notes of executive discussions.

But rather than disclose the problems to investors, senior executives in a July 2002 memorandum came up with — and later carried out — what the memorandum described as an "external storyline" and "investor relations script" that tried to "highlight major projects fueling growth," "stress the strength" of existing resources, and minimize the significance of reserves as a measure of growth.
(via The Times)

All this is, of course, predictable. Since our ability to extract oil is peaking (see the Hubbert curve), it was inevitable that (a) there would be a mismatch between the reserves the oil companies claimed, and those that they had, and (b) that they would try to conceal this as long as possible. With Shell, the truth has come out.

Is anyone other than me wondering if the reason Cheney is trying to prevent the American people from reading the deliberations of his Energy Task Force is that they would show what is true for Shell is true for all the oil companies?

Now, I suppose it's forgivable, or at least understandable, for a great power to go to war to protect a natural resource it's people depend on, and which has become scarcer than we thought. History has tended to work that way, after all.

What would not be forgivable is (a) Bush lying about our true situation (not the war, we know about those lies; our energy situation), and (b) not even attempting to do anything to fix our dependence on the oil—vague, pie-in-the sky schemes about hydrogen cars just don't cut it, and Bush never puts any political capital into.

Say, if Bush released all the National Guard paperwork, where's the DD214? 

That's would the one that proves he has honorably discharged.

And we're still singing Can I get a witness on his missing dates ....

Too bad the SCLM dropped the story ...

Hey, maybe Rush can fuel the hydrogen car! 

Remember that one? Funny how quick Bush is to pick things up and then drop them. It's almost like he's flip-flopping.

Except we need something different from "flip-flopping." Reminds me too much of shoes. Something like "Wussy Bushy" maybe ...

Jobs flatlined under Bush—a touch of the overseer's lash 

They try to lie about it, of course, and cook the books. But at this point, they have a track record and we can judge them on it.

Krugman in what, at times, is still the world's greatest newspaper:

Krugman, not surprisingingly, views this from the standpoint of professional integrity: "What you see in this chart is the signature of a corrupted policy process, in which political propaganda takes the place of professional analysis. "

It is all of that, but I'd go one step further: flatlined jobs are exactly what Bush wants. To them, the chart above represents a policy success. (Krugman's outraged that they're lying about it, but we expect that.)

It's all part of keeping people in fear (back). Flatlining jobs, keeping the labor market as awful as it is, with no relief in sight, is the modern day equivalent of the overseer's lash on the slave's back.

Is it any wonder that people are more productive? They work harder because they're in fear! They worker harder when the only benefit of being more productive is not losing their job! Same deal with trashing overtime protection, letting health care costs rise and rise, and gutting any workplace protections. No benefit to people at all. Just a touch of the lash.

But "the economy" (that is, the Bushogarchy) does just fine, thank you very much.

CNN ~ America's Company Store Media-Whore 

The wowsers at CNN have rolled out quite a cacaphony of distractive flutter and frippery over the last fews days. Of course there is the usual monotone dirge from White House official statement reader-robot Wolf Blitzer.....which could probably charm a housefly into a deep snooze.

And then there is the seemingly omnipresent commentary from that cheery froggy-eyed GOP political operative (and American Enterprise Institute fellow) Bill Schneider. This little hopping toad is everywhere and almost always delivering some smiley golem-like analysis of some variety of campaign moonshine or another. My favorite is the ongoing eek-a-mouse story about how Hillary Clinton is coiled inside of some party cake somewhere just waiting to jump out and announce that John Kerry will be her Vice Presidential running mate in 2004! Booga-Booga!!

CNN loves this bit of Beltway cocktail party fantasia and wastes no advertising dollar time devoting hours and hours of backwind to such painted nonsense. Beats having to actually perform journailsm, or God forbid! - news reporting!

Case in point:

Will Hillary Clinton Be Next VP Candidate?; Boat In Baltimore Harbor Capsizes. - CNN LIVE SATURDAY: "Well, she used to be a first lady, now she's a senator. Could Hillary Clinton's next job be second on a presidential ticket? We'll handicap John Kerry's choices for running mate." - Aired March 6, 2004 - 18:00 ET

Blah blah blah. Except when you go to this CNN transcript page there is no transcribed discussion of Hillary as VP candidate at all. The transcript ends with the "Boat in Baltimore Capsizes" story. Apparently the company store scribes at CNN ran out of typing ribbon by the time they got to the Hillary part. Dag-nab-it! Gosh dern typing ribbon! Guess we can't finsih that transcript. Lets go to a cocktail party!

At least CNN has the fascist nutsack to simply disappear the whole thing as if it never happened. Very Argentine circa late 70's of them.

MSNBC on the other hand trys to sneakily disquise their transcripts with silly weasel word "CROSSTALK" references. "CROSSTALK" happens when someone on say Hardball, like Chris Mathews, yells out something really stupid. Which is frequently. For instance the other night when Mathew's said that Laura Bush was an asset to the Bush campaign's latest advertsing crusade, and popular, because Laura never talks. Yup, ya know, Laura is a good wifey and knows her first wifey place. And a good GOP traditional values wifey type doesn't care for all that messy politics yuck and keeps her mouth shut and reads kiddy books to whatever captured kiddies can be rounded up on any given Beltway afternoon. Yay.

Personally this kind of thing drives me nuts mainly because: 1- I'm extremely attracted to women who can not only swear like sailors, but also possess the patience to absorb the palpable stupidities of dupticitous assholes like Chris Mathews or a John Fund and then swoop down upon each one to pluck the eye-balls from their swollen pasty heads faster than you can say eat death you swollen pasty plucked up bastards!

All my girl-friends wear burr resistant silent stalker snake pants. And they are hot eyeball plucking killer bitches! Rock-on wild left wing assasin girls!

And 2- I'm extremely unattracted to DC Beltway dinner party gasbag whistle pigs like Mathews and Fund who can't seem to keep their own jawbones tied down long enough to absorb an answer their own inquiries and instead rattle off nervous reactionary babble like jumpy jabbering teenage soda-pop junkies. Both Fund and Mathews bug me to no end and remind me of every single annoying hitchhiker who has ever been deservedly slaughtered and buried under a mile marker sign this side of Stateline.

And no, I have never buried a hitchhiker in the desert on the outskirts of the Calico Ghost Town! No! It was all Digby's idea - go bother Digby if you want to dig up any of your stupid plucked up relatives! Why do you think he's called Dig-by? (Yes- its a joke - so just relax you creepy justice dept. weenies)

Moving along.

CNN grande master of ceremonies Jeff Greenfield also chimed in over the weekend with an excitable Bill Clinton Meteorite About To Strike The Earth! kickshaw. This one involved sinsiter bedroom styled talk (just between you and us folks at CNN) from shepherd Greenfield about Bill Clinton's possible VP appointment. Which seems not only preposterous on the surface but Constitutionally impossible otherwise. Except that boniface Jeffery didn't actually consult the US Constitution on any such matter but rather, in a hushed tone, suggested an editorial opinion which suggested that such inplausible abracadabra may in fact be plausible. And yackety-yack. Then Master of CNN blither blather Greenfield disappeared behind the curtain. Fuck the actual Constitution. Who needs that shit. Sir Greenfield understands the whorehouse piano tuning game.

But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice Presiedent of the United States. ~ US Constitution, Article XII

Well, that Article would seem to apply to doods who were once, like, ya know, President!. All of this is of course lost on the mighty dinner party Greenfields of CNN who apparently believe that Bill Clinton might in fact launch some grand biblical battle against the US Constitution and Pontificus Pilate Bush between now and Nov., 2004. A battle which eventually allows THEM to champion the cause of a Clintonian Vice Presidency in November. Has anyone alerted John Kerry?! According to CNN both Hillary Clinton AND Bill Clinton are both poised to both be sworn to the Vice Presidency of the USA in January 2005! Oh MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!

It's like totally unbelievable man! Get a gun!

Here's another tract CNN and their little saponaceous serial writers are working on: (taking the lead from BushCo's latest talking points advertising dispatches)

The story about how John Kerry "flips flops" on issues. Which, surprise surprise! just so happens to be the theme of the latest BushCo re'lection campaign ads! Golly, how does that happen?

According to CNN, if you happened to trust and believe what BushCo told you about the War in Iraq for instance --- as apparently John Kerry and dozens of other Democrats and almost every single Republican born under the flag of Christendom did in 2003. (A war which CNN swallowed hook line and sinker, and provided a sexy theatrical "cakewalk" sound stage on behalf) ----- then you're ok with the program.

BUT! --- If you now question the LIES you were told about the "War in Iraq" (which CNN flattly refuses to do) --- AND, as John Kerry and many other Democrats and free-thinking Republicans have done --- then you are now labled a "flip flopper!"

A FLIP FLOPPER! and Flip Flop is "bad"! Its a "bad" focus group word in the land of CNN/GOP marketing and advertising! And Bill Schneider will pop out of a ficus plant to tell you over and over again that it's bad!

John Kerry=Flip Flop=bad!

CNN polls show that most Americans don't like "flip-flops" .....Chad! Have you heard that flip-flop's are bad - Chad!?

See.....according to the official company line at CNN (C-NoNews) and MSGOP/GE and BushCO and so on --- if someone tells you a lie ---- and you buy it --- then you are sworn to loyalty to that lie. For ever and ever. It's like a marriage stupid!

See --- If you realize you have been lied to and later question the lie you were told --- and dare to question the liars who told you that lie --- then you you are a "flip flopper" and should shut-up your fucking mouth and mind your own business! You are not a team player!

Which is why Kerry and and many others are now painted as "flip-floppers" by the Official State Media bootlicker spokesperson's at CNN and elsewhere.

The caged chirping swallows at CNN have their chirping orders.

Just listen: Let me know how many times over the next few days you hear some trained company TV-flea from CNN repeat the GOP BushCo campaign-ad buzz phrase "flip-flop" in almost any context. Take my word for it, they will say it any chance they get. Corporatist Propaganda knows no ethical limits. They (CNN) have none. Ethics are for losers!

CNN is NOT a journalistic enterprise. CNN is a whorehouse piano playing a pre-programmed jingle accompanied by a well kept high kicking coutesan chorus line.

Back to you Chad!

Monday, March 08, 2004

Ah, the high road 

A little picador work from Kerry.

"It's not personal. [Bush is] an enjoyable person to be with, he's funny and so forth, but he doesn't keep his promises."
(via AP)

The ol' "Nice guy, but..." ploy.

Yep, I'm warming up to John Kerry.

The Plame Affair:  

Drip, drip, drip....

Wilson, whose book is due out in May, will reveal the name of the person he thinks leaked his wife's identity, his publisher said March 2.

Spokeswoman Karen Auerbach of the Avalon Publishing Group in New York said she did not know the identity of the purported leaker. Wilson's book, "The Politics of Truth," is scheduled to come out May 20.

Tick, tick, tick ...
-- AP

Greetings from Asbury Park 

Good for them!

The city of Asbury Park, N.J., started issuing wedding licenses to same-sex couples, with the first couple married in City Hall on Monday by Deputy Mayor James Bruno.

-- via AP

CNN's "Fact Box": Shoddy reporting, or covering for Ashcroft? 

What are the causes of pancreatitis, the disease Ashcroft is reportedly in the hospital for? Here's what CNN's Fact Box said:

So I googled for the first bullet point quote that CNN put in the box, and found it not at CNN's source, the Mayo Clinic, but at an Ohio not-for-profit that cited the Mayo Clinic:

Pancreatitis often is caused by gallstones leaving the gallbladder and lodging near the pancreatic duct, obstructing the duct. This can cause digestive juices produced by the pancreas to move into ...

But what does the Mayo Clinic itself have to say? Now, searching the Mayo site doesn't yield the quote in the CNN "Fact Box":

But the Mayo site did yield—right from the helpful home page link to "Timely topics"—the following additional material on the "Causes" of pancreatitis:

Pancreatitis can occur for various reasons. The two most common known causes are excessive alcohol use and gallstones. In some cases the cause is unknown.

Looks like CNN left out one of the two main causes of pancreatitis. I wonder why?

Did they just Google something and slam it onto their site, without checking the primary source material? Or was there some other reason? Perhaps CNN and official Washington are enablers?

We report. You decide.

NOTE Inspired by a prescient post by TBogg.

UPDATE Alert reader CaptionObvious says:

As a physician (really!), let me say that CNN is blatantly withholding the truth. Any person/website/etc. that does not mention alochol when discussing pancreatitis may as well not be discussing is at all.

In fact, according to Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine (the IM Bible), in the US, alcohol is the most common etiology of pancreatitis, followed by gallstones. In other countries, such as England, however, the opposite is true.

Bush AWOL: We're still waiting.... 

$10,000 for a witness to Bush's guard duty still unclaimed....

If you personally witnessed George W. Bush reporting for drills at Dannelly Air National Guard Base between the months of May and November of 1972 we want to hear about it. Help Mr. Bush put this partisan assault on his character behind him,

-- Here via APJ

Hey, how hard can this be?

NOTE For the unanswered questions and the state of play when the SCLM dropped (yet again!) the story of whether Bush fulfilled his National Guard obligations, see back here.

Give Me That Old Time Religion 

Preznit no giv Bob Miller turkee:

Author and Gospel singer Bob Miller, a registered Republican, shocked his fellow song writers at their annual conference this week with his most unexpected political opinions. Miller said, "With the backbone of the Democratic Party, William Jefferson Clinton, out of the way and the Bush Storm Troopers in place, democracy took the day off. Then this war-for-profit crew moved forward with their plans as if world opinions were irrelevant."

...Miller continued, "Now that the moment of glory has passed and the long years of blood, sweat and tears are upon us, they will yet again -- according to plan -- take their spoils and move on, leaving the rest of us to bury the dead and balance the checkbook."...

"I am grateful for the many invitations to join the Democratic Party, but I'll stick it out here. I mean, how could it possibly get any worse than having the second most hated man to live in the last 200 years as your candidate?"

There were no hecklers, but then most everyone appeared speechless except Miller, "I'm not campaigning against a fellow Republican. The truth is, Bush does not represent the Republican Party or any other party for that matter. He represents the Bush dynasty. Is it not bad enough that another four years of his dictatorship will produce yet more unemployed, homeless and demoralized Americans?

"Can we also risk having to cope with his uncontrollable ego? The leadership of this father and son team can be critiqued using a term that epitomizes their presidencies: Collateral Damage. Clearly, America's integrity and economy fall into this category when they clash with the prosperity of Bush and his accomplices."

Amen, brother.

Waura on the campaign trail with the Republican Ladies Auxiliary 

We don't need no stinkin' questions 

Answer this one: Say, if competition is good, what's wrong with buying prescription drugs from Canada?

Mark McClellan, President Bush's choice to run Medicare, said Monday he won't answer senators' questions about his opposition to importing prescription drugs from Canada before he takes over the government health program.
(via AP)

Oh, wait. That would mean that Bush's contributors had to compete, and that would be bad. For the Bushogarchy, that is.

And whatever happened to that advice and consent clause in the Constitution, anyhow?

Say, why would Clinton agree to unlimited questioning, and Bush give just one hour to the 9/11 commission? 

Just asking. I mean, Sheesh, just one hour? Couldn't Bush just cut a fundraiser or a treadmill session out of his busy day?

The latest on Bush stiffing the 9/11 commission from AP.

UPDATE And how did I miss this highlight-worthy nugget?! Thanks to alert reader 537 votes:

Commission officials have said the hearing will be unprecedented in its review of what high-level officials could have done that might have prevented the attacks. They also are seeking public testimony from President Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, who has refused to appear on the advice of White House lawyers.

Hmmmm .... I wonder why?

Howler nails David "I'm writing as bad as I can" Brooks 

He just makes stuff up! Who knew?

-- Here.

Bushogarchy for state's rights, except when the states are protecting you 

Let's play follow the money....

In the late 1990s, North Carolina saw an upsurge in cases where banks tricked elderly homeowners into refinancing with high interest-rate loans carrying hidden fees. In response, the state enacted a law against such "predatory-lending" tactics.

Now the law is being undermined by an obscure federal agency. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a branch of the Treasury Department (news - web sites) that regulates banks, ruled this winter that 14 state predatory-lending laws - and a host of other consumer-protection laws across the USA - do not apply to banks chartered by the federal government.

The new federal regulations put consumers at risk because of:

Fewer legal rights. Under the OCC's rules, federal banks would be exempted from state false advertising statutes, do-not-call registries, predatory-lending laws and other consumer protections.

Fewer enforcement resources. The OCC's primary mission is to ensure a healthy banking industry. As a result, it cannot match the thousands of investigators working in state agencies to look out for consumer interests. The federal agency has 1,700 examiners who spend most of their time ensuring banks meet solvency and accounting requirements, and a 40-person consumer complaint center in Houston that is open just 28 hours a week.

States already are seeing the negative impact of Washington's new reach.
(via USA Today)

It's another Bush Con—they put $5.00 in your front pocket with a tax cut, then take $10 out of your back pocket by finding new ways to screw you over. Worse, you only get the tax cut once, but you get screwed for the rest of your life.

I take back "Acting President Rove"  

It was just a cheap shot. Karl, can you ever forgive me?

"I don't think there are any major decisions coming out of the campaign that [Bush] is not making," said one Republican official close to the re-election effort who did not want to be named for fear of angering Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, who is overseeing the campaign. "For example, this media buy wasn't decided by Karl. It was decided by the president. You don't have a situation where the president is removed, as maybe his father might have been."
(via The Times)

But we'd like to have a situation where the preznit is removed, like his father was. Eh?

No Rest For The Weary Department 

As long as we're handing out assignments, sort of...remember that horrible idea hatched in the fevered brains of neo-con scholars like Daniel "mad as ten hatters" Pipes, and cohorts like David "the houndog" Horowitz, ever on the trail of liberal bias, i.e., anything that can be labelled, fairly or not, liberal or left found anywhere near or on any US campus, that the US Congress needs to pass legislation to set up a watchdog committee that will survey individual scholars and departments of Middle East studies who receive federal monies, to insure diversity of opinion, i.e., the absence of opinion with which The Weekly Standard and its readers wouldn't agree.

Well, regrettably and incredibly, it's still alive and well and being considered by the US Congress.

Professor Juan Cole, of that invaluable Koufax award-winning blog, Informed Comment, has asked for our help to let the US Congress know that they are being observed by more citizens who don't agree with the Standard, and here you will find a comprehensive discussion by Dr. Cole of the facts and issues as well as all the contact information you could ever need to make your voice heard. The objectionable institution of an advisory board is an appendage to a funding bill necessary to keep the underfunded Middle Eastern Studies programs from withering on the vine.

I plead with all the thousands of you who have expressed interest in this site and read it frequently, to FAX your senator, or the senate generally, expressing your conviction that this advisory committee be excised from the final bill. Repeat: The message should be that HR 3077 is OK in general, but the "Advisory Board" stinks. The contact information is below. An email is better than nothing, but the FAX is what would get the job done.

And email your friends the link to Professor Cole's post and ask them to help out too. And note the frightening fact that the legislation provides these advisory boards with investigative powers.

Read Cole's post, which is long and contains links within it, carefully; he explains the most effective way to protest and why. I'd include the url in any communication, faxed or by phone, or by email, with congressional staff.

Another fact that might be helpful: Professor Cole has been such an articulate and fair-minded critic of US policy in Iraq that some readers may not know that initially, Cole did not feel entirely negative about regime change in Iraq, primarily on a human rights basis, which make his critiques of what has happened since all the more convincing; no one can accuse him of being a closed-minded ideologue. Well, of course they can, and probably will, but not with any validity.

Please answer Professor Cole's "plea." All of us have an interest in seeing that our Universities maintain their intellectual independence.

Saddam trial could start this year 

Maybe in time for the Republican National Convention?

The trial of Saddam Hussein, ousted Iraqi president arrested last December by US troops, may be able to start this year, a senior US official said on Monday.
(via Financial Times)

Maybe on the big screen in Madison Square Garden. But here's the bizarre thing:

However, the US wants to avoid a trial that will either drag on indefinitely, or be used as a platform for his views, like that of Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav president at the International Criminal Court on the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

Well, the Milosevic war-crimes trial made him look like an idiot in the eyes of the world. What's wrong with doing that to Saddam. You know, the rule of law can be, uh, "messy" some times....

Ah, legitimacy 

Bush should know all about that .... And now the Iraqis are learning.

"Any law prepared for the transitional period will not have legitimacy until it is approved by the elected national assembly," [Shi'ite Ayatollah] Sistani said in the statement.
(via WaPo)

But since the Iraqis didn't vote on the the interim Constitution themselves, the emphasis needs to be on interim. Kind of like Acting President Rove is our interim preznit.

Troll prophylactic: Yes, it's good that there's an interim Iraqi Constitution.

Kerry warns of coming character assassination 

Yes, I'm starting to warm up to the guy....

"I am convinced that we have the ability to win this race," he said. "It's going to be hard fought, they're going to do everything possible to tear down my character personally (and) Teresa. That's the way they operate."

Kerry cited how Republicans turned on one of their own in 2000, when Arizona Sen. John McCain, another decorated Vietnam War veteran who survived six years as a prisoner of war, ran against Bush for the party's nomination.

"They even tried to challenge John McCain's tenure as a prisoner for six years ... they tried to besmirch his character, so I expect everything," he said.
(via Reuters)

And McCain was one of their own! Sometimes it's good to state the obvious...

Pickle "inadvertently" prints names of Republican staffers in file theft case, shielding them from prosecution 

I know crocodile tears when I see them....

Senate staffers were stunned to learn that more than a dozen names of fellow aides and former staffers were printed in what was supposed to be a confidential investigation report into how Republicans obtained Democratic Judiciary Committee computer files.

After deciding Thursday afternoon to release the report, senators on the Judiciary Committee ordered Sergeant-at-Arms William H. Pickle, who had conducted the three-month investigation, to prepare and photocopy a version of the report with all names and sensitive information deleted for distribution to reporters.

Only after several dozen copies of the 65-page report had been distributed did senators realize that staffers in Mr. Pickle's office had photocopied and helped distribute the confidential version intended only for top Senate leaders.

"It was released inadvertently, as I understand it," said Mr. Pickle's assistant, Al Concordian, who referred further questions to the Judiciary Committee. "It's the Judiciary's property."

The version that was eventually posted on the Judiciary Committee's Web site not only had all the names redacted, but also was nearly 50 pages shorter than the full version, suggesting that far more sensitive information than just names got divulged.

Democrats may no longer have a criminal prosecution against the Republicans accused of reading the memos and leaking them to the press.

"Obviously, I don't expect there to be a criminal referral because my client's cooperation is the primary source for 80 percent of the report," said Robert N. Driscoll, a lawyer with Alston & Bird who represents Mr. Lundell. "Only with his cooperation were they able to get to the bottom of this so quickly."
(via Moonie Times)

Bottom line: Never let a winger onto your network, since they think it's OK to read, steal, and redistribute any files on it.


"The World Is Listening" 

As Tony Kushner, writing in today's WaPo, reminds us with a terrible story of human rights denied in Uzbekistan, like it or not, we are a beacon unto the world, and much as those self-described religious traditionalists would like to tease from the locus of international human rights those that pertain to homosexuals, it just won't wash.

In 1999 Ruslan Sharipov, a student from Uzbekistan, came to the United States, participating in an exchange program. Upon returning home, Sharipov and two colleagues formed the Independent Journalists Association of Uzbekistan. He began reporting, through a Russian news agency and on the Internet. His chief subject was the dismal human rights record of the Uzbek government of Islam Karimov, whose zeal in persecuting Muslims and torturing political prisoners, and on occasion murdering them, is routinely deplored by human rights groups.

Of course Sharipov's remarkable courage and conscience were his long before he visited the United States. But perhaps his understanding of the importance and power of a free press was broadened during his short stay here. Sharipov also decided to live openly in Uzbekistan as a gay man. Perhaps this decision was influenced by his American experience as well.

The rest of the story is not a happy one; Mr. Sharipov was silenced through the use of violence, and then jailed, but not on the basis of his journalistic "excesses."

He was convicted not of writing critically about his repressive government. He was convicted of engaging in homosexual acts, which is a crime in Uzbekistan under Stalin-era law, and of having sex with minors, an unsubstantiated charge Sharipov denies.

Sound familiar? Especially that too easy linkage between being a male homosexual and being a pedophile?

The great discovery of the international human rights movement, largely grassroots and NGO based, was that to be meaningful, the cause of those most fundamental rights, whose violation anywhere in the world makes all of less free, less human, had to be part of a unitary and comprehensive policy unamenable to the strategic concerns of individual countries. It's that aspect of "human rights" our current President shows no sign of understanding. That's why, though the right to form a union was one of the universal human rights around which so much of the anti-Soviet resistence in Eastern Europe rallied, Saddam's repressive laws against union organizaing are still in force in Iraq. And here's the State Department squirming on Uzabekistan, trying to balance what can't and shouldn't be balanced.

This month the U.S. Congress will decide whether to approve the Bush administration's request for more than $50 million in foreign aid to Uzbekistan. Assistant Secretary of State Elizabeth Jones testified before a House subcommittee that Sharipov's case is a clear example of Uzbekistan's dismal human rights record while at the same time making a point: Uzbekistan is an important ally in the Bush administration's Central Asian strategy. Military aid to Uzbekistan since Sept. 11, 2001, has risen 1,800 percent.

Pressure from Washington recently brought about the release of four imprisoned journalists in Uzbekistan. Sharipov was supposed to be among them; he wasn't. Karimov's henchmen decided to silence a dissenter using anti-homosexuality laws (which violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Uzbekistan is a signatory) and a trumped-up pedophilia charge. Did they gamble that such charges would make Sharipov's case untouchable for the vocal homophobes in Congress and on the American right?

When America falters in its commitment to protecting and expanding the rights of all its citizens, when American leaders deplore the overturning of sodomy laws and flirt openly with a constitutional amendment, the first ever, designed to restrict the rights of gay and lesbian citizens, it is not a purely domestic affair. The world is listening. The world is taking note.

Read the whole op ed here. Time to write some letters, and time to make some calls to our congresspersons; this brave young man must not be left to the terrible mercies of his Uzebek jailers.

Here's an HRW link to all the info you'll need, including the text of Sharipov's smuggled letters, and what looks like a passport picture of him that will break your heart.

And thank-you Mr. Kushner; truly, you are a mensch.

Fat Tony. He just can't help himself, can he? 

Or maybe, since so far he's failed to dominate the Court with his winger agenda, he doesn't even bother to appear impartial any more.

WASHINGTON — As the Supreme Court was weighing a landmark gay rights case last year, Justice Antonin Scalia gave a keynote dinner speech in Philadelphia for an advocacy group waging a legal battle against gay rights.

Scalia addressed the $150-a-plate dinner hosted by the Urban Family Council two months after hearing oral arguments in a challenge to a Texas law that made gay sex a crime. A month after the dinner, he sharply dissented from the high court's decision overturning the Texas law.

The Urban Family Council, which hosted the dinner, was not a party to the Texas case. But it is backing a separate lawsuit that seeks to overturn a Philadelphia city ordinance allowing gay couples who work for the city to register as "life partners" to qualify for pension and health benefits, which is an increasingly common practice.

William Devlin, who founded the council, is lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, which is pending before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Both sides say the case of Devlin vs. City of Philadelphia has a good chance of reaching Scalia's court.

Devlin said he phoned the justice at home last year...

Just like any citizen could do....

... to invite him to speak at the group's dinner, which was being held to raise money to support the lawsuit and other council activities. The dinner also honored the retiring Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua of Philadelphia, who has said homosexuality is "an aberration, a moral evil" — and is an outspoken opponent of the life-partners ordinance.

The judicial code bars judges from raising money for outside groups. It also says a judge should not "permit the use of the prestige of the judicial office for that purpose."

Devlin said he saw no reason not to invite Scalia.

"We just thought: What better way than to have a sitting Supreme Court justice up to speak? It's nice to be able to say you have a friend like Justice Scalia," Devlin said.

Case closed.

Two months before the dinner, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case called Lawrence vs. Texas. The matter began as a dispute over the 1998 arrest of two gay men in Houston who were charged with sodomy.

In remarks from the bench, Scalia said that "moral disapproval of homosexuality" is an American tradition.
(via LA Times)

Sure. Like slavery, lynching, segregation.... Stolen elections....

US registered cargo plane with mercenaries aboard impounded in Zimbabwe 

Or so says Zimbabwe. Weird. Surely we wouldn't be so clumsy as to register a plane under our own name, so what's up?

-- The Beeb.

Oops! Spoke too soon on capturing son of AQ's #2 

So either the Pakistanis were or are lying, or Bush wanted to control a news cycle, or Bush was (or is) lying, or the SCLM messed up... Or all four. Who knows? Round up the usual suspects....

-- AP.

Given one possible really, really bad scenario for Kerry's run .... 

... his choice for a VP could become unusually important.

That scenario being, of course, our old friend from the '60s: "the crazed gunman, acting alone." Not that this would ever, ever happen, of course.

Yep, the unemployment picture is worse than you imagined 

Funny thing. These numbers aren't appearing in the Republican's new campaign ads. Their $100 million campaign fund can buy a lot, but so far it can't buy the truth.

The report also showed that job growth in December and January was worse than previously believed. The January tally was revised from 112,000 to 97,000. The December count dropped from 16,000 to a pathetic 8,000.

Down, down, down.

A new study by Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, found historic lows in the reported labor force participation of 16- to 19-year-olds. According to the study, "The estimated 36.8 percent employment rate for the nation's teens was the lowest ever recorded since 1948."

A more ominous finding was that over the past three calendar years the number of people aged 16 to 24 who are both out of work and out of school increased from 4.8 million to 5.6 million, with males accounting for the bulk of the increase.

The Economic Policy Institute and the National Employment Law Project, in a joint analysis of newly released data, reported a disturbing increase in long-term joblessness. Unemployment lasting half a year or longer grew to 22.1 percent of all unemployment in 2003. That was an increase from 18.3 percent in 2002, and the highest rate since 1983.

Among those having a particularly hard time finding work, according to the report, are job seekers with college degrees and people 45 and older.

So much for Greenspan's advice to get training if you can't find a job—these people are still paying for the training they already got and can't use!

The Community Service Society studied employment conditions among black men in New York City. Using the employment-population ratio, which is the proportion of the working-age population with a job, it found — incredibly — that
nearly one of every two black men between the ages of 16 and 64 was not working last year.
(via The Times)

Yep, two Americas.

Watch for the WhiteWash House to try to punish the statisticians and cook the numbers as the race heats up.

Theocrat madrassa for the home-schooled 

Surprise! It's funded by a winger billionaire and churning our Republican operatives!

Of the nearly 100 interns working in the White House this semester, 7 are from the roughly 240 students enrolled in the four-year-old Patrick Henry College, in Purcellville [,VA]. An eighth intern works for the president's re-election campaign. A former Patrick Henry intern now works on the paid staff of the president's top political adviser, Karl Rove. Over the last four years, 22 conservative members of Congress have employed one or more Patrick Henry interns in their offices or on their campaigns, according to the school's records.

About two-thirds of the students major in government. It is one of the few schools that offer a special program in intelligence and foreign affairs.
(via The Times)

Great... Nice to know they're small government types. Oh, wait ....

Twilight of the Gods ~ recapitulated / redux 

Who says history doesn't repeat itself. Lets play a fill in the blanks game. My own entries appear below in bold type. Each entry is preceded by a number, *1-*15. The original words as they appeared before I replaced them with my own 15 twenty first century entries are listed at the bottom of the post. Compare this twentieth century editorial below with our current twenty first century state of political affairs.

That *1 George W. Bush has *2 distorted, obfuscated and lied must be plain to everyone. All the great reforms in government that were to follow his elevation to the purple have failed to show themselves, and he has been *3 succored by Congress in a manner almost pathetic.

His appointments, with few exceptions, have been atrocious, and he is still surrounded in the White House by the same political buzzards who rounded up delegates for him in *4 2000 and brought about his nomination. His tolerance of such gentry seems to be almost unlimited: he apparently lacks all sense of smell. No President was ever put into office by a sorrier gang, and none ever revealed a more unashamed gratitude afterward.

In his statecraft no plausible principles are visible. He remains silent about most of the questions that engage the country, and from his acts one can deduce nothing save the fact that he is eager to be renominated and reelected in *5 2004, and willing to do anything to bring the business about. No one, at this writing, knows what he actually thinks of *6 insert your own issue here. He has spoken of it idiotically as a *7 insert your own list of buzz phrases and platitudes here, and that is about all. Does he believe that it can ever be enforced? He doesn't say. Does he believe that it is intrinsically just, wise and tolerable? No one knows. All that is plain is that he believes the *8 American Enterprise Institute, NRA, corporatist TVNews-o-mercial bah-lambs, etc... and the *9 Religious Right are still strong enough to give him help year after next, and that he is ready to play with them so long as he believes it. To that end he is apparently willing to sacrifice anything, including even the integrity of the judiciary.

During the campaign of *10 2000 much was made of the hon. gentleman's political innocence, and it was represented that he had nothing to do with the whooping up of religious bigotry that went on; indeed, he himself let it be known that he was "instinctively" opposed to it. But now the exultant babblings of *11 Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Judge Roy Moore, Rush Limbaugh, etc... and company make it obvious that he was well aware of everything that was done, and that he made no honest effort to stop it. In other words, he profited knowingly and willingly by the dreadful performance of such fanatics as *12 insert your favorite monomanical right wing wagtail here. A plain word from him might have shut them off: he'd probably have been elected anyhow. But he preferred the disgrace of their support to the honor of a frank man. And since he has been in office he has done nothing whatever to put them down, and is manifestly ready to do business with them again, and on precisely the same terms that prevailed *13 four years ago, in *14 2000.

It is very hard to understand such a man. By what standard of values does he judge himself? What is his honest verdict when he looks into his shaving-glass of a morning? The Presidency is in his hands, and there is nothing higher for him to look for in this world. One would naturally expect a man in that situation to give some thought to the essential decencies - to devote himself to making sure, not of his immediate benefit, but of his ultimate reputation. But -*15 George W. Bush seems either unwilling or unable to take that view. He prefers to go on as he came in - playing shabby politics, consorting with creatures from the abyss, contributing his miserable mite to the destruction of free government among us.

It is a picture so depressing that it seems somehow fantastic. It is difficult to imagine any man of sound sense throwing himself (and democracy) away so tragically.

The above editorial is a bastardization of the original written by HL Mencken, August 1930 / "Gotterdammerung", The American Mercury. Mencken's original words, those sequentially replaced above, are listed below.

1- Dr. Hoover
2- blown up
3- kicked about
4- 1928
5- 1932
6- Prohibition
7- Noble Experiment
8- Anti-Saloon League
9- Methodist bishops
10- 1928
11- Deets Pickett
12- Bishop Cannon
13- two
14 1932
15- Dr. Hoover

"I'm George Bush, your Dear Heroic Leader, and I approved this message"



Imam Mohamed El-Moctar said his office at the Islamic Center of the South Plains was ransacked when he arrived for morning prayers Sunday. Windows were smashed, furniture was broken and pro-American and anti-Muslim slogans were written on the walls.
(via AP)

There they go again 

Pining for the good old days; the "traditional" values our current corporatist robber baron conservatives adore:

We meet in the midst of a nation brought to the verge of moral, political and material ruin. Corruption dominates the ballot box, the legislatures, the Congress, and touches even the ermine of the bench. The people are demoralized...The newspapers are subsidized or muzzled; public opinion silenced; business prostrate, our homes covered with mortgages, labor impovershed, and the land concentrating in the hands of capitalists. The urban workman are denied the right of organization for self-protection; imported pauperized labor beats down their wages;... The fruits of of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build colossal fortunes...From the same prolific womb of government injustice we breed two classes - paupers and millionaires. ~ Ignatius Donnelly - St. Louis, Missouri ~ 1892

Casual related reading: past and present.
(note: Los Angeles Times articles cited below are mirror linked. No subscription required.)

1- Envoy Had Been a Target Before his CIA wife’s cover was blown, White House directed efforts to discredit Joseph C. Wilson IV. By Tom Brune, [Newsday] LINK

2- Political Bargains. By Sam Uretsky [Progressive Populist]: "When the UN measured the efficiency of health care distribution programs, the US finished behind Costa Rica, and in a statistical dead heat with Slovenia." ~ LINK

3- Bush Campaign Ads Brought to You by Special Interests; Industries That Give to Bush Get Their Money’s Worth. [Public Citizen] LINK

4- The Collapse of the Middle Class by Representative Bernie Sanders (VT) [Common Dreams] LINK

5- Black Box - LINK
5A- Black Box Votes: Blog on issues of black box voting. - LINK

6- Trip With Cheney Puts Ethics Spotlight on Scalia
Friends; hunt ducks together, even as the justice is set to hear the Vice President's case. By David G. Savage [Los Angeles Times] LINK

7- Pick Up Your Swords -- It's Time To Slay the Corporate-Media Beast. By Rick Mercier [Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, Virginia)] LINK

8- Supreme Court Justice Scalia Bans Media From 'Free Speech' Event [Associated Press] LINK

9- White House Silenced Experts Who Questioned Iraq Intel Info Six Months Before War. By Jason Leopold [Common Dreams] LINK

10- Coming Soon to a Town Near You and You and ... Kudzu-like Expansion of Wal-Mart Transforms Rural Life, Landscape. By Jean Marbella [Baltimore Sun] LINK

11- Settlement With Predatory Lender Cheats Borrowers a Second Time. [Public Citizen] LINK

12- Just Like Russia - RURAL ROUTES | by Margot Ford McMillen [Progressive Populist]: "The guys who inherit wealth and land get big government handouts in the form of loans, rebates and subsidies." ~ LINK

13- Nation of Hypocrites on Labor Rights; The U.S. has no Reason to be Proud of how it Treats its Workers, who often are Denied Gains they Won Long Ago. By Julius Getman and F. Ray Marshall [Los Angeles Times] LINK

14- Human Rights Are Dying on the Vine. By Eric Schlosser [Los Angeles Times] LINK

15- Minimum Wages and the Human Commodity. By John Buell [Common Dreams] LINK

The fruits of of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build colossal fortunes

16- As Economy Gains, Outsourcing Surges. By Hiawatha Bray [Boston Globe]: "At the call center where Mancenon works, the company sends workers through "Amspeak" training courses. The schooling seeks to purge workers' voices of "foreign" accents and familiarize them with the latest American slang." ~ LINK

17- Too Much in the Hands of Too Few. By Carol Goar [Toronto Star]: "PLUTOCRACY IS one of those words that seems to belong to a bygone era." ~ LINK

robber baron - n. 1. One of the American industrial or financial magnates of the latter 19th century who became wealthy by unethical means, such as questionable stock-market operations and exploitation of labor. 2. A feudal lord who robbed travelers passing through his domain.*

*definition: American Heritage Dictionary

"I'm George Bush and I approved this message"

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Seattle mayor to recognize gay marriages 

Good for him.

Seattle's mayor [Greg Nickels] said Sunday the city will begin recognizing the marriages of gay employees who tie the knot elsewhere, although it will not conduct its own same-sex weddings.

Nickels said he cannot follow the lead of mayors in San Francisco and New Paltz, N.Y., by allowing same-sex weddings because counties, not cities, have the authority to issue marriage licenses in Washington.
(via AP)

Kerry: Bush "stonewalling" 9/11 inquiries, intelligence committee 

Who knew? AP. Yes, I'm starting to warm up to Kerry. After all, what he says is the simple truth. I mean, Bush is going to give the 9/11 commission one hour?

Bush gets letters 

Like this one from 11 year-old Mari of Oakland, whose married parents are both women.

On Valentine's Day, Mari sat down and wrote a letter to President Bush, who is seeking a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, to find out. ``Why don't you want same-sex couples to get married legally? It won't hurt you, and lots of people will be happy,'' she wrote.

``It's like saying Bush's family is not a family because they're not lesbian,'' Mari said last week. ``That's the same thing he's saying to us.''
-- via The San Jose Mercury News

Mari's going to be waiting a long time for an answer from Bush, I think—he's too busy doing fundraisers and hiding from the 9/11 Commission. But maybe Acting President Rove can pitch in and answer Mari!

"Rapid response" to Bush campaign ads 

Wonderful what modern technology can do—along with an energized base.

From Blogging of the President.

Annenberg Center fact-checks the first Bush ads, and the one fact in all the fluff is a lie 

But this is not news.

["Safer, stronger"] got one fact wrong when it showed Bush taking the oath of office January 20, 2001 and said that in that month a challenge facing Bush was “an economy in recession.” It’s true that the long economic boom of the Clinton years had run out of steam before Bush took office and that the nation’s economic output was flat. It grew at a weak 2.1 percent in the last three months of 2000 and then fell two-tenths of one percent in the three-month period of January, February and March 2001, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis . But the economy didn’t actually enter recession until March of that year, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, an association of academic economists whose Business Cycle Dating Committee is the generally accepted arbiter of when business booms and busts begin and end. So to be perfectly accurate the Bush ad should have said, “An economy nearing recession.”
(via FactCheck.orh)


"War preznit"? Sure, but which war? The war on the environment 

Bush flip-flopped on a campaign promise to regulate carbon dioxide, thereby benefitting some of his largest contributors.

But interviews and documents trace the decisions in which the Bush administration changed the nation's approach to environmental controls, ultimately shifting the balance to the side of energy policy. Senior officials at the Environmental Protection Agency, including Mrs. Whitman, became isolated, former aides said, and several resigned.

One of the most important decisions was Mr. Bush's reversal of a campaign promise to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide, a gas that many scientists say contributes to global warming. The administration also has proposed looser standards for emissions of mercury — a highly toxic pollutant — than President Bill Clinton had sought. The most protracted fight concerned the administration's decision to issue new rules that substantially reduced the requirements for utilities to build pollution controls when modernizing their plants. The final policy shift may ultimately help the coal-plant operators shed the lawsuits.

Mr. Cheney had been chief executive at Halliburton, an oil-and-gas-services company. Energy corporations had been among the strongest supporters of Mr. Bush's presidential campaign: There were more executives from energy than from any other industry group among Mr. Bush's most elite fund-raisers, called "Pioneers," who each generated more than $100,000 in donations.

The industry's outcry over carbon dioxide reached Mr. Bush. In March 2001, he reversed himself, saying there would be no carbon dioxide controls.
(via The Times)

Missed this one, yesterday. Sometimes I forget that the Times actually does cover the news, sometimes.

Bush to air-breathers: Drop dead.

UPDATE Alert reader Shystee points out that Bush called himself a "war" preznit on MTP, not a "wartime" preznit—the phrase most of the media is using. So I changed the headline. Thanks!

So if Bush thinks 9/11 is "worthy of discussion", then why stiff the 9/11 Commission? 

Just asking. I mean, only one hour?

Oppo on Kerry heating up 

Start with the Daily Telegraph, then round up the usual suspects.

Josh Marshall has more.

UPDATE Nice article by Conason in Salon (go on, get the day pass). Talk about the usual suspects and the usual methods: First the fake photo of Kerry, then a freeper site, then Tom "Don't call me French!" DéLay, then FBI evidence fabricator and Hillary loon Gary Aldrich, then former Romanian Secret Police Chief Ion Mihai Pacepa in the National Review (what a shame about that once proud magazine)...

You know, for about thirty seconds I took that Republican line about wanting to have a "policy discussion" or "national conversation" about 9/11, but it's going to be the same old, same old, isn't it? Anyone who challenges them is a traitor. Yawn. Of course, the American people, being "good strategists," are unlikely to fall for this.

Richardson doesn't want to be Kerry VP 

Too bad.

Richardson's appeal to the nation's biggest and fastest growing minority community and ability perhaps to draw key Western states like Arizona and Nevada into the Democratic fold, has put his name in the vice presidential sweepstakes speculation.
(via Reuters)

Buffet bets against the dollar 

Reminds me of how Soros made a large part of his pile. This is not good news.

Berkshire held positions in five foreign currencies totaling $12 billion. Buffett said he began investing in foreign currency for the first time in 2002 as a result of the widening U.S. trade deficit.

"As an American, I hope there is a benign ending to this problem," Buffett wrote of the trade gap and weaker dollar. He said this could cause problems that reach "well beyond currency markets."
(via Reuters)

Note that careful qualifer, "as an American." Argentina, here we come.

The Bushogarchy's vision for the country in 2004 

So far as I can tell, the theocons and the neocons (see below) share a common vision:

1. The country is run by a hundred or so dynasties with vast inherited wealth. Let's call them—and their assorted whores and hangers-on—the Bushogarchy.

NOTE: On dynasties, see Kevin Phillips back here.

2. The rest of the country works for these families. Let's call them the rest of the country the proles.

3. The Bushogarchy doesn't pay taxes. The proles do.

NOTE: While I agree that "starve the Beast" is the strategy behind the tax cuts, we also need to focus (as Krugman does) on the "wealth transfer" (i.e., slow-motion theft) that is the end result of these policies.

4. Social services for the proles are provided either by the individual prole, through savings after taxes, through families, or through churches. This includes education, health care, what we once would have called social insurance, transportation, and so forth.

NOTE: When we say "education," we mean "Christian education." The hundred families can afford to send their children to schools where they are taught real science, for example. For the rest of us, vouchers to church schools. This is what's in it for the theocons, and why they go along with the rest of it. (See Orcinus.)

NOTE: The theft of social security funds will reinforce inherited wealth, thanks to the abolition of the estate tax.

5. The labor market becomes a form of indentured servitude, through manipulation of credit and the bankruptcy laws, the elimination of privacy, the abolition of unions and other forms of "burdensome regulation," "tort reform," and internal passport controls (based partially on credit reporting).

NOTE: There will be no universal health insurance, since that would make it easier for people to leave their jobs.

NOTE: From this perspective, the current unemployment numbers are good, since they keep the indentured servants in fear (see back here).

NOTE: On privacy, see here for the shell game on Total Information Awareness. Intelligence on terrorism and credit reporting will of course be integrated, since both are equal threatening to the Bushogarchy.

6. The strength of the country is the strength of its military, and the natural resources we can exploit given our military strength.

Readers, does this ring true? This, it seems to me, is really what election 2004 is all about.

NOTE: Pandagon has an insightful post that takes a view that could be seen as 180 degrees to this post. Essentially, he says that if Kerry wants to win, he's got to be wonkish. Could be. Regardless, I think this is what the election is about, regardless of how Kerry chooses to run the race.

Help Bev Harris Help US 

From Susan at Suburban Guerrilla

Sometimes we bloggers make a difference. But Bev Harris? Man, she REALLY makes a difference. She's the founder and driving force behind Black Box Voting, the woman who brought the electronic voting machine issue to the country.

She was stuck in California without her computer where she couldn't rebut the opposition - she doesn't have a laptop.

I say, let's do what we can to get her one. Whattaya say?

Please Donate if you can.


Got a mortgage? 

Then the issue of Greenspan's sanity (let alone his integrity) should be of concern to you. Maybe I'm crazy, but if interest rates are as low as they can possibly be—as they would be, to help Bush with his election effort—then is now really the time to buy a variable rate mortgage?

See Atrios, including the comments.

Yes, I'm warming up to Kerry 

[Kerry] chided the Bush administration for sending troops into Iraq without adequate body armor, challenging the president to reimburse any family that paid for armor for a son or daughter.
(via WaPo)

Nice idea. And the stories on this have been out for months, so if Bush gave two shits, or Acting President Rove did, it would already have been done. Of course, the delay is understandable, since the WhiteWash House is busy trying to avoid criminal prosecution.

Why hasn't Crisco Johnny resigned, since his campaign committee broke the law? 

And given how toothless our campaign laws are, it's amazing anyone could break them!

Attorney General John D. Ashcroft's 1998 leadership political action committee, Spirit of America, and his Senate reelection campaign committee, Ashcroft 2000, raised more than $100,000 last year in order to pay a fine and legal costs for violating campaign finance laws, according to Federal Election Commission records and Garrett Lott, treasurer of both committees.

Ashcroft's role and the ongoing operation of his two committees continue to be the focus of legal concern. Late last week, the Massachusetts-based National Voting Rights Institute (NVRI), which filed the original FEC complaint against Ashcroft and his committees, urged Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine to investigate "potential civil and criminal violations of federal law" by the two committees and Ashcroft while he has been attorney general.

The FEC dealt only with civil violations of the election laws; only Justice can investigate possible criminal violations of those laws.

John Bonifaz, general counsel of the NVRI, said in an interview that he was disturbed that committees carrying the name of the attorney general or associated with him are being used to raise money to pay off campaign finance penalties and related legal costs.

"It is unseemly for the nation's chief law enforcement officer, whose committees are under investigation, to use those very committees to raise funds from campaign contributors as a means for defending against possible criminal charges and paying civil fines," Bonifaz said. "Ashcroft is very powerful, and people who get called are going to feel pressure to make such contributions."

(Walter Pincus, WaPo, though banished to page 4.)

"Rule of law" and all that. Now I know why the bilious attack ....

Privatizing the military: Who pays? 

I bet you can guess... Anyhow, Bush is hiring South American mercenaries to guard the Iraqi pipelines:

Last month Blackwater USA flew a first group of about 60 former commandos, many of who had trained under the military government of Augusto Pinochet, from Santiago to a 2,400-acre (970-hectare) training camp in North Carolina.

From there they will be taken to Iraq, where they are expected to stay between six months and a year, the president of Blackwater USA, Gary Jackson, told the Guardian by telephone.

"We scour the ends of the earth to find professionals - the Chilean commandos are very, very professional and they fit within the Blackwater system," he said.

The privatisation of security in Iraq is growing as the US seeks to reduce its commitment of troops.

Many soldiers are said to be leaving the army to join the private companies.

Their salaries can be as high as $1,000 a day, the news agency AFP recently reported. Erwin, a 28-year-old former US army sergeant working in Iraq, told AFP: "This place is a goldmine. All you need is five years in the military and you come here and make a good bundle."
--The Guardian, via Corporate Watch.

So let me get this straight.

My tax dollars pay for these guys to be trained.

Then they leave the service, get hired by a contractor, and then my tax dollars pay again, this time an inflated price to the contractor!

Man, that's the ol' Pentagon "self-sucking ice cream cone" in action, isn't it?

RNC tries to suppress MoveOn.Org election ads 

Interesting that the RNC is claiming MoveOn is breaking the law. I mean, if it's illegal, shouldn't the DOJ be doing it? Though I guess to Bush the RNC and the DOJ are one and the name

The Republican National Committee is warning television stations across the country not to run ads from the Voter Fund that criticize President Bush, charging that the left-leaning political group is paying for them with money raised in violation of the new campaign-finance law.
(via CNN)

"Rule of law," and all that. I'd laugh, except it hurts too much.

"War Preznit"? Sure, but which war? The war against the Modern Age 

Sidney Blumenthal has a nice column in the Guardian titled "Bush goes to war with modernity." (Can't we get Brooks off the Times Op-Ed page and get someone in there as a bookend to Krugman?) Anyhow, I'll quote a good deal of it, since it's interesting:

Bush had campaigned in 2000 as a "compassionate conservative", softening his edges and separating himself from the hard right. As it was, he lost the popular vote by more than half a million. Now he has decided he has no choice but to chase his base.

The launch of his Kulturkampf has been a blitzkrieg. Bush proposed a constitutional amendment against gay marriage. He dismissed two scientists who dissented on his bioethics board, which he has used to ban forms of stem cell research, replacing them with adherents of the religious right. Bush made a recess appointment of William Pryor of Alabama as a federal judge, blocked in the Senate for his extremism. ... Then the attorney general, John Ashcroft, subpoenaed the medical records of women who have had abortions at planned parenthood clinics.

Bush followed by supporting the unborn victims of violence bill, creating a new federal crime of foetal homicide that passed the Republican-dominated House of Representatives on February 26. At Bush's order, the Senate is being transformed into a battlefield of the culture war.

But Bush's instigation of religious wars in America, while it mobilises the evangelical Protestant faithful, is also unexpectedly thwarting him. The born-again Bush, who reconstructed his self-image after 9/11 as a messianic leader, assumed that the agendas of the neocons and the theocons were one and the same. However, Bush outsourced his foreign policy on the Middle East and Israel to the neocons in part for an electoral purpose, hoping to capture the Jewish vote, which will not be fulfilled because of his anxious devotion to the theocons.

The neocons and the theocons were bound together in reaction against the 1960s for different reasons: the neocons by foreign policy, the theocons by their continuing fundamentalist revolt against modernity. Under Ronald Reagan, this coalition was held together in the crusade against godless communism.

With his culture war the son is echoing another political error of the father, who alienated Jews and Catholics by permitting his 1992 convention to be used as a platform for the religious evangelical right. This latest revival is frightening Jews, cautioning American Catholics (overwhelmingly of the liberal John XXIII/Vatican II persuasion, and holding the same view on abortion as other Americans), and scourging mainline Protestants. The more Bush supplicates his base, the more he repels the others. Moreover, Bush is running against a Democrat who's a modern Catholic, with lineage to the oldest mainline Protestant families of New England and Jewish ancestry.

This political miscalculation at home is far outweighed by the disastrous consequences in the Middle East. With increasing desperation, Bush is campaigning on behalf of his various fundamentalisms in a crusade against modernity in America, his greatest war of all.
(via The Guardian)

OK. Blumenthal's article is a rather uneasy mixture of political calculation and and bigfoot-style musing. But he offers some interesting analytical tools.

First is the idea of the "neocons" and "theocons." I've been looking for a term for the fundamentalist and evangelical politicians for the right, and Christian Right doesn't do it for me, since these politicians are about as far from being Christian as it is possible to get. So I gratefully accept "theocon"—with the emphasis where it should be, on con.

Second is the more interesting idea of a war against modernity; I can see how this is what the theocons are doing. Take education. Orcinus has a terrific and terrifying post on how the theocons are trashing science by forcing "intelligent design" to be included in curriculums. What next? Putting the notion that the earth is only 6000 years old into Geology courses?

At bottom, it really is a war—not really a shooting one, except for bizarre winger eruptions here and there—about what kind of country we are going to have.

What Were Saddam's Ties to Al Qaeda, Again? 

Remember Salman Pak? And no, it isn't the name of another of those fascinating Baghdad bloggers. But I'll bet it's familiar-sounding, even if you can't pin it down.

Luckily for us, Tim Dunlop, the proprietor of The Road To Surfdom, understood the significance back in January of 2003 of a claim, not only by various Iraqi defectors, but also by the number 2 guy to have served on the UNSCOM inspection team, of the existence of a terrorist camp at a place called Salman Pak, south of Baghdad, where an actual 707 was said to have been used to teach potential hijackers the finer points of taking over an airline. After all, if such a camp did exist, Saddam's potential threat to us and the world would look quite different than the view then held by the anti-war left. Also lucky for us, Tim's response was to take the time and analytic energy to give the possibility a serious look; ultimately, he found it wanting in credibility, not least because of the reluctance of the Bush administration to stress it in their case for war.

He was on the case then; he's still on the case, which has been given fresh relevance by this Miami-Herald article , the gist of which is, if you thought WMD claims were based on shaky evidence, wait 'til you take a gander at what they based their claims of ties between Saddam and Al Queda on; one example is the Salam Pak terrorist camp, about which the article blandly tells us, "The U.S. military has found no evidence of such a facility."

Tim's second look isn't about chortling, it's about how, if the reporters who wrote the Miami-Herald piece are right, everyone else could have been so wrong, including that UN inspector, who, interestingly, happens to be the guy who has replaced David Kay as the head of the Iraq Survey Group that is still looking for...what was it again, I forget...still the WMDs?

"The Disappearing 707" is, put quite simply, a wow of a post; so good it jusifies the conceptual basis of blogging, and it puts most mainstream journalism to shame. Do not miss it.

It's a long post, and Tim suggests, and I urge that you read the prior post from last year, which is also a long one but crucial to understanding the issues, before reading the current one; it's worth reading just for a particularly dumb quote from Jim "WW3" Woolsey, that you should feel free to chortle about to your heart's content because it's such a perfect specimen of his oily ideological logic.

Tim's got all the links you need right in the post: Go!

"War Preznit"? Sure, but which war? The class war... 

Well-known radical Warren Buffet:

OMAHA, Neb. -- Billionaire investor Warren Buffett accused the Bush administration Saturday of pursuing tax cuts that favor large corporations and wealthy individuals.

"If class warfare is being waged in America, my class is clearly winning," Buffett said in Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s annual report.

Except for 1983, the percentage of federal tax receipts from corporate income taxes last year was the lowest since data was first published in 1934, Buffett said.

"Tax breaks for corporations (and their investors, particularly large ones) were a major part of the administration's 2002 and 2003 initiatives," Buffett said.
(via WaPo)

Next battle in the war—the biggest heist in history: the Bushogarchy's theft of your social security money (farmer).

"Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it’s gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? Oh, I mean, it’s not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?" - former first lady Barbara Bush - "Good Morning America" March 18, 2003


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