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Saturday, March 20, 2004

Bush turns the DHS into a branch of the RNC 

Remember when Bush took the Democrat's idea for a Department of Homeland Security and ran with it? He made just one change: He gutted civil service protection. Now we know why.

Administration sources tell TIME that employees at the Department of Homeland Security have been asked to keep their eyes open for opportunities to pose the President in settings that might highlight the Administration's efforts to make the nation safer. The goal, they are being told, is to provide Bush with one homeland-security photo-op a month.
(Time via Pandagon)

Look, doesn't the DHS have better things to do than help Bush meet his quota for photo-ops?

Yep, it's true. Bush will say and do anything to get elected.

UPDATE Alert reader wanda comments:

Bush and the Republicans are using the threat of terrorism much the same way the terrorist are. "If you want to be safe, and really fight terrorism you must vote for Bush...". In my opinion this makes them no better than the terrorist of Al Qaida. In fact it makes them worse, because at least the terrorist admit they are using terror to manipulate people.
I for one won't be held hostage by fear or intimidated by Bush and his own personal little Taliban. I don't think I stand alone.

I (Lambert) agree.

Bush starts flashing gang signs 

Yes, the Republicans have their very own funky hand gesture.

Bush flashed three fingers, to form a "W," which he did often in the 2000 campaign.
(via Reuters)

Seriously, though, I don't remember this from 2000. Readers, do you? Do you have any images of the funky Bush hand gesture?

UPDATE The estimable farmer found the pix. Do they remind anyone of the gang sign the Serbians used to flash? Any pictures of those?


It would be nice if somehow, someday, the DNC could get it together 

Check this endearingly amateurish Flash.


UPDATE Readers, can you point to examples of Flash artists how have done what the DNC ought to have done?

"Liars": Bush counter-terrorism coordinator says it's "outrageous" Bush runs on his anti-terror record 

We knew this all along, of course.

The White House counter-terrorism coordinator at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks said it's ``outrageous'' that U.S. President George W. Bush is running for re-election based on his record in fighting terror.

Richard A. Clarke said in a television interview airing Sunday that Bush ``ignored terrorism for months'' before the 2001 attacks, then looked to attack Iraq rather than Afghanistan, the nation harboring the terrorist group al-Qaeda, which launched the attacks.

``I find it outrageous that the president is running for re- election on the grounds that he's done such great things about terrorism,''
Clarke said in an interview with CBS' ``60 Minutes.''

Clarke is the second former high-ranking administration official to say the Bush team was determined to attack Iraq before terrorists struck the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

In a book about his tenure in the administration, former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill said Bush's advisers began planning to oust Saddam Hussein from Iraq months before the 2001 terrorist attacks.

(via Bloomberg)

Drip, drip, drip....

UPDATE Nice article from Axis of Logic holding Bush accountable.

War Theater of the Absurd 

The Bush Dynasty's Ministry of War Theater along with their embedded Pentagon psyops at CNN and MSGOP (the same folks who brought us the fabulous multimedia CakeWalk Show one year ago) have done another fine job of whooping up the battlefront dramaturgy. Production credits going this time to President Gen. R. Good-buddy Pervez Musharraf of the great theo-kooky nation of Pakistan. Who, it so happens, decided to treat our own celebrated State Department highstepper Colin Powell to a grand hunting expedition in the wilds of the Northwest Frontier.

Of course Gen. R. Good-buddy Musharraf has the unenviable task of playing to both sides of the bed. On the one hand he has the Bush administration breathing hotly all over the back of his sweaty neck while whispering in his ear -- "Serve us up the head of bin Laden on a silver platter or we will turn your country into Cambodia, circa April 1970" -- while at the same time keeping a nervous twitching eyeball on his own likely pro-al Qaeda ISI (intelligence service) poised to chew his nut-sack off should he wander too far from the madrassa door. Kind of like catering a wedding in Belfast between a Catholic schoolgirl and a Ulster Unionist police chief.

Anyway, Musharraf knew he'd best put on a frilly apron and offer up some kind of goodwill hunting banquet on behalf of the traveling Powell hippodrome. And what better way to impress the visiting American huzoor than a strapping wild boar safari in the untamed outlands of the batty Islamic Republic? Hey, what's he gonna do, invite Powell over for a shrimp cocktail and round of bumper pool in the rumpus room? So, sound the trumpets, unleash the curs, and announce that we've got the hydra headed beast cornered in hills! And by shrieking saviour it's the mother of all beasts! The Evil One hisself - maybe. Hi-ho! hi-ho! its off to the thickets we go.

Ok....that works on the imagination, and of course the official story-line boob-tube news barkers at CNN and MSGOP and wherever will go-a-dashing off in hot pursuit of whatever shiny object is dangled before them. Nothing new to that old chase scene.

Meanwhile, back at the GOP campaign revival tent, our mountebank pResident George W. "Billy Sunday" Bush will make busy strutting hither and fro across the boards delivering up the usual hurly-burly of economic alchemy and stage managed Christian avenger blare that his hero worshipping flock of hymn singing hossana shoutin' bah-lambs gobble up like so much stock fodder.

I suspect this current squall in Pakistan will eventually wind down and go sputtering off into an Indus sunset like a dying dust whirl. Tora Bora rewind. At least for the time being. The ISI and al-Qaeda supporters in Musharraf's midst are not going to cack up bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri on behalf of a visit from some showboating US entourage or on behalf of their frightened leader or on behalf of anyone else for that matter. Not without a serious bloodbath. And Musharraf knows it too. Musharraf also knows that if it comes down to a choice between, 1- protecting Islamic fundamentalist power interests in Pakistan, or 2- knuckling under to US pressure to give up al-Qaeda big shots --- he stands a pretty good chance of being dispatched to a shallow hole in a courtyard should he chose wha'ts behind door number 2. There are plenty of powerful fellers in his very own house who would be glad to grant him such grim reward.

And, as I write this, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has already downgraded the supposedly beseiged and so storied valuable evil doer prey squatting in the highlands to "semi-senior" status. Whatever the hell that means.

So there ya go. What's next? Does the US really believe that bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri are actually in Northwest Pakistan? Is a full scale Force 121 springtime invasion of the region being incubated whether or not Musharraf or anyone else in Pakistan likes it? Got me. I guess we'll find out. I'll bet the Indians can hardly wait for that thrilling adventure to unfold should the little monster hatch itself in coming weeks. Who wants to play toss the nuke button should that scenario come to be?

The most pitiful part of this whole sad mess is that the Bush administration could have pursued the task of hunting down al-Qaeda honestly and efficiently with the world firmly behind them if they'd wanted to. But instead, like all greedy deceitful con artists, they couldn't resist the self serving opportunistic chance to hoodwink the entire planet in order to foreclose on Iraq. To steal away with a souvenir they'd been eyeballing for years prior to 9/11. To pick the world's pocket while eveyone else was still poking through that smoking wreckage in New York. To make off with a little boodle under the cover of mindless patriotic hooting and concerns for national defense, homeland security, and protecting the world from terror.

They arrogantly lied to the American public and the entire international community for the sake of their own narrow gains and wasted valuable resources in the effort to rein in those responsible for 9/11. They recklessly wasted valuable resources in human lives, diplomatic good will, and any shred of credibility they may have had with respect to such efforts. They chose to lie and scheme and swindle the world with respect to the danger of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. And now we have Madrid Spain. Someone fill me in again on why these crooked racketeers are good on foreign policy or even remotely capable of leading a sincere global war on terrorism.

What's more, like shifless thieves, they don't even have the integrity or strength of character to answer for their own misappropriations and deceptions after being caught flat out misappropriating and deceiving. So much for honesty and accountability.

They probably could have been real heroes. Led an honorable charge as they say. Perhaps. But instead they chose to be what they really always were all along: Duplicitous looters drunkenly careening down the road in a stolen get-a-way van. And now we have Karl "Hanna the Handler" Rove primping, preening, and posing George "the Great Pretender" Bush as some kind of heroic hard tack ship biscuit example of steady leadership royal.

Born swindlers they are - nothing but duplicitous born again swindlers.


Right Wingers placing Manchurian Candidates in the Media 

Atrios has been talking about the bizarre case of Jack Kelley at USA Today. This guy, an evangelical Christian who is also a reporter, has just been busted for doing things that would make Jayson Blair blush. Yet we're not hearing "Kelley 24-7" like we did about Blair, are we?

Now Atrios has pointed us to the World Journalism Institute that Kelley was a part of. This is really quite scary folks. This is essentially an organization that has dedicated itself to infiltrating the media with their evangelical Christian moles so that the media will engage in, get this, "presuppositional reporting."

Now, admittedly, not too many of the "faculty" (and boy do I use that term loosely) are particularly well-connected (Atrios has already blogged about the few that are). And their students, thank goodness, are apparently only being hired by the Roosterpoot Daily Conservative and the Hooterville Patriot as interns and stringers but this is all quite frightening. How long before these students start percolating up to jobs at real newspapers, folks?

What do these kiddos believe? Well check out the alumni blog if you want to find out. There's currently a screed against gay marriage at the top of it complete with this paranoid and delusional closing statement:

What will be left of society, when the gays are done transforming it?
And you've got to get a load of this entry that includes this illiterate gem at the end of it:

I wonder, though. Do we need a new system for decided which views to print, and which not to print, as there are always much more opinions on any topic than a reporter can possibly fit in a story.
Why do I suspect she wants to leave out that pesky liberal's opinion?

This is yet another example (I suspect) of a Mellon-Scaife funded attempt to stealthily put right wing moles in important places.

If only someone in the media would actually report on any of this!

I'm not holding my breath.

"Crooks": Media gives Rummy free pass on a felony—but IOKIYAR! 

So a guy gets stopped for trying to carry a severed seal's head onto an airplane, and right away the SCLM cites the laws that he broke:

Airport security agents at Boston's Logan International Airport stopped a biologist after discovering the severed head of a harbor seal in his luggage. Federal wildlife laws make it illegal to disrupt or remove body parts from a dead mammal, or to transport any illegal fish or wildlife product.
(via CNN)

But when Rummy loots the 9/11 site, does the SCLM cite the law (Title 49, USC, Section 1155(b)) that he broke? No? I wonder why not?

Silly! That's because there's one law (i.e., no law) for the Bush administration, and another law for everybody else. IOKIYAR!

And, oh yeah, Rummy looting the 9/11 site for "souvenirs" of our 3,000 dead is just about as disgusting as taking a seal's head onto a plane.

Advocate of electronic voting machines that can be audited dies in, um, an accident. 

Well, anything's possible.

Seems that Athan Gibbs "lost control" of his Chevy Blazer.

NOTE Here is David Dill's excellent site on electronic voting. This is not tinfoil hat stuff.

Republican's don't think twice about breaking the law—but the media never plays up that part of the story 

We all knew that winger "rule of law" stuff was just projection during their attempted coup against Clinton, and now that the wingers are ruling the country, we really know it. There's this constant drip drip drip of little stories. ....

1. The SCLM played up the "souvenir" angle of Rummy's looted relic from 9/11, and even though that was nasty enough, the real story is that Rummy broke the law (back here).

2. The SCLM plays up the "firing" angle on Bush political appointee and big pharma lobbyist Thomas Scully threatening to fire Medicare actuary Richard Foster if he revealed the true costs of the program to Congress—when Congress wrote the law setting up the actuary to get just that information! Can it be legal to threaten to fire a civil servant for doing the job a statute mandates that he do? Readers?

3. The SCLM plays up the "imports" angle on the Burmese clothing that Bush is selling on his campaign site—but that's illegal, so Bush even breaks his own laws!

4. And of course we've got the theft of Democratic campaign files.

5. And of course we've got Plame.

6. And the criminal investigation of Ashcroft's campaign financing. (Even the FEC noticed!)

7. DéLay fundraising scheme before a grand jury.

8. Serial speeder Janklow's conviction for killing a man while speeding.

9. Rowland's impeachment for corruption.

10. And of course we've got the whole Bush AWOL thing (back here), which the lazy SCLM just let drop.

Drip, drip, drip... Yes, they will say and do anything. Including break the law whenever it suits them.

UPDATE Carpetbagger has more. I tried to limit this list to the outright criminal, not the merely scandalous, or that stuff that doesn't rise to the level of a blow job, like the intelligence and policy failures by Bush that led to 9/11.

UK still thinks WMDs will be found 

God, when is Bush going to give the order to "discover" them? The suspense is killing me!

[Jeremy Greenstock], Britain's top official in Iraq said Saturday he remained convinced that Saddam Hussein had been "hiding something," but he acknowledged that Iraq's security situation was bad a year after the start of the U.S.-led war.
(via AP)

The other reason Tenet keeps his job (besides running our Iraqi equivalent of Operation Phoenix (back here) is that, well, he knows how to use a shovel ....

You take the high road, and I'll take the low road... 

The Republican high road will be—according to reports (planted?) in the Houston Chronicle—to nail Kerry on taxes and being indecisive. This, they've already spent $20 million on.

Acting President Rove's strategy is sketched here.

So you can imagine what the low road is going to be.... They'll go after his wife, his children, his Viet Nam service, ginned up scandal after ginned up scandal, while Bush floats above it all, grinning like the so-called Christian he is. And the Hate Drum will beat loadly on the DMA act....

Of course, since Bush will say or do anything to get elected, none of it really matters, but it's going to get uglier faster.

In case you missed it, farmer created an anatomically correct portrait of Karl Rove. Shock and awe, farmer...

This is success? 

W and the boys are constantly telling us that we’re succeeding in the war on terror. Now, I’m not a counter-terrorism expert or anything but, given administration spin, isn’t it about time to think about just how many people have died in terrorist attacks since 9/11? Wouldn’t that be a way to gauge how well we’re doing in the war on terror?

Let’s just do some basic arithmetic, shall we?

Bali Bombing 182 killed
Turkey Bombing 20 killed
Madrid Attack 199 killed
Saudi Arabia Attack 17 killed
Iraq Suicide Bombings (over the past year) 660 killed

If you get out the old calculator, that’s 1078 killed in terrorist attacks since 9/11.

(Have I missed anything? If so, let me know on the comment boards. I’m just getting these numbers from media accounts via basic google searches, so I could be wrong but I’m probably undercounting the numbers rather than the other way around.)

The most frightening thing is that 660 of those killed by terrorist attacks are in Iraq. Would you care to wager whether we’d be seeing those sorts of numbers if we hadn’t invaded Iraq? It’s pretty shocking to realize that more than half of those killed in terrorism since 9/11 have taken place in the country we were supposedly helping out through an invasion, isn’t it? To sum up, our invasion of Iraq (that was presumably supposed to assist us in the war on terrorism) is now directly responsible for more than 60% of those killed by terrorism since 9/11.

That’s a bit of an eye-opener, isn’t it?

Now, just how is this a success?

And, by the way, we’ve also lost 27 U.S. soldiers in Iraq just this month – in addition to 549 others since the war began of course. If you add those numbers up, in the name of the “war on terra” we’ve had half the death toll of 9/11 since 9/11 – and more than 1,200 of those are courtesy of the Iraq War.

And, I’ll remind you, I’m not even including the thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians killed in the war in that total. If I did that there’s a very good chance that more innocents have died during George W. Bush's "war on terror" since 9/11 than died in the horrific 9/11 attacks themselves.

Again, this policy outcome is considered a “success?” Really? How so?

I’m beginning to understand just why W and Rove are getting concerned. If anyone (hello, U.S. media?) does the basic arithmetic our “success” begins to look like anything but success.

And the war in Iraq, as I feared it would be before the war, has turned out to be an utter disaster with regard to stopping terrorism in the world.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Bush stages another ovation—this one with the troops 

We've noted Bush's craving for ovations before (back here). He's up to his old tricks.

And as you read the details of how this Bush photo-op was set up, remember that any one of these soldiers could have faced or could soon face death.

Before Bush appeared, small U.S. flags were handed out, and an officer gave instructions to the troops on how to receive the commander in chief. "We're going to show him a lot of love by waving flags," the officer said. Telling the troops not to salute, he added: "You're going to wave and clap and make a lot of noise. . . . You must smile. We are happy campers here."
(via WaPo)

Has Bush no decency? At long last, has he no decency?

So a drunk is looking under the streetlight for his keys, and the bartender asks him: 

"Why are you looking under the streetlight? You lost your keys in the bar!"

"It's too dark to look for them back in the bar!"

And so Rummy—I'm not making this up!—wants to attack Iraq, and why? Because there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan. Even though AQ was in Afghanistan....

Richard Clarke, the president's counterterrorism coordinator at the time of the attacks, said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld complained on Sept. 12 - after the administration was convinced with certainty that al-Qaida was to blame - that, "there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan and there are lots of good targets in Iraq."

"I think they wanted to believe that there was a connection" between Iraq and the al-Qaida attacks in the United States, Clarke said in an interview segment CBS broadcast Friday evening. "There's just no connection. There's absolutely no evidence that Iraq was supporting al-Qaida."

Clarke retired early in 2003 after 30 years in government service. He was among the country's longest-serving White House staffers, hired in 1992 from the State Department to deal with threats from terrorism and narcotics.

He previously led the government's secretive Counterterrorism and Security Group, made up of senior officials from the FBI, CIA, Justice Department and armed services, who met several times each week to discuss foreign threats.
(via AP)

I'd laugh except it hurts too much....

Funny thing: The story of Rummy's felony (back here) seems to have dropped off the radar screen. Wish someone would ask him about it ...

"These guys will say or do anything." 

It's too much work to nail Bush on all his lies

Though William Saletan does a good job of it here.

We need to establish the meme that "These guys will do and say anything to get elected." That way, nothing they say or do will be given any credence, and we won't have to shoot down each individual charge.

This meme also has the advantage of being true. I mean, stealing an election and lying your way into a war is a pretty good test for the willingness to "say or do anything," isn't it?

We're liberals, so we like to think that rational argumentation has some meaning, even to our opponents. To these guys, it doesn't. They're just making stuff up and throwing it, and whatever sticks, they'll throw more of.

Just blind snapping and snarling, like trapped animals...

"The Republicans are a courageous people. We know it from their culture of NASCAR driving." 

Well, no. But almost as good!

The latest absurdity from Richard Perle, who obviously isn't getting out enough:

In an interview on PBS television Thursday, Wolfowitz said [newly elected Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez] Zapatero's withdrawal plan didn't seem very Spanish.

"The Spaniards are courageous people. I mean, we know it from their whole culture of bullfighting," Wolfowitz said. "I don't think they run in the face of an enemy. They haven't run in the face of the Basque terrorists. I hope they don't run in the face of these people."

"This is an ignorant comment," snapped Madrid firefighter Juan Carlos Yunquera, sitting on a bench outside his firehouse. "For a top official, it shows he doesn't know what he's talking about."

Yunquera, who heard the American official's remarks on the radio, pointed out that Spaniards overwhelmingly opposed the war in Iraq, even as Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar joined President Bush's "coalition of the willing" a year ago and later contributed troops for the occupation.

Prime Minister-designate Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, elected in the aftermath of the devastating bombings, has pledged to withdraw his country's 1,300 troops from Iraq unless the United Nations takes charge.

Carlota Duce, a waitress at the Retinto Bar, where a bullfighting sword, lance and hat hung on a wall above patrons sipping beer and eating tapas, said she had no use for such comments.

"It's drivel," she said above the strumming of flamenco guitar on the stereo. "There is absolutely no comparison between bullfighting and Spain pulling out of Iraq."

Zapatero, who won Spain's elections last Sunday, pledged repeatedly while campaigning to withdraw Spain's troops from Iraq unless the United Nations takes charge.

Bartender Oliver Iglesias said there was a kernel of truth in Wolfowitz's words.

"We are indeed very brave," he said. "But no one here likes the war in Iraq. And there's a big difference between killing a bull and killing a person."

Gustavo de Aristegui, a legislator and spokesman in parliament for Aznar's Popular Party, also criticized Wolfowitz, saying: "A top-ranking politician should be more careful about the remarks he makes, and that's all I'm going to say about Mr. Wolfowitz."

Yunquera, the fireman, said he was annoyed that Wolfowitz even mentioned bullfighting.

"I've never liked bullfighting," he said. "If I was to describe Spain, I would say Spain is a tolerant and joyful country and not even mention bullfighting."
(via AP)

Hey, bullfighting is what liberals are doing, too!

Lawsuits are only frivolous when they don't help Republicans 


Rove's strategy ensures that there will be a Republican lawyer assigned to each contested precinct on election day. Thus positioned, they can explain ballots to loyal voters, confront potentially ineligible voters, and challenge the legality of election conduct. It is this element of the strategy, Rove and the RNC believe, that may win them the 2004 election.

Soon after Florida, Democrats, like Republicans, figured they had to act. The DNC put together and funded the Voting Rights Initiative, run by former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile and dedicated to matching the Republican ferocity in contesting the election results. It was a good idea. Unfortunately, and somewhat typical of recent Democratic operations, the project has died. Eight months before the election, while the VRI has no staff, the DNC is overwhelmed with trying to close the fundraising gap and keep up the rhetorical attacks on President Bush, the top Democratic organizational talent is scattered among the various campaigns contesting the primaries, and the new liberal 527s, non-profits designed to take over many of the DNC's traditional responsibilities, don't see this legal electioneering as part of their job.
(via Washington Monthly)

And we know the press won't cover Republican intimidation tactics, either. Remember when the Newspaper of Record (not!) published the story that the "bougeois rioters" were really Hill operatives whose trips to Florida were all paid for by the Republican party—after Florida was already in the bag, and the coup had been safely executed?

Even though the Gore camp had videotaped the rioters, matched faces to names, and handed the story to them, gift-wrapped....

Think the SCLM will cave this time?

Why is Bush hiring paramilitaries, and what color are their shirts? 

Read Kos (via Atrios).

So, here's the question to the Bush campaign: What possible legitimate use do you have for a firm that specializes in high-tech surveillance, personal investigations, and paramilitary protection?

Now, I posted this awhile back:

If you want a quick picture of the difference between Germany in the '30s and the United States of today, imagine that both Republicans and Democrats had paramilitary wings; overt ones, with uniforms and offices, and that they battled in the streets on a daily basis (This is one reason why the "bourgeois riot" while the votes were being counted in Florida 2000 had an unpleasant resonance for some.)

Guess I was wrong that parties in the US don't have paramilitary wings... Another proof that no matter how cynical I get about Bush—and I try very, very hard to be cynical enough—with these guys it's never enough.

I always thought that Tom Ridge's main and perhaps only qualification for being DHS secretary was the excellent job he did infiltrating, intimidating, and illegally arresting protestors during the 2000 RNC in Philly; and that the major responsibility in his job description would be handling the RNC in 2004, since, for the Republicans "Homeland Security" and "Job Security for Bush" are (hilariously) one and the same thing.

And it looks like this time the Republicans think their situation is far less under control, and they're buying Ridge the tools to do the job the way they know he can....

And in other manufactured news 

Is anybody besides me thinking that this big operation in Pakistan seems, well, just a little bit staged?

And that a slightly skeptical press is giving the story big play, but keeps putting qualifiers like "reported" in the headlines?

Looks to me like Musharraf is giving Bush the ol' quid treatment for Bush giving him a big pro quo: A free pass on Pakistan's $100 million nuclear proliferation effort.

Sort of a community theatre concept in Pakistan's tribal areas... Anticipate a lot of Pakistani theatre between now and the election (assuming there is an election, back here).

UPDATE Coincidence? You be the judge:

CBS News's John Roberts was right in the middle of an interview with national security adviser Condoleezza Rice when she first got the news of the possible surrounding of Osama bin Laden's chief deputy, Ayman Zawahiri.
(via WaPo)

Case closed.

As the press knelt to kiss Bush's boot, the World's Greatest Newspaper (not!) planted its lips first 

It's always nice to hear about old friends like Judith Miller, isn't it?

The journalists on the panels at the University of California at Berkeley this week blamed the Bush administration for leaking faulty information, but said the media also has itself to blame for not being more skeptical about the case for war.

"The press did not do their job," said Michael Massing, who wrote an article in the New York Review of Books that found The New York Times and The Washington Post particularly at fault.

Journalists fear they will be seen as unpatriotic if they challenge White House statements, said Robert Sheer, a syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

"There is no doubt that there is an atmosphere of fear in the media of being out of sync with the punitive government," Sheer said.

Much of the criticism focused on a Sept. 8, 2002, New York Times article by Judith Miller and Michael Gordon, which said Iraq was importing aluminum tubes that could be used in centrifuges to enrich uranium, a critical step in making an atomic bomb.

Massing said nuclear experts or weapons inspectors would have refuted the evidence had the Times consulted them. Experts later verified the tubes were not used for nuclear weapons, but The New York Times and other papers buried that news in their inside pages, he said.

Massing noted that a phrase from the article - "The first sign of a smoking gun may be a mushroom cloud" - made it into President Bush's State of the Union address last year, as well as speeches by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell to justify the war.

A call to the Times for comment was not immediately returned on Friday.
(via AP)

I wonder why?

Winning throught intimidation has worked for Bush so far—will it keep working for him?

The 5:00 horror... 

We're waiting... And I see the usual manufactured news... But no true horror. What gives?

Gilded Youth 

Karl "Hanna" Rove's little McKinley.

[citation] At Harvard Business School, thirty years ago, George Bush was a student of mine. I still vividly remember him. In my class, he declared that "people are poor because they are lazy." He was opposed to labor unions, social security, environmental protection, Medicare, and public schools. To him, the antitrust watch dog, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Securities Exchange Commission were unnecessary hindrances to "free market competition." To him, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal was "socialism." Recently, President Bush's Federal Appeals Court Nominee, California's Supreme Court Justice Janice Brown, repeated the same broadside at her Senate hearing. She knew that her pronouncement would please President Bush and Karl Rove and their Senators. President Bush and his brain, Karl Rove, are leading a radical revolution of destroying all the democratic political, social, judiciary, and economic institutions that both Democrats and moderate Republicans had built together since Roosevelt's New Deal. ~ Yoshi Tsurumi (Professor of International Business, Baruch College, the City University of New York ) March 1, 2004 President George Bush and the Gilded Age

photo: Bush at Harvard


Some Cakewalk, eh? 

But why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it's going to 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

No Surprise That Media Briefing on Iraq Costs Was Cancelled. Meanwhile, the number of soldier suicides keeps climbing, as the army dutifully updates journalists who call. - by Wayne F Smith

For me, the army's suicide data and the tragic homecoming narratives of some Iraq war soldiers are beginning to impugn the administration's apparent cost-benefit ratio. Postponing the release of the Army's long awaited suicide report because it conflicts with the administration's anniversary "take" on the war may alter perception but it doesn't change the indicators that suggest thousands of OIF soldiers could be suffering from the burden of that war.

Wayne F. Smith is a former combat medic in Vietnam and former therapist/counselor at the Veteran's Administration's Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Counseling Program. Currently, he is a special assistant to the president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation.

Read entire article via: Common Dreams


Jim Lehrer's Spineless SchmoozeHour 

PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Christian Parenti dares criticize the Ministry of Halliburton.

Fear and Favor at the PBS NewsHour | March 18, 2004

According to the Voice report, producers for the show suggest that Parenti's mistake was referring to the Halliburton contracts. The Voice quoted NewsHour senior producer Michael Mosettig saying: "This was not reportage, this was giving his opinion, and that's not why we brought him on." Mossetig's deputy, Dan Sagalyn, told the Voice that Parenti's comments lacked "balance."

The remarks seem to have gotten Parenti virtually blacklisted from the show. "I would have liked to have him on again... but because of this it would be very hard," Sagalyn told Cotts. "When you have a loose-cannon experience with somebody, you're going to be wary," Mossetig said.

It would be understandable for the NewsHour to be concerned with the accuracy of comments made by any guest; that would be responsible journalism. But the show is not claiming Parenti said anything inaccurate. Instead, the show seems to be saying that journalists shouldn't give opinions on the show.


In September 2002 (9/20/02), Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed in an interview with Lehrer that Iraq "threw the [U.N.] inspectors out" in 1998, and that in 1990 Iraq had plans for "invading Saudi Arabia, which they were ready to do." Both assertions are false, and neither was challenged by Lehrer. Despite the fact that hundreds of FAIR activists wrote to the NewsHour to point out Rumsfeld's distortions (see FAIR action alert, 9/20/02), Lehrer made no attempt to correct the record.

Read the entire article:



How Dick Cheney screwed his way out of serving in Viet Nam.

Elizabeth Cheney, Deferment Baby: How Dick Cheney dodged the Vietnam draft By Timothy Noah | Mar 18, 2004

Ironically, a lesbian may have saved Dick Cheney's life.
Ooops, wrong daughter. In any case, a girl may have saved Dick Cheney's life! And, ironically, Melanie (see comments) saved me from making a horses ass of myself.


Gagging Democracy 

Letter from a teacher. You should read this.

They made a deal with Kaplan[*] and now all teachers have these cute little scripted lesson plans that they must teach verbatim and on the scheduled time frame so that our students have the basic skills to pass standardized tests. There is no literature or discussion to be had in the classroom. When I asked my principals, at the beginning of the year, when this new script would allow time for discussion, I was told "discussion has no place in the classroom." Eh??? The scary thing is that my students share this sentiment because this is how they have been taught for years."

Now go read the entire letter: And Then

*Kaplan Inc. -


Like I said earlier... 

Rove is trying to keep the rats on the sinking ship:

Foster: White House Had Role In Withholding Medicare Data

Richard S. Foster, the government's chief analyst of Medicare costs who was threatened with firing last year if he disclosed too much information to Congress, said last night that he believes the White House participated in the decision to withhold analyses that Medicare legislation President Bush sought would be far more expensive than lawmakers knew.

Foster has said publicly in recent days that he was warned repeatedly by his former boss, Thomas A. Scully, the Medicare administrator for three years, that he would be dismissed if he replied directly to legislative requests for information about prescription drug bills pending in Congress. In an interview last night, Foster went further, saying that he understood Scully to be acting at times on White House instructions, probably coming from Bush's senior health policy adviser.

Foster said that he did not have concrete proof of a White House role, but that his inference was based on the nature of several conversations he had with Scully over data that Congress had asked for and that Foster wanted to release. "I just remember Tom being upset, saying he was caught in the middle. It was like he was getting dumped on," Foster said.

Foster added that he believed, but did not know for certain, that Scully had been referring to Doug Badger, the senior health policy analyst. He said that he concluded that Badger probably was involved because he was the White House official most steeped in the administration's negotiations with Congress over Medicare legislation enacted late last year and because Badger was intimately familiar with the analyses his office produced.

The account by Foster, a longtime civil servant who has been the Medicare program's chief actuary for nine years, diverges sharply from the explanations of why cost estimates were withheld that were given this week by White House spokesmen and Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. They suggested that Scully, who left for jobs with law and investment firms four months ago, had acted unilaterally and that he was chastised by his superiors when they learned of the blocked information and the threat.

Two days ago, Thompson told reporters: "Tom Scully was running this. Tom Scully was making those decisions." Thompson said the administration did not have final cost estimates until late December predicting that the law would cost $534 billion over 10 years, $139 billion more than the Congressional Budget Office's prediction. Foster has said his own analyses as early as last spring showed that the legislation's cost would exceed $500 billion.
The wheels continue to come off, huh?

Did anyone really believe that "it's all Scully's fault" story anyway?

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Tom Spencer here... 

Hello everyone! This is Tom Spencer, historian, writer, teacher, and author of the now defunct Thinking It Through blog over at the History News Network. I hope that some of you remember me. In the months since I hung up my other blog in November, I've also been guest blogging periodically over at Seeing the Forest as well.

Anyway, I'm excited to announce that I'm going to be guest-blogging when the mood strikes me here at Corrente with Leah, Lambert, Tresy and the Farmer. I'm really looking forward to it.

So, with all the preliminaries out of the way, on to tonight's post.

I'm still trying to figure out why Karl Rove is acting so cocky. Despite his bluster, W's poll numbers are continuing to drop and, as Ruy Teixeira pointed out a couple of days ago, W's not even doing that well in the swing states:

The Gallup report above provides further analysis of their latest poll. In the report, they break down states into red (Bush won by 5 percent or more), blue (Gore won by 5 percent or more), and purple (the margin of victory for Gore or Bush was less than 5 percent; this includes of course almost all the swing states the current campaigns are likely to focus on). In blue states, Kerry is ahead of Bush 55 percent to 42 percent among likely voters. Not unexpected. But in purple, swing states, he is ahead of Bush by even more, 55 percent to 39 percent.
Heck, Teixeira even points out that Kerry's not doing that badly in the red states:

In 2000, Gore lost the Gallup red states by 57 percent to 41 percent, carried the Gallup blue states by 55 percent to 40 percent, and the purple states (Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin) were a dead heat, at 48 percent to 48 percent. Today, the Gallup data (using likely voters and throwing in Nader to make the comparison more exact) show Kerry also losing in the red states, though by less (51 percent to 45 percent), running about the same in the blue states as Gore did in 2000 (55 percent to 42 percent), and doing much better than Gore did in the purple states (52 percent to 39 percent).

What this means is that Kerry's overall lead in the Gallup poll is in no way traceable to running up the vote in the blue states; he's simply holding the Gore lead in those states. Instead, Kerry's lead over Bush is driven by exactly what the Kerry campaign would want: strongly improved performance, relative to Gore, in swing states and whittling down Bush's lead in the red states.

In light of this analysis, it's interesting to look at a Barron's analysis by John Zogby of state-by-state polling (both his own and others) that shows Kerry holding 85 percent of the blue state (defined here in the traditional way as states Gore carried, no matter how small the margin) electoral votes plus New Hampshire, Bush holding only 63 percent of the red state electoral votes, and 136 electoral votes in play. The electoral votes in play, in Zogby's analysis, are distributed over twelve states (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin), eight of which were carried by Bush in 2000 and only four by Gore, meaning that the Republicans have much more turf to defend than the Democrats.

That turf may be very difficult to defend if the Gallup purple state calculations are any indication of how voters in this very similar group of in play swing states are leaning. Its a long way to November, I'll grant you, but the Kerry campaign has got to be happy with how this election campaign is starting out.
In short, this article about Rove is just bluster folks. It's just some plain old-fashioned "what me worry?" posturing. Rove's trying to keep the rats in his own party from jumping off the sinking ship.

W and the boys have looked over the same state-by-state polls. They're beginning to realize they're in real trouble -- and so are Republicans in congress.

If this trend continues (and it very well may not), I can't help but wonder what strange things we're going to see from a White House that is struggling mightily to stay in the political game.

McCain Not Following The BushCo Parade Route? 

John McCain doesn't think John Kerry is "weak on defense."

Thanks to "A Cautious Man" who discovered this item below in the USA Today.

Bush's chief Republican rival in 2000, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Thursday he does not believe Kerry is weak on defense even though they disagree on some issues. McCain, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee and is a friend of the Massachusetts senator, said a discussion of Medicare and other issues should replace negative campaigning.

"He's responsible for his voting record, as we all are responsible for our records, and he'll have to explain it," McCain said of Kerry on "Today" on NBC. "But, no, I do not believe that he is necessarily weak on defense.

Read more here: A Cautious Man


Alterman on Miller 

Did anyone else catch Eric's appearance on Dennis Miller last night? Every time I think public discourse has hit bottom, something like this comes along. Apparently Miller planned to entrap Eric in some pointless debate about whether Bush "misled" on WMD, and when Eric refused to take the bait, he spent the remainder of the segment boorishly sneering at him. And it wasn't even clever sneering. Miller makes Ann Coulter look like Dorothy Parker, O'Reilly like Edward R. Murrow. To switch the Tivo from Miller to The Daily Show was like snapping out of some bad acid trip.

Then Stewart reminded viewers of this, and the bottom dropped again.

It's going to be a long 7 1/2 months.

UPDATE: You can view the segment here.


White Rove Grub-Worm Alert!

Wed Mar 17 [Associated Press]

WASHINGTON - White House political chief Karl Rove said Wednesday that President Bush had just begun to demonstrate the kind of targeted, multi-front campaign he plans against Democratic rival John Kerry. [...]

Homophobic Bigot Alert.

[...] He also said the gay marriage issue is beginning to help Bush, because polls are starting to shift in Bush's direction, with more people opposed to same-sex unions. But Rove implored the activists to add their voices to Bush's call for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage to ensure that Bush is not perceived as standing alone on the issue.

All Congressional Republicans Must Report Immediately to the Parade Grounds for Goosestepping Practice.

And he expressed irritation that some disgruntled Republicans in Congress and elsewhere have increasingly chosen to go to the news media to air their complaints, rather than bringing them directly to the White House.

Rove headlines one of the last announced Bush-Cheney fund-raisers, an event in Alexandria, Va., on Thursday. The campaign also has announced a March 26 fund-raiser starring Vice President Dick Cheney in Dayton, Ohio.

Two Republican officials said Bush plans a "last-hurrah"-style fund raiser March 31 in Washington.

I got a "last-hurrah" for him. By God.


Homophobic Bigot Boom 

If it walks like a homophobic bigot, and quacks like a homophobic bigot -- it's a fuckin' homophobic bigot!

Which brings me to my Google Bomb. From now on, in any post I write on SSM, I will use the term "homophobic bigots" and will link it to the DMC web site. I hope you'll join me in endeavor.

More via: The Fulcrum



Mel Gibson think Preznit feed flock fake turkey.

The usually-conservative movie star-director said he had been having "doubts" about President George W Bush.

"It's all to do with these weapons (of mass destruction) that we can't seem to find, and why did we go over there?" he asked.

Does this mean that Joe Snarlborough won't be hustling any more tickets to the Passion on his little MSGOP snit show? Whatever. LINK

Uh-oh, more block-bluster zeal from Mel?

Posted on Wed, Mar. 17, 2004
Gibson Planning to Make Movie on Jewish Holiday

Mar. 17 - He has portrayed the Crucifixion -- now Mel Gibson has his sights set on the tale that led to Chanukah.

"The Passion of the Christ" director told WABC's Sean Hannity yesterday that he's planning a movie based on a Jewish rebellion nearly 200 years before the birth of Christ.

"The story that's always fired my imagination ... is the Book of Maccabees," Gibson said in the radio interview. "It's about Antiochus, the king who set up his religion in the Temple, and forced them all to deny the true God and worship at his feet and worship false gods.

"The Maccabees family stood up, and they made war, they stuck by their guns, and they came out winning," he continued. "It's like a Western."

A Western! Who don't love a good Western! Maybe he'll give Sean Hannity a cameo. In any case, I hope there is at least one runaway stagecoach scene involving a shikse in distress, some lost luggage, and a shootout at the OK Noshery.



Lesbian Moonie Lapdancers! 

I'll say it again -- Lesbian Moonie Lapdancers!
Help Howard Stern fight back.

...tell him that if he really wants to embarrass the Religious Right...have we got some choice material for him.

See: Searching for Mr. Moonlight

The Art of Lying 

Steve Bates on BushCo's artful war on Medicare:

It's one thing to have different opinions, legitimate opinions based on different assumptions, about what something will cost the taxpayers. It's another thing altogether to know full well that a bill will cost a hundred-plus billion more than you're quoting, and deliberately hide the fact for the sake of passing the bill.

Read more on topic...see: Yellow Doggerel Democrat


You Can't Go Home Again 

Attention Homeowners ~ Faustian Real Estate Bargains Galore!

Bush Visits Pennsylvania to Promote Homeowning - March 16, 2004

He then rode to a Y.M.C.A., where in front of signs set up by the White House saying "A Home of Your Own," he talked about a statistic the administration often cites in asserting that the economy is getting stronger. "Homeownership in America is at the highest rate ever," he said to applause. "It's a fantastic statement to say that, isn't it?" NYTimes

Meanwhile, back at the suburban ranchhouse.

1- [NYTimes - Mar 16, 2004] - Adjusted for inflation, the average family's debt, including a mortgage, has climbed from $54,000 in 1990 to $79,000 last year. Mortgage foreclosures, credit card delinquencies and personal bankruptcies are all at near record levels. LINK

2- [New York Times - Mar 15, 2004]
... Mortgage foreclosure rates, personal bankruptcies and credit card delinquencies have been rising steadily and are at record levels. ... LINK

3- [Business Wire (press release) - Feb 12, 2004]
... As foreclosure rates continue to skyrocket nationwide... LINK

4- [The News Journal, DE - Feb 15, 2004]
... said. "They have succeeded with an astonishing and totally unacceptable side effect - unprecedented foreclosure rates."... LINK

5- [Miami Herald, FL - Mar 12, 2004]
Dayton, Ohio, Area Ranks Near Top in Predatory Lending
... loans. In addition, subprime loans have default and foreclosure rates five to 10 times higher than those for "A" rated loans. As ... LINK

6- [Salt Lake Tribune, UT - Mar 7, 2004]
... Sometimes out-of-state lenders refuse to lend because foreclosure rates are so high. LINK

7- In a deep financial hole, man tries to save house
Only five states have higher foreclosure rates than Pennsylvania, according to the most recent data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

8- [Indianapolis Star, IN - Feb 21, 2004]
... they can't afford. Whatever the cause, Indiana suffers from one of the highest foreclosure rates in the nation. LINK

9- Gwinnett Daily Post, GA - Mar 13, 2004
Home foreclosures on the rise
By Doug Sams. LAWRENCEVILLE — Home foreclosures continue to soar in Gwinnett, another sign that unemployment is still plaguing many residents. ... LINK

10- [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, PA - Mar 13, 2004]
Surge in foreclosures threatens homeowners
... We need to find a way to go to a judge and get a moratorium on foreclosures.". ... Mortgage foreclosures since 1999 rose by 75 percent to 4,300 last year. ... LINK

11- [Miami Herald, FL - Mar 1, 2004]
Boulder County, Colo., Foreclosures Rising but Some Say Things ... ... fees. Foreclosures like the one Weber faces have climbed sharply for three straight years throughout Colorado and Boulder County. ... LINK

They are the heirs and trustees of the supermarket chain Wal-Mart. And between them they are worth $100bn. Considering how the media fawns on the ultra rich, we hear remarkably little about them. Perhaps this is because their position is rather embarrassing. The company that enriches them trades on the idea that it is the friend of the common man and woman, distributing rather than concentrating wealth.


Wal-Mart, which owns the British chain Asda, is now the biggest company on Earth. In the last financial year it took $245bn. It is successful partly because it is one of the most ruthless employers in the western world.

In the US its sales clerks made an average of $13,861 in 2001, almost $800 below the federal poverty line for a family of three. Monbiot/"The Fruits of Poverty"

Help foreclose on the Bush pResidency.
Repossess the White House


Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Vox al-Populi 

Islamofascists for Bush:

"Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilization."

"Because of this we desire you (Bush) to be elected."

(via Eschaton)

Count on Andy and the rest to immediately recast this as a crafty bluff on al-Queda's part. Cue The Princess Bride:
Vizzini: Now, a clever man would put the poison into his own goblet, because he would know that only a great fool would reach for what he was given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of you. But you must have known I was not a great fool, you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the wine in front of me.

...You only think I guessed wrong - that's what's so funny. I switched glasses when your back was turned. Ha-ha, you fool. You fell victim to one of the classic blunders, the most famous of which is "Never get involved in a land war in Asia", but only slightly less well known is this: "Never go in against a Sicilian, when *death* is on the line.". Hahahahahah.
[Vizzini falls over dead] .

Democracy For America 

Howard Dean's DFA to Help Elect Kerry

MONTPELIER, Vt. - The initials — DFA — are those of his high-flying presidential campaign, but Howard Dean (news - web sites)'s new advocacy group will recruit like-minded candidates seeking lower-tier offices as well as promote the election of Democratic candidate John Kerry.


The new organization will play a role in helping Kerry win the presidency in November. Democracy For America also will seek to influence the Democratic Party in much the way that conservatives helped to reshape the Republican Party more than 20 years ago. Associated Press

Democracy For America


Long Live Fausto's Food Palace! 

From the Conch Republic:

Key West Mayor Jimmy Weekley endorses same-sex marriage rights. go see Mustang Bobby


Rumsfeld to citizens: "I'm more equal than you." 

Nice editorial from the Kinston, NC Free Press (nice name, too. Wish we had one):

In George Orwell's novel "Animal Farm," the commandment originally called for the equality of all animals. It was amended in the night to this: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." That version speaks to total equality - except where the elite class deserves more power and privilege.

Nothing brings home the import of this quote more than news that the likes of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and high-ranking FBI officials requested and received debris from buildings demolished in the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Figures on the WTC death toll may never be completely accurate. To date, the estimate is 2,749. We understand there is curiosity about the tragedy. People make pilgrimages daily to Ground Zero. But to parcel out "souvenirs" to governmental officials who are more equal than others is repulsive and a slap in the face to the victims and their families.

Funny how this story just isn't being covered.

And notice (alas) that the editorial misses the key fact that proves their point: ORDINARY CITIZENS HAVE BEEN ARRESTED, PROSECUTED, CONVICTED, AND FINED FOR BREAKING THE SAME LAW THAT RUMSFELD IS BREAKING (back here)

"Some are more equal than others?" In the Bush administration, and for the SCLM, that's not even a story!

Making the case that Bush's military records were tampered with 

No! They would never do that!

See the ever essential Orcinus.

WaPo's Froomkin says the Bush AWOL story still has legs (back here).

Well, then why the heck doesn't WaPo do some real reporting on it?

Camp Dora, 1945 

General Electric "News" Theater rolls on with another installment of MSGOP's Hardball program, starring Chris Mathews as a large pale oafish Beltway Bourbon sort who engages an ever rotating cast of guest-stars in bilious conversational coup de theatre.

Anyway, Mathews was at it on Monday, March 15 2004 with another episode. This one featured a rare subdued segment with good buddy and GE Theater co-star Pat Buchanan.

Pistol Pat and Chris were discussing John Kerry's anti-Viet Nam War activism and allegations of war atrocities made by Kerry those many years ago. Naturally, this conversation visits the usual intellecually vacant attempt to reduce Kerry's positions and activities following the Viet-Nam War to a simplistically framed, dumbed-down storyline, that can be easily loaded into the MSGOP projector on a moments notice and beamed across the glowing NBC/GE universe at the flick of a producers wrist.

The story essentially goes like this: John Kerry's "character" is of a questionable sort because he was critical of the war in Vietnam and of war atrocities commited by other American servicemen during that war. And - John Kerry should have kept his mouth shut about that. He's obviously implicating all Americans in such atrocities! He was obviously nothing but a misguided leftist opportunist riding the wave of the times. And blah blah blah.

MATTHEWS: Who was the man of greater character? Richard Nixon or John Kerry?
BUCHANAN: I think Nixon was a man of great personal character. I think he was a man of flaws but he hung right in there to the end.
MATTHEWS: And Kerry is a man of flaws or a man of bad character with some positives?
BUCHANAN: Well, I wish Kerry would stand up and say, that look, "I shouldn‘t have said that about these guys." He knows he shouldn‘t have said that.
MATTHEWS: Yes. I haven‘t heard him say that.
BUCHANAN: Why doesn‘t he just say it?
MATTHEWS: The idea of atrocities, and "we all participated in atrocities." I don‘t think that would sell too well right now.

You can read the rest of it here: Harball with Chris Mathews, MSNBC Monday March 15, 2004

So. This reminded me of something. Pat Buchanan, in his book A Republic, Not an Empire: Reclaiming America's Destiny made considerable noise about his admiration for Charles A. Lindbergh. Buchanan identifies Lindbergh as one of his heroes. Lindbergh of course was not exactly a raving lefty. To say the least. He was famous for his nutty Des Moines 1941 harangue against cabals of Hollywood Jews and other such bugaboos stewed up by his pals in Dearborn Michigan and on Wall Street and any number of other Nordic avenger enclaves. His opposition to America's entry into WW2 is well known. While Brown Brothers Harriman and Prescott Bush's Union Banking Corporation and were busy helping Thyssen Steel construct Hitler's Luftwaffe Charles Lindbergh was busy visiting Germany on behalf of grand advances in aviation technology. Up up and away.

But what I recalled reading might interest Pat Buchanan and his MSGOP co-patriot buddy Chris Mathews. Especially as it relates to what John Kerry had to say all those years ago with respect to war atrocities. So here ya go Pat. Groove on this. From your hero Charles A. Lindbergh's own account. The Wartime Journals of Charles A. Lindbergh - 1938-1945 (published 1970, excerpts first appeared in American Heritage Oct 1970. (which is where I gleaned the following excerpt.)

[Lindbergh, recounts a visit to Camp Dora, Germany, June 11, 1945 and reflects upon the horrors found there and eleswhere...] is one thing to have the intellectual knowledge, even to look at photographs someone else has taken, and quite another to stand on the scene yourself, seeing, hearing, feeling with your own senses. A strange sort of disturbance entered my mind. Where was it I had felt like this before? The South Pacific? Yes; those rotting Japanese bodies in the Biak caves; the load of garbage dumped on dead soldiers in a bomb crater; the green skulls set up to decorate ready room and tents.

It seemed impossible that men-civilized men- could degenerate to such a level. Yet they had. Here at Camp Dora in Germany; there in the coral caves of Biak. But there, it was we, Americans, who had done such things, we who claimed to stand for something different. We, who claimed that the German was defiling humanity in his treatment of the Jew, were doing the same thing in our treatment of the Jap. "They really are lower than beasts. Every one of 'em ought to be exterminated." How many times had I heard that statement made by American officers in the Pacific! "And why beholdest thou the mote that is thy brother's eye but considerest not the beam that is thine own eye?"...

A long line of such incidents parades before my mind: the story of our Marines firing on unarmed Japanese survivors who swam ashore on the beach at Midway; the accounts of our machine-gunning prisoners on a Hollandia airstrip; of the Australians pushing captured Japanese soldiers out of the transport planes which were taking them south over the New Guinea mountains ("the Aussies reported them as committing hara-kiri or 'resisting'"); of the shinbones cut, for letter openers and pen trays, from newly killed Japanese bodies on Noemfoor; of the young pilot who was "going to cream that Jap hospital one of these days"; of American soldiers poking through the mouths of Japanese corpses for gold-filled teeth ("the infantry's favorite occupation"); of Jap heads buried in anthills "to get them clean for souvenirs"; of bodies bulldozed to the roadside and dumped by the hundreds into shallow, unmarked graves ("where they're so close we can't stand 'em, we have to bury 'em"); of pictures of Mussolini and his mistress hung by the feet in an Italian city, to the approval of thousands of Americans who claim to stand for high, civilized ideals. As far back as one can go in history, these atrocities have been going on, not only in Germany with its Dachaus and its Buchenwalds and its Camp Doras, but in Russia, in the Pacific, in the riotings and lynchings at home, in the less-publicized uprisings in Central and South America, the cruelties of China, a few years ago in Spain, in pogroms of the past, the burning of witches in New England, tearing people apart on the English racks, burnings at the stake for the benefit of Christ and God.

I look down at the pit of ashes ("twenty-five thousand in a year and a half"). This, I realize, is not a thing confined to any nation or people...What is barbaric on one side of the earth is still barbaric on the other. "Judge not that ye be not judged." It is not the Germans alone, or the Japs, but the men of all nations to whom this war has brought shame and degradation...

[source: American Heritage, October 1970. vol. xxi no. 6 - page 115]

I wonder if Pat Buchanan believes that his hero should have apologized for his statements implicating American soldiers in what Mathews calls "the idea of atrocities"?


Stuff for the wingers to boycott now 

Spanish olives.

Miles Davis, "Sketches of Spain"


Uh, aphrodisiacs. No, scratch that. What the wingers don't know won't hurt them.

It's late here in Philly. Readers, can you help?

The questions Bush should be asked on 9/11 

Of course, so far the WhiteWash House isn't being asked anything of substance at all.

See the Family Steering Committee for a shot of the hard stuff.

No wonder Bush is afraid of them, and doesn't want to testify in public, under oath, or before the full commission.

George Bush omorashi! (back here.)

Say, how's Bush coming on reimbursing the parents who had to buy body armor for their children serving in Iraq? 

Just asking.

But heck, he's a war President, right? So wouldn't concern for the families of the troops be high on Bush's list of things to do? Maybe he could just issue an executive order or something.

After all, just because Kerry had the idea doesn't mean it's a bad idea....

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Powell on outsourcing 

Powell reassures the Indians that he's down with shipping all our knowledge work overseas:

"Outsourcing is a natural effect of the global economic system and the rise of the Internet and broadband communications. You're not going to eliminate outsourcing; but, at the same time, when you outsource jobs it becomes a political issue in anybody's country."
(via The Times)

Ever the diplomat!

You know, I keep saying "outsource the CEOs."

At first I meant it as a joke, but then again, why not?

We (a) never see them, and (b) know they don't give two shits about us anyhow, so why shouldn't the corporation save a packet and outsource all the exectives? No private jets, no absurd stock option deals, no bloated salaries, and outsourcing a single executive would save hundreds of American jobs. So, what's not to like?

Big Dog back in the hunt 

Helping Kerry raise 1/17 of Bush's campaign war chest.

LA Times here.

Wouldn't it be great if the country's biggest problem was a blow job?

And in other manufactured news... 

"Kerry's Goring Begins."

Nice post from Pandagon. And Angry Bear has interesting polling data which would show why any legitimately elected leader would think twice before working with Bush.

And man, this whole "name the leaders" flap is so ridiculous, so crass, so absurd, so densely impacted with major league, heavy duty, weapons grade boneheadedness that I wasn't cynical enough to believe that the Thugs and their whores would pick it up and run with it.

And yet they have. "Is that the best you can do?" I would have said. To which they would have responded: "Yes. And?"


There's an old Serbian saying: "A fool throws a stone into the sea, and a thousand wise men can never find it."

So much for the edifying spectacle of the 2004 election. Thanks, Babs. Thanks, Waura. Thanks, Acting President Rove.

Then again, there's an old Clintonian saying, in much the same situation, facing the same cast of characters: "We'll just have to win, then."

I like that saying.

Did Bush fake Medicare ads to give himself a standing ovation? 

Remember in March 2003 when Bush wouldn't address the European parliament unless they guaranteed him standing ovation?

He hasn't changed!

Those progaganda ads for Medicare that show Bush getting standing ovations:

News reports in America that showed President George Bush getting a standing ovation from potential voters have been exposed as fake, it has emerged.

The US government admitted it paid actors to pose as journalists in video news releases sent to TV stations intending to convey support for new laws about health benefits.

Investigators are examining the film segments, in which actors pretending to be journalists praise the benefits of the new law passed last year by President Bush, to see if they could be construed as propaganda.

Two of the films are signed off by "Karen Ryan", who was an actor hired to read a script prepared by the government, according to production company Home Front Communications.

And in some scenes President Bush is shown receiving a standing ovation from a crowd cheering him as he signed the Medicare law, which is designed to help elderly people with prescriptions.

Lawyers from the investigative arm of Congress discovered the tapes as part of an investigation into federal money that was used to publicise the new law.

They will be keen to ascertain whether the government might have misled viewers by failing to reveal the source of the videos, which were broadcast in Oklahoma, Louisiana and other states.
(via Guardian)

"Name the actors, George!"

Coalition of the willing starts to crumble 

Not that it was all that much of a coalition to begin with

President Bush today urged allies not to pull their troops from Iraq, but his plea was not enough to keep another coalition member from announcing that it, like Spain, would withdraw forces by the end of June.

Despite Bush's call, Honduras' defense minister, Federico Breve, announced that Honduras would withdraw all of its 370 troops from a Spanish-led brigade by the end of June.
(via LA Times)

Just like Spain. Don't these morons undertstand that the June 30 deadline was fake, meant for domestic consumption in the US elections? Our "allies" weren't meant to take it seriously!

Honduras... Just like Spain... Feels so used. I wonder why?

I love Bush's "conversations" 

You know.

The kind of "conversation" where Bush talks, you listen, there's a photo op, and he blows town.

Kinda "wham bam thank you ma'am" in my book, but some people seem to think it works for him, and who am I, a lowly citizen and voter, to argue with Acting President Rove?

Now that's compassion! 

On Wisconsin! On Wisconsin!

Congressional investigators said Tuesday that Wisconsin is receiving $936 million more in federal Medicaid payments than it should under an arrangement with the Health and Human Services Department, run by former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson.
(via AP)

Say, I wonder if Wisconsin is a swing state?

Chutzpah-related campaign activities 

Get a load of this, from Mr. 16 Words himself!

"I think if you're gonna make an accusation in the course of a presidential campaign, you out [sic] to back it up with facts," Bush said
(via CNN)

I'm sure the results of the RNC push polls will start coming out any day now..,,

WaPo: Bush AWOL story not done 

Let's roll the tape:

Washington, D.C.: Do you think the issue of Bush's unclear military record is done?

[FROOMKIN]: No I don't. This somewhat odd story from the Sunday Spokane Spokesman-Review is getting some attention in the blogosphere, for instance. I may weigh in again in tomorrow's column
(via WaPO)

Of course, Corrente readers read the Seattle PI story yesterday (here, and see of course the ever-essential Orcinus).

"Somewhat odd...." Yeah, there's a lot that's somewhat odd, alrgiht.,

And in other manufactured news 

Bush says to Kerry "Bring it up with facts" on the whole—misquoted!—"more leaders" bit.

Is this absurd meme getting any traction anywhere but the wingersphere? Readers?

16 words, aWol, 16 words ....

Employers doing their bit for Bush? 

Survey says:

Job seekers looking for work this spring will find some of the most favorable employment conditions in more than three years as large numbers of companies plan to ramp up hiring, according to a employer survey released today.
(via LA Times)

Then again, what did we learn from the polling in the Democratic primaries? That people game the system by using the poll to "send a message" at no risk to themselves—unlike actually voting, which does involve a risk.

So, are the employers (who, so far, have been quite happy to pocket the profits from increased productivity in a flatlined job market driven by fear) gaming the system?

Time will tell...

"And it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for?" 

Good for this soldier:

U.S. soldier who refused to return to Iraq after he was shaken by a gunfight that killed innocent civilians reported to his unit Tuesday in preparation for seeking conscientious objector status.

Staff Sgt. Camilo Mejia walked into the building housing his Florida National Guard unit at the North Miami Armory after repeating his determination not to return to the Middle East and fight.

"I'm prepared to go to prison because I'll have a clear conscience," Mejia said.

Mejia, 28, of Miami Beach, was in Iraq for about five months last year until October, when he returned home on leave. He did not return to duty. He surrendered Monday at an Air Force base in Massachusetts and was ordered to return to Florida and report to his unit, the 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment of the Florida National Guard.

"This is an oil-driven war, and I don't think any soldier signs up to fight for oil," Mejia said Monday after arriving at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Mejia was accompanied to the armory by his mother, an aunt and Spc. Oliver Perez, who served with him. Perez said Mejia is "a brave leader" and should not be prosecuted.

"I fought next to him in many battles. He is not a coward," Perez said.
(via AP)

This is a bigger story than Spain, really.

Slow collapse of journalism in America 

To be fair to the press corpse, it's hard to do stuff like, you know, actual reporting, let alone investigative journalism, when the newsroom budget is being cut back.

Most American news media are experiencing a steady decline in audiences and are significantly cutting their investment in staff and resources, according to a report issued yesterday.

The study on the state of the US news media by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, which is affiliated to Columbia University's graduate journalism school, found that only ethnic, alternative and online media were flourishing.

"Trust in journalism has been declining for a generation," said the project director, Tom Rosenstiel. "This study suggests one reason is that news media are locked in a vicious cycle. As audiences fragment, newsrooms are cut back, which further erodes public trust."

Circulation of English-language daily newspapers has dropped 11% since 1990; network news ratings are down 34% since 1994; late-night local television news viewership has fallen by 16% since 1997; and the number of viewers watching cable news has been flat since late 2001.

On the positive side, Spanish-language newspaper circulation has nearly quadrupled over the past 13 years and advertising revenues are up sevenfold.

The report catalogued a striking decline in the number of journalists employed in American newsrooms.

There are one-third fewer network correspondents than in 1985; 2,200 fewer people at newspapers than in 1990; and the number of full-time radio newsroom employees fell by 44% from 1994 to 2001.
(via Guardian)

What's unconsionable is that the journalists who are doing the wrong thing—whoring it up as spinners and talking heads—are raking in the bucks, while hard-working reporters get nothing. Ah, corporate America...

Note that this is bad for us, too, in the blogosphere—unless and until we develop our own reporting infrastructure, so we can break stories instead of commenting on them. But that takes time, money, and a lot of years.

Meanwhile, corporate America seems quite content with American citizens knowing less and less about their country and the world. I wonder why?

Say, since Iraq had nothing to do with AQ, why does Spain withdrawing from Iraq impact the WOT at all? 

Wingers laying the groundwork for postponing November elections 

Right on the Op-Ed page of the Izvestia on the Hudson. David "I'm Writing as Bad as I Can" Brooks:

[I]t was crazy to go ahead with an election a mere three days after the Madrid massacre.
(via The Times)

Then there's Edward Luttwak, whose book, Coup D'Etat, may well have given the Florida operatives in 2000 a blueprint. He writes:

The Spanish literally had no time to reflect between the Madrid bombings and the election. With more time, other nations are more likely to react as democracies usually do
(via The Times)

As usual with Bush, what was once tinfoil hat theorizing metastatizes into the new norm....

Faulty logic from Scott "Sucka MC" McClellan 


President Bush's spokesman called John Kerry a liar Monday unless the senator comes clean with the names of world leaders he has claimed prefer him to be President.

"Either he is straightforward and states who they are, or the only conclusion one can draw is that he is making it up to attack the President," Scott McClellan charged.
(via AP)

Or, could it be, that if he does name them, he'll make life harder for the President—any President—and so Kerry is doing the honorable, patriotic thing?

And I don't know why Kerry has to "name names." Everyone who does business with Bush who does'nt get part of the rake-off loathes him, since he lied his way into the war in Iraq, as everyone, including our one-time allies, knows. Why should other heads of state be different?

C'mon, guys. You really do need KaWen back.

Monday, March 15, 2004

The fundamentals of fundamentalism 

We received the following communiqué from Allen Brill of The Right Christians (that is, as opposed to the "Christian" right) in response to our post (back here) proposing to replace the incoherent and deceptive "War on Terror" (WOT) meme with a "Campaign Against Fundamentalism" (CAF) meme, recognizing that to a large extent our winger SICs and theocons are mirror images of the Islamic fundamentalists they so vehemently oppose.

I'm very grateful to Allen, since I'm by no means an expert in fundamentalism or the evangelicals. Since it seems likely that both will play a large role in the 2004 election, well, we had better educate ourselves, eh?


Your instincts about the need to be precise are good ones. While I'm no expert on Christian fundamentalism either, here are some things I feel confident about saying:

1. Fundamentalism is a 20th century phenonmenon. To call a movement back during the Reformation "fundamentalist" [as I did—Lambert] is an anachronism, since fundamentalism is a reaction to modernity. It's probably more accurate to call the wars of the 16th and 17th centuries "sectarian" conflicts akin to the battles still raging in Northern Ireland and the Balkans.

2. Until as late as the 70's, most fundamentalists were opposed to involvement in politics.

3. Nearly all fundamentalists are millennialists, i.e. they anticipate a 1,000 year earthly reign of Christ on earth. Catholics, Episcopalians, and Lutherans are amillennialist and interpret Revelation 20 allegorically. Some fundamentalists are pre-millennialists who expect Christ to return and initiate the final events leading up to the millennium. These are the "rapture" folks of "Left Behind." [See also here—Lambert] Others are post-millennialists; these would include the Reconstructionists. They expect to usher in the millennium before Christ's return. I've written about these distinctions a number of times, including here and here.

4. One tenet defining fundamentalism is biblical inerrancy which is what most people mean by "literalists." While fundamentalists may interpret some biblical texts as allegorical, they hold that the Bible is without error not only in spiritual but also historical and scientific matters. You might check the thread generated by the post on the "creationist scientist" in which I try to pin down a couple of regular fundamentalist posters on some biblical points. One is apparently a layman well-versed in the Bible and self-taught in Greek. The other is a seminary student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary which is headed by Albert Mohler, one of the new leaders of the Christian Right.

5. Fundamentalists are also exclusivists, i.e. they hold that only those who believe as they do will end up in heaven.

6. Fundamentalism is an American phenomenon that we are now exporting, sometimes with the aid of money from the Scaifes and Ahmansons, to other parts of the world, notably Africa and South America.

7. Fundamentalism is strongly patriarchal. Connected with this are their positions against abortion and gay equality.

The University of Virginia provides an excellent gateway into the study of fundamentalism and includes a discussion of Martin Marty's important Fundamentalism Project.

Re: the re-framing you're proposing, [from the WOT to the CAF]. It's an excellent idea. The neocons (I saw Perle use this line today) like to talk about the WOT being against "Islamic extremism" and "radical Islam." That plays well with the Christian fundamentalists who want to do battle against all Islam.

In fact, we're in a war of modernity against fundamentalists of all stripes. And they come in all stripes: Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, etc. Current strongholds of fundamentalism that are also powerful politically in the United States are the Southern Baptist Convention and para-church organizations like Dobson's Focus on the Family.

In regard to your suggested slogan: "Don't say `terrorist'—say `fundamentalist'"—How about "fundamentalist extremists" or "radical fundamentalists"? Some additional modifier is necessary because it would be quite unfair to brand all fundamentalists as bent on violence or even political domination.

Finally, not all Evangelicals are fundamentalists. People like Al Mohler are becoming quite concerned at younger Evangelicals and some Evangelical teaching facilities like Fuller Seminary because they're not holding the fundamentalist line.

Thanks, Allen. Clarity is an edged weapon in the war of ideas.

Readers? Your thoughts?

Steak sauce? 

The Newspaper of Record (not!) goes after Robert Cox for thought-crime using the DMCA (via the A1 project).

Say, when is the Time's ludicrously overworked ombudsman going to be able to get around to Jeff Gerth, and how he aided and abetted the VWRC during the winger coup against Clinton? Oh, wait, that's all in the past, I forgot.

Life imitates art 

If you can call blogging an art. Awhile back, I thought it would make sense to wrap all the theocon's issues and concerns up into a big hairy humongous ball and have a constitutional amendment against evil, in the form of the Defense of Good Amendment:

Evil in the United States shall consist of the absence of good. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that the status of goodness or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon the evil.
(back here)


It turns out that in Florida (not the part of Florida that shares Enlightenment values, the other part) they were doing the same thing, except—and I'm not making this up—they weren't joking:

[INGLIS, FLORIDA] "Be it known from this day forward," [Inglis Mayor Carolyn Risher's proclamation] began, "that Satan, ruler of darkness, giver of evil, destroyer of what is good and just, is not now, nor ever again will be, a part of this town of Inglis ... In the past, Satan has caused division, animosity, hate, confusion, ungodly acts on our youth, and discord among our friends and loved ones. NO LONGER!"

And finally:

"We exercise our authority over the devil in Jesus' name. By that authority, and through His Blessed Name, we command all satanic and demonic forces to cease their activities and depart the town of Inglis."

The mayor printed her proclamation on official stationery. She stamped it with a gold seal. She signed it and, along with Sally McCranie, the town clerk, made copies and stuffed them into four, hollowed-out wooden posts on which were painted "repent," "request," "resist."

Then, together with a local pastor, a town commissioner and the chief of police, the 62-year-old mayor went to each of Inglis' four entrances and, in the name of the town's 1,421 residents, fixed those messages of banishment into the very ground.

There's plenty more detail here.

Oh my. My head hurts.

I've already had two beers
and I'm ready for the broom
Please Mrs. Henry
won't you take me to my room
Please Mrs. Henry
Mrs. Henry please
Please Mrs. Henry
Mrs. Henry please
I'm down on my knees
And I ain't got a dime

OK. I feel better now. Sorry about that.

Rummy the Ghoul's flak: "It's OK to break the law and loot 9/11 relics—they're mementos!" 

"Tell that to the Feds, Rummy!" The SCLM keeps getting this story wrong. The story is this: People were prosecuted for looting parts from the Columbia shuttle disaster (back here). The same statute should be applied to Rumsfeld for looting the 9/11 site. But it isn't being applied. Why is that OK?

Law enforcement agencies should investigate Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and FBI agents for possessing mementos from the World Trade Center and other sites of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a group of attorneys said Monday.

The National Whistleblower Center made the request because an inquiry found Rumsfeld has a piece of the airplane that flew into the Pentagon inside his office. The Justice Department's inspector general also discovered that 13 FBI agents had taken rubble, debris and items such as flags and a Tiffany crystal globe paperweight from the trade center.

Defense Department spokesman Eric Ruff rejected any suggestion of impropriety. "It's not a souvenir; it is a memento on display in Secretary Rumsfeld's office," said Ruff.
(via AP)

So what's the deal here? Is there one law for Rumsfeld, and another law for the ordinary citizen? They think they own 9/11, when it belongs to everyone!

NOTE The other piece of this story that, somehow, keeps not being covered, is that high FBI officials also looted the 9/11 site. They said they wanted the airplane parts to give to "dignitaries." OK, who were the dignitaries? Pioneers and Rangers, say? Big contributors to Bush?

UPDATE See up here for the latest.

Bush administration continues Total Information Awareness covertly—while defunding privacy protection 

That alone should tell you the TIA stuff is there to be privatized.

Two cutting-edge computer projects designed to preserve the privacy of Americans were quietly killed while Congress was restricting Pentagon data-gathering research in a widely publicized effort to protect innocent citizens from futuristic anti-terrorism tools.

As a result, the government is quietly pressing ahead with research into high-powered computer data-mining technology without the two most advanced privacy protections developed to police those terror-fighting tools.

Professor LaTanya Sweeney of Carnegie Mellon University was the principal researcher developing privacy protections for the Bio-ALIRT project. An early version of Bio-ALIRT was used to help protect President Bush's 2001 inauguration and the 2002 Olympics before Sweeney developed her privacy software.

She also presented her work last fall to officials of various agencies and said she was told they "might want to continue the work. But they came through with zero dollars."

Sweeney said DARPA paid to develop the privacy software but didn't pay for a public field test. "The tool just sits there unused," she said. "People think they have to sacrifice privacy to get safety. And it doesn't have to be that way."

(via AP)

Every day something new that's stupid. I just can't keep up.

Bush AWOL: The story that will not die, though the SCLM tries to kill it with silence 

OK. The Republicans are good. This we know. After Bush dumps the records on the press and claims they're "complete," Waura comes out and makes two arguments to defend her Boy (can't he do it?). Waura says: (1) She knows Bush did his Guard duty because he told her so. Then she says (2) anyone who says Bush didn't do his duty is insulting the National Guard.

And there the matter rests: Nobody says a thing about point (1), since we all know Bush is a liar anyhow, but nobody picks up on point (2)—not McAuliffe, not Kerry, presumably so as not to insult the National Guard troops who are, after all, serving ther country under conditions of great danger in Bush's Iraq fiasco.

And we let Waura get away with reframing the issue, as did the SCLM.

The issue is not that Bush "served" in the Guard, as Waura and the SCLM would have us believe.

The issue is not that Bush served in a champagne unit owing to the political pull of his Daddy.

The issue is not that there are no records showing the Bush did his duty, and that witnesses who claim to have seen him are unreliable.

The issue is not even that the records Bush released are not complete, even though (of course) he claimed that they were. (One of the records, the crucial DD-214, is missing (back here), which alone should raise the question of whether the records have been, well, tampered with.)

The crucial issue is: Bush was suspended from flying because he didn't take his flight physical. Why?

With that as background, we now come to this crucial post by the ever-essential Orcinus, who analyzes this story, by an actual investigative journalist, such as are no longer to be found inside the Beltway, which he summarizes as follows:

Bush was subject to the Human Reliability Program, a set of stringent regulations designed to prevent nuclear weapons from being handled by people who were unreliable:

While Bush's defenders expend a great deal of energy downplaying the HRP rules and their role in the Air Guard, the reality is that they were in fact a point of emphasis during the time period in question:

Thousands of pilots and other military personnel have lost their job assignments under the human reliability regulations, which were established in the 1960s, according to academic researchers.

The regulations were made stricter in the 1970s when the military started screening for drug abuse, said Dr. Herbert Abrams in a 1991 research paper.
... "The military takes this very, very seriously," said Lloyd Dumas, professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. He is the author of Lethal Arrogance, a 1999 study of human foibles and dangerous technology.

"People of a lesser rank can even remove their superiors (under HRP). It's one of the few areas where rank doesn't matter," Dumas said.

Bush's suspension, his spotty final year of military service and his failure to take his flight physical are puzzling, Dumas said.

"If Bush was under the Human Reliability Program, there should be a paper trail. And if there's not, that's very, very unusual," the University of Texas professor said.

So now the question is: Will anyone in the Washington press corps pick up on this development? Will any of them ask Scott McClellan or Dan Bartlett whether Bush in fact was under the HRP rules? And if so, where are the accompanying documents?

Fat chance. But we can ask it!

First Republican Janklow kills a man, then he gets convicted, then we pick up the tab! 

Typical Republican. On all counts. And by counts, I mean criminal counts.

Bill Janklow was on duty as South Dakota's congressman when his speeding car collided with a motorcycle last summer, meaning federal taxpayers would pay any civil damages arising from the fatal crash, a prosecutor has concluded.
(via AP)

Babs, Waura to Boy Emperor: Bring back Kawen 

Hey, if I didn't know better than to think this, let alone say it, I'd say Bush is hiding behind the skirts of his Women (again)!

Laura and Barbara Bush are "paying attention," says a Bush official. The President's mother, in particular, is worried that she has seen this movie before. Says the official: "She does not want to see her family go through a '92 thing again."

Many Bush allies are trying to push up the return of the President's longtime aide Karen Hughes from her semi-retirement in Austin, Texas, to restore the balance in Bush's world between Rove's political instincts, which lean toward tending the party's base, and her more "Mom-in-the-kitchen sense of the country," as an adviser described it.
(via CNN)

Call me crazy, but it could be that Bush himself, and his policies, are the problem, and that even with all the money in the world, and Karen Hughes, he won't be able to buy his way out of this one? The slippery little scut...

Military families support the troops by trying to bring them home 

Especially since Iraq has nothing to do with the WOT.

Some military families and others who oppose the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq are marching through Washington, D.C., to the White House.

Some 60 protesters gathered early Monday at Walter Reed Army Medical Center near Washington, the first stop in the United States for many of the soldiers wounded in Iraq. The demonstrators are now making their way through the capital city in a memorial procession to a park across from the White House.

The event is organized by a group called "Military Families Speak Out", which represents about a thousand military families who want President Bush to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. Members of the group criticize Mr. Bush for -as they say - refusing to acknowledge the toll of the Iraq war.
(via Voice of American (I'll say))

Good for them!

New Paltz ministers prosecuted for marrying gays 

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:10)

Two Unitarian Universalist ministers have been criminally charged for marrying gay couples in New Paltz, New York, and it may be the first prosecution of the clergy for performing such ceremonies, the Associated Press reported.
(via Bloomberg)

Gosh, now I'm really confused. If marriage is a sacrament (which some say it is), then isn't the state now defining what's holy? And isn't that exactly the establishment of religion that's prohibited by the Second Amendment?

UPDATE Calling Dr. Freud on that slip about the Second Amendment. I meant the First Amendment. Really. Thanks to alert reader Xan.

Bush flip-flopping on prescription drugs 

So if competition is good, what's wrong with importing drugs from Canada?

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)

Even those whores in the AARP leadership are for importing Canadian drugs. Sure, it's a bandaid on a cancer, and the real cure is universal health coverage, but sometimes a bandaid is better than no bandaid.

The Wecovery: Say, what about my bottom line? 

As always, the numbers tell the story:

While Washington has showered tax cuts on U.S. businesses to spur them to grow, executives have not created new jobs or shared their increased prosperity with workers. Instead, the tax benefits largely have fattened companies' bottom lines. The growing disparity between corporate and worker fortunes requires a re-examination of strategies for stimulating the economy.

Corporate profits are up 30% since the end of the 2001 recession, according to the Commerce Department (news - web sites). And dividends paid by the Standard & Poor's 500 companies have increased 19% in the past two years. By contrast, 2.3 million jobs have disappeared since 2001. And weekly earnings for the average worker in 2003 rose just half of one percent in two years, after adjusting for inflation, the Labor Department (news - web sites) reports.

Uh, maybe that's why corporate profits were up? Out of my pocket into theirs?

Those were not the results corporate lobbyists promised in 2003 when they won $148 billion in pro-business tax cuts over five years.
(via USA Today)


Kerry encounters his first freeper? 

Looks like the attack machine is building up a head of steam on that "foreign leaders" sound bite from Kerry.

The theme was raised by Cedric Brown, a participant in a town hall meeting in Pennsylvania. He wondered whether Kerry was meeting with foreign leaders "to help you overthrow the Bush presidency."
(via USA Today)

Put on your tinfoil hats! A classic case of winger projection!

"Link between taxes and unemployment is absent 

So much for about two decades of Republican bloviation, along with whatever claim Bush is making for tax cuts this week.

When President Bill Clinton raised taxes in 1993, the unemployment rate dropped, from 6.9 to 6.1 percent, and kept falling each of the next seven years. When President Bush cut taxes in 2001, the unemployment rate rose, from 4.7 to 5.8 percent, then drifted to 6 percent last year when taxes were cut again.

It has become conventional wisdom in Washington that rising tax burdens crush labor markets. Bush castigated his political opponents last week for "that old policy of tax and spend" that would be "the enemy of job creation."

Yet an examination of historical tax levels and unemployment rates reveals no obvious correlation.

"The fact of the matter is, we have much higher rates of employment today than we did in 1954, but our level of taxation is considerably higher," said Gary Burtless, a labor economist at the Brookings Institution. "You simply can't look at total taxation to find employment levels."
(via WaPo)

I love that this is under the heading "For the record." Maybe "balanced coverage" of the campaign will now include a reference to this story that notes that what the Republicans are saying is the exact opposite of what actually happened during the Clinton years?

Europeans: Microsoft a monopoly 

Who knew?

The European Union's antitrust office won unanimous backing from national regulators on Monday for a draft ruling against Microsoft that people familiar with the ruling say finds that the U.S. software giant abused its Windows monopoly. The draft orders deep changes in the way the company operates. Amelia Torres, a spokeswoman for the European Commission, said the closed-door session with representatives of the 15 EU governments ended around midday. "The member states have unanimously backed the commission's draft decision," she said, without elaborating.
(via Herald Trib)

Science for Republicans 

A new planet!

AMERICAN boffins were expected to announce today that they had found a new "planet" in our solar system.

A 10th heavenly body has been spotted orbiting the Sun. It has been named Sedna after the Inuit goddess of the ocean.

After sightings by the Hubble Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope, NASA was expected to unveil its latest find.
(via The Sun (UK))

So, is the new planet 6000 years old too?

"What difference does it make?" is now the official line 

It makes a difference if you just, uh, make stuff up.

Bush administration officials continue to hold out hope that weapons of mass destruction stockpiles will be found in Iraq. But even if they're not, they say, the war to topple Saddam Hussein was still worthwhile.
(via AP)

So who will believe us the next time?

Coalition crumbling 

Spain out—at the June 30 deadline.

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whose Socialist party won Spain's general elections, said Monday that he will recall Spain's 1,300 peacekeeping troops in Iraq by June 30.
(via AP)

Next, Fiji...

Sunday, March 14, 2004

That electronic voting machines could make a travesty of election 2004 dawns on the Times editorial board 

And not a moment too soon.

Four years after Florida made a mockery of American elections, there is every reason to believe it could happen again. This time, the problems will most likely be with the electronic voting that has replaced chad-producing punch cards. Some counties, including Bay County, use paper ballots that are fed into an optical scanner, so a recount is possible if there are questions. But 15 Florida counties, including Palm Beach, home of the infamous "butterfly ballot," have adopted touch-screen machines that do not produce a paper record. If anything goes wrong in these counties in November, we will be in bad shape.

Florida's official line is that its machines are so carefully tested, nothing can go wrong. But things already have gone wrong. In a January election in Palm Beach and Broward Counties, the victory margin was 12 votes, but the machines recorded more than 130 blank ballots. It is simply not believable that 130 people showed up to cast a nonvote, in an election with only one race on the ballot. The runner-up wanted a recount, but since the machines do not produce a paper record, there was nothing to recount.

In 2002, in the primary race for governor between Janet Reno and Bill McBride, electronic voting problems were so widespread they cast doubt on the outcome.
(via The Times)

All well and good, but the Times gets one point wrong, and fails to paint the larger picture.

The technical point is this: The real issue is not a rogue or winger programmer hijacking the election, but simple programming errors that cause the wrong totals to go into the system, after which they cannot be checked. Have you ever had an error on your bank statement? Multiply that by 100,000,000 voters, and then consider that Bush "won" Florida by 537 votes (after Jebbie had gotten a Texas-based data processing firm to throw tens of thousands of legitimate Democratic voters off the rolls, of course).

The bigger picture is this: There is little enough reason to regard the current Bush regime as legitimate (see back here) and if there's any problem with the 2004 vote, there's less than no reason.

Heaven knows I don't know what to say about Haiti 

but I would like to hear how the wingers and freepers are coping with the cognitive dissonance of the French putting their troops in harm's way to protect our Marines:

French troops took over patrols Sunday in a slum where U.S. Marines - under fire - killed at least two people and angered residents demanding the return of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
(via AP)

OK, putting "cognitive" in the same sentence as "wingers" is making assumptions that not all people share. But you see what I mean, right?

Rapture index closes up 2 on gay marriage and Putin election 

Heavy prophetic activity detailed here.

Good news. Or not, depending on whether you think bringing on the end times is a Good Thing. (I wonder what Bush thinks?)

The rain in Spain 

falls mainly on the lame.

That is, on lame politicians who tie their fortunes to Bush. AP has the election results.

Kos and Atrios have analysis.

"Crooks": State-run media gives Rummy a pass on his ghoulish, felonious looting of 9/11 relics [UPDATE] 

Our story thus far:

We know that Rumsfeld (and other high FBI officials)

1. looted 9/11 relics (back here)
2. which is a Federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in jail (back here)
3. for which ordinary citizens have been indicted, prosecuted, convicted, and punished (back here).

And I know you'll find this hard to believe, but:

4. There's not a word about Rummy's crime in the Times or the Post. (I just checked; and see Google at 2:07AM EST.)

You'd almost think they wanted to suppress the story!

To be fair to the SCLM, the LA Times picks up the original AP story (point 1, above) but misses the fact that Rummy's act was not only illegal (point 2), and that the law under which Rummy could be prosecuted is not a dead letter (point 3). The Salt Lake City Tribune does the same. The New York Daily News cuts the AP story but names some of the FBI officials who took 9/11 relics and a flag to give to "dignitaries" (Pioneers and Rangers?). Our own Inky (Knight-Ridder ) reports on the doings of a local FBI agent.

The real story is this:

Rummy broke the law. (But that's OK, since he's a Republican, and ordinary standards don't apply.)

Rummy stealing 9/11 relics is part and parcel with the whole Bush approach to our national tragedy and anything else in the public square that isn't nailed down: These guys treat what belongs to everyone as something that belongs to them. The Bush campaign ads show that in a large and public way; Rummy's looting shows that in a mean and private way.

Rummy's a ghoul. Have they no decency? At long last, have they no decency?

When is Bush going to fire Rummy's ass?

UPDATE 1 Whaddaya know? Rumsfeld goes on Face the Nation, and Schneider—with the evidence here in the blogosphere to nail Rummy on a Federal crime—gives him a pass too! (PDF transcript via Atrios).

My goodness, you'd almost think the SCLM wanted to suppress the story!

UPDATE 2 Whaddaya know? Rummy's flak says, "IOKIYAR!"

Don't crush that dwarf, hand me the pliars! 

Nice storyboard for a JFK2.0 ad from Needlenose—with a request for suggestions on how to improve it. It takes a village to stomp a weasel™ ...

NOTE Thanks to Oliver Willis for "JFK 2.0."

Scum Alert 

This is a re-edited version of a post accidentally posted to the blog before it was finished.

One measure of the depth and breadth of right-wing scum-sucking - how many individuals, columns, news sources, and institutions could the title of this post apply to? It's in the thousands, right?

The particular scum referred to here bubbled up in The Washington Times; it's a poll that, among other questions, asked 800 Americans to give their opinion on which of the two presidential candidates would our terrorist enemies like to see win the coming election. The pollsters aren't well known, and the nuttiness of the question suggests some bias, as do the even nuttier results - 60 percent picking Kerry as the Osama choice for Prez, only 25% picking Bush for that role, even though a majority of the 800 polled picked Kerry as the candidate they're aiming at this point in time to vote for. But don't make the mistake of thinking that nutty partisanship will keep this poll from popping up all over the rightwing media infrastructure.

Unless, of course, someone were to do some actual journalism, and the rest of the what skippy. that lovable bush kangaroo, has happily named "blogtopia" were to make something of a fuss about just how down and dirty idiotic is this particular cheap shot.

Well, the indispensible Billmon at the ever popular Whiskey Bar has done the journalism part. He's even got some email addresses up where thoughts about the poll can be addressed to those who perpetrated it. As always at Whiskey Bar, the comment thread is worth reading too.

As Jon Husband comments there: "Every day it gets harder to believe that all this is happening." Too true. But believe it we must.

As scum-sucking goes, this one is pretty feeble, more laughable than poisonous. Scum-sucking of a more serious order is the subject of this first-rate bit of journalism by the ever-remarkable Hesiod of the factually-named Counterspin Central.

It seems that the Republicans and their surrogates are taking aim at the circumstances of the breakup of John Kerry's first marriage to Julia Thorne, which was complicated by the fact that Kerry is Catholic, and for the marriage to be officially dissolved some years after it had ceased to function in order that he could marry his current wife, Theresa, Senator Kerry had to seek an annulment from the Catholic Church. What the rightwing mud brigade, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and quite probably the recently inducted honorary mud member, Mickey Kaus, to name but a few, would clearly like to be able to do is graft onto Kerry's marital history, a "Newt" problem, i.e., Gingrich's history of breaking the unhappy news to his first two wives of his departure from those marriages in order to marry someone else (he left wife # 1 for wife #2 and wife #2 for wife #3, his current so far wife) in the most ungentlemanly of circumstances.

Read Hesiod and arm yourselves with the truth against what will be an unceasing barrage of such scum-sucking.

Looking on the brighter side, being a lefty/liberal/Democrat who wants to defeat George W. Bush in November feels a whole lot different in 2004 than it did in 2000, doesn't it? Not so lonely, not so frustrating, not so maddening (in the sense of feeling that your own sanity is at risk), and with a growing sense of optimism that this is doable, and who can deny that this difference is, in part, the work of the blogosphere, at least its left hemisphere, which, according to Jeff Jarvis, James Wolcott celebrates with his usual wit and style in his April Vanity Fair column, not available online; according to Jarvis, the "raison de column" is Wolcott's sense that the left is "hot," but the right is not. From Jim's lips to God's ear.

Jarvis has copious quotes from the column, though not enough to keep you from running out at your first opportunity to purchase a copy of the magazine, dreadful though it is, except for Wolcott, who almost single-handedly justifies its existence, and its editor's increasingly angry response to the Bush presidency. (I'd hate the magazine less if it didn't stink up one's whole abode with those noxious perfumed enclosures, and the damn Table Of Contents wasn't so hard to find, and have you ever tried to find the page number of a continued article?)

What I'm wondering, and am working on a post about, is how, with just a bit more organizing of blogtopia itself, how much more could we get it to work for our side.

To Be Continued.

Policy implication of Spain blast: Not a "war on terror" but a "campaign against fundamentalism" 

I guess, since it's Sunday morning, I can make like a talking head. And, inspired by the horrors in Madrid, let's talk about the "war on terror." I'll start with first premisses and meander onward to a conclusion. Not sure where I'll end up, but Hey! That's why they pay me the big bucks (not!)

0. The "war on terror" (WOT) is a deceptive meme and an incoherent concept. The WOT hasn't been declared, like the successful World War II was, and like the disastrous Viet Nam wasn't. (You'd think our national security apparatus could learn from experience). And you can't fight a war against a tactic. Fighting a war against terror is like fighting a war against right-wing flanking maneuvers. France didn't fight a war against the Schlieffen plan; it fought a war against Germany.

1. The very incoherence of the WOT concept makes it a plan for endless fighting (see the PNAC) [2]. The title of Perle's latest tract is revealing: An End to Evil. Well, there will never be an end to evil. Evil is part of the human condition. The best we can do—that is, the liberal perspective—is try to stop it from spreading and ameliorate its effects. (Any Christian would know this, of course. The authors of the Constitution and the Federalist papers knew it too; that's why we have the separation of powers—and, some would argue, the Second Amendment.)

2. Let's ask ourselves: cui bono? Who benefits? Who are the winners an endless WOT? The answer is obvious, and there's no point belaboring it. One example among many: It will be interesting to see how long it takes for the information collected and consolidated by the various efforts in the "Homeland" "Security" apparat to make its way into the credit reporting system (see under MBNA back here), probably under the pretext of creating a system of internal passport controls for air travellers. Privatization, don't you know.

3. Bush is not competent to fight the overt WOT. Atrios, Meteor on Kos, and Kos himself all have excellent posts on this point.

3. There is a covert WOT. This covert WOT is never spoken of by the administration, and never covered in the press, but it must be going on. The covert WOT explains why Bush can keep photos of targeted individuals in his desk drawer and cross them off when he thinks they're dead (see back here). Presumably, the CIA is in charge of this, because that seems like the only way to explain George Tenet's survival, when anyone else who crosses Bush is promptly heaved over the side.

4. Bush is not competent to fight the covert WOT. America's cities are America's heartland. AQ's strategists understood this; Bush, apparently, does not. The worst possible threat to America, if measured in lives, is a loose nuke or a dirty bomb in our complex and very rich coastal and riverine cities: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, Miami, and of course Washington, DC. [3] Maybe a shipping container, maybe a mass transportation railcar at rush hour as just now in Madrid... And Bush's policies have done NOTHING about this (back here) and in fact may have made the situation worse.

Further, it's just not clear that an assassination program (which is what the covert WOT must be) is going to work. Operation Phoenix didn't win the war for us in Viet Nam. This covert program may in fact make us worse off. In marketing, it's called the rule of 60: When a company screws one customer, figure that 60 others will hear about it. Well, suppose we assassinate someone, and get it wrong. The quality of our intelligence in the Arab world—lousy—makes that inevitable. So, sixty people will know. If the odds are that one of those sixty will seek to act against us, we're worse of than before. If two, we're exponentially worse off. Maybe covert assassination programs like this could be said to have worked for the British in Northern Ireland, for the Spanish (perhaps) with the Basques, and for us in various Latin American adventures. Those programs, however, were in small geographic areas where language was not a problem. Not so for us in the WOT.

We also face the issue of what to do, domestically, with the "war dogs" who are actually doing the assassinations when they come home. (I find it excruciatingly interesting that the theocon's madrassa, Patrick Henry University (back here) is one of the few universities to have a major in intelligence and foreign affairs. I can imagine no better recipe for a crusade against Islam than fostering a network of SICs in our intelligence apparatus.)

5. When Bush came into office—putting aside the utter cynicism required when analyzing any of Bush's actions—it seems that he thought that the major security threat was from states, and covert operations they support.[4] That would explain why he would spend money on ICBM defenses (only states have ICBMs), rather than on the threat of loose nukes. And it would explain the wars against Afghanistan and then Iraq: AQ and their kind were seen as dependent on States. Somehow, if we could "drain the swamp" by eliminating state support for our adversaries, the threat would go away. Madrid proves that the theory that wars with states are the way to win the WOT is wrong (even granting that the WOT can be won, which I don't).

6. Since states are not our main adversaries, who do we fight? It looks to me like even AQ, as such, is not our adversary. We already know that AQ and our adversaries are "post-modern", project-based "learning organizations" that act more venture capitalists than general staffs or revolutionary parties.[5] And Madrid shows at least the possibility that AQ has passed "the test of independent invention": there will be other AQs, and AQ itself can subcontract, mutate, join with others... To put this another way, when Bush pulls the OBL October surprise, it won't mean a thing. [LATEST from Rummy: Move along people, no story here.] Any more than putting Martha Stewart in jail means that all crooked CEOs have been punished.

7. Make no mistake: Since I regard cities, and the high culture to which they give rise, as the highest products of human civilization, I am very serious about preventing further 9/11s, as all Democrats should be; it's Bush's fundamental unseriousness in conceiving and fighting the WOT—a product of his seeing it solely as an opportunity to advance his own interests and those of his retinue—that I object to. That's why the issue of how Bush handles loose nukes is the key, the litmus test, that shows how feckless, how reckless, he really is.

8. I think the right way to think about our adversaries and our situation is to wage a Campaign Against Fundamentalism (CAF), not a "war on terror." Doesn't that really capture reality better? From what we know about the 9/11 hijackers, they were all well-educated, skilled, middle-class. What radicalized them—what turned them into fundamentalists, individuals willing to fly airplanes into buildings and kill thousands to make a religious point—was the encounter with, yes, liberalism in the modern city (for example, Hamburg). Imagine! People who worship different gods! People who speak different languages! People who eat different food! Gay people! The fundamentalist impulse is to cleanse all that. The liberal impulse is to embrace it. This dynamic is not going to change, and it's the mainspring that drives our adversaries.

We need more liberalism, not less. Values like tolerance, settling down, making a little money at something that's worth doing, "live and let live"... People who organize their lives like that tend not to fly airplanes into buildings. Or embark on crusades.

9. The only way to wage the CAF is by campaigning to create the political and social structures that contain it. That was the lesson that Americans learned, escaping from the fundamentalist wars in Europe, and enshrined in the Constitution with the First Amendment against the establishment of religion. All the tools of statecraft possessed by great imperial powers—including conventional war, intelligence, covert war—need to be part of the CAF, but as servants, not masters. Bush, alas, reverses this. He takes the appearance of power—guns, airplanes, weapons, and images of same—for the reality of power, which is the strength of our political and economic institutions—a strength created by liberals and liberalism [6].

10. Obviously, the CAF needs to be waged here as well as abroad. A United States dominated by fundamentalist Christians at war with fundamentalist Islam is recipe for disaster on a global scale.

Well, that's all for the present. Funny how the CAF turns out to be the mother of all wedge issues. I wish this were more coherent, but I don't know where else this thinking is being hammered out. Readers, can you help?

[1] Eliot Cohen's brilliant book, Military Misfortunes, calls such misconceptualizing a "failure to learn." If there is another 9/11 on US soil, that will be evidence of complete systems breakdown; "catastrophic failure." I think this is exactly what Bush's policies are going to bring about. It's interesting to watch how the efforts of a military as innovative and as brilliant in the operational arts as the army of Von Runstedt and Rommel can be undone by a government as feckless and incompetent as Gamelin's and Petain's.
[2] I know the PNAC seems like "old news." But just because we get tired of saying it, doesn't mean that the Bushogarchy gets tired of doing it.
[3] We remember very well that Bush treated the first round of DHS spending as a political slush fund, distributing it into the Red States (here, "flyover state" really is the right term) instead of to the Blue States that are actually threatened.
[4] I believe, in the intelligence world, this is called "mirroring"—thinking our adversaries think just like we do. Bush, that is, thinks the entire world is run like the Bush Dynasty (Kevin Phillips, back here) is run. Another Texan war president, LBJ, had a problem mirroring the Vietnamese. Escalation worked with LBJ's domestic political opponents, but it didn't work with the Vietnamese at all.
[5] Here again we may have the possibility of mirroring; Bush may think that fundamentalist Islam is driven by the same "unholy alliance between the dynastic class and the religious right" (Phillips) that has proven so powerful in our own country.
[6] Institutions which liberals are periodically called upon to save.

Bill Moyers asks a very pertinent question 

We already have plenty of reasons (back here) to question the legitimacy of the Bush regime. Here's another:

BILL MOYERS: Can a government run by prostitutes and addicts claim to be legitimate?

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: I don't think so, and I think what happens is that the public interest is not served; the special interests are. We passed a homeland security bill, which was important. The House of Representatives passed it and put some special interests provisions on it... One was, guess who for, a major drug company, who had been huge contribution...contributors in the last campaign.
(From PBS via Buzzflash)

Fine word, "legitimate"!

Spain blast: Flash mobs demand answers 

Bush funding overthrow of Chavez 


Washington has been channelling hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund the political opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez - including those who briefly overthrew the democratically elected leader in a coup two years ago.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that, in 2002, America paid more than a million dollars to those political groups in what it claims is an ongoing effort to build democracy and "strengthen political parties". Mr Chavez has seized on the information, telling Washington to "get its hands off Venezuela".

Jeremy Bigwood, a Washington-based freelance journalist who obtained the documents, yesterday told The Independent: "This repeats a pattern started in Nicaragua in the election of 1990 when [the US] spent $20 per voter to get rid of [the Sandinista President Daniel] Ortega. It's done in the name of democracy but it's rather hypocritical. Venezuela does have a democratically elected President who won the popular vote which is not the case with the US."
(via Indpendent)

Say, Venezuela's got oil, right?

Yep, the ol' Hubbert Curve does seem to have predictive value.... It's kinda funny that Bush is trying to "solve" our energy problems by grabbing as much oil as he can using our troops, instead of figuring out how to conserve energy, develop alternative sources, fund Amtrak.... Instead of pulling stuff like giving tax breaks to buy SUVs. Yep, kinda funny. Makes you think ....

Funny that The Arnis™isn't coming out against steroids 

I wonder why not?

Especially since his winger allies are all in a dither about it.

The San Jose Mercury News has more.

The new Bush meme: "steely determination." To the anagram server! 

First, the background. I think we can assume that Bush's trusted advisor is Acting President Rove.

One of Bush's most trusted advisers said the key is striking the right balance. "I think people want to see resolve and confidence and steel and determination in their wartime commander in chief," he said. "They recognize that the war on terror is a dangerous and unprecedented war, so endlessly cheery optimism is not the right note. . . . You can be a wartime leader who strikes the right balance between confidence and optimism about the goal and with steely determination about what needs to be done."
(via Pravda on the Potomac's Dan Balz)

Since the WhiteWash House people are famously on message at all times, I think we can assume that the two-fold repetition of "steely determination" is no accident, and the MWs and RNC operatives will fan out to propagate it later this morning.

So, to innoculate ourselves, the anagrams (from Anagram Genius:

10. Snottily needier meat
9. Dirty insane omelette
8. Stoned, alien temerity
7. Meet intense idolatry
6. Domineer testily. Neat!
5. Sneered to, intimately
4. Terminated nosy elite
3. Seedy, intolerant item
2. Entirely estimated? No!


1. Tense. Oily. Terminated.

Anyhow, that's my listing. I put #1 where it is because it describes (I hope) the three stages of Bush's "presidency"—we have yet to reach the third stage. But if you hear a MW say "You can't make an omelette..." there's #9; if you want to talk religion, there's #7; if you want to talk character, #8, #6, #5, and #3; and if you want to talk about the Bush budget, there's #2.

Readers? More thoughts?

"Rule of law" at Gitmo 

Via the Canadian state media:

Three British men freed from U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay said they were beaten by American soldiers in Afghanistan and pressured into falsely confessing they'd been caught on video with Osama bin Laden, two newspapers reported Sunday.

The three, friends from Tipton in central England, were among five Britons flown home from Guantanamo on Tuesday. They all were held for more than two years and were released without charge.
(via CBC)

Well, torture does lead to false confessions. So I guess the people running gitmo just do it "because they can," eh? Just like Bush.

"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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