Friday, June 30, 2006

Molly Missle Launches

WorkingForChange-Maybe if we tried a slingshot: "Maybe if we tried a slingshot
Diplomats' like John Bolton leave U.S. grasping at fantasy missile shield to defend against North Korea

AUSTIN -- -- Y'all, this isn't gonna work.

North Korea is threatening to launch a long-range missile against us, and we're threatening to reply with an anti-missile missile.

Sorry to remind you, but our 'missile defense system' does not work. Good old Star Wars flopped again when tested in 2004 -- in fact, it failed to launch. Since then, several tests have been delayed or cancelled due to technical problems. Just because we spend $130 billion on a bad idea doesn't mean we can ever get it to work. The latest Bush budget has $10.7 billion for Star Wars, almost twice as much as Homeland Security is spending on customs and border patrol.

The good news is that the North Korean rocket doesn't work, either. The last time they fired a long-range missile, it went 1,300 kilometers (807 miles) and could not put a payload into orbit.

The Korean missile was supposedly tanked up and ready to go more than a week ago, but, oops, experts now say if that were true it would have been fired by now, since the fuel is highly unstable. . ."

Stolen Elections

AlterNet: Elections Are Still Stolen the Old-Fashioned Way: "Progressives tend to be distracted by electronic voting machines when old-style election thuggery is the bigger problem. Tools

What's a bigger problem with American elections: disenfranchisment of minority voters or new electronic voting machines stealing votes?

Most people on the political left will answer electronic machines. But last week, House Republicans showed America exactly why old-school election thuggery is a far more pressing problem. In fact, it was Jim Crow tactics, not computer hacking, which gave George W. Bush his Ohio victory in 2004. And such tactics are exactly what a handful of southern GOP congressmen defended on Wednesday when they derailed renewing the National Voting Rights Act, complaining it does not end federal oversight of elections in their states and requires multilingual ballots. . ."

Another Bush Analysis

BELLACIAO - DUMB AS A FENCE POST - Peter Fredson - Collective Bellaciao: ". . .As a substitute for intelligence, Bush uses secrecy, stealth, aggressive action, preemption, and catchy slogans. His arrogance stems from no personal intellectual quality, but from being his daddy’s boy who was foisted on the Dominionists, Reconstructionists, and Army of Goddists nearly ten years ago.

There is a sociopath quality to Bush which makes him repeat his mistakes, hoping for a miracle from his Old and New Testament entities, a pathetic but viciously dogmatic hope which plagues his every moment.

His petulant attack on the Constitution, which he evidently believes is a worn-out document, has aroused no anger or shame among his followers, including most of the Republican senators. Yet this is the most damning and damnable evidence of his spoiled brat irritability and irresponsibility. He fully intends to put some of his favorite Bible passages into the Constitution as a palliative for his True Believers who still faithfully believe he served his country by going AWOL.

Not content with angrily disposing of our Constitution he has on various occasions attempted to show his political genius by changing the Constitution to suit his fundamentalist Biblical ideology. . ."

Social Security "Reform" Is Not Dead

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: ". . .President Bush says he's going to come back again try to phase out Social Security after the November election. So we're trying to find out where McGavick stands on Social Security. Is he for preserving it in its current form or does he support President Bush's plan to phase it out and replace it with private accounts? And we need your help to find out.

So here's the deal. We're holding a contest to see who can get a straight answer out of Mike McGavick on Social Security -- against phase out or in favor of it. To the winner goes a special TPM 'Privatize This' t-shirt, a TPM mug and ... and a special place in our new TPM Hall of Social Security Heroes. Anyway, it's really exciting stuff. . ."

Jefferson and The Oops Factor

The Blog | Robert J. Elisberg: Guns Don't Kill People, the Press Kills People | The Huffington Post: ". . .Keeping in mind how the Radical Right loves to wear the concept of Constitutional Originalism on their sleeves, it's interesting to understand how perhaps the original Originalist, the father of all Originalists from whence all Originalists sprang - Thomas Jefferson, hallowed be his name - felt about the press and its relationship to government:

'... were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter' --Thomas Jefferson to Edward Carrington, 1787

In Radical Right Republican circles, this is known as an 'Oops' quote.

The thing is, the Radical Right has long wanted to silence the press. In fact, watching those Republicans in Congress call for an investigation into the press is a surreal moment, akin to having the Society of Foxes call for an investigation into farmers guarding the henhouses.

'Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.' --Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1786.

(Oops.) . . ."

Where Will The Terrorists Read Now? Metro | State: "Incarnate Word cancels NY Times subscription over story

Web Posted: 06/29/2006 02:25 PM CDT

Melissa Ludwig
Express-News Staff Writer

The Dean of Library Services at University of the Incarnate Word canceled the library's subscription to the New York Times Wednesday to protest recent stories exposing a secret government program that monitors international financial transactions in the hunt for terrorists.

'Since no one elected the New York Times to determine national security policy, the only action I know to register protest for their irresponsible action (treason?) is to withdraw support of their operations by canceling our subscription as many others are doing,' Mendell D. Morgan, Jr. wrote in a June 28 email to library staff. 'If enough do, perhaps they will get the point.' . ."

Local islamofacist terrorist cells are beside themselves with confusion. Akmed Jones, leader of local cell 92, said, "Without that subscription to the Times, I don't know where we will find pertinent information about the plots and plans of the Great Satan and his running-dog swine eating agents of imperialism."

If I suggested he read the Wall Street Journal, would I be guilty of giving aid and comfort to the enemies of apple pie and our Great Leader?

Congressional Pay Raises

The Blog | Barbara Ehrenreich: The Piggery Award | The Huffington Post: "The Piggery Award

. . .While pondering Congress's rejection of a minimum wage increase this week, it's helpful to recall the basic taxonomic distinction between Predators and Pigs. Predators - in this case, those who employ people at unlivable wages - suck the marrow out of their employees, transform eager young women into stress-injured cripples, and virtually orphan the children whose parents are forced to work two or more jobs to support them.

Pigs, on the other hand, sit by wriggling with delight at these cannibalistic proceedings. It's their job to oink out choruses of praise for the Predators. 'Predation is Prosperity!' they proclaim, all the while hoping that some little scraps of flesh will fall their way.

So the Piggery of the Month award goes to those members of the US Congress who voted themselves a 'cost of living adjustment' raise of $3300 while refusing to raise the minimum wage from a pathetic $5.15 an hour. As economic commentator Holly Sklar notes, Congressional pay will have increased by $34,900 between 1997 and 2007--an amount that it would take three minimum wage workers one year to earn (or one minimum wage worker three years) - to $171,800 a year, plus luxurious benefits. . ."

Never in the long history economic reward and incentive has a body so richly not deserved its pay.


Thomas Thinks War Vet Doesn't Know War

Eschaton: "Typical Republican chickenhawk attacking a bronze star recipient:

Justice Thomas refers to Justice Stevens’ “unfamiliarity with the realities of warfare”; but Stevens served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1945, during World War II. Thomas’s official bio, by contrast, contains no experience of military service.

In a just world, Thomas would resign in shame and spend the rest of his life tending to the needs of disabled Vets.

We don't live in a just world. . ."

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Voting For Impeachment

Calif. city weighs Bush-Cheney impeachment - Yahoo! News: "BERKELEY, Calif. - The left-leaning city of Berkeley will let voters decide whether to call for the impeachment of
President Bush and Vice President
Dick Cheney.

The City Council voted Tuesday night to put the advisory measure on the Nov. 7 ballot. The move is symbolic because only Congress has impeachment powers.

Some cities, including San Francisco and Oakland, have passed resolutions calling for impeachment, but supporters say Berkeley would be the first city asking voters to decide. . ."

The Small Fish Are Beginning To Fry

Official Charged in Abramoff Scandal: "Official Charged in Abramoff Scandal
Interior Employee Received Gifts

By Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, June 29, 2006; A03

An Interior Department official who has acknowledged receiving meals and tickets to sporting events from former lobbyist Jack Abramoff has been charged with filing a false financial disclosure report.

Roger G. Stillwell, an employee of the department's Insular Affairs Office, was charged with a single misdemeanor count of making a false filing, according to papers filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court. Federal officials said he is expected to enter a guilty plea at a court appearance set for July 21 before Magistrate Deborah A. Robinson.

Stillwell is an officer on the desk that handles the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory whose government hired Abramoff as a lobbyist. The Washington Post reported in December that Stillwell was among the Interior officials whom Abramoff's team tried to cultivate. . ."

Gitmo No Go

AOL News - Supreme Court Rejects Guantanamo Trials: "Supreme Court Rejects Guantanamo Trials
Decision Marks Setback for Bush Administration

WASHINGTON (June 29) - The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees."

The Decider-in-Chief is not happy.

More Phony News

The Next Left: Vets for Freedom tied to Bush administration, propaganda efforts here in US:
"Vets for Freedom tied to Bush administration, propaganda efforts here in US

The pro-war veterans group, Vets for Freedom, has been directly linked to the Bush administration. And, former Bush administration spokesman Taylor Goss is successfully peddling articles written by Vets for Freedom members to newspapers across America:

A former spokesman for President Bush recently offered to several newspapers supposedly objective freelance stories from Iraq by two combat veterans who lead a pro-war group with deep Republican ties.

Several months after revelations that a Pentagon contractor was paying Iraqi news outlets for favorable war coverage, former White House spokesman Taylor Gross approached at least four major newspapers, including The Buffalo
News, with the offer. "

Non-Profit Bag Person

Roger Ailes: "The Washington Post is reporting that Amy Ridenour and her National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) were willing participants in laundering Jack Abramoff's filthy lucre:

E-mails suggest Ridenour was well aware that [Jack] Abramoff viewed her
organization as a convenient pass-through..

Laundering lobbyist bribes to Republicans. Sounds exactly like what a tax-exempt, non-profit "nonpartisan analysis, study and research" organization should be doing." "

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

More Coulter Coughing


Philadelphia Daily News | 06/28/2006 | Annie's media enablers: ". . .But the questions raised by Coulter's prominence aren't so much about her as they are about the news organizations that create that prominence.

If it weren't for the magazines, newspapers, and television programs that give Coulter a forum for her repellent views, she'd be just another extremist throwing darts in all directions.

But there she was on the 'Today' show - where she has appeared three times in the last eight months - and on the 'Tonight' show, and on Fox News, and on MSNBC. Not to mention the glowing profile that graced the cover of Time magazine a few months back.

Every time a producer or editor turns their megaphone over to someone like Ann Coulter, they debase our discourse.

And the fact is that the mainstream media have a tolerance for extremism on the right, but not on the left. People like Coulter, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage are taken seriously by news organizations despite purveying some of the most hateful rhetoric imaginable.

Can you think of a liberal who gets half the attention Coulter does, and is half as inflammatory? After all, we're talking about someone who routinely advocates the murder of people with whom she disagrees politically."

Uh, no. Any liberal advocating such stuff in a public forum would be pursued by the Evil Empire until their eyeballs exploded. Ask Ward Churchill.

The Eyes On You

New Scientist Breaking News - ‘Big Brother’ eyes make us act more honestly: "
Coffee room drinkers pay more when watched by a pair of “Big Brother” eyes

We all know the scene: the departmental coffee room, with the price list for tea and coffee on the wall and the “honesty box” where you pay for your drinks – or not, because no one is watching.

In a finding that will have office managers everywhere scurrying for the photocopier, researchers have discovered that merely a picture of watching eyes nearly trebled the amount of money put in the box. . ."

Public Employee Burger

Firedoglake - Firedoglake weblog: "It is a little known fact in this country that there are two classes of workers: private sector employees who have a federally guaranteed right to form unions, bargain with their employers and work in a safe workplace. Then there are the second class citizens: public employees — particularly people who work for states, counties and cities — who do not have a federally guaranteed right to bargain collectively under the National Labor Relations Act or to work safely under OSHA. Those rights have to be provided on a state by state basis. Only 25 states and the District of Columbia have passed comprehensive public-sector labor-relations laws which provide collective bargaining rights to public employees at state and local levels. Only 26 states give public employees the right to a safe workplace.

Even those rights are often not equivalent to private sector rights. Most don’t have the right to strike — the most powerful tool that workers have to stand up to the huge institutions that employ them — and other states limit the areas they can bargain over. Federal employees, for example, as well as many state, county and municipal workers are not allowed to bargain over wages or benefits. Collective begging replaces collective bargaining.

But why should public employees have the same rights that private sector employees have? Aren’t they pretty much just bureaucrats who work in nice clean offices with cushy benefits?

Hardly. . . "

Indeed. And public employees in the South are generally treated as serfs by their feudal masters. Read the rest of the FDL post.

Marsh On Money Tracking

Democrat Taylor Marsh Blogs Politics: ". . .Peter King has been hawking his espionage charge everywhere. The man is a certifiable loon (or is that 'rabid lamb'?). Charging the New York Times of violating the Espionage Act is tantamount to claiming that Rush Limbaugh was representing Doctors Without Borders on his recent trip to the Dominican Republic.

As for Dick Cheney, well, Joe Biden got it right: 'No, I don’t want to respond to him. He’s at 20 percent in the polls. No one listens to him. He has no credibility.'

Republicans need a reality check.

There's one word for what's being promoted from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and the rubber stamp Republicans in Congress. It's called FASCISM.

Besides, if the Republicans don't realize the terrorists already know how we're tracking their money we're in big trouble: . ."

Who Do You Trust?

Why Do Republicans Hate America's Veterans? | ". . .They did it with former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland, who lost three limbs in Vietnam, famously brought out the Swift Boat Liars to smear John Kerry's war record, and they immediately started doing the same with Murtha, who volunteered for Vietnam in 1966 and for his service was awarded the Bronze Star with Combat 'V,' two Purple Hearts, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal.

In January 2006, a pseudo-news organization known as the Cybercast News Service (CNS) picked up with Murtha where the Swift Boat Liars left off with Kerry by questioning the circumstances in Vietnam that led to Murtha's two Purple Hearts.

This time it was David Thibault, editor in chief of CNS, who picked up the prevailing tactic of the GOP, which is to smear the patriotism and good name of any Democrat who dares question Bush and the war -- even if, like Murtha, you happen to be a 37-year military veteran and a former Parris Island drill instructor decorated for valor in combat.

CNS, which is part of the ultraconservative Media Research Center, trotted out the familiar, slimy routine of questioning the seriousness of Murtha's war injuries and the extent to which they were worthy of the Purple Heart awards. Thibault made his motivation clear, saying that Murtha had brought the attack on himself because "the congressman has really put himself in the forefront of the anti-war movement." There's the theme again: Shut up and go along with Bush or get slimed beyond recognition. . .
And what of their disgracefully insulting treatment of the very military institutions they claim to support? Those of us who have served know that you don't just walk into the PX and buy yourself a Bronze Star or a Purple Heart -- they're awarded at great discretion by the leadership of the military. Yet even those who have reached the upper echelons of our Defense Department now have their wisdom and integrity called into question by people who will stoop so low as to question whether or not someone came close enough to dying in combat to receive a Purple Heart.

My guess is that it's just a matter of time before House Republicans don Purple Heart bandages to ridicule Murtha's service as their people did on the floor of the GOP national convention in 2004 in an effort to minimize John Kerry's service.

It's repulsive, insulting and demeaning to every veteran, whether or not they have ever been unfortunate enough to receive that decoration.

The latest salvo appears to be a new smear site,, which is about to be drawn out from under a rock and it certainly has all the looks of the same people who brought you pure fiction about Kerry in 2004. The website is run by a woman named Amanda Doss, who has a long alliance with -- guess who? -- the Swift Boat Liars and a whack job named Ted Sampley, who runs the hate site, The U.S. Veteran Dispatch.

That name may sound familiar to you. This is the same guy who once wrote of John McCain as "The Manchurian Candidate" and suggested that McCain had been brainwashed during his lengthy captivity while a POW in Vietnam. Oh, yeah, he also said McCain was a KGB Spy. It's also the same Sampley who headed Vietnam Veterans Against Kerry and was responsible in 1992 for faking a photo of Kerry allegedly shooting an American MIA in Vietnam. . .

There's also right-wing prom queen Ann Coulter, who recently said that Murtha was "the reason soldiers invented fragging," suggesting that Murtha should be killed. She followed that up by saying that "if he did get fragged, he'd finally deserve one of those Purple Hearts. . ."

When I was in the military, no matter what personality conflicts arose during long sleepless hours at sea or on patrol, the main measure of your regard for a shipmate or fireteam partner was this: Who do you trust to hang tough when the crap hits the fan and true courage needs to kick in? Who do you want in that ditch, in those weeds or sitting in that foxhole with you?

It would be interesting to take a poll and see if, faced with those circumstances, most Americans would choose the likes of Ted Sampley, David Thibault, Jean Schmidt and Dick Cheney, or men like John Kerry, Max Cleland and John Murtha."

The last two paragraphs are really what everyone needs to think about when it comes to politics. (Sorry for the long post but that's about as short as could make the excerpt and still have it make any sense.)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Rush and The Peeny Problem

Rush Limbaugh Detained at Airport for Possessing Viagra - TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime: "Rush Limbaugh Detained at Airport for Possessing Viagra

Rush Limbaugh doesn't learn. After all his trouble with his doctor shopping case, and his being under a deferred prosecution, he asks his doctors to put his viagra script in their name instead of his 'for privacy purposes.' Today he was detained at the Palm Beach Airport for three hours when a search of his luggage uncovered them.

For privacy? That sure worked out well, didn't it. Now, instead of just a pharmacist learning he takes the drug, the whole world knows.

What will happen to him? The matter has been referred to prosecutors. Possessing drugs without a proper prescription can be a class two misdemeanor. It could revoke his deal. As I reported here,

The agreement also provides that he must refrain from violating the law during this 18 months, must pay $30 per month for the cost of 'supervision' and comply with other similar provisions of the agreement.

Any violation of the law could result in a revocation of his deal, which would mean he'd have to stand trial on the doctor shopping charge. The decision will be up to prosecutors.

My prediction: He'll skate, since viagra is not a psychotropic substance. And because Roy Black is a great lawyer. . ."

Yeah, he'll skate, but if he were poor and say, black, would he skate then?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Sullivan, Buffett, and Gates

Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish: Gates and Buffett: "Can we offer three cheers? Here we have two of the richest men in the world who are essentially channeling their vast resources to help others. I'm particularly impressed by their lack of interest in handing over their entire fortunes to their biological offspring. Money quote from the Washington Post:

'Neither [late wife] Susie nor I ever thought we should pass huge amounts of money along to our children,' said Warren Buffett, who said he plans to give away his remaining stock holdings after his death but that he has 'quite a bit of cash' he still plans to leave to those close to him. 'Our children are great,' he told Fortune. 'But I would argue that when your kids have all the advantages anyway, in terms of how they grow up and the opportunities they have for education, including what they learn at home - I would say it's neither right nor rational to be flooding them with money.'

Nepotism is indeed a corrosive element in a democratic society; dynasticism is poison to democracy. . ."

Some People Get Ugly Email

TPMmuckraker June 26, 2006 08:17 AM: "The Daily Muck
By Paul Kiel and Justin Rood - June 26, 2006, 8:17 AM

New 'Murtha Lied' Website Posts 'Hateful' Emails after Liberal Blogs Start Digging

'A new Website devoted to the 'lies' of Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman Jack Murtha went live a few days early in order to post 'hateful' emails sent by readers of liberal blogs that were tipped off early and had already begun digging into the site's background.... Although the original url for the Website was to be, a few days ago, one of the site's founders, retired Navy Captain Larry Bailey, purchased a new url at Bailey served as president of Vietnam Veterans For The Truth, which attacked 2004 Democratic Presidential candidate Senator John Kerry's military record, on the heels of the more well-known Swift Boat Veterans For Truth.' (Raw Story)"

Boo-hoo for poor righties getting meanie email.

Publiic Servant Works Against Public?

Firedoglake - Firedoglake weblog » A Question That Needs Answers…:

". . .Let’s see: rig the districts; gin up your own manufactured scandal machines; ends justifies all means necessary; maintain power at all costs…does that about sum it up? It isn’t new — the Bush Administration has been doing this since they entered office, but no one ever seems to ask the questions that really need asking about this.

None of this — NONE — explains to me how Karl Rove can work as some sort of pseudo-GOP campaign uber-manager from the West Wing, ordering about the various executive branch agencies into a perpetual campaign-mode action plan and the hell with the long-term governance consequences, sending out minions and surrogates to teevee shows across the country and giving marching orders to the folks in Congress (even heading up to the Hill to twist arms on occasion by threatening to withold re-election funds, if the papers are to be believed on this), and receive a public salary for his public duties all the while. Any answers on this? Any campaign law experts out there want to weigh in — because I’m very serious about wanting to find some answers for myself…"

Democrats Cite Report On Troop Cuts in Iraq

Democrats Cite Report On Troop Cuts in Iraq: "Pentagon Plan Like Theirs, Senators Say

By Michael Abramowitz and Thomas E. Ricks
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, June 26, 2006; A01

Senate Democrats reacted angrily yesterday to a report that the U.S. commander in Iraq had privately presented a plan for significant troop reductions in the same week they came under attack by Republicans for trying to set a timetable for withdrawal.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said that the plan attributed to Gen. George W. Casey resembles the thinking of many Democrats who voted for a nonbinding resolution to begin a troop drawdown in December. That resolution was defeated Thursday on a largely party-line vote in the Senate.

'That means the only people who have fought us and fought us against the timetable, the only ones still saying there shouldn't be a timetable really are the Republicans in the United States Senate and in the Congress,' Boxer said on CBS's 'Face the Nation.' 'Now it turns out we're in sync with General Casey.'

Sen. Carl M. Levin (Mich.), one of the two sponsors of the nonbinding resolution, which offered no pace or completion date for a withdrawal, said the report is another sign of what he termed one of the 'worst-kept secrets in town' -- hat the administration intends to pull out troops before the midterm elections in November.

"It shouldn't be a political decision, but it is going to be with this administration," Levin said on "Fox News Sunday." "It's as clear as your face, which is mighty clear, that before this election, this November, there's going to be troop reductions in Iraq, and the president will then claim some kind of progress or victory."hat the administration intends to pull out troops before the midterm elections in November.

"It shouldn't be a political decision, but it is going to be with this administration," Levin said on "Fox News Sunday." "It's as clear as your face, which is mighty clear, that before this election, this November, there's going to be troop reductions in Iraq, and the president will then claim some kind of progress or victory. . ."


Sunday, June 25, 2006

Happy Jack Abramoff Uses Charities As Bag Men

Nonprofit Groups Funneled Money For Abramoff: "Nonprofit Groups Funneled Money For Abramoff
Funds Flowed to Lobbying Campaigns

By Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, June 25, 2006; A01

Newly released documents in the Jack Abramoff investigation shed light on how the lobbyist secretly routed his clients' funds through tax-exempt organizations with the acquiescence of those in charge, including prominent conservative activist Grover Norquist.

The federal probe has brought a string of bribery-related charges and plea deals. The possible misuse of tax-exempt groups is also receiving investigators' attention, sources familiar with the matter said.

Among the organizations used by Abramoff was Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform. According to an investigative report on Abramoff's lobbying released last week by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Americans for Tax Reform served as a 'conduit' for funds that flowed from Abramoff's clients to surreptitiously finance grass-roots lobbying campaigns. As the money passed through, Norquist's organization kept a small cut, e-mails show.

A second group Norquist was involved with, the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, received about $500,000 in Abramoff client funds; the council's president has told Senate investigators that Abramoff often asked her to lobby a senior Interior Department official on his behalf. The committee report said the Justice Department should further investigate the organization's dealings with the department and its former deputy secretary, J. Steven Griles.

Norquist has long been an architect of tax-cutting policies and political strategies that have boosted the Republican Party. He and Abramoff have been close since their days as young conservative leaders of the College Republicans more than two decades ago.

The Senate committee report also details Abramoff's dealings with two others from the College Republicans crowd: Ralph Reed, former Christian Coalition executive director; and Amy Moritz Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research, which sponsored a golf trip in 2000 to Scotland for then-Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.).

"Call Ralph re Grover doing pass through," Abramoff wrote in a stark e-mail reminder to himself in 1999, a year in which Norquist moved more than $1 million in Abramoff client money to Reed and Christian anti-gambling groups. Reed was working to defeat lotteries and casinos that would have competed with Abramoff's tribal and Internet gambling clients. . ."

So if these guys had a few more vowels in their names, wouldn't they be popped on racketeering charges? Sure sounds like some of those mobbed-up schemes you find on the tube.

NC School Caves To Book-Banners

Copeland Institute for Lower Learning: North Carolina school bans books under pressure from religious nuts:

". . .A North Carolina school district has banned the dictionary under pressure from one of a growing number of conservative Christian groups using the internet to encourage school book bans across the US.
Jonathon Green, who compiled the 87,000 entries in the Cassell Dictionary of Slang, which was published last year, said that North Carolina is the only place he knows of where the book cannot be used in schools.
A Wake County school official told ABC News that five books, including the dictionary, were formally challenged. The others were listed as The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier, Junie B Jones and Some Sneaky, Peaky Spying by Barbara Park, Reluctantly Alice by Phyllis Reynolds and In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak. School officials acted after pressure from Called2Action, a local Christian activist group.
Some parents were also reportedly upset that their children were required to read books such as The Color Purple by Alice Walker and Beloved by Toni Morrison, on the grounds that the books contain 'vulgar and sexually explicit language'. . ."

Another Rap On Coulter

MyDD :: A Call for Public Denunciation of Ann Coulter's Fragging Comment:
". . .Ann Coulter does not speak for the American soldier. While she was in college attending Frat parties hundreds of thousands of dedicated American were putting their lives on the line - every day - in far away and dangerous lands that Ann Coulter could not even pronounce. Ann Coulter's military experience revolves around being escorted in and out of Iraq for a USO type visit and then returning to her air conditioned office to spew this sort of filth onto the American people. Congressman Jack Murtha is a twice awarded purple heart recipient and the holder of the Bronze Star. His more than 20 years as a US Marine - with service in Vietnam and beyond - and his unwavering support for the US military throughout his career as a Representative from Pennsylvania is unmatched. And yet this scum of American society, Ann Coulter, states that he is the reason that fragging was invented.

This is not about agreement with Jack Murtha's position and plan for the redeployment of troops from Iraq. This is no longer about whether one agrees with this Administration's strategy for dealing with the future. I have very strong feelings about both and agree with many things that Congressman Murtha says - and disagree with the vast majority of the lies that come from this failed Administration. I make no secret of my disdain for this President's strategy and for my open rejection of his rubber stamping right wing reactionary Congress. Does that make me the reason that fragging was invented? I had dinner with a group of doctors who strongly disagree with this Administration's failed health care polcies - does that make them candidates for fragging by the ER staff? How about the small business owner who cannot survive because of the spiraling cost of health care? Should they be fragged? I was at a gas station and the driver across the pump was cursing about the price of fuel - frag him?

By tacitly justifying the assassination of Jack Murtha (which, in effect is what she is justifying) Ann Coulter has attacked every Veteran in America and she has attacked the very right of every American to express political opinion and I for one am willing to lay down my life to preserve the fundamental freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution - a Constitution that I swore allegiance to and wore a uniform for 24 years to defend.

Ann Coulter is not worthy to wash the uniforms of our military personnel because she fails to understand the core reason of what makes this great nation different from all the rest. Our military swears to defend not the President, not the Congress, but the concepts and fundamental rights guarenteed to us in the Constitution of this great Nation. . ."

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Osama Down In Muslimworld

Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish: Osama's Poll Numbers: "Osama's Poll Numbers

22 Jun 2006 07:18 pm

Osamapoll Good news, at long last. Al Qaeda is losing popularity in the Muslim world, according to the new Pew poll. A shift against suicide bombing as a tactic has occurred dramatically among Muslims in Jordan, Pakistan, and Indonesia. Europe's Muslims seem to be moderating in their views as well. Osama's approval ratings in Jordan have gone from 60 percent to 24 percent in one year. Good going, Zarqawi. And most Westerners believe democracy can work in the Muslim world. Interestingly, more Brits and French believe this than Americans. There's mixed results in the report as well, but, as TPM notes, there's good reason to look on the bright side as well."

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Boss Says He Will Politic

Think Progress » VIDEO: Springsteen Hits Coulter, Defends Right To Take A Stand On Political Issues: " O’BRIEN: In 2004 you came out very strongly in support of John Kerry and performed with him - your fellow guitarist, I think is how you introduced him to the crowd. And some people gave you a lot of flack for being a musician who took a political stand. I remember…

SPRINGSTEEN: Yeah, they should let Ann Coulter do it instead.

O’BRIEN: There is a whole school of thought, as you well know, that says that musicians – I mean you see it with the Dixie Chicks - you know, go play your music and stop.

SPRINGSTEEN: Well, if you turn it on, present company included, the idiots rambling on on cable television on any given night of the week, and you’re saying that musicians shouldn’t speak up? It’s insane. It’s funny.

O’BRIEN: As a musician though, I’d be curious to know if there is a concern that you start talking about politics, you came out at one point and said, I think in USA Today listen, the country would be better off if George Bush were replaced as President. Is there a worry where you start getting political and you could alienate your audience?

O’BRIEN: As a musician though, I’d be curious to know if there is a concern that you start talking about politics, you came out at one point and said, I think in USA Today listen, the country would be better off if George Bush were replaced as President. Is there a worry where you start getting political and you could alienate your audience?

O’BRIEN(sic): Well that’s called common sense. I don’t even see that as politics at this point. So I mean that’s, you know, you can get me started, I’ll be glad to go. […] You don’t take a country like the United States into a major war on circumstantial evidence. You lose your job for that. That’s my opinion, and I have no problem voicing it. And some people like it and some people boo ya, you know?"

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Recruiting Solution

"Army takes older recruits

By Will Dunham
Wednesday, June 21, 2006; 5:54 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army, aiming to make its recruiting goals amid the Iraq war, raised its maximum enlistment age by another two years on Wednesday, while the Army Reserve predicted it will miss its recruiting target for a second straight year.

People can now volunteer to serve in the active-duty Army or the part-time Army Reserve and National Guard up to their 42nd birthday after the move aimed at increasing the number of people eligible to sign up, officials said.

It marked the second time this year the Army has boosted the maximum age for new volunteers, raising the ceiling from age 35 to 40 in January before now adding two more years.

More than three years into the war, the Army continues to provide the bulk of U.S. ground forces in Iraq. Army officials have acknowledged the war has made some recruits and their families wary about volunteering.

The Army Reserve, along with the regular Army and Army National Guard, missed its fiscal 2005 recruiting goal, and it currently lags its fiscal 2006 year-to-date goal by 4 percent.

Army Lt. Gen. Jack Stultz, the new Army Reserve chief, said he does not expect the Reserve to reach its goal of 36,000 recruits for fiscal 2006, which ends September 30.

"We think we'll come in right around that 96 (percent), 97 percent range," Stultz told reporters."

This may not be the optimum solution.

Thomas Insulted By GOPer

from Sploid

"An Iowa republican has apologized for insulting a senior White House correspondent during his stand-up routine on the campaign trail. He seems to think the woman is uglier than a virgin in hell.

Congressman Steve King, was throwing scraps of red meat rhetoric to a group of GOP convention delegates on Wednesday, when he began talking about the recently staged death of imaginary terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

"(Zarqawi) was always looking for another way to go to a deeper depth, and now I'll contend that's where he is today," King said. "And what occurred to me that morning is something that I imagine a lot of you have thought about and he's probably figured it out by now. There probably are not 72 virgins in the hell he's at and if there are, they probably all look like Helen Thomas."

The partisan crowd roared its approval, showering the pol with laughter and applause. But King's opponent, Joyce Schulte, wasn't laughing.

"I found (his comments) to be derogatory and insulting and less than what I would expect from a congressperson," Schulte says.

And it's not just Schulte who was furious. The Arab American Institute also demanded an apology from the congressman.

Politics Affect Employees' Web Views

Lexington Herald-Leader | 06/22/2006 | State workers denied access to political blogs: "FRANKFORT - Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration yesterday blocked state employees' access to many Web logs -- a day after a prominent political 'blogger' was critical of the governor in a New York Times story.

The ban sent the political sector of the cyber world into a tizzy, attracting attention from national blogs, some of which were added throughout the day to the list of Internet sites state workers couldn't access.

Finance and Administration Cabinet spokeswoman Jill Midkiff said that, as part of a continuing Web-monitoring process, the state is restricting employees' access to sites that contain computer viruses as well as those devoted to entertainment, movies, auctions, classified ads, jokes, comics, message boards and, yes, blogs.

The state already banned workers from viewing pornography, shopping, online gambling and gaming sites.

'We want to make sure we are doing what's best for the taxpayers,' she said.

Officials conducted a study two weeks ago to determine commonly visited sites that are unrelated to state government business, Midkiff said, although she wasn't able to provide a copy of that report. . ."


Seven Days In Next May?

Attytood: Politicizing the Pentagon: "So let's get this straight: Over in the Pentagon, they are now busy managing troops that are now overtaxed not just by the endless insurgency in Iraq but also by a 'reinvigorated' Taliban in Afghanistan and a missile threat from North Korea; planning operations like the recent search for two kidnapped and ultimately murdered American soliders, securing more body armor, and so on and so on.

Yet somehow they found the time to write a 74-page briefing book with the sole purpose of trashing Democrats? It's hard to separate government and politics, but certain branches should be above the partisan fray, and that includes intelligence but also the folks who actually wage the wars. A lot of these same generals may be taking orders from a Democratic president (we said 'may') in January 2009, after all.

These people have politicized (and ruined) everything. They take the cynical view that it's all politics, like sending Bush on a junket to Baghdad that did nothing good for the Iraqis -- reminding them of America's imperial role -- and was clearly aimed instead at voters in the mid-term elections. Now, we get this travesty.

The only attacks that Pentagon should be drafting are against foreign troops. There's an old saying that 'war is too important to be left to generals,' but the converse is that politics is too ridiculous to be left to anyone . . ."

Aliens Attracted To Voting Irregularities In Ohio?

from Sploid:

"Ohio sky mystery

The people of Central Ohio's Tuscarawas Valley were terrorized by bright, booming objects in the sky early Monday morning.

Tuscarawas, Stark and Wayne counties all had multiple reports of bizarre things in the night sky around 12:45 a.m. Monday, according to the Times-Reporter newspaper.

Houses shook as the huge object or objects flew overhead.

According to Tuscarawas County Sheriff Lt. Lon McEnroe, frightened eyewitnesses asked "Did we just get bombed?" Others thought, "It might be a space shuttle."

A space shuttle has never landed in Ohio, and the last U.S. shuttle flight was nearly a year ago. Whatever the object was, residents were astounded by the sight of it.

"Dispatchers from the county's 911 center contacted Air Traffic Command in Washington, D.C., to inquire about the event," the paper reported today.

Many described a "red fireball," but one woman specifically described "a blue light that lit up the sky and went down. . ."

Diebold has no comment on the sightings.

Troops On Murtha

"Real troops support Murtha
by Joe in DC - 6/21/2006 10:35:00 AM

The traditional media has given great coverage to the attacks on Murtha from the GOP - led by Karl Rove. Yet, the traditional media - like most people in D.C. -- know that Murtha has impeccable sources within the military. He is channeling the voice of the military leaders about the real situation in Iraq. That's why the GOP has been so vociferous in their attacks on the war hero. If the Republicans cared about the troops as much as they cared about getting re-elected, they'd listen to Murtha too.

When AP talked to real soldiers from Murtha's district, not DC-based GOP operatives, they found that soldiers were on Murtha's side::
Sixteen-term Rep. John Murtha, a decorated Vietnam veteran and military hawk, has become the face of the Democrats' anti-war movement since he called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops last fall. His oft-repeated criticism of the Bush administration's war policies also has earned him the wrath of Republicans.

In Murtha's southwest Pennsylvania district, however, many share the war critic's views.

At a welcome home ceremony this week for Myers and other troops from the Johnstown, Pa.-based 876th Engineer Battalion, the crowd cheered when a Murtha aide welcomed the troops on the congressman's behalf.

Myers said he backs Murtha, an opinion echoed by a number of other troops and their families. Several share his frustration with the conflict.

"I'm not sure we're doing a whole lot of good," Myers, 46, said of the U.S. presence in Iraq. "Everybody thinks we are. We're trying to, but we're not going to change what they want to do, and if they don't want to change, they're not gonna."

Said Sgt. 1st Class George Wozniak, 36, of Murtha: "He's definitely for a strong military and he definitely supports the troops."'"

Santorum Finds Pre-WW II WMD's

from Crooks and Liars:

Rick held a press conference carried by FOX during John Gibson's show today to say they found WMD's in Iraq. Sources in Washington are saying that these are artillery shells that predate the gulf TP notes:

The Bush administration commissioned the Iraq Survey Group to determine whether in fact any WMD existed in Iraq. After a year and half of meticulously combing through the country, here;s what the administration's own inspectors reported:

    While a small number of old, abandoned chemical munitions have been discovered, ISG judges that Iraq unilaterally destroyed its undeclared chemical weapons stockpile in 1991. There are no credible Indications that Baghdad resumed production of chemical munitions thereafter, a policy ISG attributes to Baghdad’s desire to see sanctions lifted, or rendered ineffectual, or its fear of force against it should WMD be discovered.

Bill Kristol came on with "Five in the Noggin "Gibson and was beside himself because the administration fought to keep these findings secret. I seem to remember that the key point Dick Cheney made was a mushroom cloud would appear over Cleveland because Saddam had reconstituted his program.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Real Marriage Issue

"High Infidelity" by Steve Benen: ". . .Lurking just over the horizon are liabilities for three Republicans who have topped several national, independent polls for the GOP's favorite 2008 nominee: Sen. John McCain (affair, divorce), former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (affair, divorce, affair, divorce), and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (divorce, affair, nasty divorce). Together, they form the most maritally challenged crop of presidential hopefuls in American political history. . ."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Crooks and Liars

Crooks and Liars: "Imus: Doesn't that just give them a heads up...

Kerry: No, what it does is provide the only opportunity for success. Stay the course is not a plan. And what this administration wants is to have a fake debate, as usual. There, there, you hear the drumbeat on every television show from every commentator, cut and run, cut and run, cut and run, cut and run. That's their phrase.

They've found their three words, they love to do that, and they're gonna try to make the elections in November a choice between 'cut and run' or 'stay the course.' That's not the choice. My plan is not 'cut and run.' Their plan is 'lie and die.' And that's what they're doing...Our plan is very simple. It's re-deploy to win the war on terror. Change to succeed....

There's more..."

"Lie and Die"-- another good slogan. Put that with "Stay and Pay" and pretty soon you have a country and western ditty.

Rush Is Lying Again

Crooks and Liars:
"Rush: 'I got an email here. '(Uh) Rush, (uh) now that two of our own have been tortured and murdered by the terrorists in Iraq, will the Left say that they deserved it? I'm so sick of our cut-and-run liberals. Keep up your great work.' Bob C. from Roanoke, Virginia. 'PS, I love the way you do the program on the Little Kim (?)' (laughs) I I added that! He didn't, he didn't put that in there. (laughs) You know, it-it's-I-uh...I gotta tell ya, I-I-I perused the liberal, kook blogs today, and they are happy that these two soldiers got tortured. They're saying, 'Good riddance. Hope Rumsfeld and whoever sleep well tonight. . .(sic)'"

I pass through at least 50 blogs every day and often 75 or more; I have seen absolutely no evidence of any blog, right or left or middle, rejoicing in the death of these two young men. Rush is spouting pure crap. It's unfortunate in the extreme that so many people will believe what he is saying.

What you may find, and this is not unusual at all, is posting in comment threads reflecting such an attitude; then, a bit more investigation will reveal the sorry truth: that those type of comments are almost always posted by sick-minded right-wing trolls, whose hope is, of course, to make their opponents appear as evil and heartless.

A good many people have wised-up to this scheme, at least on the internet, but, unfortunately, there is no way to expose these dispicable trolls on talk radio.

I am assured, however, that Old Scratch will have a special perch for these vultures deep in the burning forests of the eternal hot place.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Biden Explains Vote

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth: "Another great Democratic message point on Iraq
by John in DC - 6/19/2006 12:11:00 PM

I kind of hate giving credit to Joe Biden, because he does go on, but he nailed this one:

'If I had known the president was going to be this incompetent in his administration, I would not have given him the authority' to go to war, said Biden, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

This is an argument I've been making for a good year or two now. It's the argument Kerry should have made during his presidential run. It's the argument any Democrat can use to explain why they voted for the war and now think it's a disaster. And finally, it's the truth."

Corrupt Hastert ?

How Hastert benefited from sale | Chicago Tribune: "How Hastert benefited from sale
Planned highway could sweeten asset near Plano

By James Kimberly and Andrew Zajac, Tribune staff reporters. James Kimberly reported from Chicago and Andrew Zajac from Washington; Tribune staff reporters Mike Dorning and Ray Gibson contributed t(sic)
Published June 18, 2006

The complex structure of a real estate transaction in Kendall County last December left House Speaker Dennis Hastert with a seven-figure profit and in prime position to reap further benefits as the exurban region west of Chicago continues its prairie-fire growth boosted by a Hastert-backed federally funded proposed highway.

Instead of cash, Hastert (R-Ill.) took most of his share of the proceeds in land, some of it less than 2 miles from the parcels he and two partners in a land trust sold for nearly $5 million to a developer who plans to build more than 1,500 homes and commercial space on the property near Little Rock and Galena roads in Plano.

Hastert received five-eighths of the proceeds of the sale, which worked out to a profit of more than $1.5 million for him on property that he and his partners accumulated in a little more than three years. . ."

Here we go again.

Take Note: Jesus Is Not a Republican

This is a long post, but I think it is well worth skimming through, especially if you are interested in religious issues.

The Chronicle: 6/23/2006: Jesus Is Not a Republican: ". . .In terms of cultural and political influence, that alliance has been a bonanza for both sides. The coalition dominates talk radio and controls a growing number of state legislatures and local school boards. It is seeking, with some initial success, to recast Hollywood and the entertainment industry. The Republicans have come to depend on religious-right voters as their most reliable constituency, and, with the Republicans firmly in command of all three branches of the federal government, leaders of the religious right now enjoy unprecedented access to power.

And what has the religious right done with its political influence? Judging by the platform and the policies of the Republican Party — and I'm aware of no way to disentangle the agenda of the Republican Party from the goals of the religious right — the purpose of all this grasping for power looks something like this: an expansion of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the continued prosecution of a war in the Middle East that enraged our longtime allies and would not meet even the barest of just-war criteria, and a rejiggering of Social Security, the effect of which, most observers agree, would be to fray the social-safety net for the poorest among us. Public education is very much imperiled by Republican policies, to the evident satisfaction of the religious right, and it seeks to replace science curricula with theology, thereby transforming students into catechumens...

The Bible contains something like 2,000 references to the poor and the believer's responsibility for the poor. Sadly, that obligation seems not to have trickled down into public policy. On judicial matters, the religious right demands appointees who would diminish individual rights to privacy with regard to abortion. At the same time, it approves a corresponding expansion of presidential powers, thereby disrupting the constitutionally mandated system of checks and balances.

The torture of human beings, God's creatures — some guilty of crimes, others not — has been justified by the Bush administration, which also believes that it is perfectly acceptable to conduct surveillance on American citizens without putting itself to the trouble of obtaining a court order. Indeed, the chicanery, the bullying, and the flouting of the rule of law that emanates from the nation's capital these days make Richard Nixon look like a fraternity prankster.

Where does the religious right stand in all this? Following the revelations that the U.S. government exported prisoners to nations that have no scruples about the use of torture, I wrote to several prominent religious-right organizations. Please send me, I asked, a copy of your organization's position on the administration's use of torture. Surely, I thought, this is one issue that would allow the religious right to demonstrate its independence from the administration, for surely no one who calls himself a child of God or who professes to hear "fetal screams" could possibly countenance the use of torture. Although I didn't really expect that the religious right would climb out of the Republican Party's cozy bed over the torture of human beings, I thought perhaps they might poke out a foot and maybe wiggle a toe or two.

I was wrong. . .

For the better part of three decades now, we've been treated to the moral sermonizing of William J. Bennett, who wrote The Book of Virtues and served as Ronald Reagan's secretary of education and as one of Bill Clinton's most relentless critics. We now know that Bennett is a compulsive gambler. Ralph Reed, currently a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor of Georgia — the first step on his road to the White House — has always preached against gambling as part of his "family values" rhetoric. He has also done consulting work for Enron (which engaged in other forms of gambling) and accepted as much as $4.2-million from Indian tribes intent on maintaining a regional monopoly for their casinos. "I need to start humping in corporate accounts," he wrote to the lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Tony Perkins, a graduate of Jerry Falwell's Liberty University and head of the Family Research Council, arguably the most influential religious-right organization aside from Focus on the Family, has had ties to white-supremacist organizations in his native Louisiana. . .

"Do not be misled," St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians. "Bad company corrupts good character." Jesus himself asked: "What good would it be for you to gain the whole world, yet forfeit your soul?" The coalition with the Republican Party is blasphemy, pure and simple. . .

Jesus himself recognized that his followers held a dual citizenship. "Give back to Caesar what is Caesar's," he said, "and to God what is God's." Negotiating that dual status can be fraught, but it is incumbent upon responsible citizens of this earthly realm to abide by certain standards of behavior deemed essential for the functioning of the social order. Much as I would like all of my fellow Americans to be Christians or vegetarians or Democrats, I have no right to demand it. The leaders of the religious right have failed to observe even the most basic etiquette of democracy. . .

The leaders of the religious right have led their sheep astray from the gospel of Jesus Christ to the false gospel of neoconservative ideology and into the maw of the Republican Party. And yet my regard for the flock and my respect for their integrity is undiminished. Ultimately it is they who must reclaim the gospel and rescue us from the distortions of the religious right. . ."

This post is heavily excerpted (note all those ". . ."); click here: to read the entire post. It is well worth it.

Where's The Protest Music?

Why Neil Young Is Wrong | The Progressive: ". . .As the first protest singer to rise from the streets of anti-war and WTO protests and get a major worldwide distribution deal, I felt compelled to explain that today’s Dylans, Ochses, and Neil Youngs are here, but they’re being silenced by an industry that has for years derived its profits from kiddy porn and dreamy boys.

Just two days after my article came out, MTV, which has refused to play anti-war videos even by the biggest stars, published an article addressing the need for political consciousness in mainstream music. In a flourish of Bush-like hubris, one of the country’s chief purveyors of military recruitment ads to youth posted the article, “Where Is the Voice of Protest in Today’s Music?” The webpage boasted an Army video game in the bottom right corner. (MTV, by the way, refuses to air anti-war ads produced by organizations like Not In Our Name and Win Without War.)

Where’s the voice of protest? It’s in MTV’s trash can. . ."

I've wondered. Now I know. Check the rest of the post for more explanation of the corporate effect on protest music.

Darth, Spooks and Frontline

FRONTLINE: coming soon: the dark side | PBS: "The Dark Side
coming Jun. 20, 2006 at 9pm (check local listings)

(60 minutes) On September 11, 2001, deep inside a White House bunker, Vice President Dick Cheney was ordering U.S. fighter planes to shoot down any commercial airliner still in the air above America. At that moment, CIA Director George Tenet was meeting with his counter-terrorism team in Langley, Virginia. Both leaders acted fast, to prepare their country for a new kind of war. But soon a debate would grow over the goals of the war on terror, and the decision to go to war in Iraq. Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and others saw Iraq as an important part of a broader plan to remake the Middle East and project American power worldwide. Meanwhile Tenet, facing division in his own organization, saw non-state actors such as Al Qaeda as the highest priority. FRONTLINE's investigation of the ensuing conflict includes more than forty interviews, thousands of pages of documentary evidence, and a substantial photographic archive. . ."

No Gore For Joe

The Blog | Taegan Goddard: Gore Refuses to Back Lieberman | The Huffington Post: "Interviewed on Bloomberg TV, Al Gore refused to endorse his former vice presidential running mate, Sen. Joe Lieberman (C-CT), in his re-election race.

Said Gore: 'I am not involved. I typically do not get involved in Democratic primaries. Joe is my close friend, Joe and Hadassah are close to Tipper and me and it would be very difficult for me to ever oppose him. . ."

Thomas Flames Press Corp - NBC's chief confident on 'Today,' Brian Williams vs. Couric: "Thomas takes on her peers

. . .White House legend Helen Thomas, the longtime United Press International reporter who is now a syndicated columnist for Hearst, takes aim at her colleagues in a new book, saying that when it came to questioning President Bush in the weeks before the Iraq war, they were more lapdogs than watchdogs.

'I ask myself every day why the media have become so complacent, complicit and gullible,' Thomas writes in Watchdogs of Democracy? (Scribner, $25), due in bookstores this week. 'It all comes down to the 9/11 terrorist attacks that led to fear among reporters of being considered 'unpatriotic' or 'un-American.' '

In an interview, Thomas didn't back down from her thesis but allowed that the White House press corps 'became a little more courageous' in hitting Bush and his spokesmen with tougher questions after Hurricane Katrina. 'That was a turning point. They saw with their own eyes the incompetence. . .'"

The incompetence was there long before, but Katrina did make it impossible to ignore.


Scary close to a scary post.

Once Upon a Time...: It's All About Iran: The Bombing (Probably) Starts in the Fall: ". . .As I say, it's all about Iran now. The Bush administration is suffocating under the punishing weight of the catastrophic failures of its policies in every area, and it can only be saved by another major crisis, even an entirely invented one. They hope that such a crisis will serve to unite the country behind them once again, at least to the extent required to save them from the equivalent of political death. . ."

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Murtha On Rove

"... He's in New Hampshire. He's making a political speech. He's sitting in his air conditioned office on his big fat backside saying stay the course. That's not a plan. I mean, this guy, I don't know what his military is, but that's a political statement. This is a policy difference between me and the White House. I disagree completely with what he's saying. Now let's give you an example. When we went to Beirut, I said to President Reagan get out. The other day we were doing a debate and they said, Beirut was a different situation, we cut and run. We didn't cut and run, President Reagan made a decision to change direction cause he knew he couldn't win it. Even in Somalia President Clinton made a decision we have to change direction. Even with tax cuts, when we had a tax cut under Reagan, we then had a tax increase because we had to change direction. We need to change direction. We can't win a war like this. This guy is sitting back there criticizing, political criticism, getting paid by the public taxpayer, and he's saying to us we're winning this war and they're running. We have to change direction, that's what we have to do. You can't sit there in the air conditioned offices and tell these troops who are carrying 70 pounds on their back, inside these armored vessels and hit with IEDs every day, seeing their friends blown up, their buddies blown up and he says stay the course? Yeah, it's easy to say that from Washington, D.C. ... .. The public is way ahead on this. The public is 2 to 1 against what we're doing and they want to change direction. That's the thing I see the most." - Rep. John Murtha on "Meet the Press"
Yeah. Stay and Pay.

Do The Blogs Influence?

from Skippy on efforts to show the waning influence of leftblogistan:
". . .but what gets our goat (and we want mr. whiskers back! our back forty needs grazing!) is the third paragraph in which barnett trots out the meme that refuses to die:
depending on how you count, the progressive blogosphere's won/loss record in competitive races between the parties hovers somewhere around 0-20.
sigh. that thing was old when we wrote wonkette about not repeating this lie. it was indeed already beginning to smell when we pointed out (on his first day) ben domenech's inability to actually use facts in his really really really short tenure at the washpost. . .
this suggests that the blogosphere is already a mature medium and that its rapid growth phase is now past. and there is nothing to indicate that this relatively young dog is about to learn any new tricks.

we concede that both dkos and atrios are not getting as many hits as they were 8 months ago. neither is instapundit. neither is booman, or the left coaster, or the next hurrah, or (sadly) skippy the bush kangaroo. all of those sites, and we bet many others, saw a huge and abnormal spike in traffic during the months of september/october 2005. it's almost as if some levees broke somewhere, flooding the internets with readers desperate for news about some important national event. "
Yep. Katrina got me into this when, after watching hours of people dying and drowning, I first googled "Bush Is An Idiot" and found The Smirking Chimp and discovered there were a few like-minded citizens out there fervently hoping to replace the crooked incompetent traitors now ruling the country.

More Marsh on Coulter

Ann Coulter Says Kill John Murtha: "Ann Coulter Says Kill John Murtha
Known as the Frag Grenade.

What do Republicans think dissenting veterans deserve? They should be murdered by their own.

Via Peter Daou we get the latest installment of the stick shiksa's insanity. Only this time, not only did Ann enunciate how Republicans really feel about veterans, but she also gave us the bottom line when those vets turn out to be dissenting Democrats. The Republicans have done it time and again to soldiers, mostly through their policies, but now they've sent their spokesperson out to make it clear.

From The Generals to what Bush did to McCain, to what Ralph Reed did to Max Cleland, to what Karl Rove & Co. allowed to be done to John Kerry through the Swiftboat Veterans, the Republicans have proven they only like soldiers who are silent, serving their purposes, while standing up for whatever the Republicans say is right. They have proven their willingness to use soldiers for their own purposes, as well as stand them up for their photo ops.

The one person who not only personifies this theory but promotes it for the president is Ann Coulter, the darling of the Republican elite.

Ann Coulter has been embraced, feted and given the floor from the 'Today' show to late night to Fox 'News' and into right-wing radio. Sean Hannity made her the star for one of his shows. Hosting a book signing for Ann that was broadcast via radio for segment after segment so she could spew her venomous message. Republicans embrace Ann Coulter. She is their messenger and they're proud of it. The acceptance of Ann Coulter shows the true vile Republicans have for real veterans, especially those who dare to speak for soldiers currently serving in a war. . ."

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Eleventh Commandment

Crooks and Liars
From the Colbert Report:
(Congressman Westmoreland)
"Colbert: You have not introduced a single piece of legislation since you entered Congress.

Westmoreland: That's correct.

Colbert: This has been called a do nothing Congress. Is it safe to say you're the do nothingest?

Westmoreland: I, I, ..Well there's one other do nothiner. I don't know who that is, but they're a Democrat.

Colbert: What can we get rid of to balance the budget?

Westmoreland: The Dept. of Education.

Colbert: What are the Ten Commandments?

Westmoreland: You mean all of them?--Um... Don't murder. Don't lie. Don't steal Um... I can't name them all. emailer Ruth asks: Does this guy deserve a $3,300 pay raise?

The guy co-sponsors a bill about the Ten Commandments and doesn't even know them. Priceless.

(h/t Vincent)

emailer Ruth asks: Does this guy deserve a $3,300 pay raise?"

That distant roar is me splitting a gut on this one.

Swiftboating Another General

The Swiftboating of General Hagee-- The Plank
". . .But now Hagee has been all but convicted of enabling Murtha--ironic, since much right-wing outrage over Murtha has centered on the charge that Murtha convicted the Haditha Marines before a criminal investigation has been completed. The American Thinker suggests that Hagee should have at least "corrected Murtha" if Murtha misconstrued Hagee's briefing, while pointedly asking "Why would some people in the Marine Corps be so quick to credit allegations of misconduct?" That's pretty mild compared to Michael Ledeen, who's urging Cornerites to start an anti-Hagee letter-writing campaign. According to Ledeen, it's an "outrage" for Hagee to even have told congress that an investigation was open into Haditha before it was finished, and also an outrage for Hagee to have traveled to Iraq to remind Marines in Iraq about ethics in warfare.

Those who read Hagee's speech, titled "On Marine Virtue," may find it less outrageous than inspiring. Yet Ledeen evidently believes it represents "preemptive surrender." Place your bets: who's going to be the first to "raise questions" about Hagee's Vietnam record?"

Cashing-In On America

Former Antiterror Officials Find Industry Pays Better - New York Times
". . .At least 90 officials at the Department of Homeland Security or the White House Office of Homeland Security — including the department's former secretary, Tom Ridge; the former deputy secretary, Adm. James M. Loy; and the former under secretary, Asa Hutchinson — are executives, consultants or lobbyists for companies that collectively do billions of dollars' worth of domestic security business.

More than two-thirds of the department's most senior executives in its first years have moved through the revolving door. That pattern raises questions for some former officials. . ."

Blips From The Dark Side

". . .I figured the death of Zarqawi would be the political turning point in the liberation of Iraq - temporarily leaderless and with many cells compromised (thus the 104 dead terrorists in the past few days), the Iraqi government has its shot at asserting its full control over the territory of Iraq (and thus the massive military/police operations in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq) before the terrorists could possibly reorganise themselves into effective units again.

We must never forget that this excellent set of circumstances was only possible because President Bush stood firm - while Democrats were calling for a cut and run and even some GOPere were acting like nervous nellies, President Bush held fast and brought us through the rough patch. The man is worth his weight in gold to us - and my only worry is that we won't find a worthy successor in 2008."

Changing Attitudes

". . .Our exorbitant materialism is a loss of the way. We did not come to a point of ownership-obsession overnight, nor did it descend one day like a sun-darkening cloud of locusts; it is a coloring that has been gathering slowly within. In 1966, when college freshmen were surveyed about what they were going to do with their lives, 44 percent said it was important or essential to become well off financially, but by 1996 that had risen to 73 percent. Conversely, back in 1966 a full 83 percent said it was important to develop a philosophy of life, but by1996 that had dropped to 42 percent [1]. On a graph, the ascending line crosses the declining line in a stark X; it is clear one motivation has displaced the other. Nowadays, it is rare to hear about a philosophy of life; money and property have become our main attention. We believe we are what we own. . "

Remember the Social Security Issue?

from Josh Marshall

Congressional Democrats seem to have very short memories. But luckily for them the same isn’t always true for voters.

Eighteen months ago, President Bush launched out on what was intended to be the signature legislative accomplishment of his second term, the cornerstone of his “Ownership Society”: beginning the phase-out of Social Security and replacing it with 401(k)-style private accounts.

The fanfare was deafening. Democrats shook in their boots. And the president stood ready to bend history to his will.

Only it didn’t turn out as planned. After huffing and puffing and stringing the matter along for months, the president finally dropped the whole effort without even putting forward a plan. . .."

Father’s Day Reflections on a Son Lost

Father’s Day Reflections on a Son Lost: "Father’s Day Reflections on a Son Lost
by Michael Berg

Of all of the holidays a grieving father can be confronted with after the death of his child, Fathers Day is for me the most difficult.

My son Nick died in Iraq on May 7, 2004. He is buried next to my father, who had died just a year and a half before. That is not the way it’s supposed to be.

I’m supposed to go somewhere between my father and my son in the graveyard. Nearby are my proud immigrant grandparents, who died first. That is the way it is supposed to be.

There is a lot else going on that is not the way it is supposed to be. Our leaders are not supposed to lie to us. Yet because George Bush and company told us to beware of weapons of mass destruction and so-called Iraqi involvement in 9/11, my son and the loved ones of 150,000 other grieving souls on both sides lost their lives.

Though I doubted our president’s words, I did too little too late. . ."

Minimum Wage and Liars

from David Sirota at Huffington Post, re: John Stosell of ABC

Debating A Pathological Liar on CNBC

". . .There are a bunch of desperate lies in just this one exchange. There is the sky-is-not-blue lie about the minimum wage supposedly hurting job growth (a lie) and hurting low-income workers (a blatant lie). Then, cornered, Stossel tries to change the subject. When he can't, he resorts to another lie, claiming I have written something on his Amazon page (I did proudly call him a pathological liar on the Huffington Post, but not on his Amazon page - you can check here).

Then, in a crescendo of dishonesty appropriate for a pathological liar, Stossel reaches for the first liberal economist that comes to his mind (in this case Robert Reich) and claims that the data about states, wages and job growth are from just "one study" from Reich and that this supposed "one study" has been "widely discredited by every serious economist who looked at this." Of course, none of this is from a "study" - it's the cold, hard fact, gleaned from simple arithmetic: states that have raised their minimum wage above the federal level have created jobs at a better clip than those that have not.

Unfortunately, Stossel uses both his perch at ABC News and the conservative movement's right-wing apparatus to promote these kinds of lies. He gets awards from right-wing groups, and is given a platform at corporate-funded, fringe-right-wing groups like and the Cato Institute. He is, in short, a good exmaple of why I wrote Hostile Takeover - because we have to start fighting back frontally against these professional pathological liars, and the first way to start fighting back is to start shoving the facts in their faces."

Blogger's Gone Mad

Once again, I can't load the Blogger editor or directly post, so I'm resorting to emailing. I'll fix the posts whenever I can get into the Blogger editor.

Rove's Got A Gun!

Rove discloses gift of $2,073 shotgun - Yahoo! News: "WASHINGTON - The owner of the South Texas ranch where Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot a hunting companion chipped in on the gift of a shotgun for presidential aide Karl Rove last year.

Specifically, a Beretta 687 Silver Pigeon II, a handsome 20-gauge shotgun worth $2,073 that Katharine Armstrong and 10 other friends gave the senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President Bush, according to financial disclosure forms released Friday for top White House aides. . ."

Wes Clark In Vegas

Daily Kos: Science Friday: Vegas Style: "General Wesley Clark is a genuine champion for science. Both the General and members of the The Clark Community Network blog regularly on science and policy. I chatted briefly with him just before the panel. I saw his notes--he had a few bullet points and Chris Mooney's bio written out. That was it.

So I was blown away when he confidently took the podium and spoke eloquently for half an hour, basically off the top of his head! Gen. Clark not only underscored the vital role of science in our nation's history and future, he also mentioned that he wanted to become a physicist at one point. Clark didn't hold back or skirt any issues, choosing instead to talk about the misuse of faith by religious opportunists and other related topics that many potential candidates would evade at all cost. Here's a few excepts: . . ."

Jesus' General On Terrorist Amnesty

Jesus' General: "Dear Sen. Cornyn,

As a Republican, I don't think I've ever been prouder of one of our senators than I was today when you rose to address the terrorist amnesty issue. Like you, I don't think the US Senate should condemn the Iraqi Prime Minister for offering amnesty to terrorists who kill our soldiers. Why waste time on it? It's not like our military is staffed with College Republicans; most of our soldiers are brown or poor. If pardoning their killers allows Prime Minister Maliki to pump more oil, more power to him. . . "

Latest Ann Coulter Outrage: On 'Fragging' and John Murtha

Latest Ann Coulter Outrage: On 'Fragging' and John Murtha: ". . .In an email interview with John Hawkins at the Right Wing News web site, Coulter was asked, among other things, to offer short comments on several individuals. After harmlessly dismissing former Ambassador Joseph Wilson as the 'World's most intensely private exhibitionist,' she said of Rep. John Murtha, the hawkish ex-Marine and now antiwar congressman: 'The reason soldiers invented 'fragging.''

Fragging, which became a well-known expression -- and occasional occurence -- during the Vietnam war, means soldiers attempting to kill their own officers for one reason or another.

This was so over the top that conservative Mike Krempasky at posted, 'I've said before that's its kind of ironic that just about every phrase Stewie from Family Guy uses to describe Lois could easily be applied to Ann Coulter. Well -- once again, Ann proves us right.' He went on to call her 'fragging' remark absolutely 'disgusting. ... there's no excuse -- NONE -- for the allusion to soldiers who kill other soldiers. It's despicable -- and frankly, so is Coulter. . .'"