Saturday, December 17, 2005

Weekly Round-Up

Due to a virus and work I couldn't keep up with the daily posts so here's a quick summary of Moderate tidbits for the week:

More on TreasonGate

From The Smirking Chimp:

"John Dickerson: 'The 'out to lunch' defense: Karl Rove's story doesn't make sense'Posted on Saturday, December 17 @ 08:30:47 EST (191 reads)John Dickerson, SlateAnother of my former Time magazine colleagues has talked to special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. This time it's Viveca Novak, with whom I worked on some stories about the Valerie Plame leak case. According to news reports, Karl Rove's lawyer Robert Luskin has told Fitzgerald that a conversation he had with Novak led his client, Rove, to change his testimony to the grand jury in the CIA leak case. I'm not buying it. "

Byrd on America

From The Smirking Chimp:

"Senator Robert Byrd: 'Securing America without destroying liberties'Posted on Saturday, December 17 @ 08:34:17 ESTThis article has been read 224 times. Senator Robert ByrdRemarks by US Senator Robert C. Byrd as delivered on the Senate floor.I believe in America. I believe in the dream of the Founders and Framers of our inspiring Constitution. I believe in the spirit that drove President Lincoln to risk all to preserve the Union. I believe in what President Kennedy challenged America to be.America, the great experiment of democracy, where the strong are also just, and the weak can feel secure, and the soul and promise of America stand as a beacon of freedom and a protector of liberty which lights and energizes people around the world.

Today, sadly, that beacon is dimmed. This Administration's America is becoming a place where the strong are arrogant and the weak are ignored.Yes, we hear high-flown language from this White House about bringing democracy to lands where democracy has never been. We seem mesmerized with glorious rhetoric about justice and liberty. But, does the rhetoric really match the reality of what our country has become since the heinous attacks of September 11?I speak of the actions of our own government, actions that have undermined the credibility of this nation around the world.

These actions, taken one at a time, may seem justified. But taken as a whole, they form an unsettling picture and tell a troubling story.Do we remember the abuses at Abu Ghraib? They were explained as an aberration.Do we remember the abuses at Guantanamo Bay? They were denied as an exaggeration.Now, we read about this so-called policy of 'rendition' - a policy where the US …"

Sen. Byrd has much more to say.

Dirty Tricks from '02

The Associated Press 21 hours, 21 minutes ago Concord

' A jury yesterday convicted a former national Republican official of two telephone harassment charges for his role in a phone-jamming plot against New Hampshire Democrats on Election Day 2002. The federal jury acquitted James Tobin of a third charge, the most serious against him, of conspiring against voters' rights.

Tobin, 45, of Bangor, Maine, was regional political director to the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the 2002 election, the year of a closely watched Senate race between Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and Republican John Sununu. Sununu defeated Shaheen, 51 percent to 46 percent. Tobin was President Bush's New England campaign chairman last year, but resigned when the allegations became known.

He faces a maximum seven-year prison term and $500,000 in fines when he is sentenced in March. The voters' rights charge carried a potential sentence of 10 years and a $250,000 fine. Separately, state Democrats are pursuing a civil lawsuit, which they hope will expose knowledge or approval of the scheme by GOP officials higher than Tobin. Republicans have insisted it was conceived and executed at the state level.

In August, the Republican National Committee acknowledged it had spent more than $722,000 to provide Tobin with lawyers from a high-powered Washington law firm. Party officials who said they ordinarily would not discuss such matters said they underwrote Tobin's defense because he was a longtime supporter and assured them he had committed no crimes. "

Get more details at Union Leader.Com.

Bush and Spying

"The Washington Monthly:
December 16, 2005
Guest: Hilzoy

I just wanted to echo what Shakespeare's Sister said about the report that Bush signed an order allowing the NSA to spy on US citizens without a warrant.

This is against the law. I have put references to the relevant statute below the fold; the brief version is: the law forbids warrantless surveillance of US citizens, and it provides procedures to be followed in emergencies that do not leave enough time for federal agents to get a warrant. If the NY Times report is correct, the government did not follow these procedures. It therefore acted illegally.

Bush's order is arguably unconstitutional as well: it seems to violate the fourth amendment, and it certainly violates the requirement (Article II, sec. 3) that the President 'shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.' "

More Polygamy Parade

The Revealer, 13 December 2005

"'We're coming. We are next. There's no doubt about it.'" The Washington Times takes a page from Rick Santorum's "man-on-dog" book, and then some. In a front-page Sunday story, the paper took on the pressing national issue of the "coming battle" over polygamists' rights -- diligently doing its part to move the issue from the hypothetical, "slippery slope" argument against gay marriage, to the top of the values-voter agenda.

The Times' reporter, Cheryl Wetzstein, brings out the usual scare quotes from attack-groups like Concerned Women for America and the marriage-defenders at the Florida Liberty Counsel, speculating on which activist jurors are about to bring polygamy into your town, as well as arguing that, on principle, the ACLU, Libertarians, liberals, feminists, and black feminists, "have to be pro-polygamy because of their tolerance doctrine and belief in a woman's right to choose."

But from there, Wetzstein does one better: enlisting the help of, a magically convenient "Christian pro-polygamy organization" that's become the talking-head quote of choice for numerous Christian and conservative media outlets, including CBN's 700 Club, WorldNetDaily, the Traditional Values Coalition, and the Family Research Council, all of which have pointed to the website as proof that the threat of polygamy is real.

Rich Doing Well

From the Smirking Chimp:

Writer Holly Sklar, in a recent piece in Information Clearing House, tells us that since 2000, America's billionaire club has gained 76 more members while the typical household has lost income and the poverty count has grown by more than 5 million people. Further, she tells us that the Forbes 400 wealth totals more than $1.1 trillion -- an amount greater than the gross domestic product of Spain or Canada, the world's eighth and ninth largest economies.We're slowly getting the numbers down pat. The top 1 percent of earners in this country hold about 40 percent of the country's wealth, having doubled that percentage in the past 25 years. Business Week magazine, which isn't likely to show favoritism to the little people, reports that the CEOs of the largest 50 companies had an average total compensation of $12.4 million last year, up from $1.95 million at the start of the decade. Do we begin to see in which direction the money flows? Is it made of helium?

Business Imitates Government

Sirotablog: Execs Target Shareholders with Orwellian Intimidation:

"The Times reports that 'U.S. companies, alarmed by the number of activist investors on the prowl, are hiring surveillance firms to find out who their shareholders are and which ones might cause trouble.' Let's state it another way: company management is now going all out to indentify ' and perhaps target with retribution/harrassment? ' the owners of the company themselves (aka. the stockholders) if those owners are expected to 'cause trouble.'The move, in some ways, looks like a modern-day (though at this point less harsh) version of the famous Pinkertons, only now that Big Business has been so successful in crushing unions, the surveillance is now being directed at shareholders. And just remember what Corporate America really means my 'activists' causing 'trouble.' Big Business doesn't mean stockholders who are going to help executives pay themselves more, or stockholders who are going to demand wage cuts for ordinary employees. It more likely means the opposite ' shareholders (or shareholding institutions) that are going to demand changes that management doesn't like."

Old Clinton Bashing

From Crooks and Liars:

"The GOP is hip-deep in hypocrisy. Go to this Crooks & Liars link for a list of anti-war statements they made during the War in Kosovo as they voted against funding for our troops.

My favorite: st...nAndKosovo.html

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered.

There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our overextended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"...

"The bombing was a mistake. ... And this president ought to show some leadership and admit it, and come to some sort of negotiated end." -Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)"


Monday, December 12, 2005

The Gulf Coast NonRecovery

What’s been going on in New Orleans?  Evidently, not much on the Federal level.
From Think Progress:
“It hasn’t worked out that way. Here’s Washington Post reporter Mike Allen today on Meet the Press:
I’m going to tell you something to amaze you; it amazed me yesterday. The last time the president was in the hurricane region was October 11, two months ago. The president stood in New Orleans and said it was going to be one of the largest reconstruction efforts in the history of the world. You go to the White house home page, there’s Barney camp, there’s Social Security, there’s Renewing Iraq. Where’s renewing New Orleans? A presidential advisor told me that issue has fallen so far off the radar screen, you can’t find it.
The New York Times says the neglect is threatening the future of the city:
We are about to lose New Orleans. Whether it is a conscious plan to let the city rot until no one is willing to move back or honest paralysis over difficult questions, the moment is upon us when a major American city will die, leaving nothing but a few shells for tourists to visit like a museum.
Why does this president seem more interested in rebuilding Iraq than rebuilding America? “
Maybe God needs to get involved with Bush.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Sullivan On Bolton

Following is a snippet from Andrew Sullivan concerning our diplomat at the U.N. :

"QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I think it is inappropriate and illegitimate for an international civil servant to second-guess the conduct that we're engaged in in the war on terror, with nothing more as evidence than what she reads in the newspapers." - John Bolton, our U.N. ambassador.

Bolton is surely aware that the evidence that the U.S. has engaged in torture, and "cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment of detainees may be found in more than just the newspapers. Has he read his own briefs? He could also read the Schmidt Report, the Jones-Fay Report, the Taguba Report, the Schlesinger Report, the Bybee memo, the argument, the reports from the International Red Cross, and on and on. His own government has provided ample evidence of its own violation of American law and basic human rights. What you find in Bolton is something democratically repulsive, but one that is very close to the view of Dick Cheney. That view is that the public should never second-guess its own government in the conduct of a war. I wish we didn't have to. But when you have bungled a war this badly, and committed war-crimes in the process, what would Bolton have us do? Trust, sadly, is no longer an option. It no longer became an option the minute looting broke out in Iraq and the secretary of defense, responsible for maintaining order in a country he had just invaded, shrugged his shoulders. From that moment of complete and proud dereliction of duty, we were on notice that these people couldn't be trusted."

Sullivan is generally considered a conservative commentator.

"NyahNyahNyah! Yooour Stoopid," Sez Coulter

"Ann Coulter to audience: You're stupider than I am

Thursday, December 8, 2005; Posted: 10:27 a.m. EST (15:27 GMT)

STORRS, Connecticut (AP) -- Conservative columnist Ann Coulter cut short a speech at the University of Connecticut amid boos and jeers, and decided to hold a question-and-answer session instead.

"I love to engage in repartee with people who are stupider than I am," Coulter told the crowd of 2,600 Wednesday.

Before cutting off her speech after about 15 minutes, Coulter called Bill Clinton an "executive buffoon" who won the presidency only because Ross Perot took 19 percent of the vote.'"...

and George Bush didn't win.

AntiCreationism Prof Falls From Departmental Grace

"TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) -- A University of Kansas professor who drew criticism for e-mails he wrote deriding Christian fundamentalists over creationism has resigned as chairman of the Department of Religious Studies.

Paul Mirecki stepped aside on the recommendation of his colleagues, according to Barbara Romzek, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences."

Wonder if getting the crap beat out of you by two Christians had anything to do with this?

Schiavo Fights Facists

"Michael Schiavo joins the fray

Terri Schiavo's husband starts a PAC devoted to defeating the Bible-thumping politicians who used his comatose wife as a football.

By Michael Scherer

At the height of the battle, Michael Schiavo appeared to be a reluctant cultural warrior. His wife, Terri, lay comatose, in her 15th year of vegetative slumber, connected to a feeding tube, but well beyond resuscitation. Around her hospice, a political hurricane swirled.

In Terri's name, President George Bush interrupted his vacation, Sen. Bill Frist played doctor from the Senate floor, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush launched a flimsy criminal investigation, and Rep. Tom DeLay issued ominous political threats to the judiciary. The religious right had turned Terri into a symbolic beachhead in the battle for a "culture of life," and the Republican Party had answered the call. "

Right Wing Sex Issues

From The Smirking Chimp: "Lewis Libby has exposed some very disturbing themes that are always present in right wing thinking. This is a group that is obsessed with sex, and that has very strange issues with women. Dr. W. David Hager was the Bush appointee in the Food and Drug Administration responsible for reproductive health issues. He held that position until his ex-wife revealed that he forced her to have anal intercourse over a period of many years. "

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Corruption Flows

Corruption Flows From White House

A nifty way to describe Rove and company…

"There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus," says John J. DiIulio Jr., who served as the first director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. "What you've got is everything -- and I mean everything -- being run by the political arm. It's the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis."(c)

Copyright 2005 by Capitol Hill Blue

I love that-- "Mayberry Machiavellis."

Source: Capitol Hill Blue

So who's who in the White House?

Hang 'Em High!

Michael Reagan: Dean 'Should Be Hung'
Michael Reagan, son of the late President Ronald Reagan, is blasting Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean for declaring that the U.S. won't be able to win the war in Iraq, saying Dean ought to be "hung for treason."
"Howard Dean should be arrested and hung for treason or put in a hole until the end of the Iraq war!" Reagan told his Radio America audience on Monday.
Reagan was reacting to Dean's comments earlier in the day, when the top Democrat said that the "idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong."’”
You hang Dean—then it’s ok if I hang Bush?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Who's on First?

From The Smirking Chimp: "The sick freakishness of Libby and whoever put a gay prostitute in the press room makes one long for a more basic, semi-logical insanity. Donald Rumsfeld recently exhibited the most typical Bush team craziness on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

STEPHANOPOULOS: If you had known that no weapons of mass destruction would be found, would you have advocated invasion?

RUMSFELD: I didn't advocate invasion.


RUMSFELD: No, I wasn't asked. "

Well, ok. Then who was in favor of invading Iraq? The Girl Scouts?

Voting and Cheating To Continue?

Pay attention all you states who are thinking of using electronic voting machines.

“Despite a ban on political contributions from Diebold executives, implemented in June of 2004 after the voting machine corporation's chief executive officer, Walden O'Dell,came under heavy criticism for hosting afund raiser forr George W. Bush and signing a letter promising to deliver Ohio's electoral college vote to him. One Diebold leader apparently never got the memo about the ban. USA Today published an insightful story last year on O'Dell trouble and his ban, that provides background to his voting machine company's political woes.

A who's up for reelection in 2006. Why let a little thing like the company's policy prohibiting such contributions stop Tabib from writing out a check to DeWine? By the way, DeWine will have at least one Democratic Party challenger next year, none other than Iraqi warvet Paul Hackett. You may have read Hackett's namein thee news lately because he lost a special election for Ohio's second district seat in the House of Representatives in August. Who beat him? Rep. "Mean Jean" Schmidt, the vicious Congresswoman who took to the House floor a few weeks back to defame former Marine Rep. John Murtha after he called for American troop reductions in Iraq. Tabib's monetary gift to DeWine shows one thing about Diebold. When they say something is company policy, it doesn't mean all that much."

I understand computers and electronic communication quite well and I can assure you that any system can be compromised. If you are going to insist on using electronic voting apparatus, then the machine should at least print-out two paper ballots--on to go into the verification process and on to show you how your vote was counted--a receipt.

Illegals and the Walmartians

FROM Vague Nihilism

Greg at the Talent Show has the beginning of an answer to the Immigration Issue, which Lou Dobbs huffs and puffs over, and even the Democratic National Committee has figured out will be an issue. So far, though, Howard Dean has only said illegal immigrants are going to be the GOP's "scapegoats" and the Democrats will stiffen border enforcement. Maybe Dean should say something like this:

Wal-Mart thinks they can lock a bunch of immigrants in their store over night and pay them cheap! But when Big Business breaks the law, we are going to make sure they pay the full price! They'll think twice about hiring people for two dollars an hour if we fine 'em twenty thousand dollars a head!
When Big Business tries to break the law to undercut Labor, the law needs to deal with them.”

After all that then consider adding a surcharge for each head for deportation procedures, then adding mandatory jail time for say, a second offense, for every person involved in the hiring of illegals, then say having the illegals do a little community service, perhaps supervising those who hired them,  before we deport them after confiscating their wages. To be fair, let’s discourage all parties involved from breaking the law.

Historians on Bush

Lifted from “Rising Hegemon”:

“Worst President Ever

More on a recent poll of historians, from a fine historian Richard Reeves:

'This is what those historians said -- and it should be noted that some of the criticism about deficit spending and misuse of the military came from self-identified conservatives -- about the Bush record:

*He has taken the country into an unwinnable war and alienated friend and foe alike in the process;

*He is bankrupting the country with a combination of aggressive military spending and reduced taxation of the rich;

*He has deliberately and dangerously attacked separation of church and state;*He has repeatedly "misled," to use a kind word, the American people on affairs domestic and foreign;

*He has proved to be incompetent in affairs domestic (New Orleans) and foreign ( Iraq and the battle against al-Qaida);

*He has sacrificed American employment (including the toleration of pension and benefit elimination) to increase overall productivity;

*He is ignorantly hostile to science and technological progress;

*He has tolerated or ignored one of the republic's oldest problems, corporate cheating in supplying the military in wartime.

Quite an indictment. It is, of course, too early to evaluate a president. That, historically, takes decades, and views change over times as results and impact become more obvious. Besides, many of the historians note that however bad Bush seems, they have indeed since worse men around the White House. Some say Buchanan. Many say Vice President Dick Cheney.'

Nice last sentence.”


Pitiful Performance Keeping Us Safe Scored

Administration Receives Poor Grade

On “Biggest Threat Facing This Country”

‘The “biggest threat facing this country is weapons of mass destruction in the hands of a terrorist network,” Bush said during last year’s Presidential debate. “And that’s why proliferation is one of the centerpieces of a multi-prong strategy to make the country safer… And we’ve been effective.”

The 9/11 Public Discourse Project — formerly known as the 9/11 Commission — just released an assessment of Bush’s progress on the issue. Despite his rhetoric, they aren’t impressed:’"

The U.S. score on preventing terrorists from getting WMD’s—a “D.”

Think Progress goes on

'The 9/11 Commission concluded that the administration’s “current efforts fall far short of what we need to do” and recommends President Bush “request the personnel and resources, and provide the domestic and international leadership, to secure all weapons grade nuclear material as soon as possible.” Good idea. ‘"

Maybe if we hadn't blown the budget on goofy tax cuts and other ill-conceived ideas, we could have spent a few bucks trying to make sure nuclear devices aren't smuggled in via Mexican tomatoes.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Corruption Becomes Important?

From Cannonfire

The good news is that reporters working for the mainstream media have caught on -- in part. They understand that Randy "Duke" Cunningham is hardly the only Republican politician to receive economic "assistance" from Brent Wilkes, head of the Poway-based "defense" firm ADCS -- a.k.a. the Wilkes Corporation, a.k.a. Group W Advisors, a.k.a. lots of other names. But they still treat this company as though it were something real. Not a single mainstream reporter has scrutinized those web sites and reported on the obvious signs of fakery.No reporters -- and, for that matter, no procurement officers at the Pentagon -- bothered to do any checking at the patent office. If they had, they would have found that there are no patents covering the "proprietary" designs and innovative equipment advertised by the many ADCS subsidiary firms. The truth: Wilkes was a mechanism by which public funds earmarked for national defense were funneled to G.O.P. candidates and causes.

Supreme Bad Idea

"I think the shooting [in this case] can be justified as reasonable," Alito wrote in a 1984 memo to Justice Department officials. Because the officer could not know for sure why a suspect was fleeing, the courts should not set a rule forbidding the use of deadly force, he said. "I do not think the Constitution provides an answer to the officer's dilemma," Alito advised.
When in doubt, blow their brains out. That's the kind of thoughtful, deliberate analysis we need on the Supreme Court.

Mrs. Bush Unhappy?

From the Washington Note:
Barbara Bush is allegedly TICKED off at Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Andy Card, nearly all of them -- except Karen Hughes -- for how her boy is faring in the hearts and minds of Americans.
The matriarch of the Bush clan is colder than North Pole ice right now to those around her son who she thinks have undermined him. I'll tell who my sources are if Patrick Fitzgerald gives a call and makes me -- but the sources are very close to Poppa Bush (41), who has been traveling a bit with some of his old entourage, including Brent Scowcroft and others of the first Bush regime.

TV Fiction Realer Than Reality?

Submitted by liberalgirlnextdoor to the Smirking Chimp

What is going on with the television? Turn on the news and there is no news there, but turn on everyone's favorite television crime show, Law and Order, and they are playing out the dark side of the Patriot Act that allows for the federal government to effectively steal information from local police and cover up crimes if it serves their purposes. The pundits tell us that America is a Christian nation as if that alone explains why George W. Bush is sitting in the Oval Office, but then we see a clip from a reality television show, Trading Spouses, that exposes evangelicals as the crazies they are. What the hell is going on in this place?

Press Payola Problems

Submitted by scottcsmith to the Smirking Chimp.
In the early 1960s, the recording industry was hit by the so-called "payola scandal." This was the practice of record labels paying radio stations to promote certain artists. A bribe, in other words. Famed disc jockey Alan Freed became the face of payola in the 1960s, and in 1962 Freed pleaded guilty to two charges of commercial bribery.Of course, the practice has continued in various forms over the years. And now, thanks to the Department of Defense, it has spread to Iraq. As the Los Angeles Times revealed on Nov. 30, U.S. military "information operations" troops wrote articles with a pro-war spin, and a defense contractor then translated the pieces into Arabic for use in Iraqi newspapers. According to the Los Angeles Times, the articles are presented by the Iraqi press as unbiased - or, if you want to put a Fox News spin on it - "fair and balanced" pieces written and reported by independent journalists.The articles are factual, but only present one biased point of view.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The Rich Get Richer

The Smirking Chimp: "Robyn E. Blumner: 'The Republicans' millionaire relief act'
Posted on Sunday, December 04 @ 09:22:22 EST (563 reads)

Robyn E. Blumner, St. Petersburg Times

If you make $1-million or more, President Bush and House Republicans want to give you a very happy holiday season. They know what a burden carrying three homes and fueling eight cars must be, and they're out to lighten the load. The tax cuts being pushed by House leaders would reduce your tax bill on average by nearly $51,000.

Break out those champagne wishes and caviar dreams. The donor class is getting what it paid for.

Anyone who wonders whether there is really any difference between the Democratic and Republican parties should look at the buzz of activity in Congress just before Thanksgiving break. The season of sharing with those less fortunate took a turn in Republican hands. It's now a Leona Helmsley yacht party where $100 bills are used to light celebratory cigars while the little people serve the drinks and pay the taxes.

The $50-billion 'deficit reduction' package that passed the House saves money by constraining spending for things like child support enforcement, student loans, and health care and food stamps for the working poor. It is a royal raspberry to struggling families, a vote that said, 'Sorry buddy, you're on your own.'"

Another Look at The Other California Duke

The Smirking Chimp: "Froma Harrop, The Providence Journal

RANDY CUNNINGHAM WAS more than a criminal. He was a head case. And the astounding thing about the California Republican's career is that federal prosecutors had to take him down. The voters didn't have the self-regard to do it themselves.

Any number of politicians could have this conservative congressional district in and around San Diego. The people didn't have to be represented by a total screwball.

Some might forgive, even enjoy, crusty candor in a decorated Navy pilot, which Cunningham was. But the man's outbursts overshot any rough charm and landed in lunatic city. That his constituents now express shock that he could do bad things makes you wonder.

Where do we start with Randy Cunningham? How about the time in 1998 when, while visiting a hospital, he gave the finger and threw the 'F' word at an elderly cancer patient? It seems that the patient, a World War II veteran, had challenged Cunningham's assertion that the defense budget was too low. In 1984, Cunningham had dared Rep. David Obey (D.-Wis.) to a fistfight for opposing one of his pet pieces of legislation. But for all his tough-guy bluster, Cunningham fell apart at the smallest sign of dissent."

Phony Prosperity and Phony Jobs

The Smirking Chimp: "An Economy Driven By Debt

Paul Craig Roberts, CounterPunch

The November payrolls job report was announced Friday with the usual misleading hype. Spinmeisters made the most out of the 215,000 jobs. Looking beyond the glitter at the real facts, this is what we see. 21,000 of those jobs were government jobs supported by taxpayers. There were only 194,000 new jobs in the private sector.

Of those new jobs, 37,000 are in construction and only 11,000 are in manufacturing. The bulk of the new jobs--144,000--are in domestic services.

Wholesale and retail trade account for 20,000. Food services and drinking places (waitresses and bar tenders) account for 38,000.

Health care and social assistance account for 27,000. Professional and business services account for 29,000. Financial activities gained 13,000 jobs. Transportation and warehousing gained 8,000 jobs.

Very few of these jobs result in tradable services that can be exported or help to close the growing gap in the US balance of trade."

Faux News Foaming Phonier

Movie & TV News @ - Studio Briefing: "'Journal Editorial Report' To Jump From PBS to FNC

The Wall Street Journal -produced Journal Editorial Report, the conservative-oriented talk show that figured in the scandal that brought down Kenneth Tomlinson as chairman of the Corporation of Public Broadcasting, has found a new home at Fox News Channel. The Journal said that the half-hour show will air on Saturday and repeat on Sunday beginning January. A timeslot has not been set. Earlier this month a CPB internal investigation concluded that Tomlinson may have violated federal law by piloting the Journal program onto PBS as a way of politically balancing a program hosted by Bill Moyers. The report, written by CPB Inspector General Kenneth Konz, observed that while federal law bars CPB board members from involvement in programming decisions, Tomlinson was closely involved in both the development of the program and efforts to find funding for it. In an interview with today's (Thursday) Los Angeles Times, Paul Friedman, its executive producer, charged that there had been 'a concerted campaign to destroy the program on ideological grounds.' Fox programming exec Bill Shine told the paper that the program 'adds to our strength.'"

Buying the News busblog: "but theres one thing that is not in debate about this administration: they are shameless propagandists who will stop at nothing to use and manipulate the press in illegal and immoral ways making whores out of the so-called fourth estate during this era of widespread and wanton corruption.

so since we know that the Bush administration has paid off pro journalists, a gay male hooker wannabe journalist, and now iraqi newspapers "

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Alito Critics Cite Inconsistencies

"By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) - Challenging his candor and by implication his character, Samuel Alito's critics are seizing on a handful of inconsistencies and omissions in the record to raise doubts about the judge's fitness for the Supreme Court.
By themselves, the issues seem minor: "

There's a list at the link. But while the list itself seems minor, the implications of a pattern of behavior are anything but minor.

At Least the Graft is Circulating through the U.S. Economy...

UPDATED: 50 Cent, the War Profiteer and the $10 million Bat Mitzvah: "Why the world's best 13th birthday party has Iraq vets' blood boiling

On the day the President told the American people to prepare for the long haul in Iraq, here's a story that seems to perfectly sum up our priorities as a nation. They're calling it Mitzvahpalooza. It may go down in history as the world�s most obscene birthday party (eat your heart out Dennis Kozlowski). David H. Brooks, CEO of bulletproof vest maker DHB Industries, spared no expense for his 13-year old daughter's entry into adulthood.

The girl and 300 of her closest BFFs were entertained recently in New York's Rainbow Room by Don Henley, Stevie Nicks, Kenny G, Aerosmith and, believe it or not, 50 Cent (I guess 500 large can make you forget all about street cred). It was hosted by Tom Petty. The reported cost: $10 million." ...

"First off, what 13-year old is a fan of Don Henley, Fleetwood Mac and, for God's sake, Kenny G? Who was this party really for? Second, and more importantly, where does a guy get $10 million to blow on a Bat Mitzvah? Well, it appears, from you, the American taxpayer. According to United for a Fair Economy, Brooks and Co. have made a tidy profit outfitting our nation's fighting men and women in body armor that allegedly couldn't take a hit from a 9mm round.

David H. Brooks, CEO of bulletproof vest maker DHB Industries, earned $70 million in 2004, 13,349% more than his 2001 compensation of $525,000. Brooks also sold company stock worth about $186 million last year, spooking investors who drove DHB's share price from more than $22 to as low as $6.50 [DHB was trading at $4.20 Wednesday].

In May 2005, the U.S. Marines recalled more than 5,000 DHB armored vests."

My outrage meter has been pegged at max for a long time.

More Uranium Treason?

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall December 3, 2005 01:30 AM: " (December 03, 2005 -- 01:30 AM EDT)

A week ago we mentioned that the FBI was starting to back off their blanket exoneration of the Italian government for any role in the Niger forgeries affair. Now Saturday's LA Times reports that the Bureau has decided to 'reopen' the inquiry into the forged documents. That sounds like a good idea since there are so many signs that the original investigation was all but non-existent. I've been behind in getting to my 4th installment of reporting on the Niger story. But I'll be getting to that in the next few days. And that will include what we learned that confirmed the role of officers of Italian intelligence (SISMI) in disseminating the forgeries.

-- Josh Marshall "

Stay on it, Josh. If it does turn-out the way I suspect (that the White House created the Niger uranium forgeries), this will be the most important scandal of the decade.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Daring Duke Deficits Defense Dole

Capital Eye - Defense Contractors Haven't Just Doled to Duke:

"November 30, 2005 A number of federal officeholders have received political contributions from the same defense contractors from whom Congressman Randy 'Duke' Cunningham (R-Calif.) has admitted accepting illegal bribes, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. Bribes, unlike lawful contributions, involve an agreement to take action in return for the money.

Political action committees controlled by MZM, Inc., which was founded by alleged Cunningham co-conspirator Mitchell Wade, and ADCS, Inc., which was founded by alleged co-conspirator Brent Wilkes, have contributed more than $1 million in the last 10 years to a roster of politicians, leadership PACs and party committees. Top recipients include Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr. (R-Va.), Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.), Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), Tom DeLay's Americans for a Republican Majority PAC and President Bush. Republicans have been the recipients of 95% of the two defense contractors' giving, according to the Center for Responsive Politics' analysis."

Save us, Muad'Dib.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Facist Football Frenzy Feted

DAYS: "And speaking of the Giants, anyone catch the extreme Right's reaction to a recent decision to open up a non-denominational prayer room at Giants Stadium?

The decision resulted from several unfortunate incidents earlier this year in which Muslims at the stadium were harrassed while trying to perform their daily prayers.

Here are but a few of the reactions to the news gleaned from the capitol of online wing-nuttery, Little Green Footballs:

'These folks are not going to stop of their own volition. They have made it crystal clear that they are here to islamicize America. Hell, all of their activitst groups (CAIR, MSU, MSA, etc.) come right out and say it. And our leaders cower before them. We are led by wusses.'

'We are losing our country right before our very eyes. The left enables the islamicization of America, and our leaders are afraid to confront it. Folks, I'm afraid it's going to fall to the American people to save our country, because our leaders and our institutions sure as hell are not going to do anything to save it.'

'Anyone who doesnt own a weapon I would suggest purchasing one ASAP at your local sporting goods store, going to your local gun shooting range to practice regularly and buying a shotgun for home protection, hard to miss and the click back action scares the bejeezus out of em.'

So this is the 35% who still support Bush. I've been wondering..."

Pat Sez "Kill 'Em"

From The Smirking Chimp:
"'I know it sounds somewhat Machiavellian and evil, to think that you could send a squad in to take out somebody like Osama bin Laden, or to take out the head of North Korea,' Robertson said in 1999. 'But isn't it better to do something like that, to take out Milosevic, to take out Saddam Hussein, rather than to spend billions of dollars on a war that harms innocent civilians and destroys the infrastructure of a country?'

And in 2004, Robertson reiterated his support for assassinating Saddam Hussein. 'Our forces are going to war, and we support them,' he said. 'But if I had been doing it, I think I would have much preferred the assassination route.'"

More on Pat

More on Pat from the Chimp:

While the Media Research Center's Brent Baker claimed that Robertson's political clout is "waning," and Fox News' Brit Hume maintained that Robertson had "no clout with the Bush Administration," Senator James M. Inhofe, the Republican from Oklahoma who heads up the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, was looking out for the televangelist's business interests.

In August, Sen. Inhofe inserted $10.8 million into the $286 billion transportation bill; money that will directly enhance the Reverend's bottom line. The funds -- $5.8 million of which came through Sen. Inhofe's initiative -- was earmarked "to help build an interchange along Interstate 64 near the Christian Broadcasting Network [CBN]," the Virginian-Pilot reported in mid-September."Building the interchange would help a project planned by CBN to build homes, shops and commercial space on about 430 acres of undeveloped land in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach that the network owns adjacent to the interstate," the Virginian-Pilot reported. "Lowell W. Morse, president of Morse and Associates Inc., a firm hired by CBN to help develop the project, has said the investment could hit $300 million."

While Sen. Inhofe was looking after the Rev. Robertson's financial interests, the Christian Coalition, the organization founded by Robertson in 1989, was on the edge of sinking into history. The organization is a long way from its salad days in the mid-1990s when the politically savvy Ralph Reed ran the ship as the CC's executive director."In 1994 alone," recently reported, "the group mailed 30 million postcards opposing President Clinton's sweeping health-care proposal and made more than 20,000 phone calls to urge support for the balanced budget amendment -- two issues that helped Republicans win control of Congress that year."Now, the organization is suffering from a series of financial blows, including a suit against filed in June, by Pitney Bowes for $13,649 in unpaid postage; the suit was recently settled out of court. The Christian Coalition is also feeling the back draft from a racial discrimination suit filed by several of its black employees, all of which has left it behind such powerhouse conservative Christian operations as Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family and Tony Perkins' Family Research Council.

OBI has had a controversial history: In 1996, the Norfolk, Va.-based Virginia-Pilot reported that two pilots hired by OBI to fly humanitarian aid to Zaire two years earlier were used to benefit Robertson's diamond mining operations. Chief pilot Robert Hinkle, maintained that during his six months tenure flying for Operation Blessing, only one or two of more than 40 flights were for humanitarian purposes -- the rest carried mining equipment. OBI resources were being diverted to support the African Development Co., a private corporation run by Robertson. At the time, Robertson also had a special relationship with Zaire's late dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko

Christianity Today's Ted Olsen recently wrote that Robertson's political power and influence within the evangelical movement is largely dependent on his perpetual presence on television and in that regard, there is no end in sight. Olsen explained: "In 1988, Robertson sold the Family Network to Fox for $1.9 billion," eleven years after he "launched" the channel "through the donations of viewers who had been promised a Christian alternative to 'secular' television."

According to Olsen, the Christian Broadcasting Network received $136 million, Robertson's Regent University got $148 million, Robertson "personally received $19 million, and the rest went to the Robertson Charitable Remainder Trust, which will fund CBN after Robertson and his wife die."The kicker in the deal: "Fox Family was required to air The 700 Club three times a day... and, if Fox sold the network, the obligation to air The 700 Club had to be part of that deal, too." (The Walt Disney Company bought the network from Fox in 2001 for $3 billion and $2.3 billion in debt, Olsen reported.)In recent years, with the 700 Club airing as many as five times a day, "Donations have increased from $84 million in 1998, the year of the sale, to $132.1 million in 2004." The Virginian-Pilot's religion reporter Steven Vegh, recently reported that donations had risen from only a third of CBN's 1997 revenue, to 71 percent of its 2004 total.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Teacher Accused of Liberal Quizzing

"> - Teacher accused of giving 'liberal' quiz - Nov 25, 2005: "Teacher accused of giving 'liberal' quiz Friday, November 25, 2005; Posted: 1:38 p.m. EST (18:38 GMT)  

BENNINGTON, Vermont (AP) -- A high school teacher is facing questions from administrators after giving a vocabulary quiz that included digs at President Bush and the extreme right. Bret Chenkin, a social studies and English teacher at Mount Anthony Union High School, said he gave the quiz to his students several months ago.

The quiz asked students to pick the proper words to complete sentences. One example: 'I wish Bush would be (coherent, eschewed) for once during a speech, but there are theories that his everyday diction charms the below-average mind, hence insuring him Republican votes.' 'Coherent' is the right answer. Principal Sue Maguire said she hoped to speak to whomever complained about the quiz and any students who might be concerned. She said she also would talk with Chenkin. School Superintendent"    

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Flying Fetus Fiasco

From The Guardian via The Smirking Chimp:

"The Guardian:
An anti-abortion group has gone to court to argue its right to fly pictures of aborted foetuses over tourist beaches on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, as aerial advertisements.

The Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, based in California, already displays pictures of first-term aborted foetuses on billboards on the sides of trucks, as well as pictures of what it claims are aborted limbs on its website home page. Now it wants to take its message to the skies.

Robert Muise, a lawyer for the centre, told three judges from the San Francisco-based ninth US circuit court of appeals that flying the pictures over sunbathing holidaymakers was the only way his clients could make their point effectively. 'That's the essence of their message,' said Mr Muise. 'Those pictures convey messages that are rhetorically inexpressible.'

Claiming the ban violated freedom of speech, the organisation said it also effectively thwarted their ability to engage in public debate and influence opinion. They are seeking protection under the first amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech.
More at the link"

State of the Day: This Is How They Do It: Lie, Rinse, Repeat

"Despite official retractions, strategy reversals, and policy changes, the Right Wing hatemongers repeat and embellish the lie.

Even two and a half years later, the lie is front and center for the likes of Ann Coulter:

In the Iraq war so far, the U.S. military has deposed a dictator who had already used weapons of mass destruction and would have used them again. As we now know, Saddam Hussein was working with al-Qaida and was trying to acquire long-range missiles from North Korea and enriched uranium from Niger.
Exactly which WMD would Saddam have used again, Ann? The ones that we are no longer even searching for? Or the ones that Rumsfeld's military is shamefully using 'over there so we don't have to fight them over here?'

Read more of Ann's latest bile-fueled, falsehood-laden, hate-mongering opinion piece.

This type of bald-faced lying is a hallmark of Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and others on the Raving Right. This strategy is doubly effective because it solidifies the lie with those who missed the retraction and it gets the mainstream media to focus on the lie again, instead of on the rebunking of the lie. This obscures the real story, sometimes completely. This works to the advantage of the side that is lying. Often instead of arguing about the point in question, the Right will cry, 'The Democrats are doing this for political gain,' which takes the attention away from the issue, whatever it is, and turns it to partisan politics. If the story now shifts to Democrats vs. Republicans, or Liberals vs. Conservatives, or 'he said, she said,' the liars win because the public has been distracted by what the lie was designed to obscure."

Monday, November 28, 2005

Quotes from Duke Cunningham

I can't vouch for the accuracy of these comments, so if you want to check-out their veracity, back-track the sources. (The source is usually accurate.) - Comments: "Referring to President Clinton's anti-war activities during the Vietnam War, Cunningham once said Clinton 'would be tried as a traitor and even shot' if he lived in another nation. [San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/9/1998, pp. B-1,8]'[The leadership of Congress] ought to be lined up and shot. I'm talking bout the liberal leadership.' (to a Washington Post reporter)

[Washington Post 'Reliable Source' column, 10/6/1992, Blade-Citizen, 10/10/1992]Mr. Cunningham, who underwent prostate surgery, compared prostate cancer treatment to gay anal sex before the same group of elderly cancer patients at Alvarado Hospital. Cunningham said no man would enjoy prostate cancer treatment 'unless he's Barney Frank.'Mr. Cunningham then made an obscene gesture in reference to prostate examinations. The reference is to fellow Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), an openly gay Congressman.Rep. Frank replied Cunningham's 'not a guy who's taken all that seriously. He does not have a high reputation for the thoughtful, analytical content of his remarks.' Rep. Frank also said 'He seems to be more interested in discussing homosexuality than most homosexuals.' [S.D. Union-Tribune, 9/9/1998 B8, editorial, 9/10/1998 B10]

On the floor of the house, during debate of the Clean Water Act, Cunningham said backers of a defeated amendment to make the military comply with water pollution rules are 'the same people who would vote to cut defense $177 billion, the same ones that would put homos in the military, the same ones that would not fund BRAC, the same ones that would not clear up . . . No, I will not sit down, you socialist [Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-CO)].' [audio] [Congressional Record, 104th Congre"

How do these people get elected?

CapitolBuzz: Santorums Park In A Handicapped Spot?

CapitolBuzz: Santorums Park In A Handicapped Spot?: "Santorums Park In A Handicapped Spot?
A Buzz reader reports seeing one of Rick Santorum's cars parked in a handicapped parking spot at the Tyson's Corner mall in Virginia over the Thanksgiving weekend and then saw Mrs Santorum carrying bags of stuff to her handicapped parking spot.

1) This guy is never in PA.

2) He doesn't just cut programs to help the disabled. He also takes their parking spots.

3) His little shopping spree did more to help the VA economy than his Senate career has done to help the PA economy.

# posted by The Buzz @ 3:31 AM "

DeLay defends Cunningham's home sale

A golden oldie from the dusty stacks of moldy wax:
DeLay defends Cunningham's home sale: "DeLay defends Cunningham's home sale
By Patrick O'Connor

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) yesterday defended Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-Calif.) after calls from congressional Democrats to investigate the Republican appropriator for selling his San Diego home to a defense contractor whose firm had received $65 million in federal funds in 2004.

'Duke Cunningham is a hero,'DeLay said during a press briefing Tuesday. 'He is an honorable man of high integrity.'

Cunningham sold his home in 2003 to Mitchell Wade, president of MZM Inc., a Nevada-based defense contractor that specializes in security and intelligence-gathering technology. The company lost $700,000 after it resold the property eight months later, the San Diego Union-Tribune first reported Sunday."

Cunningham resigned from Congress Monday afternoon.

Birds of a feather...

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Once Upon a Time...: When Honor Is No Longer Possible: A Nation Beyond Forgiveness

Once Upon a Time...: When Honor Is No Longer Possible: A Nation Beyond Forgiveness: "When Honor Is No Longer Possible: A Nation Beyond Forgiveness
Some stories are almost impossible to contemplate. This is one of them.

In June, Col. Ted Westhusing was found dead near the Baghdad airport. His death was most likely a suicide, a single gunshot wound to the head. His wife, who probably understood her husband better than anyone else, had no trouble identifying the cause:
In the military report, the unidentified colonel told investigators that he had turned to Michelle, Westhusing's wife, and asked what happened.

She answered:


Read the entire story. It is disturbing.

Hanging Chads Connect To Spirit Water Through the Ether

The Smirking Chimp: "Sketpical Inquirer: Katherine Harris ordered study of 'supernatural' water to protect citrus treesPosted on Tuesday, November 15 @ 16:20:13 EST This article has been read 573 times.

Excerpt:Florida's citrus crop contributes billions of dollars to the state's economy, so when that industry is threatened, anything that might help is considered. Back in 2001, when citrus canker was blighting the crop and threatening to reduce that vital source of revenue, an interesting�if not quite scientific alternative was considered.

Katherine Harris, then Florida's Secretary of State�and now a member of the U.S. House of Representatives�ordered a study in which, according to an article by Jim Stratton in the Orlando Sentinel, 'Researchers worked with a rabbi and a cardiologist to test �Celestial Drops,' promoted as a canker inhibitor because of its improved fractal design,' �infinite levels of order,' and �high energy and low entropy.''

The study determined that the product tested was, basically, water that had apparently been blessed according to the principles of Kabbalic mysticism, 'chang[ing] its molecular structure and imbu[ing] it with supernatural healing powers.'

More at the link.
MSNBC has picked up the story as well"

Will Fish Hook Tourists on Atlanta? - Will fish lure tourists to Atlanta? - Nov 21, 2005

"ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- The Georgia Aquarium points to the Atlanta skyline like the prow of a giant ship -- an ark filled with more than 100,000 exotic creatures.

It's the largest aquarium in the world, with five 'galleries' that are home to fish that can be seen off the coast of Georgia, as well as some that have never been displayed on this continent.
City tourism officials hope visitors will come for the aquarium and stay to see other nearby attractions, such as Zoo Atlanta, the King Center and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site."

More Revisionist History Attempts by Bushie Spin Artists

Fox News Host Chris Wallace Claims Bush Never Linked Saddam and al-Qaeda.

"In a stunning display of historical revisionism, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace argued this morning that President Bush never tried to link al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein:

[T]hat specific quote there where you say he couldn't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, he wasn't saying that they were linked at all. He was saying one was as bad as the other, and when he said in that same answer something about that Saddam Hussein would like to use a terrorist network, he wasn't saying that they would like to use al Qaeda. So you're making a link there that the President never made.

Wallace focused on a single statement President Bush made on September 25, 2002. ('[Y]ou can't distinguish between al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror.') But that statement was part of a series of statements that intentionally and explicitly linked Saddam and al Qaeda in the lead up to war. For example, this statement by Bush on February 8, 2003:"

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

George Will and the ideology of punctuation ... [Media Matters]

George Will and the ideology of punctuation ... [Media Matters]: "Will and the ideology of punctuation

Washington Post columnist George F. Will, in his November 20 Post column, pointed to proper punctuation as a way of distinguishing 'liberal' and 'conservative' sensibilities. Will lauded author Lynne Truss, whose book Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation (Gotham, 2004) brought her international recognition. Truss, a self-described 'punctuation vigilante,' wrote in Eats, Shoots & Leaves that her book 'gives you permission to love punctuation.' According to Will, Truss's book 'established her as -- depending on your sensibility -- a comma and apostrophe fascist (the liberal sensibility) or a plucky constable combating anarchy (the conservative sensibility).' Will offered no explanation for how he concluded that liberals oppose proper punctuation or that punctuation breaks down along ideological lines. Media Matters for America, however, was able to identify at least two writers -- one conservative and one liberal -- who do not fit into Will's punctuation paradigm, as evidenced by their views on the semicolon."

Limbaugh: Murtha "just the useful idiot of the ... [Media Matters]

Limbaugh: Murtha "just the useful idiot of the ... [Media Matters]: "Limbaugh: Murtha 'just the useful idiot of the moment'

Click Play to listen to this audio clip
Problems? Download this clip hereOn the November 21 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, host Rush Limbaugh asserted that Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) -- who on November 17 called for the immediate redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq -- is 'just the useful idiot of the moment.'
Limbaugh added that people 'portray [Murtha] as a former hawk,' and asked: 'What kind of serious hawk calls for withdrawals like this?' Limbaugh then added: 'I don't think he ever has been a hawk ... in his career ... as a congressman.'
Limbaugh further asserted that Murtha is 'just getting his 15 minutes of fame like [anti-war protester] Cindy Sheehan got,' and characterized Murtha as 'just the latest member of the endless parade of personalities around whom the Democrats can circle and support.'"

Russert Twisting in the Wind?

Crooks and Liars: "Tim Russert Stonewalls again
Today on the Imus show, Don prodded Tim to tell his audience why Scooter Libby called him in the first place to complain about something he saw on MSNBC. Part of Scooter's defense to Fitzgerald has been that Tim Russert told him Valerie Plame's name during a phone call. Russert has denied that categorically and by using Libby's own notes we know Tim is correct. Isn't 'little Russ,' being a self important hypocrite by refusing to tell us exactly what Scooter had to say to him while he analyses everyone else in the Plame case including Booby?"

Monday, November 21, 2005

How U.S. Fell Under the Spell of 'Curveball' - Los Angeles Times

How U.S. Fell Under the Spell of 'Curveball' - Los Angeles Times: "How U.S. Fell Under the Spell of 'Curveball'
The Iraqi informant's German handlers say they had told U.S. officials that his information was 'not proven,' and were shocked when President Bush and Colin L. Powell used it in key prewar speeches.

By Bob Drogin and John Goetz, Special to The Times

BERLIN � The German intelligence officials responsible for one of the most important informants on Saddam Hussein's suspected weapons of mass destruction say that the Bush administration and the CIA repeatedly exaggerated his claims during the run-up to the war in Iraq.

Five senior officials from Germany's Federal Intelligence Service, or BND, said in interviews with The Times that they warned U.S. intelligence authorities that the source, an Iraqi defector code-named Curveball, never claimed to produce germ weapons and never saw anyone else do so.


According to the Germans, President Bush mischaracterized Curveball's information when he warned before the war that Iraq had at least seven mobile factories brewing biological poisons. Then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell also misstated Curveball's accounts in his prewar presentation to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, the Germans said.

Curveball's German handlers for the last six years said his information was often vague, mostly secondhand and impossible to confirm. "

Rocky Mountain News: Local

Rocky Mountain News: Local: "ACLU suing over ouster from event
Action taken on part of 2 people booted from Bush speech
Email this story | Print By Ann Imse, Rocky Mountain News
November 21, 2005
The American Civil Liberties Union is taking up the case of two of the three people ejected from a presidential appearance in Denver over a bumper sticker and has named a federal bureaucrat in Denver as the mystery man who ousted them.
The ACLU filed suit today in federal court in Denver, alleging violation of the pair's civil rights.
The suit identifies the man who ejected them as Michael Casper, a building manager in the General Services Administration in Denver. Casper has worked as a volunteer at several White House events since 1996. "

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Daily Kos: Who is Col. Danny Bubp?

Following is a short blip on the marine Rep. Schmidt quoted:

Daily Kos: Who is Col. Danny Bubp?: "Nearly thirty years in the Marines, and Col. Bubp missed every single military engagement? Southeast Asia? Beirut? Grenada? Panama? Gulf War? The Balkans? Somolia? He even missed embassy service in Paris!
But that hasn't stopped Col. Bubp from attacking the character of decorated veterans in the past. Col. Budp campaigned for Schmidt in her race against Iraq veteran Paul Hackett in the special election:"

There's quite a bit more if you back track the link.

Reporters and Sources

The Sideshow November 2005 Archive: "What are reporters for?
Looking at WaPo Ombud Deborah Howell's piece on anonymous sourcing, I have to wonder whether this is some special spin cooked up to paint over what's going on, or do the leading voices at one of the leading newspapers really not understand what's wrong with the fact that more and more, the paper looks like a gossip column rather than, well, a serious newspaper.
The thought of reporters testifying as prosecution witnesses in the Libby case frightened many at the conference. Lucy Dalglish, a lawyer and former reporter who is executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said, 'The public must have access to truth as much as possible, but reporters can't become agents of government prosecutions or civil litigants.' Most participants felt there should be a federal law to shield reporters from having to identify their sources; most states have laws offering some protection.
We've already noticed that Ms. Dalglish and her organization seem to be in thrall to the conservative spin machine, but let's face it, this statement is laughable in light of current events. Let's look at that again:
'The public must have access to truth as much as possible, but reporters can't become agents of government prosecutions or civil litigants.'
No, instead they should be agents of government criminality, eh?"

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Dean to Fitzgerald
The Smirking Chimp:"With all due respect, Mr. Fitzgerald, I believe you are being had. I believe that you were selected with the expectation that you would conduct the narrowest of investigations, and it seems you have done just that.

The leak of Valerie Wilson's status did not occur in a vacuum. Republicans in Congress do not want to know what truly happened. You are the last, best hope of the American people in this regard.

I can tell you, as someone who travels about the country, that Americans -- regardless of their political disposition -- are deeply troubled by this case. And, increasingly so, by the limits you have apparently placed on your investigation.

To right-minded Americans, the idea that Administration officials have betrayed their national security obligations, yet remain in their jobs, is nothing short of appalling. Beyond politics is patriotism: Patriotic Americans want to see you not only prosecute those who compromised and endangered Valerie Plame Wilson, but also force the Administration to clean house with respect to those who did this, which you can accomplish through appropriate civil action.

As one who does know something about the way Washington works, I hope you will actually use the plenary powers you have been granted to implement what I understood to be the announced policy of the Department of Justice for which you work -- a zero tolerance policy for leaks.

John W. Dean, a FindLaw columnist, is a former counsel to the president.

Copyright � 2005 FindLaw

Source: FindLaw "

Friday, November 18, 2005

Eyewitness Muse

Eyewitness Muse: "Society of Co-opted Journalists Presents Inaugural Judy Miller Award to Bob Woodward
EWM- (November 17, 2005) In recognition of �outstanding duplicity and journalistic sycophancy while promoting an agenda on behalf of the subject of his reportage,� the Society of Co-opted Journalists will present its inaugural Judy Miller Award to Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward.
The award is named for New York Times reporter Judy Miller whose pioneering work in co-opted journalism assisted the Bush Administration in whipping up a war. Miller was recently shamed into resigning her position, but her legacy lives on through the daily carnival of carnage in Iraq and this new award.
�Bob Woodward�s recognition as the first Judy Miller Award winner is wonderfully symmetrical,� said SCJ President Toady Flackmaster."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Blast From the Past

From Crooks and Liars comment thread:

from when Clinton sent troops to Bosnia - the one from W just kills me):

"You can support the troops but not the president."
---Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years."
---Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
---Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

"[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."
---Sen Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."
---Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain the y have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."
---Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of George W Bush

"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning . . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."
---Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"
-Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."
-Governor George W Bush (R-TX)
sunny | 11.17.05 - 10:41 pm | #

Gee, the world sure changed after 9-11...

Chickenhawk List

Crooks and Liars comment thread:

"For all that are interested...

Here is a partial list of those who DID NOT SERVE but speak out strongly for sending others to war: Cheney (5 deferrments), Hastert, DeLay, Blunt, Frist, Mitch McConnell, Santorum, Lott, Ashcroft (7 deferrments to teach business), Jeb Bush, Rove, Saxby Chambliss (bad knee), Richard Perle, Doug Feith, Eliot Abrams, Richard Shelby, Gingrich, Jack Kemp (who, however, played an additional 8 years of pro football with a "knee problem," Guliani, Schwartzenegger (was AWOL from Austrian army base), Sean Hannity, Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, George Will, Pat Buchanan, Bill Kristol, Kenneth Starr, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Ralph Reed, Charlie Daniels, Ted Nugent, John Wayne.

Can you say CHICKENHAWK?

Those that did serve? Gephardt, Daschle, Gore, Kerrey, Kerry, Rangel, Cleland, Ted Kennedy, Harkin, George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, John Glenn among many other Democrats."

Reagan, if I remember correctly, was in the Hollywood movie-making brigade, a position similar to so many of our keyboard warriors today.

Murtha Speaks

From Crooks and Liars comment rhread:

REP. MURTHA: "I like guys who've never been there to criticize us who've been there. I like that. I like guys who got five deferments and never been there, and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what need(s) to be done.

I resent the fact on Veterans Day he criticized Democrats for criticizing them. This is a flawed policy wrapped in illusion! The American public knows it. And lashing out at critics doesn't help a bit. You got to change the policy. That's what's going to help with the American people. We need to change direction. The troops -- what hurts the troops are the things that I listed before."

Amen, brother.

A Blogger on Murtha

Yep, another * blog: Those who do not heed the lessons of history: "I don't know why this hadn't occurred to me earlier but it's just struck me that the most vocal congressional opponents of the Iraq war and the torture of detainees are exactly the same ones who'd fought in Vietnam.

I think this is more than just a casual coincidence and that there's more to this than meets the eye. I do not think that Senators Kerry, McCain and Hagel and Congressman Murtha are so outspoken simply because they all served in Vietnam: I believe that their outspokenness stems from the fact that they'd fought in that other wrong-headed war to which Iraq is being compared. And even if I'm wrong about this, it's still a glaring common denominator well worth considering."

pork has much more to say. Check it out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

More Media Evil

"All The President's Stooges
by digby

I can't tell you how impressed I continue to be with the elite journalists in this country. After finding out that top reporters from The NY Times, The Washington Post and NBC all withheld information from the public about their leaders, I can only wonder what else they may be keeping back because of their cozy relationships, book deals, or political sympathies. This is a crisis in journalism.

Woodward and Miller have been willing tools of this administration from the get. Bob Novak was an open partisan on television, so everybody knew that they funneled information to him and he printed it for political purposes. These two (and their supporting players in television news) were the most important journalists in Washington working for the two most important papers in the country and the national news outlets. Among all the journalistic players in this, the only one who wrote the real story, in real time, was Matt Cooper. He's the one who should be getting the journalism awards, not Judy Miller. He's the only one who fulfilled his duty as a journalist and told his readers what their leaders were doing."

We definitely need reform in the media. Perhaps, all the bloggers will fuel this needed reform until we finally get accurate and fair reporting again.

Senate Strips Earmarks from 'Bridges to Nowhere'

From Press Room:

"Statement by Sierra Club Executive Director, Carl Pope

The Senate Appropriations Committee removed earmarks for two controversial 'bridges to nowhere' in Alaska: the Gravina bridge, which would connect Ketchikan to an island of 50 people, and the Knik Arm bridge, which would link Anchorage to a sparsely populated area.

The projects have been the subject of strong criticism because of the general backlog of existing roads and bridges in desperate need of repair, especially those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. According to the National Association of Civil Engineers, one in four bridges nationwide is structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, not including the damage from Katrina and Rita.

The issue has been particularly controversial for Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) who has served as a strong advocate for the Gravina bridge despite the fact that her family owns 33-acres of undeveloped land 3/4 of a mile from the point where the bridge would touch down. Since the State would now decide how the money would be spent, her father, Governor Frank Murkowski, would now face the same ethical scrutiny."

The end of federally funded real estate development?

White House Tried to Salt Iraq with WMD's?

A Liberal Dose: Some Really Good Shit....: "According to U.S. intelligence sources, the White House exposure of Valerie Plame and her Brewster Jennings & Associates was intended to retaliate against the CIA's work in limiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. WMR has reported in the past on this aspect of the scandal. In addition to identifying the involvement of individuals in the White House who were close to key players in nuclear proliferation, the CIA Counter-Proliferation Division prevented the shipment of binary VX nerve gas from Turkey into Iraq in November 2002. The Brewster Jennings network in Turkey was able to intercept this shipment which was intended to be hidden in Iraq and later used as evidence that Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction. U.S. intelligence sources revealed that this was a major reason the Bush White House targeted Plame and her network.

Brewster Jennings
CIA counter-proliferation network prevented a WMD 'salting' operation by Bush White House in Iraq.

In fact, U.S. intelligence sources report that the first shipment of VX nerve gas to Saddam Hussein was carried out between 1988 and 1989. The gas was shipped to Iraq by a U.S. company that was established in 1987 -- The Carlyle Group."

Read back on this story. Remember that camel and a straw? This could be an anvil.

N.Y. to Lose $125 Million in 9/11 Aid

N.Y. to Lose $125 Million in 9/11 Aid - Yahoo! News: "
WASHINGTON - Congressional budget negotiators have decided to take back $125 million in Sept. 11 aid from New York, which had fought to keep the money to treat sick and injured ground zero workers, lawmakers said Tuesday.

New York officials had sought for months to hold onto the funding, originally meant to cover increased worker compensation costs stemming from the 2001 terror attacks.
But a massive labor and health spending bill moving fitfully through House-Senate negotiations would take back that funding, lawmakers said.
'It seems that despite our efforts the rescission will stand, very sadly, and that is something of a promise broken,' said Rep. Vito Fossella (news, bio, voting record), R-N.Y. 'We will try hard in the coming weeks, but ultimately Congress will have something of a black eye over this"

Katrina: Time's Man of the Year?

Yellow Dog Blog: CNN�s Most Popular Stories Reveal Much About Us: " Katrina proposed as Time's Person of the Year. Time magazine's 2005 Person of the Year may not be a person after all. A panel of notables has made a strong case for awarding the distinction this year to Hurricane Katrina."

Amen. Future scholars may well recognize Katrina as the most important storm in American history, if not world history. To my knowledge, no other storm has been responsible for bringing down a national government. Epidemics, yes. Storms, no. And the pandemic is yet to come-- not we hope!

MediaCitizen: CPB Report Tells Only Part of the Story

MediaCitizen: CPB Report Tells Only Part of the Story: "CPB Report Tells Only Part of the Story

An Inspector General report released Tuesday by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting exposes a politically-motivated scheme by former chairman Kenneth Tomlinson to meddle with programming on PBS and NPR. But the report stops short of implicating the remaining leadership at the agency, and fails to reveal the extent to which the White House orchestrated Tomlinson's moves.

Missing from the report is email traffic between Tomlinson and White House political advisor Karl Rove, reportedly provided to Inspector General Kenneth Konz by investigators at the State Department. This evidence, which reveals the White House's hand in manipulations of public broadcasting programming, is still under lock and key at the heavily partisan CPB."

Another very good reason for some political turnover.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

GOP senator hits Bush for attacking war critics; Hints Congress endorsing another Vietnam by staying silent

The Raw Story | GOP senator hits Bush for attacking war critics; Hints Congress endorsing another Vietnam by staying silent: "Republican Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), a Vietnam veteran and critic of Bush policy on Iraq, excoriated the Administration Tuesday in a speech to Council on Foreign Relations Tuesday, RAW STORY has learned.
Hagel blasted the Administration for going after Iraq war critics and turning the war into a political cause"

Once Upon a Time...: Bill Kristol's War, and the Hearst Journalism Awards

Once Upon a Time...: Bill Kristol's War, and the Hearst Journalism Awards: "Bill Kristol's War, and the Hearst Journalism Awards
Now that snapped you out of your slumber with a very nasty shock, didn't it? Can you imagine anything more sickening or horrifying than the idea that Bush's catastrophe in Iraq is in large part the rancid, lethal product of the mind (I use the term imprecisely) of one William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, now celebrating its tenth year as the leading propaganda organ of the neofascists and current holder of the William Randolph Hearst Award for Journalists Who Can Supply Any War You Want, You Just Send the Pictures. On their current record, Kristol and the Standard will hold that award for many years to come."

Rush's Money Making Scheme

Limbaugh Exploits Our Troops Rush Adopt a Soldier Program Limbaugh:
'Rush Limbaugh's Adopt a Solider Program and Exploitation Rush Announced his Adopt a Soldier Program But is it Really Generous and Patriotic? On Friday, Limbaugh announced his 'Adopt a Soldier Program'. This involves soliciting money from listeners to pay for subscriptions to the Limbaugh letter and Rush 24/7 that will be 'given' to the soldiers.

Each listener can 'adopt' as many soldiers as they wish who will each get a subscription. The donor pays the discounted price of $49.95 for each soldier. The description is on Rush's web site here... Adopt a Soldier Program Clearly this is a tasteless marketing ploy. Rush and Premiere Radio Networks are fattening their coffers by exploiting the generosity of listeners with the use of our military troops as props. There is not one thing stopping Limbaugh and Premiere from simply giving the subscriptions away. Rush 24/7 amounts to accessing content on This content is produced and costs Premiere the same no matter how many people are consuming it.

The Limbaugh Letter amounts to a handful of printed pages. If Rush and Premiere Radio Networks wished the troops to experience the generous and supportive spirit of the show, they would simply provide this to the troops instead of making it a function of how many Rush listeners are willing to pony up $49.95 per soldier. '

Why not just do what I do-- send a troop an extra $50 per month. They will like that a lot more than crap from this windbag. And by-the-damn-way-- I'm not adopting him, I am thanking him. posted by Bob @ 1:10 PM 0 comm"

Monday, November 14, 2005

Some One Body Needs Talkin' To - President's ratings hit new low in poll: "Fewer than one in 10 adults say they would prefer a congressional candidate who is a Republican and who agrees with Bush on most major issues, according to a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday. Even among Republicans, seven of 10 are most likely to back a candidate who has at least some disagreements with the president."

Uh, who is this person? See the article for more wowsers.

Jersey Wannabe Gov Blown Away By Katrina?

Forrester says Bush's troubles tilted the vote: "Forrester says Bush's troubles tilted the vote
Republican took 'pounding' but thought he'd be governor
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Star-Ledger Staff
It's all George W. Bush's fault.

Doug Forrester, in his first postelection interview, laid the blame for his loss in the governor's race last week directly at the feet of President Bush. He said the public's growing disaffection with Bush, especially after Hurricane Katrina, made it impossible for his campaign to overcome the built-in advantage Democrats have in a blue state like New Jersey.

'If Bush's numbers were where they were a year ago, or even six months ago, I think we would have won on Tuesday,' Forrester said. 'Katrina was the tipping point.' "

...perhaps for everything.

Bird Flu Meets The Three Stooges

The Smirking Chimp: "Meet Stewart Simonson. He's the official charged by Bush with 'the protection of the civilian population from acts of bioterrorism and other public health emergencies' -- a well-connected, ideological, ambitious Republican with zero public health management or medical expertise, whose previous job was as a corporate lawyer for Amtrak.

When Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, recently speculated, 'If something comes along that is truly serious�like a major pandemic, you are going to see the ineptitude of this government in a way that will take you back to the Declaration of Independence,' many of those professionally concerned with such scenarios couldn't help thinking of Simonson.

They recalled his own unsettling words at a recent Homeland Security subcommittee hearing on government response to a chemical or biological attack: 'We're learning as we go.'

'Great. What we need in the middle of a crisis is somebody learning on the job at that high level of government,' says Jerry Hauer, Simonson's immediate predecessor at the Office of Public Health Emergency Preparedness (OPHEP) and a veteran public health expert who served as Rudy Giuliani's director of emergency management from 1996 to 2000."

Thou Shalt Not Torture

TPMCafe || Man on Fire--Not!: "I think Dick Cheney has been watching too many Hollywood flicks that glorify torture. He needs, instead, to get on the ground and talk to the folks he is ostensibly trying to empower to torture. Unlike Dick I have spoken with three CIA operations officers in the last three months--all who have worked on terrorism at the highest levels--and not one endorses torture or believes it will help us. In fact, they believe it will hurt us on many levels.
Two of my friends served in Afghanistan in the immediate aftermath of 9-11. If the suicide bombing of the World Trade Centers was not enough justification for hooking Haji up to battery cables, I don't know what is. My friends recognized correctly that their mission was to gather intelligence not create new enemies. If you inflict enough pain on someone they will give you information, but, unless you kill them, they will hold a grudge. As far as the information goes there is no guarantee it will be correct. "

Colleges Make Presidents Millionaires

"Nov 14, 2005 — Curious where those extra tuition dollars are going? One place to look would be the pockets of college presidents.

Five presidents have cracked the $1 million compensation barrier, including John R. Silber, the now-retired president of Boston University, according to an annual survey by The Chronicle of Higher Education to be released Monday, and more are sure to follow. Nine earned more than $900,000 a figure none broke in last year's report.

All were at private universities, and the figures are for fiscal 2004, the most recent information available for private schools. More recent data on public universities, for the current academic year, shows salaries are rising there, too. Leaders of 23 public institutions are being paid $500,000 or more this year, up from 17 a year ago..."

How many faculty could be hired on these salaries? How would that impact class size? How many part-time faculty are abused with minimum wage positions with no benefits to support these obese porkers?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Lying Liars and Imminent Threats

Crooks and Liars

In Their Own Words: Iraq's 'Imminent' Threat

January 29, 2004
Download: DOC, PDF, RTF

The Bush Administration is now saying it never told the public that Iraq was an "imminent" threat, and therefore it should be absolved for overstating the case for war and misleading the American people about Iraq's WMD. Just this week, White House spokesman Scott McClellan lashed out at critics saying "Some in the media have chosen to use the word 'imminent'. Those were not words we used."

But a closer look at the record shows that McClellan himself and others did use the phrase "imminent threat" – while also using the synonymous phrases "mortal threat," "urgent threat," "immediate threat", "serious and mounting threat", "unique threat," and claiming that Iraq was actively seeking to "strike the United States with weapons of mass destruction" – all just months after Secretary of State Colin Powell admitted that Iraq was "contained" and "threatens not the United States." While Iraq was certainly a dangerous country, the Administration's efforts to claim it never hyped the threat in the lead-up to war is belied by its statements.

"There's no question that Iraq was a threat to the people of the United States."
• White House spokeswoman Claire Buchan, 8/26/03

"We ended the threat from Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction."
• President Bush, 7/17/03

The above was lifted from the "Senators Roberts and Rockefeller Debate" comment thread. There is much, much more.