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.