Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Bigger Brother

Think Progress » The Minnesota GOP’s Stealth Attack On Privacy: "The Minnesota GOP’s Stealth Attack On Privacy

A story by Minnesota Public Radio reveals a disturbing new way that a political party is secretly grabbing sensitive personal information about voters.

This week the Minnesota Republican Party is distributing a new CD about a proposed state marriage amendment. Along with flashy graphics, the CD asks people their views on controversial issues such as abortion, gun control, illegal immigration, and so on.

The problem – the CD sends your answers back to headquarters, filed by name, address, and political views. No mention of that in the terms of use. No privacy policy at all. The story concludes: “So if you run the CD in your personal computer, by the end of it, the Minnesota GOP will not only know what you think on particular issues, but also who you are.”

Is this even legal?

The Counterpoint

The Counterpoint is an anti-Hyman blog. If you are subjected to a twice daily dose of the Point from one of Sinclair's stations, this blog is an outstanding antidote and performs a commendable public service by dissecting Hyman's slanders point by poinnt.

Following is a sample:

The Counterpoint: "If that’s the case, however, it would certainly add to his credibility if he didn’t tolerate and work for an established pornographer and whoremonger, and who himself received virtually no punishment, despite being arrested for a sexual offense.

And that’s The Counterpoint."

The Counterpoint's series on the ACLU was excellent. Give them a thorough read for those water cooler confrontations with Hyman drones.

Words from the Green Zone

Vodkapundit - Sigh:
commentary by Green Zone Cafe at Vodkapundit

"'I'm in Iraq now, Green Zone Baghdad. I was listening to mortar fire yesterday afternoon. They (Sunnis? Ba'athists? someone else?) were shelling the neighborhood of one of my Iraqi co-workers, I later learned. I'm waiting for him to come into work now, he's usually very early.

Not to mention whether we have to worry how, if the shit really hits the fan here, we are going to get out. The helicopter-off-of-the-roof-of-the-embassy theme is a recurrent mordant joke here.

Of course, this is the fruit of this undermanned and underresourced war, always on the razor's edge of ruin, while Rumsfeld and Bush spout their happy horseshit. The thing is, it could have gone so much better with competent people in charge who followed the Weinberger and Powell doctrines, rather than the marginal and disorganized effort this has been from the beginning. I've always said one of the problems with this is that it is run by people whose philosophy is anti-goverment, and it is a situation where government is needed. They are not like the New Dealers who helped rebuild Europe and Japan. But hey, 'stuff happens.'"

...sometimes in large, messy quantities.

Bush War Polls Fall Among Troops

American Chronicle: The Commander in Chief Has Lost the Troops: "The Commander in Chief Has Lost the Troops
Kevin Zeese
February 28, 2006

Nearly Three-Quarters of US Troops in Iraq Say End the Occupation Within a Year.

A unique poll of active duty troops in Iraq shows a huge disconnect between the Commander in Chief and his troops in battle. It is evident that the President views the war very differently then the troops on the ground. The loss of the troops may be the final straw in the illegal occupation turned into a failed war. The foreign policy establishment had already told the President they thought the Iraq War was a mistake. The people have been saying the war was a mistake. All that is left are President Bush and the hawkish leaders of the two parties – only they are calling for staying the course or sending more troops.

A poll by Le Moyne College and Zogby shows that if you want to support the troops you should be calling for an end to the war. An overwhelming majority, 72% of American troops serving in Iraq think the U.S. should exit the country within the next year. Among Reserves 90% favor withdrawal compared to 83% of the National Guard, 70% of the Army, and 58% of the Marines. Moreover, about three-quarters of National Guard and Reserve units favor withdrawal within 6 months."

Well, so, if you call for withdrawal, exactly how are you NOT supporting the troops? And if you are a troop calling for withdrawal, are you supporting the troops? Or should we all just be listening to our omnipotent leaders whispering in our ears?

Victim or Hero?

The insane academic left is not nearly as dangerous as the insane and powerful right-wing corporate thugs, and to deny that there is not a powerful right-wing academic faction choking free speech and chilling the body politic is to admit to having never ventured near Bob Jones or Liberty or, perhaps even BYU.

People are often entrapped by their own arrogance, and right now, the media play is that Summers was done-in by wild-eyed leftish facists. Following is a snippet concerning the other side of the right-wing spin:

CNN.com - Politics, style color downfall of Harvard president - Feb 27, 2006:

"Summers' critics say the real issue was his confrontational management style, not his controversial comments or his ambitions for Harvard, which they say they generally supported. By the end, they insist, he had offended a diverse group of faculty.

'There's a real free speech issue, but it's Larry squelching other people's free speech,' said Daniel Fisher, a physics professor. 'He's an incredible bully.'"

Appears to be at least two sides to this story.

News Flash! Bush Ignores Science!

In Fire's Wake, Logging Study Inflames Debate:

(By Blaine Harden -- The Washington Post)

"'We must quickly restore the areas that have been damaged by fire,' President Bush said in Oregon four years ago after touring damage from the Biscuit fire. He called it 'common sense.'

Daniel Donato, lead author of a study that criticizes post-wildfire logging, was grilled last week at a House subcommittee hearing by members who favor easing procedures for such timbering.

Common sense, though, may not always be sound science. An Oregon State University study has raised an extraordinary ruckus in the Pacific Northwest this winter by saying that logging burned forests does not make much sense."

Another post from the "Business As Usual" Department. Read on.

If I Had A Hammer...

Texas Nonprofit Is Cleared After GOP-Prompted Audit:

"Texas Nonprofit Is Cleared After GOP-Prompted Audit
Group Says Probe Was 'Political Retaliation' by DeLay Allies
By R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 27, 2006; Page A03

The Internal Revenue Service recently audited the books of a Texas nonprofit group that was critical of campaign spending by former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) after receiving a request for the audit from one of DeLay's political allies in the House."

That "comes around" part is on the horizon...

Non-Racist Bush

State of the Day: Just Not Getting It:
"...Mr. Cohen attempts to bolster his argument by saying 'After all, no one goes nuts over Germany, the country where some of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists lived and attended school'.

Here's the point, short and sweet, because Mr. Cohen may not have much time between writing OpEd pieces and getting that salty taste out of his mouth: If Germany had been a transfer point for black market nuclear arms shipments or if the German government had been involved in the financing of the 9/11 hijackers, we would respond in similar fashion. Any country/company/group regardless of race/sex/religion/color/edict/etc. with these (dis)qualifications should not be allowed to control our ports.

And while I do not believe that King George is a rascist, I do believe he allows the use of racial undertones to his advantage, thus making him complicit in rascism. One prime example would be the false story about John McCain's 'illegitimate black baby' in the 2000 corrupt Republican primaries. Additionally, the King and his court (including the Royal family) certainly seem to practice class warfare at a level never before seen. Hopefully after 2008, it will never again be seen..."


Monday, February 27, 2006

Fast, Hard Banging at Clemson

Well, this little tid-bit ought to help with that redneck image.

News Channel 7, Upstate South Carolina | Campus Newspaper Raffles AK-47:

"Campus Newspaper Raffles AK-47
Editor hopes to raise awareness for Second Amendment

Alison Storm
News Channel 7
Wednesday, February 22, 2006

His goal in life? Run the White House. Andrew Davis' goal for the week? Raise money for the newspaper he edits. 'I just did a large expose on parking services.' It's a conservative paper on Clemson's campus, pages known as delicious, conservative brain-food. 'We make no qualms about being very biased of the right wing,' he says.

To help pay for printing costs, 20-year-old Andrew organized a raffle for a rifle: an AK-47. 'We're hoping with this event to show people the AK-47 is no more dangerous than a knife or a car,' he says."

More than you can stand here.

A Tribute to the Troops

Marc Gellman, in tribute to three of this year's actors--Knots, Denver, and Doohan-- noted:

"Scotty represents all of us who are constantly asked to do the impossible and to meet unreasonable deadlines by bosses who just don't understand that you can't run engines at warp speed after Klingons have blasted the engine room. I think mainly of the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan now and of how every day they are asked by well-meaning bosses to go out there and do a job that everyone knows is impossibly hard but most people know must still be done if Iraq is to be stabilized, so that the Middle East can be stabilized, so that the war on terror can be won. If that example is too politically incendiary for you, then perhaps you might think of the linemen who repair power lines in the winter during a storm, or think of single mothers raising kids with not enough money or help, or think of clergy folk trying to get people out of the malls and off the golf courses on the weekends and into church or synagogue on the Sabbath. So many people I know feel like Scotty and so few like Captain Kirk. So many of us say, “I canno give ya more power captain. The engines are already overloaded!” And then…we do."

May their bosses become wiser.

From the Retroactive News Department...

...or Gosh, I Wish I Had Kept My Mouth Shut.

Click on the link for another example of "news scrubbing"
The Reality-Based Community: Memory hole?

Medieval In Missouri

Ed Martin: Governor Blunt's General In His War On The Pill | Fired Up! Missouri:

"The argument that opponents of emergency contraception are doing so because they oppose abortion just doesn't stand up to scrutiny.

They oppose it because they oppose all forms of birth control, because emergency contraception and the pill work exactly the same way.

From the Washington Post story:

The primary opposition to Plan B, however, has come from groups that contend that it can lead to very early abortions -- though experts say it acts in the same way as regular contraceptives.

The real difference is that people like Governor Blunt and Ed Martin know that they couldn't politically survive a frontal assault on the pill. So instead, they are mounting a flanking maneuver on the pill by claiming they are opposing abortion.

It's dishonest of them. If they oppose the pill because they believe that preventing a fertilized egg from implanting is the same thing as an abortion, fine. Then say so.

And be prepared to face the political consequences."

Big Mo interstates will soon feature ox carts, police will be empowered to use catapults (you know, for the propaganda), and the Chiefs will be forgoing pads for loin cloths.

Adooption Battle in O-Hi-O

The Smirking Chimp: "ill Robinson: 'Republicans unfit to adopt'
Posted on Sunday, February 26 @ 10:30:37 EST (1415 reads)
Bill Robinson, Yahoo

If Ohio State Sen. Robert Hagan's proposal becomes law, Republicans would be barred from adopting. Wednesday night, Hagan wrote a mock proposal to counter one introduced by State Rep. Ron Hood (R-Ashville) aimed at banning gay adoption.

Hagan said that 'credible research' shows that adopted children raised in Republican households are more at risk for developing 'emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, and alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities.'

For his part, Rep. Hood's legislation, backed by eight other conservative Republican lawmakers, would prefer 22,000 Ohio children to languish in foster care than be adopted or fostered by gay parents."

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Execute Democrats?

The the following article concerns the idea that complaining about Bush should be punishable under the esponiage act. Well, that idea is --- just wrong. But I have a gripe with Shapiro's attempted justification of his position:

Townhall.com :: Columns :: Should we prosecute sedition? by Ben Shapiro - Feb 15, 2006: "During the Vietnam War, the Supreme Court repeatedly upheld the free speech rights of war opponents, whether those opponents distributed leaflets depicting the rape of the Statue of Liberty or wore jackets emblazoned with the slogan 'F--- the Draft.' America lost the Vietnam War."

Wrong. We did not lose the Vietnam War. We were long gone from the country when the North invaded the South. The South Vietnamese lost the war. Furthermore, there is a considerable difference betwixt WW II, WW I, etc. and civil liberties, and political responses to free speech during Iraq I & II, Grenada, Vietnam, and, let's not forget--- Korea. No war is the same as another and to liken them to one fixed plane of political response is to commit the ultimate sin that has bedeviled Bush from 2000 on-- the sin of stupidity.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Howls From the Right

The Mahablog » The Snapping Point II: "Other righties are struggling to justify the UAE deal against years of Bushie conditioning. Some columnists at FrontPage note that the UAE has close ties to Hamas. And Rich Moran of Right Wing Nut House complains,

I don’t like waking up in the morning and discovering that I’m an “Islamaphobe” or “Un-American” for calling the Administration a bunch of rabbit heads for the way they’ve managed the unveiling of this idiocy. To tell you the truth, I resent it. It bespeaks a certain kind of intellectual laziness when the best one can do to counter an argument is to indulge in an orgy of name calling and finger pointing. Better to have the facts at one’s disposal and try and counter an opponent’s argument in a logical and rational manner.

I’ll pause here so that lefties reading this can howl and roll about on the floor for a while. Come back whenever you’ve stopped laughing and/or crying. Take your time."

There's even more funny stuff here.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Carter the Strong

Calling All Wingnuts:

"... Anyway, Digby’s words always stuck with me - “Carter didn’t give one inch to those Iranian bastards…” because, I, like most other people, I suspect, have this fuzzy memory of Carter being a weak and inneffective President.

I remember sitting in class in 1980 - that was the seventh grade for me - when reagan was inaugurated and the hostages were released… By November, 1985 I had joined the Marines… In March of ‘86, I was cheering Ollie North on as he gave those dirty politicians what they deserved - undisguised contempt …

My, how things change.

Even I, liberal to the extreme, had not put together these facts:

* Carter stood up to terrorists
* Reagan negotiated with terrorist (Arms for hostages/Iran Contra) and capitulated to them in Lebanon

When Digby put them together for me, it really resonated. Hopefully it will also resonate with"

Cluck! Cluck! Cluck, cluck, cluck

CheckenHawk Hall of Shame

On Woodward's Intelligence Leaks

Bob Woodward's Bush at War contains numerous examples of the White House leaking classified information.

from whatever already!:
"One former senior administration official explained to me: “This was something that the White House wanted done because they considered it good public relations. If there was real damage to national security—if there were leaks that possibly exposed sources and methods, it was not done in this instance for the public good or to expose Watergate type wrongdoing. This was done for presidential image-making and a commercial enterprise—Woodward’s book.”
Aren't those just peachy reasons to expose intelligence assets?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Leakgate Lives

Think Progress: "More “authorized” White House leaks:

In a letter made public today, Senate Intelligence Committee Vice-Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) says the Bush administration “authorized” leaks of classified information to reporter Bob Woodward and suggests the leaks may have damaged national security. ThinkProgress has obtained a copy of the letter. Murray Waas has more."

Bush Calls Out Main Water Boy

The Sock Puppet strikes again, mouthing lines straight from the brain of Karl Rove:

Media Matters - Russert suggested Democrats exploiting port deal for national security credibility; overlooked Democratic track record on bolstering port security:

"NBC's Tim Russert suggested that Democrats have seized on the Dubai Ports World takeover of a British company -- in which Dubai Ports, a company owned by the government of Dubai, a member state of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), would assume control of six major U.S. seaports -- in order to build their national security credentials. Russert was able to make this claim by omitting any reference to numerous calls by Democrats in both houses of Congress for increased port security and various pieces of port-security legislation proposed by Democrats that have been, in most instances, opposed by Republicans."

Kerry First on Port Security

The Democratic Daily Blog » Blog Archive » Flashback to the 2004 Election Cycle on Port Security: Kerry Was Right: "The DSCC released information about Republican Senators and port security earlier today, see my post here. There’s a lot of chatter in the blogosphere about this deal, on the left and the right. Ron pointed out in the comments below, that conservative blog was calling Democrats “newly security conscious.” However, that is certainly not the case…

On December 17, 2003 John Kerry unveiled a “Plan to Improve Port Security and Prevent Terrorists from Obtaining WMD’s.” In another “Kerry was right” moment, John Kerry said:

“In this dangerous world, we don’t know what that cargo really contains. And we can’t afford to continue being in the dark. We screen millions of shoes in airports everyday, but less than four percent of the 21,000 enormous shipping containers that arrive in America’s ports every day. Any one of them could have a biological, chemical, or nuclear weapon inside. We need to invest in and employ new technologies to screen the containers, ships, trains, and trucks that come into this country.”

How ironic, that Kerry saw the need to improve port security over two years ago, yet Bush has done nothing about it."

The NeverEnding Scandal

Crooks and Liars:
(From Lou Dobbs)
"DOBBS: President Bush's family and members of the Bush administration have long-standing business connections with the United Arab Emirates, and those connections are raising new concerns and questions tonight in some quarters about why the president is defying his very own party leadership and his party in defending the Dubai port deal.

CHRISTINE ROMANS: The oil-rich United Arab Emirates is a major investor in The Carlyle Group, the private equity investment firm where President Bush's father once served as senior adviser and is a who's who of former high-level government officials. Just last year, Dubai International Capital, a government-backed buyout firm, invested in an $8 billion Carlyle fund.

If Bush Were A Democrat

Taylor Marsh sez:

Project Roots on Republican Spinelessness:

"I played out earlier what Portgate would sound like if Bush was a Democratic president that had leased our ports to a Dubai company, with Ken doll Sean in a hissy.

This is the party of the ACLU, who would rather be politically correct than protect America. Remember also, that this is the man who sat for 7 minutes when our country was under attack. That let the bin Laden family get out of the U.S. on the days after 9/11. That let bin Laden get away in Tora Bora. And after all we know about Dubai: two of the terrorists came from there, they helped ship nuclear to our enemies, their banking system hid bin Laden's money; this Democratic president wants to sell off our national security to a country who thinks the Taliban is good."

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Cheney--Drunk & Gunning

from Capitol Hill Blue: Secret Service agents say Cheney was drunk when he shot lawyer:
Feb 22, 2006, 07:35

Secret Service agents guarding Vice President Dick Cheney when he shot Texas lawyer Harry Whittington on a hunting outing two weeks ago say Cheney was 'clearly inebriated' at the time of the shooting.

Agents observed several members of the hunting party, including the Vice President, consuming alcohol before and during the hunting expedition, the report notes, and Cheney exhibited 'visible signs' of impairment, including slurred speech and erratic actions.

According to those who have talked with the agents and others present at the outing, Cheney was drunk when he gunned down his friend and the day-and-a-half delay in allowing Texas law enforcement officials on the ranch where the shooting occurred gave all members of the hunting party time to sober up."

Now that'll get ever'body off'n that damn port thang 'fore they wise up!

Business As Usual

Petty Larseny: How Bush Sold the War on Terror:

"How Bush Sold the War on Terror
The Associated Press is reporting that Malaysia's former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, claims that Jack Abramoff was paid $1.2 million to arrange a meeting for Mohamad with President Bush.

According to the article, the 2002 meeting was not Mahathir's idea, it was suggested by the Heritage Foundation. What did the Heritage Foundation have to gain by this? Here's one clue."


Another Whap on the Outrage Meter

Of all the many things I've heard and read and even said about George Bush, the post at this link just abosolutely fills me with more rage than I've felt since watching those bodies bobbing around in New Orleans; for any compassionate conservatives out there-- follow this link:

The Heretik » Blog Archive » The President Will See You Now: "MUST HAVE BEEN a tough day for the President. Tougher than it was for the mother of the dead soldier Dolores Kesterson.

As the commander in chief strode briskly toward her, it seemed to Dolores that he was trying to intimidate her. “He came marching in and got right in my face…eyeball to eyeball, and said, ‘I’m George Bush, the president of the United States, and I understand you have something to say to me in private.’”


Clueless in Bushland

from firedoglake:

"Shorter Bush:

'Like, omigod, you thought I should do some work or something? As if.'

It's the Clueless defense. The AP reports that the Bush Administration announced this morning that the President only found out about the ports deal after it had already been approved by his Administration. And that maybe they should have spoken with Congress about it and stuff.

Gosh, maybe they ought to have followed the procedures that Congress put in place to safeguard national security concerns after 9/11, too...and maybe, like, you know, the White House should take their head out of their ass or something and do their jobs."

From the You're Surprised? Department

New York Daily News - Home - W aides' biz ties to Arab firm: "W aides' biz ties to Arab firm


Breaking news update: Bush shrugs off objections to port deal

WASHINGTON - The Dubai firm that won Bush administration backing to run six U.S. ports has at least two ties to the White House.

One is Treasury Secretary John Snow, whose agency heads the federal panel that signed off on the $6.8 billion sale of an English company to government-owned Dubai Ports World - giving it control of Manhattan's cruise ship terminal and Newark's container port.

Snow was chairman of the CSX rail firm that sold its own international port operations to DP World for $1.15 billion in 2004, the year after Snow left for President Bush's cabinet.

The other connection is David Sanborn, who runs DP World's European and Latin American operations and was tapped by Bush last month to head the U.S. Maritime Administration."

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bush Prepared to Offer Terrorists Free Access To Ports?

Daily Kos: Bush to veto efforts to stop UAE port deal: "President George W. Bush said on Tuesday that a deal for a state-owned Dubai company to manage major U.S. ports should go forward and will not jeopardize U.S. security.

Bush told reporters traveling back to Washington with him from Colorado that he would veto legislation to stop the deal from going through.

'After careful review by our government, I believe the transaction ought to go forward,' Bush said. He added that if the U.S. Congress passed a law to stop the deal, 'I'll deal with it with a veto.'"

The United Arab Emirates has ties to terrorists, even though they are our allies. Saudi Arabia, of course, had significant ties to the 9/11 terrorists. Sigh.

Damn A Bunch of Security!

Update 8: N.J. Senator Latest to Assail Port Sale - Forbes.com: "U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez on Monday joined a growing chorus of lawmakers assailing an Arab company's takeover of operations at six major American ports and said President Bush should stop the deal to better protect the U.S. from terrorists.

'We wouldn't turn over our customs service or our border patrol to a foreign government,' Menendez, a Democrat, said during a news conference. 'We shouldn't turn over the ports of the United States, either.' "

Yeah, but someone's gonna make some dollars, so nothing else matters. Killing Americans for profit has been the constant them of the Incompetent Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Vichy Democrat Defined


"Paul Hackett is a conservative Democrat. It is against those who seek to either make deals with or capitulate to Republicans, particularly on issues of fundamental principle. 'Vichy' is a term I don't use because I think the Republicans do such a fine job of demeaning Dems that I don't need to help them. However, it is a particular term of art that means something quite specific: to sell out your own people to the enemy. "

Get Those Opinions Out!

"Most people I know here in my town don't read the major national newspapers. They read our local paper. And every day in that paper, some wingnut writes in a nonsensical rant. Isn't it about time we start pushing back? One letter, one phone call, one day at a time. Talking about things from our own perspective, how poor decisions from this Administration have badly impacted our own lives, in our own towns. Hitting people where they live, with facts and information they can understand...and discuss around the watercooler or in the break room.

They wanted a war -- well, let's give them one."

...or at least a skirmish.

Selling Our Heritage

Scrutiny Hooligans: "Representative Taylor could, of course, go ahead and tell us how his values figure into the equation, whether selling public lands to private interests as a short-term education funding measure is something that's good for western North Carolina. But he has so far refrained from stating any sort of relevant opinion on the matter.

Others, unrestrained by obfuscation, have plenty to say on the subject:

'“We’re already getting a lot of calls from people interested in buying, and we just want to let people know, at this point, this is just a legislative proposal,” said Terry Seyden, spokesman for the National Forests in North Carolina.'
“It just shocked me. I can’t believe they would go this far, to sell our national forests,” said Joan Mathis of Arden. “I just think that’s something that has been preserved down through the years. It’s something that we treasure.”"

There's plenty more here.

Funny, Funny Stuff

from ffwd: "ffwd

The US government has a new website aimed at preparing its citizens for terrorist attacks. It's another attempt at scare-mongering in the style of the old 'duck and cover' advice of WWII. The funny thing is that these pictures are so ambiguous they could mean anything! Here are a few interpretations..."

Click here to see the posters..

Click here to hear Whittington channeling Elvis...

Right Wing Dictionary

The Reality-Based Community: Entries from the Republican-English Dictionary: " Entries from the Republican-English Dictionary
Posted by Mark Kleiman

In case you've been having trouble recently in deciphering speeches and news reports:

*alternative energy sources/ n./* New locations to drill for gas and oil.

*bankruptcy/ n./* A means of escaping debt available to corporations but not to poor people.

*'burning bush'/ n./* A biblical allusion to the response of the President of the United States, when asked a question by a journalist who has not been paid to inquire.

*Cheney, Dick/ n./* The greater of two evils.

*class warfare/ n./* Any attempt to raise the minimum wage.

*climate change/ n./* Progress toward the blessed day when the blue states are swallowed by the oceans..."

There's much more. Funny stuff.

Homestate Flack for Senator


Many Kansans, including members of The Eagle editorial board, have long admired Sen. Pat Roberts for his plainspokenness and reputation for fair brokering of issues.

So it's troubling that Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is fast gaining the reputation in Washington, D.C., as a reliable partisan apologist for the Bush administration on intelligence and security controversies.

We hope that's not true. But Roberts' credibility is on the line.

From Abu Ghraib abuses to secret CIA detainee prisons to the Valerie Plame affair, critics say, Roberts has become a dependable shill for the White House, ever ready to shield Bush policy from criticism and ever willing to compromise Congress' legitimate oversight role."

Shill. Wow. Tuff word from Republicans about Republicans. I am amazed.

From the "Can't Have It Both Ways Department"

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: The dying scandal that keeps growing:

"While spouting that bravado, the Administration's actions reveal that they fear this scandal and want more than anything for it to disappear. At every turn, they have tried to prevent a meaningful investigation into the legality of their actions. If the NSA scandal is really the political weapon which the GOP can use to bash Democrats as being weak on national security, wouldn't the White House be doing the opposite - that is, encouraging every hearing and investigation possible?"

Smack Down on "This Week"

d r i f t g l a s s: Sunday Mornin’ Coming Down:

"Those Democrats who are forever verging on thinking about drawing up plans to maybe, someday, eventually engage the GOP instead of just standing up -- right now -- and smacking these people need to dupe off 1,000 copies of Ms. vanden Heuvel’s performance, mail it to every Democratic organization, and mandate the watching of same with as much focus as an NFL coach reviewing game film."

You can't play nice with this bunch. They don't want in their sandbox. Progressives need to think like Heuvel.

Bin Laden Wants Death

The Courier-Mail: Bin Laden vows he won't be taken alive [21feb06]: "Bin Laden vows he won't be taken alive
Steven Hurst in Cairo for Associated Press

OSAMA bin Laden says he will never be taken alive, says an audiotape purportedly by the Al-Qaeda leader."

Sounds good to me.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Shooting Guys in the Face Is Rare

The Blog | Arianna Huffington: Russert Watch: The Mary Matalin Horror Show | The Huffington Post: "As DavidNYC at Kos points out:

In Texas, over the last decade, only one hunter in 26,000 has been involved in a hunting accident.

In 2005, only one in 36,000 was involved in a hunting accident.

In fact, there were 1.1 million hunting licenses issued in Texas last year but only 30 reported accidents."

Everyone needs to hammer on this. Shootings are not common. Not.

Bush Is a Big Government Liberal

Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish:

"Jonah said much of this before the last election. My own view is that this will soon become the conservative consensus, if it isn't already. It will take a generation to undo the damage that Bush has done to conservatism, America's fiscal health, and the whole idea of limited government. My prediction: we will see huge tax increases soon after Bush leaves the scene. He will insist they are a betrayal of his legacy. They will, in fact, be the logical consequence of everything he has said and done. Once they get past their loathing, big government liberals may well look back on the Bush years and wonder at the miracle of how he did what they spent two generations failing to do."

Yep. It's deja vu all over again. Some Democrat will get stuck cashing all the checks (raising taxes) that Bush (and Reagan and Nixon) policies wrote.

Target Practice

Swiftboating a shot friend - JAMAICAOBSERVER.COM: "Swiftboating a shot friend
In Our Time
Wayne Brown
Sunday, February 19, 2006

'Now, this story certainly has its humorous aspects, but it also raises a serious issue, one which I feel very strongly about. Moms, dads, if you're watching right now, I can't emphasise this enough: Do not let your kids go on hunting trips with the vice-president. I don't care what kind of lucrative contracts they're trying to land, or energy regulations they're trying to get lifted.he'll shoot them in the face.'
(Jon Stewart, The Daily Show)
Wayne Brown

To begin with, certainly, it was funny.
Two Saturdays ago, on a bird shoot on a Texas ranch, the vice-president of the United States, on paper the second most powerful man in the world - though in reality, of course, the most powerful, given a president who's always been at his happiest riding his little bicycle down in Crawford -
Step 4: Admit no mistakes. Express sympathy. Blame the victim without leaving fingerprints by outsourcing the smear to the private sector.'

And who can blame her? These people, Cheney and Bush - they exhaust moral outrage. And that's really the whole story. "

Lots here. Funny, too. Check it out at the link.

Reader's Rep Becomes Fashion Critic at WaPo

firedoglake: 02/19/2006 - 02/25/2006:

"She has now turned the ombudsman's column of the Washington Post into Lucky Magazine. She says of Dana Milbank, 'I think his appearance on MSNBC last week was a mistake in judgment,' and assures everyone that he has been 'taken to the woodshed' for what she perceives as a wardrobe malfunction on a television show."

Shouldn't she be concentrating on what's going in the newspaper?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Google Just Sez "No"

Google rejects search info bid:

San Francisco - Google on Friday formally rejected the US justice department's subpoena of data from the web search leader, arguing the demand violated the privacy of users' web searches and its own trade secrets."

You go, Google!

He Ain't Vito, He's My Brother

The Blog | RJ Eskow: Shot Through the Heart And You're to Blame: Conservatism as Psychopathology | The Huffington Post: "Bush, Cheney, Rove, Rumsfeld ... they're Mafia bosses doling out the largesse in return for unquestioned fealty. And today's so-called 'conservatives' respond in kind. Will Roger Ailes get more exclusive interviews if he peddles the daily GOP lies and spins? As you wish, Godfather. Will Arnold Schwarzenegger become Governor if he pumps for Bush at the convention? Thank you, Don Karl. Will 'Straight Talkin'' John McCain be rewarded with a chance to run in 2008 if he forgets what they did to his wife and kid? It' good to kiss the ring again, Mr. President. Let me hug you.

Nowhere is the rampant gangsterism more apparent than in the public commentary offered by pundits and politicians. Everything that conservatives once stood for - fiscal responsibility, preventing drug and alcohol abuse, enforcing the law, sexual propriety, supporting the military, preserving our institutions, decency in speech and deportment - has been enthusiastically dismissed and derided by self-seeking figures in the media and politics."

Principles are blowing in the wind; profits are in the litterbox.
Oh, to be obtuse when spring is in the air...

Oil Companies Need More Help

AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth: "

$7 Billion Giveaway to Oil and Gas Companies
by Joe in DC - 2/17/2006 09:47:00 AM

Because, seriously, the oil companies aren't making enough profit, they need a government handout:

The federal government is on the verge of one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in American history, worth an estimated $7 billion over five years."

Maybe Exxon needs to get down with United Way, or maybe they could tax-attach some Girl Scout cookie money, or send out Young Republicans to roll bums for dimes...

2003 Supreme Hunt

from The Smirking Chimp:

"The circumstances of this hunt were different from Cheney's previously celebrated 2003 hunt at the Rolling Rock Club in Pennsylvania, where he, associate supreme-court justice Antonin Scalia and eight others killed 417 pheasants and an unknown number of mallard ducks specifically raised for the purpose of being herded before the hunters to shoot. At that time, Cheney released to the press the information that he had personally killed seventy pheasants. In the less controlled environment of the Armstrong Ranch, the only known target he hit was Whittington."

Well, isn't that just sporting.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Thanks to firedoglake for the reminder.

December 23, 1776: "December 23, 1776
THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. .."

Click on the link to read Paines "The Crisis" for some more inspiration.

Military Wants Rid of AbuGitmo

USATODAY.com - Retired Pentagon brass seek independent abuse probe: "Retired Pentagon brass seek independent abuse probe
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon is under increasing fire for its handling of the prison abuse investigation, as some retired military officers call for an independent commission to get to the bottom of the four-month-old scandal.

Their appeal came a day before Thursday's hearings by the Senate and House armed services panels, which were reviewing the two latest reports ordered by the Defense Department.

'We cannot ignore that there are now dozens of well-documented allegations of torture, abuse and otherwise questionable detention practices' eight former generals and admirals said Wednesday of prisons in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba."

Operation Clean Sweep

The Blog | Cenk Uygur: The Republican Guard | The Huffington Post: "The Republican Guard that has been protecting this administration in Congress has exceeded all bounds of reason. They have no conscience. They all have to go.

They have investigated almost nothing during these past five years in an administration overflowing with scandals, leaks, corruption and abuses. This administration literally lost $8.8 billion in Iraq - and not one word out of Congress."

If you ran interference for this gang, you are unAmerican and you don't belong in Congress. Period.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Dying on the Cheap

The Democratic Daily Blog » Blog Archive » John Kerry Leads Military Pay-Raise Effort: "John Kerry Leads Military Pay-Raise Effort
Posted by Pamela Leavey
February 16th, 2006 @ 4:43 pm

Kerry calls Bush’s proposed pay raise for troops the “lowest in 12 years.”

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) led a 10-Senator effort to increase the pay for servicemembers. The President’s budget specifies a 2.2% increase – the smallest pay raise for our military since 1994.

“Our troops are sacrificing so much, in every corner of the world. Shortchanging them and the families who love them is a lousy way to say thanks,” said Kerry, who authored the letter.

“Our military deserves leadership that matches their service and patriotism. Getting our troops the pay raise they deserve is the very least we can do to show how much we value everything they do for us. I’m going to fight for a fair military pay raise until it becomes a reality, and I thank my colleagues who have joined me in doing so,” added Kerry."

What about a roll-back on billionaire tax relief in order to fund a few troops a raise?

Muslims Stand-up for Religious Freedom

The Antipath » The war WITHIN Islam rages:

"The war WITHIN Islam rages
Filed under: religion, terrorism — don @ 2:48 pm

Islamists in Bangladesh are demanding the government “ban” Ahmadiyya Muslims because they are not “real” Muslims. 4,000 radical Islamists took to the streets of the Muslim neighborhood, scaring many Ahmadiyya Muslims out of their homes. They want to “capture” the Mosque. They have threatened violence if the Bangladeshi authorities intervene. This has been going on for some time now; there is some background here.

Well, to their credit, the authorities did intervene. They stood up for religious freedom and blocked these fundamentalist Islamists from bullying the other local Muslims.

To everyone who was so keen on plastering the media with Mohammad cartoons to show “solidarity”, how about giving some credit to the Muslims around the world who are fighting against religious bigotry and bullying just like we are. Where is the west when it is time to stand up and show some actual solidarity with Muslims and the principle of religious freedom? Will this story rocket through the blogosphere? Will it make it onto the cable news shows?

Or will so many Americans and Europeans keep insisting on characterizing this struggle as” Islam” vs. “The West”?"

I feel a bit guilty for stealing this entire post, but I feel it is an important glimmer in a dark place of misunderstanding.

Victory Prescription

Andrew Sullivan | The Daily Dish:

"How to Defeat An Insurgency

16 Feb 2006 06:04 pm

A heartening account of military success in Iraq. Notice one thing: the unit most adept at fighting insurgents has a firm no-abuse-of-detainees rule. 'Every time you treat an Iraqi disrespectfully, you are working for the enemy,' is how the commander educates his troops. That's the American way. And it works. Someone may want to tell Rumsfeld."

It's the Media's Fault!


"Call me crazy, but didn't Scooter Libby just get indicted for lying to investigators to form a firewall for the Veep? Seems like a M.O. for the folks who hang around with Dick Cheney, doesn't it?

It is all the media's fault that you got no breathalyzer and no blood sample for alcohol or prescription medication levels testing, against almost every police protocol that I've ever seen after a hunting incident. Why didn't you immediately go to the scene and observe the shooter yourself -- or send a deputy? Because he was the Vice President and he and his friends and your sheriff predecessor told you not to worry your pretty little head about it?

Oh wait, some of your deputies did go over, and security people wouldn't let them in that night. How silly of me to think this is anything but the media's fault."

For more raking-over-the-coals, click the link.

Cheney, "A Beer or Two" and a Gun -- UPDATED

Cheney, "A Beer or Two" and a Gun -- UPDATED:

"Cheney, 'A Beer or Two' and a Gun -- UPDATED
Vice President Dick Cheney, who was forced to leave Yale University because his penchant for late-night beer drinking exceeded his devotion to his studies, and who is one of the small number of Americans who can count two drunk driving busts on his record, was doing more than hunting quail on the day that he shot a Texas lawyer in the face.

The vice president has admitted that he was drinking on the afternoon of the incident..."

There's much to the story; good writing, too. Click the link above.

Zapping the Enemy

Defense Tech: Air Force Plan: Hack Your Nervous System:

"This is the first of a two-part series on plasma and electromagnetic weapons by David Hambling, author of Weapons Grade: How Modern Warfare Gave Birth to Our High-Tech World.

The brain has always been a battlefield. New weapons might be able to hack directly into your nervous system.

'Controlled Effects' ... is one of the Air Force's ambitious long-term challenges. It starts with better and more accurate bombs, but moves on to discuss devices that 'make selected adversaries think or act according to our needs... By studying and modeling the human brain and nervous system, the ability to mentally influence or confuse personnel is also possible.'
The first stage is technology to 'remotely create physical sensations.' They give the example of the Active Denial System 'people zapper' which uses a high-frequency radiation similar to microwaves as a non-lethal means of crowd control."

Well, let's hope everyone has a clear picture of who the enemy is.

What Left-Wing Bias?

Salon.com - Daou Report:

"So here's my challenge to rightwing bloggers who assail the media for liberal bias (and to journalists who think it's all a he-said-she-said pissing match): Back up your claims. With concrete examples of bias. And without the tautological crutch that any story critical of the administration is proof of liberal bias.

I'll back up mine:

++ ISSUE: Cheney shooting incident --- NARRATIVE: Bush and Cheney are infallible --- EXAMPLE: ABC News covered the Cheney hunting incident by downplaying the significance of the weapon itself. ABC reported that 'the vice president accidentally shot prominent Texas lawyer Harry Whittington with a pellet gun while hunting for quail.' Cheney used a shotgun, not a pellet gun. ABC later altered the story to read, 'a shotgun loaded with birdshot.' (Which is why we maintain screenshots of all print stories we reference.) This exemplifies a common tendency of the media, namely, to play defense for Bush and his team, downplaying negative news or polls."

Daou has more at the link.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

If You're Not Cheney...

...here's what happens to you when you shoot someone.

"This is what the State of Texas thinks of hunting accidents that injure innocent people if your surname happens to be Hispanic and you're not the big, white boozehound Vice President of the United States:"

read on at firedoglake: 02/12/2006 - 02/18/2006:

325,000 Names on Terrorism List

325,000 Names on Terrorism List:

"U.S. citizens make up 'only a very, very small fraction' of that number, said an administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of his agency's policies. 'The vast majority are non-U.S. persons and do not live in the U.S.,' he added. An NCTC official refused to say how many on the list -- put together from reports supplied by the CIA, the FBI, the National Security Agency (NSA) and other agencies -- are U.S. citizens."

"A very, very small fraction" of 325,000, say one-fourth, would, I suspect, account for every person who ever voiced a public opinion contrary to Bush doctrine. And that, my friends, is the worry.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Angry Denizens of the Fever Swamps

Hullabaloo: "
It's a new day. We angry denizens of the fever swamps have emerged from the slime to fight back. We couldn't wait any longer for the professionals to get the job done. At the rate they're going we'd be extinct within the decade."

Blame the Victim

Molly Ivins says:
Truthdig - Reports - Cheney Shoots a Texas Liberal:

"I am not trying to make a big deal out of a simple hunting accident for partisan purposes—just thought it was a good chance to pay tribute to old Harry, a thoroughly decent man. However, I was offended by the never-our-fault White House spin team. Cheney adviser Mary Matalin said of her boss, “He was not careless or incautious [and did not] violate of any of the [rules]. He didn’t do anything he wasn’t supposed to do.” Of course he did, Ms. Matalin, he shot Harry Whittington.

Which brings us to one of the many paradoxes of the Bush administration, which claims to be creating “the responsibility society.” It’s hard to think of a crowd less likely to take responsibility for anything they have done or not done than this bunch. They’re certainly good at preaching responsibility to others—and blaming other people for everything that goes wrong on their watch."

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Truth, Again

Following is a sample. You need to read the entire speech. It is chilling.

NO QUARTER: National Security: The Attack on the Constitution: "“To Protect and Defend”

Almost 32 years ago, March 4, 1974, was the first time that I raised my right hand and swore an oath to “protect and defend” the Constitution of the United States. Since the time of that first oath at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, I repeated that pledge when I entered the United States Navy, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office. “To protect and defend.” This same oath is used to swear in public officials from small towns and cities to our president and members of the Supreme Court. In fact it is so common that I think for a lot of people, the words have lost their meaning. Too often, from those same small towns to the White House itself, people do not know what it means, do not think it applies to them, or more importantly, fail to recognize that, at times, “protect and defend” actually requires action or restraint. What “protect and defend” really means is that the law will be followed, the Constitution respected, and any doubt resolved in favor of either, or both. And that is exactly what the Republicans and this White House are NOT doing! "

10 Excuses for Shooting a Lawyer...

...as if you need one. One is enough...etc....

from The Smirking Chimp:

"Dick Cheney's top 10 excuses for shooting fellow hunter Harry Whittington
Author unknown ... emailed to me without attribution:

10. Sick and tired of Whittington's 'Hey, I'm having a heart attack' jokes
9. Pushed over edge by Dixie Chicks and Streisand blasting on pick-up truck stereo
8. Ongoing dispute over whether it's acceptable to torture quail before shooting them
7. Thought he saw Scooter Libby on other side of tree line
6. Bombed out of his gourd on Wild Turkey and Lone Star Beer
5. Companion's ill-advised decision to wear Moveon.org sweatshirt
4. Was trying to impress Jodie Foster
3. Whittington's repeated ribbing that Bush is actually the 'real president'
2. Targeting scope on rifle made by Halliburton

And the number one excuse given by Dick Cheney for almost blowing away hunting companion Harry Whittington...

1. Because he's a wartime vice president, damn it"

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Cheney Shoots Lawyer

Cheney Accidentally Shoots Fellow Hunter - Yahoo! News: "
Cheney Accidentally Shoots Fellow Hunter

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer Sun Feb 12, 6:19 PM ET

WASHINGTON - Vice President
Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded a companion during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas, spraying the fellow hunter in the face and chest with shotgun pellets.

Harry Whittington, a millionaire attorney from Austin, was 'alert and doing fine' in a Corpus Christi hospital Sunday after he was shot by Cheney on a ranch in south Texas, said Katharine Armstrong, the property's owner."

No comment (for the moment).

Irony Ann Apes Islam

Yep, another blog: Assclowns of the Week: Cabbage Heads and Kings Edition:

"She then had to make recklessly stupid and unconsciously ironic comments such as, “Making the rash assumption for purposes of discussion that Islam is a religion and not a car-burning cult, even a real religion can't go bossing around other people like this.” Not that James Dobson or Pat Robertson could ever be found guilty of that when the world doesn’t act according to their twisted world view."

Our preachers would never tell us how to act, or think, or vote...would they?

Evil Blogs To Be Attacked By White House?

ABC News: U.S. Concludes 'Cyber Storm' Mock Attacks: "U.S. Concludes 'Cyber Storm' Mock Attacks
U.S. Government Concludes 'Cyber Storm' Internet Wargame, Biggest-Ever Attack Test Response
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - The government concluded its 'Cyber Storm' wargame Friday, its biggest-ever exercise to test how it would respond to devastating attacks over the Internet from anti-globalization activists, underground hackers and bloggers.


Participants confirmed parts of the worldwide simulation challenged government officials and industry executives to respond to deliberate misinformation campaigns and activist calls by Internet bloggers, online diarists whose 'Web logs' include political rantings and musings about current events.

The Internet survived, even against fictional abuses against the world's computers on a scale typical for Fox's popular '24' television series. Experts depicted hackers who shut down electricity in 10 states, failures in vital systems for online banking and retail sales, infected discs mistakenly distributed by commercial software companies and critical flaws discovered in core Internet technology."

Blogs? Blogs? Hard to imagine how I could be threat to national security, unless I can incite both of my readers to form terrorist cells and begin printing pamphlets like old Tom Paine.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Another Media Manipulation Explained

Al Franken: Reflections on the Wellstone Memorial and the King Funeral - Yahoo! News: "To this day, there are still a lot of people, including Democrats, who've bought the right wing line on the Wellstone Memorial. Specifically, that it was a cynical, premeditated political event that included endless booing of Republican politicians who came to pay their respects to their fallen colleague. I wrote a pretty detailed account of the Wellstone Memorial in my book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, and nothing could be further from the truth. "

Franken deconstructs the entire Wellstone funeral tale and adds some speculation about the King funeral.

Damning Intelligence

Ex-CIA Official Faults Use of Data on Iraq: "Ex-CIA Official Faults Use of Data on Iraq
Intelligence 'Misused' to Justify War, He Says

By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 10, 2006; A01

The former CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until last year has accused the Bush administration of 'cherry-picking' intelligence on Iraq to justify a decision it had already reached to go to war, and of ignoring warnings that the country could easily fall into violence and chaos after an invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

Paul R. Pillar, who was the national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005, acknowledges the U.S. intelligence agencies' mistakes in concluding that Hussein's government possessed weapons of mass destruction. But he said those misjudgments did not drive the administration's decision to invade."

It's worse than that. Read the article.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Why Democrats Are Even Less Tainted

A Democratic staffer relayed the following to Marshall:

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall February 10, 2006 12:03 PM:

"The vast majority of Democratic staffers work on the Hill, despite the miserable pay and long hours, to try to achieve some measure of good. Many, many Republican staffers- convinced that government is an evil- work here in order to make money off that necessary evil. That breeds corruption. When you have a majority of members and staffers that could care less about policy ad governing and more about power/influence/money/profit Abramoff is inevitable. When the hard, tedious work of legislating and oversight is done by people motivated by careerism rather than professionalism not only do you have Abramoff, but you have Michael Brown, Halliburton, and illegal NSA wiretapping."

I think that sums up a good deal of the problem in small nutshell; it's service to others vs. service to self. We know whom the vast majority of the Rabid Right serves.

Brownie Balks

The former FEMA fudd is not going down the toilet alone:

The Moderate Voice - White House Faces Renewed Credibility Problems On Katrina:
“I find it a little disingenuous,” Michael Brown, who at the time headed the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told a Senate oversight committee. “For them to claim that we didn’t have awareness of it is just baloney.”

Much more over at the Moderate Voice.

Another Example of Liberal Media Bias

For the trolls: that's a sarcastic title---

Media Matters - After Fox edited out applause following Lowery's remarks at King funeral, Kondracke expressed surprise at audience's muted reaction:

"Summary: Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume showed an edited video clip of Rev. Joseph Lowery's remarks at Coretta Scott King's funeral, during which he mentioned the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Lowery's remarks were greeted with 23 seconds of applause and a standing ovation, but the clip Fox News aired presented nine seconds of applause and little hint of the standing ovation without noting that the clip had been doctored. After seeing the clip, Roll Call's Morton Kondracke concluded that the audience 'wasn't exactly uproarious in its response' to Lowery."

Reid Not A Tool of Happy Jack

MyDD :: Smearing Harry Reid:

"The kicker, of course, is that for all of their effort, Reid never supported the Abramoff position. The very definition of 'quid pro quo' is 'this for that.' In politics, this means something valuable like money or gifts for a politician's votes or some other form of official support. In this case, though Reid or his staffers may have taken meetings on the subject, it never amounted to anything. In other words, there may have been quid, but there was no quo. So this convoluted story is just that -- a convoluted story. No climax, no punchline, and most importantly, no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Reid."

What was that old thing (I think) Evert Dirkson said-- "If you can't take someone's money and then say 'no,' you don't belong in Washington."

GOP Stepping Up To Plate?

The Left Coaster: Another GOP Talking Point On NSA Spying Bites The Dust:

"The truth is that Gonzales' performance this week so undermined the Administration's case that even the GOP now wants to insert itself into this issue, which has forced the about-face from the White House leading to expanded briefings in front of the House Intelligence Committee yesterday, and the Senate counterpart today."

Guess they are concerned about Washington's pre-War-of-1812 electronic eavesdropping, eh?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Libby Bombs Cheney

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Cheney 'Authorized' Libby to Leak Classified Information (02/09/2006):

"Cheney 'Authorized' Libby to Leak Classified Information

By Murray Waas, National Journal
© National Journal Group Inc.
Thursday, Feb. 9, 2006

Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, testified to a federal grand jury that he had been 'authorized' by Cheney and other White House 'superiors' in the summer of 2003 to disclose classified information to journalists to defend the Bush administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case to go to war with Iraq, according to attorneys familiar with the matter, and to court records."

Read the entire article, please. Then ask yourself: "How many traitors are there in the White House?"

Libby Implicates Darth in Testimony

on CBS radio ---

...more when I can find some thing in print

They Kill Horses, Too

Tri-County Equine Association:

"American firms slaughtered 88,000 horses, mules, and related animals last year; Congress tried to stop it by defunding obligatory veterinary inspections, but the Agriculture Department plans to circumvent that restriction by asking slaughterers to fund the inspections."

Impeachment Standards

From Greg Sagan's "What Does This Guy Have to Do to Get Impeached" at The Smirking Chimp:

"Say what you like about Clinton's behavior in office, his impeachment trial by the Republican Congress was received by people like me as a loud message; an assertion that Republicans would not tolerate dishonesty, deception, manipulation or violation of any of our laws by the president.

We are now deluged with evidence that President Bush has violated federal law in authorizing the National Security Agency to tap the telephone and Internet communications of Americans without a warrant, that he has violated international law by launching an unprovoked invasion of another country, that he has violated the Geneva Conventions by abusing prisoners of this war, and that he manipulated Congress by offering sanitized versions of National Intelligence Estimates about Iraq's weapons programs - versions that did not contain the disclaimers and rebuttals in the original documents he received from the CIA."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Republican Tears for King

The Blog | Marty Kaplan: From Paul Wellstone to Coretta King | The Huffington Post:

"Republicans love playing the civility card. I wonder where these Emily Posts were when the Pentagon lied about the circumstances of Pat Tillman's death at his funeral. I don't recall them denouncing Pat Robertson -- while the World Trade Center towers were still smoldering -- attributing 9/11 deaths to God's revenge on liberalism. Republicans get all huffy, and invoke Marquess of Queensbury rules, when it suits them, but somehow that's never when they're spreading malicious lies and assassinating their living opponents' characters.

At Caesar's funeral, as Shakespeare tells it, Marc Antony nicely ripped Brutus a new one. Jimmy Carter was no less rhetorically elegant at Coretta King's service. Why should an elegy be an occasion to turn your back on all you believe, and all that the deceased life's stood for? If they should outlive me, I don't expect that Bill O'Reilly or Ann Coulter would come to my funeral. But if they or their kind did, I'd hope that at least one of the speakers would have the cojones to call them what they really are. Nicely, of course."

Yet Another Media Bush Waterboy

Details at
firedoglake: 02/05/2006 - 02/11/2006:

"In reviewing John Dickerson's Slate piece this morning, one thing becomes clear -- Time Magazine has been doing an awful lot of ass-covering for BushCo. that does not exactly accrue to is journalistic integrity. "

Read the post and you'll see that she is not exaggerating. About that election last time?

Look Over Your Shoulder

New Mexico ACLU wants apology to employee investigated on 'sedition':

"New Mexico ACLU wants apology to employee investigated on 'sedition'

February 1, 2006

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico wants the government to apologize to a nurse for seizing her computer and investigating her for 'sedition' after she criticized the Bush administration.

The ACLU said Wednesday the Department of Veterans Affairs found no evidence Laura Berg used her office computer to write the critical letter.

VA human resources chief Mel Hooker said in a Nov. 9 letter that his agency was obligated to investigate 'any act which potentially represents sedition,' the ACLU said.

A VA spokesman in Washington could not say Wednesday whether the agency had received the ACLU's request.

It seeks an apology from Hooker 'to remedy the unconstitutional chilling effect on the speech of VA employees that has resulted from these intimidating tactics.'"

Muslim Cartoon Violence

"Imagine a giant cockroach, with unlimited strength, a massive inferiority complex, and a real short temper, is tear-assing around Manhattan Island in a brand-new Edgar suit. That sound like fun?" --- K

More Non-Funding for Vets

This is from the center of the article, so you might want to look at the whole thing:

BobGeiger.com: Senate Republicans Screw Veterans Again:

"So what’s the big problem with Dodd’s legislation? It asks for a minor rollback in the capital gains tax cuts the Bush administration has given to the richest one-fifth of one percent of Americans – or those who, in 2007 and 2008, will receive yet further capital gains and dividends tax reductions.

“If you think we ought to do something on behalf of our veterans, then we ought to have the courage to pay for it,” said Dodd. “You have to make choices. A modest reduction in the capital gains and dividends tax reduction for 2 years, coming from less than one-fifth of 1 percent of the population making over $1 million a year is very little to ask for.”"

Very, very, very little to ask for.

No Lying On Resumes!

Bad Astronomy Blog » Blog Archive » Deutsch resigns from NASA!:

"Deutsch resigns from NASA!

This just in!

George Deutsch, the NASA public affairs officer who knew too little, has resigned his post at NASA. Dean Acosta, another PAO, said that NASA doesn’t discuss personal issues, but it’s clear why Deutsch had to quit: he lied on his resume. As Nick Anthis from the blog 'The Scientific Activist' discovered, Deutsch did not graduate from Texas A&M as he claimed. He left the school before graduating, since he was offered the NASA position by the Bush administration."

Gonzo Back From the Future

Well, I couldn't resist. Of all the stuff I've read about Gonzo misstatements these two paragraphs are the funniest:

The Blog | Bob Cesca: BREAKING: George Washington Tapped Phones! | The Huffington Post:

"Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Monday: 'President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale.'

Three questions here. How did President Washington generate the 1.21 gigawatts of power required to fire up the flux capacitor in his souped up DeLorean time machine? Did he use the Mr.
Fusion modification to get up to the requisite 88 miles per hour? And, as Atrios asked, what war was he fighting during his presidency which enabled him wartime executive powers? Strike that. I forgot. Washington fought with John and Sara Conner in the war against cybernetic organisms -- unsuccessfully since one of them would go on to become governor of California."

It's Never Too Late

The last bit of a rather long and gloomy article-- but one you probably should read. Click the link.

Paul Craig Roberts: Who Will Save America?:

"Americans need to understand that many interests are using the 'war on terror' to achieve their agendas. The Federalist Society is using the 'war on terror' to achieve its agenda of concentrating power in the executive and packing the Supreme Court to this effect. The neocons are using the war to achieve their agenda of Israeli hegemony in the Middle East. Police agencies are using the war to remove constraints on their powers and to make themselves less accountable. Republicans are using the war to achieve one-party rule--theirs. The Bush administration is using the war to avoid accountability and evade constraints on executive powers. Arms industries, or what President Eisenhower called the 'military-industrial complex,' are using the war to fatten profits. Terrorism experts are using the war to gain visibility. Security firms are using it to gain customers. Readers can add to this list at will. The lack of debate gives carte blanche to these agendas.

One certainty prevails. Bush is committing America to a path of violence and coercion, and he is getting away with it."

...for the moment.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Another Brownie Rears Its Head

The Scientific Activist: Reporting from the Crossroads of Science and Politics: BREAKING NEWS: George Deutsch Did Not Graduate From Texas A & M University: "At this point, while I am unaware of whether Deutsch graduated from college at all, it is clear that he did not graduate from A&M, and he may have intentionally misled people to believe that he did. The idea that NASA let a 24-year-old journalism major, with no experience in science or technology, other than writing a few articles about video games, determine what scientists were able to communicate to the public was pretty bad. The fact that he was censoring scientific information on global warming and the big bang made things more interesting, especially since he was a political appointee doing this to prevent challenges to the Bush administration’s policies. But now, finding out that he did not even graduate from Texas A&M, and may not have graduated from college at all, is absolutely outrageous. George Deutsch, as I wrote before, needs to be removed from this post immediately."

It just never ends, does it?

When Were You Lying?

Democrats.com Offers $1,000 Reward to Any Reporter Who Will Ask Follow-Up Question to Bush | AfterDowningStreet.org: "NEW $1,000 REWARD OFFERED

Based on Bush's previous lie, Democrats.com is now offering $1,000 to any reporter who will directly ask Bush this question:

'How can you claim you were trying to avoid war through the UN, when you told Prime Minister Blair on Jan. 31, 2003, that if you failed to get a resolution from the UN authorizing war, 'military action would follow anyway' - including a scheme to paint a U.S. spy plane in U.N. colors to provoke an Iraqi attack on the U.N. itself?

The following reporters were among those lied to by Bush and Blair last June. These are the ones who were good enough to cover the story, so be nice to them, but we hope they have a personal interest in asking a follow-up question to debunk the lies they were previously told directly by Bush and Blair:

Elizabeth Bumiller, New York Times"

Winning and Losing In Irag

The Blog | John Amato: John Murtha is "The Real Deal" | The Huffington Post:

From the comment section on this post, a well-put statement on winning and losing.

"Seems to me stay the course is an equation for failure, and Murtha is right to come out against it. You want to be on the winning side of the equation in Iraq? Well, if we had real leadership, Republican and Democrat, we would have reinstated the draft so we could raise enough forces to do the occupation job right. Congress would have repealed the tax cuts so we would not be running up giant deficits just to maintain an unsatisfactory status quo. Where are the war bond drives? The Bush twins enlisting? The participation, in some way, by every American and not just those in the military? Fact is, we really don't want to win the war at all because it would take real sacrifice. Bush got in way over his head and is clueless now. Time for a change.

Posted by: Paul on February 07, 2006 at 02:25pm"

Great Cartoon on Us

A nifty summation of Democratic and Republican "virtues."

village voice > news > by Ward Sutton: "Dude, Where's My Party?
by Ward Sutton
January 30th, 2006 11:33 AM"

Monday, February 06, 2006

Republican Senators Defined

from Hullabaloo: "We are looking at fifty-five of the most powerful people in the country. Collectively the Republican Senators represent almost a hundred and fifty million citizens. And they have allowed a callow little boy like George W. Bush along with his grey eminineces Karl Rove and Dick Cheney to strip them of their consciences, their principles and their constitutional obligations. What sad little creatures, cowardly and subservient, unctuously bowing and scraping before Karl Rove the man who holds their (purse) strings and dances them around the halls of congress singing tributes to their own irrelevance at the top of their lungs. How pathetic they are.

Barry Goldwater is rolling over in his grave. "

...and Lincoln is spinning like a top.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Can Bush Order Citizens Shot?

Well, that would certainly put the hurt on a few Democrats. Declare them enemy combatants and then kill them. In fairness, some justification scenarios are served-up, but the sword still hangs over everyone's head. Check the link.

Exclusive: Can the President Order a Killing on U.S. Soil? - Newsweek Politics - MSNBC.com: "...Bradbury replied that he believed Bush could indeed do this, at least in certain circumstances.

Current and former government officials said they could think of several scenarios in which a president might consider ordering the killing of a terror suspect inside the United States..."

Friday, February 03, 2006

Don''t Wait. Start Screaming Now!

The Psychotic Patriot: Our Internets: Strangled By Greed:

"While the Pentagon may soon make my computer look like this one, the metacorps who run these Internets - the cable corps and the phone corps - are deciding how - and when - to take it all away from us... right now. At this moment, around large hunks of polished wood, laser pointers flashing away, your phone company and your cable company - wait, maybe they're the same company - are figuring out ways to make you pay for your internet experience by the event, instead of by the month. Pay for each post, each email, each bill paid online, and each instant message? But before they crush my ability to speak my mind openly and freely under a massively expensive a la carte menu, I thought I'd blog about what's happening under our noses right now."

The public actually built the Internet; private companies should no more control my access than Boeing controlling access to a national park.

Energy Research Cuts

from The Daily Background:

"How embarrassing for the President!
Thursday February 02nd 2006, 11:56 am by Arlen Parsa

Well. Read this from NYT:

The Energy Department will begin laying off researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the next week or two because of cuts to its budget.

A veteran researcher said the staff had been told that the cuts would be concentrated among researchers in wind and biomass, which includes ethanol. Those are two of the technologies that Mr. Bush cited on Tuesday night as holding the promise to replace part of the nation’s oil imports..."

Words... actions... which matters most?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Ralph Reed May Have Company In Hypocrite Hell

Abramoff's Evangelical Soldiers: "'If the nation's politicians don't fix this national disaster, then the oceans of gambling money with which Jack Abramoff tried to buy influence on Capitol Hill will only be the beginning of the corruption we'll see.' He concluded with a denunciation of vice: 'Gambling--all types of gambling--is driven by greed and subsists on greed.'

What Dobson neglected to mention--and has yet to discuss publicly--is his own pivotal role in one of Abramoff's schemes. In 2002 Dobson joined a coterie of Christian-right activists, including Tony Perkins, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, to spearhead Abramoff's campaigns against the establishment of several Louisiana casinos that infringed on the turf of Abramoff's tribal clients. Dobson and his allies recorded messages for phone banking, lobbied high-level Bush Administration officials and took to the airwaves. Whether they knew it or not, these Christian soldiers' crusade to protect families in the 'Sportsmen's Paradise' from the side effects of chronic slot-pulling and dice-rolling was funded by the gambling industry and planned by the lobbyist known even to his friends as 'Casino Jack.'"

The stink gets stinkier.

Blumenthal's article can be found here.

Plamegate Precursor

NATIONAL JOURNAL: Iraq, Niger, And The CIA (01/02/2006): "Iraq, Niger, And The CIA

By Murray Waas, special to National Journal
© National Journal Group Inc.
Thursday, Feb. 2, 2006

Vice President Cheney and his then-Chief of Staff I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby were personally informed in June 2003 that the CIA no longer considered credible the allegations that Saddam Hussein had attempted to procure uranium from the African nation of Niger, according to government records and interviews with current and former officials. The new CIA assessment came just as Libby and other senior administration officials were embarking on an effort to discredit an administration critic who had also been saying that the allegations were untrue."

There's much here.

Mine Crony, Mine

Catch -- catch.com -- Down, down, down:

"Bush has, as you know by now, a habit of making outrageous selections for any and all appointments, almost like he's playing a fraternity prank on the nation. Yesterday, Richard Stickler--the nominee for the Mine Safety and Health Administration, showed his cards during his senate confirmation hearings:

Mr. Stickler said he planned to study the regulations and make whatever changes he could. 'But generally I think the current laws are adequate,' he added.

Considering the plethora of recent disasters, that seems a little out of touch, but I shouldn't be surprised, given his qualifications:
In a 1997 letter to then-governor of Pennsylvania Tom Ridge, UMW Safety Director Joe Main noted that mines managed by Stickler showed a 'very poor compliance record' and cited government numbers demonstrating that one such operation, Eagle’s Nest in Boone county, West Virginia, reported injuries at double the national average, the Gazette reported.

Par for the course. Bush has proven blind to failure of any sort, so no surprises there."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Reagan's Ghost Haunts State of Union

Typical pundit response to Bush's State of the Union address and oil usually pointed out something like the following:

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Analysis: State of the Union:

"Reacting to last night's speech, Jason Mark, of the Union of Concerned Scientists, said: 'We could save more than 75% of Middle East oil imports within ten years by increasing the fuel economy of our cars and trucks to 40 miles per gallon. The investments in renewable fuel technologies the president proposed will pay important dividends down the road. But you can't transform transportation by research alone. We need aggressive policies now to wean ourselves off oil.'"

But I remember another State of the Union, delivered decades ago by Jimmy Carter. Carter emphasized conservation and the search for alternative fuels and began-- and funded-- several programs to lessen our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Results, on the alternative fuels front, were small at first but certainly held promise; results on the conservation front were immediate and dramatic. The 55 mph speed limit helped break the Arab oil embargo and stabilize prices.

Carter received only the shrillest of blame for these events. With the Republicans a welcomed minority, the Democrats are the blame, along with criminal manipulation of the Iran hostage situation by Reagan traitors, for Carter losing the presidency to Reagan, thanks to the ceaseless backbiting of Carter by members of his own party.

Reagan, bowing to his corporate bosses, immediately begins disassembling the synth-fuels programs and attacking conservation efforts. If the nation had stuck with the Carter plan, we would be energy self-sufficient today and free from the leech marks of the Middle East, so is Bush channeling Carter to make Reagan look bad?

Sounds like a good idea to get circulating around Wingnutia.

Bush on Brokeback Ranch

Gene Lyons observes, from NWAnews.com :: Northwest Arkansas' News Source, that: ..."Never mind that it was sheer fakery. Bush is no more a rancher than he’s a brain surgeon. He may know something about the tax advantages of cattle depreciation, or his accountants do, but about actual livestock ? Nothing. He bought the Crawford spread in 1999 as a backdrop for his presidential run. Otherwise, he’s spent his whole life in cities. Even today, Bush owns no cattle and doesn’t ride horses. He ropes and brands mountain bikes from golf carts. He doesn’t walk that way because he’s leg-weary from time in the saddle ; he’s imitating John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. Even the laconic mumbling’s partly an act.

Bush is the living embodiment of the Texan proverb, “All hat and no cattle.” The French word is “poseur.”"

Cheer on, young George. Maybe someday you will actually play in the game, rather play at playing