The superficiality of this administration is the most profound on record. Its all smoke, mirrors and shadows without the least iota of substance whatsoever. Its an administration that survives on appearances and expects us to subsist on the same. Its a government that cannot possibly even contemplate the possibility of practicing what they preach for even the moments it takes to drive a few blocks. . "
Sunday, April 30, 2006
The superficiality of this administration is the most profound on record. Its all smoke, mirrors and shadows without the least iota of substance whatsoever. Its an administration that survives on appearances and expects us to subsist on the same. Its a government that cannot possibly even contemplate the possibility of practicing what they preach for even the moments it takes to drive a few blocks. . "
Not on My Tombstone
Colbert No Hit With Media
from the Daou Report
by Peter Daou
"Ignoring Colbert: A Small Taste of the Media's Power to Choose the News - The White House Correspondents' Association Dinner was televised on C-Span Saturday evening. Featured entertainer Stephen Colbert delivered a biting rebuke of George W. Bush and the lily-livered press corps. He did it to Bush's face, unflinching and unbowed by the audience's muted, humorless response. Democratic Underground members commented in real time (here, here, and here). TMV posted a wrap-up.
On Colbert's gutsy delivery, watertiger writes, "Stephen Colbert displayed more guts in ten minute of performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner than the entire Bush family. He, along with the ever-feisty Helen Thomas, deftly exposed the "truthiness" to the world (or at least those who were watching) that Bush AND the D.C. press corps are indeed a naked emperor and his gutless courtiers."
Mash at dKos says, "Standing at the podium only a few feet from President Bush, Colbert launched an all out assault on the policies of this Administration. It was remarkable, though painful at times, to watch. It may also have been the first time that anyone has been this blunt with this President. By the end of Colbert's routine, Bush was visibly uncomfortable. Colbert ended with a video featuring Helen Thomas repeatedly asking why we invaded Iraq. That is a question President Bush has yet to answer to the American public. I am not sure what kind of review Stephen Colbert's performance will get in the press. One thing is however certain - his performance was important and will reverberate."
It appears Mash's misgivings about press coverage are well-placed. The AP's first stab at it and pieces from Reuters and the Chicago Tribune tell us everything we need to know: Colbert's performance is sidestepped and marginalized while Bush is treated as light-hearted, humble, and funny. Expect nothing less from the cowardly American media. The story could just as well have been Bush and Laura's discomfort and the crowd's semi-hostile reaction to Colbert's razor-sharp barbs. In fact, I would guess that from the perspective of newsworthiness and public interest, Bush-the-playful-president is far less compelling than a comedy sketch gone awry, a pissed-off prez, and a shell-shocked audience. . ."
Lets see what Revelation 9:11 has to say about that leader...
From the Bible, King James, Book of Revelation
Chapter 9, verse 11 (9:11)
Rev 9:11 And they had a king over them, [which is] the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue [is] Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath [his] name Apollyon (sun god).
Need I say anymore, when God already has???
Rebel Patriot | 04.30.06 - 2:44 pm | #
Bad Congress! Bad!
". . .There is a reason the Founding Fathers separated the power to conduct war from the power to declare it. The reason is just such a ruler as George W. Bush, a man possessed of an ideology and sense of mission that are not necessarily coterminous with what is best for his country. Under our Constitution, it is Congress, not the president, who decides on war.
The White House press secretary change has given new meaning to the term "snow job." And it may be more than a matter of going from lower case to upper case.
By pulling the hapless Scott McClellan who was being pounded by a suddenly aggressive White House press corps, and sending Tony Snow in as a long relief man, administration strategists may have concluded that a good offense is the best defense of their crumbling castle of lies and deception.
For months, Cheney and Bush were content to send poor McClellan out to repeat their lies or simply refuse comment, and it worked on a passive press corps. They even got away for a while with planting a male prostitute disguised as a reporter in the audience to lob softball questions at McClellan.
But eventually, public discontent with the way that pack of incompetents was running the country and a misbegotten war became so palpable that the watchdogs turned lap dogs could no longer ignore the mood that was abroad in the land. . "
The Decider Decides Only He Can Decide
"Bush challenges hundreds of laws
President cites powers of his office
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff | April 30, 2006
WASHINGTON -- President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.
Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.
Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional. . ."
And a corrupt, cowed, cowardly Congress fails in its Constitutional duty to offer checks and balances. They should be removed in the next election and all accrued benefits, such as pensions, stripped from them. They have not only failed their duty, they have committed the most treasonous action action against the American people: neglect.
More Bush Crooks. . .
. . .is there no end to the line of Bush Administration criminals? Or will it simply stretch on forever, like the mythical Chinese marching past the post of integrity? Endless. Stretching beyond the horizon. Forever...
"Ex-Head of F.D.A. Faces Criminal Inquiry
WASHINGTON, April 28 Dr. Lester M. Crawford, the former commissioner of food and drugs, is under criminal investigation by a federal grand jury over accusations of financial improprieties and false statements to Congress, his lawyer said Friday.
The lawyer, Barbara Van Gelder, would not discuss the accusations further. In a court hearing held by telephone on Thursday, she told a federal magistrate that she would instruct Dr. Crawford to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination if ordered to answer questions this week about his actions as head of the Food and Drug Administration, according to a transcript of the hearing.
Dr. Crawford did not reply to messages seeking comment, and Kathleen Quinn, an F.D.A. spokeswoman, declined to comment.
Dr. Crawford resigned in September, fewer than three months after the Senate confirmed him. He said then that it was time for someone else to lead the agency.
The next month, financial disclosure forms released by the Department of Health and Human Services showed that in 2004 either Dr. Crawford or his wife, Catherine, had sold shares in companies regulated by the agency when he was its deputy commissioner and acting commissioner. He has since joined a Washington lobbying firm, Policy Directions Inc. . ."
"We Are Not Amused"
By E&P Staff
Published: April 29, 2006 11:40 PM ET
"WASHINGTON --A blistering comedy tribute to President Bush by Comedy Centrals faux talk show host Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondent Dinner Saturday night left George and Laura Bush unsmiling at its close.
Earlier, the president had delivered his talk to the 2700 attendees, including many celebrities and top officials, with the help of a Bush impersonator.
Colbert, who spoke in the guise of his talk show character, who ostensibly supports the president strongly, urged the Bush to ignore his low approval ratings, saying they were based on reality, and reality has a well-known liberal bias.
He attacked those in the press who claim that the shake-up at the White House was merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. This administration is soaring, not sinking, he said. They are re-arranging the deck chairs--on the Hindenburg. . .
Read on at Editor and Publisher.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Somewhere, Wilbur Mills Is Smiling...
As Many as a Half a Dozen Members of Congress May Be Involved in Prostitution Scandal
"Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FBI is investigating whether two contractors implicated in the bribery of former Rep. Randall Duke Cunningham supplied him with prostitutes and free use of a limousine and hotel suites. The Journal also said the investigators are exploring whether any other members of Congress are involved.
Last night on MSNBCs Scarborough Country, Dean Calbreath of the San Diego Union Tribune which recently won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Cunningham case said that as many as a half a dozen members of Congress could ultimately be implicated in the prostitution scandal. . ."
Who is Wilbur Mills? That's why God invented Google.
Dirty Tricks on the Internet
Remember, folks, any smuck can put up a web page by clicking on "Save As..."; apparently any smuck can also edit the Wiki.
"ATLANTA - Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that can be altered by anyone with a computer, has proved remarkably useful for pulling political dirty tricks.
Political operatives are covertly rewriting or defacing candidates' biographical entries to make the boss look good or the opponent look ridiculous.
As a result, political campaigns are monitoring the Web site more closely than ever this election year.
Revisions made by Capitol Hill staffers became so frequent and disruptive earlier this year that Wikipedia temporarily blocked access to the site from some congressional Internet addresses. The pranks included bumping up the age of the Senate's oldest member, West Virginia's Robert Byrd, from 88 to 180, and giving crude names to other lawmakers.
The entry for Democratic Rep. Jim Marshall (news, bio, voting record) of Georgia labeled him "too liberal" for his state, in part because of a contribution he received from a political action committee run by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. The man who doctored Marshall's biography now works for his Republican challenger. . ."
Snooping Fed Numbers
WASHINGTON (April 29) - The FBI secretly sought information last year on 3,501 U.S. citizens and legal residents from their banks and credit card, telephone and Internet companies without a court's approval, the Justice Department said Friday.
It was the first time the Bush administration has publicly disclosed how often it uses the administrative subpoena known as a National Security Letter, which allows the executive branch of government to obtain records about people in terrorism and espionage investigations without a judge's approval or a grand jury subpoena. . .
. . .The department also reported it received a secret court's approval for 155 warrants to examine business records last year under a Patriot Act provision that includes library records. However, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has said the department has never used the provision to ask for library records.
The number was a significant jump over past use of the warrant for business records. A year ago, Gonzales told Congress there had been 35 warrants approved between November 2003 and April 2005. . .
. . .Ann Beeson, the associate legal counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the report to Congress "confirms our fear all along that National Security Letters are being used to get the records of thousands of innocent Americans without court approval."
The number disclosed Friday excludes requests for subscriber information, an exception written into the law. It was unclear how many FBI letters were not counted for that reason. "
". . .Hogan, an appointee of President Reagan, said he rejected imposing a fine on Miller because he did not believe anything other than jail would get her to obey his order to testify. She spent 85 days behind bars before Libby gave her a waiver she thought was sufficient.
Miller wasnt an innocent bystander, Hogan said. "She was an actor in the commission of a crime," he said. "She was part of the transfer of information that was a crime."
The judge said he did not enjoy sending Miller to jail. But he said the law is clear: Reporters do not have a special privilege under the First Amendment to keep their sources secret, especially when a crime has been committed. . "
Genuine National Leadership: Prince Harry
Good for him. He's showing the world genuine national leadership responsibility to set a good example for the rest of us.
Of course, the commentariat are quite correct that press attention to his unit may make it a more inviting target for the bad guys. But that comes with the territory. [Besides, can't Buckingham Palace ask the press to leave him, and his men, alone?]
His older brother, Prince William, is still training at Sandhurst, so the same question will come up again.
We respect Prince Harry's decision. If "they" keep him in a safe place in the rear for someone's protection (certainly not his own), there will be no point in serving at all.
How about you, Henry Hager, or Presidential nephew Pierce Bush? Be A Man! Enlist!"
Rush Gives Up
Limbaugh also agreed to pay the state of Florida $30,000 to help cover the cost of the investigation into the conservative radio personality's alleged "doctor shopping," a felony in Florida. . ."
NC Candidate (Gasp) Spreads Lies
From Daily Kos:
"Remember Vernon Robinson's Twilight Zone commercial that almost everyone who watched it thought it was a parody? . . .
The multi-page mailing begins by describing Vernon as the new darling of the Republican party and displays pictures of him with Jesse Helms and graduating from the Air Force Academy. Also featured are glowing quotes from Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin praising Vernon Robinson as the great black hope for the Republican party. . .
But guess who Vernon says is in bed with democratic rival Brad Miller (D-NC)? Our own Markos. . .
Then I flip it over and smiling at me is one Markos Moulitsas Zuniga who, according to quotes attributed to Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) "has become a magnet for the most hateful, vitriolic and extremist left-wing activists" (Way to go, Kossacks!). . ."
Want more? Click here. It is funny (in a mindless, pathetic sort of way).
More First Amendement Issues
The Governor's Office Goes Silent
"It's official. Gov. Mike Huckabee is refusing to provide routine media services to the Arkansas Times. The newspaper has been stricken from the e-mail lists for routine news releases, public scheduling and other items widely disseminated to members of the public and the media.
Press spokeswoman Alice Stewart gave us this statement:
We dont consider the Arkansas Times a news organization. By your own definition, you are a journal of politics and culture. As you said, there are hund
reds of news outlets in the state and we dont attempt to notify every one of them. The major news organizations are on our e-mail list and thats the way it will continue.
She declined to answer all further questions -- when the decision was made, why it was made, by whom it was made. "That's the statement this office is offering," she said.
The Times is, of course, a news medium. We report news on this blog and in our weekly print edition on a regular basis. But definitions are largely irrelevant. The Freedom of Information Act is the public's law, not a press law. Rights abridged under the law for one are rights abridged for all. . "
Friday, April 28, 2006
Jack and Forced Abortions
By Paul Kiel and Justin Rood - April 28, 2006, 9:18 AM
The Legacy of Pious Jack: Forced Abortions For Sweatshop Workers
Ms. Magazine visited the Northern Mariana Islands recently to determine the legacy of Jack Abramoff's work on behalf of sweatshop owners there. What did they find? Forced abortions, unemployment, and a thriving sex trade -- comprised mostly of unemployed garment workers. Nice work, Jacko.
Abramoff went to bat for the Islands' power brokers, so they could keep their sweatshops operating free of U.S. worker protection laws. With Rep. Tom DeLay's (R-TX) help, he kept our laws off their island, which allowed these conditions to develop, the magazine concludes."
Al Franken talks about this in his book. (I'll link later)
No Organ Harvesting!
"While entertaining President Hu Jintao, the man who basically holds the note worth hundreds of billions of borrowed money with one hand and the big stick that supposedly keeps the North Koreans and George Bush in line in the other, The Decider showed the entire world Hu was his Daddy by offering a legal human sacrifice, thereby striking a blow to freedom everywhere.
Because the carefully-scripted “official” (as opposed to the more prestigious state) visit was interrupted by Dr. Wenyi Wang, a physician and erstwhile journalist for the Epoch Times. Typically, the other outlets, such as CNN, refer to Dr. Wang as a “heckler.” A heckler is what you are if you tell a standup comedian during his act that he sucks. Hecklers also don’t get thrown in jail and charged with disturbing foreign nationals.
Of course, the CNN story doesn’t explain the reason for Dr. Wang’s protest, which is organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners while they’re still alive. So, while CNN effectively gagged her by not mentioning the need for the doctor’s protest, what’s even more telling is that a cameraman actually pulled a sign from her hands and literally gagged her by putting his hand over her mouth.
So much for the “liberal media.”
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Pat Roberts Skewered
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, is a national disgrace. He has broken promises to hold real hearings on the second phase--was intelligence manipulated-- of the Iraq War hearings. Now it appears that he is the worst offender when it comes to a double standard on leaking intelligence information.
The National Journal's, Murray Waas reports, Is There A Double Standard On Leak Probes?
But three years ago on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, Roberts himself was involved in disclosing sensitive intelligence information that, according to four former senior intelligence officers, impaired efforts to capture Saddam Hussein and potentially threatened the lives of Iraqis who were spying for the United States. . ."
"GOP Culture of Corruption Indeed
The ever-expanding list of Republicans mired in scandal, just in the past year. If the Democratic party did this much crap over a 10 year period it would be another 10 years before I'd even consider voting for anyone in the party again...
The GOP List of Shame
Abramoff and Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX)
Abramoff and Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA)
Abramoff and Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH)
Abramoff and Sen Conrad Burns (R-MT)
Abramoff and Rep. Dana Rohrabaker (R-CA)
Abramoff and Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX)
Abramoff and DeLay, Doolittle, Ney, Rohrabacher
Sen Bill Frist (R-TN)
Sen Conrad Burns (R-MT)
Sen Rick Santorum (R-PA)
Sen John Thune (R-SD)
Sen George Voinovich (R-OH)
Gov Taft (R) and Ohio Coingate
Ky. Gov Ernie Fletcher (R)
Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)
Rep Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA)
Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA)
http://www.rollcall.com/issues/51_87/news/12286-1.html?CMP=OTC-RSS (sub req)
Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
Rep Michael G. Oxley (R-OH)
Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA)
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH)
Rep. Charles Taylor (R-NC)
Rep. Katherine Harris ’06 Sen candidate (R-Fla)
Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA)
Rep. John Sweeney (R-NY)
Rep. Tom Reynolds (R-NY)
Ralph Reed ’06 Lt Gov candidate (R-GA)
ex-IL Gov. George Ryan Sr (R)
I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Jr
Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to Vice President
Whitehouse OMB Official David Safavian
White House chief domestic-policy adviser Claude Allen
(Karl Rove Coming soon?)
http://www.bugmenot.com/ can help you get around many of the Reg Req sites.
Please steal this list. Email it. Post it. Let it be known."
Remembering Real Democrats
". . .Joe Klein is not the only one to moan about the polarized age in which we are supposedly living these days, with all the power having gravitated to “the extremes of both left and right,” to use the standard deploring formula. Everyone in pundit-land moans this way, and they can be fairly confident that their buddy the CNN host won’t contradict them when they so moan. But someone needs to rub their faces in the fact that, compared to today’s “polarized” Democratic Party, their lovable old Harry Truman sounds like a fire-breathing anarchist, defending positions so far to the left that we have forgotten that one of the two major parties ever held them. Maybe what ails us isn’t a deficit of authenticity or the pull of the poles; maybe it’s something Truman would have grasped in a Kansas City minute: the power of money, the push of the right. Maybe squishy centrism is the problem, not the solution. And maybe we could use a little more polarization of the Turnip Day variety. . ."
Media Memory Muddle
"Reading the MSM's coverage of Ken Lay's testimony -- side by side with its coverage of George Bush's latest bleating about energy -- I've been struck by how little discussion there is of Lay's and Enron's deep connections to Bush, Cheney, and the White House's energy company-dictated energy policy.
It would be like flash-forwarding four years to some future trial of Jack Abramoff and hearing nothing about Tom DeLay.
It's another symptom of the media's long-term memory disorder. Suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder, they can only focus on the thing in front of them -- and even then not for very long before moving on to the next shiny bauble (Tony Snow called Bush 'impotent'! Natalie Holloway's still missing -- and still getting airtime on Larry King).
So instead of reminding us of all the reasons why Enron was even more of a political scandal than a business scandal, the media narrative has turned the case into a simple he said/he said story pitting 'folksy' Ken Lay against repentant Raptor boy, Andy Fastow. . ."
Big Oil Tax Breaks
". . .The new 1,724-page energy law, four years in the making, will provide $14.5 billion in tax breaks. The recipients will include producers of oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear power, as well as smaller incentives for consumers who use cleaner-burning fuels produced in this country. Analysts say it is unlikely most Americans will see a noticeable improvement in their energy costs in the short term. But supporters said the new law is designed to provide a long-term lift to the fuels of the future, including cleaner-burning coal and a new generation of gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles. . ."
I feel so much better now.
Remembering Pat and Jerry on 9/11
"A lot has been written about John McCain's sudden courting of Jerry Falwell in the last few weeks so that he can try to win over the extreme Christian right that permeates the GOP these days. Let's take a listen to what Falwell and Pat Robertson said right after 9/11 on the 700 Club.
JERRY FALWELL: The ACLU's got to take a lot of blame for this.
PAT ROBERTSON: Well, yes.
JERRY FALWELL: And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way-all of them who have tried to secularize America - I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen."
How can McCain suddenly say that Falwell is not an agent of intolerance? I haven't heard them apologize for their statements. . ."
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Why Are Atheists So Angry?
Trying to Understand Angry Atheists
Why do nonbelievers seem to be threatened by the idea of God?
Rabbi Marc Gellman
April 26, 2006 -
"I think I need to understand atheists better. I bear them no ill will. I don't think they need to be religious to be good, kind and charitable people, and I have no desire to debate or convert them. I do think they are wrong about the biggest question, Are we alone? and I will admit to occasionally viewing atheists with the kind of patient sympathy often shown to me by Christians who can't quite understand why the Good News of Jesus' death and resurrection has not reached me or my people. However, there is something I am missing about atheists: what I simply do not understand is why they are often so angry.
This must sound condescending and a large generalization, and I don't mean it that way, but I am tempted to believe that behind atheist anger there are oftentimes uncomfortable personal histories. Perhaps their atheism was the result of the tragic death of a loved one, or an angry degrading sermon, or an insensitive eulogy, or an unfeeling castigation of lifestyle choices or perhaps something even worse. I would ask for forgiveness from the angry atheists who write to me if I thought it would help. Religion must remain an audacious, daring and, yes, uncomfortable assault on our desires to do what we want when we want to do it. All religions must teach a way to discipline our animal urges, to overcome racism and materialism, selfishness and arrogance and the sinful oppression of the most vulnerable and the most innocent among us. . ."
When Reform Ain't
"The House Republican leaders managed a new feat of cravenness during the recent recess, hollowing out their long promised "lobbying reform" bill to meet the dictates of who else? Washington's power lobbyists.
During two weeks of supposed inactivity, the leadership bill was chiseled down at the behest of K Street to an Orwellian shell of righteous platitudes about transparency and integrity. The measure to be debated this week has been stripped of provisions to require full disclosure of lobbyists' campaign fund-raising powers and V.I.P. access in Congress. The measure buries all attempts at instituting credible ethics enforcement in the House.
The nation should not be fooled. The proposal is a cadaverous pretense that Congress has learned the corrupting lessons of Jack Abramoff, the disgraced superlobbyist; Representative Tom DeLay, the fallen majority leader; and Duke Cunningham, the imprisoned former congressman. It makes a laughingstock of the pious promises of last January to ban privately financed junketeering by lawmakers. Instead, these adventures in quid pro quo lawmaking would be suspended only temporarily, safe to blossom again after the next election. . "
Another View on Bush and Oil
"Gasoline prices may be hurting average folks, but the oilers who helped put the Boy King and the Duke of Halliburton in office with lavish donations are enjoying record profits and breathtaking bonuses. The Oilmen in the Oval, incompetent in so many ways, have brilliantly achieved one of their main objectives: boosting the fortunes of the oil industry and the people who run it. All those secret meetings the vice president had back in 2001, letting the energy and oil big shots help write our energy policy — one that urged more oil and gas drilling — worked like a charm. In all their years in government, Mr. Cheney and the Bushes have never done anything to hold the oil companies' feet to the fire, or get Americans' feet off the gas pedal.
As Representative James Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina, noted, "The Republicans are the party with the keys to the executive washrooms of Halliburton, Exxon and the big oil corporations." Consider Lee Raymond, the recently retired chairman and chief executive of Exxon. Recently, we learned about his stunning secret compensation: he got more than $686 million from 1993 to 2005, according to a Times story, which calculated: "That is $144,573 for each day he spent leading Exxon's 'God pod,' as the executive suite at the company's headquarters in Irving, Tex., is known." The only oil baron who isn't cashing in these days is Saddam. We pulled up to the pump in Baghdad and plunked down $10 billion a month, and we're still not getting any gas out of it. Instead of easing our oil dependence and paying for Iraq's reconstruction, the bungled invasion and subsequent nuclear sparring with Iran have left even Republicans looking for Priuses."
Bush, God, and Oil
"The president may turn to God when it comes to shaping his foreign policy, but his energy policy is strictly courtesy of the Men Upstairs at Big Oil.
Which is why it is beyond comical to watch Moe, Curly, and Larry -- sorry, I mean Bush, Hastert, and Frist -- getting all blue in the face about skyrocketing gas prices, and calling on the Energy and Justice Departments to look into possible market manipulation by oil companies.It’s the least believable call for an investigation since O.J. set out to find the real killers.
For those of you experiencing a sudden wave of déjà vu, yes, the GOP demand for a federal probe of potential oil industry price-gouging was a carbon copy of the demands Chuck Schumer made last week. Hey, maybe they just unconsciously “internalized” Schumer’s words. . ."
Everyone who is paying even the slightest bit of attention knows that war profiteers are sucking the life out of the Federal budget and ripping off the taxpayers even as soldiers are stripped of medical benefits and denied adequate armor. It’s the kind of stuff that makes even the most tight-assed social conservative indignant with rage. Plus the Truman Commission has all those 'greatest generation' overtones that speak to responsible oversight and good governance. I think agitating for it now, even if there is no hope of getting it through the GOP stonewall, at the very least makes Bush force his Congressional sycophants go on the record and oppose it. No good way to explain that to your constituents in an election year, really."
Taylor Says "No" to Flight 93
"Apr 25, 6:54 PM EDT
North Carolina congressman blocks Flight 93 Memorial
By KIMBERLY HEFLING
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Family members of those killed on United Flight 93 are urging a North Carolina congressman to lift his hold on funding for a memorial planned for the Pennsylvania site where the plane crashed on Sept. 11, 2001.
Nearly a dozen family members are scheduled to meet with their members of Congress on Wednesday to encourage them to sign a letter that asks Rep. Charles H. Taylor, R-N.C., to support $10 million for the project.
It was not clear if they would also meet with Taylor.
Taylor, chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the Interior Department, has blocked millions in funding for the project in the last two years, and has expressed opposition to funding it when it comes up again before his committee May 3, said John Scofield, the House Appropriations Committee spokesman.
The White House has requested $5 million for the nearly 1,700-acre site in remote western Pennsylvania as part of a larger spending bill. . .(read on)"
Scrutiny Hooligans has more.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
You Are the Blame for Gas Prices
"Don't Like Gas Prices? Quit Voting Republican
'We can't use all the corn -- people gotta eat -- animals gotta eat too!' - George W. Bush on ethanol
We're going to stay on the charade of Bush going after big oil because the Democrats are joining in on the fun. Let's get something straight now that this issue is really starting to burn the public airwaves and web. If you voted for George W. Bush or any other Republican in 2000 and 2004, you are partially responsible for the fix we're in. The American people have also got to quit looking to Washington for someone to blame. If people elect oil men to the White House and people sympathetic to them in Congress, this is what we're going to get and it's never going to end. Americans go along and say nothing until it starts to hurt, then turn to the oil men in office, who then turn to the guys that helped put them in power. The circle goes on and on, meanwhile we don't get a solution, while Americans whine. . ."
Crooks and Liars
"Andrea says that Mary did meet reporters, but says she didn't leak classified information. The story unfolds.
Ex-CIA officer Melissa Boyle Mahle who maintains close contacts with CIA insiders reports that the leak investigation is considered to be a "witch hunt" by many inside the agency.
The reaction from some right wing bloggers over this story really goes beyond the pale. They think that-I kid you not-the secret prisons were all a cover to draw out leakers from the agency. Mark Kleiman digs up the facts. You have to read the post. It's some of the biggest conservative sites promoting this crazy idea."
Eh? Spy-novel plots? From this Administration? Har-de-har-har.The Decider becomes the Schemer, Master of the Subtle Move. Right.
The Opinion Mill
"How dare you be intolerant of my tolerance for your intolerance about tolerance!
In one of the comments fields at the science blog Pharyngula, I came across this little gem from somebody styling himself nate-dogg:
I just so happened to see Bill Maher in concert last night. He was talking about the religious right and said something like, 'They tell me I don't respect their religion. Well, I don't. But I don't have to. I tolerate it, which is all that's required of me as an American. It'd be nice if they'd return the favor.'
The comment comes in response to P.Z. Myers' takedown of this piece in Raw Story. . . "
Good post. Here's the rest.
More from the Right Blogosphere
By Matthew Rothschild
April 24, 2006"
Ava Lowery is a fifteen-year-old who lives in Alabama. She calls herself a peace activist, and for the past year, she’s been producing her own short animations on her website, peacetakescourage.com. All in all, she’s made about seventy of them, she says, and most of them oppose Bush and his Iraq War.
“I was just so mad about it,” she explains. “And the media are not showing the real images of the war, so I did a lot research and started my own website.”
She submitted one of her latest creations, “WWJD,” to the monthly “contagious” contest that huffingtonpost.com is running. (It’s an open contest that ranks the number of viewers for each submission.)
. . .
Lowery ends the video with quotations from Beatitudes, including, “Blessed are they who mourn” and “Blessed are the meek” and “Blessed are the merciful” and “Blessed are the peacemakers.”
She says she’s received a lot of positive feedback in short messages back to her site. And she understands that the fact that “people are on the web, and they just let loose.” But she was unprepared for the viciousness of the negative feedback —especially the ugly sexual slurs similar to those that Cindy Sheehan has faced. (If you can’t stand foul language, stop reading now.)You can read some of the vile quotes here.
No Democratic Spies, Please!
Now that Mary McCarthy has 'categorically denied' disclosing classified information on Bush's secret prisons, the political debate shifts a bit. Instead of assuming that McCarthy was responsible for leaks, we now have to wonder why, exactly, CIA Director Porter Goss sacked a veteran intelligence analyst. It's too soon to say with any certainty whether Goss, who personally oversaw the investigation into this leak, was driven by partisan motivations, but there's reason to believe the director of central intelligence was not acting on principle. After all, McCarthy was a Democrat and hold-over from the Clinton years -- and Goss is a former House Republican who has tried to purge top-ranking CIA officials of anyone who wasn't loyal to Bush. Let's not forget this Newsday report from November 2004 and how it might apply to the McCarthy controversy.
The White House has ordered the new CIA director, Porter Goss, to purge the agency of officers believed to have been disloyal to President George W. Bush or of leaking damaging information to the media about the conduct of the Iraq war and the hunt for Osama bin Laden, according to knowledgeable sources. "The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House," said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to both the agency and to the White House. "Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda." (emphasis added)
And now we're supposed to believe that Goss, whose history of rigid partisanship is overwhelming, ran a fair and objective investigation of McCarthy? Please.
-- Guest Post by Steve Benen, The Carpetbagger Report
First Amendment Air Force Outrage
Daily Kos: BREAKING: Air Force Censors Liberal Websites, But Leaves Conservative Ones Alone:
Mon Apr 24, 2006 at 09:31:33 PM PDT
Earlier today, a friend of mine who flies for the Air Force sent me an email reporting that sometime in the middle of the day today, the Air Force's IT people put a block on DailyKos. He was on a coffee break and wanted to show a colleague a diary about energy policy, so he told me (probably one of Jerome à Paris'). Although it was possible to do that this morning, by around two o'clock (or however they say that in the Air Force) DailyKos was blocked.
So was Atrios.
So was TalkingPointsMemo, for crying out loud - and they're all policy and minimal invective over there!
On the other hand, Free Republic and Little Green Footballs came through just fine, thank you very much. . ."
Standing Up. . .
". . .Yet the “we can’t leave now” argument has somehow congealed into the conventional wisdom.
So, for those of you who find yourself confronted with this idiocy, here is my handy, two-part “elevator message” rebuttal to the CW:
One: withdrawing our troops from Iraq does not mean abandoning Iraq.
Two: Withdrawing our troops from Iraq does mean eliminating the insurgency’s best recruitment tool.
You should be able to get that out between the lobby and the mezzanine.
If you happen to be in the Empire State building, here is what you can add to your rebuttal:
To win in Iraq, we need to leave Iraq. To win, we need to stop being the issue. To win, we need to give our money, our brains, our support in every way -- but no longer the lives of our soldiers.
Far from signaling U.S. abandonment of Iraq, removing our troops will allow us to focus on the only viable solution to the crisis in Iraq: using our power to influence diplomatic and political advancements, and using our financial might to help reconstruct the country and help build a civil society in which democracy might actually take hold.
It’s not about cutting and running, it’s about shifting our efforts -- and our resources -- from a reliance on hard power to soft power (check out Joe Nye for more on this).
Since his first fevered dreams of toppling Saddam and remaking the Middle East, President Bush has always tied the idea of finishing the job in Iraq to the exercise of hard power. It was a job more for Rummy than Colin or Condi. His only nod to questions of when our troops will come home: “As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down.” But a positive outcome in Iraq will not be the result of our military might, even if we stop-loss our troops for the next hundred years.
If civil war in Iraq is to be averted, it will happen not because the Iraqi military is ready but because the people of Iraq have been convinced of the value of finally putting aside their ethnic and political differences.
As retired Gen. William Odom, former national security advisor to Reagan, has pointed out: the insurgents are fighting very effectively without US military training, so why aren’t the Iraqi security forces? Odom also reminds us that while we trained the Vietnamese military very well, in the end South Vietnam’s political leaders lost the war. . ."
Liberal Papers Dying?
"Writing this week in the Philadelphia Inquirer, blogger and radio host Hugh Hewitt again insisted the ongoing newspaper slump is a direct response from subscribers fed up with the liberal bias and who have walked away. (Damn that liberal sports section!) Granted, there are probably 15 or 16 more compelling reasons to explain the trend behind declining newspaper circulation. (Starting with the wild proliferation of news outlets accessible on the web for free.) But that doesn't stop conservatives from insisting that if big city newspaper weren't so liberal, than business wouldn't be so bad. Of course, if that theory were valid, the flip side would also be true--business must be booming for major market newspapers that proudly display their conservative pedigree, right? Guess again. Turns out those newspaper are in worse shape financially than the allegedly liberal ones.
Take the case of the Washington Times, the openly partisan D.C. daily owned by Rev. Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church and who fancies himself the son of God. According to the conservative logic, circulation at the Times should be growing because the newspaper appeals to those disgruntled news consumers who, in the words of Hewitt, became 'disgusted with biased product.' Problem is somebody forgot to tell the circulation manager at the Times, because (surprise!), like so many major market dailies, The Times is hemorrhaging readers. Specifically, circulation for the Times' Sunday paper was down a whopping 10 percent, or 40,000 copies, in the last year, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations' latest FAS-FAX report. . ."
Science is Responsible for America's Success
"Scorning science in the 'culture of life'
By PIERRE TRISTAM
Witch trials weren't exactly backwoods excesses of zealotry. They were elaborate performances grounded in law and the expertise of what was then, in early modern Europe, considered the best-available evidence. That witch-hunting's most feverish age coincided with the rational insurgency of Galileo, Descartes and Newton didn't diminish witch trials' credibility. To the contrary, the trials reset morality's clock to God time. Scientists were the heretics.
Trivia? Not in light of the Bush administration once again scorning science in the name of rabid theologies. Whether it's the war on drugs, stem-cell research, global warming science, sex, abortion or evolution, demagogues -- channeled through Bush policies -- are enslaving evidence to ideology and reducing facts to three-fifths the weight of faith. Witch judges had the authority of the Church behind them for evidence. Today's demagogues have co-opted the manners of empirical science -- the academic lingo, the Ph.D. next to their names, the peer-reviewed studies. And they're making faith the loyalty oath of 21st century America. But every time a public figure cashes in on faith, the American experiment loses altitude.
What's made America great in the last two centuries . . ."
It's that Old My Lai Feeling
"After the firing of the CIA officer who leaked the secret prisons story to Dana Priest of the Washington Post, one of the retired-general-talking-heads who regularly appears on cable news these days weighed in with advice on the many avenues this whistleblower might have traveled instead of going to the media.
The CIA officer, identified by the Washington Post as one Mary O. McCarthy, could have reported it to her superior. She could have gone to the agency's Inspector General. If neither of these remedies worked, the errant conduct could have been reported to a member of the House or Senate Intelligence Committees, the general said.
It's probably not a bad thing that this general is retired, because he is either delusional or woefully uninformed.
There are scores of former employees of agencies involved in national security who have attempted to change things from the inside, through their superiors or the Inspector General. Predictably, they have gotten absolutely nowhere. . ."
Malkin Chickens Roosting
AlterNet: MediaCulture: The Right-Wing Terror-Sphere:
". . .What is perhaps most notable about Malkin's latest hateful act is the censure she's received from conservatives as well as liberals and progressives. Surber, the conservative editorial writer from Charleston mentioned above, and a blogger himself, used to link to Malkin. Until now. 'When people stoop that low, I as a reader realize that is all they have. They have lost the argument,' he wrote. 'It is like when a political candidate goes negative. Malkin went negative. She lost the argument. She lost a reader.'
Explaining his decision to delink Malkin, conservative blogger Fred Witzell of Ace in the Hole wrote: 'This goes beyond all decency in my opinion. I don't care who's side you're on, there are 'some' things you just don't do …'"
Proof, that be the Rub. . .
"After witnessing a weekend in which countless Bush followers fitted Mary McCarthy for her noose, it turns out, according to Newsweek, that she vehemently denies the charges, and not even the administration claims that she was the principal source for Dana Priest's story about the administration's secret Eastern European torture gulags:
A former CIA officer who was sacked last week after allegedly confessing to leaking secrets has denied she was the source of a controversial Washington Post story about alleged CIA secret detention operations in Eastern Europe, a friend of the operative told NEWSWEEK.
The fired official, Mary O. McCarthy, “categorically denies being the source of the leak,” one of McCarthy’s friends and former colleagues, Rand Beers, said Monday after speaking to McCarthy. . . ."
The Disappearing Story of the Hu Protester
Much more here.
Fox Newsman Changes Location But Not Job
Neal Gabler, the man Bill O'Reilly wants fired from 'Fox News Watch,' had this to say on Saturday about Tony:
'It would be a change in job title, but not description.'
As a cancer survivor I wish him well."
Monday, April 24, 2006
"A relaxed Russ Feingold made news when he had lunch with a small group of bloggers on an overcast Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles. Stepping outside the usual stereotype of a politician, he picked up the check. And he pointedly distinguished himself from those he characterized as 'foxhole Democrats' who run scared from Republican intimidation tactics.
'They're not very good at running the country,' he said of the GOP, 'but they're brilliant at intimidating Democrats.' As for his fellow Democratic contenders for the 2008 nomination, he suggested that many of them are still dominated by fear of a Rovian attack on their patriotism or national security credentials.
Feingold argued that reluctance to be baited on national security cost Democrats the Presidency in 2004, and that 'most Democrats don't know how to talk straight to the American people about what they believe.'
'They all listen to the same small group of consultants,' Feingold said. 'Those consultants would've told me that my career was finished in Wisconsin after I voted against the Patriot Act. And I was re-elected by a wider margin than before . . ."
Kerry Connects 'Nam and Iraq
"Thirty-five years later, in another war gone off course, I see history repeating itself. It is both a right and an obligation for Americans today to disagree with a president who is wrong, a policy that is wrong, and a course in Iraq that weakens the nation. Again, we must refuse to sit quietly and watch our troops sacrificed for a policy that isn't working while Americans who dissent and ask tough questions are branded unpatriotic.
Just as it was in 1971, it is again right to make clear that the best way to support the troops is to oppose a course that squanders their lives, dishonors their sacrifice, and disserves the American people and our principles.True patriots must defend the right of dissent and listen to the dissenters. Dissenters are not always right, but it is always a warning sign when they are accused of unpatriotic sentiments by politicians trying to avoid accountability or debate on their own policies.
We should know by now that those who are right should never fear scrutiny of their policy and thorough debate. In World War I, America's values were degraded, not defended, when dissenters were jailed and the teaching of German was banned in some public schools. . ."
"This time around, Hyman laments the lack of fiscal constraint among Congressional Republicans and the White House. He claims Bush hasn’t “met a spending bill he didn’t like,” and points out that Congress allocated $27 billion in “pork” projects last year.
Hyman is right in a sense, but wrong on the big picture. Yes, spending has swelled under Bush and the Republican-dominated Congress, with record deficits and a titanic national debt as a result. But this isn’t the result of mere pork barrel spending; it’s the result of the basic priorities of Bush and his fellow Republicans.
As large as it sounds, $27 billion is barely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to federal spending and debt. To put it in perspective, it’s only slightly more than the amount of money estimated to have been lost annually in lowered tourism revenue from Arab travelers dissuaded from coming to our shores since 9/11. If you sliced out every one of the programs Hyman labels “pork,” the nation’s fiscal situation would be exactly the same. Whining about pork barrel spending is simply rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
If Hyman truly wanted to take on his fellow Republicans, he’d go after the fact that Bush’s regressive taxes . . ."
No One Listens to Average Joe
"A deaf ear for America's concerns
By Jim Wright
Special to the Star-Telegram
Only 27 percent of Americans, by the latest accounting, think our national leadership is moving us in the right direction.
President Bush and his congressional followers sank last week to the lowest public approval levels they've registered in the five-plus years since Bush became president.
According to the most recent nationwide Gallup poll, the GOP-led Congress is more unpopular right now than the Democratic Congress was in 1994 when the public unseated the Democrats' 40-year House majority. Today, only 23 percent approve of the job that this Congress is doing. A thundering 70 percent disapprove!
Personnel shuffles won't change anything. That's razzle-dazzle. This goes deeper.
The conclusion seems inescapable: America's mythical 'average' person believes that Bush and his GOP cohorts have habitually ignored the public's strongest concerns. . ."
The articles continues with a comprehensive look at public concerns.
Marine Dad Protests
"TWENTYNINE PALMS - Sitting along dusty Adobe Road near the Marine base where President Bush visited Sunday, Terry Davis held a one-man protest against the war that took his son.
Davis was doubtful that Bush would drive by and stop to chat about Zachariah Scott Davis but nonetheless sat in the bed of his red pickup for hours.
The president spent the morning at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center to attend church and have lunch with Marines and their families as part of a three-day visit to California.
A former Marine, Terry Davis said he supports the troops, but feels that this is the 'wrong war.'
'If my son had died while trying to find (bin Laden) it wouldn't be as bad as him dying on a false pretense. But we couldn't go into Saudi (Arabia) after Bin Laden because they are oil friends,' he said.
Zachariah Davis, 25, was killed on Jan. 6, 2005, by an improvised explosive device while serving in the volatile Al Anbar province of Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Terry Davis' other son is also a Marine.
'(Bush) has never been here before, but now that his poll numbers are so bad, he's trying to make up for it,' Davis said. 'Active Marines can't say that, but I can. . .'"
On the Bush Library
"Bob Patterson: 'What will be displayed at the Bush Presidential Library?'
Posted on Monday, April 24 @ 09:18:24 EDT (20 reads)
'Sometimes, nothing is a real cool hand.'
The Chimp is a lame duck and so the time is rapidly approaching when the pundits who delight in Bush bashing will have to consign him to the history books and let the historians debate Bush's ranking in the record books. Those scholars who relish the prospect of conducting a painstakingly minute autopsy of Bush's presidency will (eventually) have the answer to one question that now gnaws away at the spirit of conjecture and that is: What will be in the Bush Presidential Library?
Will Bush's military records be available at the Presidential Library? Will skeptical pundits be willing to do the research which might once and for all end the questioning of the future president's accomplishments in the Air National Guard? Did the young officer flunk out of basic pilot training and get assigned to one particular unit that used an aircraft that was being obsoleted? Did he float around as a non entity in bureaucratic limbo for a few years? Extensive documentation, such as the kind that other presidential library provide, might give pundits a lead on where they could track down folks who knew him well during that period of his life. What would a crew chief, who was responsible for the maintenance of the F-102 used by the son of a Texas congressman (George H. W. Bush), have to say about how the weekend warrior treated the machinery entrusted to him for use when his unit would gather to practice their military skills? Presumably the answer to such questions will be available in the material which will be stored in the Chimpster's Presidential Library. . ."
Furthermore, where will it be? Fantasyland? Wal-Mart? On the Exxon Valdez?
Bringing Back the Old
"Last month's 'quiet designation' of ex-Secretary of State James Baker to lead a congressionally mandated bi-partisan, fact-finding mission in Iraq may signify a new 'willingness' by the Bush Administration 'to admit that it needs help in weighing its options and generating public support,' according to an article set for Monday's New York Times.
According to the Times, 'People close to the Iraq Study Group say that it is unlikely to recommend a quick withdrawal from Iraq but that it could recommend efforts to involve the United Nations or troops from neighboring Muslim countries in securing the area.'
Although the Times article notes that Baker hasn't had a 'close relationship' with President Bush, as he did with Bush Sr. whose Administration he served in, '[p]eople close to Baker say that he was extremely concerned about being seen as second-guessing President George W. Bush's foreign policy aides and made certain of getting approval from the president in person before he took on the job.'"
More on Latest Cherry Picking
". . .Did you read in any of those reports -- even in a way that would protect sources and methods -- that the CIA had turned a key member of the Iraqi regime, that that guy had said there weren't any active weapons programs, and that the White House lost interest in what he was saying as soon as they realized it didn't help the case for war? What about what he said about the Niger story?
Did the Robb-Silbermann Commission not hear about what Drumheller had to say? What about the Roberts Committee?
I asked Drumheller just those questions when I spoke to him early this evening. He was quite clear. He was interviewed by the Robb-Silbermann Commission. Three times apparently.
Did he tell them everything he revealed on tonight's 60 Minutes segment. Absolutely.
Drumheller was also interviewed twice by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (the Roberts Committee) but apparently only after they released their summer 2004 report.
Now, quite a few of us have been arguing for almost two years now that those reports were fundamentally dishonest in the story they told about why we were so badly misled in the lead up to war. The fact that none of Drumheller's story managed to find its way into those reports, I think, speaks volumes about the agenda that the writers of those reports were pursuing. . ."