Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Salute to Our Veterans

Every Day Is Memorial Day

The Silence of The Blogs

Apparently I was not the only person guttersplattering through Rightblogistan looking for support on the unfolding Walter Reed Scandal. I found nothing. A vast empty place, like unto a black hole at the center of a microscopic neutron galaxy, was all my sensors could detect. Not even the Malkinborg were transwarping; at best, they could only blame the liberals for undermining the good coach roaches of Walter Reed. Sorry no links from me on that. Observe that Think Progress also had its vast antennae extended.

Think Progress: "...In our post, we linked to the unofficial Imus Blog, whose author Big Roy acknowledges that he “routinely slam[s] liberal politicians and media.” Yet, on Friday, Roy wrote a post titled, “Why Don’t Conservatives Support The Troops?”

During the past week I’ve gotten several links from some of the biggest liberal blogs/websites on the internet, Crooks & Liars, Think Progress, and Daily Kos. These are not sites that would normally link to this blog. As anyone who reads my blog knows I routinely slam liberal politicians and media.

But these guys rose above politics to try and bring awareness to the problems at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Some might say they’re doing it as an opportunity to slam the Bush Administration. I don’t think that’s it. I think it’s a genuine concern for active duty soldiers and veterans.

I wondered why I hadn’t received a single link from a conservative blog or website. I thought well they just didn’t like any of my posts. So I went and checked the right wing blogs I normally read when I get time, Redstate, Pajama Media, Hot Air, and Michelle Malkin. Except for Ms. Malkin, not one of these sites even mentioned the Washington Post Story or anything about Walter Reed that I could find. When Malkin talks about it. She was not able to rise above politics and used it as an opportunity to slam the liberal media and democrats."

WOT Ends October 2008

The Raw Story | Pentagon's number two suggests terror war will end in Oct. 2008: "The Department of Defense's number two official appears to imply in a memo that the Global War on Terrorism will end just in time for the presidential election in November 2008. The contents of the document are outlined in a column in today's Washington Post..."

Somebody knows something... move along; nothing to see here.

Silencing The Troops

Walter Reed patients told to keep quiet - Military News, Army News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports - Army Times: "Walter Reed patients told to keep quiet

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Feb 28, 2007 10:42:37 EST

Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media.

“Some soldiers believe this is a form of punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media,” one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

It is unusual for soldiers to have daily inspections after Basic Training.

Soldiers say their sergeant major gathered troops at 6 p.m. Monday to tell them they must follow their chain of command when asking for help with their medical evaluation paperwork, or when they spot mold, mice or other problems in their quarters..."

Decades ago I had a short stay in a military hospital and we were required to hop out of bed, fix the covers, police the area, and then lie on top of the covers. Amputees were not required to do all that. Some things never change, but you would expect that the modern military would have lightened-up on some of that silliness. We all know about that chain-of-command and how reverential the military command is about it, but what do you do, an ordinary troop, when the chain is malfunctioning?

My Lai should have taught us something about that problem. The UCMJ needs to be updated to give troops some leeway-- though the whistleblower statutes ought to work, they apparently do not.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Kerry Fires At Swiftboater

AP Wire | 02/27/2007 | Kerry criticizes Fox at hearing for ambassador post: "WASHINGTON - A Senate hearing that began as a celebration of St. Louis businessman Sam Fox and his qualifications to be ambassador to Belgium turned bitterly divisive Tuesday after Fox was accused of supporting a controversial conservative group.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., grilled Fox about why he donated $50,000 to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the 2004 presidential race. The group of Vietnam veterans made unsubstantiated allegations against Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee, and charged that Kerry did not deserve the medals he received in the Vietnam War..."

Dems Burgled

Deja vu all over again: Burglary at Democratic headquarters _ in New Hampshire | The Huffington Post: "No, you're not having a flashback to 1972 and the infamous event that ultimately led to the greatest scandal in U.S. political history and the downfall of Richard Nixon's presidency.

Instead of Washington's Watergate complex, this burglary took place at the New Hampshire Democratic Party's headquarters over the weekend. Neither police nor party officials will comment on what was stolen and whether the break-in was politically motivated..."

Edwards and Gore and GOPer Bore

Those bad, bad boys. Edwards has a house and -gasp!- Gore has a power bill. This is getting beyond stupid.

"Seeing the Forest: A Far Too Convenient $mear: Part One - Updated - Rush Update

Co-written with (mostly written by) James Boyce

Did you honestly think that the Right Wing $mear machine was going to let Al Gore stand up with the terrific team who created and direct the movie and receive an Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth?"

Did you really believe they would stand by and watch a Democratic leader validated for his life's work?

No chance in hell. As we have said here before, They destroy our leaders. Note to Senator Obama: spare us the hope and bi-partisanship talk and help us fight back. [my bold]...

Let's start right there. How did they get the utility bills? They also didn't have the courtesy to ask Vice President Gore about them (despite their hollow claim of being non-partisan.) And why would a "think tank" possibly care about what Al Gore spends on gas?..."

Read the rest of the post to discover how Right Blogistan is generating gas on this, uh, er, whatever, non-event of nothingness.

Monthly Democratic scandal summary: Edwards has a house, Peolosi rides a plane, and Gore uses electricity. Monthly GOP scandal summary: Bush is still president, Darth is still vice-president, Scooter is still on-trial, Walter Reed is disserving our veterans... I think I can stop right there. Feel free to add to the list.

Missing Number Aborts Veep Post

Fresh Intelligence : Radar Online: "...• Rumsfeld came this close to being named Ronald Reagan's vice president in 1980. When Reagan aide Richard Allen revealed that he handed George Bush Sr.'s phone number to Reagan, persuading him to call and offer Bush the vice presidency, Rumsfeld angrily phoned Allen and asked, 'Why didn't you pick me?' Allen's response: 'Because I didn't have your number....'"

And the Universe sighed and the Fickle Finger of Fate flicked a booger unto the netherworld.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Karma,Karma (NRA Edition)

'Terrorist' Remark Puts Outdoorsman's Career in Jeopardy - "SEATTLE -- Modern hunters rarely become more famous than Jim Zumbo. A mustachioed, barrel-chested outdoors entrepreneur who lives in a log cabin near Yellowstone National Park, he has spent much of his life writing for prominent outdoors magazines, delivering lectures across the country and starring in cable TV shows about big-game hunting in the West.

Zumbo's fame, however, has turned to black-bordered infamy within America's gun culture -- and his multimedia success has come undone. It all happened in the past week, after he publicly criticized the use of military-style assault rifles by hunters, especially those gunning for prairie dogs.

'Excuse me, maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons among our hunting fraternity,' Zumbo wrote in his blog on the Outdoor Life Web site. The Feb. 16 posting has since been taken down. 'As hunters, we don't need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them. . . . I'll go so far as to call them 'terrorist' rifles.'

The reaction -- from tens of thousands of owners of assault rifles across the country, from media and manufacturers rooted in the gun business, and from the National Rifle Association -- has been swift, severe and unforgiving. Despite a profuse public apology and a vow to go hunting soon with an assault weapon, Zumbo's career appears to be over..."

Dems Tuff On Terror

Bush and Cheney admit Democrats are forcing them to get tough on terror - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth

...This week, Dick Cheney is on a "secret visit" to Pakistan. His purpose is to tell Pakistan's leaders that Democrats are forcing the Bush Administration to get tough on terror:
Vice President Dick Cheney made an unannounced trip to Pakistan on Monday to deliver what officials in Washington described as an unusually tough message to Gen. Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, warning him that the newly Democratic Congress could cut aid to his country unless his forces become far more aggressive in hunting down operatives with Al Qaeda...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Iran-Contra Redux?

Think Progress » Hersh: U.S. Funds Being Secretly Funneled To Violent Al Qaeda-Linked Groups: "Hersh: U.S. Funds Being Secretly Funneled To Violent Al Qaeda-Linked Groups

New Yorker columnist Sy Hersh says the “single most explosive” element of his latest article involves an effort by the Bush administration to stem the growth of Shiite influence in the Middle East (specifically the Iranian government and Hezbollah in Lebanon) by funding violent Sunni groups.

Hersh says the U.S. has been “pumping money, a great deal of money, without congressional authority, without any congressional oversight” for covert operations in the Middle East where it wants to “stop the Shiite spread or the Shiite influence.” Hersh says these funds have ended up in the hands of “three Sunni jihadist groups” who are “connected to al Qaeda” but “want to take on Hezbollah...”"

Hometown Heroes: The Rockaway Beach Graybeards

Vet Loving Community

US Generals Say No To Iran Attack

US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack-News-World-Iraq-TimesOnline

"SOME of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly placed defence and intelligence sources.

Tension in the Gulf region has raised fears that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely before President George Bush leaves office. The Sunday Times has learnt that up to five generals and admirals are willing to resign rather than approve what they consider would be a reckless attack.

“There are four or five generals and admirals we know of who would resign if Bush ordered an attack on Iran,” a source with close ties to British intelligence said. “There is simply no stomach for it in the Pentagon, and a lot of people question whether such an attack would be effective or even possible....”

Bill Makes Money

The Spine: "...We're fortunate that Geffen did not wait for his. What he said to Maureen Dowd was on almost everybody's mind, even on the minds of those who out of habit or delight with the glitz just naturally found themselves in whoever's dining room was raising cash for Hillary. The fact is that the Clintons are all about money. There's a truly shocking story in this morning's Washington Post about how Bill earned $40 million in the last four years just in speaking fees. A lot of this was Arab money, which doesn't mean he doesn't love his rich Jews (he must) ... or Israel, for that matter. It tells you just how easy it is for him to fake his affections. Or to carry two loves in his breast at the same time..."

Wonder how much the various GOPers pulled in last year? They just hate it when a Democrat starts making serious money.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Meet Duncan Hunter's Helper

The Carpetbagger Report » Blog Archive » Meet Henry Jordan:
"In 1997, shortly after I finished grad school, I started working at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. My very first project, literally in my first week, dealt with a Republican member of South Carolina’s Board of Education, who wanted to impose Christianity on public school students. When one of his colleagues on the board alluded to concerns about religious minorities in the state, this board member said, on tape, “Screw the Buddhists and kill the Muslims. And put that in the minutes.”

The guy’s name was Henry Jordan. I got to work trying to force his resignation, but to no avail. I helped drum up some media interest, but the GOP establishment in South Carolina stood by Jordan, the response from local voters was tepid, and he kept his job looking out for the educational needs of children..."


McCain Says Iraq Could End His Career | The Huffington Post: "After the speech, McCain was asked by an audience member if he was 'sucking up to the religious right.' He drew laughs by responding: 'What's wrong with sucking up to everybody?'"

Well, John, let me list the ways.

Everyone and his cat begins political discussions with "What's wrong with America is that we no longer have [insert pet cause] God in the classroom, morals in other people, tax on welfare queens, property rights for small business owners who want to carry guns into Wal-Mart, doctors who’ll make house calls, and nobody uses white bread anymore." What’s really wrong with America is we have become a nation from top-to-bottom, coast-to-coast, border-to-border, super-to-CEO of sycophants. Any day now there’ll be a new monument on the Mall, thrusting limply upward into the languid sky to what has come become our national character: The Peter Principle.

Every day we have some new scandal erupting that ultimately can be traced back to someone either doing evil or just screwing-up. What happened to the good old days when a big-time CEO who ran his company into the ground, promptly quit in disgrace and went back to bagging groceries at Ingles? Failure used to be punished in this country. Now it is rewarded with golden parachutes and Medals of Freedom. Or short prison terms.

So how do these people get on top of the political and economic food chain? The tale they would have us believe has something to do with their innate genetic superiority, their pluck, determination, and skill. And, of course, regular church attendance and never getting caught too red-handed pursuing, uh, hobbies. The truth is that, sometimes, that is actually true, and at one time, say, around the American Revolution, the top levels of government and business (well, if you ignore Eli Whitney) were represented by truly remarkable men; Washington did not suck his way to the top of the food chain.

In today’s world, more often, the top is not populated by our best, but our best at sucking-up, which leads us, of course, to such epitomes of the old “kiss-up, kick-down” principle as John Bolton. The classic suck-up is a true worm, licking the genitals of anyone more powerful, shuffling his feet, staring at the ground, darting about with drinks and handy cigarette lighters, all the while plotting his next move up the ladder. What happens when the suck-up gets his power position is where the true horror starts. Because he has kissed so many butts on his way up, he expects everyone to demur to his towering intellect. No opinions are necessary unless they reinforce his pitch-perfect view of reality. You do not look this man in the eye; you bow to his toes, to do otherwise is risk his wrath, which can be considerable since you now, usually, either have a psychopath or an idiot in charge. At the very least, you can expect these people to be bullies.

Bullies come in two general classifications: real-obvious and sorta-subtle. They are best defined by the old sailor's observation: “Son, there are two kinds of ships in the Navy. Ones where the First Mate is a sonuvabitch and ones where the Captain is a sonuvabitch.” You need look no further than the White House for two fine examples of both the Peter Principle and the Bully Principle. It does not take an advanced degree to calculate the danger and damage these people can do, for they, who have never struggled, never suffered, for their success have no compassion for the great struggle which is just life, their way has been massaged and greased by the liberal application of tongue and connection so their travails typically revolved around issues of taste, both literal and figurative.

There you have it, John. From the classroom to the boardroom to the oval room, there is a substitute for sucking-up—it’s called performance and it is judged not by who you are and what you’ve kissed, but by what you have done. And that, Old Son, is where the foundation of truth and integrity is laid and without that no leader can lead, he can only manage.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Half-Truths and The VA

Army Surgeon General: "More than half" our wounded vets aren't treated like animals - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth: "...But my favorite part of the Army Surgeon General's interview is the following statement:

But, remember, more than half the [soldiers'] rooms were actually perfectly OK.

Wow, more than half! That's really super! That's a bit like bragging that more than half of the pages WEREN'T sexually abused by Republican congressmen, or assuring your spouse that more than half the time you're NOT cheating on her (or as one of our readers commented, 'And more than 95 percent of American cities HAVEN'T been flooded because of federal neglect of levees!')

Yes, this is the standard of excellence that George Bush and the Republicans have brought to our military. In the greatest country on earth, more than half of our wounded and maimed veterans aren't being treated like scum.

Heckuvajob, Kiley."

Where Are The Old-Line Vet Organizations?

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall February 23, 2007 01:01 PM: "Paul Rieckhoff, head of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, at TPMCafe:

I am extremely pissed off about the recent news out of Walter Reed Hospital. And you should be too. Turn off the non-stop coverage of Anna Nicole Smith and let's have a little talk about how we treat our returning heroes.

Read Rieckhoff's opening thoughts and jump into the thread. He'll be with us all day for the discussion. "

Contrast the IAVA with the reaction from the American Legion and the VFW. Thunderous silence. Next time those two veterans organizations start wondering about their recruitment issues maybe they need to start thinking about not being the veterans propaganda arm of the GOP and start thinking about who actually calls for and then does work for increasing veteran benefits.

Prince Harry, Neocons, and Feudalism

Simply Left Behind: Paging Jenna, NotJenna, And Neo-Con Spawn! Attention Death Cult Descendants!: The Non-Rapturist's Guide To The Galaxy

Carl is arguing, quite convincingly, that our current societal arrangement for war-mongering is worse than feudal because all the elites in our system escape sullying their beautiful minds and hands.

"...This arrangement is fractal, you'll notice: barons, dukes and counts were vassals to the king, the free peasants were vassals to the dukes and barons and counts, and the serfs, quasi-vassals to the peasants. If a king went to war, say in a Crusade, he dragged his knights with him as well as the various nobles as he could reasonably spare from overseeing his lands. Similarly, if a noble had to go join a war that he was contractually committed to (say an invasion of a neighboring shire), he dragged his knights and vassals with him.

What structure does that remind you of? Anyone? A multinational corporation, perhaps? I don't think that's a coincidence, and certainly explains recent corporate developments that ensure protection of the centralized authority of the "kings" of a company (and by extension, the "kings" of the United States, our elected Presidents, who are really more duke than king, but that's a different post. We'll talk about plutarchies some other time)..."

I'll say it again: Universal Military Suffrage. Draft them all-- the long, the short, the tall.

Amen. And Good-Bye, Joe

Democrat Taylor Marsh Broadcasts Live Talk Radio and Blogs Politics: "...Joe Lieberman is just another chickenhawk who no longer belongs in the Democratic Party. You other James Webb Democrats out there know what I'm talking about. So let me close by saying, good-bye, Joe. You've gone from the riches of the civil rights movement and the 2000 vice president's slot, to the shame of thinking Iraq was more important than Afghanistan. That Saddam Hussein was more important than Al Qaeda, and now we've got those thugs with a stronger base, terrorism at an all time high, a coming spring offensive in Afghanistan, and an Armed Forces that is falling apart due to negligence, constant stop-loss, not enough troops, while our National Guard is in shambles, with the families of all our forces falling apart and PTSD at historic highs. If that's your idea of 'strong on national defense,' progressive Democrats want no part of your plans."

---what she said. Times three.

A Different Wounding

Soldier Gets 100 Years for Rape, Killing | The Huffington Post: "Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, 24, also was given a dishonorable discharge. He will be eligible for parole in 10 years under the terms of his plea agreement.

Cortez, of Barstow, Calif., pleaded guilty this week to four counts of felony murder, rape and conspiracy to rape in a case considered among the worst atrocities by U.S. military personnel in Iraq..."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Move To Limit War Powers

ABC News: Senate Dems Move to Limit Iraq Mission: "WASHINGTON Feb 22, 2007 (AP)— Determined to challenge President Bush, Senate Democrats are drafting legislation to limit the mission of U.S. troops in Iraq, effectively revoking the broad authority Congress granted in 2002, officials said Thursday..."

Maher Flames Bush

Maher on Leno: Bush a 'Dolt' and 'a Gilligan Who Cannot Find His Ass with Two Hands' | "To laughter, cheers and applause from the Burbank audience of NBC's Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Bill Maher on Tuesday night issued a litany of denigrating insults at the intelligence of President George W. Bush, as if his decisions are not in accord with many experienced experts. Maher pointed out how MSNBC's “Joe Scarborough did a whole week of panel discussions on whether he was an idiot.” Maher elaborated: “The people who were defending him were saying, 'well, he's just inarticulate.' But inarticulate doesn't explain foreign policy. I mean, it's not that complicated. The man is a rube. He is a dolt. He is a yokel on the world stage. He is a Gilligan who cannot find his ass with two hands. He is a vain half-wit who interrupts one incoherent sentence with another incoherent sentence...”"

The Chin of Clinton-Mocking Leno went all a-tremble some say.

Savage Savages Sawyer

Media Matters - Savage on Sawyer: a "lying whore" who "in essence, is agreeing that the Holocaust didn't occur"
On the February 16 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Michael Savage asserted that ABC News correspondent Diane Sawyer was "aiding and abetting" Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a February 13 interview in which, Savage claimed, Sawyer had refused to challenge Ahmadinejad's statements denying the existence of the Holocaust. Savage said: "Here Diane Sawyer goes to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and does not once say to him, 'How could you deny the Holocaust? Here are the pictures of the 6 or 7 million Jews that Hitler killed. How dare you do this to the world?' " Savage added: "So Diane Sawyer, in essence, is agreeing that the Holocaust didn't occur." In fact, in her interview with Ahmadinejad, Sawyer stated, "I do not want to debate again the whole question of the Holocaust -- whether the Holocaust is a myth, which you have said," but then asked: "Would you be willing to go to Auschwitz and see their documentation? You're a scientist. Would you be willing to look at the room with documentation?" When Ahmadinejad responded: "Do you think it would solve any problem?" Sawyer replied: "It would be information for you if you genuinely believe it's a myth..."

About that flap over left-wing nasty mouth...

Great Coverage On Labor Forum

Democrat Taylor Marsh Broadcasts Live Talk Radio and Blogs Politics

I have to go for now, but if you are anxious to get some info on the Democratic Forum from Carson City, check out Taylor's website. She has extensive coverage. I will try to excerpt some later-- there is much to digest.

Cheney Goes Low

Cheney personally attacks Pelosi day her brother dies - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth:

"Remember Cheney's personal attack on Pelosi yesterday, once again saying she was doing Al Qaeda's dirty work? Well, he decided to do this only hours after her brother died. Classy. As Lynne Cheney would say, 'he is not a good man.'

Our condolences to the Speaker."

Amen. To both.

Vet Injury Claim

netZoo » Archives » Full Video: Injured Iraq Vet at Obama Rally

"...Richardson was one of several people I casually interviewed before the actual rally began — you can see my best of video here. Her story is unique because — despite being a 19-year U.S. Army veteran — she is not receiving full benefits. Why? Because, even though she lost her leg in Iraq, according to her story, the U.S. government has ruled it an accident and not a combat injury. She says she lost her leg when a tanker fell onto her tent.

There’s no question that veterans rights will — and should be — a MAJOR issue in the 2008 presidential campaign. We’ve heard the horror stories and we’ve heard about the chronically injured and their families being literally left to fend for themselves by the government..."

More Messages For Dems

(Lou)Dobbs: Will the Democrats save their souls? - "...The Democratic Leadership Council is obviously frightened that my brand of independent populism is a threat. The council claims that I, and those who agree with me, 'are simply, factually, decisively wrong about the strength of the U.S. manufacturing economy itself,' and that the more than three million jobs lost in manufacturing are a testament to corporate America's technology-based efficiency, not outsourcing and offshoring to cheap foreign labor markets. Then why are foreign-produced imports rising so dramatically and taking an ever-larger share of many of the most important sectors of our economy?

The Third Way, which is supposedly a 'strategy center for Progressives,' has just published a new study called 'The New Rules Economy: A Policy Framework for the 21st Century.' Third Way's conclusion that the struggling middle class is a myth requires it to avoid the fact that the share of national income going to wages and salaries is now at the lowest level on record. At the same time, the share of national income captured by corporate profits is at its highest level in more than half a century.

In fact, wages from 2000 to 2006 for working men and women in this country increased at half the rate they normally do in a recovery. And, not surprisingly, corporate America's profits are increasing at double the rate they normally do..."

Send The Dems A Message

Don't let the Nevada Democrats Be Outfoxed

The Democratic Party of Nevada just announced plans to team up with Fox News for a presidential primary debate. But Fox isn't a legitimate news channel. It's a right-wing mouthpiece like Rush Limbaugh and the Drudge Report—repeating false Republican talking points to smear Democrats.

Sign this petition to ask the Democratic Party of Nevada to drop Fox."

Click here for the petition.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Oprah Gives O'Relly Face Time

It is almost unbelievable. Bill O'Reilly is on Oprah spouting his crap and Oprah is letting him do it. Channel flip. Okay, Oprah. You just fell several spots on my Esteem Meter. Doesn't Oprah know what she is selling with O'Relly? She needs a reaction from Left Blogistan.

Push-Polling Pounded

No More Mister Nice Blog: "PUSH-POLLING THE WAR

Various elements of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy -- old veterans, mostly -- have come together to conduct and promote an Iraq War push poll. I don't think it'll work, but give them credit for persistence..."

Trust no poll. Distrust any poll originating with Fox News or its minions. View as a lie any poll originating with GOPers. Here's a sample: Will President Hillary destroy all life on Earth or just most of it?

The Other Terrorists

from The Raw Story:

"Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols says a high-ranking FBI official "apparently" was directing Timothy McVeigh in the plot to blow up a government building and might have changed the original target of the attack, according to a new affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Utah.

The official and other conspirators are being protected by the federal government "in a cover-up to escape its responsibility for the loss of life in Oklahoma," Nichols claims in a Feb. 9 affidavit.

Documents that supposedly help back up his allegations have been sealed to protect information in them, such as Social Security numbers and dates of birth.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Utah had no comment on the allegations. The FBI and Justice Department in Washington, D.C., also declined comment.

Nichols does not say what motive the government would have to be involved in the bombing..."

Pelosi Plane Lie Pelted

Horses Mouth February 20, 2007 02:26 PM: "The bogus Pelosi plane story has already been killed off multiple times and is at this point nothing more than a piece of journalistic roadkill. Still, you won't want to miss this one -- because it provides a backstage look at the extraordinary dishonesty that drove this whole non-story from the very beginning.

Today's Tampa Tribue is carrying a profile of one of the key drivers of this tale: Florida GOP Rep. Adam Putnam. As chairman of the House Republican conference committee, Putnam plays a key role in pushing the GOP's message in the media, and he aggressively pushed the plane story from the start. But now he's cheerfully admitted to the Tribune that not only did he have no idea whether the plane story was true, he didn't particularly care, either..."

Chickenhawk Challenge

This is too good to pass up.

Quote Of The Day | TPMCafe: "
'If Fergus Cullen has the courage of his convictions, he should go enlist, because they're having trouble meeting their quota. He's young, he's single and he's healthy. If he needs to know where the recruiters are, call me.'

— Representative Carol Shea-Porter, D-NH, quoted in The Concord Monitor, responding to state GOP chair Fergus Cullen, who had criticized her vote for the anti-escalation resolution."

Teacher Troubles ACLU

With the ACLU, ‘American’ Comes First « The Opinion Mill
From The Opinion Mill:
"...Yesterday’s announcement that the American Civil Liberties Union and the People For the American Way Foundation are gearing up to take legal action against the Kearny Board of Education is sure to send the Bill O’Reilly types into orbit. The fact that the school board appears to have ducked its civic obligation to the students and citizens of Kearny will scarcely matter – not when there’s another chance to denounce the ACLU. Every golden oldie in the American conservative jukebox is going to be played over and over. God is being banished from our schools! Our tax dollars are being wasted on frivolous lawsuits. Liberals are using the courts to brainwash our children into hell! Secular humanists gonna git your mama!..."

Karma Kalling...

"Scooter, Scooter, scooter, scoo (echo fades)..."

The Raw Story | Shuster: 'Prosecutors still looking for ways to pursue Cheney': "According to MSNBC's David Shuster, legal sources say that if I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby is convicted for perjury and obstruction, prosecutors may try to get him to turn over evidence against the Vice President.

'Legal sources confirm to MSNBC tonight that if Libby is convicted, prosecutors are expected to attempt to revisit Libby’s vague testimony about Vice President Cheney,' Shuster said. 'The idea is that prosecutors would seek to flip Libby to get at suspicions about the Vice President...'"

"Shooter, Shooter..."

Bake Sales for Body Armor

Bake Sales for Body Armor: "This website is dedicated to saving the lives of our soldiers by raising funds to buy body armor, medical supplies, and other items that promote their health and welfare..."

I wonder if Haliburt-- never mind. Related topic: "How many bullets has your magnet stopped?" I think I'll buy a few.

Legislation Coming On VA Problems

Senators Obama (D-IL) and McCaskill (D-MO) will introduce legislation to fix Walter Reed mess - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth

by ; John in DC · 2/20/2007 10:17:00 PM ET

"And George Bush thinks we should have a "study." That's nice. I can tell you right now what his study is going to find. 600,000 disability claims backlogged and going nowhere fast. Kind of funny that Bush is now ordering a study when Tony Snow blew off the entire question about Walter Reed today, and the general heading Walter Reed said the Post story was basically a lie. I want hearings. More from Reuters."

Thanks John and Taylor Marsh for keeping the blogs (and now the media) focused on this story. And thanks to the Washington Post for breaking the story in the first place.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Bush Bears No Fault For VA Mess

Bush to injured Iraq vets at Walter Reed: Don't talk to us about it - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth: "Outrageous. Just when you thought the Walter Reed veterans abuse scandal can't get any worse, it does. Today the Bush Administration disavowed any responsibility for what's happening to wounded soldiers at the army hospital, which is basically a straight shot up 16th Street from the White House.

White House spokesman Tony Snow got pummeled today at the White House briefing over the shabby treatment the soldiers are receiving at Walter Reed. But, he was unfazed. You see, it's not the White House's problem, and they don't intend to take responsibility for fixing it.

We've all seen the Bush Administration talk about supporting the troops endlessly. They use our soldiers as political props all the time. But, despite the shabby treatment wounded troops are getting right here in DC, at the supposed flagship hospital, the Bush team didn't say, 'this is an outrage and we're going to fix it.' No, Tony Snow punted.

Snow told the press corps that if they wanted to know what was going on at Walter Reed, those responsible for working on the problem 'work on the other side of the river.' In other words, it's the Pentagon's fault, and the Pentagon's responsibility for fixing it -- as if George Bush has no say over what the Pentagon does...."

Rep. Slaughter Angry Over Vet Treatment

Congresswoman Louise Slaughter - February 20, 2007 - Slaughter Sends Letter to Secretary Gates Demanding Answers on Walter Reed: "'...Critics of the President's escalation of the war are told that they can't both support the troops and oppose their mission,' Rep. Slaughter added. 'I think that you can't support the troops if you send them into battle without proper armor, or deny them critical medical care and counseling after they are injured. That is the definition of hypocrisy, and our wounded soldiers are paying the price...'"

The segment above is just a small slice of her letter. She is not a happy camper. More here.

Joys Of The Private Sector

The Reality-Based Community: A Short Lesson in Serious Conservatism and Right-Wing Hackery

"...Bottum’s charge of incompetence is more troubling, although he may expect from government more than government can deliver. A long-established lesson is that, even in the best of times, government is mightily incompetent-and the bigger government gets, the more incompetent it becomes. Think of how much time it takes to obtain a building permit, to go through vehicle registration, to correct a government mistake on tax forms or on public utility bills, etc. Recall how few government offices in the same building communicate with the others, and how often you are shuttled back and forth..."

Well, gee-whizz, Mr. Scrooge. Ever tried to get a refund from an insurance company? Filed a claimed on one? How 'bout that speed and service at your local Big Name car dealership? Or, shudders, ever tried to get customer support at Dell? Sure, yeah buddy, private enterprise is a model of super-efficient glory that can only get better as the rich get richer.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Marcotte On The Blogging Flap

Blogging populism and the political establishment | TPMCafe: "...This is where blogs step in, at least on the left. Blogging is a real counterpoint to the thoughtless, elitist, soundbite-driven mainstream media, where we're supposed to absorb an endless stream of soundbites and photo ops and our participation is limited mostly to a vote every couple of years. Blogs are bringing back the 19th century debate culture, where people would attend real debates and political rallies and listen to speeches for hours at a time. The irony about the vulgar people is that the vulgar people crave analysis, debate and participation, because these things validate our intelligence and our right to be citizens. The blogs are still appealing only to a small segment of society right now, but they're still relatively new and have the potential to reach a much larger audience over time..."

Ms. Marcotte makes a very reasoned argument that the entire Edwards Blogger Flap had more to do with the traditional media defending its turf than with any religious bigotry. Good post. Here.

More VA Reports

AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth

AMERICAblog has several posts up on the (finally) unraveling medical scandal engulfing the VA. Taylor Marsh also has a great post on the subject. This whole thing, since I'm a former ward of the VA, hits awfully close to home. I'll try posting something on it later tonight, when the moon is full and bright, and the ghosts of long-past are settled and quiet. (Sorry, that just slipped out.)

Tax Cuts For Health

Bush urges tax breaks for health insurance buyers - "WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hoping to gain support for his health care proposal, President Bush pledged Saturday to reach across party lines to change the nation's medical insurance system so more of the 46 million uninsured Americans can afford coverage.

'From my conversations with Democrats and Republicans, it is clear both parties recognize that strengthening health care for all Americans is one of our most important responsibilities,' Bush said in his weekly radio address. 'I am confident that if we put politics aside, we can find practical ways to improve our private health care system...'"

So a tax cut for someone who pays no tax will benefit me (or anybody else Stuck In The Middle) how? Sorry. Tax cuts are not the solution for every problem in the Known Universe.

Restricting Bush's War

New Hope Courier: "Senate Dems. weigh new Iraq restrictions

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer 1 minute ago

WASHINGTON - Senate Democrats said Sunday they might try to restrict President Bush ‘s ability to wage war in Iraq by approving a more limited version of the 2002 measure that authorized the use of force against Saddam Hussein ..."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Gov Fails Wounded Troops

Dana Priest and Anne Hull from report on terrible conditions at Walter Reed.

WP: Battling system at Walter Reed - Highlights -

"WASHINGTON - Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan's room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.

This is the world of Building 18, not the kind of place where Duncan expected to recover when he was evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center from Iraq last February with a broken neck and a shredded left ear, nearly dead from blood loss. But the old lodge, just outside the gates of the hospital and five miles up the road from the White House, has housed hundreds of maimed soldiers recuperating from injuries suffered in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan..."

It's not the Crimea, but conditions are still woeful. We owe our troops far, far better than this. MSNBC has the article here. It is not an easy read, but it ought to be required reading for all war supporters and a guided elective for all opposing the war.

Hume Slams Murtha

Think Progress » Hume: Murtha Is Senile, Doesn’t Have ‘The Foggiest Awareness’ Of What’s Going On In The World

This morning on Fox News, Brit Hume launched a scathing diatribe against Rep. John Murtha’s (D-PA) character. “It’s time a few things be said about him,” Hume said. “This guy is long past the day when he had anything but the foggiest awareness of what the heck is going on in the world.” Hume called Murtha an “absolute fountain” of “naivete....”

(Think Progress has the video here.)

"....Murtha has long been the subject of smear attacks from the right. When he first came out in support of redeployment from Iraq in late 2005, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said Murtha had “never been a big thinker,” and that he had “become too emotional” because he “goes to funerals.” The White House said it was “baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing....”

If Murtha is senile, then how does Hume's mental acuity rank?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Rudy's Contract

The Carpetbagger Report » Blog Archive » At least he didn’t specify which M&Ms were to be removed from his dressing room

"About a year ago, we learned that Dick Cheney, whenever he travels, makes a series of specific demands for hotels where he’ll stay, including having all hotel-room TVs tuned to Fox News.

But if you thought the VP was being a bit of a diva, wait until you see what Rudy Giuliani demands.

In addition to his $100,000 speaking fee, the former mayor insists that he be shuttled to and from any event by a private plane — and not just any plane, mind you!

“Please note that the private aircraft MUST BE a Gulfstream IV or bigger,” notes the contract, referring to a $30 million jet that can clock 600 mph.

Once there, Hizzoner demands that he be met by “one sedan and one large SUV,” and booked into a hotel room “with a king-size bed, on an upper floor, with a balcony and view,” plus four more rooms on the same floor for his entourage.

And, oh, yeah, America’s Mayor doesn’t like “candid photo opportunities,” but he will stand for posed pictures provided they are taken in a room “with sufficient light” and “without direct, on-camera flash bulbs.”

The Smoking Gun got the whole scoop, including a copy of the basic contract Giuliani requires before giving a speech...."

Guarding Us

The Blog | Gary Hart: Iraq and Homeland Security | The Huffington Post

"...Most important, the National Guard units in Iraq are not in the United States standing post over our nation's security at home. They are not being trained and equipped for this vital mission. If we are in fact at war with terrorism, we are leaving our homeland flanks totally exposed. The Administration and its supporters have excused this dereliction in security with the hollow slogan: We're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here.

This specious argument fails on several counts. The "them" we are fighting in Iraq are overwhelmingly Iraqi insurgents who have no interest in following us home. And the relatively small but growing numbers of al Qaeda in Iraq can do more than one thing at once, as the people of London and Madrid can testify. It is the United States that cannot fight them there using National Guard forces needed to fight them here.

Members of Congress truly concerned with national security will pass legislation requiring National Guard forces in Iraq to be steadily withdrawn and restored to the homeland security mission originally placed upon them by the Constitution of the United States."

Stay Away, Ralph!

Nader says he may run in 2008, especially if Hillary gets the nomination: "(02-15) 16:16 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- Former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader said he is considering a presidential run in 2008 and strongly suggested today he would enter the race if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton wins the Democratic Party nomination.

'She's just another bad version of (former President) Bill Clinton,'' Nader told KGO radio host Ronn Owens in San Francisco..."

The man most responsible for seating the worst president in U.S. history is concerned we might get a president like Bill Clinton? God, Ralph. Where have you been for the last six years? Have you been using mushrooms for breath mints? I'll take any incarnation of Bill Clinton from the Evil Twin to the Merry Maid over any incarnation of George Bush.

Quit being a tool. Go find a Corvair.

GOP Terrorist

NY Man Charged With Trying To Fund Terror, Prosecutors Allege Suburban NYC Businessman Tried To Send $152K For Afghan Terrorist Training Camp - CBS News: "(CBS/AP) Terrorism charges brought Friday against the administrator of a loan investment program claimed that he secretly tried to send $152,000 to the Middle East to buy equipment such as night vision goggles for a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan...

CBS News has confirmed that Alishtari is a donor to the Republican Party, as he claims on his curriculum vitae. Alishtari gave $15,500 to the National Republican Campaign Committee between 2002 and 2004, according to Federal Election Commission records. That amount includes $13,000 in 2003, a year when he claims to have been named NRCC New York State Businessman of the Year... "

Death Of A Taliban

The Blog | Scott Kesterson: The Thin Veil of Hate | The Huffington Post: "He lay on the ground with bullet wounds near his heart. There was nothing that could be done as his life became defined by minutes. He was Taliban, and moments before he had ambushed an Afghan soldier killing him with a shot to the head that removed part of that soldier's skull. Now a victim himself, this Taliban fighter lay at my feet, choking out a dull moan of pain as his breath slowed. A shaved head, a trimmed beard, dressed in brown Afghan pants and top, he turned to his side to die..." (more)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Slow Bleed

Think Progress:

‘Slow Bleed’ Conservatives Voted Against Billions In Equipment For U.S. Troops

"The right-wing has begun a coordinated effort to smear Iraq war critics by describing their legislative plan as a “slow-bleed strategy.”

The phrase was first used in an article Wednesday by John Bresnahan of The Politico; within hours, the Republican National Committee issued a release falsely claiming that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) “call their plan the ’slow-bleed strategy.’” In fact, as Bresnahan clarified in a subsequent article, “slow-bleed” was “not a term used by any Democrats or the anti-war groups supporting their efforts...”

You can see a video of the usage back at the link.

FDR Tribute

Andrew Sullivan has this video on his blog. Thanks for the reminder, Andrew.

Dem Corruption Update

House Democrats Make A Dumbass Move [Oliver Willis: Like Kryptonite To Stupid]: "...That's right, Jefferson, who was caught with $90,000 in cash in his freezer, is going to be on the Homeland Security Committee? In all likelihood this is being done to satiate the howling of the Congressional Black Caucus, but it just is not worth it. The CBC is already dirty from their previous support of Jefferson, and this just makes them worse for allowing cronyism to triumph over plain common sense: you don't put a crook on a major committee, if any committee at all.

If the Democratic party wants to maintain and grow its majority, this is not the way and they bring shame on those who are its strongest supporters and more importantly, it brings shame to the U.S. House of Representatives."

I guess you could argue about innocent until proven guilty but no matter, this seems a truly wrong-headed move.

A Move Toward Integrity?

Left In Aboite: KSFR says NO to unnamed source stories:
"After the recent widely-publicized stories in the main stream media about weapons from Iran allegedly killing Americans in Iraq, based completely on unnamed sources, at least one smaller news outlet has had enough of it.

Bill Dupuy, the news director of the public radio station KSFR in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has directed his staff to ignore national stories that quote unnamed sources. He also challenged other news outlets to take the same stance. Dupuy sent the following to his news staff:.." (more)

Troop On The Troops' Morale

The Raw Story | 'Debate doesn't hurt the troops,' says president of Iraq, Afghanistan veterans group

Article by David Edwards and Josh Catone

"Paul Rieckhoff, the president of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), appeared as a guest on MSNBC's Countdown program on Wednesday, Feb. 14. The former infantry platoon leader in Iraq from 2003 to 2004 explained that debate about the war doesn't hurt the troops. Such arguments, claimed Rieckhoff, are simply "political shields."

"The reason guys like me join the military is to preserve that free right to have a real dissent and a real debate about the most important issue facing our country," said Reickhoff. "That is why we joined the military. It‘s why we take up arms, to defend exactly that type of right. So I think [saying criticism of the war demoralizes the troops] is a really dangerous road to go down when it comes to the political dialogue..."

From The Department of Stupid

Al Kamen - Pentagon Red Tape Keeps Medical Records From Doctors of the Wounded - "Department of Veterans Affairs doctors are furious over a recent decision by the Pentagon to block their access to medical information needed to treat severely injured troops arriving at VA hospitals from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The VA physicians handle troops with serious brain injuries and other major health problems. They, rely on digital medical records that track the care given wounded troops from the moment of their arrival at a field hospital through their evacuation to the United States..."

How Lies Spread

Honest, It Wasn't Abe - The Sleuth: "Honest, It Wasn't Abe

During House floor debate on the Iraq War resolution Thursday, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) fell into a trap that's caught plenty of other Iraq war supporters -- misquoting Abraham Lincoln as advocating the hanging of lawmakers who undermine military morale during wartime.

'Congressmen who willfully take action during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs, and should be arrested, exiled or hanged,' Young quoted the 16th president as saying.

Young certainly added a sizzle to an otherwise fairly bland debate by raising the specter of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her party faithful being arrested for opposing President Bush's troop surge.

The only problem: Lincoln never said such a thing. It was actually J. Michael Waller in a piece he wrote for Insight magazine in December of 2003. Waller later told Annenberg's that the 'supposed quote in question is not a quote at all, and I never intended it to be construed as one...'"

Auditing Iraq

Auditors: Billions squandered in Iraq - Yahoo! News: "WASHINGTON - About $10 billion has been squandered by the U.S. government on Iraq reconstruction aid because of contractor overcharges and unsupported expenses, and federal investigators warned Thursday that significantly more taxpayer money is at risk..."

Corruption In Nevada

Las Vegas SUN: Nevada governor facing FBI probe of classified federal contracts: "Nevada governor facing FBI probe of classified federal contracts

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) - Federal authorities confirmed Thursday that Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons is being investigated for failing to properly report gifts or payments from a software company that was awarded secret military contracts when he was in Congress.

The newly elected Republican governor denied any wrongdoing and told The Associated Press that 'they can look as deeply as they need to and I encourage them to do so, but there would have been absolutely no influence...'"

Thursday, February 15, 2007

No Armor For Troops

Not supporting our troops - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth: "Not supporting our troops
by John in DC - 2/15/2007 02:13:00 PM - digg it!

Today's NYT editorial:

How do you explain to the thousands of American troops now being poured into Baghdad that they will have to wait until the summer for the protective armor that could easily mean the difference between life and death?

You tell them that unfortunately this is what you get when you vote Republican. You then tell them to pick up the phone and call Tommy Franks and Colin Powell and ask them why they told you to vote for Bush."

LIBBY TRIAL 2.14.07: The Defense Rests

Cigar Fetches Capitol Cop

Rep. Ellison calls the cops to snuff Tancredo’s cigar: "Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) believes it is his right as a Muslim to be sworn into Congress with the Quran. But apparently, the freshman lawmaker doesn’t believe it’s Rep. Tom Tancredo’s (R-Colo.) right to smoke a cigar in his congressional office.

Ellison’s office called the Capitol Hill Police on Tancredo last Wednesday night as Tancredo was in his office smoking a cigar. The lawmakers have neighboring offices on the first floor of the Longworth House Office Building..."

That's the kind of pissy behavior we usually see coming from Publicans. Lighten up, Rep. Dude.

Libby Pardon, Part I

The Blog | Lawrence O'Donnell: Libby Is Guilty | The Huffington Post: "...Libby knows more than his lawyers do about the next stage of his legal proceedings. Libby helped obtain the sleaziest pardon that Bill Clinton issued on his way out of the White House. Clinton pardoned Libby's client, the fugitive billionaire Marc Rich, over the unanimous objections of the White House staff. When Cheney hand-delivers Libby's pardon application to President Bush, who is going to object?"

I'll object-- as should any American looking for justice for treason.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Raising The Wage Is Good Says CEO

AFL-CIO Weblog | Costco CEO Says Higher Minimum Wage Means ‘Better Jobs and Wages’

"Opponents of a clean bill to the raise the minimum wage—which is at its lowest buying power in more than 50 years—claim that without a multibillion dollar tax break lifeline, the nation’s business community faces economic disaster. We are not the only ones who say that is balderdash.

Jim Sinegal, who founded the discount chain Costco Wholesale Corp., told The Washington Post yesterday that it makes good economic sense to raise the minimum wage.

The more people make, they better lives they’re going to have and the better consumers they’re going to be. It’s going to provide better jobs and better wages.

Sinegal is part of a group of business leaders we told you about last week who say it’s time to raise the minimum wage—Business Owners and Executives for a Higher Minimum Wage. Chuck Collins, a senior economist for the Institute for Policy Studies, has more on the business group"

A Good Company?

The Blog | John Sweeney: Here's What Happens to Workers Who Support Unions | The Huffington Post: "Management told Teresa Joyce and her co-workers at Cingular Wireless in Lebanon, Va.: 'The decision to join the union is up to you. We will respect your decision, whatever it is.' Responsible companies like Cingular respect workers' freedom to form unions and bargain for a better life. It's a good business decision because it reduces conflict and disruptions..."

Well, if I could, and if Cingular as a company supports this policy, I would switch right now to Cingular.

Dems Libeled In Card

The Raw Story | National greeting card company carrying 'Love Democratic style' card with Pelosi, others in bondage

"This Valentine's Day, one of the nation's largest greeting card companies is circulating a satirical online greeting card that depicts "Love Democratic Style" as "throw[ing] family values out the window" and depicts House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) dressed as a dominatrix and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) as a maid. RAW STORY could not locate a similar "Love Republican Style" card at the company's website.

Shots from Blue Mountain's greeting card are shown below. The short eCard from the company plays a jingle for about 30 seconds with a variety of colorful images of Democratic political leaders in compromising situations...."

Well, this is wingnut low and probably wingnut inspired-- let's see-- which party is involved in pedophile and hooker scandals?

Supreme Daughter DUI

"CHICAGO - A daughter of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was arrested Monday night in Wheaton, Ill., and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and child endangerment, Wheaton Deputy Police Chief Thomas Meloni said.

Ann S. Banaszewski, 45, was stopped about 7:25 p.m. in a 1996 Ford Econoline van after a citizen reported a possible drunken driver was at the McDonald's restaurant near there, Meloni said..."

Can you say youthful indiscretion?

Hooking With The Duke

The Blotter: "Before he was caught and sent to jail, former Congressman Randy 'Duke' Cunningham was entertained by prostitutes hired by a defense contractor, according to a new federal indictment against a man he has accused of bribing him with gifts of money, meals and favors..."

Lying Liars, Iran Edition

Bush admits that he lied about Iran - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth: "Bush today told Ed Henry of CNN, as I noted in the post below, that he has no idea if the senior levels of the Iranian government know anything about supposed weapons being supplied to insurgents in Iraq. Bush today:

'We know the Quds Force is part of the Iranian government. I don't think we know who picked up the phone and said 'the Quds Force go do this,' we know it's a vital part of the Iranian government.'

The problem is, this outright contradicts what Bush's own 'senior military' advisers told the American media just three days ago. They said they knew quite well who told the Quds force to 'do this...'"

Attention: BLOGGER. The blockquotes are not working correctly. Observe the ledding malfunctions in the posts using blockquotes.

Sigh. Ahhhhhh.

Edwards Loses Second Blogger

Second blogger quits Edwards campaign - Yahoo! News: "...Melissa McEwan wrote on her personal blog, Shakespeare's Sister, that she left the campaign because she was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the level of attention focused on her and her family..." Unfortunately, my predication has come true.

More Cons In Military

Army Giving More Waivers in Recruiting - New York Times: "The number of waivers granted to Army recruits with criminal backgrounds has grown about 65 percent in the last three years, increasing to 8,129 in 2006 from 4,918 in 2003, Department of Defense records show..."

Taylor Gets Snarky On Iran

Taylor Marsh has an excellent post on Iran and weapons. Following is a tidbit:

Guns and Words on Iraq: "I.E.D.s and E.F.P.s and guns, oh my. Did you know there are weapons in Iraq? Weapons produced in other countries, too. I declare, this is shocking, shocking. Will someone get the news to the wingnut bloggers, because they're running around in their rhetorical firing squad again screaming about the obvious. Evidently, they haven't heard about the exploding black market in arms raging in Iraq. That's what happens when Republicans are put in charge of foreign policy these days. They forget that people need money and if all they have are weapons and guns they'll sell them for their supper.

A bunch of explosives and armament in Iraq, even if manufactured in Iran, doesn't mean Iran's government is starting -- wait for it -- a 'soft war' with Iran. Soft war, you've got to love those conservatives and their determination to get another war going. They have such a way with words. But once again, they refuse to listen to the military. Instead, they prefer a circular conversation with each other, just like before the '06 election. Facts shall not impede wingnut bloggerland..."

As always, Right Blogistan remains fact-free and chickenhawk fearless.

More Corruption

The Raw Story | 'Like Martha Stewart': Congress investigating student loan corps' sale of stock before Bush budget

'Following a sale of 400,000 shares of stock by the chairman of the board of a major student loan corporation just before its stock prices dipped, two Congressional committees have initiated an investigation into communications between the White House, Education Department, and the Sallie Mae Corporation. One nongovernmental analyst told RAW STORY that the situation was "reminiscent of Martha Stewart..."'

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Kuo Wonders About Bush Reality

David Kuo: J-Walking, David Kuo blog, faith, politics, christian blog, tempting faith: "

Tuesday, February 13, 2007
President Bush in the Twilight Zone

"In an exhaustive C-SPAN interview airing this morning (and available online), President Bush discusses Iraq, his presidency, and his legacy. This exchange made me wonder if it was April Fool's Day yet:

Q But I'm talking about ideology. You have Reagan Republicans today. Are there -- will there be Bush Republicans, and can you define the ideology of a Bush Republican?

THE PRESIDENT: Compassionate conservatism, the use of government to help people in the private sector advance compassionate goals, like the faith-based initiative....

If President Bush can't see that abject failure, if he truly believes that this is his legacy, one is left to seriously consider his grip on reality. I have no doubt that he means what he says in the interview and that he really, truly believe this will be one of his great legacies. That is what makes his quote frightening. That he continues to believe this against despite the bottomless gulf between what he believes and reality is really frightening..."

Former NC Speaker Resigning?

Rumor has it that former Speaker of the N.C. House Jim Black is resigning his seat in order to take a plea bargain deal from Federal prosecutors over various corruption issues... more later. Black is a Democrat. For more info see James B. Black - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Toxic "24," Take Two

Think Progress » U.S. Military: Television Series ‘24’ Is Promoting Torture In The Ranks

"...In a recent interview, actor Keifer Sutherland — who plays the lead character Jack Bauer on the show — noted, “You torture someone and they’ll basically tell you exactly what you want to hear, whether it’s true or not, if you put someone in enough pain,” he said. U.S. intelligence officials have said that torture is extremely ineffective. Lt. Gen. John Kimmons, the Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence has said, “I am absolutely convinced…no good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. I think history tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last five years, hard years, tell us that...”

Politics In The Shrink Zone

The Grey Matter:

Psychology Today

"Most people are surprised to learn that there are real, stable differences in personality between conservatives and liberals—not just different views or values, but underlying differences in temperament. Psychologists John Jost of New York University, Dana Carney of Harvard, and Sam Gosling of the University of Texas have demonstrated that conservatives and liberals boast markedly different home and office decor. Liberals are messier than conservatives, their rooms have more clutter and more color, and they tend to have more travel documents, maps of other countries, and flags from around the world. Conservatives are neater, and their rooms are cleaner, better organized, more brightly lit, and more conventional. Liberals have more books, and their books cover a greater variety of topics. And that's just a start. Multiple studies find that liberals are more optimistic. Conservatives are more likely to be religious. Liberals are more likely to like classical music and jazz, conservatives, country music. Liberals are more likely to enjoy abstract art. Conservative men are more likely than liberal men to prefer conventional forms of entertainment like TV and talk radio..."

Budget Cuts "The Troops"

The Carpetbagger Report » Blog Archive » This is what Bush means by ’supporting the troops’: "Maybe conservatives can remind us again about which side of the political divide really supports the troops.

The Bush administration plans to cut funding for veterans’ health care two years from now — even as badly wounded troops returning from Iraq could overwhelm the system.

Bush is using the cuts, critics say, to help fulfill his pledge to balance the budget by 2012.

After an increase sought for next year, the Bush budget would turn current trends on their head. Even though the cost of providing medical care to veterans has been growing rapidly — by more than 10 percent in many years — White House budget documents assume consecutive cutbacks in 2009 and 2010 and a freeze thereafter.

The VA’s medical care budget has gone up every year for two decades. Under Bush, it’s risen 83% in six years. And now that the war in Iraq is spiraling out of control, and U.S. casualties continue to climb, the White House believes that it’s time to start cutting the VA health care budget..."

Calling All Christians

If you can handle the vile language, all Christians should visit this site (this is a temporary site) and observe what Bill Donohue's supporters, in your name, are saying to one of the "Edwards Bloggers" (who just resigned; unfortunately, making me thus far half-right.)

Academic Frauds With Phuds

Termites in the Groves of Academe « The Opinion Mill: "...The comparison breaks down because scientific inquiry is predicated on rigorous intellectual honesty, and Marcus Ross, while observing the proper forms, has apparently tossed out the core meaning of the field. In science, one forms a hypothesis, tests it repeatedly, then goes on to form a theory based on the available evidence. Creationism cannot be science because by its very nature it meets none of the scientific norms. You can’t call upon the deity to replicate results in the field. Had Ross tried to earn a doctorate on the terms of his own beliefs, he would have been laughed out of the university. His is a doctorate in dissembling, not science.

Dr. Marcus Ross has mastered the trappings of science, but he will never be a scientist. His doctorate is real enough, but it will be used to promote unreality. Ross and his fellows are termites in the groves of academe, devouring their field from within. If the creationists cannot attain respectability by rising to meet the standards of science, they will work to lower the standards.

Their victory will be a hollow one, because real science will continue elsewhere even as they work to distort it here. If the religious frauds succeed in packing the halls of universities with their brethren, then America will be the loser as other countries take the leadership role America once held. All because a small sect of believers cannot bear to see their notions of reality challenged in any way. The egotism and arrogance of these people is astonishing to me."

Monday, February 12, 2007

The "24" Toxin

This very informative post lays-out the problem with "24" as GOP strategy and at the same time points out the military (see excerpt) wants no part of torture as technique.

Firedoglake - Firedoglake weblog » Where Fiction Crosses The Long Gray Line: "...The New Yorker's Jane Mayer lays it out in an incredible new story:

This past November, U.S. Army Brigadier General Patrick Finnegan, the dean of the United States Military Academy at West Point, flew to Southern California to meet with the creative team behind “24.” Finnegan, who was accompanied by three of the most experienced military and F.B.I. interrogators in the country, arrived on the set as the crew was filming. At first, Finnegan—wearing an immaculate Army uniform, his chest covered in ribbons and medals—aroused confusion: he was taken for an actor and was asked by someone what time his “call” was.

In fact, Finnegan and the others had come to voice their concern that the show’s central political premise—that the letter of American law must be sacrificed for the country’s security—was having a toxic effect. In their view, the show promoted unethical and illegal behavior and had adversely affected the training and performance of real American soldiers. “I’d like them to stop,” Finnegan said of the show’s producers. “They should do a show where torture backfires...”" (Read entire post.)

Piracy and Freedom

The Blog | John Fanning: All Sound Recordings Should be Free | The Huffington Post:

"Steve Jobs is right: music should be free. All sound recordings should be free...

Another great institution, American movies, faces the same challenge. Sadly, they are doing no better. I have personally tried hard to license the messages of Jon Stewart from the Daily Show, Star Wars by George Lucas, and most of the other formal studio content--all with little luck. If you're interested in true irony, try licensing Steve Jobs's content from Disney. Let's just say it was much easier for the Boston Red Sox to win the World Series. The task of licensing content in America today is insurmountable, and requiring it will kill the very industries demanding it.

While Google makes Jon Stewart's messages available, Senator Diane Feinstein of California calls for a revocation of consumers' rights to time-shift. Are the 100s of millions of Americans using Google and the Internet still criminals, Senator? I think not. Our great industries--music, movies, technology--are depending on you to understand and evolve. It would seem that our Founding Fathers understood that well ahead of their time. The time for statutory licensing is here, and the message is clear. I only hope that one voice lost on the Internet can be heard again."

Great. I've finally found something on which Steve Jobs and I agree.

Dixie Chicks Not Ready To Make Nice (ellen)

Here's the winner...

Lest We Forget (Dixie Chicks Edition)

Vindication: Dixie Chicks dominate the Grammys - The Smirking Chimp: "...It was at one such concert in London, in 2003, that Natalie Maines, the group's lead singer, manifested a degree of political moxy that proved the Dixie Chicks were country artists of a truly different stripe.

Responding to the outrages of the Bush administration, particularly its incessant warmongering, Ms. Maines proclaimed that she was ashamed to share Texas residency with the man who, in time, virtually all of us would finally have to concede is the worst President America has ever known.

What followed was a punishment of epic proportions.

Country music's reactionary, uber-patriotic base abruptly turned on the group that had, just the day before, been its darlings. The worst U.S. blacklist/boycott since the McCarthy era came down hard on the Dixie Chicks. Country radio stations across the land refused to play their work. Their videos disappeared from music television's programming. Natalie Maines became the new Jane Fonda to right-wing talk broadcasters.

Hatred snowballed, eventually leading to death threats.

Through it all, the Dixie Chicks persevered, enduring a stinging, potentially career-killing backlash of the terrible sort that took so many progressive entertainers from glorious fame to utter obscurity during the Cold War Fifties..."

Sunday, February 11, 2007

When Chicks Fly...

Dixie Chicks topping Grammys - "(CNN) -- The Grammy Awards were nice to the Dixie Chicks, who won four awards at the 49th annual honors -- including song of the year, a songwriter's award, and record of the year for 'Not Ready to Make Nice.'

The Chicks -- Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Robison -- shared the song of the year award with co-writer Dan Wilson, formerly of Semisonic and Trip Shakespeare..."

North Bucks LieberCain Yak Point

Crooks and Liars » Oliver North questions McCain and Lieberman’s honesty over troop escalation: "While usually being a big GOP propagandist, North did report that the troops he was covering for FOX were against the troop escalation. Friday night, he said that McCain and Lieberman both talked to the same people he did about the escalation and they were against it...

North:' I was there with the same guys who briefed John McCain and Joe Lieberman and they told those two guys the same thing. And they walked out of the briefing and said they wanted 20,000 more troops. Now go figure. And I know that's what was said because I lived with those same guys…'

He wonders why they advocated the exact opposite. So do I? McCain and Lieberman have been crying to the press that this is the only tact left for the US, And we're not supporting the troops if we even speak out against the troop increase. So how come the people that briefed them said the opposite? Will the press investigate?"

Click here to go back to C&L and the video.

The Third Front

Iran is laughing at us right now - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth: "...Bush gets us into a third war, and you just watch how quickly his government falls, not to mention, you can kiss every single Republican candidate buh-bye come 2008. The sad part is, this is exactly Bush's plan - to get us into a third war. From Newsweek:

'They intend to be as provocative as possible and make the Iranians do something [America] would be forced to retaliate for,' says Hillary Mann, the administration's former National Security Council director for Iran and Persian Gulf Affairs.

Since the conservative Australian Prime Minister John Howard is such a hawk, I hope we can count on Australia sending more troops for Bush's escalation in Iraq, and the new war in Iran. Seriously, where are the additional troops from Australia? Prime Minister Howard has a paltry 850 troops in Iraq, compared to our going-on 150,000. So, let's see if big-brave Prime Minister Howard is willing to put his money where his mouth is - after all, Al Qaeda is watching, and when they see Mr. Howard afraid to send more troops, it just serves to empower them..."

Too Many Heads In Prison

AlterNet: Rights and Liberties: Pot Prisoners Cost Americans $1 Billion a Year: "American taxpayers are now spending more than a billion dollars per year to incarcerate its citizens for pot. That's according to statistics recently released by the U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics.

According to the new BJS report, 'Drug Use and Dependence, State and Federal Prisoners, 2004,' 12.7 percent of state inmates and 12.4 percent of federal inmates incarcerated for drug violations are serving time for marijuana offenses. Combining these percentages with separate U.S. Department of Justice statistics on the total number of state and federal drug prisoners suggests that there are now about 33,655 state inmates and 10,785 federal inmates behind bars for marijuana offenses. The report failed to include estimates on the percentage of inmates incarcerated in county and/or local jails for pot-related offenses..."

What a monumental waste of tax money and human beings! A billion a year. Wonder what we could do with that dough. Oh. Yeah. Fund Iraq. For a day.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Reid Suing?

Is Harry Reid getting ready to sue AP & John Solomon? - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth: "
Is Harry Reid getting ready to sue AP & John Solomon?

by John in DC - 2/10/2007 06:43:00 PM

"I hate putting this important a story up on a Saturday night, but I'm not gonna be scooped on this baby. Check out this Associated Press story from a few days back that nobody seemed to notice. It looks to me like Harry Reid is getting ready to sue the AP and their former ace reporter John Solomon.From the AP:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has hired Los Angeles celebrity attorney Martin Singer for legal work.

Singer is among Hollywood's most sought-after litigators and has represented Governor Schwarzenegger, Britney Spears and Bruce Willis, among others. His specialties include libel, copyright and privacy law.

Reid paid Singer $25,000 from his senatorial campaign account on December 14th, according to his most recent Federal Election Commission report.

Reid's spokesman, Jon Summers, said Singer was hired to help Reid respond to a story by The Associated Press that was critical of a Las Vegas land deal involving the senator. He said Reid got approval from the Senate Ethics Committee for the expenditure..."

More back at the link.

Blowback On Congress Work Week Inside Washington: 'Air Pelosi': Payback for 5-Day Week?: "One of the lesser-known aspects of the 'Air Pelosi' controversy is the degree to which the fuss is payback for the House speaker's decision to hold legislators to a five-day workweek instead of the three- or four-day schedule adopted by the Republicans in the past..."

Rove And The Racist Comment

Where is the RNC's outrage over Karl Rove's racism? - AMERICAblog: A great nation deserves the truth: "The Republican National Committee went wild when Howard Dean made a joke about minorities holding low-paying jobs in America (and his joke was intended to show how open the Democratic party is to minorities), but suddenly when Karl Rove makes a comment that isn't a joke at all about Mexicans working low-paying jobs (the comment was meant to demean the kind of work Mexicans do), suddenly the corporate media and the Republican party aren't making such a big fuss.

Howard Dean needed to make his mea culpa, so where is the White House's?" ...where indeed.

Rove said he didn't want his son doing menial labor, a reasonable sentiment I suppose, but the context was what flamed out. Look here.

Dino Pootin'

Think Progress » Rep. Rohrabacher: Global Warming May Have Been Caused By ‘Dinosaur Flatulence’: "Rep. Rohrabacher: Global Warming May Have Been Caused By ‘Dinosaur Flatulence’

This week, Congress held its first hearing on the landmark IPCC report on climate change. That report concluded that global warming is “unequivocal” and human activity is the main driver, “very likely” causing most of the rise in temperatures since 1950.

During the hearing, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) — one of the 87 percent of congressional Republicans who do not believe in man-made global warming — questioned the authors of the report about a period of dramatic climate change that occured 55 million years ago. “We don’t know what those other cycles were caused by in the past. Could be dinosaur flatulence, you know, or who knows?’" ... [No. I'm not going there.] Think Progress has the video.

From The "Forgotten History" Department

the fshk blog » today’s lesson: the Constitution and Karen Hughes: "...Maybe you should read the Constitution before you quote it.

Because, see, “God”? Is not mentioned one single time in the Constitution at all. Nowhere in the central document of American law is God invoked. (For real, read it.) Because, see, we have this principle called the separation of church and state, and the first amendment to this Constitution states that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” meaning that government has no business invoking God..."

Trial A Who's Who Of Skulldudgery

Trial exposes White House crisis machine - Yahoo! News

"WASHINGTON - David Addington, chief legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, says he was taken aback when the White House started making public pronouncements about the CIA leak investigation.

In the fall of 2003, President Bush's press secretary was categorically denying that either Karl Rove or I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was involved in exposing the identity of Valerie Plame, a CIA employee married to a critic of the war in Iraq.

"Why are you making these statements?" Addington asked White House communications director Dan Bartlett.

"Your boss is the one who wanted" them, Bartlett replied, referring to Cheney.

With that, "I shut up," Addington recalled recently for jurors in Libby's CIA leak trial, which begins its fourth week on Monday with Libby's lawyers calling their first witnesses..."