Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I'm disgusted

I'm sorry to mention this at such a time, but it's plain fact: the New Orleans disaster is the direct result of the Republican philosophy of cutting any spending that actually goes to help people, and not worrying about the consequences. New Orleans avoided the worst of the hurricane. What caused the disaster was the failure to fix a levee that everyone knew was in dire need of repair, and that everyone knew could have tragic consequences if it wasn't repaired.

But part of right-wing dogma is that you cut this, cut that, cut the other thing, cut everything, and REFUSE TO BELIEVE THAT ALL THAT CUTTING ACTUALLY HAS AN EFFECT.

Well, it DOES have an effect.

If you don't repair something, it BREAKS. DUH.

They claim to be such wise stewards of the people's money. Well, do they actually not realize that neglect is not just immoral, but ECONOMICALLY FOOLISH, too, because NEGLECTING maintenance winds up costing a WHOLE LOT MORE than if you had fixed it in the first place?

Look at New Orleans. Do you think this horror MIGHT wind up costing the Federal Government a BIT more than they would have had to spend to fix that levee? Hm? REAL GOOD IDEA "saving money" by letting it go to pot, WASN'T it?

But the Republicans claim to be the fiscally responsible ones, when they are more IRresponsible than anything I've ever seen in my LIFE.

"Gimme my tax cut and screw the future" should be the Republicans' official motto.


Here are some links of where you can go to donate to Disaster Relief for the victims of Hurricane Katrina:

The American Red Cross (or call 1 800 Help Now)
Episcopal Relief and Development
Salvation Army
Catholic Charities USA
B'nai B'rith (Click on "Disaster Relief")
The Humane Society

New low

The Washington Post/ABC poll has him down to 45 - the lowest that that poll has ever recorded.

The survey found Bush's job approval rating at 45 percent, down seven points since January and the lowest ever recorded for the president in Post-ABC surveys. Fifty-three percent disapproved of the job Bush is doing....

Dissatisfaction is not limited to the president. Fewer than four in 10 Americans -- 37 percent -- approve of the way the Republican-controlled Congress is doing its job, the lowest rating for lawmakers in nearly eight years.

But this is the part that I find most interesting:

The survey also provided bad news for Democratic leaders, who are judged as offering Bush only tepid opposition. Slightly more than half of those surveyed expressed dissatisfaction with congressional Democrats for not opposing Bush more aggressively.

People are dissatisfied with the Democrats because the Democrats haven't done enough to oppose Bush.

Are the Democrats listening?

Or are they going to keep playing nice, out of fear that the Republicans will call them "obstructionist"?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Great new site

If Republicans favor the war - why aren't they fighting it?

Operation Yellow Elephant wants to know.

Kudos to Sharon.


From Bush's Address in San Diego:

They looked at our response after the hostage crisis in Iran, the bombings of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, the first World Trade Center attack, the killing of American soldiers in Somalia, the destruction of two U.S. embassies in Africa, and the attack on the USS Cole. They concluded that free societies lacked the courage and character to defend themselves against a determined enemy… After September the 11th, 2001, we’ve taught the terrorists a very different lesson: America will not run in defeat and we will not forget our responsibilities.

He's so desperate, he's started to blame Clinton, Reagan and Carter for the September 11th attacks - which happened when HE was President.

He's really a totally disgusting human being.
$3.00 a gallon.

Mission Accomplished.

New Islamic State.

"After years of struggle, an Islamic state has come to power." - Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, on the Iraqi Constitution.

Cindy - that's what your son died for.

Thanks to George W. Bush.

Now you know why he wouldn't answer the question.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Able Danger

Gee whiz - just a few days ago, the right-wing blogosphere was raising Hail Columbia over Able Danger.

But now that it turns out to NOT be something that they can use to attack Clinton - well, gee, it just shut off like a SWITCH?

That's because these Bushites DON'T CARE about the security of America.

They DON'T CARE about the United States.

All they care about is politics.

If they can use it as a political weapon - it's a big deal.

If they can't - it isn't.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

While wasting money everyplace else...

...they cut funding for hurricane and flood protection in New Orleans.

"In fiscal year 2006, the New Orleans district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is bracing for a record $71.2 million reduction in federal funding.

It would be the largest single-year funding loss ever for the New Orleans district, Corps officials said.

I've been here over 30 years and I've never seen this level of reduction, said Al Naomi, project manager for the New Orleans district. I think part of the problem is it's not so much the reduction, it's the drastic reduction in one fiscal year. It's the immediacy of the reduction that I think is the hardest thing to adapt to.

There is an economic ripple effect, too. The cuts mean major hurricane and flood protection projects will not be awarded to local engineering firms. Also, a study to determine ways to protect the region from a Category 5 hurricane has been shelved for now." - New Orleans CityBusiness, June 6, 2005

Where is the Louisiana National Guard?

Most of them are in Iraq, of course.

They would be damned useful back home in New Orleans, right now.

But Louisiana, like every other state, has been stripped of the people they depend on in emergencies.

So Bush can occupy Iraq.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Bush - 56%

That's right - Bush's support has DROPPED 56% in four years. It was 92%. Now some polls have it at 36%.

So - do you think the press will start using adjectives like "beleaguered" and "floundering" to describe his Presidency.

Of course not - don't be silly. They only do that with Democrats.

Friday, August 26, 2005

"[George W. Bush] keeps saying 'sacrifice' and the 'war on terror,' and you turn around and he's in a field of poppies with Lance Armstrong." - Jon Stewart

Why does the press suck?

Digby explains it all for you.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

One thing you can say about Chavez...

he knows how to hit Bush where it hurts.

Chavez Offers Cheap Gas To Poor In U.S.

HAVANA, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, popular with the poor at home, offered on Tuesday to help needy Americans with cheap supplies of gasoline.

"We want to sell gasoline and heating fuel directly to poor communities in the United States," the populist leader told reporters at the end of a visit to Communist-run Cuba.

Chavez, who has supplied Cuba with generously financed oil supplies and plans to help Caribbean countries foot their oil bills, did not say how Venezuela would go about providing gasoline directly to poor communities in the United States.

The offer may sound attractive to Americans feeling pinched by soaring prices at the pump but not to the U.S. government, which sees Chavez as a left-wing troublemaker in Latin America.

Gasoline is cheaper than mineral water in oil-producing Venezuela, where consumers can fill their tanks for less than $2.


The LA Times has an encapsulation and chronology of Treasongate.

It puts the whole thing is a nutshell, and contains some serious revelations.

Wilson's accusations were based on an investigation he undertook for the CIA. But he was seen inside the White House as a "showboater" whose stature didn't warrant a high-level administration response. "Let him spout off solo on a holiday weekend," one White House official recalled saying. "Few will listen."

Pull out?

As for pulling out of Iraq, Larry Johnson explains why he thinks we should. I'm not saying that I agree or disagree with him, but it's food for thought, and well worth reading.

Remember when New York State had a smart governor?

Mario Cuomo on Judge Roberts.


"President George W. Bush said on Wednesday terrorists had converged on Iraq and that pulling U.S. troops out would only embolden them." - Reuters

They have converged on Iraq because George W. Bush opened the borders of Iraq.

Bush's invasion of Iraq emboldened the terrorists, gave them a training ground in Iraq and allowed them to spread into a country that had previously been denied to them.

The result is that he has created a situation where there are NO good options, and he is trying to use the fact that he has painted us into a corner as the new justification for continued war.

Reasonable people may differ on the solution, and some - probably most - may think that it is necessary to stay in Iraq, since Al Qaeda is certainly there NOW, although they weren't there before Bush's Bungle.

But why the hell would you leave the guy in charge who CREATED the disaster in the first place?

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

ABC News: Gov't Proposes New SUV Fuel Standards

"ATLANTA Aug 23, 2005 - The Bush administration proposed new fuel economy standards for pickup trucks, minivans and some sport utility vehicles on Tuesday, calling upon automakers to make modest improvements to gas mileage amid rising prices at the pump. "


Via Sharon


How unpopular is Bush getting?

He's being ripped to shreds on USA Today's sports page.

Holy crap.

Support the troops

"The only reason we got this nasty job chasing roadside bombs is because we are expendable. They need bodies, and we provide them. We clear the roads, but we're still treated like dirt here." - Staff Sergeant Jeff Rayner
"She expressed her opinion. I disagree with it. I think immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be a mistake. I think those who advocate immediate withdrawal from not only Iraq but the Middle East would be -- are advocating a policy that would weaken the United States." - George W. Bush

"This is the biggest smokescreen from him yet. I didn't ask him to withdraw the troops, I asked him what Noble Cause did Casey die for. I am still waiting for one member of the press corps to ask him that." - Cindy Sheehan

Good for her.

But isn't it sort of sad when an ordinary middle-class mother has to point out that Bush is attacking an obvious straw man - because neither professional journalists nor professional Democrats will point that out?

What Red States?

Stolen from Altercation:

August 23, 2005 |1:22 PM ET| Permalink

From Scott Lilly of the Center for American Progress:

The new Survey USA poll has bad state-by-state news for Mr. Bush. Essentially, the only states where Mr. Bush is popular right now are:

  • Alabama [+7%]
  • Idaho [+23%]
  • Montana [+5]
  • Nebraska [+13%]
  • North Dakota [+6%]
  • Oklahoma [+4%]
  • Texas [+11%]
  • Utah [+19%]
  • Wyoming [+20%]

He's below 50% even in Mississippi, though his approval rating is still two percentage points higher than his disapproval rating in Mississippi [49-47 percent].

Mr. Bush is most unpopular in these states:

  • California [-30%]
  • Connecticut [-29%]
  • Delaware [-32%]
  • Illinois [-19%]
  • Maine [-18%]
  • Maryland [-28%]
  • Massachusetts [-32%]
  • Michigan [-20%]
  • Minnesota [-20%]
  • Missouri [-20%]
  • New Jersey [-26%]
  • New York [-28%]
  • Ohio [-23%]
  • Rhode Island [-39%]
  • Vermont [-30%]

Most surprising results:

  • -16% in Arkansas
  • -4% in Georgia
  • -4% in Kansas
  • -11% in Kentucky
  • -20% in Missouri
  • -7% in South Dakota
  • -9% in Tennessee
  • -10% in Virginia*

Clearly, this goes beyond the blue/red state divide. When Bush is down 20 points in Missouri and well below 50% in places like Kentucky, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia, there is a lot of discontent in these here United States of Amurrica.

Bush says he will not meet with Sheehan.

Why won't any of the cowards in the press ask him WHY?


There is no limit to the sheer gall of these people, and nothing that they will not politicize.

This is sickening.

Maybe they should just say "Sponsored by Haliburton."

Troops' Gravestones Have Pentagon Slogans

ARLINGTON, Va. Aug 24, 2005 — Unlike earlier wars, nearly all Arlington National Cemetery gravestones for troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan are inscribed with the slogan-like operation names the Pentagon selected to promote public support for the conflicts.

Families of fallen soldiers and Marines are being told they have the option to have the government-furnished headstones engraved with "Operation Enduring Freedom" or "Operation Iraqi Freedom" at no extra charge, whether they are buried in Arlington or elsewhere. A mock-up shown to many families includes the operation names.

The vast majority of military gravestones from other eras are inscribed with just the basic, required information: name, rank, military branch, date of death and, if applicable, the war and foreign country in which the person served.

Families are supposed to have final approval over what goes on the tombstones. That hasn't always happened.

Nadia and Robert McCaffrey, whose son Patrick was killed in Iraq in June 2004, said "Operation Iraqi Freedom" ended up on his government-supplied headstone in Oceanside, Calif., without family approval.

"I was a little taken aback," Robert McCaffrey said, describing his reaction when he first saw the operation name on Patrick's tombstone. "They certainly didn't ask my wife; they didn't ask me." He said Patrick's widow told him she had not been asked either.

"In one way, I feel it's taking advantage to a small degree," McCaffrey said. "Patrick did not want to be there, that is a definite fact."
Excuse #1: We must attack Iraq because they have WMDs.

Reality: They had no WMDs.

Excuse #2: We must occupy Iraq to bring them Democracy.

Reality: They are instituting a fundamentalist theocracy.

Excuse #3: We must keep fighting so that those who died haven't died in vain.

Reality: The latest excuse isn't only false - it doesn't even make SENSE.

If the reasons that they went in the first place are all false, sadly, they DID die in vain, and George W. Bush CAUSED them to die in vain.

And the only solution that he has is to make MORE people die in vain.

Waist Deep In The Big Muddy

Gary Hart. On the spineless Democrats.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

You Can't Make This Shit Up dept.

"I mean, one hopes that the Iraqis protect women's social rights as much as possible. It certainly seems clear that in protecting the political rights, there's no discussion of women not having the right to vote. I think it's important to remember that in the year 1900, for example, in the United States, it was a democracy then. In 1900, women did not have the right to vote. If Iraqis could develop a democracy that resembled America in the 1900s, I think we'd all be thrilled. I mean, women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy. We hope they're there. I think they will be there. But I think we need to put this into perspective." - Reuel Marc Gerecht, former Middle Eastern specialist with the CIA, Meet the Press

Got that? If the Iraqis came up with a Governmental System that was only regressive by about a hundred and five years, they'd be "thrilled."

Women's social rights are NOT CRITICAL to the evolution of democracy.

Holy shit.

These are the maniacs in CHARGE.

The press is waking up

"As more Americans and Iraqis die, Washington and Baghdad need a plan to stem the chaos the U.S. unleashed with its invasion — a chaos that has given terrorists a new recruiting tool. Wishful thinking and stubborn optimism do not constitute a policy." - LA Times

Bush: Keep making the same mistake

SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - President George W. Bush, speaking amid protests and growing public unease over
Iraq, said on Monday America owed it to the more than 1,800 U.S. soldiers killed there to complete the mission, which he linked with the campaign against terrorism.

Translation: "I've completely screwed up. But now I have to keep screwing up, because if I admit I screwed up, it would be an insult to the people who died from my screwup. So there is no choice but to kill a few thousand more from the same screwup."

Does he actually THINK like that?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Perhaps America is waking up. Partially due to a stubborn woman. And partially due to a stubborn man.

All Hell Breaks Loose

Kos has the story - and good Lord, is it ugly for Bush.

2000 showed up to protest him in Utah.

“We're not yet safe." - George W. Bush

And you sure as hell haven't done anything to help MAKE us safe, you pathetic clown.

If you want to increase Americans' safety, CAPTURE BIN LADEN.

Way to go, George

We fought a war, sacrificed 2,000 Americans lives, tens of thousands of arms, legs, and eyes, and we DON'T KNOW how many Iraqi civilians.

And why?

So we could create a new Fundamentalist Islamic state in the Middle East. Influenced by the Ayatollahs of Iran.

Just like Osama Bin Laden wanted.

George - you are a completely worthless scumbag.

Key provisions of the draft would formalize an already autonomous Kurdish state in the north, under a federal system. The rest of the country also would be allowed to form federal systems -- opening the way for the demand by the dominant Shiite Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq to create a southern Shiite sub-state out of up to half of Iraq's 18 regions.

Sunnis and others say such a state would be under heavy influence from neighboring, Shiite-ruled Iran.

The draft also stipulates that Iraq is an Islamic state and that no law can contradict the principles of Islam, Shiite and Kurdish negotiators said. Opponents have charged that last provision would subject Iraqis to religious edicts by individual clerics.

The Shiite and Kurdish negotiators also said draft calls for the presence of Islamic clerics on the court that would interpret the constitution. Family matters such as divorce, marriage or inheritance would be decided either by religious law or civil law as an individual chooses -- a condition that opponents say would likely lead to women being forced into unfavorable rulings for them by opponents demanding judgments under Islamic law.

Like an anvil

At least one poll now has Bush's apporval ratings in the abysmal 30s.

George W. Bush's overall job approval ratings have dropped from a month ago even as Americans who approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president are turning more optimistic about their personal financial situations according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. Among all Americans, 36% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 58% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 33% approve and 62% disapprove.

Among Americans registered to vote, 38% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 56% disapprove, and 36% approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 60% disapprove.

Don't show this to Mrs. Ignatz

From the Onion

Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity with new ‘Intelligent Falling’ Theory.

Betcha didn't see this in your newspaper

"Civilian deaths in Baghdad in July were more than New York City had in all of 2004, and that's excluding car bombings and suicide bombings." - UPI
“What I think the White House does not yet understand — and some of my colleagues — the dam has broke on this policy. The longer we stay there, the more similarities (to Vietnam) are going to come together.”

“I don’t know where he’s going to get these troops. There won’t be any National Guard left ... no Army Reserve left ... there is no way America is going to have 100,000 troops in Iraq, nor should it, in four years.”

“It would bog us down, it would further destabilize the Middle East, it would give Iran more influence, it would hurt Israel, it would put our allies over there in Saudi Arabia and Jordan in a terrible position. It won’t be four years. We need to be out.” - Senator Chuck Hagel (R - Pariah In His Own Party)

"You have a majority of the American public saying that the war in Iraq is not worth the costs and that the casualties are too high. On the other side, you still have the majority of Americans saying, 'No, we don't want to cut and run right now,' so there is some complication there." - Swine Stephanopoulos

How about pointing out what that conflict means, like a reporter?

WHY do so many people think the war in Iraq SUCKS - but ALSO don't think we should leave.

Because staying is HORRIBLE. But leaving is WORSE.

It means the George W. Bush has created a situation where America has NO GOOD OPTIONS.

Only a variety of bad ones.

Thanks, George.

Keep telling us all how great everything is going, you slimy cretin.

Liberal Media

From what we are told (by the media themselves, of course) is a bastion of liberalism, the Washington Post:

Democrats Split Over Position on Iraq War

Ummmm....guys? The Republicans are split, too (does the name "Hagel" ring a bell?). So how come your top story isn't "Republicans Split Over Position on Iraq War"?


Saturday, August 20, 2005

All politics, no soul

Bush begins five-day push to defend Iraq war
CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) — With anti-war protesters continuing their vigil outside President Bush's ranch, the commander in chief began a five-day push Saturday to tell Americans why he thinks U.S. troops must continue the fight in Iraq.

He has five days to campaign defending his war - but he didn't have a half-an-hour to talk to the mother of a soldier who died in it.

All politics.

No decency.

Friday, August 19, 2005

"We have to get out"

The above statement was said by a Republican Senator.

The tide, it is a-turnin'

"Earlier the same day in Lincoln, an elderly woman asked about Iraq. "Why are we there in the first place?" she asked....

[Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Actually Sane Anyway)], a Vietnam veteran, acknowledged the U.S. military presence was becoming harder and harder to justify. He believes Iraq faces a serious danger of civil war that would threaten Middle East stability, and said there is little Washington can do to avert this.

"We are seen as occupiers, we are targets. We have got to get out. I don't think we can sustain our current policy, nor do I think we should," he said at one stop."

Maybe I'm mean, but I hope Larry Northern shares a cell with a Democratic Veteran who has a nasty temper.

Clinton vs. Pirro

"[Pirro's] so-called advisers who have reportedly assured her that in a Senate race, the candidates' husband issues could cancel each other out, should check into rehab. Bill Clinton was president of the United States; Al Pirro is an ex-convict." - Paul W Pickelle, Scarsdale
DUBAI (Reuters) - A group claiming links to al Qaeda said on Friday it had fired rockets at U.S. Navy ships in Jordan and an Israeli port, according to an Internet statement.

A rocket attack.

Thank George for making us safer.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Cindy Sheehan has left

Her mother just had a stroke in California. Everyone else intends to stay until she gets back.

Stop the Presses

A Democrat has a spine.

WASHINGTON POST - Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) called on the White House yesterday to withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq by the end of next year and criticized fellow Democrats for being too "timid" in challenging the Bush administration's war policy.

Support the President?

You've heard right-wingers says that it's Unamerican to not support the President in time of war, right?

Well, kos has compiled a handy-dandy list of quotes from Republicans during Clinton's military action in Kosovo.

See, it's ACTUALLY Unamerican to not support the President in time of war if the President is a Republican.

Got it, now?

Must read.

Bob Herbert.

"If Mr. Bush's war in Iraq is worth dying for, then the children of the privileged should be doing some of the dying."
Just a note: The right-wing slime machine is, of course, working overtime to smear Cindy Sheehan because she's obviously such a gigantic threat to America.

Will they also smear these folks, who are there with her?

Celeste Zappala,Philadelphia.
Her son, Sgt. Sherwood Baker, was killed in action in Baghdad on April 26, 2004.

Barbara Porchia, Arkansas.
Her son, Pfc. Jonathan Cheatham, was killed in action in Baghdad on July 26, 2003.

Linda and Phil Waste, Georgia.
They have three children and two grandchildren serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, who together have spent more than 57 months in Iraq.

Talat Hamdani, New York.
Her son was a New York City police cadet killed in the World Trade Center attack on Sept. 11.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

A soldier speaks

From the Operation Truth blog:

Mr. Northern:

I am a Veteran of the Iraq war, having served with the 4th Infantry Division on the initial invasion with Force Package One.

While I was in Iraq,a very good friend of mine, Christopher Cutchall,was killed in an unarmoredHMMWV outside of Baghdad. He was a cavalry scout serving with the 3d ID.Once he had declined the award of a medal because Soldiers assigned to him did not receive similar awards that he had recommended. He left two sons and awonderful wife. On Monday night, August 16, you ran down the memorial cross erected for him by Arlington West.

One of my Soldiers in Iraq was Roger Turner. We gave him a hard time because he always wore all of his protective equipment, including three pairs of glasses or goggles. He did this because he wanted to make sure that he returned home to his family. He rode a bicycle to work every day to make sure that he was able to save enough money on his Army salary to send his son to college. At Camp Anaconda, where the squadron briefly stayed, a rocket landed inside a tent, sending a piece of debris or fragment into him and killed him. On Monday night, August 16, you ran down the memorial cross erected for him by Arlington West.

One of my Soldiers was Henry Bacon. He was one of the finest men I ever met. He was in perfect shape for a man over forty, working hard at night. He told me that he did that because he didn't have much money to buy nice things for his wife, who he loved so much, so he had to be in good shape for her. He was like a father to many young men in his section of maintenance mechanics. They fixed our vehicles with almost no support and fabricated parts and made repairs that kept our squadron rolling on the longest, fastest armor advance ever made under fire. He was so very proud of his son-in-law that married the beautiful daughter so well raised by Henry. His son-in-law was a helicopter pilot with the 1st Cavalry Division, who died last year. Henry stopped to rescue a vehicle belonging to another unit on what was to be his last day in Iraq. He could have kept rolling - he was headed to Kuwait after a year's tour. But he stopped. He could have sent others to do the work, but he was on the ground, leading by example, when he was killed. On Monday night, August 16, you took it upon yourself to go out in the country, where a peaceful group was exercising their constitutional rights, and harming no one, and you ran down the memorial cross erected for Henry and for his son-in-law by Arlington West.

Mr. Northern - I know little about Cindy Sheehan except that she is a grieving mother, a gentle soul, and wants to bring harm to no one. I know little about you except that you found your way to Crawford on Monday night in August with chains and a pipe attached to your truck for the sole purpose of dishonoring a memorial erected for my friends and lost Soldiers and hundreds of others that served this nation when they were called. I find it disheartening that good men like these have died so that people like you can threaten a mother who lost a child with your actions. I hope that you are ashamed of yourself.

Perry Jefferies, First Sergeant, USA (retired)

Total delusion

The right-wingers claim that Cindy Sheehan is discrediting her son Casey's memory.

But THEY are pretending to be able to read his mind so they can USE his memory as an excuse to attack his mother.

I can't IMAGINE discrediting somebody's memory MORE than than what the right-wingers are trying to do with Casey Sheehan.

Using him as a tool to attack his own mother.

And they are in SUCH a state of delusion that they claim that Casey would APPROVE of that.

How contemptible.

Fantasy-based community

And, in a minor little story that didn't get much play at all in press:

The Bush Administration Admits That They Didn't Know What They Were Doing.

Well, that SHOULD be the headline:

The Bush administration is significantly lowering expectations of what can be achieved in Iraq, recognizing that the United States will have to settle for far less progress than originally envisioned during the transition due to end in four months, according to U.S. officials in Washington and Baghdad.

The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say.

"What we expected to achieve was never realistic given the timetable or what unfolded on the ground. We are in a process of absorbing the factors of the situation we're in and shedding the unreality that dominated at the beginning." - Bush adminstration senior official.

Ok - so why the hell are the clowns who were "never realistic" still EMPLOYED?


You probably already heard about this, but just in case you didn't:

There are vigils for Cindy Sheehan taking place around the country tonight at 7:30, sponsored by moveon.

Here's the info:

Late last night, a pick-up truck dragging chains ran over the rows of white crosses on the side of the road near Cindy Sheehan's vigil. Each cross commemorated a dead soldier; this morning, many of them were broken or gone.1 But Cindy and the other moms in Crawford have vowed to stay, and now a neighboring rancher, who is a veteran, has offered them some of his nearby land if they have to move from the roadside.

The spirit of that rancher standing up in his own pro-Bush community is the sort of public support for Cindy Sheehan and her cause that is growing across America. Tomorrow's vigils for Cindy Sheehan will be the most visible measure of the size and strength of public concern about the war in a long time. It is critical to have as many vigils as possible and as many attendees as possible to demonstrate the wave of public support for Cindy.

Can you join us? You can find a vigil near you by clicking this link:

Vigils for Cindy Sheehan
7:30 PM :: Wednesday, August 17, 2005

It doesn't work anymore.

When I look at this Cindy Sheehan thing, one thought keeps coming back to me again and again:

I can't believe they're this stupid.

Holy CRAP, they're stupid.

The reaction to this from the Bushites has not only been cold and unfeeling, but unbelievably boneheaded.

Cindy Sheehan is DESTROYING Bush's carefully crafted media image. The "nice guy." The "people person." She is single-handedly ripping off his veneer of affability and exposing the bastard underneath.

And all Bush had to do to diffuse the whole situation was to send a spokeman out and invite her in. That's all. That simple. Let her spend the night rather than sleeping in a ditch. For God's sake, talk to her.

Instead, he leaves her outside in the ditch like Lazarus at the rich man's gate.

And if the many right-wing media sycophants had any sense, they would say something like, "We disagree with Cindy Sheehan, but we honor her son's sacrifice, we respect her right to protest, and we hope she finds some peace."

But nope - that would be too easy. That would require an ounce of decency and humanity.


1) Bush goes into hiding;

2) His minions go on full-bore attack.

What a brilliant strategy.

You know what I think is happening? I think that Bush spent his entire first term getting a totally free ride from the media. He lied and lied and lied and wasn't called on it by the mainstream media. He spun, and the media dutifully repeated the spin, and allowed no dissenting voices to get through the noise machine. He put an image out there, and media gladly painted him according to the image he wished to project.

And he thinks that's the way it's supposed to work.

In his first term, if HE ignored it, the press ignored it. What the extreme right-wing said quickly became conventional media wisdom.

But it doesn't work anymore.

Bush, Rove, et al are one-trick ponies.

They only have one strategy. Attack.

They know only one game: PR.

It doesn't work anymore.

And they may never figure it out.

Jon Stewart on Cindy Sheehan

From crooks and liars.

Video here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Democracy in action

Cindy Sheehan has been offered a piece of privately owned land to stage her vigil on.

The land is closer to Bush's ranch.

Across the street from his church.

It's owned by a veteran.


America, america

$50 Laptop Sale Turns Into a Free-for-All

RICHMOND, Va. (Aug. 16) - A rush to purchase $50 used laptops turned into a violent stampede Tuesday, with people getting thrown to the pavement, beaten with a folding chair and nearly driven over. One woman went so far as to wet herself rather than surrender her place in line.

A crowd rushes to buy $50 used Apple laptops in Richmond, Va. About 5,500 people showed up for the 1,000 iBooks on sale.

"This is total, total chaos," said Latoya Jones, 19, who lost one of her flip-flops in the ordeal and later limped around on the sizzling blacktop with one foot bare.

An estimated 5,500 people turned out at the Richmond International Raceway in hopes of getting their hands on one of the 4-year-old Apple iBooks. The Henrico County school system was selling 1,000 of the computers to county residents. New iBooks cost between $999 and $1,299.

Officials opened the gates at 7 a.m., but some already had been waiting since 1:30 a.m. When the gates opened, it became a terrifying mob scene.

People threw themselves forward, screaming and pushing each other. A little girl's stroller was crushed in the stampede. Witnesses said an elderly man was thrown to the pavement, and someone in a car tried to drive his way through the crowd.

Seventeen people suffered minor injuries, with four requiring hospital treatment, Henrico County Battalion Chief Steve Wood said. There were no arrests and the iBooks sold out by 1 p.m.
"Casey knew that the war was wrong from the beginning. But he felt it was his duty to go, that his buddies were going, and that he had no choice. The people who send our young, honorable, brave soldiers to die in this war, have no skin in the game. They don't have any loved ones in harm's way. As for people like O'Reilly and Hannity and Michelle Malkin and Rush Limbaugh and all the others who are attacking me and parroting the administration line that we must complete the mission there – they don't have one thing at stake. They don't suffer through sleepless nights worrying about their loved ones." -- Cindy Sheehan

Monday, August 15, 2005

Cindy invites Bush to a prayer vigil

Video here, courtesy of Crooks and Liars

David:" Cindy Sheehan is hoping that a less confrontational strategy will be more effective. Will President Bush, as a man of faith, join her and others on Friday at noon to pray for the troops? The president is reported to have nothing on his official schedule for this week."

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Good Lord

Support the troops. When one dies, try and kill his mother.

Shots Fired at Sheehan Camp in Texas

Showing the value of its nearly round-the-clock coverage, the Lone Star Iconoclast, a weekly in Crawford, Texas, reported this morning from the scene that shots had been fired near the Cindy Sheehan antiwar encampment near the Bush ranch, which has drawn national attention.

Apparently they were fired by a local landowner none too pleased with the protest in his neighborhood.

Someone Tell the President The War Is Over

August 14, 2005

Someone Tell the President the War Is Over

LIKE the Japanese soldier marooned on an island for years after V-J Day, President Bush may be the last person in the country to learn that for Americans, if not Iraqis, the war in Iraq is over. "We will stay the course," he insistently tells us from his Texas ranch. What do you mean we, white man?

A president can't stay the course when his own citizens (let alone his own allies) won't stay with him. The approval rate for Mr. Bush's handling of Iraq plunged to 34 percent in last weekend's Newsweek poll - a match for the 32 percent that approved L.B.J.'s handling of Vietnam in early March 1968. (The two presidents' overall approval ratings have also converged: 41 percent for Johnson then, 42 percent for Bush now.) On March 31, 1968, as L.B.J.'s ratings plummeted further, he announced he wouldn't seek re-election, commencing our long extrication from that quagmire.

But our current Texas president has even outdone his predecessor; Mr. Bush has lost not only the country but also his army. Neither bonuses nor fudged standards nor the faking of high school diplomas has solved the recruitment shortfall. Now Jake Tapper of ABC News reports that the armed forces are so eager for bodies they will flout "don't ask, don't tell" and hang on to gay soldiers who tell, even if they tell the press.

The president's cable cadre is in disarray as well. At Fox News Bill O'Reilly is trashing Donald Rumsfeld for his incompetence, and Ann Coulter is chiding Mr. O'Reilly for being a defeatist. In an emblematic gesture akin to waving a white flag, Robert Novak walked off a CNN set and possibly out of a job rather than answer questions about his role in smearing the man who helped expose the administration's prewar inflation of Saddam W.M.D.'s. (On this sinking ship, it's hard to know which rat to root for.)

As if the right-wing pundit crackup isn't unsettling enough, Mr. Bush's top war strategists, starting with Mr. Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard Myers, have of late tried to rebrand the war in Iraq as what the defense secretary calls "a global struggle against violent extremism." A struggle is what you have with your landlord. When the war's über-managers start using euphemisms for a conflict this lethal, it's a clear sign that the battle to keep the Iraq war afloat with the American public is lost.

That battle crashed past the tipping point this month in Ohio. There's historical symmetry in that. It was in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002, that Mr. Bush gave the fateful address that sped Congressional ratification of the war just days later. The speech was a miasma of self-delusion, half-truths and hype. The president said that "we know that Iraq and Al Qaeda have had high-level contacts that go back a decade," an exaggeration based on evidence that the Senate Intelligence Committee would later find far from conclusive. He said that Saddam "could have a nuclear weapon in less than a year" were he able to secure "an amount of highly enriched uranium a little larger than a single softball." Our own National Intelligence Estimate of Oct. 1 quoted State Department findings that claims of Iraqi pursuit of uranium in Africa were "highly dubious."

It was on these false premises - that Iraq was both a collaborator on 9/11 and about to inflict mushroom clouds on America - that honorable and brave young Americans were sent off to fight. Among them were the 19 marine reservists from a single suburban Cleveland battalion slaughtered in just three days at the start of this month. As they perished, another Ohio marine reservist who had served in Iraq came close to winning a Congressional election in southern Ohio. Paul Hackett, a Democrat who called the president a "chicken hawk," received 48 percent of the vote in exactly the kind of bedrock conservative Ohio district that decided the 2004 election for Mr. Bush.

These are the tea leaves that all Republicans, not just Chuck Hagel, are reading now. Newt Gingrich called the Hackett near-victory "a wake-up call." The resolutely pro-war New York Post editorial page begged Mr. Bush (to no avail) to "show some leadership" by showing up in Ohio to salute the fallen and their families. A Bush loyalist, Senator George Allen of Virginia, instructed the president to meet with Cindy Sheehan, the mother camping out in Crawford, as "a matter of courtesy and decency." Or, to translate his Washingtonese, as a matter of politics. Only someone as adrift from reality as Mr. Bush would need to be told that a vacationing president can't win a standoff with a grief-stricken parent commandeering TV cameras and the blogosphere 24/7.

Such political imperatives are rapidly bringing about the war's end. That's inevitable for a war of choice, not necessity, that was conceived in politics from the start. Iraq was a Bush administration idée fixe before there was a 9/11. Within hours of that horrible trauma, according to Richard Clarke's "Against All Enemies," Mr. Rumsfeld was proposing Iraq as a battlefield, not because the enemy that attacked America was there, but because it offered "better targets" than the shadowy terrorist redoubts of Afghanistan. It was easier to take out Saddam - and burnish Mr. Bush's credentials as a slam-dunk "war president," suitable for a "Top Gun" victory jig - than to shut down Al Qaeda and smoke out its leader "dead or alive."

But just as politics are a bad motive for choosing a war, so they can be a doomed engine for running a war. In an interview with Tim Russert early last year, Mr. Bush said, "The thing about the Vietnam War that troubles me, as I look back, was it was a political war," adding that the "essential" lesson he learned from Vietnam was to not have "politicians making military decisions." But by then Mr. Bush had disastrously ignored that very lesson; he had let Mr. Rumsfeld publicly rebuke the Army's chief of staff, Eric Shinseki, after the general dared tell the truth: that several hundred thousand troops would be required to secure Iraq. To this day it's our failure to provide that security that has turned the country into the terrorist haven it hadn't been before 9/11 - "the central front in the war on terror," as Mr. Bush keeps reminding us, as if that might make us forget he's the one who recklessly created it.

The endgame for American involvement in Iraq will be of a piece with the rest of this sorry history. "It makes no sense for the commander in chief to put out a timetable" for withdrawal, Mr. Bush declared on the same day that 14 of those Ohio troops were killed by a roadside bomb in Haditha. But even as he spoke, the war's actual commander, Gen. George Casey, had already publicly set a timetable for "some fairly substantial reductions" to start next spring. Officially this calendar is tied to the next round of Iraqi elections, but it's quite another election this administration has in mind. The priority now is less to save Jessica Lynch (or Iraqi democracy) than to save Rick Santorum and every other endangered Republican facing voters in November 2006.

Nothing that happens on the ground in Iraq can turn around the fate of this war in America: not a shotgun constitution rushed to meet an arbitrary deadline, not another Iraqi election, not higher terrorist body counts, not another battle for Falluja (where insurgents may again regroup, The Los Angeles Times reported last week). A citizenry that was asked to accept tax cuts, not sacrifice, at the war's inception is hardly in the mood to start sacrificing now. There will be neither the volunteers nor the money required to field the wholesale additional American troops that might bolster the security situation in Iraq.

WHAT lies ahead now in Iraq instead is not victory, which Mr. Bush has never clearly defined anyway, but an exit (or triage) strategy that may echo Johnson's March 1968 plan for retreat from Vietnam: some kind of negotiations (in this case, with Sunni elements of the insurgency), followed by more inflated claims about the readiness of the local troops-in-training, whom we'll then throw to the wolves. Such an outcome may lead to even greater disaster, but this administration long ago squandered the credibility needed to make the difficult case that more human and financial resources might prevent Iraq from continuing its descent into civil war and its devolution into jihad central.

Thus the president's claim on Thursday that "no decision has been made yet" about withdrawing troops from Iraq can be taken exactly as seriously as the vice president's preceding fantasy that the insurgency is in its "last throes." The country has already made the decision for Mr. Bush. We're outta there. Now comes the hard task of identifying the leaders who can pick up the pieces of the fiasco that has made us more vulnerable, not less, to the terrorists who struck us four years ago next month.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Question

by Digby
Bush backers gather near Crawford

What are they backing? His refusal to talk to people?


Friday, August 12, 2005

Around U.S., Iraq mess finally sinks in

"It's about 10 months too late, but U.S. citizens - even in those fabled red states - are starting to realize that this war in Iraq wasn't a smart thing to undertake."

Gold Star Mothers

You may remember this: several years ago, right-wingers spread a false rumor about Hillary Clinton refusing to meet with a contingent of Gold Star Mothers. The fraud popped up in the near-insane right-wing scandal sheet newsmax, and it resurfaces every now and then. But there's not an ounce of truth to it. But that didn't prevent the right-wingers from screaming bloody murder over the supposed slight.

Well, isn't it BIZARRE that we now have Bush ACTUALLY refusing to meet with a contingent of Gold Star Mothers? And this one ISN'T an urban legend, but the DEAD TRUTH?

And the right-wingers are not only NOT upset about it, but actually SMEARING THE GOLD STAR MOTHERS in an attempt to defend it?

As I frequently say, these folks have NO morals.

The Right Question

Liberal Oasis has a great strategic article on Cindy Sheehan, and what the left should do.

What they mean by "support"

Via atrios:

Parent-trap snares recruiters
The tune changes at some homes when they hear 'sign here'

Staff Sgt. Jason Rivera, 26, a Marine recruiter in Pittsburgh, went to the home of a high school student who had expressed interest in joining the Marine Reserve to talk to his parents.

It was a large home in a well-to-do suburb north of the city. Two American flags adorned the yard. The prospect's mom greeted him wearing an American flag T-shirt.

"I want you to know we support you," she gushed.

Rivera soon reached the limits of her support.

"Military service isn't for our son. It isn't for our kind of people," she told

I guess it depends what your definition of "support" is.

One problem with right-wingers is that they are godawful shallow. When they say that they "support" the troops, they use the word as though they were saying, "Support the football team." In other words, don't do anything REAL, just sit on your ass and cheer

They are AGAINST any form of support that actually requires them to sacrifice.

Why would anybody expect these people to risk skin or kin for what they CLAIM is a "noble cause"? They aren't even willing to sacrifice their stinking tax cut. Does anyone expect them to sacrifice something REALLY valuable?

If you want proof that the right-wingers actually do NOT support the war in Iraq, just look at the recruitment numbers. If all the people who SAID they supported the war enlisted (if possible), or encouraged their loved ones to enlist (if not possible), recruitment would be so high it would be off the scale. Instead, it's dismal.

Somebody should tell these hypocrites that if it isn't worth THEIR life, it isn't worth somebody else's.
A couple of weeks ago, they said it WOULD be scaled back.

Yesterday, an anonymous spokesperson said it WOULDN'T be scaled back.

Now, Bush says it's too soon to SAY whether it will be scaled back.

The scary part is that there are still people who think these clowns know what they are doing.

"Faced with mounting casualties and signs of diminished support for the war, President Bush said Thursday that while the United States was making progress in Iraq, it was too soon to say when the number of American troops could be scaled back."

The Probe continues

"WASHINGTON - Among the many questions surrounding the investigation into who in the Bush administration leaked the name of an undercove CIA officer is whether President Bush's top political adviser told his boss the truth about his connection to the case.

"Two years ago, the White House denied that Karl Rove played any role, but revelations in the past month have shown that Rove spoke with two journalists about the operative, Valerie Plame. Whether Bush knew the truth while the White House was issuing its denials is not publicly known."

"Whether Bush knew the truth while the White House was issuing its denials is not publicly known."

How about ASKING him?

Because he's SCREWED whichever way he answers that question.

If Rove told him, why didn't he go public and close the investigation?

If Rove DIDN'T tell him, why does the man still have his job?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Holy Shit.

In the category of "Not Very Important News According To Our Pathetic News Media" we have the following item:

A Bush Campaign Official charged with Conspiracy to prevent people from voting.

And (ready?) the GOP is paying his legal bills.

WASHINGTON - Despite a zero-tolerance policy on tampering with voters, the Republican Party has quietly paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide private defense lawyers for a former Bush campaign official charged with conspiring to keep Democrats from voting in New Hampshire.

James Tobin, the president's 2004 campaign chairman for New England, is charged in New Hampshire federal court with four felonies accusing him of conspiring with a state GOP official and a GOP consultant in Virginia to jam Democratic and labor union get-out-the-vote phone banks in November 2002.

Nothing Changes on New Year's Day.

Let's see - today is Thursday, so that means the Administration says we AREN'T pulling out anytime soon.

In fact, today there was an admission that nothing is about to change.

WaPo - Both Americans and Iraqis need "to start thinking about and talking about what it's really going to be like in Iraq after elections," said the military official, who spoke in an interview on the condition he not be named. "I think the important point is there's not going to be a fundamental change."

No End in Sight

Bob Herbert.

"The president is on vacation. He's down at the ranch riding his bicycle and clearing brush. The death toll for Americans has streaked past the 1,800 mark. The Iraqi dead are counted by the tens of thousands. But if Mr. Bush has experienced any regret about the carnage he set in motion when he launched the war, he's not showing it.

Writing about Vietnam in the foreword to David Halberstam's book "The Best and the Brightest," Senator John McCain said:

"It was a shameful thing to ask men to suffer and die, to persevere through god-awful afflictions and heartache, to endure the dehumanizing experiences that are unavoidable in combat, for a cause that the country wouldn't support over time and that our leaders so wrongly believed could be achieved at a smaller cost than our enemy was prepared to make us pay."

That point is no less relevant now."

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Terry Rodgers Speaks

Talking Wounded

Washington Post - One day a nurse came in to ask Rodgers if he wanted to meet President Bush, who was visiting the hospital. Rodgers declined.

"I don't want anything to do with him," he explains. "My belief is that his ego is getting people killed and mutilated for no reason -- just his ego and his reputation. If we really wanted to, we could pull out of Iraq. Maybe not completely but enough that we wouldn't be losing people -- at least not at this rate. So I think he himself is responsible for quite a few American deaths."...

Rodgers says he also declined to meet Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice. This wounded soldier has lost faith in his leaders, and he no longer believes their repeated assurances of victory.

"It's gonna go on as long as we're there," he says. "There's always gonna be insurgents trying to blow us up. There's just too many of 'em that are willing to do it. You're never gonna catch all of 'em. And it seems like they have unlimited amounts of ammunition. So I don't think it's ever gonna end."

Rocket-propelled grenades

And four killed.
Four U.S. soldiers were killed and six others wounded when insurgents attacked their patrol in a northern Iraqi city, while a car bomb targeting a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol in Baghdad killed seven people, officials said Wednesday.

Insurgents fired on the convoy with rocket-propelled grenades, damaging two Humvees and a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, said Beiji police Lt. Ali Abdul-Hameed. Witnesses in the area said the Bradley fell into a canal and a U.S. helicopter transported the casualties.

Their weaponry in increasing in sophisitcation rapidly.

Four more.

For that stupid jerk's pathetic little ego.

Today in Iraq

Tea and Sympathy


"There's an angry mother of a dead soldier camping outside his Crawford ranch, demanding to see a president who prefers his sympathy to be carefully choreographed."

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Sweet Black Angel

THE ROLLING STONES accuse US President GEORGE W BUSH of being "full of shit" on their new album.

The track 'Sweet Neo Con', one of the tracks on the forthcoming 'A Bigger Bang', was already known to be fiercely anti-Bush.

However, frontman Mick Jagger's disdain for the American leader has now been confirmed, with Rolling Stones singer revealing some of the lyrics in an interview with Newsweek.

But the singer has revealed that guitarist Keith Richards, who lives in the US, is a bit worried about the direct nature of the words.

An extract from 'Sweet Neo Con' features the following lines:

"You call yourself a Christian,
I call you a hypocrite
You call yourself a patriot,
well I think you're full of shit."

Jagger said of the track: "It is direct. Keith said: 'It's not really metaphorical.'

"I think he's a bit worried because he lives in the US. But I don't."

'A Bigger Bang' is released on September 5 and is preceded by the single, 'Streets Of Love' on August 22. The band begin their forthcoming world tour in Boston on August 21.

Hackett is my hero.

Paul Hackett - Iraq war vet, Democrat and former Congressional Candidate in Southern Illinois - was on the Ed Schultz Show and was asked about Rush Limbaugh attacking him. His response is a lesson in how to respond to such trash, and I hope the Democratic Party is paying attention. Here's the mp3. And here's a transcript of part of it.

SCHULTZ: "Rush Limbaugh said that you went to Iraq to pad your resume. What do you say to something like that?"

HACKETT: "That's typical for that fatass drug addict to come up with something like that. There's a guy ... I didn't hear this, but actually when I was on drill this weekend, I've got to tell you, he lost a lot of Republican supporters with his comments. Because they were coming up to me, telling me, "I can't believe he said that! Besides that, he called you a soldier. He doesn't know the difference between a soldier and a marine!"

"So generally, the consensus is Rush doesn't know squat about patriotism. He's typical of the new Republican. He's got a lot of lip and he doesn't walk the walk. The fact of the matter is, I went to Iraq to serve my country. I left my nice house, my nice wife by my choice because I thought it was the right thing to do. And man, if I was good enough to be able to see into the future that Rob Portman was going to step down from Congress, I mean I should actually be running for something a lot more than Congress. I went to Iraq because I wanted to serve my country and be with my Marines.

"I think it probably says more about Rush Limbaugh than it does anybody else that he comes up with those thought processes. And I think it's indicative of today's Republican party, which is patriotic lite translated to anybody who serves their country who truly serves their country and demonstrates it by their actions as opposed to their flapping gums.

"They want to attack us. But the fact of the matter is they can attack me, but I punch back just as hard as I get. Ask Rush how come he wasn't taking phone calls for the two days when he was on the attack with me. Ask him why his phone lines were clogged up. That's because he was getting thousands of calls from veterans from this war and other wars who were clogging up his phone lines, giving him an earful."

Cannon fodder

"A Marine regiment that took heavy casualties last week in western Iraq — including 19 killed from a Reserve unit headquartered in Ohio — had repeatedly asked for about 1,000 more troops. Those requests were not granted." - USA Today

I become more and more convinced that the Bush administration prefers an endless war, and has NO other actual "mission" in mind.

Letter from an Iraq Vet

Following is a letter by Army Sgt. John Bruhns, excerpts of which were read on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) on July 19, 2005.

"I am a concerned veteran of the Iraq war. I am not an expert on the vast and wide range of issues throughout the political spectrum, but I can offer some firsthand experience of the war in Iraq through the eyes of a soldier. My view of the situation in Iraq will differ from what the American people are being told by the Bush administration. The purpose of this message is to voice my concern that we were misled into war and continue to be misled about the situation in Iraq every day. My opinions on this matter come from what I witnessed in Iraq personally."

Read the whole thing.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Bushites explained

"She had not a thought in her head that was not a slogan, and there was no imbecility, absolutely none, that she was not capable of swallowing if the Party handed it out to her." - George Orwell's 1984
You want to know what the problem is with the news media?

Exhibit A:

Today's top headlines:

Iran Resumes Uranium Conversion Efforts
Woman Eats 35 Bratwursts in 10 Minutes

I'm not making that up.

The two big stories are
1) A hostile nation is seeking to convert uranium; and
2) 35 bratwursts.

At least they didn't put them in reverse order.

Running the treadmill

The insurgents are moving back into Fallujah.

Nine months after U.S. and Iraqi troops killed an estimated 1,000 insurgents here in a battle that also cost more than 70 American lives, intelligence suggests that rebels are trying to filter back into the former capital of Iraq's guerrilla movement.

The pattern continues.

We only have 130,000 troops in Iraq. So when we drive the insurgents out of a town, we can't stay and occupy it. We have to leave to go to the next town. And once we leave, the insurgents move back in, and we have to go back and drive them out again.

And I can't believe that the administration hasn't noticed - everybody else has.

I can only believe that they see it just as clearly as you or I, but they LIKE it that way.

Which means that they don't actually WANT to stop the insurgency - they want us to just keep spinning wheels and running a treadmill and doing the same thing over and over again, while making no progress.

And I hate to sound cynical - but the fact that Bush's cronies make lots and lots of money off of this war every single day that it goes on wouldn't be figuring into that at all, would it?


I was going to start this by writing that Bush has the most secretive administration since Nixon, but then I realized that that was unfair: Bush has Nixon beat by a mile. Bush has the most secretive administration since Nero.

But you know what pisses me off? It isn't that this clown thinks he can just defy a court order. It's that the worthless press LETS him. If they possessed a single testicle among them, there would be HUGE headlines about Bush's constant Unamerican stonewalling, instead of supine acquiescence.

Yes, I KNOW that Abu Ghraib is an embarrassment. Of COURSE, it's an embarrasment; if it wasn't an embarrassment, there wouldn't be any investigation. MOST investigations are investigating something embarrassing. If there wasn't anything to be secretive about, there wouldn't be any problem finding it out. Duh.

Throughout the nineties, the pompous, phony Republicans intoned, "No one is above the law." What they meant was that no DEMOCRAT was above the law. They all think that BUSH is.

When before, in American history, has any administration stonewalled in the face of a legal order without the secretiveness being viewed as suspicious? If Bush isn't hiding anything, why does he hide EVERYTHING? Why the hell does the press let them get away with that? Does this White House have ANY oversight? ANY check or balance on their abuse of power? What sort of shape are we in when our news organizations DON'T WANT NEWS? When they are satisified with an information blackout?

"Can we see the records of John Bolton before we make him ambassador?"

Nope, can't see 'em.

"Can we see the records of John Roberts before we give him a lifetime position of power?"

Nope, can't see 'em.

"Can we see the minutes of the Dick Cheney's energy meetings?"

Nope, can't see 'em.

"Can we see the photos of the Abu Ghraib abuse which a court has ordered to be turned over?"

Nope, can't see 'em.

Apparently, the only thing that this administration believes the public should know are the identities of covert CIA agents.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Advice from Screwtape

Letter in todays' Iowa City Press-Citizen:

C.S. Lewis wrote the "Screwtape Letters." In these letters a senior devil writes to his nephew about how to distract Christians from the message of Christ. I offer the following update:

You are doing a great job! I especially like how you used 9/11. Just think of the good that could have come from it if you hadn't gotten them to go off the deep end.

Keep up the good work of making moral judgments the central political questions. Keep saying these judgments are really the law. Attacking judges is good but remember, constitutional amendments are the goal.

By all means, give them ammunition to fight "big" government. Get more of them to think of government as the morality enforcer and the savior of marriage, life and "the" family. Don't let important socioeconomic and foreign policy issues become important.

One more thing before I have to report to the boss. Continue pushing the differences between Christians and Muslims. You have made a good start, but a world wide Holy War is possible. The key is getting radical attention paid to something that is extremely sacred or to some defining truth, and then help them become even more self-righteous about it. That gets them every time!

Have to go now. Will write again when I can. Keep up the evil work.

Don Van Hulzen
Iowa City
Jonathan Chiat has an article about The Holy Gut.TM

Where is bottom?

"Americans' approval of President Bush's handling of Iraq is at its lowest level yet, according to an AP-Ipsos poll that also found fewer than half now think he's honest.

"Approval of Bush's handling of Iraq, which had been hovering in the low- to mid-40s most of the year, dipped to 38 percent. Midwesterners and young women and men with a high school education or less were most likely to abandon Bush on his handling of Iraq in the last six months. - AP

He is rapidly approaching territory where only the loonie Kool-Aid drinkers still support him, and absolutely NObody else.

38% of the United States.

And damned near no one else in the whole world.

Will the corporate media finally stop talking about how popular he is?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Oh, my.

Bob Novak said "Bullshit" while talking to James Carville on CNN, and walked off the set.

And CNN has suspended him.

Pressure getting to be a little much, Bob?

The Fantasy-based community

"Rafael Palmeiro is a friend. He testified in public and I believe him. He's the kind of person that's going to stand up in front of the klieg lights and say he didn't use steroids, and I believe him. Still do." - George W. Bush

Do you need any more to realize how totally out of touch this clown is?

If he doesn't WANT to believe it - he simply denies that it's true.

That's the way the idiot thinks, and he's running the country.

Drunken sailors.

The next time you hear a Republican claim that his is the party of Fiscal Responsibility, you are cordially invited to laugh in his face.

Having skirted budget restraints and approved nearly $300 billion in new spending and tax breaks before leaving town, Republican lawmakers are now determined to claim full credit for the congressional spending. Far from shying away from their accomplishments, lawmakers are embracing the pork, including graffiti eradication in the Bronx, $277 million in road projects for Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), and a $200,000 deer-avoidance system in New York.

The borrow-and-spend Republicans are the most fiscally irresponsible group that has EVER been in Washington. In one way, the Republicans are right: Governments are inherently fiscally irresponsible.

But THIS crowd makes the Democrats look like penny-pinchers.

Terrorists get better bombs.

Bush has not only enabled the terrorists to spread into Iraq and given them a wonderful training ground to train new terrorists. He has ALSO helped those terrorists gain some real practical knowledge in developing weaponry.

Insurgents Using Bigger, More Lethal Bombs, U.S. Officers Say

The explosion that killed 14 marines in Haditha yesterday was powerful enough to flip the 25-ton amphibious assault vehicle they were riding in, in keeping with an increasingly deadly trend, American military officers say.

In recent months the roadside bombs favored by insurgents in Iraq have grown significantly in size and sophistication, the officers say, adding to their deadliness and defeating efforts to increase troops' safety by adding armor to vehicles.

He shouldn't have started this stupid war in the first place, of course, but once he did, he certainly shouldn't have fought it in such a completely half-assed manner. By making the war long and drawn out, and by not committing enough troops, he not only has not hurt the terrorists - he as given them experience and know-how that they didn't have before.

Just in case you've forgotten

Turdgate has temporarily fallen off of the Corporate Media's pathetically weak radar screen. But it hasn't gone away, and it won't. It isn't being driven by the worthless media; it's being driven by the law.

And the law is zeroing in:

2 Aides to Rove Testify in C.I.A. Leak Inquiry

WASHINGTON, Aug. 2 - Two aides to Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser, testified last Friday before a federal grand jury investigating whether government officials illegally disclosed the identity of an undercover C.I.A. operative, according to a person who has been officially briefed on the case.


In an astonishing turnaround, the Bush Administration officially announced that their stupid new ad slogan didn't work, everybody was laughing at them, and they were going to pretend that it never happened.

President Bush publicly overruled some of his top advisers on Wednesday in a debate about what to call the conflict with Islamic extremists, saying, "Make no mistake about it, we are at war."

In a speech here, Mr. Bush used the phrase "war on terror" no less than five times. Not once did he refer to the "global struggle against violent extremism," the wording consciously adopted by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other officials in recent weeks after internal deliberations about the best way to communicate how the United States views the challenge it is facing.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

14 Marines

We're waist deep in the Big Muddy and the big fool says to push on.

"We're at war. We're facing an enemy that is ruthless. If we put out a (pullout) timetable the enemy would adjust their tactics. ... The timetable depends on our ability to train the Iraqis, to get the Iraqis ready to fight and then our troops will come home with the honor they have earned," Bush said in a speech.

"Their families can know that American citizens pray for them, and the families can know that will honor their loved ones' sacrifice by completing the mission, by laying the foundation for peace for generations to come," Bush said in remarks to the American Legislative Exchange Council.

"They have to complete the mission" - but we don't know what the mission is.

"We will train the Iraqi Army to deal with the insurgents" - despite the fact that WE can't deal with the insurgents.

"We are fighting them over there so that we don't have to fight them over here" - which is why we are going to let the Iraqi Army handle it as soon as they can.

"We are over there for OUR National Security" - and we will soon place our National Security in the hands of the Iraqi Army.


The only thing scarier than the horrible intellectual stew that Bush is trying to cook up and serve to the American People - is the fact that there are actually people willing to swallow it.
Paul Hackett, Democrat and Iraqi War Vet, has lost in Southern Ohio Congressional Race to Republican Jean Schmidt. In a squeaker. 3%.

And actually, that's good news. Hackett was given virtually no chance to win. It's an extremely conservative district that cast more than 60% of it's votes for Bush just two years ago. Hackett ran as an extremely blunt critic of Bush and the Iraqi War - and almost won. Shows how much credibility Bush has lost in an incredibly short amount of time.

Howard Dean is right: concede NOTHING. Fight for EVERY district. Conceding elections only allows the right-wingers to get more and more entrenched. As it is, Hackett took a district that the Democrats WOULD have conceded just a year ago, and fought it hard. He didn't win, but he ALMOST won, helped erode Bush's support, helped spread a Democratic message - and actually MIGHT win next time.

Good job.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Bush's poll numbers have dropped to the low forties. Now, some folks may think that that makes no difference, since he can't be re-elected anyway. But it makes a huge difference, because as those numbers drop, the Republicans in Congress find it harder and harder to support him, and the Democrats get emboldened. They are ALL spineless politicians, after all.

But it's pretty obvious why the numbers are tanking. The American People were sold a pig in a poke, and they are starting to realize this. In fact, they had started to realize it more than a year ago. Remember - Bush's poll numbers were tanking before the election. In fact, they were tanking so badly that Bush's sycophants thought he might not get re-elected.

And if you recall, the response to this was NOT to try selling Bush's record. They COULDN'T sell Bush's record; it's a record of unremitting failure. What they did, instead, was trash his opponent. They spent hundreds of millions of dollars convincing the most gullible among us that a war hero was a war coward. And they found just enough gullible fools to swallow it.

If Bush was running against Jesus, Jesus would have been smeared.

But now that's over, and Bush has nothing to stand on. Nothing but his own record of unremitting failure.

His numbers aren't suddenly tanking. They are reflecting what people actually think of this clown when he is forced to stand on his own two legs instead of on a pile of mud.

Bush has complete confidence in his own brain.

Bush: Rove has 'my complete confidence'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush on Monday declared "complete confidence" in his top political adviser, Karl Rove, despite his alleged role in leaking a covert CIA operative's identity, according to an interview.

"Karl's got my complete confidence. He's a valuable member of my team," Bush said in his strongest defense yet of Rove, the architect of his presidential campaigns.

Bush made his comments in a roundtable interview with several Texas newspapers, portions of which were posted online by Knight Ridder Newspapers.

Notice that none of the "reporters" asked Bush the obvious questions:

"Did Rove tell you two years ago that he was involved the leak?

"If so, why didn't you say something?

"If not, why do you have complete confidence in a man who lied to you?"

I am waiting for one reporter to ask those questions.

But I'm not holding my breath.

UN Yosemite Sam

Next up: George W. Bush appoints Raphael Palmeiro as Baseball Commissioner.


Bush has appointed Bolton as a recess appointment.

You may not have noticed, but I have a rather low opinion of Mr. Bush. However, even I didn't think that he would allow his psychological obsession with getting his own way to cause him to do something this stupid. I'm not talking about what a lousy ambassador Bolton will make. Bush couldn't care less about that. I'm talking about what a lousy political move it is, and Bush does care about that.

Think about it: We now have a guy as UN ambassador that the rest of the people at the UN dislike intensely. And - because of Bush's backdooring him in - every single one of those people knows that Bolton is starting his tenure as a lame duck, and every single one of them knows that he doesn't have the support of the American people or the American Senate.

There's a formula for success, eh? How much "reform" do you think Bolton will be able top accomplish, starting his job with his nuts cut off?

This has all the earmarks of a major embarrassment, and Bush has ensured that will be an embarrassment that he OWNS.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Interview with Harry Reid

BF: Why does the Bush Administration have such difficulty in leveling with the American people?

REID: Arrogance, abuse of power. This Administration is drunk with power. They control the House and Senate and seven of nine members of the Supreme Court, and therefore, they feel they need not compromise. They need not communicate with the minority....

BF: What's the role of the President of the United States in holding such treachery accountable, whatever the legal outcome might be?

REID: What it shows me is that the President is not a person of his word. He said almost two years ago that if anyone in his Administration was caught being involved in this, they would be fired. There is no question Karl Rove is involved in it. Evidence is heavy. The President, after finding that Rove's involved, changes his standard from "being involved" in it to having committed a crime. Well, crimes are hard to prove, and then you go through the appellate process. What does this mean? It means the President is not a credible person. -- Senator Reid

Bolton in a China Shop

Officials: Bush to Name Bolton to U.N.

WASHINGTON - Frustrated by Democrats, President Bush will circumvent the Senate on Monday and install embattled nominee John Bolton to be ambassador to the
United Nations, two senior administration officials said.

Bush has the power to fill vacancies without Senate approval while Congress is in recess. Under the Constitution, a recess appointment during the lawmakers' August break would last until the next session of Congress, which begins in January 2007.

"Frustrated by Democrats." Both houses are controlled by Republicans, and Bolton hasn't been filibustered. But it's those nasty Democrats' fault.

Bush has decided to unilaterally appoint someone that the American People don't like and don't want.

And BECAUSE he has been appointed by fiat, he will be viewed by the UN as having no real backing in the United States. Which is true - he doesn't.

That, coupled with the fact that Bolton is the least diplomatic human being on the whole planet - a man with no sense of compromise, a major temper problem, a control issues - leads to the obvious conclusion: this will be a disaster.

And it will be one more disaster that is owned entirely by George W. Bush.