Monday, February 28, 2005


That absurd ad that USA Next ran to trash AARP (below)? The one has an "X" through the picture of the soldier and checkmark next to the picture of the gay couple?

Well, the gay couple is suing.

And I hope that USA Next gets a piece taken out of their asses that their grandkids will feel.

Make him eat it.

This was in the Washington Post:

President Bush is still in the opening phase of a campaign to sell the public and Congress on his ambitious plans for Social Security, but some Republicans on Capitol Hill have decided it is not too early to begin pondering an exit strategy.

With polls showing widespread skepticism of Bush's proposed individual investment accounts and Democratic lawmakers expressing nearly uniform opposition, some allies of the president are focused on possible split-the-difference deals.

Now, this may sound like the Democrats are winning this debate, and they are. But why on EARTH would they cut a "split-the-difference" deal? Bush is trying to stuff something totally unpopular down America's throat. He has tied his reputation to a lead balloon.

No compromise - stuff it down HIS throat. Make him EAT privatization. Tie it around his neck like a stinking Republican albatross. This should be a ROUT, and I will be REALLY pissed if the Democrats "compromise in bipartisan fashion" with these extremist partisan clowns who ONLY try to cut deals when they are about to LOSE.

"Split-the difference," my ass.

Maureen Dowd

Maureen Dowd on Meet the Press:

RUSSERT: But in hindsight would you say that perhaps the war was the appropriate course?

DOWD: Well, I am old-fashioned. I think you actually have to tell the American people the truth before you go to war.


Here's the transcript

And here's the video

110 killed

The vote in Iraq was now almost a month ago. Are we allowed to point out that the violence in Iraq seems to be getting worse, not better? Or is that no longer considered properly patriotic?

Car Bomb Kills More Than 100 in Iraq
At Least 146 Wounded in Attack

It's called torture

The question is - what does it take for the press to actually act as though it was important?

From Bob Herbert:

As a nation, does the United States have a conscience? Or is anything and everything O.K. in post-9/11 America? If torture and the denial of due process are O.K., why not murder? When the government can just make people vanish - which it can, and which it does - where is the line that we, as a nation, dare not cross?...

Mr. Arar was not charged with anything, and yet he was deprived not only of his liberty, but of all legal and human rights. He was handed over in shackles to the Syrian government and, to no one's surprise, promptly brutalized. A year later he emerged, and still no charges were lodged against him. His torturers said they were unable to elicit any link between Mr. Arar and terrorism. He was sent back to Canada to face the torment of a life in ruins.

Mr. Arar's is the case we know about. How many other individuals have disappeared at the hands of the Bush administration? How many have been sent, like the victims of a lynch mob, to overseas torture centers? How many people are being held in the C.I.A.'s highly secret offshore prisons? Who are they and how are they being treated? Have any been wrongly accused? If so, what recourse do they have?

President Bush spent much of last week lecturing other nations about freedom, democracy and the rule of law. It was a breathtaking display of chutzpah. He seemed to me like a judge who starves his children and then sits on the bench to hear child abuse cases.

Sunday, February 27, 2005


I've got a GREAT idea! Let's make a holiday for Arabs! And let's make it the Jewish Sabbath instead of an Arab holy day.

Iraqis are complaining about their first-ever weekend break, and some high-school students even went to class Saturday to protest a decision introducing a second weekly day off that coincides with the Jewish Sabbath.

It's not that the Iraqis do not want time off — they just want the extra day moved to Thursday.

"We don't want Saturday! It's a Jewish holiday!" students chanted as they marched in protest last week to the governor's office in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.

A high-school student pulled out a hand grenade and started waving it, and police fired into the air to disperse the crowd. At least three students reportedly were injured in the ensuing scuffle.

This is precisely the same mentality that decided it would be a great ideaa to put Israeli colors in the new Iraqi flag.

What sort of fucking idiot tries to unilaterally impose sweeping changes on an entire alien society - without actually bothering to learn a single blessed thing about that society first?

They actually think that every fart emanating from their nether regions is the stuff of profundity.

If they just flipped a frigging coin, they'd be right half the time. Instead, they are batting 0-for-life, and using nothing but their own natural-born brains.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Get educated

Why are the American People opposed to Bush's Social Security "plan"?

According to the Republicans, it's because (ready?) George W. Bush hasn't educated us.

"It's a heavy lift," Mr. Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said Friday, after a week spent crisscrossing his home state to host 17 town-hall-style meetings. He said the sessions ended "without my getting much of a consensus of where people are, except general confusion," and with the president still facing "a major job of educating people."

Thank you, Mr Grassley, but I prefer to have teachers who have actually read at least two books in their lives, and who are able to speak their native language.

Friday, February 25, 2005

One day, Mother, I too shall catblog!

The Noble Festus

The Smushified Lulu

The Pillowish Jenny

The Nefarious Dot

Republican Dictionary

socialism n. when employees take advantage of the free market.

Russian Free Press

Actually, their press sounds freer than ours. Can you imagine one of OUR reporters doing this?

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Incensed by U.S. talk of a lack of press freedom in Russia, two Russian reporters tried to turn the tables on President Bush during his summit news conference with Vladimir Putin Thursday.

After Bush said he had raised concerns about Russia's democracy in talks with the Russian president and felt reassured, he suddenly found himself on the defensive.

"What is that lack of freedom all about?" a reporter from the Russian news agency Interfax asked the U.S. president.

Before Bush could answer, the reporter then turned on Putin and demanded to know why he was not sticking up for Russian reporters by talking about violations of the rights of American journalists.

In America, any journalist who demanded to his face that Bush take responsibility for ANYTHING would be denied all access in the future.

Liberal Media

From Salon:

Ordinarily, revelations that a former male prostitute, using an alias (Jeff Gannon) and working for a phony news organization, was ushered into the White House -- without undergoing a full-blown security background check -- in order to pose softball questions to administration officials would qualify as news by any recent Beltway standard. Yet as of Thursday, ABC News, which produces "Good Morning America," "World News Tonight With Peter Jennings," "Nightline," "This Week," "20/20" and "Primetime Live," has not reported one word about the three-week-running scandal. Neither has CBS News ("The Early Show," "The CBS Evening News," "60 Minutes," "60 Minutes Wednesday" and "Face the Nation"). NBC and its entire family of morning, evening and weekend news programs have addressed the story only three times. Asked about the lack of coverage, a spokesperson for ABC did not return calls seeking comment, while a CBS spokeswoman said executives were unavailable to discuss the network's coverage."


How Bush's critics always recant like zombies.

By Jonathan Chiat

Bi-Partisan Republicanism

Democrats were encouraged by Specter's comments [about hesitating to end the filibuster rule], saying he recognized the role the Constitution envisions for Senate in providing advice on lifetime judicial nominations.

Yet some Republicans privately voiced concerns, with one Senate aide saying Specter "provided the enemy aid and comfort." - AP

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Revocation of Independence - The reply

In the interest of equal time and fairness (and you know I always believe in equal time and fairness), here is a reply to John Cleese's Notice of Revocation of Independence (mentioned below).

Thanks to Houston W. for bringing it to my attention.

Hunter S. Thompson

From Kingdom of Fear:

Let's face it, the yo-yo president of the U.S.A. knows nothing. He is a dunce. He does what he is told to do, says what he is told to say, poses the way he is told to pose. He is a fool.

No. Nonsense. The president cannot be a Fool. Not at this moment in time, when the last living vestiges of the American Dream are on the line. This is not the time to have a bogus rich kid in charge of the White House.

Which is, after all, our house. That is our headquarters, it is where the heart of America lives. So if the president lies and acts giddy about other people's lives, if he wantonly and stupidly endorses mass murder by definition, a loud and meaningless animal with no functional intelligence and no balls.

To say this goofy child president is looking more and more like Richard Nixon in the summer of 1974 would be a flagrant insult to Nixon.

Whoops! Did I say that? Is it even vaguely possible that some New Age Republican whore-beast of a false president could actually make Richard Nixon look like a Liberal?

The capacity of these vicious assholes we elected to be in charge of our lives for four years to commit terminal damage to our lives and our souls and our loved ones is far beyond Nixon's. Shit! Nixon was the creator of many of the once-proud historical landmarks that these dumb bastards are savagely destroying now: the Clean Air Act of 1970; Campaign Finance Reform; the endangered species act; a Real-Politik dialogue with China; and on and on.

The prevailing quality of life in America-by any accepted methods of measuring-was inarguably freer and more politically open under Nixon than it is today in this evil year of our Lord 2002.

The Boss was a certified monster who deserved to be impeached and banished. He was a truthless creature of former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, a foul human monument to corruption and depravity on a scale that dwarfs any other public official in American history. But Nixon was at least smart enough to understand why so many honorable patriotic U.S. citizens despised him.

He was a Liar. The truth was not in him.

Nixon believed, as he said many times, that if the president of the United States does it, it can't be illegal. But Nixon never understood the much higher and meaner truth of Bob Dylan's warning that "To live outside the law you must be honest."

The difference between an outlaw and a war criminal is the difference between a pedophile and a Pederast: The pedophile is a person who thinks about sexual behavior with children, and the Pederast does these things. He lays hands on innocent children, he penetrates them and changes their lives forever.

Being the object of a pedophile's warped affections is a Routine feature of growing up in America, and being a victim of a Pederast's crazed "love" is part of dying. Innocence is no longer an option. Once penetrated, the child becomes a Queer in his own mind, and that is not much different than murder.

Richard Nixon crossed the line when he began murdering foreigners in the name of "family values"- and George Bush crossed it when he sneaked into office and began killing brown skinned children in the name of Jesus and the American people.
When Muhammad Ali declined to be drafted and forced to kill "gooks" in Vietnam he said, "I ain't got nothin' against them Viet Cong. No Cong ever called me Nigger." I agreed with him, according to my own personal ethics and values. He was right.
If we all had a dash of Muhammad Ali's eloquent courage, this country and the world would be a better place today because of it. Okay. That's it for now. Read it and weep....

See you tomorrow, folks. You haven't heard the last of me. I am the one who speaks for the spirit of freedom and decency in you. Shit. Somebody has to do it. We have become a Nazi monster in the eyes of the whole world- a nation of bullies and bastards who would rather kill than live peacefully. We are not just Whores for power and oil, but killer whores with hate and fear in our hearts. We are human scum, and that is how history will judge us... No redeeming social value. Just whores. Get out of our way, or we'll kill you.

Well, shit on that dumbness. George W. Bush does not speak for me or my son or my mother or my friends or the people I respect in this world. We didn't vote for these cheap, greedy little killers who speak for America today- and we will not vote for them again in 2002. Or 2004. Or ever.

Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads? Who among us can be happy and proud of having all this innocent blood on our hands? Who are these swine? These flag-sucking half-wits who get fleeced and fooled by stupid little rich kids like George Bush? They are the same ones who wanted to have Muhammad Ali locked up for refusing to kill "gooks". They speak for all that is cruel and stupid and vicious in the American character. They are racists and hate mongers among us-they are the Ku Klux Klan.

I piss down the throats of these Nazis. And I am too old to worry about whether they like it or not.

Fuck them.


"They [AARP] are the boulder in the middle of the highway to personal savings accounts," said Charlie Jarvis, the president of USA Next, a conservative lobbying group. "We will be the dynamite that removes them." He sounded more like Wile E. Coyote than a former interior official in the Reagan and Bush I administrations.


Is that German for "Bush"?

Heh. Nice name for a nuclear reactor project.

President Vladimir Putin last week cleared the way for the $1 billion Russian-built Bushehr reactor project to go ahead when he said he was sure that Tehran -- branded part of an "axis of evil" by Washington -- had no plans to make atomic arms.

Bush doesn't seem to realize that other people will pursue THEIR best interests, not his. It would be bad for HIM if Russia helped Iran with nuclear materials - and he actually thinks Russia will give that much consideration. But he doesn't seem to understand that he has to give Russia a reason not to. It can't just be a P.R. offensive. You have to bring something pragmatic to the table. Once you leave the United States, backslapping and pretending to be a cowboy stops impressing people.

Russia is helping Iran because it makes economic sense. Money. Which is - let's face it - the justification for approximately 92.6% of all United States foreign policy. But Bush doesn't get that he would do the same thing if he was Vladimir Putin.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The other Gates Exhibit

Off the politics for a moment:

If you are a New Yorker who would like get Central Park back from the Giant Orange Things,

check out the other Gates Exhibit.

Action Alert

Copied whole from AMERICAblog

Tell your US Senators to sign the Durbin letter about Gannon

by John in DC - 2/23/2005 01:27:00 PM

I'm reposting this because it's important (please share this info on other blogs, post it as your own alert, I don't care). Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is asking his colleagues in the US Senate to join him in sending a letter to President Bush demanding an investigation of the entire Gannon affair.

This is EXCELLENT. This is newsworthy. Why? Because Durbin is the #2 guy in the Senate Democratic leadership, he's the next in line after Harry Reid. If he is doing this, it means the Democratic leadership is jumping on the Gannon issue.

How can you help?

Durbin is now circulating the letter to other Senate offices, asking them to add their signatures. The Republicans likely won't, though some mods just might. The Dems hopefully will, though some troublemakers might not.


Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to contact your two Senators NOW and urge them to "sign Senator Durbin's 'Dear Colleague' letter about Jeff Gannon, the fake GOP journalist who was wrongfully given access to the White House."

Find your Senators' contact info here - call and email them. Please call the Senators from your home state, and let them know what town you live in, so they know that you really are a constituent. And be nice, as always.
"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous. And having said that, all options are on the table." —President Bush, Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 22, 2005

It WOULD be funny if only he wasn't a dangerous maniac.


Rick Santorum (R-Fecal Matter), a senator so thoroughly disgusting that his name has become slang for something thoroughly disgusting (thanks to the efforts of Dan Savage), had a Social Security event. I'm sorry I wasn't there because it sounds like it was great fun in a way that the Foul Senator hadn't intended it to be. From MyDD:

Outside the hall before the event, Philly DFA began chanting "Hey-hey, ho-ho, Riock Santorum has got to go!" Local college Republicans, who are just about the only Republicans in West Philly, responded with a chant that beautifully was captured live by CNN: "hey-hey, ho-ho, Social Security has got to go!" I love it when the other side does your campaigning for you!

Inside the hall, the biggest applause line of the event was generated early on when Santorum asked a rhetorical question about demographics and funding: "what happens in 2008?" Before he could answer his own question, someone shouted "Bush leaves office," and the room went wild.

Enough Rope

The totally over-the-top attempt to demonize AARP (below) may have been a gross miscalculation on the part of the Rove Smear Machine. Here is AARP's Reponse.

From the people who brought you the Swift Boat veterans campaign against John Kerry in 2004 comes "consultants to orchestrate attacks on AARP" as reported in the New York Times and reprinted online elsewhere.

These anti-AARP efforts are rooted in neoconservative ideology. Charles Jarvis is president USA Next and was deputy secretary for the interior in the Reagan and first Bush administrations. The true motives of these anti-AARP efforts are clear in this quote from him:

They [AARP] are the boulder in the middle of the highway to personal savings accounts. We will be the dynamite that removes them.

AARP calls your attention to these efforts because media coverage is clear about the aggressive tone of the language. We question why neoconservatives would choose these tactics.

And Steve Soto has some fine suggestions about how the Democrats should respond. What would happen if Democrats played the political game like Republicans? (read his whole thing.)

First, if he hasn’t done so already, AARP Chief Executive Officer Bill Novelli needs to call Karl Rove and demand that the White House condemn the ad and the tactics of the USAN. Of course Rove will not do this, and Novelli should tell Rove that failure to do this will be interpreted by the AARP as a sign that the White House supports and was a partner in this smear and in future smears.

Second, the AARP should do a press conference after the call to Rove for two reasons: first, they should show the despicable ad to the media and point out to what lengths Bush’s supporters will go to smear the AARP; secondly Novelli should reveal at the press conference that he has demanded the White House repudiate the ad and the USAN smear campaign, and has received no such repudiation from the White House. As a result, Novelli should tell the media that the AARP will assume the White House supports this smear.

Third, after this press conference, Howard Dean should have a press conference whereby he calls on Ken Mehlman at the RNC to repudiate the ad and the smear of the USAN by the end of the day. Dean can then also say that the DNC will be watching to see if the RNC does in fact repudiate this ad and smear, and if the RNC does not do so, the DNC will assume that the RNC plans to engage in the worst kind of politics to support the privatization of Social Security. Dean can then remind the media that such a smear seems amazing given that it was revealed just last week that the White House and RNC worked to get a gay prostitute past the White House security system into the press pool to participate in a disinformation campaign against the American people.


Somebody actually gets it

For how much longer will these guys be able to pretend that the "media is [sic] liberal"?

If America's mainstream media were as liberal as conservatives claim we are, we would be ballyhooing the fiasco of James D. Guckert, aka Jeff Gannon, with page-one banner headlines and hourly bulletins.

Sure, Guckert-gate may seem like a tempest in a teapot, at first. But so did the Whitewater land development deal. Yet, conservative commentators and editorialists, aided by their allies in Congress, rode that Arkansas pony until it ended far afield of a land deal and the impeachment of a president for lying about sex.

Imagine, then, how the conservative choir would sing out at this point if a Democratic White House knocked long-tenured journalists off its pressroom access lists so that it could give access to a fellow like Guckert, who dependably asks softball questions because he reports for a partisan Web site that supports the administration.

Meet the new boss

Okay, so now we know who is going to be running things in Iraq. Ibrahim Jaafari. He is considered a moderate within his own group. What is his group? These lunatics:

"Twenty-one years ago an Iraqi exile crashed a General Motors truck full of propane and the explosive hexogen through the gates of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait and detonated his deadly load, killing five and injuring 37.

In the hour that followed, four other bombs exploded in Kuwait City, one at the French Embassy, wounding many more.

Those explosions were among a series of terrorist attacks carried out in the 1980s by the Iranian-based Dawa (Call), a radical Islamic group whose current leader, Ibrahim Jaafari, was designated yesterday to become prime minister of Iraq."

So we got rid of Hussein, and replaced him with a guy who represents the more moderate wing of a group of fundamentalist suicide bombers. Fundamentalist suicide bombers who are closely allied with those wonderful folks in Iran.

How great.

Maybe Bush's real agenda is simply the spread of fundamentalism, and he doesn't even care which religion it represents as long as it's appropriately intolerant.

Hey, it would explain a lot.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Satire is dead

When this is part of the real world:

It's not a joke - it's the actual ad they are using to go after AARP on the American Spectator website.

The AARP hates the troops and loves gay marriage. Who knew?


Sunday, February 20, 2005

Mahr roasts Gannon

onegoodmove has a video of Bill Mahr on the Gannon thing, featuring Robin Williams, Joe Biden and Leslie Stahl. This is absolutely hysterical. Go to the site and click on the Quicktime link to see the video.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Liberal Media

You know how Liberal the mainstream media, especially that commie CBS, right?


A Media Matters for America analysis of CBS Evening News broadcasts since the November 2, 2004, presidential election found that the program featured Republicans and conservatives more often than Democrats and progressives.

CBS Evening News segments on political topics broadcast between November 3, 2004, and February 17, 2005, featured 65 clips of Democratic officials or commentators representing progressive organizations and 83 clips of Republican officials or commentators representing conservative organizations. These figures do not include clips of President Bush, which were featured on 40 Evening News episodes.

The next question

Once you know that the person receiving special favors from the White House is a hooker, the next question is obvious. Isn't it?

So how come nobody is asking it?

How come the press seems afraid of this story?

Friday, February 18, 2005

Election Reform

Senators Hillary Clinton and John Kerry are sponsoring a bill calling for election reform. The bill calls for:

- Election Day being made a Federal Holiday.
- Allowing ex-felons the right to vote
- Requiriing paper receipts for votes.
- Authorizing $500 million to help states make the changes in voting systems and equipment.
- Requiring adoption of the changes in time for the 2006 election.

As far as I can tell, alllowing ex-felons to vote (which I agree with) is the only provision that should be even slightly controversial.

So let's get on it, and when opposition arises, ask the right-wingers why they oppose accurate elections.

Just another day in Bush's Gulag.

Not only is torture widespread, but we don't know HOW widespread it is, because they destroyed evidence.

An Iraqi prisoner stated U.S. forces beat him with a baseball bat, broke his nose and dislocated his arms, then coerced him to drop an abuse claim to gain his release, Army files made public on Friday showed.

In another case, U.S troops in Afghanistan posed for photos of mock executions with hooded and bound prisoners, but other pictures depicting abuse were destroyed to avert another public embarrassment after the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal surfaced in April 2004, the files stated.

"These documents provide more evidence that abuse was not localized or aberrational, but was widespread and systemic. They also provide further evidence that at least in some cases the government is not aggressively investigating credible allegations of abuse," ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer said.

An Iraqi taken into U.S. custody in Tikrit when his house was raided in September 2003 said Americans, some in civilian clothing, beat him repeatedly, one file showed.

He stated Americans struck him in the head with a rifle, beat him in the stomach, smacked his leg with a baseball bat, dislocated his arms, stepped on his nose and broke it, shoved an unloaded pistol in his mouth and pulled the trigger, and choked him with a rope.


Iraq. Afghanistan. Guantanamo. Same stuff, same tactics, same stories. Three different places.

Are we actually supposed to believe that orders to do this didn't come from someone who is overseeing all three places?

Are we supposed to believe that many different soldiers in widely disparate places all adopted the same tactics independently? Tactics that NEVER have been associated with America before?

Are we supposed to believe that that's just a coincidence?

"Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.- Jesus of Nazareth (John 3:20)
"Defense is a lot broader than swaggering around saying you're going to kick Saddam's butt." - Howard Dean

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Let's play politics

Bush is willing to play politics with your LIFE.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge met privately with Republican pollsters twice in a 10-day span last spring as he embarked on more than a dozen trips to presidential battleground states, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.

Ridge's get-togethers with Republican strategists Frank Luntz and Bill McInturff during a period the secretary was saying his agency was playing no role in Bush's re-election campaign were revealed in daily appointment calendars obtained by the AP under the Freedom of Information Act.

"We don't do politics in the Department of Homeland Security," Ridge told reporters during the election season.

His aides resisted releasing the calendars for over a year, finally providing them to the AP three days after Ridge left office this month.

What total scumbags.

Nothing they do surprises me anymore. They have no morals or decency whatsoever.

How much will YOU lose?

Here is an online calculator that shows how much you will receive if Social Security is left alone, compare to how much you will receive if Bush gets his way.

It isn't pretty.
"North Korea has declared they have nuclear weapons, saying they need them to protect themselves from a hostile United States. President Bush said today North Korea has nothing to fear from America. He said 'don't these people understand we only attack countries that don't have weapons of mass destruction.'" —Jay Leno

A Cause for Extremists

Bush's own hand-picked head of the CIA knows that Bush's insanity has done the terrorists a favor.

Islamic militants waging a deadly insurgency against U.S.-led forces in Iraq pose an emerging international terrorism threat, CIA Director Porter Goss said on Wednesday...

"The Iraq conflict, while not a cause of extremism, has become a cause for extremists," Goss told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

The only ones who don't seem (emphasis on "seem") to know it are Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

But Cheney actually DOES know it, and doesn't care, because the Iraqi War is making his cronies lots and lots of money.

Rumsfeld knows it, and doesn't care, because blowing things up makes him feel strong.

BUSH doesn't know it. And that's because he intentionally REFUSES to know it.

And that's who we have in charge: the greedy, the violent, and the wilfully ignorant.

And it's a scary thing when their interests merge.

A Cause for Extremists

Bush's own hand-picked head of the CIA knows that Bush's insanity has done the terrorists a favor.

Islamic militants waging a deadly insurgency against U.S.-led forces in Iraq pose an emerging international terrorism threat, CIA Director Porter Goss said on Wednesday...

"The Iraq conflict, while not a cause of extremism, has become a cause for extremists," Goss told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

The only ones who don't seem (emphasis on "seem") to know it are Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

But Cheney actually DOES know it, and doesn't care, because the Iraqi War is making his cronies lots and lots of money.

Rumsfeld knows it, and doesn't care, because blowing things up makes him feel strong.

BUSH doesn't know it. And that's because he intentionally REFUSES to know it.

And that's who we have in charge: the greedy, the violent, and the wilfully ignorant.

And it's a scary thing when their interests merge.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

"Imagine the media explosion if a male escort had been discovered operating as a correspondent in the Clinton White House. Imagine that he was paid by an outfit owned by Arkansas Democrats and had been trained in journalism by James Carville. Imagine that this gentleman had been cultivated and called upon by Mike McCurry or Joe Lockhart—or by President Clinton himself. Imagine that this "journalist" had smeared a Republican Presidential candidate and had previously claimed access to classified documents in a national-security scandal.

Then imagine the constant screaming on radio, on television, on Capitol Hill, in the Washington press corps —and listen to the placid mumbling of the "liberal" media now." - Joe Conason

Oh, this is nice.

Some folks wanted to thank Senator Barbara Boxer for courageously taking the stands that she has taken recently.

So they sent her 375 dozen roses.

There a letter of thanks from her at the link.

By the way, while we are on the subject, you might want to check out MadKane's "President Boxer" webpage.

Come clean

Josh Marshall makes a terrific point regarding Social Security:

"When you brush away all the legislative gobbledygook and beltway jockeying, you have a president who wants to put what is probably the most popular government program in American history under the knife and he won't even say what he wants to do to it.

Shouldn't his critics just be saying over and over: level with the public. Tell them what you want to do to Social Security."

Howsabout we write our Congresspeople and ask them to belabor this very point?

Don't Worry, Kyoto (Bushie's only looking for his hand in the snow)

Ok - so Kyoto is in effect, but it won;t actually do much because we have refused to sign on to it.

"Seven years after it was negotiated, the Kyoto global warming pact went into force Wednesday — imposing limits on emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that many scientists blame for warmer temperatures, melting glaciers and rising oceans.

The United States, the world’s largest emitter of such gases, has refused to ratify the agreement, saying it would harm the economy and is flawed by the lack of restrictions on emissions by emerging economies China and India."

You stupid, short-sighted imbeciles - The State of Florida being under water would hurt the economy, too. Duh.

Let's see - what do you have if you have superpower that believes that it has no need of the rest of the world, and can maintain its hegemony purely by military might?

So it runs giant debts in order to build up its own military might, while neglecting everything else?

You have the Soviet Union, that's what you have.


We have no money at all for helping to make sick people get wel, but tons of cash to spend on this horseshit. Nick Kristof:

"You see, for all the carnage in President Bush's budget, one program is being showered with additional cash - almost three times as much as it got in 2001. It's "abstinence only" sex education, and the best research suggests that it will cost far more lives than the Clinton administration's much more notorious sex scandal.

Mr. Bush means well. But "abstinence only" is a misnomer that in practice is an assault on sex education itself. There's a good deal of evidence that the result will not be more young rosy-cheeked virgins - it will be more pregnancies, abortions, gonorrhea and deaths from AIDS....

But abstinence-only education isn't primarily about promoting abstinence - it's about blindly refusing to teach contraception."

Our country is in the hands of blind ideologues without an ounce of sense.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Here's a note from Howard Dean, the new Chairman of the Democratic Party, which popped up in my email. I'm posting it here in case you didn't get one:

Your new job.

You run this party.

On Saturday, I was honored when your representatives on the Democratic National Committee elected me Chairman. And I can't wait to get started. But when they voted, it wasn't about me -- they were voting for a plan for the future of our party.

That plan came from people like you -- from conversations I had with ordinary Democrats across the country. When those 447 people voted in Washington this weekend, they united around that plan.

Now I'm asking you to do the same. Those 447 people were a good start, but make no mistake -- I know that this is also your party. And our plan to reform the party can only become a reality with your endorsement.

Please read our plan -- and commit to making it a reality:

Your representatives in the DNC mandated bottom-up reform -- growing the Democratic Party in your neighborhood and every other community in America. They voted to compete in every state for every level of office. And they demanded a Democratic Party that stands up for itself and for an agenda that reflects our values.

They didn't elect me because they think I can accomplish these things. They elected me because I believe that only you can.

Every single one of us must take responsibility for building our party. It's not enough to simply vote for Democrats -- in order to win, every one of us must deliver our message and values into our own community.

That means changing the way we do business, and that's what this plan is about:

The Republicans' biggest victory has been to convince many Democrats that we can only win by abandoning our values and doing what they say.

It's one of their favorite tactics -- just watch how right-wing pundits talk endlessly about the internal politics of our party. They try to divide Democrats by ideology just as they divide all Americans by race or gender or faith.

But there is no crisis of ideology in the Democratic Party, only a crisis of confidence. Bill Clinton once described the Democratic Party's problems in the era of George W. Bush, saying that in uncertain times people would rather have a leader who is strong and wrong than weak and right.

He's exactly right. And we become both weak and wrong when we abandon our core values for short-term political gain. But when we Democrats talk straight and stand up for ourselves, we have a huge advantage: We are both strong and right.

We will only turn that advantage into victory if we make a concrete plan and work hard to execute it. Declare your support and offer feedback now on the plan to build an organization that will help us win everywhere, and win with pride:

Millions of Americans became Democrats last year. They sensed that they live in a society where ordinary people's problems and interests don't matter to our government. They chose the Democratic Party because we represent commonsense reform.

And millions more will become Democrats this year as we protect the Democratic Party's greatest achievement. We will not allow George Bush to phase out Social Security -- a Democratic policy that cured an epidemic of poverty among seniors and provides the guarantee of retirement with dignity.

Most importantly, millions of Democrats have become true stakeholders in our party. With grassroots action and small-dollar donations, you have taken our party's future into your own hands.

The stakes are too high to wait for others to lead. Every one of us has a personal responsibility for the future of our party -- and the future of our country.

This isn't my chairmanship -- it is ours. So let's get to work together.

Support the troops

Some American former prisoners of war have been awarded $1 billion compensation from Iraq by a Federal judge.

And Bush is trying to screw them out of it.

The Bush administration is fighting the former prisoners of war in court, trying to prevent them from collecting nearly $1 billion from Iraq that a federal judge awarded them as compensation for their torture at the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime....

"It seems so strange to have our own country fighting us on this," said retired Air Force Col. David W. Eberly, the senior officer among the former POWs.

"No amount of money can truly compensate these brave men and women for the suffering that they went through at the hands of this very brutal regime and at the hands of Saddam Hussein," White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan told reporters when asked about the case in November 2003.

So that exactly what the Bushies are trying to make sure they get - no amount of money.

Now watch the right-wingers and Bushites attack and vilify these former POWs. As they attack ANY soldier who makes Bush look bad.

Star War Update: Luke is screwed.

85 million bucks for a single test - down the toilet.

President Bush's planned ballistic missile shield suffered another setback on Monday when an interceptor missile again failed to launch during a test of the U.S. missile defense system.

And they plan to spend 50 billion dollars more on this over the next five years.

Remember - before September 11, 2001, this crew defunded spending on terrorism in order to spend it on reviving Star Wars.

And when Congress proposed taking 600 million dollars from Rumsfeld's Missile Defense Program and using it for antiterror programs instead (two days before the attack - on September 9th, 2001, believe it or not) Rumsfeld blew a gasket and threatened a Presidential veto.

And - typical of these clowns - the attack that occurred two days later actually didn't convince them that their priorities had been wrong and that they should have been focusing on terrorism instead of Star Wars. Being a Bushite means never having to say your sorry. And abject failure does NOT mean that you made a mistake. It just means you have to shift the rationale for your course of action - not the course of action itself. So they made 9/11 the EXCUSE - and kept focusing on Star Wars.

And 3 1/2 years later, Bush is still pouring money into that useless hole.

Monday, February 14, 2005

82 billion

82 billion MORE dollars that he doesn't actually account for.

President Bush asked Congress on Monday to provide $81.9 billion more for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and for other U.S. efforts overseas, shoving the total price tag for the conflicts and anti-terror fight past $300 billion....

Bush asked lawmakers to pay for the new spending by borrowing the money — which will make huge federal deficits even larger.

As usual, Bush wants gigantic sums of money, but DOESN'T WANT TO INCLUDE IT IN THE BUDGET.

More borrowing. God forbid that this administration pay for its own stinking war. That would actually require responsibility. So let's just keep piling up debt until the country crumbles under the weight. What the hey, it probably won't happen till after Bush is out of office, so why should he give a crap?

And when it happens, these bastards will blame Clinton.

Lie and lie again.

By Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration.

What do you do when, instead of being greeted with flowers, you find your army is tied down by insurgents and you have no face-saving way to get out of the morass? If you are the moronic Bush administration, you blame someone else...

The Bush administration, which already held the world record as the most deluded government in history, has now taken denial to unprecedented highs by blaming Syria and Iran for its "Iraqi problem." Why didn't Americans realize that it is dangerous to put a buffoon in charge of the US government who hasn't a clue about the world around him, what he is doing or the consequences of his actions?

Read the whole thing.

The media are idiots

On February 9th, CNN ran an aerial photo of a suspected nuke site in Iran.

One February 12th, they ran an aerial photo of a suspected nuke site in North Korea.

They were the same photo. Or at least two different photos of the same damned place.

It is unbelievable how totally unreliable the American news has become.

Oh, for a healthy religious left.

Via the Gutless Pacifist(a must-read blog for religious lefties, by the way).

An interfaith group including several major Christian denomination is issuing an official statement regarding the fundamental immorality espoused in the proposed Bush Budget. It includes a link for a letter to be sent to Congress.

"More and more faith leaders are lining up to oppose the budget plans presented this week by George W. Bush. Today a group of interfaith organizations released the following statement calling on our leaders in Washington, DC to adopt a moral budget that protects God's creation and the least of these among us. Take a few minutes to read it and then send your own message to Congress. Without the active role of people of faith our health care system, schools, affordable housing projects, and environmental protections will all be cut to pay for tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest Americans. God calls us to do better."


Good move, George.

How long will it be be before America finally notices that everything Bush touches turns to shit?

We spent billions of dollars, tens of thousands of lives, hundreds of thousands of arms, legs, lungs and eyes (and yes, I actually DO have the nerve to count the Iraqi dead among the losses), and to do WHAT? Give Iran a new ally in the Middle East and install an Islamic Theocracy.

When the Bush administration decided to invade Iraq two years ago, it envisioned a quick handover to handpicked allies in a secular government that would be the antithesis of Iran's theocracy -- potentially even a foil to Tehran's regional ambitions.

But, in one of the greatest ironies of the U.S. intervention, Iraqis instead went to the polls and elected a government with a strong religious base -- and very close ties to the Islamic republic next door. It is the last thing the administration expected from its costly Iraq policy -- $300 billion and counting, U.S. and regional analysts say.

Here's the graphic from the Washington Post:

See the guy on the bottom? That's the guy Bush wanted to win. See the guy on the top? That's Iran's closest ally in Iraq.

I love this quote from the article:

Added Rami Khouri, Arab analyst and editor of Beirut's Daily Star: "The idea that the United States would get a quick, stable, prosperous, pro-American and pro-Israel Iraq has not happened. Most of the neoconservative assumptions about what would happen have proven false."

Correction: Every damned ONE of them has proven false, and these clowns STILL refuse to admit that they ever made a mistake in their whole, error-ridden lives.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

"Back on September 11, terrorists attacked our metropolitan cores, two of America's great cities. They did that because they knew that was where they could do the most damage and weaken us the most. Years later, we are given a budget proposal by our commander in chief, the president of the United States. And with a budget ax, he is attacking America's cities. He is attacking our metropolitan core." - Martin O'Malley, Mayor of Baltimore

Friday, February 11, 2005


McClellan admitted that he knew Gannon was using a fake name. It had to be dragged out of him, but he admitted it.

From yesterday's press gaggle.

Q. Jeff Gannon. How did he get a White House pass, or what kind of credentials did he have?
MR. McCLELLAN: Just like anyone else who comes to the White House.
Q Hard pass?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, he had never applied for a hard pass. He had a daily pass. I think he's been coming for --
Q Was he coming for --
MR. McCLELLAN: Hang on. I think he's been coming for more than two years now.
Q Under what name?
Q Under what name?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, you have to get cleared. You have to -- just like anybody else that comes to the White House, you have to have your full name, your Social Security number and your birth date. So you have to be cleared just like anybody else.
Q So he was being cleared under James Guckert, or whatever his name is?
MR. McCLELLAN: My understanding, yes.
Q Okay, and how did he get picked to get a question asked at the last news conference?
MR. McCLELLAN: He didn't. The President didn't have a list. The President didn't -- he was in the briefing room. There are assigned seats in the briefing room. We didn't do any assigning of seats, and the President worked his way through the rows, and called on people as he came to them. He doesn't know who he is.
Q Were you aware that he had another name?
MR. McCLELLAN: Was I aware? I had heard that. I had heard that, yes, recently.
Q But did you know during all this time that he really wasn't Jeff Gannon?
MR. McCLELLAN: I heard at some point, yes -- previously.

Condaliar men have named you

Of COURSE the story is in an Australian paper. God forbid the American Press actually do any reporting.

Remember when the Richard Clarke first said that he had warned the Bush administration of the Al Qaeda threat? And remember when the right-wingers called him every name in the book, and tried to cast aspersions on the state of his sanity, and said that one of the most trusted men ever to hold his position suddenly lacked credibility?

Well, they just declassified a memo. Clarke was telling the truth, and Rice was lying.

What a surprise.

January 25, 2001
FROM: Richard A. Clarke
SUBJECT: Presidential Policy Initiative/Review - The Al-Qida Network


Steve asked today that we propose major Presidential policy reviews or initiatives. We urgently need such a Principals level review on the al Qida network.

Just some Terrorist Group?

As we noted in our briefing for you, al Qida is not some narrow, little terrorist issue that needs to be included in broader regional policy. Rather, several of our regional policies need to address centrally the transnational challenge to the US and our interests posed by the al Qida network. By proceeding with separate policy reviews on Central Asia, the OCC, North Africa, etc. we would deal inadequately with the need for a comprehensive multi-regional policy on al Qida.

al Qida is the active, organized, major force that is using a distorted version of Islam as its vehicle to acheive two goals:

- to drive the US out of the Muslim world, forcing the withdrawal of our military and economic presence in countries from Morocco to Indonesia;

- the replace moderate, modern Western regime(sic) in Muslim countries with theocracies modeled along the lines of the Taliban.

Compare and Contrast:

"No al-Qaeda threat was turned over to the new administration". - Condoleezza Rice, March 22, 2004

"In the memorandum that Dick Clarke sent me on January 25th, he mentions sleeper cells. There is no mention or recommendation of anything that needs to be done about them." - Condoleezza Rice - April 8, 2004

Caught red-handed lying about what they know about an attack on America. Now, watch the "liberal media" ignore it. And watch the right-wingers defend it.

Loose Gannon

I haven't posted on the Jeff Gannon story because I really didn't give all that much of a crap at first. Or maybe I'm becoming unforgivably numb to the Bush-monster's need to manufacture the news. But the connection with Plame is another thing entirely. It's criminal, and the White House may have ordered it.

Can there be any serious question that Gannon was allowed into Bush's Daily Briefings for the sole purpose of asking phony softball questions? Can there be any serious question that his job was to shill for the White House?

How the hell ELSE did a phony reporter using a fake name get cleared to get into Bush's Daily Briefings? A "reporter" became part of the White House Press Corps without proper credentials and using a phony name - and we are we actually supposed to believe that it's a coincidence that he asked questions that came straight from Rush Limbaugh and GOP Talking Points? And it's a coincidence that Scott McClellan turn to him for a question whenever the heat became a little too hot?

And - most important - how the hell did he get access to classified CIA documents? Who gave them to him?

Media Matters has the whole thing.

Are there any OTHER plants in the White House Daily Briefings?

How the hell did he win?

"Adults were evenly divided on Bush's job performance in January, but now 54 percent disapprove and 45 percent approve. The number who think the country is headed down the wrong track increased from 51 percent to 58 percent in the past month."
- AP

He was just inaugurated, and has just had two weeks of almost uninterrupted positive coverage.

And his approval has dropped. Apparently, Social Security trumps Condi Rice and purple fingers.

Well - and maybe the fact that after all the to-do about the Iraqi election, the bombings and misery didn't slow down any.

When Bush's poll number start to fall, I get nervous. It makes him do shit that's even crazier than usual.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

EU says "EU!" to Rice

"The European Union said yesterday it was moving ahead with plans to lift an arms embargo on China despite hearing a raft of reservations from the new American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice." - The Independent

Wouldn't it be nice if we had a real press?

The coverage of Rice's trip in the U.S. has been totally obsequious. Reading it, you would think that the Europeans had NO CHOICE but to simply fall in love with this woman and kowtow to her amazing charms.

They just don't get it.

Outside of America, some things are actually more important than advertising. Like reality.

You can't insult people, dis them, and hold them up to public humiliation for the crime of disagreeing with you and being right - and then think you can fix it with a speech. Just because the American press refuses to ask hard questions, it doesn't mean that the REST of world stops asking hard questions. The American Media flooding the American airwaves with pre-digested, approved spin does NOT cause the rest of the world to stop thinking critically.

In SOME countries, reality trumps a PR offensive. The Bush White House doesn't reside in the Reality-Based Community. God knows that the American Media is downright hostile to the very idea that there IS such a thing as reality. Their whole BUSINESS is the business of manufacturing a false reality.

But in the rest of the world, war is NOT glorious just because enough ads say so. The spilling of blood does not become acceptable just because there are no pictures of it.

In the rest of the world, truth is truth and falsehood is falsehood, and press coverage can't make a lie the truth.

And once you've spent three years lying to people, they stop believing you.

That's reality.


Keith Richburg reported in The Washington Post that the Bushies ensured that Condi's appearance at the elite Institute of Political Sciences was more sheep pen than lion's den. "Only a handful of the school's 5,500 students were allowed near the auditorium where Rice spoke," he wrote, "and the initial questions were vetted in advance by the school and the State Department."

The article said Benjamin Barnier, the son of Foreign Minister Michel Barnier, asked the first question, about the possibility of a theocratic government in Iraq. But the real question he wanted to ask was vetoed after he submitted it to the school on Monday. It was: "George Bush is not particularly well perceived in the world, particularly in the Middle East. Can you do something to change that?"

Surely, the "princess warrior" and "Madame Hawk," as she has been dubbed in France, could have handled that one....

The administration is obsessed with controlling the script in ways it doesn't need to, while it drops the ball on controlling the script in ways it should. - Maureen Dowd

Americans are cheese-eating surrender monkeys

"The U.S. trade deficit soared to a record of $617.7 billion last year as Americans' appetite for all things foreign from crude oil to imported cars hit all-time highs. The United States even rang up a deficit in farm goods as imports of wine, cheese and other food products hit a record." - AP

And the falling dollar continues to fall.

But they aren't liars.

"Federal Aviation Administration officials received 52 warnings prior to Sept. 11, 2001, from their own security experts about potential al-Qaida attacks, including some that mentioned airline hijackings or suicide attacks, The New York Times reported." - AP

"There were no warnings." - Ari Fleischer, Bushian Mouthpiece.

No surprise

"North Korea on Thursday announced for the first time that it has nuclear arms and rejected moves to restart disarmament talks anytime soon, saying it needs the weapons as protection against an increasingly hostile United States." - AP

Bush has sent the world a message: You'd BETTER have nuclear weapons, or you may be the next Iraq.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. The world in arms is not spending money alone. It is the spending the sweat of its labourers, the genius of its scientists, the hope of its children." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

Defend Dean

I'm copying this whole from MyDD, because I don't want people to have to click the link to read it. If you are reading this blog, and you want to help, do this.

by Covin

The Republicans are preparing for a massive personal attack against Howard Dean after he becomes chairman of the Democratic National Committee. This is obviously an attempt to discredit the Democratic party as being "out of touch," which we all know is ridiculous bullshit.

While Howard prepares for this onslaught, we must help him by writing letters to local newspapers.

Get the good word out about Dean as soon as you can.

I apologize for the link-whoring and brevity of this post, but I feel that is important to spread the word considering what the Republican Noise Machine has done to Democrats before.

Fiscal Insanity

You know what may be the most amazing thing about Bush's "cut everything but the tax cuts" budget? It still doesn't do a damned thing about the deficit. The budget-from-the-asylum actually calls for a RECORD deficit - 427 billion dollars. And it runs a record deficit WITHOUT including Iraq, WITHOUT include Afghanistan, and of COURSE it doesn't include all the money he wants to spend for the privilege of destroying Social Security.

But it DOES include a proposal to borrow 170 billion dollars from the Social Security Trust Fund.

Gee, what an ODD way to show his concern for SS's future solvency. Dip into the trust fund.

And you know what's even more ridiculous? You COULD pay down the deficit just by rolling back those bloody tax cuts. Tax cuts that haven't done a damned THING to stimulate the economy.

But rather than having rich folks pay a reasonable amount toward the support of their own country, Bush wants to cut money for Veterans, for Farmers, for Cops, for Firemen, for Senior Citizens, the Children, the Poor, and the Enviroment. What's left? Puppies and kittens?

There ARE a few increases in Social spending in the budget, but look at the priorities:

There is a $304 million proposed increase to build Community Health Centers in "every poverty stricken county in the country." Ah. Sounds like a lot of money. But he wants to spend THREE TIMES that amount - 1 BILLION dollars - to build a SINGLE embassy building in Iraq.

A One Billion Dollar BUILDING.

While proposing less than one third of that to build what he claims will be DOZENS of Community Health Centers.

He want to spend tons of money on a single building in a foreign country, while spending one THIRD of that on something to help millions upon millions of sick, poor kids right here in America.

And that tells what this guy is really all about.

Why I've started to like Harry Reid

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid on Monday urged President Bush to stop the Republican National Committee from calling him an obstructionist and criticizing his Senate record, a tactic the GOP used to help defeat Reid's predecessor.

Bush repeatedly has said he wants work with Democrats, most recently during his State of the Union speech last week, Reid noted in a speech on the Senate floor.

"Why didn't he stand and tell the American people last Wednesday that one of the first items of business we were going to do in Washington is send out a hit piece on the Democratic leader?" Reid said.

Bush can't divorce himself from what the RNC is doing, Reid said.

The RNC "is the president's organization," Reid said. "He can't say one thing to the American people and then ... send out scurrilous letters saying that I'm a bad guy. In great detail. I mean, is President George Bush a man of his word?" - AP

Why I'm glad Howard Dean will be Chairman

"What I want to know is what in the world so many Democrats are doing supporting the President's unilateral intervention in Iraq?

"What I want to know is what in the world so many Democrats are doing supporting tax cuts, which have bankrupted this country and given us the largest deficit in the history of the United States?

"What I want to know is why the Congress is fighting over the Patient's Bill of Rights? The Patient's Bill of Rights is a good bill, but not one more person gets health insurance and it's not 5 cents cheaper.

"What I want to know is why the Democrats in Congress aren't standing up for us, joining every other industrialized country on the face of the Earth in providing health insurance for every man, woman and child in America.

"What I want to know is why so many folks in Congress are voting for the President's Education Bill-- "The No School Board Left Standing Bill"-- the largest unfunded mandate in the history of our educational system!

"As Paul Wellstone said-- as Sheila Kuehl said when she endorsed me? I am Howard Dean, and I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party. - Howard Dean

Monday, February 07, 2005

Please stop me before I talk again.

This is the leader of the free world talking, and it really has stopped being funny:

"Because the -- all which is on the table begins to address the big cost drivers. For example, how benefits are calculate, for example, is on the table; whether or not benefits rise based upon wage increases or price increases. There's a series of parts of the formula that are being considered. And when you couple that, those different cost drivers, affecting those -- changing those with personal accounts, the idea is to get what has been promised more likely to be -- or closer delivered to what has been promised.

"Does that make any sense to you? It's kind of muddled. Look, there's a series of things that cause the -- like, for example, benefits are calculated based upon the increase of wages, as opposed to the increase of prices. Some have suggested that we calculate -- the benefits will rise based upon inflation, as opposed to wage increases. There is a reform that would help solve the red if that were put into effect. In other words, how fast benefits grow, how fast the promised benefits grow, if those -- if that growth is affected, it will help on the red.

"Okay, better? I'll keep working on it."

Via Digby.

Cheney fesses up

And Josh Marshall noticed.

"We're going to borrow $758 [b]illion over the next 10 years to set up the personal retirement accounts. We think that's a manageable amount ... Trillions more after that," Cheney said, acknowledging that the personal accounts will help younger workers but will not solve all the problems of solvency.

They want to borrow trillions of dollars to do something that they admit won't solve the problem.

They only question is: why is the press treating this as a serious proposal instead of as the object of mockery that it so manifestly is?

Support the troops

Thanks for the leg; now give us your money.

"President Bush's budget would more than double the co-payment charged to many veterans for prescription drugs and would require some to pay a new fee of $250 a year for the privilege of using government health care, administration officials said Sunday."

What he said.

Chris Bowers is absolutely right.

They get letters

From an L.A. Times Letter to the Editor in support of the Chairmanship of Howard Dean:

"I am sick of the ignorant, corrupt, bullying, hypocritical liars who control the Republican Party and the country. I am sick of the GOP spin machines that distort every opposing view and portray even the idea of dissent as tantamount to treason.

I am sick of the media, which are either in the pocket of the Republicans or so cowed by right-wing bullies that they dare not raise their voices to oppose the policies of the Bush administration.

I am sick of policies that try to ram one party's view of religion down everyone else's throat, of the vilification of gays for political gain, and of immoral and unnecessary wars started on blatantly false pretenses. But most of all, I am sick of Democrats who do not have the courage to speak up against all of the many stupid and evil things that this administration has done, is doing and will continue to do as long as nobody calls them on it."

"One of the most politically sensitive targets on Bush's hit list is the government support program for farmers, which he wants to trim by $587 million in 2006 and by $5.7 billion over the next decade. Price supports would be reduced for a wide range of crops, from cotton and rice to corn, soybeans and wheat."

Hey, Red-Staters! Bush wants you to subsidize Northeastern financiers!

There they go again.

President Bush is sending Congress a $2.5 trillion spending plan, constrained by war and record deficits, that seeks to slash spending in a number of popular programs from farm subsidies to poor people's health care.

It's the Republican M.O. They intentionally bankrupt the government, and then say, "Gee, we just don't have enough money for all those nasty social programs that we've always hated and have been trying to get rid of for decades. What a coincidence."

So they are trying to take from the poor, the sick and the old, and hand the money over to those who already have more than they could possibly use.

While pretending to be Christians.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Liberal media

The AP Headline says:

Dean's Bid to Lead Dems Gets Mixed Views

The article, written by Will Lester, says:

"Some Democrats worry about the image Dean projects: anti-war Northeastern liberal from Vermont, the state that led the way on civil unions for gays. Amid all the talk of values, Democrats wonder if Dean would be an albatross as they try to make inroads with conservative-leaning voters in the South and Midwest."

But - strangely - it does not contain a single actual quote or a single actual name from ANY Democrat who actually said that, or said anything negative about Dean whatsoever.

And note that the above paragraph sounds like the caricature of liberals one hears on Rush Limbaugh. "Anti-war Northeastern Liberal."

I'd be willing to bet that some Republican TOLD Will Lester that "Some Democrats worry about the image Dean projects" and Lester dutifully repeated it what the Republicans told him to say.

The Emperor's New Hump

"The New York Times killed a story that could have changed the election — because it could have changed the election."

Or - the Liberal Media Strikes Again.


One has nothing to do with the other

February 2nd:

"Justice is distorted, and our economy is held back, by irresponsible class actions and frivolous asbestos claims - and I urge Congress to pass legal reforms this year." - Bush, State of the Union Address
February 3rd:
"More than 100 Northwest families have won a $30 million settlement in an asbestos lawsuit involving a subsidiary of Houston-based Halliburton Co.

The deal was part of a $4.3 billion global settlement encompassing Halliburton's past, present and future asbestos liabilities, Matthew Bergman, a lawyer who represented the families, said Thursday. [...]

Dresser Industries, a subsidiary of Halliburton acquired when Vice President Dick Cheney was chairman of the company, distributed asbestos products to shipyards, power plants and industrial facilities. - AP

Friday, February 04, 2005


File this one under "Too creepy to be believed."

After the SOTU speech, Bush walked up to Joe Leibermann - and kissed him.
I looks like the sort of kiss the mob uses to send a message, too.

There a few other clips and pictures here of what may truly be the single most icky moment of our time.

Isn't it time Joe Leibermann stopped pretending to be a Democrat?
"Tonight in his speech, President Bush introduced his plan for Social Security. His plan: take the security part out of it." —Jay Leno

I didn't say "flip." I said "flop." I swear.

More than one person has pointed out that Bush's buildup to gutting Social Security shows the same M.O. as his buildup to the Iraqi War. This was in the L.A. Times:

In a significant shift in his rationale for the accounts, Bush dropped his claim that they would help solve Social Security's fiscal problems — a link he sometimes made during last year's presidential campaign. Instead, he said the individual accounts were desirable because they would be "a better deal," providing workers what he said would be a higher rate of return and "greater security in retirement."

"Shift in rationale".....hmmmm, where have I heard that before?

Are we going to see the same crap again? Is Bush going to do his usual shit: decide what he wants to do FIRST and then keep changing his reason for it on a daily basis until he finds one that works? While a lazy press corps fails to point out the inconsistencies?

It won't work this time.

Reid on Gonzales

Minority Leader Harry Reid on voting "NO" to confirm Gonzales.

Our great Nation was founded on the idea of human rights. From the very beginning, we were designed to be a place where men and women could live free, a place where no man was above the law, a place where the state would never trample on the rights of individuals.

We did not always live up to our ideals. Along the way, we stumbled. We have made mistakes. But we always worked to correct our mistakes. We worked to uphold the core values that formed our national soul. Because of our unshakable belief in human rights, we became a ray of light, a beacon for people in other parts of the world. America has been that beacon because we are a nation governed by laws, not by men.

We are a nation where no one, not even the President of the United States, is above the law. We are a nation where our military is bound by the uniform Code of Military Justice and the laws of war. And we are a nation that even at war stands for and upholds the rule of law.

There is no question gathering intelligence from suspects in our war on terror is critical to protecting this great Nation. No one in this Chamber would argue otherwise, I would think. These are very bad people with whom we are dealing. But when interrogation turns to torture, it puts our own soldiers at risk. It undermines the very freedoms Americans are fighting to protect.

We are a nation at war--a war in Iraq and a war against terrorism -- but this war does not give our civilian leaders the authority to cast aside the laws of armed conflict, nor does it allow our Commander in Chief to decide which laws apply and which laws do not apply. To do so puts, I repeat, our own soldiers and our Nation at risk. But that is what has occurred under the direction and coordination of the man seeking to be Attorney General of the United States, Alberto Gonzales, a man I personally like, but whose judgment on these very serious matters was flawed and is flawed. I have heard a great deal on this Senate floor about Judge Gonzales's background over the last few days, how his parents were migrant farm workers, and how he worked his way up from poverty. It is an inspiring story, and it is one that resonates with me. I met with Judge Gonzales after the President sent his nomination to the Senate. We talked about our childhoods, about coming from small rural towns, some would say without many advantages. The fact that someone from a place called Humble, TX, and someone from a place called Searchlight, NV, have had an opportunity to achieve their dream is what America is all about.

But, embodying the American dream is not a sufficient qualification to be Attorney General of the United States. The Attorney General is the people's lawyer, not the President's lawyer. He is charged with upholding the Constitution and the rule of law. The Attorney General must be independent, and he must be clear that abuses by our Government will not be tolerated. Judge Gonzales's appearance before the Judiciary Committee raised serious questions about his ability to be that force in the Justice Department. That is why I am going to vote against him.

In 2002, Judge Gonzales provided legal advice to the President of the United States calling parts of the Geneva Conventions obsolete and quaint--that is what he said, they were obsolete and quaint--opening the door for confusion and a range of harsh interrogation techniques.

What are the Geneva Conventions? At the end of the Civil War, people from around the world decided there should be some semblance of order in how war is conducted. Starting in 1864, there was a convention adopted, and there have been four revisions to the Geneva Convention. That is why it is referred to as the Geneva Conventions because it is, in effect, four treaties. This is basically an agreement concerning the treatment of prisoners of war, of the sick, wounded, and dead in battle. These are treaties that relate to what happens to human beings in war. These conventions have been accepted by virtually every nation in the world.

A former Navy judge advocate general, RADM John Hutson, said:

"When you say something down the chain of command, like `the Geneva Conventions don't apply,' that sets the stage for the kind of chaos we have seen."

The President signed an order accepting the reasoning of the Gonzales memo. The Presidential order was the legal basis for the interrogation techniques and other actions, including torture, which simply took as fact that the Geneva Conventions did not apply. Can you imagine that, the United States saying the Geneva Conventions do not apply? But that is what took place.

Our military lawyers, not people who are retired acting as Monday-morning quarterbacks, but our military lawyers who are working today, who are experts in the field, have said the interrogation techniques authorized as a result of the Presidential order and allowed under the Gonzales reasoning were in violation of the U.S. military law, the U.S. criminal law, and international law.

According to RADM Don Guter, a former Navy judge advocate general:

"If we--we being the uniformed lawyers--that is, the lawyers who are in the U.S. military -- had been listened to and what we said put into practice, then these abuses would not have occurred."

So the people who serve in our military who gave legal advice said this should never have happened. After the scandal at Abu Ghraib and the recent allegations of abuse at Guantanamo, I expected at this hearing before the Judiciary Committee to hear Judge Gonzales discuss the error of the administration's policies and the legal advice he provided the President.

When he came before the committee, JudgeGonzales stood by his legal reasoning and the policy of his reasoning. Judge Gonzales called the President's Geneva determination "absolutely the right decision."

With regard to the legal opinion Judge Gonzales solicited in the Justice Department so-called "torture memo," he stated at his hearing, "I don't have a disagreement with the conclusions then reached by the Department," even though the Department itself has now disavowed this legal reasoning.

I heard Senator Kennedy state that the Dean of Yale Law School, probably the No. 1 law school in the entire country, has said he has never seen legal reasoning as bad as the Gonzales memo. That is pretty bad.

For example, military lawyers who are experts in the field have said without the order issued by the President, at Mr. Gonzales's behest, they would take the position that the interrogation techniques used against Taliban prisoners and later in Iraq would be violations of U.S. military law, U.S. criminal law, and international law. So who are we to believe? These people who are dedicated to making sure that they, as the legal officers of the U.S. military, do what is right? They say we should follow the Geneva Conventions. Gonzales said - not necessary.

I will say a word about the interrogation techniques that were authorized. They included forced nakedness, forced shaving of beards, and the use of dogs, just to name a few. Many are specifically designed to attack the prisoner's cultural and religious taboos. In describing them, the similarities to what eventually happened at Abu Ghraib are obvious. Once you order an 18-year-old, a young man or woman, to strip prisoners naked, to force them into painful positions, to shave their beards in violation of their religious beliefs, to lock them alone in the dark and cold, how do you tell him to stop? You cannot.

We have seen the pictures of naked men stacked on top of each other in the so-called pyramid; rapes of men, rapes of women, leading in some cases to death. How does one tell an American soldier that torture is a valid treatment as long as the Government says the prisoner is not covered by the Geneva Conventions?

Any student of history would know that the North Vietnamese said captured U.S. pilots were not protected as prisoners of war because there was no declared war. That is what happened in the Vietnam war. They kept our men in solitary confinement for months, sometimes years at a time.

I will tell my colleagues about one of our men and what that man said about his treatment by the Vietnamese:

"It's an awful thing, solitary. It crushes your spirit and weakens your resistance more effectively than any other form of mistreatment. Having no one else to rely on, to share confidences with, to seek counsel from, you begin to doubt your judgment and your courage."

Here, I would make an editorial comment that this man knows about any other kind of treatment. He was brutally beaten, limbs broken. So he knows what he is talking about.

The man who said these words was a Navy pilot, LCDR John McCain. For John McCain and all our soldiers serving across the globe, we need to stand against torture because of what it does to us as a country, to those serving now, to the future servicemen of our country, and what it does to us as a nation.

If we fail to oppose an evil as obvious as torture - it is an evil and it is obvious it is wrong - then as President Thomas Jefferson said, I will "tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."

Wanna Buy the Brooklyn Bridge?

In New York State, Governor George Pataki (R-Spendthrift) is proposing leasing the bridges and highways to private corporations, and let them try to make a profit by collecting tolls.

Gov. George Pataki is proposing to sell or lease the state's transportation assets for large infusions of cash. Private companies would run them and collect tolls to make a profit, which critics say could cost taxpayers more in the long run.

And last week, MTA Executive Director Katherine Lapp told state lawmakers the Second Avenue subway line could be a candidate for privatization.

Apparently, these clowns are unaware that the subways STARTED as private companies and were taken over by the Government because they didn't make any money. And they've NEVER made money. I don't think ANY subway has ever made money.

The question I have about Republicans is: are they stupid? Or is the fiscal irresponsibility actually INTENTIONAL? Do they actually cause the government to go bankrupt on purpose, so that they have an excuse for private corporations to take over? I really think the latter might be the case, because it's hard to imagine any other explanation for it.

For those who don't know, Pataki's reign as governor has been one of GROSS financial mismanagement. He did the Republican thing: intentionally bankrupted his own state for short term political gain. He instituted something called the STAR program (School TAx Relief) which emptied the state treasury so he could send every homeowner a check with his name on it during an election year.

Short version: The municipalities used to pay for the public schools. But the STAR program moves a giant chunk of that cost to the State Level - WITHOUT saving the municipalities any money. In fact, it COSTS the municipalities money, since they are legally obligated to administer it even though it's the State's program.

It is blowing a 500-million-dollar hole in the State's budget every single year.

And now, New York State has no money, and the Governor is thinking of selling off the State's assets to make up for the shortfall that he created.

A theoretically intelligent man CAN'T be that foolish.

It almost HAS to be intentional.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Thursday he twice offered his resignation to President Bush over the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, but both times was asked to stay in the job.

This is probably as true as everything else the man says.

Train wreck

"I've talked to some of my colleagues and they're panic-stricken," - Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla, on the prospect of privatizing Social Security.

Is it actually possible that Bush is wilfully beginning his second term with a train wreck? All the Democrats have to do is keep hammering on the fact that Bush's statements ( "Now is the time to put partisanship aside and focus on saving Social Security for young workers.") are plainly false, and let Bush spend whatever political capital he has trying and failing to shove something down the throats of the American People that they don't want, and never voted for.

If Bush keeps calling cutting Social Security "saving" it, not only will he fail, but continuous attention will be drawn to the totally Orwellian way the man uses language. The Democrats should LOUDLY refuse to support ANY program that takes funds out of Social Security - proudly. They should wear their support of Social Security like a rapper wears bling.

"The AARP and the Democrats think if you divert some money from the trust fund [the existing program will be undermined.] That is true on its face. It does decrease the level of the trust fund. - James McCrery (R- La)

Yes, that IS true on its face, isn't it?

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Rude Pundit says a few things about the SOTU that many of us are thinking, but just aren't rude enough to say.

President Karnak

Rereading Bush's State of the Bullshit address, I was struck by this sentence:

"Your money will grow, over time, at a greater rate than anything the current system can deliver - and your account will provide money for retirement over and above the check you will receive from Social Security."

If that statement was made by an actual financial advisor, it would be illegal. It's not illegal when Bush says it, of course, because he isn't a financial advisor (heck, he's barely capable of elementary school arithmetic, but let's not belabor that point). But it's illegal when a financial advisor says it for a good reason: because it's totally unethical.

And legal or not, it's STILL unethical when Bush says it. Because he is claiming something that he cannot possibly know to be true.

Maybe the Democrats should insist that every time Bush talks about Social Security, he include the standard legal disclaimer that you hear in every single investment commercial:

"Past performance is not an indication of future returns."

The law says that you have to say that for a reason.


He said/I said.

America’s prosperity requires restraining the spending appetite of the federal government.

Then how come under George W. Bush, a Republican Congress and a Republican Senate, the federal government has grown far more than it ever has before?

How come the spending appetite of Bush’s government is so voracious that he has piled up gigantic mountains of debt to pay for his gluttony?

And why does he now pretend that he believes in restraining spending?

The principle here is clear: a taxpayer dollar must be spent wisely, or not at all.

Sure – we can spend billions of dollars look for WMDs that don’t exist, and next to nothing armoring the vehicles of people who are in a war zone.

I have appointed a bipartisan panel to examine the tax code from top to bottom.

A bipartisan panel that was chosen for ideological adherence to Bush’s agenda.

The system, however, on its current path, is headed toward bankruptcy.
Quote 1:
“The Social Security system cannot go "bankrupt," for it has no creditors. By law, the trustees will continue to pay reduced benefits even if the trust fund is exhausted. Payroll taxes will continue to come in and benefits will continue to be paid.” - CBS MarketWatch

Quote 2:
"According to the Social Security trustees report, the standard basis for analyzing Social Security, the program can pay all benefits through the year 2042, with no changes whatsoever. Even after 2042 the program would always be able to pay retirees a higher benefit (in today's dollars) than what current retirees receive. The assessment of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office is that Social Security is even stronger. It projects that Social Security can pay all benefits through the year 2052 with no changes whatsoever. By either measure, Social Security is more financially sound today than it has been throughout most of its 69-year history."
-- Non-partisan Center for Economic and Policy Research

Quote 3:
"REPORTER: And am I right in assuming that it would be fair to describe the personal accounts by themselves as having no effect whatsoever on the solvency issue?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: On the second point, that's a fair
- White House Background press briefing on Social Security

So here is the result: Thirteen years from now, in 2018, Social Security will be paying out more than it takes in.

But under Bush’s plan, it will be paying out more than it takes in IMMEDIATELY.

By the year 2042, the entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt.

He said it again. And it didn't become any truer the second time he said it. To the Democrats credit, several of them actually shouted "NO!" when he said it, and they should do more of that. This is a total falsehood. It will NOT be bankrupt. Under extremely pessimistic economic projections, it MAY be only able to pay out 75% of the full benefits. But according to the CBO, under Bush’s plan, it will only be 55% of the current benefit. And, if those pessimistic projections prove true, having your money is private accounts would be disastrous.

We must, however, be guided by some basic principles. We must make Social Security permanently sound, not leave that task for another day. We must not jeopardize our economic strength by increasing payroll taxes.

Really? Why the hell SHOULDN’T you increase payroll taxes? Because that would easily solve whatever problems that there might actually be without screwing the little guy? Right now, there is no Social Security payroll tax on income of about $90,000 for a single person. So take people in the upper income bracket, and increase what they put in. Problem solved, if it ever becomes a problem.

But the only actual principle that Bush believes in is that the wealthiest should get a free ride.

Here is why personal accounts are a better deal. Your money will grow, over time, at a greater rate than anything the current system can deliver - and your account will provide money for retirement over and above the check you will receive from Social Security.

BUT (again) "the check you will receive from Social Security" will be a LOT LESS THAN IT WOULD HAVE BEEN. And there is absolutely no guarantee that the money in "your account" will make up the difference.

Because marriage is a sacred institution and the foundation of society, it should not be re-defined by activist judges. For the good of families, children, and society, I support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage.

Excuse Me While I Puke: Part 1. I get so sick of these clowns defining "activist judges" as any judge who does something that they don't like. How can judges "re-define marriage"? It HAS NO LEGAL FEDERAL DEFINITION. How can you REdefine something that hasn't been defined? They want to "redefine" the Constitution and turn it into a document that dictates your personal life and RESTRICTS your rights instead of ensuring them.

Because a society is measured by how it treats the weak and vulnerable, we must strive to build a culture of life.

Excuse Me While I Puke: Part 2. Hereing pious talk about "building a culture of life" from the mouth of President War Hardon while he is simultaneously killing as many people as he possibly can is BEYOND ludicrous. The Democrats didn't shout "No!" at this one. And they shouldn't have. They should have laughed mockingly and derisively.

The Constitution also gives the Senate a responsibility: Every judicial nominee deserves an up-or-down vote.

The Constitution says that judicial nominees are chosen with the "advice and consent" of the Senate. It doesn't say a damned THING about guaranteeing every nominee an up-or-down vote. Maybe you can get an activist judge to change that.

In America we must make doubly sure no person is held to account for a crime he or she did not commit.

Unless they are in Guatanamo.

There are still regimes seeking weapons of mass destruction.

Hmmmmm. Where have I heard that before?

Pursuing our enemies is a vital commitment of the war on terror - and I thank the Congress for providing our servicemen and women with the resources they have needed.

Ummmm....George? They are scrounging junkyards for scrap metal because their vehicles have no armor. You AREN'T providing them with the resources that they need.

The United States has no right, no desire, and no intention to impose our form of government on anyone else.

And William Shakespeare was a ham sandwich.

To promote peace in the broader Middle East, we must confront regimes that continue to harbor terrorists and pursue weapons of mass murder.

Correction: Regimes that we CLAIM harbor terrorists and that we CLAIM pursue weapons of mass murder. Even if we are lying. Iraq was such a good idea, wasn't it?

Syria still allows its territory, and parts of Lebanon, to be used by terrorists who seek to destroy every chance of peace in the region. You have passed, and we are applying, the Syrian Accountability Act - and we expect the Syrian government to end all support for terror and open the door to freedom. Today, Iran remains the world’s primary state sponsor of terror - pursuing nuclear weapons while depriving its people of the freedom they seek and deserve.

No mention of North Korea. What happened, George, they aren't part of the axis of evil anymore? Or is it just that they actually DO have nukes, and DO help teorrists, but have no oil?

They must feel so rejected.

That country [Iraq] is a vital front in the war on terror, which is why the terrorists have chosen to make a stand there.

No, they have chosen to make a stand there because you opened up the borders and allowed them to come flooding in.

Our men and women in uniform are fighting terrorists in Iraq, so we do not have to face them here at home.

1) They weren't IN Iraq until we invaded.

2) Fighting SOME terrorists there doesn't do a damned thing to prevent OTHER terrorists from fighting us here. In fact, we are increasing their numbers.

3) This whole APPROACH disgusts me. Did we invade Iraq because we INTENTIONALLY wanted to turn it into a battlefield? A battlefield in a war that they had nothing to do with them? So that the IRAQIS would be the ones on the receiving end of all the nasty shit of war? We brought Al Qaeda and suicide bombers flooding into their country on PURPOSE?

And then we wonder why they hate us?