Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Libby caught red-handed

And the Daily News has done a MUCH better job of reporting on Plamegate than the compromised New York Times.

Scooter notes ID'd CIA spy

WASHINGTON - Handwritten notes taken by the CIA show Vice President Cheney's top aide knew the name of CIA spy Valerie Plame a month before her cover was blown.

It appears to be the first known document in the hands of prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald that directly contradicts Lewis (Scooter) Libby's claim he learned from reporters in July 2003 that Valerie Plame was a CIA employee.

Libby, who was Cheney's chief of staff, has been indicted for perjury in the CIA leak investigation.

Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, was a Bush critic dispatched to Niger by the CIA in 2002 to see if Iraq had shopped for uranium. "A CIA employee assigned to provide daily intelligence briefs to the Vice President and Libby has handwritten notes indicating that Libby referred to 'Joe Wilson' and 'Valerie Wilson' by those names in conversation with the briefer on June 14, 2003," Fitzgerald wrote in a recently unsealed brief.

The filing suggests Cheney may have been present when Libby griped to his CIA briefer about agency officials slamming the veep in the press.

Seven officials have testified that Libby raised the CIA spy with them before columnist Robert Novak outed her. In the filing, Fitzgerald also revealed that his investigators also confiscated computers.

Meanwhile, a judge overseeing Libby's perjury trial ruled yesterday that Libby won't get any copies of the secret daily intelligence briefings for Cheney and President Bush.

The Wide World of Sports

Not political, but too good to resist:

A Romanian Soccer Club has traded a player for 33 Pounds of Meat.

It gets better. The team that traded the guy for the meat got gypped, because he retired immediately after the trade:

Romanian second division soccer club UT Arad sold a player in exchange for 33 pounds of meat, local sport daily Pro Sport reported on Monday.

However, the deal turned out badly for fourth-division Regal Horia, because defender Marius Cioara decided to end his soccer career and find a job in agriculture or construction in Spain.

“We are upset because we lost twice — firstly because we lost a good player and secondly because we lost our team’s food for a whole week,” a Regal Horia official was quoted as saying by the daily in its electronic edition.

I guess when your team trades you for 33 pounds of meat, it's probably a hint that it's time to retire.


The latest CBS News poll finds President Bush's approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of 34 percent, while pessimism about the Iraq war has risen to a new high. - CBS

He's looking up at Richard Nixon.

I suspect that the media pundits are actually having a hard time getting their collective little brains around that. They are so wedded to the script that "Bush is a popular wartime President" that they just can't process the fact that that he is one of the most UNpopular President EVER.

Why doesn't Bush support the troops?

A Kos diary draws attention to a New York Times article (which plebes like you and me are no longer allowed to see) about an actual poll of the soldiers:

A new poll to be released today shows that U.S. soldiers overwhelmingly want out of Iraq -- and soon.

The poll is the first of U.S. troops currently serving in Iraq, according to John Zogby, the pollster. Conducted by Zogby International and LeMoyne College, it asked 944 service members, "How long should U.S. troops stay in Iraq?"

Only 23 percent backed Mr. Bush's position that they should stay as long as necessary. In contrast, 72 percent said that U.S. troops should be pulled out within one year. Of those, 29 percent said they should withdraw "immediately."

By a two-to-one ratio, the troops said that "to control the insurgency we need to double the level of ground troops and bombing missions." And since there is zero chance of that happening, a majority of troops seemed to be saying that they believe this war to be unwinnable.

This first systematic look at the views of the U.S. troops on the ground suggests that our present strategy in Iraq is failing badly. The troops overwhelmingly don't want to "stay the course," and they don't seem to think the American strategy can succeed.

Short story: EVERYBODY knows that Bush's policy is a total failure, with the sole exception of a handful of pathetic sycophants for whom Tin God Bush can do no wrong.

Atrios sez:

It's not racist to object to us cozying up with truly shitty governments. I imagine the people of the UAE might be fine people. But the people who run the country are just a bunch of shitty human rights abusing suffrage opposing terrorist hanging out with assholes. The relevant question is whether these people should be running significant port operations. Link.

But we don't DO that.

We don't torture. We just pay 300,000 grand to settle lawsuits about. Because we don't torture.

The federal government has agreed to pay $300,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by an Egyptian who was among dozens of Muslim men swept up in the New York area after 9/11, held for months in a federal detention center in Brooklyn and deported after being cleared of links to terrorism.

The settlement, filed in federal court late yesterday, is the first the government has made in a number of lawsuits charging that noncitizens were abused and their constitutional rights violated in detentions after the terror attacks. - NY Times

Happy Fat Tuesday.

Send good thoughts out to New Orleans today. And even better, some money.

Come on and rise up.

1300. One week.

BAGHDAD, Feb. 27 -- Grisly attacks and other sectarian violence unleashed by last week's bombing of a Shiite Muslim shrine have killed more than 1,300 Iraqis, making the past few days the deadliest of the war outside of major U.S. offensives, according to Baghdad's main morgue. The toll was more than three times higher than the figure previously reported by the U.S. military and the news media.

This is sickening.

And what's most sickening is that the Bushites were told that this would happen and refused to listen.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Poor planning

Iraq - brought to you by the same incompetents who watched New Orleans drown.

WASHINGTON - Poor prewar planning left the United States without enough skilled workers to efficiently rebuild Iraq's economy and public works, according to a report issued Monday.

Thanks to inadequate planning, the report said, early occupation officials lacked enough reconstruction staffers who knew what they were doing.

"The U.S. government workforce planning for Iraq's reconstruction suffered from a poorly structured, ad-hoc personnel management processes," the report said, calling hiring practices "haphazard."

Coast Guard warned Bush

WASHINGTON - Citing broad gaps in U.S. intelligence, the Coast Guard cautioned the Bush administration weeks ago that it could not determine whether a United Arab Emirates-based company seeking a stake in some U.S. port operations might support terrorist operations.

Well this shows - AGAIN - that Bush doesn't care about what the experts have to say, and he doesn't care about the facts. He just cares about doing whatever he damned well pleases. And facts, sense and logic be damned.

And ALSO remember - Bush claimed that HE DIDN'T KNOW about the port deal.

A question

IF - as the conservatives keep telling us - the media are liberal...

...then how come the conservatives think that reinstating the fairness doctrine will lead to LESS conservative programming?

Should Republicans be allowed to adopt?

Since Republican State Senators in Ohio are proposing a ban on allowing gay people to adopt kids, State Senator Bob Hagan has a bill of his own:

Memo from Hagan to Senate
To: All Senate Members
From: Senator Robert Hagan
Re: Co-Sponsorship Request
Date: February 22, 2006

I intend to introduce legislation in the near future that would ban households with one or more Republican voters from adopting children or acting as foster parents. Policymakers in Columbus have ignored this growing threat to our communities for far too long. My legislation is modeled after a bill recently introduced in the Ohio House by Rep. Ron Hood (R-Ashville via Carrollton), which would prohibit homosexual, bisexual and transgender people from adopting children. It is unclear at this point whether Rep. Hood supports my legislation, though I remain hopeful.

Credible research exists that strongly suggests that adopted children raised in Republican households, though significantly wealthier than their Democrat-raised counterparts, are more at risk for developing emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, an alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves, and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities.

In addition, I have spoken to many adopted children raised in Republican households who have admitted that, ``Well, it's just plain boring most of the time.'' In fact, one adopted child raised in a fiercely partisan Republican household in suburban Cincinnati described his upbringing as ``18 years of hellish terror.'' ``A nightmare I haven't yet awoken from,'' said a 25-year-old Republican adoptee that chose to remain nameless.

If you are interested in co-sponsoring this legislation, please feel free to contact my office.

My kind of Senator.


Thank you, Harper's

Found it on kos. I intend to buy the magazine, to help give them a circulation boost, and I suggest that you do, too. This is their website, and it tells you where you can buy it, or you can order one if there's no place close.

For those in the New York Area, Harpers' editor Lewis Lapham will be holding a forum on the question of impeachment, with John Conyers, John Dean and Elizabeth Holtzman, on Thursday, March 2, 8:00 p.m. at the Town Hall 123 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10063. Ten bucks.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The UAE - a country we can trust.

From the comments:

I can't understand why you would question the pres on this one, after all the UAE government has always been forthright and honest with the USA, especially concerning our laws.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Monty Python's The Meaning of Bush

by David W. Jenkins III, from Project for the Old American Century. Go ye and read.


Admit it. You laughed and you stood up and clapped or you thrust your fist in the air saying “yes!” while you watched that funeral. One by one, they came to the front of the church and unleashed upon the Boy King a most brutal verbal beating. People in that church and those watching on television rose to their feet in approval as the man who would be king was beaten to a pulp.

“Is he dead yet?”

“Well, he’s not dead but he’s not at all well.”


You've probably heard that South Dakota is about to pass a law banning ALL abortion, with the sole exception of the necessity to save the life of the mother (there is NO exception for rape or incest). The idea is to set up a Supreme Court challenge to Roe v. Wade.

I doubt that such a challenge will be successful, simply because the lunatics in South Dakota have made the law so extreme that even many abortion opponents would reject it.

But the Democrats have got to step up and attack the issue because THEY ARE THE MAINSTREAM on it. MANY people have reservations about abortion. But relatively FEW think it should be illegal. Because making something illegal is NOT the same thing as making a statement that you don't approve of people doing something. It's a statement that you think people should be thrown in jail for doing something.

And we should ask all lawmakers - Republican and Democrat - if they believe that women who have abortions and doctors who perform abortions should be thrown in jail. Because that what it means to make it illegal means.

If the right-wingers want to play games with the abortion issue, force them to say EXACTLY what they mean and EXACTLY what they think should be done about it.

Make them stop playing games.

Delay. Not the repulsive Texas Senator - a TIME delay.

Dubai Company Delays New Role at Six U.S. Ports

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 — The Dubai company at the center of a political furor over its plans to take over some terminal operations at six American ports said Thursday night that it planned to close the deal next week, but that it would "not exercise control" over its new operations in the United States while the Bush administration tried to calm opposition in Congress.

Note: This does NOT mean that they gave up. Bush and the UAE are just buying time, and hoping for a another opportunity in the near future.

Bush considers it URGENT for these guys to run our ports. He doesn't think it's "acceptable" - he thinks its a MUST.

I'm not sure EXACTLY why he thinks that (although I have theories), but this deal is for the purpose of benefitting HIM, not America, and when it comes to lining his own pockets and empowering himself, Geroge W. Bush has NO principles and NOTHING that he will stick at.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

NY Port Authority will SUE

Well, THIS should tighten the elastic on George W.'s shorts:

NEW YORK -- The Port Authority said Thursday it has security concerns over a plan for a Dubai-based firm to take over operations at a Port Newark container terminal and it will file a lawsuit to terminate its lease at the port.

Better and Better

Bin Laden May Have UAE Ties
Thursday, February 23, 2006

(AP) WASHINGTON — The United States raised concerns with the United Arab Emirates seven years ago about possible ties between officials in that country and Usama bin Laden, according to a section of the Sept. 11 commission's report that details a possible missed opportunity to kill the Al Qaeda leader.

Republicans and Democrats alike are raising concerns this week about the Bush administration's decision to let a UAE-operated company take over operations at six American ports, in part citing ties the Sept. 11 hijackers had to the Persian Gulf country.

President Bush has called the UAE a close partner on the War on Terror since Sept. 11, and his aides have listed numerous examples of the country's help.

The Sept. 11 commission's report released last year also raised concerns UAE officials were directly associating with bin Laden as recently as 1999.

The report states U.S. intelligence believed that bin Laden was visiting an area in the Afghan desert in February 1999 near a hunting camp used by UAE officials, and that the U.S. military planned a missile strike.

Intelligence from local tribal sources indicated "bin Laden regularly went from his adjacent camp to the larger camp where he visited the Emiratis," the report said.

I think they're just the Pretty Good British

“I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company." - Bush

The Great British?

How many Yale graduates do YOU know who refer to the English as the "Great British"?

But since you asked:

It's a "Great British" Company and a Middle Eastern GOVERNMENT, not "company." A Government that has serious questions about its ties to terrorism. Our Treasury Department says that they refused to provide information about Bin Laden's bank accounts. The FBI said that they were instrumental in getting nuclear supplies to Iran and Syria.

You compare them to England? Are you KIDDING?

Frankly, that comparison is even STUPIDER than calling them "The Great British."
"This deal would not go forward if we were concerned about the security for the United States of America." - Bush
So he's NOT concerned about the security of the United States of America.

We knew that.

Imbush Peach.

Time to impeach Bush
Scripps Howard News Service

Those blasphemously "liberal" media outlets have once again deprived the American public of widespread coverage of nothing less than startling poll results. The non-partisan polling firm Zogby International last month found that by a margin of 52 percent to 43 percent, Americans want Congress to consider impeaching President Bush "if he wiretapped American citizens without a judge's approval."

Well, there's no "if" about it anymore. The president approved warrantless wiretaps in 2002. Two years later, during a campaign appearance in Buffalo, N.Y. he volunteered he'd done nothing of the kind. That's called breaking the law and lying about it.

Yes, the poll results have been reported on a few Web sites. But they have not exactly been trumpeted by the Blow Hard Boys on the Fox News Channel, nor even "front-paged" on the New York Times. Nor have they appeared as the lead story on any of the evening newscasts. From the right to the left, this poll has been ignored _ as has a recent Gallup poll showing a majority of Americans consider the Bush presidency to be a failure.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Connect the dots

Lou Dobbs. Thank God for Lou Dobbs.


Still ahead here, do you wonder why President Bush is insisting on pushing this port deal through? Well, we do, too, and we've taken a look into it. We'll have a special report -- a special report on what appears to be the Bush administration's special relationship with Dubai.

And Dubai's friends in high places on K Street. K Street lobbyists don't see anything wrong with helping push this $7 billion port deal through, even if it raises serious questions about national security.

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

Christine Romans reports.


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

Another family connection, the president's brother, Neil Bush, has reportedly received funding for his educational software company from the UAE investors. A call to his company was not returned.

Then there is the cabinet connection. Treasury Secretary John Snow was chairman of railroad company CSX. After he left the company for the White House, CSX sold its international port operations to Dubai Ports World for more than a billion dollars.

In Connecticut today, Snow told reporters he had no knowledge of that CSX sale. "I learned of this transaction probably the same way members of the Senate did, by reading about it in the newspapers."

Another administration connection, President Bush chose a Dubai Ports World executive to head the U.S. Maritime Administration. David Sanborn, the former director of Dubai Ports' European and Latin American operations, he was tapped just last month to lead the agency that oversees U.S. port operations.(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: Now, some members of Congress, some of whom have already confirmed Sanborn, say they'd like to take a closer look at this nomination. But it's not just administration connections that Dubai has in this deal, Lou. It's now aggressively lining up representation on the Hill, bipartisan representation.

DOBBS: Lobbyists as representation, including Bob Dole. It's a remarkable effort. It's a -- it can be a tremulous feeling to stand between $7 billion and those who want to exchange that money irrespective of the consequences.

Thank you very much.

Christine Romans.

The United Arab Emirates not only has friends in high places in government, it also has high-powered lobbying connections. This oil- rich nation has been lavishing hundreds of thousands of dollars on K Street, lobbying friends to push its point of view and its goals. One of those friends we found out today is none other than Senator Dole, former Senator Dole.

Lisa Sylvester has the story.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): To deflate criticism, Dubai Ports World has gone on a hiring spree. The bipartisan lobbying firm headed by former congressman Tom Downey and Ray McGrath was hired last week.

Senator Bob Dole and the lobbying firm he works for, Alston & Bird, also got a call. DPW, owned by a member of the United Arab Emirates, is pushing hard to keep Congress from blocking the deal.

TED BILKEY, COO, DUBAI PORTS WORLD: We're going to do anything possible to be sure that this deal goes through.

SYLVESTER: And they're tapping former lawmakers to do their bidding.

ROBERTA BASKIN, CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY: An ex-senator is a perfectly-placed lobbyist because an ex-senator, of course, is going to have more gravitas. An ex-senator can actually go onto the Senate floor.

SYLVESTER: But lobbying Congress is not new for the United Arab Emirates. The country has a team of U.S. lobbyists representing its interests.

Records filed with the Department of Justices Foreign Registration Office show the UAE paid at least four lobbying firms more than $720,000 last year. According to Senate disclosure records, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce spent at least $100,000 lobbying Capitol Hill in the first half of last year.

But the heavy lobbying efforts could backfire. It's now drawing attention to the influence of foreign governments on U.S. policy. Senator John Kerry has written Treasury Secretary Snow asking for full disclosure of the lobbying efforts on behalf of DPW. Congressman Curt Weldon echoed the need to know more about how this deal was sealed.

REP. CURT WELDON (R), PENNSYLVANIA: We're talking about a corporation that is majority interest owned by another government. That's unlike the British or other companies that come in and invest in America. You're talking about a company that largely has a government control its operations.


SYLVESTER: One problem with foreign lobbying is the lack of transparency. Lobbyists representing foreign governments have to register with the Department of Justice, but the records are not easily obtained and the information included on those disclosure forms are usually very vague with government entities revealing as little as possible -- Lou.

DOBBS: Imagine that, revealing as little as possible in Washington, D.C. I'm shocked.

Bob Dole decides to shred what little is left of his reputation.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 - FreeMarketNews.com

CNN reported on air Wednesday that former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS) has been hired by Dubai Ports World to lobby for the approval of a deal that would give the company control of several major U.S. ports, RAW STORY has learned. CNN's Andrea Mitchell reports: "The Dubai-based company at the center of a controversy over the management of six U.S. seaports has hired former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole to lobby on its behalf against bipartisan criticism of the deal, a Dole aide said Wednesday. The 1996 Republican presidential candidate was "engaged" by Dubai Ports World shortly after lawmakers on both sides of the aisle began expressing their strong opposition to the deal, said Mike Galloway, an aide to the retired senator."

Guess the man has been driven to bankruptcy by Viagra prescriptions.

With some of these folks, you don't even have to pay them much to get them to sell out their country.

Our President, Sgt. Schultz

"I know noooo-think!"

Bush unaware of ports deal before approval

WASHINGTON -- President Bush was unaware of the pending sale of shipping operations at six major U.S. seaports to a state-owned business in the United Arab Emirates until the deal already had been approved by his administration, the White House said Wednesday.

He was unaware?

Either this is true or its not true.

If it's true, then this worthless idiot has no business squatting in the Oval Office.

If it isn't true, then he's a liar.

Which is it?

Port o' Potty

Some on the left are agreeing with the Bush party line: the opposition to the UAE managing our ports is "anti-Arab bigotry." Those on the left who say this, of course, think that Bush is just taking this tack for political reasons, while they really MEAN it. But they seem to assume that opposition to the port deal is the knee-jerk reaction of xenophobic yahoos.

Well, sorry guys - it really IS a stupid idea, it's just SO stupid that its stupidity can be seen by folks with many different points of view, for many different reasons, no xenophobia required. The fact that SOME folks who oppose it almost certainly DO oppose it because of bigotry does NOT make that the only possible reason to oppose it.

In the first place - the problem isn't that they're Arab. "Arab," my ass. I don't give a crap if it's Canada. A foreign government shouldn't have the management of American ports.

And Dubai Ports is a not a private company, they are a wholly owned subsidiary of the UAE. They are a foreign government, not a foreign company.

As an aside, I don't think ANY private company, foreign or domestic, should have the management of American ports. The fact that they have for years doesn't make it a good idea. And this event seems to have focused attention on what, in my opinion, has always been a crappy practice. It's really, really stupid to have decisions that affect National Security governed by the profit motive.

But that's a side issue. Because one thing worse than having such decisions governed by the profit motive is having them managed by someone else's government, making decisions in THEIR national interest and not ours.

Bush said that he dared anyone to explain why it was okay for a British company and not an Arab company. THAT statement is such total crap that its hard to believe that he even said it. Does any sane person REALLY think that there is no difference between a privately owned British company and the government of the UAE? Does any sane person feel the same way about trusting national security to Great Britain - our stauch allies - and the UAE, which actually DOES have some terrorist ties?

I have no question that Bush's reason for pushing this deal is either to line his own pockets OR to placate the UAE. Or both.

See, Bush isn't saying that there is nothing WRONG with the UAE managing the ports - that might even be a valid argument. No - he is saying that they MUST. He is talking like they are the only ones who CAN. Like it is imperative that they DO. He is threatening to veto legislation for the FIRST TIME IN HIS PRESIDENCY. And for WHAT? To ensure that the UAE manages American ports? What in the hell kind of a sacred principle is that?

Pardon me for asking, but why the hell does he feel that they MUST manage our ports?

Simple question: What do WE gain from such a thing?

Maybe this will wake up the red-staters and Working Class Americans who have been duped by this charlatan into seeing him for what he really is - a greedy prick who cares about nothing but his own power and self-aggrandizement, and certainly cares nothing for working- and middle-class Americans, white OR black.

I think America may be having a wake-up moment, and if so, it's about damned time.

Wanna Buy A Port?

Harold Myerson has it right:

We're selling our harbors to an Arab government. Our biggest Internet companies are complicit in the Chinese government's censorship of information and suppression of dissidents. Welcome to American capitalism in the age of globalization.

Here the market rules. National security and freedom of speech are all well and good, but they are distinctly secondary concerns when they bump up against our highest national purpose, which is maximizing shareholder value.

Civil War

Iraq is in a state of civil war, they just aren't calling it that yet.

Blast Rips Holy Shiite Shrine

Feb. 22, 2006

(CBS/AP) A large explosion Wednesday heavily damaged the golden dome of one of Iraq's most famous Shiite shrines, sending protesters into the streets and triggering reprisal attacks against Sunni mosques. It was the third major attack against Shiite targets in as many days.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A veto pen exists

Supposedly, the raw AP wires, which haven't yet become public, have Bush announcing that he will veto any bill to stop the port deal.

Bush will veto any bill to stop port deal

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (AP) — President Bush says the deal allowing an Arab company to take over six major U.S. seaports should go forward and he will veto any bill that would stop it.

If accurate, this is the beginning of an explosion.

UPDATE: It's accurate. Just came through, and here it is.
WASHINGTON -- President Bush said Tuesday that the deal allowing an Arab company to take over six major U.S. seaports should go forward and that he would veto any congressional effort to stop it.

Follow the Money

The New York Daily News (of all crappy papers) has an expose of the incestuous nature of the deal with Dubai:

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

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

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

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

The ties raised more concerns about the decision to give port control to a company owned by a nation linked to the 9/11 hijackers.

Do Buy Our Ports, Dubai.

That the Dubai Ports deal is REALLY, REALLY stupid seems to actually have broad agreement among both Republicans and Democrats. That is because it is so manifestly stupid that even the Republicans can't seriously defend it.

In case you missed it, our Government wants to turn the management of six major seaports (New York and New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami, and New Orleans) over to a company that is wholly owned by the Government of the United Arab Emirates.

Great idea, eh?

Since we silly liberals have a tendency to complain about privatizing National Security - and balk at turning our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor over to somebody else's profit motive - the Bush Administration will have a Government managing our ports. Just not OUR Government.

You know, under Bush, private citizens are expected to allow searches, have their email checked, their phones tapped, their Internet access spied on, and put up with indignity after indignity. But the Government of the UAE gets to make the rules.

I'm SURE it will be OK. Michael Chertoff - who, after all, shown himself to being the very soul of competence by watching "Desperate Housewives" while New Orleans drowned - says, "Trust Us." And dammit, that should be good enough for any right-thinking American. SURELY the Bush administration has shown that they can be trusted. Haven't they?

After all, do you know what criteria they used when determining that there were no National Security issues to worry about? Well.. no, you don't. NONE of us know. They won't tell us.

And why did they completely fail to mention this to the Governors of the States that have the ports in question? We don't know. They won't tell us.

What we DO know is that they have demonstrated total incompetence with everything they have TOUCHED, and are FAR more concerned with lining their own pockets than with National Security.

And not only would the UAE be managing those ports, they would ALSO control the movement of our military equipment to the war zone. PerThink Progress:

From today’s edition of the British paper Lloyd’s List:

[P&O] has just renewed a contract with the United States Surface Deployment and Distribution Command to provide stevedoring [loading and unloading] of military equipment at the Texan ports of Beaumont and Corpus Christi through 2010.

According to the journal Army Logistician “Almost 40 percent of the Army cargo deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom flows through these two ports.”

Thus, the sale would give a country that has been “a key transfer point for illegal shipments of nuclear components to Iran, North Korea and Lybia” direct control over substantial quantities U.S. military equipment.

How nice.

My question is: How much money do Bush's cronies stand to make from this deal?

Because I'll eat my hat if that isn't the REAL justification for this stupid, stupid thing.

Well, well, well

Malaysia's ex-Prime Minister Mahatir Mohammed has come forward and said that Jack Abramoff was paid 1.2 million dollars (Mommy, can I be a lobbyist when I grow up?) to set up a meeting between him and one George W. Bush.

And to make things even more interesting, Mahatir says that he isn't the one who actually PAID Abramoff, and he doesn't know who did.

But the Heritage Foundation - an extremely influential right-wing think tank - was the group that persuaded him to meet with Bush.

Which, to my mind, makes it pretty damned likely that they are the folks who paid Abramoff.

Monday, February 20, 2006

We broke it. You fix it.

"Now that we've wrecked your country, you better clean up the mess."

ABC News: U.S. Envoy Warns Iraq to Unify Government

BAGHDAD, Iraq Feb 20, 2006 (AP)— The U.S. ambassador delivered a blunt warning to Iraqi leaders Monday that they risk losing American support unless they establish a national unity government with the police and the army out of the hands of religious parties.

During a rare news conference, Khalilzad said division among the country's sectarian and ethnic communities was "the fundamental problem in Iraq," fueling the Sunni Arab-dominated insurgency and the wave of reprisal killings.

We are just figuring out that division among Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds is the fundamental problem? We didn't realize this BEFORE we invaded?

And THIS is a real winner:

There was no response from al-Jaafari's government to Khalilzad's warning, but a prominent Shiite politician, Jalaladin al-Saghir, said the comments were "unacceptable" and constituted interference in the affairs of a sovereign state.

"We all want a national unity government and the U.S. ambassador is no more eager than we are to reach such a government," al-Saghir told The Associated Press. "It is the Americans who push toward sectarianism by their ever-changing points of view. We feel uneasy about some of the U.S. agenda."

Al-Saghir said the Americans had installed former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party in the Interior and Defense ministries and "Shiites are upset about this."

No kidding. The Bushites, when confronted by sectarianism, play one party against the other. Which (DUH) increases sectarianism.

To underscore his remarks, Khalilzad reminded the Iraqis that the United States has spent billions to build up Iraq's police and army and said "we are not going to invest the resources of the American people and build forces that are run by people who are sectarian" and tied to the militias some of which the ambassador said received "arms and training" from Iran.

As God is my witness, this must be the most incompetent bevy of fools in the history of humanity. We invade a country - nobody there asked us to - and then WHINE to the people we invaded that the occupation is COSTING US A LOT OF MONEY. Pooor, poooor pitiful us. Our invasion of your country is costing us money.

How THAT for clueless arrogance?


Moral cowardice.

One thing about Dick Cheney shooting an old man in the face: the whole incident demonstrated the way this crew treats EVERYTHING - cover up, deflect, blame, then enter damage control mode.

If YOU shot a friend of yours in the face, would YOU treat it like a political problem? Of course not. Few people are that morally bankrupt.

But Dick Cheney is.

Josh Marshall has the scoop.
"Who needs sophomoric cartoons to inflame the Muslim world when you've got Bush's prison system? One reason the White House is so helpless against the violence spawned by those Danish cartoons is that it has squandered so much of its moral standing at Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib." - The New York Times

Friday, February 17, 2006

Says it all

Cheney Gets Ovation From Wyo. Lawmakers
Friday, February 17, 2006; 1:42 PM

-- Vice President Dick Cheney returned to his home state Friday, getting a standing ovation from lawmakers shortly after the lawyer he accidentally shot made his first public comments about last Saturday's hunting trip.

"I want to thank you for that welcome home," Cheney told the Wyoming lawmakers.

If you had had any question about whether or not Republicans have gone completely and collectively insane, ask yourself this very simply question:

What, exactly, did they give him a standing ovation FOR?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Good God...

Iran Renames Danish Pastries

- Iranians love Danish pastries, but when they look for the flaky dessert at the bakery they now have to ask for "Roses of the Prophet Muhammad."

Bakeries across the capital were covering up their ads for Danish pastries Thursday after the confectioners' union ordered the name change in retaliation for caricatures of the Muslim prophet published in a Danish newspaper.

"Freedom Fries," Anyone?

These mullahs would fit in real well with the Republican Congress.

Poooor George

How the hell can he play "Man from U.N.C.L.E." in peace if those damned liberals won't leave him alone?

U.S. must release domestic spying documents

WASHINGTON - A federal judge Thursday ordered the Justice Department to respond within 20 days to requests by a civil liberties group for documents about President Bush’s domestic eavesdropping program.

The ruling was a victory for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which sued the department under the Freedom of Information Act in seeking the release of the documents.

U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy ruled that the department must finish processing the group’s requests and produce or identify all records within 20 days.

They get letters

Boston Globe:

WHATEVER CRITICISMS may be leveled against Vice President Cheney, it appears inconsistency is not among them. Both in his public role and as a private citizen, whenever he thinks there might be a target, he favors the immediate discharge of armaments, leaving the (apparently) more trivial question of what is being blasted to be sorted out later.



GENEVA - The United States should shut down the prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay and either release all detainees being held there or bring them to trial, the United Nations said in a report released Thursday.

Let the accused have a trial? What do they think this is, America or something?

Don't let them see what we've done.

(CNN) -- The United States has criticized an Australian television network's release of grisly images that show apparent detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

American officials have said the pictures should not have been released, with Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman telling The Associated Press their airing "could only further inflame and possibly incite unnecessary violence in the world."

I don't know what gives the Bush Administration the idea that they can tell Australia what they can and cannot publish.

But I was brought up to believe that real information is always legitimate, as long as it is true. And to be very, very wary of any authority that tries to prevent me from seeing the truth. For my own good, of course. It's ALWAYS "for your own good."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cheney speaks...

He says, "Luke - I am your father."

Ok, so Cheney - after four days of rehearsal to get his story straight - at least admits that the guy with the gun is the one who is responsible when he shoots somebody in the face.

Some of his minions DID try to lay the blame on Whittington, but that was just the Kool-Aid Drinkers going into their "Cheney Can Do No Wrong" crouch. Now that they have Cheney's official permission to stop embarrassing themselves by spouting transparent horseshit, I'll bet they're relieved.

Cheney is not that stupid, and if he had tried such a foolish defense, damned near every real hunter in the country would have been all over him like Rush-Limbaugh-On-A-Democrat's-Blowjob, and he had enough sense to know it.

So he gave a canned interview - vetted and taped, not live, of course - from a totally sympathetic interviewer to be aired on his favorite propaganda outlet, and avoided actual, unscripted press conferences where they might ask hard questions (like, "How come you refused to talk to the sheriff?" and "Were you drinking?"), and he hopes that he can now put it behind him.

And maybe it should be put behind, because maybe we should be focusing on REAL atrocities - like these new photos from Abu Ghraib, which AREN'T any damned accident, and which should turn the stomachs of every decent American.

The treatment of those prisoners was utterly intentional. And a disgrace to the United States.

See, the really sad thing is that the Vice-President's shooting an old man in the face is one of the LEAST embarrassing things done by this administration.

It pales before the genuine atrocities and utterly Satanic actions committed in YOUR NAME, and MY name and AMERICA'S name - actions which are thoroughly evil and anti-American, and which seem to have become official policy under the cabal of sadists now in residence in the White House.

So maybe the press should shift its focus to THAT.
From The Poor Man:


Not only was Abu Ghraib used by both Saddam Hussein and George W. Bush to torture people, but it apparently has become a great place for a terrorist to get a graduate degree in terrorism.

Abu Ghraib Called Incubator for Terrorists

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 — American commanders in Iraq are expressing grave concerns that the overcrowded Abu Ghraib prison has become a breeding ground for extremist leaders and a school for terrorist foot soldiers.

The reason is that the confinement allows detainees to forge relationships and exchange lessons of combat against the United States and the new Iraqi government. "Abu Ghraib is a graduate-level training ground for the insurgency," said an American commander in Iraq....

"These decisions have to be intelligence driven, on holding those who are extreme threats or who can lead us to those who are," another American officer in Iraq said. "We don't want to be putting everybody caught up in a sweep into Jihad University."

But remember - Bush can't think of any mistakes.

That may be because he fucks up absolutely everything he touches.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

And then the priest called Dick Cheney...

MUNICH, Germany-A priest in Germany got more than he bargained for during confession when a man not only declared his sins, but also handed over a machine gun and a hand grenade, police in Bavaria said on Tuesday.

"He also gave the priest a cardboard box with a clown's face and the words "Red Nose Day March 26, 2004" on it containing 34 cartridges of 7.65 mm. caliber," police said in a statement.

Not about Cheney

The American Bar Association doesn't like lawbreaking.

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The American Bar Association told President George W. Bush on Monday to either stop domestic eavesdropping without a warrant or get the law changed to make it legal.

Proud to be a liberal blogger

So saith Digby.

Joke's over

According to CNN, Harry Whittington has suffered a minor heart attack due to a pellet in his chest, is in ICU, and will be for at least 7 days.

Aside from no longer finding it funny - since I'm sure Whittington and his family don't think it's all that damned funny - it appears that we have been lied to (AGAIN) about the gentleman's condition.

A pellet in his chest? I thought he was just "peppered." I thought it just "broke the skin."

30 yards away, my ass.

You know, we are all dupes. Here I spend the last day confronted by what seems like an obvious conflict: on the one hand, reports about how "minor" Whittington's injuries were; and on the other, the fact that he had been listed as "critical" and was in ICU - and I don't even notice such an obvious conflict. Put that together with the fact that we know that Cheney and his cronies are stone liars, and I should have realized that the reports about "minor injuries" were bullshit. In hindsight, it's obvious. Next time, maybe I'll have enough sense to not trust the untrustworthy.
"Don't let your kids go hunting with the Vice President. I don't care what kind of lucrative contracts they're trying to land - or energy regulations they're trying to get lifted. He'll shoot them in the face." - Jon Stewart

Gun don't shoot people. Vice-Presidents do.

It appears that we have an honest-to-God, oh-so-much-fun-to-watch, media feeding frenzy. It's really only the second one that these clowns in the White House have experienced (the first was when they found out that Karl Rove was the leaker), and there should be more. In fact, the media should frenzy - as a plain matter of principle - at least once a month.

The Bushites have committed the cardinal sin: they dissed the press. They can lie to you, me, all 300-million-or-so citizens and the entire WORLD all they want to, and our intrepid reporters could not care less. But Lord Almighty, when you bullshit a reporter, and they find out about it, you are doomed.

Now, I WOULD say that this makes me feel kind of bad, because it's arbitrary, it's stupid, and it's thoroughly insane to behave as though covering up a hunting accident is more serious than...oh, I don't know...lying to start a war, or something, but it doesn't. These boys have it coming in spades.

And this business of Cheney doing a little phony "hunting," behaving as though the rules and laws didn't apply to him, causing harm, and then trying to keep it secret is PERFECT. It's EXACTLY the way that they do EVERYTHING. This little adventure is the perfect narrative for all the flaws and hubris that have been part and parcel of the White House for 5 years now.

I hope this story lasts for MONTHS.

Monday, February 13, 2006

'Over the weekend, Vice President Dick Cheney shot a man in Texas. Asked why he shot the man, the Vice President said, "Just to watch him die." ' - Al Franken

Pen-raised animals

I haven't made a serious deal out of Cheney's shooting the guy - I've commented on it because it's fun to comment on, not because I think it's a big deal. Accidents happen.

But I just changed my mind. This stinks.

He was hunting pen-raised animals? Like the buffalo in Bless the Beasts and Children?

That's sick. It's sadistic and sick. Really, really reprehensible.

UPDATE: The article about Cheney doing canned hunting is from 2003. Apparently, he stopped when he found what a stink it raised. Good.

Is Howard Dean Psychic?

Yesterday, on CBS' Face the Nation, Howard Dean referred to Dick Cheney as "Aaron Burr" hours before the news broke that Cheney had become the first Vice-President since Burr to shoot somebody.

That's just bizarre.
Report: Hunter Shot by Cheney Is 'Very Stable'

Unlike Cheney.

The Republican Scandals

By Simon Rosenberg

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Extra! Cheney admits making a mistake!

Cheney accidentally shoots hunting companion
Conservative Glenn Greenwald has a stunning critique on the cult of personality which "conservatism" has become.

Katrina Report

The Washington Post is leaking details of a report by House investigators (a Republican committee, comprised of 11 Republicans and chaired by Rep. Tom Davis). The report is about Katrina, and says what we all knew: the fish stinks from the head.

"The 600-plus-page report lays primary fault with the passive reaction and misjudgments of top Bush aides, singling out Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, the Homeland Security Operations Center and the White House Homeland Security Council, according to a 60-page summary of the document obtained by The Washington Post. Regarding Bush, the report found that "earlier presidential involvement could have speeded the response" because he alone could have cut through all bureaucratic resistance."...

The report portrays Chertoff, who took the helm of the department six months before the storm, as detached from events. It contends he switched on the government's emergency response systems "late, ineffectively or not at all," delaying the flow of federal troops and materiel by as much as three days.

The White House did not fully engage the president or "substantiate, analyze and act on the information at its disposal," failing to confirm the collapse of New Orleans's levee system on Aug. 29, the day of Katrina's landfall, which led to catastrophic flooding of the city of 500,000 people.

At the same time, weaknesses identified by Sept. 11 investigators -- poor communications among first responders, a shortage of qualified emergency personnel and lack of training and funding -- doomed a response confronted by overwhelming demands for help.

That last paragraph just infuriates me. Five years after September 11, the SAME FLAWS IN THE SYSTEM that were identified THEN haven't been fixed. What the hell will it take to fix them? Proof that they impact Halliburton's profit margins? The incompetence of this crew is absolutely astounding. They decide on their course of action without ANY regard to reality. The know what they WANT to be true, and then they behave as though it IS, facts be damned. They use "stay the course" to mean "Keep doing the same stuff over and over even after it's been proven wrong."

Friday, February 10, 2006

Unscientific AOL poll:

Whose account of Bush and Abramoff's ties seems more believable?
Jack Abramoff's 68%
President Bush's 22%
Not sure 10%

JACK ABRAMOFF is more believable than George W. Bush.

Heckuva Job, Bushie

It's not a good day to be Bush.

These are the stories from ONE DAY:

- The White House was notified about the levee breaches and flooding on the day Katrina hit, despite Bush's public statement the next day that "we dodged a bullet."

- An Ex-CIA executive has accused Bush of "cherry-picking" intelligence to justify invading Iraq
- Disgraced FEMA head Mike "heckuva job" Brown has reversed his position and has now volunteered to testify in Congress about FEMA and the Bush administration's meltdown in the face of Katrina.

- Indicted GOP superlobbyist Jack Abramoff is claiming numerous meetings with George Bush, disputing Bush's claim's that he didn't know Abramoff.

- The trade deficit hit an all-time high

- The House Republican responsible for overseeing the NSA is demanding hearings into Bush's illegal wiretapping orders, thwarting the White House's hopes that the issue will quietly go away.
- Legal documents have been made public showing that Scooter Libby was "authorized by his superiors" to leak information about the Iraq war and intelligence in an effort to stem criticism of the war. Libby's only superiors were Dick Cheney and George Bush.

- The TSA's airline terrorist watch list has been found to be vulnerable to hackers.

And Bush's claim that "LA was a terrorist target" seems to be being treated as the obvious attempt at distraction that it so obviously is.

Is it lies yet?

The White House claimed to have been taken by surprise by the breach of the levees in New Orleans - and that claim was one more LIE.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 — In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Bush administration officials said they had been caught by surprise when they were told on Tuesday, Aug. 30, that a levee had broken, allowing floodwaters to engulf New Orleans.

Investigators have found evidence that federal officials at the White House and elsewhere learned of the levee break in New Orleans earlier than was first suggested.

But Congressional investigators have now learned that an eyewitness account of the flooding from a federal emergency official reached the Homeland Security Department's headquarters starting at 9:27 p.m. the day before, and the White House itself at midnight.

"FYI from FEMA," said an e-mail message from the agency's public affairs staff describing the helicopter flight, sent Monday night at 9:27 to the chief of staff of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and recently unearthed by investigators. Conditions, the message said, "are far more serious than media reports are currently reflecting. Finding extensive flooding and more stranded people than they had thought — also a number of fires."

Michael D. Brown, who was the director of FEMA until he resigned under pressure on Sept. 12, said in a telephone interview Thursday that he personally notified the White House of this news that night, though he declined to identify the official he spoke to.

But the alert did not seem to register. Even the next morning, President Bush, on vacation in Texas, was feeling relieved that New Orleans had "dodged the bullet," he later recalled. Mr. Chertoff, similarly confident, flew Tuesday to Atlanta for a briefing on avian flu. With power out from the high winds and movement limited, even news reporters in New Orleans remained unaware of the full extent of the levee breaches until Tuesday.

The federal government let out a sigh of relief when in fact it should have been sounding an "all hands on deck" alarm, the investigators have found.

Now - any theories as to why the constant lies that come from this administration are continuously underplayed by the "liberal media"?
And one MORE ex-CIA official says the SAME THING that's been said by others.

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

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

And yet, despite the fact that the evidence is OVERWHELMING that the war in Iraq was a pre-determined action by the Bush Administration, his minions remain in denial.

They will now begin to smear Paul Pillar, as they smeared Richard Clarke, Paul O'neill, Joe Wilson and everybody else who has the stones to tell the truth.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Cheney ordered Libby to leak Valerie Plame's identity to the press.

Lewis “Scooter” Libby testified to a federal grand jury that he had been "authorized" by his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, and other White House "superiors" in the summer of 2003 to disclose classified information to journalists to defend the Bush administration's use of prewar intelligence, according to an article posted today by the National Journal.

Reporter Murray Waas writes that this information comes from attorneys familiar with the matter, and to court records. Waas has broken several stories on the Plame/CIA leak case in recent weeks for the nonpartisan National Journal.

“Libby specifically claimed that in one instance he had been authorized to divulge portions of a then-still highly classified National Intelligence Estimate regarding Saddam Hussein's purported efforts to develop nuclear weapons,” Waas writes, according to correspondence recently filed in federal court by special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald.

“Beyond what was stated in the court paper, say people with firsthand knowledge of the matter, Libby also indicated what he will offer as a broad defense during his upcoming criminal trial: that Vice President Cheney and other senior Bush administration officials had earlier encouraged and authorized him to share classified information with journalists to build public support for going to war. Later, after the war began in 2003, Cheney authorized Libby to release additional classified information, including details of the NIE, to defend the administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case for war.
Oliver Willis has a Jon Stewart clip showing how totally worthless the Attorney General is (and a reminder - the AG is supposed to work for the CITIZENS, not the President).

And I love Leahy.

Democrats are SO MEAN

God, I like seeing this:

“That’s low politics, punk!” a heavy-set man sneers as he marches toward the poll.
Hackett wheels around. “Pardon me?”

“You know, that radio ad that says, ‘You don’t know Schmidt.’” He’s talking about one of Hackett’s attack ads against Republican Jean Schmidt. The man spews a stream of epithets, and Hackett lets out a crybaby whimper: “Waaaaaaa!”

“What’s that, punk?” the big man growls.

A TV crew is setting up nearby, but Hackett doesn’t seem to care. “What’s your fuckin’ problem?” the candidate snaps. “You got something to say to me? Bring it on!” Hackett, all 6 feet 2 inches of him, is nose to nose with the heckler. “Problem?” he taunts. The man turns around and storms away.

“These guys in the Republican Party adopted this tough-guy language,” Hackett tells me, still steamed, an hour later. “They’re bullies. They’re offended when somebody takes a swing back at them.”

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Heckuva job, Bushie.

Bush's anti-science NASA appointee just resigned because they found out he lied on his resume. The lie was uncovered by a blogger.

George C. Deutsch, the young presidential appointee at NASA who told public affairs workers to limit reporters' access to a top climate scientist and told a Web designer to add the word "theory" at every mention of the Big Bang, resigned yesterday, agency officials said....

Mr. Deutsch's resignation came on the same day that officials at Texas A&M University confirmed that he did not graduate from there, as his résumé on file at the agency asserted.

Mr. Deutsch, 24, was offered a job as a writer and editor in NASA's public affairs office in Washington last year after working on President Bush's re-election campaign and inaugural committee, according to his résumé.

Mr. Deutsch's educational record was first challenged on Monday by Nick Anthis, who graduated from Texas A&M last year with a biochemistry degree and has been writing a Web log on science policy, scientificactivist.blogspot.com.

After Mr. Anthis read about the problems at NASA, he said in an interview: "It seemed like political figures had really overstepped the line. I was just going to write some commentary on this when somebody tipped me off that George Deutsch might not have graduated."

He posted a blog entry asserting this after he checked with the university's association of former students. He reported that the association said Mr. Deutsch received no degree.

You want an explanation of what's wrong with the Bush administration in a nutshell? This guy was hired for NASA because he worked on Bush's election campaign. And nobody bothered to make a single phone call to be sure he was qualified. He was a loyal Bushite who would say what they wanted him to say, and that's all that mattered.

Heckuva job, Bushie.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Russ Feingold for President?

"This administration reacts to anyone who questions this illegal program by saying that those of us who demand the truth and stand up for our rights and freedoms somehow has a pre-9/11 world view. In fact, the President has a pre-1776 world view. Our government has three branches, not one. And no one, not even the President, is above the law." - Russ Feingold
"We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there [standing ovation]... but Coretta knew and we know that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war billions more but no more for the poor." -Reverend Dr. Joseph Lowery at the Coretta Scott King funeral (in front of 4 presidents).

QuickTime Streaming Video: lowryking.320.240.mov

Quick hit

When Gonzales argues that the Constitution gives the president undisputable powers to conduct warrantless surveillance despite a statute aimed at requiring him to seek court approval, such an interpretation "is not sound," Specter said in the interview. ". . . He's smoking Dutch Cleanser." - Washington Post

That's a Republican talking.

Remember - the Bushites want to pretend that only Democrats opposed warrantless domestic spying - and that's a LIE.


Howard Dean is probably going to royally piss off the Democratic Leadership Council and scads of the entrenched, old-guard, way-too-fat-and-comfortable Democrats with this, but he is having the Democratic National Committee back Campaign Finance Reform.

It's just in Vermont - it's a law Dean himself signed when Governor - but the principle should continue to apply when this sort of thing comes up nationally.

Some folks think "Freedom of Speech" is the freedom to bribe politicians and purchase favorable legislation. It isn't, and the left should say so LOUDLY. And if it means denuding the feathered nests in our own party, good, do it. Corruption is poison, and it admits of no compromise and it must be purged.

Democrats have got to get solidly behind the principle that it's one PERSON, one vote - not one DOLLAR, one vote. And they have got the stand for some fundamental ideas, like "money should only buy you more STUFF - not more power, more access or more rights."

This is a good start in that direction.
Great War veteran dies aged 107

The last remaining merchant sailor from the First World War has died aged 107, his family have said.

Nicholas Swarbrick died peacefully last Thursday at the nursing home in Grimsargh, Lancashire, where he spent his final years.

His death leaves just 11 soldiers, sailors and airmen from the Great War, said a National Archives spokesman.

Help an injured soldier

Do it through John Aravosis' site.
Here's a great new ad from moveon. Let's try to get this one on the air.

A Covenant with the American Soldier

By Thomas Mockaitis

A little more than a decade ago, the Republican Party issued its famous "Contract with America." Although we should be leery of contracts with politicians who never show us the fine print, the idea of such has some interesting possibilities. In light of continuing developments in Iraq and new revelations about the treatment of National Guard members on active duty, it may be time for Washington to consider a contract with the men and women of our armed forces. For lack of a better term, let's call this pact "A Covenant with the American Soldier." The title's biblical connotations should accord well with the Bush administration's evangelical leanings.

Setting partisan politics aside and recognizing that soldiers don't get to choose their wars, the covenant might contain the following clauses:

- We promise not to send you into harm's way ill-equipped for the dangers you will face. You will never have to scrounge for scrap metal to up-armor your vehicles. You will be provided with the most up-to-date flak jackets that protect your entire torso, not just your front and back.

- We promise to send you with enough of your comrades to complete the mission as safely and quickly as possible. We will listen when you tell us how many of you are needed to do the job.

- We promise that if you are wounded, you will receive the best medical attention available at public expense for as long as necessary. If you are permanently disabled, we guarantee you an income on which you can live and support your family for the rest of your life.

- We promise that if you are killed in the line of duty, your loved ones will receive death benefits worthy of the name that enable them to have a standard of living equivalent to what they enjoyed when you were with them. We will make sure these benefits keep pace with the cost of living and will not try to reduce them during peacetime when no one is looking.

- We will implement a fair and reasonable compassionate leave policy. Except in the most dire circumstances, none of you will have to miss the birth of your child or negotiate a divorce via cell phone.

- Whenever possible we will keep the duration of your deployments reasonable and avoid unnecessarily extending and/or renewing them.

- We promise that if we violate any of these guarantees using "manpower shortages," "overextension," or "low recruitment" as an excuse, we will seriously reconsider whether the American people truly support the mission on which we have sent you. If they do not, we will bring you home in a timely manner. If we are ever in doubt as to whether the mission is worth your blood, we will ask ourselves a simple question: Would we send our own sons and daughters where we have asked you to go?"


Your political leaders

I suppose a few more things could be added to my list, including an occasional "thanks for serving" offered at times other than the 4th of July or Memorial Day. These propositions do, however, provide a good place to start, especially for an administration that constantly asks us to support our troops.

Monday, February 06, 2006

"Well...that's a rather personal question, but..."


Feingold asked Gonzales if Bush had taken any other actions that wouldn't be permitted by the FISA statute.

Gonzalez didn't say "no."

He said he'd have to get back to him with his answer.

That means "yes."

This domestic spying thing is just the tip of the iceberg.

They are hiding some LARGE stuff.

They are hiding some stuff that even the REPUBLICANS wouldn't stomach.
From the Financial Times (sorry, subscription only), by way of Think Progress (free, like all good things in cyberspace):

Reagan Justice Department veteran Bruce Fein:

"[I]f the president is unwilling to delineate anything that is out of bounds no matter what Congress says, you are establishing a principle of 'trust me' as a measure of our civil liberties - and at that point you do have to start talking about impeachment."

Live Blog Alert

Glenn Greenwald is Live Blogging the NSA hearings.

Also, take a look at his post previewing Kennedy's questioning. Is it possible that the Democrats will actually behave like an opposition party? At least in the face of plain illegality? Please, God?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Bush - captured on video.

(P.S.: The link works now.)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

It's the Credibility, Stupid

We may actually have a reporter with some balls. And it's about time.

This is good. And if you have questions, DO email him:

President Bush's fundamental challenge as he tries to regain his political footing is that most Americans don't trust him anymore.

In the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, for instance, 53 percent of Americans said they do not consider him honest and trustworthy. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found 52 percent of Americans believe the Bush administration intentionally misled the public in making its case for war in Iraq. Serious stuff.

And yet, when Bush faces the press corps -- either en masse, in a news conference, or in the occasional sit-down interview -- the central issue of credibility typically goes unexplored.

That may be why so many Bush critics are so frustrated with the mainstream media coverage of the president -- and why you hear so many fantasies about how Jon Stewart, or a roused Oprah Winfrey, would do a better job.

Some of this came up in my Live Online discussion on Wednesday.

There is a reason members of the press corps don't grill Bush on issues like his credibility. But it's not (as many of my readers often complain) because they're craven.

It's the structure of the relationship. At a typical press conference, there are in fact quite a few tough questions. Consider last week's press conference, when the newest Los Angeles Times White House reporter, James Gerstenzang, asked Bush if his defense of domestic spying wasn't basically a variation on President Nixon's "When the President does it, then that means it is not illegal."

Typically, however, Bush didn't actually answer the question -- choosing to respond with some generic comments about his authority. And, like many tough questions, it was not aggressively followed up. Bush does not tolerate multiple questions from a single reporter, and other reporters are loathe to give up their questions to repeat one from a colleague.

The other thing is that daily news reporters tend to ask breaking-news questions rather than big-picture questions. That's a mistake, especially given how prepared Bush is with a vaguely relevant but usually non-responsive sound bite for virtually any breaking-news question. But it's the nature of the beast.

What about one-on-one interviews? Even for network anchors and the like, the opportunity to quiz the president comes so infrequently that it's hard to resist the temptation to try to cover a lot of ground. The result is then very much the same as in a press conference. Each question results in a mini-filibuster, and rather than have him repeat it, you move on to the next topic.

Consider, for instance, Bush's long interview last week with CBS News's Bob Schieffer. It covered a lot of ground -- but didn't make a lot of news. And with a few exceptions, it didn't get past the talking points.

So what's the solution?

It seems to me the trick would be for the next news outlet that gets a sit-down with the president to devote an entire interview -- a la Oprah v. Frey -- to the issue of credibility. And to be prepared with quotes and clips -- a la Stewart -- to force Bush to directly address the various inconsistent, misleading, or outright false statements that have peppered his presidency.

Such an interview could still be wide ranging, of course. It could cover the issue of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction; his descriptions of the run-up to war; his views of progress in Iraq; his statements -- and then silence -- about the CIA leak investigation; his concealment of -- and then questionable assertions about -- domestic spying; his promises for New Orleans; his stonewalling on the Abramoff lobbying scandal.

I could go on.

And in fact, with the help of you readers, I'd like to put together a series of sample interview questions for the president on the subject of his credibility. E-mail me at froomkin@washingtonpost.com. (And I apologize in advance for not responding to each e-mail.)

Then again, there's another possibility: A reporter could get up at the next press conference and ask a very simple, very basic question: Why should the American public trust you anymore?

At least 53 percent of Americans would like to know his answer.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Somebody wrote to me asking about my post below.

"Muslims consider it offensive to show Mohammed, and the cartoons were actually insulting even if they didn't. Don't you think Muslims had a reason to be insulted?"

1) Yes. Muslims had a reason to be insulted.

2) Non-Muslims are not bound by Muslim law, and can post any cartoon they please, including Mohammed's face, if they want to. It may not be wise, it may not be considerate, but they are allowed.

3) Muslims have every right to express anger when they do so. Or to boycott. Or to protest. Whatever. They do NOT have the right to threaten violence. That's crap.

4) I have no idea why the U.S. decided to stick its nose into a religion/free speech conflict between the nation of Denmark and the Muslim religion. That was just stupid.

Hope that clears that up.

The Bush Cult.

The above is the cartoon that drew the outrage of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It seems that they thought the target of the cartoon was the wounded soldier, instead of Rumsfeld. Yes, I know that's ludicrous (the Doctor is labelled "Dr. Rumsfeld" - get it, boys?) . You have to have several screws loose to think that. The point of the cartoon is so obvious that it's hard to miss it, and yet miss it they did.

Well in reality, they took offense because THEY were the targets, and because it made Rumsfeld and Bush look bad, not the soldiers. Editor and Publisher hath the whole story, as well as Americablog.

But hot on the heels of that, Moslems all over the world are ALSO complaining - and rioting - about a cartoon. This one is in Denmark and it depicts Mohammed, which is forbidden in the Moslem religion.

Well, in my opinion, both the Bushites and the Moslems are upset for the same reason: in both cases, some cartoonist had the nerve to show the face of their prophet.


Can't be.

It stars Will Ferrell, too, who does a devastating job on the OTHER Curious George.

Spotted by Attytood.
"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires---a wiretap requires a court order.

Nothing has changed, by the way.

When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so.

It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution."

---President George W. Bush
April 20, 2004

Paul Krugman

State of Delusion
From Times Select

So President Bush's plan to reduce imports of Middle East oil turns out to be no more substantial than his plan — floated two years ago, then flushed down the memory hole — to send humans to Mars.

But what did you expect? After five years in power, the Bush administration is still — perhaps more than ever — run by Mayberry Machiavellis, who don't take the business of governing seriously.

Here's the story on oil: In the State of the Union address Mr. Bush suggested that "cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol" and other technologies would allow us "to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East."

But the next day, officials explained that he didn't really mean what he said. "This was purely an example," said Samuel Bodman, the energy secretary. And the administration has actually been scaling back the very research that Mr. Bush hyped Tuesday night: the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is about to lay off staff because of budget cuts. "A veteran researcher," reports The New York Times, "said the staff had been told that the cuts would be concentrated among researchers in wind and biomass, which includes ethanol."

Why announce impressive sounding goals when you have no plan to achieve them? The best guess is that the energy "plan" was hastily thrown together to give Mr. Bush something positive to say.

For weeks administration sources told reporters that the State of the Union address would focus on health care. But at the last minute the White House might have realized that its health care proposals, based on the idea that Americans have too much insurance, would suffer the same political fate as its attempt to privatize Social Security. ("Congress," Mr. Bush said, "did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security." Democrats responded with a standing ovation.)

So Mr. Bush's speechwriters were told to replace the health care proposals with fine words about energy independence, words not backed by any actual policy.

What about the rest of the speech? The State of the Union is normally an occasion for boasting about an administration's achievements. But what's a speechwriter to do when there are no achievements?

One answer is to pretend that the bad stuff never happened. The Medicare drug benefit is Mr. Bush's largest domestic initiative to date. It's also a disaster: at enormous cost, the administration has managed to make millions of elderly Americans worse off. So drugs went unmentioned in the State of the Union.

Another answer is to rely on evasive language. In Iraq, said Mr. Bush, we've "changed our approach to reconstruction."

In fact, reconstruction has failed. Almost three years after the war began, oil production is well below prewar levels, Baghdad is getting only an average of 3.2 hours of electricity a day, and more than 60 percent of water and sanitation projects have been canceled.

So now, having squandered billions in Iraqi oil revenue as well as U.S. taxpayer dollars, we've told the Iraqis that from now on it's their problem. America's would-be Marshall Plan in Iraq, reports The Los Angeles Times, "is drawing to a close this year with much of its promise unmet and no plans to extend its funding." I guess you can call that a change in approach.

There's a common theme underlying the botched reconstruction of Iraq, the botched response to Katrina (which Mr. Bush never mentioned), the botched drug program, and the nonexistent energy program. John DiIulio, the former White House head of faith-based policy, explained it more than three years ago. He told the reporter Ron Suskind how this administration operates: "There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus. ... I heard many, many staff discussions but not three meaningful, substantive policy discussions. There were no actual policy white papers on domestic issues."

In other words, this administration is all politics and no policy. It knows how to attain power, but has no idea how to govern. That's why the administration was caught unaware when Katrina hit, and why it was totally unprepared for the predictable problems with its drug plan. It's why Mr. Bush announced an energy plan with no substance behind it. And it's why the state of the union — the thing itself, not the speech — is so grim.

Bush and Blair planned to invade two months before the invasion.

The question is no longer whether they lied, but if ANYTHING they said was the truth. From the U.K Guardian:
Tony Blair told President George Bush that he was "solidly" behind US plans to invade Iraq before he sought advice about the invasion's legality and despite the absence of a second UN resolution, according to a new account of the build-up to the war published today.

A memo of a two-hour meeting between the two leaders at the White House on January 31 2003 - nearly two months before the invasion - reveals that Mr Bush made it clear the US intended to invade whether or not there was a second UN resolution and even if UN inspectors found no evidence of a banned Iraqi weapons programme.

And isn't it interesting that this stuff keeps coming out in the BRITISH press, while the Lapdog American Media are asleep at the switch?
"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side." - Hunter S. Thompson


Mrs Ignatz and I just moved, so I've been out of commission for a few days, and missed Herr President's " 'Scuse Me While I Spread This Bull" Speech. The blog doesn't seem to have been infiltrated by gremlins in my absence. Good enough.