June 29, 2007

No Exit Possible?

This from the Washington Post:
An Exit to Disaster By Michael Gerson -- Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"Victory in Iraq," one official of the Coalition Provisional Authority told me a couple of years ago, "was defined as decapitating the regime. No one defined victory as creating a sustainable country six months down the road."

Now Democrats running for president have thought deeply and produced their own Iraq policy: They want to cut force levels too early and transfer responsibility to Iraqis before they are ready, and they offer no plan to deal with the chaos that would result six months down the road. In essential outline, they have chosen to duplicate the early mistakes of an administration they hold in contempt.
In the article, Gerson paints grisly pictures and conjures up visions of the Khmer Rouge [I well remember the photos of the stacks of skulls].

No doubt, the right and prudent course was to stay the hell out of Iraq.
It's too late, though, to embark on the 'right and prudent course.'
So, where does that leave us? Do we stay in Iraq forever? Do we send our children there with targets on their backs to be gunned down in a futile attempt to save a failed policy that was, in actuality, no policy at all?
On that point, Gerson is silent.

While urging continued involvement in the region, he gives no blueprints for what victory might look like; whether victory is possible; how long will be 'long enough.'
Click here for the complete text.

June 28, 2007

A Statement From School Kids

This From the Huffington Post:
Bong Hits 4 Bush -- Marty Kaplan

[L]ook . . . to Mari K. Oye, a high school senior from Wellesley, Massachusetts, who at the White House this week presented President Bush a handwritten letter, signed by her and 49 other Presidential Scholars, protesting his Administration's use of torture.

When these Presidential Scholars from all over the country met one another in Washington, they discovered how many of them felt so strongly about the issue, and about seizing the opportunity to be heard. As Leah Libresco. . . said . . . , the view among many of them was that torture is a non-partisan issue: "I don't think this is a controversial issue. I don't think human dignity and human rights is a controversial issue, so once we started talking to people about the idea of speaking up, people kept coming forward and saying yes, this is important."

So Mari and Leah and others drafted a thoughtful statement to hand to the President when it came time for their big moment with him . . . .

[T]he President "said that it's important to treat others as you wish to be treated, and he said that we really need to think about the choices that we make in our lives." What a cue! "As he lined up to take the photo with us," Colin continued, "Mari handed him the note, and said, 'Mr. President, some of us have made a choice, and we want you to have this.'"

How did he respond? "We agree. Americans do not use torture." He tells the kids to treat others as you want to be treated yourself -- the essence of the Geneva Conventions, which he and Cheney and Gonzales have contemptuously reconstrued as the Swiss Suggestions. . . .
Click here for the complete text.
Later in the article, Kaplan states: 'Despite the criminalization of dissent by the Bush Administration, its Court, and its courtiers, there's something going on among young Americans.' He cites the New York Times/CBS News/MTV poll, which shows that [s]eventy percent of them say the country is on the wrong track, and 77 percent of them "said they thought the votes of their generation would have a great bearing on who becomes the next president."
My generation found a country we disliked and set about changing it. May these young people do the same-- and do a better job than we did.

June 27, 2007

One Industry's Got to Go, Cheney. Which?

This from WashingtonPost.com:
Leaving No Tracks -- Jo Becker and Barton Gellman
Washington Post Staff Writers -- Wednesday, June 27, 2007

In Oregon, a battleground state that the Bush-Cheney ticket had lost by less than half of 1 percent, drought-stricken farmers and ranchers were about to be cut off from the irrigation water that kept their cropland and pastures green. Federal biologists said the Endangered Species Act left the government no choice: The survival of two imperiled species of fish was at stake.

Law and science seemed to be on the side of the fish. Then the vice president stepped in.

First Cheney looked for a way around the law, aides said. Next he set in motion a process to challenge the science protecting the fish, according to a former Oregon congressman who lobbied for the farmers.

Because of Cheney's intervention, the government reversed itself and let the water flow in time to save the 2002 growing season, declaring that there was no threat to the fish. What followed was the largest fish kill the West had ever seen, with tens of thousands of salmon rotting on the banks of the Klamath River.

Characteristically, Cheney left no tracks.
There was, as it happened, an established exemption to the Endangered Species Act.

A rarely invoked panel of seven Cabinet officials, known informally as the "God Squad," is empowered by the statute to determine that economic hardship outweighs the benefit of protecting threatened wildlife. But after discussing the option with Smith, Cheney rejected that course. He had another idea, one that would not put the administration on record as advocating the extinction of endangered or threatened species.

The thing to do, Cheney told Smith, was to get science on the side of the farmers. And the way to do that was to ask the National Academy of Sciences to scrutinize the work of the federal biologists who wanted to protect the fish.
Months later, the first of an estimated 77,000 dead salmon began washing up on the banks of the warm, slow-moving river. Not only were threatened coho dying -- so were chinook salmon, the staple of commercial fishing in Oregon and Northern California. State and federal biologists soon concluded that the diversion of water to farms was at least partly responsible.
Last summer, the federal government declared a "commercial fishery failure" on the West Coast after several years of poor chinook returns virtually shut down the industry, opening the way for Congress to approve more than $60 million in disaster aid to help fishermen recover their losses. That came on top of the $15 million that the government has paid Klamath farmers since 2002 not to farm, in order to reduce demand.
Click here for the entire text.
So, Cheney did something to help one industry thereby dooming another and insuring an expensive bailout of both.
Meanwhile, he made sure his fingerprints weren't on either measure.

June 25, 2007

With A Little Help From His Friends, Cheney Just Keeps On Truckin'

This from the Washington Post:
Cheney Defiant on Classified Material -- Executive Order Ignored Since 2003
By Peter Baker -- Washington Post Staff Writer -- Friday, June 22, 2007

Vice President Cheney's office has refused to comply with an executive order governing the handling of classified information for the past four years and recently tried to abolish the office that sought to enforce those rules, according to documents released by a congressional committee yesterday.

Since 2003, the vice president's staff has not cooperated with an office at the National Archives and Records Administration charged with making sure the executive branch protects classified information. Cheney aides have not filed reports on their possession of classified data and at one point blocked an inspection of their office. After the Archives office pressed the matter, the documents say, Cheney's staff this year proposed eliminating it.

Th[is] . . . underscores a wider struggle waged in the past 6 1/2 years over Cheney's penchant for secrecy. Since becoming vice president, he has fought attempts to peer into the inner workings of his office, shielding an array of information such as the names of industry executives who advised his energy task force, . . .

. . . [T]he fight about classified information regulation indicates that the vice president has resisted oversight even by other parts of the Bush administration. Cheney's office argued that it is exempt from the rules in this case because it is not strictly an executive branch agency.

"He's saying he's above the law," said Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), . . .
Cheney's office declined to discuss what it called internal matters. "We are confident that we are conducting the office properly under the law," said spokeswoman Megan McGinn.

The Justice Department confirmed yesterday that it is looking into the issue. "This matter is currently under review in the department," said spokesman Erik Ablin, who declined to elaborate.
[Emphasis added.]
Well if Lapdog Gonzales' DoJ is looking into it, I guess we can all rest easy, huh?
Click here for the complete text.
From Raw Story:
Democrats plan to cut Cheney out of executive funding bill
Josh Catone -- Published: Saturday June 23, 2007

Following Vice President Dick Cheney's assertion that his office is not a part of the executive branch of the US government, Democratic Caucus Chairman Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) plans to introduce an amendment to the the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill to cut funding for Cheney's office.
On Thursday, Emanuel suggested that if Cheney feels his office is not part of the executive branch "he should return the salary the American taxpayers have been paying him since January 2001, and move out of the home for which they are footing the bill."
Click here for the complete text.
Emmanuel released this graphic to illustrate the latest silliness:***
In an attempt to de-fang the story, White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino took an unprecedented step: she told the truth, labeling it a "non-issue."
I could have gotten THAT information from my copy of 'DUH! Magazine'.

June 22, 2007

Cheney Admits He's No Use to Anyone

So, the Vice President's office isn't part of the Executive Branch, huh? OK, then just exactly what is it?
According to Cheney it's neither fish nor flesh, nor good red herring. Cheney asserts it's not part of the Executive. It's obviously not part of Congress. It's not part of the Supreme Court. And our government is made up of a 3-branch-system.

OK, then--if, in Cheney's over-the-rainbow world, the Vice President's office isn't within our 3 branches, we don't NEED an impeachment order. According to the man himself, he's not part of the government. He's irrelevant.
So, let's just kick him to the curb.
Click here for the full text.

June 21, 2007

The Joys of Email

I have a friend who is pretty new to the world of email. She sends out every round-robin email that comes her way without regard to who the senders or the recipients might be. As a result, I’ve been getting a pretty substantial education on the workings of the mind of another of her friends who emails huge amounts of stuff about Jesus [sic], sending all Mexicans back to Mexico and sending more troops to war—presumably to kill other people-- or, given the way things are going, to be killed.

Meanwhile, I delight in sending my friend great quantities of stuff _I_ believe—like the idea that Joshua bar Joseph was against killing; the fact that my ancestors [and presumably those of my friend’s friend, as well] came to this country to create better lives for themselves [financially at least as much as to ‘seek freedom’]; and outlining the failures of this administration in Iraq and in preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution generally.

Given my friend’s penchant for sending out every email she receives to everyone in her address book, I figure it will eventually get to the guy [yes, that’s an assumption on my part] who’s trying to convert everyone into a Bush-loving, hatred-sowing war-monger—by being as big an ass as Bush is, himself.

Don’tcha just love email? Not to mention revenge.

June 20, 2007

Storm Troopers in Brook's Bros. Suits

Like everyone else, I knew the 2000 election was stolen by Bush. I hadn't known about this episode in that process. I'm passing it on here in case you didn't know about it, either.

Click here for the 2002 article on the "Brooks Brothers' Riot" in the Consortium News by Robert Barry.

June 17, 2007

Goodwill Squandered

As with President Reagan, I never have seen what the American people once saw as redeeming qualities in G.W. Bush. I didn't trust him to either know or care about what was right-- let alone do anything about it.

But polls tell us that, in the past, there were people who agreed with him and approved of the job he was doing.
He effectively nipped THAT in the bud.
See here for the latest poll results.

June 15, 2007

BushCo Shaft's Enron Victims

Bush may be a lame duck but that doesn't mean he can't still do substantial damage to our country.
So much for 'compassionate conservatism'. I always knew it was an oxymoron.
The Bush administration is doing whatever it can to see to it that Enron's victims stay just that: victims.
Click here for the article from the Huffington Post.

June 12, 2007

US Courts Go the Way of the Dinosaur

This from the Washington Post:
Immigration Judges Often Picked Based On GOP Ties
Law Forbids Practice; Courts Being Reshaped
By Amy Goldstein and Dan Eggen -- Washington Post Staff Writers

"The Bush administration increasingly emphasized partisan political ties over expertise in recent years in selecting the judges who decide the fate of hundreds of thousands of immigrants, despite laws that preclude such considerations, according to an analysis by The Washington Post.

"At least one-third of the immigration judges appointed by the Justice Department since 2004 have had Republican connections or have been administration insiders, and half lacked experience in immigration law. . ."

Click here for the complete text.
These thugs will truly stop at nothing in their attempts to achieve a one-party system.


Hey folks--
After waiting 7 weeks for them, the closet components I ordered finally arrived. So I've been offline while I built a huge walk-in closet/dressing room Finally, I can rescue this house from the chaos that has been the norm since I arrived in Florida back in February.

Posting to the blog will remain sporadic for the time being while I get my bedroom, the guest room, the Florida room, kitchen, living room and computer room organized.
I will TRY to post more often during the next phases: tearing apart one room at a time as I paint, wallpaper, put up murals, get the potting station on the patio put together, build some furniture, etc. etc. etc. But, I do think the worst will soon be behind me, here. :)

Who knew moving in would create at least as much angst as the selling/moving-out process did???

Anyhow, to those of you who haven't given up in disgust, thank you for your patience. As the house begins to look more like a house and less like a bomb-site, I WILL begin paying more attention to the blog, I promise.

June 9, 2007

A Novel Suggestion

The Democrats' Leap of Faith -- By Ruth Marcus
The Washington Post:
You know it's a different kind of candidate forum when Hillary Clinton allows that she sometimes prays (no doubt, she says, to some divine eye-rolling) "Oh, Lord, why can't you help me lose weight?" and describes how "prayer warriors" sustained her through the public dissection of her husband's infidelity.

When Barack Obama muses on the nature of good vs. evil. When John Edwards recounts that he "strayed away from the Lord" in adulthood, only to find that "my faith came roaring back" after the death of his 16-year-old son.

This is not Michael Dukakis's Democratic Party. Instead, as was shown by Monday night's forum on faith, sponsored by CNN and the liberal evangelical group Sojourners, it is a party on a mission: to make inroads into Republicans' ability to attract and, more important, turn out religious voters.
See here for complete text.
All this teeth-gnashing over gleaning religious voters is beyond me when there's one sure-fire method to getting votes that has been shown to be effective and will sweep Democrats into office in vast numbers if they'll only demonstrate the courage to undertake it: it's called, 'Doing The Right Thing.'

Note to ALL candidates--not just the Democrats. Do you want to be President? Or any other elected official from your local school board to U.S. Senate? Look around you for what needs cleaning up in this country. Then clean it up.

Look at poverty, for instance. Recognize that children in this country go to school and go to bed hungry in vast numbers. Do whatever it takes to see to it that they get nutritious meals. Don't try to get by by labeling ketchup a vegetable. Do The Right Thing.

Look at crime. Start with yourselves. See to it that corporations from Libby's prescription medicine conglomerate to Lockheed Martin to Exxon Mobile don't get more than their fair share of tax breaks at the expense of the individual tax payer. And stop them from price gouging. Do The Right Thing.

Look at education. Don't throw slogans at it. Fund meaningful methods for increasing teacher competence -- even among our poor schools. Help college students get the moneys they need to go to school. Help the STUDENTS not the college deans. Do The Right Thing.

Look at the environment. Don't just talk the schtick in an effort to attract voters. Actually DO something about global warming. DO something about making air and water cleaner. Do The Right Thing.

Look at the infrastructure of this country. Don't build bicycle paths -- unless they're truly necessary where they are proposed. Don't build nuclear power plants on the San Andreas Fault. Fix roads where they need fixing. Don't use infrastructure as a part of the Pork Barrel Buffet. Do The Right Thing.

I could go on and on -- but you get the gist. Do The Right Thing, the votes will follow.

One upside is that you'll get to stop with all the talking about prayer and faith. You'll get to stop pandering which, let's face it, MUST be getting old by now, even to you-- it certainly is to us.

The biggest upside for anyone who tries it is: you'll steal a march on those who don't get it and who keep going after the voters while doing business as usual. Come November of next year, you'll have the American people in your pocket. And you'll like what you see in the mirror, too.

June 6, 2007

Never Trust a Man Named After a Child's Toy

In the West Wing, Pardon Is A Topic Too Sensitive to Mention
By Peter Baker - Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 6, 2007

'The sentence imposed on former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby yesterday put President Bush in the position of making a decision he has tried to avoid for months: Trigger a fresh political storm by pardoning a convicted perjurer or let one of the early architects of his administration head to prison.

'The prospect of a pardon has become so sensitive inside the West Wing that top aides have been kept out of the loop, and even Bush friends have been told not to bring it up with the president.'
As with so many difficult issues in the past, Bush believes that, if he ignores this one, it will just go away. After all, this strategy has worked so well for him in the past.
'[T]he conservative National Review posted an editorial on its Web site headlined "Pardon Him."

'The Weekly Standard followed with a cutting article accusing Bush of abandoning Libby: "So much for loyalty, or decency, or courage. For President Bush, loyalty is apparently a one-way street; decency is something he's for as long as he doesn't have to take any risks in its behalf; and courage -- well, that's nowhere to be seen. Many of us used to respect President Bush. Can one respect him still?"'
Well, it's rather late but it's nice to witness the Weekly [Double] Standard finally seeing the light about Bush's performance. Of course, it's probably just rhetoric -- but still . . . .
'Democrats asserted that a pardon would be an outrage. "Serious offenses resulted in the appropriate sentencing of Scooter Libby today," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.). "The president must not pardon him." Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) added: "The Libby case revealed the lengths to which the Bush administration went to manipulate intelligence and discredit its critics."'
I can't say that I agree with Pelosi here. I don't perceive 2 1/2 years as an appropriate sentence given the serious damage that was done to the CIA and Plame's career for the basest of motives: revenge.
See here for the complete text.

June 5, 2007

Lying for Jesus [sic]

The next time someone comes at me ranting about the ‘liberal media’ I’m going to refer them to the program I saw today:
My TV’s menu listed a show called, ‘The Theory of Everything.’ When I keyed up the info button it described the program as a documentary. Imagine my surprise when I checked out the program and saw a mother and daughter decorating a Christmas tree while the mother argued with her husband. Moments later, the husband was in a near-miss car collision. He shakily pulled off the road, walked into a church where the choir was singing a carol. He knelt down and said a prayer 'in Jesus [sic] name’.

Where did whoever listed this thing get off naming it after a scientific theory and calling it a documentary?

So much for that show-- I switched over to the Star Trek auction. If a show is going to spout goodness and light, I much prefer Star Trek’s version to this drivel. At least the producers, staff and cast admitted what they were doing: putting on morality plays set in the future. They called them SCIENCE FICTION. They didn’t call them documentaries.

June 2, 2007

Plot Thwarted? Or Plot Invented?

This from CNN:
4 charged with terror plot at JFK airport, official says
POSTED: 1804 GMT June 2, 2007

"Anytime you hit Kennedy, it is the most hurtful thing to the United States. To hit John F. Kennedy, wow...they love JFK -- he's like the man. If you hit that, this whole country will be in mourning. It's like you can kill the man twice," one of the suspects said during a recorded phone conversation, officials said.
Click here for the complete text.
Correct me if I’m wrong but, doesn’t this sound suspiciously like a teen- aged boy bragging about what he’s 'gonna do someday?'

CNN’s article itself said the plan was never feasible and never came close to being operational.
The article goes on to say: '"There is no credible intelligence to suggest an imminent threat to the homeland at this time, and there are no adjustments to our security posture being made as a result of this plot," a Homeland Security official said.'
Here, I refer the reader to a thoroughly enjoyable, humorous novel by Donald E. Westlake entitled ‘Why Me?
In it, a very-full-of-himself FBI agent uses long words he doesn’t understand [and makes some up] and imagines international plots that don’t exist in regards to the theft of a priceless ruby. The ruby is actually in possession of a petty thief who doesn’t know he’s got it.
Read ‘Why Me?’ and see if Officer Zachary doesn’t remind you of whoever made the second quote above.
Meanwhile, I’m just biting my nails waiting for Bush to declare this as exactly the excuse he needs to assume the dicatorial powers he granted himself last week in order to ‘assure order to the continuation' of his destruction of the Constitution he swore on the Bible to uphold.

June 1, 2007

Once Again the White House Looks Busy and Does Nothing

As the World Warms, the White House Aspires

By Dana Milbank -- Friday, June 1, 2007

Yesterday, as the temperature pushed toward 90 degrees in the capital, global warming caused a meltdown in the Bush administration's message machine.
Click here for the full text.
This president, who has decided that last November's election means the people of the country believe he's on the right course in everything he does [including the war in Iraq] came out against global warming -- kind of. Basically, he declared that it's a Bad Thing-- one he plans to do nothing about-- except engage in Double Speak.