January 31, 2007

Why Is This One Different?

Soldier's Death Strengthens Senators' Antiwar Resolve
Kerry, Dodd Demand Stronger Challenge to Bush

By Jonathan Weisman and Ann Scott Tyson
***
The above headline caught my eye. Why did this one particular soldier's death 'strengthen senators' resolve'? I asked myself. So I read the article. Here's an exerpt. And here is the rest.

Just before Christmas, an Army captain named Brian Freeman cornered Sens. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) and John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) at a Baghdad helicopter landing zone. The war was going badly, he told them. Troops were stretched so thin they were doing tasks they never dreamed of, let alone trained for.

Freeman . . . returned to his base in Karbala, Iraq, and less than two weeks ago died . . . .

The death of the West Point graduate . . . has radicalized Dodd, energized Kerry and girded the ever-more confrontational stance of Democrats in the Senate. Freeman's death has reverberated on the Senate floor, in committee deliberations and on television talk shows.
***
Now, while I'm glad something has gotten Congress off the dime, I'm sorry this man or any of the 3,081 who preceeded him had to die to make it happen.

EVERY SINGLE ONE of those service men and women who has died, been maimed for life, been wounded or will come home with PTSD--facing a lifetime of challenge just to make it through another day--is a face, a name, a loved one of someone. Why couldn't those senators have figured that out before now?

Why did it take the death of someone they met face-to-face to get them [especially those who have actually been to war] to put a human face on the catastrophe?

January 30, 2007

Hypocrisy in Media

Olberman of MSNBC was recently targeted by someone who sent him a powdery substance in the mail.
He followed company policy and reported it to the authorities. Then, The New York Post held him up to ridicule after being asked by the FBI not to release the story.
See here for Olberman's version of the incident after The NY Post broke the story despite the FBI's request.
***
Once again, the Radical Right puts playing politics ahead of national security, patriotism or simple human decency.

A Nation's Breakdown

There is much I disagree with in the second paragraph of Chas W. Freeman’s article—like most of it.
Unlike his, my history of the US includes such things as the genocide of the people who were here before the Europeans came; slavery that was practiced from before the time our nation became a nation until the second half of the 19th century--and the Jim Crow laws that followed; the child labor of the 18th through early 20th centuries; the propping up of puppet governments and dictatorships often after overthrowing an inconvenient government that had been--wait for it--elected by the people of the affected country; the union busting of the 19th and 20th centuries; the fact that the US had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 20th when it came to enfranchising women and minorities. I could go on.

And Freeman didn't give even a nod to the many domestic problems facing the country today such as education, the continued denial of civil rights to at least 38% of the population [Natives, Blacks, Hispanics and Gays ], poverty, health care, etc. And I'm not even going to go into the women's issues here--though I certainly could.
*_*_*
However, given his ignoring of certain uncomfortable truths, he does seem to do a passable job of delineating the nervous breakdown this country is in the midst of at the moment.

Here is the article.

January 29, 2007

Galloping Back to the Point

When I began my first blog [ scattershot thoughts] the idea was to promote acceptance, tolerance, call it what you will, among people.

Then, I got caught up in the direction the country seemed to be going, got scared and got seduced away from the original message: ‘We’re All In This Together’. Put another way, as only Ben Franklin could, ‘We must all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.’

In Franklin’s time that statement was meant literally. The British WOULD have hanged the troublemakers if they had caught them. Today, the threats are less tangible—but no less real.
We MUST find common ground or, assuredly, there will be no ground left to stand on.
The two messages [acceptance of one another and good government] are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are interconnected. And both deserve to be—must be—acknowledged.

The Con Artists in the White House

This from the New York Times:
We often wonder whether there is a limit to the Bush administration’s obsession with secrecy, its assault on the rule of law, its disdain for the powers of Congress, its willingness to con the public and its refusal to heed expert advice or recognize facts on the ground. Events of the past week suggest the answer is no.
^
Justice Department lawyers are withholding evidence from plaintiffs and even restricting the access of judges to documents . . . .
When government lawyers tried to take back a document that has circulated around the world, the judge asked a Justice Department lawyer, “Who is it secret from?” The answer: “Anyone who has not seen it.”
See here for the entire article.
***
I've studied The Third Reich extensively. In the years leading up to Hitler's dictatorship, people repeatedly said: 'We live in a Republic! The people's word is Law! We are protected. . . .'
And, they were--right up until the day they woke up in a dictatorship which they had seen coming--but refused to believe their eyes.

January 28, 2007

Talk About Politicizing the War!

I heard a Republican presidential candidate [don't know the name] say the most preposterous thing today:
He said the kids in Iraq go into the chow hall and CNN is on the tv and their morale is harmed when they see the Democrats say they want to pull out of Iraq.
Later on the same show [This Week with George Stephanopolous] in the In Memoriam segment, there were 47 dead soldiers listed. That's FORTY SEVEN DEAD KIDS IN ONE WEEK!
And that Republican says the troops are disheartened by hearing politicians say they want to bring them home.
Yeah. Right.

FCC to Feel Unfamiliar Heat From Democrats -- By Charles Babington

This from the Washington Post:
As congressional Democrats prepare to give the Federal Communications Commission its toughest scrutiny in years, a rivalry between the powerful agency's two most prominent Republicans is raising questions about its readiness to handle barbed questions and stiff challenges.

The Republican-controlled FCC -- which makes far-reaching decisions on telephone, television, radio, Internet and other services that people use daily -- has sparred infrequently with Republican-controlled congresses. But the Democratic-run 110th Congress is about to heat up the grill. . . ,

Senators vow to press the chairman and four commissioners on matters such as media-ownership diversity, Internet access, broadcast decency standards and delays in resolving various issues. [emphasis added.]

"They've effectively emasculated any public-interest standards that existed" for radio and TV stations, said Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.). . . ,
***
The internet may be saved with Congress riding to the rescue. Hope so anyway.

And, isn't it amazing--how the Right Leaning media have blared from from the rooftops about the Liberal Media Bias -- when the FCC has been controlled by Republicans for quite some time, now?

January 27, 2007

IMO -- Even More Important Than The Iraq War

Polls show that the Iraq War is judged to be, far and away, the Biggest Problem when it comes to this administration.
I have long disagreed.
While it is certainly of grave importance--what good is 'Exporting Democracy' if there is none here at home?
What good is helping fledgling nations assert their independence [even if that were truly our government's goal--which I don't believe for one second] if the American Constitution is simultaneously being shredded?
Here is a speech Senator Gore recently delivered. Please give it a read.
***
Congressman Barr and I have disagreed many times over the years, but we have joined together today with thousands of our fellow citizens-Democrats and Republicans alike-to express our shared concern that America's Constitution is in grave danger.
^
It is imperative that respect for the rule of law be restored.
See here for the entire speech.

January 24, 2007

Tonight's Three Contenders

Olbermann;s awards for the "Worst Person in the World":
The bronze goes to editor Bill Kristol of the “Weekly Standard,” [only the bronze?]
Then, 'the “Washington Times,” its magazine “Insight,” Fox and its . . . cousin the “New York Post.” The magazine quoted an unnamed source which claimed Senator Obama had, when he was six years old, attended a Muslim madrassa.'
***

That's Bill Kristol of the 'Weekly Double Standard'?
And, well, I guess Olberman got it right, after all. Fox and The Washington Times should have been first, after all.
My apologies.
Here's the clip .

More to Protest

Columnist Alex Beam of the Boston Globe says he just bought a Lenovo computer. He's boycotting Hewlett-Packard—because, ‘Last fall we learned that Hewlett-Packard sicced private investigators on journalists, going through their trash and monitoring their phone calls. I reason that if Hewlett-Packard wants to prevent my peers from engaging in the lawful activity of newsgathering, then I have every right to punish them in the marketplace.’
*_*_*
I guess I’ll be adding to the list of companies I boycott.
My previous successes are remarkable. You’ll notice I’ve driven WalMart to it’s knees!

January 23, 2007

"An Open Letter To The People Of Iran, Iraq, Israel, The US, The Troops, And President Bush"

by: Kathleen -- Mon Jan 15, 2007
( - promoted by weeping for brunnhilde)
First let me speak to the people in Iran.
There is a large majority of Americans who are terrified by our government's inability to hear our voices. We do not want war. Not with you, not with anyone. We admire your ancient culture and respect your religious beliefs. While our government takes steps toward instigating another illegal war, this time on your great nation, we, the majority of United States citizens, are trying everything that is in our power to prevent this.
See here for complete text.
*_*_*
This letter outlines my fears succintly.
I keep hearing that Iraq is concern number one across the country. While it is a major issue, certainly, and the carnage must be stopped as soon as humanly possible, I believe equal attention must be given to something which doesn't even seem to be registering in the polls: the erosion of our rights here at home.
If we are not allowed a voice, if our rights are frayed, we cannot call our government to task for its crimes, it's corruption, it's mistakes.

January 21, 2007

The Kiss of Death Embraced

These days, the R word is cyanide.
This morning on Meet the Press, McCain said: 'I'm a conservative Republican.'
***
Exclusive! You heard it here first, folks! A presidential candidate is a Republican!

The Lying Liar and His Lies

According to Dr. Johnson, while taking credit for Clinton's cancer research funding initiatives, Bush has actually been quietly cutting that same funding.
Here is the newsclip from ABC News.
***
WHAT?!? Bush is lying about cancer research funding? 'I don't think anyone could have predicted that'!

January 20, 2007

Oil giant works on its PR by Terry Macalister

From the Guardian Unlimited
The leadership at ExxonMobil has promised investors that it will "soften" its public image in a bid to rid itself of a reputation for being green campaigners' public enemy number one.
Chairman and chief executive Rex Tillerson made clear to a select group of top Wall Street fund managers and equity analysts that it would not be changing its basic position on global warming - just explain it better.

NewsMax! I Didn't Know You Cared!

Hmmmmmm---
I opened my copy of Washington Post.com today to find an ad placed by NewsMax, of all things!
Fwiw, NewsMax is a fairly strident conservative newsletter that I subscribed to until recently when I'd had enough for a while. Aamof--I've been thinking about starting my subscription up again--just haven't gotten my round tuit, yet.
Anyway, today's ad featured photos of Obama and Clinton [fairly unflattering photos at that -- certainly, nothing we'll be seeing on THEIR literature and fliers] and asking people to vote for one of them in a straw poll.
Now, I think we can all agree that NewsMax would cringe if either of these two folks landed in the White House. So, I'm thinking about taking my life in my hands, clicking on the link and seeing what I can discover.

If I'm not back by dinner time, send the dogs out after me, ok? :)

Cheney Invites Libby on Hunting Trip

Nothing to Do With Perjury Trial, Veep Insists
Vice President Dick Cheney raised eyebrows in Washington today by announcing that he was inviting his former chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, to join him on a hunting trip in Texas.
Coming as it did during the first week of Mr. Libby’s trial for perjury relating to the CIA leak case, the vice president’s invitation to hunt for quail seemed certain to arouse suspicions.
Source: The Borowitz Report

January 19, 2007

The Best Chance at the Truth -- By Dan Froomkin

It's a compelling, but still largely unexplored, narrative.
It goes something like this: As President Bush's false case for war in Iraq began to unravel, his top aides took extreme measures to discredit critics who accused the administration of intentional deceit. One of their mechanisms involved using compliant reporters to spread sometimes inaccurate information. . . .
As a result, they successfully kept charges of deception from becoming a major issue in the 2004 election, allowing Bush to win a second term. And since then, they have continued to avoid any meaningful congressional oversight, while at the same time keeping most of the press off the trail.

Barring a robust and far-reaching inquiry on Capitol Hill, the trial of Scooter Libby on perjury and obstruction of justice charges, which started this morning in Washington, offers the public its best chance to determine whether that narrative is accurate. [Emphasis added]
See here for complete text.
*_*_*
My main question is-- just why should we bar a 'robust and far reaching inquiry on Capitol Hill'?

Bush’s Pants Spontaneously Combust -- by Andy Borowitz

President’s Pants on Fire during ‘60 Minutes’ Interview

President George W. Bush narrowly escaped serious injury [Sunday] night when his pants spontaneously burst into flame during an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

Millions of Americans who tuned into the CBS news program to hear the president explain his rationale behind sending more troops to Iraq instead witnessed a freakish incident of spontaneous combustion.

All seemed fine at the outset of the interview, with no hint of an impending inferno, but then Mr. Bush “opened his mouth,” according to one eyewitness.

As soon as the president began speaking, wisps of white smoke started to emanate from his pants region, and within seconds his trousers were fully ablaze.

As flames began to lick the president’s inner thigh, a stagehand could be heard in the background shouting, “Pants on fire! Pants on fire!”

The District of Columbia fire department arrived at the CBS studio minutes later and extinguished the President’s pants before the fire had a chance to spread to Andy Rooney.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Cal) said that Mr. Bush’s penchant for setting his pants on fire may prevent him from making future State of the Union addresses to Congress, since his pants might be in violation of the House’s new ban on smoking.

But according to historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, the spontaneous combustion of Mr. Bush’s pants is not without precedent: “Donald Rumsfeld’s pants were on fire for the last six years.”

Elsewhere, the presidents of Iran and Venezuela announced that they are joining forces for future projects and that they are seeking the participation of the Riddler, the Penguin and the Joker.

January 18, 2007

Comparing Apples and Oranges

The other day I received an obnoxious email. It was designed to drive us apart. It worked hard at it. I wanted to grab the person who started it and shake him or her. Hard. I had to content myself with deleting it and denying its generator at least the satisfaction of the email she or he sent out sowing dissension, disdain and hate any further downstream.

Here’s what it did:
It painted the people of New Orleans as whiners and complainers while portraying the people of Colorado as true-blue, patriot, pull-themselves- up-by-their-bootstraps people who would never ask their government for anything.

It compared Katrina and the snow storm that hit Colorado last week.

It said the people in Colorado helped each other shovel their cars out of snow drifts. It said they pulled people who were stranded in their cars out of those cars and brought them to safety.

It said the people in Colorado would never get on national TV and swear at the government. It said they would never ask the government for help in the form of money or trailers or anything else.
It said they shared their dry socks with their neighbors when they came in after a tough day of shoveling.

And I say, ‘Good for them!’
I’m happy they had homes to come back to so they could get warm and put on those dry socks.
I’m glad one thousand three hundred people didn’t die in Colorado.
xxx
Here’s a reality check:
In New Orleans, before the storm hit, the poverty level was more than twice the national average.
There was a mandatory evacuation order—but most of the people who didn’t leave didn’t have cars or any other means of getting out of the city.
After the storm more than 50,000 homes were gone.
After the storm more than 300,000 people had no homes to return to.
If they had cars before Katrina struck, they didn’t after it left.
If they had jobs before the storm, they had no jobs to return to.
In fact, they had no city.
xxx
Can the people in Colorado say the same?
I’m not denigrating what happened in Colorado. It must have been horrific. The tail-end of that storm just hit Kansas City. We received several inches of ice and the city shut down.

But, just as I cannot compare what happened in Kansas City with what happened in Colorado, neither can the person who generated that hateful email compare what happened in Colorado with what happened in New Orleans.

I sincerely hope the smug person who compared the two never has to go through what the people in New Orleans suffered through.
I hope he or she never loses his or her home.
I hope he or she is never cast adrift—not knowing if he or she will ever get to go home and rebuild.
And, I hope he or she stops, before sending out an email like that again, and thinks: ‘There, but for the grace of God, go I.’

A Dark Horse's War Edge -- By E. J. Dionne Jr.

From the Washington Post:
Mike Huckabee, who just stepped down as Arkansas governor, is the brightest star among Republican presidential dark horses.
[I]t's not only because he is mastering a conservative form of triangulation blending religious conservatism with policy pragmatism.
Huckabee, if he chooses to run for president in 2008, has another asset: While front-runners John McCain and Rudy Giuliani have placed large bets on the success of President Bush's Iraq policy, Huckabee has maintained what you might call loyal distance.
^
And that's why a faithful Republican with no ties to Bush's Iraq policy could be very popular come 2008.
See here for the complete text.

January 17, 2007

Email, the Latest Recruitment Tool

I just received an -- um -- interesting email.
The closest I've been to the military is the fact that my father was deployed in Africa during WWII.
So, imagine my surprise when I opened my email this morning to discover a flag-draped message outlining all the veterans' benefits I'm eligible for -- assuming I'm a veteran.

Obviously, this email did not come to me because I'm in some veterans' database -- because I'm not.
It didn't come because I have made any enquiry to my government about joining the military -- because I haven't.
It didn't come because I've asked about veteran's benefits -- because I haven't done that either.
It came because I have an email address -- pure and simple.

I guess the TV ads that appeal to the 'manliness' of our seventeen-year-old kids aren't doing the job.
So, here is Bush and Cheney's fall-back plan to get fodder for their escalation in Iraq and their attempt to salvage Afghanistan and their pushes into Iran and Syria.
May their email blitz do as well as the TV ads are doing.

More Cause for Hope?

A fully funded 6-month withdrawal plan -- Lynn Woolsey
Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It was Will Rogers who advised: "When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging." Yet the Bush administration is grabbing for every shovel it can find. Faced with his own spectacular failure in Iraq, with violence that his own CIA director termed "satanic, President Bush has chosen to escalate the very policy that catalyzed the slaughter and mayhem in the first place. The White House finds itself in a hole and, incomprehensibly, has decided to keep digging.

It's long past time that we climb out of the hole. Today in the House of Representatives, I am introducing the Bring Our Troops Home and Sovereignty of Iraq Restoration Act, a comprehensive legislative proposal to quickly end the occupation of Iraq. It is a broad measure, capturing ideas from military and diplomatic experts and including provisions offered in previous legislative proposals. Specifically the bill would, among other things:

The One and Only Issue -- By Howard Kurtz

Washington Post Staff Writer ---- Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Remember the Democrats' first 100 hours?
Haven't heard much about that lately, have you?
The reason is the more than 33,000 hours we've been in Iraq.

Never mind that House Democrats have kept their promise by boosting the minimum wage, loosening federal restrictions on stem-cell research and allowing Medicare to negotiate over drug prices. In a normal environment, these domestic initiatives would be a major deal. But it increasingly seems that the war obliterates everything else.
See here for the complete text.
***
It would be lovely to get back to the sanity of the domestic policies.
I sincerely hope the measures being taken on the war in the House will make that possible.

Bush's Hail-Mary Pass -- George F. Will

. . . The president is probably wrong in thinking that 17,500 more U.S. troops can clear Baghdad until Iraqi forces can hold it. And he probably is wrong in thinking that economic pump-priming and jobs programs, which are usually disappointing when tried in America, can succeed amid Iraq's anarchy. Besides, Shiites are not torturing Sunnis with electric drills and Sunnis are not beheading Shiites because both sides are suffering the ennui of the unemployed. For Iraqis, ennui is a utopian aspiration.
^
Both the president's speech, and the Democrats' response to it, delivered by Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, contained passages that bordered on the bizarre. The president said, "If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people." But that support was long since forfeited. Durbin called upon Iraq's government to "disband" the militias and death squads. Not destroy, but "disband." How is that supposed to happen? By asking them nicely? . . . The great question is whether Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will cooperate with crushing the Mahdi Army, which is the instrument of his patron, Moqtada al-Sadr.
See here for the complete text.
*_*_*
There is another bizare statement here, as well, and George Will made it:
Every source I've consulted save this one has flat-out stated, 'al-Maliki will not go against al-Sadr.'
Come on, Mr. Will, allow history to speak. Has he done anything remotely resembling standing up to al-Sadr in three years?
You might as well ask Bush to stand up to Cheney.

January 16, 2007

Lurching Toward Armageddon

I’m waking up to one terrifying conclusion — well, one in a series, actually:
Having a fundamentalist Christian in the White House can be a very risky business.
What if his plan is to goad the Middle East into going up in flames in order to hasten the Second Coming of Christ?
Many fundamentalists seem to believe that the Almighty needs their help in order to get the world to Armageddon. And this one has the means to put such a belief into action.
Could THAT be what this whole war in Iraq, now moving toward Iran and, likely, into Syria is all about?
If so, God help us all.
Somehow, I don’t think I’ll see the humor in the situation when, after the Middle East has been destroyed and World War III has begun, the Second Coming doesn’t happen after all.
Here
is Olberman's take on the lurch toward Iran.

Baghdad Families Imprisoned, Divided by Fear -- By Claudia Parsons

BAGHDAD, (Reuters) -
For Abu Mina, a ceramic artist and professor, Baghdad is one big jail -- too dangerous for him to live with his wife and daughters, too dangerous for him to meet his students openly, too dangerous to work in his studio.

He and his son, a 21-year-old medical student, recently left the family home for fear of sectarian attacks, dividing his family as the city itself has become increasingly divided.

It is just this sort of private tragedy that U.S. President George W. Bush must help end with his new strategy for securing Baghdad with more troops.

"They kill just boys and men," Abu Mina said of sectarian gunmen. "They leave girls and women. Yesterday my wife gave me a call and she told me my neighbour, a dentist, they took him.

"That means in two days they will find him outside Baghdad without life. They kill everybody. So I left my wife and my two girls and I brought with me just my son," said Abu Mina, who studied in the United States.

His family is now divided by the Tigris River, increasingly a sectarian barrier that slices Baghdad into mainly Sunni west and mostly Shi'ite Muslim east, and he rarely sees his wife and daughters, though they managed a brief holiday chat last week.

"Can you imagine how horrible, my wife and my kids can't come and see me," he said. "At Eid, they came by taxi to a market and they gave me a call and I went to the market and we met. We hugged and kissed and then we cried. It was terrible."
See here for complete text.
*_*_*
As much as possible we need to put a human face on the tragedies. Numbers can't possibly tell the toll of suffering going on.

January 15, 2007

Rice, a Uniter of the Divided -- Dana Milbank

Bush and Rice have managed to unite this Congress. Given its recent history, that's pretty amazing:
*_*_*
"I think that we don't have an option to fail in Iraq," said Rice in a hearing on Thursday.
When 'Murkowski pleaded with Rice for assurances "that this is going to yield us a better result, a different result than what we have seen in the past."
Rice could offer none. "Senator," she said, "there aren't any guarantees."'

. . . Rice's answers had the salutary effect of breaking down party divisions. Democrat Chris Dodd (Conn.). . . gave a hug to Republican Hagel. Democrat Nelson praised Republican Norm Coleman (Minn.). Republican Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) concurred with Democrat Boxer. And Democrat Russ Feingold (Wis.) had only the warmest words for Hagel.
*_*_*
None spared any warmth for Bush and Rice. Heat, yes. Warmth, no.
See here for the entire text.

Nothing New--Of Course

Bush Becoming Isolated More Than Ever on Iraq--AP WASHINGTON
President Bush once said he was determined to stick with the Iraq war even if his wife and his dog were the only ones left at his side.
It’s moving in that direction.

People in the United States already were angry about the war before Bush said he would try to bring unrelentingly violent Iraq back from the brink by adding 21,500 more U.S. troops to the 132,000 there now
Polls show the U.S. public overwhelmingly does not like the idea. Democrats always in opposition were joined very publicly by some Republicans in dissent. Even Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had to be persuaded to go along with a larger U.S. presence in Baghdad.

“He is as isolated as a president can be,” said Julian Zelizer, a political historian at Boston University.
See here for the complete text.
***
Meanwhile, something bloggers have been noting for months or years and the MSM has begun to pay attention to recently was notably absent from this article:
Q: What's the difference between a Democratic Republic and a Dictatorship?
A: A Dictator doesn't know or care what the people people he is governing want or need.
*_*_*
Falling Flat -- By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer

Well, I'm bleary-eyed from searching, but I haven't found anyone who thinks that George W. Bush delivered a great speech Wednesday night.

There are certainly pundits who back the president's plan to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq. But the consensus is that Bush looked weary, subdued and almost pained as he spoke from the White House library. The verve and cockiness were gone. Few went as far as Howard Fineman, who said Bush spoke with the confidence of a perp in a police lineup, but for a major speech at a critical time for a faltering war, the president's demeanor was surprising.
One reason the theatrics mattered so much, I think, is that the White House had leaked every single detail in advance.
^
Maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe it's all about results at this late date. . . .
^
After the president finally acknowledged mistakes, I guess the window for plain talk slammed shut. Condi Rice, on the Hill, refused to acknowledge that 20,000 more troops is an escalation. It was, she insisted, an "augmentation."
See here for the complete text.
*_*_*
Whether by accident or by design, our Boy in the Bubble has been as isolated as a president can be for some time now. He has never tried to get a sense of what the people he's supposed to be governing want or need. So, is it any surprise it has come to this?
And as for Condi, well, what can I say? She seems to have as much acquaintance with truth as her boss does.

Is There Hope After All?

'The Real America,' Redefined -- By E. J. Dionne Jr.
When a nation alters its philosophical direction and changes its assumptions, there is no press release to announce the shift, no news conference where The People declare that they have decided to move down a different path.
***
May Mr. Dionne be a voice and light in the darkness.

January 14, 2007

Scientists Demote Bush Presidency to Dwarf Status

This from the Borowitz Report:
White House Joins Pluto in New Classification

An international group of scientists who demoted the planet Pluto to dwarf status several months ago met in Oslo, Norway today and reclassified the Bush White House as a dwarf presidency.

In the aftermath of the midterm elections, in which the president's party lost control of both the House and the Senate, the scientists called an emergency meeting in Oslo to determine if the Bush administration in fact still qualified as a presidency.

But with the president's approval rating in a free fall, it became clear even before the scientists convened that some sort of reclassification along the lines of the Pluto demotion was in order.

"When the president's approval rating fell below Kevin Federline's, that was the last nail in the coffin," said Dr. Hiroshi Kyosuke of the University of Tokyo.

According to Dr. Kyosuke, one of the seventy scientists who gathered in Oslo to reassess the Bush presidency, dwarf status means that Mr. Bush is "less than a president, but more than a mayor."

In another troubling sign that Mr. Bush may be a has-been, White House spokesman Tony Snow revealed today that the president had signed on to make an appearance on the ABC series "Dancing with the Stars."

ABC spokesperson Carol Foyler confirmed that the president was slated to appear, but added that Mr. Bush was far from the network's first choice.

"We wanted Nancy Pelosi, but she said she was too busy," Ms. Foyler said.

Elsewhere, after a new study showed that the human body produces a painkiller several times more potent than morphine, supermodel Kate Moss attempted to inhale herself.

January 13, 2007

They Beg to Become Cannon Fodder

After Bush’s speech this week, the new ads came out. You know those ads: a young man of some color other than white implores his mom or dad to let him join the military.

I saw a new one this morning: A Black kid looks directly at the camera [his father] trying to convince him to let him join up. As he pleads the camera pans down the block to the corner where local gang members are hanging out. The not-so-subliminal message? The only alternative to going to Iraq and putting himself into the path of bullets and mines is to stay here, fall in with a gang, move into a pattern of drug abuse and, eventually, die in the street—a victim of a drug war.

The ad shows us a good kid—a young man who has, by his late teens, avoided joining a gang, has stayed away from illegal drugs and who has strong moral underpinnings. But now, suddenly, he’s at risk of changing his entire perspective if he doesn’t go to Iraq. Uh huh.

If history is any guide, the irony is that these great kids who have managed to steer clear of the risks of poor urban life, are at much higher risk if they go to war. After seeing what they would, inevitably see there, undergoing the dangers and finally waking up to how they were brainwashed and how little Uncle Sam values their lives, they are more likely to come home [assuming they survive the perpetual war Bush wants us to wage] more cynical, more distrustful and contemptuous of American ‘values’ than they were when they left home. From that perspective they are more likely to use drugs, drift into homelessness and despair than if they stayed home in the first place.

But, shhhhhhhh! We’re not supposed to notice that!

Former Reagan Aide Compares Bush to Hitler

Reagan never was my flavor-of-the-month. I never did see what the media apparently did in the 'Great Communicator.' One of my bedtime-reading books back then, in fact, was, 'Ronald Reagan's Reign of Error.'

All that said, however, when one of Reagan's former aides comes out with a similar anyalysis to the one I made last week concerning G.W. Bush, I do sit up and take notice.
See here for the article in The Raw Story.

January 12, 2007

Torture vs. Pay Hikes

So, here we sit in the middle of a true Constitutional crisis involving such things as a President who obeys the law, or not, as it suits him, who orders torture, who denies asylum to people who face torture and death if they return home, who infringes on the rights and privacy of US citizens, who even infringes on the rights of citizens of allied countries who have the temerity to attempt to visit our country.
And what does Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. choose to focus on? A pay raise for Federal Judges. He even goes so far as to call it a ‘Constitutional crisis’.
I know my heart bleeds for those judges. I don’t know how they manage to go on—seeing as how they make a paltry $165,200 a year. [Roberts's salary is $212,000].
***
During my undergraduate days, we protested against an illegal and unjust war. We protested against the denial of civil rights to US citizens.
After I graduated, I attended protests about the rights being denied to women. And the plight of homeless Vietnam veterans as well as those who had been exposed to Agent Orange. And violence toward AIDS victims.
Some years later, I went back to school and ran smack into a bunch of protesters braving the cold--blowing on their hands and stomping their feet to get warm--holding up placards and shouting, 'We demand adequate parking NOW!'

Forgive me, Justice Roberts, if I don't take your parking-space issue too seriously.
See here for the article.

A Change in Tactics, Not Strategy By Dan Froomkin

From the Washington post:
As Washington journalists debate whether to call President Bush's plan to send 20,000 more American troops into Iraq a "surge" or an "escalation," they are letting the White House get away with a much more momentous semantic scam.
The White House would have you believe that Bush tonight will be announcing a new strategy. But from all indications, all Bush will be talking about -- yet again -- is changing tactics.
. . . That means using American bodies and firepower, pretty much indefinitely, to prop up a country racked by civil war and chafing under occupation. That means the American death count ticks on, with no end in sight.
^
. . . The White House simply cannot answer the seminal question: Why should we think things will be different this time?
^
. . . Bush repeatedly used the generals to give him political cover during the mid-term election campaign, and got quite righteous in his critique of those who would not do likewise.
Here, for instance, is Bush describing his decision-making process on April 6: "I'm not going to make decisions based upon polls and focus groups. I'm going to make my decisions based upon the recommendations of our generals on the ground. They're the ones who decide how to achieve the victory I just described. They're the ones who give me the information.
"I remember coming up in the Vietnam War and it seemed like that there was a -- during the Vietnam War, there was a lot of politicization of the military decisions. That's not going to be the case under my administration."
^
. . . Cheney really loathes weakness. And like his fellow neoconservatives, he is consumed with the conviction that an all-powerful United States is both imperative to American security and the best thing for the world. Moral leadership, multilateralism, containment, human rights -- those are all less crucial than maintaining unquestioned power, at the point of a gun if necessary. . . .
See here for the complete text.

January 11, 2007

Razzle

As I listened to the speech last night and to the commentaries that came after, one song kept running through my head:
'Give em the old razzle dazzle, razzle dazzle em. . . .
Long as you keep em way off balance They'll never spot ya got no talent.
. . . .
Though you are stiffer than a girder They'll let you get away with murder.
Razzle dazzle em ------'
***
Bush to the American People:
'I'll razzle dazzle you and you'll never catch wise.'

And he just may carry it off.
I think I'm going to be sick.

A Couple of Polarizers

By Harold Meyerson--Wednesday, January 10, 2007
If any Americans could truly understand Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, George Bush and Karl Rove should. All three firmly believe that the successful politician must above all cultivate his base -- not that any of them can point to recent successes.
In refusing to do anything to curtail the anti-Sunni pogroms of Moqtada al-Sadr's legions, Maliki, after all, is just dancin' with the ones that brung him.
^
Unless and until Congress stops him, Bush will keep on doing what he's doing, and the hard-core conservatives will stick with him. The mystery is why he believes Maliki, and the hard-core Shiites, will behave any differently.
See here for the complete text.
***
Yes, indeed.
Before this nightmare can be over, Congress has to develop a spine.
The last I saw, Edward Kennedy was a voice crying in the wilderness.
Insurgents Announce 'Insurge' -- From the Borowitz Report
Response to Bush’s Surge, Experts Believe

Moments after President George W. Bush appeared on national television to announce a surge of additional troops into Baghdad, a leader of the Iraqi insurgents appeared on the Arabic-language Al-Jazeera network to announce an “insurge” of additional insurgents into the Iraqi capital.

Hassad el-Medfaii, a prominent member of the insurgents’ leadership, said that sending an “insurge” of insurgents into Baghdad was part of a larger strategy for the insurgency which he called “a new way downward.”

“We are determined to secure chaos in Iraq, even if it means putting more sandals on the ground,” Mr. el-Medfaii said.

Mr. el-Medfaii said that he was “not concerned” about recruiting new terrorists to make the “insurge” possible: “Those videos of Saddam’s hanging have pretty much done it for us.”

But moments after Mr. el-Medfaii announced the insurgents’ plan for an “insurge,” White House spokesman Tony Snow blasted the strategy, calling the plan “unoriginal and derivative.”

“It’s clear to me that the insurgents only announced their ‘insurge’ because they knew we were planning to announce a ‘surge,’” Mr. Snow said. “In addition to being terrorists and madmen, the insurgents are showing themselves for what they really are: copycats.”

Mr. Snow said that in order to find enough troops to make the “surge” possible, the Army would focus its recruitment efforts on able-bodied men and women who have not watched the news in the last three years.

“That would also include people who have only watched Fox News,” Mr. Snow said.

January 10, 2007

The Timid Dems

As Bush puts the finishing touches on his plan to save face and use US troops to do it, Senator Kennedy is the only one coming right out and saying, 'The emperor has no clothes!'
see here for complete text.
Meanwhile, although many Democrats agree with Kennedy’s view, they are hesitant to take the politically risky step of using their control of the budget to stop the president’s plans.
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would only say that there are “several proposals” being floated. He said he would prefer something “bipartisan.”
Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer expressed reservations and said it isn’t clear if President Bush needs to come back to Congress for a troop escalation and, "I agree with Sen. Kennedy that the Congress needs to be involved.”
Being involved, through hearings or oversight though, is very different from actually voting.
*_*_*
Weren't the Dems listening during the last two years when the public was asking them to grow a spine and take a stand on something?
Come election time, they are likely to discover that refusing to take a risk is, in itself, risky.

Another 'Terror' Red Herring

This from the Washington Post:
Conservatives Decry Terror Laws' Impact on Refugees-- By Darryl Fears

Conservatives who supported President Bush's reelection have joined liberal groups in expressing outrage over his administration's broad use of anti-terrorism laws to reject asylum for thousands of people seeking refuge from religious, ethnic and political persecution.

The critics say the administration's interpretation of provisions mandating denial of asylum to individuals who give "material support" to terrorist groups is so broad that foreigners who fought alongside U.S. forces in wars . . . can be denied asylum on the grounds that they provided aid to terrorists.

Advocates for refugees add that people who were forced to aid terrorist fighters at gunpoint could be labeled as supporters . . . such cases include a nurse who was abducted . . . and a woman in Liberia who said her father was killed and she was raped and forced to stand by as rebels occupied her home for several days.
See here for the complete text.
*_*_*
Another case of the government either displaying it's paranoia or manipulating the law for its own ends.
I'll be damned if I can figure out which. . . .

January 9, 2007

This from Truthdig:
A court in Italy will decide whether to charge 25 alleged CIA agents for participating in an act of so-called “extraordinary rendition.” The trial, should it go ahead, will be the first to address the heinous tactic, by which the United States or its allies kidnap terror suspects in order to remove them to torture-friendly nations.
see here for the complete text.
*_*_*
Oh, I hope Italy follows up on this.
Already, though, the US has begun showing its true colors: it has flown at least one of the accused back to the US from his Italian Villa--and it is saying it will refuse to extradite him to Italy to stand trial.

If our government won't stand up against torture, other, more civilized nations need to show it that they will leave it standing alone in the bone field.

The Government Giveth and the Government Taketh Away

Hey, folks—
I recently read something that is simply too absurd to believe—but it’s true, nonetheless.
As some of you may know I’m in the process [still!] of selling my house.
A few days ago, I received a new years newsletter from my realtor. It included an article about lead-based paint and since this old house certainly contains lead, I read it.

It seems a seller failed to disclose to some potential buyers, as required by law, that the house contained lead-based paint. The buyers bought the house and, subsequently, their children were diagnosed with increased lead in their systems.
So, the buyers sued the seller and the court in it’s **ahem** wisdom, denied the suit stating that the law applies only to the buyers and NOT to their minor children!
Now, the people most at risk for lead poisoning are children. I think everyone knows that. First, due to the fact that they have a lower body mass, they are more at risk. And, second, who tend to gnaw on windowsills? Toddlers, that’s who.

Excuse me, I believe the original intent of the law was to safeguard those people at highest risk—namely those minor children that the court, then, excluded from its protection.
Only in this country, that our politicians constantly tell us is so great, would the law give with one hand and take away with the other.
***
Pair this situation with the post two days ago about the picture of Nancy Pelosi with her granddaughter. And add John Edwards and all those other politicians-- parents and grandparents-- exploiting their children for political gain while, simultaneously, denying lawsuits like this one, refusing to deal with global warming and other pollutants, piling up national debt for our children to pay off, not funding public education adequately, ignoring the fact that the largest number of people below the poverty line are children-- the list goes on and on.

Oh, yes, it's a great country we live in, folks.

January 8, 2007

The Real Reason

I've posted this entry twice before--but the issue keeps coming back-- like some old horror-flick-mummy that just refuses to die.
*_*_*
The mindset inside the beltway is that the people in the US are stupid. The problem is, when it uses that frame of reference, Washington simply displays its own idiocy: We’re supposed to forget the fact that Bush was giving us one reason for the war in Iraq as of March, 2004, another in July and still another in October. Whenever the facts didn’t support the latest ‘reason’ he was feeding us, he just trotted out another.

The most recent one was: ‘We went into Iraq to free the people from the Evil Oppressor and establish Democracy.’
Of course, the latest doesn’t hold up either. The fact is, the US has never attacked another country in order to help it. Whenever we have invaded, it was to insure our own best interests. So—what are those interests now?

Well, here’s a surprise:
There’s oil in Iraq.
When Iraq was ruled by Saddam, we weren’t in control of that oil.
If things ever settle down there, US interests are going to be moving in in droves to manage all that oil.
The Iraqi people will be disenfranchised of the resources in their own country.
All this from their benevolent uncle who’s bringing them ‘peace and democracy’ at the end of a gun.
[see 12/18/06 for the full text]
*_*_*
And now, from The Independent:
Blood and oil: How the West will profit from Iraq's most precious commodity
The 'IoS' today reveals a draft for a new law that would give Western oil companies a massive share in the third largest reserves in the world. To the victors, the oil? That is how some experts view this unprecedented arrangement with a major Middle East oil producer that guarantees investors huge profits for the next 30 years
Published: 07 January 2007
See here for the complete text.

Americans' Rights Aren't Enough for the Ravenous Beast

US 'licence to snoop' on British air travellers -- By David Millward, Transport Correspondent
Last Updated: 2:02am GMT 02/01/2007

'Britons flying to America could have their credit card and email accounts inspected by the United States authorities following a deal struck by Brussels and Washington.

'By using a credit card to book a flight, passengers face having other transactions on the card inspected by the American authorities. Providing an email address to an airline could also lead to scrutiny of other messages sent or received on that account.'

'. . . Initially, such material could be inspected for seven days but a reduced number of US officials could view it for three and a half years. Should any record be inspected during this period, the file could remain open for eight years.'
See here for the complete text.
*_*_*
Now the US is demanding the records, including email addresses and religious dietary requirements of people seeking entry into this country from Europe whether for business or pleasure. A number of the identifying elements our government is requiring go against EU law and result in severe fines and penalties if revealed to outside parties.
So, the airlines find themselves between a rock and a hard place. The US is working with the EU to change the EU's policies.

In order to refute such disclosures, a British citizen would have to appear in American court.

Corruption: It's Not Just In Washington

Having worked with government agencies, I can attest that the total lack of oversight invites corruption.

Many government jobs start with a low wage then include such responsibilities as staff meetings, record keeping, etc. as required-but-unpaid-for activities. As a result, some people begin resenting their jobs. From there it is a small step to seeing just what they can get away with.

As I've alluded to in previous posts, I've worked with some folks who've run afoul of the law in this and other ways.
Now, the FBI is focusing more and more on people who illegally dip into the till. Good luck to them. Given the numbers of government employees in this country, they've got their work cut out for them.
*_*_*
Here is the entire article.
*_*_*
Interestingly, a Senator [and a Democrat, at that] is calling on the FBI to redirect its energies toward violent crime rather than focusing on corruption. I disagree. Both are serious and need to be addressed.

How Dare He???

From the Borowitz Report:
[A]n FBI spokesman said that the agency has arrested a man for secretly wiretapping Oprah Winfrey, adding, “If anybody’s going to be eavesdropping on innocent American citizens, it should be us.”

January 7, 2007

Child Abuse by Congress—Again

I don’t perceive the fact that a candidate has gonads as a reason to vote for him or her.
A few years ago, I promised myself that I would not vote for politicians who parade their minor children before the cameras. Their kids don’t care who wins a seat in Congress or a governorship or the presidency. In fact, given the choice, the children probably prefer their parents lose—so they will come home and spend time with them.

So, what did Pelosi do? The same thing every Speaker since the advent of television has done. She showed up with an infant-in-arms. Puhleeze.
If Congress would actually take those chilren's needs and their futures into account when making policy, that would be a Good Thing. But, history strongly suggests they will not.
Using children as props is despicable.

Sauce for the Goose

During the Clinton Administration, Secret Service logs were used to track such visitors to the White House as Monica Lewinski and Clinton campaign donor Denise Rich, the wife of fugitive financier Marc Rich, who Clinton pardoned at the end of his administration. The logs were used by the Republicans and the Courts in their attempts to show wrongdoing.

Last spring, during the Abramoff scandals, Bush quietly signed a statement making such logs his property--not ours.
Now, that same agreement is being used in an attempt to keep the Washington Post from obtaining the records of visitors to the office of Vice President Dick Cheney.
A Federal judge ordered the production of the Secret Service logs and the White House is disputing the order citing the agreement Bush signed last spring.
***
Click here for the article.
***
The same documents the Repulicans asserted were public domain and used against Clinton are now deemed off limits to the American people and belonging solely to Bush.

If THIS doesn't remind those of us who were around back then of the agonies of Watergate, I don't know what will.

Dusting McCain Off My Hands

In response to McCain's call to send 20,000 more troops to Iraq, The Today Show's Matt Lauer asked him: “Is this a number’s game? Will 20,000 do the job in your opinion?” McCain responded, “I’m not sure."
***
My next question is, 'Then why send them?'
Last year McCain had my respect.
Though I lean pretty far to the left, I'm not a knee-jerk Democrat.
If McCain had maintained his integrity-- if he had not gone into a back room and consulted a dictionary to decide what 'torture' is; if he had not worked with a committee to decide 'how much torture is too much'; and if he were not now urging an increase in troops when he himself is 'not sure' the number of troops he is calling for will be enough; I would have given him a long, hard look in 2008.

Now, my consolation is that he seems to be the best the Republicans have to offer.
His lack of integrity allows me to turn my attention strictly to the Democrats -- OK folks, show me what YOU'VE got.'

How To Gut A Government Agency

Here is yet another story that has flown completely under the radar. At least, I know I hadn't been aware of it till now.
How do these things get past us?
***
It seems that, last winter, Bush slashed funding for the EPA--requiring it to close its libraries. Meanwhile, he ordered it to research topics such as nanotechnology, air pollution and drinking water system security as part of his “American Competitive Initiative."
See here for the complete text.
***
Maybe he's smarter than he looks. [OK, I guess he would have to be, wouldn't he?]
But, if he ties the agency's hands by cutting funding to the libraries while, at the same time, ordering it to research these topics, he can then label it a do-nothing waste of taxpayers' money and shut it down completely.

Paranoid thinking? Maybe. But you know the old adage: 'Even paranoids have real enemies.'

January 6, 2007

Terror's Trivial When It's Not Muslims And It's Not Here

Madrid Airport bombing receives scant attention by Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet January 4, 2007
"How many people . . . know that Madrid Airport was bombed on Saturday [12/30/06]? Relatively few I would venture, and that's because major western governments . . . don't hype terror unless Muslims are behind it.
* * *
"There have been just 2,929 terror induced deaths since 9/11 according to the Bush administration's own numbers and more people every year die in swimming pool accidents - hardly the mega threat to western society that many have portrayed."
here is the complete text.
*_*_*
Put in this context, I think it becomes obvious--we have all been enthralled by Bush's shell game.
Like the shell game practiced in the Old West, this one is played for profit. In this case Halliburton, et al are getting the money, Bush gets the power. The suckers who keep playing, hoping to recoup their losses, lose their savings or, in this case, the rights the soldiers who went before us fought and died to secure and defend.
Pogo was right: 'We have met the enemy and he is us.'

The First 100 Hours

Liberals Seek Bolder Approach to War, Spying -- By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer -- 1/4/06

Democratic leaders set to take control of Congress tomorrow are facing mounting pressure from liberal activists to chart a more confrontational course on Iraq and the issues of human rights and civil liberties, with some even calling for the impeachment of President Bush.

The carefully calibrated legislative blitz that Democrats have devised for the first 100 hours of power has left some activists worried the passion that swept the party to power in November is already dissipating. A cluster of protesters will greet the new congressional leaders at the Capitol tomorrow. They will not be disgruntled conservatives wary of Democratic control, but liberals demanding a ban on torture, an end to warrantless domestic spying and a restoration of curbed civil liberties.
***
see here.
***
Here's hoping the Democrats remember how they came to power in the first place.
Do not desert us, Democrats! Remember, that CAN work two ways!

‘Vulnerable To Infiltration’

Judd posted on Think Progress:
Goode: Ellison’s Election Shows We Are ‘Vulnerable To Infiltration’ By Those Who Want Another 9/11
In a letter to constituents, Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) blasted Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress, for using a Koran in a private, unofficial swearing in ceremony. Goode wrote, “I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States . . . .
"[W]e are at risk of “infiltration” by Islamic extremists who want another 9/11."
Goode’s remarks have been widely criticized as bigoted. But he’s not backing down.
[See here for an exerpt of the letter by Rep. Virgil Goode [R-Va.]]
***
Oh, puhleeze!
Goode is Badde for our country!
Remember when we were proud of our diversity?

January 5, 2007

What Goes Around
In the House, Suddenly Righteous Republicans -- By Dana Milbank
Thirty-one-year-old Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) . . . packed a whole lot of chutzpah when he walked into the House TV gallery yesterday to demand that the new Democratic majority give the new Republican minority all the rights that Republicans had denied Democrats for years.
here is the article.
***
Back when the Republicans were designing all those muzzles for the minority party, I wondered aloud at their shortsightedness. Hmmmmmm-- Was this their plan all along?
Meanwhile, the Dems had better grow a backbone fast. If they can't stand up to Cindy Sheehan, how the heck will they stand up to the Republicans?
The Surge
Jane Smiley in The Huffington Post
The "surge" is about saving face rather than achieving an objective, and, let me say it right here, it's a guy thing. It's like "going down fighting", except that those who are going to be going down aren't going to be those who want to save face.
People always comment on how stubborn George W. Bush is, or how stupid he is, or how ignorant he is, but what they don't comment on is how selfish he is.
the complete text.
***
Two days ago I heard that the escalation would require 20,000 new troops. Last night the number was 30,000. Now, I see that CNN is quoting the number at 40,000.
My comment: IMPEACH NOW!
Contrary To Pentagon Claims, Gen. Casey Still Warning Against Troop Escalation In Iraq
From Think Progress -- posted by Amanda:
'On Dec. 23, an anonymous Defense Department official told the Los Angeles Times that top American military commanders in Iraq, including Gen. George Casey, had “decided to recommend a ’surge’ of fresh American combat forces.”
'But in an interview last Friday, Casey told reporters that he still has doubts about an President Bush’s troop escalation plan in Iraq. From today’s New York Times:
"The longer we in the U.S. forces continue to bear the main burden of Iraq’s security, it lengthens the time that the government of Iraq has to take the hard decisions about reconciliation and dealing with the militias. And . . . they can continue to blame us for all of Iraq’s problems, which are at base their problems. It’s always been my view that a heavy and sustained American military presence was not going to solve the problems in Iraq over the long term."
Casey was “scheduled to shift out of Iraq in the summer.” But that now may “happen in February or March.”'
***
Well--he is speaking out.
Will he do anything else?
Will Congress?
Or will the soldiers just keep dying for the lie?

January 4, 2007

Bush Claims Right to Open Mail

By Dan Froomkin -- January 4, 2007
The New York Daily News today reports on a signing statement President Bush quietly issued two weeks ago, in which he asserts his right to open mail without a warrant.
Signing statements have historically been used by presidents mostly to explain how they intend to enforce the laws passed by Congress; Bush has used them to quietly assert his right to ignore those laws.
here
is the complete text.
***
My comment: IMPEACH NOW!
The Neglected Problems
Richard A. Clarke, author of 'Against All Enemies' has hit the nail on the head again.
I wonder if he gets tired of playing Cassandra to Washington's Trojans.
Here is the full text of his article.

January 3, 2007

Impeachment--Not Taken Lightly
I used to be against the idea of impeaching President Bush. I witnessed the Nixon era and wanted to avoid going through that angst again if at all possible.
A few months ago, I began rethinking that position.

Now, Bush has come out with a plan to send ever more troops to Iraq. He is moving forward with his plan despite everything he is being told by his generals on the ground and by the troops themselves. There can be only one reason for such hubris. It is not to win in Iraq. That has been shown to be beyond our capability. It is not to contain the civil war-- it is already out of control.
He is simply feeding his bottomless ego.

So, today, I officially go on record as joining the growing number of Americans calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. After their impeachments, we must remove them from office. And after that we must begin criminal action against them.

Here is one reason why.
Here is another.
Going After Obama

Upon seeing the **ahem** mistake on CNN's Situation Room and reading about the furor it caused, I decided to dig a little deeper.

I found a December 18 column headlined "Barack Hussein Obama: Once a Muslim, Always A Muslim" posted on the website of Debbie Schlussel.
She argued that because Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) middle name is Hussein, his father was of Muslim descent, and he has shown interest in his father's Kenyan background, Obama's "loyalties" must be called into question.
I remember exactly the same argument being made before John F. Kennedy was elected. The Republicans asked in seeming seriousness whether he would be loyal to the American People or to the Pope.

And a column in Media Matters pulled together a number of references:
' * During MSNBC's special election coverage on November 7, co-anchor Chris Matthews remarked that Obama's "middle name is Hussein" and suggested that it would "be interesting down the road."

* On November 27, MSNBC host Tucker Carlson referred to radio host Bill Press as "a true member of the Barack Hussein Obama fan club."

* During the November 28 edition of MSNBC's Hardball, Republican strategist Ed Rogers referred to "Barack Hussein Obama."

* On the December 11 edition of CNN's Situation Room, correspondent Jeanne Moos noted that "[o]nly one little consonant differentiates" Obama and Osama. She then added, "[A]s if that similarity weren't enough. How about sharing the name of a former dictator? You know his middle name, Hussein."

* On the December 11 edition of The Situation Room, CNN senior political analyst Jeff Greenfield compared the similarity of Obama's "business casual" clothing to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "jacket-and-no-tie look." Greenfield concluded the segment by saying: "Now, it is one thing to have a last name that sounds like Osama and a middle name, Hussein, that is probably less than helpful. But an outfit that reminds people of a charter member of the axis of evil, why, this could leave his presidential hopes hanging by a thread." He later explained on the CNN website that he was making "a joke."

* On December 13, Matthews teased another interview with Rogers by describing the strategist as "the one who just loves Barack Obama's middle name Hussein."

* On the December 14 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio program, Rush Limbaugh gave Obama a "nickname" -- "Barack Hussein Odumbo" (in reference to Obama's "big ears").

* On the December 14 edition of Hardball, NBC's Mike Viqueira announced "a man named Barack Obama, whose middle name, incidentally, is Hussein, running for president."

* On the December 5 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, senior political correspondent Carl Cameron told viewers: "Though he's written two books about himself already, most people know very little about Barack Hussein Obama Junior's uncommonly privileged life." '
[N.B: As opposed to which recent presidential candidate who has been underprivileged? -- two crows.]
*_*_*
Migosh! There's an awful lot of manure in this stable for there not to be a pony in here, somewhere.
*_*_*
In today's climate--with a return to our uglier, intolerant side gaining more and more media attention--it's certainly difficult to pass off all these remarks as 'jokes' and 'mistakes.'

January 2, 2007

That’s Chutzpah!
This morning I heard part of Bush’s eulogy for President Ford.
‘He stepped into the most divisive period this nation has ever known.’

I have a couple of thoughts on what he said:
1] Again, even with someone to write his speech for him, Bush is a little short in the history department.
The most divisive? Huh-uh. Remember the Civil War? Remember the Reconstruction? Remember the lynchings and the fire hoses and the snarling dogs during the struggles of our minorities for their Civil Rights?
and 2] The absolute gall of this **ahem** president—talking about divisive periods in our nation’s history. Just what does he think HE has created, here?
The 2006 Bill of Wrongs
By Dahlia Lithwick --
I must confess that I love all those year-end lists of greatest movies and albums and lip glosses and tractors of the past 12 months -- it's reassuring that all human information can be wrestled into bundles of 10. In that spirit, herewith are my top ten civil liberties nightmares of 2006
***
This article pairs so well with the list below, it's truly terrifying.