Saturday, September 30, 2006

AG defends Bush, disses judiciary

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales wants federal judges to mind their place and stay out of Georgie's business. He says they "should not substitute their personal views for the president's judgments in wartime."

Is is joking? What judgements? The one when he declared he was the Great Decider or the one where he has been insisting on staying the course with failed policies? But Gonzales doesn't stop there.
He said the Constitution makes the president commander in chief and the Supreme Court has long recognized the president's pre-eminent role in foreign affairs. "The Constitution, by contrast, provides the courts with relatively few tools to superintend military and foreign policy decisions, especially during wartime," the attorney general told a conference on the judiciary at Georgetown University Law Center.

"Respectfully, when courts issue decisions that overturn long-standing traditions or policies without proper support in text or precedent, they cannot — and should not — be shielded from criticism," Gonzales said. "A proper sense of judicial humility requires judges to keep in mind the institutional limitations of the judiciary and the duties expressly assigned by the Constitution to the more politically accountable branches."
What a crock. The only one overturning long term precedents is Bush and we're not in a war, we're in a failed occupation. It's to reframe the discussion and eliminate the idea there's an actual war on terror. All we've got is a president cast adrift in a sea of terrorism, trying to paddle against the current with no oars.
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Quote of the day

Oliver Stone is going to take a lot of right wing flack for this .
"This war on Iraq is a disaster. I'm disgraced. I'm ashamed for my country," he said. "I'm also ashamed that America has attacked itself with its constitutional breakdowns. I'm deeply ashamed."
And he has a lot more to say.
"From September 12 on, the incident (the attacks) was politicized and it has polarized the entire world," said Stone. "It is a shame because it is a waste of energy to see that the entire world five years later is still convulsed in the grip of 9/11.

"It's a waste of energy away from things that do matter which is poverty, death, disease, the planet itself and fixing things in our own homes rather than fighting wars with others. Mr. Bush has set America back 10 years, maybe more."
As my friend pointed out tonight, he's set us farther back than that. When they dumped habeas corpus this week, they took us back to before the Magna Carta.
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Secret surveillance and pedophilia

I had unexpected company today so all you get is links to what I just put up at DetNews.

I'm digging Judge Anna Diggs Taylor who threw down the law today and told the White House to put or shut down She told them to get an appeal court to rule on a stay or shut the secret surveillance down.

And Florida's Rep., Republican Mark Foley is a pedophile. I wonder how many of the "Clinton was so immoral for fooling with Monica" crowd is going to be jumping on this story? Yeah, I figure none as well. But if they want to talk about using political power inappropriately, Monica was over the age of consent and fully consented to the activity. Foley was IMing teenage House pages with bizarre sexual messages. For most people, that would be a criminal offense. Gotta love the value based GOP.
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Friday, September 29, 2006


I'm adding a new right wing blog to the blogroll so say hello to Basil's Blog. Basil's politics are pretty different than mine but he's not a rabid partisan. He's been kind enough to link to me a few times and I like his posts even though I rarely agree with his thinking. Check him out and thanks for the links Basil.
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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Senate endorses torture program

I'm just getting around to reading the particulars on newly passed "compromise" torture bill. Bush got everything he wanted. I want to vomit. There's no pretty way to spin this. Fifty one senators voted to toss out the Geneva Conventions and legalize torture. Including I suppose the three alleged Republican "mavericks" who were so concerned about the legislation.

The NYT editorial runs down the list of what this bill destroys, the most important being habeas corpus and judicial review. They just blew out the foundation of our legal system.

This is not the America I know and love. They just took the American dream and turned it into a nightmare
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Blog rolling...

Say hello to The Windy Pundit. He blogs politics out of Chicago and he has a really interesting series of posts up right now about his recent jury duty stint.

I'm almost jealous. I always wanted to sit on a jury. Eighteen years in the law firm and I was called to the jury pool only three times. Twice I was dismissed because the trials all settled. But once I made all the into the jury box. I was just sitting there feeling pretty good about it, when the DA walked in. He recognized me and preempted me the first chance he got. Meaning he can reject a juror without having a reason three times in the process and he was cashing in one of those on me.

I guess I could see his point. I was a member of the best defense team in town and the defense lawyer was a friend of the firm, although I didn't know him. But I still think he should have left me on. I had been in the biz for so long at that point that I was completely jaded. I would have been the most impartial juror he ever had.

Anyway Mark gives a detailed account of the proceedings in case you ever wondered what it's like to be seated (loved the way he spelled voir dire) and I'm adding him to the blogroll. Click over and check him out.

[cross posted cause I'm too lazy to link]
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Wally World is watching you

I've been sick for the last couple of days. Hard to say if it's a cold or just allergies and I'm extraordinarily cranky so I'm in the mood to bitch about stuff. Take this for instance. Another reason not to shop at Wally World. They're going to start tracking you throughout your shopping experience. The RFID tags apparently aren't enough for them.
"There are big gaps in the understanding of what drives [customers] to make their decision," he said. "Prism can be a major determinant of store lay-outs." The system uses infra-red beams to track shoppers' movements and correlate them with actual sales data, producing what its proponents claim is the first scientific metric for the effectiveness of in-store sales tools such as shelf location and promotional displays.
Worse yet, if the system is a success, before you know it all the big boxes will be doing it. Then ten years from now, they'll figure out all that infra-red bombarment is giving us brain tumors or something. And people wonder why I don't like shopping and go to little local stores when forced to buy something.

Update: Kathy at Stone Soup checks into comments with a brilliant suggestion.
I don't shop at WalMart either, but I have a devious idea. I implore all Big Box activists to drop into WalMart, aimlessly wander the aisles, pick stuff up and then put it down again, and aimlessly wander somewhere else. It will drive the data analysts nuts trying to figure out what it all means!
I love it. Of course that's the way I shop anyway when I'm forced to go to one of those places. I can never find what I'm looking for. They're always so bloody big and they're never organized in a logical manner.
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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Solutions, not selected leaks needed

The NYT responds to Bush's charges that the latest NIE leak, in which NYT had a hand, was political in it's purpose. The finger points right back at Bush, who then leaked selected portions for his own ends.
In 2002, the intelligence agencies completed a report on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction in less time. Mr. Bush also made selected passages of that report public to buttress his arguments for war with Iraq, most of which proved to be based on fairy tales.

Then, Mr. Bush wanted Americans to focus on how dangerous Saddam Hussein was, and not on the obvious consequences of starting a war in the Middle East. Now, he wants voters to focus on how dangerous the world is, and not on his utter lack of ideas for what to do about it.
The ball is in the White House's court. Bush can whine all he wants about playing politics, while he plays the game himself, but in the end he's the one holding all the cards. No one else gets to see the whole reports that he generally chooses to ignore, except for the parts that fit his agenda.

In any event, the time for blame is past. It's time to seek solutions and a national consensus on how to fix this mess. If our president truly cared about this country over his own political skin, he would lay the whole deck on the table instead of slipping all the aces up his sleeve -- again.
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Don't blame the messenger

David Ignatius posts an irritating screedin the WaPo. It's not that his thinking is so far off. He's correct in that we can't just embrace the latest revelations from the leaked NIEs as proof that Bush is an incompetent wastrel that's been lying to us all along and leave it at that. We should and we must use this event to open a dialogue seeking a solution to this Godawful mess. But Ignatius' framing of the problem as "America's fuck-up" and "America's war" is bullshit.

This is not America's fault. This is Bush and his cabal of neocon's war and the mess we're in is unequivocally their fault and only their fault. If Ignatius wants to complain about solutions, then he should be asking the White House to offer some and not deriding the Democrats for failing to come with a rescue plan when they're not even allowed to have all the facts from our Leaker in Chief.
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Straight from a Republican's mouth...

You know that the Democrats have been holding hearings on the Iraq war and inviting retired generals and other dignitaries to testify about White House incompetency in perpetrating the so-called war. They have at least one Republican jumping on that bandwagon. Walter Jones of my new home state, and I believe the guy who coined the phrase, "freedom fries" gets the quote of the week.
But the mostly Democratic panel was not without Republican representation. Jones awoke at 5:45 a.m. in North Carolina, got in his car at 6:30 a.m. and made a nearly five-hour drive to the Capitol to participate in the hearing. Jones, who represents Camp Lejeune, voted to authorize the Iraq war but has criticized its execution.
“To me this is not politics, this is policy issues,” he said. “The party that demands the truth is the party that the public respects.”
In his opening statement, Jones quoted Rudyard Kipling: “If any question why we died, tell them, because our fathers lied.”
Of course, he jumped off the GOP's sinking ship quite some time ago but I wonder if this means he's thinking of switching parties, since his is certainly not interested in truth over propaganda.
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Beltway bytes

Via Raw Story, Brad Blog, posts on an encouraging development.
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) introduced emergency legislation to amend the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) this afternoon to offer funding to states and counties who make 'contingency paper ballots' available to voters to be used at the voter's option instead of electronic voting systems.
I have a post on it at Detroit News, but read Brad's post. It's very heartening.

And in other encouraging news, the Democrats are finally showing some cajones. They released a letter stating, "...until Congress passes legislation that meets the real needs of the American people, House Democrats will actively resist adjournment." I guess their spin doctors told them it was okay to start fighting back now. Hope they keep it up.

Meanwhile, on a lighter note, Kathy at Stone Soup picks up a revealing Andy Rooney column. It appears the president has 433 assistants. My personal favorite is the "Director of Lessons Learned." He appears to be doing such a heckva bad job that I feel certain an medal of freedom is in his future. Because you know a $106,000 salary simply isn't reward enough for that kind of professional incompetency.
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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The TaliBaptists strike again

The American Taliban at work. An elementary school teacher in Texas was effectively fired after taking her 5th grade class on a field trip to a Dallas art museum. A parent complained that their child has witnessed a nude statue while on the tour.

Horrors of horrors. A naked body made of stone. And these are the same people who keep telling us the terrorists are plotting to come over here and make us all wear burkas. Hell, you would think these folks would be welcoming the Islamics with open arms. They both have the same goals - eliminating sex. Maybe if they work together they can make chastity belts mandatory too.

[hat tip Clayton]
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Monday, September 25, 2006

Punctuation marks

Greg Mitchell at Editor and Publisher has some thoughts on what has to be one of the most bizarre statements Bush has ever made.
I like to tell people when the final history is written on Iraq, it will look like just a comma because there is — my point is, there’s a strong will for democracy."
A comma. Tell that to the families that he doesn't choose for his secret photo ops. The hundreds of thousands dead at his hand will be comforted I'm sure. Mitchell has a few more exclaimation points of his own.
But I'd like to offer one more, the simple period, to replace the hopeful comma. Below you will find some 2,700 periods, each standing for an American life lost in Iraq. Space does not permit a full accounting of the Iraqis killed, or any of those damaged for life.

It takes a long time to click down that many teeny tiny headstones if you do it line by line. It would take hours to click through if there was a dot for every life that has been damaged by this man's war.
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Picture of the day

This speaks to me on so many levels. How perfectly emblematic of Bush's term in office, don't you think.
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No crony left behind

The No Child Left Behind Act had certainly became an education in political cronyism.
According to a new government report, the $5 billion Reading First program - a staple of No Child Left Behind - only allowed states to receive funding for curriculums developed by the publisher McGraw-Hill, Inc.

The Bush and McGraw families have been personally and professionally close since the 1930's. Campaign finance records indicate the McGraws, who still run the company, have been generous donors for Republican candidates in the last decade, including to Bush's campaigns. (Incidentally, the only Democrat recipient we were able to find was Sen. Joe Lieberman)
I think that speaks for itself.
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Congress to pass Bush bills and run

With a week to go before the do-nothing Congress recesses for yet another six week break to go out and campaign, they plan to basically do nothing but legalize Bush's illegal conduct. Lobbyist reform? Forget it, it's corruption as usual. Immigration, energy needs, economic issues, even war spending is off the table. The only bills likely to pass are those authorizing torture, authorizing warrantless spying on Americans and throwing more money into that hotbed of political cronyism, the DHS.

The Republicans will try to spin this as the fault of obstructionist Democrats but that's patently absurd when they hold the majority in both branches of the Congress. Only ones to likely to buy that are the hard core White House supporters that still erroneously believe Saddam had something to do with 9/11. We can only hope those folks are so confused by cognitive dissonance at this point that they just stay home in November.
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Sunday, September 24, 2006

Read in the Sunday papers

I slept in today and it's going to storm soon so I'm on my way out for a couple of hours to try to get some fresh air before it starts. Here's a few quick links to hold you until I get back.

Say hello to my new co-blogger in Detroit, Christine Barry. I love her already.

I'm sure you've all seen the reports on the latest NIE that confirms Bush's "war on terror" has made terrorism a much greater threat. My post on this is at the Detroit News.

Also at DetNews, I have thank a liberal, an old meme worth repeating that I picked up from Susie Madrak yesterday. My take on the missing government computers and GOP=Reckless Spending.

In case you were wondering about The October Surprise, rumor has it, there will certainly be something big and it appears relatively certain it will be a strike against Iran unless we manage to head them off at the pass by framing this as a reckless, crass, politically timed move for strictly partisan purposes.

And finally, you either love him or hate him. Me, I love the guy. Soros speaks in an interview with Raw Story. As usual he makes a lot of sense.
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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Chavez gets a bad rap

I've been posting on my other blogs today and cruising Blogtopia (y!sctp) leaving comments in my wake so I don't feel like breaking news tonight. I going to talk about Chavez instead. I still haven't read his speech but I've seen the excerpts and I want to talk about the reactions.

As I said earlier, I'm not comfortable with everything he's done. I'm particularly disturbed about his media censorship and the rumors that he plans to suspend his own term limits but that's not really any of our business. He was democratically elected by a majority of his people and from all accounts on the street is still revered by a large percentage of them, mainly the poor, as it always has been.

The reactions to his speech have been puzzling to me. The man called Bush the devil. That's how Lationos speak. It's an expression and haven't we all said the same, though perhaps couched in more couth terms? Chavez is a world leader of a sovereign nation with his own very good reasons to speak out against Bush. The man is actively trying to depose him behind the scenes and has been as long as he's been in office. Besides, Bush set the tone for debate with his own inflammatory rhetoric. If Bush gets to bandy about words like axis of evil and infidels and evil doers, Chavez can hardly be faulted for responding in kind.

Chavez speaks the truth, as only a macho Latino man can do. His message was well received in some places outside of the UN. He got a standing ovation from the college crowd at at Cooper Union in NYC where he "proclaimed himself 'a friend' of the people of the United States, but said he hopes next time, they'll choose, in his words, an 'intelligent president.'"

The message resonated there so why did the Democrats and other lefties leap to condemn him? Chavez is saying what they should be saying. Instead they're playing into this tripe at Investors Daily about "waves of revulsion." Because the guy called Bush the same thing Bush called Saddam? At least Chavez didn't threaten to invade us over it.

And please explain the logic of boycotting Citgo. Granted it's coming from the rightwingers but Chavez is anti-Bush, not anti-American. I mean damn that guy for offering our poor people fuel at a discount while Bush is offering oil companies tax breaks and cutting fuel assistance for poor Americans. Which one sounds anti-American to you?

Chavez may be arrogant and even a little nutty but he is only a threat to the White House, not to America. Playing into the meme that he is our enemy, is to play into another ill-advised White House agenda.
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Friday, September 22, 2006

Just for Laughs

Kvatch has the latest model of the Diebold on tap.

This is more bizarre than funny but it had some great one liners and the premise was original. It claims to be the lost and never aired pilot for Heil Honey, I'm home, a UK sitcom of unquestionably bad taste made in the 90s. [hat tip Jules Siegel]

I googled myself on a whim and found this exchange at Sister Toljah over a post I did at the DetNews recently. I love these right wing geniuses in the comment sections that run you down and don't bother to read the post. Half of them think I'm a man. And there's always a typo nazi who has nothing of substance to say so they mock a single typo. And how typical of the PRIVILEGED white girl rightwing bloggers that she linked to Henry's reply but not to my responses. Anyway, the comments made me laugh.
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Will Scooter skate?

The judge in the CIA leak case ruled Thursday that if Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald feels that admitting certain classified documents at the upcoming trial of I Lewis "Scooter" Libby can jeopardize national security, Fitzgerald can then move to dismiss the perjury charges against Libby.
The judge says the Plame case can be dismissed on state secrets? The White House leaked the damn secrets already. The only classified information left in this case is how the Bush administration manipulated the lies to keep the public in the dark about their treasonous activities.

Convicting Scooter of lying to the grand jury is beside the point. The whole value of the case rests on exactly that information being made public. There's nothing there that will compromise national security - it's GOP security they're protecting. It would only prove Bush commited an impeachable crime. I sure hope Fitzgerald doesn't cave.
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Bush - GOP "Rebels" Torture Accord a really bad joke...

The Torture Bill continues to dominate the news. NYT has a scathing editorial that pretty much states, although more eloquently, my take on it in yesterday's Detroit News post. The more details that emerge, the more it appears to be one more shameless GOP scam perpetrated for political gain at the ballot box and having virtually nothing to do with improving our standing in the court of world opinion by mandating humane treatment of prisoners of war. It's all an elaborate ploy to frame the bill as something positive and then force the Democratic Party to vote against it, as the piece of excrement it is, and then frame the Dems as being soft on terror. It's worked for the GOP before. We can only hope the less politically informed in the rank and file of the electorate won't be fooled again.

As the Times notes, "Here is a way to measure how seriously President Bush was willing to compromise on the military tribunals bill: Less than an hour after an agreement was announced yesterday with three leading Republican senators, the White House was already laying a path to wiggle out of its one real concession."

Shorter version is nothing has really changed. Bush still gets to do whatever he damn well pleases under his own intepretation of the Geneva Conventions and all this bill will do is create at least an illusion of legality around his illegal conduct, and perhaps provide some legal cover for the administration to avoid being charged, as they should be, with war crimes. This will certainly do nothing to lessen the increased danger our own troops are now in should those who might be holding them prisoner decide to take Bush's lead and form their own interpretations of conduct under the Conventions, that have been unchallenged and in fact commonly honored as civilized rules of combat for many, many decades. That simply can't be good.
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Thursday, September 21, 2006

CIA revolts on torture

I put up a post on the historic White House - "GOP Rebels" torture accord at the Detroit News already but I'd like to pull out this link from that post because I was wondering why Bush had disclosed and allegedly shut down those secret prisons at such at odd time in the election cycle. It's clearer now. A CIA revolt forced his hand and this is the money quote on the whole affair.
John Negroponte, director of national intelligence, who was interviewed by Fox News on Sunday, said in response to a question of whether CIA interrogators had refused to work: “I think the way I would answer you in regard to that question is that there’s been precious little activity of that kind for a number of months now, and certainly since the Supreme Court decision.”
I find it comforting that the agents finally got fed up enough or scared enough to say no. And forget moral equivalency. I think it speaks volumes about the legality of the methods when the intelligence community revolts and suddenly starts buying insurance against lawsuits.

[hat tip Jules Siegel]
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Chavez shakes it up at the UN

Chavez stole the spotlight from Iranian madman Ahmadinejad at the UN with a fiery speech in which he denounced US imperialsim and called Bush the devil. His speech received a huge round of warm applause. This is sure to nix Venezuela's bid for a seat on the U.N. Security Council and will fuel Chavez' critics. For myself, I have some mixed feelings about Chavez and how he has been running his country since receiving a huge mandate from his population. All I know for sure is I spent ten days with some Venezuelans a few years ago, when Chavez was first elected and they loved him as a leader and thought he would save their country from the decades old, crass exploitation of the country by the oligarchy there.

And frankly I find Condi's response a little disingenuous. "I think it's not becoming for a head of state," she said. I have to ask as opposed to what? Her boss' constant judgemental berating of other countries and their leaders for not kowtowing to his policies? Furthermore for all the critics that claim Venezuelans are not a free people, I have to ask as opposed to what? Our country where our president now claims the power to seize any citizen without probable cause and hold them incommunicado for as long as he likes, (which so far has been years), without charging them with a crime or allowing them access to an attorney? Just ask Padillo how he feels about that.

I won't have time to read or view Chavez' speech for a couple of days and I may have more to say after I read it, but in the interim you can see the video yourself here and a transcript is available here. Draw your own conclusions.
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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Quick Bytes

I'm working and it's been a tough week already. I thought for sure I'd get some sleep last night, hitting the sack early but was awakened in the middle of the night by furious scratching under my floor. Thus I spent a couple of hours tossing and turning and banging a broom on the floor in an attempt to make whatever is trying to nest under there feel less welcome. Heck for a while I felt like a guard at Gitmo, doing my routine disruption procedures. In any event, no time for anything this morning but a quick link post on what I'm reading.

I have a post up at Detroit News on the latest in so called "hovering civil war" in Iraq. When are these people going to learn to call anarchy -- anarchy?

Glenn Greewald looks beyond satire and discovers the rightwingnuts, with Malkin leading the charge, are supporting terrorists this week.

Oprah doesn't want to be president, really. So don't try to make her do it.

I wish I had followed this race more closely. Deval Patrick handily wins the nomination for the gubernatorial race as the Democratic Party's candidate. He's the first black man to do gain the slot in the history of the Party. What surprises me is he overcame his close ties to the corporatocracy. In any event, he appears to have won as much on the anti-incumbent mood in the electorate I predicted months ago.

Anybody know about his politics? I'd like to know more about his stance on crime. It was mentioned briefly in the article but not detailed.

This was easily the most horrible item I read yesterday. It's terrifying just how easy it is to be wrong in this alleged "war on terror" on account of political pressure to perform. I don't mean it's easy to make a mistake, which it is but how easy it is to get away with it without retribution. You've all heard about the poor Canadian citizen who was rendered by the CIA and then not allowed to sue in US courts because the White House evoked the state's secrets defense. But what kind of country are we that would allow this sort of thing to occur without demanding accountability from the perpetrators who cause such unjust suffering.
The inquiry, which focused on the Canadian intelligence services, found that agents who were under pressure to find terrorists after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, falsely labeled an Ottawa computer consultant, Maher Arar, as a dangerous radical. They asked U.S. authorities to put him and his wife, a university economist, on the al-Qaeda "watchlist," without justification, the report said.

Arar was also listed as "an Islamic extremist individual" who was in the Washington area on Sept. 11. The report concluded that he had no involvement in Islamic extremism and was on business in San Diego that day, said the head of the inquiry commission, Ontario Justice Dennis O'Connor.

...Arar, now 36, was detained by U.S. authorities as he changed planes in New York on Sept. 26, 2002. He was held for questioning for 12 days, then flown by jet to Jordan and driven to Syria. He was beaten, forced to confess to having trained in Afghanistan -- where he never has been -- and then kept in a coffin-size dungeon for 10 months before he was released, the Canadian inquiry commission found.

WTF? A coffin sized dungeon? It makes me embarrassed to admit I'm an American.
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Monday, September 18, 2006

Not even the ends justify Bush's means

While I'm on the subject of Bush endorsed torture perfectly humane interrogation techniques, this from the WaPo reminds us of what it feels like to be on the receiving end of this information extraction process.
President Bush is urging Congress to let the CIA keep using "alternative" interrogation procedures -- which include, according to published accounts, forcing prisoners to stand for 40 hours, depriving them of sleep and use of the "cold cell," in which the prisoner is left naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees and doused with cold water.
This is not that new. The article notes the first person accounts already available in print from those who survived such similar encounters. Do you think the CIA will render me if I mention that George has convinced me they're a useful tool in extracting intelligence and I think he should demonstrate their effficacy by submitting to them himself? Maybe that way we can get some intelligent answers on why we're applying these methods to 14,000 "security detainees" even as you read this and still don't have any useful intel but we do have a growing terrorist threat.
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Bush Unplugged

As the election season ramps up, Bush is out there still repeating the same progaganda that scared a nation into keeping him in office one term too many. Shorter version of his latest speech: If you don't play the game by my rules, I'm taking my ball and going home. And without me, and only me, there to protect you, the school yard bully will beat you up and take your lunch money. In a longer translation, the NYT nails the substance of Bush's latest fear mongering diatribe.
On Friday, President Bush posed a choice between ignoring the law on wiretaps, and simply not keeping tabs on terrorists. Then he said the United States could rewrite the Geneva Conventions, or just stop questioning terrorists. To some degree, he is following a script for the elections: terrify Americans into voting Republican. But behind that seems to be a deeply seated conviction that under his leadership, America is right and does not need the discipline of rules. He does not seem to understand that the rules are what makes this nation as good as it can be.
Does our president ever listen to himself? Does he even realize he's declared open season on the Geneva Conventions when he says he hopes other countries who are hostile to our interests will follow his lead in ignoring them? Or worse yet does just not care that he's opened the door to our own soldiers being subjected to inhumane stress in order to coerce "confessions" since he knows no one in his family is in danger of being called to service in his crazed plan for world domination?

A civilized society depends on the rule of law to establish and maintain order. In the world according to Bush, there are no rules except his own. But if he's so sure he's acting under the call of God's will, why is he so hellbent on having mere mortals codify his illegal conduct into acceptable behavior? Shouldn't he just be praying to the Lord to save him from being charged with war crimes?

Maybe he really believes he is answering to a higher calling, but it looks to me like he's just high on his own "war powers." The Times notes rightly that Congress should let Bush's torture bill die and leave the matter to the courts but perhaps it's time to rescind the war powers that form the source of his intoxication.
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Sunday, September 17, 2006

Why Iraq is failing...

This is really the must read of the day, on how loyalty to Bush trumped competency and experience in "the so-called plan" to rebuild Iraq. Rajiv Chandrasekaran gives an inside view on how greed, ineptitude and plain old crony corruption built the foundation of the ongoing failure to bring stability and security to the country.
A couple of choice quotes to tempt to you to read the whole thing.
...Many of those selected because of their political fidelity spent their time trying to impose a conservative agenda on the postwar occupation that sidetracked more important reconstruction efforts and squandered goodwill among the Iraqi people, according to many people who participated in the reconstruction effort.

The CPA had the power to enact laws, print currency, collect taxes, deploy police and spend Iraq's oil revenue. It had more than 1,500 employees in Baghdad at its height, working under America's viceroy in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, but never released a public roster of its entire staff.

"I'm not here for the Iraqis," one staffer noted to a reporter over lunch. "I'm here for George Bush."
And that pretty much sums up the whole failure. Iraq was never about WMDs or regime change, freedom or democracy. It was all about about Bush and his "legacy." It was supposed to be the shining momument to neo-cons. Take over a backwards little country and turn it into a playground for crony capitalism in six weeks or less. Now almost six years into this administration it stands as a stark reminder of what happens when the electorate gives up and stops paying attention to what their politicians are doing in their name.

Here's hoping the continuing fiasco has finally grabbed the voter's notice and the people will notice that the shining dove of peace Bush claims to be holding in his hand is really an albatross around all our necks.
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Republicans - Save Yourself, Blame Bush

The conservative's voice, Joe Scarborough, asks the question.

How exactly does one convince the teeming masses that Republicans deserve to stay in power despite botching a war, doubling the national debt, keeping company with Jack Abramoff, fumbling the response to Hurricane Katrina, expanding the government at record rates, raising cronyism to an art form, playing poker with Duke Cunningham, isolating America and repeatedly electing Tom DeLay as their House majority leader?

He has some advice for the GOP. Don't be afraid to diss an unpopular president in order to save your own skin. Of course it wouldn't be Scarborough without a few choice examples on how to diss the Democrats too for failing to come on strong against Bush themselves.

As has been pointed out time and time again to the Democratic Party, maybe the conventional wisdom is you can sit tight and win in 06 with nothing but it's a short sighted view and won't help in 08. Now is the time for the Dems to take the offensive and start framing the context of the debate before they end up merely defending themselves from the GOP's inaccurate portrayal of the party -- again. Word up Dems, "am not" is not a good reply when the GOP starts painting you as ambiguous cowards.
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Saturday, September 16, 2006

In other news....

If you haven't been reading my Detroit News poliblog, you've missed these posts.

Noe goes to jail for fraudulent fundraising on behalf of team Bush.

The White House's selective leaking for political profit puts us at risk again.

The prison-industrial complex skews economic indicators. If you counted all the unemployed, the Bushenomic boom looks like a really big bust.

Earmarks make a mockery of the term "free market".
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Morning reads

Oh good, things are going so well for Operation Forward Together that the Iraqis are going to dig a moat around Baghdad and no one leaves or enters without the permission of King George's men the democratically elected government. I'm sure glad Bush's continuing occupation of Iraq is spreading all this freedom around.

The base is finally noticing the GOP are spendthrifts and have increased the size of government. But the GOP reminds them it's really the Democrats fault, because, you know, just because they're the party in power of all branches of the government doesn't mean they can override the Dems hithero pathetic attempts at mounting an opposition.

Bush, Iran and (it's hard to add this word to this equation) intelligence. Feels like deja vu all over again.

Ney is the first to fall in the Abramoff corruption scandal. Who will be next? We're unlikely to find out until after November 7th.

Some good press for Left Blogtopia. And funny thing, this author managed to get through a whole article on the Clinton/bloggers luncheon without mentioning Jessica's breasts.
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Althouse is still on the tit

The comment section is still raging on this post. I don't why I can't just leave it alone but I had to leave another comment.
Okay, let me see if I can "restate the problem" without talking about Jessica's breasts. Any woman who doesn't condemn Clinton can't be a feminist because he got a blow job from a willing partner? Last I looked he wasn't accused of rape, he was accused of accepting a simple act of fellatio and lying to his wife about it. Is there really anybody on this thread who believes that Clinton is the only politician who ever had extramartial sex? For that matter does anybody believe there's more than two politicians in all of DC who haven't dallied at least once with a starry eyed political groupie? Plu-ease.

Clinton can't be forgiven because of a infidelity that had absolutely no effect on anyone's life except his family's but you don't find it obscene that some poor guy is getting his dick blown off in Iraq while he's defending a lie our current president told, that ultimately has caused the death of over a hundred thousand people and has put every one of you and your families in danger?

Talk about cognitive dissonance, Bush has done more to destroy feminism every time he opens his mouth than Clinton could have done with a thousand willing encounters with his groupies. I remind you the Bush power base is comprised of the religious zealots who believe a women has no right to choose what happens to her own body, and they don't believe a women should even be allowed near that "purple copy machine." According to these folks the little wifey should be at home, making babies and taking care of her man's "needs." But you think Clinton destroyed feminism? I'd say it's more like anybody who supports Bush has no right to call herself a feminist.
Talk about your hypocrites. Ann just about admitted in comments she was figuratively sucking Glenn Reynolds' dick to get an instalaunche with this ridiculous post.
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Friday, September 15, 2006

FCC shreds unfavorable report

This would be shocking news if we weren't already so inured to the daily outrages coming from this adminstration. The FCC destroyed a report that revealed media consolidation of local TV stations was detrimental to the public.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. received a copy of the report “indirectly from someone within the FCC who believed the information should be made public,” according to Boxer spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz.

Adam Candeub, now a law professor at Michigan State University, said senior managers at the agency ordered that “every last piece” of the report be destroyed. “The whole project was just stopped _ end of discussion,” he said. Candeub was a lawyer in the FCC’s Media Bureau at the time the report was written and communicated frequently with its authors, he said.
FAIR has an action alert with contact info for the FCC Inspector General and many more details about the underhanded dealings that led to this.

And somehow, thanks to the never sleeping eye of the internets, you can see a copy of the working draft here[pdf].

Your taxes paid for that report and they ripped it up because it didn't support their position, or rather the position of their corporate masters. I'm really glad this came out. Media consolidation is a problem that is not getting enough attention and it's just as dangerous as rigged voting.
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Why does Ann Althouse hate breasts?

I wouldn't have thought she was the type, but leaping into the competition in "tits for hits" sweeps week, Ann Althouse fixates on breasts, especially Jessica's breasts.

Now I really don't have a dog in this fight. I only read either of them occassionally and although I certainly support women's rights, I don't post on feminist issues. The feminist bloggers are doing just fine without my help.

But I couldn't resist weighing into Ann's comments. It's a long thread, so here's what I said.
I got news for you folks. Every woman has breasts. There's no law that says a left wing feminist isn't allowed to show and use hers as she sees fit. And 80% of the top right wing blogs feature "chicks with tits" stretching out anti-left tshirts. It's not like its an isolated phenomenon worth making a fuss over.

Jessica is not exploiting her body to sell her point of view. You want to talk about using your breasts instead of your brains, let's talk about Atlas Shrug's soft porn vlogs. Speaking of which, I find it curious that Steve H was here five times and didn't mention Atlas Jugs or the boob-a-thon he's currently running at his place. Funny, I thought I was joking when I said it was tits for hits sweeps week on this side of the fence.

You want to criticize Jessica's politics fine, but using Jessica's feminism to browbeat her about her support of Clinton, whom you obviously loathe, is just a cheap shot and should be beneath you Ann.
Of course, I couldn't resist my own cheap shot at Steve H. I'm still mad at him for making me look like a bitch at his place. That conceited parrot fondler didn't even link to me in his nasty little post.

UPDATE: It's worse than I thought. Having read a few more comments it becomes clear to me that the underlying premise of Ann's argument, and those who support her view, is you're not allowed to be a feminist if you support Clinton because Clinton singlehandedly destroyed feminism by getting a blow job. Does anybody seriously believe there's more than two high level politicians who have not received at least one sexual favor from some starry eyed political groupie in all of DC?

I don't get how otherwise intelligent people can possibly make that leap past logic. I mean, a blow job is obscene, an unforgiveable sin... but some poor soldier who gets his dick blown off to defend a president's lie in Iraq is not? How could there even be a question about which lie is worse or more unforgiveable?
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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Direct from a White House toady....

Long time Bush apologist Fred Barnes channels Bush and tells us everything is aokay in the White House. Here's a few of the choicer quotes.
Bush says there's a better way to stay on offense against terrorists. "The way you win the war on terror," Bush said, "is to find people [who are terrorists] and get them to give you information about what their buddies are fixing to do."
I'm sure the informants are just lining up waiting to be the next one outed in the interest of GOP expediency.
"It's really important at this stage . . . to be thinking about how to institutionalize courses of action that will enable future presidents to gain the information necessary to prevent attack," he said. This, presumably, would include the use of secret prisons, tough but legal interrogation techniques, a ban on lawsuits against interrogators, electronic eavesdropping, and monitoring of bank transfers, among other measures.
Meaning, you have to make all this illegal stuff I've been doing -- legal.
Bush declared: "I've never been more convinced that the decisions I made are the right decisions."

...he senses a new spiritual awakening in the country. That view, he indicated, is at least partly based on the many times average citizens tell him they are praying for him.
There's much more like this. Fred doesn't seem to notice it sounds like the ravings of a madman. Any other man that talked like this in public would be in Bellevue on Thorazine.

And here's a clue to how they think they're going to bamboozle the voters into believing the economy is really working for them.
In the midterm election on November 7, Bush predicted Democrats won't win either the House or the Senate. "I believe these elections will come down to two things: one, firm belief that in order to win the war on terror there must be a comprehensive strategy that recognizes this war is being fought on more than one front, and, two, the economy." Bush said the price of gasoline, which has been falling rapidly, is one of the "interesting indicators" that the press should watch carefully. "Just giving you a heads up," he added.
In other words, Cheney reached a deal with the oil companies to drop the price of gas to soothe the angry voters. Like anybody with half a brain is going to believe that won't go up again on November 10th.

Of course there still is the problem of the all too hackable voting machines.... It's late to fix it for November and it could have something to do with Bush's confident prediction that the GOP won't lose any seats. I'm not sure what to do about that.
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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Drop the war metaphor

George Lakoff & Evan Frisch have an interesting opinion piece at BuzzFlash this week that's well worth reading in full. They posit that what we need is "a conscious discussion of the war metaphor as a metaphor. The very discussion would require the nation to think of it as a metaphor, and allow the nation to take seriously the truth of our presence in Iraq as an occupation that must be ended. You don’t win or lose an occupation; you just exit as gracefully as possible."

They make some great points on how progressives lost control of the debate the minute we allowed the White House to frame 9/11 as an act of war rather than a simple crime.
The war metaphor was chosen for political reasons. First and foremost, it was chosen for the domestic political reasons. The war metaphor defined war as the only way to defend the nation. From within the war metaphor, being against war as a response was to be unpatriotic, to be against defending the nation. The war metaphor put progressives on the defensive. Once the war metaphor took hold, any refusal to grant the president full authority to conduct the war would open progressives in Congress to the charge of being unpatriotic, unwilling to defend America, defeatist. And once the military went into battle, the war metaphor created a new reality that reinforced the metaphor.

Once adopted, the war metaphor allowed the president to assume war powers, which made him politically immune from serious criticism and gave him extraordinary domestic power to carry the agenda of the radical right: Power to shift money and resources away from social needs and to the military and related industries. Power to override environmental safeguards on the grounds of military need. Power to set up a domestic surveillance system to spy on our citizens and to intimidate political enemies. Power over political discussion, since war trumps all other topics. In short, power to reshape America to the vision of the radical right — with no end date.
And I think they're on target with this strategy.
It is time for progressives to jettison the war metaphor itself. It is time to tell some truths that progressives have been holding back on. What has worked in stopping terrorism is just what has worked in stopping international crime — like the recent police work in England. What has failed is the war approach, which just recruits more terrorists. In Iraq, the war was over when we defeated Saddam’s army. Then the occupation began. Our troops are dying because they are not trained be occupiers in hostile territory on the cusp of a civil war.

Bush is an occupation president, not a war president, and his war powers should be immediately rescinded. Rep. Lynn Woolsey’s resolution to do just that (H.R. 5875) should be taken seriously and made the subject of national debate.
First I heard of that resolution, but it seems to me to be a good place to start the discussion. At the very least, I'm not going to refer to Our Leaker in Chief as a war president ever again.
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Quick hits

I have a busy day so let me start with a couple of links to other blogs of interest. Hammer of Truth has the ultimate new toy for wannabe freedom fighters. War on Terror. The board game.

And Mikevotes has a post with all the linkage I meant to post on yesterday. Get the latest on US taunting in Fallujah, media censorship in Iraq, the budding cordial relations of the Iraqi government with Iran and the disaster that is Anbar province.
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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Was Bush behind 9/11?

I've been meaning to post this editorial for a few days now. It just knocked my socks off. This is the first time I've ever seen a major metro newspaper print a op-ed saying indications add up to a government conspiracy on 9/11. A few choice quotes:
The symmetry between the 9/11 attacks and U.S. policy goals is but the backdrop to the case for government complicity. The picture becomes clearer through considering the following:

Gen. Mahmoud Ahmed, the head of the Pakistani intelligence service, was in Washington when the attacks occurred, conferring with government officials. The Indian press subsequently implicated him in wiring $100,000 to Mohamed Atta, the lead hijacker. When the story broke, he was pressured into retirement at U.S. insistence. His link to the attacks was never pursued.

Two FBI agents approached attorney David Schippers with specific foreknowledge about the attacks. His repeated calls to Attorney General John Ashcroft were never returned. An article in New American on March 11, 2002, corroborated the agents' story. They claimed that knowledge of the plot was widespread within the FBI for months before 9/11.

The air defense system breakdown on the day of Sept. 11 was unprecedented. Well-practiced protocols for dealing with suspected hijackings failed to function for an astonishing 90 minutes.
That last is the most inexplicable aspect of the whole event to me. It's not like planes have never been hijacked before. Who could forget DB Cooper who spawned a whole wave of hijackings in the 70s? They've had these protocols since then. How could they have failed so completely in three separate places and with four planes? I'm no mathematician but I have to think the odds on that happening coincidentally must be astronomical.
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Monday, September 11, 2006

Olberman on 9/11 - Dear Mr. President

Keith Olbermann rocks it out again with his 9/11 editorial, This Hole in the Ground. That's the transcript or you can watch the video. Personally, I found the transcript better. I find his in person delivery a little stiff but it's a brilliant piece of work. My favorite quote.
Just as the terrorists have succeeded -- are still succeeding -- as long as there is no memorial and no construction here at Ground Zero.

So, too, have they succeeded, and are still succeeding as long as this government uses 9/11 as a wedge to pit Americans against Americans.
Olbermann hits the White House hard in this piece. Perhaps he was inspired by the postive reaction to his takedown of Rummy. Let's thank him again so he keeps it up.
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Remembering 9/11

I did my 9/11 post at The Detroit News. I was going to expand on that here but I'm going to post this from my email instead.

I've known Jonathan Z. Souweine for 20 years. For 18 of those I worked for him and with him. I know him well. He's like family to me. I know him as a staunch Democrat and a classic liberal who leans toward the moderate. Thus his words surprised me but they offer a perspective that I want to pass on.
Five years ago I was in Aspen Colorado with a friend/client preparing for an arbitration. He awakened me to tell me that a plane had crashed into one of the Towers. We watched the second and eventually watched both towers fall.

I will never forget it.

We tried to reach our families without much success. I guess everyone in the country was doing the same, so no one could get through. We were two thousand miles away but everything felt out of control; and as a native New Yorker with family living and working near ground zero, I was scared and worried.

And I was furious. At everyone. The people who did it, whatever their perceived grievances., My country for having a lax security system that let this happen and then clearly did not know how to respond. Myself for ever doubting that Muslims or Arabs or most anyone outside of North America and Europe and few other countries wasn't smart enough or tough enough or clever or resourceful enough to implement a successful, violent, terrorist act like this. Never again. If these people could do it with box cutters , I have no doubt that it is a question of when, not whether, the Iranians, the N. Koreans and lots of other can construct and deliver horrific weapons to further their perceived national interests.

So, we need to continue doing what we can to make this country as safe as we can from such terrorists, knowing that there will not be 100 per cent protection. And we have to continue to engage the Irans and North Koreas, working with them when possible, listening always, and stopping them whenever necessary.

The three thousand who died in the WTC were no different than any of us. They got up that morning, went to work and expected to see their families and friends later that day. They never did. I fantacize that some supported some of the Al Queda claims, many opposed them and most did not care. But we know that husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, lovers and friends, who had nothing to do with Al Queda concerns, were denied the right to live their lives, for better and worse. And that cannot be tolerated.
I can't disagree with that but for me the greater question remains, how do we stop it? For myself, I still like the ring of "Food, not Bombs." I don't think we ever gave that strategy a fair chance.

UPDATE: Jonathan emails with further comments on this post.

What we should be doing there is one thing; what we should be allowing here is another. The two are related. The more we screw up there the more they will be trying here. The more we act like every other world power, the more they will hate
us, like we hated the British in 1776.

Good points.
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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Hot news

ABC's 9/11 fakeumentary continues to dominate the discussion, with Americablog leading the pack today on strategy. I have a feeling this controversy will not die out with the ending credits on the program. I have some hope it will energize the media reform movement in a larger context. It's useful to remember that ABC's latest fraud is only one in a long string of politically driven decisions at all the major media outlets.

Bush has belatedly flooded the field with CIA operatives to find bin Laden, but the CIA reports the trail is stone cold. As I pointed out in my Detroit News blog, it's easy to see a nexus between the CIA's inability to cultivate useful informants and the outing of Plame and Khan.

The NYT reports Cheney's influence is fading. That may be true to some extent. He no longer enjoys an automatic rubberstamp from Congress, but I'm with the Heretik on this one. Cheney is still a formidable force in the White House and I won't rest easy until he's out of office.

Mark Kleiman notices Bush tacitly admitted to war crimes.

And this pretty well sums up the GOP's desperation over the November ballot.
The National Republican Congressional Committee, which this year dispatched a half-dozen operatives to comb through tax, court and other records looking for damaging information on Democratic candidates, plans to spend more than 90 percent of its $50 million-plus advertising budget on what officials described as negative ads.

The hope is that a vigorous effort to "define" opponents, in the parlance of GOP operatives, can help Republicans shift the midterm debate away from Iraq and limit losses this fall. ...
These ads of course will be delivered by political committees and allegedly independent "Swift Boaters" in an attempt to distance the candidates from the mud they'll be slinging. Unsurprising, the pundits are predicting 06 will see the most negative campaigning in recent history, since neither party has much to brag about in terms of accomplishments.

It's going to be a long couple of months.
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Short hop from Islamic extremism to US fascism

This is an interesting, if skewed take, on 10 reasons why Islam is going to win the war. Subtly geared to demonize Islam under the guise of objective analysis, it still makes points worth pondering but this graf stuck me as particularly disingenous.
Moreover, to Islam’s further advantage, it has led most of today’s “progressives” to say little, or even to keep silent, about what would once have been regarded as the reactionary aspects of Islam: its oppressive hostility to dissent, its maltreatment of women, its supremacist hatred of selected out-groups such as Jews and gays, and its readiness to incite and to use extremes of violence against them. Mein Kampf circulates in Arab countries under the title Jihadi.
Let's rewrite it and see how it reads as an indictiment of the neo-con's policies.
Moreover, to US Fascists further advantage, it has led most of today’s “conservatives” to say little, or even to keep silent, about what would once have been regarded as the reactionary aspects of US Fascism: its oppressive hostility to dissent, its lordly assumption of the right to dictate women's choices, its supremacist hatred of selected out-groups such as brown skinned people and gays, and its readiness to incite and to use extremes of violence against them. Mein Kampf circulates in the USA under the title the PNAC Plan, The Unitary Executive and the GOP Tactical Plan for 06 and 08.
Works for me and frankly I'm more afraid of the fascists at home than I am of the terrorists abroad.
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Saturday, September 09, 2006

They don't need no stinkin truth...

Blogger is supposed to go down for maintainence any minute now, so let me just pop up the links to what I've been reading this morning. No real surprises so far. Just the usual deceit.

We knew this already. The Senate finally released two small portions of their 9/11 investigation and found there was absolutely no nexus between Saddam and AQ. Neither did Saddam have any underground alliance with Zarqawi. He was trying to take him down.

The only surprise in this story is that paragon of moderate thinking, Joe Gandelman comes right out and calls the Bush administration liars. Joe's not usually given to such harsh rhetoric.

We knew this too. Rummy had absolutely no plan for the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq. What we didn't know is that he threatened to fire anyone in the Pentagon who insisted on mentioning the wisdom of producing such a plan. I guess the old Ambien-addled fool really did believe he could roll in and roll out while the Iraqis threw roses at his feet.

This is certainly no surprise for anyone who has been paying attention. As far as the recent death toll in Iraq, it depends on who's doing the counting. The real figures appear to be at least three times greater than the official counts. I suspect that's still an underestimation.

Oy. What a world.
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Stop the fakeumentary

There's still one more day to make your voice heard. Sign the petition and pass it on. Keep this propaganda off the air.
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Friday, September 08, 2006

Wondering where the money went...

...under our current President? The NYT takes a trip down memory lane, revisiting the "Jobs Creation Act." . You'll remember that was the tax amnesty program that was gave the megacorps a big tax break on repatriating foreign profits on the premise they would use the dough to create jobs in America. Well I expect the $6.2 billion Intel brought back home at bargain rates created a few additional service industry jobs at the resorts the big shareholders and top brass at the company no doubt celebrated their windfalls at, but in terms of creating permanent employment that pays a decent wage, the "Jobs Creation Act" was as big a joke as say, the "Clean Skies Act." All slogan, no results.

In fact Intel just announced that it would be "cutting 10,500 jobs, or about 10 percent of its work force." Somebody went to the bank with that virtually free cash, but it sure as hell wasn't the workers.
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Bolton UN tenure over?

The planets must be shifting into some kind of harmonic convergence. Still more good news this morning. Steve Clemmons says Bolton's nomination is dead in the water and unlikely to be revived. There's hope for us yet.
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Senate Dems take a shot at Disney

This is big. The entire Democratic leadership of the US Senate sent a very nasty letter to Disney over the 9/11 fakeumentary. Funny, it hits all the points I made in my last post at the Detroit News on the subject. I'm especially glad that ABC's broadcast license came up.
The Communications Act of 1934 provides your network with a free broadcast license predicated on the fundamental understanding of your principle obligation to act as a trustee of the public airwaves in serving the public interest. Nowhere is this public interest obligation more apparent than in the duty of broadcasters to serve the civic needs of a democracy by promoting an open and accurate discussion of political ideas and events.
ABC has been the most egregious in using it's position in the media to advance the GOP agenda. It's about time they were held to account for what should be illegal conduct under its license.
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Tits for Hits

Never let it be said that I'm a partisan blogger. I don't let politics prevent me from linking to a good post by the rightwingers, especially when Atlas mocking is involved. Yes folks, it's Tits for Hits sweeps week again in Right Blogptopia. Via the irritatingly narcissistic, yet inexplicably entertaining Hog on Ice, comes this week's two best entries.

Exploiting the Wife's Ample Assets and Atlas Unplugged.

This is a lot funnier if you know who Atlas Shrugs is, (sorry I can't bring myself to link to her but you can see her vlogs if you click the links in those posts). If you don't know or don't care, suffice it to say she brought new meaning to the term, "hit whoring" when she invented the soft porn style of political "analysis."

Judging by the quality of this new competition, I'm predicting -- in her quest to single-handedly make a laughingstock of PJ Media and conservative women bloggers -- she will be down to wearing just pasties and attempting to channel Britney Spears in her next vlog.

Remember you heard it here first folks....
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Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bush constiuency shrinks again

First it was the Walmart voters, then it was the beauty parlor ladies, now Bush and the GOP are losing the Southern Women. But not all. This explains the 30% who just can't give up on our Leaker in Chief.
Still, some Southern women remain stalwart supporters of the president and the Republican Party. At a watermelon festival in Chickamauga, in the mountains of northwest Georgia, substitute teacher Clydeen Tomanio said she remains committed to the party she's called home for 43 years.

"There are some people, and I'm one of them, that believe George Bush was placed where he is by the Lord," Tomanio said. "I don't care how he governs, I will support him. I'm a Republican through and through."
I don't know what I find more disturbing. That she sounds so much like one of Jim Jones' cultists or that she is allowed to teach in the public schools when she is so intellectually incurious.
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Bushenomics - and the winners are....

Wondering where the money went? Amygdala does a good job on pulling out the choice quotes from this Economist piece explaining the deceit behind the Bushenomic boom. Here's the money graf.
The figures are startling. According to Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley, and Thomas Piketty of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, the share of aggregate income going to the highest-earning 1% of Americans has doubled from 8% in 1980 to over 16% in 2004. That going to the top tenth of 1% has tripled from 2% in 1980 to 7% today. And that going to the top one-hundredth of 1%—the 14,000 taxpayers at the very top of the income ladder—has quadrupled from 0.65% in 1980 to 2.87% in 2004.
Ezra Klein also "gets" it and expands on the point.
Think about that. Are you really prepared to believe that the top one percent now gets paid 16 percent of the total income in this country because they developed "high social and customer-service skills"? And that the top hundredth of a percent quadrupled their take because they developed them so much faster than the rest of the country's CEOs? And that CEOs, who in the ‘70s made 30 times the salary of their average workers, now make 300 times the salary of their average worker because they became that much more social and customer-oriented?
This disparity is only occurring in the US. The CEOs European counterparts are not being compensated at even close to the same levels. As Amygdala points out, the true success of Bushenomics is that the GOP has managed to dupe the public into believing the reason the wealth isn't trickling down is because of illegal immigrants and exploited workers in other third world countries, when in truth most of the money is in the pockets of those 14,000 members of the US Corporatocracy.
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Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Right wing hits new low with crass explotation of 9/11

It's been a long day and I'm out of the news loop this week because I'm working. So what's up with this 9/11 "docudrama" bullshit? Could ABC be any more transparent here? They're sending advance copies to every rightwing nut but refusing to send them to the people the program misportrays. I'm taking the rare occassion here to post Think Progress in its entirety but go over and read the links.
ABC Refuses to Provide Copies of Path to 9/11 to Clinton, Albright, Berger

ABC has been aggressively advancing its inaccurate and politically slanted miniseries, “The Path to 9/11,” to the right wing. Big players like Rush Limbaugh have been provided copies, as have obscure right-wing bloggers like Patterico.

But ABC has refused to provide a copy to President Clinton’s office. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former National Security Adviser Samuel Berger have also requested copies of the film from ABC, and both have been denied. Both Berger and Albright are harshly criticized in the film in scenes that, according to former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke, are “180 degrees from what happened.”

Here is an excerpt from Albright’s letter:

While I have requested a copy of the broadcast, I have yet to receive one. I have been informed by some who had been given the right to view the broadcast that the drama depicts scenes that never happened, events that never took place, decisions that were never made and conversations that never occurred; it asserts as fact things that are not fact.

For example, one scene apparently portrays me as refusing to support a missile strike against bin Laden without first alerting the Pakistanis; it further asserts that I notified the Pakistanis of the strike over the objections of our military. Neither of these assertions is true. In fact, the 9/11 commission reports states (page 117), “Since the missiles headed for Afghanistan had had to cross Pakistan, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was sent to meet with Pakistan’s army chief of sspeculated that one or another Pakistani official might have sent a warning to the Taliban or Bin Ladin.”

You can read the full text of Berger’s letter here and Albright’s letter here.

Write ABC and tell them to tell the truth about 9/11.taff to assure him the missiles were not coming from India. Officials in Washington
What kind of joke is this? It's not funny, particularly in light of Americablog's dig into the archives showing the GOP actively blocked Clinton's requests for anti-terror legislation that would allow him to aggressively pursue bin Laden. Unlike Bush, Clinton wanted to do it under the law, not outside of it.
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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Terror-ible War

We're coming up on 5 years since 9/11. The UK Independent takes stock of "The Great Decider's" progress in freeing the world from terror.
Far from ending terrorism, George Bush's tactics of using overwhelming military might to fight extremism appear to have rebounded, spawning an epidemic of global terrorism that has claimed an estimated 72,265 lives since 2001, most of them Iraqi civilians. [...]

A US led-invasion swept away the Taliban regime in a matter of weeks, and did the same to Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party in 2003, but far from bringing stability and democracy to Afghanistan and Iraq, the outcome has been one of constant warfare. Yesterday hundreds of Nato troops, backed by warplanes and helicopter gunships, were involved in the offensive on the area, southwest of Kandahar, that has been a centre of Taliban resistance.
Over 30,000 of those deaths were at the hands, for whatever reason, of the US and its allies. And you know the official numbers are always low. No amount of politically expedient PR warfare is going to change the effect of that. Every time an innocent dies, at least three terrorists are born.

Anybody feeling safer yet?
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Monday, September 04, 2006

Porkbuster update

Following up on this story, the block on the porkbuster's bill was a bipartisan effort to avoid acccountabililty. It seems the other hold on the bill was from the Democrat's answer to Ted Stevens, none other than the former king of the pork barrel, West Virginia's Senator Byrd. Proving once again, that incumbency corrupts and no party has a monopoly on greed.
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Tell me sweet little lies....

Great editorial a couple of days ago in the Toledo Blade, Another lie on Iraq. Read it all, it's short, but here's the money quote at the end.
Now, you can argue all day about whether faulty U.S. intelligence misled Mr. Bush, or about what the meaning of "suggested" is, but this much is clear: The administration relentlessly blurred what was a clear distinction between the militantly secular regime of Saddam and Islamic extremists like the 9/11 hijackers so as to create a laser-beam connection in the public mind that they were one and the same.

So for Mr. Bush to now claim that "nobody has ever suggested" that the Sept. 11 attacks were ordered by Iraq, as he did last week, is yet another lie in the chain of mendacity that shackles the Bush presidency.
What this administration needs is to be taken bodily from the White House in shackles for criminal ineptitude.
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Armitage, smarmitage

I posted on the "big revelation" that Armitage was Novak's source on Plame, here at the Detroit News. Tempest in a teapot. I don't have much more to say on the subject but if you missed it, check out Media Matters excellent roundup of the false spin surrounding the story in the major media outlets.
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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Quick bytes

It being the holiday I thought I'd post some cheerier news that will likely get lost in the transom.

Score one for free speech. A Vermont high school student won the right to wear a tshirt mocking Bush.

In case you missed it, Fox News ratings are way down, while CNN ratings are rising. See for yourself.

A rather good MoDo column, courtesy of the irrepressible Rozius. As he so succinctly sums it up, "MoDo suggests that Bush traveling to New Orleans for a photo-op is like General Sherman dropping by Atlanta to cheer them up."

And it's a two-fer from behind the NYT paywall tonight. Frank Rich posts a stunning column on the White House's current PR campaign - Operation Nazi Analogy Blitzkrieg.
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FBI creating straw men terrorists?

I can't remember what unfortunate news the White House wanted to knock off the front page when they busted the "terrorist ring" in Florida but now that the details are emerging from the court case it appears clear that the FBI created the threat themselves in order to make the bust. These hapless "jihadists" had about as much chance of pulling off a terrorist act as I do of winning the Powerball this week -- about none. I mean how seriously are we to take a bunch of brash young guys whose plan is to blow up the Sears Tower, use the confusion to spring a bunch of Muslims from a nearby prison and expects to use the combined forces of 10,000 inmates to "form an army powerful enough to force the U.S. government to recognize their kingdom of the 'Sovereign Moors?'"

The fine line between a sting and entrapment was unequivocally crossed the moment the informants started equipping the big talking, no action "terror cell." Not to mention it was the fairly well paid informants who were directing them to their "targets." And you have to love this part.
When bin Laden issued a public statement saying that al-Qaeda would soon strike in the United States, the informant passed word to Batiste [the alleged ringleader] that it was a reference to the missions he was planning.
I've always wondered about these conveniently timed bin Laden statements. They always occur at such an opportune moment for the White House. You have to wonder if they're real or if they're manufactured to further a sting such as this.

Update: The indispensible BuzzFlash remembers everything. This bust was the diversion for the explosive debate on withdrawing troops from Iraq, scheduled in the Senate for the next day.
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Defining fascism

Those of you who don't read Last One Speaks may be unaware that I have a new beau. I'm enjoying the human contact, which I've been sorely missing for the last 18 months. We've been spending hours and hours, talking on the phone and hanging out together. I mean how cool it is to find someone who reads your blogs and still wants to hang out with you? The down side of course is I'm finding it is cutting into my blogging time. I skipped one day of even reading about politics, much less blogging, so I could clean this place up and invite him over and I feel like I'm totally out of the loop already.

Fortunately, there's a lot of bloggers out there who are paying attention, so while I catch up on the news, check out Romunov's post. I especially liked this bit. In speaking of the Bush's latest spin in the war on terror he quotes this:
The aggressive new campaign by the administration of President George W Bush to depict US foes in the Middle East as “fascists” and its domestic critics as “appeasers” owes a great deal to steadily intensifying efforts by the right-wing press over the past several months to draw the same comparison.
And he notes:
Lucky for them, most American’s don’t know the definition of fascism — “a political system in which all power of government is vested in a person or group with no other power to balance and limit the activities of the government. Fascist governments are often closely associated with large corporations and sometimes with extreme nationalism and racist activities. Modern fascism is often called “CORPORATISM”.”
Good point that we should all be making with our readers. And as an added bonus, Romunov posts a video of a brilliant rant by George Carlin. I've always loved Carlin. I didn’t even know he was still alive and working. He sure hasn't lost his touch.
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Friday, September 01, 2006

A Bush review

While I'm searching for my missing muse this afternoon, read this from Kikos House. It's a such a great summary of Bush's dismal record since 9/11, I'm not even going to excerpt it. It's appreciated best in full.
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Say hello

It's a totally bleech day here thanks to Ernesto. Grey and damp. I'm building my way up to some blogging but in the meantime, check out a couple of commenter's blogs I've been remiss in visiting. They leave pithy remarks on all the cool leftie blogs I visit but they're doing some fine work on their own, so say hey to Ronumov. He's got a series of stunning photos up right now and then hop across the pond and give a cheerio to Cartledge whose polical insights appear to cover the globe.
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