Sunday, April 30, 2006

A Well Done Life of Service Professor Galbraith!

John Kenneth Galbraith died yesterday. He served FDR, JFK, and even Slick Willy to a point. But his true service was to his world. A social economist more than a theory guy. A Keynesian that was truly one of the smartest and most influential economists that walked among we mere mortals. One thing I've kept thinking about today is how this current administration distains thinkers and science and ... I cannot imagine any world class mind working under the Bu$hCo cabal? JKG was foundationally against everything this disaster of an administration and Congress has wrought. I anticipate his ideas will be revisited over these next few days and beyond as a contrast to the wealth hoarding ideas of Bu$hCo. Here's the Times Online UK and the WaPo and BBC and ... No "War" but only "Peace" Professor.

Correspondence to Senators Shelby and Sessions

The following is the basics of correspondence I've emailed to Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions regarding the Bu$hCo cabal's illegal NSA warrantless wiretapping. I am going to ask The Randolph Leader to consider publishing.

Dear Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions,

I’ve previously contacted your offices asking you to support, or at least consider without immediately dismissing as partisan politics, Wisconsin Senator Feingold’s censure resolution. This resolution seeks to merely scold President Bu$h for his acting in contravention of the Constitution and applicable law in regards to the NSA warrantless wiretapping of American citizens.

Kansas Senator Pat Roberts has promised much but delivered little in oversight. The vast majority of the GOP has resisted efforts to simply get to the bottom of what this administration has been up to. President Reagan spoke of “trust but verify” yet the Republican Party has simply operated under “trust” despite the Bu$h White House repeatedly demonstrating incompetence and unreliability. I suggest blatant lies have been a staple of the Bu$h Presidency but at a minimum we’ll never know until answers are sought and obtained.

While regrettably I expect you will both continue to place party politics over what is clearly a radical departure from our laws and traditions, Senator Sessions you have especially disappointed me by repeatedly covering for this disaster of a Presidency.

Today I ask that you support the Specter amendment to stop funding of the NSA spying program until the White House provides Congress with complete information about this program. President Bu$h and his Executive Branch have refused to answer even basic questions about the NSA program, including how many American citizens have had their telephone calls or e-mails monitored.

Senator Specter's amendment to cut off funding is needed if we are going to get the facts. This latest amendment to cut funding is apart from Specter's bill, S.2453, which I strongly oppose because it would effectively authorize the NSA spying program.

Congress should not permit a program that violates the Fourth Amendment, FISA procedures, etc. Oppose any attempts to make the illegal NSA spying legal. President Bu$h must quit stonewalling and simply promise to and then follow our laws.

You have a responsibility to the Constitution and the American people to insist on a thorough investigation into the warrantless spying program. Congress has the right and obligation to provide oversight to the Executive Branch. You should protect our fundamental freedoms from unilateral actions by the White House in violation of our rights. President Bu$h has been enabled rather than confronted for his distain for our laws and traditions.

Please oppose both S. 2453 and S. 2455. These bills would reward the president's illegal activity and disrespect toward Congress and the Constitution. Passage of either would effectively end efforts to uncover basic facts about the NSA spying program. I also wonder if you’d be so willing to have this legislation as law of the land if a so called “liberal Democrat” occupied the White House.

Sincerely, xxxx xxxx

I wonder if I'll get a form reply? Congressman Mike Rogers seems to send those out at times. Maybe Stormie will handle my reply from Senator Sessions office? Senator Sessions at least appreciates attractive staffers! Peace ... or War!

Court Jester Reveals Emperor Has No Clothes!

Stephen Colbert of the Colbert Report skewered the Bu$h Administration and the establishment media at the White House Correspondents Dinner last night. Atrios has some highlights. McJoan at Koz has a nice take on how the media is ignoring plus she supplies links to the complete transcript. Peter Daou via HuffPo also tackles how the media can ignore or not. Large file but Crooks and Liars has the second portion of the Colbert effort. Eric Boehlert's Lapdogs seems like an appropriate read given how the Bu$hCo White House and the Mainstream Media have both let America and the world down. It is a tragedy that"humor" seems the only way that real news is done these days. Peace ... or War!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Strippers, Limos, Dirty Tricks, ... GOP Values

Kos summarizes the looming stripergate mess, with some folks looking even at CIA Director/Loyalty Enforcer Porter Goss. And just to the west, Mississippi's Haley Barbour is linked to a company that engaged in various phone stunts in 2002. This one may go straight to Ken Mehlman who is now over the RNC. Peace ... or War!
UPDATE - TPM Muckraker's Justin Rood has even more on the Wilkes/Wade Hooker Ring. The Dukestir was apparently into this really deep. Dusty Foggo's days as #3 to the CIA's Porter Goss might be numbered. Interesting to see how high school relationships forged with the kewl kids lasted so long. Of course we've got a "towel snapping" President leading this ReThuglican cabal.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

VA's George Allen - Redneck with French Momma?

TNR's Ryan Lizza is about to reduce to print "George Allen's Race Problem" which could be significant as he might very well be the Southern alternative to John McCain. Allegedly dumber than Dubyah, no small feat indeed, this fellow was raised in Southern California where he was an unreconstructed Rebel with a Confederate Battle Flag bolted to the front of his Mustang. He dips Copenhagen and is "authentic". Good read and a nice take on Senator/Governor Allen. He's got an sharp upgrade wife and family to boot. Peace ... or War!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Middle Class but Lacking Health Insurance

The WaPo's Theresa Agovino reports "Percentage of Uninsured Americans Rising" where she writes,
The percentage of working-age Americans with moderate to middle incomes who lacked health insurance for at least part of the year rose to 41 percent in 2005, a dramatic increase from the 28 percent in 2001 without coverage, a study released on Wednesday found.
This is a damn disgrace! Putting off preventive care and early solutions makes no economic sense and yet many Americans have little if any choice. We must consider universal health coverage ASAP. Peace ... or War!

ACLU - Ordering a Pizza under Big Brother?

The ACLU, of which I'm a card carrying member, gives us something to think about on government intrusion into our lives. Very cute and thought provoking. Please share the site. Peace ... or War!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Is Bu$hCo Creating A Radical Republic?

Lawrence Powell, former Chief of Staff for Colin Powell in his tenure at the State Department, argues in the Baltimore Sun that Bu$h and his radical Jacobites are indeed creating a radical departure from our past traditions. He writes, in part, the following:

In January 2001, with the inauguration of George W. Bush as president, America set on a path to cease being good; America became a revolutionary nation, a radical republic. If our country continues on this path, it will cease to be great - as happened to all great powers before it, without exception.

From the Kyoto accords to the International Criminal Court, from torture and cruel and unusual treatment of prisoners to rendition of innocent civilians, from illegal domestic surveillance to lies about leaking, from energy ineptitude to denial of global warming, from cherry-picking intelligence to appointing a martinet and a tyrant to run the Defense Department, the Bush administration, in the name of fighting terrorism, has put America on the radical path to ruin.

Unprecedented interpretations of the Constitution that holds the president as commander in chief to be all-powerful and without checks and balances marks the hubris and unparalleled radicalism of this administration.

Moreover, fiscal profligacy of an order never seen before has brought America trade deficits that boggle the mind and a federal deficit that, when stripped of the gimmickry used to make it appear more tolerable, will leave every child and grandchild in this nation a debt that will weigh upon their generations like a ball and chain around every neck. Imagine owing $150,000 from the cradle. That is radical irresponsibility.

I in no way excuse Secretary Powell for his actions in creating the mess in Iraq. Perhaps he was being a loyal soldier? Congress must step forward to stop this disaster of an administration. In the fall of 2006, electing Democrats in competitive races will be a good start. Peace ... or War!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bu$hCo - Taxpayer Funded Abuses in Iraq

Digby probably handles this as well as can be done. He gives us links to a nice series in The Chicago Tribune plus some of Digby's past thoughts on related issues. Brian Bennett of Time also gives us "Stolen Away" dealing expressly with the sex trafficking side of the issue. Super busy and behind but I'll try to return for this and others. Also, CNN has Bu$h down to 32%. Peace ... or War!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

NAFTA Failures Increase Illegal Immigration

Octavio Ruiz, globalization coordinator for the Minnesota Fair Trade Coalition-the Resource Center of the Americas, posted at Common Dreams a work entitled "Immigrant Surge is Tied to the Failure of NAFTA : The trade agreement left rural and urban Mexicans worse off than they'd been." that makes tons of sense. Is it the total reason for increasing illegal immigration? Certainly not, with me arguing plentyis due to the desire of American businesses and individuals wanting to get super low cost labor in a hyper-competitive environment. If Bu$hCo will not enforce then what do we expect? What NAFTA (and now CAFTA?) does for rural areas and low skills workers across the border in the U.S. is also less than what was promised. Mr. Ruiz argues for a better approach. Peace ... or War!

Friday, April 21, 2006

WV Dem steps aside from House Ethics post in response to allegations made by partisan group

The lovely and talented Georgia10 at Kos blogs "Mollohan Temporarily Steps Down" tackling the ethics allegations facing Rep. Allan Mollohan. This West Virginia Congressman is the ranking Democrat on the House Ethics Committee but he has temporarily stepped aside until the charges leveled at him can be resolved. The contrast between the ReThuglicans is significant as is the apparent partisanship of the National Legal & Policy Center. Right wing machine at work here as a 501(c)(3) that is clearly partisan. Beats me if Mollohan has been up to monkey business. If he has, then boot him for certain. Yet removing him immediately demonstrates some wise and right thinking. And given the corruption of the K Street GOP and the Bu$hCo cabal I'd not want to start down this road if I were Karl Rove. Peace ... or War!

"Why don't we just bomb them?" or "Nuke 'em!"

A scary amount of my students over these last few years have felt the best way to solve our geo-political concerns would be to just kill and destroy. The overwhelming majority of this type of kid has been a very weak student and often a behavior concern to boot. This media files (I used the WMV versions) "Let's Bomb Iran" is very cute and yet I fear it might be that life imitates art. At the bottom of the page you can find "Freedom Hate" that has some tough images as well. It does show the many innocents that have been harmed by Bu$hCo's misguided war. Peace ... or War!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Bu$hCo - We've Got to Laugh to Keep from Crying!

At worst about thirty something months are left of the worst administration ever. I'd never suggest the damage is done with this cabal. Truly Dubyah reminds me of of one of the hands we briefly had working around the farm when I was growing up. Right before my old daddy checked out, he recalled him with, "That son of a bitch could break an anvil!". I can remember my old man cussing Nixon and Reagan and figure if cancer had not killed him then Bu$h would. Check out Will Ferrell doing Bush giving a global warming talk out at the ranch. Tip of the tam to Linda! If he wasn't such a disaster, we'd miss old shrub simply for comedic value. Also, in this case I figure art imitates life. Peace ... or War!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Bu$h - I Am The Decider ... Koo-Koo-Kachoo

This is an instant classic. Enjoy. Peace ... or War!

The "Common Good" Can Roll Away The Stoned!

The post below might make the "stoned" make sense. Michael Tomasky in The American Prospect gives us "Party in Search of a Notion" where he ends with,

We are not in a Depression-like crisis, perhaps; but thanks to the efforts of the Bush administration we are on the precipice of several crises, and it’s not just liberals who recognize this. Many of our fellow citizens, bitterly disappointed by a leadership in which they had placed an extraordinary amount of trust back in September 2001, recognize it, too.

The Democrats must grasp this, kick some old habits, and realize that we are on the verge of a turning point. The Democratic left wants it to be 1968 in perpetuity; the Democratic center wishes for 1992 to repeat itself over and over again. History, however, doesn’t oblige such wishes -- it rewards those who recognize new moments as they arise. It might just be that the Bush years, these years of civic destruction and counterfeit morality, have provided the Democrats the opening to argue on behalf of civic reconstruction and genuine public morality. If they do it the right way, they can build a politics that will do a lot more than squeak by in this fall’s (or any) elections based on the usual unsatisfying admixture of compromises. It can smash today’s paradigm to pieces. The country needs nothing less. The task before today’s Democratic Party isn’t just to eke out electoral victories; it’s to govern, and to change our course in profound ways.

Leadership of the Deocratic Party will no doubt have to be prodded along by the Progressive community. If they will not lead, however, we'll just make them get the hell out of the way. Peace ... or War!

The Bu$hCo Administration Gets Totally Stoned!

While I've always thought they were smoking something, that is not what I reference. Rolling Stone give historian Sean Wilentz ink for "The Worst President in History? One of America's leading historians assesses George W. Bush". The work seems very well reasoned and written from an inital glance. In part Dr. Wiletz writes,

Bush came to office in 2001 pledging to govern as a "compassionate conservative," more moderate on domestic policy than the dominant right wing of his party. The pledge proved hollow, as Bush tacked immediately to the hard right. Previous presidents and their parties have suffered when their actions have belied their campaign promises. ... The heart of Bush's domestic policy has turned out to be nothing more than a series of massively regressive tax cuts -- a return, with a vengeance, to the discredited Reagan-era supply-side faith that Bush's father once ridiculed as "voodoo economics." ...

The one noncorporate constituency to which Bush has consistently deferred is the Christian right, both in his selections for the federal bench and in his implications that he bases his policies on premillennialist, prophetic Christian doctrine. ... But no president before Bush has allowed the press to disclose, through a close friend, his startling belief that he was ordained by God to lead the country. The White House's sectarian positions -- over stem-cell research, the teaching of pseudoscientific "intelligent design," global population control, the Terri Schiavo spectacle and more -- have led some to conclude that Bush has promoted the transformation of the GOP into what former Republican strategist Kevin Phillips calls "the first religious party in U.S. history." ... Far from being the conservative he said he was, Bush has blazed a radical new path as the first American president in history who is outwardly hostile to science -- dedicated, as a distinguished, bipartisan panel of educators and scientists (including forty-nine Nobel laureates) has declared, to "the distortion of scientific knowledge for partisan political ends." ...

By contrast, the most scandal-ridden administration in the modern era, apart from Nixon's, was Ronald Reagan's, now widely remembered through a haze of nostalgia as a paragon of virtue. A total of twenty-nine Reagan officials ... The full report, of course, has yet to come on the Bush administration. Because Bush, unlike Reagan or Clinton, enjoys a fiercely partisan and loyal majority in Congress, his administration has been spared scrutiny. ...

History may ultimately hold Bush in the greatest contempt for expanding the powers of the presidency beyond the limits laid down by the U.S. Constitution. There has always been a tension over the constitutional roles of the three branches of the federal government. The Framers intended as much, as part of the system of checks and balances they expected would minimize tyranny. ... By contrast, the Bush administration -- in seeking to restore what Cheney, a Nixon administration veteran, has called "the legitimate authority of the presidency" -- threatens to overturn the Framers' healthy tension in favor of presidential absolutism. Armed with legal findings by his attorney general (and personal lawyer) Alberto Gonzales, the Bush White House has declared that the president's powers as commander in chief in wartime are limitless. No previous wartime president has come close to making so grandiose a claim. More specifically, this administration has asserted that the president is perfectly free to violate federal laws on such matters as domestic surveillance and the torture of detainees. When Congress has passed legislation to limit those assertions, Bush has resorted to issuing constitutionally dubious "signing statements," which declare, by fiat, how he will interpret and execute the law in question, even when that interpretation flagrantly violates the will of Congress. ...

In those instances when Bush's violations of federal law have come to light, as over domestic surveillance, the White House has devised a novel solution: Stonewall any investigation into the violations and bid a compliant Congress simply to rewrite the laws. Bush's alarmingly aberrant take on the Constitution is ironic. One need go back in the record less than a decade to find prominent Republicans railing against far more minor presidential legal infractions as precursors to all-out totalitarianism. ...

Bush seems to think that, since 9/11, he has been placed, by the grace of God, in the same kind of situation Lincoln faced. But Lincoln, under pressure of daily combat on American soil against fellow Americans, did not operate in secret, as Bush has. He did not claim, as Bush has, that his emergency actions were wholly regular and constitutional as well as necessary; Lincoln sought and received Congressional authorization for his suspension of habeas corpus in 1863. Nor did Lincoln act under the amorphous cover of a "war on terror" -- a war against a tactic, not a specific nation or political entity, which could last as long as any president deems the tactic a threat to national security. ...

The president came to office calling himself "a uniter, not a divider" and promising to soften the acrimonious tone in Washington. He has had two enormous opportunities to fulfill those pledges: first, in the noisy aftermath of his controversial election in 2000, and, even more, after the attacks of September 11th, when the nation pulled behind him as it has supported no other president in living memory. Yet under both sets of historically unprecedented circumstances, Bush has chosen to act in ways that have left the country less united and more divided, less conciliatory and more acrimonious -- much like James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson and Herbert Hoover before him. And, like those three predecessors, Bush has done so in the service of a rigid ideology that permits no deviation and refuses to adjust to changing realities. Buchanan failed the test of Southern secession, Johnson failed in the face of Reconstruction, and Hoover failed in the face of the Great Depression. Bush has failed to confront his own failures in both domestic and international affairs, above all in his ill-conceived responses to radical Islamic terrorism. Having confused steely resolve with what Ralph Waldo Emerson called "a foolish consistency . . . adored by little statesmen," Bush has become entangled in tragedies of his own making, compounding those visited upon the country by outside forces.

Basted, baked, and stoned! Worst Administration ever! I want my country back! Peace ... or War!

Update - Mark Morford of The San Francisco Chronicle gives us "Chips down, Bush prepares a Hail Mary bet". Shrub gambling with our planet is a bad bet anyday. This is some sweet writing, even if it is so frightening.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Carl Bernstein - Why Old School is the New Cool

Looks like "Woodstein" is dead. Bob Woodward has been a Bu$hCo apologist and perhaps worse for some time, more interested it seemed in selling and shilling than his past might have suggested. A terrible ending for this once icon of journalism. Yet, the later half of this duo has again demonstrated his talent for analysis and reporting and writing and ...

I just saw Carl Bernstei on Keith Olbermann's Countdown with MSNC now reporting "Carl Bernstein calls for probe of Bush - Journalist urges Watergate-style investigation in Senate". This substantial Vanity Fair Roundtable article explains his reasoning (You true believers still remember anything about the Enlightenment?) and drawing comparisons to the Nixon White House. Hardly the new "we report and you decide" style where those shilling aren't challenged. Of course Bernstein, unlike Old Buddy Bob, doesn't get access to Bu$hCo.

Old school reporting might vanquish the talking points and spin. I'm sure Rover is loosening the attack dogs as we speak. This ought to be good. Peace ... or War!

Rudy, Rick, Ralph and the Right - Family Values!

Rudy, “So you think you’re better than me?” New York’s Rudolph Giuliani will headline a fundraiser for ex-Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed in the near future. Georgia GOP Governor Sonny Perdue, who just signed the nation's toughest lgislation limiting illegal immigrants access to certain social services, might ask you about how to deal with Mexicans given your expertise. $4.3 million worth of expertise. Rudy is reportedly leaning toward entering the Presidential race. Just this past Sunday, Rudy was rejected by America’s Favorite Fundamentalist Jerry Falwell with the Reverend sanctimoniously saying "irreconcilable differences on life and family” made it impossible to support him in 2008.

This was after Rudy had just helped Pennsylvania incumbent Senator Rick Santorum with an appearance. Senator Rick is well known as “one of the finest minds of the thirteenth century” plus he is a charitable man toward his family and friends, and his friends attempt to be charitable toward Rick.. And folks are loving their Rick with $9 million raised just in the first quarter. A 2 to 1 advantage over Casey in funding but he’s trailing by double digits. The Big Mules might have to turn loose some serious change. Or call Diebold? When Tony Soprano mentions you, as “Senator Sanatorium”, I guess you can understand why Rudy might think he needs to be involved. Looking at Ralph’s gambling with graft and Rudy’s family values, I see a perfect representation of the GOP. Talk one thing and do another. And the Democrat kewl kids lets KKKarl paint the left as the ‘flip-floppers”!

It is unknown whether Rudy’s boy Bernie Kerik is attending. Giuliana might have a former mistress and now wife with him to demonstrate his family values. Rudy is trying to demonstrate to the Righteous his bona fides, sort of like old Straight Talk McCain. Cozy up to Bu$hCo Senator while you are at it Sailor. As an aside, does anybody remember the S&L scandals and Senator McCain? When these corrupt and hypocritical goobers enter the race, as the polls and pundits seem to suggest will happen, Rudy is perhaps hoping the true believers will remember and the balance of the balanced will forget. Fuhgetaboudit Mister Mayor! Peace … or War!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Progressivism in Dixie - Papers and Party Scolded!

Yesterday at Captain Bama I blogged on the North Alabama teacher that showed a video comparing President Bu$h to an "asshole" to his 8th grade science class. Long post but I tried to raise issues and solutions as I examined the incident and motivations.

Today I looked worked toward education and poverty/class from three editorials from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and one especially dreadful piece in The Birmingham News. Captain Bama has the post under Educating the Haves & Have Nots Plus the Tools.

I then went after reporting in The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer on Alabama's uncompetitive U.S. Congressional races when the GOP shills and other "sources" did not really get it all right. While it might not have been the Alabama Democrat Chairperson's fault it seemed to me this would have been a good opportunity to lay into the ReThuglicans. I worked off the Jarding and Saunder's book of course in labeling the post How to Run These Foxes Out of Our Henhouse!

Lot's of angst today. Frustrations that things might very well continue in this direction makes me a touch sad. Peace ... or War!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Gray Lady Bitch Slaps WaPo Editorial Board

The New York Times explains why The Washington Post got it so wrong in their recent "A Good Leak" editorial. WaPo Ombudsman Little Debbie tried to explain this disaster of an editorial with "Two Views of the Libby Leak Case" by writing that it left readers confused and then somewhat showing her own confusions and/or contortions. "A Bad Leak" explains

President Bush says he declassified portions of the prewar intelligence assessment on Iraq because he "wanted people to see the truth" about Iraq's weapons programs and to understand why he kept accusing Saddam Hussein of stockpiling weapons that turned out not to exist. This would be a noble sentiment if it actually bore any relationship to Mr. Bush's actions in this case, or his overall record.

Mr. Bush did not declassify the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq — in any accepted sense of that word — when he authorized I. Lewis Libby Jr., through Vice President Dick Cheney, to talk about it with reporters. He permitted a leak of cherry-picked portions of the report. The declassification came later.

And this president has never shown the slightest interest in disclosure, except when it suits his political purposes. He has run one of the most secretive administrations in American history, consistently withholding information and vital documents not just from the public, but also from Congress.

Simple enough and far more responsible than how the Post "opined". The Gray Lady is hardly doing everything it can to restore their reputation but this is how they can begin.

Nobody expects perfection from the press yet democracy requires some measure of basic reporting of complex issues. Marty Kaplan at HuffPo, in examining the dreadful reporting on the My Left Wing blog by the WaPo, writes
It's a reminder that the press loves to cover politics the way it covers religion: it's all dogma, darlings. We report; you decide. And if not as religion, then as psychodrama: since, insanely, it's taboo to assess the validity of the claims being made, the media tell us everything about the motives behind the claims, and nothing about their merits.

We need some examination of the merits. This is especially so for busy and less sophisticated citizens that might not be able to dive into a subject. The Right has been working the refs for thirty years now and this what we've reaped. Add in corporate media's profit concerns and this is what we've got. Peace ... or War!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

A Little Debbie Snack Cake with Finkel Sprinkles?

WaPo Ombudsman Deborah Howell tries to explain the editorial from last Sunday's issue and David Finkel looks at the angry lefty blogosphere. Nothing to add beyond what serious bloggers have to offer. I first tackled the WaPo "Editorial" with this post.

As for Ms. Howell we can begin with Jane Hamsher at FDL with this being perhaps the meat of the matter,
The attempt by the Administration to smear Joe Wilson was a pure Rovian effort to distract from the fact that he was right. Any attempt to pass off those smears three years later is an utterly dishonest and reprehensible journalism practice. It’s isn’t journalism at all, it’s thuggery. People often ask why I don’t get into debunking the claim of "Wilson’s wife sent him to Africa." Know why? Because suddenly I’m arguing about Pat Roberts and what a hopeless hack and Bush Administration tool he is and I’m off the main point, the only point — Joe Wilson was right. There is no getting around it and any other discussion trivializes and distracts from the greater truth about the thousands of people who lay dead because a nation was lied into war. There were no attempts to buy Uranium from Niger, and everything else — to paraphrase a great man — is just an attempt to throw sand in the Umpire’s eyes.
Marty Kaplan at HuffPo also weighs in by writing,

It's a reminder that the press loves to cover politics the way it covers religion: it's all dogma, darlings. We report; you decide. And if not as religion, then as psychodrama: since, insanely, it's taboo to assess the validity of the claims being made, the media tell us everything about the motives behind the claims, and nothing about their merits.
R. J. Escow at HuffPo then compares how the WaPo does not engage any of Ms. O'Connor's arguments yet merely patronizes her and then proceeds to paint her and a few of her readers as loonies yet Fred Hiatt hires a right wing racist plagiarizer named Ben Domenech to blog for the WaPo!

As for the Finkel article, Glenn Greenwald in part rightly states, "The tactics in the article are as intellectually lazy and empty as they are transparently deceitful and trite." Glenn also correctly points out extreme right wingers like "Crazy as a Run Over Dog" Ann Coulter, Mad Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, ... that are regularly accepted by the mainstream media. The one and only blogger that Mr. Finkel interviewed or apparently had even visited namely Mary Scott O'Connor has posted on the process and person involved in the reporting.

What Liberal Media? Peace ... or War!

Hugo Black Slurred by Alabama "Activist" Judge!

Team Tartan's "Crazy as a Run Over Dog" Club adds a new member in Tacky Whacky Tom Parker. "Judge" Parker hits mighty close to The Highlands with his disrespect for Justice Hugo Black. This solid jurist and statesman was of course brought up in Clay County, Alabama. Within a half hour's drive, this is where my mother's family had roots. Who is the "activist" judge now? Peace ... or War!

Friday, April 14, 2006

Friday Funnies ... Laughs With A Lefty Slant!

I've been reading Working For Change for some time. Good progressive effort. Check out Mark Fiore and Jen Sorenson and Tom Tomorrow. HuffPo's Contagious Festival can have some good stuff. Current (Al Gore's media project) gives us Bu$hCo and K-Fed (Mr. Britney Spears) plus there are other ones on Current that are terribly funny. I still enjoy ink efforts such as Daryl Cagle's Syndicate. Peace ... or War!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bu$hCo Allowed IBM to Run Treasury Department!

David Sirota comments on how the Department of the Treasury was basically co-opted by IBM and other Big Mules to defeat changes to pension laws that would protect American workers from "cash balance" pension conversions. The Wall Street Journal article is "subscription only" yet the WaPo reporting on the effort appears on Bernie Sander's (the Vermont Congressman seeking the protections for working Americans) website. Peace ... or War!

Scalia "Jumps the Couch" on Cheney Conflict

The WaPo reports Scalia Defends Involvement in Cheney Case. The piece states,
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Wednesday called his 2004 decision not to recuse himself from a case involving Vice President Cheney, who is a friend of his, the "proudest thing" he has done on the court.

Again, if it looks like a duck ... I figured you might be "proudest" of this and certainly this. Your dissent here was likely a proud moment for you. And of course the proudest thing you've done in church would be this. You and Uncle Clarence and Stripsearch Sammy and ... make us all proud Judge. Peace ... or War!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Moonie Times and Sushi Empire

The Chicago Tribune's Monica Eng, Delroy Alexander and David Jackson informs us that Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church is very involved in the sushi industry. The good Reverend Moon of course owns The Washington Times. Close to Bu$hCo, the Reverend is certainly part of the Mighty Wurlitzer. I guess Spencer "Sushi" Bachus can get his fish from the Moonies. Peace ... or War!

WaPo reports on National Archives' Vision Problems

An African proverb is said to be, "Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter." We learn today via the WaPo's Christopher Lee that "Archives Kept a Secrecy Secret : Agencies Removed Declassified Papers From Public Access". The reporting reads,

The National Archives helped keep secret a multi-year effort by the Air Force, the CIA and other federal agencies to withdraw thousands of historical documents from public access on Archives shelves, even though the records had been declassified. ...

The program dates to the Clinton administration, when the CIA and other agencies began recalling documents they believed were improperly released under a 1995 executive order requiring declassification of many historical records 25 years old and older. The pace of the removal picked up after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Although the Archives will not name the agencies involved, historians with the National Security Archive have said the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Defense Department and the Justice Department also have participated.

The National Archives site contains their "Vision Statement" which reads in part,

The National Archives is a public trust on which our democracy depends. We enable people to inspect for themselves the record of what government has done. We enable officials and agencies to review their actions and help citizens hold them accountable.

We ensure continuing access to essential evidence that documents:

  • the rights of American citizens
  • the actions of federal officials
  • the national experience

They also have a reference, with my emphasis supplied, later to

"Communication: propose ideas, dialogue with others, develop trust, and act openly, honestly, and with integrity"
Reckon they lost track of their "Vision"? Orwellian isn't it? Peace ... or War!

Suggestions of Yet Another Bu$hCo Lie!

The WaPo's Joby Warrick is reporting "Lacking Biolabs, Trailers Carried Case for War : Administration Pushed Notion of Banned Iraqi Weapons Despite Evidence to Contrary" The piece contains,

On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."

The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.

A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq -- not made public until now -- had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.

The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped "secret" and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories.

Indeed we have no certain confirmation that Bu$hCo knew 100% that they were fibbing yet the reporting states,

The technical team's findings had no apparent impact on the intelligence agencies' public statements on the trailers. A day after the team's report was transmitted to Washington -- May 28, 2003 -- the CIA publicly released its first formal assessment of the trailers, reflecting the views of its Washington analysts. That white paper, which also bore the DIA seal, contended that U.S. officials were "confident" that the trailers were used for "mobile biological weapons production."

Throughout the summer and fall of 2003, the trailers became simply "mobile biological laboratories" in speeches and press statements by administration officials. In late June, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell declared that the "confidence level is increasing" that the trailers were intended for biowarfare. In September, Vice President Cheney pronounced the trailers to be "mobile biological facilities," and said they could have been used to produce anthrax or smallpox.

A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq -- not made public until now -- had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.

The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped "secret" and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories.

After team members returned to Washington, they began work on a final report. At several points, members were questioned about revising their conclusions, according to sources knowledgeable about the conversations. The questioners generally wanted to know the same thing: Could the report's conclusions be softened, to leave open a possibility that the trailers might have been intended for weapons?

Here's a good graphic to show the timeline and facts. It sure appears that somebody at The White House/Pentagon was at best avoiding knowing. More than likely we have yet another instance of the Bu$hCo cabal trying to at least avoid the truth until after the elections of 2004. Having the full report marked "Top Secret" and shelved suggests yet more garbage relating to their already weak defense of PlameGate! They argue they can leak portions of information that support their spurious claims yet they'll bury anything that makes them look bad. Plus they'll still use the bogus information as they continue to scare the hell out of America."

Freedom Medals for everyone! Worst administration ever! Peace ... or War!

Bu$hCo Approval/Disapproval & Censure Numbers

The WaPo's Richard Morin and Claudia Dean are reporting Poll Finds Bush Job Rating at New Low : An Election-Year Blow to the GOP. The latest WaPo/ABD News polls are showing a 38% approval rating compared to a 60% disapproval. They also report,

Bush's job approval rating has remained below 50 percent for nearly a year. Perhaps more ominous for the president, 47 percent in the latest poll say they "strongly" disapprove of Bush's handling of the presidency -- more than double the 20 percent who strongly approve. It marked the second straight month that the proportion of Americans intensely critical of the president was larger than his overall job approval rating. In comparison, the percentage who strongly disapproved of President Bill Clinton on that measure never exceeded 33 percent in Post-ABC News polls. ...
... more than four in 10 Americans -- 45 percent -- favor censuring or formally reprimanding Bush for authorizing wiretaps of telephone calls and e-mails of terrorism suspects without court permission. Two-thirds of Democrats and half of all independents, but only one in six Republicans, support censuring Bush, the poll found. ...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Bu$hCo - Hail to the Leak?

Jason Leopold writing at TruthOut is reporting that "Bush and Cheney Discussed Plame Prior to Leak". Mr. Leopold writes,

In early June 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney met with President Bush and told him that CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson was the wife of Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson and that she was responsible for sending him on a fact-finding mission to Niger to check out reports about Iraq's attempt to purchase uranium from the African country, according to current and former White House officials and attorneys close to the investigation to determine who revealed Plame-Wilson's undercover status to the media.

Other White House officials who also attended the meeting with Cheney and President Bush included former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, her former deputy Stephen Hadley, and Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove.

This information was provided to this reporter by attorneys and US officials who have remained close to the case. Investigators working with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald compiled the information after interviewing 36 Bush administration officials over the past two and a half years.

The revelation puts a new wrinkle into Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's two-year-old criminal probe into the leak and suggests for the first time that President Bush knew from early on that the vice president and senior officials on his staff were involved in a coordinated effort to attack Wilson's credibility by leaking his wife's classified CIA status.

Leaker in Chief indeed! Of course The New York Times is reporting, citing a "Senior White House official", that Bu$h was only involved in the declassification and did not authorize Scooter to leak to reporters. I personally want to see the transcripts! Peace ... or War!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

WaPo - Some of my friends are for it and some ...

My old Daddy was a political man, even if later in life he turned some of that inside from fear or some other fault. At the foot of the master, I used to hear him say, "Some of my friends are for it. Some of my friends are against it. And I always stand with my friends." Maybe that is the WaPo today? It seems their news section suggests one thing and their editorial board seems to head toward just the opposite. "The facts are biased!" might be the editorial board's position. Let's see if Arlen sticks to his expectations of an explanation from Bu$hCo. Lately he's been folding. Peace ... or War!
Update : Real bloggers like eriposte at LeftCoaster and mcjoan at Kos and judd at ThinkProgress and ... have even more outrage to heap on the WaPo editorial. Can't wait to hear from Little Debbie on this one!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

ExxonMobil CEO makes $13,700.00 per Hour!

Katrina Vander Heuval of The Nation gives us a nice take on the realities of the modern economy. I'm making about $40,000.00 per year. Of course A-Rod makes my salary per at bat. I'm with The Kingfish in "Soak the Rich"! Peace ... or War!

Neo-Conservatives Gone Wild? Is Iran Next?

Seymour Hersh is an "old school" investigative reporter that has done amazing work on this administration. Sources of gold. In The New Yorker, Mr. Hersh is reporting that President Bush is pushing hard for bombing, including a nuclear component, of Iran. Pleace read this long article. I am terrified that this Bu$hCo cabal could very well embark on yet another disaster. Peace ... or War!

Bu$hCo Stonewalling? Let's Knock Down the Wall!

Attorny General Alberto "Abu" Gonzales testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Even the Committee's Chairperson, Wisonsin Republican James Sensenbrenner Jr. was reported to have described the AG and DOJ as "stonewalling" on the NSA/FISA issue. Dan Eggen of the WaPo gives us "Warrantless Wiretaps Possible in U.S." reporting the language that Abu used and a later response by DOJ. This really scares me. Given this Bu$hCo cabal's radical interpretations of executive power I'd be almost shocked if they aren't engaged in domestic spying. All hail King George! Peace ... or War!

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is?

Captain Plaid was rather busy ripping up privet hedges and ... yesterday so no posting. Silly title to this post perhaps yet an amazing story out of Tacoma from the Washington Post. Criminal defense lawyers should prepare some clients for another type of grilling by the Feds. Peace ... or War!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Rudy's Courage? Perhaps Chaos? Competency?

Rudy Giuliani is lauded as a courageous and good leader, even "America's Mayor", for his role in NYC on 9-11. He has talents and capacity indeed. Yet I do want to remind folks that the Mayor was out and about in the streets that day since he located the emergency response center for NYC in the Trade Center. This was a known target and he was advised against this location. Kristen Breitweiser, 9/11 widow and activist, reminded me of this just a few days ago with her HuffPo post. Peace ... or War!

Bu$h Blessed Use of National Intelligence Estimate

Scooter Libby has fingered "Dead Eye" Dick Cheney and Dubyah in leaking at least portions of a NIE. It might not be "classified" once the Executive says let it go yet can anyone think this was rolled out for anything but political warfare. Digby is groving on this one with multiple angles woven into a good read. Christy Harden Smith/ReddHedd is a major Plame Gate authority so she's all over this as well. The bottom line is that Bu$h is a liar. Do you really trust him anymore? I have always been uncomfortable with Bu$hCo and yet I continue to observe true believers. Scary folks! However, Harry Taylor will always be welcomed in The Highlands! Peace ... or War!

April 6, 2006 - National Tartan Day

Here's the link. Peace ... or War!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Bu$hCo's Lies Unraveling via Plame Affair

I'd posted an earlier spot on Murray Waas' work on the Plame Affair. Greg Sargent of on New York Magazine, writing for American Prospect Online, provides what seems like a solid analysis of what is increasingly looking like a serious cover up in the Bu$hCo administration. In his "The Plame Game : What Murray Waas’s big scoop may really tell us about Bush’s pre-war deceptions." Mr. Sargent concludes

The history of recent presidential deception tells us that the small, initial cover-ups, ones which at first appear to make little sense, are frequently motivated by a desire to prevent other, larger damaging revelations from surfacing. If Waas is right, it seems plausible that the whole sordid saga unfolded this way:

White House officials, including Bush himself, withheld critical information it had about doubts over supposed evidence of Saddam's nuke ambitions in order to better make the case for war. Then they subsequently discovered that hard evidence existed of that duplicity. Then, anxious that this evidence might surface before the 2004 reelection, they engaged in a relentless campaign to cover up what really happened during the Iraq run-up and to prevent an aggressive congressional investigation until after the election. They relied on Pat Roberts to run a pseudo-investigation; they withheld the daily briefs; they leaned on Hill allies not to talk to the press. And they obscured their role in the outing of Plame to prevent an outcry that would have certainly forced Congress and the press to probe far more aggressively than they did. And they succeeded: If Congress and the press had been more aggressive -- and this may be the real significance of Waas's story -- it's perfectly possible that John Kerry would now be president.

If that’s how it happened, then it may be only a matter of time before the whole story comes tumbling out. Waas has reported that there’s a piece of paper out there that proves Bush deceived the nation during the run-up to the war. The nation’s premiere investigative reporters, one would think, would very much like to see that piece of paper for themselves. And if there’s one thing recent history tells us, it’s that the small, short-term cover-ups never do succeed in preventing the larger story from coming to light. That larger story is still waiting to be told in all its gristly detail – and, eventually, reporters other than Murray Waas will get around to telling it.

Go get him/them! This cabal is long overdue! As for John Kerry, if he'd campaigned in more states and fought back against the Swift Boat/Rovian tactics and not worn that damn spandex windsurfing outfit and had better handlers and .... Peace ... or War!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

President Bu$h, How's Pakistan/Afghanistan?

The San Francisco Chronicle's Declan Walsh reports in "Pakistani Taliban gaining strength : Strong-arm tactics deal blow to U.S. war on Islamic militancy" on the mess in Pakistan. Afghanistan now produces 90% of the world's opium and their human rights record is still dreadful according to Amnesty International. Peace ... or War!
UPDATE - 4/5/06 - I just found this Christian Parenti piece in The Nation. Long but revealing.

Iraq, DHS, DC ... All Open for Bu$$ine$$

Yesterday I posted on yet one more Iraq mess in that Parsons Construction is completing just 14% of their cost plus contact to build certain primary health care facilities in Iraq. $200,000,000.00 over two years and 120 clinics average only 2/3 completion. "USAID, Heck of a job!"

Today I ran across this American Propect piece by Sara Posner entitled "Security for Sale" that makes me furious. Corporations have found the perfect leadership in Bu$hCo and his cabal letting lightweights like Tom Ridge and other appointees head serious agencies such as DHS. And don't get me started on ALEC and Barbara Comstock and ...

And we can't forget K-Street! Check out this older piece by Nicholas Confessore in The Washington Monthly entitled "Welcome to the Machine : How the GOP disciplined K Street and made Bush supreme".

Our world is seriously messed up that these same folks get elected by running on "government bad" and then use their connections to hand out profits and positions to their cronies, patrons, and clients. ReThuglicans! Peace ... or War!

Monday, April 03, 2006

DeLay's Out - The Hammer is Exterminated!

The WaPo's Jonathan Weisman and Chris Cillizza, along with other sources, are reporting "Rep. DeLay Won't Seek Reelection" so I'm thinking warm fuzzy thoughts. Of course now the ReThuglicans might try to get a candidate in that could very well hold the seat. Complicated legal issue perhaps but if I understand things correctly with Tom retiring to Virginia the Texas GOP can put up another candidate. The Democrats are running former Rep. Nick Lampson who is a very solid candidate. Plus there's an independent in the mix. This TX-22 District was actually gerrymandered by Hot Tub Tom to help out other less secure candidates where the GOP has "only" 55% of the electorate. Peace ... or War!

King George Bu$h - Imperial Presidency

With the caveat "This list is in no way to be considered complete.", People for the American Way gives us "Imperial Presidency". Sections include
Worst administration ever! Peace ... or War!

14% Completion Rate on Iraq Cost-Plus Ks

Although I'd found the WaPo piece waiting in my inbox the morning, I'll send you to TBogg for the image. 14% completion rate ... "Heck of a Job Bushie!' You may recall that Bechtel, Fluor, Louis Berger Group, Parsons and Halliburton's Kellogg, Brown & Root, were privately selected by USAID under an exemption from normal federal procurement regulations. One excuse given was limiting competition for contracts made sense in that open bidding would "impair foreign aid by slowing down operations". Paul Wolfowitz also needs some more scorn. Maybe he could cough up some money at The World Bank? Peace ... or War!

Little Timmah Stopped Shilling By Big Tony

NBC's Meet the Press is of course hosted by Tim Russert. He's often dreadful but yesterday he had Retired General Anthony Zinni on to comment on the run up to the Iraq War. This Marine was allowed to talk. Solid and sensible so of course General Zinni was going to be ignored by Bu$hCo. Video of some of the interview, and a link to transcript via Think Progress, appears at Crooks and Liars. Peace ... or War!

Immigration - Congress will "punt" not "solve"!

Robert B. Reich of The American Prospect gives us Immigration Follies. His basic premise is that "One way to stem the flow of illegal immigrants would be to enforce existing labor laws." yet he explains why you've got a Congress that is prepared to give short term satiation of two groups' concerns and not really willing to do the hard work that would truly solve the problem. Best to read the whole short piece as it is hard to edit his clear ideas down beyond what he has accomplished. Mr. Reich is a smart man that served our nation well in the Clinton White House. Don't you miss competency. Peace ... or War!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Inequality Realities Despite "Growth"

The WaPo has an "occasional" series on inequality in America. Today they drop in "The Case for Economic Growth: It may not lift all boats as it used to, but it's still essential." that first of all made me wonder if "used to" was too global. Generally perhaps growth did provide a "rising tide" yet one could argue, absent some boost and flotation to a few segments of society, unregulated capitalism on steroids will at times result in "creative destruction" of people in addition to the inorganic as the less productive falls away. "Social darwinist" and even the rare sane libertarians at times ignore or at least tolerate this reality. The WaPo piece ends,
In sum, the case for economic growth remains convincing, but policymakers need to balance its pursuit with a concern for equity. Mr. Friedman's argument -- that growth can cause a society to feel more optimistic -- depends on the sharing of its benefits. Equally, our sense that higher incomes expand the range of human experience, even if they don't expand the sum of happiness, carries weight only if the boost to incomes is broadly shared. The policy challenge, therefore, is to promote growth while also promoting equity. That is where this series will go next.
I'm looking forward to the balance of this series. In case you missed the first piece it is here and the second is here. This second editorial cites Bu$hCo's Treasury Secretary John Snow as recognizing the issue of inequality. Perhaps that is why talk is that he's about to be shown the door! Bu$hCo and many in DC, especially many ReThuglicans, are taking care of the Big Mules. Corporate profits are their concern. Peace ... or War!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Fox Control Program for Rural America!

I have just brought home my copy of “Foxes in the Henhouse: How the Republicans Stole Rural America and What the Democrats Must Do to Run Them Out.” by Steve Jarding and Dave "Mudcat" Saunders. Might have lots of ideas from this one. I've recently finished James Carville and Paul Begala's "Take It Back: Our Party, Our Country, Our Future." Didn't agree with everything they had to say and likely will feel the same about Mr. Jarding and Mr. Saunders. Still, anybody but Bob Shrum is a step in the right direction. Peace ... or War!

April 1, 2006 - The Fools Edition

Here we are on April Fools Day with the list being long. I've certainly been one rather more than I care to admit yet we'll tackle those on big stage first. I'll perhaps amend over the days to follow but here's a start. Many are foolish (I know it's "crazy" but this is my blog!) like a fox in some things of course. Signing off now I leave you with "Peace ... or War!" Captain Plaid
  • George W. Bu$h - Easy
  • Donald Rumsfeld - Tactical mistakes Condi?
  • Tom DeLay - tied up with Black Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon, Tony Rudy, Ed Buckham ...
  • Rubber Stamp Congress - Lindsey "Huckleberry" Graham", Pat Roberts, Joe "Droppy Dog" Lieberman, Arlen Specter, ...
  • Dennis Hastert - Civics 101 requires BOTH houses to pass the law!
  • Bill Frist - Video diagnosis of Terry Shiavo and flip-flopping on stem-cells and ... Can you spell "pandering" and "posturing" Doctor?
  • Michael Chertoff - Heck of a job Chertie!
  • Tommy Franks - Millennium Challenge, JFCOM, and Paul Van Riper
  • Rupurt Murdock's Faux News dittoheads Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, John Gibson ...
  • Condeleeza Rice - Hamas victory was surpise, sort of like 9-11
  • WaPo - Box Turtle Ben and Little Debbie and ...
  • Bill Clinton - if you'd kept it in your pants Slick or admitted it or just said "private matter" once caught we'd have never had this Bu$hCo cabal in the White House
  • Alberto "Abu" Gonzales - "quaint" indeed! Honarable mention to Big Steve and other folks in and above Abu Ghraid that gave fodder to fundy Islamist for next generations!