Wednesday, October 31, 2007

From Steve Clemon's WASHING TON NOTE:

Private Note to Bush from Hagel Calls For Direct, Unconditional, Comprehensive Talks with Iran

I have just secured a private letter -- not yet publicly released -- from Senator Chuck Hagel to President Bush and copied to Condoleezza Rice, Robert Gates, and Stephen Hadley. I should add that I did not receive this letter from Senator Hagel but from other sources.

The letter urges the President to pursue "direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks with the Government of Iran."

In the letter, both attached (Hagel letter pdf) and reprinted in full below, Hagel warns that "unless there is a strategic shift [from the current situation], I believe we will find ourselves in a dangerous and increasingly isolated position in the coming months." Hagel continues, "I do not see how the collective actions that we are now taking will produce the results that we seek."...[Open in new window]

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Code Pink Punks 'Politico' in Blackwater Hoax

(NEW YORK) With all of the news about Blackwater USA's problems, it wasn't a surprise that a fake story about the company creating a "Department of Corporate Integrity" would make it on to several valid news sites.

CBS News and were among the victims of the fraud, reportedly perpetuated by Code Pink, according to Politico, which posted a correction today. CBS reprinted a Politico story on its site.

"In this business, you sometimes come across news items and think, 'You couldn't make that stuff up.' Well, sometimes you can," Politico reported in its note. "Code Pink today pulled off a hoax that pulled in Politico and a number of other news outlets when it ginned up a fake release, saying that Blackwater USA was creating a new 'Department of Corporate Integrity' that would put the 'mercy back in mercenary.' That should have been a tip off."...[Open in new window]

Her claim last week that “the policies of Iran constitute perhaps the single greatest challenge to American security interests in the Middle East and around the world” is simply too much of a stretch.

To gauge someone’s reliability, one depends largely on prior experience. Sadly, Rice’s credibility suffers in comparison with that of the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohammed ElBaradei, who insists there is no evidence of an active nuclear weapons program in Iran.

If this sounds familiar, ElBaradei said the same thing about Iraq before it was attacked. But three days before the invasion, American nuclear expert Dick Cheney told NBC’s Tim Russert, “I think Mr. ElBaradei is, frankly, wrong.”

Here we go again. As in the case of Iraq, U.S. intelligence has been assiduously looking for evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran; but, alas, in vain.

Burned by the bogus “proof” adduced for Iraq—the uranium from Africa, the aluminum tubes—the administration has shied away from fabricating nuclear-related “evidence.”

Are Bush and Cheney again relying on the Rumsfeld dictum, that “the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence?” There is a simpler answer...[Open in new window]

The Politics of the Personal: Growing Up Idahoan

First of a five-part series, appearing Mondays.

There's one thing about growing up in a place like Idaho: If you can't make friends with conservatives, you won't have many friends.

And as my oldest friends can tell you, once upon a time I was myself fairly conservative politically. I come from a working-class Republican family -- my mother's side of the family was in road construction, and my dad's was mostly a farming family, though his father actually was an auto mechanic. Dad himself worked at the local airport for the FAA, and I remember well the Goldwater bumper sticker on the red ’59 Ford Fairlane that was our family car in 1964.

My dad, who was born and raised in southern Idaho and is still an accomplished marksman and woodsman, was a gunsmith in his spare time, and so we often hung out in gun shops. This meant I was exposed to the NRA worldview at an early age, not to mention the John Birch Society, which was everywhere in Idaho Falls. Certainly I had it drilled into my head to be on the lookout for commies, gun-grabbers, and other loathsome forms of humanity. Most of these, I learned, were Democrats, and so even through high school I identified with all things Republican.

When our junior high school held a mock presidential debate in 1968, I eagerly took the Nixon side. In high school I worked on the congressional campaigns of local Republicans, and I continued doing GOP campaign work in college. I paid for my first couple of years of college by doing farm work, mostly hauling irrigation pipe, later moving up to higher-paying road construction jobs. I knew well the value of hard work. My belief in blue-collar virtues -- like integrity, decency, honesty, common sense, and fair play -- was imbedded like the work lines in my hands. And until I got out of college, I really believed that conservatism best embodied those values.

Over the years, like most people, my views morphed, especially as, after college, I began working as a newspaperman (this was about 1976, when I was just turning 20) in Idaho and Montana. I was confronted innumerable times with realities that challenged my old preconceptions. I came to know hard-working Democrats who had the highest integrity and greatest decency (people like Senator Frank Church and Governor Cecil Andrus). I got to know Republicans who were prolific liars of the lowest integrity (like Reps. George Hansen, Steve Symms and Helen Chenoweth). Along the way, of course, I also encountered dishonest Democrats and honest Republicans alike, people who jibed with my old worldview. But it was obvious that the former construct, while not exactly turned on its head, was not really valid.

The right in Idaho, in fact, had a long history of being a fertile place for extremism to take root. From the mid-1950s onward, anti-communist paranoia, embodied by the John Birch Society, was a dominant political force in southern Idaho. The first time I saw Gen. Jack D. Ripper, the cigar-chewing paranoid who blows up the world in Dr. Strangelove, on TV, I thought it was depicting our neighbor down the street, the one who had the bomb shelter. He also worked at the local nuclear engineering laboratory.

The Birch Society was everywhere at the time; I think I saw copies of Gary Allen’s eminently digestible Bircherite opus, None Dare Call it Conspiracy, in the homes of just about all my parents' friends. My grandmother dated an ardent Bircherite for many years and I used to thumb through his conspiracist library in his farmhouse just outside Twin Falls. Southern Idaho generally was also quite dominated by the Mormon Church (about two-thirds of my graduating class was LDS), and the "Church-Birch connection" was well known and oft-remarked. When I was in high school in the early ‘70s, the local Birch unit became ardently involved in the fight over our school district’s dress code; we were told that letting boys grow their hair long was part of the communist conspiracy to feminize our men. Fortunately, the district ignored them and let us grow our hair...[Open in new window]

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ann Coulter: Nuke Them!

By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

10/26/007 "
ICH" -- -- Although her arrival had been anticipated with mixed emotions on campus, I was surprised that more people did not turn up to protest that USC, a research university, should give platform to Ann Coulter as guest speaker during the ‘Islamo-facism’ awareness week.

Guest of the college Republicans, she walked on stage dressed in a short, black cocktail dress that revealed her mid-rift. Either she had the occasion wrong or the dress; perhaps she had plans after the event. Regardless, on center stage, talking about Islam and fascism among a bunch of university kids in jeans, she looked out of place. Given that she was introduced as being one of the top 100 intellectuals of the country and a few other accompanying remarks, I was surprised to hear her insistence at wanting to divide the country, albeit that the invitation was extended to her on behalf of the Republicans.

I had never heard so much liberal/Democrat bashing. In her eyes, they were on the same footing as the terrorists. Coulter did not believe that the Democrats wanted to defeat the ‘savages’. As with the Bush Administration, she continued to link Iraq to 9/11, glorified the successes, and claimed that the Democrats deliberately wanted to lose to the ‘camel-riding Nomads’ by “rooting against their own country”

She colorfully compared Guantanamo Bay to ‘freshman dorms’ where one eats well and gains 20 pounds, not foregoing the damning reports from the neutral Swiss-based Red Cross, and as her hatred of Muslims spewed out, she exclaimed: “ “they are savage, and I want to kill them.”

It is this hatred, this desire for ‘going for the kill’ that made her give the advice which shocked me. During Q & A, a ‘college Republican’ asked her opinion about what should be done to the ‘Moslems who go around take out their swords and want to kill and convert every one’ (seriously, in the 21st century, do they even make swords any more?) After delivering a few words here and there about pain, Coulter remarked; “We dropped a couple of bombs on Japan and they are as tame as sheep, a few well placed bombs should do it”. My friends gasped. She was inciting genocide on a large scale. The young Republican seemed pleased. I took a mental pause to save my sanity...
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Truth Matters

By Charles Sullivan

10/27/07 "
ICH" -- -- I have been writing political essays for a few years now. I do so as a reluctant enthusiast, not because I wanted to write on these themes; but because, it seemed to me, that professional journalists were not telling the whole story; that significant parts that would allow people to connect the dots and understand what is happening from a historical perspective, was being deliberately omitted from the official version of current events, and from history.

As propaganda, the elements that are deliberately left out of media are as important as those that are retained. It is propaganda by omission, as much as by content. What people are not told shapes their world view and influences their behavior, as surely as what they are told. Imposed ignorance and selective knowledge go hand in hand to forge public opinion and to shape cultural identity. These conditions set the stage for belligerent government and aggressive nationalism.

It is not coincidental that professional journalists, those who write for profit in the mainstream media, are the least likely to tell us the truth, the whole truth; whereas, free-lance writers, who operate under a different set of rules and out of the mainstream, are more likely to serve the public interest, and tell us what we need to know in order to be a free people, and good world citizens...
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"Protest that moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one's own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence." Wendell Berry

Is Mitch McConnell The Next Sleazy Republican Larry Flynt Will Expose?

Posted by Howie Klein at 9:10 AM on October 28, 2007.

McConnell is infamous in Washington for a number of things, aside from his official duty as Bush's chief obstructionist in the Senate. He's as dirty as they come and, unlike many of his colleagues, he's known for taking bribes from overseas interests. He's been an "unofficial"-- but immensely well-paid-- lobbyist for China for a long time. A new scandal, though, has him taking money from closer to home: a British arms dealer.

The story broke in the Kentucky papers today and it could be a devastating blow to McConnell's already shaky re-election prospects. In a state plagued with severe economic problems, it looks very bad that McConnell was caught earmarking $25 million for a British armsmaker, BAE, "that is under criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department and suspected by American diplomats of a 'long-standing, widespread pattern of bribery allegations.'"

According to the story in the Lexington paper "McConnell has taken at least $53,000 in campaign donations from BAE's political action committees and employees since his 2002 re-election." He is suspected of having taken hundreds of thousands of dollars under the table.

Ethics watchdogs say they're surprised McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, would continue to give earmarks and take donations from a corporation in hot water with his own government. McConnell should keep his distance, said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
"Most politicians decide that a scandal is a good time to stop doing business with a company, at least until the scandal is over," Sloan said. "Particularly when we're talking about a criminal investigation over bribery. You would think that a member of Congress would want to steer clear of anyone accused of bribery."
Even without the scandal, it looks bad for a senator to earmark federal money for a corporation, as compared to a public university or a local government in his state, said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center in Washington.
"Why did they need special favors from Senator McConnell instead of going through the usual open competition and budgeting process at the Pentagon?" Boehm asked.

Nor should McConnell take donations from a company to which he steers federal funds, said Boehm, a former Republican congressional aide.
"Contributions from entities that directly benefit from earmarks are a bad idea," he said. "There's a big difference between a company that just likes your general ideas and a company that stands to benefit from one or more transactions that you're making on their behalf using public money."

But the brouhaha over more McConnell bribery allegations could pale compared to rumors leaking out that the long awaited evidence of McConnell's double life as a closet queen is about to be put on the table. Raw Story is reporting tonight that Larry Flynt is on the verge of breaking another sex expose. He told Fox's Neil Cavuto that this one will stand "Washington and the country on its head." Hustler intends to "expose a sex scandal of huge proportions involving a prominent United States Senator." And unless he's talking about Lindsey Graham... [Open in new window]


I'd love to see 'Bitch' McConnell go, that doesn't sound right.

I'd love to see 'Bitch' McConnell get in lots & lots & lots of trouble.

There, that's better.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Larry Flynt, editor and publisher of Hustler magazine, just told FOX Business Network’s Neil Cavuto that he’s “hoping to expose a bombshell” that will stand “Washington and the country on its head.” Within the next week or two, he says his magazine will expose a sex scandal of huge proportions involving a prominent United States Senator. Flynt refused to comment on the Senator’s political affiliation, but alluded that he or she is a Republican...[Open in new window]
Who will it be? 'Bitch' McConnell, Wimsay Gwaham, there's so many...

Friday, October 26, 2007

"I had sex with Larry Craig"

We’ve been having loads of fun with gay restroom goblin Larry Craig over the past couple of months, haven’t we? What we’ve been missing, though, is an on-the-record account from a source willing to come forward and tell what it’s like to have an actual romantic liaison with the Idaho Republican. Meet David Phillips, a local IT geek and bear-about-town.

Phillips was recently in a bar minding his own business when he heard Craig’s voice on the television. “I went pale and nearly vomited,” Phillips says. It was the man he remembered from one of his creepiest sexual encounters twenty years earlier. “After a truncated meal I went back to my hotel room and began unwinding and jotting down the memories that the voice had opened. I recalled The Follies, the furtive groping and pawing there, the odd following of this man in my car….. Crap!”

Phillips’ embarrassing, Santorum-laced tale follows after the jump.

"It was late in the Spring of 1987, and Phillips was a graduate student at George Mason University. “One of my favorite hangouts was The Follies,” Phillips explains, referring to the notorious and now-closed go-go boy bar La Cage aux Follies on Capitol Hill. “There were so many closeted neocons who trolled for cock and ass there, particularly cock and ass on younger men: Terry Dolan, Jon Hinson, and a bunch of other men who seemed to run in a close and secretive group. I had sex with some of them at The Follies, and I even went home with a couple of them — at different times, at least — based on smooth talk and their attraction to a 20-something geek. One of them I would later recognize as Larry Craig.”...[Open in new window]
But remember, everyone & repeat after me: "It's ALL Bill Clinton's fault!"
Man jailed for urinating on woman

A man who urinated on a woman as she lay dying and shouted "this is YouTube material" has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Anthony Anderson also covered Christine Lakinski with shaving foam after she collapsed in a Hartlepool street.

The 50-year-old, who suffered from a number of medical conditions, was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Anderson, 27, and from Raby Road in the Teesside town, had earlier admitted outraging public decency.

The court heard how, on 27 July, Miss Lakinski was making her way home with a box of laminate flooring when she fell ill and stumbled into a doorway.

Totally shocked

Anderson, a former soldier, had smoked a cannabis joint and been drinking when he and two friends spotted her.

He tried to rouse her by throwing a bucket of water over her, before urinating on her and covering her with shaving foam.

A crowd had gathered around, watching and laughing, and the incident was filmed on a mobile phone.

She was later declared dead at the scene, the cause of death being given as pancreatic failure...[Open in new window]


Straitjacket Bush

The president's warmongering remarks on the Iranian threat suggest he is psychotic. Really.
Rosa Brooks

October 25, 2007

Forget impeachment.

Liberals, put it behind you. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney shouldn't be treated like criminals who deserve punishment. They should be treated like psychotics who need treatment.

Because they've clearly gone mad. Exhibit A: We're in the middle of a disastrous war in Iraq, the military and political situation in Afghanistan is steadily worsening, and the administration's interrogation and detention tactics have inflamed anti-Americanism and fueled extremist movements around the globe. Sane people, confronting such a situation, do their best to tamp down tensions, rebuild shattered alliances, find common ground with hostile parties and give our military a little breathing space. But crazy people? They look around and decide it's a great time to start another war.

That would be with Iran, and you'd have to be deaf not to hear the war drums. Last week, Bush remarked that "if you're interested in avoiding World War III . . . you ought to be interested in preventing [Iran] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon." On Sunday, Cheney warned of "the Iranian regime's efforts to destabilize the Middle East and to gain hegemonic power . . . [we] cannot stand by as a terror-supporting state fulfills its most aggressive ambitions." On Tuesday, Bush insisted on the need "to defend Europe against the emerging Iranian threat."

Huh? Iran is now a major threat to Europe? The Iranians are going to launch a nuclear missile (that they don't yet possess) against Europe (for reasons unknown because, as far as we know, they're not mad at anyone in Europe)? This is lunacy in action.

Writing in Newsweek on Oct. 20, Fareed Zakaria, a solid centrist and former editor of Foreign Affairs, put it best. Citing Bush's invocation of "the specter of World War III if Iran gained even the knowledge needed to make a nuclear weapon," Zakaria concluded that "the American discussion about Iran has lost all connection to reality. . . . Iran has an economy the size of Finland's. . . . It has not invaded a country since the late 18th century. The United States has a GDP that is 68 times larger and defense expenditures that are 110 times greater. Israel and every Arab country (except Syria and Iraq) are . . . allied against Iran. And yet we are to believe that Tehran is about to overturn the international system and replace it with an Islamo-fascist order? What planet are we on?"

Planet Cheney.

Zakaria may be misinterpreting the president's remark about World War III though. He saw it as a dangerously loopy Bush prediction about the future behavior of a nuclear Iran -- the idea being, presumably, that possessing "the knowledge" to make a nuclear weapon would so empower Iran's repressive leaders that they'll giddily rush out and start World War III.

But you could read Bush's remark as a madman's threat rather than a madman's prediction -- as a warning to recalcitrant states, from Germany to Russia, that don't seem to share his crazed obsession with Iran. The message: Fall into line with administration policy toward Iran or you can count on the U.S.A. to try to start World War III on its own. And when it comes to sparking global conflagration, a U.S. attack on Iran might be just the thing. Yee haw!

You'd better believe these guys would do it too. Why not? They have nothing to lose -- they're out of office in 15 months anyway. Après Bush-Cheney, le déluge! (Have fun, Hillary.)

But all this creates a conundrum. What's a constitutional democracy to do when the president and vice president lose their marbles?...[Open in new window]

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

American kids, dumber than dirt
Warning: The next generation might just be the biggest pile of idiots in U.S. history

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I have this ongoing discussion with a longtime reader who also just so happens to be a longtime Oakland high school teacher, a wonderful guy who's seen generations of teens come and generations go and who has a delightful poetic sensibility and quirky outlook on his life and his family and his beloved teaching career.

And he often writes to me in response to something I might've written about the youth of today, anything where I comment on the various nefarious factors shaping their minds and their perspectives and whether or not, say, EMFs and junk food and cell phones are melting their brains and what can be done and just how bad it might all be.

His response: It is not bad at all. It's absolutely horrifying.

My friend often summarizes for me what he sees, firsthand, every day and every month, year in and year out, in his classroom. He speaks not merely of the sad decline in overall intellectual acumen among students over the years, not merely of the astonishing spread of lazy slackerhood, or the fact that cell phones and iPods and excess TV exposure are, absolutely and without reservation, short-circuiting the minds of the upcoming generations. Of this, he says, there is zero doubt.

Nor does he speak merely of the notion that kids these days are overprotected and wussified and don't spend enough time outdoors and don't get any real exercise and therefore can't, say, identify basic plants, or handle a tool, or build, well, anything at all. Again, these things are a given. Widely reported, tragically ignored, nothing new.

No, my friend takes it all a full step — or rather, leap — further. It is not merely a sad slide. It is not just a general dumbing down. It is far uglier than that.

We are, as far as urban public education is concerned, essentially at rock bottom. We are now at a point where we are essentially churning out ignorant teens who are becoming ignorant adults and society as a whole will pay dearly, very soon, and if you think the hordes of easily terrified, mindless fundamentalist evangelical Christian lemmings have been bad for the soul of this country, just wait.

It's gotten so bad that, as my friend nears retirement, he says he is very seriously considering moving out of the country so as to escape what he sees will be the surefire collapse of functioning American society in the next handful of years due to the absolutely irrefutable destruction, the shocking — and nearly hopeless — dumb-ification of the American brain. It is just that bad...[Open in new window]

An emblematic image: a Fury confronts a Vulcan

Protester Desiree Farooz confronts Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a photograph taken today by Charles Dharapak of the Associated Press.

Rice was preparing to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee when she encountered Farooz inside the hearing room. Farooz had painted her hands red, apparently to symbolize her group's claim that members of President Bush's cabinet have blood on their hands because of the way they've waged war in Iraq.
TomDispatch [Open in new window] is always worth looking into but today it's especially good; there's a book review by Chalmers Johnson:

A Guide for the Perplexed

Intellectual Fallacies of the War on Terror
By Chalmers Johnson

[This essay is a review of The Matador's Cape, America's Reckless Response to Terror by Stephen Holmes (Cambridge University Press, 367 pp., $30).]

George Carlin On Countdown - True Comic Standing

Comedian George Carlin sat down with Keith Olbermann on Tuesday’s Countdown and confesses that he’s seen every show and calls it the best news show ever. Never at a loss for words, Carlin gives his take on politics, Governor Bush, illegal wiretapping, Sen. Arlen Specter’s attempt at stand up comedy, Stephen Colbert’s presidential bid and the outrage from the right over the earth shattering Dumbledore controversy;

Carlin: “Don’t these professional Christians have something to do during the day? I mean, isn’t there - didn’t Jesus leave instructions on how to plan your day with something constructive?”

Use of Contractors by State Dept. Has Soared: But few officials oversee contracts

Published: October 24, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 — Over the past four years, the amount of money the State Department pays to private security and law enforcement contractors has soared to nearly $4 billion a year from $1 billion, administration officials said Tuesday, but they said that the department had added few new officials to oversee the contracts.

It was the first time that the administration had outlined the ballooning scope of the contracts, and it provided a new indication of how the State Department’s efforts to monitor private companies had not kept pace. Auditors and outside exerts say the results have been vast cost overruns, poor contract performance and, in some cases, violence that has so far gone unpunished.

A vast majority of the money goes to companies like DynCorp International and Blackwater USA to protect diplomats overseas, train foreign police forces and assist in drug eradication programs. There are only 17 contract compliance officers at the State Department’s management bureau overseeing spending of the billions of dollars on these programs, officials said.

Two new reports have delivered harsh judgments about the State Department’s handling of the contracts, including the protective services contract that employs Blackwater guards whose involvement in a Sept. 16 shooting in Baghdad has raised questions about their role in guarding American diplomats in Iraq.

In a report made public on Tuesday, a review panel found that there were too few American officials in Iraq to enforce the rules that apply to Blackwater and other security contractors. It also found that the conduct of the contractors had undermined the broader mission of ending the insurgency and establishing a democratic government in Iraq...[Open in new window]
State Department Official to Resign in Wake of Blackwater Criticism

The assistant secretary of state, who oversaw diplomatic security, plans to submit his resignation in the wake of a report critical of his handling of Blackwater security contractors, according to State Department officials briefed on the matter this morning.

Ambassador Richard Griffin told his staff he would be submitting his resignation to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

There was no immediate comment from the State Department.

Griffin's resignation follows the release yesterday of a State Department review that found serious problems with the operations of the Diplomatic Security Service, which Griffin oversaw, including lax oversight of private security contractors, including Blackwater USA...[Open in new window]

The collapse of Bush's foreign policy

From Turkey to Iraq to Pakistan, the mounting chaos proves the White House is just winging it.

By Juan Cole

Oct. 24, 2007 | The Bush administration once imagined that its presence in Afghanistan and Iraq would be anchored by friendly neighbors, Turkey to the west and Pakistan to the east. Last week, as the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan continued to deteriorate, the anchors themselves also came loose.

On Sunday, just days after the Turkish Parliament authorized an invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan, Kurdish guerrillas ambushed and killed 17 Turkish soldiers inside Turkey. In Karachi, Pakistan, a massive bomb nearly killed U.S.-backed Benazir Bhutto, who was supposed to help stabilize the country. The Bush administration's entire Middle East policy is coming undone -- if it even has a policy left, other than just sticking its fingers in the multiple, and multiplying, holes in the dike.

In Iraq, the Kurds of the north are the United States' most reliable allies. In addition to the 5.5 million Kurds in Iraq, however, persons speaking dialects of Kurdish constitute around 11 million of neighboring Turkey's 70 million citizens. There are another 4 million Kurds next door in Iran, and up to 2 million in Syria. All three of Iraq's northern neighbors fear that Kurdish nationalism, which has been fostered by the U.S. occupation of Iraq, could tear them apart. Opposition to that nationalism could provide a platform for an alliance of Syria, Turkey and Iran -- a nightmare for the Bush administration. Washington had hoped to isolate Syria, an ally of both Iran and of Hezbollah in Lebanon. That's not how it is turning out.

Even after Turkey declined to sign on to the Iraq war, then U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz praised it in April 2003 as a dependable ally and secularizing model for the Muslim world. Since then, however, Washington's relationship with Ankara has turned increasingly sour over U.S. favoritism toward the Kurds...[Open in new window]

It's been a great "New American Century" hasn't it? All seven years of it. Thanks Mr. Kristol & fellow PNACers.

Now go fuck yourselves.

Fewer think US adequately thwarting terror

By ALAN FRAM, Associated Press WriterWed Oct 24, 12:41 AM ET

Fewer people think the U.S. is adequately thwarting terrorists, meeting its objectives in Iraq or achieving other goals overseas, according to a poll that shows a deepening skepticism about the country's foreign policy.

The survey also shows people in the U.S. have flagging hopes that a range of strategies and policies — from improving intelligence operations to showing more respect for other countries — can do very much to keep the nation safe.

"We are reaching a point where the public seems to be questioning not just whether current policies are working, but whether the United States can have an effective foreign policy at all," said a report accompanying the survey, conducted in the U.S. last month for Public Agenda, a nonpartisan public policy group, and the journal Foreign Affairs.

The poll also found little taste for a military confrontation with Iran, though there was slightly more interest than earlier this year. Tensions with Tehran have risen over its nuclear program and aid to fighters opposing U.S. troops in Iraq.

Sixty-five percent said they preferred economic or diplomatic moves against Iran, compared to 19 percent who favored military action or threats. When the question was asked in March, 13 percent chose threatened or actual military steps.

The public's increased militancy might reflect that the poll was conducted during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent visit to New York and the U.N., when he received a mix reception, the report said.


By 65 percent to 28 percent, people said the U.S. should rely more on diplomatic and economic efforts, rather than military might, to combat terrorism, numbers that were virtually unchanged from two years ago.

The survey also found:

_Most think global cooperation can reduce global warming, but also doubt the U.S. can keep other countries from getting nuclear weapons or keep oil supplies stable and reasonably priced.

_Sixty-four percent said they think the rest of the world sees the U.S. negatively, including 30 percent who said very negatively.

_Seventy-nine percent said the world has become more dangerous for the U.S.

_A quarter said the U.S. is doing a good or excellent job making the world more peaceful.

_People ranked the Middle East as the top U.S. foreign policy problem, with four in 10 choosing it.

The telephone survey of 1,011 adults was conducted from Sept. 17-27. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points...[Open in new window]

Monday, October 22, 2007

On the October 22 edition of his nationally syndicated radio program, host Glenn Beck stated, "I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today."...[Open in new window]
Glenn Beck is such an idiot. But he's like the last guy to arrive at the great-big-buffet of idiocy. Coultergeist, Orally, Insannity, Rash, Fudge, Lard, etc all beat him to it years ago.

It's just sad.

Almost as sad as his Premiere Network colleague, George Snoory completely fucking up Art Bell's COAST TO COAST AM.

Cheney’s Casus Belli

I’ve been reading Cheney’s Iran speech, and it’s clearer than ever that we’re in danger of getting snookered again.

First General Petraeus laid out damning, but damnably unsourced, intel about Iranian involvement in Iraq in his presentation to congress; now Dick Cheney is citing it as gospel in building his case for war:

This same regime that approved of hostage-taking in 1979, that attacked Saudi and Kuwaiti shipping in the 1980s, that incited suicide bombings and jihadism in the 1990s and beyond, is now the world’s most active state sponsor of terror. As to its next-door neighbor, Iraq, the Iranian government claims to be a friend that supports regional stability.

In fact, it is a force for the opposite. As General Petraeus has noted, Iran’s Quds Force is trying to set up a “Hezbollah-like force to serve its interests and to fight a proxy war against the Iraqi state and coalition forces in Iraq.” At the same time, Iran is “responsible for providing the weapons, the training, the funding and, in some cases, the direction for operations that have indeed killed U.S. soldiers.”

Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson talks to a group of Republican business women in Kissimmee Fla. on Monday, Oct. 22, 2006. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay)


The lady in the pic looks like she's hovering somewhere between hostility & nausea.

Fred is a gift.
Neocons Surge Against Antiwar Movement
Mon, 2007-10-22

By Tom Hayden,

As thousands of Americans take to the streets this week, they will face a rising right-wing offensive to discredit and derail the antiwar movement. The cry of "troops home now" will echo in 11 cities as an intense year-long battle begins to sharpen. Not since 2002 will the antiwar movement – and dovish Democrats – face as virulent and lavishly funded a backlash as this one.

Consider the gathering storm:

A powerful and persistent faction of hawks, centered in Vice President Cheney's office, is pushing for a military strike against Iran in the coming year.
The orchestrated campaign for continuing the "surge" in Iraq, led by Gen. Petraeus, succeeded in restoring the nerve of the Republican Party and defeating the Democratic strategy of seeking Republican defections.
The well-coordinated attacks on were designed to destroy the group's proven ability to raise millions of dollars for antiwar messages and, in general, Democratic candidates. Seventy-five senators, including the likes of Barbara Boxer, rushed to denounce MoveOn, thus helping the effort to de-legitimize the organization.
Ari Fleischer, the former Bush spokesman who warned Americans to "watch what you say," now heads an organization that spent $15 million to promote the war as patriotic.
Pro-Israel and Christian Right groups are attempting to raise $200 million for a campaign calling for war with Iran.
Rudy Giuliani, currently the Republican front-runner, has selected neocon godfather Norman Podhoretz as his national security adviser.
David Horowitz is spending millions of dollars to demonize pro-peace professors and organize on campuses against what the neocons call "Islamofascism."
The neocons and hawks of all stripes are fighting back. They already have succeeded in gaining political traction for the escalation in Baghdad, counter-punching the Democratic critics into a corner, planting major stories of "success" in the media, and gaining top positions in Giuliani's presidential campaign. Their campaign for war in Iran (Podhoretz says he "prays" for it everyday, an apparent message to the Christian Right) is on track.

Their top priority is to isolate the antiwar movement and its Democratic allies as "too extreme." In 2002, when most of the American people were frozen by the 9/11 experience, it was a matter of trying to prevent the development of antiwar sentiment. In 2007, however, the neocons face a more daunting challenge: how to undermine the American majority favoring rapid withdrawal from Iraq?...[Open in new window]

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Why do I think of the phrase, "Would you buy a used car from this man?" as I watch Mitt Romney talk on FACE THE NATION?

I guess it's because he seems like a complete & total robotic, sleezoid con man.

A couple of interesting items from THINK PROGRESS here. What a couple of nasty old women Rumsfeld & Cheney are. They & their pissy-pants little prince-son George have presided over a shameful epoch of American history.

Rumsfeld’s revenge.

A story in tomorrow’s Washington Post reports that early in 2004, then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld became angry that the Pentagon was losing control over reconstruction efforts in Iraq. In return, he refused to provide military security for diplomats, forcing the State Department to rush to Blackwater:

The next year, as the United States prepared to return sovereignty to the Iraqis and the State Department began planning an embassy in Baghdad, Rumsfeld lost a bid to retain control over the full U.S. effort, including billions of dollars in reconstruction funds. A new executive order, signed in January 2004, gave State authority over all but military operations. Rumsfeld’s revenge, at least in the view of many State officials, was to withdraw all but minimal assistance for diplomatic security.

“It was the view of Donald Rumsfeld and [then-Deputy Defense Secretary] Paul Wolfowitz that this wasn’t their problem,” said a former senior State Department official. Meetings to negotiate an official memorandum of understanding between State and Defense during the spring of 2004 broke up in shouting matches over issues such as their respective levels of patriotism and whether the military would provide mortuary services for slain diplomats. […]

State chose the most expedient solution: Take over the Pentagon’s personal security contract with Blackwater and extend it for a year.


Plame’s CIA job was to stop Iran from obtaining nukes.

In her first interview since Bush administration officials outed her as a covert CIA agent, Valerie Plame Wilson reveals to CBS 60 Minutes that she was involved in preventing Iran from building a nuclear weapon. In the interview to be aired this Sunday, CBS reports that she was “involved in one highly classified mission to deliver fake nuclear weapons blueprints to Tehran.

Plame’s role in Iran intelligence was first revealed by Raw Story’s Larisa Alexandrovna in Feb. 2006.

Transcript & clip of Plame & Couric here:

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Results from "Values Voter Summit" Straw Poll

Candidate Name ... Percentage
1. Mitt Romney ... 27.62 %
2. Mike Huckabee ... 27.10 %
3. Ron Paul ... 14.98%
4. Fred Thompson ... 9.77 %
5. Sam Brownback ... 5.14 %
6. Duncan Hunter ... 2.42 %
7. Tom Tancredo ... 2.30 %
8. Rudy Giuliani ... 1.85 %
9. John McCain ... 1.40 % /

Friday, October 19, 2007

Stephanie Miller calls Chris Matthews a “Right Wing tool.”
By: John Amato on Friday, October 19th, 2007 at 5:45 PM - PDT

Talk show host Stephanie Miller was on Hardball today talking about Rep. Peter Stark’s remarks about Bush’s SCHIP veto and should he apologize over them when she said this about Chris Matthews:

Miller: …it gives other right wing tools like you an issue Chris…”

Matthews: Like, I’m a right wing tool?”

Miller: You must be doing your job because I heard someone on FOX call you a liberal. To me it fills the news cycles with this instead of Iraq.

Matthews genuinely looks stunned and not very happy. She says later that she was kidding. He brings up Media Matters…The other right wing tool, hehe…Kevin Miller, says Stark should be censured in Congress…lol


Good for Steph! Matthews IS a right wing tool.

He thinks we're all supposed to forget his dumb comments about how great Bush is & "we're all neocons now" & all that shit.

Not a chance. He's a pig. Slimeball.

Stark Language Angers Republicans

Friday, October 19, 2007; A04

The debate over the fate of the State Children's Health Insurance Program was a surprisingly desultory affair, marked by the occasional charge of "socialized medicine" from Republicans or "heartlessness" from Democrats.

Desultory, that is, until Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) grumbled at Republicans: "You don't have money to fund the war or children. But you're going to spend it to blow up innocent people if we can get enough kids to grow old enough for you to send to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement."

In the wake of the failed veto override, clips of Stark's comments were posted on YouTube and were being e-mailed around by Republicans. GOP news releases have been furious. The National Republican Congressional Committee called Stark's statement "an outrageous and delusional tantrum."

Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) declared that Stark "dishonors not only the commander in chief, but the thousands of courageous men and women of America's armed forces who believe in their mission and are putting their lives on the line for our freedom and security." He called on Stark to apologize.

The 18-term congressman, however, responded only by calling those who voted to deny children health care "chicken hawks."

-- Jonathan Weisman[Open in new window]

Apologize for what? Speaking the truth?

Fuck you, Boner. And your crypto-Republican pal Pelosi too.

A nice compendium of some of the ridiculous things that have come out of the mouths of figures in the 'conservative movement'.

I will not forgive them for any of it.

Stupid, I understand. Mean, I understand. Stupid AND mean? You don't get a pass from me. I've had too much of it in my life.

Click the link, there's a big barrel of this shit. And it's all true. People really said these things.

Fish. Barrel. Boom.

By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Thursday 11 March 2004

"I'm a firm believer in feeding people their own words back to them, when it's appropriate."
� Trent Lott

As we hurtle headlong into the silly season, a high colonic for the mind is in order. There is going to be a lot of back-and-forth between the candidates regarding who said what and when. Feast, in that context, upon this small collection:

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."

- George W. Bush, discussing Kosovo, Houston Chronicle, 04-09-99

"I said on my program, if, if the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush administration again."

- Bill O'Reilly, on ABC's Good Morning America, 03-18-03

"I tell people don't kill all the liberals. Leave enough so we can have two on every campus - living fossils - so we will never forget what these people stood for."

- Rush Limbaugh, Denver Post, 12-29-95

"If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual gay sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything. All of those things are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family and that's sort of where we are in today's world, unfortunately. It all comes from, I would argue, the right to privacy that doesn't exist, in my opinion, in the United States Constitution."

- Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Associated Press, 04-22-03

"I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you. This is not a message of hate; this is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It'll bring about terrorist bombs; it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor."

- Pat Robertson, speaking of organizers putting rainbow flags up around Orlando to support sexual diversity, Washington Post, 06-10-98. For the record, Orlando remains undestroyed by meteors.

"Environmentalists are a socialist group of individuals that are the tool of the Democrat Party. I'm proud to say that they are my enemy. They are not Americans, never have been Americans, never will be Americans."

- Rep. Don Young (R-AK), Alaska Public Radio, 08-19-96

"When you strip it all away, Jerry Garcia destroyed his life on drugs. And yet he's being honored, like some godlike figure. Our priorities are out of whack, folks."

- Rush (currently under investigation for drug use) Limbaugh, on the death of Jerry Garcia, 08-20-95...[Open in new window]

Jebby endorses Rudy (the) G. It's in the bag now.

John Ellis "Jebby" Bush, Jr. (born December 13, 1983) is the younger son of Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida, and Columba Bush, his mother of Mexican origin. Born and raised in metro Miami, Florida, Jeb Jr. attended The Bolles School, a private boarding and day school in Jacksonville and he attended The University of Texas at Austin. His older siblings are George P. Bush and Noelle Bush.

Jeb Jr. has received media attention on two occasions: in 2000, at age 16, he was caught having sex in a Tallahassee, Florida, mall parking lot with a 17-year-old girl. No charges were filed. On September 16, 2005, he was arrested and charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest on the street corner near the popular Sixth Street in Austin, Texas. His father responded that this was a "personal family matter" which was being handled privately.

Jeb volunteered on his father's 2002 campaign for governor.

He works in commercial real estate with Fairchild Partners in the Miami area...[Open in new window]
Giuliani picks up backing of a Bush in Florida

Wednesday, Mitt Romney added Congressman Connie Mack to his stable of support in Florida.

Today, Republican rival Rudy Giuliani came back with a Bush -- Jeb Bush Jr., to be precise.

Bush, the youngest son of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and President Bush's nephew, will be chairman of Florida Young Professionals for Rudy and will focus on recruiting professionals to the campaign and on grassroots efforts in South Florida.

"As someone who grew up around politics and candidates, I know that Rudy has the leadership qualities and unmatched experience to be the next president of the United States. I'm honored to join his campaign and look forward to working with the many young professionals throughout Florida supporting the mayor," Bush said in a statement provided by the Giuliani campaign...[Open in new window]
So, screwball Rudy has picked up the endorsement of a drunken sex-offender. Wow! I'm excited...
Young Professional (assholes) for Rudy.
Where's the shame?
Maybe the kid wants a posting to Tel Aviv, capitol of the international sex slavery industry.
Anyone who votes for a Republican in '08 is an idiot.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Republican Sex Scandals Dwarf Those of Democrats

The sexual antics of President Bill Clinton have been a dangerous tool in the Republican campaign arsenal, used to the fullest possible extent, but what have they been up to all these years?

(SALEM, Ore.) - "He who lives in a glass house should not throw stones." It seems that old adage may be lost on the confused mass that we call modern society. The Grand Old Party, once known for controversial abolitionists, has become the moral party of today, or so their elected leaders will tell you.

As we evolve as a nation, too many people seem to be clinging to ideologies that make little sense, fighting against a woman's right to abortion while demanding that schools not teach children sex education or instruct them in the deadly virus, AIDS. It creates a vicious circle when we fight ourselves, and deny education to those who need it most.

Our nation spent more tax money conducting Ken Starr's investigation of President Bill Clinton's affair with intern Monica Lewinsky, than they did in the investigation of the September 11th 2001 attacks on the United States. Many Americans fail to see the logic behind this.

Now Oregon's Governor stands at risk, as a right wing radio pundit named Lars Larson levels an accusation against Kulongoski that could mean he could not be a lawyer in Oregon again. Larson says that Kulongoski had the goods on Goldschmidt years ago. Sources are reporting that he could have known about what has become known as the Goldschmidt scandal, as early as 1994.

Kulongoski walked angrily out of a press conference Tuesday, after a TV reporter asked him about the former governor's involvement with the teenage babysitter.

Perhaps the Governor is guilty of having known something he didn't tell. He stated that he is not, but if he is, he may lose his right to have a license to practice law. That would be a real burn if you were Ted Kulongoski, and quite a feather in the cap of Lars Larson, no doubt about it.

As Lars Larson is totally political in his pursuits and ambitions, we thought it would be interesting to offer perspective by determining just how many Republican lawmakers and officials have endured similar scrutiny in recent years for sexual perversions, extramarital affairs, etc. It is a hard number to pinpoint, it just depends on the number of years you account for.

As a subject, it was important enough to see an impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, so fair seems fair.

Then we ran into a problem with the idea of naming these scandals and their Republican perpetrators; there are so many they would hardly fit on the page. Using data from "Moral Values," these citations are otherwise attributed to the original agencies. Here is a partial list of names of serious problems related to GOP movers and shakers...[Open in new window]


A good long list of greeeeezy Republican sleezoids follows so click the link.

GOP=Grumpy Old Pervs.

They need to join the Whig Party on the ash heap of history.

"The Moment Has Come to Get Rid of Saddam"
Bush's Faith Run Over by History
By Mark Danner

The only thing that worries me about you is your optimism.
-- Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar to President Bush, from the Crawford Transcript of February 22, 2003

Surely one of the agonizing attributes of our post–September 11 age is the unending need to reaffirm realities that have been proved, and proved again, but just as doggedly denied by those in power, forcing us to live trapped between two narratives of present history, the one gaining life and color and vigor as more facts become known, the other growing ever paler, brittler, more desiccated, barely sustained by the life support of official power.

At the center of our national life stands the master narrative of this bifurcated politics: the Iraq war, fought to eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction that turned out not to exist, brought to a quick and glorious conclusion on a sunlit aircraft carrier deck whose victory celebration almost instantly became a national embarrassment. That was four and a half years ago; the war's ending and indeed its beginning, so clearly defined for that single trembling instant, have long since vanished into contested history.

The latest entry in that history appeared on September 26, when the Spanish daily El País published a transcript of a discussion held on February 22, 2003 -- nearly a month before the war began -- between President Bush and José María Aznar, then prime minister of Spain. Though the leaders met at Mr. Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, some quickly dubbed the transcript Downing Street Memo II, and indeed the document does share some themes with that critical British memorandum, mostly in its clear demonstration of the gap between what President Bush and members of his administration were saying publicly during the run-up to the war and what they were saying, and doing, in more private settings. Though Hans Blix, the UN chief inspector whose teams were then scouring Iraq for the elusive weapons, had yet to deliver his report -- two weeks later he would tell the Security Council that it would take not "years, nor weeks, but months" to complete "the key remaining disarmament tasks" -- the President is impatient, even anxious, for war. "This is like Chinese water torture," he says of the inspections. "We have to put an end to it."

Even in discussing Aznar's main concern, the vital need to give the war international legitimacy by securing a second UN resolution justifying the use of force -- a resolution that, catastrophically, was never achieved -- little pretense is made that an invasion of Iraq is not already a certainty. "If anyone vetoes," the President tells Aznar,

"we'll go. Saddam Hussein isn't disarming. We have to catch him right now. Until now we've shown an incredible amount of patience. There are two weeks left. In two weeks we'll be militarily ready.... We'll be in Baghdad by the end of March."


Bush came to office a man who knew little of the world, who had hardly traveled outside the country, who knew nothing of the practice of foreign policy and diplomacy. Two years later, after the attacks of September 11 and his emergence as a self-described "war president," he has come to know only that this lack of knowledge is not a handicap but perhaps even a strength: that he doesn't need to know things in order to believe that he's right and to be at peace with himself. He has redefined his weakness -- his lack of knowledge and experience -- as his singular strength. He believes he's right. It is a matter of generations and destiny and freedom: it is "up to us to face a serious threat to peace." For Bush, faith, conviction, and a felt sense of destiny -- not facts or knowledge -- are the real necessities of leadership...[Open in new window]

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"If you really, really want war with Iran." Part 2: Rudy and Podhoretz

"This is a follow up on yesterday's episode of TPMtv, in which we ran through the list of foreign policy fanatics and Iran-war-mongers Rudy Giuliani has advising him. Now normally it's not reasonable to hold a candidate to every policy and particular embraced by their named advisors. But the case of Iran is unique. Rudy's key advisor on the issue is Norman Podhoretz. And as we showed in yesterday's episode, Podhoretz doesn't think we should threaten Iran with military action or leave it on the table or whatever the phrase may be. He says we must go to the war with Iran. We have to do it.

Nor is Iran just any foreign policy issue. It is the central foreign policy question before us right now. Rudy's key advisors says war is a must. And his advisor on Iran particularly, Michael Rubin, seems to lean strongly in the same direction, though I'm not sure if he's addressed the issue recently in public, as Podhoretz repeatedly has.

Yet to the best of my knowledge no one has asked Rudy this question, even though he's interviewed regularly these days. So who will ask it? The question is so central and his advisors' position is so clear, it's simply a journalistic responsibility for any reporters who gets a chance to ask it not to."

--Josh Marshall
[Open in new window]

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

President Bush at a town-hall-style meeting Monday in Rogers, Ark., where he again threatened to veto
budget bills he disliked.

Published: October 16, 2007

ROGERS, Ark., Oct. 15 — Out there in the rest of America, polls show that about twice as many people disapprove of President Bush as approve of him. But here in a cavernous convention center hall, Mr. Bush found nothing but admirers Monday when he answered questions during a town-hall-style meeting.

One man began by commending Mr. Bush “on your steadfastness and your faith.” Another concluded by saying, “Thank you for being my president for the last seven years,” with an emphasis on the word “my.” A third expressed dismay that Mr. Bush could not run for president again.

“It’s time for new blood,” Mr. Bush replied. “Plus,” he added wryly, “I’d be single.”

The friendly audience in northwest Arkansas — not a single questioner criticized Mr. Bush — is typical of such let-Bush-be-Bush events, which the White House is staging with increasing frequency. Mr. Bush’s aides like them because the president is much better in an informal setting, especially one where he can get his message across, conversation-style, without pesky reporters asking the questions...[Open in new window]

Look at those people.

Thank goodness they'll all be dead before me.

Problem is, not really. Reagan/Bush era youth was tricked into thinking like them.

Life's tough. Idiots exist.

Kill em' all, Kali will sort 'em out.

Randi Rhodes, host of an Air America radio talk show of the 'librul' persuasion ( as sex criminal/dope-fiend/doofus Rush Limbaugh puts it) was attacked Sunday.

Anyone else thinking Alan Berg?

Let's see? : Kennedy, Kennedy, King, X, Wellstone...etc.

'Maybe it's time to shoot back? ' is my emotional response, but JESUS CHRIST could it be any clearer?

We're in a civil war between the idiots & the not-idiots.

This observer wants the not-idiots to win.
[Open in new window]
Could there BE a bigger sleeze than Rudy?

Well, of course there could, but are you as tired of Republicans as I am? They make Democrats look good.

There are some good Dems, is there a single good Republican? I mean alive right now. I can't think of any.

Rudy Giuliani's Dirty Campaign Money

By Ari Berman, The Nation
Posted on October 16, 2007, Printed on October 16, 2007

In March 2001, as Dick Cheney assembled his secret energy task force, Haley Barbour, one of the most powerful Republican lobbyists in Washington and a former chair of the Republican National Committee, fired off a memo to the Vice President. "A moment of truth is arriving," Barbour wrote, "in the form of a decision whether this Administration's policy will be to regulate and/or tax CO2 as a pollutant." Barbour pointedly asked, "Do environmental initiatives, which would greatly exacerbate the energy problems, trump good energy policy, which the country has lacked for eight years?"

The memo bore the imprimatur of Barbour's lobbying firm, but the real work was being done by Bracewell & Patterson, a midsize Texas law firm with a client list as long as the plume from a smokestack. Bracewell would go on to become one of the key lobbying outfits on energy policy in the Bush II era. Its clients have included massive coal-burning power plants like the Atlanta-based Southern Company; more than 450 oil companies represented by the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association; and Texas heavy hitters like Enron, ChevronTexaco and Valero Energy. All these interests had a major stake in persuading George W. Bush to abandon his campaign pledge to regulate carbon dioxide, the leading source of greenhouse-gas emissions. Two weeks after receiving Barbour's memo, Bush reversed his position and decided against naming CO2 as a pollutant, leading to more than six years of inaction in combating global warming.

It was the first of many victories for Bracewell & Patterson. In the coming years the firm would persuade the Administration to exempt coal-burning power plants from new pollution controls, forestall plans to reduce mercury emissions and shield the makers of MTBE, a toxic gasoline additive that contaminates drinking water, from costly lawsuits.

In March 2005 Bracewell got its biggest boost yet. At a press conference at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, the firm unveiled a new partner: former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. It also unveiled a new name: Bracewell & Giuliani. It was a huge coup for the firm. "He's going to help expand Bracewell's reputation nationally and internationally," Bracewell lobbyist Scott Segal said at the time.

It was also a shrewd move for "America's mayor." Giuliani had already enjoyed a string of business successes following his term as mayor. He had launched the consulting firm Giuliani Partners shortly after 9/11, and he'd partnered with Ernst & Young to launch an investment bank, Giuliani Capital Advisors, which was sold in March to an Australian company for an undisclosed sum. Giuliani jet-setted around the globe in a Gulfstream, giving speeches at $100,000 a pop. His 2002 book Leadership sold more than a million copies.

A law firm would solidify Rudy's financial empire -- but not just any firm would do. Partner Giuliani wanted to become President Giuliani. He needed money and, more important, political connections. Bracewell offered a gateway into the lavish world of Texas Republican fundraising and easy access to the same titans of industry who had helped make the Bush family rich and propelled W. into the White House. The former mayor of one of the bluest cities in the country had just inked a whole lot of red...[Open in new window]

Monday, October 15, 2007

Speaking of blowhards. Here's one who's been at it for awhile. And I don't (necessarily) mean Jeff Guckert/Gannon's overnights at the White House.

Icky, blowhard, fathead loofah guy or
whatever SpongeBob is?

A gazillion hyp-mo-tized couch potatoes can't be wrong.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

CNN/AP: October 14, 2007
Where is Fred Thompson?

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Mitt Romney was in Michigan, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada and then went back to Michigan. Rudy Giuliani visited Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, Alabama, Washington and New Hampshire. John McCain went from Michigan to Iowa to New Hampshire.

But where was Fred, as in Fred Thompson?

Besides participating in his first presidential debate in Michigan last Tuesday, Thompson was missing from the campaign trail. The former Tennessee senator and star of NBC's "Law & Order" was scheduled to be in New Hampshire this weekend, but canceled. New Hampshire voters noticed....

Thompson was supposed to visit a fundraising breakfast for Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta on Friday. But on Thursday afternoon, Guinta's campaign e-mailed guests to let them know it wasn't happening. The note cited "scheduling conflicts for the senator."

Thompson is scheduled to surface on Monday for a Fox News Channel interview, and evening remarks to the Conservative Party of New York.

Thompson has been to New Hampshire just once since he formally entered the race in September, and that was for a two-day trip that included visits to a chili cook-off, three bars and a rally. The New Hampshire Union Leader, the state's largest newspaper, said in an editorial last week that Thompson's pledge to campaign here often hasn't proved true...[Open in new window]
The ‘Good Germans’ Among Us

Published: October 14, 2007

“BUSH lies” doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s time to confront the darker reality that we are lying to ourselves.

Ten days ago The Times unearthed yet another round of secret Department of Justice memos countenancing torture. President Bush gave his standard response: “This government does not torture people.” Of course, it all depends on what the meaning of “torture” is. The whole point of these memos is to repeatedly recalibrate the definition so Mr. Bush can keep pleading innocent.

By any legal standards except those rubber-stamped by Alberto Gonzales, we are practicing torture, and we have known we are doing so ever since photographic proof emerged from Abu Ghraib more than three years ago. As Andrew Sullivan, once a Bush cheerleader, observed last weekend in The Sunday Times of London, America’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques have a grotesque provenance: “Verschärfte Vernehmung, enhanced or intensified interrogation, was the exact term innovated by the Gestapo to describe what became known as the ‘third degree.’ It left no marks. It included hypothermia, stress positions and long-time sleep deprivation.”

Still, the drill remains the same. The administration gives its alibi (Abu Ghraib was just a few bad apples). A few members of Congress squawk. The debate is labeled “politics.” We turn the page.

There has been scarcely more response to the similarly recurrent story of apparent war crimes committed by our contractors in Iraq. Call me cynical, but when Laura Bush spoke up last week about the human rights atrocities in Burma, it seemed less an act of selfless humanitarianism than another administration maneuver to change the subject from its own abuses.
Our humanity has been compromised by those who use Gestapo tactics in our war. The longer we stand idly by while they do so, the more we resemble those “good Germans” who professed ignorance of their own Gestapo. It’s up to us to wake up our somnambulant Congress to challenge administration policy every day. Let the war’s last supporters filibuster all night if they want to. There is nothing left to lose except whatever remains of our country’s good name...[Open in new window]
Gore Derangement Syndrome
Published: October 15, 2007

....What is it about Mr. Gore that drives right-wingers insane?

Partly it’s a reaction to what happened in 2000, when the American people chose Mr. Gore but his opponent somehow ended up in the White House. Both the personality cult the right tried to build around President Bush and the often hysterical denigration of Mr. Gore were, I believe, largely motivated by the desire to expunge the stain of illegitimacy from the Bush administration.

And now that Mr. Bush has proved himself utterly the wrong man for the job — to be, in fact, the best president Al Qaeda’s recruiters could have hoped for — the symptoms of Gore derangement syndrome have grown even more extreme.

The worst thing about Mr. Gore, from the conservative point of view, is that he keeps being right. In 1992, George H. W. Bush mocked him as the “ozone man,” but three years later the scientists who discovered the threat to the ozone layer won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 2002 he warned that if we invaded Iraq, “the resulting chaos could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam.” And so it has proved.

But Gore hatred is more than personal. When National Review decided to name its anti-environmental blog Planet Gore, it was trying to discredit the message as well as the messenger. For the truth Mr. Gore has been telling about how human activities are changing the climate isn’t just inconvenient. For conservatives, it’s deeply threatening....


...if science says that we have a big problem that can’t be solved with tax cuts or bombs — well, the science must be rejected, and the scientists must be slimed....Which brings us to the biggest reason the right hates Mr. Gore: in his case the smear campaign has failed. He’s taken everything they could throw at him, and emerged more respected, and more credible, than ever. And it drives them crazy...[Open in new window]

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Bush Deplores American Timidity

By Dan Froomkin
Special to
Friday, October 12, 2007; 1:44 PM

President Bush has an explanation for why the public is so skeptical of his policies. The problem is not with the policies -- it's with the public.

"We have lost sight of what it means to be a nation willing to be aggressive in the world and spread freedom or deal with disease. And we have lost our confidence in the ability to compete internationally," Bush said in an interview with Wall Street Journal reporters yesterday.

The interview was mostly about business issues, especially his renewed push for free trade agreements, but Bush repeatedly described himself and his mission in almost evangelical terms.

How will he restore American confidence? Certainly not by changing course. Bush's solution is ceaseless proselytizing -- or, as he described it, "a sustained strategy to keep reminding people of the benefits of trade and the benefits of helping people become free."

For instance: "[E]xports create jobs; we've just got to keep reminding people of that over and over again. . . . [I]t's really incumbent for those of us who believe that trade is good for the worker, trade enhances productivity, that competition is good for the consumer, that we just constantly remind people of benefits, because there's a lot of negativity now about trade, and there's -- this is an easy issue for people to get spooked about."

Leaving aside the obvious reasons why the public is dubious about Bush's "freedom agenda," a likely explanation for why the average American feels negatively the economy is that the benefits of globalization and increased productivity are being reaped disproportionately by the very wealthy. Bush can say the economy is booming, but for many workers, the downsides of free trade -- such as job insecurity -- are much more vivid than the upsides.

Instead of entertaining any doubts about the wisdom of his positions, however, the president prefers to celebrate his resoluteness. "The job of the President is to have a philosophy that is good for the people, and articulate it, sell it, and work hard to -- and work hard to make sure people understand the benefits of trade, in this case," Bush said. "The fundamental question facing somebody in public office is, do you have a set of principles that you're willing to stand by. And I do."...[Open in new window]


Psst, George, over here, listen, the people have no 'faith' in your policies 'cause you're an idiot. They're not even your policies. You're a puppet, dude. A useful idiot for the uber-wealthy, war-profiteers & the 'greater Israel' cabal.

Why don't you make it easy on yourself & the rest of us? You know what to do? Fly Wellstone.

Why risk being turned over to the International Criminal Court when we get a real president again &/or more congress people with principles.

Think about it, OK?

You'd be a martyr to the rapture ready cranky Christians who are rooting for the end-of-the-world. They'll always love you. 'Cause they don't know what the fuck love is. They missed the Jesus part of the New Testament.

Ex-Commander Says Iraq Effort Is ‘a Nightmare’

Published: October 13, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 — In a sweeping indictment of the four-year effort in Iraq, the former top commander of American forces there called the Bush administration’s handling of the war “incompetent” and said the result was “a nightmare with no end in sight.”

Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, who retired in 2006 after being replaced in Iraq after the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal, blamed the Bush administration for a “catastrophically flawed, unrealistically optimistic war plan” and denounced the current addition of American forces as a “desperate” move that would not achieve long-term stability.

“After more than four years of fighting, America continues its desperate struggle in Iraq without any concerted effort to devise a strategy that will achieve victory in that war-torn country or in the greater conflict against extremism,” General Sanchez said at a gathering of military reporters and editors in Arlington, Va.

General Sanchez said he was convinced that the American effort in Iraq was failing the day after he took command, in June 2003. Asked why he waited until nearly a year after his retirement to voice his concerns publicly, he responded that it was not the place of active-duty officers to challenge lawful orders from the civilian authorities.


“There has been a glaring and unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders,” he said, adding that civilian officials have been “derelict in their duties” and guilty of a “lust for power.”...[Open in new window]

Friday, October 12, 2007

What would have been the difference if Al Gore had been 'awarded' the POTUS in 2000 rather than shit-for-brains?
This is other than no 9/11, no invasion & occupation of Iraq, yes budget surplus, etc, etc, etc...

I'll get back to you when I'm finished laughing/crying...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Gibson: Whites commit suicide, blacks ’shoot and move on.’

A student in Cleveland yesterday shot four people at a high school before killing himself. On his radio show that day, Fox News’s John Gibson claimed that he “could tell right away” that the shooter was white:

He killed himself. Hip-hoppers do not kill themselves. They walk away. Now, I didn’t need to hear the kid was white with blond hair. Once he’d shot himself in the head, no hip-hopper. […]

And I could tell right away ’cause he killed himself. Black shooters don’t do that; they shoot and move on.

Listen to the segment here

Inside the Military-Industrial Complex

Posted on Oct 10, 2007

James Harris and Josh Scheer

Former Assistant Secretary of Defense Philip Coyle knows a thing or two about the “staggering” amounts of money the U.S. funnels into the military-industrial complex, and why it is so difficult to stanch the profiteering...

Philip Coyle: The amount of money that the United States spends on defense is really quite staggering. Over $750 billion a year, if you count everything. Typically, those numbers are not counted. Typically you hear numbers like 450, not 750 or more. But when you count everything, it’s a very large amount of money. And that doesn’t count the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. With the president’s latest request, the total amount of money, either appropriated or requested for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and all, is now over $800 billion, 808 billion to be exact, and that doesn’t include, that is not included, in the 750 or so that we spend each year on regular defense spending....[Open in new window]

Why ‘Socialism’ Evokes No Fear

Posted on Oct 11, 2007

By Joe Conason

Once among the most frightening epithets in American political culture, “socialized medicine” seems to have lost its juju. Today that phrase sounds awfully dated, like a song on a gramophone or a mother-in-law joke or a John Birch Society rant against fluoridated water.

Yet despite that antique quality, the old buzzwords appear regularly in columns, press releases and speeches. Rudolph Giuliani, Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican presidential pack run around squawking about socialism whenever anyone proposes health care reform. Syndicated columnist Robert Novak warns that the federally financed, state-run Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is essentially a socialist conspiracy. So does President Bush, who has threatened to veto a modest increase in that program’s funding because he doesn’t want to “federalize health care.”

Although the red threat still triggers an autonomic reaction among GOP true believers, the rest of the country no longer twitches to that high-pitched, far-right whistle. Most polls not only show enormous majorities favoring extension of coverage to every child, but substantial support for a radical change in how we pay and administer health insurance—including the possibility of a single-payer system.

Why doesn’t the traditional propaganda work any more? Perhaps the demise of the Soviet Union and the withering of Communism in China have had a delayed effect on public attitudes here. Both the Russians and the Chinese have turned more capitalist than the West, abandoning their former systems without substituting modern protections. The ex-Communists are more of a threat to the health of their own societies than to us. Most Americans may also have noticed that corporate bureaucracy and corruption, which figure largely in the present health care system, are not preferable to government bureaucracy. Doctors who used to wail about the dangers of Medicare have learned how unpleasant it is to deal with dozens of insurance companies, each creating different rules to cut costs and deny care. So have their patients.

This corporate model is more expensive and less efficient than the government plans that provide care in every other industrialized nation.

And most Americans may have learned by now that such systems prevail in Western countries that aren’t normally categorized as “socialist,” including the United Kingdom, Japan, Spain, Canada, Germany, France, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. All these nations manage to provide their citizens with high living standards, industrial and technological innovation, and broad political and economic freedom, even after 50 years of national health insurance.

Meanwhile, the credibility of conservatives has diminished steadily...[Open in new window]