Wednesday, April 30, 2008

O’Reilly Prepares For Clinton Interview: ‘I Have Stupid Questions’»

Tomorrow, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) will be a guest on Fox News’s The O’Reilly Factor, a venue that the Washington Post’s Howie Kurtz writes “might not seem the most hospitable environment” for the senator, considering Bill O’Reilly’s frequent criticisms of the Clintons.

In preparation for this segment, O’Reilly tonight asked Karl Rove for what he should ask her. Rove, not surprisingly, told O’Reilly that he should pit Clinton against Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and ask: “Why did you let Sen. Obama begin his campaign and make a central element his desire for bipartisanship and remain silent about your efforts at bipartisanship?”

O’Reilly, however, said that even that question was “way too smart for me”:

That question is way too smart for me. I have stupid questions, but they’re fun. You’re going to watch, right?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Albert Hofmann, 102; Swiss chemist discovered LSD

His accidental experience of ‘an extremely stimulated imagination’ caused by the drug led to a lifetime of experiments and initiated the psychedelic generation.
By Thomas H. Maugh II
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

4:39 PM PDT, April 29, 2008

Albert Hofmann, the Swiss chemist who discovered LSD and thereby gave the psychedelic generation the pharmaceutical vehicle to turn on, tune in and drop out, has died. He was 102...[Open in new window]

Well there you go. They were right; that stuff'll kill ya. Another life cut short...
Give me the lesson without the spin

A high school student finds conservative bias in his American government textbook.

By Matthew LaClair
April 27, 2008
Throughout my life, my teachers have told me that school is a neutral environment where my classmates and I can count on teachers and textbooks to provide us with the factual and unbiased information that will equip us for life. Lately, though, I've begun to wonder whether they really mean it.

In my junior year of high school in New Jersey, my U.S. history teacher used the first week of class to preach his religious beliefs. He told students, among other things, that they "belong in hell" if they reject Jesus as their savior, that evolution and the Big Bang are ridiculous and unscientific theories, and that there were dinosaurs on Noah's Ark.

When I confronted him in the principal's office, he denied making the remarks. What he didn't realize was that I had recorded the classes. But even after I informed school officials what had happened, they ignored my concerns. So after more than a month, my parents and I took the news to the media.

At first, I was harassed and intimidated by other students. School officials ignored the harassment and even a death threat I received.

Only after the story became national news did the school district begin to take us seriously. After lengthy negotiations (and against continuing opposition from the school board), we finally persuaded the district to address the teacher's false and inappropriate remarks. The Anti-Defamation League was brought in to teach the faculty about the separation of church and state, and experts in the fields of church-state separation, evolution and cosmology came to our school to conduct assemblies.

After that, I thought I was done with controversy for a while. But now, in my senior year, I am back in the midst of it. In one of my classes, we use the 10th edition of "American Government" by James Q. Wilson, a well-known conservative academic, and John J. DiIulio, a political scientist and former head of President Bush's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. (2005). The text contains a statement, repeated three times, that students may not pray in public schools. In this edition of the text, the authors drive the point home with a photograph of students holding hands and praying outside a school. The caption reads: "The Supreme Court will not let this happen inside a public school."

I knew this was false. In fact, students are allowed to pray in schools; courts have ruled many times that a student's right to pray may not be abridged. What's generally impermissible is state-sponsored prayer, in which school officials lead prayer or students are called on or required to pray. It seemed clear to me that the purpose of the discussion in the textbook was to indoctrinate, not to educate.

Continued reading revealed numerous other instances of bias, as well as erroneous and misleading statements. For example, the section on global warming begins with a few well-chosen words to set the tone: "It is a foolish politician who today opposes environmentalism. And that creates a problem because not all environmental issues are equally deserving of support. Take the case of global warming." ...[Open in new window]
Good for this kid. Someone took an interest in his education at some point that allowed him to stand up.

These nutty right wing teachers need to be rooted out of the system.

More importantly, the Reagan & post-Reagan era textbooks need to be rooted out.

Want to know why the kids don't know much & a lot of what they do know is incorrect then look no further. The deliberate dumbing down of America.

How else convince people that Yo-Yos like Bush or crooks like Cheney would make for good government?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Wolfowitz: ‘The Occupation Of Iraq Ended In June 2004′»

At a Hudson Institute event today, Iraq war architects Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith, as well as Dan Senor and Peter Rodman, reconvened to celebrate Feith’s new book, War and Decision, which tries to explain the failures of the Iraq war as just failures of other people.

Wolfowitz said Feith’s book is “valuable” because it “demolishes” the “well-nurtured myths” about the Pentagon’s execution of the war. In his book, Feith claims the “chief” mistake in Iraq was “maintaining an occupation government for over a year.” Wolfowitz agreed, adding that the “occupation” in fact ended in 2004:

The fact is, however, that we did end up with an occupation authority for a full nine months, and I’m afraid that the label occupation sticks to us even to this day, although the occupation ended in June of 2004. Doug considers that the biggest mistake we made.

Vid Clip:[Open in new window]
Could we just make these people decide? Are they citizens of the US or Israel?

How McCain Lost in Pennsylvania
By Frank Rich
The New York Times

Sunday 27 April 2008

It's a nightmare. It's the Bataan Death March. It's mutually assured Armageddon. "Both of them are already losing the general to John McCain," declared a Newsweek columnist last month, predicting that the election "may already be over" by the time the Democrats anoint a nominee.

Not so fast. If we've learned any new rule in the 2008 campaign, it's this: Once our news culture sets a story in stone, chances are it will crumble. But first it must be recycled louder and louder 24/7, as if sheer repetition will transmute conventional wisdom into reality.

When the Pennsylvania returns rained down Tuesday night, the narrative became clear fast. The Democrats' exit polls spelled disaster: Some 25 percent of the primary voters said they would defect to Mr. McCain or not vote at all if Barack Obama were the nominee. How could the party possibly survive this bitter, perhaps race-based civil war?

But as the doomsday alarm grew shrill, few noticed that on this same day in Pennsylvania, 27 percent of Republican primary voters didn't just tell pollsters they would defect from their party's standard-bearer; they went to the polls, gas prices be damned, to vote against Mr. McCain. Though ignored by every channel I surfed, there actually was a G.O.P. primary on Tuesday, open only to registered Republicans. And while it was superfluous in determining that party's nominee, 220,000 Pennsylvania Republicans (out of their total turnout of 807,000) were moved to cast ballots for Mike Huckabee or, more numerously, Ron Paul. That's more voters than the margin (215,000) that separated Hillary Clinton and Mr. Obama.

Those antiwar Paul voters are all potential defectors to the Democrats in November. Mr. Huckabee's religious conservatives, who rejected Mr. McCain throughout the primary season, might also bolt or stay home. Given that the Democratic ticket beat Bush-Cheney in Pennsylvania by 205,000 votes in 2000 and 144,000 votes in 2004, these are 220,000 voters the G.O.P. can ill-afford to lose. Especially since there are now a million more registered Democrats than Republicans in Pennsylvania. (These figures don't even include independents, who couldn't vote in either primary on Tuesday and have been migrating toward the Democrats since 2006.)...[Open in new window]

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Click to enlarge

Bowling 1, Health Care 0

Chapel Hill, N.C.

FOR the last month, news media attention was focused on Pennsylvania and its Democratic primary. Given the gargantuan effort, what did we learn?

Well, the rancor of the campaign was covered. The amount of money spent was covered. But in Pennsylvania, as in the rest of the country this political season, the information about the candidates’ priorities, policies and principles — information that voters will need to choose the next president — too often did not make the cut. After having spent more than a year on the campaign trail with my husband, John Edwards, I’m not surprised.

Why? Here’s my guess: The vigorous press that was deemed an essential part of democracy at our country’s inception is now consigned to smaller venues, to the Internet and, in the mainstream media, to occasional articles. I am not suggesting that every journalist for a mainstream media outlet is neglecting his or her duties to the public. And I know that serious newspapers and magazines run analytical articles, and public television broadcasts longer, more probing segments.

But I am saying that every analysis that is shortened, every corner that is cut, moves us further away from the truth until what is left is the Cliffs Notes of the news, or what I call strobe-light journalism, in which the outlines are accurate enough but we cannot really see the whole picture.

It is not a new phenomenon. In 1954, the Army-McCarthy hearings — an important if painful part of our history — were televised, but by only one network, ABC. NBC and CBS covered a few minutes, snippets on the evening news, but continued to broadcast soap operas in order, I suspect, not to invite complaints from those whose days centered on the drama of “The Guiding Light.”...


Did you, for example, ever know a single fact about Joe Biden’s health care plan? Anything at all? But let me guess, you know Barack Obama’s bowling score. We are choosing a president, the next leader of the free world. We are not buying soap, and we are not choosing a court clerk with primarily administrative duties.

What’s more, the news media cut candidates like Joe Biden out of the process even before they got started. Just to be clear: I’m not talking about my husband. I’m referring to other worthy Democratic contenders. Few people even had the chance to find out about Joe Biden’s health care plan before he was literally forced from the race by the news blackout that depressed his poll numbers, which in turn depressed his fund-raising.

And it’s not as if people didn’t want this information. In focus groups that I attended or followed after debates, Joe Biden would regularly be the object of praise and interest: “I want to know more about Senator Biden,” participants would say.

But it was not to be...[Open in new window]
The Pentagon Strangles Our Economy: Why the U.S. Has Gone Broke
By Chalmers Johnson

26/04/08 " Le Monde " -- The military adventurers in the Bush administration have much in common with the corporate leaders of the defunct energy company Enron. Both groups thought that they were the "smartest guys in the room" -- the title of Alex Gibney's prize-winning film on what went wrong at Enron. The neoconservatives in the White House and the Pentagon outsmarted themselves. They failed even to address the problem of how to finance their schemes of imperialist wars and global domination.

As a result, going into 2008, the United States finds itself in the anomalous position of being unable to pay for its own elevated living standards or its wasteful, overly large military establishment. Its government no longer even attempts to reduce the ruinous expenses of maintaining huge standing armies, replacing the equipment that seven years of wars have destroyed or worn out, or preparing for a war in outer space against unknown adversaries. Instead, the Bush administration puts off these costs for future generations to pay or repudiate. This fiscal irresponsibility has been disguised through many manipulative financial schemes (causing poorer countries to lend us unprecedented sums of money), but the time of reckoning is fast approaching.

There are three broad aspects to the U.S. debt crisis. First, in the current fiscal year (2008) we are spending insane amounts of money on "defense" projects that bear no relation to the national security of the U.S. We are also keeping the income tax burdens on the richest segment of the population at strikingly low levels.

Second, we continue to believe that we can compensate for the accelerating erosion of our base and our loss of jobs to foreign countries through massive military expenditures -- "military Keynesianism" (which I discuss in detail in my book Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic). By that, I mean the mistaken belief that public policies focused on frequent wars, huge expenditures on weapons and munitions, and large standing armies can indefinitely sustain a wealthy capitalist economy. The opposite is actually true.

Third, in our devotion to militarism (despite our limited resources), we are failing to invest in our social infrastructure and other requirements for the long-term health of the U.S. These are what economists call opportunity costs, things not done because we spent our money on something else. Our public education system has deteriorated alarmingly. We have failed to provide health care to all our citizens and neglected our responsibilities as the world's number one polluter. Most important, we have lost our competitiveness as a manufacturer for civilian needs, an infinitely more efficient use of scarce resources than arms manufacturing...[Open in new window]

Friday, April 25, 2008

Juan Cole: Syria Reactor Story a Diversion;
But From What?

The US and Israel accused Syria on Thursday of building a secret nuclear reactor with North Korean help. There was a lot of innuendo in the press that the reactor was intended for nuclear weapons production. But...


Moreover, while I am against proliferation of nuclear weapons, the idea that the Israelis can just bomb anyone's innocent research or civilian power reactor any time they like for no good reason is scary. The Israelis rejected the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and broke with international consensus to acquire by hook and crook British, French and US nuclear secrets and built dozens, perhaps hundreds of nuclear bombs, provoking the nuclear weapons race in the region.

The real question is the timing of the announcement, since the bombing happened a long time ago. It is suspicious to me that the announcement was made just after a spy for Israel was arrested in the US who had stolen US nuclear secrets. Is it diversionary?


I'd add that former president Jimmy Carter's recent trip to meet with Hamas leaders has put pressure on Israel to come back in a serious way to the negotiating table. Also Hamas's own apparent change in stance on diplomacy, as Helena Cobban discusses.

Bush's own remarks Thursday that he is seeking a viable Palestine that does not look like Swiss cheese revealed some of what the administration must have been pressing the Israelis on in recent months in preparation for Bush's trip in May.

So the timing of the Syria reactor announcement does seem suspicious in Middle East terms. If the US doesn't in fact think there is any evidence that the reactor had weapons implications, then it is really a non story, and releasing it can only be for hoopla reasons...[Open in new window]

Cheney camp 'behind Syrian reactor claim'
ABC News/Australia

US Government allegations that North Korea helped Syria build a nuclear reactor have been greeted with scepticism because of their timing.

Israeli jets bombed the alleged site in Syria's eastern desert last September. Today, after months of whispers, the White House publicly claimed that the target of the strike was a nuclear reactor.

. . .

But Mike Chinoy, from the Pacific Council on International Policy, says the claim needs to be taken in its political context, as North Korea's denuclearisation reaches a critical stage.

"Everything I'm hearing from my own sources in Washington is that what you have now is a kind of push back by Vice-President Cheney and his office and other hardliners who are opposed to diplomatic dealings with North Korea," he said.

"(They are) hoping that by making public these allegations of nuclear cooperation it will torpedo the diplomatic process."...[Open in new window]
Cheney is obviously insane. Greed has driven him over the edge. Only other crazy people like that skank Mary Matalin think he's not.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

SOME GALAXIES HAVING SEX (recently revealed by the Hubble telescope):

Rush Limbaugh Calling For Riots In Denver

DENVER -- Talk show host Rush Limbaugh is sparking controversy again after he made comments calling for riots in Denver during the Democratic National Convention this summer.

He said the riots would ensure a Democrat is not elected as president, and his listeners have a responsibility to make sure it happens.

"Riots in Denver, the Democrat Convention would see to it that we don't elect Democrats," Limbaugh said during Wednesday's radio broadcast. He then went on to say that's the best thing that could happen to the country.
Click here to find out more!

Limbaugh cited Al Sharpton, saying the Barack Obama supporter threatened to superdelegates that "there's going to be trouble" if the presidency is taken from Obama.

Several callers called in to the radio show to denounce Limbaugh's comments, when he later stated, "I am not inspiring or inciting riots, I am dreaming of riots in Denver."...[Open in new window]

Conservative House Candidate In Indiana Defends Speaking To Nazi Group On Hitler’s Birthday»

On Sunday, Tony Zirkle — who is seeking the Republican nomination in Indiana’s 2nd Congressional district — delivered a speech to the American National Socialist Workers Party (ANSWP) on the 119th anniversary of Adolf Hitler’s birth. At the event, Zirkle “stood in front of a painting of Hitler, next to people wearing swastika armbands and with a swastika flag in the background.”

Asked by reporters why he spoke to a group like ANSWP, which refers to itself as “the largest and most active pro-white organization in America,” Zirkle said he’ll “speak before any group that invites me,” adding that he’s even “spoken on an African-American radio station in Atlanta.”

Zirkle told The News-Dispatch that he doesn’t “know enough about the group” to say whether he agrees with it’s ideology or not:

Zirkle replied he didn’t know enough about the group to either favor it or oppose it.
White House spokes-hairdo Dana Perino once was revealed to not have known what the Cuban missile crisis was, but WWII? Zirkle claims to not know enough about the Nazis to have an opinion about them.

I love far right Republicans. So funny, so stupid...
The Ritual Flaying of Jimmy Carter
Posted on Apr 24, 2008
By Joe Conason

Nobody with a functioning memory should be too quick to condemn Jimmy Carter for daring to speak with the leadership of Hamas, as nearly everyone along the American political spectrum suddenly has felt obliged to do. From Condoleezza Rice and John McCain to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, along with every Congressional backbencher in both parties, expressions of disapproval have rained down upon the former president, who is old enough and tough enough to pursue his own beliefs to their logical conclusion.

“The United States is not going to deal with Hamas,” said the secretary of state, “and we had certainly told President Carter that we did not think meeting with Hamas was going to help.” The justification for that policy was explained helpfully by Obama, whose willingness to meet with foreign adversaries does not extend to Hamas, at least not during the primary season. The Illinois senator “does not support negotiations with Hamas until they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel’s right to exist, and abide by past agreements,” according to a spokesman for his presidential campaign.

As for McCain, he reacted reflexively and demagogically, which should come as no surprise. He denounced any engagement with Hamas as a “grave and dangerous mistake” and scorched Carter for meeting with “a terrorist group that has also killed innocent Americans.” A moronic congresswoman from North Carolina—who will have to live a very long time before she achieves a tiny fraction of what Carter has—proposed to revoke his passport.

Certainly Carter understands the nature of Hamas, an Islamist group not so different in its orientation from the radical students whose takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran ultimately ended his presidency. What he also understands these many years later is that those once shunned as terrorists and criminals, forever beyond redemption, may eventually be recognized as the only possible partners in negotiation. For that, of course, is the very transformation he has observed in the Palestine Liberation Organization during the past three decades.

When Carter hosted the historic Camp David meetings that established peace between Israel and Egypt, the Jewish state’s prime minister was the late Menachem Begin, a former terrorist who firmly declared that he would never talk with Yasser Arafat and the PLO. Even as the Palestinians quietly began to consider the notion of a two-state peace settlement, American and Israeli policymakers could hardly contemplate any engagement with Arafat, whose responsibility for atrocious attacks on civilians was as clear as his commitment to driving the Jews into the sea. Indeed, Israel’s leaders regularly proclaimed that they would never talk with Arafat under any circumstances because of the Jewish blood on his hands.

Then things changed, slowly but irrevocably. Today the PLO leadership, legatee of the unmourned Arafat, is not only welcomed but also financially supported by the United States, with its shaky authority on the West Bank bolstered by the Israel Defense Forces. The government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority remain far from the final agreement that would achieve a just peace, but each acknowledges the legitimacy of the other...[Open in new window]
A look at how radicalism has forced the Republican Party to retreat.
By Sidney Blumenthal

Apr. 24, 2008 | On May 3, 2007, ten Republican candidates aspiring to succeed George W. Bush as president debated at the Ronald W. Reagan Library, where they mentioned Reagan 21 times and Bush not once. By raising the icon of Reagan, they hoped to dispel the shadow of Bush. Reagan himself had often invoked magic -- "the magic of the marketplace" was among his trademark phrases and he had been the TV host at the grand opening of Disneyland, "the Magic Kingdom," in 1955. Evoking his name was an act of sympathetic magic in the vain hope that its mere mention would transfer his success to his pretenders and transport them back to the heyday of Republican rule.

Bush's second term has witnessed the great unraveling of the Republican coalition. After nearly two generations of political dominance, the Republican coalition has rapidly disintegrated under the stress of Bush's failures and the Republicans' scandals and disgrace. The Democrats have the greatest possible opening in more than a generation -- potentially. They should pay strict attention to how Bush has swiftly undone Republican strengths as an object lesson.

On September 10, 2001, Bush was at the lowest point in public approval of any president that early in his term. It was a sign that he seemed destined to join the list of previous presidents who had gained the office without popular majorities and served only one term. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, Bush's fortunes were reversed, and he was no longer seen as drifting but masterful. Now he appeared to take his place in the long line of Republican presidents who had preceded him. He acted as though his astronomical popularity in the aftermath of September 11 ratified whatever radical course he might take in international affairs and vindicated whatever radical policies and politics he might follow at home...

...Karl Rove believed he could engineer a political realignment by recreating his work in Texas where he marshaled money and focused campaign technology in order to destroy the Democrats. But the analogy of the nation as Texas writ large was faulty from the start. In Texas he had the wind at his back, regardless of how elaborate and clever his machinations. The transformation of Texas in the 1980s and 1990s into a Republican state was a delayed version of Southern realignment. Yet Rove came to Washington believing that the example of Texas could be transferred to the national level. With the attacks of September 11, this seasoned architect of realignment believed he possessed the impetus to enact his theory. It apparently never occurred to Rove or Bush that using Iraq to lock in the political impact of September 11 would ever backfire. In his First Inaugural, Bush spoke of an "angel in the whirlwind," but the whirlwind was of his own making. For all intents and purposes Rove could not have done more damage to the Republican Party than if he had been the control agent for the Manchurian Candidate...[Open in new window]

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Jesus Made Me Puke

and Other Tales From the Evangelical Front Lines


I pulled into the church parking lot a little after 6:00 p.m., at more or less the last possible minute. The previous half hour or so I'd spent dawdling in my car outside a Goodwill department store off Route 410 in San Antonio, clinging to some inane sports talk show piping over my car radio — anything to hold off my plunge into Religion...


I had been attending the Cornerstone Church for weeks, but this was really my first day of school. I had joined Cornerstone — a megachurch in the Texas Hill Country — to get a look inside the evangelical mind-set that gave the country eight years of George W. Bush. The church's pastor, John Hagee, is one of the most influential evangelical preachers in the country — not because his ministry is so very large (although he claims up to 4.5 million viewers a week for his Sunday sermons) but because of his near-absolute conquest of a very trendy niche in the market: Christian Zionism.

The whole idea behind Christian Zionism is to align America with the nation of Israel so as to "hurry God up" in his efforts to bring about Armageddon. As Hagee tells it, only after Israel is involved in a final showdown involving a satanic army (in most interpretations, a force of Arabs led by Russians) will Christ reappear. On that happy day, Hagee and his True Believers will be whisked up to Heaven by God, while the rest of us nonbelievers are left behind on Earth to suck eggs and generally suffer various tortures...

The program revolved around a theory that Fortenberry quickly introduced us to called "the wound." The wound theory was a piece of schlock biblical Freudianism in which everyone had one traumatic event from their childhood that had left a wound. The wound necessarily had been inflicted by another person, and bitterness toward that person had corrupted our spirits and alienated us from God. Here at the retreat we would identify this wound and learn to confront and forgive our transgressors, a process that would leave us cleansed of bitterness and hatred and free to receive the full benefits of Christ...


"Well, uh, OK, then," he said. "Matthew, do you want to tell your story?"

My heart was pounding. I obviously couldn't use my real past — not only would it threaten my cover, but I was somewhat reluctant to expose anything like my real inner self to this ideologically unsettling process — but neither did I want to be trapped in a story too far from my own experience. What I settled on eventually was something that I thought was metaphorically similar to the truth about myself.

"Hello," I said, taking a deep breath. "My name is Matt. My father was an alcoholic circus clown who used to beat me with his oversize shoes."

The group twittered noticeably. Morgan's eyes opened to tea-saucer size.

I closed my own eyes and kept going, immediately realizing what a mistake I'd made. There was no way this story was going to fly. But there was no turning back.

"He'd be sitting there in his costume, sucking down a beer and watching television," I heard myself saying. "And then sometimes, even if I just walked in front of the TV, he'd pull off one of those big shoes and just, you know — whap!"...A Must Read:..[Open in new window]

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Former DOJ Official (John) Yoo Refuses to Testify

Source: ABC News

Former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo, who wrote the controversial legal memos authorizing harsh interrogation programs, will not testify voluntarily before the House Judiciary Committee -- paving the way for a possible subpoena and showdown over Executive Privilege. Yoo's lawyer has just informed House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers that he would not appear.

In a letter, Yoo's lawyer told Conyers he was "not authorized" by DOJ to discuss internal deliberations.

"We have been expressly advised by the Office of Legal Counsel of the United States Department of Justice that Professor Yoo is not authorized to discuss before your Committee any specific deliberative communications, including the substance of comments on opinions or policy questions, or the confidential predecisional advice, recommendations or other positions taken by individuals or entities of the Executive Branch," Yoo's lawyer, John C. Millian, wrote in a letter to Conyers.

Millian also noted that Yoo was involved in a lawsuit over the legal memos and that it would "not be appropriate" for him to testify while the litigation was pending.

Conyers invited Yoo to testify before the committee May 6th about the memos. He told Yoo the committee was prepared to subpoena him if he declined to appear voluntarily. Today's letter -- and DOJ's position that Yoo was not authorized to answer Conyers' questions -- is likely to lead to that next step...[Open in new window]

Bush's disapproval rating worst of any president in 70 years
Source: USA Today

WASHINGTON — President Bush has set a record he'd presumably prefer to avoid: the highest disapproval rating of any president in the 70-year history of the Gallup Poll.

In a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday, 28% of Americans approve of the job Bush is doing; 69% disapprove. The approval rating matches the low point of his presidency, and the disapproval sets a new high for any president since Franklin Roosevelt.

The previous record of 67% was reached by Harry Truman in January 1952, when the United States was enmeshed in the Korean War.

... Views of Bush divide sharply along party lines. Among Republicans, 66% approve and 32% disapprove. Disapproval is nearly universal — 91% — among Democrats. Of independents, 23% approve, 72% disapprove of the job he's doing...[Open in new window]

Bill Kristol, great man of sacrifice, on the duties of Passover

In his New York Times column today, Bill Kristol not only play-acts his standard role of Brave Warrior for Freedom but unveils his new role as Jewish theologian-moralist. Kristol decided that there is profound insight about the presidential candidates hiding in the Passover statements issued by each campaign: "There's a clear choice of worldviews here -- and not just for Jews, but for all Americans."

Needless to say, while Obama's Passover statement is "slightly New Age" and "multicultural," and Clinton's is "conventional" and lacking "anything interesting or distinctive to say," John McCain's Passover sentiments reveal a noble, powerful, strong and wise crusader for freedom:

Not John McCain. He understands Passover as a time for reflection about sacrifice: "As families gather together for Seders, members of the Jewish faith reflect upon the painful sacrifices made by their ancestors, the joys of freedom, and the triumph of inherent goodness over evil."

Sacrifices for the sake of freedom, the triumph of good over evil -- if John McCain was at a Seder this past weekend, he surely would have liked this passage: "In all ages they rise up against us to destroy us; and the Holy One, blessed be He, rescues us from their hands.".

There are few more reprehensible traits in American political culture than the constant exploitation of the glories of "sacrifice for freedom" by war cheerleaders like Kristol who ensure that only others sacrifice and neither they nor their families ever do. What "sacrifices for the sake of freedom" has Bill Kristol -- the prime poster child of nepotistic protection -- ever made in his entire life?...[Open in new window]

American accused of giving nuclear secrets to Israel

By Randall Mikkelsen 28 minutes ago

U.S. authorities arrested an American engineer on Tuesday on suspicion of giving secrets on nuclear weapons, fighter jets and air defense missiles to Israel during the 1980s, the Justice Department said.

Ben-Ami Kadish acknowledged his spying in FBI interviews and said he acted out of a belief that he was helping Israel, court papers said. He was accused of reporting to the same Israeli government handler as Jonathan Jay Pollard, who is serving a life term on a 1985 charge of spying for Israel.

Kadish's arrest is a sign the Pollard scandal may have spread wider than was previously acknowledged. Kadish was arrested in New Jersey and was scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday afternoon at U.S. District Court in Manhattan, authorities said.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel, asked about the arrest, said: "We know nothing about it. We heard it from the media."

Pollard pleaded guilty in 1986, and Israel acknowledged in 1998 that the former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst was one of its spies. Pollard has been granted Israeli citizenship.

Kadish is a Connecticut-born U.S. citizen who worked as a mechanical engineer at the U.S. Army's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at the Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, New Jersey.

His spying for Israel lasted roughly from 1979 to 1985, and his contact with the unidentified Israeli handler continued until March of this year, the federal complaint against him said...[Open in new window]

Monday, April 21, 2008

Click to enlarge

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Click to enlarge

MISHAWAKA, Indiana (CNN) — Dave ‘Mudcat’ Saunders, the Virginia-based Democratic strategist credited with helping big-name politicians appeal to rural voters, said Saturday Barack Obama has “got a bunch of explaining to do” over his claims that economically-frustrated Americans “cling to guns or religion” when they get “bitter.”

“I’m a southern boy myself,” Saunders told CNN by phone. “I don’t have a gun because I’m bitter, it’s because I’ve always had one. I don’t pray to God because I’m bitter. I pray to God because it makes my life better.”

Saunders was an adviser to former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, and he wrote on The Huffington Post in January that Edwards was the only Democrat with the potential to defeat McCain in a general election match-up.

The consultant is also credited with helping former Virginia governor Mark Warner win election in 2001 by moving socially-conservative voters into the Democratic fold. Warner sponsored a vehicle in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series during that campaign, a move attributed to Saunders.

Obama’s advisers, including the state’s current Gov. Tim Kaine, see Virginia as a state Obama can win this fall. Although Obama won the state’s primary on Feb. 12 overwhelmingly, he lost the 9th congressional district in rural southwestern Virginia to Hillary Clinton.

Saunders said “rural America will be crucial in this election.”

“The one thing that I preached during this whole deal is we can’t be stereotyping anybody,” he said. “Well, Barack Obama just stereotyped my people out in rural America.”

“Here’s a guy who says he shouldn’t be stereotyped, but yet he stereotyped us.”...[Open in new window]


I don't do much Dem 'primary' posting because I'm not really very interested in which neo-liberal will run against the neo-con McSame in the general election but I like Mudcat, a straight-shooter.

The Starbucks Obamanoids just don't 'get' certain things starting at the top with the O-man himself.

The only thing better about the neo-libs is they won't appoint totally crazy people to the supreme court or stuff like that. Otherwise what should have/could have been an exciting election year is a real yawner.

Matalin: ‘This Brilliant Man’ — Dick Cheney — ‘Has Changed The Nature Of’ The Vice Presidency»

In the span of 30 seconds on this morning’s Meet the Press, former Cheney adviser Mary Matalin offered a series of bewildering, eye-opening statements in defense of the Bush administration.

Asked who John McCain should pick as Vice President, Matalin offered that the candidate must have “good cred on having experience across the board.” She argued:

Dick Cheney has changed the nature of that office. This brilliant man has made that office completely relevant.

Indeed, Cheney — who has argued that his office is not “an entity within the executive branch” — has changed the nature of the office in many destructive ways, operating in secrecy and callously disregarding the views of the American public.

Host Tim Russert then asked whether Condoleezza Rice would make a suitable Vice President. Matalin said:

You know, people don’t know about Dr. Rice is that she weighed in on every domestic issue before the President.

Recall, Rice was the National Security Adviser to Bush in his first term before becoming Secretary of State. Despite having a very thin record on domestic policy issues, she was apparently one of Bush’s key domestic policy advisers, too.

When Russert noted that the selection of Rice would signify a “third Bush term,” Matalin responded, “People are sick of this Bush-bashing stuff.” In fact, as a recent Gallup poll shows, people are simply sick of Bush. Watch Matalin’s comments: Watch...[Open in new window]

Who Are They Calling Elitist? by ERIC ALTERMAN

The contemporary conservative obsession with the "liberal elite" has its origin in the campaign of 1964, when Ronald Reagan crisscrossed the country in support of Barry Goldwater's presidential aspirations, accusing liberals of believing that "an intellectual elite in a far-distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves." Richard Nixon took up the cudgel in his second State of the Union speech, complaining that "a bureaucratic elite in Washington knows best what is best for people everywhere." But it was Nixon's Vice President, Spiro Agnew, who, aided by speechwriters Pat Buchanan and William Safire, showed right-wingers what political potential lay in this line of attack, with his orgies of alliteration regarding the evildoings of various "pusillanimous pussyfooters," "hopeless hysterical hypochondriacs of history," "nattering nabobs of negativism" and "effete corps of impudent snobs," to pick just a few of his favorite epithets for liberal opponents in the media and academia.

Since then, no right-wing campaign has been complete without some form of repudiation of what former Vice President Dan Quayle named the liberal "cultural elite," whose avowed purpose is to undermine all that is admirable and virtuous in Middle America, or as Quayle termed it, "the rest of us." (Asked to define the evildoers, Quayle responded, "They know who they are.") Quayle's addition of the word "cultural" to "elite," coupled with his attack on a popular television character, single mom/anchorwoman Murphy Brown, was a stroke of genuine genius, as it allowed conservatives to continue to feel themselves oppressed even as they gained control of virtually all of the levers of political power in the United States and much of the news media. Liberals' power, conservatives continue to insist, trumps political power because we allegedly control the "culture." Today it is all but impossible to hear the word "liberal" without the word "elite" attached.

It's hard to know exactly what conservatives mean by the accusation of elitism, as it appears to fit almost any occasion...[Open in new window]

Friday, April 11, 2008

These are the 'teens' from Florida (of course, if not Texas then Florida) who beat (& video-taped) another teen to the extent that she lost hearing in one ear &, I think, the use of one eye.

I believe charges should also be brought against, at least, some of the parents for naming their children things like Brittini & Mercades.

AP poll: Bush public approval at new low

Associated Press

Public approval of President Bush has dipped to a new low in the Associated Press-Ipsos poll, driven by dissatisfaction with his handling of the economy.

A survey released Thursday showed 28 percent approve of the overall job Bush is doing...

U.N. Official Calls for Study Of Neocons' Role in 9/11.

WASHINGTON — A new U.N. Human Rights Council official assigned to monitor Israel is calling for an official commission to study the role neoconservatives may have played in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

On March 26, Richard Falk, Milbank professor of international law emeritus at Princeton University, was named by unanimous vote to a newly created position to report on human rights in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. While Mr. Falk's specialty is human rights and international law, since the attacks in 2001, he has devoted some of his time to challenging what he calls the "9-11 official version."

On March 24 in an interview with a radio host and former University of Wisconsin instructor, Kevin Barrett, Mr. Falk said, "It is possibly true that especially the neoconservatives thought there was a situation in the country and in the world where something had to happen to wake up the American people. Whether they are innocent about the contention that they made that something happen or not, I don't think we can answer definitively at this point. All we can say is there is a lot of grounds for suspicion, there should be an official investigation of the sort the 9/11 commission did not engage in and that the failure to do these things is cheating the American people and in some sense the people of the world of a greater confidence in what really happened than they presently possess."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Is that really a naked woman in Dick Cheney's sunglasses?

Kevin G. Hall and George Bridges | McClatchy Newspapers

last updated: April 10, 2008 06:59:50 PM

WASHINGTON — He shot his hunting partner, but Vice President Dick Cheney apparently doesn't fly fish with naked women.

Since Wednesday, the blogosphere has been atwitter over a photograph on the White House Web site of Cheney with a caption that said he was fly-fishing on the Snake River in Idaho.

The photo is a tight shot of Cheney's face sporting dark sunglasses and his trademark grin.

What's stirring all the buzz is the reflection in the vice president's dark glasses. Some thought that the reflection looked like a naked woman and, this being Cheney and this being the Internet Age, they immediately shared that thought with the world.

In a Google search for the words "Dick Cheney" and "sunglasses," 79,300 hits came back at mid-afternoon on Thursday. By 7 p.m., the count was 130,000.

On, the discussion starts with this question: "Notice anything . . . interesting . . . reflected in his sunglasses? Something that has little to do with conventional 'fly-fishing'?"...[Open in new window]
Lieberman, Bennett, And Kristol See Petraeus Hearing As ‘An Argument’ For ‘Going Into Iran’»

During their appearance before the Senate on Tuesday, Gen. David Petraeus and Amb. Ryan Crocker accused Iran of “funding, training, arming and directing extremist ’special groups’ in Iraq.” “I think one might look for a reconsideration in Tehran as to just where they want to go in Iraq,” said Crocker. “This would be an excellent time for them to reassess.”

Liveblogging the hearings for the Washington Post, Fiasco author Thomas Ricks pondered what Crocker could have intended with his “reassess” comment, considering that “there will be a new American president in place in less than a year“:

But he also said, “This would be an excellent time for them to reassess.” What does he mean by that? Why would Iran want to adjust their relationship now, when there will be a new American president in place in less than a year? Or is there some sort of implied threat there: You guys better get smart, or this president still has time to pound you?

It is unclear whether such a veiled threat was Crocker’s intention, but some on the right are certainly seeing his and Petraeus’s testimony as cause to begin talking about striking Iran again.

On his radio show this morning, Bill Bennett told the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol — who had a personal meeting with President Bush yesterday — that a “conclusion” he drew was that the hearing was “less an argument for getting out of Iraq than going into Iran.” After suggesting that Iran may “have to pay some price at some point on their own soil,” Kristol said that President Bush authorizing an attack of some kind before he leaves office is not “out of the question”:

BENNETT: Do you think there’s any chance that, and we won’t ask you to reveal anything confidential, do you think there’s any chance that we might take some action against some aspect of the Ira…against Iran, let’s put it that way, before the president leaves office?

KRISTOL: We didn’t really talk about that, in all honesty, directly. I don’t think it’s out of the question. I think people are overdoing how much of a lame duck the president is.

Appearing on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show last night, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) said that he wished the Bush administration would tell the Iranians that “unless they stop it, we’re going to take action.” “I’m not talking about all out war,” added Lieberman before saying, “they ought to believe that we’re going to hit those training camps.”

Listen to Bennett, Kristol, and Lieberman here: /

Lieberman has previously said that “we have to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians” while Kristol once believed that President Bush “could easily build political support” for strikes against Iran...[Open in new window]

Bennett, Lieberman & Kristol. Could there BE three more crazy-ass motherfuckers than these guys? Wingnut-o-rama.

Top Bush aides approved interrogation tactics - ABC

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush's most senior advisers approved "enhanced interrogation techniques" of top al Qaeda suspects by the Central Intelligence Agency, ABC News reported on Wednesday, citing sources it did not name.

ABC reported that the so-called "principals" discussed interrogation details in dozens of top-secret talks and meetings in the White House.

Then national security adviser Condoleezza Rice chaired the meetings, which took place in the White House Situation Room and were typically attended by a select group of senior officials or their deputies, ABC said.

"Highly placed sources said a handful of top advisers signed off on how the CIA would interrogate top al Qaeda suspects -- whether they would be slapped, pushed, deprived of sleep or subjected to simulated drowning, called waterboarding," ABC reported.

In addition to Rice, the principals at the time included Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell, CIA Director George Tenet and Attorney General John Ashcroft, the report said.

There was no immediate comment from the White House on the ABC report...[Open in new window]


That's it. Draw up the charges. Start the trial(s).

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Joe Biden (!) Obliterated Every Administration Argument About Iraq
By dday, Hullabaloo
Posted on April 9, 2008, Printed on April 9, 2008 /

That was a very significant moment at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings with Amb. Ryan Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus. Joe Biden asked Amb. Crocker where it would be better for American national security interests to eliminate Al Qaeda in Iraq or Al Qaeda along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Crocker had nowhere to hide with that question. Spencer Ackerman describes the outcome.

"Crocker, in an impossible political position -- give the correct answer and humiliate the Bush administration; give the administration's answer and look like a fool -- dodged as much as he could. Then Biden forced him down. Crocker: "I would therefore pick Al Qaeda on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border." "

Game over.

Every single argument that the Administration and their lapdogs like John McCain have made or are making break down after that answer. The Ambassdor to Iraq just admitted that Iraq is not the central front in the war on terror. He just admitted that the potential for Al Qaeda to gain a beachhead in Iraq should the United States withdraw is miniscule compared to the already-established beachhead along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. He admitted that the global fight against terror is currently misdirected.
Iraqi regrets toppling Saddam statue

BAGHDAD - Ibrahim Khalil, who five years ago took part in the iconic toppling of a giant statue of Saddam Hussein in central Baghdad, said on Wednesday he now regrets taking part in the hugely symbolic event.

“If history can take me back, I will kiss the statue of Saddam Hussein which I helped pull down,” Khalil told AFP on the fifth anniversary of the statue’s toppling.


“It was a historic moment. I felt like I was born again. Most Iraqis felt happy as they all were affected by Saddam’s regime.”


“Now I realise that the day Baghdad fell was in fact a black day. Saddam’s days were better,” said Khalil, who along with his brother runs a car repair shop.

“I ask Bush: “Where are your promises of making Iraq a better country?’

“These days when we go out we have to carry a pistol. In Saddam’s regime, we were safe. We got rid of one Saddam, but today we have 50 Saddams.”...[Open in new window]

Monday, April 07, 2008

U.S. Lawmakers Invested in Iraq, Afghanistan Wars

Abid Aslam

WASHINGTON, Apr 7 (IPS) - U.S. lawmakers have a financial interest in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a review of their accounts has revealed.

Members of Congress invested nearly 196 million dollars of their own money in companies that receive hundreds of millions of dollars a day from Pentagon contracts to provide goods and services to U.S. armed forces, say nonpartisan watchdog groups.

David Petraeus, the top U.S. general in Iraq, is to brief the Senate Foreign Relations and Armed Services committees on Tuesday and Wednesday. The latest findings are unlikely to have a significant impact on this week's proceedings but could stoke anti-incumbent sentiment in this year of presidential and legislative elections.

Lawmakers charged with overseeing Pentagon contractors hold stock in those very firms, as do vocal critics of the war in Iraq, says the Centre for Responsive Politics (CRP)...
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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Coleen Rowley: "...Just Denounce the Pacifists for Lack of Patriotism..."

How uncanny that exactly 40 years after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated during the Vietnam War (and some think possibly because of his opposition to the Vietnam War), we would turn on our radios to hear a Twin Cities radio host re-applying the principles of Hermann Goering to plans for the upcoming anti-war march on the Republican National Convention (RNC). If you listen (here), you won't hear anything resembling "Minnesota Nice" on Chris Baker's show yesterday, the program that comes on before Rush Limbaugh's. His vitriolic, denouncing rants came in bursts between interviews with a Minneapolis Assistant Police Chief and Minneapolis Police Federation President John Delmonico as to how the right-wing radio host "can't stand these protesting varmints", "these spitting, frothing at the mouth lunatics", including his opinion that "protesting is an industry funded by billionaires and communist organizations (and) they are well coordinated and incredibly dangerous."

Baker's tirades were sparked by a Star Tribune newspaper article that reported apparent disagreements between Minneapolis police officials as to whether police officers patrolling at the time of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul should be armed with riot helmets, chemical spray and Taser guns for use on protesters.

The radio talk host demonstrated little effort to engage in legitimate debate on these issues and soon transcended from merely disparaging remarks to something far worse, coming very close to, if not crossing the line, of basically inciting violence against those he called the "stinky protesters."

After Delmonico agreed that "one of the (protesters') main missions is destruction," Baker added, "You must have order, you cannot have a civilized society without order and if that means cracking a few skulls, so be it...a good ole boy network is what you need and hand out some ax handles."

The absolutely worst tirade, however, comes towards the end of the program after the interviews with the police, when KTLK host Chris Baker lets go with this ostensible incitement to violence: "So we've been talking about police protection during the upcoming convention when all those stinky protesters are coming. There seems to be a big debate over whether or not police officers will be able to wear helmets, carry shields, use pepper spray and tasers on this crowd. You know, I'll tell you what works on a crowd like this--a machine gun, that always works very well."

"Mow 'em down, baby!" excitedly adds Baker's co-host "Jordan".

It doesn't take an expert on the First Amendment to recognize that suggesting the "good ole boy network" hand out ax handles and machine guns be used to mow a crowd down comes close to inciting violence...[Open in new window]

I hope the next FCC Commissioner isn't a 'crony'. There are so many weak & damaged minds out there listening to the spew of 'snarling heads' on radio & TV. The nuts & the doofusses (doofii?) really make public life dangerous. The nuts believe this shit, the doofii, raised on MTV, think shit-disturbing & violence for no reason is 'funny'. With their night-sticks, ax-handles & baseball bats, you don't have to be Freud to get the picture. Whether they actually do or not, they 'think' they have little penises. Jacking these people up with incitements to violence is like yelling fire in a crowded theater. It's just not covered by the first amendment to the constitution.
Start with Rush & O'Reilly & work down to the grade z bottom-feeders like the guy in this article; get them off the public air-waves. In no sense are they serving the public good.
Anti-War Conservatives for Obama

By Richard Whalen | April 4, 2008 5:00 AM

Anti-war conservatives are rallying around ultra-liberal Barack Obama. He promises to “get out of Iraq as carefully as we went in carelessly,” and that’s enough for Andrew J. Bacevich, professor of history and international relations at Boston University.

Bacevich, writing in The American Conservative, says: “Barack Obama is no conservative. Yet if he wins the Democratic nomination, come November principled conservatives may well find themselves voting for the senator from Illinois. Given the alternatives—and the state of the conservative movement—they could do worse.

“Granted, when it comes to defining exactly what authentic conservatism entails, considerable disagreement exists even (or especially) among conservatives themselves. My own definition emphasizes the following:

* a commitment to individual liberty, tempered by the conviction that genuine freedom entails more than simply an absence of restraint;
* a belief in limited government, fiscal responsibility, and the rule of law;
* veneration for our cultural inheritance combined with a sense of stewardship for Creation;
* a reluctance to discard or tamper with traditional social arrangements;
* respect for the market as the generator of wealth combined with a wariness of the market’s corrosive impact on humane values;
* a deep suspicion of utopian promises, rooted in an appreciation of the sinfulness of man and the recalcitrance of history.

“Accept that definition and it quickly becomes apparent that the Republican Party does not represent conservative principles. The conservative ascendancy that began with the election of Ronald Reagan has been largely an illusion. During the period since 1980, certain faux conservatives—especially those in the service of Big Business and Big Empire—have prospered. But conservatism as such has not.”

Bacevich, a Vietnam vet and a gold star father, whose beloved son and namesake was killed in Iraq is our generation’s Charles Beard. The Obama movement swells daily with traditional political figures of the first rank. Kevin Phillips, an old rightist, says he expects to vote for Obama. Another likely Obama supporter may be retired General Bill Odom, the leading anti-war strategist. In 2005, General Odom, former head of the National Security Agency under Reagan, called the Iraq War “the greatest single strategic mistake in our nation’s history.” A younger Reagan-era colleague, Doug Bandow and many of The American Conservative’s writers and editors are also leaning toward Obama...[Open in new window]

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Senator Joe Biden Delivers the Democratic Radio Address


"Good morning. I'm Joe Biden, Democratic Senator from Delaware and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In January 2007, President Bush announced the surge of an additional 30,000 American forces into Iraq. Next week, the President is expected to tell the American people what comes next. It's an important moment for America's future.

"The purpose of the surge was to bring violence in Iraq down so that its leaders could come together politically. Violence has come down, but the Iraqis have not come together. The country remains terribly divided among Sunni, Shi'a and Kurds. There is little evidence the Iraqis will settle their differences peacefully any time soon.

"Our military has done a heroic job in bringing violence down since last summer. But even these gains are relative. Violence is just getting back to levels we saw in 2005 -- when 846 Americans lost their lives and 5,945 were wounded. Iraq is still an incredibly dangerous place and very far from normal.

"Despite this reality, the President is expected to announce that when the surge ends, we will not be in a position of drawing down American forces. There could be no clearer acknowledgment from the President himself that the surge has not succeeded in achieving its stated purpose, namely, moving Iraq toward the day it can govern itself, defend itself and sustain itself in peace.

"So, where are we after the surge? Back to where we were before it started. With 140,000 troops in Iraq -- and no end in sight. The best that can be said is we've gone from drowning in Iraq to treading water. That's better, but we can't keep doing it without exhausting ourselves.

"Every extra day we stay in Iraq with 140,000 troops, that's exactly what we're doing. And the price we're paying keeps getting steeper:

  • The continued loss of the lives and limbs of our soldiers every day;

  • The emotional and economic strain on our military families due to repeated, extended tours lasting up to 15 months;

  • The drain on our Treasury $12 billion every month that we could be spending on housing, education or healthcare here at home;

  • The impact on the readiness of our armed forces tying down so many troops that we don't have any leftover to deal with a new emergency;

  • The inability to send enough troops to the border area between Afghanistan and Pakistan the real central front in the war on terror;

  • And finally: the damage done to America's standing in the world;

"I believe the President has no strategy for success in Iraq. His plan is to muddle through and hand the problem off to his successor. Our troops and their families deserve better than that. We owe them a strategy worthy of their sacrifice.

"We Democrats understand that this war must end so that America can regain the credibility to lead around the world and the flexibility to meet our challenges here at home. That's what the American people want and it's what America's security needs. Thank you for listening."

Friday, April 04, 2008

81 percent of Americans think country on "wrong track"

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Four out of five Americans believe things are "on the wrong track" in the United States, the gloomiest outlook in about 20 years, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll released on Thursday.

The poll found that 81 percent of respondents felt "things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track." That was up from 69 percent last year and 35 percent in early 2003.

Only 4 percent of survey respondents said the country was better off than it was five years ago, while 78 percent said it was worse, the newspaper said.

The Times said Americans were more unhappy with the country's direction than at any time since the survey started in the early 1990s...

...Those surveyed said individuals, not financial institutions, should get government help. The paper said a clear majority told pollsters they did not want the government to lend a hand to banks, even if the measures would help limit the severity of a recession...[Open in new window]

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Feith: Only "Assholes" Fret about Torture

It won't surprise anyone that the least sympathetic portrayal in Phillipe Sands' Vanity Fair piece is of former Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith.

Not only did Feith play a major hand in promoting the myth of Iraq's ties to Al Qaeda before the invasion of Iraq, but he also played a major role in developing the interrogation policy for Guantanamo Bay.

Feith boasted to Sands that back in 2002, he "was really a player" in ensuring that Gitmo detainees would not receive Geneva protections. But when Sands asked him "whether, in the end, he was at all concerned that the Geneva decision might have diminished America’s moral authority," Feith got nasty:

He was not. “The problem with moral authority,” he said, was “people who should know better, like yourself, siding with the assholes, to put it crudely.”

McCain Advisers: The New Deal Is Satanic

No one believes for a minute that John McCain really views prosperity televangelist Rod Parsley as a "spiritual guide." After all, for McCain, who's apparently queasy about talking about his personal faith to groups like the Council for National Policy and the Values Voter Summit, listening to Parsley would be uncomfortable. As uncomfortable for McCain, perhaps, as recalling that his campaign advisor Charlie Black served on the host committee for a 2004 coronation of Moon in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, as John Gorenfeld reveals in his new book and video about the Rev. Sun Myung Moon,.

We all know that McCain thinks it's increasingly difficult "to do the Lord's work in the city of Satan," but does he really think, like Parsley preached this week, that Social Security is satanic because it "conditioned Americans to expect that the government would take care of them?" (Hagee also thinks government programs are satanic.) Or does McCain expect, as Parsley gleefully does, that he will have a "ringside seat" for the "deafening shouts from the modern sea of agnostic, and atheistic, and apostate voices" as they are "cast alive into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone?"

Why is everyone in the presidential campaign worried about the economy, Parsley growled in his Sunday sermon, arguing that any economic assistance provided by the government -- such as relief to homeowners victimized by mortgage lending abuses or universal health insurance -- is itself a sign of the Antichrist consolidating power. "In tough times like these," Parsley went on, "people make the mistake of putting their faith in political masterminds" who "promise to provide everything," instead of resisting the mark of the beast. That beast, he warns, will preach "tolerance and inclusion on a global scale" and if you reject the mark, "you will be accused of being intolerant and exclusionary." (Who might he be suggesting is the Antichrist?)

In short, Parsley thinks that the United States government has been controlled by Satan since the New Deal. He relishes watching agnostics, atheists, and people he considers apostates be burned alive at his fantastical end of days. This is not new stuff for Parsley, or for Hagee, for that matter. They've been preaching this sort of nonsense for years. Yet they get invited to the White House, and Hagee even gets meetings with president's national security team. And we all know how close they are with the presumptive Republican nominee...[Open in new window]
When will these people crawl back into their little corner of darkness?

The separation of church & state allows them that corner. You'd think they'd be happy. But noooooo, they want to take over the whole thing.

The evangelical wingnuts are ingrates & profoundly un-American.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Republicans lead "pork" spending lists: report

By Richard Cowan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. Congress, trying to appear frugal with taxpayer dollars this election year, found on Wednesday that some in their own ranks topped a list of "pork" spenders in a watchdog group's analysis of government waste.

The annual survey by Citizens Against Government Waste claims that 11,610 special-interest projects were stuffed into spending bills approved by the Democratic-led Congress last year at a $17.2 billion cost to taxpayers.

But according to the survey, it was individual Republicans who pushed the most "pork" last year. In addition, the three House of Representative Republicans who sponsored legislation calling for a moratorium on such spending all engaged in the practice, the report said. They are Jack Kingston of Georgia, Zach Wamp of Tennessee and Frank Wolf of Virginia.

For months, House Republican Leader John Boehner has been leading a crusade against such projects, known as "earmarks," which routinely benefit lawmakers' hometown districts.

Boehner, of Ohio, has called for suspending "pork" spending this year and has criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, for not yet agreeing to do so.

On Tuesday, House Republicans tried and failed to advance their earmark moratorium. Last month, the Senate overwhelmingly rejected a similar proposal.

House Republicans have attacked Democratic Rep. John Murtha for delivering a pile of special-interest funds to his western Pennsylvania district.

But according to the report, two House Republicans bested Murtha: Roger Wicker of Mississippi, who recently became a U.S. senator, and Rep. Bill Young of Florida. The two scored $176.3 million and $169.5 million in earmarks respectively, beating Murtha's $159.1 million...[Open in new window]

Empire or Humanity?

What the Classroom Didn't Teach Me About the American Empire
By Howard Zinn

With an occupying army waging war in Iraq and Afghanistan, with military bases and corporate bullying in every part of the world, there is hardly a question any more of the existence of an American Empire. Indeed, the once fervent denials have turned into a boastful, unashamed embrace of the idea.

However, the very idea that the United States was an empire did not occur to me until after I finished my work as a bombardier with the Eighth Air Force in the Second World War, and came home. Even as I began to have second thoughts about the purity of the "Good War," even after being horrified by Hiroshima and Nagasaki, even after rethinking my own bombing of towns in Europe, I still did not put all that together in the context of an American "Empire."

I was conscious, like everyone, of the British Empire and the other imperial powers of Europe, but the United States was not seen in the same way. When, after the war, I went to college under the G.I. Bill of Rights and took courses in U.S. history, I usually found a chapter in the history texts called "The Age of Imperialism." It invariably referred to the Spanish-American War of 1898 and the conquest of the Philippines that followed. It seemed that American imperialism lasted only a relatively few years. There was no overarching view of U.S. expansion that might lead to the idea of a more far-ranging empire -- or period of "imperialism."


Pentagon releases memo on harsh tactics

By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press WriterWed Apr 2, 6:38 AM ET

The Pentagon made public a now-defunct legal memo that approved the use of harsh interrogation techniques against terror suspects, saying that President Bush's wartime authority trumps any international ban on torture.

The Justice Department memo, dated March 14, 2003, outlines legal justification for military interrogators to use harsh tactics against al-Qaida and Taliban detainees overseas — so long as they did not specifically intend to torture their captives.

Even so, the memo noted, the president's wartime power as commander in chief would not be limited by the U.N. treaties against torture.

"Our previous opinions make clear that customary international law is not federal law and that the president is free to override it at his discretion," said the memo written by John Yoo, who was then deputy assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel.

The memo also offered a defense in case any interrogator was charged with violating U.S. or international laws.

"Finally, even if the criminal prohibitions outlined above applied, and an interrogation method might violate those prohibitions, necessity or self-defense could provide justifications for any criminal liability," the memo concluded...[Open in new window]


From the Chicago Tribune:

The Justice Department late Tuesday released a declassified 2003 memorandum long sought by congressional Democrats and other administration critics that outlines the government's legal justification for harsh interrogation techniques used by the military against captured enemy combatants outside the United States.

(Here are part one and part two of the memo.)

The memo, written by John Yoo, then a key architect of legal policy in the wake of 9/11, dismisses several legal impediments to the use of extreme techniques.

Yoo was long a proponent of an aggressive approach in the war against terrorism and a believer in executive branch authority. But the memo was withdrawn as formal government policy less than a year after it was written.

In the March 14, 2003 memo, Yoo says the Constitution was not in play with regard to the interrogations because the Fifth Amendment (which provides for due process of law) and the Eighth Amendment (which prevents the government from employing cruel and usual punishment) does "not extend to alien enemy combatants held abroad."...[Open in new window]