Sunday, October 30, 2005

Another Republican Hat - More Immigrant Bashing

News is that former congressman, Brian Bilbray, is going to join the battle for the seat that Randy "Duke" Cunningham will be giving up next election. Bilbray, who was kicked out by voters in San Diego's more moderate 49th District in the 2000 election has moved his residence to the conservative 50th.

Bilbray joins a collection of right wing Republican nut cases in the pursuit of Cunningham's seat. Already announced are Howard "Truth Tour" Kaloogian, Bill "Free Speech for Nazis" Morrow and Mark "I Loaned Myself $150,00" Wyland.

Bilbray's was tossed out of Congress by his constituents in part because he defied their wishes, drank the Republican kool-aid and voted to impeach Bill Clinton.

"Bilbray is, you might remember [is] the former representative for San Diego’s 49th District from 1995 to 2001 until he forgot a cardinal rule of Congressional politics: when your party leadership says vote “yes” but your district says vote “no” – by an almost 2:1 margin – you politely tell your party leadership, in your best surferese, to pound sand. The “yes” vote was in support of Bill Clinton’s bill of impeachment, a vote strongly opposed by Bilbray’s moderate district. His “just say yes” act turned out to be a big factor in his subsequent 2000 defeat by Democrat Susan Davis."

Bilbray went on to pick up key knowledge of how the Republican controlled congress of George Bush works by spending the last few years as a lobbyist. But, he knew most of those tricks as a congressman, when he was in the pocket of mega real estate developer, Corky McMillin.

Oh, and Bilbray plans to make illegal immigration the focus of his campaign. There's a surprise.

Took A Week Off In Disgust

Words Have Power hasn't had many words lately. We've been pretty much fed up with the liberal blogosphere and have had no interest in joining in for a while.

All of the hoopla around the Traitorgate revelations and all of the continuing "tea leaf" reading and parsing of the Libby indictment seem to us to be a real waste of time.

The Republican Party controls the levers of power. The news media continues to roll over and play along with what their corporate masters deem news worthy. Missing white women and dead white female attorneys. The small signs of journalistic life that emerged in the Katrina aftermath have pretty much disappeared.

President Bush's crony appointment of Harriet Miers was derailed by the religious right not the Democrats. Bush will now appoint someone more conservative and dangerous to the civil liberties of Americans and Democrat will roll over.

Tom Delay still rules. Duke Cunningham still decides which defense contractor gets what share of the pie. The best congressional candidate the Democrats could hope for in an
Ohio special election, Paul Hackett, can't beat a cheerleader for Ohio's corrupt Republican machine.

So Scooter Libby is going to end up with a big book deal and a lucrative career on the right wing speaking circuit, some victory.

While the lefty blogosphere celebrates, Dick Pombo is gutting environment legislation put in place with incredible effort over the last century. He is doing that with the active support of Democrats in Congress.

While the lefty blogosphere ponders Fitzgerald’s next move, Republicans in Congress are going to make sure that all the Bush tax cuts for the rich are made permanent and cut food stamps and school lunches for the poor to save money.

Oh....least we forget, while the lefty blogosphere celebrates Fitzmas, the American death toll in
Iraq reaches 2013.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Brownie Still On Payroll

The Carpetbagger reports that Michael Brown, the master of disaster, remains on the public dole. Although he resigned on September 12, he is now moving into his second 30 day consulting deal with FEMA.

“Let me get this straight — Brown bungled Katrina to a wretched degree, he may have lied to Congress about his efforts, universal disgust led his resignation, and FEMA has given him a contract extension?

On Sept. 12, in his resignation letter, Brown wrote that "is it important that I leave now to avoid further distraction from the ongoing mission of FEMA." Sounds great, except he's still on the payroll, apparently at full salary.

We shouldn't be giving this clown more money; we should be demanding he give back the money he accepted before.”

Scientists have long contended that after a nuclear war the earth would be left to the cockroach. I think it might be easier to get rid of cockroaches than people like Brownie. Cockroaches don't have a sense of entitlement.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

"Holy Toledo!"

Words Have Power hasn't changed to sports blogging, but sometimes events have a way of demanding comment.

Earlier this week, Bill King, the greatest sports broadcaster to ever lend his voice to a game, died. King was the king of radio broadcasting. During a forty year career he was the lead announcer for the Oakland Raiders and Athletics and the Golden State Warriors. For years he was the main man for all three organizations.

King's brilliant delivery, uncompromising honesty and as one of his former employers described it his " incredible eye-to-brain-to-mouth coordination" made him a Bay Area institution. He was more than the voice of Bay Area teams, he was the essence of the Bay Area as a person.

Bill King refused to conform to the demand of the mainstream broadcast media's perception of a sport announcer. He kept his trademark moustache and goatee and chose to remain in the San Francisco rather than conform to standards he couldn't accept.

King was an original. His preferred mode of dress for any game was a loose shirt, shorts and scandals. He wore socks when it got really cold, say on a Raider road trip to New England in December. At baseball spring training camp, in sunny Arizona, King stuck with Speedos and flip flops.

King loved jazz, the opera, art, food, Russian literature. He lived on a boat, drove cars that would not meet the current standard of "beater" and poured his passion and quirks into incredibly broadcast riffs that made every game he called better for his observation of it.

His peers loved and respected him. Bay Area sports fans still hear his calls of some of the great moments in sports history. We can hear the final minutes of the Warriors 1975 NBA Championship sweep. We can hear his call of the Holy Roller against San Diego in 1978. He was, and in our mind's ear, still is the voice of the Raider, A's and Warriors.

I developed a life long passion for the game of basketball in part because I was able to listen to Bill King's word pictures of the game. King was a great observer, who told the truth. He wasn't afraid to make his opinions known at courtside. King told the refs what he thought while keeping the rest of us informed. He was never a "homer", but he never forgot who was listening and he could be our advocate at times.

The tributes keep coming. From the fans, from his peers, from the team owners, from the players. One of the best I've read comes from San Francisco Chronicle columnist, Ray Ratto:

"... he was fearless. He said what he saw, not what he was told to say. He was accurate always, and he was witheringly critical when it was required. Listeners knew they were getting the straight deal every time, because he not only wouldn't lie to gussy up a player's profile, he couldn't. He wasn't trained that way, as so many broadcasters are now. He loathed homers, announcers who tart up the home team because they think they are providing a service, because being a homer requires an essential dishonesty he could not abide.

Mostly, though, he was fun, which is the whole reason why there still are sports on the radio. He swore at official Ed Rush when the Warriors lost a critical call in a game against Seattle. He described breathlessly how the officials told Raiders coach John Madden to get his "big butt out of here" after the "Holy Roller" play in San Diego. "He does" was King's classic follow-up that few people remember...

He never lingered over goodbyes, because he always had a new place to be. It is the gift and the curse of the ravenously curious to always think of what's next, and to head that way at top speed."

Thanks for all those memories Bill................

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

National Treasure

The entire White House staff from the Vice President down is apparently facing indictment. All our worst fears have been confirmed about George Bush's lack of competence. The right wing noise machine has made truth relative. The New York Times cares more about a sleazy, pimping journalist than its obligation to its readers and the role the founding fathers envisioned for what they naively called the "free press".

Republican or Democrat it is hard to see this process and not feel that we have lost our way as a nation and as individuals. The drumbeat of bad news, of disaster, of failure and of criminal misconduct at the highest levels leaves one depressed and disenchanted.

Fortunately, there are still real heroes out there. ESPN has a great article about one of our national treasures, John Wooden.

"The greatest coach in the history of college basketball has a tiny place. John Wooden's Encino, Calif., condominium couldn't be more than 700 square feet, and almost every inch of it is occupied. Piles of books -- volumes of poetry, biographies of Abraham Lincoln, several bibles -- line the hallways. The dining room table is cluttered with Pyramids of Success waiting to be signed and sent to fans. And dozens of photographs and plaques, commemorating 43 years of coaching and 95 years of life, hang on the walls of every room."

If John Wooden were merely the "greatest coach" his life and story would be of interest, but hardly remarkable. It is has capacity as a moral leader, as an example that has left him more in demand and more visible to a broad spectrum of the public than he was 30 years ago when he coached his last UCLA basketball game.

"Fidelity. The man is simply, steadily faithful, to his God, to his principles, to his family and his friends, to the creed in his pocket, the poem in his den and the shrine on his bed. He knows himself. It's a simple thing but a rare one, against the social grain. "There's a line I like from Socrates," he says. "When he was unjustly imprisoned and facing imminent death, the jailers asked, 'Why aren't you preparing for death?' And Socrates said, 'I've been preparing for death all my life by the life I've lead.'"

For many of us, it takes much of our lives to realize that the values we are taught in our youth are the most important values. For many of Coach Wooden's players the realization that what Coach was teaching them was far beyond basketball took much of their adult lives to sink in.

"It's not that they agree with everything he thinks or believes. It's not that the points on his creed must be their own. It's that he was there, doggedly holding on to his principles at a time when Walton, Johnson and Wilkes needed something to believe in. It's that, if nothing else, they believed in his believing. It's that he and one of his favorite lines from Mother Teresa -- "Forgiveness sets you free..." "They speak of him in hushed tones, with wide smiles on their faces. They gush. Do they risk deifying him? They don't care. They know what they know. Wilkes tells you how moved he was, how much he learned, by Coach's absolute devotion to Nellie. Washington speaks of Wooden's unflinching support of Kareem at a time when the center was marginalized by race, size, politics. Shackelford marvels still at his steady habits of study and preparation. Hill raves about his memory, of names, faces and lines of poetry he loves. Walton, who unabashedly calls Wooden "an enduring flame of hope," says it's all these and more: "It's the totality with Coach. It's the example he sets by the way he does all the little things and all the big things in his life."
We still need heroes. We still need examples of the power of what one good person can do. John Wooden is one of those examples. Faith and the courage to do what is right change lives.

"In his pocket, to this day, he keeps a small steel cross, given to him by his minister when he enlisted in 1942. It has an alpha and an omega embossed on one side, and a heart and a monad (a symbol of unity) stamped on the other. Beginnings and endings, love and order. This cross has been with him for 63 years, through triumph and loss, through joy and sadness. You see how it's been worn smooth by his busy fingers, and you imagine how it's grounded him, provided him some measure of comfort and counsel, reminded him of who he is and what matters to him."

As Bill Walton says, "an enduring flame of hope."

Monday, October 17, 2005

Bush Still Won't Act to Help

Today's Los Angeles Times reveals that despite his multiple trips and photo ops in the hurricane devastated Gulf Coast, President Bush is doing virtually nothing to actually help in the recovery process.

"Almost two months after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast and a month after promising in a nationally televised speech to help rebuild the region "quickly," President Bush has settled on a cautious, piecemeal approach that even many members of his own party fear will stall reconstruction and sow economic disarray.

Bush has made highly publicized trips to Louisiana and Mississippi on average of once a week since the storm, but the administration has yet to introduce legislation for two of the three proposals the president highlighted during his September speech from New Orleans.

But if administration work on reconstruction is proceeding, it seems not to be occurring with anything like the urgency and decisiveness that Bush suggested it would when he stood before the cameras in a darkened and largely deserted New Orleans for his Sept. 15 address."

The Times emphasizes that Bush has done nothing to push forward any meaningful recovery legislation and that his administration and, in particular FEMA, can't even figure out how to spend the $62 billion already authorized by Congress for recovery. With less than a third of that money committed, Bush is planning on going back to Congress for $20 billion more in aid and reconstruction money.

"Among the complaints: that after an initial rush of spending, the administration has been unable to make use of most of the billions of dollars it requested immediately after Katrina, and that it has offered only the sketchiest of accounts for what it has done with the money it has spent.

FEMA, which received almost $60 billion of the $62 billion in emergency funds, had "obligated" or assigned only $15.6 billion as of last Wednesday — less than a third of the money available — according to a weekly report the agency sends Congress."

Bush offered hurricane victims’ hopeful rhetoric after his high criticized early failure to prepare or respond to Katrina's destruction. Now he is failing to live up to his commitments to Katrina's victims, turning away calls for leadership at the Federal level to deal with the overwhelming crisis being faced at the local level. His failure to grasp the need for Washington led leadership has even Republicans critical and concerned over the potential ramifications of the Bush "lead nothing” approach.

"The president put out some very large ideas, but the administration isn't leading on them in any very public way," said Stuart M. Butler, vice president of domestic and economic policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank. "There's been a general hands-off approach, which is disturbing."

[Jack] Kemp, the former HUD secretary, agreed.

"Laissez-faire, Darwinian capitalism is not going to work here," Kemp said. "Markets do work, but they need the direction of government in situations like this."

Despite pleas from congressional leaders of both parties, Bush has resisted any ideas that might result in coherent Federal leadership for reconstruction efforts. Bush has instead taken the same approach he took to the hurricane itself: pretend it isn't happening and try to distract people with other activities.

As the full dimensions of the rebuilding task become clear, Democrats and some GOP leaders are calling for a degree of government involvement that the president almost certainly finds objectionable. The White House appears to be searching for a way to put primary responsibility for coordinating the work on state and local officials.

But by wiping out whole communities, Katrina created problems that even some Republicans argue cannot be handled by individuals and market mechanisms alone...

In a separate proposal, conservative Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and liberal Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) called for a Cabinet-level Gulf Coast Recovery and Disaster Preparedness Agency, which would be the conduit for all federal funds to the region. A companion agency with a board of mostly state and local officials would come up with the rebuilding plan.

"You need a single point where all federal funds go through so you have accountability," Gregg said.

White House officials have all but rejected the Gregg-Kennedy proposal and offered only a polite nod to the Baker plan.

The administration has "bought into the idea this should be a bottom-up thing," Gregg said. "The danger is confusion, inefficiency and huge bureaucratic frustration."

Katrina's victims remain victims. George Bush failed them through inadequate preparation for the disaster. He failed them through an inept response to the disaster as it was occurring. And, now he is failing them once again. Promising help, but leaving them to shift for themselves.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Traitorgate and the Failure of the New York Times

The most effective and brilliant work being done on the subject of Traitorgate and the failure of the press to cover this story effectively is can be found at k/o. In his most recent post on this subject Kid Oakland deconstructs Judith Miller's New York Times article on her grand jury testimony.

"Judith Miller and her lawyers, in concocting this self-serving exercise in elision and obfuscation, and the editors of the New York Times, in delivering it to their readers, have sent a clear message to the broader public: find a life raft, quick.

A newspaper has no higher obligation to its readers than the timely reporting of the truth. The
New York Times just officially said goodbye to all that. Whether we look at Miller's hiding behind her notes, her hiding of her notes, her obfuscation of her sources even as she purported to reveal one, or that misspelled name...Valerie Flame...written on a note pad, but, essentially, according to Miller, signifying nothing...there could hardly be a more sordid or less satisfying outcome to the "paper of record" coming clean. If this is the best they have to offer, and indeed, that seems to be the case, their readers shouldn't be the only ones looking to the life boats."

There is much more in the Kid's post. Miller's selective memory. The legal vetting of her entire article to insure that no fact or truth is unspun to her advantage. The ultimate protection of the Bush Administration lies. And, ultimately the failure of America's most prestigious newspaper to do its job.

"All bets are off. This is the best the New York Times had to offer.

Judith Miller is a con. The NYT, in addition to being her mark, got played to be her shill, apparently, without even knowing it.

If you ask me, that metallic groan you hear tonight is the sound of the Titanic struggling in deep water.

The iceberg, now visible as merely the Miller brouhaha, is that much larger, and more important, story...of Iraq, WMD, the Plame leak, the dealings of the White House Iraq Group and their possible involvement in a cover up...that the
New York Times has lost all credibility in covering."

Bravo Kid.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Alternative to Circus of Corruption

Next year, Americans will have the chance to repudiate the Republican Culture of Corruption all across this country. Despite the absolute incompetence of the Bush Administration and blatant corruption of Republicans such as Tom Delay, Bill Frist, Randy Cunningham, the list goes on; every race to unseat a member of the corrupt Republican regime is going to require an incredibly difficult effort and lots of money.

In CA-50, the opportunity is great. Incumbent Republican Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham is enmeshed in a bribery and conspiracy scandal that has already forced him to announce his retirement at the end of this term. Of course, if indictments are handed down before the end of the year, the resulting controversy might cause Cunningham to resign.

There is a viable, powerhouse Democratic candidate in place and running hard in CA-50. Francine Busby took the fight to Cunningham last year. She lost the race, but didn't give up the fight. With a solid organization in place, party support and, MOST CRITICALLY, a candidate who stands for something, Busby is a contender in what has been a safe Republican district.

Last week, the Busby campaign announced that their fund raising was going strong and that the candidate was expanding her campaign headquarters to accommodate the surge in support and interest in the community.

"Congressional Candidate Francine Busby announced today that she raised $147,000 in campaign contributions from July to September. At the end of September, Busby for Congress had over $176,000 in cash on hand. Over 95% of the contributions in 2006 have come from within

"San Diegans are ready for a candidate who is serious about restoring honesty and integrity to Congress and their investment in my campaign shows that," said Busby. "Voters are tired of the pay-to-play politics of Duke Cunningham; they want someone who will bring ethics back to our government. That's why I have received so much support from Republicans, Democrats and Independents." Since she started fundraising in March, Busby has raised $248,000 in mostly small donations.

Over the past week, Busby for Congress moved into a larger office to accommodate the growing campaign. The office is within the same West 'D' Street building in Encinitas.

"We will have the resources and team to win what will be the most watched congressional race on the West Coast," said Busby."

It is well and good to talk about the Republican's self-destructing, but that is just talk. If we want to take this country back from the Republicans we need to work, sweat and contribute to make it happen.

In the CA-50, you can help make it happen.

Culture of Corruption - RIP (wishful thinking)

At Tom Paine, commentator Michael Fauntroy writes an obit for the GOP. I think he is a bit premature. The roots of Republican corruption are deep and the money tap has not been turned off, nor has the right wing noise machine been dismantled. Still..................

"Unlike many observers who have gleefully exulted in Tom DeLay’s recent indictments, I think his guilt or innocence is almost beside the point, particularly since he’s still in the House wielding his considerable power. His arm twisting to ensure recent passage of the giveaway for the oil-industry energy bill proves his troubles aren’t weakening his support among House Republicans—yet. You see, his possible acquittal doesn’t obviate the fact that he is a dirty politician and his continued presence as such a prominent Republican marks the beginning of the end of GOP dominance of Congress. I write this not because I know a secret but, rather, because DeLay’s indictment is one of a long list of ethical lapses that show the national GOP to be corrupt. How can they go to the voters next year asking for continued congressional control when it is now clear that all they want to do is use it to enrich their friends and punish their enemies, all on the taxpayers dime?"

And, Fauntroy takes the time to mention my local Republican Corruption Circus clown, Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

"Meanwhile, Republican elected officials are being caught in scheme after scheme to enrich themselves. Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham sold his house to a government contractor doing business before Cunningham’s committee for nearly twice its market value in what can only be called a bribe. Further, Cunningham lived for years on this same contractor's houseboat in D.C."

We wrote about some speculation about Cunningham's nautical adventures on the Duke-Stir earlier in the week.

Speaking of Cunningham, there's still time to participate in the Cunningham resignation watch. Beside life style rumors, there is another more ominous rumor going around and that is the one that suggests indictments from Cunningham's federal grand jury are going to come down in October.

Justice "Delay"ed

Democratic Veteran highlights the most recent outing of one of, as the Veteran so eloquently puts it, Tom Delay's "bitches". In this case the Delay disciple is Indiana's Chris Chocola, the apparent recipient of big bucks from the Delay campaign money laundry. The Vet links to an AP account of the fund clean up.

“Tom DeLay's political group used nearly $100,000 in corporate and unlimited donations to mail last-minute political appeals praising five congressional candidates despite rules meant to keep such money out of federal races, documents released Thursday show.

They show DeLay's ARMPAC sent money from its so-called soft-money account before the November 2002 election to pay for mailings for such candidates as Indiana Republican Chris Chocola, who won election to the House that year.

An ARMPAC mailing to gun-owning voters in Chocola's race for an open congressional seat praised him as someone who "will protect the sporting traditions that Indiana sportsmen have passed on. For future generations to continue to enjoy our heritage, we need the leadership of Chris Chocola."

Delay's power is in his ability to raise nearly infinite amount of corporate soft money and turn it into election influencing, and often illegal, contributions to the candidates that he owns. Talk about corruption.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Once Around - Don't Spare the Horses

AmericaBlog points to this sterling post on the Nitpicker. The question is simple: who is writing al Qaeda's stuff these days?

"Of course, now there are questions about the authenticity of the letter found in Iraq. Look, you can't help but question these guys. Their intelligence is too often either wrong or made up. Are those words too harsh for you? Then how about "inaccurate and wrong and in some cases, deliberately misleading" as Colin Powell put it?

On top of that, it just seemed too well-timed to go along with Bush's recent terror speech. There's a lot of that going around, though. In the end, I can't say whether or not the document is real or not, but neither can any of the conservative bloggers who will trumpet this as an excuse to "stay the course."

As a 13-year veteran of the armed forces, though, I find it repulsive that veterans like myself are put in the position where we're forced to decide whether our commander-in-chief is lying or al Qaeda is--and it's actually a hard decision!"

Convenient letters, scripted and stage managed chats with the troops. The military as props to cover-up failure upon failure.

Speaking of stage managed chats with the troops..... Is there any way to look at Bush's photo op today as anything but propaganda? Eschaton links to this.

"It was billed as a conversation with U.S. troops, but the questions President Bush asked on a teleconference call Thursday were choreographed to match his goals for the war in Iraq and Saturday's vote on a new Iraqi constitution.

"This is an important time," Allison Barber, deputy assistant defense secretary, said, coaching the soldiers before Bush arrived. "The president is looking forward to having just a conversation with you."

"OK, so let's just walk through this," Barber said. "Captain Kennedy, you answer the first question and you hand the mike to whom?"

"Captain Smith," Kennedy said.

"Captain. Smith? You take the mike and you hand it to whom?" she asked.

"Captain Kennedy," the soldier replied.

And so it went.

"If the question comes up about partnering — how often do we train with the Iraqi military — who does he go to?" Barber asked.

"That's going to go to Captain Pratt," one of the soldiers said."

Tower : Tower's radio clearance, over!
Oever : That's Clarence Oever! Oever.
Tower : Roger.
Murdock : Huh?
Tower : Roger, over.
Murdock : Huh?
Oever : Huh?

Democratic Veteran has a strategy for Democrats. If only they would listen.

"One of the themes that the DNC needs to get on right now is tagging every single republican house member who speaks well of Tom Delay as a corrupt crony. True or not, it should be up to them to disprove their feeding at the Teat of Delay. If these House republicans can hold their noses and speak well of the man who is trying for an acquittal by publicity, then they need to be targeted as just as corrupt and malign as Delay himself."

It's sad when a broken down old airplane driver (no offense swabbie) can develop a better strategy than all the pros at the DNC.

Jesus' General is touting the new "gWB" programs. He finds one that seems very fitting. Sounds like some sort of home improvement show - "Closets of Power".

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Once Around - Without Using the Brakes

The whole sordid question of Bush's (not really) litmus test for Harriett Miers has been all over the blogosphere, but I think that the Carpetbagger Report handled it as well as anybody.

"...Bush is still trying to explain why Harriet Miers is his choice to sit on the Supreme Court, and today he admitted that Miers' faith played a role in that selection.

I suspect the president didn't intend to admit this, but now that he has, it gives the right a chance to spin 180 degrees.

After all, when Dick Durbin suggested that he believed questions about a nominee's faith and the impact it might have on his or her judicial work are fair game, an indignant Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said, "We have no religious tests for public office in this country. And I think anyone would find that sort of inquiry, if it were actually made, offensive. And so I hope we don't go down that road."

Of course, that was the GOP message in August. Now it's October — and Bush is going down that road with no brakes."

Sticking with the Miers mess, Jo Fish at Democratic Veteran proves that I will always link to a post that has a Monty Python theme.

"Everytime that Preznit Barely Literate or his Lump talks about Miers, they make sure to point out that she was a "pioneer woman and a trailblazer" in legal circles. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Attorneys who know her and her work seem to think that she's a third-rate hack, who has argued persuasivley on behalf of clients, and even won a few cases (well, that's what clients pay for, right?). But as for judicial credentials, there's not much there.
And her attendance at the church of her choice should hardly be the most compelling reason for appointing her to the court."

OK....The last word on Miers for the day goes to The Impolitic. Cutting to the core reason for Bush's elevation of his secretary to the Supreme Court.

"It's clear to me the only reason she was nominated was to keep Bush's butt out of the firestorm that the Plame investigation is about to unleash. George doesn't give a shit about anything but absolute loyalty to himself and judging from the cutesy hearts and flowers correspondence they've exchanged, he couldn't find a better suck-up than Harriet. She'll be George's Monica without the messy dress."

Republican sex.

I know, I said the above was the last word on Miers, but Jesus' General has managed to forage up some of Harriett's documents. They are very revealing:

In the East Bay, Kid Oakland has the bit between his teeth and is running away with Traitorgate. To many great post to pick just one. Read them all, but here is some vintage Kid:

"This is a crunch moment for the GOP. They have the Presidency, the Senate, the House and they are loading in at the Supreme Court. This is the political party that brought us the impeachment of Bill Clinton on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. Hypocrisy has always come easy to them; that may no longer be so blithely true. There are no easy choices for anyone caught up in this mess, especially those 'true believers' who put the screws into Bill Clinton. Truth is, impeachment was an abuse of power whose reverberations are still being felt in the body politic. It's hard not to think back to those times now, as our nation faces a legitimate crisis of leadership."

Or a crisis of illegitimate leadership.

Pacific Views offers a breathtaking view and a reminder that we might have been placed in this universe for a totally different reason than the petty shit on which we are spending all of our time.

"This view of the surface of Saturn's moon Tethys, taken during Cassini's close approach to the moon on Sept. 24, 2005, reveals an icy land of steep cliffs. The view is of the southernmost extent of Ithaca Chasma, in a region not seen by NASA's Voyager spacecraft.

The ridges around Ithaca Chasma have been thoroughly hammered by impacts. This appearance suggests that Ithaca Chasma as a whole is very old.

There is brighter material in the floors of many craters on Tethys. That's the opposite situation from Saturn's oddly tumbling moon Hyperion, where dark material is concentrated in the bottoms of many craters."

Maybe God has a better plan for us than George Bush and his cronies can envision. There is a whole universe to explore. So much to do and only eternity to do it all.

Americans Ready for Democracy (maybe even Democrats)

A new NBC/WSJ poll pegs George Bush's approval rating at its lowest point since he stole the presidency in 2000.

"The poll shows that Bush’s approval rating stands at 39 percent, a new low for the president. In the last NBC/Wall Street Journal survey, which was released in mid-September, 40 percent approved of Bush’s job performance while 55 percent disapproved. In addition, just 28 percent believe the country is headed in the right direction, another all-time low in Bush’s presidency."

But wait, there's more. Those polled also think that returning control of the Congress to serious adults (Democrats) would be a really good idea.

"...with 13 months until the 2006 congressional elections, 48 percent say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 39 percent who want the Republicans to control Capitol Hill. In fact, that nine-point difference is the largest margin between the parties in the 11 years the NBC/Journal poll has been tracking this question."

All this before indictments are handed down for key White House staffers in Traitorgate (Plamegate) and Bush is forced to withdraw the Miers Supreme Court nomination by the right wing of his own party.

Maybe we are starting to wake up from the long national nightmare that George Bush and his Republican allies have forced our country to endure.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Cunningham's Life Style Questions

"On July 1, dozens of federal agents from the FBI, the IRS and the Pentagon's Defense Criminal Investigative Service conducted simultaneous raids at Cunningham's new home in Rancho Santa Fe and at Wade's home in northwest Washington. Agents also conducted searches at MZM's Washington offices and aboard the "Duke-Stir," taking away boxes of materials from each site." San Diego Union Tribune

The simultaneous raids on Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham and his benefactor Mitchell Wade of MZM, followed reports of document shredding by Wade as he was exiting MZM headquarters. Exactly what documents and or information relating to bribery or other malfeasance that federal agents discovered during these raids and subsequent August raids of the home and offices of another defense contractor with close ties to Cunningham remain the subject of a federal grand jury inquiry.

There is however a growing body of speculation regarding other items found on the boat, the Duke-Stir, where Cunningham was living on Mitchell Wade's dime. Rumors of supplies of booze sufficient to float the Duke-Stir herself and large stashes of prescription medications that appear to have been obtained via the Rush Limbaugh mode of acquisition. Also, sources tell of piles of pornography in various forms strewn around the yacht.

There are no sources willing to go on the record regarding what was found on the Duke-Stir. Maybe it was a six pack of Zima, some over the counter cold medication and the Sport Illustrated swim suit edition. But, everyone to whom I've talked, who have access to primary sources, suggest that there were staggering quantities booze, drugs and porno on board.

The final part of these rumors is the suggestion that Cunningham had a shipmate aboard the Duke-Stir. This shipmate has peaked the interest of several gay publications, which have been raising questions about Cunningham since this scandal broke in July.

Historical questions regarding Cunningham have been dredged up by and the Houston Voice. Both which lean heavily on a 2003 story from the Washington Blade that detailed an incident alleged to have occurred in 1995.

To be honest, I don't care what stimulants Congressman Cunningham had aboard the Duke-Stir. Aside from the hypocrisy of his photo ops with local children and the fact he once was a featured speaker at my children's Christian school chapel program, what Duke does on his own time is his own business.

But, what if Cunningham's relatively recent approach to earmarking funds and projects to a select group of defense contractors has something to do with the discovery by those contractors of Cunningham's life style? Does Cunningham's conversion from ethical wingnut to "anything for sale" pork purveyor have something to do with some pressure by others to help them or face public humiliation? Just speculation.

One final note, the first witnesses called by the Cunningham grand jury were from the yacht club where the Duke-Stir was berthed. Is that a coincidence?

More Bush Protection

Eric Alterman points the way to this Washington Post story. Seems that the Bushies decided to change the hiring methology for federal airline passenger screeners at the cost of $343 million and no one knows why the change was made or who was responsible for the decision.

"Homeland Security Department officials said the change was made in collaboration with the prime contractor, NCS Pearson Inc. They said the deciding factor was Pearson's failure to attract enough screener candidates to its own testing centers while hiring for Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

Documents and interviews, however, show that the decision was contemplated before the contract was signed and was imposed by government officials well before the BWI project. Pearson officials said they never had a chance to try out their own testing approach.

Michael P. Jackson, deputy secretary of the Homeland Security Department, said in a recent interview that the agency does not have paperwork to back up its account and that he cannot recall the details surrounding the decision.

"Honestly, I have no memory of it," said Jackson, who said he was ultimately responsible for the contract as second-in-command at the Transportation Department in 2002."

A three hundred million dollar decision to move the interview and evaluation of $10 an hour airport screeners from a broad network of established assessment centers to temporary quarters at high end hotels ("Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan; the Hawk's Cay Resort in Duck Key, Fla.; the Wyndham Peaks Resort and Golden Door Spa in Telluride, Colo.")

Do screeners from high end hotel interviews do a better job of protecting the public than those who showed up at the assessment center in some suburban strip mall?

"This did not happen in a single meeting," Jackson said. "This was the cumulative judgment of dozens and dozens of people, not only people at the TSA, but also people at Pearson."

Jackson said the deciding factor was the fact that NCS Pearson did not attract enough candidates to its own assessment centers when it was hiring screeners for BWI Airport in early June 2002.

"We went out to BWI, and we used it as a test bed," he said. "It just didn't work. We couldn't get the right number of people in the right amount of time."

But contracting documents contradict that. The documents show that Pearson executives were directed to use the air marshal approach by March, nearly three months before they screened candidates for the BWI jobs.

Pearson officials later told auditors for the Defense Contract Audit Agency that they believed that their plan would have worked. "The efficiencies of such an approach are obvious -- by utilizing an existing network of test centers, with existing infrastructure, the cost to TSA would be minimized," the company told the auditors, who were asked to review the burgeoning expenses by the TSA."

I feel much safer knowing that the low wage, no benefits flunky that is strip searching a 90 year old grandmother was recruited at one of the country's premier hotels.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Democrats Can't Protect Their Own

Over at k/o, Kid Oakland does an excellent job breaking down the current status of four key propositions on the California ballot. These propositions are the core of Governor Schwarzenegger's attack on the Democratic Party in the state. The Governor's attack, funded and supported by his big money, big business allies, is directed as reducing the power of unions, giving the governor extra-ordinary fiscal powers and removing the majority Democrats (and the people) from redistricting decisions.

"Arnold is politically weak, but his agenda is winning. The state of the November propositions is exhibit A for this effect. Arnold, whose poll numbers remain in the toilet, has found more than one Achilles heel of California Democrats and is chomping away at all our weak points like a dog on a bone.

Or, we should say,
Arnold's corporate backers are chomping away at these weaknesses. Somehow, this critical piece of the puzzle, that these initiatives were set up by big business, has been neglected. Moneyed interests are pushing these initiatives, just like they did the candidacy of Arnold himself, to divide CA democrats right down the middle. Whether it's dividing our labor coalition from the rank and file, our pro-choice coalition from the "moderates" who've always said they support parental notification, or our reformers from our incumbents, let's face it, we've been split by big money. And when we're divided we lose; and that, more than anything, explains the fact that Arnold is weak while his agenda isn't.

Schwarzenegger's personal popularity continues to fall, but the propositions that he is supporting have strong support. In September, Arnold's approval rating was in negative territory, with 52% of voters registering disapproval. Yet, somewhere between 55% and 60% of voters support Arnold's position on four key ballot propositions.

Kid Oakland points out the key reason for the strong voters support of propositions designed to gut the Democratic Party, despite the obvious and growing voter distaste for Schwarzenegger. Democrats have failed to provide a convincing narrative to convince voters that these propositions are a full scale, special interest, assault on the rights of the people of the state.

"The way to oppose these propositions is the "one-two punch." We need to oppose the guy who pitched this expensive, unnecessary and trojan horse special election in the first place, and to create doubt about who's really behind them. Simply put, we've got to make Nov. 8th about Arnold and money. But that's just one part of our one-two punch, we also need common sense language on each of these propositions that makes our case to everyday Californians in straightforward and consistent terms. We need to create reasonable doubts in voters minds about the motivations and outcomes of these ballot initiatives."

Failure to defeat these propositions will weaken the Democratic Party in a key state. More critically, if such an attack on the core of the Democratic Party can succeed in California, how can it be stopped anywhere else? More simply: If Democrats can't protect themselves and their partners in California, how will they do so elsewhere?

Looting by Another Name

The Los Angeles Times tells us who really wrote the Louisiana Katrina Reconstruction Act, introduced in September by Louisiana Senators Landrieu and Vitter. The Times suggests that the real authors of the $250 billion pork mine were:

“Lobbyists representing transportation, energy and other special interests dominated panels that advised Louisiana's U.S. senators crafting legislation to rebuild the storm-damaged Gulf Coast, records and interviews show.”

The recommendations of these lobbyist led panels often have little to do with post Katrina reconstruction and much to do with doling out Federal aid to the clients of these lobbyists. For example:

“• Energy utilities. Entergy Corp. and Cleco Corp. lobbyists consulted with the senators' staffs. Five days before the bill was introduced, Cleco retained the lobbying services of Lynnel B. Ruckert, Vitter's former deputy campaign manager and the wife of his chief of staff.In an unusual assist to private utilities, the recovery bill includes $2.5 billion to help Louisiana companies such as Entergy of New Orleans and Cleco of Pineville restore and rebuild their electricity systems and recover losses from sustained power outages.

• Supporters of a controversial industrial canal project serving the Port of New Orleans. Among those serving on advisory panels were two officials of Jones Walker, a New Orleans-based firm that lobbies in Washington for the canal project. One of those officials was Paul F. Cambon, an ex-aide to former House Speaker Bob Livingston (R-La.), whose Livingston Group also is a lobbyist for the canal.The recovery bill asks Congress to give "priority consideration" to the Army Corps of Engineers project, which would build a lock along the canal at a cost of $748 million.

• Highway advocates. Among those on a transportation working group were lobbyists for highway projects seeking funds, including a lobbyist from a firm headed by former Sen. J. Bennett Johnston (D-La.).In the bill, four Louisiana highways considered evacuation and energy supply routes would receive construction, maintenance and repair work worth $7 billion. At least two of those projects were represented by lobbyists on the working group.”

Not everyone included in creating the reconstruction legislation was a registered lobbyist. But, it turned out that only the lobbyists had any real clout in the process.

"I was basically shocked," said Ivor van Heerden, director of a hurricane public health research center at Louisiana State University. "What do lobbyists know about a plan for the reconstruction and restoration of Louisiana?"

Van Heerden was the first participant of any of the senators' working groups to provide such a detailed and scathing account of the process and its outcome. He said he was shut out after he voiced his concerns."

The gravy train is coming, taxpayers are footing the bill and lobbyists have got to eat. Can you blame the lobbyists for trying to get as much for their clients as possible? Does it help the people of Louisiana to concentrate on the funding of unnecessary projects and exclude projects that might help the people of the region because those projects don’t have high powered lobbyists advocating them?

"Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense, a Washington watchdog group, said lobbyists were trying to exploit the catastrophe."They are using Katrina to get funding they haven't been able to get in the past," he said. "You want to help the region, but the bill they put together has a lot of projects that aren't needed. This is congressional looting at its worst."

I guess it goes without saying that “most of the lobbying firms are major campaign contributors, and several are among the most generous donors to Landrieu and Vitter.”

Every storm cloud has a silver lining.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Paper of Record Hides the Truth

Update: Newsweek brings us up to date on not only Judith Miller's "lost" notebook, but Karl Rove's recovered email.

"In Cooper's account, Rove told him the wife of White House critic Joseph Wilson worked at the "agency" on WMD issues and was responsible for sending Wilson on a trip to Niger to check out claims that Iraq was trying to buy uranium. But Rove did not disclose this conversation to the FBI when he was first interviewed by agents in the fall of 2003—nor did he mention it during his first grand jury appearance, says one of the lawyers familiar with Rove's account. (He did not tell President George W. Bush about it either, assuring him that fall only that he was not part of any "scheme" to discredit Wilson by outing his wife, the lawyer says.) But after he testified, Luskin discovered an e-mail Rove had sent that same day—July 11—alerting deputy national-security adviser Stephen Hadley that he had just talked to Cooper, the lawyer says."

Wouldn't you think that the Times might have an inside track on this story? I guess they "don't want to get to far out in front" on this.

The New York Times is considered by some (it used to many) to be America's newspaper of record. The Times motto is "All the News That's Fit to Print," yet it certainly appears that the Times has a lot more news regarding the relationship of its reporter, Judith Miller and the true story of the Bush Administration's attack on former ambassador, Joseph Wilson.

Armando at the Kos finds some substantial reasons to believe that the Times is up to its editorial eyebrows in the Plamegate cover-up that includes Miller and key figures in the Bush Administration.

"It is NOT unfair now to speculate that a New York Times reporter conspired with members of the Bush Administration in a scheme to discredit a critic of the Bush regime. It is NOT unfair now to speculate that the management of the New York Times is engaged in obfuscation and stonewalling in order to cover up its complicity in Ms. Miller's actions.

The New York Times is now suspect on this story. They owe their readers and the nation a full explanation of what Ms. Miller was doing, why, what they knew, when they knew it, and what they did in reaction to it."

Over at k/o, Kid Oakland riffs on the same theme, what did the Times know and when did they know it?

"If, as it turns out, that the roads of this story cross more and more at what happened in the office of the editors at the New York Times....decisions they made in 2002 and 2003, in the lead up to both a Presidential election and a war, decisions that may have put the interests of their paper and their staff above the interests of their public and their nation: ie. reporting the truth...then we do, at a very minimum, have a right to know much more than we've been told. The New York Times owes its readers a full and thorough reporting of this story and Judith Miller's involvement in it."

Humm. The New York Times more interested in protecting itself than in telling the truth. Another bastion of the "liberal media" turns out to be a Potemkin prop.

Dick Pombo - Another Republican For Sale

Environmental rapist and Republican Congressman Dick Pombo (CA-11) is also another member of the Republican Circus of Corruption. According to the Lodi News- Sentinel, Pombo collected $13,000 in contributions from Alaskan construction interests as he began a major push to open ANWR to oil companies.

"Last month, Pombo used his position as chairman of the House Resources Committee to further his longstanding goal of leasing land for oil drilling in part of ANWR, which spans 19 million acres of northeast Alaska. The committee is expected to include a provision to open ANWR in a budget reconciliation bill later this month...

Nearly 40 percent of the Alaskan money deposited into Pombo’s political coffers came from two executives of VECO Corp., a company that could be among those benefiting from the opening of ANWR. The company, based in Anchorage, Alaska, provides a variety of support services to the oil industry, including constructing and managing oil refineries and pipelines.

“VECO is ready to assist efforts in every way possible to make new mega projects happen — specifically, an Alaskan gas pipeline and the opening of ANWR,” the company said in a 2003 newsletter."

The News-Sentinel does leave open the question of whether the contributions represented a bribe for future services or a reward for past activities by Pombo. But, certainly VECO believes in putting its money where it will do it the most good.

"Leathard, who gave $2,500 to Pombo’s PAC in August, said he didn’t want to give the impression that the company was buying access, but did say the company encourages donations by rank-and-file workers. VECO’s chairman and CEO, Bill J. Allen, also gave Pombo $2,500. Company Vice President Rick Smith paid $1,312.75 to cater an event, but the committee later reimbursed him."

Pombo is the most blatantly anti-environment member of congress. His continued presence in Washington is an affront to the concept of conservation as public policy. His desire to destroy every vestige of environmental and species protection in the service of his corporate paymasters becomes more apparent every day.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Once Around - Are We There Yet?

Morbo over at the Carpetbagger voices a concern that I have regarding Harriet Miers: the whole thing is a set-up.

"So are we being set up? Maybe. At the end of the day, the Bush administration does not have to placate interest groups to get Miers on the court. It must merely win the support of 51 senators. Right now, with so many Democrats making nice over her, that should not be hard to do. So what if 10 or 12 hard-right senators jump ship? Who cares if Paul Weyrich grumbles for a month? That actually helps the administration by making Miers look moderate.

Notice that all of this alleged infighting has distracted the country from the more compelling issue that I'm sure Bush would rather not discuss: Is Miers qualified? I say she's not. Her record is unremarkable. It's as if Bush had named his gardener Secretary of Interior."

Another crony gets his/her reward and the Reagan/Bush/Republican Revolution of the Corrupt Rich continues.

The Left Coaster collects a multitude of useful links to Treasongate.

"In other words, it was not that Rove mentioned his conversation with Cooper and then just forgot to mention he spoke to Cooper about Wilson and his wife. Rather, he says he totally forgot that the call even occurred! A call which, per their unjustifiable story/defense, was part of their organized campaign to "set the record straight" about Joseph Wilson's claims (at a time when the media was agog with negative stories about the White House and the SOTU uranium claim)."

I want to believe that Rove, Libby and maybe a few more of the President's Men are going down over this, but.................

Pinch hitting at Hullabalo, tristero has a great post up regarding Kitzmiller v. Dover - "intellegent design" as science education in Pennsylvania.

"Incredibly, some of the smartest people I know are quite confused over "intelligent design." A few years ago, my wife and I were having lunch with some friends, two enormously gifted investigative reporters for two Major Metropolitan Newspapers here in New York, folks whose bylines often appear on the front page. The subject turned to the evolution debate and John (name changed to protect the guilty) said, "Actually, I really think 'intelligent design' should be taught in science class." I was absolutely shocked, He had no idea what the actual issues are. Similarly, last week, we were having dinner with a philosopher of science and his wife. They, too, didn't quite understand why "intelligent design" does not belong in biology classes."

Why is it not possible to believe that God created the world as it is and that His creation includes all of the manifestations of the physical world? Why is it also not possible to believe that God intended that His human creation would have the intellegence to figure out the physical world He created?

From The Nation we get this excellent graphic image:

It's been a bad week for the Bush Junta, but at some point some Democrats are going to have to step forward and offer an alternative to the Republican Circus of Corruption and Cronyism other than to suggest that people should "trust" that Democrats aren't quite as bad. The Bushies have made "trust" a dirty word across the whole political spectrum.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Dead Weep

River at Baghdad Burning tells a story about the new Iraqi constitution that ends with this:

"It is utterly frustrating to talk to someone about the referendum- whether they are Sunni or Shia or Kurd- and know that even before they’ve read the constitution properly, they’ve decided what they are going to vote.

Women’s rights aren’t a primary concern for anyone, anymore. People actually laugh when someone brings up the topic. “Let’s keep
Iraq united first…” is often the response when I comment about the prospect of Iranian-style Sharia.

Rights and freedoms have become minor concerns compared to the possibility of civil war, the reality of ethnic displacement and cleansing, and the daily certainty of bloodshed and death."

Over at Kos, this diary from a military man bring back that great
Vietnam cliché, "we are destroying the country in order to save it."

"As a solider I have been involved in this war in one way or another since 1990. I was in
Baghdad early on when we actually thought we could rebuild the country. It was a tough decision then to cut down the trees on the airport road then but when you are getting shot at, you have to do something. Now we are blowing up bridges. For the first time I believe we have lost. For the first time as a military professional I think we have no way of winning this. We are willing to destroy the basic structures of the country to deny the enemy their use. This means we have no other way to deny them the use of these assets. We can't stop them, the Iraqi Army can't stop them, the Iraqi police can't stop them and we can't collect enough intelligence to make the enemy pay for using what should be choke points."

The American death toll is climbing to nearly 2000. For what did they die? What noble cause has been served by their death? The constitution is a joke and we are bombing the already nearly destroyed infrastructure of the country because we do not have the resources to stop the insurgents from doing what they want when they choose to do it.

What a colossal failure

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

For Sale Sign

The San Diego Union Tribune discloses today that, shortly after his appointment to the House intelligence committee in 2001, Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham sent a letter to ADCS Inc. founder and chief executive, Brent Wilkes. In his letter, Cunningham informs Wilkes of his desire to work closely with the defense contractor.

"I have long benefited from your expertise on major defense issues before Congress, and have appreciated the opportunity to work with you on key service funding priorities. With my new assignment, I see even greater opportunities to work together in support of our national security and intelligence communities."

Essentially, Duke was letting Wilkes know that he had been given the key to the bank and his close friends and key contributors were now in line for free samples from the vault.

“The recipient of the correspondence was the same Brent Wilkes who helped steer at least $71,500 in campaign contributions to Cunningham between 2000 and 2004. He's also the one who flew Cunningham on his corporate jet on campaign-related trips, including a hunting trip in Idaho and a golf tournament in Hawaii, and hosted fundraisers on the lawmaker's boat in Washington, D.C.”

Cunningham and Wilkes working closely together to make sure the taxpayers get fleeced.

“Watchdog groups say Cunningham's letter to Wilkes, at a minimum, reflects a worrisome relationship between a lawmaker and a friend who happens to be a generous political contributor and businessman making a living off government contracts.

At a minimum, this letter presents an appearance of corruption," said Taylor Lincoln, a government policy analyst at Public Citizen, a public-interest advocacy group. "The notion that Cunningham truly sought insight into national security from citizen Wilkes is seriously damaged by the fact that he has been willing to accept tens of thousands of dollars from Wilkes and Co.”

Cunningham must have sent his “for sale” notices to a lot of companies.

“Several defense contractors in recent weeks have said that Cunningham intervened with Pentagon officials on their behalf, as well as Wilkes'. Cunningham's intervention, they said, had been crucial to securing defense contracts.

One contractor said his company relocated to San Diego specifically to be in Cunningham's district.

After moving to the district, he said, he raised political contributions for Cunningham to ensure the lawmaker's continued support as Pentagon officials decided how to split annual defense appropriations among competing contractors.

Cunningham never directly asked him for money in exchange for support, the executive said. However, he added, a lobbyist he retained made it clear that he should be located in the district and provide contributions.

"We had a lobbyist advising us, but we kind of knew the game," he said. "And if we didn't do it, somebody else was going to, and so we didn't have a whole lot of choice."

I ask this question every time. Why is this crook still in Congress?

An offer she can't refuse

Bush’s fixer. That’s the best legal mind and candidate for a position on the Supreme Court. Farnsworth at OPOV, points out that Harriet Miers’ most distinguishing legal accomplishments are as Bush’s consiglieri.

"Turns out, big surprise, that little Harriet was a major player in the coverup engineered by The Family to eliminate those annoying little factoids that could have a negative effect on Baby Doc's Prezdintin' aspirations. Like that small fact that he deserted from his National Guard unit, even after his influential father, Don Georgio, pulled any number of strings to get him into it.

So Harriet, the dutiful soldier, scrubbed the records, Baby Doc is now Prezdint, and she reaps her reward."

What about Justice? She sleeps with the fishes.

Monday, October 03, 2005

At the Pen and Sword, Commander Huber calls on the professional military to take a moral stand regarding the disastrous malfeasance of the Bush Administration regarding our military.

"Our political and military leaders are stringing us along. The Iraq excursion has been a dishonest, immoral, and incompetently run fiasco from the outset. This has to change, and it's high time to debunk the right wing mantra that "real" Americans support their president and the military in time of war.

"Real" Americans are not loyal subjects. They are citizens. The president is not America's commander in chief. He is commander in chief of America's military. And America does not exist to support its military. The military exists to support America.

By committing our military to a bad war in pursuit his neocon cronies' agenda, Mister Bush has mis-served our country and the troops we have placed under his command.

By continuing to support Mister Bush, our generals are not only placing political loyalty above their oath to uphold the constitution, they are betraying the trust of the troops who serve under them.

They should resign. "


Bush Did It!

Over at Informed Comment, Juan Cole details the latest assertion that both Bush and Cheney were involved in the decision to go after Joe Wilson and implicated in the decision to attack Wilson via his wife, Valerie Plame.

"Rove and Libby were chosen as the hatchet men who would actually talk to the reporters and put the information around. But of course Bush and Cheney were part of the deliberations that set the plan in motion. It involved outing a career CIA operative (and likely getting her contacts in the third world killed). It was very serious business. Bush would have had to have signed off on it, at least orally."

Professor Cole extends the argument that Bush is responsible for the Plame leak to cover a long list of poor decisions and incompetent leadership. As Cole points out, there is far less debate over these failures than over their ultimate authorship. Cole clears that up - "Bush did it!" It might have been a Pentagon plan or something that came from Dick Cheney's office, but at the end of the day, George Bush is responsible.

"I have long been frustrated by the US press's tendency to talk about Bush's cabinet officers as though they were independent agents, and to put Bush on a pedestal...

It is fruitless to speculate about who dissolved the Iraqi army in May of 2003, and why. (This move contributed to the rise of the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement). Bush did it!

Who ordered the Marines, against their better judgement, to launch a reprisal attack on Fallujah after four Western private security guards were killed and their bodies desecrated there? Bush did it!.

Who authorized torture at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib? Bush did it!

Who appointed Michael Brown, a man with no experience in emergency management, head of FEMA? Bush did it!

Who let Bin Laden escape from Tora Bora? Bush did it!

Who completely destroyed the fiscal health of the US government and forced us into massive debt, squandering Clinton's surplus and endangering social security? Bush did it!.

Bush is the president. He makes the decisions. If there has been a major bad decision, it has been his.

Who outed Valerie Plame as an undercover CIA operative? Bush did it!"

Bush's problem is that more and more Americans are seeing the absolute truth that in fact, each of these failures, disasters or felonies belong to George Bush. He did them all.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Democratic Traitors

Kiss Them Off - Who Needs Em'

You don't expect a man like Rep. Richard Pombo (CA-11) to give a damn about the environment or the Endangered Species Act (ESA). That is why he is pushing legislation through Congress to gut the ESA. Pombo is a mean, selfish and ultimately worthless political tool, who is building his reputation on his advocacy of the wholesale demolition of the environment. Not the roll back of environmental regulations, but a complete turnover of environmental responsibility to corporations, agribusiness and greed.

The Saint Petersburg Times calls Pombo's behavior "reckless endangerment".

"Pombo called the Endangered Species Act "a failure in terms of the conflict with private property owners." That assumes the property owner is always right. There may be unnecessary litigation and delay, but that means the current law should be tweaked, not destroyed.

Pombo is right that few species have been removed from the endangered species list, but if he gets his way, the list will only grow longer."

My anger isn't focused on Pombo. Pombo's bill to gut the ESA passed by a 229-193 margin. 34 Republicans voted against Pombo. 36 Democrats voted for Pombo's bill. Pombo's attack on the Endangered Species Act passed because a group of Democrats said "the hell with endangered species - we're with Dick Pombo and screw the environment and the rest of you!"

Here is the list of all votes. If your Democratic member of congress voted with Pombo get in their face and demand to know why.