Monday, July 31, 2006

CA-50's Illegal Election Results

The controversy over voting irregularities in the June 3 elections in San Diego County continued today. Raw Story reported that election attorney Paul Lehto has joined with several San Diego County and 50th congressional district resident in a lawsuit demanding that the court direct a complete hand recount of the 50th district ballots.

“We are filing this lawsuit to seek the truth regarding the election,” said Lehto, who added that the lawsuit alone is not intended to install Busby in Congress, since only Congress has the power to oust a member who has been sworn into office. But he noted, “If we can get something changed here, it could not only improve things in the 50th Congressional District, but in the 434 other Congressional races across the country in November.”

The lawsuit will be filed on behalf of three voters in the 50th Congressional District: Jacobsen (who filed the hand count request), attorney Lillian Ritt, and Brian Weissman, a computer professional. The suit does not claim to represent Democratic candidate Francine Busby.

In addition, the lawsuit request that the court establish a cost for the recount. When the initial recount request was made by 50th district resident and voter, Gail Jacobsen, county Registrar of Voters, Mikel Haas estabished the recount cost a $1 per vote or $150,000 for the complete process. Haas then failed to provide Jacobsen with the appropriate documentation to complete her request and he has continued to stonewall Jacobsen.

The San Diego lawsuit will ask the court to set appropriate costs for the recount.

“That would certainly be less than Haas was demanding,” Lehto predicted. Haas asked Jacbsen for $150,000, or a dollar a vote, to conduct a hand count – far higher than the 14 cents a vote reportedly charged by a neighboring county.

In addition, the suit will seek affirmative evidence of election irregularities, such as whether absentee ballots were lumped together to list inexplicably high voter turnout rates. “The Registrar’s own reports say that this was done,” Lehto observed. For example, absentee precinct 99068 lists a seemingly impossible 4,750% turnout, according to the Registrar’s published records.

The suit also seeks to reveal ways in which the public and plaintiffs have been “prevented from determining if election irregularities or fraud have occurred,” Lehto told RAW STORY, citing “blinding or withholding information,” as key issues. “The voting machine sleepovers is also a good example of that,” he added, referring to Haas’ practice of allowing poll workers to take home electronic voting machines with programmable memory cards inside for weeks before the election. “To the degree that we don’t have forensic analysis, any codes placed on machines is undetectable.”

Three San Diego television outlets picked up on the story today and included summaries of the actions in the local evening news reports. Local ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates went with the story. The Union Tribune will carry the story in its Tuesday edition.

Interestingly, since he has already been sworn into office, Brian Bilbray can not be removed from his position, even if a recount shows that he actually had fewer votes than Francine Busby. How would the Republican congress handle that little issue?

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Rumsfeld's a Loon - Pass It On!

According to Atrios, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is a dangerous deranged lunatic. He thinks its time everybody started saying so. I'm good with that!

Donald Rumsfeld is a loon.

Pass it on.

Jenna Bush - Look At This

Tomorrow over at One Pissed Off Veteran, Farnsworth will again remind us that despite George Bush's love of war - for democracy's sake - his own military age children are busy pursuing the life of the idle and self-indulgent rich.

Maybe Farnsworth will point out that Senator John McCain's youngest son just enlisted in the Marines and is likely to be deployed in Iraq before the end of the year.

In 2000, George Bush and the lying sacks of crap that make up his inner circle, worked diligently to destroy their then rival, John McCain. The spread the rumor that former Vietnam War POW, McCain was unstable. That his adopted African daughter, Bridget, was his own illegitimate love child.

In other words, the Bush propaganda machine did everything it could to destroy John McCain by attacking his strengths. He was a war hero, who spent years in North Vietnam captivity, while their candidate was AWOL from his National Guard unit. So, attack him for being a hero and a captive. John McCain and his wife had adopted a child from Africa, an act of real compassion. So, attack his by suggesting that his black child was from an illicit affair.

I don't really like John McCain as a politician. I disagree with him on virtually every key position. But, unlike the current Republican in the White House, I do believe that John McCain is a man of integrity. Integrity that he appears to have passed on to his children.

Diplomacy Is Hard Work

Poor Condoleezza Rice stuck doing the hard work of diplomacy for the Bush Administration. And, make no mistake about it, as Rice puts it "the U.S. has been working harder and harder and harder" to achieve a meaningful cease fire in Lebanon. A cease fire that meets all the conditions set forth by Israel.

Of course the fact that Rice was uninvited from cease fire talks in Lebanon today when an Israeli air strike killed 54 mostly women and children in the village of Qana. The death toll in Qana includes 37 children.

Even after being told not to come to Lebanon until she has done something to stop the killing, Rice claimed that she and her child loving master in the White House were doing everything possible to do so. Well, everything short of demanding that their clients in Israel actually, you know, stop the killing.

Rice brags that she "would put our efforts besides anyone's effort to deal with the situation. We are also pushing for an urgent end" to hostilities. However, the United States government has done nothing to restrain the Israelis and it in effect using them as proxies to send a message to Syria and Iran. A message written in the blood of the Lebanese people.

The US position is to allow the killing to continue and any words by Rice contrary to that are, well, lies (or spin, the Republican word for lies). This from the Washington Post.
The controversial U.S. position -- which has pitted Washington against most European and Arab allies that pressed unsuccessfully for an immediate cease-fire -- also reflects a shift back to the Bush administration's first-term strategy, foreign policy specialists said. With Rice at the helm of foreign policy, the second Bush term had been characterized by a more realistic and collegial approach to foreign policy, a shift from the hard-charging, go-it-alone push epitomized by the Iraq war during the first term.
Working harder to make the world a more dangerous place. A place where democracy can be snuffed out at the end of a gun.

photo AFP

Saturday, July 29, 2006

CA-50 Brian Bilbray Votes $91,000,000 Tax Relief for Paris Hilton

Since his return to the feeding trough, CA-50 Republican savior, Representative Brian Bilbray has voted to expand off-shore oil drilling, keep earmarks secret and to give himself a pay raise. This would be a career for some members of congress, but Bilbray pulled it all off in less than two months. Now, just as he is ready to take a months vacation, Bilbray joined his fellow Republican scam artists to insure that Paris Hilton and her inheritance sucking billionaire pals, can keep every penny of the money passed on to them by their dead relatives.

Words From The Past - Images Are From The Present

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Bush and Rice Don't Care Who Dies!

The Bush Administration doesn't give a damn about Lebanon.

Perhaps it is time we stop giving a damn about the Bush Administration.

Video by hilalchouman.

Hummm....If It Quacks Like A Duck - Could It Be A Duck?

Frankly, I don't think Francine Busby beat Brian Bilbray in the CA-50 special election, but the behavior of the County Registrar of Voters is pretty suspicious.

On June 6, 2006, we went to our polling places and filled out the appropriate spaces on our paper ballots, and fed those ballots into the optical scanners. However, it is my belief that none of us actually cast legal votes. Instead, we all engaged in an exercise which looked like voting, and felt like voting, but was not, in fact, and as a matter of law, actual voting.

The reason is this: before our optical scanners and touch screen machines arrived at the polls, they had been technically decertified by the removal, days and weeks before, of these machines from the safekeeping of the Registrar of Voters. They went into homes, garages and cars, and stayed there until the morning of the election. These security breaches rendered them decertified by Federal and State standards.

Is the CA-50 such a plumb that Republicans would steal the election? Tough question.

Immigration Policies Succeed - In Killing More People

Increased attention to border control and the deployment of extra-legal forces such as the Minutemen and legal forces such as the National Guard have not resulted in an increase in the apprehension of those crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. However, deaths along the border have increased substantially over 2005. According to the Border Patrol, deaths are on pace to "reach a record number this year."

The San Diego Union Tribune has the details on border apprehensions, rescues and deaths (pdf).

Tighter enforcement is steering illegal border-crossing traffic away from Arizona and has likely led to fewer deaths, rescues and apprehensions there this year. But borderwide, fatalities are approaching last year's record pace.

Meanwhile, apprehensions are down borderwide, but increasing in California and parts of Texas, with the biggest jump in the San Diego region.

According to Border Patrol records, between Oct. 1 and Sunday, 319 people are known to have died along the southern border. A year ago, 326 people died during the same period.

During fiscal year 2005, 472 people are known to have died attempting to cross the border illegally, making it the deadliest year on record. The federal fiscal year is Oct. 1 to Sept. 30.

Fortunately, Republicans have a solution to controlling our Southern Border - an electrified wall. Representative Steve King (IA-5) has the plans for the fence already completed. You can watch him build his wall here.

We could also electrify this wire with the kind of current that would not kill somebody, but it would simply be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it. We do that with livestock all the time.
Maybe we should start tazering employers who hire illegal aliens. That might be a more effect use of electricity. We could make it part of Chamber of Commerce meetings.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Condi's Shoe Shopping Opportunity

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will soon be on her way to Italy to put her impressive brain power to work delaying any meaningful end to Israel's blood bath in Lebanon. I'm sure that she would have avoided this trip if the crisis meeting was held anywhere but Italy. The shoe shopping has got to be world class.

Will Bush and Rice wait and allow Israel complete freedom in Lebanon, a whole new generation of hard-liners and freedom fighters will emerge out of their folly. At least, those who survive the "ethnic cleansing."

President Pure Evil

The other day President Morally Bankrupt surrounded himself with children as he vetoed the wishes of the American people to see more federal funding for stem cell research. Is there a more transparently evil, morally corrupt person on this planet than George Bush?

While our cowardly president was hiding behind children, it would be interesting to hear how things were going for children in free, democratic Iraq.

Invoking the sanctity of human life, George Bush wielded the presidential veto for the first time in his presidency to halt US embryonic stem cell research in its tracks. He even paraded one-year-old Jack Jones, born from one of the frozen embryos that can now never be used for federally funded research, and talked of preventing the "taking of innocent human life". How hollow that sounds to Iraqis.

While Iraqi parents contemplate the bleak future for their children, George Bush pretends to give a damn for frozen embryos. While frozen embryos are safe (until disposed per standard lab procedure), the children of Lebanon come under artillery fire. The photos below are George Bush's legacy.

In Lebanon, George Bush's concern for children doesn't garner him any votes from the religious right, so it's "bombs away!"

Don't these children deserve as much consideration from George Bush as the bi-product of fertility clinics' efforts?

Photos from Lebanon from here. Warning: These are the photos I could deal with. This site shows the real face of Israel's war on the Lebanese people.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Minutemen and Alan Keyes - Show Me The Money

The Washington Times doing hard-hitting investigative reporting into the Minuteman movement. That in itself should be a headline somewhere. Seems like the Minuteman organization works a lot like Republican fund raising. Lots of money comes in, but no one can figure out where it all goes. That's the beauty of such an organization. Scared people mail in checks or credit card donations and they believe what the organization's website tells them about how the money is being put to work.
A growing number of Minuteman Civil Defense Corps leaders and volunteers are questioning the whereabouts of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of dollars in donations collected in the past 15 months, challenging the organization's leadership over financial accountability.

Many of the group's most active members say they have no idea how much money has been collected as part of its effort to stop illegal entry -- primarily along the U.S.-Mexico border, what it has been spent on or why it has been funneled through a Virginia-based charity headed by conservative Alan Keyes.

Chris Simcox, Minuteman Number One (groupenfuhrer in Minuteman speak), says that a public accounting is on the way. He just has to hire some outside consultants and get a third party audit completed. That's the best way to do this sort of thing, first collect the money, then figure out where it went. I'm sure Mr. Simcox has receipts for everything.

Mr. Simcox, in an interview last week with The Washington Times, estimated that about $1.6 million in donations have been collected, all of it handled through the Herndon-based Declaration Alliance, founded and chaired by Mr. Keyes. He said the donations, solicited on the group's Web site and during cross-country appearances, included $1 million directly to MCDC and $600,000 for a fence on the U.S.-Mexico border.

But Mr. Simcox's numbers could not be independently verified, including claims in a 3,961-word statement issued after the interview that he spent $160,000 on "our last two monthlong border-watch operations."

The Minuteman organization has not made any financial statements or fundraising records public since its April 2005 creation. It also has sought and received extensions of its federal reporting requirements and has not given the Minuteman leadership, its volunteers or donors any official accounting. A financial statement promised to The Times by Mr. Simcox for May was never delivered.

Of course, it wasn't the right wing Times that first reported that the Minutemen might need to start guarding their finances a little better than they have been monitoring the US/Mexico border. No, that distinction goes to David Neiwert over at Orcinius, who has been following the mainstreaming of Mr. Simcox and his organization for quite a while now.

It's so easy to raise millions of dollars if your focus is on hating someone else. No wonder, Republicans are able to raise so much money, all their political issues are based on hate. No wonder, Republican politicians in Southern California are falling all over themselves to get Minuteman support. It's even easier than getting on the corporate dole.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Unintended Consequences or Unattended Idiots

The law of unintended consequences is not hard and fast. It is not as clear-cut as say Newton’s 3rd law of motion. Great politicians and statesman are usually those individuals who are capable of understanding the most likely nature and scope of both the intended and unintended consequence of an action. Incompetent leaders spend no time considering the consequences of an action; they focus entirely on the action itself. Can there be a more clear definition of the incompetence of George Bush?

Marc Sandalow, the San Francisco Chronicle’s
Washington bureau chief, takes a look as some of Bush’s unintended consequences come home to root, while none of positive consequences promised by President Bush have occurred.

The oft-stated hope that a new Iraqi government would swiftly transform the region's fractured politics has been realized with unintended consequences: an emboldened Iran; the victory of Hamas in Palestinian elections; and Syria's departure from Lebanon. The familiar strain has been hatred between the Arabs and Israelis and a widely held assumption that the situation will grow worse before it improves.


This was not the sort of geopolitical shakeup predicted by President Bush when he declared two weeks before the Iraq invasion that "acting against the danger will also contribute greatly to the long-term safety and stability of our world.''

An intellectually weak and nearly functionally illiterate president turns the foreign policy of the United States over to a bunch of right wing ideologues, whose understanding of the Middle East is limited to their collective knowledge that there is oil under the sand over there. Who could have forecast that things would go so badly astray? Certainly not the neoconservatives whose ignorance and hubris created the strategic framework to which a detail adverse president would apply the tactical execution.

Pentagon adviser Richard Perle, an administration confidant who was among the strongest proponents of the notion that overthrowing Hussein would stabilize the region, insisted at the time the war began that the fruits of Iraq's liberation would come quickly.

"We want to bring real stability to the region,'' Perle said in a 2003 debate sponsored by Foreign Policy magazine. "We will hand over power quickly -- not in years, maybe not even in months -- to give Iraqis a chance to shape their own destiny. The world will see this.''

Perle said the chances for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "will improve as soon as Saddam is gone,'' and asserted that afterward "we will have a very good opportunity ... to persuade Syria to stop sponsoring terrorism.

"I promise we will be more effective in that if we remove Hussein,'' Perle said, exhibiting the confidence shared by many in the administration.

Ignorance is certainly a powerful tool when used indiscriminately. The neoconservative cabal that pushed the Iraqi war obviously had no idea what would happen as an immediate consequence of the war, nor what would happen in the region as the ramifications of this act rippled and reflected off each other.

Today, Iraq is near total civil war and potential partition. Iran is strengthened and emboldened. Syria’s power in Lebanon is going to increase as Israeli warplanes make the Lebanese government more and more irrelevant. Afghanistan is slowly succumbing to a resurgent Taliban. Iran is pulling multiple strings none of which will help the United States in the region. And, finally, the ascendancy of Islamic hardliners in both democratic elections and bare-knuckled power struggles indicates that what were once marginal political groups are now accepted in the mainstream.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

CA-50 Vote Fraud

This is a story that won't quite die. Brad's Blog and Raw Story are working hard to keep it alive. I think the battle is worth fighting regarding stolen elections, but I don't think there is even smoke in the CA-50, let alone any fire.

San Diego County Democratic chairman, Jess Durfee, took his concerns before the County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. That was a brilliant move, considering that it would be hard to find a more right wing group of Republicans any where in the country than the San Diego supes.

Durfee suggested that it would be a good idea for the supervisors to look into the election:
"We want the Board of Supervisors to hear the public's concerns about the way our elections are conducted in San Diego," Durfee said."The growing crisis of confidence about election integrity will continue to undermine the democratic process until serious actions are taken to protect the vote," he said. "The voters in San Diego County have a right to know that our elections are properly managed, fair and legal."
Bill Horn, a far right Republican supervisor spoke for the entire board when he said:
"We don't have a problem," Horn said in a phone interview. "I don't want to fix something that is not a problem."
County Registrar of Voters, Mikel Haas, has asked Katherine Harris to act as a consultant to his operation to help him reassure voters that everything was above board in the CA-50 special election.

Sadly, all this noise doesn't help the Busby campaign. In fact, it makes Democrats look like whiners yet again. If you don't think that is true, read the comments in the NC Times story referenced above.

Beyond the whining, is the fact that every dollar spent on the recount is a dollar that won't go to the Busby campaign or another Democrat in a tight race. Instead the money will go to a fool's errand.

A Little Al Gore

Picked this up over at the Carpetbagger Report. Imagine the Bush family saying grace before stuffing the bread into their mouths.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Please Explain This To Me????

This is so confusing on so many levels.

Video by japanezilla.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

CA-50 - Slipping Away

At the national level Democrats are deserting the Busby campaign in body, spirit and financial support. After a year of nearly perpetual campaigning, it looks like the party is conceding California's 50th District back to Republican rule.

Recently, two of Busby's sharpest political operatives, Brennan Bilberry and Brandon Hall have moved on to other opportunities. Through the spring, the Busby campaign could count on the direct support of Democratic Party heavy hitters, now Busby is reduced to getting face time at events headlining others. The money is moving on to other races.

In today's North County Times, William Finn Bennett, looks at Busby's diminished fortunes.
Despite her professed optimism, Busby faces a struggle to win the general election, in the view of two university professors who study congressional politics and who were interviewed last week.

"She is in a much weaker position" now, said Claremont-McKenna College professor of government Jack Pitney, who served as the deputy director of research for the Republican National Committee from 1989 to 1991.

Not only did she lose to Bilbray by nearly 5 percentage points, but she also faces, once again, a GOP-dominated electorate, said Gary Jacobson, a registered Democrat and a professor of political science at UC San Diego.

With 155,000 registered Republicans and about 104,000 registered Democrats in the region, the seat has long been a safe one for the GOP.

"Her best shot was in the first round of the special election," Jacobson said.
At the heart of the problem is one simple fact, the electorate doesn't care if their elected representatives are crooks or not. In fact, it is likely that most voters believe the all politicians are crooks, so it is a character defect that cancels itself out when they are voting.

Brian Bilbray, a lobbyist, who never lived in the 50th District won the election because his position on immigration reform was a better wedge issue than was Busby's pledge to clean up Washington. It was easier for voters to believe that Bilbray would do something about illegal immigration than to believe that Busby was going to be able to clean up Congress.
Busby's campaign theme of cleaning up ethics in Washington was a "failed message" that simply wasn't strong enough to move enough Republicans to vote against their party, Jacobson said.

Barring any revelations of something scandalous about Bilbray or a significant worsening of the public's perceptions of the Republican Party, things look bleak for Busby, Jacobson said.

"But she can't expect either of those things ---- there is nothing she can do but hope," he said.
Hope isn't much of a strategy.

Monday, July 10, 2006

New Busby TV Ads

I got the chance to take a look at a the rough video of a new ad the Busby campaign is putting together for the November election. Looks like the gloves are coming off in the CA-50's perpetual congressional race.

Video by ghostmanalex.

Looking In The Wrong Places

Over at TPM, Josh Marshall takes exception to White House press secretary, Tony Snow's blaming Bill Clinton for North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program.

Now, the premise of the Bush administration's North Korea policy was that North Korea was a bad acting state that had to be dealt with through force, not negotiation. That didn't necessarily mean going to war. The goal was to intimidate the North Koreans into better behavior if possible and resort to force if necessary.

Yet, when the North Koreans called the White House's bluff and starting reprocessing plutonium, the White House's response was ... well, nothing.

That was three years ago.

Rather than talk softly and carry a big stick it was a policy of talk tough and do nothing.


That's the policy, which is to say, they have no policy. The salient fact is that under Clinton plutonium reprocessing stopped and under Bush it restarted. The Bushies angle was that you don't coddle bad actors like the North Koreans. You deal with them in the language they understand: force. But the NKs called their bluff, they weren't prepared to use force. So they decided to forget about the whole thing.

Blaming things on Bill Clinton is losing a bit of credibility since the Bush crew has been in power for almost six years, but they keep trying. Or, maybe Tony Snow just made a mistake and mis-spoke. Instead of Clinton, Snow might have meant Cheney. According to Steve Clemons, Dick Cheney has been the guy who has sabotaged virtually every meaningful attempt at dealing with the North Koreans in a rational manner.

I think Asst. Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific and our chief envoy on North Korea negotiations Christopher Hill is one of the finest and most capable diplomats in America's foreign service -- but he not only has Kim Jong Il to outmaneuver but also has to outfox Vice President Cheney and his team who are always threatening to knife Hill from behind.

Hill has been close to some serious breakthrough deals with North Korea over the last 18 months, but each time Cheney and his team have unceremoniously and quietly strangled Hill's initiatives. Cheney's fervent opposition to negotiated outcomes with North Korea was more flamboyantly on display when his then State Department puppet John Bolton attacked and blew up the North Korea related initiatives of then Secretary of State Colin Powell and then chief North Korea negotiations envoy Jack Pritchard in 2001.

To say the Bush Administration has no foreign policy seems unfair. In reality, they have dozens of foreign policies, none of them grounded in reality.

More CA-50 Recount Foolishness

The CA-50 congressional special election wasn't stolen. It was given away by the DCCC and the failure of the Democratic Party to get out the vote. The fact that Diebold machines sat at polling places overnight didn't cause Democrat Francine Busby to lose to Republican lobbyist Brian Bilbray.

Busby's slip of the lip, "you don't need papers to vote," didn't help her campaign. Nor did her weak commercials and those of the DCCC. Simply put the Busby campaign failed to get Democrats and independents to the polls is sufficient numbers. The failure of the Busby campaign to follow-up on Bilbray's South Bay political career or exploit his Virginia residency certainly didn't help either.

The idea of spending $100K or more to do a full recount of the CA-50 vote is ludicrous. Particularly, as Busby's fundraising profile has been damage by her loss to Bilbray. That money might be better spent registering Latino voters in the district informing them of Bilbray's position to criminalize their support of family members in the country illegally.

Jerry Lewis - King of the Secret Earmark

Out in the heart of Representative Jerry Lewis' (CA-41) district, the Daily Bulletin asks the congressman to reveal his earmarks list. Jerry says, "NO!"

And though much of the flak from the FBI inquiry into a lobbying firm’s connections to powerful Congressmen Jerry Lewis and Ken Calvert [CA-44] has arisen from concerns over how multimillion-dollar appropriations are decided on, both Lewis and Calvert were among those who declined to make public which special projects they’d like to see inserted in the spending bills.

This, when transparency is so important to a process that allows requests for specific projects and programs to be made outside normal budget scrutiny. Now, we see those at the helm of congressional spending refusing to divulge to taxpayers how their money may be spent.


We expect the same of Lewis and the rest.

With all eyes on what role money and power play in the halls of Congress, now is the time especially for Lewis, powerful head of the House Appropriations Committee, and others to be exceedingly open and forthcoming about what provisions they’d like to make in the nation’s budget.

And wasn’t it Lewis, in reforms he proposed early this year, who said members’ requests should be submitted in writing, and that they should be made public before the House votes on a spending bill?

Why the reticence now?

With the number of national earmarks up almost 400 percent, from 4,126 in 1994 to 15,077 in 2002, the public has a right to know in advance what its money is going for, and which special projects will get funded.

Please, representatives, tell us what you’re asking for, so that we may truly see that it is in our behalf.

Remember Jerry Lewis is the man who was also supposed to be keeping an eye on convicted Republican felon Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who was abusing the earmark process for direct personal gain. Why would anyone expect Lewis to be forthcoming about his own earmarking activity.

Sadly, the Daily Bulletin also asked California's two senators for their earmark lists. Both Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer turned their request down. It is going to be hard for Democrats to run against the Republican culture of corruption, if they don't intend to open themselves us to public scrutiny.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Terrorist Confidently Begin to Give Interviews

When the Iraqi resistance begins to give interviews and criticize the media, you know hilarity will ensue.

Video by bcfc.

Afghanistan...Slipping Away

The Sunday Times' Christina Lamb attempts to make the painful truth of the Bush Administration bungling in Afghanistan clear to all of us.

But while George W Bush and Tony Blair insisted on declaring Afghanistan a success — and a model for the pacification of Iraq — they apparently forgot one crucial lesson that the British had learnt years before. “Unlike other wars, Afghan wars become serious only when they are over” were the sage words of Sir Olaf Caroe, the last British governor of North West Frontier Province.

Far from Afghanistan being a model for Iraq, Iraq has become a model for Afghanistan. There have been 41 Afghan suicide bombings in the past nine months, compared with five in the preceding five years. IEDs — improvised explosive devices — have become a fact of life. Three were left in roadside handcarts in Kabul last week to detonate as buses went past.

According to United Nations officials, not a day passes without a school being burnt down or a teacher being murdered, often in front of schoolchildren.

While US attention has been focused on spinning the situation in Iraq, Al Qaeda and their protectors, the Taliban have been methodically retaking Afghanistan back from the weak and ineffectual government left behind by the Bush Administration in its rush to get to war with Saddam.

So confident are the Taliban that leaders of the once secretive group have started giving interviews on Afghanistan’s new US-funded Tolo television station. This prompted Karzai last month to impose reporting restrictions that he was forced to rescind by the international community, which felt “censorship” did not sit well with attempts to showcase Afghanistan as a liberal democracy.

“People are scared when they see the Taliban on TV,” said Jamil Karzai, MP for Kabul and a nephew of the president. “Every day I get constituents coming and asking: what does this mean, are the Taliban coming back? We could never have imagined we would get in a situation where such a thing was conceivable.”

“We need to realise that we could actually fail here,” warns Lieutenant-General David Richards, British commander of the Nato-led peacekeeping force. “Think of the psychological victory for Bin Laden and his ilk if we failed and the Taliban came back. Within months we’d suffer terror attacks in the UK. I think of my own daughters in London and the risk they would be in.”

If this is winning the war on terror, what does losing look like?

Polite Racists

Republicans are honing their strategy for the 2006 elections. It's a two pronged approach:

1. Call anyone who questions the war in Iraq a terrorist.

2. Use your quiet indoor voice when making racist statements regarding Hispanic immigrants.

The LA Times has more.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Honduran Hookers.

These are not the Honduran Hookers of which James Walcott speaks.
The phrase was "Honduran hookers." I wasn't quite sure what it pertained to, since nobody at 4 Times Square tells me anything since I started this blog for fear that I might "blab." But it was evident that the phrase had some significance, a larger relevance; it wasn't just a reference to someone's outrageous, recently submitted expense account.
Ahhh, Duke, you were a pip.

Or Try This..............

A Welsh lullaby.

Sleep my baby, at my breast,
'Tis a mother’s arms round you.

Make yourself a snug, warm nest.

Feel my love forever new.

Harm will not meet you in sleep,

Hurt will always pass you by.

Child beloved, always you’ll keep,

In sleep gentle, mother’s breast nigh.

Sleep in peace tonight, sleep,

O sleep gently, what a sight.

A smile I see in slumber deep,

What visions make your face bright?

Are the angels above smiling,

At you in your peaceful rest?

Are you beaming back while in

Peaceful slumber on mother’s breast?

Do not fear the sound, it’s a breeze

Brushing leaves against the door.

Do not dread the murmurring seas,

Lonely waves washing the shore.

Sleep child mine, there’s nothing here,

While in slumber at my breast,

Angels smiling, have no fear,

Holy angels guard your rest.

A Little Bedtime Music

Dave Brubeck with a classic.

Video by indigo315.

Bilbray Begins to Pay His Debts

Congressman/Lobbyist Brian Bilbray (CA-50) began to pay off his campaign debts in earnest on Friday. He asked Encinitas city council member, Christy Guerin, to join his staff as his district director. Guerin, who is identified as the mayor of Encinitas, due to the fact that the mayor's title is rotated through the city council was an earlier supporter of Bilbray. Guerin sent letters to Encinitas voters supporting Bilbray during the campaign and one of her children worked in Bilbray's campaign as a volunteer.

The Encinitas city council is one of the most disfunctional city leadership teams in San Diego County and Guerin who has served two terms on the council has been at the heart of some real bizarre decisions by the group. Guerin hasn't held a full time job since 1990, when she left the county sheriffs department due to an injury. So now, as a political plum for her support, she has an $85,000 a year job speaking for Bilbray in the 50th district.

The good news, unlike Virginia resident Bilbray, Guerin actually lives in the 50th district.

Control The Media....Spin and Lie.

Newsweek's former Baghdad bureau chief, Rod Nordland, tells us why the American public isn't even more enraged at the Bush Administration incompetence in Iraq. Oddly, it involves lying and censorship. Check this out from Foreign Policy.
It is certainly hard to hide the fact that in the third year of this war, Iraqis are only getting electricity for about 5 to 10 percent of the day. Living conditions have gotten so much worse, violence is at an even higher tempo, and the country is on the verge of civil war. The administration has been successful to the extent that most Americans are not aware of just how dire it is and how little progress has been made. They keep talking about how the Iraqi army is doing much better and taking over responsibilities, but for the most part that’s not true.

...the military has started censoring many [embedded reporting] arrangements. Before a journalist is allowed to go on an embed now, [the military] check[s] the work you have done previously. They want to know your slant on a story—they use the word slant—what you intend to write, and what you have written from embed trips before. If they don’t like what you have done before, they refuse to take you. There are cases where individual reporters have been blacklisted because the military wasn’t happy with the work they had done on embed. But we get out among the Iraqi public a whole lot more than almost any American official, certainly more than military officials do.
Should anyone be surprised?

Friday, July 07, 2006

CA-50 Full Recount?

Back in June Democrat Francine Busby lost her bid for convicted Republican felon Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s seat in California’s 50th congressional district to Virginia Republican lobbyist Brian Bilbray. Busby’s wasn’t able to overcome the high Republican registration advantage in the districts and lost by less than 5%, a margin of 7,195 votes.

Shortly after the election, a number of blogs jumped on the bandwagon started by The Brad Blog, attacking the election results because poll workers had been allowed to take Diebold voting machines home to night before the election. The poll workers then delivered the equipment to the polls and set the equipment up before the polls opened.

Considering that most of the votes cast in the district were via paper ballots that were read by optical scanners, I never thought much of the argument that potential tampering with some Diebold touch screen machines might have influenced the election.

Well, according to the North County Times, a 50th district voter has decided that maybe there is something to the election tampering conspiracy theory and has stepped forward to formally request a complete hand recount of the congressional run-off election.
A registered voter living in the 50th Congressional District filed a formal request with the county registrar of voters office late Wednesday asking for a hand recount of all the ballots in the June 6 special election runoff.


In her letter to Registrar Mikel Haas, San Diego resident Barbara Gail Jacobson
said she was making the request because, "there were widespread and profound
breaches of security allowed in the administration of this election."She said that because Haas had permitted some of the voting machines to be taken home by poll workers in the days leading up to the election, "both state and federal certification of the machines were invalidated and rendered null."


On June 29, Haas certified the election results, kicking off a five-day period in which requests could be filed for a recount of the votes. However, due to the holiday, the deadline ended Wednesday.

Registrar of voters spokesman Mike Workman said that county counsel is now reviewing Jacobson's request for a recount, as will registrar Haas upon his return to the office. Once that review has been completed, Haas will discuss with Jacobson the projected costs of conducting the recount ----- a process which can cost the requesting party as much as $2,000 to $3,000 a day, Workman said. He added that depending on how detailed Jacobson wants the recount to be, it could
take several days to complete.

Jacobson said that she and other concerned citizens who are supporting her call for a recount are prepared to pay for it.


In addition to asking for a recount in her letter to the registrar, Jacobson also requested the following:

- the certified statement of the votes cast in the election, broken down by precinct and absentee ballot voting group

- all precinct rosters and voter index lists

- all accepted provisional ballot evelopes

- all accepted absentee ballot envelopes and corresponding application forms

- all returned precinct election packages

- all logs, e-mails, notes or other documentation of any complaints or requests of

- all documentation of the registrar's

Personally, I think this is a rathole down which Democratic Party resources and time will be dumped. If Busby wants to beat Bilbray in November, she needs to focus her resources on communicating with Democrats and independents in the 50th district and finding a way to get them to turn out and vote.

Brent Wilkes - Tax Cheat

Brent Wilkes' business enterprises continue to refuse to pay property taxes. Wilkes owes over $300K in back taxes on his flagship ADCS Inc. facility in San Diego County. This is the same facility where Wilkes feted his pal, Congressman John Doolittle (CA-4) back in 2003. At that fundraiser, Doolittle's wife Julie got a 15% cut in all of the funds donated to her husband's campaign.

Back to Wilkes, the North County Times reports that Wilkes' umbrella company Al Dust Incorporated is 18 months in arrears and owes the County Tax Assessor $309,487.

Property taxes for the defense firm owned by Brent Wilkes, an alleged key co-conspirator in the bribery case of former U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham,
now exceed $300,000 and are mounting by $4,000 a month.Wilkes also was reported Thursday to be the target of an ongoing grand jury investigation of his alleged bribes to Cunningham and dealings with other federal lawmakers.

That amount is growing by $4,081 each month because of a 1.5 percent monthly penalty applied to delinquent taxes, McAllister said.The property on Stowe Drive that houses ADCS remains for sale but there is no record of any pending deal, McAllister said, adding that the back taxes would have to be paid before any such transaction would be approved.

Wilkes may just not have enough time to open his mail considering the number of investigations to which he is a party, including a grand jury of his very own looking into his dealings with convicted Republican felon Randy "Duke" Cunningham, Doolittle, Jerry Lewis (CA-41), Duncan Hunter (CA-52) and other senior Republicans.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Cheating Is A Habit For Brent Wilkes

Bribery, fake campaign donors, you name it and Brent Wilkes is up to his neck in it. Not only was Wilkes a cash machine for members of congress like convicted Republican felon Randy "Duke" Cunningham, and the soon to be indicted twins, Jerry Lewis (CA-41) and John Doolittle (CA-4), but he also gave generously and illegally to San Diego mayorial candidate Ron Roberts.

The Fair Political Practices Commission, the state's watchdog agency, filed the complaint regarding the Roberts campaign in November 2005, accusing Wilkes of trying to circumvent San Diego's limit on individual campaign contributions. The commission released the complaint this week after receiving a public-records act request.

Wilkes, owner and chief executive officer of Poway-based Automated Document Conversion Services, Inc., gave the maximum $250 donation to Roberts' campaign in the spring of 2000. During the same time period, 22 of his employees or relatives of his employees gave $250 each to the campaign.

The complaint alleges Wilkes reimbursed an employee and another person for $250 contributions they each made to Roberts' campaign. The names of the donors were redacted before the commission released the document, but it appeared that the two donors were married to one another.

Government for sale, it's the Republican way.

Way Off Topic

Looking for digital photos of athletes in action. Our companion site, Local Hero, is looking to evaluate, post and possibly purchase sports action photos that meet certain criteria. Check out the site. Not much there right now, but there is a serious interest in finding some unique perspectives on athletic competition, effort and excitement.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ken Lay - Can We See The Body

Bush buddy and criminal mastermind (OK, maybe not a mastermind), Ken Lay reputedly died of a heart attack today. Two things wrong with that statement. First, we have no evidence that Lay had a heart. Second, has anyone who can be trusted actually confirmed that the body in question is Ken Lay's?

Katherine Harris - "so incompetent she can't be bribed"

OK. It's not the best slogan around, but the Harris campaign doesn't have much going for it. Harris can't possible give every potential voter in Florida a lap dance, so she has do try to find some positive character trait or accomplishment she can communicate.

Before President Bush's popularity went in the tank, Harris could take credit for helping him steal the 2000 Presidential Election with her unethical and illegal work as both a member of Bush's campaign and Florida's Secretary of State. But, with Bush in the tank and no experienced staff left to run her campaign, Harris may have to run on this:
"I think Mitch [Wade] made a mistake in trying to bribe Harris," a Capitol Hill source says, chuckling. "She's so incompetent she can't be bribed."
Vanity Fair gives Harris her due in a story about her involvement with convicted serial briber, Mitchell Wade.

"So incompetent she can't be bribed." Ahhh, Republicans.

Aaron Spelling.....We Need You.

If this was a television series treatment, until recently there is only one person in Hollywood to whom you would have sent the outline, Aaron Spelling. Only the man who made Dynasty and Beverly Hills 90210 could have convinced an audience that this mix of unbridled power lust, tawdry sex and illegally obtained money was something more than fiction. Still the saga of convicted Republican felon Randy “Duke” Cunningham has all the aspects of a primetime soap opera. And, like all soaps, there are no good guys, just different levels of corruption. Vanity Fair has the definitive history of the Cunningham saga.

What a cast of characters. Duke, the former war hero turned congressman. Brent and Mitchell, the unscrupulous would be tycoons. White haired Jerry and slutty Katherine, two more corrupt members of congress. Bill, the defeated congressman turned lobbyist. Dusty, the womanizing CIA agent. Damn, this thing writes itself. Take a look at the plot summary:
Cunningham is believed to have been introduced to Wilkes, now 51, in the early 90s by Congressman Bill Lowery (whose seat Cunningham would fill after Lowery and his wife were discovered to have written 300 bad checks on the House bank). Wilkes's father, like Cunningham a naval pilot, was killed in a 1959 accident while taking off from an aircraft carrier. Wilkes grew up poor, raised by his widowed mother near a San Diego naval base. At San Diego State University, he roomed with his high-school football buddy Kyle Dustin "Dusty" Foggo, and both were active in the Young Republicans, as was Lowery. After graduation, Wilkes moved to Washington, D.C., where, I am told, he accompanied groups of congressmen, including Lowery, to fly down to Central America to hang out with Dusty Foggo, by then a C.I.A. agent who was working with the contras to overthrow the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

Every time Wilkes was asked by Tom Casey, a California defense contractor who would eventually work with him, how he got to be so friendly with Lowery and other congressmen, the answer was always the same, Casey tells me: "Honduras." Specifically, Casey adds, Wilkes described sexual encounters between congressmen and women from Honduran villages. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports similar recollections, attributing them to three of Wilkes's former friends. (Through his attorney Nancy Luque, Wilkes denies having ever traveled to Honduras with congressmen. Lowery's lawyer, Lanny Breuer, says that when his client was a congressman he did indeed go "on a couple of trips with Wilkes to Central America." However, he adds, Lowery "absolutely denies being involved with any women with Wilkes." Foggo's attorney says that Foggo never met congressmen in Honduras.)

By the early 1990s, Wilkes had returned to California, where he was "beyond broke," recalls Casey. "He lived in a rented house and carpooled in a Chevy Cavalier." It was at this point that Wilkes began to work with Casey at Audre, Inc., a Rancho Bernardo producer of automated document-conversion systems (with defense applications). Casey, the firm's founder and C.E.O., says he paid him about $90,000 a year to market the product and to lobby Washington officials and legislators. On trips to Washington, Casey recalls, Wilkes was able to usher him into the presence of important members of the armed-services and appropriations committees, including, most notably, Lowery and Lowery's closest friend on the latter, fellow California Republican Jerry Lewis, now 71. The genteel Lewis and the earthy Lowery reportedly loved to dine and even vacation together. "Everyone on the defense committee always works cooperatively," says Casey, who realized pretty quickly that no money came his way without their support. "It was team play, and they emphasized that to me constantly."
What a two hour pilot episode this would make. Lowery, the lobbyist with the shady past. Casey, the businessman, just trying to break into the government piggy bank. Wilkes, with his his "trips" to Honduras to visit his shadowy CIA pal, Dusty Foggo. And, in the background, Cunningham and Lewis, two politicians ready to cut deals for the right price.

By the time we get to episode two, we are ready to meet some more of the players in this melodrama. The brash new hustler, Mitchell Wade. The dim witted former bimbo, who was granted a seat in congress after helping a crooked polititican steal the presidential election, Kat Harris.
In 2000, Wilkes and ADCS became "too hot to deal with," a source familiar with the situation tells me. A Pentagon official believed they had fraudulently billed $750,000 for unfinished work scanning maps of the Panama Canal Zone. (Wilkes's lawyer declares, "If there was any fraud, Wilkes was unaware of it because he was only a subcontractor and not doing the billing.") At this point, Wilkes hired "co-conspirator No. 2," Mitchell Wade, who would act for him in winning new government contracts. Wade, now 47, was a former Pentagon intelligence official with formidable contacts in the military, lavish tastes, and—most important—a profound understanding of the "black world" of classified intelligence, which Wilkes didn't know much about.

Soon, Wade developed his own relationship with Cunningham. "Mitch, I'm going to make you somebody," Cunningham promised in November 2001, after selecting $12,000 worth of antiques paid for by his new friend, and he was true to his word: Wade did become somebody. He was able to buy a $3 million house in Washington's prized Kalorama area. His company, MZM, operated out of a beautiful four-story Victorian house on Dupont Circle, packed with 19th-century partners desks and ruby-colored Oriental rugs.

wo years ago, Katherine Harris (best known as the Florida secretary of state who presided over the agonizing 2000 presidential recount, and now more obliquely known in court papers as "Rep. B") went to dinner with Wade—whom she had met through Cunningham—and subsequently got a stack of $2,000 checks for her campaign signed by his employees. Many were written on the same day. Harris would later say she had hardly any idea why—maybe they just liked her politics. (In all, Wade gave her $32,000 in illegal contributions.)

But, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Wade told Harris exactly what he wanted over the dinner, for which he paid $2,800 at Citronelle, an elegant Washington restaurant: lots of federal funding to build a $10 million counter-intelligence facility in her Florida district. They also discussed the possibility of his throwing her a fund-raiser. In vain did Ed Rollins, who was then Harris's campaign strategist, warn the congresswoman (who is not allowed to receive gifts exceeding $50) that a $2,800 dinner and a fund-raiser might be interpreted as a shady quid pro quo for snagging millions of dollars for her benefactor. "Mitch, what a special evening! The best dinner I have ever enjoyed in Washington…. Please let me know if I can ever be of assistance," a thrilled Harris wrote by hand in a letter given to me by a former MZM employee. (After insisting she had "reimbursed" the restaurant for the meal, Harris switched positions recently, saying, "I have donated to a local Florida charity $100, which will more than adequately compensate for the cost of my beverage and appetizer.")

In 2005, Harris had a second dinner with Wade, for which, a friend of his tells me, he paid more than $3,300, and a few months later a Harris aide named Mona Tate Yost was hired by MZM. Although a Harris spokeswoman initially said Yost's contacts with her old congressional office were "purely on a social level," this too turned out to be false. An e-mail I have seen, written in 2005, indicates Yost had promised to approach a top Harris staffer "with a meeting." She was working on an MZM draft of a legislative-funding proposal that would, Wade hoped, underwrite his $10 million counter-intelligence facility. (Yost didn't return phone calls for comment.) An MZM employee, Kay Coles James, e-mailed the company's draft to Harris's office, which ultimately submitted it to the appropriations committee, with some of the language intact. (Possibly because Harris applied for the funding late and the request was ill-written, the money never was allocated. "I think Mitch made a mistake in trying to bribe Harris," a Capitol Hill source says, chuckling. "She's so incompetent she can't be bribed.")
This would be a heck of a soap opera. Unfortunately, its all real. From the egotistical war hero turned crook to the Young Republicans who decided that bribes got more business than honest work or useful products. Then you have the senior member of congress, Lewis, who just might turn out to be the most corrupt member of the whole bunch.

Aaron come back.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Posting for Peace...."was blind but now I see......."

It doesn't hurt to pray for our country. As long as we remember that "here on earth, God's work must truly be our own."

Video by haeloh.

Posting for Peace..."Oil the Republican Preservative"

Democracy is dead. Diebold is alive.

Video by allanrubin.

Posting for Peace....The Winds of Change?

Will the winds of change blow away the Republican War Party lies? Doesn't it come down to whoever has the biggest megaphone? How can we compete with Rush, Ann, Bill, etc? Hell, the Democrats don't even have a message, let alone a means to convey it.

Video by sski.

Posting for Peach....Bush to America: "F**K You!"

George Bush has a simple message for all Americans on the 4th of July.

Video by JessicaS0619.

Post for Peace....Impeach Bush

Is is time to take our country back yet? How would Fox News cover Bush's impeachment?

Video by insomnia411.

Post for Peace....Bring 'em Home!

Substitute "Iraq" for "Vietnam" and sing along.

Video by akreider.

Posting for Peace....What Have We Done?

The concept of "just war" is not an illusion, but to think that a war of choice, with partisan political goals could be spun and a "just war," a "noble cause" or "a fight for democracy" is hypocritical to a level never seen before in America.

Video by talano.

Posting for Peace....Bin Who?

Remember Bin Laden and Al Qaida? You know the terrorists who planned and executed 9/11. You remember when George Bush vowed to get Bin Laden? You know "dead or alive." Bin Laden has a greater chance of being struck by a meteor than being apprehended by the Bush Administration. In fact, the Bush War Government quietly disbanded the primary CIA unit responsible to find Bin Laden at the end of 2005. Without Bin Laden there is no need to be at war. So actually catching or killing him would be pretty inconvenient for Bush and the War Party.

Video by pdxktv.

Posting for Peace....Blowin' In the Wind

Time to turn this into an old time protest. The struggle for peace and justice is much more difficult than war. Peace requires that you look into your own heart. War requires that you are willing to send others to die.

Video by joakimpaz.

Posting for Peace....Calling the Religious Right

"Satan is in the White House." I thought you would have noticed by now.

Video by Somerset.

Posting for Peace.....The War Party Continues

"Born on 3rd, thinks he got a triple."

In reality, he's an emotional cripple.

Video by buckybarns.

Posting for Peace.....Project for the New American Century

The first war of the 21st Century. Not a noble cause. Not to protect a nation. Not to preserve or freedoms. The first war of the 21st Century is being waged to protect the power of the right wing zealots who run the Republican Party.

Video by PRev1.

Stop the War Party...End Republican Rule

It is amazing what the Republican Party will do to maintain power. The "military industrial complex" aided and abetted by the "corporate media" and the "religious right" doesn't care who dies and doesn't really have a cause, just a bottom line.

Video by Jiggs45.

They Lied and People Died

"Why would they lie, they're already rich?"

Video by UncleBurnt.

Stop The War!

The carnage in Iraq has no relationship to the 9/11 attacks. It has no relationship to terrorism. Iraq is a part of the George Bush led Republican Party's goal of turning the United States into a one party state. Iraq is all about domestic politics and now that the Republicans have climbed onto the war, they can't climb off. It is up to the American people to push them off.

Video by bigscorpion.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Doolittle....A Crook!

So John Doolittle's (CA-4) wife was paid $67,000 working for Jack Abramoff? She earned it working on a fund raiser that was cancelled and promoting Abramoff restaurant, Signatures. It's all so innocent. The fact that most of her earning came after the cancellation of the fund raiser shouldn't matter. Nor should the fact that she was not paid by Abramoff or Signatures, but by Abramoff's lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig, give anyone pause. Leave it to TMP Muckraker to make a big deal out of this.

Apparently, the liberals over at TPM Muckraker don't understand that no one in Doolittle's right wing district cares about his corruption. His constituents will re-elect him even if he is incarcerated. Same story for Jerry Lewis (CA-41), who is likely to end up in the same cell block as Doolittle, corrupt to the core and a shoe-in for re-election.

"classic third world corruption"

This is what Republican governance brings to a country, be it Iraq or the United States - third world corruption.
Ronald D. Utt, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a frequent critic of earmarks, said he was most troubled at seeing firms solicit public clients with virtual guarantees that they could deliver "dollars for pennies" (or billions for millions).

"The mystery to me is the way they are able to promise returns," Mr. Utt said, pointing to the revolving door between Congressional appropriators' payrolls and lobby shops, as well as to lobbyists' generous campaign contributions. "It goes beyond mere influence peddling to just outright, classic third-world corruption."

Jonathan Singer over at MyDD points out how deeply embedded this practice of robbery is in the Republican power structure.
Local governments should not be shaken down by high-priced lobbyists in order to get federal dollars. If a locality is truly in need of federal assistance -- perhaps for a much-needed bridge repair or fix to water treatment plant -- their Congressman should go to bat for them, not tell them to retain a Beltway lobbyist.

But when the practice of hiring lobbying firms in order to get unnecessary pork from the federal government becomes institutionalized, as it has under [Jerry] Lewis [CA-41] and the rest of the Republican Congress, the expense to the American taxpayer goes through the roof. This is the cost of corruption. This is the cost of the Republican Congress.

In less than six years George Bush and his cronies have create a country with a "third world" legislative branch, a totalitarian executive branch and a compliant judiciary. Let's not forget that it was all made possible by a disinterested and apathetic public, spoon fed propaganda by the corporate media.

Words Have Power is One Year Old Today!

One year ago today, the first post went up on Words Have Power. That was 751 posts ago. WHP started, in part, as a response to the Cunningham scandal and just kept going.

Lately, I've been struck by a big of blog fatigue. One year ago, I started this blog to help get rid of Randy "Duke" Cunningham and do something about getting honest representative govenment reestablished in the 50th congressional district. Well, Cunningham is in jail, but as far as honest congressional representation..........not so much.

Convicted Republican felon Cunningham has been replaced by a Republican who is just as corrupt as Cunningham, but not as stupid. Brian Bilbray is a career Republican politician (read crook), who became a lobbyist when he was tossed out of his South Bay district in San Diego County. Bilbray, who never lived in the 50th district, ran his campaign out of downtown San Diego, while lying about living in his mother's home in the district.

And, the brain dead Republicans of the 50th district, enabled by a Democratic Party that could get out of its own way, sent Bilbray to represent me in congress.

Oh well.....Guess we just have to keep blogging until the right wing nutjobs pry my cold dead fingers off my keyboard.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Stand Up or Stand Aside

Over at the Pen and Sword, Commander Huber links to the NY Times, Dexter Filkins, who tells us about Iraqi troops standing aside as Americans stand in the line of fire in Ramadi.

Central to the strategy, American commanders say, is the decision to commit significant numbers of Iraqi troops who can hold the neighborhoods after the Americans do most of the work of pacification. That, the American commanders hope, will make the city safe enough for its shattered economy to renew itself and for Iraqi police officers to feel secure enough to start showing up for work[...]

The challenges of doing even that became evident as the operation unfolded Monday. American soldiers — trained, disciplined, with overwhelming firepower — outnumbered their Iraqi counterparts. Officers here said there were about 250 American soldiers involved in the operation, and about 145 Iraqis.

Lt. Col. Raad Niaf Haroosh, the Iraqi battalion commander, said the 145 soldiers represented a fraction of the battalion's usual numbers. He said as many as 500 of his fellow soldiers — most of them Sunni Muslims from Al Jabouri tribe — stayed behind in Mosul rather than fight in Ramadi.

As Commander Huber points out, it is going to be tough for the Iraqis to defeat an insurgency if they are unwilling to fight it.
We've arrived at a point where we're fighting Iraqis because the Iraqis don't want to fight among themselves. How many American troops are in harm's way in Ramadi right now because 500 Iraqi soldiers got to sit this dance out and wax the floors in the barracks instead?

Are we showing resolve in Iraq, or are we being played for chumps? Getting into a bar fight over a girl you just met shows resolve. Waking up in jail the next morning with a black eye and two missing teeth shows how stupid you are.

Iraq has turned into a goat rope tied in a Gordian knot wrapped around a Mobius strip. How did the mightiest nation in human history let itself get into such a bind?
Well, when the mightest nation in human history is lead by the most incompetent administration in human history, isn't the answer self-evident?