Tuesday, July 31, 2007

2008

Tom Tancredo is a lifelong conservative with nearly a decade of experience in the U.S. Congress. There he advanced his reputation as a solid pro-life, pro-gun, small government republican, and emerged as the leader in the national struggle for true immigration reform.

That's from his website.

Now, see what he has to say about what we can expect if we elect him president in 2008.

Tancredo told the crowd officials recently broke up a illegal immigrant smuggling ring and discovered people of Middle Eastern descent were paying $25,000 to $50,000 to gain entry into this country.

"You have to ask yourselves, why would anybody pay $25,000 to $50,000 to be smuggled into the United States?" Tancredo asked. "It's not to work over here at the Quick Stop or the 7-11. If you pay $50,000 to be smuggled into the United States or somebody is paying that for you, it's probably for some other purpose, not to just get a job that no American will take."

Oh, lordy.

"The president and this country better figure out exactly what it can do to deter, I underline deter, the next attack," Tancredo said. "Deter, not just respond, deter, or else I assure you we are going to suffer. The extent of which of course I do not know. I know what they are planning and I know what they want. I do not know if they are going to be capable of doing this tomorrow, the next day or a month from now. I know right now at this moment there is nothing that deters them."

[...]

"If it is up to me, we are going to explain that an attack on this homeland of that nature would be followed by an attack on the holy sites in Mecca and Medina," the GOP presidential candidate said. "That is the only thing I can think of that might deter somebody from doing what they would otherwise do. If I am wrong fine, tell me, and I would be happy to do something else. But you had better find a deterrent or you will find an attack. There is no other way around it. There have to be negative consequences for the actions they take. That's the most negative I can think of."

  Iowa Politics

Oh, lordy me.


UN Troops to Darfur

After years of talking about the genocide in Sudan and trying to get Sudanese permission to station peacekeeping troops in the country, and even though they expect deployment to take another year, the UN has approved 26,000 troops and police to be sent to Darfur.

Special rapporteur Manfred Nowak, U.N. anti-terror investigator, says that "soldiers from countries whose armies are suspected of engaging in torture or other abuse should not be considered for peacekeeping duty."

I guess that frees us up from having to send any of our already overstretched troops.


Today's Big Surprise

President George W. Bush's nominee to be top military adviser said on Tuesday the United States will be in Iraq for "years not months" and a Pentagon official said the war was costing even more than expected.

  Yahoo

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way. --Mark Twain

Navy Adm. Michael Mullen, picked as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned U.S. lawmakers unhappy with the conflict against seeking a rapid pullout from Iraq, saying it could turn the country into a "caldron."

I have a couple of questions about that. One, they keep telling us it could turn into a nightmare over there if we leave, and I just wonder what they think it is now; and two, since when did we drop the u from cauldron?

"I do think we will be there for years, not months," Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee at his confirmation hearing. "But I don't see it (Iraq) as a permanent -- you know, on a permanent base at this point."

At this point.


What's the Fuss?

Stop reading if you do not understand this:

The following information are not statements of fact, but are allegations based on the above theory. We continue with the presumption that the information is not allegations of illegal activity directed at any specific individual with Sidley Austin, nor are they conclusions of law about the conduct of Ralston.

I have to admit that I had stopped reading well before that, and just started skimming, because I stopped understanding somewhere in the first or second paragraph.

But, in case you are willing and able, Cannonfire has pulled out somebody's anonymous comments on Josh Marshall's blog about what might really be behind the administration's refusal to comply with subpoenas and claims of executive privilege. Joe's summary is that this involves data mining by the administration through the warrantless wiretaps, not for information about terrorist suspects, but about political adversaries in an election year.


As Good As An Admission

Oh ho! Dick Cheney tells Larry King he doesn't recall if he sent Gonzales and Card to Ashcroft's bedside. No, no, folks. There may be a lot of things Mr. Cheney really doesn't recall, but that is not something one would forget. Even Larry King called him on it.

Of course, what will anyone do about it? I think we know.

Sputter.


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Thrilla in Manila

Prison exercise in the Philippines has a twist.

Okay, it's not Manila - it's the island of Cebu.


Update: I took a peek at some of the other Cebu prison dance videos, and this was my first introduction to the Algorithm March. Apparently, it's pretty popular. With ninjas. With animated characters. What next?

You know, I think this looks like a dance George W. could get down with. I'm imagining George, Dick, Al, Condi, Karl, and the whole gang, in orange, behind concertina-wired walls, on YouTube doing the Algorithm March. Awesome.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Alaska Senator Gets Raided by the FBI

Story at TPM.


Why Was Pat Tillman Killed?

Justin Raimondo has some interesting bits of information to think about when trying to answer that question. For one thing, Pat was supposedly a fan of Noam Chomsky and was to meet with the famous anti-war leftist when his tour of duty was over.


Military Industrial Complex Expands

Thanks to the Iraq war, there's a new boom in prosthetics research and development.


George and Gordon, Sitting in a Tree....

...K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

And the man I listened to shares that same sense of morality, and that same sense of obligation -- not to free others, but to create the conditions so others can realize the blessings of freedom. We can't impose freedom, but we can eliminate roadblocks to freedom, and to allow free societies to develop. And it's really hard work, you know? There's a lot of cynics saying, how dare they; how dare they impose U.S. or Great British values. And what I found was a man who understands that these aren't Great British and U.S. values, these are universal values.

  WH Press Release

Obviously not, George.

Everything is really hard work for George. He wants you to know he's working hard. And here, imagine all the pictures you've seen of him goofing around, and generally acting a fool, and recall all the times you've read about how he takes more vacations that just about anybody in the whole wide universe.

I'm not feeling very confident about Gordon Brown, either.

Adam, you asked about the single-most important bilateral relationship for Britain, and I think President Bush has answered that, that that is the view of the United States, as well. Call it the special relationship; call it, as Churchill did, the joint inheritance; call it when we meet as a form of homecoming, as President Reagan did -- then you see the strength of this relationship, as I've said, is not just built on the shared problems that we have to deal with together, or on the shared history that is built, as President Bush has just said, on shared values. And these are values that he rightly says are universal. They're the belief in the dignity of the individual, the freedom and liberty that we can bring to the world, and a belief that everyone -- everyone -- should have the chance of opportunity.

That's pretty big hurdle there - not even an opportunity, just the chance of opportunity.

The "special relationship" continues. We are, after all, the one colony that continued Great Britain's imperial dreams.


Chief Justice Roberts

Chief Justice John Roberts suffered a seizure at his summer home in Maine on Monday, causing a fall that resulted in minor scrapes, Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.

[...]

In the early 1990s, Roberts couldn't drive for several months after he had a sudden fainting episode, said Larry Robbins, a Washington attorney who worked with Roberts at the Justice Department. Robbins said he drove Roberts to work during that time. He said Roberts never mentioned what the problem was and he never heard of it happening again.

  Yahoo


Not only did he mislead Congress about his intentions in his confirmation hearings, the 52-year-old Supreme Court Justice apparently has a medical condition that he's kept quiet about.


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


"Oh Behalf of the President"

If you watched any of the Gonzales testimony recently, you know that he wouldn't answer the question, "Who sent you to see John Ashcroft in the hospital?" He just kept repeating that he went "on behalf of the president," with that little smirk he's practiced from watching his sweetie George W.

Is the answer to the question Dick Cheney?


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fool Me Twice

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) plans to review the Senate testimony of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel A. Alito to determine if their reversal of several long-standing opinions conflicts with promises they made to senators to win confirmation.

[...]

"There are things he has said, and I want to see how well he has complied with it," Specter said, singling out Roberts.

The Specter inquiry poses a potential political problem for the GOP and future nominees because Democrats are increasingly complaining that the Supreme Court moved quicker and more dramatically than advertised to overturn or chip away at prior decisions.

  Politico

So, they were okay with it if it took longer? What's the problem? I thought Democrats were supposed to like activist judges.

"The reality is, although John Roberts and Samuel Alito promised to follow precedent, they either explicitly or implicitly overruled precedent," said Erwin Chemerinsky, a Duke University law professor.

"It is important to point out how the confirmation hearings were a sham. There is nothing you can do about it now; they are there for life. But it is important as we look to future hearings."

So, essentially, Specter is wasting everybody's time. Neither judge swore he wouldn't reverse previous decisions, and they're already on the bench. There's an old Texas adage (to borrow from a recent Bush speech - and this is just as much an old Texas adage as whatever he said) that there's no sense closing the barn door after the horse has already gotten out.

A review could put "judges on notice that they can't come in front of the Judiciary Committee, say one thing and leave one impression, and then go out and do another." [Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif)]

Oh, yeah. A review will really put the fear of God in them.

Specter says he'll get to that review as soon as he "gets a spare moment." So maybe he's not going to waste any more time than it took him to catch some headlines and take some print away from the Gonzales story.

New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a powerful member of the Democratic leadership, said Friday the Senate should not confirm another U.S. Supreme Court nominee under President Bush "except in extraordinary circumstances."

  Politico

There's an old Texas adage....

Senators were too quick to accept the nominees’ word that they would respect legal precedents, and "too easily impressed with the charm of Roberts and the erudition of Alito," Schumer said.

"There is no doubt that we were hoodwinked."

Yes, but it's so easy to do.

Schumer said there were four lessons to be learned from Alito and Roberts: Confirmation hearings are meaningless, a nominee’s record should be weighed more heavily than rhetoric, "ideology matters" and "take the president at his word."

"When a president says he wants to nominate justices in the mold of [Antonin] Scalia and [Clarence] Thomas," Schumer said, "believe him."

Was there somebody who didn't believe him?

If Congress didn't know before Alito and Roberts that a person's record is worth more than his rhetoric, they're a sad lot indeed. But that would explain a lot.

And confirmation hearings are meaningless only when Congress is so easily "hoodwinked."


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Support Our Troops

I know that I don't publish many stories any more about the shortshrift given to our soldiers by our government - and there are plenty, all indefensible. And, I am never politically correct with these posts showing up the degenerate aspects of our military. But fear of being labeled as a non-supporter shouldn't stand in the way of an honest appraisal. The types of men and activities permitted in the military are directly related to the usage of troops. It's easier to run a criminal enterprise with criminals than with honorable men.

The rise in gang activity coincides with the increase in recruits with records. Since 2003, 125,000 recruits with criminal histories have been granted what are known as "moral waivers" for felonies including robbery and assault.

[...]

Evidence of gang culture and gang activity in the military is increasing so much an FBI report calls it "a threat to law enforcement and national security." The signs are chilling: Marines in gang attire on Paris Island; paratroopers flashing gang hand signs at a nightclub near Ft. Bragg; infantrymen showing-off gang tattoos at Ft. Hood.

[...]

Gang activity clues are appearing in Iraq and Afghanistan, too. Gang graffiti is sprayed on blast walls – even on Humvees.

[...]

The soldier who took photos [of] the graffiti told CBS News that he's been warned he's as good as dead if he ever returns to Iraq.

[...]

"If we weren't in the middle of fighting a war, yes, I think the military would have a lot more control over this issue," Glass said. "But with a war going on, I think it's very difficult to do."

  CBS

U.S. Army Sgt. Juwan Johnson didn't survive his "intiation" into a gang. He was beaten to death in a "jump-in" by eight other soldiers.

"Often it does seem a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat." -- Mark Twain


Progress in Iraq

The electricity report is history.


Arms Dealer to the End Times

That would be US of course, arming both Saudi Arabia and Israel.

Well, that is if Congress approves the $50+ billion proposals.

So consider it done.


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


2008

CNN is rescheduling the GOP YouTube 'debate' to accommodate Rudy and Twit's 'other engagements'. Can't wait to see why they won't be able to appear now.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

White House Forced to Talk to Congress

[W]hat does it take to get the Bush administration to communicate with a Democratic Congress about matters of foreign policy? Directives from the Saudis.

  Explanation at TPM


And So It Goes

[A] $90 million project to overhaul two giant turbines at the Dora power plant in Baghdad failed after completion because employees at the plant did not know how to operate the turbines properly and the wrong fuel was used.

  NYT


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


YouTube Sissies

Steve Benen collects and lists four reasons why most of the GOP candidates don't want to participate in a YouTube 'debate'.


Support our Troops

Recently I read something about a soldier who'd been writing articles anonymously and decided it was time to own up. He'd been describing some very ugly things about his behavior and that of his fellow soldiers.

I don't know how much of it is the personality and belief of guys who enlist and how much of it is the training they get and how much of it is what happens to them when they get into a terrible situation. But again, I offer Stan Goff's open letter to enlistees headed to the Middle East imploring them not to lose their humanity, and a little more info about the author in question (from LaBelle there in Columbia, MO).

A former University of Missouri-Columbia student stationed in Iraq is at the center of a controversy involving a national magazine.

Army Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp, who was enrolled at MU from August 2002 to December 2004, has written three articles since January for political magazine The New Republic. His articles have included stories of troops mocking a visibly handicapped soldier, picking up a human skull and wearing it as a crown and intentionally running over dogs in a Humvee.

  More at the Columbia Tribune

Often it does seem a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat. --Mark Twain


Friday, July 27, 2007

2008

Again from the Twit.

"I ... don't think it makes sense to have an immigration policy that says that if an illegal couple -- a couple that comes across the border illegally -- has a child here, that child becomes a U.S. citizen, that then the whole family gets to come in, if you will, through 'chain migration,'" he said.

  Boston.com

I'm not sure Twit Romney knows what he's talking about. I would like to introduce him to my friend Victor in Peribán, Michoacán, Mexico, whose family is living in California, and whose father legally obtained American citizenship some years ago. Victor was attending university in Mexico City on 9/11 and has not been granted a visa to return to his family in California since, being in the 'high-risk' category of males of a certain age.

To emphasize the three principles of his campaign, he grabbed a three-legged wooden stool and said it signified -- a stronger military, a strong economy and strong families

Unless they're Mexican.


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Don't Diss the White House

New signs are posted around the White House indicating a new strict enforcement of the dress code, the Washington Post reported Thursday. The code applies to all visitors and staff members, including tourists.

Some tourists are finding the strict clothing restrictions at the White House un-American.

The forbidden items include jeans, sneakers, mini-skirts, t-shirts, tank tops and absolutely no flip flops.

  CBS

I don't see why tourists are expected to show respect for the institution when BushCo shows no respect for the Constitution that created it.

And isn't it just like them to regulate the superficial while trashing the meaningful?


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


"In statesmanship get the formalities right, never mind about the moralities." --Mark Twain


Support Our Troops

Former Army Specialist Rodriguez started getting bills for $700 for lost or damaged government property this summer. Although he was discharged some four years ago, bills recently arrived demanding payment, but giving no details on what or why -- nor do they offer a way to dispute the charges.

[...]

And he's not alone. A 2006 government report found more than 1,000 soldiers being billed a total of $1.5 million. And while fighting overseas put their lives on the line, this battle on paper could cost them their future by ruining their credit. Rodriguez will be reported to credit agencies next month.

  WCBSTV

Hat tip to Crooks & Liars.


What Heart?

Wonkette titles her post: Cheney Having Heart Surgery Tomorrow, Bush Will Briefly Be 'President'.

Last Saturday doctors performed surgery on George Bush’s asshole, and this Saturday they’ll do it again! But this time, it’s the other asshole, Dick Cheney.

[...]

During Bush’s time as “president” tomorrow morning, he is expected to play with his dogs and maybe work on his fort in the back yard.

Cheney's getting his batteries replaced.


Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Pharmacists have sued Washington state over a new regulation that requires them to sell emergency contraception, also known as the "morning-after pill."

In a lawsuit filed in federal court Wednesday, a pharmacy owner and two pharmacists say the rule that took effect Thursday violates their civil rights by forcing them into choosing between "their livelihoods and their deeply held religious and moral beliefs."

  Yahoo

Violates what civil rights? Their license to fill prescriptions is issued by the state, which sets the rules for maintaining such a license.

And if their religious and moral beliefs are actually deeply held, there should be no contest and no hesitation which to choose, eh?

"The stakes really couldn't be much higher," plaintiffs' attorney Kristen Waggoner said.

Yes they could. According to the scripture these guys are pretending to follow, somebody went to the cross for his deeply held beliefs, and many were the followers and practitioners of those beliefs who died brutal deaths because of them. There are other ways to make a living if their morals won't permit them to sell the contraception. People have to make these choices every day. What are you willing to do for money? We all have to decide. What are convictions if they aren't challenged?

If your license to sell a particular commodity is provided by the state, then you have to abide by state regulations on the sale of that commodity. Or go into some other business.


....but hey, sue if you want....you will anyway.


Last Man Standing

Realizing they were the last people left in the building, Saint John McCain's advertising consultants resigned from his presidential campaign, joining his political advisors, his clothing consultants, his financial team, his pet rock, and his bus driver.

  WTF



GOP Family Values

Family machine gun shoot. That's what my family likes to do on weekends. The kids are just crazy about it.

For only $25, Republican party members attending a Manchester, New Hampshire, fundraiser scheduled for next month will get to spend the day on a firing range with some heavy-duty fire power, using some of the same machine guns as US troops fighting in Iraq.

The organizer for the August 5 "Machine Gun Shoot" told Reuters that it would be "a family day" event [...]


You can go and just watch for $10.


Often it does seem a pity that Noah and his party did not miss the boat. --Mark Twain


India + Nuclear Weapons, AOK

Washington has negotiated that nuclear deal with India.

The pact, approved by India's cabinet on Wednesday, would allow India access to U.S. nuclear fuel and equipment for the first time in 30 years, even though New Delhi refused to join non-proliferation pacts and tested nuclear weapons.

[...]

[T]he United States has agreed to help ensure continued delivery of nuclear fuel to India even if Washington halts cooperation, as required by law, if New Delhi tests another nuclear weapon -- something Indian and U.S. officials say is very likely.

[...]

According to congressional sources and experts, the United States agreed to give India advance, long-term permission to reprocess U.S. origin nuclear material once New Delhi builds a new reprocessing facility that would only use such material.

This is being done despite the fact that Bush in a major speech in February 2004 stated that "enrichment and reprocessing are not necessary for nations seeking to harness nuclear energy for peaceful purposes."

[...]

Unlike India, Iran is a member of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, yet the United States has led an international effort to force Tehran to abandon its enrichment program.

Hmmmm. I wonder why that would be.


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Huge Pipeline Explosion in St. Petersburg

A powerful explosion which hit a gas pipeline in north-west Russia was not caused by an act of terror, senior officials say.

The accident will not affect supplies to foreign consumers, they added.

  SMH Australia

Nothing to see. Move along.

Pictures and video here.

Hat tip to POAC.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cluckers

It appears the Republicans might not be having that YouTube debate after all.


Update 7/27: So far, only John McCain and Ron Paul are brave enough to face You.

In an interview Wednesday with the Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader, Romney said he's not a fan of the CNN/YouTube format. Referring to the video of a snowman asking the Democratic candidates about global warming, Romney quipped, "I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman."

  WaPo

Well, that snowman video was pretty stupid. But in a country where everything is entertainment or it doesn't get seen or heard on TV, that's where we're going. And isn't it Twit Romney who's using YouTube to ask citizens for ideas about what he should use as campaign material? What if the snowman suggests global warming?

Personally, I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than strapping a dog to the roof of your car to take a vacation, and refusing to stop for the kids to take potty breaks. I think it ought to be held at a higher level than impersonating officers in order to strong-arm reporters, avoid paying tolls and to trick security guards.

And I definitely think it ought to be held at a higher level than this...


...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.


The Incomparable Bill Moyers

If you have some time, Bill's got some videos.

Here are two:

The Yes Men - two guys taking on the system.

Tough Talk on Impeachment - for which he got slammed by PBS (Here's his response.)

I recommend you watch them.


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Pat Tillman Investigation

The latest information out on the Pat Tillman case with the military's eventual admission of his death by friendly fire, as opposed to heroic defense against the enemy, is that the fire might not have been so friendly. Included in the information is the fact that he had three gunshot wounds in his forehead that were consistent with being fired upon with an M-16 from 10 yards away, and that there was no evidence of any enemy fire whatsoever at the scene.

It has been widely reported by the AP and others that Spc. Bryan O'Neal, who was at Tillman's side as he was killed, told investigators that Tillman was waving his arms shouting "Cease fire, friendlies, I am Pat (expletive) Tillman, damn it!" again and again.

But the latest documents give a different account from a chaplain who debriefed the entire unit days after Tillman was killed.

The chaplain said that O'Neal told him he was hugging the ground at Tillman's side, "crying out to God, help us. And Tillman says to him, `Would you shut your (expletive) mouth? God's not going to help you; you need to do something for yourself, you sniveling ..."

That may at least be circumstantial evidence that the enemy was expected, eh? If so, somebody decided not to wait for them to take care of Pat and his God-slandering talk.


Mueller Backs Comey

FBI Director Robert Mueller testified today that then acting Attorney General James Comey's story about the night raid on John Ashcroft's hospital room by current AG Alberto Gonzales was true. (Surely there's nobody reading this that needs me to reference that incident yet another time.) He said he took notes.


Mullah DeLay

Nation journalist Max Blumenthal took his camera to the Christians United for Israel's annual Washington-Israel Summit in D.C.

[...]

Blumenthal opens [his] video by interviewing Tom Delay, who when asked how much the "Second Coming" plays into his support for Israel, says, "obviously, it's what I live for, I hope it comes tomorrow."

Delay closed by saying, "we have to be connected to Israel to enjoy the second coming."

  Raw Story

You may remember that in another recent Blumenthal video Crusader DeLay told College Republicans that we could negate the need for immigrant workers by outlawing abortion.

But DeLay wasn't the only esteemed guest at this Christians United meeting.

[Pastor John] Hagee stressed the need for a preemptive military attack on Iran to "prevent a nuclear holocaust" as he introduced Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) to thunderous applause from the crowd. Lieberman compared Hagee to Moses and pointed out a visiting Rick Santorum as a "worker for what is good in our society."

Video here.


The Bush Fortune Legacy

The BBC had a radio program yesterday referencing Dubya's grandpappy's financial support of Hitler, which revealed that a coup was planned by US businessmen, including Prescott Bush, to topple President Roosevelt.

The coup was aimed at toppling President Franklin D Roosevelt with the help of half-a-million war veterans. The plotters, who were alleged to involve some of the most famous families in America, (owners of Heinz, Birds Eye, Goodtea, Maxwell Hse & George Bush’s Grandfather, Prescott) believed that their country should adopt the policies of Hitler and Mussolini to beat the great depression.

Mike Thomson investigates why so little is known about this biggest ever peacetime threat to American democracy.


Take Fredo Fishing?

Conservative blogger Pejman Yousefzadeh (supply your own comments) says "It's time to take Fredo out fishing." If you haven't seen the Godfather movies (or read the book), this won't make a lot of sense. But since Bush nicknamed Alberto Gonzales Fredo (for those of you who have seen the movies - how's that for apt?), we get to go into referential mode here.

No, Alberto Gonzales should not be offed. Let me repeat that: No one should kill, wound, or even try to temporarily inconvenience the life functions of the current Attorney General of the United States. But the man President Bush calls "Fredo"--was a Presidential nickname ever more apt?--should at long last be invited to spend more time with his family. Much more time. He should be a Soccer Dad, a Harry Potter Dad, a Couch Potato, Sleeping Late In The Morning The Better To Avoid Any Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings He Might Accidentally Stumble Into Dad, a Dad who doesn't leave the Gonzales family compound for any reason whatsoever without legions upon legions of intelligent adults accompanying him in a supervisory capacity.

[...]

[A]ny confirmation hearings for a new nominee for the position of Attorney General will simply turn into one big, giant Bush-bashing session. Naturally, the Bush Administration does not want that and so, Alberto Gonzales stays safe in his job.

Or to put it another way: Mamma is still alive and no one's goin' after Fredo yet.

So I have a solution for the Bush Administration: Take Fredo fishing (again, this is just a euphemism!) and then declare that the Deputy Attorney General is the Acting Attorney General. Then nominate no one. My RedState colleague, the Dark Lord Krempasky informs me via e-mail that the Acting Attorney General can run things for 210 days before it's time to put forth a nominee.

I wonder if Pejman is missing something more personal and perhaps a bit sinister about why Fredo is still in office.


Subpoenas

Not worth the paper they're printed on in this case. But Karl Rove himself and deputy political director Jay Jennings have been subpoenaed to testify in the attorney firings investigation.

I smell another claim of executive privilege in the air.

"For over four months, I've exhausted every avenue, sought the voluntary cooperation of Karl Rove and J. Scott Jennings, but to no avail," Leahy said.

As though subpoenas are going to make the difference.


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Intriguing Lead...

At TPM
"Senate Democrats are calling for a special prosecutor to probe Alberto Gonzales...."

You know what I'm thinking....


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

And Just in Time...

For those out-of-work folks in Michigan and the Iraqi refugees of the previous post...the FBI is looking to hire a new crew of informants.

Maybe you can apply online. I don't know.


Iraq War Fallout

Refugees.

My guess is those war hounds who were howling for blood and cheering the fall of Baghdad from their lazyboy loungers weren't expecting refugees to come here.

The area in southeast Michigan where 2,000 Iraqi refugees are expected to resettle already has 169,000 people out of work.

[...]

The mayor of Warren, which has a large Arab-American population, recently said the refugees will strain services and drag down an already struggling state economy.

But others, such as University of Michigan economist Donald Grimes, say the entrepreneurial attitude and advanced degrees of many Iraqis might help turn the ship of state around.

  Yahoo

Now there's a real Bush supporter. How many of the two thousand Iraqi refugees have advanced degrees? Well, maybe a lot. Maybe the Iraqis with advanced degrees are best able to get out of Iraq. I don't know.

What I do know is that we've seen and heard numerous examples of Americans claiming that all Iraqis are the enemy. I have a feeling that many of the 169,000 unemployed in Michigan might just be amongst that group.

"People who have lived here their whole lives are having trouble finding jobs," said [mayoral spokesman Joe] Munem, a first-generation Arab-American. "If you're going to have refugees coming here and you want them to be self-sustaining, why aren't we talking about sending them to Texas and Florida, which have a comparatively booming economy?"

Now we're trying to pass off our refugees, are we? Like our toxic waste. I could be wrong, but I have a feeling Texans might not be real happy about that. A lot of them are still complaining about Katrina refugees, and those people are Americans, even if they are dark skinned. And they speak English. But isn't that just human nature? Here the guy is the son of immigrants and he wants to limit immigration. I got mine.

And while we're talking about immigrants, which is more destructive to the local wildlife, a border fence or the illegal traffic?

(Booming? Texas?)


MySpace

MySpace told state officials last week that it had found more than 29,000 sex offenders on the social networking site. That's more than four times the 7,000 profiles the company said in May that it had removed.

  McClatchy

I'm in a bit of a hurry here, so I'm not going to take the time to try to find out if that 29,000, as a percentage of the number of people who have a MySpace account, is representative of the percentage of sex offenders in the general population, or if word is out that MySpace is an especially good place for them.

MySpace is blocked on the public computers at the Galveston public library. But you can always read the current Playboy in the periodicals section.


...hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Land of the Free

A man walked up to Dick Cheney, calmly told him he thought his Iraq policy was reprehensible, and walked away. A few minutes later he was arrested by the Secret Service, in front of his 8-year-old son, for "assault".

When he asked what would happen to his child, the Secret Service said, "He can be sent to Child Services." Luckily, the boy found his mother and was safe.

But the citizen who practiced his free speech spent a few hours in jail before he was released.

  Cliff Schecter

I’m very liberal and sometimes my friends say I’m giving them some kind of paranoid, nutty stuff, and I agree, but then the FBI show up.
—MARC SCHULTZ, REPORTED TO THE FBI FOR READING AN ARTICLE CALLED “WEAPONS OF MASS STUPIDITY: FOX NEWS HITS A NEW LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR” WHILE HE STOOD IN LINE AT A COFFEE SHOP

In West Virginia, Renee Jensen put up a yard sign saying “Mr. Bush: You’re Fired.” She’s questioned by the Secret Service. In Alabama, Lynne Gobbell put a Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker on her car. She’s fired from her job. In Vermont, Tom Treece had his high school students write essays and make posters either defending or criticizing the Iraq War. After midnight, the police entered his classroom and took photos of the student artwork.

  The New Press



Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Oh What a Tangled Web

Gonzo has been cautioned to have a very close look at his testimony, because the Senate investigators will be doing just that.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will review Alberto Gonzales' past statements to determine whether Gonzales lied to the committee in 2006 by saying there had been no internal Justice Department dissent over the legality of the president's Terrorist Surveillance Program (otherwise known as the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program). When confronted by the senators, Gonzales today offered a surprising explanation of his consistency and veracity: he repeatedly suggested there's a different intelligence program, other than the TSP, that Justice Department officials found legally dubious in 2004.

[...]

Whatever Gonzales expected to get out of today's hearing, he left the Senate having raised two lingering and mutually exclusive questions: whether the Bush administration has pursued a second secret, internally controversial intelligence program of dubious legality; or whether the attorney general of the United States lied under oath. Gonzales looked this morning like he had beaten back his political foes. What he probably didn't expect is that this afternoon, he became his own worst enemy.

  TPM Muckraker

But I don't understand why those questions should be considered mutually exclusive. The second secret program could exist quite happily alongside Gonzo's lies, couldn't it?

Schumer pointed out that in a June press conference, Gonzales confirmed that Comey was in fact talking about the "highly classified program which the president confirmed to the American people sometime ago" -- that is, the TSP. But Gonzales said at the hearing that shortly thereafter, he contacted Washington Post reporter Dan Eggen to retract the statement -- and then he stuck to his line about there being "other intelligence activities" that were at issue in March, 2004.

Will Gonzo go down on for George? There's a commutation waiting, so I don't see why not.


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


It Wasn't Just Federal Agencies

Karl Rove and his compatriot Sara Taylor were giving the GOP spiel to ambassadors and diplomats, too, prompting Spencer Ackerman to wonder "how U.S. foreign policy, and specific binational relationships, is unfolding right now to serve a partisan agenda rather than the national interest."

Which brings to mind a bumper sticker I saw yesterday: "Yee-ha is not a foreign policy."

Maybe it is.


And You Thought Bush Didn't Have an Iraq Plan

Well he does. At least until 2009.


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Gonzo Defends Himself

Update: TPM Muckraker has snippets and video.

In his hearing today, Gonzo defended his attempt to do an end run around acting AG James Comey by visiting the seriously ill and sedated John Ashcroft in his hospital room in the middle-of-the-night:

"There are no rules governing whether or not Attorney General Ashcroft can decide 'I'm feeling well enough to make this decision.'"

A reportedly angry Arlen Specter pointed out the missing piece: that Ashcroft had already passed on the decision-making authority to Comey. There are indeed rules governing that. Do you suppose Gonzo will have to suffer any consequences?

Specter also asked Gonzales if he thought there was any threat to our Constitution by the president claiming executive privilege and then barring the DoJ from hearing charges brought by Congress. Gonzo responded that, because he was recusing himself from decision-making in the firing of attorneys general investigation, he couldn't answer that question.

That makes as much sense as the other stupid answer. He's just plain worthless. Unless you're the president of the United States.

But beyond worthless, it seems to me he's lied and sleazed his way through his whole tenure. Is the only recourse left to Congress to sputter and steam?


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


The YouTube "Debate"

I didn't watch it. I have a feeling that W3IAI's coverage probably sums it up very nicely.


GOP Branch Operatives

Not long ago, in a different context, I asked, "Is there no federal agency that's clean?"

TPM has a list (maybe somebody will put them in list format soon) of agencies that Karl Rove has been manipulating to make them another arm of the GOP, and a question for Gonzo in his hearing today: was the DoJ on Karl's speaking tour?


Slave Wages

He was hired at $5.50 an hour — above the old hourly minimum wage of $5.15 — to bus tables for the summer at Grant Central Pizza & Pasta Restaurant in Grant Park. Now, he'll get $5.85 an hour, the result of Congress passing an increase this year.

The last time the federal minimum wage got a boost, Sept. 1, 1997, Connor was in a booster seat. Since then, 32 states and the District of Columbia have increased minimum wage at the state level. Georgia is among 18 states that didn't.

While the teenager is psyched about the extra money, he wonders how older full-time minimum wage workers will make it on a 70-cent increase, the first of three incremental increases during the next two years.

[...]

Once the minimum wage hits $7.25 in 2009, its value still won't match the value of minimum wage in 1956, when it was $7.65 in today's dollars.

  AJC

I heard the author of the bill that eeks out that wonderful raise over the course of three years, Ted Kennedy, this morning on NPR saying he's going to start talking up a $9.50 minimum wage. They refer to that as a "living wage."

In what country?

And in what year will that take place?

In the meantime Congress has been getting its regular raises. Priorities, you know.


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Monday, July 23, 2007

A Nation of Criminals

According to a 2005 report of the International Centre for Prison Studies in London, the United States—with five percent of the world’s population—houses 25 percent of the world’s inmates.

  Boston Review

Do we just make too many laws, or are we really bad people? I know that our laws indicate our reverence for property rights, particularly money, and so, I thought, being one of the wealthiest countries on earth, perhaps the report is simply confirmation of that. I may not have been far off, but that's not all.

One third of inmates in state prisons are violent criminals, convicted of homicide, rape, or robbery. But the other two thirds consist mainly of property and drug offenders.

[...]

How did it come to this? One argument is that the massive increase in incarceration reflects the success of a rational public policy: faced with a compelling social problem, we responded by imprisoning people and succeeded in lowering crime rates. This argument is not entirely misguided.

[...]

A more convincing argument is that imprisonment rates have continued to rise while crime rates have fallen because we have become progressively more punitive: not because crime has continued to explode (it hasn’t), not because we made a smart policy choice, but because we have made a collective decision to increase the rate of punishment.

[...]

Between 1980 and 2001, there was no real change in the chances of being arrested in response to a complaint: the rate was just under 50 percent. But the likelihood that an arrest would result in imprisonment more than doubled, from 13 to 28 percent.

[...]

Despite a sharp national decline in crime, American criminal justice has become crueler and less caring than it has been at any other time in our modern history. Why?

These days we are sooooo into punishment, just like our Old Testament God. My guess is the need to punish has risen in concert with the rise of the Religious Right. It's just a guess. My other guess is that the current fear-mongering, shock and awe, torture-minded example our top government officials show us gives a sheen of legitimacy to hatred and vindictiveness. Just another guess.

After reading a few articles on the criminal laws here in Texas, I wonder if maybe I should actually read what they are. (I've already been warned not to try to buy sex toys, although even if I wanted some, I wouldn't know what back alley to look in to find a pusher.)

"A couple of weeks ago, the local paper printed names of El Pasoans with outstanding arrest warrants. 78,000 El Pasoans made the paper! When we compared Austin, same story: 11% of Austin has outstanding arrest warrants. How did that happen?"

In 2003, on the House floor, Rep. Diane Delisi told Texans that the “Driver Responsibility” bill was needed "to improve driver’s behavior." Everyone in Austin knew that the real story was money. After 9/11, Texans quit buying. Sales tax revenues dropped so much that Texas now had a $10 billion budget deficit. Rather than raise taxes, Republicans cut taxes on the wealthiest Texans, cut programs like CHIP, then shifted fees, tuition and tickets to low and middle income Texans.

[...]

Theoretically, after three tickets, a driver can owe $3,000 and more, depending on the offense.

And if you can’t pay, you go to jail.

Working on the chain gang makes it awfully hard to pay for a ticket.

  Senator Eliot Shapleigh - El Paso

Grits for Breakfast suggests that Texas just plain has too many activities listed as felonies.

[T]he Board of Pardons and Parole has identified 2,324 separate acts which the state Legislature has declared felonies!

(When God sat down to author His list of forbidden acts, readers may recall, he could only come up with ten.)


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Executive Order Update

From yesterday's EO alert, about which I expressed suspicions, I have a little more information today...

Charlie Savage notes:

The administration is separately crafting a list of permitted and forbidden tactics that it said will comply with Bush's executive order, but the list is classified.

[...]

The order also said the CIA director must personally approve the use of extraordinary interrogation practices against any specific detainee.

  Boston.com

And emptywheel adds:

[S]ome of the most obvious abuses--using sex and religion--are now forbidden. But the key information, what remains permitted, is in a separate, classified list that we don't get to see. And three other key details: the Executive Order explicitly denies any legal responsibilities associated with the EO, so even if some overzealous torturer ignores it, he's not going to jail. The Red Cross remains unable to monitor prisoners in this newfangled "enhanced interrogation" program.

  The Next Hurrah

So, really, I don't see that torture has been banned with this latest meaningless paper. I think George just likes to hand out pens.


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Feingold to Propose Censure

Wisconsin's Democratic Senator Russ Feingold says he's going to ask the Senate to censure Bush and Cheney for their illegal war and for undermining the US Constitution.

"Censure is not a cure for the devastating toll this administration’s actions have taken on this country. But when future generations look back at the terrible misconduct of this administration, they need to see that a co-equal branch of government stood up and held to account those who violated the principles on which this nation was founded."

[...]

"While I still am not convinced that Congress should pursue impeachment, you made some great points about how important it is to hold this administration accountable for its terrible misconduct," Feingold wrote to the Daily Kos community. "That includes tough oversight by Congress, but we should do more than that. The history books should show that Congress formally condemned this President, and others in the administration who have so brazenly misled the American people and undercut the rule of law."

  Raw Story

That's swell, Russ. But impeachment would take care of both future generations through the history books and this generation, which is the one suffering the effects of leaving these guys in office right now. This administration's actions haven't finished taking a "devastating toll" - it's continuing until we stop them. And it would be my guess that those future generations you want to know how you so boldly disagreed with the president's actions, who will be suffering under the effects of whatever else he comes up with, will be wondering why, when you had the power to do so, you did not stop him.

If you want to join the "conversation" with Feingold at Daily Kos, go here.


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Executive Order Alert

President Bush signed an executive order Friday prohibiting cruel and inhuman treatment, including humiliation or denigration of religious beliefs, in the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects.

  TPM

Why do I suspect there is a "signing statement" to go along with that?


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Update: Next day's post

What We Need Is...

...new propaganda to catapult.

The Pentagon has just spent $400,000 of our money to get a marketing report from the RAND corporation on how to better "sell" the war in Iraq. As you well know, these days it's all about marketing the product.

Wasn't that what Romney was wanting to do if he gets elected?

I guess the magazine hasn't gone over so well.


Can We Impeach Now?

I was a guest today on Bree Walker's radio show. She's the progressive radio host from San Diego who purchased Cindy Sheehan's land from her in Crawford, Texas.

Bree attended an event on Friday in San Diego at which Congressman Conyers spoke about impeachment. Her report was extremely interesting. I had already heard reports that Conyers had said: "What are we waiting for? Let's take these two guys out!" But, of course, what we're waiting for is John Conyers. Is he ready to act? It was hard to tell from that comment. In January, Conyers spoke at a huge rally on the National Mall and declared "We can fire them!" but later explained that what he meant was that we could wait for two years and Bush and Cheney's terms would end. Was this week's remark just more empty rhetoric?

It appears to be more than that. Bree Walker told me, on the air, that Conyers said that all he needs is three more Congress Members backing impeachment, and he'll move on it, even without Pelosi. I asked whether that meant specifically moving from 14 cosponsors of H Res 333 to 17, or adding 3 to the larger number of Congress Members who have spoken favorably of impeachment but not all signed onto bills. Bree said she didn't know and that Conyers had declined to take any questions.

  Democratic Underground

Hot air? Who knows?

Joe Cannon says it's not Nancy Pelosi's place to start impeachment proceedings, due to the fact that she is third in line for the presidency. I see his point. She would certainly be accused of trying to get to the top herself. But Conyers could do it without that particular backlash problem.

You know me. I'm the ultimate pessimist about our situation - hell, about humanity in general - but I thought I'd pass on the information in case you are inclined to contact your congressperson.

Or maybe you want to join Cindy Sheehan.

On July 23rd, we will be in Congressman John Conyers’ office to encourage him to take the lead on impeachment. A sit-in in his office is possible and likely.

  Bree Walker


...but hey, do what you want...you will anyway.


It's Michelada Time

Miller beer has a new brew - at least they do here in Texas - called Miller Chill, which they advertise as...
an American take on the popular Mexican chelada, is the only light beer brewed with a hint of lime and a pinch of salt to provide a truly refreshing beer experience

I can save you the trouble. It's okay for an American beer. Not good, but okay. I'm comparing with Bud and the rest of the popular American swill.

When I was living in Tepoztlan, Morelos, Mexico, I discovered the brew that Miller's Chill is based on. Actually, Tepoztlan vendors serve what they call a michelada. It includes chili. I don't know where else they might serve it like that, as I didn't see it offered anywhere else in my central and central Pacific coast travels in Mexico, but everybody in Tepoztlan serves it. So, here's the recipe I use:

  • rub a lime around the rim of your beer glass and then coat it with a mixture of salt and chili powder (the rim of your beer glass - not the lime, Missourians)
  • squeeze one whole lime into your glass
  • put about 1/4 teaspon of the salt/chili powder mix in the bottom of your glass (do this before you put the beer in the glass, unless you're doing a volcano simulation for the kids
  • fill the glass with your favorite Mexican beer - the lights are not my favorite, and of the darker beers, I think Negra Modelo makes the best michelada
  • if you want it spiced up, put a drop or two of hot sauce in

Oh....yum, yum.

I spent the whole morning building a tall bedframe. I just hope I remember that when I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I have a nagging feeling that I am going to hurt myself tonight. But the plus side is that, if I do, I'll have the perfect invalid's bed.

Okay, now I can look at today's news. If I get inspired to blog something, I'll post. But I may just make another michelada instead.



Saturday, July 21, 2007

Twit Romney in 2008


I've just got one thing to say to that...



....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


The Bates Court

I know you are used to hearing about the way the White House has covered all its bases in appointments that are mere puppets, so you won't be a bit surprised to learn about the judge who just recently dismissed Valerie Plame's lawsuit. Think Progress gives us a list of some former actions of Judge John Bates:

  • He ruled that Bush could legally sign a bill that had not been passed by Congress
  • He ruled that the U.S. Comptroller could not force Dick Cheney to turn over the names of people he met with for his energy task force
  • He approved continuation of White House domestic spying, but...
  • He once ruled that the Clinton White House had to turn over records about Hillary's Whitewater activity

Activist judge?

....hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Patrick Fitzgerald Gives a Rare Public Interview

Special prosecutor for the Valerie Plame investigations, Patrick Fitzgerald gives an interview to.....wait, wait...don't tell me.....

Wait wait...Don't Tell Me!

The Chicago-based show's host, Peter Sagal, introduces the show with a lead-in to the appearance of today's special guest...

"Other cities may have the financial titans or the movie stars or those mountains and oceans we've heard are somewhat impressive to look at, but we have got something better. We've got a guy who will fly to your city wherever you are and indict your sorry behind."

Like Ted Koppel's appearance on that radio show, Fitzgerald surprises me by having a great sense of humor.

If you listen to today's entire show, you'll learn lots of interesting things that happened this week and weren't blogged on YWA, including the arrest of 14 squirrels in Iran.

"Fourteen squirrels were arrested in Iran on charges of espionage....The squirrels were carrying spy gear of foreign agencies and were stopped before they could attack thanks to the alertness of [the Iranian] intelligence services. Soon after, Dick Cheney turned to the president and said, 'Okay. We tried your idea. Now let me get back to work.'"

In the special guest interview segment titled "We are so not going to ask you about Scooter Libby!", Fitzgerald correctly answers a question about the Segway scooter, noting the Pentagon's attempts to turn it into a robotic soldier.

Hey, it fought the President, and won.

Along with squirrel spies, we can add the Segway Warrior to a list of Bush plans to defeat the enemy in the Middle East.

Hey, if you think you have better ideas, pass them along.


....awww, do what you want....you will anyway.

P.S. Show panelist Roy Blount, Jr., suggests the next fantasy series after Harry Potter will be

"The Adventures of Li'l Scooter" whose dark boss, Li'l Dick, sends him out on terrible quests and he gets into the darnedest fixes, and fortunately, his magic friend, Li'l George, comes along and saves him every time."



Update: Ashcroft's deputy, James Comey, nominates Fitzgerald to replace Gonzales. Of course, that would be in fantasy land, not our current cartoon land. I'm still of mixed feelings about how Fitzgerald got the job of special prosecutor in the Plame case in the first place. Something in the back of my mind says they knew he'd have the aura of impartiality and doggedness while at the same time not actually nailing anybody beyond the scapegoat Libby, who had a nice deal to get his sentence commuted. Rove still gets off. Cheney still gets off. Bush still gets off.

I'm not saying Fitz was in on the deal. I don't have a Chertoff one way or the other about that. I just don't know how much danger there ever was in his being a threat to the criminal operations in the White House. Not much, I suspect.


Friday, July 20, 2007

New Rule!

Bush White House pre-empts Congress. Again.

Bush administration officials unveiled a bold new assertion of executive authority yesterday in the dispute over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys, saying that the Justice Department will never be allowed to pursue contempt charges initiated by Congress against White House officials once the president has invoked executive privilege.

[...]

Mark J. Rozell, a professor of public policy at George Mason University who has written a book on executive-privilege issues, called the administration's stance "astonishing."

[...]

"What this statement is saying is the president's claim of executive privilege trumps all."

[...]

Waxman added: "I suppose the next step would be just disbanding the Justice Department."

  WaPo

For all practical purposes, Mr. Waxman, I'd say that's already been done.

It's like playing a game with my older brother when we were kids. He'd make up games and add rules as situations arose where he needed coverage.

These guys just make up shit as they go along. We don't have laws in this country, we have Constitutional suggestions. The (rhetorical) question is, will Congress let them keep getting away with this crap?


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


P.S. And you thought Paul Craig Roberts was just being shrill.


Update to add the cartoons: I wish I'd thought of this when I first posted, but I'd forgotten all about Calvinball. Thanks to Bob for the comment...

Calvinball


Romney's Raiders

In an apparent violation of the law, a controverisal aide to ex-Gov. Mitt Romney created phony law enforcement badges that he and other staffers used on the campaign trail to strong-arm reporters, avoid paying tolls and trick security guards into giving them immediate access to campaign venues, sources told the Herald.

The bogus badges were part of the bizarre security tactics allegedly employed by Jay Garrity, the director of operations for Romney who is under investigation for impersonating a law enforcement officer in two states. Garrity is on a leave of absence from the campaign while the probe is ongoing.

  Boston Herald

Apparent violation of the law? Where in this country is it legal to impersonate an officer?


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Behind Closed Doors

Alberto Gonzales testified before the House Intel Committee about his middle-of-the-night pressure visit to John Ashcroft's hospital bedside yesterday, but we're not allowed to know what he said, because the issue of why he was there is classified. At any rate, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) was satisfied with Gonzo's answers.

"When there are issues of national security at stake, I think certainly one should not question the motivation of individuals," Reyes told reporters. "I'm willing to accept the rationale behind it."

Not question motives when national security is at stake? That's a GOP talking point, isn't it? Senator [ooops] Congressman Reyes is a Democrat. You remember Senator [ooops] Congressman Reyes, don't you?


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


We Need an Extension

Here's another surprise for you...

For months September has been cast as a pivotal time for determining the course of the war in Iraq, yet a top general now says a solid judgment on the U.S. troop buildup there may not come until November.

[...]

"In order to do a good assessment I need at least until November," said [Lt. Gen. Raymond] Odierno, a deputy to Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. military commander in Iraq.

  Yahoo

Well, we want him to do a "good" assessment.

You were surprised, weren't you?


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Huh?

Bob says this Bush quote will cause your head to explode.
The enemy, by the way, defines success as, can they pull off a car bombing. If we ever allow ourselves to get in a position where it's "no car bombings, therefore we're successful," we've just handed these killers a great victory.

You know, Bob could be right, and so I'm loathe to try to think about it any more, but isn't that double-talk? Not to mention meaningless?

If we're in a position where it's "only some car bombings (or even one car bombing), therefore we're successful" - which he seems to be saying - doesn't that make for two winners and no loser? They think they win because they are able to pull off a car bombing, and we think we're successful because we've kept the car bombings to a minimal.

Oh! Maybe I do get it. Win-Win. And we thought he was incapable of thinking like that.

It seems to me he's saying that we both define success as "some" car bombings. This does nothing to dispell my belief that Bush and the terrorists are working together. Like I said, I'm afraid to try to think about it any more.


....but hey, you go ahead and do what you want....you will anyway.


They Used to Kill the Messenger

An anti-evolutionary Christian extremist suspected of sending threatening letters to biology professors at the University of Colorado has gone on the lam, according to a staff member familiar with a police investigation into the matter.

Police at the University of Colorado say they know the identity of the individual who sent threatening letters to several biology professors who taught evolution. However, the police won't name the individual until they make an arrest, said detective lieutenant commander John Kish.

Staff at the biology department have been issued a picture of Michael Korn, a messianic Jew, who has said he is the "messenger of God" [...]

  Wired

They won't name the individual, but they'll pass around his picture. I just don't get it.

Besides, I thought Tony Snow was the messenger of God.


Yahoo Headline

"One of world's oldest chimps dies at 60"

The other one is still alive.


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Yet Another Quietly Issued Executive Order

In a little-noticed executive order issued on Tuesday, President Bush directed the Treasury Department to block the U.S.-based financial assets of anyone deemed to have threatened "the peace or stability of Iraq or the Government of Iraq" or who "undermin(e) efforts to promote economic reconstruction and political reform in Iraq."

By that wording, I'd say that could be anybody who speaks out against the administration's policies. That's one way to stop contributions to progressive and Democratic candidates.

But that's not the target.

[Whiet House spokesman Tony] Snow led his press briefing with a description of the executive order and described it as "a gap left in other executive orders to make sure that we have the means to go financially after anybody who is trying to go after the efforts to secure freedom and democracy in Iraq." When asked who the act was aimed at, Snow replied, "Well, what this is really aimed at is insurgents and those who come across the border," meaning the Syrian and Iranian borders.

And these kinds of things never get abused.

As Sir Thomas More said, it's all in the wording.


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


College Republicans

They're everything you've come to believe. Via Talking Points Memo, check out this YouTube video by Max Blumenthal, taping at a College Republicans convention. Tom DeLay tells them that if we had those 30 million aborted fetuses, we wouldn't need immigrant labor. And that's not even the best part of this video: Generation Chickenhawk.

(Now you know why they're against abortion. It robs them of an underclass for the low wage service jobs - and military).


Energy Task Force

Or...How Dick Cheney and Karl Rove bankrupted California's PG&E and forced governor Gray Davis out of office to be replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger.

March 2001:

Cheney had just been informed by his longtime friend Thomas Cruikshank, the man who handpicked the vice president to succeed him at Halliburton in the mid-1990s, that federal energy regulators were close to completing an investigation into allegations that Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Williams Companies and AES Corporation of Arlington, Virginia had created an artificial power shortage in California in April and May of 2000 by shutting down a power plant for more than two weeks.

[...]

California's electricity crisis wreaked havoc on consumers in the state between 2000 and 2001. The crisis resulted in widespread rolling blackouts and forced the state's largest utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, into bankruptcy. California was the first state in the nation to deregulate its power market in an effort to provide consumers with cheaper electricity and the opportunity to choose their own power provider. The results have since proved disastrous. The experiment has cost the state more than $30 billion.

[...]

[D]ocumentary evidence of widespread market manipulation that FERC [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] obtained in March 2001 [...] was sealed by FERC on direct orders by Cheney because it would have been a political nightmare for the Bush administration and would have derailed a recommendation of one of the cornerstones of the vice president's National Energy Policy: deregulation, and perhaps scuttle the policy altogether if evidence about the energy companies behavior in California was made public, according to half-a-dozen former FERC officials and former Energy Department officials.

[...]

This story is based on a two-month investigation into Cheney's energy task force; how the vice president pressured cabinet officials to conceal clear-cut evidence of market manipulation during California's energy crisis, and how that subsequently led Cheney to exert executive privilege when lawmakers called on him to turn over documents related to his meetings with energy industry officials who helped draft the National Energy Policy and also gamed California's power market. Truthout spoke with more than a dozen former officials from the Energy Department and FERC as well as current and former energy industry executives all of whom were involved in personal discussions with Cheney relating to the National Energy Policy.

  The story here at TruthOut


Judge Dismisses Valerie Plame's Lawsuit

A federal judge dismissed former CIA operative Valerie Plame's lawsuit against members of the Bush administration Thursday, eliminating one of the last courtroom remnants of the leak scandal.

  WaPo

What a surprise.


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Imaginary Friends

Zarqawi, Masri and Baghdadi.

In March, he was declared captured. In May, he was declared killed, and his purported corpse was displayed on state-run TV. But on Wednesday, Abu Omar Baghdadi, the supposed leader of an Al Qaeda-affiliated group in Iraq, was declared nonexistent by U.S. military officials, who said he was a fictional character created to give an Iraqi face to a foreign-run terrorist organization.

[...]

Islamic State of Iraq [was created] as a "virtual organization" that exists in cyberspace and is essentially a pseudonym for Al Qaeda in Iraq, another group that claims ties to Bin Laden. The front organization was aimed at making Iraqis believe that Al Qaeda in Iraq is a nationalistic group, even though it is led by an Egyptian and has few Iraqis among its leaders, Bergner said at a news conference.

  LA Times

Well, if the Iraqis didn't believe it, it fooled the Americans - at least the White House and the American press.


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.


Don't Worry, It's Safe

A massive geyser of steam and debris that erupted through a midtown Manhattan street left asbestos in the dust that settled, but city officials Thursday said tests indicated the air was safe of the carcinogen.

  Yahoo

Maybe it really is this time. But then, Rudy's still mayor.


Proof of What We Already Knew

A Who's Who of Cheney's energy task force has been leaked to the Washington Post. Environmentalists did indeed have input, on two days out of four months' worth of meetings.

Cheney was not there, but so many environmentalists were in the room that introductions took up "about half the meeting," recalled Erich Pica of Friends of the Earth. Anna Aurilio of the U.S. Public Interest Group said, "It was clear to us that they were just being nice to us."

A confidential list prepared by the Bush administration shows that Cheney and his aides had already held at least 40 meetings with interest groups, most of them from energy-producing industries. By the time of the meeting with environmental groups, according to a former White House official who provided the list to The Washington Post, the initial draft of the task force was substantially complete and President Bush had been briefed on its progress.

  WaPo via Cursor


Two More Journalists Killed in Iraq

[Reuters] Photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and driver Saeed Chmagh, 40, were killed in Baghdad on Thursday in what witnesses said was a U.S. helicopter attack and which police in a preliminary report called "random American bombardment".

  Reuters


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"Now She Tells Us"

That's the perfect David Kurtz post title to this news: Condi says she doesn't know what she'll do in the future because she's a "terrible long-term planner."

Further David Kurtz comments address the possibility that Cheney will be claiming executive privilege in the matter of subpoenas:

"I used to think that Cheney's undisclosed location was an underground bunker somewhere in the wilds of Maryland. Perhaps it was really this strange new netherworld between the Executive and Legislative branches..."
That's it.


Fox News Spin

Spin doesn't get any spinnier than this. From the TPM Cafe: Fox News reported that 52 Senators voted not to bring home the troops.
"By a 52-47 vote, the Senate on Wednesday rejected a bill that would have started bringing troops home within 120 days of passage."

Wrong. They didn't get to vote on that bill. As Eric Kleefeld points out, what actually occurred was that 52 Senators voted not to block a vote on the troop withdrawal amendment. Unfortunately, they needed 60 votes to even be able to vote on the idea of bringing the troops home.

So, the only thing we know about those 52 Senators is that they were 1) ready to vote yea or nay on withdrawing the troops, or 2) felt pretty sure the 60 votes needed to lift the block would not be reached and they could safely say they were ready to vote without actually having to prove it. What we certainly don't know is what Fox is telling us: 52 Senators rejected troop withdrawal.

I know the whole thing is a little convoluted, but I guess what I don't know is whether the Fox reporters and editors are too simple-minded to understand what happened, or they know and are simply spinning it the way they want people to see it.


....but hey, say what you want....you will anyway.


Update: David Kurtz has a runner-up.


Back to You, Republicans

The all-nighter may not have accomplished much more than making a point, but today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the next move in the troop withdrawal standoff: he pulled the defense authorization bill off the floor. If the Republicans didn't want the attached withdrawal amendment to be voted on, well, they're not getting anything at all to vote on.

Let the squealing begin.


Everybody Does It

The CEO of Whole Foods got busted posting pro-company comments on a discussion forum anonymously, while predicting financial gloom and doom for his competitor. He's asking his stakeholders to "forgive him." He says he only posted on the forum "for fun," excusing himself by saying "most people" post on bulletin boards anonymously.

Yeah, dude. And "most people" don't own the companies.

I say trow da book at 'im.


....but hey, do what you want....you will anyway.