Saturday, May 31, 2008

Florida and Michigan

Democratic party officials said a party committee agreed Saturday on a compromise to seat Michigan and Florida delegates with half-votes after Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton failed to get enough support to force their positions through.


Clinton's camp insisted Obama shouldn't get any pledged delegates in Michigan since he chose not to put his name on the ballot, and she should get 73 pledged delegates with 55 uncommitted. Obama's team insisted the only fair solution was to split the pledged delegates in half between the two campaigns, with 64 each.

The committee agreed on a compromise offered by the Michigan Democratic Party that would split the difference, allowing Clinton to take 69 delegates and Obama 59. Each delegate would get half a vote at the convention in Denver later this summer, according to the deal.

They also agreed to seat the Florida delegation based on the outcome of the January primary, with 105 pledged delegates for Clinton and 67 for Obama, but with each delegate getting half a vote as a penalty.

There's a lot wrong with this. The Democratic Party rules were set. Michigan and Florida and all the Democratic candidates knew them, and they knew the consequences for breaking them - no delegates would be seated.

Obama wasn't on the Michigan ballot because of the rules and the breaking of them. Had he known the rules would change and those delegates would be seated, he would have been on the ballot. However, Obama was against levying the consequences and Hillary was for it.

How many people decided to skip the primaries in those states because there would be no delegates come out of them? How many of them would have voted for Obama? If the delegate votes would have favored Obama, this wouldn't be happening. It's lousy politics to change the rule now, after the fact, for Hillary because she needs votes.

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

Speaking of Obama

He's quit his church of 20 some years due to remarks by two of its pastors. I think this is a mistaken move - trying to adjust his life according to campaign controvery. It looks like a lack of conviction, or that your position was unfounded in the first place. It's not atypical of politics by any means - Hillary and McCain do it on a regular bais, and many others before them - but it never ends well. When people find out they can dance you like a puppet, they'll go for the jugular.

If you're going to reinvent yourself, do it the way Dubya did - in preparation for the run, not as the blows start landing in the midst of it.

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

In Case You Need It

I'm not anxious to be an Obama apologist, but I don't like letting lies and smearing stand. I've already had reason to use this article myself: WWII Vet Fires at Conservative Bloggers Re: Obama's Great Uncle Charlie

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


I misinterpreted the McClellan comment about Bush authorizing a leak as in reference to Valerie Plame.

The classified information McClellan was talking about was the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq, portions of which were leaked to reporters in the summer of 2003 as part of the Bush administration's counter-attack on Joe Wilson, who had accused the White House of using twisted intelligence to support the invasion of Iraq.

  Raw Story

So I guess we don't have the Criminal in Chief taking credit for outing Valerie Plame (Wilson) after all. At least for now.

Many apologies for the error.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Confession Week

A.Q. Khan says he didn't really sell nuclear secrets: Musharraf forced him to be a scapegoat. Who to believe?

Okay, Now Be Afraid

Our American Taliban are not going away.

"We told you yesterday about this, the unbearable Rachel Ray in an ad for the donut and coffee chain [Dunkin' Donuts], to which the lunatic fringe responded in an apoplexy of xenophobic paranoia, because that, that thing around her neck, that is not just a stupid scarf; they think that is what Yasser Arafat used to wear on his head," Olbermann intoned. "See, it‘s jihadist chic. Having already driven business to Dunkin' Donuts by applauding its supposed stance in favor of tough immigration laws, the right threatened to boycott."

Olbermann added, "So what did Dunkin' Donuts do? They folded. They were as weak as their decaf."

The Dunkin' Donuts statement read, "In a recent online ad, Rachel Ray is wearing a black and white scarf with a paisley design. It was selected by her stylist for the advertising shoot. Absolutely no symbolism was intended. However, given the possibility of misperception, we are no longer using the commercial."

"They pulled the ad because of the possibility of misperception by the right wing equivalents of jihadists, the people in this country who most closely share the mentality of the terrorists, who act the most like Middle Eastern nut jobs, who rail against diversity, try to murder dissent, and care more about flags than about people," Olbermann continued. "You know, the Michelle Malkins of the world.


At her blog Wednesday, Malkin wrote, "Anti-American fashion designers abroad and at home have mainstreamed and adapted the scarves as generic pro-Palestinian jihad or anti-war statements. Yet many folks out there remain completely oblivious to the apparel’s violent symbolism and anti-Israel overtones.

  Raw Story

Anti-American fashion designers. Take them to Guantanamo. Off with their heads!

And if people are oblivious to the symbolism, then would the symbol have any power?

”Care more about flags” is right. The way the American Taliban have used our flag makes me now reflexively cringe every time I see it. Add to that the way American soldiers planted it in Baghdad, and the furor over Obama (and others) not wearing a flag pin on his lapel, and we unfurl a dark symbol ineed. I’m waiting for the armbands.

Another Gladiator* Speaks Freely

During an appearance at a Long Island bookstore last month, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was asked by a member of the audience why the United States has not been hit again since 9/11.


"This is ... one of the great tragedies of the Bush administration," Gingrich continued. "The more successful they've been at intercepting and stopping bad guys, the less proof there is that we're in danger. And therefore, the better they've done at making sure there isn't an attack, the easier it is to say, 'Well, there never was going to be an attack anyway.' And it's almost like they should every once in a while have allowed an attack to get through just to remind us."

  Raw Story

Yes, perhaps they thought 9/11’s spectacular failure to stop an attack would have been enough, when coupled with their constant fear-mongering supported by the corporate media. And then it would have been hard to make the claim that they were the only ones capable of keeping us from another attack, wouldn’t it?

But thanks to Newt for reminding us how the top GOP minds work.

*Operation Gladio

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Let the Trials Begin

Correction to this post here.

McClellan: […]I walked onto Air Force One, it was right after an event we had, it was down in the south, I believe it was North Carolina. And I walk onto Air Force One and a reporter had yelled a question to the President trying to ask him a question about this revelation that had come out during the legal proceedings. The revelation was that it was the President who had authorized, or, enable Scooter Libby to go out there and talk about this information [ed: Valerie Plame’s status with the CIA *Update: Correction link above.]. And I told the President that that's what the reporter was asking. He was saying that you, yourself, was the one that authorized the leaking of this information. And he said "yeah, I did." And I was kinda taken aback.

"Now, for the most part, this is not new," emptywheel writes. "We have known (since I first reported it here) that Scooter Libby testified that, after Libby told Dick Cheney he couldn't leak the information Cheney had ordered him to leak to Judy Miller because it was classified, Cheney told Libby he had gotten the President to authorize the declassification of that information."

She continues, "Thus far, though, we only had Dick Cheney's word that he had actually asked Bush to declassify this information. We didn't have Bush's confirmation that he had actually declassified the information. In fact, we've had Dick Cheney's claims that he--Dick--had insta-declassified via his super secret pixie dust declassification powers.

"But now we've got George Bush, confirming that he, the President of the United States, authorized the leaks of 'this information,'" Wheeler argues.

  Raw Story

As if we didn't know who authorized the leaking of Valerie Plame's name...but, if Scott McClellan had this information direct from the Criminal in Chief himself back when it happened and didn't report it then - which he didn't - then he and the CIC should both be arrested and be put on trial. Now.

We could have a three-ring circus...

If he refuses to testify about his role in the firing of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006, a member of the House Judiciary Committee said the panel would be willing to have former top Bush advisor Karl Rove arrested.

  Newsroom America

Well, I won't hold my breath.

Correction to this post here.

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Other Draft

There seems to be a problem finding State Department volunteers to serve in Baghdad. I can't imagine why.

The State Department has begun to identify diplomats who could be forced to serve in Iraq next year unless enough volunteers come forward to fill about 300 positions, The Associated Press has learned.


Those on the list will be notified of their status this week and urged to volunteer, according to the internal notice, which was also sent by cable to all U.S. diplomatic missions abroad. If positions remain unfilled after the summer, they will become the core of a group of "prime candidates" who may be forced to go to Iraq, it says.

The announcements, accompanied by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's personal appeal for volunteers, were obtained by the AP.

  AP News

Hey. Why doesn’t she sign up?

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

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Little Scotty McClellan Strikes Back

He says the Bush administration was misguided. And he also says that he and George were both deceived by Karl, Scooter and Big Dick.

He believed them. He was innocent, I tell you. Innocent!


Apparently McClellan has seen the light. Well, where's his plea for forgiveness? If he were truly contrite about his involvement in a deceptive, propaganda-wielding administration, McClellan could demonstrate his sincerity by pledging that all profits from his belated truth-telling will go to charities supporting the families of American soldiers killed or injured in Iraq. For history's sake, it is good that McClellan is confirming what most Americans (according to polls) have long known: the Bush administration trampled the truth to win public backing for the Iraq war. But as an enabler (witting or not) of that process, McClellan owes the public more than a for-sale account. He should not profit from this book, making bucks for correcting war-supporting falsehoods that he defended. He ought to be doing penance.

  David Corn

Mr. and Mr. Popularity

President Bush will make a quick visit to Phoenix to campaign with John McCain. Bush and McCain were supposed to attend a fundraiser at the Phoenix Convention Center but the event has been cancelled due to poor ticket sales and expected protests, according to an Arizona newspaper report. Another smaller fundraiser will instead be held at a private residence.

  Raw Story

Just What We've All Been Hoping For...

Scientists in Germany are reporting development of a new generation of explosives that is more powerful than TNT and other existing explosives, less apt to detonate accidentally, and produce fewer toxic byproducts. Their study of these more environmentally friendly explosives is scheduled for the June 24 issue of ACS’ Chemistry of Materials.

In addition to polluting the environment, these materials are also highly sensitive to physical shock, such as hard impacts and electric sparks, making their handling extremely dangerous. Greener, safer explosives are needed, the researchers say.


Home bomb builders are anxiously awaiting the supply for that one reason alone. But "environmentally friendly explosives"! I feel good about them already, don't you?

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

The Other Arm of the War Party

Click the pic.

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


Because I would pretty much just be repeating....

What she said.

First, he's got no problem with another hundred years - or even ten thousand! Now, he's just sick about the situation we're in.

A Tale of Two Shitties

Here's a couple of non-surprises for you this morning:

While sellers nationwide are suffering, the highest segment of the luxury market, in trophy property corners like Palm Beach, Fla., Beverly Hills, Calif., or the east end of New York's Long Island, has performed well.


[In] an elite enclave of the Venetian Islands, in Miami Beach, where one will often find sales of $20 million and up, there have been more sales in the first quarter this year than all of last year combined.



NYT Headline: As Border Efforts Grow, Corruption Is on the Rise

...And you're still...just across...the borderline.

As onward we march to third-world status with widespread and deeply embedded political corruption and an ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Damn Those French, Eh?

Eight years ago, a French couple founded an organization that adopts graves of American servicemen who died during the Normandy invasion of World War II. The volunteer group encourages French families to lay flowers on the graves when the Americans' own families can't do it.


MarieTherese La Vieille, who founded the organization eight years ago with her husband, says its important that each soldier be remembered when their own families cant come anymore.

"When we joined, we promised to visit the grave once a year and to lay flowers on the grave," she says. "Sometimes people take flowers from their own gardens. And they say it is like a son, like a cousin, like a brother. It is a member of the family."

This year dozens of members of Les Fleurs de la Memoire have shown up at Colleville-sur-Mer for the annual Memorial Day ceremony, which begins with a flyover by U.S. fighter jets in the missing-man formation.

A French priest recites the Lord's Prayer, then a rabbi chants the Kadish. And a French military band plays the "Star-Spangled Banner."


But behind the grand ceremony, a simple tribute unfolds at the back of the cemetery. Jean Michel Miette, 50, kneels in front of the grave of [...] Pvt. 1st Class Walter C. Malcolm. Miette is the one who adopted Malcolm's grave and he has come from Paris this morning to honor him.


"With enormous emotion in my heart, I want to say thank you, Walter," Miette says. "I will never forget you or your heroic compatriots."


Sunday, May 25, 2008

And Speaking of GOP Politics....

I don't get why the Democratic candidates keep trying to "reach out" to the GOP voters. At this point, the GOP voters who are voting GOP are never going to switch. They'd never vote for a Democrat when there's a Republican to choose. Why are Democrats after the GOP equivalent of Yellow Dog Democrats?

And to top it off, the Dems keep harping on the idea that Ralph Nader or any independent candidate is "spoiling" the elections by taking votes away from the Democratic candidate. So why then don't they try "reaching out" to the left? Why don't they move left instead of right and get back those voters who they claim are voting for spoilers? Wouldn't that be more reasonable?

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

I Take It Back

I said earlier I thought Hillary's ill-advised remarks about Bobby Kennedy were at any rate innocent. I take it back.

While Keith Olbermann goes over the edge reporting it (as Keith is wont to do at times), he notes three or four previous incidents when she has brought up the assassination. Bad form, Hillary. Very, very bad form. And perhaps not altogether innocent in referencing the assassination after all. And definitely not simply because the Kennedys were on her mind due to Ted's condition as she claimed this last time. This is a repeated, planned campaign comment.

Olbermann also reminds me with a list why we can't believe Hillary's claims of innocence ever again.

Take your nasty politics and run as the GOP candidate you are striving to be, Hillary.

The Straight Talk Express - Derailed

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

Friday, May 23, 2008

Uh...Just What Are You Saying?

[Hillary] Clinton was responding to a question from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader editorial board about calls for her to drop out of the race.

"My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know I just, I don't understand it," she said, dismissing the idea of dropping out.


Interesting choice of references for campaigning through June. Is she not-so-subliminally suggesting something?

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

Update: She apologized, saying she didn't mean anything other than campaigns have historically gone into June, and that the Kennedys were just on her mind a lot lately (what with Ted's diagnosis). I saw a YouTube clip, and I think that's exactly what happened. But it was a bad slip.

Update 5/25/08: I take it back. It was no slip.

More Dead Journalists

May 22 (Reuters) - An Iraqi television station accused U.S. troops on Thursday of shooting dead one of its cameramen as he walked to his Baghdad home.

The body of a second journalist, Haidar Hashim al-Husseini, a reporter for al-Sharq newspaper, was found dumped in a field with nine other corpses in Diyala province, police and colleagues said.


Blah, Blah, Blah...

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said he expects to recommend additional cuts in U.S. troop levels there this fall. Petraeus said he would assess conditions before his departure in September, when he is scheduled to take over the U.S. Central Command.

"My sense is I will be able to make a recommendation at that time for further reductions," Petraeus said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing yesterday on his nomination to the post that would put him in charge of U.S. military operations from the Horn of Africa to Central Asia.


Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt, too.

Petraeus declined to estimate the size of a troop cut. "I don't want to imply that that means a BCT [brigade combat team] or major combat formation, although it could," he said, referring to units that could total as many as several thousand troops.

But a couple of guys could get to go home.

Reduce. Surge. Repeat.

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

And Speaking of Torture...

Can those Bushies and war-apologists who claim to be Christians explain to me how they justify either the Afghan strikes or the Iraq invasion after 9/11, much less torture, when their Jesus admonished believers to "turn the other cheek" when assaulted?


Yeah, yeah, I know...late to the party....

Border Fence

Just caught a snippet of a report on NPR that the border patrol is trying to find a way to clear brush. I know a dedicated brush clearer who's going to be available come January.

The Torture Queen Revises Her Story

How many times has she previously denied that the U.S. tortures, knowing all the while that she was directly responsible as a member of the team who authorized it?

Now that more information connecting her to those authorizations keeps surfacing, suddenly, it’s "We did, but we don’t any more."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday defended tough interrogation techniques for terrorism suspects approved by the Bush administration in the wake of 9/11, saying they were necessary to protect America from new attacks.


But she acknowledged that those rules had since changed and that the United States was a "different place" then, adding that the administration's top priority at the time had been preventing new attacks and not necessarily observing fine legal points


”Fine legal points.”

Before we were against torture, we were for it..

It's the "we torture when we need to, but not any other time" policy.

A Word to Certain Hillary Supporters

After listening to an NPR report this morning I have a word or two for some of Hillary Clinton's staunchest supporters.

I'd like to vote for a woman president, but Hillary isn't the one. And furthermore, I'd like to say this to those of her supporters who cry about sexism being a reason she might not be the Democratic candidate and insist that if she is not, they will vote for John McCain....

Are you kidding???!!

Rather than vote for Barack Obama, who has publicy acknowledged that Hillary has done great things for the cause of women, you will vote for John McCain who ditched his first wife in favor of a much younger "trophy" heiress and then called the trophy wife a trollop and a cunt?

Get over yourselves and vote responsibly if you're going to vote.

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

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Good. God. Just, Good God.

[The] Pentagon is working to bring Disneyland to Baghdad. Well, not literally Disneyland, but a massive, Disney-like amusement park to be named the Baghdad Zoo and Entertainment Experience, featuring hotels, lagoons, rides, skateboarding, animals, and… Mickey Mouse?

The BZEE is the brainchild of Llewellyn Werner, head of a Los Angeles based private equity outfit called C3. Investors will put up $500 million to build the enterprise on a 50-acre plot adjacent to Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone. Werner himself informed the Iraqi people last month about the splendiferous playground he’s planning to bring to them. “It’s going to have a huge psychological impact,” Werner said with grandiose Western confidence.

  Jim Hightower

Oh, no doubt.

Maybe he should check with the State Department to see how their humble Hi magazine venture went over first.

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

Guns or Gas

Walter Moore of Max Motors in Butler, Missouri recently had a brainstorm. What is the other thing beside a car that everyone should have. The answer is obvious: a semi-automatic handgun.


Moore is also offering free gas, but the firearms appear more popular with the car-driving set of Butler.

One snared customer Jerry Hertzog put it simply: “Love guns, we all need to have guns. Guns or gas or fuel, I’ll take the gun anytime.”

  Jonathan Turley

Better Off Without Saddam

Basra turned into a battleground between warring Shiite factions vying for control of the country's oil-rich south after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Basra's streets teemed with Shiite militias armed with weapons, mostly from Iran, according to the Iraqi forces and the U.S. military

For four years after the invasion, Basra was under the control of British forces, but they were unable to contain the violence and withdrew in September last year.

Women bore the brunt of the militias' extremist ideologies. The militants spray-painted threats on walls across Basra, warning women to wear headscarves and not to wear make-up. Women were sometimes executed for the vague charge of doing something "un-Islamic."


Inside her rundown home, Sabriya's watery eyes peer out from under her robe. She points to the first photo of one of her sons on the wall.

"This one was killed because he was drinking," she says.

She draws her finger across her neck and gestures at the next photo.

"This one was slaughtered for his car."

"This one the same," she adds, looking at the third.

Her three sons, her daughter and her sister were all killed by the hard-line militia. Her sister was slaughtered because she was a single woman living alone, Sabriya says.

"They came in at night and put a pillow on her face and shot her in the head," she says.


Did He Or Didn't He?

When we last left the escalating Quran shooting incident, we heard that Iraq’s al-Maliki was saying that Bush’s apology was insufficient. It turns out that, in fact, there wasn’t even an apology.

The White House is directly contradicting Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki who told Iraqis that President George Bush had apologized for the use of the Quran for target practice. While the distinction may be lost on many between “deep concern” and an “apology,” it will not likely be lost on the Iraqis who are likely to see the distinction as an added insult.

  Jonathan Turley

National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Bush spoke to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Monday in one of their regularly scheduled secure video teleconferences.

"President Bush expressed his deep concern over the incident and told Prime Minister Maliki that the soldier has been reprimanded by his commanders and removed from Iraq," Johndroe said.


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

Targeting Journalists

Truthdig tips its hat this week to former Army Sgt. Adrienne Kinne, who has defied her one-time higher-ups by speaking out about how military officials knew that a target list in April 2003 contained the name of Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel, which was shelled by a U.S. tank on April 8 even though embedded reporters were staying there. Two journalists were killed in the attack; one of them even filmed his own death.

Kinne recently talked to “Democracy Now!” host Amy Goodman about the Palestine Hotel incident, describing how both she and one of her superiors, Warrant Officer John Berry, knew from an internal e-mail that the hotel was on the target list.


Kinne noted how then-Secretary of State Colin Powell insisted that the hotel “was not attacked during any phase of the aerial campaign”—with emphasis, perhaps, on aerial. She also revealed what she considered to be illegal wiretapping by the military to monitor certain NGOs and described how information from the Iraqi National Congress that later turned out to be false was given high priority in the U.S. government’s chain of command.


WH vs. NBC

NBC has responded to the WH accusations of unfair editing.

"Just as the White House does not participate in the editorial process at the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal or USA Today, NBC News, as part of a free press in a free society, makes its own editorial decisions."


Here's Olbermann's own take on the complaint that NBC didn't show the full exchange: "Since they asked, we'll play it. Trust me, it makes him look worse." Olbermann's conclusion: "The White House apparently [doesn't realize] that in full it is clear the president never actually answered Richard Engel's first question and clear that the president either does not know what he talked about or what he is now talking about."


But it wasn’t really about the editing, as you can imagine. Go ahead and read the article or watch the video. (What's with Herr Busch's breathing?) I’m reminded of a previous interviewer who got on his bad side).

And, P.S., just in case you were tempted to believe Dana Perino, in the Engel interview, when asked directly Bush certainly doesn't deny the idea that he'll attack Iran before he leaves office.

A Peaceful Nation

August 2001

”America does not seek to produce more generations of war veterans; we are a peaceful nation.” – George Bush

October 2001

“I'm speaking to you today from the Treaty Room of the White House, a place where American Presidents have worked for peace. We're a peaceful nation.” – George Bush

  Free Republic

May 2004

”I think when you see a step toward peace, it's important for a peaceful nation like America to embrace it.” – George Bush


November 2004

In praising the "hidden heroes of a peaceful nation," [President George Bush] noted that a small number of "doughboys" from World War I still survive.

  U.S. DOD

May 2008

Mr. Bush said that "every peaceful nation in the region has an interest in opposing Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions."

  Washington Times

May 2008

The "Global Peace Index," compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, ranked the United States 97th out of 140 countries according to how peaceful they were domestically and how they interacted with the outside world.

  Raw Story

Say It Isn't So, Condi. Say It Isn't So.

Justice Department Report Reveals Senior Government Officials Knew Early On Of Interrogation Abuse But Did Not Stop It


NEW YORK - The results of an internal Justice Department investigation released today reveal that officials at the highest level of government — including the White House — received reports on the abuse of prisoners in U.S. military custody overseas as early as 2002. Congress called on the department's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to conduct the investigation after documents made public through an American Civil Liberties Union Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request revealed FBI agents at Guantánamo had raised concerns about methods used by military interrogators. Today's government report is the first to identify that then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice received complaints of torture.


The report confirms that senior FBI officials knew as early as 2002 that other agencies including the CIA were using abusive interrogation methods. However, the FBI didn't advise its agents to report incidents of abuse until 2004, after the publication of photographs revealing abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison.


"The report only underscores the pressing need for an independent and comprehensive investigation of prisoner abuse. It's unacceptable that, four years after the publication of the Abu Ghraib photographs, no senior official has been held accountable. Most of those who ought to have been held accountable have been nominated and confirmed to higher posts instead."


It’s the Bush Administration way.

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

Israel Is Appeasing Syria, George

Israel and Syria on Wednesday said they were holding indirect peace talks through Turkish mediators — the first official confirmation of contacts between the longtime enemies.


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

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ted Kennedy Diagnosed

A cancerous brain tumor caused the seizure Sen. Edward M. Kennedy suffered over the weekend, doctors said Tuesday in a grim diagnosis for one of American politics' most enduring figures. "He remains in good spirits and full of energy," the doctors for the 76-year-old Massachusetts Democrat said in a statement.


Malignant gliomas are a type of brain cancer diagnosed in about 9,000 Americans a year — and the most common type among adults. It's an initial diagnosis: How well patients fare depends on what specific tumor type is determined by further testing.

Average survival can range from less than a year for very advanced and aggressive types — such as glioblastomas — or to about five years for different types that are slower growing.


Campaign Promises

We're certainly no strangers to the empty campaign promises of presidential candidates, but dare we hope that Obama means to keep his word on strict antitrust reforms? Here he talks about media consolidation.

FBI Agents Barred From "Harsh Interrogations"

A Justice Department audit of terror interrogations at three military bases overseas concluded Tuesday that FBI agents refused to participate when detainees were questioned under harsh and potentially illegal methods.

The FBI clashed with the Pentagon and the CIA over how at least two top al-Qaida operatives were interviewed, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine found during a three-year investigation.

In part, that led to an August 2002 order by FBI Director Robert Mueller for agents to withdraw from interrogations during which coercive or extreme methods were used to get information from detainees, the audit concluded.

"The FBI agents observed the CIA use classified techniques that undoubtedly would not be permitted under FBI interview policies," according to a summary of the nearly 400-page audit.


But the CIA is special.

Who Are You Going to Believe?

The White House on Tuesday denied a published report in Israel that said President Bush intends to attack Iran before the end of his term in January.

A story in the Jerusalem Post quoted a "senior official" there as saying that Bush plans to attack Iran in the coming months. The story says the unidentified official claimed that a "senior member" of Bush's traveling entourage made the statement about attacking Iran in a closed meeting.


"An article in today's Jerusalem Post about the president's position on Iran that quotes unnamed sources — quoting unnamed sources — is not worth the paper it's written on," White House press secretary Dana Perino said in a statement.


To which her husband replied, “Oh, Dana.”

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


Bush apologized on the phone to Maliki for the U.S. soldier who used the Koran as target practice. Maliki's spokesman says an apology is not enough. Your court.

The pretense of respecting other religions and in particular the one in the country we occupy isn't fooling anybody, is it? Especially not the soldiers who've been enlisted for the crusade.

Media Pressure

The White House is trying to bring the hammer down on straying media. I guess Chris Matthews' defection was too much for them. Time to get NBC back in line. W3IAI has the skinny.

Update: 5/20/08

War Profiteers

Despite numerous veto threats, senators in both parties have loaded up President Bush's war funding bill with a grab bag of domestic programs.


The Senate was scheduled to begin debate on the measure Tuesday, just days after a key panel added more about $28 billion to Bush's budget request for this year and next, with almost $50 billion more for a big expansion of veterans benefits under the GI Bill over 2010-2018.

The new GI Bill and Democratic priorities like extending unemployment benefits are simply the big-ticket add-ons, both of which have drawn veto threats. There's also $50 million to track down child predators, $400 million to help rural schools and $350 million fight western wildfires, just for starters.


Fund the war and your pet project, too.

A thousand years.

There oughta be a law.

Monday, May 19, 2008

While You Were Sleeping

May 2, 2008

Six weeks ago, President Bush signed a secret finding authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that, according to those familiar with its contents, "unprecedented in its scope."

Bush’s secret directive covers actions across a huge geographic area – from Lebanon to Afghanistan – but is also far more sweeping in the type of actions permitted under its guidelines – up to and including the assassination of targeted officials.


Until recently, the administration faced a serious obstacle to action against Iran in the form of Centcom commander Admiral William Fallon, who made no secret of his contempt for official determination to take us to war. In a widely publicized incident last January, Iranian patrol boats approached a U.S. ship in what the Pentagon described as a "taunting" manner. According to Centcom staff officers, the American commander on the spot was about to open fire. At that point, the U.S. was close to war. He desisted only when Fallon personally and explicitly ordered him not to shoot. The White House, according to the staff officers, was "absolutely furious" with Fallon for defusing the incident.

Fallon has since departed.


All this costs money, which in turn must be authorized by Congress, or at least a by few witting members of the intelligence committees. That has not proved a problem. An initial outlay of $300 million to finance implementation of the finding has been swiftly approved with bipartisan support, apparently regardless of the unpopularity of the current war and the perilous condition of the U.S. economy.


One thousand years.

Fall Deployments & Beyond

The Pentagon on Monday announced upcoming deployments of more than 42,000 troops, including 25,000 active duty Army soldiers who would be sent to Iraq beginning in the fall to replace troops scheduled to come home by year's end.


Under the new Pentagon policy effective in August, those active duty Army units will serve for 12 months, rather than the 15-month tours that units in Iraq now are serving.


As part of the announcement, The Pentagon alerted four National Guard Army brigades, or about 14,000 troops, to begin preparing for deployments to Iraq beginning next spring, and one National Guard Army brigade, with about 3,100 soldiers, to prepare to deploy to Afghanistan in the spring of 2010.


A thousand years.

McCain: More Bush Than Bush

For years, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has railed against lobbyists and the influence of "special interests" in Washington, touting on his campaign Web site his fight against "the 'revolving door' by which lawmakers and other influential officials leave their posts and become lobbyists for the special interests they have aided."


As the fifth lobbyist in a week resigns from the McCain campaign, and a sixth adviser faces intensified criticism for lobbying "for some of the world's worst tyrants," questions of "judgment" are raised.


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sad, Pathetic Man

May. 16, 2008

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — President Bush is appealing to oil-rich Saudi Arabia to increase production just as oil prices have hit another record high.


The White House says the president's visit is intended, in part, to celebrate 75 years of formal U.S.-Saudi relations. But the rising price of oil undoubtedly will overshadow the talks.


May 17, 2008

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — President Bush failed to win the help he sought from Saudi Arabia to relieve skyrocketing American gas prices Friday, a setback for the former Texas oilman who took office predicting he would jawbone oil-producing nations to help the U.S.

  Austin Statesman

May 17, 2008

US President George W. Bush said on Saturday that a hike in oil output by Saudi Arabia would not solve American energy problems.

"It's not enough, it's something but it doesn't solve our problem," Bush told reporters in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

  Raw Story

So why'd you ask?

It's About Appeasement

Watch this at Crooks & Liars. Both pathetic and entertaining. A perfect example of a right-wing talking points parrot without the sense to shut up.

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

Support Our Troops

Matthis Chiroux is the kind of young American US military recruiters love.

"I was from a poor, white family from the south, and I did badly in school," the now 24-year-old told AFP.

"I was 'filet mignon' for recruiters. They started phoning me when I was in 10th grade," or around 16 years old, he added.

Chiroux joined the US army straight out of high school nearly six years ago, and worked his way up from private to sergeant.

He served in Afghanistan, Germany, Japan, and the Philippines and was due to be deployed next month in Iraq.

On Thursday, he refused to go, saying he considers Iraq an illegal war.

"I stand before you today with the strength and clarity and resolve to declare to the military, my government and the world that this soldier will not be deploying to Iraq," Chiroux said in the sun-filled rotunda of a congressional building in Washington.

"My decision is based on my desire to no longer continue violating my core values to support an illegal and unconstitutional occupation... I refuse to participate in the Iraq occupation," he said, as a dozen veterans of the five-year-old Iraq war looked on.


Chiroux is one of thousands of US soldiers who have deserted since the Iraq war began in 2003, according to figures issued last year by the US army.

But while many seek refuge in Canada, the young soldier vowed to stay in the United States to fight "whatever charges the army levels at me."

  Raw Story

Best wishes and good luck to Sgt. Chiroux. He's going to be doing some prison time.

Friday, May 16, 2008

John McCain Supports Our Troops

Congressional Democrats are pushing forward with plans for a new G.I. Bill to give veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan money to go to college for four years. House Democrats want to pay for it with what they've dubbed a "patriot tax" on people earning more than $500,000. In the Senate, one Republican who notably isn't on board is John McCain, a Vietnam veteran who says the proposal is too expensive and could encourage service members to leave the military.


Got that right. If you educate ‘em, they might get a decent job. And then who’d fight that thousand-year war, huh?

Them Thar's Fightin' Words

"We're closing in on Rove," [House Judiciary Committee Chairman John] Conyers was heard saying today on the House floor, according to a source for Politico. "Someone's got to kick his ass."

  Raw Story

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

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Federal Corrections

From Cursor:

As the DOD document dump keeps on giving, bemoaning the "low threat assessment" of the American people in the wake of the 2006 elections, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said, "The correction for that, I suppose, is an attack."

Winter Soldier Testimony Live - Now

Pacifica Radio station KPFA will be broadcasting Winter Soldier on the Hill live from 9AM – 1PM Eastern Time on May 15th. You can listen to the testimony on 94.1 FM if you live in the Berkley, CA area, or listen on their website at


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Advice Offered

Okay, even though I didn't get the advice I sought a few posts ago, it's only fair that after asking, I should in return give adivce. So here it is. Don't tell someone whose son joined the military that it will make a man out of him, unless it's another hillbilly whom you know would have the same ill (or non-) considered idea.

I imagine people only say that because they've heard other people saying it, without actually thinking about it. I recall when my elder son was a baby and the Viet Nam war was taking off. I heard people say joining the army would make men out of those draftees. The thing is, if they lived through it, they'd grow to be men, but so many of them died just as they were leaving boyhood.

Now that my younger son has joined the army, I've had two people say to me, "Great. It'll make a man out of him." They don't even know him. Never met him. He's already a man. He's 24 years old. And he's a fine man. He helps the other recruits and classmates at every opportunity. In fact, when he ponders the meaning of his life, he thinks that maybe his whole purpose is to help other people. I can't understand how he squares it all with joining the US Army - the world's most highly trained killing machine - but that's not up to me. That's up to him. But the army is not going to "make a man out of him." The army is going to make a soldier out of him. And the next person who makes that ridiculous statement to me is going to get that answer. What would they say if I had a daughter who joined?

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

Now Watch This Drive

US President George W Bush has revealed that he quit playing golf in 2003 out of respect for the families of US soldiers killed in the conflict in Iraq, now in its sixth year.

"I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal," he said in an interview for Yahoo and Politico magazine.


"I don't want some mum whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them."


Yeah, right. Because they don't play golf during wartime?

The stupid asshat just managed to remind us of his lack of sacrifice, and also of this (as Maru might say, he needs a kick with a clueboot):

Which is probably the real reason he quit - and only then after his handlers insisted.

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

God Loves Space Aliens, Too

Believing that the universe may contain alien life does not contradict a faith in God, the Vatican's chief astronomer said in an interview published Tuesday.


I should hope not, seeing as how God itself is alien.

In the interview by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Funes said that such a notion "doesn't contradict our faith" because aliens would still be God's creatures. Ruling out the existence of aliens would be like "putting limits" on God's creative freedom, he said.

And why not? We - and particularly the Vatican - don't mind deciding what God wants.

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

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Need a Laugh?

Sometimes I just laugh out loud when I'm reading WTF. Such as when I saw this phrase: "needs a karmic ClueBoot up his ass."

A ClueBoot.

Avice Needed

Anybody know how to get the stench of cigarette smoke out of a laptop? (Computer.)

Future? What Future?

The president says the solution to high gas prices is drilling for more oil and building more refineries.

  Yahoo video

Because the rapture is near and, while “marching to Zion” sounds inspiring, driving there in a pickup truck would set him apart from the common pilgrims.

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

Monday, May 12, 2008

Campaign News Blues

McCain's campaign is already negotiating with Obama's to set up debates this fall, Hillary having patronizingly been relegated to the redundant pile. Redundant or not, she's racking up a hefty campaign debt, which Obama has indicated he might be willing to help pay off. Fine, but do it with your own money, bub. Your contributors didn't send their money to you to have you turn it over to somebody else. Hillary put her own money in her coffers. Why the bail-out? There's a definite need in this country for campaign finance reform, and the debt and resolution part of it is right up there at the top of the list of needs.

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

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Truth, Lies & Campaign Resignations

An advisor to Democratic White House hopeful Barack Obama [Robert Malley] has left the campaign after a British newspaper asked him about meetings with the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, media reports said Friday.


"My job with the International Crisis Group is to meet with all sorts of savory and unsavory people and report on what they say. I've never denied whom I meet with; that's what I do."


Obama and McCain traded barbs Thursday in a heated exchange over McCain's labeling of the Democrat as the favorite candidate of the Islamist movement which controls the Gaza Strip and refuses to recognize the existence of Israel.

Obama called McCain's tactic a "smear" that was "unfortunate, particularly since my policy toward Hamas has been no different than his."


In a conversation with conservative bloggers last month, McCain said it was "very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president," adding: "If Senator Obama is favored by Hamas I think people can make judgments accordingly."

Recent polls suggest one in seven Americans believes Obama is a Muslim, even though he was baptized more than 20 years ago and attends a Christian church.

Raw Story

One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives. --Mark Twain

The man picked by the John McCain campaign to run the 2008 Republican National Convention resigned Saturday after a report that his lobbying firm used to represent the military regime in Myanmar.

  RAW Story

You know the one…the one that won’t let aid in to the storm-devastated people. The one handling the disaster worse than the Bush Administration handled Katrina.

I have no personal knowledge of whether John or Cindy McCain voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election. However, now that that has been called into question by Arianna Huffington (who says no) and Huffington's truthfulness has in turn been questioned by the McCain campaign (although not yet by the McCains), I can offer the following anecdote as admissible hearsay shedding a little light on the subject:

Over the Fourth of July weekend of 1999, I had the good fortune to accompany my then fiancée (and now happily my wife) to the McCain vacation home in Sedona where she was interviewing them for a Home and Garden Television show.

Always the goods hosts, the McCains also invited us to spend the day with them, including for barbeque, a favorite of John's. And as McCain flipped burgers, I could not help but ask his views about then candidate George W. Bush.

"He's as dumb as a stump," McCain offered.

  Huffington Post

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

Friday, May 09, 2008


Yahoo is running this headline: Obama Unlikely to Pick Clinton as Running Mate, Kennedy Says

That’s Ted Kennedy, and he actually said:

"I don't think it's possible,"


Kennedy, 76, without naming names, said Obama should pick someone who "is in tune with his appeal for the nobler aspirations of the American people."

"If we had real leadership -- as we do with Barack Obama -- in the No. 2 spot as well, it'd be enormously helpful," Kennedy said.



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

Shades of Falluja - Part 2

Fallujah Revisited: Bush, Petraeus Prepare 'Cleansing' of Sadr City - Friday, 09 May 2008

Clinton Diplomacy

She's not just willing to alienate American blacks. She intends to one-up John "Bomb-bomb-Iran" McCain.

In this protracted and often dispiriting prelude to the general election, few remarks have been as poorly chosen as Senator Hillary Clinton’s threat to “totally obliterate” Iran. [video:] What she obliterated with just those two words were her own boasts of superior diplomatic experience—and she managed at the same time to tar America’s international image with all the subtlety of the man she hopes to replace.


Instead of clarifying or muting her aggressive blunder, she reiterated it, leaving transcripts that can be stripped of all qualification to make her sound still more bloodthirsty. “I want the Iranians to know that if I’m the president, we will attack Iran. And I want them to understand that. … I think we have to be very clear about what we would do.”


Loud and clear, Hill.

Hillary on the Way Down

David Kurtz (at Josh Marshall’s blog) makes some observations about Hillary’s latest campaigning.

Race has been the subtext of much of Hillary's argument for her own electability. But now she's thrown it right out there in the open: Obama can't win because he's black. Vote for me instead.

You don't have to believe that Hillary's a racist (I don't) to conclude that a combination of the rigors of the campaign trail and her own powerful ambitions have clouded her judgment and curdled her spirit. It has certainly soured what had been a historic relationship between the Clintons and the black community.

Hers is not an appeal we'd tolerate from a Republican candidate, nor should we from a Democrat, no matter how sterling her progressive credentials might otherwise be.

There's been a lot of talk about the damage Hillary will do to the party by staying in the race this long. Perhaps she should consider the damage she's doing to herself.


I think people (Democrats) have been willing to give Hillary way too much benefit of the doubt all along. Campaign rigors have not clouded her judgment. Judgment is what you use during campaign rigors, and hers has been very bad. She’s had the same judgment for many years, she’s just now facing the very real prospect of missing the boat she’s been expecting to sail on. That’s why she’s turned ugly. It’s easy to be gracious when you’re winning. The test of character comes when you’re not.

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

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A Bit Racist Are We?

"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on," [Hillary Clinton] said in an interview published Thursday. She cited an Associated Press article "that found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

"There's a pattern emerging here," she said.


Yeah. You’re appealing to the same bigots the GOP always caters to. Your (deceased) parents must be very proud.

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

Shades of Falluja

Iraqi soldiers for the first time warned residents in the embattled Sadr City district to leave their houses Thursday, signaling a new push by the U.S.-backed forces against Shiite extremist who have been waging street battles for seven weeks.


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

The Royal Ranch Wedding

Is the whole Bush administration invited, or does somebody high up in the ranks have to remain outside the gathering, for national security and the continuity of government in case of an attack on the group?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Swiped from Dependable Renegade.

I wonder if anyone told her. Or if there was anyone in her group who knew.

Sometimes too much to drink is barely enough. (Swiped from Mark Twain.)

More Headlines

From Raw Story, election headlines:

As George McGovern endorses Obama.

And there are claims that Hillary will be dropping out come the ides of June.

Lawrence O'Donnell, the onetime Executive Producer of The West Wing and current pundit, wrote on The Huffington Post Wednesday that he had been told by a top Clinton campaign official that the campaign would likely make a decision to drop out of the race by June 15.

  Raw Story

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

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


This is Firefox's "Latest Headlines" list today. I assume they get their headlines from scouring news sources. Is the war over?

Click to enlarge

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

Speaking of Subpoenas

John Yoo says he'll testify before Congress without a subpoena. I'm sure he won't lie or obfuscate or duck any questions.

And then there's Cheney's Cheney.

By a voice vote, the House Judiciary Committee voted Tuesday morning to compel Vice President Cheney's chief of staff David Addington to testify about his role in approving harsh interrogation tactics at the US Guantanamo Bay prison.

The vote empowers House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers (D-MI) to subpoena Addington at his discretion.

  Raw Story

Yeah, that'll work, as it has done so well in the past.

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

"Harsh interrogations."


When subpoenas don't work...

The FBI has raided the office of U.S. Special Counsel Scott Bloch in an inquiry of whether he obstructed justice by having his computer files erased.

FBI officials said computers and documents were seized from Bloch's office during the raid Tuesday morning.

Investigators say Bloch is suspected of hiring an outside company to scrub his computer amid a federal investigation of alleged misconduct in his office.

  Raw Story

I’m sure it was all innocent just like he said at the time.

The Office of Special Counsel is responsible protecting the rights of federal workers and ensuring that government whistle-blowers are not subjected to reprisals.

[Bloch] is himself being investigated for retaliating against whistleblowers and politicizing his office.


To give you an idea how fraught this investigation is with unique issues, Bloch is not only busily investigating the White House for political briefings Karl Rove and his aides made to various agencies, but he's also conducting an investigation of the politicization at the Department of Justice and issues related to the U.S. Attorney firings -- a probe that he complained was being blocked by the DoJ. Of course, he can't do much to block the DoJ investigation of him.


Who's Your Buddy?

For all those people who voted for George Bush because he was somebody they thought they'd like to have a beer with...what's your problem voting for Hillary? She's somebody you could throw back shots with. According to Terry McAuliffe, she thoroughly enjoys it.

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

Friday, May 02, 2008

Workers of the World Unite

Thousands of dockworkers at 29 West Coast ports took the day off Thursday, effectively shutting down operations at the busy complexes in what the union called a protest of the war in Iraq but employers worried might be a prelude to labor unrest.

  LA Times

Well, it’s about GD time. I was beginning to think American workers had become Stepford wived.

The stand-down at ports including Los Angeles and Long Beach -- which combined handle 40% of the imported goods arriving in the United States each year -- idled ships and cranes, stranded thousands of big rigs and halted movement of about 10,000 containers during the eight-hour day shift.

And this is no small thing considering the Bush Administration made out to turn May Day into a day of prayer, attempting to roll over both laborers and the divine feminine (just another in a long history of God's people's attempt to destroy that).

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Money Talks

A Senate panel has agreed unanimously to block the Defense Department from funding Iraq reconstruction projects worth more than $2 million and to begin to force Baghdad to cover the costs of training and equipping its security forces.


The efforts are part of the latest push on Capitol Hill to get Iraq to spend more of its own money and spare U.S. taxpayers. Democrats and many Republicans say it is unfair that Iraq is looking at pulling in as much as $70 billion in oil revenues this year while Americans grapple with soaring fuel prices at the pump.


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

Complete Immunity

Speaking of the Big Dick…

Last spring, Cheney asserted that he wasn't subject to executive-branch rules about classified information because he wasn't actually part of the executive branch.

Now his office argues that he and his staff are completely immune from congressional oversight. That's right: Completely immune.

Cheney's latest claim came in a response to a House Judiciary Committee request for vice presidential chief of staff David S. Addington to testify about his central role in developing the administration's torture policies.


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

Halliburton Hasn't Gone Away

Read this whole article for a reminder of Cheney/Halliburton’s sleazy dealings, and also for information on Shell Oil’s involvement and abuses of the Nigerian people and land.

In its quarterly filing last October, Halliburton said it was subpoenaed by the Justice Department and SEC over the use – by a KBR-led consortium known as TSKJ – “of an immigration services provider, apparently managed by a Nigerian immigration official, to which approximately $1.8 million in payments in excess of costs of visas were allegedly made between approximately 1997 and the termination of the provider in December 2004 and our 2007 reporting of this matter to the government.”p>[...]

KBR, which also has handled lucrative U.S. government support contracts for U.S. troops in Iraq and elsewhere, was spun off from Halliburton last year into a separate company.


Halliburton’s April 25 filing marked the first time that specific evidence was cited to support claims that Halliburton bribed Nigerian officials in violation of the U.S. Corrupt Foreign Practices Act while Cheney was the company’s chief executive officer.


Legal observers say it is highly unlikely that the U.S. Justice Department will further implicate Cheney in the scandal even if alleged bribery did take place on his watch.

  Consortium News

You can safely bet your life and the lives of your kids they won’t.

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