Easter Lemming Liberal News

Friday, September 26, 2003

U.S. Income Gap Widening

In 2000, the top 1 percent of American taxpayers had $862,700 each after taxes, on average, more than triple the $286,300 they had, adjusted for inflation, in 1979.

The bottom 40 percent in 2000 had $21,118 each, up 13 percent from their $18,695 average in 1979.

Mr. Shapiro also analyzed the budget office data in tandem with a recently updated study on income by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization in Cambridge, Mass. The bureau study found that in 2000, the top 1 percent income group had the largest share of before-tax income for any year since 1929.

Mr. Shapiro said that findings from both studies suggested that in 2000, the top 1 percent had the largest share of the nation's total after-tax income since at least 1936 and probably since 1929. Mr. Shapiro emphasized that his combined analysis accounted for the fact that his study used after-tax incomes while the bureau's study used pretax incomes.

Both low- and middle-income people shared in the boom of the 1990's, while in the 1980's the bottom fifth experienced a decline in after-tax income, according to the budget office data analyzed by Mr. Shapiro and Robert Greenstein, director for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The middle fifth had an average after-tax income of $41,900 in 2000, a rise of 15 percent both since 1979 and 1997, indicating a long period of no real economic gains for this group.

"You do have gains across the spectrum from 1997 to 2000," Mr. Shapiro said, "but they are much more dramatic at the top."

The center's analysis said the highest income Americans had grown richer from 1979 to 2000 both from gains in income because of economic prosperity and from tax cuts. Huge gains in executive pay were a significant factor, Mr. Shapiro said.

Bushism of the Day

"I glance at the headlines just to kind of get a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves."—Washington, D.C., Sept. 21, 2003

Who's Poor? Don't Ask the Census Bureau

The National Academy of Sciences has estimated what the Orshansky measure would look like today if it were updated for changes in consumption patterns, and found the threshold could be as much as 45 percent higher, implying higher poverty rates.

Second, the current measure leaves out some sources of income and some expenditures that weren't relevant when it was devised. The Census Bureau counts the value of cash transfers, like welfare payments, but it ignores the value of food stamps and health benefits, as well as newer tax credits that can significantly add to the income of low-end working families. Not only would taking these additions into consideration bring down the poverty rate figure, it would also provide a real measure of the effects of these antipoverty programs.

On the other side of the ledger, the current method also ignores important costs to low-income families. For example, these days many more women with young children participate in the labor force, yet the money they spend on child care is not factored into the poverty calculation.

If the Census Bureau's poverty findings were simply an accounting tool, these failures might not be important to anyone but economists and demographers. But the official figure plays an important role in determining eligibility for the federal and state safety nets: if we're not getting the measurement right, we're not providing services to the right people.

There is a better way, but of course it's a political hot potato. Census Bureau analysts have been working on alternative measures that take into account the changes in family life over the past four decades. The one I consider most reliable, because it factors in child-care costs for working parents, has shown poverty rates that average about 3 percent above the official figure, implying that there may be 9 million more Americans whose incomes are inadequate for their basic needs.

Of course, no administration would want to adopt such a measure on its watch.

A Hummerdinger of a Tax Loophole?

"Thanks to the Bush administration's recent economic stimulus package, small businesses and the self-employed are eligible to deduct the entire purchase cost of new equipment up to $100,000 the year of the purchase." But these provisions are supposed to help farmers and small-business owners buy equipment to transport merchandise and haul stuff. No matter. "The Hummer H2 qualifies for this IRS Sec. 179 deduction by its gross vehicle weight of over 6,000 lbs. Cars and medium sized SUV's don't qualify for this deduction," Thorpe writes. "If you are seriously considering acquisition of a new vehicle, step up to the vehicle that can take you where you want to be, financially and otherwise."

So is this pitch working? Oh, yes. Since the letter went out in August, Thorpe estimated his Anchorage dealership, the only one in the state, has sold an additional 35 Hummers at $62,000 each. That's pumping serious money into the local economy, a most substantial stimulus indeed.

Thorpe said he sold perhaps "nine in one month to doctors" who bought them pretty much for the tax benefits. Local buzz is that they're mostly leaving them in the garage, or their wives are driving them around. Lawyers and small-business owners have snapped up the cars -- which get a whopping 10 miles per gallon -- and, given Alaska's rough winters and formidable terrain, no doubt will make great use of them this winter.

Friedman Attacks Bush for Not Connecting the Dots

When it comes to the police and military sides of the war on terrorism, the Bushies behave like Viking warriors. But when it comes to the political and economic sacrifices and strategies that are also required to fight this war successfully, they are cowardly wimps. That is why our war on terrorism is so one-dimensional and Pentagon-centric. It's more like a hobby — something we do only until it runs into the Bush re-election agenda.

If only the Bush team connected the dots, it would see what a nutty war on terrorism it is fighting, explains Mr. Prestowitz. Here, he says, is the Bush war on terrorism: Preach free trade, but don't deliver on it, so Pakistani farmers become more impoverished. Then ask Congress to give a tax break for any American who wants to buy a gas-guzzling Humvee for business use and also ask Congress to resist any efforts to make Detroit increase gasoline mileage in new cars. All this means more U.S. oil imports from Saudi Arabia.

So then the Saudis have more dollars to give to their Wahhabi fundamentalist evangelists, who spend it by building religious schools in Pakistan. The Pakistani farmer we've put out of business with our farm subsidies then sends his sons to the Wahhabi school because it is tuition-free and offers a hot lunch. His sons grow up getting only a Koranic education, so they are totally unprepared for modernity, but they are taught one thing: that America is the source of all their troubles. One of the farmer's sons joins Al Qaeda and is killed in Afghanistan by U.S. Special Forces, and we think we're winning the war on terrorism.

Fat chance.

EL - This is the frustrating thing about Friedman, he is very smart and sees the big picture and then he advocates some naive policy like putting Bush in charge of converting the Middle East to democracy.

Smart Campaign

Dean had a short political ad on MSNBC's Hardball which did their post debate analysis.

UN staff prepare to leave Iraq

UN staff are preparing to pull out of Baghdad in the wake of new deadly attacks.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Colin Powell has set a six-month deadline for an Iraqi constitution, to be followed next year by a new government.

Strikes on US occupying forces mounted, inflicting a growing toll on Iraqi civilians, while pro-US Iraq paid its final respects to its first assassinated official, from the Iraqi Governing Council.

How to ruin a great army? See Donald Rumsfeld

It took the better part of 20 years to rebuild the Army from the wreckage of Vietnam. With the hard work of a generation of young officers, blooded in Vietnam and determined that the mistake would never be repeated, a new Army rose Phoenix-like from the ashes of the old, now perhaps the finest Army in history.

In just over two years, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and his civilian aides have done just about everything they could to destroy that Army.

How do you break an army?

-You can work it to death. Under Rumsfeld, by next spring 30 of the Army's 33 combat brigades will either be in Iraq or on their way home from Iraq.

-You can neglect its training and education. With an operations tempo this high, there's little time for units to do much more than repair their equipment and send their soldiers home on leave with long-neglected families before it's time to deploy again.

-You can politicize the Army promotion system for three- and four-star generals. Where once the Army would send up its nominee for a vacant billet, now it must send up two or three candidates who must run the gantlet of personal interviews in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Not just Rumsfeld, but all of his civilian experts who never wore a uniform.

-You can decide that you've discovered a newer, cheaper way of fighting and winning America's wars. Rumsfeld and company have embraced, on the basis of a fleeting success in Afghanistan and a flawed success in Iraq, a theory that all that's needed to win our wars is air power and small bands of Special Operations troops. Stealth bombers and snake-eaters.

Another defense secretary who could not admit he'd erred was Robert Strange McNamara, who, like Rumsfeld, was recruited from corporate America. By the time he did, it was too late.

ABOUT THE WRITER Joseph L. Galloway is the senior military correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers and co-author of the national best-seller "We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young."

U.S. Poverty Rate Up, Income Down for Second Straight Year

Nearly 1.7 million people fell into poverty last year, ticking the official poverty rate up to 12.1 percent from the 2001 rate of 11.7 percent, the second straight year that poverty has increased in the United States, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today.

Nationally, median household money income fell 1.1 percent -- or by $500 -- between 2001 and 2002, to $42,409 from $42,900. After-tax income fell a slightly smaller 0.8 percent.

Since cash incomes peaked in 1999 at $43,915, household money income has dropped $1,506.

The poverty rate has risen from a trough of 11.3 percent in 2000 to the 2002 rate of 12.1 percent. In 2001 and 2002, 3 million Americans slipped beneath the official poverty line, which, for an individual under 65 is $9,359 a year and for a family of four is $18,244. By the end of last year, 34.6 million Americans lived in poverty. Among those, 12.1 million are children, up from 11.7 million in 2001.

EL -- So the average American makes $1500 less under Bush. Is the average American paying attention?

More Doubts About E-Voting

The American vote-count is controlled by three major corporate players - Diebold, ES&S, and Sequoia - with a fourth, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), coming on strong. These companies - all of them hardwired into the Bushist Party power grid - have been given billions of dollars by the Bush Regime to complete a sweeping computerization of voting machines nationwide by the 2004 election. These glitch-riddled systems - many using "touch-screen" technology that leaves no paper trail at all - are almost laughably open to manipulation, according to corporate whistleblowers and computer scientists at Stanford, John Hopkins, Rice, and other universities.

The technology had a trial run in the 2002 mid-term elections. In Georgia, serviced by new Diebold systems, a popular Democratic governor and senator were both unseated in what the media called "amazing" upsets, with results showing vote swings of up to 16 percent from the last pre-ballot polls. In computerized Minnesota, former vice president Walter Mondale - a replacement for popular incumbent Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash days before the vote - was also defeated in a large last-second vote swing. Convenient "glitches" in Florida saw an untold number of votes intended for the Democratic candidate registering instead for Governor Jeb "L'il Brother" Bush. A Florida Democrat who lost a similarly "glitched" local election went to court to have the computers examined - but the case was thrown out by a judge who ruled that the innards of America's voting machines are the "trade secrets" of the private companies who make them.

The mad rush to install unverifiable computer voting is driven by the Help America Vote Act, signed by Bush last year. The chief lobbying group pushing for HAVA was a consortium of arms dealers - those disinterested corporate citizens - including Northop-Grumman and Lockheed-Martin. The bill also mandates that all states adopt the computerized "ineligible voter purge" system which Jeb used to eliminate 91,000 ***eligible*** black voters from the Florida rolls in 2000. The Republican-run private company that accomplished this electoral miracle, ChoicePoint, is bagging the lion's share of the new Bush-ordered purge contracts.

The Bush Economy - Falling Down

Salon -- We were both professionals. Now I'm sweeping up popcorn, my husband is selling motorcycles, and our house is on the block. There are a lot of us these days.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Coming Soon -- "The Oh Really Factor"

The folks at FAIR have put together a volume on Bill O’Reilly’s countless misstatements and distortions called "The Oh Really Factor," which I read last night. Wonderful ammo for your arguments with Fox fans, and for that matter, a wonderful present to give to the O’Reilly fan in your family. Some excerpts:

O'REILLY: Commenting on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that forcing students to say the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional: "The reason they're even sitting there is because they were appointed by liberal politicians. Conservative politicians would never appoint the pinheads sitting on the Ninth Circuit" (3/4/03).

OH REALLY: The opinion in the Pledge of Allegiance case was drafted by Judge Alfred T. Goodwin, who was appointed by Richard Nixon.

* * *

O'REILLY: Explaining free speech rights to a high school student, who backed the establishment of a Satanic club at school: "They don't have any First Amendment rights. As soon as they walk in the door . . . Yes, they don't have any. Joe, do you realize that, as soon as you walk in the San Mateo High School door, you don't have any rights, that you have to do what the teachers tell you to do?" (10/2/02)

OH REALLY: "It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech . . . at the schoolhouse gates" (U.S. Supreme Court, Tinker v. Des Moines, 1969).

For the record, O'Reilly already knows this. When a high school student was suspended by his school for putting up pro-war flyers, he sued the school and won. O'Reilly had him on the show to cheer his legal victory: "A federal judge has ruled the school violated the boy's freedom of speech rights. The school administrators were ordered by the judge to undergo constitutional rights training, and the school board has been ordered to pay Aaron and his parents $3,000" (11/30/01). Maybe O'Reilly could get some of the same training.

* * *

O'REILLY: "The Founders were not concerned with the minority rights, they were concerned with everybody's rights."

OH REALLY: "All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate which would be oppression" (Thomas Jefferson, "First Inaugural Address," March 4, 1801).

EL -- An entire book of these is too much, or not enough. He is full of BS on every show and you can do a chapter a week.

BuzzFlash Interviews Author of 'The Lies of George W. Bush: Mastering the Politics of Deception'

All American presidents have lied, but George W. Bush has relentlessly abused the truth. In this scathing indictment of the president and his inner circle, David Corn, the Washington editor of The Nation, reveals and examines the deceptions at the heart of the Bush presidency. In a stunning work of journalism, he details and substantiates the many times the Bush administration has knowingly and intentionally misled the American public to advance its own interests and agenda, including:

* Brazenly mischaracterizing intelligence and resorting to deceptive arguments to whip up public support for war with Iraq
* Misrepresenting the provisions and effects of the president’s supersized tax cuts
* Offering misleading explanations— instead of telling the full truth — about the 9/11 attacks
* Lying about connections to corporate crooks
* Presenting deceptive and disingenuous claims to sell controversial policies on the environment, stem cell research, missile defense, Social Security, white-collar crime, abortion, energy, and other crucial issues
* Running a truth-defying, down-and-dirty campaign during the 2000 presidential contest and recount drama

The Lies of George W. Bush is not a partisan whine—it is instead a carefully constructed, fact-based account that clearly denotes how Bush has relied on deception—from the campaign trail to the Oval Office—to win political and policy battles. With wit and style, Corn explains how Bush has managed to get away with it and explores the dangerous consequences of such presidential deceit in a perilous age.

"I’m not a Democratic strategist. I am an independent journalist. My views are known. I believe that if you tell the truth, the things that I want to see happen in the world are more likely to happen. Having a commitment to -- better yet, having a reputation for -- telling the truth so you can't be attacked by books such as mine can only help your side politically."

Clark Supporters Splitting

Daily Kos -- Any marketing expert will tell you the best form of marketing is word-of-mouth. The movie industry, despite its million dollar marketing budgets, is wholly dependent on that word of mouth. It can make or break any movie.

Each one of those Dean supporters is a walking billboard for Dean, evangelizing to his/her friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, people they meet at parties, or farmers markets, or wherever. Given the choice between that hard-core supporter and $58 (or whatever the average donation may be), I'd take the evangelizing supporter in a heartbeat.

The Clark campaign had that with the Draft movement. Yet they aligned themselves with the wrong draft group (at the end of the day, the story notes that the DraftClark2004 people only had a mailing list of 200 people, compared to 40,000 collected by Hlinko), and then they set out to dismantle the very netroots operation that helped create the impetus for the Clark candidacy.

I've got nothing against Clark. I was an early supporter, and I've seen nothing to change my mind about his fitness to be an effective nominee and president.

But I've got everything against his organization. If nothing else, why would they so visibly piss off their online supporters? Now, like spurned lovers, they are working hard to undermine the Clark candidacy, talking to the press (the Boston Globe is also on the story) and creating discord within the ranks. And the Clark campaign is fueling this hostility by systematically dismantling the sites that collectively formed the backbone of the Draft movement's effective netroots effort, dissing the people that built them, and even sending daily talking points to Clark-friendly sites, trying to impose some sort of message discipline (which is the antithesis of a true netroots operation).

Does that mean the Clark candidacy is doomed? I wouldn't say that. The Fabianis and Lehanes are real pros and can be effective (though they failed misrably with Gore and Davis). But it's not a candidacy that can get me excited the way I would've been had the Clark camp build a Dean-like campaign structure.


Both Colin Powell, US Secretary of State, and Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's closest adviser, made clear before September 11 2001 that Saddam Hussein was no threat - to America, Europe or the Middle East.

In Cairo, on February 24 2001, Powell said: "He (Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours."

This is the very opposite of what Bush and Blair said in public.

Powell even boasted that it was the US policy of "containment" that had effectively disarmed the Iraqi dictator - again the very opposite of what Blair said time and again. On May 15 2001, Powell went further and said that Saddam Hussein had not been able to "build his military back up or to develop weapons of mass destruction" for "the last 10 years". America, he said, had been successful in keeping him "in a box".

Two months later, Condoleezza Rice also described a weak, divided and militarily defenceless Iraq. "Saddam does not control the northern part of the country," she said. "We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt."

In April last year, Condoleezza Rice described September 11 2001 as an "enormous opportunity" and said America "must move to take advantage of these new opportunities."

Taking over Iraq, the world's second biggest oil producer, was the first such opportunity.

At 2.40pm on September 11, according to confidential notes taken by his aides, Donald Rumsfeld, the Defense Secretary, said he wanted to "hit" Iraq - even though not a shred of evidence existed that Saddam Hussein had anything to do with the attacks on New York and Washington. "Go massive," the notes quote Rumsfeld as saying. "Sweep it all up. Things related and not." Iraq was given a brief reprieve when it was decided instead to attack Afghanistan. This was the "softest option" and easiest to explain to the American people - even though not a single September 11 hijacker came from Afghanistan. In the meantime, securing the "big prize", Iraq, became an obsession in both Washington and London.

An Office of Special Plans was hurriedly set up in the Pentagon for the sole purpose of converting "loose" or unsubstantiated intelligence into US policy. This was a source from which Downing Street received much of the "evidence" of weapons of mass destruction we now know to be phoney.

CONTRARY to Blair's denials at the time, the decision to attack Iraq was set in motion on September 17 2001, just six days after the attacks on New York and Washington.

On that day, Bush signed a top- secret directive, ordering the Pentagon to begin planning "military options" for an invasion of Iraq. In July 2002, Condoleezza Rice told another Bush official who had voiced doubts about invading Iraq: "A decision has been made. Don't waste your breath."

EL - I saw an interview of Rice's she gave right after this came out. There was a lot of voice stress. I wanted to tell her, just tell the truth girl. Let it out.

Fourth Special Session Coming Up?

"Just like on any conference bill, we will enter into the negotiations and discuss what map we think can be produced that garners the support of both the House and the Senate," said Senate redistricting sponsor Sen. Todd Staples, R-Palestine.

But House redistricting sponsor Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, said a tough road lies ahead that could last the rest of this special session and possibly prompt a fourth on the issue.

The House map is designed to replace a 17-15 Democratic majority in the state's congressional delegation with a 21-11 Republican majority. The Senate plan guarantees a Republican gain of three seats with three others possible.

King indicated that may not be good enough.

"My objective all along has been to see if we can pick up five or six seats," King said. "I want to make sure President Bush has a Republican majority and doesn't have (U.S. House Minority Leader) Nancy Pelosi as the speaker of the House."

EL - Despite a GOP majority, most voters are against redistricting. Over 90% of the public comments have been against this pure partisanship plan. The current districts were drawn by a Republican Attorney General and two out of three of the judges were Republican. Republicans like King are driving this plan under the direction of DeLay to get rid of Anglo Democrat office holders.

NO WMDs - 1,400 troops, five months, interviews with Iraqi officials shows no WMDs

President Bush's Inspectors Find No Weapons to Support his Claims about Imminent Threat

A desperate five-month search by a team of 1,400 U. S. investigators reportedly has failed to find any new physical evidence of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons in Iraq, despite President Bush's continuing insistence the weapons not only existed but posed an imminent threat to the United States.

The failure of the U. S. team, led by Bush appointee David Kay, seriously undermines the integrity of the President's assertion two days prior to the war: "Intelligence gathered...leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."

Bush's bold declaration, according to a subsequent review, was based on old and faulty intelligence data. Former CIA official Richard Kerr, who helped with the review, said Bush's assessment ignored "caveats and disagreements" in the data and relied "heavily on evidence that was at least five years old." Even the Pentagon's intelligence agency had warned in a classified September 2002 report that "there is no reliable information on whether Iraq is producing and stockpiling chemical weapons."

Bush continued to claim otherwise, saying inaccurately in May, "We found the weapons of mass destruction" and predicting "we'll find more weapons as time goes on." The widespread search he initiated, however, now has turned up not a single weapon of mass destruction.

EL- David Kay will likely issue some caveats about dual-use facilties, just waiting for sanctions to end. All modern countries have institutions that could be used to make biological and chemical weapons. David Kay was also one of the "crazies" gung-ho leading the charge for war so if he can't find them...

Jimmy Breslin -- They Lied and Many Soldiers Died

NYNewsday.com -- George Bush told lies and they died.

First, your government lied to ensure Bush's re-election. Who votes against a president in time of war? And even better, you get oil with the winning election.

So Bush lied to you. Not misstatements. Lies. He and his people threw away their honor and consciences to lie to the people they had sworn to protect.

The lies of Washington put young men from Seymour, Tenn., and Maspeth, Queens and Palos Hills, Ill., into boxes. And that, dear reader, is quite a lie.

At the start, Bush claimed that Iraq had poison gas and was making nuclear weapons. Soon, they will poison us all and blow us up. His proof was documents forged by elementary-school pupils. Still, Bush used it in his State of the Union speech. Condoleezza Rice said it was only 23 words in a speech. What are you so concerned about?

The 23 words were only about nuclear bombs.

Look now at the lie that George Bush carries into the United Nations today:

We went into Iraq because they were part of the World Trade Center attack.

That's what they told you, and Americans, who honor their government, believed what their government told them. And so did all those young people as they were about to put up their lives in the desert.

On Oct. 14, 2002, Bush said, "This is a man [Saddam] that we know has had connections with al-Qaida. This is a man who, in my judgment, would like to use al-Qaida as a forward army."

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said, on Sept. 26, 2002, "Yes, there is a linkage between al-Qaida and Iraq."

Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, said on Sept. 25, 2002, "There have been contacts between senior Iraqi officials and members of al-Qaida going back for actually quite a long time."

...So the three now say that they never said that Hussein was involved in the World Trade Center attack. Look up what we said. We never said it.

Of course they did. Anybody who thinks they didn't is a poor fool. Take a half-word out of a sentence, replace it with a smug smile or chin motion and the meaning is there. Saddam was in on the Trade Center with bin Laden. Of course Bush and his people said it. Then go to the whip, go to the truth.

Only the strong memory is an opponent, and there are few of them. Otherwise, the only thing that can remind people and maybe even inflame them are these dead bodies coming back from Iraq to Heber, Calif. They arrive here in silence. We have no idea of how many wounded are in government hospitals with no arms or legs. You never hear Bush talking about them. He often acts as if subjects like this have nothing to do with him.

The Other Side Promo

Do you believe in John Ashcroft, George Bush, Rick Perry, Karl Rove, and Santa Claus? Of course not.

Do you believe the media is liberal while at the same time believing in pigs flying or July snowstorms in Houston?

If you answered no to these questions then you are already smarter than your local Rush Limbaugh listener and more qualified to be governor than Arnold Schwarzenegger!

And now there's a radio show for your intelligence.

Tune in this THURSDAY night for the cure as The Other Side will be on 90.1 KPFT in Houston, 89.5 in Galveston and www.kpft.org on the world wide web.

Dean Meetup Day Next Wednesday - RSVPs Needed

Dean2004 Meetup 7 PM Wednesday - RSVP

Come on, there isn't an Anyone But Bush Meetup and Dean is the most independent. He depends on volunteers, not big money interests.

Some Bush Speech - UN Is Considering Withdrawing From Iraq

Bush Fails to Gain Pledges on Troops or Funds for Iraq
National Guard, Reserve May Plug Holes

Compounding the pressure, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan is considering ordering the total withdrawal of U.N. personnel from Iraq, a step recommended by his top political and security advisers after two bombing attacks against the world body in Baghdad over the past month, according to U.N. and U.S. officials. A U.N. pullout would seriously undercut efforts to assign the United Nations a broader role in overseeing Iraq's political transition.

Today, as leaders from Pakistan and Turkey raised fresh concerns about supplying soldiers, senior administration officials sought to reduce expectations for foreign help and an imminent Security Council resolution.

Here is An Annotated Refutation of President George W. Bush’s September 23 Address Before the United Nations

Contributors to Dean Campaign

BGM writes:
“I am short on funds, but contributed $100 because the Dean campaign will succeed only if ALL of us individuals give what we can. If you look at the graphs/stats on all candidates' contributions... Howard Dean is THE ONLY CANDIDATE who has 51% or more of his contributions from individuals under $200… The FACT that Howard Dean is supported by more of us small contributors than large ones means that he is beholden to US, not the special interests. And it is certain that this will be the only way for us to Take Back Our Country.”

Dave Wilcher writes:
“I've donated not because I can afford it; I feel I can't afford not to. I'm disabled, and on S.S. disability. I'm on Medicare, AND covered by my wife's employer's plan. And between us, we pay as much for health care each month as we do for our mortgage. Luckily, I have a great family that helps us out. So we're not in too bad a shape financially. But I'm concerned about the millions of my American brothers and sisters who don't have ANY health insurance. And NO JOB. And don't have a family that is able to help them. What has the current president done for them? Nothing. Actually, he's done something TO them - made their situation worse. I believe President Dean can fix these problems. I think he can get Americans back to work, and get all Americans health coverage.”

Scott from MD writes:
“Why am I contributing? Because we need to take our country back. Pure and Simple. And Governor Howard Dean can help us to achieve this goal. And...whether we like it or not, achieving this goal is going to take a lot of money. That's how democracy in America works. I am willing to contribute and contribute some more. It's too important not to.”

Contribute now.

A New Regime at the White House - GOP Takes Over 'West Wing'

When President Josiah Bartlet learned that his daughter Zoey had been kidnapped by terrorists, he temporarily stepped down rather than risk letting his personal anguish sway his judgment as commander in chief.

And that typically noble decision was his last.

The vice presidency is vacant (because of a sex scandal), and next in line is the speaker of the House, Glenallen Walken (John Goodman), who barrels into the Oval Office like a right-wing Lyndon B. Johnson, barking orders and slapping down equivocators.

He gives the F.B.I. one more day to find the kidnappers before ordering a retaliatory strike. "But if Zoey Bartlet turns up dead," he says, "I'm going to blow up something. God only knows what happens next."

As Walken, Mr. Goodman sheds all his usual bonhomie and lets the Bartlet loyalists know who is boss the way Johnson was wont to: he makes the press secretary, C. J. Cregg, come in close to straighten his tie while he questions her loyalty. His supercilious congressional aides do not bother to cloak their contempt for their Democratic hosts. Meanwhile the president and first lady are huddled refugees in a guest suite of their own White House, waiting for a whisper of hope, like ordinary distraught parents.

Walken is a hawk and an unrefined bully. (He has a small, yapping dog that sits on antique silk armchairs and has to be walked by senior aides.) But as a commander in chief, he is also decisive, strong-willed and surprisingly good at news conferences. When asked by a reporter if he regrets his predecessor's secret order to assassinate a Qumari terrorist leader, Walken retorts, "My regret is that we only got to kill the bastard once."

Congress Grills and Roasts Rumsfeld on Iraq

A Senate hearing yesterday with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld turned into a grueling clash lasting nearly six hours as Democrats voiced growing concern about the course of U.S. policy in Iraq and Republicans sought to underscore the postwar progress so far.

In a sign of mounting partisan fighting over Iraq, triggered by President Bush's $87 billion emergency supplemental request, Democratic senators declared the recovery effort so far a political failure and accused the administration of having misled the country into an exceedingly costly mess.

One senior Republican senator, reflecting rising anxiety even among party loyalists, told Rumsfeld bluntly that the administration must outline a clear plan for stabilizing Iraq and provide the public with regular updates on how the plan is proceeding.

In a speech at the Heritage Foundation, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) accused Democrats of ignoring the grave terrorist threat facing the United States.

"Democrats want to return to the weak and indecisive foreign policy of the Cold War," he said.

EL - Can someone remind bugman we won the cold war.

Meanwhile, the top U.S. civil administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer, made his third Capitol Hill appearance in three days, testifying before the Foreign Relations and House Appropriations foreign operations subcommittee.

Rep. David R. Obey (Wis.), the ranking Democrat, accused Bremer of "stiffing" the panel by refusing to provide a five-year cost estimate.

"I resent that," Bremer responded.

"I do, too," Obey shot back.

Do-Not-Call List On Hold

A federal district court has ruled that federal regulators overstepped their authority in establishing a national do-not-call registry, a decision that would appear to block the registry — containing 48 million phone numbers — from taking effect on Oct. 1. Under federal rules, telemarketers could be heavily fined for calling those numbers.

OPEC Cuts Its Oil Output by 3.5 Percent

The cut startled the market, where oil futures jumped more than $1 a barrel. OPEC defended its decision as an effort to keep prices from plunging when demand slackens early next year. White House spokesman Scott McClellan, with President Bush in New York, would not comment directly on OPEC's decision but said the economy depends on stable oil supplies and prices.

Arianna Huffington Clear Winner Of California Debate

Leading the charge against the former Mr. Universe was independent commentator Arianna Huffington, who is far behind in polls ahead of the Oct. 7 vote and has little to lose.

When Schwarzenegger attempted to interrupt her at one point, she said: "This is the way you treat women, we know that."

It was perhaps the sharpest dagger of the evening, because of allegations that Schwarzenegger's past statements and behavior reveal a sexist attitude. The actor fares much better with men than women in polls.

Given a chance to respond, the action star said: "I would just like to say that I just realized I have a perfect part for you in 'Terminator 4."'

Huffington later said the actor was alluding to an interview about 'Terminator 3' in which he expressed pleasure in shoving a woman's face into a toilet bowl on film.

"That was such a clear unambiguous indication of what he thinks of women," Huffington said after the debate. "I found that so offensive to the women of California."

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Press and GOP Ignore GOP Candidate Cheating and Oral Sex Stories

When it's a Democratic President they impeach.

How do we know they are ignoring this? Because they are following up on Arnold's groping in the Premiere article but ignore the "When It's Eating It's Not Cheating" story.

Or here where they admit they have read the story, don't release details, and say they oppose Arnold for other "Family Value" reasons.

It is not that this is relevent to his qualifications, but if he was a Democrat the press and GOP would have made it the top story, the top smear, and said it made him unqualified.

Israeli Pilots Refusing To Fly "illegal and immoral" Palestinian Attacks

A group of 27 active reserve duty pilots and retired pilots have sent a letter to Air Force
Chief, Major General Dan Halutz
, declaring that they refuse to participate in operations against
Palestinians in the territories.

We, veteran pilots and active pilots alike, who have served
and who continue to serve the state of Israel for many weeks
every year, are opposed to carrying out illegal and
immoral attack orders, of the type carried out by Israel in
the territories," the group wrote. "We, who have been
educated to love the state of Israel and to contribute to the Zionist endeavour, refuse to
take part in Air Force attacks in civilian population centers."

The group was referring to Israel's policy of targeted killings of Palestinian militants in
the territories. Dozens of civilians have been killed in these strikes, which began a few
months after the intifada erupted in late September 2000.

Finally PBS Has A Real Liberal On -- Code Pink Makes Perle See Red

RICHARD PERLE: What you just heard is a tirade against American companies in the left-wing tradition that she represents. Her characterization of the situation in Iraq is not at all borne out by many conversations I've had with Iraqis, including members of the governing council she's been referring to.

MEDEA BENJAMIN: Well, I challenge to you go there with me, Mr. Perle, because I was there in July, I was there in August, I don't stay in the presidential palace, I don't go around with bodyguards and helicopters and sniffing dogs like Paul Bremer and Colin Powell. I challenge to you go with me, without any bodyguards and let's walk around the streets of the cities of Iraq and see what it looks like six months after the U.S. occupation.

RICHARD PERLE: With all due respect, your sojourns in the cities of Iraq are hardly the appropriate measure of how well we have done in restoring electricity and getting water back on track. I don't think --

MEDEA BENJAMIN: You know better sitting in Washington, D.C.?

PBS transcript. Cursor provided this and some other links today.

Our So-called Liberal Media - Washington Post Examples

On February 7, two days after Colin Powell's much-lauded presentation before the United Nations Security Council, Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus described how foreign government officials, terrorism experts and members of Congress disputed a key claim: the supposed link between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Despite the article's relevance, the Post buried it in journalistic no man's land--page A21--where it had little effect. An article a week later by Pincus and military correspondent Dana Priest, "Bin Laden-Hussein Link Hazy," got a similar A20 placement.

On March 16 another Pincus article, "U.S. Lacks Specifics on Banned Arms," explained that US intelligence agencies believed the Bush Administration had exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam's purported stocks of WMD. Its placement: A17. Two days later, Pincus and White House correspondent Dana Milbank wrote a strenuous indictment of the Administration's rationales for war: "As the Bush Administration prepares to attack Iraq this week, it is doing so on the basis of a number of allegations against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein that have been challenged--and in some cases disproved--by the United Nations, European governments and even U.S. intelligence reports." That one managed to vault only up to A13.

It wasn't until May 29, almost a month after Bush declared an end to major combat operations, that Pincus, along with co-writer Karen DeYoung, broke onto the front page with a story headlined "U.S. Hedges on Finding Iraqi Weapons; Officials Cite the Possibilities of Long or Fruitless Search for Banned Arms." At that point, with guerrilla attacks rising, postwar planning in disarray and the weapons highlighted by the Bush Administration nowhere to be found, experts and politicians on Pincus's intelligence beat--and, more important, his own editors--began to stir.


The newfound intensity of the press brings to mind, Pincus says, something Gene McCarthy told him years ago. "The press is a bunch of blackbirds," McCarthy mused. "All are on a wire and one will go to another wire and when that bird doesn't get electrocuted, all the birds will go to that other wire." After more than sixteen months of too many free passes for the President, it was about time the press blackbirds--led by reporters like Pincus, Priest and Milbank--pounced on sixteen words and wouldn't let go.

ACLU Finally Taking Action Against Opposition Free Speech Zones

Bush has perfected his illegal tactics of allowing supporters to carry signs and demonstrate for TV crews while opponents are forced to "free speech" zones that can be blocks away.

This entire country is a free speech zone. Let's take it back.

ACLU lawsuit against discrimination in "free speech" zones.

Other ACLU actions:

Urge your Senators to fix the problems with the PATRIOT Act, not give the government even more invasive and intrusive police powers.

Click here for more information and to send a free fax to your Senators.

Your elected representatives in Congress need to hear that you support proper checks and balances, not unlimited government surveillance.

Click here for more information and to send a free fax to your Members of Congress.

Bush UN Speech Fact-Checked By Journalist

The regime of Saddam Hussein," he claimed, "cultivated ties to terror while it built weapons of mass destruction. It used those weapons in acts of mass murder." This is a slippery rendition of what's known. Hussein may have "cultivated" contacts with terrorists, but the Bush administration has yet to demonstrate he had developed any operational ties to al Qaeda. And built WMDs? Certainly, he did so in the past--before UN inspectors in the mid-1990s reported that they had destroyed most of his WMDs. But there's no undeniable proof he was manufacturing WMDs more recently. In fact, a classified Defense Intelligence Agency analysis produced in October 2002 noted that there was no reliable evidence that Hussein was making chemical weapons.

With a pricetag approaching $200 billion and an American public that is becoming restless about the occupation (and its cost), Bush needs assistance from the UN and the allies. He's just not willing to tell the truth to get it.

Calling Texas Leaders

Please call Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst now and oppose this unprecedented redistricting power grab:

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst

Please let us know you've made this call at


If Lt. Governor Dewhurst's number is busy, you can call the Governor at

Governor Rick Perry

Tell them they should abandon their attack on rural Texans and minority voters. Tell them to quit wasting tax dollars on partisan gamesmanship and start focusing on Texas schools, health care, and high insurance rates.

British TV Runs Proof of WMD Lies

AUSTRALIAN investigative journalist John Pilger says he has evidence the war against Iraq was based on a lie that could cost George W. Bush and Tony Blair their jobs and bring Prime Minister John Howard down with them.

A television report by Pilger aired on British screens overnight said US Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice confirmed in early 2001 that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had been disarmed and was no threat.

But after the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington on September 11 that year, Pilger claimed Rice said the US "must move to take advantage of these new opportunities" to attack Iraq and claim control of its oil.

Pilger uncovered video footage of Powell in Cairo on February 24, 2001 saying, "He (Saddam Hussein) has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbours."

Two months later, Rice reportedly said, "We are able to keep his arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt."

In his report, Pilger interviews Ray McGovern, a former senior CIA officer and friend of Bush's father and ex-president, George Bush senior.

McGovern told Pilger that going to war because of weapons of mass destruction "was 95 per cent charade."

Pilger also claims that six hours after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he wanted to "hit" Iraq and allegedly said "Go Massive ... Sweep it all up. Things related and not."

Audience Unmoved During Bush's Address at the U.N.

A president who has led his forces to victory, ostensibly on behalf of the United Nations, would in theory deserve a hero's welcome. But that was not what President Bush encountered in an icy chamber here today, almost five months after he declared an end to major hostilities in Iraq.

If anything, they appeared more skeptical than ever of Mr. Bush's assertions, including his promise to "reveal the full extent" of illegal weapons programs he says exist in Iraq, and unforthcoming, at least for now, in their response to his appeal for help with the Iraq occupation and reconstruction.

President Jacques Chirac of France, appearing shortly after Mr. Bush at the General Assembly, was no less apologetic opposing the war than Mr. Bush had been in urging it. He called the divisions over the war one of the gravest threats to multilateral institutions like the United Nations in modern times.

A rainstorm lashed the United Nations buildings this morning, while inside another illustration of the tempests over the war emerged in the address by Secretary General Kofi Annan, who deplored the administration doctrine of pre-emptive action epitomized by the Iraqi war.

As if in counterpoint, Mr. Bush defiantly repeated the doctrine, saying that "nations of the world must have the wisdom and the will to stop grave threats before they arrive."

EL - Kofi or some prominent foreign leader should make a short simple address to the American people how this administration violated the laws of the United Nations, an organization the United States founded, to wage this war. The regulations Bush claims we were upholding were in fact "held" by the Security Council. "Being held" by the Security Council says that no country may take action because the Security Council is legally responsible to take action. The SC was taking action, just not the action the "crazies" wanted.

Debunking All-Wing Lies About Clinton and Paula Jones

Things aren't going well for Bush so the nut-cases are talking about Clinton again. But the defenders are leaving out a couple of facts too. Pretty soon they will all be talking about the lies about Gore lying again as well. Political Stratagy.org picked up this from Bob Beckel.

Sean Hannity Defends Bush Citing Paula Jones

To site Paula Jones as a victim of Bill Clinton and proof that Clinton is completely immoral is not only absurd it is a flat out lie.


-Cliff Jackson, a former Fulbright Scholar, was a friend of Clinton's when they both were in England.

-Returning to Arkansas with political ambitions, Clinton became Governor, and Jackson became a bitter Clinton hater and small time lawyer.

-Clinton is elected President in 1992 and Jackson begins a sleazy campaign against the Clintons, which became known as the Arkansas Project [funds primarily by...Richard Mellon Scaife].

-Jackson recruits two Clinton hating state troopers, Larry Patterson and Rodger Perry, to tell sex stories about the Clintons and promised them $1 million each from a book advance and royalties. They signed the deal.

-David Brock, (El - now newest NYTimes columnist, liberal media indeed!), former writer for the right wing rag the American Spectator {again partially funded by Scaife} was contacted by Jackson, and leaked the story about how Clinton, while he was governor, revealed himself to a poor little public employee named Paula Jones.

In December 1993 Brock writes a Jones story for the Spectator entitled His Cheatin' Heart. Brock admits being paid by Peter Smith, Newt Gingrich's finance chairman to write sex stories about Clinton during the '92 presidential campaign.

-Peter Smith, who is Newt's man on the Arkansas Project, pays both troopers Paterson and Perry $6500 each and Cliff Jackson $5000. Jackson calls a press conference in Washington on Feb. 11, 1994 and introduced the troopers, Brock, and Paula Jones. Jones told her story including, when prompted by Jackson, that Clinton pulled down his pants and ask her for sex.

-A legal case, Jones v Clinton, paid for by the right wing follows.

-When the Jones v Clinton case heard witnesses, Arkansas Supervisor of troopers, Buddy Young, testified that neither Patterson nor Perry knew anything about Clinton's sex life. Further he said Patterson was a sex fanatic and Perry used State telephones to call his various girlfriends running up several hundred dollars in long distance charges.

-On April first 1994, Federal Judge Susan Wright dismissed Jones case against Bill Clinton as totally without merit.

EL - I have to interject here. Although all of this was true, Jones lawyers appealed and Clinton paid $870,000 to settle out of court just before his impeachment trial.

Jones went on to 'pose' for magazines your kids shouldn't read. (EL - It appears her two groups of lawyers got over 82% of the money. She owed more in taxes then she received and she went to Penthouse to keep her house.)

Those are the facts. They are all a matter of public record yet the right wing continues to say it was true, showing no respect for the rule of law. But when the right refuses to accept the rule of law over and over they become a law onto themselves, and I can tell you from personal experience that there are lots of wing nuts out there that want an excuse to take the law into their own hands.

El I have to call out liberals as well as conservatives, for leaving out significant parts of any story. Clinton settled out of court, very probably for political considerations and not based on the facts, but I'm sure people need to remember that he did settle.

You want a tiny peek at her, don't you?

- Taking the law into their own hands writ large scale, the new Bush neo-con doctrine of pre-pre-emption war.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Spammers Shrivel Up

Internet con artists peddling penis enlargement pills through the torrents of email spam that flood computers across the world are suddenly running scared.

According to a US report, the assets of C.P.Direct, one of the biggest internet spam operators, have been seized and will be distributed to victims.

C.P.Direct is reported to have fleeced at least $US74 million from the gullible seeking larger penises, bigger breasts and hairier heads.

According to a report on MSNBC.com, the US internet news portal, Arizona's Attorney-General has ordered seizure of the firm's assets, including 13 luxury homes and property valued at $US20 million, a fleet of expensive cars, and tens of millions of dollars in cash.

Documents showed that 90per cent of $74 million taken over two years came from sales of a penis-enlargement pill called Longitude.

Users were warned to stop taking Longitude after reaching nine inches in length - "to avoid discomforting sexual partners." In fact the pills appear to have been mainly chalk with some sugar.

Other products advertised by C.PO.Direct included Full and Firm, claimed to be "an implant in a bottle" that would increase breast size, Follicure to grow hair and Stature, a pill claimed to increase the height of its users by up to eight centimetres.

Clark - DLC Dream Stealth Republican Candidate? Or The Real Deal?

Dean's website's reach of 235 per million is dwarfed by Clark's combined reach of 645 per million. (EL- I would think people visit both - making it 323 to 235.)

Clark probably shines like a god to the DLC-- those centrist democrats we on the further edges of the left consider to be republicans in Democrats clothing. Is Clark much different than Georgia's Zell Miller and Louisiana's John Breaux? They are both democrats, but more often, they vote with the republicans than with the democrats.

Clark is off to an amazing start, and it will be wonderful if he is the real thing-- a progressive democrat who is not owned by corporations or the military.

But we don't know that yet. He has to prove himself. Hiding behind vague statements will not do it. One of the reasons Dean has been in the lead is because he regularly communicates his ideas-- putting out press releases and annoncements to his supporters on an almost daily basis. This has given people the chance to get to know who he is, what his positions are. Wesley Clark has to do the same thing and he has to do it in a hurry, since he's so late getting started. As we get to know Clark we'll find out whether he's the real deal-- a solid Democrat or another republican in Democrat's clothing.

More "Crazies" - the Democrats

EL - Crazies - that word is in the air. I have take to calling the neo-cons in the administration "crazies" after finding out Republicans called them that in Bush the first's reign. Now Mortman has a long column about how the common the word is right now in politics.

Forget all the crazy talk about the invisible primary or the money primary. Just stick with the crazy talk. It’s the crazy primary.

Dean Invokes Boston Tea Party, Rips 'King' George

Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean invoked Boston's revolutionary legacy on Tuesday as he urged Americans to dump their latter-day "king" -- George W. Bush -- whom he accused of threatening democracy and caring only for the very rich.

In a speech to thousands of supporters, Dean said next year's election was about protecting American democracy from "a narrow band of right-wing ideologues" who were trampling the U.S. Constitution.

"This democracy and the flag of the United States do not belong to Rush Limbaugh, and Jerry Falwell, and Tom DeLay, and John Ashcroft, and Dick Cheney," Dean said as he listed prominent conservatives. "This flag and this country belong to us and we want our country back."

The former Vermont governor accused Bush and his allies of subverting the democratic process in California -- where Republicans have forced a recall vote on Gov. Gray Davis -- and of damaging America's reputation around the world by mishandling the war against Iraq and of ignoring middle class Americans by giving tax cuts to the rich.

Dean drew parallels between his own grass-roots campaign for the White House and the Boston Tea Party, a protest against British tax policies 230 years ago that sowed the seeds of the American Revolutionary war.

He said that like King George III, the British monarch against whom American colonists rebelled, Bush had "forgotten his own people" and was listening only to special interests.

"George Bush doesn't represent us, he represents a small handful of people who have been taking from America and we want a president who will give back to America," Dean said to cheers from the crowd.

'Coupling' Too Spicy For Some U.S. Stations

The US version of BBC sitcom 'Coupling has been banned by two local stations because of its sexual content. The stations are in South Bend, Indiana and Salt Lake City, Utah and are affiliated with NBC.

NBC has remade the cult hit British comedy, about six friends, with the first episode to be shown on Thursday.

EL - the very brief previews I have seen of the American show seemed weak. NBC looks like it has generic California actors and you need good strong actors with distinct personalities and good chemistry to recreate my favorite British comedy. I really think an all black cast may have been better

Monday, September 22, 2003

Bumpy Ride Ahead - Mother Jones Blogs Iraq

Daily Mojo -- Two sentences separated by a mere four decades (Ron Hutcheson, Knight-Ridder, Some See Troubling Parallels Between Iraq and Vietnam):

"'If we quit Vietnam,' President Lyndon Johnson warned, 'tomorrow we'll be fighting in Hawaii, and next week we'll have to fight in San Francisco.'

"'We are fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today,' Bush said in his televised speech Sept. 7, 'so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities.'"

In the media and in Congress, voices that were previously missing in action are finally being raised. Though no one would admit it, this is, of course, poll driven. It's proof that, for the first time, many in the mainstream are sensing what has been evident for a long time to some of us - that under all the macho posturing and "discipline" of this administration lies a weakness and vulnerability, now evidently beginning to be noticeable to all. Not long after the Afghan war, New Yorker Reporter Seymour Hersh commented that the first mainstream Democrat of stature to grab the antiwar banner would take the presidency. Imagine if one of them had paid the slightest attention. Howard Dean, who doesn't even fit the category, has made the point nonetheless.

And of course, some voices have been there all the time. Generally ignored until recently by the mainstream, Senator Robert Byrd, for whom the nakedness of the emperor has long seemed self-evident, continues to speak simple sense in his Senate speeches ("Remember that that $87 billion is just for 2004 alone. Does anyone really believe that it will be the last request for Iraq?"). He is now calling for a genuine debate on the path we've embarked upon and the "quagmire" we find ourselves in:

"I urge my colleagues to think long and hard about the growing quagmire in Iraq. I urge members of the President's own party to warn him about the quicksand he asks America to wade in. We need a long and thorough debate about the future of this country. We need a serious discussion about the kind of America we will leave to our children."

This week Teddy Kennedy denounced the war as a "fraud," concocted in Crawford, Texas, and Representative John P. Murtha of Pennsylvania, a decorated Vietnam veteran, and the strongest Democratic supporter of the invasion of Iraq, claimed the president "misled" him, and called for the firing of his full "defense leadership team"

More Rumsfeld Poetry

That's Life - taken from actual briefings:

You may think it's something
I ought to know,
But I happen not to.
That's life.
(July 9, 2003)

On Reporters
If you do something,
Somebody's not going
To agree with it.
That's life.
(Feb. 19, 2003)

On the Budget
If you do anything,
Someone's not going
To like it and
That's life.
(May 7, 2002)

On Leaks
Look bumpy? Sure.
But you pick up
And go on.
That's life.
(May 17, 2002)

On Democracy
People elected
Those people to office.
That's what they think, and
That's life.
(Feb. 20, 2003)

On People
They're going to have
Some impact on
What happens in that country
And that's not wrong.
That's life.
(Nov. 16, 2001)

On Criticism
It makes it complicated.
Sometimes, it makes
It difficult.
That's life.
(Sept. 11, 2003)

Clark's New Patriotism

On a campus where students march and chant in lines, not in puppet-brandishing crowds, Clark declares that dissenters are the true patriots: "Patriotism doesn't consist of following orders—not when you're not in the chain of command. For the American people, for citizens in a democracy, patriotism's highest calling isn't simply following what the administration says. It's not blind obedience. It's not unquestioned adherence. The highest form of patriotism is asking questions. Because democracies run on dialogue. Democracies run on discussion. No administration has the right to tell Americans that to dissent is disloyal, and to disagree is unpatriotic. …

"We need a new spirit, a new kind of, a new American patriotism in this country. … [T]his new spirit of patriotism should be dedicated to the protection of our rights and liberties. … In times of war or peace, democracy requires dialogue, disagreement, and the courage to speak out. And those who do it should not be condemned but be praised."

No other Democratic candidate, not even John Kerry, could stand in front of two 75 mm howitzers on the quad of a nearly all-male military college and defend the antiwar left without looking faintly ridiculous. Wesley Clark is Howard Dean with flags.

The Dean Grassroots Campaign

Bottom-Up Strategy May Turn Politics Upside Down

Thousands of Dean supporters -- many of whom profess never to have been active before -- have taken to the streets on their own initiative to pass out Dean fliers at urban fairs and farmers markets, donate blood and clean up beaches in his name, and raise millions of dollars for the former Vermont governor at house parties.

Although few of these volunteers have ever spoken to anyone from the national headquarters, Dean, once among the least known of the Democratic presidential field, now appears to many to be among the best organized as he leads the pack in fundraising and surges ahead in polls.

Trippi said that as balloting draws nearer, the campaign will dispatch "SWAT teams" into some states to organize volunteers. The campaign now lays out more specific goals and objectives on the Web site -- but largely leaves it up to the volunteers on how to achieve them. "In the next ten days of September, we're asking every Dean supporter to do at least one thing to increase the visibility of the grassroots in your community," the site advises, as part of its "September to Remember" promotion.

An outside look at the history of the Dean campaign.

When I ask Dean about Clark, his response is characteristically two-fold. He praises him with sincere fervor: “I know Wes Clark, he’s a very good human being, and he’s got an enormous amount of integrity.” At the same time, on the subject of Clark entering the race, he shows more than a glint of steel. “It’s going to be very hard to start late,” he says, “and think you’re going to do well in Iowa and New Hampshire. It’s going to be incredibly hard. I mean, we’ve already got 39,000 people working for us all around the country . . . I really do believe — and I think about this — I want to get this nomination, and if I don’t . . . these kids are not transferrable. I can’t just go out and say, ‘Okay, so I didn’t win the nomination, so go ahead and vote for the Democrats.’ They’re not going to suddenly just go away. That’s not gonna happen.”

Our new local Meetup:

Dean Meetup

Where: Top China Buffet, 3630 Spencer @ Burke, Pasadena
When: Wednesday, October 1, 2003, 7:00 P.M.
Why: Because we need to take this country back!
Meetup Host: Janette Sexton, 281-479-0934 or JSexton19@aol.com
RSVP: http://dean2004.meetup.com

Clark Tops Democrats, Ties Bush In Poll

Clark First Democrat to Beat Bush In Match-Up

Clark, who has yet to detail the agenda he will run on, bested Bush 49 to 46 percent in the poll, which is within the survey's margin of error. The poll was conducted Sept. 19-21, right after Clark launched his campaign in Little Rock.

A newcomer to politics, Clark was greeted with a week's worth of free national media exposure, which rival campaigns attributed for his dramatic rise in the polls

Kerry and Lieberman ran even with Bush in a head-to-head race, and Dean and Gephardt trailed the president by a few points. More broadly, the poll found Bush's popularity eroding.

His approval rating was 50 percent, the lowest of his presidency; 47 percent disapproved of job he is doing. More than half of respondents said they disagree with Bush on issues they care most about.

While polls offer only a snapshot of feelings at a given moment, this one reinforced a growing belief among Democrats that Bush is beatable, especially if the economy and the situation in Iraq do not improve in the months ahead.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

The ROADwomen Speech - A History of the 'Crazies'

This speech is so good and informative to people on the history of those Bush 1 himself called "crazies" it deserves a seperate listing.

Some months back, I was debating a rightwing host on his nationally syndicated radio show. We were arguing mainly about Iraq and its comparisons to Vietnam, about which these days there are even more similarities. Toward the end, I quoted from some of the PNAC doctrines -- about starting wars pre-emptively, breaking treaties, keeping other countries and organizations down so as to remain the top boss, imitating permanent war and so on; there was a long silence and I heard him gulp. Clearly, he wasn't fully aware of some of this information. Finally, he said, "If you can prove what you're telling me, and get that out there to the American people, you might well deny George Bush a second term."

Whattya say? Let's do it.

What the Monkeys Can Teach Humans About Making America Fairer

The capuchin monkey study, published last week in Nature, has generated a lot of interest for a scant three-page report buried in the journal's letters section. There is, certainly, a risk of reading too much into the feeding habits of 10 research monkeys. But in a week when fairness was so evidently on the ropes — from the World Trade Organization meeting in Cancún, which poor nations walked out of in frustration, to the latest issue of Forbes, reporting that the richest 400 Americans are worth $955 billion — the capuchin monkeys offered a glimmer of hope from the primate gene pool.

The study's implication that we are, to some extent, hard-wired for fairness speaks with special force to the legal system. American law has undergone a transformation in recent years, led by conservative Supreme Court justices and scholars, away from a focus on broad principles of fairness and toward a willingness to subject people to treatment that might be unjust, on the grounds that it is legal. The monkey study suggests, however, that fairness might be more than a currently unfashionable legal concept. It may be integral to who we are.

Sarah Brosnan and Frans de Waal, researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University, chose capuchin monkeys because capuchins are among the few primates — along with men and chimpanzees — that hunt cooperatively. Team hunting has evolutionary advantages, allowing a species to capture prey, like squirrels, it otherwise could not. In many monkey societies the dominant male eats what he wants, and the others fight over the scraps. But in societies like those of capuchins — and humans — in which hunting is done cooperatively, food is more equitably distributed.

The reason for the sharing is obvious. Cooperative primates will be reluctant to engage in a group hunt if they cannot be assured that their reward will be properly related to their efforts. The capuchin monkeys in the study did not care merely about rules: it was not enough that they were given a cucumber slice when that was what they expected. They also wanted the rule that was applied to them to be, in a larger sense, fair.

In Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey," an ape-man throws a bone he has just used as a weapon into the air and it is transformed into a spaceship. The discovery of weapons was certainly, as the movie indicates, one of our key evolutionary moments. But the capuchin monkey study is a welcome reminder that the first time an ape-man angrily picked up his food allotment and threw it into the air because it was unjust was no less pivotal to the emergence of what it means to be human.

A Heartening Visit to Texas, Home of the Original Bush Whoppers

BuzzFlash/Scoop Guest Column By Bernard Weiner about visiting Houston -- The Democrats I met here on my brief, three-day stay are quite aware of the forces they're up against. They realize things have changed muchly since the heady days when Democrat Ann Richards -- she of the brilliant fresh mouth -- was governor. The Democrats now definitely are in the minority, and are treated roughly by their Republican opponents.

But the glorious thing is that the Dems, including those I ran into, are still kicking and fighting -- with fellow Texans Molly Ivins and Jim Hightower as wonderful role models -- even though it's often a losing battle. They're battling on issues ranging from the Iraq war to school textbooks (denuded of references to geologic evolution: "millions of years ago" becomes "many years ago"), from redistricting proposals to pollution-control. I stand in admiration and awe for their courage and tenacity.

Though a good many in the packed ROADwomen audience had heard of the neo-conservative movement and PNAC, many had not -- and, besides, I was filling in a lot of the blanks by quoting directly from PNAC documents. [To read the full speech, click here: Speech to ROADwomen

The audience seemed to be truly interested in the heavy material I was laying on them -- as well as in the final, more hopeful part of my talk, about the things we all could do to ensure Bush's defeat in 2004 -- and the Q&A session that followed was filled with intelligent queries and commentary. I left heartened by the possibility that even in Texas, Bush was vulnerable. (At dinner later, I was told about the Republican couple at a recent precinct polling place who announced out of the blue as they were exiting that they had voted for the GOP presidential candidate for the past 21 years but would not be voting for Bush in 2004.)

American Democratic Politics - A London View

The sigh of relief from the Democratic party leadership on hearing of Clark's decision was less about how much they liked him and more to do with how much they loathe the other nine candidates in the race. As recently as early summer, the party hierarchy had written off the next election as a dead loss and were thinking ahead to Hillary in 2008.

In this judgment they have been overly hasty and out of touch with their base. Between them, the nine candidates - ranging from the conservative Joseph Lieberman to the radical Al Sharpton - were doing a relatively good job galvanising the party's supporters and reaching out to new ones.

The party bigwigs' attempts to dismiss the frontrunner Howard Dean have done little to stem his growing support among activists or his ability to raise money. While the Democratic leadership has been telling everyone who will listen that he cannot win, Dean has been drawing crowds of thousands and making the cover of Time and Newsweek. Dean has been cast as beyond the pale largely because of his opposition to the war and his pledge to reverse Bush's latest tax cuts. The problem for the party's leaders is that most Democratic voters agree with him on those points, and an increasing number of independents do too. Moreover, Dean is pro-gun, pro-death penalty and fiscally conservative. "I don't mind being characterised as a 'liberal'," he said in February. "I just don't happen to think it's true."

Clark is probably no worse and may even be somewhat better than the other leading candidates. His entry to the race should be welcomed for the simple reason that it gives Democrats more choice at a time when they are so angry they would embrace anyone who they thought could take the White House.

EL - The first few days have not been good for the Clark campaign. Flip-flops on big issues and a confession that except for liking Clinton he has always voted Republican, and in fact tried to join the Bush team, has lost him Democratic support.

The Fight for the Democratic Party

Democratics Want To Vote Their Passions - And Win

Predicting electability, of course, is tricky; sometimes when Democrats thought they were voting their heads, they were still badly beaten in the general election. Former Gov. Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts captured the 1988 Democratic nomination as a moderate, nonideological technocrat — not a man who stirred his party's passions, but one who seemed, to many Democrats, decent, competent, electable. He lost 40 states that fall. Other traits matter in a candidate, beside his profile and message; sheer passion and political talent can go a long way.

Moreover, there is a fundamental divide in politics now over how best to win the presidency — by galvanizing the base, or by reaching out to swing voters, which generally means a more centrist message.

Dean-Gephardt Now In Hard Battle In Iowa

A non-partisan Zogby International poll of union members in Iowa indicates they favor Dean over Gephardt, 24 percent to 20 percent. The poll, conducted Sept. 8-9, put Dean's lead among all likely voters at 23 percent, with Gephardt following at 17 percent, Kerry running third at 11 percent and no one else in double digits.

But another poll has some good news for Gephardt. Harstad Strategic Research, a Democratic polling firm, surveyed people who had attended caucuses between 1984 and 2000 and found that Gephardt led the pack among those voters with 25 percent, with Dean and Kerry tied at 15 percent and Lieberman at 11 percent.

The Dean defense -- "What Dick is not telling people is that Vermont has Little Davis-Bacon prevailing wage laws, a minimum wage of $7 an hour, and it's not a right-to-work state," Dean said. "Also, I have a 100 percent [AFL-CIO] record. My position on trade has changed because WTO and NAFTA aren't working. It is a siphon for the trade jobs. When I wasn't running for president, I wasn't spending time in the Midwest."

"Frankly, I've done a lot more for health care than Dick Gephardt has ever thought of doing," Dean said. "Dick is a wonderful person. But Congress has produced virtually nothing on health care."

On Social Security, Dean acknowledges that he has said in the past that he might consider increasing the retirement age, but has now come to the firm conclusion that raising the age is not necessary to shore up the system.

Problems With Patriot Act

What You Read And What You Say Can Result In Visits By the FBI

The FBI has followed up on thousands of “tips” since the attacks of 9/11. In June, Atlanta bookstore employee Marc Schultz found himself visited by FBI agents after someone spotted him reading an article titled “Weapons of Mass Stupidity” at a local coffee shop.

In late April, two teen-age students in Oakland, California, got an unwelcome, real-life lesson in civics. During a heated class discussion at Oakland High School about politics and President Bush, the boys made comments the exact nature of which are in dispute, but which their teacher believed constituted a threat toward the president. The teacher went to the FBI.

Secret Service agents showed up at the high school the next day to interview the boys, both 16. The school principal sat in for an hour and a half as agents interviewed each student individually, without their parents’ knowledge or consent. “He asked us questions like was I a good shooter ... was I a good sniper ... am I good dealing with guns, and what are my thoughts on the president,” one of the boys told San Francisco Bayview. “I was very scared. I was crying because of what they said to us.

The FBI contacted the San Francisco Independent Media Center after 9/11, according to Ian MacKenzie, a volunteer at the center, to investigate what they said was a posting threatening the president. Agents wanted user logs for the group’s Web site, “which we don’t have,” MacKenzie says, “so we couldn’t give to them.” He says federal agents have contacted Indymedia centers around the country in efforts to discover the identities of specific online posters. “What it tells me,” he says, “is that they keep track of us, and that they watch independent media centers.”

Is MacKenzie paranoid? Maybe not. In March, San Francisco police told the San Francisco Chronicle that they routinely monitored the center’s Web site, and infiltrated demonstrations announced on the site. San Francisco police also said they routinely videotape large demonstrations.

Ignoring a city prohibition against the collection of First Amendment-related intelligence, the Denver Police developed files on 208 organizations and 3,200 individuals. The department appears to have continued its surveillance until the fall of 2002, despite the ACLU lawsuit. Monitored groups included the American Friends Service Committee (a pacifist Quaker group), Amnesty International and many others with no history of criminal activity. Documents obtained by the ACLU describe how police intercepted e-mails, recorded the license plate numbers of vehicles at demonstrations, and infiltrated advocacy group meetings.

Ashcroft’s Justice Department also advises police officers in at least some states to gather information on “enemies in our own backyard.” In a police training manual titled “A Police Response to Terrorism in the Heartland: Integrating Law Enforcement Intelligence and Community Policing” officers are encouraged to investigate members of the “Green Movement”—defined as “environmental activism that is aimed at political and social reform with the explicit attempt to develop environmental-friendly policy, law and behavior.”

In February, Newsweek reported that the FBI plans to set investigative and wiretap goals based on demographic information, including the number of mosques in an area. The Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, or Patriot II, which Congress will take up in the coming months, would also eliminate municipal agreements that limit investigations and intrusive monitoring. “This is not simply a random circumstance,” says the ACLU’s Yohnka, “but appears to be part of a larger, broader pattern coming out of Washington, D.C.”

Kerry, with own campaign falling apart, accuses Dean campaign of imploding

Problems for John Kerry - In what may signal the beginning of a campaign implosion, Chris Lehane, who served as Mr. Kerry's communications director, resigned last week. A Zogby poll in New Hampshire illustrates Mr. Kerry's problem. By late August, Mr. Kerry's 13-point February advantage (26-13) over Mr. Dean had turned into a 21-point deficit (38-17). The political strategists are busy devising scenarios about how an increasingly desperate Mr. Kerry could get his hands on his wife's $550 million Heinz-ketchup inheritance.

Imploding -- Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts today sharply criticized one of the other leading Democrats running for president, Howard Dean, asserting that some of his recent pronouncements show that his "bubble's bursting a bit."

Mr. Dean's campaign manager, Joe Trippi, seemed mildly amused by the interview.

"I guess we're just on his mind a lot," Mr. Trippi said, pointing to another episode, the recent debate in Baltimore, when a microphone picked up Mr. Kerry muttering, "Dean. Dean. Dean. Dean. Dean."

In the WCBS interview, Mr. Kerry implied that many of Dr. Dean's views would cost him his standing in the polls. "Dean's been imploding," he said.

Gen. Clark Would be Republican If Rove Had Returned His Calls!

Leading in a National Poll, Doubts About His Democratic Ties

After Al Qaeda attacked America, retired Gen. Wes Clark thought the Bush administration would invite him to join its team. After all, he’d been NATO commander, he knew how to build military coalitions and the investment firm he now worked for had strong Bush ties. But when GOP friends inquired, they were told: forget it.

WORD WAS THAT Karl Rove, the president’s political mastermind, had blocked the idea. Clark was furious. Last January, at a conference in Switzerland, he happened to chat with two prominent Republicans, Colorado Gov. Bill Owens and Marc Holtzman, now president of the University of Denver. “I would have been a Republican,” Clark told them, “if Karl Rove had returned my phone calls.” Soon thereafter, in fact, Clark quit his day job and began seriously planning to enter the presidential race—as a Democrat.

Entering with a tremendous media splash, “the general” seized the lead in the Democratic race. Among likely voters, Clark led with 14 percent, followed by Dean with 12, Sen. Joe Lieberman with 12, Sen. John Kerry with 10 and Rep. Dick Gephardt with 8. A candidate called “don’t know” still led with 19 percent. (And if Al Gore and Hillary Clinton are added to the mix, they demolish the field.) The poll is notable for three reasons. It shows that Clark starts with the star power and on-paper credentials to be credible; he diminishes the entire field in equal proportion; and Democrats, yearning for a winner (and suddenly confident of their chances of beating President Bush), still haven’t found their shining knight. “He hurts all of us a bit, at least for now,” said Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi. “Where it goes from here? Who knows? A lot will depend on the general himself.”

Republicans don't trust people

Several states with Republican legislatures have quietly announced that they won't hold primaries this year in their states. Instead, the delegates are to be chosen by party leaders. Now the official reasoning behind this is that it will save these states much needed money, but the real reason is to subvert democracy. Primaries tend to attract attention, and motivate party members. With no serious Republican Primary expected in 2004, a primary would mainly only help the democrats fire up their base. So, they (conservatives) have deemed it unnecessary for their constituents to have a voice in their party's nominee.

EL - The GOP always fail to mention it was a Republican Attorney General and two Republican judges, (one Democratic), who drew up the current Texas Representative map. It was drawn to ensure a GOP majority but then those pesky voters, while voting mostly Republican, decided they would keep their Democratic representatives. All the new GOP plans fix that, they redistrict Anglo Democrats out of their districts.

In latest tweak at Bush, Dean has formed a group of 'Texas Rangers'

Becoming a Ranger for President Bush means raising at least $200,000 for his reelection, but former Vermont governor Howard Dean's presidential campaign has formed a group of "Texas Rangers," who need only comfortable shoes and a weekend to spare.

In his latest effort to tweak Bush for his prodigious fundraising even as he out-raises everyone in the Democratic field, Dean is flying at least 495 Lone Star State supporters to Iowa and New Hampshire later this month and is calling them "Texas Rangers."

EL - the host of the Pasadena Texas Dean Meetup will be a Texas Ranger in Manchester, New Hampshire on Sept. 27th. Go Janette, rope and hogtie a few more votes!

History Of Texas Redistricting

Since the lines were redrawn in 2001, Democrats call the re-redistricting effort a "power grab," setting a precedent for legislatures to redraw districts whenever the urge strikes — rather than in conjunction with the U.S. census every 10 years.

Though past legislatures have tweaked maps, sometimes for political reasons but usually under court pressure, critics say Texas congressional districts never have been redrawn to this extent twice after a census.

Old Hitler Article Stirs Debate

Wired News - (thanks to Clif) -- A fawning 1938 article by Homes & Gardens magazine about Hitler's Bavarian mountain retreat remains widely available on the Web, even after the discoverer and original poster of the article took it off his site when the magazine demanded its removal.

The article depicts Hitler in glowing terms, such as the "Squire of Wachenfeld," and extols him as a talented architect, decorator and raconteur who "delights in the society of brilliant foreigners, especially painters, singers, and musicians."

"We hear a lot about how the British upper and upper-middle classes felt that 'That Hitler chap had some very good ideas' ... but it's only when you see it in this almost comically fawning form that you realise how someone who can seem utterly abhorrent with hindsight can appeal to people at the time."

EL - There were similar fawning article about Saddam from conservative publications.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

'The Crazies Are Back'

Bush Sr.’s CIA Briefer Discusses How Wolfowitz & Allies Falsely Led the U.S. To War

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to Ray McGovern and David MacMichael, two former CIA analysts with the agency for more than a quarter of a century. (transcript and audio).

AMY GOODMAN: And you worked directly under George Bush?

RAY MCGOVERN: I did when he was director for CIA and later I saw him every other morning for a couple of years in the 80’s when he was Vice President.

AMY GOODMAN: Doing what?

RAY MCGOVERN: I was one of the briefers who prepared the President’s daily brief and delivered it and briefed people one on one with the senior officials downtown.

AMY GOODMAN:Now one of the things we are talking about a lot and seeing a lot is that the same people that were there during the Reagan-Bush years and even before, the Wolfowitzes the Rumsfelds, Cheneys were there then. What was George Bush’s view of these people then?

RAY MCGOVERN: Well, you know it’s really interesting. When we saw these people coming back in town, all of us said who were around in those days said, "oh my god, ‘the crazies’ are back" – ‘the crazies’ – that’s how we referred to these people.

AMY GOODMAN: Did George Bush refer to them that way?

RAY MCGOVERN: That’s the way everyone referred to them.

Friday, September 19, 2003

About Two Weeks of Late Night Political Humor

"Because of the hurricane the Bush administration sent home all non-essential government employees. Like his economic team, CIA fact checkers, his environmental advisers ... all the non-essentials." —Jay Leno

"Retired four-star General and former NATO Commander Wesley Clark threw his beret into the ring today appearing in Little Rock, Arkansas to declare himself a candidate for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination. The announcement brings to ten the number of Democrats running for president that most Americans can't name." —Jon Stewart

"On the East coast, [more than] 100,000 people are getting ready to flee Hurricane Isabel. And thanks to President Bush's economic plan, many places have already gotten a head start boarding up their businesses." —Jon Stewart

"The election is now put off until March, but recall supporters say they are going to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to get involved. And if the U.S. Supreme Court gets involved, you know what that means — the next Governor of California: George W. Bush." —Jay Leno

"Secretary of State Colin Powell said he cannot speed things up in Iraq, Powell says Iraq is not ready for self government at the moment it cannot be trusted to run a fair democratic election by itself, apparently neither can California." —Jay Leno

"The circus doesn't stop. A federal appeals court has postponed the recall election. How stupid are we? Even our recalls get recalled." —Jay Leno

"There are reports now that retired Army General Wesley Clark may enter the presidential race... which could be a big problem for President Bush. I mean Clark is a Rhodes Scholar, first in his class at West Point, and he owns his own flight suit." —Jay Leno

"Voters in Alabama rejected a 1.2 billion dollar tax increase. The governor said if it isn't approved, schools will go bankrupt, the police force will be cut by one third and thousands of inmates will be released early. So, it will be just like California, but with less teeth." —Jay Leno

"Al Jazeera aired a new tape of Osama bin Laden. It was the usual stuff, he called Bush evil, the Great Satan, called him a war monger. Basically, the same thing you heard at last night's Democratic debate." —Jay Leno

"Last night's Democratic debate was on the Fox News Channel. It was on Fox and it was sponsored by the Black Congressional Caucus. And it was on Fox. So, I guess my point is that's like the plantation sponsoring some kind of planting festival. I'm not sure what Fox's angle is, but I'm pretty sure it's evil." —Jon Stewart

"President Bush, to help stabilize the situation in Iraq, is asking for $80 billion dollars. I'm wondering, why is he asking us? That's like one Republican fundraiser." —David Letterman

"The U.S. Mint is printing $20 dollar bills in peach. I think this is a fantastic idea. The government is hoping this will distract us from the fact that we have fewer of them." —David Letterman

"President Bush is asking Congress for $80 billion dollars to re-build Iraq. And when you make out that check, remember there are two L's in Halliburton." —David Letterman

"President Bush said he needs that $80 to re-build Iraq's infrastructure, to re-build Iraq's economy and to re-build Iraq's electrical grid. And if it works in Iraq, he's going to try it in this country." —David Letterman

"Britney Spears preceded the president there at the big NFL kickoff show and her costume was a salute to the president's educational proposals. It's true, every time she turned around you could see a child's left behind." —Bill Maher

"The United Nations says it needs more time to consider our generous offer to let them clean up our mess in Iraq. While they're thinking about that, President Bush has asked the Salvation Army if they would at least consider picking up Afghanistan if we hauled it to the curb." —Bill Maher

"Last night, we had the first gubernatorial debate. Some people are criticizing Schwarzenegger for not going. They say Arnold goes around telling people he cares, everything is going to be great, forget about everything he did in the '70s. Hey, it worked for George Bush." —Jay Leno

Compiled by Daniel Kurtzman for about.com.