Easter Lemming Liberal News

Monday, October 31, 2005

Popular Clinton in Austin at Texas Book Festival

HoustonChronicle.com - Clinton urges Democrats to fight and not rollover to Republican attacks
"You can't say, 'Please don't be mean to me. Please let me win sometimes.' Give me a break here," Clinton said. "If you don't want to fight for the future and you can't figure out how to beat these people, then find something else to do."

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Chomsky Interviews After 9-11

Jason Miller reviews Noam Chomsky's current thoughts expressed in Imperial Ambitions
"Meanwhile they will have undermined social programs and diminished democracy---which of course they hate---by transferring decisions out of the public arena into private hands. Internally, the legacy they leave will be painful and hard, but only for a majority of the population. The people they're concerned about are going to be making out like bandits, very much like during the Reagan years. Many of the same people are in power now, after all."

Fitzgerald - Anti-Starr

Whiskey Bar: The Straight and Narrow Fitz, and Rove still 'On Ice'

PATRICK FITZGERALD: I would have wished nothing better that, when the subpoenas were issued in August 2004, witnesses testified then, and we would have been here in October 2004 instead of October 2005.

JOHN KERRY: So do I, Pat. So do I.

Americans Don't Trust Congress Either

AMERICAblog links to Ap/Ipsos poll: Only one-third of Americans give Congress good ratings for its ethics and honesty, according to an AP-Ipsos poll that found more evidence of the public's longstanding disdain for the legislative branch of government.

Can you hear me now? An incompetence rant

The former head of FEMA's previous job was head of horse shows. Michael Brown was hired and then fired by IAHA, the International Arabian Horse Assoc. He messed up finances so bad they had to disband and merge. His lawyer managed to get a non-disclose agreement on the firing according to public records.

The head of Homeland Security is a GOP operative lawyer best know for doing a lousy job in the attempt to impeach Clinton. During the Katrina disaster leaked emails revealed he was the one that didn't know he was required to give orders to get relief efforts moving.

The Head of the Air National Guard was Bush's fine friend from Texas - the head of TANG. Previously accused of destroying negative items in Bush's service record he faced other lawsuits over his tenure in Texas. He then flunks the primary task of keeping armed aircraft on 10 minute alert status by Washington and New York on 9/11.

FEMA and Homeland Security have supposedly spent four years preparing for a WMD strike in the US - with days on warning they can't handle a hurricane they practiced for the year before. The simulation contrary to the spin included levee breaches in New Orleans and about 80% of the city flooded.

Homeland Security is riddled through with political hacks appointed after Bush and the GOP rammed through provisions removing government civil service regulations to make it a place for partisan favorites needing jobs.

Bush promotes loyal incompetents and usually gives them a medal. Just look at the people who bungled terrorist security before 9/11 and the ones who planned the Iraq occupation.

The only people ever criticized or fired by this administration, always by Cheney or Rumsfeld, have been those who publicly questioned administration efforts and competence. When you value loyalty above all else and reward those most loyal but most incompetent you are not serving the American people but your own power.

I told people before the war these people were lying incompetents. But that was over there in Iraq. Now that they are bungling here at home do you think people might open their eyes?

Jonathan Alter - The Price of Loyalty is Incompetence

The consequences of an administration that values loyalty over debate have been devastating.

Issues don't get aired; downside risks remain unassessed.
The posthumous purple heart rested near the folded American flag on the modest dining-room table of his parents' home in Cleveland. Edward (Augie) Schroeder, a Boy Scout turned Marine, was killed along with 13 other soldiers on their fifth trip into Al Hadithah, Iraq, to clean out insurgents. Their fifth trip. "When you do something over and over again expecting a different result," Augie's grieving father, Paul, told me, "that is the definition of insanity." As the death toll of American soldiers in Iraq reached 2,000 last week, Paul Schroeder concluded that the military had not sent enough troops to Iraq to do the job properly and that the president was incompetent: "My son's life was thrown away, his death was a waste."

WP- Why the Right Never Surrenders, Or Declares Victory

Miers latest victim of conservatives happiest when criticizing.

No, the article doesn't say that but it should. Instead it follows the history of conservatives attacking their own, the permanent rebellion for 'principle'.

Poll: White House Ethics, Honesty Questioned

The poll, conducted Friday night and yesterday, found that 55 percent of the public believes the Libby case indicates wider problems "with ethical wrongdoing" in the White House, while 41 percent believes it was an "isolated incident." And by a 3 to 1 ratio, 46 percent to 15 percent, Americans say the level of honesty and ethics in the government has declined rather than risen under Bush.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Equivalency Game

BTC News : We got the government Lanny Davis deserves
Davis plays the equivalency game: for every Republican sin, he has to offer up a counterweight Democratic one. But Republicans have owned the government for five years now; there is no equivalency. There are no powerhouse Democratic lobbyists under indictment, if only because Tom DeLay has been so successful in purging Democratic lobbyists from K Street. There are no powerful Democratic Congressional leaders under indictment, if only because there are no powerful Democratic Congressional leaders. Democrats didn’t out a covert CIA agent; Democrats didn’t drag the nation into an illegal war based on bogus intelligence (although more than a few are complicit in the effort); Democrats didn’t institutionalize torture or strip US citizens of basic constitutional protections.

There is a national security issue here. Republicans are demonstrably more corrupt than Democrats. Hell, this isn’t even the only occasion on which the administration have blown the cover of a secret intelligence asset from purely political motives: in August of last year, the administration infuriated British and Pakistani intelligence services by leaking the name of a highly placed al Qaeda informant in order to justify an increase in the terror alert level, and in the process ruining counterterrorism operations in Britain and Pakistan.

For going on 40 years now, Democrats have gotten their asses kicked when it comes to hardball politics. Lanny Davis and Libby/Rove are emblematic of why. If Davis wants to wish a pox on both parties’ houses, he should probably wait until Democrats get a house.

Fusing Conservative Religion and Politics Has Occurred Before

It was also strongly supported by that nation's largest corporate leaders. And the corporate leaders and leading conservatives in the UK, Canada and the USA.

A Fundamental History Lesson -- In These Times
"The National Government will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built up. They regard Christianity as the foundation of our national morality and the family as the basis of national life."
Cue the flag waving.

Embedded crony: Bob Woodward shows his true colors

After regurgitating GOP talking points about the Plamegame and the White House, Woodward revealed the contents of a secret CIA report.
On Larry King Thursday he put in a fiercely partisan performance on behalf of the Administration that's provided content for his last two best-sellers, taking on any panelist who deviated from GOP spin (transcript).

Woodward also emphasized that the effort to discredit Wilson took place after the war had started – as if somehow that meant it wasn't politically motivated, or a crime. After a few more feints, including a continued (if half-hearted) defense of Judith Miller (!), he made a remarkable assertion: that he had knew the contents of the CIA's damage assessment on the Plame outing, and that it wasn't all that bad.

So he admits on TV someone gave him a highly secret document then spreads the contents while talking about a case of someone whose underlying crime was leaking secret information! Had he been drinking again?

What Liberal Media? - Still in the Closet

CNN's Anderson Cooper and Faux News Shepard Smith (both distinguished themselves with heartfelt coverage of the destruction of New Orleans.)

New Iraqi government likely to demand US withdrawal

Informed Comment: The Iraqi Shiites, with close ties to Iran, will demand a timetable for withdrawal. We have now spent over $200 billion and over 2,000 lives to strengthen a government that demands Israel be destroyed. Way to go Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, and other members of the cabal that could not be crossed.

Can the U.S. government lock you up & throw away the key?

Pacific Views asks that and catches me reflecting

That's the question at the center of Jose Padilla's appeal to the US Supreme Court. Padilla has been held by the feds for more than three years. Originally with no charges, more recently on charges that he received training from al-Qaida and then planned to detonate a 'dirty bomb' in the US.

The dirty bomb charge came after their original charge of plotting natural gas explosions smelled.

The conservative libertarian CATO Institute had filed a friend of the court brief in support of Padilla. (PDF)

Padilla wasn't involved in any active plot to launch a dirty bomb in Washington or anywhere else. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz later explained: "There was not an actual plan."

There is a possibility that charges against Padilla may have to be dropped as they came from secret interrogations of al-Qaida leaders, which now appear to have involved torture.

One person held and tortured by 'friendly to the West' Arab secret police under orders of UK and US intelligence officers said Padilla was one of the people they were asking about and he agreed to anything they said - after "one of them made cuts in my penis."

Coloradans facing the woes of TABOR

As part of the national conservative agenda TABOR is pushed for all governments, after 13 years Colorado is debating repealing it.

The misnamed taxpayer-bill-of-rights measures place severe limits on government spending growth no matter the circumstances. Supporters advocate private colleges, private schools, toll roads, fees for parks and other libertarian measures as they become unaffordable to government (the not so hidden agenda of TABOR.)

Friday, October 28, 2005


Talking Points Memo:

Go to page 5 of the indictment. Top of the page, item #9.

On or about June 12, 2003, LIBBY was advised by the Vice President of the United States that Wilson's wife worked at the Central Intelligence Agency in the Counterproliferation Divison. LIBBY understood that the Vice President had learned this information from the CIA.

This is a crucial piece of information. The Counterproliferation Division (CPD) is part of the CIA's Directorate of Operations, i.e., not the Directorate of Intelligence, the branch of the CIA where 'analysts' come from, but the DO, where the spies, the 'operatives', come from.

Also in the indictment from Think Progress:
At all relevant times from January 1, 2002 through July 2003, Valerie Wilson was employed by the CIA, and her employment status was classified. Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson’s affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community.

One right-wing talking point down, many more to go.

I disagree with Roger L Simon

Roger tries to puzzle out the arcane and not so arcane.

I have two things I wish to repond to now.

1. If Valerie Blame was some "minor not-so-covert" agent this would have never been a case.

A number of conservatives have repeatedly played the public and their base on that story.

"...what the war was really about - democracy. On that score it hasn't fared that badly, all things considered. "

2. The UK Military of Defense just commissioned a large survey to see how we are doing at winning hearts and minds. 45% of Iraqis believe attacks on Western troops justified. 82% are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops; less than 1% believed coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security.

Immediately after the war the coalition embarked on a campaign of reconstruction. That appears to have failed, with the poll showing that 71% of people rarely get safe clean water, 47% never have enough electricity, 70% say their sewerage system rarely works, and unemployment is 40 - 50%.

This war has been a complete failure. Meanwhile the average American taxpayer would have had to pay $4,000 more in taxes except war funding has all been borrowed. I think we and the Iraqis have fared very badly.

Lies, war, massive debt, crony corruption - this is what half the country elected. As more information comes out perhaps people should check where they are getting their information from.

Libby Resigns, Perjury, False Statements and Obstruction of Justice - 5 counts

Devasting to the White House - Repeated lies to Grand Jury, many in White House were involved.

Moderate Conservative reaction - Libby would only lie that much if he was protecting someone higher up - Cheney.

Conservatives have repeatedly lied about Plames's covert status and other items about the investigation.

Fox News reporter lies about scope of investigation

Fitzgerald expands probe, believes he can get Rove on more serious charges, lawyers say
“This investigation is not yet over,” one of the lawyers in the case said. “You must keep in mind that people like Mr. Rove are still under investigation. Rather than securing an indictment on perjury charges against Mr. Rove Mr. Fitzgerald strongly believes he can convince the grand jury that he broke other laws.”
Hoping to contain the damage, Republicans turned against Libby. Several welcomed his resignation. Others said the legal system should run its course.

Is the Federalist Society Dedicated to Corporate Evil?

Michael Alexander thinks so. To me it is difficult to determine if their primary goal is more corporatism or more authoritarianism. In any case they are anti-democratic.

Iraq War Calls Home

TRUE STORY - "Hey Mom it’s me."

"Hey, I'm trapped on a rooftop and I don't think we are going to make it out of here, so I just called to tell you that I loved you and that I am thinking of all of you."
The gunfire in the background was so loud that he had to pause, and then he continued. "We were out on patrol and were just getting ready to return to base and a bunch of our guys got overrun and so we went to help them, but when we got close we got overrun as well and had to retreat to this rooftop."

I could hear yelling in the background and then big explosions. The phone then seemed to be put on the ground and there was more yelling and automatic gunfire, but this time it was my son who was doing the shooting. My son picked up the phone and in an out of breath voice said, "I really don't think we are going to make it out of here alive. If we wait longer to get off this rooftop there is no way we can make it back because we do not have enough ammo and it is getting dark. We have called in air support and it has not come yet, and if they do not come in a minute we are all going to be dead. Just tell everybody that I love them and if I do not call you back within four hours that means I did not make it."

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Astros Roster Had No Black Players

Problem with fewer black athletes interested in baseball.

This is a correction to my silly satirical comment asking if this is why the Astros were swept. Of course that wasn't the reason. The truth is the Astros were lucky to be in the series and their luck ran out. (This statement might draw more fire.)

Why Not Many More Texas Campaign Indictments?

Attorney Cris Feldman, whose successful litigation on behalf of defeated candidates against DeLay aide Ellis, et al., has been put on hold pending resolution of the criminal charges, points out that "the effort to funnel corporate funding into the election campaign was massive yet secretive, and it was undertaken by many well-placed and powerful Republican officials in Austin." That's not to say Earle has the (actionable) goods on all of them, but the post-election boasting by GOP hearties (like Bill Hammond's "we blew the doors off!") make it clear that the effort was intentional, conscious, and an integral part of the overall Republican campaign.

Computer expert testifies he designed software for the GOP to fix Florida elections

Gee, I never saw this on TV. That damned so-called liberal media!

Expanded - I should point out this is hosted on a site that seems to seek to document that we are in the End Times and Bush is one agent of the Anti-Christ.

I had noted years ago that the Anti-Christ is very much opposite of what most American Christians think of him. As Christ opposed the religious and political leaders of his day, the Anti-Christ would work with the religious and political leaders as one of them. Just my take but I am not surprised others seem to feel the same way. (And this is not to say that I am not skeptical of this or any other religious and non-religious beliefs.)

Still, some good stuff is at the website if you view it with some skepticism. Here is a visit to a FEMA refugee (cough) detention (cough) center.

Harrison vows continued court fight - Leroy Stanley to take office

After two elections and a court battle the local election I was involved in is coming to an end, perhaps.

My candidate Leroy Stanley has been notified that he is to take office November 24.

Meanwhile Harrison vows to fight on.

The Strange Saga of Cheney and the "Nuclear Threat"

Around the same time Wilson was investigating Niger Cheney was already talking about Iraq's 'nuclear threat'

A lot of fascinating connections in Jim Lobe's article.
It is by now perfectly clear that the neo-conservatives on the outside were aided by like-minded journalists, particularly the Times' Miller - then the only "straight" reporter on the client list of neoconservative heavyweights and columnists represented by Benador Associates - and media outlets, especially the Wall Street Journal's editorial page and Fox News. Working hand-in-glove with the war hawks on the inside, they created a powerful and persuasive machine to convince the public that Saddam Hussein's Iraq represented an imminent and potentially cataclysmic threat to the United States that had to be eliminated once and for all. The failure to investigate and demonstrate precisely how seamlessly this web of intra- and extra-administration connections worked in the run-up to the war - including perhaps in the concoction of the Niger yellowcake documents, as some former intelligence officials have recently suggested - has been perhaps the most shocking example of the mainstream media's failure to connect the dots (the reporters from Knight-Ridder excepted.)

New York Times silent on Right Attacks on Plame's Covert Status

The New York Times had an opportunity to debunk one of the most repeated of conservative claims - that Valerie Plame was not a covert agent. Instead they were silent while other papers reported the lack of knowledge by her friends and neighbors.

No More Apples: defends the patriotism of the left

Motherlode despairs over what has happened to the right in this country?
... My real sorrow and ire is reserved for those who question, nay disparage, the patriotism and devotion to country of those Americans, like me, who were raised on civics classes that taught Constitutional ideals and still cling to those. I am an American. I am the scion of a proud military family. I am a BAPTIST, for goodness' sake, my husband and I moved to Texas so he could attend the most conservative Baptist theological SEMINARY in the country! Two of my nephews have served in this misbegotten war in Iraq, and my own daughter enlisted in the Air Force post-9/11 so SHE could go (only to be discharged medically before she could finish basic training). Don't tell ME I wish for more American deaths so I can blame George W. Bush.

The irrational right-wing hatred of moderate Democrat Bill Clinton should have informed us long ago that wingnuts were the logical inheritors of the Ku Klux Klan, no matter how they attempt to disguise it. The "Southern strategy" that has been so successful for the Republican Party is clear evidence that there is a large population segment that resembles too closely for comfort the German American Bund. The tragedy is that, just as pre-WWII, there are also a great many reasonable and non-racist Americans who believe that BushCo and the Republican Party represent some kind of tradition of fiscal responsibility and conservative values that, though accompanied by questionable foreign adventurism, can be trusted more than the propaganda they have swallowed regarding the Democratic "soak-the-rich-tax-and-spend-liberal" agenda. It's bewildering to me that otherwise intelligent people can disregard the evidence that the economy prospers better under Democratic leadership, despite the fact (or perhaps because????) that we support a living wage for working people, a shared tax burden, a prosperous middle class and initiatives that enable all those who are ambitious enough to move into it, and shared sacrifice in times of national crisis.

... Which, I ask, is the party that aligns itself with that which the Bible tells us is paramount with God, and which is not?

Iraq Confidential, new book by Scott Ritter

How the neo-cons undermined the UN, dragged us into a war and lied to America

Operating in a fog of espionage and counter-espionage, Ritter and his team were determined to find out the truth about Iraq's WMD. The CIA were equally determined to stop them. For the truth, we now know, was that Iraq was playing a deadly game of double-bluff, and actually had no WMD. But to have revealed this would have derailed America's drive to topple Saddam Hussein's regime. Iraq Confidential charts the disillusionment of a patriot who came to realize that his own government sought to undermine weapons control in the Middle East. Ritter shows us a world of deceit and betrayal, in which nothing is as it seems. A host of characters from Rumanian intelligence services to MI6 pepper this powerful narrative, which contains revelations that will permanently affect the ongoing debates about Iraq.

I am economicly left and socially libertarian

The Political Compass

Economic Left/Right: -4.50
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -5.03

In many ways the OKCupid political test is more interesting although they pegged me as a Socialist which I don't agree with. They have also plotted the Bush/Kerry vote against this test.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Free Dowd - Cheney at the Heart of Darkness

Tennessee Guerilla Women transcribes Dowd:
The shocking thing about the trellis of revelations showing Dick Cheney, the self-styled Mr. Strong America, as the central figure in dark conspiracies to juice up a case for war and demonize those who tried to tell the public the truth is how unshocking it all is.

It's exactly what we thought was going on, but we never thought we'd actually hear the lurid details: Cheney and Rummy, the two old compadres from the Nixon and Ford days, in a cabal running the country and the world into the ground, driven by their poisonous obsession with Iraq, while Junior is out of the loop, playing in the gym or on his mountain bike.

Kay Bailey Spokesman lies and attacks liberals in defense of her 'perjury technicality' remarks

"Senator Hutchison was not commenting on any specific investigation." But she was - she was asked about the Plame investigation and this is how she answered..

“I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars,”

Regarding another investigation involving a Democrat she said:

“I very much worry that with the evidence that we have seen that grand juries across America are going to start asking questions about what is obstruction of justice, what is perjury. And I don't want there to be any lessening of the standard. Because our system of criminal justice depends on people telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

Spokesman Chris Paulitz blamed liberal groups for the attacks. Lets see, saying when Republicans commit perjury it is a technicality but when Democrats do it is an attack on the moral fabric of our nation and undermines democracy and the rule of law, pointing out this is what she has said is an attack by us mean nasty liberals.

Kay Bailey also invoked the Martha Stewert defense. Only convicted on technicalities by a prosecutor who saw that she lied.

Rove's Last Campaign - Good round-up with links on Washington News

"When asked whether Cheney is always truthful with the public, McClellan said yes. But when pressed about Cheney's credibility, McClellan called the questions 'ridiculous,' adding, 'The vice president, like the president, is a straightforward, plain-spoken person.' "

"As for Mr. Cheney: He will be remembered as the vice president who campaigned for torture."

"The donors greeted Bush warmly, but they struggled to rouse themselves to honor the applause lines. Bush earned only a smattering of applause for his usually reliable call to end 'frivolous lawsuits.' His boast that his economic plan 'is working' garnered no applause. And his mention that 'I've been talking about Social Security' was greeted with dead silence."

"'We've identified the problem and it's not going away. What I think it's going to take now is non-violent, peaceful civil disobedience all over the country,' Sheehan told reporters across the street from the White House."

"President Bush's claim on Oct. 6 that U.S. and allied intelligence operatives had foiled 10 al-Qaeda terrorist plots included plans on the group's wish list rather than fully formed attack plots, according to U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials."

"What did the vice president know, and when did he know it?"

"It was, perhaps, not the best possible time for the Republican Party to hold a soiree. . . . .

"And yet, there they were at the gilded Mellon Auditorium last night: the Republican Party's biggest donors, men in tuxedos and women in cocktail dresses, dining on Asian spoon canapes, orange carpaccio and seared mignon of beef, and listening to the soothing tones of a jazz band and a keynote address by President Bush."

How Hillary, Biden and most Washington Democrats were wrong

The Incompetence Dodge: The liberal hawks now say the idea of the war wasn’t bad, just its execution.

In reality the idea and the reasons and the lies about invading Iraq were all wrong. Pure incompetence in abundance made it worse.

The arguments over liberal hawks now.

And an American Prospect rebutal

There's a lesson to be learned here [in Iraq] that goes far beyond questions of administrative competence, and those of us who think American power can and should be used for good in the world have a duty to try and learn it.

Two Quotes - Noam Chomsky

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."
-Noam Chomsky

“…jingoism, racism, fear, religious fundamentalism: these are the ways of appealing to people if you’re trying to organize a mass base of support for policies that are really intended to crush them.” -- Noam Chomsky

Secret History - Did Saddam gas his own people?

No, not according to the CIA. The type of gas used was possessed by Iran, not Iraq. Saddam used poison gas on Iranian troops and they were using poison gas on his troops. But Saddam didn't gas the Kurds, this was some propaganda started later when he fell out of favor. This is not to say he didn't commit mass conventional murder.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Voters could end marriage for all?

Austin Statesman: This "could lead to the ruin of my marriage and every other marriage," said Trampes Crow, 31, an Army captain and student at the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs.

"We can't risk it," said Jimmie Sue Francis, an Austin mother and wife.

Two lawyers understood the quibble but doubted that courts would agree.

UPI - Same-sex marriage ban may see wider effect

David Richards, formerly with the state attorney general's office, told the newspaper Proposal 2's wording is "crazy. The language is so ludicrous that I can see courts just in exasperation saying, 'If you don't learn to write a statute or a constitutional amendment with more clarity than that, don't look for us to bail you out.'"

OMG! If Amendment 2 passes have the conservatives wiped out all Texas Marriages?!

The People's Republic of Seabrook: Beware the law of unintended consequences, eh?

A close reading of Amendment 2 and a comparison of the language to other states that have passed similar marriage laws reveals Amendment 2 accidentally outlaws all marriages

Section 1 defines marriage as only between a man and a women.
Section 2 outlaws this and similar arrangements.

You might want to tell your friends.

ADDED because some people weren't sure of the language:

SECTION 1. Article I, Texas Constitution, is amended by adding Section 32 to read as follows:

Sec. 32. (a) Marriage in this state shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.
(b) This state or a political subdivision of this state may not create or recognize any legal status identical or similar to marriage.

Connecting*the*dots looks at the entertaining Media Research Center

1. Newsbusters is going after a "Liberal media bias," while Media Matters goes after "Conservative misinformation in the media." The difference between bias and misinformation is huge, with the former being a caddy conversation while the latter is fact based.

2. Apparently, comedians and actors are going to be held to the coals in this revue of bias.

Iraq War Lost

Kevin Drum: ...if it's really true that 82% of the population is strongly opposed to the presence of coalition troops — and 45% are fanatically, murderously opposed — then there's simply no hope left.

Tax Cuts for the Wealthy - The Wrong Priority

1. Wealthy households receiving tax cuts are the least in need of government help.

2. High-income tax cuts are expensive. People making at least $1 million a year will enjoy an average $103,000 tax break this year from the 2001 and 2003 tax cut bills. That’s nearly 140 times as large as the $742 tax cut the average middle-income household will receive. Plus, the tax breaks for the wealthiest will continue to grow as more tax cuts enacted in 2001 for high-income households phase in over the coming years.

If you add up all the tax benefits that households in the top one percent of the population—a group making at least $380,000 this year—will receive each year from the 2001 and 2003 tax cut bills when they are fully in effect, this amount is as much as the federal government spends annually on education. It’s also nine times the total that the federal government spends on environmental protection each year.

3. Tax cuts for high-income households are being “paid for” with borrowed money...

The Hammer Gets A Shredder

Indicted Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) bid on a wicker basket two weekends ago at the Needville Harvest Festival in Fort Bend County in his home state. And he won not just the basket, but the gadget inside it, too — a paper shredder.

White House Plotting campaign to discredit investigations

New York Daily News - Bushies take aim at probe -- President Bush's damage-control handlers are plotting a sophisticated war room offensive to fight back against possible indictments in the CIA leak probe.

Team Bush was finalizing its campaign to discredit and undermine special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's conclusions, sources told the Daily News.

The White House strategy is counting on major help from GOP allies and neocon commentators who turned on Bush for naming Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court and are now looking for redemption with a miffed President.

My mistake - over 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody

ACLU only looked at 44 and found 8 died as a result of aggressive interrogation.

To date, there have been more than 400 investigations of detainee abuse, and more than 230 military personnel have received a court-martial, non-judicial punishment or other administrative action.

A timeline trying to figure out why the campaign against Wilson

Washington Monthly - Political Animal
    February 2002: The CIA receives "verbatim text" from Italian intelligence of some documents claiming that Saddam Hussein had tried to purchase uranium yellowcake from Niger. Joe Wilson goes to Niger to investigate this claim and reports back that it seems highly unlikely.

    October 2002: State Department intelligence agency (INR) gets an actual copy of the Niger docs and immediately concludes that they're bogus. However, nobody outside the government knows this.

    January 2003: George Bush gives SOTU address, claiming that Iraq has sought uranium from Africa.

    March 2003: IAEA publicly announces the Niger docs are forgeries.

    May/June 2003: Based on anonymous sourcing from Wilson, Kristof and Pincus report on the Niger story, mistakenly saying that "the envoy" had debunked the docs back in February 2002.

    July 6, 2003: Wilson publishes his op-ed.

    July 11, 2003: CIA director George Tenet admits that Bush shouldn't have included the uranium claim in the SOTU.

45% of Iraqis believe attacks on Western troops justified

This is winning?

The opinion poll, carried out in August, also debunks claims by both the US and British governments that the general well-being of the average Iraqi is improving in post-Saddam Iraq.

Can we know that Bush and Cheney are evil?

After all, how can we know what’s in their heart of hearts? Let’s not play psychic friends network.

But what if, instead of their “character”, we evaluate people based on their actions, and the consequences of their actions?

I’m going to bring in my homeboy Jeebus for this one:
Matthew 7:15-20

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Maybe interpreting Bible quotes isn’t as easy as interpreting Big Lebowski quotes. But fear of inaccuracy or of jumping to conclusions never stopped me before.

The passage seems to say that you can tell evil people by what they do. They might appear to be OK on the surface, but they produce evil outcomes.

Evil people are people who do evil things and cause evil things to happen. They may have the best intentions, may be the most devout people out there and may have a great fitness regimen, but it doesn’t matter. They must be recognized for what they are and they must be stopped. Bad trees are useless to the community and must be cut down.

ACLU - 44 POW's dead - at least 8 from abusive interrogations

"These documents present irrefutable evidence that U.S. operatives tortured detainees to death during interrogations," said Amrit Singh, an attorney with the ACLU. "The public has a right to know who authorized the use of torture techniques and why these deaths have been covered up." The documents marked the latest in a drumbeat of reports that have been highly critical of the U.S. military's handling of prisoners since a spate of abuse cases at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison were revealed graphically in a series of photographs of often-naked prisoners forced into humiliating poses.

The Washington Note - VP Cheney deep in Plamegame from the beginning

The entire charade of President Bush stating that he wanted to get to the bottom of who leaked Plame's name -- and who was involved -- is no longer believable at any level.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Four US Contractors killed when convoy was assaulted by mob in town near Baghdad

More of that good news that doesn't get reported. Four U.S. contractors were killed last month when their convoy took a wrong turn, drove into a town north of Baghdad and was attacked by an angry mob, a senior U.S. military official said Saturday. Link from Drudge Retort.

Capitol Hill Blue: A White House 'Hip-Deep' in Plame Scandal and Cover Up

Senior White House officials over the weekend warned President George W. Bush to “prepare for the worst” in the ever-deepening Valerie Plame scandal, laying out a scenario that includes indictments of top officials and detailing a direct involvement by the Administration in a concentrated effort to destroy the credibility of Ambassador Joseph Wilson and then conceal the actions from investigators.

Death Watch at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

White House insiders say George W. Bush’s mood swings have increased to the point where meetings with the President must be cancelled, schedules shifted and plans changed to keep a bitter, distracted leader from the public eye.

He’s like a zombie some days, walking around in a trance,” says one aide who, for obvious reasons, asks not to be identified. “Other times he launches into angry outbursts, cussing out anybody who gets near him.”

“The façade is gone and we are now seeing the Bush White House in all its incompetent glory,” says retired political science professor George Harleigh. “They’ve ignored reality for too long.”

New Asterix Title Takes on Bush

ICv2 News -
After 46 years and 33 graphic novels Asterix, the pint-sized Gallic warrior and his porcine sidekick Obelix have finally taken a determined political slant in Asterix and the Falling Sky, the new Asterix adventure, which is filled with satirical flourishes aimed at cultural and political domination from the U.S. (and Japan). Over eight million copies of the new Asterix volume were released in 13 languages and 27 countries -- a clear indication that this Gallic creation is indeed the world's most popular comic book.

Conservatives have stranglehold on American politics and media

The majority views of the American people are treated with contempt by pundits and politicians alike.
New York Times columnist David Brooks — the writer who best understands the dynamics of the contemporary Democratic Party, according to the smart boys at ABC's The Note — began a recent screed with the proclamation: "After a while, you get sick of the DeLays of the right and the Deans of the left." Note the implied equivalence between the corrupt and extreme Tom DeLay — who regularly compares the Environmental Protection Agency to the Nazis — and Howard Dean, a balanced-budget fiscal conservative and ally of the NRA whose "radical" position on Iraq now puts him to the right of most Americans.

Or how about the treatment meted out by smarty-pants pundits to Al Gore, one of the few politicians who have given voice to majority American positions on the war, the environment and the dishonesty and ideological obsessions of the Bush Administration. Brooks termed him "unhinged." Fred Barnes said he was "nutty." Charles Krauthammer, speaking, he said, in his capacity as a psychiatrist, called him on "the edge of looniness."

Why Wilson Was Smeared

Think Progress - Many on the right claim that the Bush administration launched a smear campaign against Joe Wilson because his claims were false and they needed to set the record straight. The opposite is true. Wilson’s core conclusion – that intelligence “was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat” – was correct.

The truth is Joe Wilson was smeared for a reason much larger than himself. Wilson was smeared because the administration knew if whistle-blowers were able to speak freely, their justification for war would fall apart.

Hypocrite Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson

Republicans Testing Ways to Blunt Leak Charges - New York Times

On Sunday, Republicans appeared to be preparing to blunt the impact of any charges. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican of Texas, speaking on the NBC news program "Meet the Press," compared the leak investigation with the case of Martha Stewart and her stock sale, "where they couldn't find a crime and they indict on something that she said about something that wasn't a crime."

Ms. Hutchison said she hoped "that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn't indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars."

President Bush said several weeks ago that Mr. Fitzgerald had handled the case in "a very dignified way," making it more difficult for Republicans to portray him negatively.

On February 2, 1999, Hutchison stood with a bipartisan group of senators at a press conference announcing a resolution to open the Senate trial on the impeachment of President Clinton. At the time, Hutchison said it was vitally important to prosecute on perjury charges because telling the truth is the lynch pin of our criminal justice system:
[S]omething needs to be said that is a clear message that our rule of law is intact and the standards for perjury and obstruction of justice are not gray. And I think it is most important that we make that statement and that it be on the record for history.

I very much worry that with the evidence that we have seen that grand juries across America are going to start asking questions about what is obstruction of justice, what is perjury. And I don’t want there to be any lessening of the standard. Because our system of criminal justice depends on people telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That is the lynch pin of our criminal justice system and I don’t want it to be faded in any way.
Sen. Hutchison, what kind of message is it sending to grand juries to say that an indictment of perjury is not a crime, just a technicality? And what does that do to our criminal justice system?

Dean calls for end to 'culture of corruption'

The Bush White House is the most corrupt administration in U.S. history since President Warren G. Harding's, said Howard Dean

Dean said that if Democrats don't stand up for themselves, voters won't have any reason to believe they would be well-represented.

"We have to stand up and say who we are and why we believe what we believe," he said.

Dean said if the Democrats were to regain power, the party would be strong on national defense. He said the party never would send troops abroad without telling them the truth about why they were going, and without adequately arming them.

Dean said that Democrats also would make sure every American has access to health insurance.

"If 40 industrial nations can do it and balance the budget at the same time, it's time to have somebody in the White House who can chew gum and think at the same time," he said.

Dean said Republicans should not have interfered in the Terri Schiavo right-to-life case.

"I'm tired of the ayatollahs of the right wing," Dean said. "We're fighting for freedom in Iraq. We're going to fight for freedom in America."

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Non-Mainstream News

America remains completely unprepared for natural disasters -- after Bush promised to make 'emergency planning a national priority.'

Conservative's favorite Clintonite, drunken, whoring Dick Morris: "Oh, God. I love Karl Rove. He deserves better. He's magnificent. He elected Bush. The country owes him a debt."

John Edwards talks about fixing elections, fighting poverty and making college affordable in the U.S..

Howard Zinn author of 'A People's History of the United States' talks about falling into academia, his new book and the people making tomorrow's history today.

Barbara Ehrenreich talks about the thin line between the middle class and the working poor and why she wants to slap the next person who insists on the power of positive thinking.

Molly Ivins What to Do Now? Here Are a Few Ideas

Examples of naive fool Thomas Friedman's hyprocisy pointed out.

US Diplomat Robin Raphel Points to Neocon Ideology Behind Actions in Iraq, not careful planning.

New Republican Political Gag Rule for Non-Profits Set for Passage Next Week. Even non partisan activities are restricted under this Nonprofit Gag Provision, like voter registration. voter identification, and get-out-the vote activities. Also forbidden are: anything that “promotes,” “supports,” “attacks,” or “opposes” a candidate for federal office, which could be interpreted to include criticism of elected officials who may be seeking reelection; broadcast of any ads – public service announcements, grassroots issue advocacy, anything – that refer to federal candidates within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary...

Texas politics takes a big step forward

The People's Republic of Seabrook:
Yesterday’s court proceeding in Austin, while a mere formality in what should prove to be a lengthy process, was nonetheless tremendously satisfying. After watching Tom DeLay act for the past 20 years as if the law is something that applies to other, lesser mortals, the Hammer is beginning to learn that karma can be a real bitch. Of course, DeLay, being the egomaniacal despot that he is, is hardly a man capable of admitting that he may in fact have stepped over the line. Accountability is, again, for other, lesser mortals.
DeLay’s tactics seem typical of someone used to getting his way without being held accountable. Despite the fact that 12 of the 15 indictments brought by Travis County DA Ronnie Earle have been against Democrats, DeLay has decided to attack his indictment as a political “witch hunt”. In addition, he’s now accusing the judge assigned to hear his case of being a partisan Democrat. Apparently, Judge Bob Perkins has donated to MoveOn.org, and that alone makes him, to DeLay’s twisted way of thinking, unfit to preside over his trial. Right; so unless the judge is a highly partisan, Red Meat Conservative, then DeLay feels he cannot get a fair trial? God, I cannot WAIT until DeLay becomes someone’s girlfriend.

The Church of Bush

From before the election but still true.
As frightening as it is to contemplate a government that believes it can reframe reality to suit its own ends, we now have confirmation of the degree to which its supporters have swallowed (and thereby encouraged) this propaganda. A new study by the nonpartisan Program on International Policy Attitudes (affiliated with the University of Maryland) demonstrates what many of us have intuited for some time: support for George W. Bush is dependent upon a constellation of perceptions about the world that are all demonstrably false.

The statistics PIPA reports are not merely frightening; they are the stuff of nightmares:
“Even after the final report of Charles Duelfer to Congress saying that Iraq did not have a significant WMD program, 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%). Fifty-six percent assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD and 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program. Kerry supporters hold opposite beliefs on all these points.

Similarly, 75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda, and 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found. Sixty percent of Bush supporters assume that this is also the conclusion of most experts, and 55% assume, incorrectly, that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission. Here again, large majorities of Kerry supporters have exactly opposite perceptions.”
The PIPA study confirms what has been anecdotally obvious for some time. Attempts to remove the scales from the eyes of the Bush supporters generally fail because the conversation breaks down so quickly into fact vs. fantasy. We point to failure after failure, error upon error, lie after lie, yet reason gains no purchase on minds closed to all such evidence. In the other America, facts and logic simply don’t count.

Ann Coulter Calls for 'Repression of Free Speech', Florida Republicans Applaud!

THE BRAD BLOG:Coulter -- who makes her living, in no small part, by enjoying her Free Speech rights under the First Amendment -- pleased the rabid attendees by denigrating the U.S. Constitution...

Friday, October 21, 2005

ABC News: Miers Firm Received Huge Bush Campaign Payments

Experts Baffled. el - I'm not, she was billing her normal hourly rate as she examined and scrubbed records for Bush's military service. She was the person in charge of that operation and 1998 was the big push to clean the records before running for president. Many documents of Bush's failure to meet his last two years committment are now missing.

Writer blames MoveOn for Astroturf campaign - while running editorial astroturf campaign

For some time I've noticed whatever attack the right launches against the left it seems to be because they know all about it from doing it themselves. The latest case in point involves similar unsigned identical editorials showing up in newspapers around the country. Would you believe the one writer has been tracked down? For those who don't know, astroturf is a supposedly grass roots mail or email campaign with a central organization providing the materials to be copied and sent. In this case it seems they have moved from simple astroturf to owner's box carpeting. This writer just recently wrote an Op-Ed deploring MoveOn's email writing campaigns.

Former Powell Aide Says Bush Policy was run by 'Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal'
Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff has offered a remarkably blunt criticism of the administration he served, saying that foreign policy had been usurped by a "Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal," and that President Bush has made the country more vulnerable, not less, to future crises.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Garrison Keillor on The land of Republican perfection

Salon.com: Where the only mistake you can ever make is to confess your sins.

I don't listen to his excellent Prairie Home Companion enough. Only when I happen to be in the car. That should be iPoded. Shows are available on Real Audio - old shows are available here.

I got this from Houston blogger Sharon at Nothing Matters, and What if it Did?

Stanley Wins - Pasadena election outcome reversed

Harrison loses seat after judge rules 2 votes were cast illegally

Possible appeal - The city's ballot board rejected the three mailed votes because in each case, the signature on the application for a mail-in ballot did not match the signature on the return envelope.

The three District C residents who cast the rejected mail-in ballots in question testified Tuesday that they signed both the application and the return envelope. But the judge, without explaining why, upheld the ballot board's decision to reject those ballots.

el - Why they might not be counted: There is a lot of fraud in Pasadena mail-in ballots and Harrison in particular targets and 'helps' seniors with their ballots. In other news, Harrison has refused to explain to Democrats what his $2500 payment to GOP Christian conservative homophobe state representative Talton bought his campaign. Besides the necessary votes to win before this last recount, that is.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Reading Ken MacLeod

I have been reading Ken MacLeod's who is one of the better current crop of SF writers. In fact I am rereading The Cassini Division right now. As a futurist he gives a non-American perspective. His Fall Revolution series explores the future with two main political currents - libertarianism and socialism - combined with high technology and conflicts with artificial intelligence and siliconized humans leading to very different utopias.

He also comments on our current non-utopia in his blog. Sunday he is writing about the US sending people off to be tortured through the airport near him in Scotland.

The Early Days of a Better Nation - The plane. Magpie led me here today.

He is not all politics - he also recently commented on the Big Bang Theory getting more criticism from some scientists.

Obsidian Wings: Plame Again

The next time someone says to you, "What's the big deal?" you tell them. What was done to Ambassador Joe Wilson and his wife Valerie and their twins is despicable, and goes much further than political payback ever should. It crossed way over a line. They will have to look over their shoulders for the rest of their lives, just in case. But it did not just touch their lives. It touched the life of every CIA agent working under Brewster cover, every employee of a Brewster company in ever country in which they maintained an office. And every single person with whom those people ever met, because all of them would be considered national security risks in their own nations for meeting with a potential CIA agent.

You see, it wasn't just payback. Take a long, hard look at that wall of stars. None of us will know how many were added because of this. But if Patrick Fitzgerald can ascertain who was responsible, then each and every person should be held to account."

Monday, October 17, 2005

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Saturday, October 15, 2005

My thoughts - refighting Vietnam

It seems for the conservatives nothing has happened between the beginning of Nixon's first term and today. They are refighting the old culture wars and now they are refighting Vietnam. Third tour, Troy and Emily

I have had several recently give me the story that Dems in Congress caused the killings of hundreds of thousands by letting North Vietnam invade, that Vietnam was the right war, and that the only mistake the US made was in not invading North Vietnam, etc.

If the GOP can get away with making a military hero into a wimpy fake traitor flip-flopper and make a hero out of someone who avoided Vietnam and walked away from his military duties maybe they feel history can be whatever they say it was.

Perhaps they are also refighting the past because they are afraid to take a serious look at this war.

This Iraq War will cost over $1 trillion, about $10,000 for the average family. The only reason conservatives aren't screaming about their taxes now is that the GOP has learned never to pay for anything but to let the debt pile up. Conservatives also don't seem to care about the deaths of other people's kin.

A recent comprehensive look at all suicide bombers since WW2 shows that in Iraq our policies seem designed to create more. We are following the wrong course to stop terrorists. We are not safer, this has nothing to do with 9/11, or terrorists, or some holy war against Islamofascists. The President's plan is establishing a constitution with a council of mullahs to approve the laws. Add approving the candidates and you have Iran.

Is this what Bush had in mind in "spreading democracy"? Is that worth $1 trillion and two thousand dead American soldiers? Is this worth thousands of wounded soldiers flooding into an underfunded VA hospital system? Is this worth all the lives lost and destruction?

Perhaps conservatives just scream the loudest when they know the public is turning against them.

My nephew was just sent back to Iraq for his 3rd time recently. The last time he lost a best friend. He has his first child, a daughter that was born during that last tour of duty. He says that more of his company have a very low opinion of Bush and Rumsfeld now but haven't seen any Democrat they can support yet. Or that the Republican smear machine hasn't made damaged goods yet.

The soldiers are beginning to know this war is unwinable, when will the idiots here at home learn?

Rigging the Iraq Elections

The CIA and quasi-CIA work as always.
I was informed by several former military and intelligence officials that the activities were kept, in part, “off the books”—they were conducted by retired C.I.A. officers and other non-government personnel, and used funds that were not necessarily appropriated by Congress. Some in the White House and at the Pentagon believed that keeping an operation off the books eliminated the need to give a formal briefing to the relevant members of Congress and congressional intelligence committees, whose jurisdiction is limited, in their view, to officially sanctioned C.I.A. operations. (The Pentagon is known to be running clandestine operations today in North Africa and Central Asia with little or no official C.I.A. involvement.)

Friday, October 14, 2005

Stirling Newberry - Class Civil War

The last 30 years have been characterized by the privileged "paying themselves first" by convincing the public that reducing revenues would improve the economy, then letting everyone else fight over the scraps when this turned out not to be the case.

UK Notes on Iraq Invasion - 'Bush feared looking weak'

Consortiumnews.com: :
Less than two months before invading Iraq, George W. Bush fretted that his war plans could be disrupted if United Nations weapons inspectors succeeded in gaining Saddam Hussein’s full cooperation, possibly leaving Bush “looking weak,” according to notes written by a secretary to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Tom DeLay's Ipod Playlist

The Lone Star Project was recently able to obtain an exclusive copy of Tom DeLay’s Ipod playlist. Some of his favorite songs include:
“If You’ve Got the Money (I’ve Got the Time)” – Willie Nelson

“Friends in Low Places” – Garth Brooks

“It Wasn’t Me” – Shaggy

“I Fought the Law” (And the Law Won) - The Bobby Fuller Four

“Crying” – Roy Orbison

And Just Added the New Hit

“Hang Down your Head Tom Delay”- Marc Emory ... (mp3 from Freedom Toast)

Sent by zappa2004.

A Funny Little Story About The Media

A Tiny Revolution writes cogently about the mainstream media being in bed with the rulers. An excerpt:
Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen came to talk at Yale in 1988, just after I arrived. Following schmancy Yale tradition, he had tea with a small group of students and then ate dinner with an even smaller group. I weaseled my way into attending.

Gary Hart had recently flamed out in the '88 presidential race because of Donna Rice. And at dinner Cohen told all us fresh-faced, ambitious, grotty youths this:

The Washington press corps had specifically tried to push Hart out of the race. It wasn't because Hart had had extramarital affairs—everyone knew this was the norm rather than the exception among politicians. So Hart wasn't at all unusual in this respect. Instead, Cohen said, it was because the press corps felt that Hart was "weird" and "flaky" and shouldn't be president. And when the Donna Rice stuff happened, they saw their opening and went after him.

(I wish I remembered more about what Cohen said about the specific gripe of the press corps with Hart, but I don't think he revealed many details.)

At the time, I remember thinking this:

1. How interesting that the DC press corps knows grimy details about lots of politicians but only chooses to tell the great unwashed when they decide it's appropriate.

2. How interesting that the DC press corps feels it's their place to make decisions for the rest of America; ie, rather than laying out the evidence that Hart was weird, flaky, etc., and letting Americans decide whether they cared, they decided run-of-the-mill citizens couldn't be trusted to make the correct evaluation.

3. How interesting that Cohen felt it was appropriate to tell all this to a small group of fresh-faced, ambitious, grotty Yale youths, but not to the outside world. And how interesting that we were being socialized into thinking this was normal.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

What's The Matter With 'What's The Matter With Kansas'

Did lower class whites abandon the Dems because of social issues? No

They didn't abandon the party and economics trumps social issues. There seems to be a problem more with middle and high-income whites choosing social conservatism. Full study - not peer-reviewed.

Bill Moyer's - Caring For Creation

The Gilded Age has returned with a vengeance. Washington again is a spectacle of corruption. ...I see the future every time I work at my desk. There, beside my computer, are photographs of Henry, Thomas, Nancy, Jassie and Sara Jane—my grandchildren, ages 13 down. They have no vote and they have no voice. They have no party. They have no lobbyists in Washington. They have only you and me—our pens and our keyboards and our microphones—to seek and to speak and to publish what we can of how power works, how the world wags and who wags it. The powers-that-be would have us merely cover the news; our challenge is to uncover the news that they would keep hidden.