Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Late Night Political Jokes

Late Night Political Jokes: "'Looks like some kind of civil war brewing in Iraq. Well, who could have seen that coming? That came out of left field, huh? They say it is total chaos over there. People are roaming the streets with guns. It's like everyone is Dick Cheney now.' --Jay Leno

'On Wednesday President Bush will fly to India. See, last week he met with American workers. This week he will go to India and visit their old jobs.' --Jay Leno"

"In South Dakota, they have banned pretty much all abortions. Boy, now there's really nothing to do in South Dakota." --Bill Maher

"Let's see what's happening with George Dubai -- I mean W. Bush. ... President Bush now says he didn't know about the Dubai port deal until after it was approved. Apparently this is part of the White House's 'Don't ask him, don't tell him' policy." --Jay Leno

How did we get in this condition?

When we let the Supreme Court reject the winner via the "Gore Exception"

In times like these I remember H. L. Mencken

Mencken's Creed

I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind - that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking.

I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.

I believe that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty...

I believe that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect.

I believe in the complete freedom of thought and speech...

I believe in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run.

I believe in the reality of progress.

I - But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie. I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant.

You can read more on Menchken here.

Of course, he was also a racist product of his time. Ignore that and delight in a cheerful cynic who knew what was going on. Here are a few of his definitions:
Church - A place in which gentlemen who have never been to Heaven brag about it to people who will never get there.

Clergyman - A ticket speculator outside the gates of Heaven.

Conscience - The inner voice which warns us that someone is looking.

Immorality - The morality of those who are having a better time.

Jealousy - The theory that some other fellow has just as little taste.

Love - The delusion that one woman differs from another.

Morality - The theory that every human act must either be right or wrong, and that 99% of them are wrong.

Pastor - One employed by the wicked to prove to them by his example that virtue doesn't pay.

Platitude - An idea (a) that is admitted to be true by everyone,and (b) that is not true.

Sunday School - A prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents.
It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning, witchcraft and sacerdotalism.

I am often wrong. My prejudices are innumerable, and often idiotic. My aim is not to determine facts, but to function freely and pleasantly - as Nietzsche used to say, to dance with arms and legs.

Evangelical Christianity, as everyone knows, is founded upon hate, as the Christianity of Christ was founded upon love.

Mencken gave us some of the best accounts of the Scopes Monkey Trial.
The Scopes trial, from the start, has been carried on in a manner exactly fitted to the anti- evolution law and the simian imbecility under it. There hasn't been the slightest pretense to decorum. The rustic judge, a candidate for re-election, has postured the yokels like a clown in a ten-cent side show, and almost every word he has uttered has been an undisguised appeal to their prejudices and superstitions. The chief prosecuting attorney, beginning like a competent lawyer and a man of self-respect, ended like a convert at a Billy Sunday revival. It fell to him, finally, to make a clear and astounding statement of theory of justice prevailing under fundamentalism. What he said, in brief, was that a man accused of infidelity had no rights whatever under Tennessee law....

Breaking: Dubai Ports World Boycotts Israel

DeLay had friends sic the IRS on opponent

Mississippi Sheriff Charged For Actually Helping People After Katrina

A Mississippi sheriff is expected to plead guilty today for diverting ice trucks to hurricane survivors. The FEMA trucks had been waiting for hours for FEMA officials to decide where to send them.

Sheriff Billy McGee said he had agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor on the promise that he and his deputies would not be charged with felonies.

The sheriff says the governor personally wanted him prosecuted, possibly for the brief arrest of a Mississippi Guardsman who tried to stop the trucks from leaving.

How Low Can He Go? Bush at 34% Approval in CBS Poll

Dan Froomkin does the roundup with lots of other items as the conservatives sputter its a lie - he is really at 40%. BTW - Bill Clinton never had it so bad and Cheney is back down to 18%.

Civil War Raging in Iraq

Grisly attacks and other sectarian violence unleashed by last week's bombing of a Shiite Muslim shrine have killed more than 1,300 Iraqis, making the past few days the deadliest of the war outside of major U.S. offensives, according to Baghdad's main morgue.

This was the danger repeatedly warned about in the debate the rest of the world had about invading Iraq. Those in the Faux News bubble or the White House bubble didn't hear it. Real liberals and libertarians and progressives of all stripes said we don't want American troops there.

Faux News is caught trying out a new spin - Civil War, could it be a good thing.

Ohio lawmaker to propose ban on GOP adoption

If an Ohio lawmaker's proposal becomes state law, Republicans would be barred from being adoptive parents.
...."credible research" shows that adopted children raised in Republican households are more at risk for developing "emotional problems, social stigmas, inflated egos, and alarming lack of tolerance for others they deem different than themselves and an air of overconfidence to mask their insecurities."
Humorous 'ban' makes serious point
....perhaps Hagan's modest proposal gave some folks a taste, however fleeting, of what it would be like to be labeled as a class somehow incapable, unworthy or unacceptable.

Best of all, Hagan did it with a bit of sly wit. Humor, properly employed, can advance an argument far better than invective and name-calling, which make opponents dig in their heels.

We could use a little more Hagan-style creative satire.

Gay ban or GOP ban, Texas State Rep. Talton is in favor of leaving children in orphanages Texas doesn't have. This gay adoption ban for Texas was only defeated on a technicality and Talton vows to introduce it again.

My Nephew isn't alone

72% of US troops in Iraq want us out this year
The poll, conducted in conjunction with Le Moyne College’s Center for Peace and Global Studies, showed that 29% of the respondents, serving in various branches of the armed forces, said the U.S. should leave Iraq “immediately,” while another 22% said they should leave in the next six months. Another 21% said troops should be out between six and 12 months, while 23% said they should stay “as long as they are needed.”

“Ninety-three percent said that removing weapons of mass destruction is not a reason for U.S. troops being there,” said Pollster John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International. “Instead, that initial rationale went by the wayside and, in the minds of 68% of the troops, the real mission became to remove Saddam Hussein.” Just 24% said that “establishing a democracy that can be a model for the Arab World" was the main or a major reason for the war. Only small percentages see the mission there as securing oil supplies (11%) or to provide long-term bases for US troops in the region (6%).
Declare victory and leave now.

From Cash to Yachts: Congressman's Bribe Menu

"How much to get a government contract - hold on while I check my bribe menu"
The card shows an escalating scale for bribes, starting at $140,000 and a luxury yacht for a $16 million Defense Department contract. Each additional $1 million in contract value required a $50,000 bribe.

The rate dropped to $25,000 per additional million once the contract went above $20 million.

One of the defense contractors, Mitchell Wade, pleaded guilty Friday to giving Cunningham more than $1 million in bribes of cash, cars and antiques over four years in exchange for more than $150 million in government contracts for his company, MZM Inc., in Washington, D.C.

What do other politician's bribe menus look like?

Monday, February 27, 2006

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Nazis

Ethnic Cleansing's Hottest Act - Prussian Blue

Some people really liked the similar headline I had before about these white-nationalist teenage country/rock singers. GQ has an interesting profile on them.
Typical kids, for the most part—except for the odd visit from the FBI, which showed up recently looking for copies of mash notes the girls had received from Matthew Hale, the former self-proclaimed pontifex maximus of the World Church of the Creator (now serving a forty-year prison sentence for soliciting the murder of a federal judge).... They live in fear that rampant race mixing will put blue-eyed blonds on the endangered-species list within a few generations. And if it takes a race war to preserve their people and make, say, Portland, Oregon, a whiter shade of pale, well, let’s get it on....

“I think, you know, if there was a war between the races,” she says tentatively, “hopefully everybody will get their own little space. And that’s basically what we want, you know? So we don’t have to live with the other groups.”

How would they feel about a race war? “I don’t really know,” Lynx says dreamily....

“When you’re in fringe politics, you tend to attract a lot of, I don’t know, misfits, people with problems, and they latch onto the movement as a source of strength.”

“A lot of people get into racism for the wrong reasons.” ....

Prussian Blue would still seem to present a bit of a marketing challenge. Then again, as April points out, the Sex Pistols were vilified in their day, too, and now they’re considered a seminal band.

April doesn’t expect a fair shake from the mainstream press. Jews are disproportionately represented in the media, she says. But all publicity is good publicity. Anything to wake whites up from their “lemminglike” daze.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Iraq Civil War

Hundreds of Iraqis are being tortured to death or summarily executed every month in Baghdad alone by death squads working from the Ministry of the Interior, the United Nations' outgoing human rights chief in Iraq has revealed.

John Pace, who left Baghdad two weeks ago, told The Independent on Sunday that up to three-quarters of the corpses stacked in the city's mortuary show evidence of gunshot wounds to the head or injuries caused by drill-bits or burning cigarettes. Much of the killing, he said, was carried out by Shia Muslim groups under the control of the Ministry of the Interior.
I guess Negroponte's work in Iraq was done.

"Iraq on verge of tearing itself apart"

Q. What is the difference between Iraq under Saddam and Iraq today?

A. Thousands of US casualties, a bill for taxpayers that will reach over a trillion dollars, and our dishonor.

UAE would operate in Houston Port

Contrary to national reporting Houston and Texas operations are part of the deal. The Houston Chronicle also followed the national lead in ignoring the takeover of smaller operations in Houston and other ports.

UPI is now reporting the UAE terminal takeover extends to 21 ports.

The Houston Chronicle did have a brief article focused on UAE shipping companies already here. The distinction among all the shipping operations has not been clear in articles like this from the Chronicle.

Comfort woman, 72, still seeks compensation

Just a haunting little story like 200,000 others.

Deer Park Privatization

Deer Park city council should oppose privatizing services at the golf course.

Privatization doesn't lead to corruption - it is corruption.

It is almost impossible to remove corruption when people make money from services the government provides.

As you get more involved in politics, you become aware that everyone contributing money to politicians wants something. Most people want something pretty specific. Most big contributors seem to be getting their money back in pretty identifiable ways. In our local governments, big political contributors are getting local contracts.

Privatizing services just provides more opportunity for more money to flow back to the politicians. Any money saved comes out of wages and benefits to the workers. But for-profit corporations must pay their investors and must pay taxes that public service departments do not.

How can a service be more efficient if it has higher costs with the addition of making a profit and the additional taxes it pays? Only by cutting something out of the picture - ”the pay and benefits of those who do the work. Governments only save money by having a third party pay employees at low rates they are unwilling to pay directly.

Deer Park should not privatize city jobs for the benefit of politician's pocketbooks at the detriment of worker's wallets. Just last week, a study was released showing the inflation adjusted incomes of the middle and lower class in Texas actually fell in the last twenty years. This is in contrast to the big gains of the upper-middle and high-income families. Income inequality between Texas' richest and poorest residents grew by a wider margin than all but one other state. A willingness to cut the pay of the lowest workers to avoid raising taxes on the wealthier is one symptom of this increasing inequality.

Increased privatization leads to what has been called "Brazilianization." No country is more unequal than Brazil, and its progress has been at the cost of increasing inequality, social injustice, and racial discrimination. Finally, in the last election the majority in Brazil elected a socialist president in protest.

It is in the best interest of all American politicians to provide benefits to all the people, not just to lower taxes. . It is in the best interests of the voters for the Broadcaster to report on the political donations by city contractors. It is in the interests of all voters to keep the corruption in politics to a minimum. It is in the best interests of Deer Park to oppose privatization.

Gary Denton

Here is a scan of the letter as it appeared in the Deer Park Broadcaster.

In contrast, Houston Strategies wants to increase the number of players bribing councilmen in government. That is my take as he argues for competive privatization while complaining of existing cronyism.

Someone you know may need this soon

Molly Saves the Day: an abortion manual
Today, I will discuss dilation and curettage -- what used to be the most common abortion procedure before vacuum aspiration took its place. Vacuum aspiration is an easier method, but sometimes remaining fetal/placental material necessitates doing a "cleanup" D&C anyway, so you should know how to do this procedure first....

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The secret speech that changed world history

50 years ago Khruschev denounced Stalin

Is Freedom Just Another Word for Many Things to Buy?

Class and education are related to differences in the meaning of choice and freedom - New York Times

Olbermann signs O'Reilly's petition to replace himself with Phil Donahue

Whose judgment on the Iraq War is entitled to respect?

There was ONE Democratic leader who was absolutely right about Iraq early. I don't think I am overstating it when I say he was crucified but refused to die. He was also absolutely right about the Bush administration.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Secret Again - The absurd scheme to reclassify documents

The Raw Story | New York Times, with same facts, changes Iraq conflict from 'civil war' to having 'endangered future'

IRS: 'Disturbing' political activity by charities and churches in 2004

Most complaints valid - some have tax-exempt status revoked.

Next time you see churches and charities endorsing candidates and politicking call the IRS. In my opinion they should pay taxes anyway.
IRS exams found nearly three out of four churches, charities and other civic groups suspected of having violated restraints on political activity in the 2004 election actually did so, the agency said Friday.

Have you voted yet?

Vote now in Harris County in the primaries.

Come back March 7th 7 PM for the caucus.


Saturday, February 25th, 5:00-8:30 pm
Drexler's World Famous BBQ & Grill, 2300 Pierce St, Houston, TX 77003

Cost per person: $5.00 (includes dinner, drink, tax and gratuity)

*Candidate presentation from 6:30-7:30 pm.

The response has been tremendous: over 350 people have RSVPed. If you plan to attend, please RSVP to kellen.wilson@sbcglobal.net.

Glenn Greenwald - one of the best of the new bloggers

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: Bush followers masquerade as free press advocates while attacking freedom of the press

The Medal for Worst Olympics Coverage goes to NBC

The Rathergate Lie that will not Die

Mad at Madla - Replacing Madla would give Texas Democrats a voice

Texas Observer: 11 United Democrats can stop bad bills, Madla votes like a Republican

Texas Democrats could have stopped the gay marriage referendum in the state Senate but Madla folded.
"When I get to the state Capitol, I lock the Democratic Party in the trunk," he said. The senator then turned to Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, the evening's "special guest," and promised, in his trademark sotto voce tone, to never "change that philosophy."
The Texas Observer, which is now hosted at mollyivins.com, also has a good article on conservative Republican and talk show host Dan Patrick's run for office. One of the things he would like to do is eliminate the 2/3rds rule in the Senate.

Pasadena City Council Shuts Down Citizen Speakers

The local newspaper report on unruly council meeting and announcement of mayoral recall campaign.

The now the rest of the story.

Defeated Democrat Harrison appeared to have agreed with GOP Mayor Manlove to attempt to not allow citizens to announce a recall campaign against the mayor at the council meeting. Harrison denies this.

On repeated points of order Don Harrison moved that the speakers were not speaking on matters on the council agenda. Most citizens who speak each week are on topics not on the agenda. The instructions to sign up to speak state the matters should pertain to the city of Pasadena, not the city council agenda.

Mayor Pro Tem Dana Philibert, perhaps caught by surprise and not up on her Robert's Rules of Order and a ruling from the Texas Attorney General about suppression of free speech, allowed the repeated shut downs to continue.

Councilman Don Harrison is holding office until Texas courts consider his appeal of a ruling that fraudulent votes means he lost his hard fought election. After a tie and a close runoff election businessman Leroy Stanley has been awarded the seat.

Mayor Manlove chaired the pre-council meeting than received a phone call and said he needed to visit his mother in the hospital. A visit to Manlove's house after the meeting showed the mayor's car at home.

One half of the members in the audience walked out as Don Harrison spoke at the conclusion of the meeting.

The recall petition needs such a large number of signatures, 20% of voters or around 20,000, it may be difficult to accomplish.

Mayor John Manlove is widely seen as being groomed for higher office by supporters of Tom DeLay. Manlove has a large picture of himself with Tom DeLay in the mayor's office.

Manlove solicited an opponent for and campaigned against his sharpest critic on city council, Councilman Jack Douglass. The candidate Frank Macias, who lost, is being sued for libel by Douglass and was recently arrested for several unpaid tickets. Macias accused Douglass of anti-Hispanic racism and of holding beliefs similar to the KKK. Douglass denies this. Harrison was similarly sued for libel for written material in a Pasadena campaign and admitted he made false statements in a settlement.

During the meeting a cub scout troop there to observe local government was escorted out by leaders and parents shortly after the meeting began.

Manlove reacts - claims politics.

Houston Chronicle - Pasadena woman calls for recall of mayor at raucous City Council meeting
"I guess I'm most discouraged for the Cub Scouts," [Manlove] said. "These sweet little boys and their families were all there. They were so excited about being at City Hall, but their parents were so embarrassed by what was taking place they took their children out of the meeting. That's just bad. Meetings cannot be a free-for-all."

Nebel said after the meeting that it was against the law for residents to be denied the right to speak.

"We're being snowballed. This is one more kick in the teeth for the city of Pasadena."
ADDED - a video of the city council meeting is availble here but you must sign in at the right time. This is just an internet broadcast of what is being shown on cable at the same time.

A weekday necessity - Progress Report with Under the Radar and Think Fast

Inquiring Gringos Want to Know

Things are not good - Baghdad Burning

Someone accessed 40 Palm Beach County voting machines Nov 2004

A partial audit, because they weren't provided the complete logs, reveals numerous errors on Palm Beach voting machines.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

My Disagreement with Dr. Kumar

She argues liberals are providing cover for the right when they defend the anti-Arab cartoons.

I have linked to the cartoons online and find no reason to regret that action. I also link to cartoons making fun of Christian, American and Western fanatics.

I do not have respect for beliefs that try to restrict what other people say - I get enough of that from Christian fundamentalists.

I see little difference between jokes or cartoons about Muhammad saying "Sorry, we have run out of virgins" to people at the pearly gates and similar Christian afterlife cartoons.

If some Muslims object to depictions of Mohammad why are they protesting depictions in Denmark and not in Arab bazaars? Why did these protests flare up months after the cartoons? Was this a Saudi Arabian government newspaper campaign, joined later by other Arab countries, to distract attention from their own problems?

That said, I agree with Deepa Kumar's points about the anti-Islam, anti-Arab stupidity and racist stereotyping spreading the storyline of an Islamofascist "Clash of Civilizations." That was a bad article and drawing in The Progressive and shows some of the racist elements in populism. Arab people strongly object to our policies and not our freedoms.

I just don't believe that one of the major world religions should be treated as a poor helpless victim that people shouldn't laugh at. Especially not when some elements of it have shown murderous tendencies toward those who publish words and pictures they disagree with.

What we have is a sharp rise in authoritarian fundamentalist conservative nationalist beliefs throughout the world. Islam, Hinduism, Shintoism, Christianity and other religions all have experienced this. I hope these things follow cycles in that we soon come to an end of this one.

Local News

Barbara Bush no show at tea party in her honor with Cindy Sheehan and Houston peace activists.


Another activist freed from Victoria jail after 75 days. Diane Wilson has become famous for her protests for environmental and corporate responsibility. Her daughter was arrested when she came to visit her in jail on a trumped up charge.

Bush airport shut down for over an hour. a women bypassed the metal detectors.

Meanwhile many security procedures for cargo ships and personnel at the Port of Houston remain voluntary. "Unfortunately, the majority of the maritime industry has a consistent history of minimum compliance, of doing only what is mandated.... A voluntary approach to improving maritime security offers little, if any security and simply will not be acceptable to the average American citizen." More recently a report finds little progress in American port security.

A United Arab Emirate company already implicated in smuggling nuclear arms and with close financial ties to the Bush administration will be in charge of cargo and military shipments at US ports.

In a local race, Janette Sexton is starting to get the endorsements although she does not face an opponent until November. Disclosure: I do volunteer work for Janette.

Project to post the bill of rights in public places

Organization to creat displays first where the Ten Commandments are displayed. I would like to see that they have actually spread beyond Phoenix and have started placing monuments first but this is a very good idea. Link from Houston Sharon.

Bush Brazilian Joke

Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing. He concludes by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed."

"OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!"

His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands.

Finally, the President looks up and asks, "How many is a brazillion?"

Daniel Kurtzman - About political humor

Link from Boing Boing.

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The Iraq War is a Racket

Carton Meyer - The Magazine of Future Warfare

Acid Test: Ayaan Hirsi Ali on THE CARTOONS

Someone who sadly understands the price of free speech says run the cartoons.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Neocon architect says: 'Pull it down,' Libertarian proposes universal $10,000 government grants

Is the worst President and the worst war in decades causing major theoretical policy shifts on the right?

In an extract from his forthcoming book, America at the Crossroads, noted neocon Mr. Fukuyama declares that the doctrine "is now in shambles" and that its failure has demonstrated "the danger of good intentions carried to extremes".

In another book coming soon shaking the foundations of conservative thought a conservative libertarian is proposing universal $10,000 annual grants to everyone along with universal insurance coverage. In Our Hands by Charles Murray. A description of an interesting academic encounter with Dr. Murray. Both books from Amazon next month.

To put it mildly I do not think highly of the past work of both men but interesting to see this new direction here.

Four Huge Permanent Bases indicate no plans for Iraq withdrawal

US media avoids mentioning multi-billion dollar permanent facilities.

Becoming a barbarian nation - US judge rules for the torturers

Free Krugman Urges Everyone to be a Mensch

Paul Craig Roberts: Who Will Save America?

This is getting a great deal of attention from all political persuasions. This is a follow-up to the earlier criticism of the Bush administration for being unAmerican by this national GOP leader.
.... The United States is undergoing a coup against the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, civil liberties, and democracy itself. The "liberal press" has been co-opted. As everyone must know by now, the New York Times has totally failed its First Amendment obligations, allowing Judith Miller to make war propaganda for the Bush administration, suppressing for an entire year the news that the Bush administration was illegally spying on American citizens, and denying coverage to Al Gore's speech that challenged the criminal deeds of the Bush administration.

The TV networks mimic Fox News' faux patriotism. Anyone who depends on print, TV, or right-wing talk radio media is totally misinformed. The Bush administration has achieved a de facto Ministry of Propaganda.

Debate is dead in America for two reasons: One is that the media concentration permitted in the 1990s has put news and opinion in the hands of a few corporate executives who do not dare risk their broadcasting licenses by getting on the wrong side of government, or their advertising revenues by becoming "controversial." The media follows a safe line and purveys only politically correct information. The other reason is that Americans today are no longer enthralled by debate. They just want to hear what they want to hear. The right-wing, left-wing, and libertarians alike preach to the faithful. Democracy cannot succeed when there is no debate....

Americans need to understand that many interests are using the "war on terror" to achieve their agendas. The Federalist Society is using the "war on terror" to achieve its agenda of concentrating power in the executive and packing the Supreme Court to this effect. The neocons are using the war to achieve their agenda of Israeli hegemony in the Middle East. Police agencies are using the war to remove constraints on their powers and to make themselves less accountable. Republicans are using the war to achieve one-party rule--theirs. The Bush administration is using the war to avoid accountability and evade constraints on executive powers. Arms industries, or what President Eisenhower called the "military-industrial complex," are using the war to fatten profits. Terrorism experts are using the war to gain visibility. Security firms are using it to gain customers. Readers can add to this list at will. The lack of debate gives carte blanche to these agendas....

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review.

Liberal columnist Richard Reeves saw the column and talked to Roberts.
I asked Roberts what has been the reaction since these words were published 10 days ago.

"I have had thousands of e-mails, about 99.9 percent favorable, full of praise from Democrats and Republicans alike," he answered. "They say the country is desperate for a straight talker. ...

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Monday, February 20, 2006

If Wishes Were Horses, Beggars Would Ride -- A Pony!

John and Belle had the seminal article on libertarians and Bush supporters and much political commentary. If you are wishing for something go ahead and wish for a pony too.

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www.oilempire.us - a political map to understand Peak Oil

Radical understanding

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important movies about 9/11, peak oil and fascism

Talking to Bush Republicans

Ill-informed captives of images, personality cults, and simple talking points are difficult to reach.
It would seem that fully a third of the voting public are unknowing and uncaring of public or world affairs. They do not really watch television news or read newspapers, learning most of their political news from behind the pulpit in church on Sunday. George W. Bush is a good Christian and we may rest assured that our nation is in good hands as he goes about the world vanquishing the evil ones and forming Christian democracies. We must not worry our innocent little minds with details or ask questions because God is blessing America and good will triumph!

Others simply look at their pay checks and, if they are among the fortunate few, they applaud the tax cuts and revel in their positions in the middle class as evidence of their worth making them better than the poor fools who are suffering poverty due to the loss of their own jobs. "Those slobs in New Orleans 'had it coming' because they didn't evacuate when they should have." "Africans are dying by the thousand because they have always been backward and they just have to grab their own bootstraps to become as capable as we are."

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Only 10% of voters are truly independent

I find interesting this moderate-conservative analysis shows Kerry should have won the last election yet this is not mentioned.

Democrats had finally become about as likely to vote as Republicans and Kerry carried the middle so how did Bush win? This question is avoided in this analysis of the myth of the Independent voters.

I also feel he draws the wrong conclusions about the disappointment of Democratic voters with the Democratic party compared to the overall satisfaction of Republican voters with their party. It is not a question of 'branding' but a question of feckless leadership.

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'The Power of Nightmares': Hyping Terrorism For Fun, Profit - And Power

Michael Crichton doesn't know beans about climate

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'10,000 would die' in A-plant attack on Iran

A major American attack on Iran's nuclear sites would lead to war in the Middle East concludes a London report.
The Oxford report says that Britain could be drawn into the conflict if the Prime Minister allowed American B2 bombers, which can carry 40,000lb of precision bombs, to use bases at Fairford, Glos, and on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia.

Precision bombing could put Iran's weapons programme back five to 10 years but within a month the situation would become "an extremely dangerous conflict", says Prof Paul Rogers, the report's author.

The attack would result in "a protracted military confrontation" involving Israel, Lebanon and some Gulf states.

More than 100 American bombers, many based on carriers in the Gulf, would take part in a huge simultaneous surprise air attack on 20 key nuclear and military facilities, the report says.

If the targets included the nuclear reactor at Bushehr, which will become fully fuelled this year, a radioactive cloud could spread over the Gulf. Iran's small navy, which includes three submarines, would have to be attacked to negate threats to vital shipping lanes in the Straits of Hormuz.

But Iran could still retaliate with suicide speedboats, possibly leading to crippling rises in the price of oil.

Prof Rogers, professor of peace studies at Bradford University, says that American military action would also have a unifying effect on the rule of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and exacerbate anti-American hostility in the Islamic world.

The report says that a ground offensive in Iran would not be feasible, as it would require at least 100,000 troops - and American forces are already over-stretched with 130,000 soldiers in Iraq and 18,000 in Afghanistan.

Iran would probably withdraw from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and speed up its secret nuclear weapons programme.

The report concludes: "A military response to the current crisis is a particularly dangerous option and should not be considered further. Alternative approaches must be sought, however difficult these may be."

In a similar briefing before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Oxford group predicted that Saddam Hussein's regime could easily be overwhelmed but that the country would become a hotbed of insurgency.

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American Conservatives Endorse Fascism

Conservatives Endorse the Fuhrer Principle - by Paul Craig Roberts

Former Republican congressman Bob Barr, who led the House impeachment of President Bill Clinton, reminded the CPAC audience that our first loyalty is to the U.S. Constitution, not to a leader. The question, Barr said, is not one of disloyalty to Bush, but whether America "will remain a nation subject to, and governed by, the rule of law or the whim of men."

The CPAC audience answered that they preferred to be governed by Bush. According to Dana Milbank, a member of the CPAC audience named Richard Sorcinelli loudly booed Barr, declaring: "I can't believe I'm in a conservative hall listening to him say Bush is off course trying to defend the United States." A woman in the audience told Barr that the Constitution placed Bush above the law and above non-elected federal judges.

These statements gallop beyond the merely partisan. They express the sentiments of brownshirtism. Our leader ├╝ber alles.
"Are we losing our lodestar, which is the Bill of Rights?" Barr beseeched the several hundred conservatives at the Omni Shoreham in Woodley Park. "Are we in danger of putting allegiance to party ahead of allegiance to principle?"

Barr answered in the affirmative. "Do we truly remain a society that believes that . . . every president must abide by the law of this country?" he posed. "I, as a conservative, say yes. I hope you as conservatives say yes."

But nobody said anything in the deathly quiet audience. Barr merited only polite applause when he finished, and one man, Richard Sorcinelli, booed him loudly.
American Fascism on the march. Hitler only had less than 40% of the German voters and a third of the government seats supporting him when he was appointed Chancellor. The GOP is in a much better position today in a 50/50 nation.

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Steve Martin: Cheney Shoots Three Acting Presidents in Oval Office Mishap

Vice President Dick Cheney, while hunting wild geese in the Rose Garden, accidentally shot President Bush twice, once in the heart and once in the head. "I didn't really shoot the President twice," said Cheney. "The second time I shot him, I was president. It wasn't until my third shot, where I accidentally shot my own foot, that I had shot the president twice.

I was officially injured and unable to govern, when Dennis Hastert came in, and stepped on the butt handle of the rifle causing it to swing up like a rake and shoot his hair off. I guess I'm officially responsible for that too, meaning I shot the acting president for a total of three occupants of the oval office. I'm not proud, but it is a record."

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Woodward and Bernstein have now joined John Dean in calling Bush worse than Nixon, worse than Watergate

Mary Matalin Defending Cheney: "I'll get you my pretties"

Arianna has a good roundup but I didn't see my impression that Mary Matalin was going for the lead role in Wicked The hair, the clothes, the flower satellite receiver, and whatever happened to her face and makeup? I expected flying moneys to show up and attack the lovely Maureen Dowd and her news media companions.

Lawmakers assail deal giving Dubai firm control of 6 US ports

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Chris Bell moves into Democratic lead

Main news is that with the Texas primary weeks away people are not paying attention to the race.

If the November general election for governor were being held today and Chris Bell were the Democratic nominee, for whom would you vote?
Rick Perry: 36%
Chris Bell: 19%
Carole Keeton Strayhorn: 16%
Kinky Friedman: 10%

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Rick Perry is doing as governor?
Approve: 47%
Disapprove: 38%

Do you approve or disapprove of the job Carole Keeton Strayhorn is doing as comptroller?
Approve: 53%
Disapprove: 16%

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Chris Bell, or haven't you heard enough about him to have an opinion?
Favorable: 12%
Unfavorable: 5%
Not heard enough: 80%

Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Bob Gammage, or haven't you heard enough about him to have an opinion?
Favorable: 6%
Unfavorable: 2%
Not heard enough: 89%

If the Democratic Primary for Governor were being held today, for whom would you vote?
Chris Bell: 28%
Bob Gammage: 12%
Not sure: 60%

Friday, February 17, 2006

Democratic Leadership Democrats Worst Enemy

Dirty Backroom Battles that took Hackett out
Hackett was infuriated by the subterfuge. “I felt like I got f**ked by the Democratic Party because they enticed me in and then they pulled the rug out from beneath me. It sounds eerily familiar to sending in the military to Iraq, which was a misuse of the military, and then not giving them what they need to fight.”

Galloway Vindicated - Wins Libel Case

You might not see in the U.S. news that Galloway proved in court that a newspaper libelled him by writing that he was given money by Saddam Hussein.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Blogging vacation for a few days

Some items and posts on this page have been edited and improved for your reading enjoyment.

The Blogosphere Political Compass

This could be somewhat informative if more bloggers participated. Bloggers take the political compass test that ranks them on economic (liberal vs. conservative) and social (authoritarian vs. libertarian) leanings. Every so often he posts an update of score sent in graphically showing the distribution. I am blog number 290 scoring -5.1, -5 so I would think I am not as extreme as some have accused me.

Many people interested in this test argue that it is necessary because simply left or right aren't descriptive enough but really there is a left- right slant or correlation to the scores. There is not a random distribution.

One use of this is that if you wanted to balance my views you could. Unfortunately Strike Thee With Curses, my closest opposite, quit blogging last summer with a rant on how bad Thoreau and the transcendentalists were, hippys are bad, how professors teach the "lifestyle of revolution", how most students hate people who reject authority, and hate tattoos and hate people who pierce their bodies.
We see the culture of revolution in all its forms- in disrespectful music, in its sit-ins, in its campus revolts- as fostering self-destructive lifestyles. Regardless of political inclination on our own part, we hate hippies and we blame them all on Thoreau.

And we want our teachers to stop teaching people like him as though they are harmless classics, which they aren't. We're not the first people and not the first students to think of this, but I think we very might well be the first students to blame it on Thoreau and Zedong. And we therefore believe such history and literature should be taught differently.

One of our friends call us reactionaries, partly because he just figured out what the word means and partly because he is uneasy with the whole idea. But regardlessof it apparent lack of originality, we want to do something about this. But we're not sure what, as of yet.
Wow, that is my opposite all right but I think he is way out on the extreme. Does that mean I am way out on the extreme? I wonder what the 8's and 9's are like? What do those in the center blog about? What bloggers are like me? Explore and make judgments and take the imperfect test.

Isn't this Israeli persecution of liberal Christian beliefs?

Prisoner of conscience about to be reimprisoned in Israel

Economics and Policy 101

You should never, ever, make a policy change, unless you can say why the policy was enacted in the first place. You should never, ever, make a policy change unless you are able to make the argument for not changing it.

This is a constant problem. People want "reform" (the most debased word in the political lexicon, since most reforms aren't) but they never seem to understand the costs of change.

When you reduce capital gains taxes you push money into the secondary securities markets and reduce consumption demand. You make the rich richer, and people who work for a living comparatively poorer.

When you get rid of estate taxes you will increase the amount of money that living people have to pay in taxes and help create a class of rich people who never earned their own money.

When you reduce the progessivity of the taxation system overall you reduce growth in demand for general goods and services and increase the demand for financial products and luxury goods.

When you reduce funding for public health you increase the spread of STDs and you create a pool of people who will act as carriers for infectous diseases, thus making even rich people more likely to suffer from and die from disease.

Before you make changes, always ask yourself "why was the old system created? What problems was it meant to solve?"

DeLay now attacking fellow Republicans

Warning, vicious dog. DeLay has to win big to convince the GOP he's still got it.

His attack on Campbell is pure spin - Campbell is as Republican as they come.

The attack on the other opponent for not agreeing with the Texas GOP Party platform? Many in the GOP have no respect for Texas GOP Party platform. In 2000 and 2004 it calls for abolishing the IRS, a return to the gold standard, abolishing the EPA (and many other federal agencies and departments), withdrawing from the UN, replacing government programs with federally funded religious social programs, eliminating HeadStart, preventing children from being removed from abusive homes, selling all government owned land, the recognition of the supremacy of Judeo-Christian principles, and even withholding permission for the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of laws.

After this primary he has a tough November election. His toughest GOP opponent, Stockman, is running as an Independent and will face him along with the very strong Democratic candidate Lampson, a Libertarian runoff winner, and another Independent.

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I haven't done this before and I am going way out on a limb but...

1. The Administration has so totally lost the media and anyone who pays attention to policy and politics and really just anyone that pays the least bit of attention to the news that the president and vice president will not serve out their terms.

2. By the this time next year Cheney must not be in office if Bush is to have a slim chance of serving his full term.

How can I say Bush has lost the media and still say it is GOP corporate dominated? Because the media although conservative are mostly not Bushites and are letting it be known that the Bush administration lies. Reporters get tired of dishonest and after awhile fight back with exposure.

Remember, you heard it here first - Bush and Cheney are going.

Wow, The hottest anti-neocons are the conservative Republicans

A Few Moments With Paul Craig Roberts

Saddam Hussein served as a restraint on Iranian power. By removing him, we have strengthened Iran. Now that the Bush administration recognizes its blunder, it thinks it can mitigate its mistake by attacking Iran. Alarmed US officials have leaked the word that Bush has plans to attack Iran with tactical nuclear weapons, as we have no remaining forces to risk in a ground war. I fear that Bush and the neocons are insane enough to attack Iran with nuclear weapons. If this mistake is made, the US will not recover from it. The rest of the world will put us on a par with Nazi Germany and organize against us.

Neocons, wallowing in hubris, confuse America's power with military power. However, America's power has always been based on our "soft" power: the recognition of our moral, diplomatic, and economic leadership. Once the world no longer accepts our leadership, military power will not go very far.

Another dire consequence is that the Bush administration has told so many lies and broken so many laws that it has to protect itself by constructing a police state. That so many Americans think the Bush police state will only be used against "terrorists" shows how distracted from reality they are.
The long Republican biography of Paul Craig Roberts.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Economist's View: Why Toyota is Better than GM and Ford

Liberalism Today

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: Do Bush followers have a political ideology?
It used to be the case that in order to be considered a "liberal" or someone "of the Left," one had to actually ascribe to liberal views on the important policy issues of the day - social spending, abortion, the death penalty, affirmative action, immigration, "judicial activism," hate speech laws, gay rights, utopian foreign policies, etc. etc. These days, to be a "liberal," such views are no longer necessary.

Now, in order to be considered a "liberal," only one thing is required - a failure to pledge blind loyalty to George W. Bush. The minute one criticizes him is the minute that one becomes a "liberal," regardless of the ground on which the criticism is based. And the more one criticizes him, by definition, the more "liberal" one is. Whether one is a "liberal" -- or, for that matter, a "conservative" -- is now no longer a function of one's actual political views, but is a function purely of one's personal loyalty to George Bush.
Personal loyalty to a leader? Isn't that the F' word we are not supposed to mention?

Greenwald expands on this and notes responses that prove his point. Greenwald claims that the criticism of the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court was that she wouldn't be loyal enough to Bush ideas. To expand on this I who proudly wears the liberal label often don't hold positions on issues that I am accused of having. This is part of my problem with Peter's essay referred to earlier.

ADDED - Digby has more on the Republican Authoritarian Cult.

MORE - Another example of liberal and conservative being redefined as anti and pro Bush is Roger L. Simon. I feel he has been clearly a conservative despite his pro-gay, pro-abortion, anti-death penalty positions. My reasoning being his support for Bush, the Iraq War, and nearly all the Right Media Machine spins of the moment. Part of the reason for this is that he, like many others who are faux-liberals or former liberals, rarely write or talk about their liberal positions. When they do it is only to bring them out to slam others for calling them conservative. Bill O'Reilly was an earlier example of this but now he is just recognized as a conservative buffoon and moderate poseur.

YET MORE - A conservatives at LewRockwell.com agrees with Greenwald. Meanwhile Greenwald has gone on to calling out conservative bloggers on their hyprocrisy and denouncing Ann Coulter, really one and the same.

Conservatives dominate Sunday political talk shows

Cheney outed CIA agent Valerie Plame worked to keep Iran nuke free

The unmasking of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson by White House officials in 2003 caused significant damage to U.S. national security and its ability to counter nuclear proliferation abroad, RAW STORY has learned.

According to current and former intelligence officials, Plame Wilson, who worked on the clandestine side of the CIA in the Directorate of Operations as a non-official cover (NOC) officer, was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran.
One former counterintelligence official described the CIA's reasons for not seeking congressional assistance on the matter as follows: "[The CIA Leadership] made a conscious decision not to do a formal inquiry because they knew it might become public," the source said. "They referred it [to the Justice Department] instead because they believed a criminal investigation was needed."

The source described the findings of the assessment as showing "significant damage to operational equities."

Another counterintelligence official, also wishing to remain anonymous due to the nature of the subject matter, described "operational equities" as including both people and agency operations that involve the "cover mechanism," "front companies," and other CIA officers and assets.

Three intelligence officers confirmed that other CIA non-official cover officers were compromised, but did not indicate the number of people operating under non-official cover that were affected or the way in which these individuals were impaired. None of the sources would say whether there were American or foreign casualties as a result of the leak.

Washington Note: Valerie Plame Leak Sabotaged America's Iran-Watching Intelligence Effort
If Cheney & Co. outed one of the key intelligence operations monitoring the inputs and outputs of Iran's nuclear program -- then Cheney & Co. did vast damage to our ability to know what is real and contrived inside Iran.
He also notes that Wilson found evidence that Iran was unsuccessfully trying to purchase uranium from Niger.

Making this personal

Several years ago now my NASA friend wrote a long essay that I was scapegoating the Bush administration. He based that conclusion on my strong expression that the administration and GOP leaders in Congress were threatening the security of the U.S. by their actions regarding terrorists getting their hands on nukes.

The evidence I presented was
1.) the outing of Valerie Plame;
2.) the repeated attempts by GOP congressional leaders to eliminate paying Russia to safeguard nuclear materials;
3.) the very low priority the GOP Congress placed on controlling nuclear material, and
4.) the inattention and low priority the administration placed on the threat of nuclear weapons in terrorist hands.

Since then some bipartisan leaders went to the trouble of helping to create a DVD and HBO special on the dangers of Russian nuclear material and the terrorist threat of nuclear weapons. I even have my free copy of Last Best Chance. I argued then that this was an attempt to educate and put pressure on primarily GOP leaders who were dismissing this threat.
"I am not cavalier. I detest the incompetent, lying, unethical, Machavelian's S.O.B.'s who are the one's cavalierly dismissing threats for their political and economic ambitions."
I have been outraged over the Valerie Plame outing and have called it for what it is - treason, from the moment it occurred. The biggest physical military threat the US faces today is terrorists with nuclear weapons. I don't know what word other than traitors to call people who expose someone trying to prevent that for petty reasons. I think this is a good example of the difference between rage and outrage. I stand by my statements regarding this administration and the GOP congressional leaders and think history is bearing me out.

Peter's attempt in his essay to put me in a box contains unsupportable statements that he is unable to see from within his box. Too bad he is inside a box where we cannot even agree on some of the facts on politics, much less the opinions. I am pleased that some of his latest expansion of the original essay has an area of our agreement - opposing the radical left's opposition to Bush's Afghanistan War and the theory of no just wars. I supported the Afghan war although with rare criticisms of some tactics and a belief that some of the motivations were hidden.

I wonder if Peter still thinks my criticism is simply scapegoating?

John Dean: Cheney has long history of asserting sweeping Imperial powers

At Churches Nationwide, Good Words for Evolution - NYT

Watch Some Serious Fun

US helping Morroco built terror prison for secret police

Morrocco is where the US and UK send their prisoners to have their penis' cut to make them talk. Donald Rumsfeld visited to thank them for their support yesterday.

Tom Toles Cartoon - Dem's Can Do Better

debunker: The Way for the WP to stop the rage is to stop the whoring

I still can hardly believe the WP's editorial Blog Rage by Jim Brady.

In a whiny, self-pitying, snarky, uncivil, and clueless waste of space Brady accused the left of the blog universe of being angry and uncivil over an "inadvertent error."

I am with National Debunker, the way for the Washington Post to get any respect back is to stop being a whiny GOP stenographer and stop the whoring.

The outrage, not rage, over a mostly very good article by Post ombudsman Deborah Howell was her slipping in two inaccurate, snarky, and defaming to Democrats GOP talking points.

In this recent editorial the uncivil Jim Brady even went out of his way to smear one of the best and most knowledgeable blog reporters - Jane Hamsher. He falsely accused her of relishing name calling. (Evidently confusing her with every prominent conservative pundit and blogger I know.)

The clueless Brady repeatedly cited his internet experience but seemingly had never heard of the phenomena of both trolls and indecent language when you open unfiltered comments up to readers. Even granting their likelihood Brady still has never offered any proof of his claims of hundreds of obscene comments he claims overwhelmed their blog. Several investigations of comments that after being removed become visible, and other screen captures during the controversy revealed that the vast majority removed were neither obscene or uncivil. They were simply critical.

Brady still shows no understanding of why the original Post article and the subsequent words and actions of the Post provoked outrage. He probably has no clue why this new column is also provoking much amusement and outrage again. I am sorry I can't be the first to write it. Jim Brady is "a twit without a functioning brain."

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CIA chief sacked for opposing torture

Simple graphics shows Ralph Reed's crooked links to Abramoff gambling

Christian-political leader runs money through fake charities from casinos and internet gambling interests to help existing casinos and prevent ban on internet gambling. The graphic is a very clear overview. The related long article has some of the most crooked and hypocritical details near the end - Ralph Reed's questionable coalition.

Meek mother utters almost involuntary no's at a Cheney rally and still faces charges

link from cursor.org.
A year and a half later, Patterson faces a charge of second-degree criminal trespass, which could carry a penalty of $500 and 30 days in jail. Municipal Court Judge Alan Leiman had moved to dismiss the charge in September 2005, but city prosecutor Mark Haight appealed the ruling. The county circuit court judge will hear the case on Feb. 16 and decide whether to send Patterson to trial.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Broke Back Dew


Vampire Cheney confesses to shooting a man over 24 hours late.

How many complaints does it take to censor and dumb down a community?

Three letters from people in a conservative church complaining about an already censored Grease have caused The Crucible to be dropped as the next play. One complainer had not even seen the play. It does not take many squeaky wheels to change a culture. Liberals should take note.

Quote of the Day: Coretta Scott King

"A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages."

Next time a progressive dies just play back or speak the words of the dead and let the conservatives speak ill of them - if they dare.

Free Dowd: Smoking Dutch Cleanser

Mommas don't let your girls grow up to marry ex-gay cowboys

If the Christian Right converts gays would you want your daughter to marry one? Dan Savage made the NYT.

What a bunch of hoo-ha over nothing - Muhammad cartoons

Saturday, February 11, 2006

More leaks about US strike on Iran being planned for March?

UK Telegraph - Pentagon plans to derail Iranian atomic bomb test

Russian leader Says US To Attack Iran Late March

Conservatives divided about Iran attack

France upgrades nuclear arsenal. (This expands French options and would be most likely for retaliation strikes if France is threatened.)

Assessing Iran's Nuclear Threat

Military strikes on Iran will make the cartoon outbursts in the Middle East look like cartoons

Gingrich says invade Iran, but not soon - support revolution. He gives the Iranian people will greet us with flowers argument. He is being a buffoon about quite a few things in the interview. He says one or two things about domestic issues that are not buffoonery.

Russia provides Iran with billion dollar air defense system

Israel may be deferring to US on military strikes

UPDATE: Pentagon, CIA: Iran could and would hit back hard if attacked

Newest Senator nails Bush on budget

Capitol Hill Blue - Newest Senator nails Bush on budget
The budget proposed by President Bush adds to middle-class burdens while providing greater benefits for the wealthy and oil companies, Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said Saturday.

"This is a budget that does more than ignore the problems facing the middle class _ it actually makes them worse."

Ken Starr accused of lying and perjury

Yes, that Ken Starr. The one who spent millions going after the Clintons and managed to nail Bill on, what was it, lying and perjury! Ken Starr or someone he employed is accused of fabricated letters asking for clemency for a client.

Abramoff's 'Charities' were vehicles for power and money

The DoJ should learn a lot from this indictment to go after other 'charities' setup by DeLay and other GOP groups.
Abramoff's use and misuse of nonprofits played a key role in each of the three counts of his indictment: conspiracy, mail fraud and tax evasion. He admitted evading $1.7 million in income taxes over three years, in part by using nonprofits to conceal personal income from the IRS.

Rudy, [yet another] top aide to DeLay before going to work for Abramoff, figured in an earlier chapter of the lobbyist's saga.

It involved another node in Abramoff's network of nonprofits: Toward Tradition, the Judeo Christian group that supports "a moral public culture," according to its website.

In 2000, Abramoff got lobbying clients to give Toward Tradition $50,000 and he set the condition that it be used to hire Rudy's wife, when Rudy was on DeLay's staff. She was hired to organize a Washington political conference the nonprofit was planning.

Mary Matalin: "I think these civil rights leaders are nothing more than racists. And they're keeping ... their African-American brothers enslaved"

Friday, February 10, 2006

Administration sources: Cheney Spearheaded Effort to Discredit Wilson

Vice President Dick Cheney and then-Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley led a campaign beginning in March 2003 to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson for publicly criticizing the Bush administration's intelligence on Iraq, according to current and former administration officials.

In interviews over the course of two days this week, these officials were urged to speak on the record for this story. But they resisted, saying they had already testified before a grand jury investigating the leak of Wilson's wife, covert CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, and added that speaking out against the administration and specifically Vice President Cheney would cause them to lose their jobs and subject their families to vitriolic attacks by the White House.

They said their roles, along with several others at the CIA and State Department, included digging up or "inventing" embarrassing information on the former Ambassador that could be used against him, preparing memos and classified material on Wilson for Cheney and the National Security Council, and attending meetings in Cheney's office to discuss with Cheney, Hadley, and others the efforts that would be taken to discredit Wilson.

In the interview, which took place two and a half weeks before the start of the Iraq war, Wilson said the administration was more interested in redrawing the map of the Middle East to pursue its own foreign policy objectives than in dealing with the so-called terrorist threat.

"The underlying objective, as I see it, the more I look at this, is less and less disarmament, and it really has little to do with terrorism, because everybody knows that a war to invade and conquer and occupy Iraq is going to spawn a new generation of terrorists," Wilson said in a March 2, 2003, interview with CNN.

The CIA and State Department officials said that a day after Wilson's March 8, 2003, CNN appearance, they attended a meeting at the Vice President's office chaired by Cheney, and it was there that a decision was made to discredit Wilson. Those who attended the meeting included I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff who was indicted in October for lying to investigators, perjury and obstruction of justice related to his role in the Plame Wilson leak, Hadley, White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, and John Hannah, Cheney's deputy national security adviser, the officials said.

"The way I remember it," the CIA official said about that first meeting he attended in Cheney's office, "is that the vice president was obsessed with Wilson. He called him an 'asshole,' a son-of-a-bitch. He took his comments very personally. He wanted us to do everything in our power to destroy his reputation and he wanted to be kept up to date about the progress."