Monday, September 29, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
By: emptywheel Thursday September 25, 2008 4:39 pm
if you think about it, McCain's about to do Hoover one better. After all, Hoover didn't fuck up the response to a financial crisis until after he was President. McCain's little photo op seems to have scuttled the Paulson deal, just as it was almost finalized.
It's very hard to get the lay of the land on this bailout, but this looks to me like what happened today.
• After several hours of talks, Democrats and Senate Republicans reached something approaching a deal on at least principles, without specifics. House Republicans, particularly the rank and file, were never on board.
• The deal met virtually every priority John McCain had been promoting all week, but once he got to Washington, he met with John Boehner, came out and changed his tune.
78% of Americans want a bailout
By Paul Davidson, USA TODAY
Nearly eight out of 10 Americans — 78% — say Congress should approve a historic bailout of the nation's financial markets, but most want lawmakers to significantly modify the Bush administration's $700 billion plan, according to a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll
Barney Frank: God save us from John McCain's "help"
By: SilentPatriot @ 7:52 PM - PDT
After announcing earlier in the day that a fundamental framework had been agreed upon, it appears House Republicans are trying to gum up the process with proposals Secretary Paulson testified would not work.
video_wmv Download | Play video_mov Download | Play
Senator McCain has said he had to interrupt his campaign and couldn't do a debate because he had to come here to help us. God save us from such help. But in any case, there is no sign whatsoever that Senator McCain's got any real role here, so he certainly ought to feel free to go back and debate.
McCain and House Republicans Shred Bill "More Deregulation!"
By: Ian Welsh Thursday September 25, 2008 4:40 pm
Looks like McCain showed up to the President's "let's all agree on a bad bill" meeting and started talking about his own bill, with House Republicans. Apparently this bill involves more deregulation to fix the problem. (No, I'm not kidding. This is clearly some sort of pathology) So by the end of Bush's photo op, the bill was lying in pieces on the floor. I'm glad to see that John McCain's intervention helped so much in bringing together a deal.
Breaking: House Republicans Scuttle Economic Rescue Talks
By: Scarecrow Thursday September 25, 2008 7:45 pm
Just breaking on MSNBC:
About 10:00 p.m. Thursday night, Barney Frank emerged from a Congressional meeting to announce that House Republicans had scuttled the negotiations over the financial bailout plan.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Thoughts on Jack Bauer and '24'
The gist of the story was, what a cool show. We get to torture and kick arab butt!
I watched about 4 episodes of the show before I gagged. I realized I was talking back to the show even moreso than the network news when Big Dick or the Crawford Cretan were featured.
In the NPR story there is a quote (below) from good ole' Jack that supposedly justifies the whole wretched program.
This was my email to NPR.
This quote damns the entire story.
"you can look the other way once, and it's no big deal. Except it makes it easier for you to compromise the next time, and pretty soon that's all you're doing is compromising, because you think that's how things are done."
The entirety of this story IS a compromise of the Constitution and the rule of law.
Torture does not work. Torture is illegal both constitutionally and internationally by treaty. This character and show further the mistaken idea that torture does work.
It would not be so bad except for having seen U.S. Senators in various hearings making reference to the efficacy of FICTIONAL exploits of FICTIONAL characters as justification for moronic 'security' positions.
I enjoy mindless entertainment as much as anyone else, but it appears that the Neocon population think that the events on '24' are historic occurrences, and that Jack Bauer is real and probably more patriotic than George Washington and John Wayne. Oh, wait. Is George Washington real? I mean who would believe that 'Cherry Tree' stuff, anyway?
Friday, March 14, 2008
Monday, June 18, 2007
MILLIONS of missing emails
Please! follow these links...
Of Missing Emails and 18-Minute gaps
Countdown: White House, RNC E-Mail Scandal Bigger Than Originally Thought
Interim Report on RNC Emails and the Presidential Records Act
Bush Aides' Misuse of E-Mail Detailed by House Committee
Report: Loss of White House Emails "Most Serious Breach" in Record Law's History
Won't someone PLEASE give Bush a blowjob so we can impeach him?
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Broadcast television channels will soon vacate publicly owned airwaves when TV stations are required to go digital by 2009.
Right now, the Federal Communications Commission is deciding how to structure an upcoming auction of these airwaves.
Yesterday, many members of the SavetheInternet.com Coalition came forward with a proposal: Let's use these airwaves to make the Internet more neutral, open and affordable for everyone.
Read it and Spread the word.
We spend billions on air defenswe and yet NO fighters were in the air to take out big, slow airliners.
Why were the Twin towers (and Building 7) the only steel framed buildings ever to fall because of fire?
Ease your mind.
Well, the following psychiatrists and psychologists have concluded that the official version of 9/11 is false. Moreover, many of these mental health experts have concluded that the government's account is so obviously false that people who believe the government's version are in psychological denial:
The list of links to the posts of many mental health professionals, military leaders and others is formidable.
Be prepared to spend some time if you read the whole thing.
I think our Founding Fathers would be appalled, that in some 200-plus years, we never used that clause they put in our Constitution, except fecklessly, and in one case, successfully. The Articles of Impeachment that threatened Richard Nixon certainly were the reason he decided to resign.... And if you look at Clinton, and the peccadilloes for which they brought impeachment proceedings against him, as compared with the "high crimes and misdemeanors"—and that's a direct quote from Article II of the Constitution—with regard to Cheney and Bush, I think there's a helluva lot better case, with regard to Cheney and Bush." —Lawrence WilkersonSettle in and read the whole thing.
Friday, April 27, 2007
Stephen D at Booman Tribune:
Let's be honest with ourselves. The invasion of Iraq has led to the deaths of thousands upon thousands of Iraqi men, women and children. Many of those deaths were caused directly by America's armed forces during both the initial invasion and in subsequent military operations as the war morphed into an occupation, operations which continue as we speak. American tax dollars were also used to train and supply Shi'ite death squads which has led to the further slaughter of Sunnis in Iraq. And, as is the case with all wars, many people have died due to disease, the lack of proper medical care, shelter and/or food caused by the violence. Add in the use of napalm and white phosphorus munitions, and the cut off of all supplies of medicine and water to Fallujah prior to the American assault on that city which Bush ordered, and we have a sufficient number of of dead people to satisfy the "mass" side of the equation.
Therefore, the only real issue regarding the usage of the phrase mass murderer is whether that multitude of deaths can be rightly deemed "murders" for which Mr. Bush and his enablers should be held responsible.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
What would you do?
Scott Horton at No Comment, on an interview with such a person.
The Department of Justice had, for decades, a reputation for attracting the brightest and most dedicated career public servants from law schools and law firms. Some of the most capable and most ethically demanding lawyers I have ever known went to the Justice Department or worked there. How must those people feel today? Isn't the answer obvious?
If you're having any doubts on that front, the current issue of Findlaw has a fascinating interview with the just-retired director of the Office of Information and Privacy at the Department of Justice, Daniel J. Metcalfe. He began serving the Department 35 years ago in the Nixon Administration. How does he assess the current situation?Under Gonzales, though, almost immediately from the time of his arrival in February 2005, this changed quite noticeably. First, there was extraordinary turnover in the political ranks, including the majority of even Justice's highest-level appointees. It was reminiscent of the turnover from the second Reagan administration to the first Bush administration in 1989, only more so. Second, the atmosphere was palpably different, in ways both large and small. One need not have had to be terribly sophisticated to notice that when Deputy Attorney General Jim Comey left the department in August 2005 his departure was quite abrupt, and that his large farewell party was attended by neither Gonzales nor (as best as could be seen) anyone else on the AG's personal staff.
First there is the McClatchy report linking Bush directly to these politically inept maneuvers.
...Sunday, the Albuquerque Journal reported that Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., told Gonzales in the spring of 2006 that he wanted New Mexico U.S. attorney David Iglesias dismissed, and that Gonzales refused. The newspaper said that Domenici later made the same case to White House adviser Karl Rove and spoke to President Bush about it after the November election, but before the attorney firings were announced on Dec. 7. Iglesias was among those fired.David Kurtz at TPM goes back over quotes from Bush and his mouthpieces
A TPM reader asks this question.
...Implicit in all the coverage is the assumption—by Democrats and Republicans alike—that the Attorney General is going up to Capitol Hill to lie. As far as I can tell, this is a universal assumption. The Republicans are rooting for Mr. Gonzales to be successful in his perjury, to tell a coherent story that his enemies cannot break down. The Democrats are rooting the other way, off course. They’re hoping that their ace interrogators will be able to shoot enough holes in Mr. Gonzales’ story that they can destroy his credibility. But nobody seems to find it shocking or tragic that the Attorney General of the United States is going to lie to congress. . . .(Emphasis mine)
Also read this post and this one too.
Words matter. When we say a man “earned” $100 million last years, the implication is that he performed some immensely valuable service for the stockholders by whom he is theoretically employed. Say that the CEO “made” all that money, and the subtext is that he created it. Say that he “took” it or “got his hands on it” and we move closer to the truth.
Bush uses “war” in the same deceptive way. His Iraq war, in the sense that most of us understand the word, ended in a few weeks. Our “enemy” didn’t fight, it is true, but our victory was beyond question.
"Well Senator -- Tony Snow said today that you guys want the truth, and in this interview, you guys are going to get the truth from Karl Rove. What's wrong with that?"
She then observes incredulously and angrily: "You don't trust the White House. The bottom line is: you don't trust the White House."
No we don't. Trust the White House, Moron. And this scandal goes BEYOND Alberto Gonzales and Karl Rove, clear up to the President. Today's Albuquerque Journal reveals that, in his nasty, threatening fight to get rid of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) "asked Rove to take his request directly to the president."
And this is reason to trust the WH?
What do you get when you fill the government with people whose primary interest is in getting ahead — and not in fulfilling their job obligations for the long-term benefit of the American public? You get a self-dealing mess:Actually, I began earlier, in the first Nixon administration, as a college intern in 1971. But I was there again in the Watergate era, when I worked in part of the Attorney General's Office during my first year of law school in 1973-1974, and then continuously as a trial attorney and office director for nearly 30 years. That adds up to more than a dozen attorneys general, including Ed Meese as well as John Mitchell, and I used to think that they had politicized the department more than anyone could or should. But nothing compares to the past two years under Alberto Gonzales.
Read it all.
Amid the propping-up of the Bush fiasco, can't we expect a little regard for the wellfare of the country?
Or is even the slightest bit of integrity and independence too much to ask from Republican members of Congress these days? Have we just all decided that expecting more from them — expecting some sense of fiduciary duty to the public's interest or commitment to something higher than their own power grab — is just an exercise in futility? Here's to a whole lot more sunshine…on the entire festering mess.Read the post
Ice Weasel at The News Blog
The NYT's Spinning Into Oblivion is yet another crack at the
music industry (an industry which deserves more than a few "cracks").
However, written by two independent retailers, it's only part of the story
and, it's not all that much of expose, more of a mea culpa.
I'll add some bits from that piece here as way of an introduction
into a larger point.
"when we opened an independent CD shop on the Upper West Side of
Manhattan in 1993. At the time, we figured that as far as business
ventures went, ours was relatively safe. People would always go to
stores to buy music."
Thursday, April 12, 2007
The surge's 'Daddy' won't even claim it
The widespread doubts within U.S. military and intelligence circles that George W. Bush’s Iraq War “surge” can succeed were underscored when one of the plan’s architects, retired Army Gen. Jack Keane, was one of three generals to rebuff a White House offer of a new job dubbed “war czar.”More
In December, Keane and neoconservative scholar Frederick Kagan promoted the idea of a U.S. military escalation in Iraq as an alternative to the growing consensus in favor of a phased withdrawal of Amercan combat forces.
[...]Keane’s refusal to serve as a “war czar” who would coordinate administration policy in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is another sign of the doom and gloom that surrounds Bush’s latest plan.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
...if President Bush vetoes the Dems' bill attaching a withdrawal date to troop funding, more Americans by a very slim margin want Congress to refuse to send the President another bill without withdrawal timetables than want Congress to give him the no-strings-attached bill that he's insisting on.
Here's the question:
Q: If George W. Bush vetoes the legislation, do you think Congress should pass another version of the bill that provides funding for the war without any conditions for troop withdrawal, or should Congress refuse to pass any funding bill until Bush agrees to accept conditions for withdrawal?
Fund the war without conditions: 43%
Withhold funding until Bush signs: 45%
Don't know: 12%
This is striking, and here's why. Until now, virtually every poll asking whether people support or oppose defunding the war has asked the question in complete isolation, and public opinion has generally tilted against defunding. But this is to my knowledge the first poll that has asked the question in the political context of the President's current veto threat and the resultant standoff with Congress. In other words, this question is basically asking whether Americans favor Congress caving to Bush after his veto or whether they want Congress to stand up to him. As you can see, a slightly larger group wants the latter.
Now here's a sign of real progress in Iraq: on Monday, tens of thousands of Shiites staged a peaceful demonstration in the city of Najaf to protest the American occupation. From the New York Times:MoreThe peaceful demonstration was being held at the urging of militant Shiite cleric He exhorted Iraqi security forces on Sunday to unite with his militiamen against the American military in Diwaniya, an embattled southern city in Iraq where fighting has raged for four days…
…A senior official in Mr. Sadr’s organization in Najaf, Salah al-Obaydi, called the rally a “call for liberation.”
A peaceful call for support in a violent effort to liberate Iraq from its liberators. Ain't that a kick in the head?
Here's another kick. Iraqi soldiers in uniform joined the demonstration. Who's on whose side in this circular firefight? It doesn't appear that anyone is on our side, that's for sure.
Contempt, that has a ring to it!
From The Washinton Post
The White House acknowledged yesterday that e-mails dealing with official government business may have been lost because they were improperly sent through private accounts intended to be used for political activities. Democrats have been seeking such missives as part of an investigation into the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.
Administration officials said they could offer no estimate of how many e-mails were lost but indicated that some may involve messages from White House senior adviser Karl Rove, whose role in the firings has been under scrutiny by congressional Democrats.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
How deep are we in it over the politicization of the Justice Department (and probably others) under the Bush "administration?"
This is a planned disaster. A burning of all bridges and a scorching of all escape routes. In other words, the routine Republican m.o.: destroy all paths back to the status quo, so that even if our theories don't pan out, nobody can pull them out by the roots -- they can only tinker with the ruins.
I wrote earlier about this unfolding scandal that Bush, Rove and Gonzales have now done for the prosecution of public corruption what they've done for impeachment. That is, just as they've made it conventional wisdom to immediately reject the idea of impeachment out of hand as "partisan revenge for Clinton," or "political tit for tat," now so too will the investigation of public corruption cases be subject to such summary dismissal.
The long term effects of this scandal are incalculable. At a time when Republicans are accused of engaging in rampant and systematic public corruption, Rove, Bush and Gonzales have succeeded in making corruption investigations into the same sort of partisan joke that Republicans made impeachment. And as their crimes come to light in the closing days of their "administration" and into the next, they may well have made it impossible for a Democratic successor to actually pursue justice on behalf of the American people, since any such effort will undoubtedly -- and with a lack of shame that shocks the conscience -- be labeled as "partisan revenge."
More and Here Also see
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Scott Horton at Harpers:
Today's Times (of London) looks at the situation at Camp Cropper and paints a very grim portrait:
America's high-security prisons in Iraq have become “terrorist academies” for the most dangerous militant groups, according to former inmates and Iraqi government officials.
Inmates are left largely to run their blocks, which are segregated on sectarian lines. The policy has created a closed world run by Iraq's worst terrorists and militias, into which detainees with no links to insurgent groups are often thrown.
The powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his militiamen on Sunday to redouble their battle to oust American forces and argued that Iraq’s army and police should join him in defeating “your archenemy.” The U.S. military announced the weekend deaths of 10 American soldiers, including six killed on Sunday.
Security remained so tenuous in the capital on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the U.S. capture of Baghdad that Iraq’s military declared a 24-hour ban on all vehicles in the capital from 5 a.m. Monday. The government quickly reinstated Monday as a holiday, just a day after it had decreed that April 9 no longer would be a day off.
Al-Sadr commands an enormous following among Iraq’s majority Shiites and has close allies in the Shiite-dominated government. The statement Sunday carried his seal and was distributed in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, where the cleric called for an enormous demonstration to mark the fourth anniversary of Baghdad’s fall.
“You, the Iraqi army and police forces, don’t walk alongside the occupiers, because they are your archenemy,” the al-Sadr statement said.
He urged his followers not to attack fellow Iraqis but to turn all their efforts on American forces.
More Here and Here
It can’t be lost on those dwindling die-hards, particularly those on the 2008 ballot, that if defending the indefensible can reduce even a politician of Mr. McCain’s heroic stature to that of Dukakis-in-the-tank, they have nowhere to go but down. They’ll cut and run soon enough. For starters, just watch as Mr. McCain’s G.O.P. presidential rivals add more caveats to their support for the administration’s Iraq policy. Already, in a Tuesday interview on “Good Morning America,” Mitt Romney inched toward concrete “timetables and milestones” for Iraq, with the nonsensical proviso they shouldn’t be published “for the enemy.”Read the post
As if to confirm we’re in the last throes, President Bush threw any remaining caution to the winds during his news conference in the Rose Garden that same morning. Almost everything he said was patently misleading or an outright lie, a sure sign of a leader so entombed in his bunker (he couldn’t even emerge for the Washington Nationals’ ceremonial first pitch last week) that he feels he has nothing left to lose.
If you are up to it you can find out just how much of a slimeball has been running the US military into the ground.
Friday, April 06, 2007
Perhaps the best, and most concise of these pleas for direct negotiations with Iran I have seen published online was not the work of any distinguished columnist, former ambassador or politician, but this simple, eloquent letter to the editor written by a Mennonite Minister and published in the New York Times:That was reasoned... To see the spewings of the 'learned' read the rest.
To the Editor:
Re “Iran, the Vicious Victim,” by Max Hastings (Op-Ed, March 30):
The Mennonite Central Committee has a 17-year history of working in Iran. In February, it helped lead a delegation of American religious leaders to Iran, where the group met with ordinary Iranians and with religious and political leaders, including the current and former presidents. Several things stood out:
¶The Iranian government is not monolithic. Many Iranian officials and citizens would welcome mutually respectful dialogue with the United States. American threats and pressure undermine their efforts.
¶The United States and Iran share strategic interests. Both want a stable Iraq. Both want to limit the influence of Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Both are concerned about the illicit drug flow from Afghanistan.
¶Iran’s declared policy is that it is seeking nuclear energy for peaceful purposes only. While analysts can speculate about Iran’s true intent, this much is clear: talking directly with Iran would place the United States in a much better position to address Iran’s nuclear program and a range of other concerns.
(Rev.) Ron Flaming
Akron, Pa., March 30, 2007
The writer is the international program director for the Mennonite Central Committee.
A clear, straightforward recitation of why it is in America's interest to enter into negotiations with Iran over Iran's nuclear program, the situation in Iraq and even the issue of terrorism. It makes a great deal of sense, does it not?
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
This is how protest is done.
"How does occupation feel, D.C.?!" shouted Geoff Millard, head of the local chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War, who previously served on a brigadier general's staff in Tikrit.
They cut a swath across downtown, taking imaginary sniper fire and casualties on the grounds of the Capitol and the Washington Monument, scouting the White House, performing mock arrests at the foot of the Capitol steps and a vehicle search on the Mall. At the Capitol, the veterans almost got detained themselves by civilian peace officers with real guns. The vets brought their act to a military recruiting station on L Street NW and concluded with a memorial ceremony in the cemetery.
Read Melissa Rogers Blog.
Then read the entire Washington Post Article.
Flying the un-friendly skies of Iraq
...now the phrase is the sad and bloodsoaked emblem of a wretched defeat, a pointless and unnecessary gutting of American power. It now denotes those areas where American aircraft are forbidden to fly, lest they be shot down by Iraqis -- the precise opposite of the No-Fly Zones of yore.Read more
A full four years into the war, and just shy of that mark since "Mission Accomplished" was proclaimed, the occupying power has been forced to deny its own pilots access to larger and larger swathes of Iraqi airspace -- even as the use of helicopters for troop transport and supply is growing, due to the increasingly unsafe conditions on the ground. It is the Iraqis who are now imposing "No-Fly Zones" on the "world's only superpower."
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
here is the most important thing – certainly in the long term and even in the mid term: in two short months since Congress convened, there is a bill regarding Iraq that has passed BOTH the House and Senate that calls for major redeployment and withdrawal within a year or so. There will be more funding for veteran’s benefits.Read the post
It couldn’t have happened without We the People.
It couldn’t have happened without Speaker Pelosi.
It couldn’t have happened without John Murtha, Lynne Woolsley, Jim Webb and hundreds of other Democrats in Congress.
But it also couldn’t have happened without some Senate republicans. Which is very bad news for Bush’s plans for Iraq domination. And very good for the rest of us.
Here's more by Phoenix Woman at Firedoglake
I'm beginning to wonder if the US Attorney firing/force-out scandal may well be the Grand Unifying Scandal that connects most if not all of the other Bush scandals.Like a loose bit of yarn on a sweater, pulling on it tugs at a whole bunch of other things involving the Bush Junta's extreme politicization of the Justice Department — not to mention the rest of the Federal government – and the extreme efforts made by the top players to avoid facing any kind of penalties for wrongdoing.
The rest (of the story)
...there are four simple truths to bear in mind -- repeat them to yourself when you are at a loss, and articulate them at every opportunity to those who are still avoiding reality:Read the post
The evidence continues to mount, and the case is compelling.
There is a clearly defined and realizable alternative to the paralyzing triad of apathy, despair and complicity.
The way forward demands that the governments, industries and financial institutions of the great nations take responsibility and lead, and so far they are not doing so.
Meanwhile, the delusional denial and wanton dissemination of disinformation continues.
Chuck Dupree at Bad Attitudes
…according to the MIT campus newspaper “The Tech,” the RIAA has suggested to students that they ought to drop out of college to be able to afford RIAA settlements. They’ve also sued people who don’t own and never have owned a computer.
And now we reach the crux of the matter. Those companies are part of a multi-billion-dollar-a-year business. They argue that people downloading music takes money away from the artists, but in reality, it takes money away from them, if anyone.
I don’t like people that hide behind lies. If the RIAA is going to do this, and they will continue to, I only have one request: Be honest with us. If you want more money, come out and say it. Don’t act like you’re protecting the artists. If you really were, would a huge group of them have formed a coalition (that would be the Recording Artists Coalition) aimed specifically at bringing change to the recording industry’s structure?
Monday, March 26, 2007
The imperial 'We'. If you haven't read the snark on shrub's hissy fit, I mean, press conference, read this.
There is MUCH more
[W]e will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants. . . .
Listen, first of all, these U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President. I named them all. . . . They serve at our pleasure. . . . And I repeat, we would like people to hear the truth.
– G.W. Bush, 3/20/07
What happens when the grandiose fantasies of a megalomaniacal, emotionally palsied fraud finally come crashing through the plate glass window of reality? Well, for one thing, that "good ol' boy you'd wanna have a beer with" facade drops faster than a schoolgirl's knickers at a Justin Timberlake concert. After watching the clips of Bush's performances last week, I was reminded of a line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail: "Ooh, a king? Well, I didn't vote for you!"What we saw last week was the real Bush: imperious, contemptuous, rigid with thin-lipped anger, one straightjacket lace shy of a full-blown meltdown on national television after Congress personally affronted him (not once, but TWICE!) by announcing that they were no longer playing by his arbitrary, self-serving rules. The AUDACITY!
He MUST be impeached.
Arianna at Hufffington
If the president continues trying to run out the clock on this scandal, Congress should immediately begin impeachment proceedings against Alberto Gonzales. It's the quickest way to the truth.Read the rest
Appearing on CNN's Late Edition, Joe DiGenova said that if Congress insists on issuing subpoenas, the White House will surely contest them, and the ensuing litigation will last until the end of Bush's term. DiGenova's point was that Congress should go ahead and compromise, but my takeaway was just the opposite: if Bush's game is to stall, Congress should play the impeachment card since, as Robert Kuttner points out, "an impeachment inquiry could be completed in a matter of months."
More on the idea of going for the low hanging fruit.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
As of October 2006 US forces had still not secured all of the unguarded munition sites in Iraq, allowing thieves to keep stealing war material and stoke the country's violence, a US government report said Thursday.All this time and not a single head!
The Government Accountability Office said that not enough soldiers were available to take control of massive arms dumps across Iraq after the March 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
They've left these arms caches open for all this time, while insurgents kept stealing whatever they needed to kill more and more people -- American troops as well as civilians -- and not a single head has rolled over this scandal!
Amazing! Or is it?
[...]"DOD does not appear to have conducted a theaterwide survey and assessment of the current risk unsecured conventional munitions represent to US forces and others."... which raises the question: Why would the DOD not even bother to look into it? ... unless they just don't care ... or unless ... maybe ... just maybe ... this is the way they wanted it!
The House resolution that will require combat troops to be out of Iraq by the end of August, 2008 passed at approximately 12:45 on Friday. A similar Senate bill that calls for troops to come home a year from now has passed a committee vote.
We're approaching a point where the Democratic Congress may well wrest control of the Iraq war away from Mr. Bush. If that happens, will the Democrats rue the "victory?"
[...]But the real trick behind all this maneuvering is whether or not the step-lock Republicans will decide to knuckle under to pressure from the Democrats when they decide once and for all that the war in Iraq is "lost" and they can blame the Democrats for it.
...Gonzales made himself the target here with what looks like blatant deception. I don't think we do ourselves any good by defending the serially changing stories coming out of Gonzales' inept administration at Justice. One cannot support an Attorney General who misleads Congress, allows his staffers to mislead Congress, and deceives the American people, regardless of whether an R or a D follows his name or the majority control of Congress.
[...]At this point, the notion that Bush has to retain Gonzales to protect himself and Republicans in general is starting to become absurd. Gonzales inflicted most of this damage on the administration himself, and the longer he remains, the more damage he will do. As Jonah said, it's hard to find a worse example of self-inflicted damage outside of circus tents.
Gonzales' dismissal/resignation would not do any more damage to Republicans than has already occurred. If we have to defend incompetents and/or deceivers as critical to the Republican cause, then be prepared for a disastrous 2008. Offering Clintonian word-parsing as a defense does nothing to help the cause of conservatism.
Anonymous Liberal at Crooks and Liars
President Bush is in a real bind. The circumstances surrounding the firing of eight United States Attorneys reek so badly of crass partisan politics that the President's advisers are trying very hard to distance him as much as possible from the decision-making process. Hence, this from Tony Snow:MR. SNOW: The President has no recollection of this ever being raised with him. . . .
Q Just to follow, did you say, again for the record, that the President has no recollection of ever being asked about any of this?
MR. SNOW: Yes, the removal — yes, that is correct.
Indeed, Snow went as far as to assert that this was "a decision that was made at the U.S. Department of Justice."
Here's the problem, though. As Marty Lederman points out, the relevant statute–28 U.S.C. 541(c)–vests the power to remove U.S. Attorneys with the president ("Each United States attorney is subject to removal by the President.") As we've repeatedly been told, U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President–not the pleasure of the Attorney General (and certainly not the pleasure of the Attorney General's chief of staff). The decision to fire a U.S. Attorney–much less eight of them–is unquestionably one for the president to make, so if President Bush was truly out of the loop on this, that's a problem in and of itself.
Saturday, March 24, 2007
E. J. Dionne at The Washington Post:
The senator vigorously rejected the president's claim of executive privilege. "I find this extraordinary and troublesome," he said, "and I think it will ultimately be damaging to the president. . . . This is an attempt to stonewall our committee, and the public will be outraged."
Doesn't that sound like one of those tough statements by Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York, the Democratic point man on the U.S. attorney scandal? The speaker was actually the Republican whom Schumer defeated nine years ago, Alfonse D'Amato, discussing Bill Clinton's invocation of executive privilege in the Whitewater investigation. Nice to see Chuck and Al agree on something.
So many principles that Republicans held dear when they were trying to take Clinton down are no longer operative. This certainly applies to a 1998 column now whizzing around the Internet that ran under the headline "Executive Privilege Is a Dodge." It was written by Tony Snow, who is now President Bush's press secretary.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
The XR-3 Hybrid is a super-fuel-efficient two-passenger plug-in hybrid that achieves 125 mpg on diesel power alone, 225 mpg on combined diesel and electric power, and performance like a conventional automobile. The design of the XR-3 Hybrid focuses on existing technologies and a vehicle �personality� that makes conserving energy a fun driving experience. It showcases the design ideas explored in Robert Q. Riley�s book, Alternative Cars in the 21st Century.
At just 1300 pounds, this high-performance design combines lightening-fast acceleration, a maximum speed of 85 mph, and fuel economy of 125- to over 200-mpg.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
What an extraordinary gift Bush has given the Democratic Party and the American People. For months if not years, Democrats and Progressives have wrung our hands and beaten our heads against the wall: should we move to impeach? Whom, exactly, should we impeach? How can we do it? On what grounds? Will the American people stand with us, or against us? Above all, how can we do it without making Republicans look like the victims of a partisan witch hunt?
In sum, Bush has given us every possible political cover and excuse for impeaching him, on an issue for which he has little to no congressional support among Republicans. It's wrapped up in a neat little package with a bowtie. It is, frankly, a generous gift to our Party, our Nation, and our Constitution.
All we need is the courage to open it.
Monday, March 19, 2007
If an American citizen is caught cheating on their taxes, they're fined and imprisoned; if an American citizen races up to a yellow light and it turns red just as they're passing under it, they're photographed without their permission and fined; if an American citizen talks about farting or nipples on the radio, they can be fined $325,000 by your federal government. Holy hell, it's a federal offense to make a copy of a DVD or CD, whether you plan to sell it or not!
But the last four years have proved that it's perfectly legal to go to war based on lies, fabricated evidence, propaganda, media manipulation; then to lie about its progress every step of the way; then to allow massive unregulated -- practically encouraged -- war profiteering at the taxpayer's expense; then to ignore the international rules of warfare by permitting torture; then to ignore rational solutions for redeployment; then to cut the budget for veterans; and the list of trespasses against morality, decency, the Constitution, and the American way of life goes on and on and on.
Written by Bruce Leshan 9NEWS NOW
A worried quality control inspector, Mark Cordell, finally quit last week in frustration, and brought his fears to 9NEWS NOW.More (with pictures)
"I won't sit back and watch someone get killed," he says while running through 81 pictures of the problems on a laptop computer.
When the Washington Post exposed the black mold in Building 18, where wounded soldiers recover, the contractor sent Cordell in to coordinate repairs. He says he did 250 to 300 work orders in two weeks.
The Army moved many of the injured soldiers to Building 14 -- and Cordell says as soon as they arrived the troops found more problems.
"So the building the soldiers moved to is just as messed up as Building 18?" asked 9NEWS NOW Reporter Bruce Leshan.
"Yes. Every one of the buildings at Walter Reed is the same way, or worse."
He was consumed with such hope and joy. Now?
"There were lots of people from my tribe who were also put in prison or hanged. It became my dream ever since I saw them building that statue to one day topple it."
Yet he now says he would prefer to be living under Saddam than under US occupation. He said: "The devil you know [is] better than the devil you don't. We no longer know friend from foe. The situation is becoming more dangerous. It's not getting better at all. People are poor and the prices are going higher and higher."
Saddam, he says, "was like Stalin. But the occupation is proving to be worse".
Glenn Greenwald at Salon:
...even Rush Limbaugh, on the March 23, 1993 broadcast of his television show, acknowledged that the full-scale replacement of all U.S. attorneys at the start of an administration is routine:JANET RENO (US Attorney General): I haven't asked for Stephens' resignation. I've asked for the resignation of all the US attorneys as part of an orderly transfer to a new administration, so that the new administration can choose its US attorneys which it re--thinks is absolutely integral to the Department of Justice ought--and based on what we think the qualifications for US attorney should be.
LIMBAUGH: Now this happens. She's right. New administrations just come in and get rid of all the US attorneys.
The beginning of the Clinton administration was really the birth of the all-out right-wing filth and noise machine, and -- working with Republican Congressional leaders -- it attempted to convert a completely routine decision by the Clinton administration to replace all U.S. attorneys into some sort of explosive corruption scandal. And yet these are the same people, and the same faction, which now insists that there is absolutely nothing wrong with firing U.S. attorneys at any time and that the President has the unfettered right to do so -- even in the unprecedented circumstance of singling prosecutors out and replacing them in the middle of the President's term.
It's literally the same people who defend President Bush today by saying the exact opposite of what they said in 1993. Yes, that is extremely common for them to do. And yes, there is nothing surprising about it. But it is still worth noting, particularly when the dishonesty is as glaring and inescapable as it is in this case.
Also see this from Diane Feinstein
and "All roads lead to Rove" -- By Sidney Blumenthal
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Think bird flu will become a worldwide threat this summer? Wanna put some money on that?
In an unusual effort to better predict the advance of a potential flu pandemic, public health experts will be staked about $100 apiece to bet on the spread of bird flu. This type of grim futures market has also been created to predict hurricanes and temporarily, a few years ago, terrorist attacks.
In this case, the goal is to develop a faster way to collect expert opinion about the potential spread of a deadly disease outbreak.
"Farmers have used futures markets for decades to make decisions about what crops to plant. We're just borrowing that concept to help people in public health and health care make decisions about the future," said Dr. Phil Polgreen, a University of Iowa assistant professor of medicine who helped create the project.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
When the Founding Fathers of our nation established a government of the people, by the people and for the people, with built-in provisions for the protection of the rule of law against the tyranny of the majority through a separation of powers into three governmental branches: executive, legislative and judiciary, they failed to count on one thing: the Rule of Karl. In reading through the massive document dump of e-mails from the USAs firings and the DoJ tap dance between Gonzales and the Bush White House, the fingerprints of Karl Rove are everywhere, carefully concealed behind having other people do the actual, written e-mailing so that his hands (and signature line) stay off the direct line of communication — but everywhere nonetheless.
[...]Politics is not supposed to be the foremost consideration in judicial action. In fact, it is supposed to be quite far down the list, if there at all, in terms of the factors in play for charging decisions. The fact that the Bush Administration has attempted to so pervert the legal system as to skew it for its own political gain is appalling enough. But that they would fire US Attorneys for doing their jobs — and doing them well, in uncovering corrupt acts of politicians regardless of party, or for making charging decisions outside the realm of political vendetta — is unconscionable.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
thereisnospoon of My Left Wing notices that there has been a distinct change in the conduct of government corruption...
Usually, you see, corruption takes a little bit of work: special interest "X" gives you money for your campaign; you return the favor on the sly by giving handouts to special interest "X"; special interest "X" takes you on special junkets to keep your loyalty.More
These a**holes, on the other hand, don't even think they need to stoop to such effort. The corruption doesn't even happen in exchange for campaign contributions; it's a direct connection from policies of mass bloodshed to increased profits in their overly bloated personal bank accounts. The Republicans in this administration--from Cheney to Rumsfeld to everyone else--are content to own direct stock in companies that have direct interest in killing Americans, killing foreigners overseas, and letting our wounded veterans rot in substandard medical facilities. They literally make a DIRECT PROFIT from death and destruction, while they make decisions to lie the American people into creating even more death and destruction.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Most important, change the way you think about the music you do buy. Each dollar you spend is, in fact, a vote. If any portion of it is funneled to the RIAA, its fire is fueled. If we all stopped listening to and buying RIAA music, how long would it be able to continue with its madness?
In any way you can afford to, support organizations that are protecting your rights and opposing the RIAA. This could mean donations, linkage, or simply spreading the word. Make a statement on this matter.
I heard of a good way to make such a statement this month on The Daily Source Code Podcast. The idea is simple, elegant, and a great way for all of us to make a statement. It is a great way for us to say that we, the consumers, should decide what and how we listen to. It is Bum Rush the Charts.
Big Brother Wants to Kill Net 'Radio' again.
Internet radio is a canary in the coal mine of an insane Net-hostile Regulatorium that stretches from the cableco/telco duopoly to the copyright oligarchs who are strangling what Professor Lessig calls Free Culture. That Regulatorium should be the enemy of every free-market Republican and every free-speech Democrat. It's slowing down the U.S. and its businesses as competitors in the World Wide Marketplace we call the Net.
Will this decision to execute the Internet radio canary motivate us to do what we should have been doing more of for the past ten years? That's up to you and me.
The new rates charge $.0008 per song per listener for 2006 (the royalty board's ruling is retroactive to 2006); $.0011 in 2007; $.0014 for 2008; $.0018 for 2009; and $.0019 for 2010. For multichannel operators like Pandora.com, a service that helps users find music on the Web, the fee is a flat $500 per radio channel for a particular number of listening hours per month.
Hanson said that under the previous royalty rate, his radio station paid $48,000. Under this decision, AccuRadio's royalty obligation for 2006 would be $600,000, he said.
"So we're bankrupt," he said.
Hanson said Web radio operators are considering their options, which could include an appeal of the board's ruling.
Will the March 2 decision of the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board raising royalty rates for Webcasts 30 percent mean the death of Internet radio? U.S. Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., thinks so. As CNET News reports, he testified yesterday before the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet that the CRB's decision "represents a body blow to many nascent Internet radio broadcasters." That is also the conclusion of the Radio and Internet Newsletter, which did the math and found that the royalties an Internet radio station would pay would easily exceed any revenues the station might bring in.Trends in the Living Networks
In a shocking decision last Friday, the Copyright Royalty Board announced new Internet radio royalty rates, doing exactly what was suggested by the RIAA’s lobby body, effectively tripling the cost of streaming music, effective retroactively from the beginning of 2006, and increasing every year until 2010. Bill Goldsmith of Radio Paradise, a leading Internet radio station, does the math, working out that he will now have to pay out around 125% of his revenue, meaning he immediately has to consider closing down. Mark Cuban says “goodbye to webcasting.” Om Malik asks “Last.FM, Pandora KO’ed by new royalties?” Mike Masnick talks about “internet radio royalty rates designed to kill webcasts.” Indeed, there some bad craziness in the business logic here. In the first instance, putting music webcasting stations out of business isn’t going to increase revenue. Secondly, recording companies make the majority of their money from hits, and hits happen because people hear them. There is massive investment in promoting music to traditional radio and music TV stations, yet for no good reason the opposite attitude to online music streaming.For more go to Google Blog Search and try 'Net Radio'
Labels: Net Radio
In the category of simple slapdown:
“The Bush plan is ridiculous,” Mr. Chávez said at the gathering in Buenos Aires, across the Río de la Plata from Montevideo, Uruguay, Mr. Bush’s next stop. “He thinks he is Columbus, discovering poverty after seven years in power.”[...]
"The little imperial gentleman from the north must be across the river by now. Let's send him a big shout: 'Gringo go home,' " Mr Chavez told thousands at a soccer stadium in Buenos Aires, across the River Plate from the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo.
"We don't even need to make an effort to sabotage his tour. He's a political cadaver. He exhales the smell of the political dead, and he will soon be cosmic dust that will disappear from the stage."
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
If I were King for a Day, I'd issue a Royal Decree instructing all my Subjects to read Arthur Silber's three-part series, "Dispatch from Germany, Summer of 1939".More
Parts I and II provide essential background, but here I want to focus on Part III, which carries the subtitle "Building an Effective Resistance".Two or three years hence, no one will be happier than I to look back on this time and laugh about how worried we were about what turned out to be nothing in the end. [...] That is not a chance I am willing to take. Even if my assessment should turn out to be completely wrong, the steps suggested below would be wonderfully good practice, in the awful event that an equally maniacal administration should hold power in the future. It would be enormously useful and comforting to know that an effective force of resistance can be built to check the mad ambitions of those who hold the reins of power.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
My friend David hipped me to an interview Amy Goodman did with Wes Clark at Democracy Now on Friday. It's a lot more ambitious than my 6 countries in 2 years or those tourists' I met in Agra 15 in 14 days. Turns out the Bush Regime had some well-laid out, at least to look at-- plans to attack 7 countries in 5 years. I expect that one day the transcript of Clark's interview will be entered into evidence at a War Crimes Tribunal for Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, et. al.More
Nice! We have Billions to blow the crap out of our fellow man and nothing for the potential salvation of the race.
The cost to find at least 90 percent of the 20,000 potentially hazardous asteroids and comets by 2020 would be about $1 billion, according to a report NASA will release later this week. The report was previewed Monday at a Planetary Defense Conference in Washington.
Congress in 2005 asked NASA to come up with a plan to track most killer asteroids and propose how to deflect the potentially catastrophic ones.
"We know what to do, we just don't have the money," said Simon "Pete" Worden, director of NASA's Ames Research Center.
When the stories about the conditions at Walter Reed came out, the privatization angle didn't surprise me, other than I didn't recall hearing about it earlier. But let's face it, there's so much news coming out of Washington, things like that have a tendency to fall through the cracks.
However, I did find this press release by Sen. Barbara Mikulski from September of last year that shows that Democrats were concerned about the privatization of Walter Reed and were brushed aside by the DoD and the Army. Remind me again, who is supporting our troops?
Monday, March 05, 2007
The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.
The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern', say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.
An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is 'plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately', they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.
Three things to think about.
The trouble with thinking 9/11 was an inside job staged by George W. Bush & Co. is that it defies belief any U.S. president might be capable of such an iniquitous crime against his own people.
Yet, subsequent Bush actions, such as lying the nation into war against Iraq, makes one wonder if the man didn’t create the 9/11 massacres to justify his attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran.After all, his record reveals him to be a serial liar, warmonger, tyrant, torturer, and usurper of his peoples’ civil liberties.
More on Bush and 9/11
Did Cheney Allow 9/11 Plane To Strike Pentagon?
Karen Kwiatkowski On Feith, Cheney & Planning Iran
Although the official 9/11 Commission Report(CR) said Vice President Richard Cheney did not arrive at the Presidential Emergency Operations Center(PEOC) under the White House until "shortly before 10 a.m." that tragic day, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta testified when he arrived in the room at 9:20 a.m. Cheney was already there. (CR published no testimony from Mineta.)
The timeline is important because if Cheney arrived at 10 a.m. it would have been about 20 minutes after the Pentagon was allegedly struck by a hijacked airplane at 9:38 a.m., too late for him to authorize the Air Force to shoot it down. Some 125 Pentagon employees perished in the attack.
SWANSON: Who's running this show, Bush or Cheney or a group?
KWIATKOWSKI: I suspect it is Cheney, and Cheney's network of like-minded, old Cold Warriors struggling for money, power and relevance in a post-Cold War age. Hence the war on terror, hence the demonization of Russia, Iran and China by members of the Cheney clique. Cheney and those who share his worldview in Washington are dinosaurs, but they have big teeth, big appetites, and they aren't dead yet. Apparently, Cheney is also personally feared by many Republicans and Democrats alike. I don't know why. Are they afraid he'll curse at them and call them names? Bush doesn't seem to be much of an organization man. He seems more like the Paris Hilton of politics. He goes to the parties, he shows up, he has a good time, but doesn't take anything too seriously. Cheney seems to take world domination seriously, and he has a lot of friendly, and fearful, folks on board.
Digby at Hullabaloo:
Glenn Greenwald does a nice job today dealing with yet another example of journalistic double standards, dealing with the predictable excretory spew of Ann Coulter at this year's CPAC vs Howie Kurtz's recent spell on the fainting couch over few anonymous comments that were removed from the Huffington Post. But he highights this comment from Andrew Sullivan which just floored meContinue at Hullabaloo
When you see her in such a context, you realize that she truly represents the heart and soul of contemporary conservative activism, especially among the young. The standing ovation for Romney was nothing like the eruption of enthusiasm that greeted her. . . .
Her endorsement of Romney today - "probably the best candidate" - is a big deal, it seems to me. McCain is a non-starter. He is as loathed as Clinton in these parts. Giuliani is, in her words, "very, very liberal." One of his sins? He opposed the impeachment of Bill Clinton. That's the new standard. She is the new Republicanism. The sooner people recognize this, the better.
Read Glenn at Salon
All right, no more excuses, people. After four years in Iraq, it’s time to get serious. We’ve spent too long goofing off, waiting to be saved by the bell, praying that we won’t get asked a stumper like, “What’s the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?” Okay, even the head of the House intelligence committee doesn’t know that one. All the more reason to start boning up on what we—and our leaders—should have learned back before they signed us up for this crash course in Middle Eastern geopolitics. And while we’re at it, let’s do the math on what the war really costs in blood and dollars. It’s time for our own Iraq study group. Yes, there will be a test, and we can’t afford to fail.Continue...