Monday, March 31, 2008

At The Old Boo Game

Tip o' the hat to DPD:


The Atlanta Braves don't like the outcome, and have decided to change the rules. They demand to re-do the 4th inning until they get extra runs given to them.

Atlanta "won" because they were around longer. It's "their turn". Insanely and blindly mad bloggers with email chains will descend upon the world soon, counting backwards from 2-5-08 and factoring in the square root of 161 to PROVE that Howard Dean is secretly controlling the outcome of Major League Baseball.

It's obvious that the Nationals should drop out of MLB and be a farm team. For the good of the Country.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dr. McStrangelove

More McWar + Less McJobs = More McSame

psssst... Do Something.


Friday, March 28, 2008

The Untold Story of McSame

From Maverick to Prostitute: The Untold Story of John McCain

Avenging Angel

As much as anything else, presidential campaigns are won and lost by the media narratives that rightly or wrongly come to define a candidate. In the case of Republican nominee John McCain, the seemingly unshakable narrative of the political "maverick" could not be further off the mark. At almost every turn, McCain in his eternal quest for the White House has reversed long-held positions, compromised core principles and swallowed his pride in order to curry favor with both the leading lights of the conservative movement and right-wing Republican primary voters. The untold story of campaign 2008 is simply that of John McCain's transformation from maverick to prostitute.

As the record shows, the selling of John McCain encompasses virtually the entire gamut of issues, foreign and domestic:

  1. Embracing "Crazy Base World"
  2. Closing Borders - and Minds - to Immigration
  3. Campaign Finance Fraud
  4. Going Over to the Supply Side on Taxes
  5. Attention: Deficit Disorder
  6. Let's Overturn Roe v. Wade After All
  7. Supreme Courtship of the Right
  8. France-Basher to Alliance Builder
  9. A Tortured Position on Torture
10. A Hate-Love Relationship with George W. Bush

Anniversaries of McCain's Own "I Misspoke" Moments Noted Here


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Going, Going…

President Bush Gives an Off-the-Record Pep Talk
While Many Aides Plan Their Exits

U. S. News & World Report, March 26, 2008:
Psst. You didn't hear it here, but President Bush had some things to say, strictly off the record, to a few thousand appointed administration officials and senior civil service workers gathered at DAR Constitution Hall, the District's largest auditorium. The March 4 session wasn't on the president's public calendar, and there is no official transcript posted on the White House website.

The secrecy surrounding what, in the past, has been a open event—the president's annual pep talk to the government's top officials—was a bit odd given the content of his remarks. Off the record and not to be quoted, Bush said that being president has been a "joyous experience."

The president said he remains energized to wrap up work on his agenda, and he used his comments to cheer workers on to push for a good ending of his administration. "He encouraged everyone to continue strong efforts and sprint to the finish," said one federal worker.

However, many senior and midlevel White House and administration officials are looking to land private-sector jobs sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Want McMore Of McSame?

Bush And McCain In Lockstep:

Do you want a third Bush term?

Europeans worry McCain may be worse than Bush.

Maybe because he agrees with Bin Laden?


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

They Volunteered. Thank God. Day 1790

There's No Dick Like Cheney

by Devilstower:

Deaths. Injuries. Long tense days never knowing what might happen next. The Iraq Invasion sure is hard... on George W. Bush.

Noting the burden placed on military families, the vice president said the biggest burden is carried by President George W. Bush, who made the decision to commit US troops to war, and reminded the public that U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan volunteered for duty.

If any one sentence could hold all the contempt that the Republicans feel for the military and for military families, this is the one. Who is this war hardest on? Poor ol' George. What about the 4,000+ who have died? Hey, they volunteered.

Bush's Scary Gibberish

by Blue Intrigue:

Bush's three minute statement at the State Department yesterday was a parade of Bushisms, nonsense, and one veiled threat. Yet, somehow, the MSM is making it sound like grand oratory.

"One day, people will look back at this moment in history and say, 'Thank God there were courageous people willing to serve, because they laid the foundations for peace for generations to come,' " Bush told reporters after a meeting at the State Department.

Day 1790

by mcjoan:

The violence doesn't stop in recognition of any grim milestone reached.

* * * * *

And while the focus is on those 4,000 Americans, Brandon Friedman has an even more sobering assessment.

A bad harbinger looking forward to the next calendar milestone.

But there is hope, not while we have this President and not while we have this Congress. But if enough of the 26 and counting Democratic challengers who have signed onto the Responsible Plan to End the War win in November, and if their courage in staking the election on this issue infects our current crop of Representatives and Senators, maybe we won't be making these grim calculations after 2009.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

4000 U.S. Deaths In Iraq

Iraq Coalition

DoD Deaths Confirmed as of March 23, 2008 — 4,000


People who oppose the war in Iraq have learned some lessons from Vietnam. We bend over backwards to avoid saying or doing anything that could be misrepresented as "not supporting the troops." We accept as a given that they are mis-led by the civilian leadership in the White House, the Pentagon and even by some of the uniformed office corps. But we tend we talk about them as if we assume all soldiers, or at least most, are patriotic idealists who enlisted and serve with pride because they are committed to the nation, the military and their fellow sisters and brothers in arms.


Four more Americans in uniform were killed today in Iraq. Four still anonymous soldiers, whose families soon will know the depths of grief that 3996 families before them have been borne down to. Now 4000 Americans are dead in this war.

* * * * *

It sickens the heart, the carnage that George W. Bush unleashed upon both our countries. No death is insignificant. The deaths of these four souls are just as lamentable as all those that have preceded, and all those that will surely follow while American forces remain in the midst of this civil war.

When will the President apologize for what he has wrought?

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

Whisper of Love

Sometimes the world is shouting so loudly
It is hard to listen to the whisper of love,
but listen we must.

~ S. K. Lindeman

Saturday, March 22, 2008

5 Years Of LA Times Iraq Editorials

Five years of Iraq editorials

What The Times had to say since it staked its
antiwar-without-the-U.N. position in 2003.

In five years of war, The Times editorial board has written over 200 editorials discussing Iraq, from its early position against the war, penned on March 14, 2003, to last week's discussion of global insurgency and the fallout between Adm. William J. Fallon and Gen. David H. Petraeus. This Sunday the board will consider the status of the army as it fights two wars. Below are selections from editorials that appeared at the start of the war, and at every anniversary since.

On the eve of war, The Times editorial board remained persistent in its call for the United Nations to approve action against Iraq, even though it took the liberal hawkish position that Saddam Hussein needed to be disarmed for his tyranny and, The Times believed, his pursuit and possession of weapons of mass destruction. This still put it to the left of all the major papers. Below, we quote at length from that editorial, and its prescient consideration of costs and rising threats from North Korea and Iran.
Friday, March 14, 2003

The Right Way in Iraq

In a post- 9/11 world, the president argues, things are different. The nation must protect itself. Yes. So the question becomes, would an invasion of Iraq make the United States and the world safer? If the world community unites to do it, yes. But a U.S.-led invasion, without sanction from the United Nations, would make this nation and the world at large more dangerous.
Six days later, the war had begun. Noticing that "shock and awe" weren't happening, The Times hoped for a brief conflict with low casualties:
Thursday, March 20, 2003

The Beginnings of War

The limited early strikes contrasted sharply with what had been expected after Pentagon officers spoke of beginning the war with massive airstrikes designed to "shock and awe" or overwhelm Iraq....

The "gee whiz" effect of the most modern armaments should not cloak their result: death and destruction. The targets will be military and government installations; Pentagon planners say they have tried to minimize civilian casualties. But war brings carnage....
Exactly one year later, after the "Mission Accomplished" banner flew, after no weapons of mass destruction were found, and as an insurgency wore on, The Times reflected grimly on how the war had become a rallying point for terrorists:
Saturday, March 20, 2004

A War's Woeful Results

At least the president might score a debatable point in asserting that life in Iraq is far better without Saddam Hussein. But he's the president of the United States and leader of the free world. So it's fair to ask whether the war has made life better for this nation and its allies. In our assessment, it has not. Although ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction was the administration's major selling point for the war, it is now clear that Hussein's regime no longer possessed those weapons....
Spring of 2005 brought an occasion for optimism — many Iraqis risked much to vote for a National Assembly in January of that year — but The Times focused on the challenges Iraqis still faced:
Thursday, March 17, 2005

A Brief 'Bright Moment' in Iraq

The new National Assembly did meet Wednesday, but there was no new president, prime minister, speaker of the Assembly or other Cabinet officer to congratulate. No government formed to make the laws that might move the nation toward normality. It may have been a "bright moment," as President Bush described it in his Wednesday news conference, but moments are fleeting.

After announcements last week that the winning Shiite coalition and second-place Kurds had reached a tentative agreement on naming a Cabinet and forming the new government, the deal fell apart on the disputed point of Kurdish control of the oil city of Kirkuk, among other things....
By the following year, Iraq had devolved into violence after the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra. U.S. casualties were rising and public opinion was turning against the war. The Times bluntly listed the failures of war planners but also chided "revisionist" critics:
Sunday, March 19, 2006

Shock, awe and humility

Three years ago today, Iraqis were "shocked and awed" by the power of the U.S. military. Today, Americans are shocked and awed by its limits. [snip] Bush's messianic idealism was never justified, and in any event the administration's flawed execution would have undermined his purpose. The list of gaffes is by now distressingly familiar: the flawed intelligence on weapons of mass destruction, the lack of sufficient troops, the tainted contracting process and so on.

To be fair, Washington has persevered in its quest to create a representative democracy in Iraq. But American surprise at the unfolding Sunni-Shiite schism, and our lack of preparedness to deal with the early dismantlement of the Iraqi military, have made the world's reigning superpower look, once again, oddly naive.

And though it pledges to "stay the course" in Iraq, the Bush administration has long since fled the battlefield of ideas. It embarrassingly resorts only to Orwellian talk of a "war on terror" instead of addressing real issues, and its claims of relentless success are not to be taken seriously.
Last year, The Times avoided an outright anniversary piece, noting instead at the end of March that Congress seemed ready to set withdrawal deadlines for spring 2008, even if picking a date was "arbitrary" and "purely symbolic," unlike a funding cut-off. The Times also plainly expressed its opinion of withdrawal — that Congress shouldn't micromanage, that criteria need to be met first, and that Iraqi leaders needed to be pressured:
Thursday, March 29, 2007

Endgame on Iraq

The withdrawal language is wrongheaded. As we have argued before, it is bad precedent and bad public policy for Congress to attempt to micromanage military operations in Iraq.... If the United States, through a last-ditch military effort combined with political initiatives, can quell the violence in Iraq and demonstrate progress, then a U.S. military presence for more than the congressionally approved year might be a good investment. But if the troop surge, after some months, fails to improve either the security or political situation, then a year would be too long to leave U.S. troops in Iraq.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Carlyle Group May Buy CIA Contractor

Carlyle Group May Buy Major CIA Contractor:
Booz Allen Hamilton

Tim Shorrock, CorpWatch — via AlterNet:

The global titans may be buying a premiere supplier for the intelligence community.

The Carlyle Group, one of the world's largest private equity funds, may soon acquire the $2 billion government contracting business of consulting giant Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the biggest suppliers of technology and personnel to the U.S. government's spy agencies. Carlyle manages more than $75 billion in assets and has bought and sold a long string of military contractors since the early 1990s. But in recent years it has significantly reduced its investments in that industry. If it goes ahead with the widely reported plan to buy Booz Allen, it will re-emerge as the owner of one of America's largest private intelligence armies.

* * * * *

Who Is Booz Allen Hamilton?

In 2006, Booz Allen Hamilton, a privately held company based in McLean, Virginia, had a global staff of 18,000 and annual revenues of $3.7 billion. Its work for U.S. government agencies accounts for more than 50 percent of its business. Notably Booz Allen is a key adviser and prime contractor to all of the major U.S. intelligence agencies -- the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the National Security Agency (NSA), and -- as well as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the National Counterterrorism Center, the Department of Defense and most of the Pentagon's combatant commands.
Related article: Domestic Spying

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Five Years and Ten Unpleasant Truths

Five Years and Counting:
Ten Unpleasant Truths About The War in Iraq

Stephen M. Walt:

…On the 5th anniversary of the invasion, here are ten unpleasant truths about past errors, present circumstances, and future choices.


1. The invasion of Iraq may be the greatest self-inflicted blunder in the history of U.S. foreign policy. The case for war rested on false information, dubious assumptions and mendacious analysis. [snip] They were wrong on all counts, and their responsibility for this catastrophe should not be forgotten.

2. A smarter occupation would not have produced significantly better results. The Bush administration failed to plan the post-war occupation and compounded that error with numerous post-invasion blunders. [snip] The key mistake was the initial decision to invade, the subsequent errors merely made a bad situation worse.

3. The war has done enormous damage to U.S. interests in the Middle East. The invasion destabilized the region and enhanced Iran's influence and strategic position. It also contributed to the unprecedented rise in oil prices, discredited democracy, and further tarnished America's image in the Arab and Islamic world. We cannot escape these consequences until we reverse course. Civil war may occur after we withdraw, but that danger exists whenever we leave.

4. The war has been a major setback in the campaign against anti-American terrorism. The war diverted attention and resources from our efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan, thereby helping Al Qaeda and the Taliban recover their strength.

5. The "surge" has failed as a strategy. Increased U.S. troop strength brought internal violence back down to 2005 levels, but political reconciliation did not occur and the level of violence is now rising. Judged by the administration's own criteria, the strategy has not worked.

6. The United States cannot win the war at an acceptable cost. America's ability to dictate political events in Iraq was never very great and is steadily declining. Iraqis will determine their country's future, not us, and prolonging the U.S. presence will not alter this fact.

7. The search for scapegoats is already underway. Civilians who now argue that the surge is "working" are trying to pin failure either on Bush's successor, or on those who have opposed the war from the beginning.

8. The war has done more damage to the armed forces than we know, and rebuilding them will be more difficult, costly, and time-consuming than we realize. U.S. troops have fought bravely and with dedication, and they deserve our gratitude. But the war has undermined overall U.S. readiness, degraded our equipment, and crippled recruitment and retention.

9. The next president faces a stark choice: bring a misguided war to an end, or inherit responsibility for it. For the next President, continuing the occupation means taking ownership of Bush's blunder.

10. The Iraq debacle reflects a broader pattern of failure among key American institutions. Although primary responsibility for the war rests with Bush, Cheney, and the neoconservatives who conceived and sold it, other important U.S. institutions performed poorly as well. [snip]

Even more remarkably, mainstream media organizations continue to rely on the same "talking heads" and inside-the-Beltway pundits whose judgment has proven consistently wrong since 2002. The implication is deeply troubling: if Americans do not learn from this experience and hold those responsible accountable, the Iraq debacle will not be our last.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

5 Years Ago

Believe It or Not -- 5 Years Ago
Many Top Newspapers Opposed the War

Greg Mitchell:

You may be surprised to learn that, precisely five years ago, at least one-third of the top newspapers in this country came out against President Bush taking us to war at that time. Many of the papers may have fumbled the WMD coverage, and only timidly raised questions about the need for war, but when push came to shove five years ago they wanted to wait longer to move against Saddam, or not move at all.

"For apparently the first time in modern history, the U.S. government seems poised to go to war not only lacking the support of many of its key allies abroad but also without the enthusiastic backing of the majority of major newspapers at home," Ari Berman and I wrote at Editor & Publisher on March 19, 2003. Berman had just completed his fifth and (presumably) final prewar survey of the top 50 newspapers' editorial positions.

Following Bush's 48-hour ultimatum to Saddam Hussein, newspapers took their last opportunity to sound off before the war started. Of the 44 papers publishing editorials about the war, roughly one-third reiterated strong support for the White House, one-third repeated their abiding opposition to it, and the rest -- with further debate now useless -- took a more philosophical approach.

But, in the end, the majority agreed that the Bush administration had badly mishandled the crisis. Most papers sharply criticized Washington's diplomatic efforts, putting the nation on the eve of a pre-emptive war without U.N. Security Council support -- and expressed fears for the future despite an inevitable victory.

Once equivocal editorial pages got straight to the point. "This war crowns a period of terrible diplomatic failure," The New York Times argued, "Washington's worst in at least a generation. The Bush administration now presides over unprecedented American might. What it risks squandering is not Americans' power, but an essential part of our glory."

Continue article here.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Economy Tank

The Buck Stops Where?

Review & Outlook, Online WSJ:

In the credit market panic that began in August, we have now reached the point of maximum danger: A global run on the dollar that could become a rout. […]

Yet the conventional wisdom -- on Wall Street and in Washington -- continues to be precisely the opposite. In this view, the Fed is "behind the curve" and needs to cut interest rates even faster and further than it has. Never mind that this is precisely the path the Fed has followed since August, yet the crisis has grown worse and now bids to tank the larger economy. Does it make sense to do more of what isn't working?

The dollar sinks. Economic crisis worsens.
Is anyone in charge?


That sound of tectonic plates shifting, crushing under their massive weight the head of a little bird that has been running around Wall Street crying, "The sky is falling in!", is the sound of the American dollar's once rock-solid value plummeting and of the Bush gang's yawning indifference to the fate of the nation's currency - and to the role its failed economic policies and overspending on its long, endless wars has cost U.S. taxpayers. (Even now, the U.S. government continues to borrow some $2 billion a day to finance its activities, including the wars.)

How the GOP Will Benefit
From Impending Economic Collapse

The Existentialist Cowboy:

Republicans benefit from the fact that recessions are class conscious, affecting worse those who can least afford them. An era of highly leveraged US economic expansion and empire is about to come crashing down and swept away. Count on the GOP to make out like bandits.

It seems like ages ago, the US was at peace, there was a budget surplus, the economy was growing, and the unemployment rate was very low. But not everyone was happy. There was an entire group of people who harbor not good, but ill will; an entire class wished for bad times and got it.

Until now, China had an interest in keeping the US ponzi scheme propped up --they sold billions to US citizens via Wal-Mart, the economic Kudzu that ate America. But since a Chinese sub popped up undetected in the middle of the US fifth fleet, it has been apparent that the honeymoon is over. China now leads the world in dumping dollars. Everywhere, it seems, it has become a habit.

If this were mere recession staring back at us from a fun house mirror, it might be shrugged off. After all, the GOP has always loved recessions and benefited from them.

Bernanke Saves Bear Stearns
While Americans Live In Tents

Prison Planet:

After bailing out America's broke banks to the tune of $200 billion, the Federal Reserve turned their philanthropic eye to Bear Stearns, and they're not even a bank! In a similar exchange to the bank bailout, Bear Stearns traded worthless mortgage backed securities for Treasury notes.

The Fed, having pledged $30 million in Treasuries to the bankrupt firm, and $200 billion to the broke banks, now owns the homes of almost a quarter of a million Americans. Meanwhile, Illuminati controlled JP Morgan Chase just announced that they had bought Bear Stearns for a paltry $236 million.

And while most devastating to the working and middle class, even the wealthy are loosing their homes. Maryland recently reported that the total number of foreclosures this year alone equals 40% of all homes sold in 2006.

The worst is yet to come," warned Eric S. Friedman, director of Montgomery County's Office of Consumer Protection. "A lot more adjustable-rate mortgages are going to be resetting in 2008 and 2009."

In a very real sense, the Federal Reserve has just perpetrated the biggest land grab in the last 100 years by trading worthless paper for real estate. Now good people, United States citizens, having been sold out by their government and stripped of their homes and property, must live in tents and shanties, while criminal, predatory bankers get rich and fat off of the sweat and effort of our country.

This is economic destruction and financial slavery. It has to stop. The press in this country are obviously propaganda outlets controlled by the Elite. Why else wouldn't they warn us? Why else would they omit such a serious breach and cover up the fact that their own countrymen are living outside?

Leading Economic Writer:

Financial Meltdown A "Gigantic Fraud"

Info Wars:

A leading economic journalist has described the current financial crisis as a "gigantic fraud", the fallout of a deliberate and preconceived profit agenda to enslave the middle classes in a debt bubble.

The economics editor of the London Guardian, Larry Elliott, has hit out at the global financial elite in a refreshing piece that marks a rare shift away from the establishment hackery we are used to from the corporate media.

In an article titled
America was conned - who will pay? Elliot writes:

Indeed, it is somewhat surprising that there is not already rioting in the streets, given the gigantic fraud perpetrated by the financial elite at the expense of ordinary Americans. [...]

Business, of course, needs consumers to carry on spending in order to make money, so a way had to be found to persuade households to do their patriotic duty. The method chosen was simple. Whip up a colossal housing bubble, convince consumers that it makes sense to borrow money against the rising value of their homes to supplement their meagre real wage growth and watch the profits roll in.

As they did - for a while. Now it's payback time and the mood could get very ugly. Americans, to put it bluntly, have been conned. They have been duped by a bunch of serpent-tongued hucksters who packed up the wagon and made it across the county line before a lynch mob could be formed.

Elliot, like former chief economist of the World Bank turned whistleblower, Joseph Stiglitz, points a finger of blame squarely at former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, stating:

"In the longer term, lessons must be learnt from the turmoil. One is that you don't solve the problems of a collapsing bubble by blowing up another, which is what Alan Greenspan did after the dotcom fiasco in 2001 - the most irresponsible behaviour of any central banker in living memory."

Another cogent point Larry Elliot makes is the following:

"If this is, heaven help us, The Big One, one of the only consolations will be that the repugnance at the orgy of speculation that has sapped the strength of the US economy will put a new New Deal on the political agenda."

It should be added that, given that this crisis has been engineered by a financial elite Ponzi scheme, we should be extremely wary of any "new deal" that is brokered by the financial and political elite posing as our saviors.

Monday, March 17, 2008

New York State Gov. David A. Paterson

With a large smile on his face, looking very at ease and surrounded by family, David Paterson was sworn in as New York's 55th Governor at a time of immense discourse in New York Government. Gov. Paterson spoke at length with no teleprompter, evidencing a wonderful sense of humor and a remarkable ability to reach out to both sides of a severely disfunctional legislature.

The Rev. Msgr. Wallace A. Harris, pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Church, a Roman Catholic parish in Mr. Paterson’s home community of Harlem, led the gathering in prayer: “Rescue those unable to survive without him and bless his family, bless them in their gift of support to him and the strength they must give. Mighty God, your amazement never ceases.”

“Let us grab the unusual opportunities that circumstance has handed us today and put personal politics, party advantage and power struggles aside, in favor of service, in the interests of the people”

Godspeed, Governor Paterson.

Happy St. Paddy's Day

Like the gold of the sun,
Like the light of the day,
May the luck of the Irish
Shine bright on your way.

Like the glow of a star,
And the lilt of a song,
May these be your joys
All your life long.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


The Intelligence Cover-Up

NYT Editorial:

What Mr. Bush wants is to be able to listen to your international telephone calls and read your international e-mail whenever he wants, without a court being able to prevent it or judge the legality of his actions.
* * * * *
The purpose of this amnesty is not to protect national secrets — that could be done during a trial — but to make sure that the full damage to Americans’ civil liberties is never revealed.
* * * * *
The president will continue to claim the country is in grave danger over this issue, but it is not. The real danger is for Mr. Bush. A good law — like the House bill — would allow Americans to finally see the breathtaking extent of his lawless behavior.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Yo, Ralphie

Friday, March 14, 2008

House Passes FISA Amendment

From The Gavel:

The House has just passed the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 3773, to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to establish a procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence, and for other purposes, by a vote of 213-197-1. The revised House legislation to amend FISA grants new authorities for conducting electronic surveillance against foreign targets while preserving the requirement that the government obtain an individualized FISA court order, based on probable cause, when targeting Americans at home or abroad. The House bill also strongly enhances oversight of the Administration’s surveillance activities. Finally, the House bill does not provide retroactive immunity for telecom companies but allows the courts to determine whether lawsuits should proceed.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

We Still Ain't Skeert

From Red Letter Rev:

JEEBUS! Just when we think we've made headway against one sort of illegal domestic spying, we find out that BushCo have been sneaking in another. From TPM:
It is the closest thing I've seen to a complete explanation of the surveillance program the Bush Administration has assembled.

Siobhan Gorman of The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that the National Security Agency has assembled what some intelligence officials admit is a driftnet for domestic and foreign communications.

Here's the way the whole thing works, according to Gorman: into the NSA's massive database goes data collected by the Justice Department, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Treasury.

This information includes data about email (recipient and sender address, subject, time sent), internet searches (sites visited and searches conducted), phone calls (incoming and outgoing numbers, length of call, location), financial information (wire transfers, credit-card use, information about bank accounts), and information from the DHS about airline passengers.

Then the NSA's software analyzes this data for indications of terrorist activity. When it hits upon a suspicious pattern, the NSA "feeds its findings into the effort the administration calls the Terrorist Surveillance Program and shares some of that information with other U.S. security agencies.”
Basically, no American citizen can fart without Bush and the neoKKKons smelling it. Keep in mind, the flip side of "marketing" data collection is a complete profile on each and every American citizen, law-abiding or not. They know every penny you've got, where you spent your money and on what, who you call, who calls you, how many of those idiotic saccharine "forwards" you've actually forwarded (did you do all 10, or will a house fall on you??) ... in short, every single frickin' intimate detail about your life.

Bush and his neoKKKon buddies are bent and determined not only to break the law, but to give themselves amnesty for doing it (Mr. Rockefeller, you lis'nin'??). Add the American "black site" gulags, extraordinary rendition and torture to this vile stew, and you have the very definition of a fascist, totalitarian state run amok.

1984 is now. We're a terrifyingly long way down the path to utter implosion as a nation. And when it does implode, the neoKKKons will quietly slip offshore with all the cash they've stored in their Cayman Island lockboxes -- where we'll never touch either again.

Every nation that has ever hyper-militarized and regimentalized, then allowed a small wingnut cabal to run amok has imploded miserably: from Rome, to Germany, to the Soviet Union... right down, sadly, to the once-free, once-great America. Our economy is the product of a neoKKKon military/industrial complex that is a ticking time-bomb with but seconds left on the dial.

Meanwhile, the targets of this "driftnet" of spying are Quakers, grannies' knitting circles, peace activists, Democrats, equal rights advocates -- y'know, all the very worst turriss. (SNARK!) It wasn't lost on me that the new crowd-control weapon 60 Minutes showed was demonstrated on "peace activists".

We got the message. We still ain't skeert.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

House Ethics Board Passes

Learn more in the legislation section:

On March 11th, the House passed legislation (H.Res. 895) to strengthen congressional ethics enforcement with a new Office of Congressional Ethics. This will bring greater accountability and transparency to the ethics enforcement process by requiring, for the first time in history, an independent review of alleged ethics violations by individuals who are not Members of Congress.

Roll Call: Final Vote


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

House Files Suit To Enforce Subpoenas


House Panel Sues White House Officials

The House Judiciary Committee sued former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten on Monday, setting up a constitutional clash over the Bush administration's refusal to provide testimony and documents about the firing of U.S. attorneys.

The lawsuit says Miers is not immune from the obligation to testify and that she and Bolten must identify all documents that are being withheld from Congress regarding what Democrats say were politically motivated dismissals of nine U.S. attorneys.

The Gavel:

House Files Suit Against Administration to Enforce Subpoenas

Read the March 10th, 2008 complaint (pdf) here.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

The House is taking action today to uphold the rule of law and to protect our Constitutional system of checks and balances. Congress, on behalf of the American people, is clearly entitled to the information that is being sought – it involves the politicization of the Justice Department and law enforcement, not national security information nor communications with the President. The President has no grounds to assert executive privilege.

Judiciary Committee:

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives General Counsel filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of the House Judiciary Committee to enforce subpoenas issued by the committee seeking information on the U.S. Attorney firings. The defendants in the case are former White House Counsel Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten who were cited by the House for contempt of Congress last month. Last week, the Justice Department refused to present the House-passed contempt citations to a grand jury, contrary to federal law. Based on the House resolution that also found Bolten and Miers in comtempt, the committee is now filing the civil lawsuit to enforce the subpoenas.

"We will not allow the administration to steamroll Congress," Conyers said. "Under our system of checks and balances, Congress provides oversight of the executive branch to make sure that government power is not abused. The administration’s extreme claims to be immune from the oversight process are at odds with our constitutional principles on which this country was founded, and I am confident the federal courts will agree."

Miers and Bolten violated their obligations under committee subpoenas by refusing to appear before the committee or to provide subpoenaed documents. The lawsuit was filed this morning in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and will be served on Ms. Miers and Mr. Bolton.

Judiciary Committee website: Miers and Bolten Contempt Report and Related Documents

Gavel archives on the US Attorney scandal or contempt.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Wexler Reponds to Mukasey’s Refusal

Rep. Wexler Responds To Mukasey’s Refusal To Enforce Contempt

Two weeks ago, the House took a bold step demanding accountability for the Bush/Cheney Administration by holding former White House Council Harriet Miers and White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten in Contempt of Congress for blatantly ignoring congressional subpoenas for over 8 months.

Though it was not a surprise, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, wrote a letter to the House of Representatives stating that he refuses to call a Grand Jury to enforce those contempt citations. […]

This is not an issue between Democrats and Republicans. As members of Congress, we have an absolute duty to enforce the checks and balances prescribed by our Constitution.

We have ceded too much for too long, enabling George W. Bush to assume a unitary imperial Presidency. It is long past time to secure accountability for those who have, by all appearances, committed significant breaches of our laws and trust.

Mukasey’s claims are simply the latest in a long line of outlandish legal arguments ranging from the idea that we can selectively cherry-pick from torture laws to the concept that the Vice President is no longer part of the Executive Branch (except, of course, when he needs to claim Executive Privilege).

YouTube video and more at Crooks and Liars.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

March 8 Elections

Democrats take high-profile Republican district

A Democrat captured on Saturday an Illinois U.S. House of Representatives seat that had been a Republican stronghold, in a symbolic blow to President George W. Bush's party ahead of November elections.

Political earthquake: Foster to replace Hastert

In a major blow to the Republican Party, Democratic former physicist Bill Foster on Saturday took the solidly Republican far west suburban seat held for the last 21 years by former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert.

CNN: Obama Wins In Wyoming

CNN: New Delegate Count

Saturday, March 08, 2008


Jody: Not Just Another War Story

A Novel By John Harris

This is a fascinating, compelling story about brutal warfare, a devastating betrayal and a secret affair.

Jody Williams joined the Marine Corps an innocent youth because he was homeless, and he became a true hero in every sense of the word, but, twists of fate and extenuating circumstances prevented him from receiving the commendations for his heroic actions that he deserved and wanted.

He is brash and reckless and will not stand down from a fight, yet still has that special something that will captivate you.

You will fall in love with the "kid" and will find yourself wanting to know more.

Also available here.

About the Author: John Harris is a staunch defender of the First and Second Amendments. Being “politically correct” is not one of his traits. He writes what he wants to write, the way he wants to write it. Jody is his second book. He is currently writing the sequel.


(The cover photo for this book is of George Harris, John's older brother, who was killed in combat. The photo has been owned by and in the possession of the Harris family for over sixty-four years.)

Thank you for writing this story, "John Boy".

Thursday, March 06, 2008

just a Little Joke

Question: Why is George W. Bush glad that John McCain is the Republican nominee?

Answer: It makes him feel tall.

Betcha that John McCain tells Cindy to bag the heels from now on, too.

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Bush Endorses McCain

McCain = Third Term Bush President Bush has endorsed Arizona Sen. John McCain for the Republican presidential nomination, after a White House meeting Wednesday.

The Hill: While the two remaining Democratic contenders showed Tuesday night that their nomination battle could continue for months, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has already started a series of attacks aimed at painting McCain as offering a “third Bush term.”

That message, combined with the president’s low approval ratings, a sagging economy and an unpopular war, caused many reporters to ask Wednesday if the president could be detrimental to McCain’s hopes of winning the White House.

“Look, if my showing up and endorsing him helps him, or if I'm against him and it helps him, either way, I want him to win,” Bush said, adding that “they’re not going to be voting for me.” […] “And if he wants my pretty face standing by his side at one of these rallies, I'll be glad to show up,” Bush said. “But they're going to be looking at him, you know.” [...] “They're going to vote for who gets to sit inside that Oval Office and make decisions on how to protect the country and keep taxes low, and how to have a culture that respects the dignity of every human being.”

Earth Times: "John McCain just doesn't get it," said Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean. "American families are struggling with higher costs of living, stagnant wages and a mortgage crisis that threatens their homes and financial security, but as President Bush himself said today, John McCain is no change at all. All he offers is four more years of the failed Bush economy, an endless war in Iraq, and shameless hypocrisy on ethics reform. The fact is, the American people want change, not another out-of-touch Bush Republican, and Democrats welcome the opportunity to draw this contrast for voters."

• Third Bush Term on the Economy...

McCain's Short-Term Solution For the Economy? Tax Cuts for the Wealthy in Two Years, Of Course.

• Third Bush Term on Iraq...

McCain Would Spend 'a Hundred Years' or a 'Million Years' in Iraq.

• Third Bush Term on Health Care...

John McCain Does Not Have a Plan For the Uninsured.

• Third Bush Term on Social Security...

McCain "Totally In Favor" of Bush Social Security Plan.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Rev's Monday Moanin' Rant 'n' Grr

From our Rev:


Grasping Old Pirates

Greed, Oil, and Plunder

Gross Old Perverts

Grabby Officious Plunderers ...

Generates Obnoxious Pollution ...

I'm still thinkin'. There have to be plenty more. What a thoroughly amoral, disgusting lot with their cow-stupid, drooling, knuckle-dragging followers. They never take on any of the personal responsibility they natter endlessly about. They roar in, screw up or completely despoil everything around them, then look around for someone else (who likely was completely uninvolved) to blame.

They've screwed this country to the wall, sold its citizens in bondage to the mega-corporations, stolen everything not nailed down and carted it to offshore tax havens they created just for the purpose. Either we rise up and vote in a Progressive Congress this time or there will never, ever, ever be another chance. We've already hit all fourteen points of fascism and the "federalist" and "strict constructionist" traitors to the Constitution have already rescinded rights that once-free Americans took for granted -- and now have lost.

Any red-blooded, patriotic American would fight rather than give up their rights. The pug crowd are all-too happy to throw their rights away to those who don't deserve to be in power, just because those in power are willing to throw the words "Jesus" and "conservative" into their vile diatribes, even though they have amply demonstrated that they don't give a whit about either Jesus or conservatism. This GOP performs acts that Jesus will never let them get away with in the hereafter and prove that the only thing they "conserve" is our money into their pockets.

I long for the day when every last one of them is rotting in the mega-prisons they've built for us.

* * * * *

Either everyone becomes serious about rescuing this country from a complete slide à la USSR into grinding poverty for all but the top 10%, left with nothing but warring crime syndicates just like modern-day Russia, or we'll be there within a very, very few years. We've already got one foot in the grave and the other on a nanner-peel.

The wealthiest 10% have already grabbed 90% of the wealth and privilege --yet demonstrably they're not satisfied. The traitors on the right have happily thrown their rights away -- they're damn well not welcome to mine. The 19%-ers have no right to throw America away out from under the majority.

Either we are serious about making this election a landslide or we are seriously in deep crap. The military/industrial complex Ike warned us about are here. The same kind of people drove the former Soviet Union right into the ground (Raygun had absolutely nothing to do with it, despite the fairy-tales the right like to believe). They're doing a good job of it here.

There hasn't been any real money in the banks or in the stock market for the last 30 years. When that paper castle they've built starts collapsing for real (and it's going to -- it already is) we're going to be in a complete world of hurt. We will look back as a nation and will say "we saw it coming, but we didn't think the worst could actually happen to us". All the clues are there. Either we fix it with a peaceful revolution at the polls to put Progressives into Congress or we will soon suffer the consequences of our inaction.

* * * * *

Anyone who can't vote for a Democrat this fall isn't serious about keeping their rights and the Constitution intact. We've lost so much, thanks to single-party rule (vs. governance) from the Republics. While I respect the right of other people to throw their rights and country away, I absolutely resent the fact that they disrespect me by throwing my rights and country away with them. Nobody has the right to take my rights away.

But by either voting for McKook or staying at home in November, that is exactly what they're doing. They're stating loud and clear that they despise America and they despise the Constitution. I'll say it again: If you want a country where a single religious sect makes the laws in accordance with a single interpretation of a religious text; if you want a country where Big Brother spies into your bedrooms, your every phone conversation and your every email; if you want a country where a single religion is taught in public schools; if you want a country where there are no rights for females and minorities; then, I submit that your heaven on earth already exists and that you should pack your bags and go there.

It's called Iran. The rest of us who love America and are willing to fight for it will pass the hat and make sure you get there -- and good riddance.

* * * *

Our banking system is in major trouble, our economy is in major trouble, joblessness has once again increased -- and who was at the helm stealing all they could get their hands on, selling our jobs and our country out from under us, whilst ignoring the problems they themselves were creating?

Betcherass that blame lies squarely and 100% on the Republic party.

Vote Democratic whilst you still can, lest the deluge of shyte the Republics have created washes us all and our country with it completely away.

* * * * *

Oh, but the Great White Idiot in the Oval says there isn't any domestic turrisstesses. (*snark*)

I mean, if the bozos in DC can't catch the ELF freaks, don't care if family planning centers are blown to bits, and they can't seem to catch the perpetrators of hate-crimes that have soared exponentially since the Chimp took office, then how in hell are they going to catch al Qaeda?

QED, Bush's cronies can't find there own arses with two hands and a huntin' dog. Worse, the Republics in Congress have squabbled over the spoils of spending bills, whose cronies are getting what, and they've blocked all meaningful legislation that would secure our borders and make us safer. The net effect is that demonstrably, the US is far more unsafe than we were pre-9/11.

I fear to think, but nonetheless I do think that the PNAC and fascist crowd will not go either peacefully or gracefully after their certain defeat in November. They have demonstrated that by leaving us unsafe, they're either itching for or will manufacture another "Pearl Harbor event" in order to secure power once and for all. If you will remember, the resident gave himself the power to declare martial law to suspend elections -- and he never does anything without an ulterior purpose that will soon be revealed. I would not put it past the neoKKKons, not for a New York split-second.

* * * * *

Patriotism is serving your country in honorable fashions, not hollering for war then standing back while someone else's kids go die for your greed. Patriotism is being involved in your governance, not playing with your vote like it's for American Idiot, er, Idle, er, Idol. Patriotism is holding your elected officials accountable for the well-being of all your fellow citizens, not flocking to the polls because some yay-hoo says that the most important thing they have in mind to do is to deny rights and equality to fellow citizens. Patriotism is conserving and preserving national treasures and resources, not sticking a frickin' magnet to an SUV.

There's much to be done, and much education to catch a lot of folks up on. It's an unthinkably massive job we've got ahead.

~ Red Letter Rev


Sunday, March 02, 2008

Time To Spring Forward

Bodies don't 'spring ahead'


A bold prediction: A week from today you will be feeling sleepy, very sleepy.

You will have trouble getting out of bed. If you are a teenager, you will have even more trouble than usual. If you are an early-morning commuter, you may struggle to keep your eyes open as you drive along darkened streets.

What will trigger this mass bout of drowsy driving, this predictably mopey Monday? It will be the first weekday of daylight saving time — that once-a-year "spring ahead" that robs us of one hour of sleep (which is returned when clocks "fall back" in November).

It's just one hour, but experts in chronobiology — the study of our internal body clocks — say it takes most people several days to adjust. (The fall change also is disruptive, but less so.) One recent study from German researchers, published in the journal Current Biology, found that some habitual night owls have trouble getting enough sleep for weeks after the spring shift — which, in effect, demands that we all go to bed and get up an hour earlier.

* * * * *

Meanwhile, those extra-foggy days next week may do us some good — if they remind us that when we mess with Mother Nature, she messes with us, too.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Ready For Spring

Oh, deer...

It snowed, again.

I'm so tired of winter!


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