Saturday, January 8, 2005

April Fool's Day?

When I read this article, I had to check the calendar. I could swear that January had just arrived, but somehow we had fast-forwarded to April 1, because only on April Fool's Day could such a ridiculous article--and ridiculous idea--be put to print. But no, it's January 8, all right.

However, in the Bizarro World our country has become, where a majority of people are hypnotized by some kind of Rovian Jedi mind trick, the possibility of Newt Gingrich running for president doesn't seem as laughable as it used to. For him to think he even has a chance scares me, because he probably does. John Kerry forgets where he spent Christmas Eve one year during the war, and that's an unforgiveable offense to Republicans and their supporters. Shrub snorts coke, lies to the American people, invades a sovereign nation, and sends thousands of our young people to their deaths, but hey, that's forgiveable. He's god's right-hand man. So I'm sure that Newt's past offenses will be swept under the big GOP, god-woven rug, and we can look forward to seeing his smirky face at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Anyone have the telephone number of a good immigration lawyer?

Wolfie's stayin'

Does it surprise anyone?

Illegal Videos

This article in yesterday's NYTimes:
Bush's Drug Videos Broke Law, Accountability Office Decides

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 - The Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, said on Thursday that the Bush administration violated federal law by producing and distributing television news segments about the effects of drug use among young people.

The accountability office said the videos "constitute covert propaganda" because the government was not identified as the source of the materials, which were distributed by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. They were broadcast by nearly 300 television stations and reached 22 million households, the office said.

The accountability office does not have law enforcement powers, but its decisions on federal spending are usually considered authoritative.

In May the office found that the Bush administration had violated the same law by producing television news segments that portrayed the new Medicare law as a boon to the elderly.

The accountability office was not critical of the content of the video segments from the White House drug office, but found that the format - a made-for-television "story package" - violated the prohibition on using taxpayer money for propaganda.

Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, the senior Democrat on the Government Reform Committee, who requested the review, said the use of the mock news segments broke "a fundamental principle of open government."

A spokesman for the drug policy office said the review's conclusions made a "mountain out of a molehill."

A "mountain out of a molehill", huh? Gotta start somewhere. My dream is to release all the non-violent political (read "Racist War On Drugs") prisoners from our nation's jails and replace 'em with administration thieves.
The drug policy office told investigators that it would have been difficult for "a reasonable broadcaster" to mistake the videos for independent news reports.

But the G.A.O. said the drug policy office "made it impossible for the targeted viewing audience to ascertain that these stories were produced by the government."

Federal law prohibits the use of federal money for "publicity or propaganda purposes" not authorized by Congress. The accountability office has found that federal agencies violated this restriction when they distributed editorials and newspaper articles written by government officials without identifying them.

The accountability office said the administration's misuse of federal money "also constitutes a violation of the Antideficiency Act," which prohibits spending in excess of appropriations.

Lemme see if I 'm getting this right: They steal public money to mis-inform and dupe the public so they can keep doing what they're doing, even though it's wrong, and get the duped public to agree with it? Is that pretty close?

It's about what I've come to expect from these Goebbels wannabes. Thank you, GAO. Now, start indicting them.

Putting Christ back in Christianity

According to Blondie:

[. . .]

I always believed that Christians would use the Gospels as their foundation for living good lives and being good to others, not only to please the creator, but to just make living on earth a little bit better. These maniacs have stolen Christianity from Christians and we had better do something about it even if you don't have a religion or are of a different religious persuasion. These are dangerous people and have turned Christianity once again into a religion of oppression. God help us.

Cycles. The American Taliban . . . er, Christians have become the Emperor Popes of the day.


I was over at The Corner (don't ask, I was over there looking over something another Reality-based blogger linked to) when this caught my eye. From that nitwit Jonah Goldberg:

CALL ME CRAZY .... [Jonah Goldberg ]

But I think this guy's post about Armstrong Williams is flat-out racist, and it's not like I throw that around lightly.

I found it while searching Technorati for what the blogosphere was saying about Armstrong Williams. I don't know much about Steve Gillard. Okay I don't know anything execpt I've come across the name in searches before and Technorati says it's fairly well-known.

Anyway, I find the Williams thing to be a total trainwreck, but I don't think it warrants lame slave jokes and the like. Then again, I don't think anything warrants even non-lame slave jokes. Shame on this guy whoever he is.

Crazy? No, you're a fucking idiot, but less of one than the rest of the assholes at NRO. He links to Steve Gillard's post:

[. . .]

Of course it's totally unethical and illegal, but hey, he's already sold his soul to massa, why not sell it some more. Massa George wanted him to do somethin' so he did it. And got paid well for it.

On top of Clarence Thoams begging his white patrons for money, this ought to expose the character of the negro conservative. They have no soul and no morals. They can be bought by their white overlords because they apsire to their status, but think themselves unworthy to be treated as the same. Now, I'll freely admit both Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have used their position to gain personally. But this kind of craven greed is a feature of the negro conservative. He shuffles and bucks along for his master, losing his soul and dignity in the process.

[. . .]

Now, I love Gillard. I like people who call 'em as they see 'em. Steve's also a brother, but he could be as white as my ass, because he's absolutely right. Calling yourself a Black Republican is to call yourself an Uncle Tom steppanfetchit. How can any black person support people who would have them around only to hold up as tokens? If it were up to the Repubs, Armstrong Williams, Colin Powell, Condi Rice, Rod Paige, and the rest of the tokens, would be in the fields picking cotton. Goldberg and his ilk have the utmost of gall to let the word racist cross their lips, especially trying to brand Gillard as a self-hating nigga. Steve wrote a reply to Goldberg here:

[. . .]

I normally don't visit that sewer of a site of yours, but calling me racist while working for NRO is, at best a joke. How could you tell the difference? I mean, don't you work with a company full of anti-black bigots like Rich Lowry? Didn't William Buckley defend segregation?

I did notice, however, you were first in line to toss Williams to the wolves. Couldn't wait, could you?

[. . .]


Update: 06:00:

That Colored Fella has more.

Update: 10:10:

While I'm on the subject of Steve Gillard. He goes on this morning about dealing with idiots like Jonah Goldberg and other racist assholes.

[. . .]

The thing about blogging that has been reenforced over the year is the futility of appeasing the right. They're gonna come after you anyway, no matter what you say or do, so standing up to them is the rule of the day. Those people only mean me ill. Pretending that there is a common ground is futile.

Congress can't act like that because they have to do things. But what the fuck are Rich Lowry and Jonah Goldberg gonna do for me? Not one fucking thing. I won't play tit for tat with them. I consider them little better than racist scum and I don't really consider their opinions/ They're just clowns to me. I know some people want to debate them and exchange ideas. I don't. I have more readers than that racist rag of a magazine does.

[. . .]

Update: 14:50:

Not only did Ol' Armstrong sell out his ethics, his race, and his soul, he also sold out his sexual orientation. I look at gay Republicans the same way I do black Republicans. Wouldn't piss on 'em if they were on fire. A gay, black Republican, a waste of my good air.

Saturday Cattle Dog Blogging

Shayna the Princess.

Plain Truth

The way that normal, non-hallucinating people of any political persuasion can help the soldiers in the field, the people of Iraq, and, not least of all, themselves, is to appreciate the true situation as best they can, and to demand accountability from our political leaders when the situation is not handled effectively. The true situation is that there is a large and popular insurgency in Iraq, made up of disparate interests, but all drawing their strength from the long-standing popular discontent with the American and coalition occupation, a discontent based on a very understandable dislike of foreign armies, and fueled by the thousands of Iraqis we have killed, intentionally or not, to say nothing of Abu Ghraib - here, 6 months later, almost completely forgotten. This is the reality that was apparent to journalists well outside the "Sunni triangle" last March, as well as to the Marines who first "liberated" Baghdad. True, many soldiers in Iraq have been in places where people were nice and glad to have them, which is great, but misses the main point. Kennedy was shot on a sunny day, but most newspapers didn’t lead with the nice weather.

[. . .]

And if you really want to help the American war effort, you can join the fucking armed forces and go to Iraq like thousands of others have, and then you can do the best job you can to show them that Americans care about them and want, above all else, for all of our futures to be better and more peaceful than the past, and get paid shit. You will then be my personal hero, really, and I hope you don't get killed or maimed or see or do something that makes you hate everything for the rest of your life, which is a very real possibility. If you, like me, are too much of a coward to risk your life and health on a mission like that, then you can donate to charities which help soldiers (although it is worth looking into where and what kind of help is needed – some places don’t need it as much as others). But the easiest thing you can do is influence the politicians who create the policies – and in some cases the military strategies - which are being carried out in Iraq, but to do this in a useful way you first have to make some contact with reality. Reality is that the situation in Iraq is horrible, the outlook for any lasting peace is grim, and that this has nothing to do with a nebulous, malignant, all-powerful “Left”, and everything to do with the people in power who make bad and stupid policies. You can pull your head out of your ass, stop dreaming up stupid conspiracy theories about how everyone around the world you don’t like is working together to destroy Freedom, and tell them that they need to do a better job. And if they won’t do a better job, the solution is not to get upset at people who aren’t waving their pom-poms or denouncing Saddam single-mindedly enough for you, it is to fire the fuck-ups so we can maybe have some chance at salvaging something from this fiasco. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

The Poor Man
via Corrente. And this from Kos:

[. . .]

It is my view that those of us who vehemently opposed this war can and should still support the soldiers and their families. Their sacrifice is no less a sacrifice because the action they are engaged in is a tragically wrong headed blunder. That's on BushCo, not our soldiers.

The troops need our support, regardless of the policies that put them in this situation. But the most support we can give them is to pressure our elected representatives to put pressure on the White House to impement an endgame plan and stick to it. While the Poor Man doesn't have any ideas about what we should do there, I do.

The way I see it, we got two choices. One, flood the country with American troops, more than double what are there now. Seal the borders, hunt down and kill the insurgents (the right way), and keep the place safe and orderly until the Iraqis can rebuild the infrastructure and their government institutions.

Two, begin the withdrawal right after the elections in a couple weeks and be out by autumn. Let Iraq find its own level, so to speak. It would probably end up in civil war, but they probably wouldn't be any worse off than they are now.

Maybe, once the Americans left, they'd settle down within ethnic borders. Maybe the Shi'a and Kurds might kill all the Sunni (memories are long in that part of the world), but the absence of American soldiers might do more to calm the place down than Bradleys and Warthogs.

As I've said many times before, Iraq would be far better off broken into 3 states (Shi'astan, Sunnistan, and Kurdistan) under a loose central government in Baghdad. This should have been the plan from the beginning, but then all they thought about was 'on to Baghdad'.

Friday, January 7, 2005

Is this legal?

Seeking to build support among black families for its education reform law, the Bush administration paid a prominent black pundit $240,000 to promote the law on his nationally syndicated television show and to urge other black journalists to do the same.

[. . .]


I don't know, I'm asking.

[. . .]

The top Democrat on the House Education Committee, Rep. George Miller of California, called the contract "a very questionable use of taxpayers' money" that is "probably illegal." He said he will ask his Republican counterpart to join him in requesting an investigation.

[. . .]

If it is, could this be the beginning of 'Watergate II'? I mean, that began as a simple burglary, didn't it? Or are we gonna change the ethics rules to allow the (p)resident to get away with it? Or, with a 49% approval rating, isn't he worth the 'capital'?

Update: 17:15:


Lautenberg, Kennedy, and Reid write to President Bush.


In addition to the illegality of these actions taken by your Administration, we believe that the act of bribing journalists to bias their news in favor of government policies undermines the integrity of our democracy. Actions like this were common in the Soviet Union, but until now, thought to be long extinguished in our country.

[. . .]

Bend over and grab your ankles

WaPo via Pudentilla:

Army leaders are considering seeking a change in Pentagon policy that would allow for longer and more frequent call-ups of some reservists to meet the demands of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, a senior Army official said yesterday.

[. . .]

So, we're gonna change the Reserves deployment elegibility from a maximum of 24 months over several deployments, to no more than 24 months on each deployment. The draft is getting closer, folks. They're running short of people and recruitment numbers are falling.

If, as Kevin said, Bush is gonna use the elections to cut and run from Iraq within the year, they'll recover. But if it's as most of the TV generals have said, the need to sustain these troop levels for five to ten years, there is no way around the draft. If anything kills the all-volunteer force, if it's not dead already thanks to Stop-Loss, it'll be the 'breaking' of the Guard and Reserves.

Update: 17:55:

Kevin Drum:

[. . .]

If this happens, it's for all intents and purposes a draft.

On DeLay

From Ezra:

[. . .]

. . . When he appears on my screen it feels like Sean Hannity's blow-dried smugness, George W. Bush's ignorant arrogance, Dick Cheney's intense malevolence and Jerry Falwell's glutton-flavored interpretation of piety have all merged into one man, a veritable Megazord of distasteful qualities . . .

[. . .]

Like he says in his post, he's not adding anything to the discourse, "It's just this visceral loathing." I like the description. I also like what he says about the GOP:

[. . .]

. . . For being considered the party with the most developed ideas and the most coherent morality, they're really just a hollow shell. A bunch of satellite groups offering intellectual legitimacy and policy thought but, in the center, just a bunch of demagogues obsessed with consolidating power . . .

[. . .]

Could '04 Have Been Any Verse?

Due to his strategic location on the Other Rim, Fixer gets up way before I do and is blogging his ass off while I am still deep in the arms of Morpheus. Consequently, I awaken to whatever tone he has set for the day. Kinda like the Plan of the Day that used to be nailed to the wall in the barracks. The difference is I don't have to run with it if I don't want to, but he's got a good handle on things and sometimes that's the thing to do. Due also to the time difference, I find stuff sometimes that comes out later. It all works out.

After reading his post on the song parody The Rumsfeld Rag (or scroll down) and liking it, my poetic muse was up an' runnin', on the prowl for some more. I done found it!

From Counterpunch:
Strutting, Smirking, as if the Mad Plan Was Working
Out Old Year

Out old year, you weren't pretty
Out with Janet Jackson's titty
Out with Bill O'Reilly's loofah
(Which made miss Macris hit the roofa)

Go get lost, two thousand four
We really cannot take much more
Of Ahnold and Maria Shriver,
Rudolph Giuliani's driver

Paul Bremer's failed mission
Fallujah's demolition
George Bush strutting, smirking
As if the mad plan was working

The coalition of the "willing"
The Passion of Curt Schilling
Ascendant Talibangelists
>From Charleston to Los Angeles

Please already drop the curtain
On Cheney, Dick and Haliburton
Privatizing everything
Down to the Army's dishwashing

His daughter Mary selling beer
His wife Lynn, selling fear
His pseudo-rival Colin Powell
A hawk passing for an owl

And Prissy Condoleeza Rice
Let us make a sacrifice
Of her and Rupert Murdoch
Karl Rove, Kid Rock

David Stern, Donald Trump
(among the very first we'd bump)
Berlesconi, Tony Blair,
Biden with his phony hair

A Bronx cheer and demerits
For Bob Novak, Marty Peretz
Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity
Chip chip chipping at our sanity

Global warming, that don't frighten
Best seller Michael Crichton
Glaciers melting? What me worry
It won't happen in a hurry

And when we die we just grow wings
And leave behind the underlings
Evolution's just a theory
Have some Paxil feel more cheery

Take Cialis, have some sex
Celebrate with Celebrex
You always said you needed "strokes"
Now's your chance step right up, folks

Eli Lilly, Pfizer, Merck
They all know their drugs don't work
But nothing's standing in their way
Since they bought the FDA

Enough of two thousand four
Take your baggage out the door
Hurricanes and beheadings
Much ado 'bout gay weddings

Your Intifadas and crusades
Pack 'em up and quickly fade
You don't deserve to survive
Make room for two thousand five!

Done before the wave hit
(Now why even save it,
A trivial poem, a silly ode) a
Really catastrophic coda.

Did I mention that my poetic muse is a cynical old fart that loves satiric wit?

A good try

Mr. Furious at Shakespeare's Sister:

Ohio Electoral Objection Fails

The Senate voted 75 - 1 against it.
The House Voted 257 - 33 against it. (still counting)

Democrats voted with Republicans on this because they are scared shitless about losing their jobs. It seems we effectively have a one-party system.

Hope you enjoyed Democracy. It was fun while it lasted.

And I got this from Contest The Vote in an email this morning. It's on their homepage too.

[. . .]

The passion and fire of the members of the House Caucus was truly inspiring. Each one spoke with great sincerity and truth, weakly challenged by the "get over it" statements of those who sought to deny that there are any problems with our Democracy. In addition to acknowledging those brave members of the House of Representatives, we must individually write, phone, and fax OUR Senator Barbara Boxer. Without the support of Senator Boxer, we would have had a repeat of that ugly scene from Fahrenheit 9/11 where President-elect Gore told each Caucus member to sit down and shut up.

NO OTHER SENATOR JOINED SENATOR BOXER! They are still afraid to stand up to the White House Bully for fear of losing some of their own power. In addition, their staff could lose their premium parking spaces, another fact of life in the Democracy of the United States of America. It is now time for us to acknowledge Senator Boxer. (I will no longer refer to her as "Boxer".) Her contact info is below so you can write her your own message of support.

[. . .]

Californians should be very proud of their Senator. Tell her so:

Senator Barbara Boxer's Contact Info:
Phone: 202.224.3553 (DC)
Fax: 202.228.3972 (DC)

Full Circle

I remember hearing Country Joe and the Fish blasting out of my little, single-speaker, AM-FM (big stuff back then) radio in my '68 Roadrunner. Used to sing my bloody lungs out to this tune. A reader at DemVet updated it. Stolen in full:

The Rumsfeld Rag (With apologies to Country Joe)

Well come on, all of you big strong men,
Uncle Sam's telling lies again,
Figured out that to fight a war
All you have to do is send the poor.
While Georgie and his buddies laugh and feast
They'll send you to the Middle East.

And it's one, two, three, what were you voting for?
Oil profits and endless war?
Did you think there was something more?
And it’s five, six, seven, let the theme reverberate:
“Muslims, gays, and liberal states,
Whoopee! We got lots to hate.”

Come conservatives throughout the land,
Now’s the time to take a stand,
Get it into liberal weenies’ heads
That the only good Iraqi is one who’s dead.
Raze their cities, destroy their lives
And convert ‘em all to Jesus Christ.

And it’s one, two, three, who were you voting for?
One deserter and a chickenhawk?
Who else could win Iraq?
And it’s five, six, seven, let the theme reverberate:
“Muslims, gays, and liberal states,
Whoopee! We got lots to hate.”

On 9/11 the country changed
And some of us became quite deranged.
With fears abounding from out and in
We launched a crusade to battle sin.
We all see something’s going wrong,
It’s about the time to drop a bomb.

And it’s one, two, three, what were you voting for?
Don’t you see or don’t you give a damn
‘Bout the lessons of Vietnam?
And it’s five, six, seven, let the theme reverberate:
“Muslims, gays, and liberal states,
Whoopee! We got lots to hate.”

Posted by Motherlode at January 6, 2005 04:56 PM

Thursday, January 6, 2005

Beating a dead horse

In other words, Ronald Reagan.

[. . .]

And the beauty part? It's Freddy Vs. Jason, motherfuckers, Dracula Meets the Wolf Man. It forces the White House to argue with the ghost of Ronald Reagan. It forces them to eat their own or get eaten. They're either going to have to dig up the Gipper and make a soup from his gnarled bones or the Democrats are going to have to use the zombie corpse of Reagan to eat Bush's brain. Either way, it is an engorgement that'll be pure pleasure to our tired hearts.

[. . .]

Short and Sweet

Oliver Willis:

Multimillionaire hollywood liberal Sandra Bullock donates $1 million to tsunami relief

Multimillionaire oil man and President George W. Bush donates... $10,000

Savage On Tsunami Aid

If you're not pissed off enough yet today, or sick to your stomach, go read what MediaMatters picked up from the right-wing asshole Michael Savage and you will be.
During nationally syndicated radio host Michael Savage's December 31 broadcast -- his first since the December 26 tsunami resulting from an earthquake in Southeast Asia -- Savage said that the tsumani was "not a tragedy" and that the United States should not be sending any aid to the affected countries because they are "hotbeds of radical Islam." Savage added: "We shouldn't be spending a nickel on this, as far as I'm concerned. ... I am sick of being bled to death by every damn incident on the earth."

We shouldn't be sending as much as we're sending. Bush has a lot of gall writing a check for 135 million dollars. This is more a UNICEF deal, it's a U.N. deal, it's a Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, George Soros, Bill Clinton bleeding-heart-liberal deal. I don't want to send them any money. You know, a few airplanes with some medical supplies and a little lip service would have been fine for me.

Yeah, it's only those 'bleeding heart liberals' that have compassion for their fellow man. Certainly good christians wouldn't subscribe to that commie shit.
Many of the countries and the areas in these countries that were hit by these tidal waves were hotbeds of radical Islam. Why should we be helping them destroy us? ... I think what we're doing is feeding our own demise. ... I truthfully don't believe in foreign aid.

Is it any wonder I hate the right-wing media gasbag motherfuckers?

Twofer on Sleazy

Two good Op-Eds in today's NYTimes:

Maureen Dowd (Down, Woody, I can't reach the keyboard!) chimes in on Sleazy Gonzales:
The Associated Press headline that came over the wire yesterday said it all: "Gonzales Will Follow Non-Torture Policies."

You know how bad the situation is when the president's choice for attorney general has to formally pledge not to support torture anymore.

Before he helped President Bush circumvent the accords and reserve the right to do so "in this or future conflicts," you had to tune in to an old movie with Nazi generals or Vietcong guards if you wanted to see someone sneeringly shrug off the international treaty protecting prisoners from abuse. ("You worthless running dog Chuck Norris! What do we care about your silly Geneva Conventions?")

How are you to believe Mr. Gonzales when he says he's through with torture? His mission is clearly to do whatever he thinks Mr. Bush wants.

It's comforting to start the new year in the hands of a party that cares so much about morals and values.

She's in good form. She also lays into the Commerce Dept., the EPA, "Bugs" DeLay, Rumbo, and Clarence Thomas. Go read.

Mark Danner writes on the same subject. A little more content than MoDo, but he doesn't get me hot:
But what we are unlikely to hear, given the balance of votes in the Senate, are many voices making the obvious argument that with this record, Mr. Gonzales is unfit to serve as attorney general. So let me make it: Mr. Gonzales is unfit because the slow river of litigation is certain to bring before the next attorney general a raft of torture cases that challenge the very policies that he personally helped devise and put into practice. He is unfit because, while the attorney general is charged with upholding the law, the documents show that as White House counsel, Mr. Gonzales, in the matter of torture, helped his client to concoct strategies to circumvent it (my emphasis). And he is unfit, finally, because he has rightly become the symbol of the United States' fateful departure from a body of settled international law and human rights practice for which the country claims to stand.

At present, our government, controlled largely by one party only intermittently harried by a timorous opposition, is unable to mete out punishment or change policy, let alone adequately investigate its own war crimes. And, as administration officials clearly expect, and senators of both parties well understand, most Americans - the Americans who will not read the reports, who will soon forget the photographs and who will be loath to dwell on a repellent subject - are generally content to take the president at his word.

Content. Yeah, why look up while they're grazing? If the wolf don't kill 'em, the shepherd'll screw 'em. Then, it's shearing time (if they're lucky) or the mutton works. Too late to bitch then. Idiots.
By using torture, we Americans transform ourselves into the very caricature our enemies have sought to make of us. True, that miserable man who pulled out his hair as he lay on the floor at Guantánamo may eventually tell his interrogators what he knows, or what they want to hear. But for America, torture is self-defeating; for a strong country it is in the end a strategy of weakness. After Mr. Gonzales is confirmed, the road back - to justice, order and propriety - will be very long. Torture will belong to us all. (my emphases)

That last short sentence says it all.
Mark Danner is the author of "Torture and Truth: America, Abu Ghraib and the War on Terror."


If you haven't signed this petition or emailed your Senator about the Gonzales confirmation hearings, please do so this morning. The hearings are starting.


Matt Yglesias:

I missed this the first time around. Same article as discussed below[here], second page. "Seeking to head off unhappiness among Republicans who want Mr. Bush to take the bolder route, White House officials have been emphasizing the importance of unifying behind whatever plan has the best chance of being signed into law." In other words, the White House doesn't actually give a damn what happens, as long as they can replace Social Security with something else. Anything else. The small matter of the multi-trillion dollar difference between the two plans discussed in the article is trivia. As if they had meant to fight weapons proliferation in North Korea and build democracy in Afghanistan, but then decided that invading Iraq focus grouped better and, hey, it's invasions either way so what's the difference. Or maybe that is what they did.

Josh Marshall

The key passage in the Wehner Memo (the leaked memo written by Karl Rove's deputy, Peter H. Wehner and reported this evening in various news outlets).

Let me tell you first what our plans are in terms of sequencing and political strategy. We will focus on Social Security immediately in this new year. Our strategy will probably include speeches early this month to establish an important premise: the current system is heading for an iceberg. The notion that younger workers will receive anything like the benefits they have been promised is fiction, unless significant reforms are undertaken. We need to establish in the public mind a key fiscal fact: right now we are on an unsustainable course. That reality needs to be seared into the public consciousness; it is the pre-condition to authentic reform.

Remind you of anything?

For all of you uninitiated, this is how the Repubs work, how they have been working since Newt and his 'Contract for America' in '94. Bullshit on top of bullshit until 51% of America believes it as gospel truth. Saddam's a threat, lawsuits are the reason for high medical malpractice insurance rates, the need for a missile defense system, the prescription drug crisis/plan, and Social Security is 'in crisis'. Ol' Joe Goebbels has got to be smiling in his little corner of Hell.

Noises and drafts

A relatively big noise. WaPo:

The head of the Army Reserve has sent a sharply worded memo to other military leaders expressing "deepening concern" about the continued readiness of his troops, who have been used heavily in Iraq and Afghanistan, and warning that his branch of 200,000 soldiers "is rapidly degenerating into a 'broken' force."

In the memo, dated Dec. 20, Lt. Gen. James R. "Ron" Helmly lashed out at what he said were outdated and "dysfunctional" policies on mobilizing and managing the force. He complained that his repeated requests to adjust the policies to current realities have been rebuffed by Pentagon authorities.

[. . .]

"The purpose of this memorandum is to inform you of the Army Reserve's inability . . . to meet mission requirements" associated with Iraq and Afghanistan "and to reset and regenerate its forces for follow-on and future missions," he wrote.

"I do not wish to sound alarmist," he added. "I do wish to send a clear, distinctive signal of deepening concern."

[. . .]

Highlighting the dwindling number of Reserve troops available for future deployments, Helmly included computations showing that only 37,515 remain out of 200,366 soldiers in the Army Reserve.

Well, I wonder when they're gonna force him to retire, just like they have every other general who's spoken up. I've been saying this since they startred calling up Guard and Reserve units in large numbers. For those who would join these units (as opposed to regular military) it is the fact that it is part-time duty. Ain't nobody gonna sign up if they're gonna get sent into a war zone for 2 years.

Thanks to DemVet for the link. As Jo puts it:

Gimmee a "D"
Gimmee an "R"
Gimmee an "A"
Gimmee an "F"
Gimmee a "T"

Update: 05:35:

And, unlike many of us veterans who remember 1968 and see the similarities in 2004, Kevin at Lean Left has a different take:

[. . .]

But even if those fail, I do not think that we will have a draft. I do not expect Bush to remain in Iraq for very much longer. The Shiites party that everyone expects to win is running, essentially, on the US out of Iraq platform. When faced with a growing insurgency, the specter of civil war, and a troop shortage, some of the Bushies will be looking for a way out before the midterm elections. If the new Iraqi government asks them to leave there will be a faction in the White House who will want to take them up on their offer.

[. . .]

Wednesday, January 5, 2005

We're smart

Left-leaning political bloggers to be precise. An excellent post about how well-informed bloggers are, and the gap between the roots (us) and the leadership (our weasel representatives in Washington).

[. . .]

Another example — How many Democratic Senators say they won’t oppose Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General? But us bloggers and blog-readers ALL understand that a vote for Gonzales is a vote for torture.

[. . .]

From Dave Johnson over at the american street.

Note: Just watching Chimpy speaking live about medical tort reform. In his world, no one will be held accountable for any harm they do. How can you limit medical liability judgments to $250,000? Just the way it is in his administration. He's also patting himself on the back about how generous we are to the Tsunami victims. It was his idea, of course. What a fucking lowlife turd.

Update: 18:45:

Kevin Drum

[. . .]

But none of Bush's proposals would have any effect at all on frivolous malpractice lawsuits. As usual, instead of trying to solve a problem, he's merely using a problem as an excuse to do something else that he wants to do anyway — regardless of whether or not it has any effect. I wonder how long it will take the medical profession to realize that nothing Bush is proposing will actually help them in any way?

Will Congress Back Torture? Will You?

Robert Scheer via Working For Change asks the question: "Is there bipartisan congressional support for torture?"
Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee begins hearings on the confirmation of White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales as the next attorney general of the United States. At stake is whether Congress wants to conveniently absolve Gonzales of his clear attempt to have the president subvert U.S. law in order to whitewash barbaric practices performed by U.S. interrogators in the name of national security.

Acting like a sleazy attorney advising a client on how not to be convicted of an ongoing crime, Gonzales was apparently not worried about irrational foreign courts or high-minded jurists in The Hague, but rather U.S. prosecutors who might enforce federal laws that ban torture of foreign prisoners of war. Indeed, Gonzales made the case for a legal end run around the 1996 War Crimes Act, which mandates criminal penalties, including the death sentence, for any U.S. military or other personnel who engage in crimes of torture.

Another positive step would be the withdrawal or rejection of the Gonzales nomination. To make a man with so little respect for both the spirit and the letter of the law the nation's top law enforcement official would be a terrible advertisement for American democracy.

Write your Representative and your Senator. They're only a click away. Tell 'em you don't want a shady lawyer doing bad things in your name. Be nice. SouthKnoxBubba puts it this way, and I agree:
Tell them that in your opinion Gonzales' views on torture and abuse of prisoners are evidence that he is not fit to serve in a position sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and enforce the law of the land.

If Bush gets his way with this one, the Brown Shirts are not far behind. Not far from your front door in the wee hours, either. If you think "it can't happen to me. I haven't done anything wrong", you're seriously missing the point. Murphy's Law, which has never been wrong yet, says "If it can happen, it will happen".

This clown interpreted existing law to allow torture, at the request of this President, after finding evidence that torture had already taken place, in an attempt for all those at the top to avoid prosecution. One of Bush's people (don't make me look it up, please) said, "It's not about what's legal. It's about what we can make legal".

Legislators are supposed to make laws, not lawyers. If Congress gangs up on us with bad laws, OK, we're fucked. We'll live with it. Interpreting the law to allow criminal ends, under direction from the pretender to the highest position in the World, is not what we want.

Sign The Petition

If you agree with Fixer's post (just below this one), and mine (just above this one), and even if you don't, go sign the Declaration Against Torture at Act For Change. I don't know if it will help in keeping Sleazy Gonzales out of the top law enforcement position in our country, but it can't hurt.

Sleazy Gonzales

Via Pudentilla from WaPo:

A dozen high-ranking retired military officers took the unusual step yesterday of signing a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing "deep concern" over the nomination of White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales as attorney general, marking a rare military foray into the debate over a civilian post.

The group includes retired Army Gen. John M. Shalikashvili, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The officers are one of several groups to separately urge the Senate to sharply question Gonzales during a confirmation hearing Thursday about his role in shaping legal policies on torture and interrogation methods.

[. . .]

The letter signed by the retired officers, compiled by the group Human Rights First and sent to the committee's leadership last night, criticizes Gonzales for his role in reviewing and approving a series of memorandums arguing, among other things, that the United States could lawfully ignore portions of the Geneva Conventions and that some forms of torture "may be justified" in the war on terror.

"Today, it is clear that these operations have fostered greater animosity toward the United States, undermined our intelligence gathering efforts and added to the risks facing our troops serving around the world," the officers wrote, referring to the Bush administration's detention and interrogation policies.

[. . .]

"Repeatedly in our past, the United States has confronted foes that, at the time they emerged, posed threats of a scope or nature unlike any we had previously faced," the letter reads. "But we have been far more steadfast in the past in keeping faith with our national commitment to the rule of law."

[. . .]

The hearings start tomorrow. Make sure your senators get an email making them aware of your feelings on this matter. General Hoar:

[. . .]

I think that the key thing, the thing we are asking the Senate Judiciary Committee, is to ask a series of questions of Mr. Gonzales during his confirmation hearings, that will fully illuminate Mr. Gonzales's role in the development of these policy papers, that had to do with the abrogation of Geneva Accords in the Afghan campaign, and the use of torture for detainees. And I think it's imperative that these issues be fully illuminated at the hearing. And this is what we hope will happen: Is that the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will recommend to the Senate as a whole, whether or not Mr. Gonzales should be confirmed as the Attorney General, really needs to bear down on these issues, and taking the documentary evidence that we have, and connect the dots, to find out what Mr. Gonzales's role has been in these very troubling issues.

[. . .]

This is a great interview and you should read it. (Link via american street.) The good General makes his opinions known on the clusterfuck in Iraq and the leadership at the Pentagon.

Update: 05:05:

Kos has more:

[. . .]

. . . Officials dispute how much senior Justice Department officials knew of the memorandum as it was being prepared. A former official and a current one said that neither Attorney General John Ashcroft nor his deputy, Larry D. Thompson, were aware of the memorandum until it was about to be submitted to the White House.

Can you fucking imagine that? They had to hide it from Ashcroft?!?!?!?

Tuesday, January 4, 2005


If you've noticed, I caved in to Google and put ads in the sidebar . . . on the bottom . . . all the way on the bottom. Click on 'em if you want, don't if you don't want to. I give no endorsements and I know nothing about the individual advertisers.

I've been running this blog on Blogger/Google's dime, same with the Haloscan comments. I'm supposed to make money when people click on the ads so I thought I'd use whatever income was generated from them to upgrade the blog. Maybe spring for a Haloscan membership, or actually get some server space on Blogger so it would be easier to post our own pics, shit like that. If it ain't worth it, I'll take the ads down.

The last thing I'm gonna do is compromise whatever respect we have in the Blogosphere (Blogtopia, for skippy). I sure as hell ain't asking for donations . . . ever. If we ever reach the big time in the blog world, and the need for increased bandwidth becomes a factor, we'll make the decisions about how the Brain will be financed. For now, let's see what the ads generate and how we'll use it.

Thank you for your attention. You may now resume your activities.

Ve know who you are

From WTF??:

[. . .]

"The fine print in [the smirking liar's] No Child Left Behind Act is slowly dawning on the parents of high school students across the country as the war in Iraq drags on: military recruiters can blitz youngsters with uninvited phone calls to their homes and on-campus pitches replete with video war games. This is all possible under a little noted part of the law that requires schools to provide the names, addresses (campus addresses, too) and phone numbers of students or risk losing federal aid."

[. . .]

Didja watch Fahrenheit 9/11? Didja see 'em saying that the weasels in Congress don't read bills before they vote on them? Well, now your kid is on some recruiter's list. Guess what? I'll bet you anything that those same lists will be given to Selective Service too. Do ya feel it getting drafty?


It's come to this:

[. . .]

"The old man should have read the bilingual notices that American soldiers tack to their rear bumpers in Iraq: 'Keep 50m or deadly force will be applied.' In Ramadi, the capital of central Anbar province, where 17 suicide-bombs struck American forces during the month-long Muslim fast of Ramadan in the autumn, the marines are jumpy. Sometimes, they say, they fire on vehicles encroaching with 30 metres, sometimes they fire at 20 metres: 'If anyone gets too close to us we fucking waste them,' says a bullish lieutenant. 'It's kind of a shame, because it means we've killed a lot of innocent people.'" [my emphasis]

[. . .]

This is no fault of our Marines. Wasn't their choice to be there and they're doing what they have to in order to stay alive while trying to keep some semblance of peace. It's just sad that they have to have the 'kill 'em all and let God sort out the mess' mentality. No, it's criminal, not on the Marines' part, but on the part of the Bush administration.

Let's Go Play In The Quicksand!

Gilbert Achcar at ZNet has quite a bit to say about the upcoming Iraqi election and the Bush administration's true intent.
The hypocrisy of the Bush administration is limitless: when George W. Bush and his buddies boast about the forthcoming election in Iraq as an achievement of the civilizing mission that they supposedly took upon themselves in bringing democracy to backward Muslims, they sound like a boss boasting about having raised the wages of the workers in his factory as an illustration of his eagerness to improve their living standard, when, in reality, the raise was imposed on him by the workers going on strike.

The fact of the matter is that democracy has never been more than a subsidiary pretext for the Bush administration in its drive to seize control of the crucially strategic area stretching from the Arab-Persian Gulf to Central Asia, a pretext ranking after others such as Al-Qaida or the WMD. Most of the vectors of US influence in this area are despotic regimes, from the oldest ally of Washington and most antidemocratic of all states, the Saudi Kingdom, to the newest allies, the police states of such post-Soviet Mafia-like republics as Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan or Uzbekistan, operating through such great champions of democracy as generals Mubarak of Egypt and Musharraf of Pakistan.

Washington favors elections only if and when they are most likely to be won by its henchmen.[...]

What will Washington do after the January 30 elections? It is difficult to predict. The Bush administration has a clear strategic objective: securing control of Iraq for the long haul. But Washington does not know how to achieve this goal or how to reconcile it with the forecast result of the elections, which an anonymous senior official residing in Baghdad's Green Zone aptly described to the New York Times as a "jungle of ambiguity" (December 18, 2004). One scenario, which has been greatly facilitated by the behavior of the occupying forces, is the one that many neocons came to favor after the collapse of their illusions about securing control of Iraq "democratically": a de facto, if not de jure, carving up of the country along sectarian lines (Israel's favored scenario from the beginning).

In order to retain control of the land, Washington could very well resort to the well-tried imperial recipe of divide and rule, taking the risk of setting Iraq on the devastating fire of a civil war -- both sectarian (Shia v. Sunni) and ethnic (Arab v. Kurd). The way in which the US occupation is letting the situation deteriorate between Kurds and Arabs in the North, without trying earnestly to broker a compromise that would be satisfactory to all, as well as the way it has dealt with the issue of the elections fostering tensions between Shia and Sunnis, is very revealing in that regard.

It seems that the Mayberry Machiavellian neo-cons want to rule the world, but, beyond military power, which they mis-use horribly for all concerned, they haven't got a clue about how to go about it. They seem to think their ideology is divinely inspired and will override their incompetence and carry the day. Wrongamundo, Napoleon wannabes.

I sincerely hope the Iraqi elections come off without a hitch, but at this point it's most certainly up in the air.

Then I want the duly elected Grand Poobah , politely or not, to tell us to get the Hell out of Iraq. Screw the neo-cons who want control of Middle-East oil. We have no business being in Iraq in the first place.

Granted, Bush created the problems Iraq is suffering, and we should do what we can to help undo them. That's only right. We're not doing a very good job of it.

Perhaps, freed from Saddam, the Iraqis can solve their own leadership problems without us. I say let them try. If civil war is in the cards, so be it, but not because Bush wants it. It's enough that he will go to his grave (soon, God willing) as the person responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths that didn't have to happen.

We should realize this whole deal was a mis-guided ideological scheme by evil men who don't care about the personal tragedies, horrendous expense, or long-lasting ramifications of their actions because they will never be touched by any of it. Their criminal lust for World Domination and Imperial Power is sick and obscene, let alone being un-American. Let's cut our losses and get out of there unless we can figure out something better than killing brown people.

Go read. Take a lunch, it's a long one. What discussion of Middle-East politics is short?

Ethics? Yes!

Update to yesterday's post. I'm a HAPPY FUCKING CAMPER, and have just a little of my faith in the system restored.

WASHINGTON Jan 3, 2005 — House Republicans suddenly reversed course Monday, deciding to retain a tough standard for lawmaker discipline and reinstate a rule that would force Majority Leader Tom DeLay to step aside if indicted by a Texas grand jury.

[. . .]

And the best quote came from a Republican:

[. . .]

Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., said, "It's a mark of a leader to take a bullet for the team and not for the team to take a bullet for the leader. I'm very glad we decided to stick with the rules.

[. . .]

I didn't think they had it in 'em.


Via 12thharmonic and Common Dreams. This was taken from an Iraqi website:

12.00 GMT. IDAO exclusive. According to IDAO's own sources in Baghdad and Sulaimanya, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been arrested in Bagouba by US forces.

The US occupation forces will cite this arrest as a victory for their war on terrorism. The people of Falluja in their demonstrations demanding US withdrawal of the last few days,which has topped 30,000 people according to news agency reports, have raised slogans distancing themselves from the Zarqwai group. The people of Falluja have repeatedly accused US forces of using Zarqawi as a pretext to demolish a city of 300,000 in an attempt to quell its resistance to the occupation. Many in the Iraqi resistance have expressed opposition to Zarqwi's methods in the past, who is regarded as a small force in the anti-occupation movement.

I haven't been able to confirm yet, but if it's true, a blow to the insurgency in Iraq. Might save a few of our soldiers' lives. However, I been in the miliary far too long to believe scuttlebutt. I'll update as I get more.

Update: 14:51:

Consider this bullshit until further notice.

Monday, January 3, 2005

Ethics? Puh!


[. . .]

So, what has the key ethics rule been used for? The WaPo explains:

It has been used to discipline members for taking bribes, fixing parking tickets and having sex with House pages.

So, the House Republicans support a rule change which will let them:

*Take bribes!

*Fix parking tickets!

*Have sex with House pages!

We don't need no steenking ethics. Gordon's buddy, "Bug-boy" DeLay is behind this. Disgusting bastards.

Software Update

As you know, I've been using the Firefox browser by Mozilla for the last couple weeks and I love it. It's become the default browser in the Fixer household. Well, today I just installed the Thunderbird email software. I'll let you know how that goes in the coming weeks, once I figure it all out. The good thing already is that it imported everything from Outlook except my message rules, but they make it easy to re-set up. if it's as good as Firefox, I'll be raving. One of the best features, it's all free.

The Long War

Robert Parry at Consortium News sees no end in sight, except for Democracy:
George W. Bush’s vision for America’s future is coming into clearer focus following Election 2004: For the next generation or more, it appears the American people will be asked to sacrifice their children, their tax dollars and possibly the remnants of their democracy to what a top U.S. commander now candidly calls the “Long War.”

While Central Command’s Gen. John Abizaid defines the “Long War” as the indefinite conflict against Islamic extremism around the world, Bush and his supporters have already opened a second front at home, determined to silence or neutralize domestic dissent that they see as sapping American “will.”

Not only has Bush continued to purge his second-term administration of even the most soft-spoken skeptics, but his disdain for criticism has emboldened his supporters to routinely refer to public dissenters as “traitors.”

Take, for instance, this letter from a Bush supporter who was infuriated when USA Today’s founder Al Neuharth suggested in an opinion column that U.S. troops should be brought home from Iraq “sooner rather than later.”

“This is war and you should be put in prison NOW for talking like this,” wrote someone by the name of Mel Gibbs. “You give aid and comfort to our enemies and aid them in murdering our proud soldiers. You people are a disgrace to America. Your families should be put in prison with you.”

Oh yeah? Call me a traitor, motherfucker, and watch what happens.
Similar sentiments, of course, can be heard on right-wing talk radio or from commentators, such as best-selling author Ann Coulter. To many Bush backers, extremism in defense of W. is no vice.

Good point. Not defense of the country, the Constitution, or home and hearth, but rather defense of Bush like he's some kind of tin god. It makes be sick.
But the challenges posed by the Sept. 11 attacks could be viewed quite differently. Indeed, investigations of the terror attacks have revealed that al-Qaeda’s daring blow was somewhat a lucky punch that landed in part because the newly arrived Bush administration rebuffed warnings from Clinton administration holdovers.

The Bush newcomers believed the Clinton team overemphasized dangers from Islamic terrorism while underestimating the threat of missile attacks from North Korea and other “rogue states.” Bush didn’t even convene his counter-terrorism experts in August 2001 when the CIA sent him a warning, “Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the U.S.”

Though the answer will never be known, a strong response to the CIA warning might have disrupted the attacks that killed 3,000 people.

Ya never know, but it mighta been worth a shot, especially since the President is supposed to defend the country.
Just as the long Cold War gave rise to the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned against, the Long War against Islamic extremism will put the United States on a course toward a more militarized society, a form of government more like an Empire than a Republic.

I think we're well on our way unless the American people wise up pretty quick. Go read.

The F-Word

Justin Raimondo at ain't mincin' no words:
Today's Conservatives Are Fascists.Torture, dictatorship, phony "elections," and endless war – it's fascism with a "democratic" face.

The idea that today's conservatives are in any way defenders of individual liberty, the free market, and what Russell Kirk called "the permanent things," i.e., the sacred traditions that have accumulated over time to constitute the core of our Judeo-Christian culture, is no longer a defensible proposition. Instead, what used to be called the conservative movement has morphed, almost overnight, into a coterie of moral monsters, whose political program is one of unmitigated evil.

In any case, by this time the evidence for the malevolent transformation of the American Right is all around us – in the ravings of Fox News "commentators," in the sheer existence of Ann Coulter, in the usurpation of a formerly respectable political tendency by the greasy evasions of the "neo"-conservatives. This change is most starkly dramatized in three disturbing trends: (1) Widespread support on the Right for internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, touting Michelle Malkin's shoddy-to-nonexistent scholarship, with the implication that we should be contemplating the same treatment for Americans of Arab descent, (2) the justification of torture when utilized by the American military in the name of the "war on terrorism" by "conservative" legal theorists, and (3) advocacy of a ruthlessly aggressive foreign policy of military expansionism, supposedly in order to spread "democracy" around the world.

Surely "fascism with a 'democratic' face" sums up the Bushian "global democratic revolution" just as accurately and succinctly, although admittedly this fails to capture the full horror of what the "liberation" of Iraq actually entails. Perhaps "fascism with a democratic face – and bloodstained hands" is more precise.

In between all the quotes is a rant of the first order, with lotsa links. It's a little long but worth a read.

Hopefully, we'll be hearing a lot more of this kind of thing. It should be on billboards, TV ads, the MSM gasbagapaloozas, newspapers, and fast-food joint menus. It needs to be shouted from the rooftops and jammed up Bush's ass on a daily basis.

Crossing lines

A big one is approaching. The Senate confirmation hearings for Attorney General nominee, Alberto "Light Stick" Gonzales.


[. . .]

We should fight back with righteous anger and authority. We needn't be reasonable and argue like lawyers. Make them go on the record defending torture, over and over again if possible. This is the real values fight for the heart and soul of this country, not Janet Jackson's nipple or "Under God" in the pledge of allegiance. If we let them blatently despoil the Bill of Rights without a furious battle then everything else we care about will go right down the drain with it. It is the source of it all.

[. . .]

The Christo-fascist, Right Wing nutjobs are gonna try and ram this one through with their 'mandate' and 'political capital'. I say filibuster!


Shirley Chisholm:

January 3, 2005 -- Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress, has died at 80.

She had suffered a series of strokes, her longtime congressional staffer William Howard told The Post.

Chisholm, who retired from Congress in 1982, had spent the last 15 years in Osmond Beach, Fla.

"She was our Moses [who] opened the Red Sea for us," said Robert Williams, president of the NAACP in Flagler Co., Fla.

Chisholm, a Democrat, was elected to Congress in 1968, representing central Brooklyn. Just three years later, she became the first black woman to seek a major party presidential nomination.

[. . .]

Robert Matsui

WASHINGTON - Rep. Robert T. Matsui, D-Calif., a World War II internee as an infant who rose to become one of the top Asian-Americans in Congress during 26 years of service, died late Saturday, his office announced Sunday. He was 63.

One of his party's leading spokesmen on tax and Social Security issues, Matsui was hospitalized at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., on Dec. 24, suffering from pneumonia. His office said he had been diagnosed several months ago with myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare bone marrow disease that compromises the body's ability to fight infection.

Matsui, a senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, was expected to be one of his party's leaders in the expected battle in Congress this year over President Bush's proposal to overhaul Social Security.

[. . .]


AARP comes to its senses:

[. . .]

Our country needs a full national discussion [about Social Security] of all the ideas on the table. One idea being put forward is in the wrong direction for fixing Social Security and will actually make the problem worse, not better. Taking some of the money that workers pay into the system and diverting it into newly created private accounts would weaken Social Security and put benefits for future generations at risk.

AARP is opposed to private accounts that take money out of Social Security.

In addition, private accounts are expensive. Just to switch to this new system could require as much as $2 trillion or more in benefit cuts, new taxes or more debt. Most of us would then have to pay twice to gamble on this new plan-first to keep our commitments to current retirees and again to pay into these private accounts. Some critics of these personal accounts think that Wall Street, not retirees, would be the real beneficiaries. [my emphasis]

[. . .]

At least the old folks see how badly Bush screwed them over the prescription drug plan. This time, they're not on their knees, ready to fellate him for vague promises. They know now, that the only ones helped by any of Bush's 'reforms' so far have been the HMOs and Big Pharma.

Sunday, January 2, 2005

Hypocrite of the Year

From BuzzFlash:

[. . .]

The Bush Administration crimes against democracy and their war crimes; the death and destruction that they have caused; their pillaging of the middle class and working poor; and their violations of civilized standards of behavior -- all of these would be cause enough to charge, prosecute and convict them for crimes against the nation and against the laws of the land -- as well as the community of nations.

[. . .]

But George W. Bush, first and foremost, is our GOP Hypocrite of 2004, because he has allowed Al-Qaeda to win. If they hate democracy, as Bush claims, Bush has done everything possible to curtail our freedoms and our right to elect officials as a national community. He has accomplished their terrorist goal for them; something that surely warms the cockles of Osama bin Laden's heart.

Osama checkmated Bush -- and we are the pawns.

[. . .]

Vote by mail

Sounds like an idea. From Jenny Greenleaf at the american street:

[. . .]

Vote by mail works. It’s cheaper, turnout is higher, and it provides an automatic paper trail. The biggest criticism I hear about it now is that people miss going to their polling places because of the social aspect. On the other hand, they like having two weeks to sit down with the state-provided Voters’ Guide and think about what and who they’re voting for.

[. . .]

Not that I know anything about running a vote, but this seems logical to me. It's the way it's done in Germany and I've yet to hear a complaint.

No wonder he didn't retire

Rhenquist is scared of what Bush wants to do with SCOTUS. Via Gillard:

WASHINGTON — Ailing Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist said today that judges must be protected from political threats, including from conservative Republicans who maintain that "judicial activists" should be impeached and removed from office.

"The Constitution protects judicial independence not to benefit judges, but to promote the rule of law: Judges are expected to administer the law fairly, without regard to public reaction," the chief justice, whose future on the court is subject to wide speculation, said in his traditional year-end report on the federal courts.

The public, the press and politicians are certainly free to criticize judges, Rehnquist said, but politicians cross the line when they try to punish or impeach judges for decisions they do not agree with.

His comments come as the new Congress faces what many predict will be a contentious battle over President Bush's nominees to the federal bench. And if Rehnquist's health forces him to announce his retirement, there would be more partisan wrangling over his successor.

[. . .]

The poor old bastard's gonna hang on as long as possible. If he wasn't planning to, why didn't he just retire when he was diagnosed? He sure as hell doesn't need the money. I know a little about thyroid cancer. Hopefully, Rhenquist doesn't have the kind that took my mom, because it took her quickly (thankfully for her). Rhenquist sees what's happening and he's trying to protect the Court as the last bastion of objective thinking in this country. And it looks like he's willing to give his life to do it.