Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Choosing Battles ... and Battlegrounds

Here's a thought on the Democrats' selling out. Are we perhaps mistaken to bemoan the hypocrisy and weakness of these individual politicians? Should we really be tearing our hair out in frustration that these leaders aren't standing up for what's right, the way we hoped they would? Maybe this is the wrong reaction.

We saw them propose massive tax cuts for the rich, only slightly smaller than what Bush proposed. We saw them authorize Bush to go to war. Now we've seen them effectively confirm Alito. But these individual leaders should not be the objects of our anger or frustration. They are just pulse-takers. Their job is to reflect what their constituents want, or be fired. To say, "Those damn Democratic politicians; they're selling out ...," is, perhaps, missing the point.

As observers, we should accept that there is a massive, demographic shift at work, and reversing it will take time. It will take strategic thinking and strategic effort, in areas that are not the focus of the daily news.

There is no need to greet each latest news headline with dismay. We already know the system is rotten. Neither the latest headlines nor our senators' individual characters matter. Feeling bad about the latest day's news is like being disappointed every morning, in December, to find that cold weather is forecast.

To start, we have to shift our focus away from the noisiest, most immediate

[Continued in first comment...]

Democrats sell out? Quel fucking shock.

If this isn't enough to make us give up on the fucking Democrats, I don't know what is. Read this excerpt and weep. These 13 Dems say they're against Alito and will vote against him in the final vote, though everyone knows the majority in that vote will confirm him, but they don't have the guts to join the politically risky filibuster, which had a chance of blocking him. Traitors. Full article at link above.


Alito's supporters needed 60 votes to block the filibuster, and they were joined by 13 Democrats who have announced they will vote against confirming his nomination.

"I believe that Judge Alito's nomination, if approved by the Senate, would tilt that court in a direction that will restrict personal freedoms, strengthen the role of government and corporations in our lives, and allow the expansion of power of the presidency," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., who announced he would oppose Alito after voting to end debate.

I can come up with rationalizations for these 13 Democrats' decision to undermine the filibuster and let debate be ended, even though they plan to vote against Alito's confirmation when it comes to a full vote. But the rationalizations, both political (it gives them political cover) and theoretical (the dramatic step of a filibuster isn't warranted even though I myself am against Alito; or, the people deserve to have Alito's confirmation determined by the majority will as expressed through a full vote wherein 51 can prevail, ... even though I myself am against Alito; etc...); but these rationalizations are just, simply, cop-out bullshit, given what's at stake. These Democrats make me want to stop reading the paper, I swear. Good effort by pawlr in previous post. Alas, but a grain of sand thrown against the wind.

Monday, January 30, 2006

What? Record Profits Again?

Yeah, I know you are all surprised, but Exxon-Mobile posted record profits again. Who would have thunk it?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Couric, Lauer, Russert: All perpetuate GOP Lies

It is difficult to explain how, other than via a conspiracy, these media bobbleheads can act so clearly in concert to obfuscate what is at essence a very simple story.

Republican activist and admitted felon Abramoff operated a pay-to-play scheme that bilked his clients out of millions that he directed to GOP senators.

Donations from these tribes to Democrats dropped after they became Abramoff clients. And yet we are supposed to believe that Abramoff directed his clients to give more to Democrats?

Not only does it not add up, not a shred of proof has been given. And yet we hear this nonsense daily from the 'liberal' press.

Alito, No!

Over the last few days, a groundswell is forming to support a filibuster of Alito on Monday. If 41 Senators can be convinced to vote 'no' on cloture, the filibuster will be on.

In the comments, I've listed the numbers of swing Democrats who can still be urged to vote 'no'. Call or fax these swing vote Senators, asking for a simple YES or NO and urging them to SUPPORT THE FILIBUSTER.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Bernard-Henri Lévy's American Vertigo

Bernard-Henri Lévy's was just on Charlie Rose. He echoes a great number of the views we have expressed here. His analysis of the painful effects of capitalistically driven social-homogenization was particularly trenchant. He talked about how the Mall of America was designed as a building where you could spend your entire life. It is supposed to be one building where you could get your first baby photos, celebrate your 16th birthday, marry, die and be processed for planting. Oddly enough, he finds that disturbing.

Survey of Fellow Americans' Views

Interesting new poll data on dis/approval of Bush, of America on/not on right track; and re what percentages of Americans are worring about this or that. Somewhere within the document are also numbers on how many people are pissed about govt surveillance. Frustratingly few are worried about it.

Thing is, the percentages of people saying topmost priorities are defense, Osama/Iraq, or terrorism seem surprisingly low. Is it me, or is it also interesting that the NY Times pollsters grouped Osama and Iraq together?

Also interesting to note that concerns about the economy plummeted right after the '04 election. Shows how much election campaigns A. freak people out unduly about problems they otherwise wouldn't be worried about, or B. help focus people on real problems that they otherwise neglect.

Homeland Security Keeps Vegans At Bay

It turns out Bush IS protecting us against terrorism after all. According to this story, which would be funny were it not true, Bush's leadership has ensured that we won't ever have to face our worst fears: of being overrun by Vegans and never seeing another honey-baked ham again.

Hysterical but spooky article and opening comment sent to me by a fellow journalist.

"At a protest outside Atlanta, a county-level "Homeland Security"
official was sent to photograph the demonstrators, and then ARRESTED two of them for writing down his license plate number.

"The thing that elevates this proto-fascist scene from the merely creepy
to the absurd is that this wasn't an anti-war rally at a military base --
it was a vegan rally outside a honey-bake ham store."

ACLU Releases Government Photos

Caitlin Childs, shown at an ACLU news conference

==Thank God The Feds Won't Let Radicals Take Over Our Honey-Baked Ham Stores==

The ACLU of Georgia released copies of government files on Wednesday that illustrate the extent to which the FBI, the DeKalb County Division of Homeland Security and other government agencies have gone to compile information on Georgians suspected of being threats simply for expressing controversial opinions.

Two documents relating to anti-war and anti-government protests, and a vegan rally, prove the agencies have been "spying" on Georgia residents unconstitutionally, the ACLU said. (Related: ACLU Complaint -- PDF file)

[Hysterical article continues in first comment.]

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bush: Confusing himself, confusing the world.

Ok, Bush, so you have your boneheaded domino-theory of spreading democracy via the lesson of invasion. And as a yardstick for the effectiveness of your policy, the theocons win 62% in Iran. And now, lo and behold Hamas wins in Palestine! I guess its worth it to give your self a pat on the back. Heck of a job, Bushie!

The Hamas victory "reminds me about the power of democracy," Bush said.

"You see, when you give people the vote, give them the chance to express themselves at the polls and they're unhappy with the status quo, they'll let you know," he said.

Of course, the fact that terrorists are now in power is not lost on him, so here's a quote to pander to that unfortunate reality...

"If your platform is the destruction of Israel, it means you're not a partner in peace, and we're interested in peace," Bush told reporters at a news conference.

So I guess democracy = good, unless bad people get elected. I mean, that's ok, because it almost never happens, right?

Might it not have been better to encourage developments like this, published last week?

Hamas has dropped its call for the destruction of Israel from its manifesto for the Palestinian parliamentary election in a fortnight, a move that brings the group closer to the mainstream Palestinian position of building a state within the boundaries of the occupied territories.

The Islamist faction, responsible for a long campaign of suicide bombings and other attacks on Israelis, still calls for the maintenance of the armed struggle against occupation. But it steps back from Hamas's 1988 charter demanding Israel's eradication and the establishment of a Palestinian state in its place.

Of course, in Bushworld, why let reality get in the way of good rhetoric, even when it helps you?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Peter Daou on MSM

Read this great essay on how MSM allows the Republican Party frame every issue in a way that paints the Democratic Party as inferior.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Let's get Canada to Join the US

I have a solution to the Jesusland Blues. Add a few sane states to the mix. Fund the Bloq in Canada and try to split up the country. Show some carrots to the remaining states (I don't know, socialized medicine) so that they want to join the US. Most importantly, make sure we have a Dem in office when it happens. Jesusland would never win an election again.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Double Standards Re Israel: Many Leftists Blind

During a recent regurgitation of the tired debate on who's to blame for Palestinian suffering (debated, admittedly, while stoned), it was remarkable to find the usual leftist double standards against Israel entirely alive and kicking. Presumably many leftists understand who Cheney and the Bush family represent, at least after sitting through Fahrenheit 9/11 if not before, but still don’t fully get the point.

They are so quick (and right) to blame American capitalist oligarchs for virtually all other evils around the world. But they rarely seem to wonder why the combined powers of wealthy elites in six Arab nations, along with those in Europe and the U.S., have spent half a century letting a tiny band of corrupt Palestinian thugs continue to rule over their impoverished subjects, who themselves are brainwashed by tiny thug-controlled media operations and schools.

Do these leftists really think – with oil prices* [see * at bottom of 1st comment] and weapons prices at stake – that the former Great Powers and the superpowers, and now the unipower, allow the Palestinian-Israeli farce to go on merely because they don’t care about Palestinians?! Certainly they don’t care. But they let the conflict go on, and even support those (behind the scenes) who help stoke it, for other reasons. Normally leftists would know these reasons. But when it comes to Israel, they impose double standards.

With regard to most of the Third World conflicts that occurred between World War I and the end of the Cold War, leftists have been content and right to place blame squarely on European, American and Soviet imperialism and its leftover messiness. Not so, however, when disempowered refugees, thrust into conflict with their neighbors, happen to be Jewish. Just as the socialists and communists of yore were anti-semitic in part because Jews were associated with European commerce and banking; so now knee-jerk leftists in America and Europe are anti-Israeli.

The visible facts that can lead gullible leftists to simplistic conclusions about Palestinians and Israelis. To name a few:

[Continued as 1st comment...]

Bloomberg Nails the Abramoff Scandal

Finally a major news outlet tallies up the scandal dollar for dollar, and guess what? Turns out its a Republican scandal after all. So much for the "both parties" canard spun by the WH and their minions.

Two money quotes:

Between 2001 and 2004, Abramoff gave more than $127,000 to Republican candidates and committees and nothing to Democrats, federal records show. At the same time, his Indian clients were the only ones among the top 10 tribal donors in the U.S. to donate more money to Republicans than Democrats.

Turns out Howard Dean was right when he smacked down the Bearded Shill. Also:

The Saginaw Chippewas gave $500,500 to Republicans between 2001 and 2004 and $277,210 to Democrats, according to a review of data compiled by Dwight L. Morris & Associates, a Bristow, Virginia-based company that tracks campaign-finance reports. Between 1997 and 2000, the tribe gave just $158,000 to Republicans and $279,000 to Democrats.

Wow - so after Abramoff got to the clients he called "monkeys", "morons" and "troglodytes" - they contributed over $350,000 more to Republicans while keeping their contributions to Dems level.

Thanks, Mike B. for introducing facts into the mix of lies we've had to sit through on CNN, Hardball and MTP.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Army Interrogator Guilty of Negligent Homicide

He covered an iraqi prisoner's head with a sleeping bag and stood on his chest until he died of suffocation.

His penalty, he "could be dishonorably discharged and sentenced to a maximum three years and three months in prison at a Monday hearing."

Geeze, I am not sure a "slap on the wrist" is the right term but that seems like a pretty light sentence for killing somone. . . even a brown person. Lindi England got more time for posing in some photos.

Current TV - Hudson valley biodiesel cooperative

Cyberpol hero Al Gore launched "Current TV" not too long ago. It's up and running and has a wonderful website with some pretty cool videos that stream well. If you have cable TV in your area you might want to check out the network.

This clip shows a group of men who take spent cooking oil and make biodiesel out of it using a system they built from scratch. If I lived on a farm I might do the same. Check it out.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Never forget the wounded

The Times has a nice bit on the terrible wounds our military has been suffering in Iraq. It brings home the human costs. This more than anything will melt those heretofore glacial Republican hearts that still beat somewhere in the torsos of loved ones lost to GOP mind control. If you can’t see your son or daughter living like this, how could you ever ask your fellow citizen, black or white, to accept the same?


This is a really great site for some expert information on Global Warming. The founders are expert climate scientists so sometimes the content can be a little daunting. Still, it's a great site.

BBC on Israel / Iran Double Standards

The BBC discusses the double standard Washington uses when talking about non-proliferation. The article points out that official criticism of nuclear powers Israel, India and Pakistan (all close allies of Washington) are muted at best.

As for the argument that Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty - do any of you know when? It was signed in 1968, well before the Islamic Revolution of 1979. In other words the Western powers seek to use a treaty signed by a Washington-friendly government installed by a CIA-engineered coup in 1953. The current government of Iran is no more obligated to follow the Shah's treaties than the United States is required to follow those treaties of the United Kingdom signed prior to the Revolutionary War. The current government is in no way, shape, or form, a continuation of the same sovereign body that signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Asking the UN to enforce sanctions based on the treaty is preposterous.

Once one admits that the Shah wasn’t speaking for today’s Iran and that any treaties he signed died with his government, it becomes clear that the international community has no legal right to prevent Iran from getting the bomb. With this knowledge, we have two options: the carrot or the stick. Given our leader’s preference for the latter, you had better contact your draft board.

"No one will be safe until everyone's a suspect"

Connie Chung and Mr. Povich have come out strong for the abolition of the fourth Amendment. They showed clips of Cheney and Bush saying that they were not violating the fourth Amendment rights of Americans talking about their church suppers or little league baseball games. This was quickly followed by a Povich classic that normal Americans going about their daily lives, and a threatening voice over suggesting that within our seemingly most peaceful social congregations, there were terrorists. Clips included and “evil clown,” probably Gracie, and street scenes which flashed to photographic negatives with “scary” music.

Connie Chung followed this ridiculous bit with the words, “While the President’s actions might be illegal, American must ask themselves, should we give up some of our rights now to protect ourselves from losing them all in the future?” Ignoring Franklin’s obviously on-point rejoinder, why should we believe that a terrorist attack would cause us to lose our rights? Did the terrorists invade our privacy on 9/11, did they arrest our citizens and hold them Eastern European torture chambers? Did the terrorists record tens of thousands of telephone conversations? Say what you want about the very real dangers of terrorist attacks, but don’t pretend that they are taking our freedoms away. That job, today as it has always been, belongs to the Republican Party and the so-called “libertarians” who support it.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Israeli spy gets light sentence

Franklin was given a very light sentence for spying for Israel, only 12 years. Why, because he was spying for our "ally" Israel, and he just wanted to make the world a better place. What horseshit! AIPAC should also be closed. Can you think of a single other instance where a spying network was allowed to continue working in the US after being caught? I can't. Double standards abound.

"ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) -- A former Pentagon analyst who gave classified information to an Israeli diplomat and two members of a pro-Israel lobbying group was sentenced Friday to more than 12 years in prison.

Lawrence A. Franklin, 59, a policy analyst whose expertise included Iraq and Iran, pleaded guilty in October to three felony counts in exchange for having three other counts dropped.

In sentencing Franklin, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III said the facts of the case led him to believe that Franklin was motivated primarily by a desire to help the United States, not hurt it.

The 12-year, 7-month sentence was on the low end of federal sentencing guidelines.

Franklin said at his plea hearing in October that he did not intend to harm the United States and that he was motivated by frustration with U.S. policy in the Middle East when he gave classified information to the diplomat and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee."

Wolcott on Brokeback, Medved, Imus and Tweety

Thought Cyberpollers would enjoy a hilarious new entry from James Wolcott, of Vanity Fair fame. Wolcott really knows how to dish it out, this time its hack flick "critic" Michael Medved who gets skewered.

UPDATE: Also a great take on the recent Osama surfacing and the Amuric'n media's clownish reaction.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Why is this man still alive?

Can anyone explain to me why this threat to America still walks the earth, enjoys sunsets, eats meals, and continues to plot against this country?

Whatever happened to "smoking him out of his hole"?

A national fucking disgrace and yet another reminder of the utter failure that has been the Bush administration.

Video of Gore's Speech

Made available by the American Constitution Society. In all three major web formats.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Unite the Bloggs and Comedy Central

Andrew Sullivan of the Daily Dish was on the Colbert Report on January 17th, 2006. The thought struck me that I have never seen KOS on the daily show or elsewhere. I think it would be a great idea. Don't you?

Swiftboating Murtha

The term "swift-boating" has entered the American lexicon as a term defining the absolute depths of political slander. To those of us who support the troops, no matter how terrible the war, swift-boating is a national disgrace.

This article is authored by a prominent Republican who places love of country and loyalty to the Marines above political expediency. James Webb was Secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration, and a Marine platoon and company commander in Vietnam.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Lou Dobbs Really Does Suck

I have posted before that Lou Dobbs has been a voice of sanity on an otherwise worthless network. Today, however, Lou and his “reporters” nearly caused me to vomit. Following a story on how the US was “failing to prevent leftist governments from taking power in Bolivia, Chile and elsewhere in Latin America,” Lou asked his correspondent if there were any bright spots in American/Latin American relations. The woman reporter said, “Sadly no, to find bright spots in our relations with Latin America you have to go back to the Reagan era.”

For those of you who don’t know, the Reagan era in Latin America was characterized by mass murder, American funded death squads and paramilitaries, and widespread torture – often conducted under the tutelage of CIA agents. Nuns were raped for teaching the poor to read and even an Arch Bishop of the Roman Catholic Church couldn’t escape Washington’s bullets.

From a website I found: “The death toll was staggering -- an estimated 70,000 or more political killings in El Salvador, possibly 20,000 slain from the contra war in Nicaragua, about 200 political "disappearances" in Honduras and some 100,000 people eliminated during a resurgence of political violence in Guatemala.”

That’s what a smug and chuckling Lou Dobbs thinks of as a bright spot. The dark spot? Oh, that’s when the people of Latin America can democratically elect their own governments. You see, that’s not good for business.

More Evidence that the NSA Spying Program Was Massive and Useless

The Times started off slow, but they have been following this NSA spy story pretty well of late. Check out this bit.

An Impeachment Primer

Here's a back-of-the-envelope explaination of the how, what, when, where and why of impeachment. Oddly enough, of the 16 officials impeached in history, all 7 convicted and removed from office were judges. However, elected officials like Nixon quit when they realized they were about to be sent packin'.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Al Gore's MLK Day Speech

I haven't read this yet, but I hear it's great. I'll catch up this weekend.

Lynn Cheney's Racy Book

This is old news, Lynn Cheney's book was not reprinted in 2004 because the publisher thought it might hurt her husband's election campaign. Strangely enough, her work follows the Scooter Libby soft-porn with twisted sex rutine that is popular with morally depraved Republicans.

NEW YORK (AP) — A publisher has canceled plans to reissue a racy novel by Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, after she said the book did not represent her "best work."

New American Library, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), was going to reprint Sisters, a historical romance published in 1981 that includes brothels, attempted rapes and a lesbian love affair.

"We felt interest was growing because it was an election year and we decided it could be a timely book," Liz Perl, executive director of publicity at New American Library, told The Associated Press on Friday."

Chickenhawk Flash - Black Comedy

You might find this interesting, a flash "movie" about the chickenhawks.

Is it Racist to Believe Non-Jews in the Middle East Can't Handle the Bomb?

I certainly think so. The above bit is from Suzanne Nossel in the Huffington Post. That so liberal a blogg would entertain truly racist views is very disturbing. Her article begins with the assumption that it’s just fine for Israel to have the bomb, but any nation that Israel disapproves of shouldn’t have the same right. She makes no argument for why this should be the case, assuming that we all agree with her that Arabs and Persians can’t be trusted. Her racist views are hardly uncommon among her fellow Jewish American Zionists; however, they should give us great pause.

Her justification for “preemptive war” against Iran is based on the absolutely untenable argument that were Iran to get the bomb, that the first thing they would do is attack Israel. That a nation with one or two nuclear weapons would assault Israel and suffer a catastrophic retaliation is simply impossible to believe. The only way one could believe such rubbish is if one believed that Iranians or other people of the Middle East are intellectually inferior to Jews. Only an inferior race could reason so unsuccessfully. An Israeli strike would almost certainly destroy Iran forever and what would Iran get in exchange? They would accomplish nothing, just the destruction of their nation, the removal of the government and United States or Israeli occupation of their oil rich lands.

The real reason Israel doesn’t want Iran to get the bomb is really quit simple. A nation with the bomb doesn’t have to negotiate. It doesn’t have to treat other nations and other peoples with respect and humiliation. A nation with the bomb can be the neighborhood bully. Thanks to our unilateral acceptance of Israeli nuclear ambitions, we have allowed a neighborhood bully to motivate every other nation in the neighborhood to realize how essential the bomb is to their national independence. They want the bomb most of all because Israel has the bomb and will attack any nation that even thinks of gaining military equality with them by getting it themselves.

By the way, Iran has every right as a sovereign nation to acquire nuclear weapons if it wants to. A boycott is one thing, but invading a nation whose defense policy we don’t like is an act of war. If we attack, we can have no moral objections to Iranian funding of international terror, assassination or any other of their pathetic responses to our aggression. Those who can’t admit the simple logic of this argument are, in effect, racists.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Value Added from Israel?

Christ Mathews asks, “Should we tell the Iranians that if they develop a nuclear weapon that we will have our friends in Israel attack them?”

What do you all think? Should we use Israel as our henchmen in the region, to fight the wars that our ruling class wants to fight but our average Joe is tired of fighting?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Greenwald on Spygate

This question he asks of Bush apologists on Spygate:

Are there any limitations at all on what the President can do under the guise of national security and, if so, what are they? And, given this theory of the "wartime" President who can violate the laws of Congress and who can ignore the courts in areas of national security, what legal foundation could exist to argue for any such limitations?

An open invitation to any Bush supporters to share their thoughts in response. We're all interested.

Iraq Update

Murtha's Latest. Must read.

Juan Cole on a British officer's criticisms of U.S. military approach.

Shiites tell Sunnis to forget about Constitutional amendments.

What happens when facts on the ground make mincemeat of rosy assessments?

Rice States that Iran's Opposition to Israel Means They Can't Have the Bomb

Rice's comments beg the question, is she worried about American national security or Israeli national security.

If one backs off a bit and looks at this situation rationally, Iran's point that "if Europe felt bad for the holocausts, they should have carved the state of Israel out of Germany or the United States,” is completely valid. So too is the Iranian government’s position that there is no legal “right” for Israel to exist. As we all know, the only reason Israel exists is that the United States has spent hundreds of billions of dollars in direct aid, and several times that amount in incidental aid, to allow Israel to continue to exist.

As for the bomb, why shouldn’t Iran have the bomb if America was fine with Israel getting it? Objectively, why should any country NOT be able to have the bomb – particularly when the current American administration has richly rewarded proliferators like Israel and Pakistan? The rationality of the Iranian position is also born out by the fact that the US and Israel are loath to attack known nuclear powers, but are more than happy to attack non-nuclear powers whenever it suits them. Israel’s unilateral attack on Iraq in the 1980s, spurred Sadam to increase his efforts to acquire nuclear weapons and showed other countries in the region the danger of not having a nuclear deterrent when war-like neighbors possess them. How could one argue that Sadam was wrong to follow this path, his country was attacked by Israel without provocation and received no compensation for the damage caused by the attack (a nuclear plant was destroyed)? I am not supporting Sadam, just saying that if nuclear weapons avoid unilateral attacks like the one above, why should any country be denied them?

Of course, the Zionist neocons who now run our country’s foreign policy have adopted Israel-style “preemptive” war, as well as a number of other wonderful tactics such as assassinations, kidnappings, domestic spying, and of course, torture. What advantage has supporting Israel ever given the United States? None. It’s just that simple. Supporting Israel has made the United States numerous enemies and has destabilized a region of the utmost importance to our national security. As for the “Israel is a strong ally in the region” argument, give me a break. What’s wrong with having friends who give us stuff instead of always having a hand out? Objectively, what value has our “friendship” with Israel ever offered the United States? Give me a single example of how Israel is anything other than a massive thorn in the side of American foreign policy. Time to make friends who can carry their own weight.

A Murder in D.C., Part II

More developments in the murder of a NYT reporter resulting from his assault last Friday. It appears that first responders mistook his disoriented condition for mental illness, and didn't realize he was suffering from massive head trauma. It also didn't look much like a robbery...

Police officers, who arrived quickly after the emergency call, thought Rosenbaum had suffered a medical problem, such as a seizure, officials said. They did not realize he was a crime victim, because he was wearing his watch and wedding band, and a portable radio was resting nearby. . .

. . . The problems also affected the police investigation. It was not until early Saturday that police returned to the neighborhood and searched for evidence and leads.

Something doesn't add up. Muggers take his wallet but not his wedding band, watch, or portable radio?

Conspiracy to Cry?

A Conspiracy to Cry?

Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has violated the confidence of his constituents and dishonored his office by acting as a coach for Supreme Court Nominee Samuel Alito. Never in Senate history has a senator on the Judiciary committee prepped a candidate for the Supreme Court that HIS committee would question and judge.

The truly bizarre nature of Graham’s public relations advice to Alito was on display yesterday afternoon. In a choreographed event, Graham asked Alito if he was “a bigot,” explaining after Democrats had accused him of being one. On cue, Mrs. Alito broke into tears and fled from the room. No less than ten minutes later Fox News let into Senator Schumer for their allegedly brutal grilling of the nominee. Over the next few hours the Republican spin machine played out the story in a concerted effort to make the Democrats appear insensitive and vindictive. The link above is to a Drudge report bit where he either accuses the Democrats of making Mrs. Alito cry. What a bunch of wankers!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

NBC buys out MS from MSNBC

“NBC will now have an 82 percent stake in the network, with the option to acquire the remaining 18 percent after two years. NBC and Microsoft will continue to share ownership of the network's Web site, MSNBC.com.”

This is particularly disturbing for several reasons. First Bill Gates was the only major player in cable news who was not a Republican. Second, NBC is owned by GE which is nearly completely Republican. In fact, Jack Welsh, former GE Chairman, was personally responsible for the network’s early declaration of Bush as the winner of the 2000 contest. Breaking with tradition, he entered the newsrooms at NBC headquarters and demanded that the network make the announcement of Bush’s victory. Also, MSNBC has developed a somewhat independent voice in recent months, to the point where it’s almost worth watching. Now that GE has complete control of it, we can expect to see that change.

The above link also had information about cable news ratings that you might find interesting.

Monday, January 09, 2006

How low is Bush's estimate of 30,000 Iraqis dead?

In the aftermath of the First Iraqi-American War, the question of the number of Iraqi deaths always fascinated me in the inability of anyone to agree on an actual total. How many fleeing troops were actually massacred on the "Highway of Death" as they attempted to flee Kuwait? The scene in Jarhead where they come upon its re-creation recently reminded me that some estimates were in the 250,000 range.

With the Second Iraqi-American War dragging on through its third year of occupation the answer to the question as to the number of Iraqi civilian deaths proves equally difficult to answer. In the linked article, Andrew Cockburn quotes at length from a statistician, Pierre Sprey, who provides an argument that supports the notion that the number may be as high as 100,000.
Who knew there might be a "tyranny of the Gaussian"?

Bush's Abramoff connections

Although Bush's Press Whore Secretary claims that "the President does not know him, nor does the President recall ever meeting him.", apparently Abramoff had plenty of contact with Cheney and Ashcroft soon after the Administration took office.

Read more about how these meetings potentially relate to the Marianas Islands scandal.

A Murder in D.C.

NYT reporter David E. Rosenbaum died Saturday after being beaten and robbed Friday night outside his home in one of the safest neighborhoods of D.C.:

After leaving his house Friday night for a walk to get some fresh air, Rosenbaum was found by a neighbor about 9:30 p.m. in the 3800 block of Gramercy, a one-block street in an upscale neighborhood about a half-mile south of the Montgomery County border.

Little was known about the circumstances of the assault and robbery.

Police said earlier that two men had been seen getting into an automobile and leaving the area about the time of the attack.

Here's a list of his most recent articles. They're in chronological order running down the right column.

Note his last by-line from 2 weeks ago, which deals with the warrantless wiretapping scandal and speculates on what position Alito might take if confirmed for SCOTUS. Also one from Dec. 20 on the Bush position on ignoring FISA.

I hope the authorities investigate this crime fully. I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Dean Destroys Blitzer

When Blitzer tries to drag Dems into the Abramoff scandal, Dean completely nukes him.

No Democrats have ever accepted money from Abramoff. Period. Its that simple.

Blitzer is so flustered, he's reduced to dead air. Brilliant.

Your Debt

Remember when Republicans believed in smaller government? Maybe you don’t, because that was literally decades ago. Today when the Republican Party is in power they outspend Democrats by a large margin.

Fiscal conservatives like me are upset to see credit-card Republicans borrowing excessively and spending inefficiently. Today our individual share of the public debt is $27,551.46. That’s how much every man, woman and child (even those being born this second) owe to the government’s creditors – mainly places like China. The total debt under Bush has grown from $5,656,270,901,615.43 to $8,160,320,491,591.57, the largest percentage increase in the history of the country.

If current trends continue, by the time Bush leaves office, the national debt will exceed the national income for the first time in history. In other words, even if we were somehow able to apply every single dollar made by the economy to paying down the national debt, we couldn’t do it in a year.

The Republican penchant for spend-and-borrow finance is particularly ironic when one stops to consider the draconian IMF policies they favor for the world’s developing economies. The IMF typically frowns upon regimes which allow debt to exceed say 10% of national income. The United States is now at about %75 of national income and will be 100% or more of national income in the near future. It’s time for us to practice what we preach. No more tax cuts for the super rich, no more corporate welfare, a freeze on increases in entitlement and most importantly, an end to foreign military misadventures which harm our national security and cost far more than we can afford.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Sweet Charity. . .

Arianna has a good post that shows how the DeLay/Frist charity scams work. With wholesome names like "U.S. Family Network" and "World of Hope", these "charity" organizations' 501(c)(3) status allows them to keep their donor lists secret, and basically operate as slush funds for Republican causes. Another big plus - as "charities" these vehicles allow corporate donors to make their payoffs tax-exempt. Feeling sick yet?

Oh, one thing more. These charities have the added benefit of enriching these legislators' family members to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars for performing mundane clerical functions.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Check-in on Iraq

Riverbend has a "Happy" new year post up. Apparently the gasoline price spike caused by everyone's favorite international lending institution, the IMF, is really doing a lot to help raise everyone's spirits. As well as completely shred their purchasing power via inflation. Well, when fraudster Chalabi is the new oil minister, what else can you expect?

There is talk of major mismanagement and theft in the Oil Ministry. Chalabi took over several days ago and a friend who works in the ministry says the takeover is a joke. “You know how they used to check our handbags when we first walked into the ministry?” She asked the day after Chalabi crowned himself Oil Emperor, “Now WE check our handbags after we leave the ministry- you know- to see if Chalabi stole anything.”

Way to nation build, America!!! Keep it up!

FAO warns 11 million on brink of starvation in Horn of Africa

That's ok, Bush appointed a crony with no previous experience to head the US global humanitarian relief efforts. He did so after seeing how effective this strategy was at eliminating black people from New Orleans, and has high hopes for the gentrification of Eastern Africa.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Who's in charge of the Abramoff Investigation?

It appears that a recess appointment will be in charge of the Abramoff investigation.

Alice Fisher has never been a prosecutor, but she's a big Bush supporter. I wonder where her loyalties will be?

James Moore placed on TSA's "No-Fly" List

Moore co-authored the book Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George Bush Presidental.

This is the same list that Ted Kennedy found himself on recently. Oh, and the number of those on the list has grown from 35,000 to 80,000 in the last few years. Hmmm.

Apparently critics of the administration are now officially "people who might have terrorist connections".

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Signing orders, an End-run Around the Constitution

Someone was asking about the President’s peculiar habit of issuing “signing statements” after signing bills. By noting in such statements that he plans to only follow those aspects of the new law that he pleases to follow, he is able to increase his power. Normally, a Congress that wasn’t fat, corrupt and stupid would get upset about losing their ability to pass laws, but no such luck here. In fact, the Senate will probably install Alito on the Supreme Court, despite the existence of a memo in which he advised Bush to broaden his use of the “signing statement.” The following is an example of how Bush has used this innovative power-grab to widen his authority.
President Bush signed into law the 2004 intelligence authorization bill on December 13, while signaling a continuing posture of secrecy towards congressional overseers.
In a signing statement, he warned that he might not comply with several legislative provisions on intelligence accountability and reporting because, he said, they intruded on executive authority.
"Many provisions of the Act, including section 106 and subtitle D of title III of the Act, seek to require the executive branch to furnish information to the Congress on various subjects. The executive branch shall construe the provisions in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to withhold information the disclosure of which could impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative processes of the Executive, or the performance of the Executive's constitutional duties."
See the December 13 signing statement here:”

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Frontline - The Torture Question

You all must watch this PBS Documentary about how torture became the norm in our once humane military. The link above allows you to watch the entire program on your computer.

Just a warning, this might make you a little sick to your stomach. If you have a shred of human decency, self respect, responsibility, or traditional patriotic values this should make you very ashamed of how far our great nation has fallen in just a few short years. We faced down the mighty Soviet Union for nearly fifty years without giving up our cherished values; now we cower before a pathetic band of thieves and thugs. There can be no justification, practical or moral, for the sort of behavior shown in this documentary. If you differ, you are a fool and a coward.

Abramoff Pleads - GOP Bleeds?

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Embattled U.S. lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty on Tuesday to conspiracy to commit fraud and other charges in a corruption probe that could involve several top Republican lawmakers, including former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay."

Abramoff Indicted; Cops Plea

Jack pleads to three felonies, in exchange for limiting his sentence to 10 years. They must have a shitload on this jerk. Can you hear the jingle of dropping dimes?

Obviously we don't know the terms of the deal. Looks like at least Rep. Ney (R) is getting flipped on - Ney if you remember is the crook who stuffed language into the congressional record in order to influence the sale of SunCruz. DeLay likely as well.

The actual indictment here.

Hurricane Zeta?

More proof of a link between higher sea surface temperatures caused by global warming and hurricane formation.

"Zeta comes a month after Hurricane Epsilon. If Zeta strengthens into a hurricane, it will eclipse the record for the latest-forming hurricane set in 1954 by Alice, which became a hurricane on Dec. 31 of that year, lasting until Jan. 5, 1955, according to the hurricane center's archives. The record-setting Alice was the second storm with that name in the 1954 season."

What is the difference between a "targeted killing" and an "assassination?"

Well, when the target is a Christian or a Jew it’s an assassination. When the killers are Christians or Jews then it’s a targeted killing. Simple really.

Monday, January 02, 2006

DeLay Took Russian Money for Helping to Increase the US Taxpayer Financed Bailout of the Russian Economy

From WaPo,

"The U.S. Family Network, a public advocacy group that operated in the 1990s with close ties to Rep. Tom DeLay and claimed to be a nationwide grass-roots organization, was funded almost entirely by corporations linked to embattled lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to tax records and former associates of the group.

During its five-year existence, the U.S. Family Network raised $2.5 million but kept its donor list secret. The list, obtained by The Washington Post, shows that $1 million of its revenue came in a single 1998 check from a now-defunct London law firm whose former partners would not identify the money's origins.

Two former associates of Edwin A. Buckham, the congressman's former chief of staff and the organizer of the U.S. Family Network, said Buckham told them the funds came from Russian oil and gas executives. Abramoff had been working closely with two such Russian energy executives on their Washington agenda, and the lobbyist and Buckham had helped organize a 1997 Moscow visit by DeLay (R-Tex.).

The former president of the U.S. Family Network said Buckham told him that Russians contributed $1 million to the group in 1998 specifically to influence DeLay's vote on legislation the International Monetary Fund needed to finance a bailout of the collapsing Russian economy."